Queer Asians First southern summit comes to ATL. Page 12
State Senate Battle for Jason Carterâ€™s seat heats up. Page 13
Best Bets Check out our extensive Calendar! Pages 31-34
Max Heimowitz, John Manzari, Maurice Hines, Leo Manzari and Sam Heimowitz, with members of the DIVA Jazz Orchestra, in Maurice Hines is Tappin’ Thru Life at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater November 15-December 29, 2013. Photo by Teresa Wood.
Written and Choreographed by MAurice Hines | direCted by Jeff cAlHoun
Broadway legend and tap extraordinaire Maurice Hines teams up with the unforgettable Manzari Brothers to share his life story and glamorous career through tap.
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IN THIS ISSUE
NEWS 5 | News briefs 6 | The Atlanta BeltLine springs forward into new phase 12 | Queer Asian summit comes to Atlanta 13 | State senate race to replace Jason Carter heats up 15 | AID Atlanta, Deloitte to create ‘medical home model’ 15 | Ga. lawmaker vows to revive anti-gay ‘religious freedom’ bill
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6 | SPRINGTIME along THE ATLANTA BELTLINE
OUTSPOKEN FRIENDS & FOES IN THEIR OWN WORDS
“The homosexual activists are flat-out lying about what Jesus would do regarding the detestable, abominable, diseased practice and act of homosexuality. They have been lying and saying that Jesus would simply love.” — Harlem pastor David Manning who posted several anti-gay messages on his church’s sign, including “Jesus would stone homos,” responds to the criticism. (March 24, Huffington Post)
“So I should come back tomorrow for my stoning?” — Local resident and out lesbian Jennifer Louise Lopez as she confronts the person at the door of Manning’s church about the sign. (March 20, Huffington Post, photo via YouTube)
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“The country’s moved on. The American people have moved on, it’s time for the Congress to move on, and pass ENDA. Pass ENDA now. Not tomorrow, now!” — Vice President Joe Biden in his keynote speech at the Human Rights Campaign Gala in Los Angeles on March 22. (March 23, Joe.My.God)
22 | Ample LGBT selections make final cut for Atlanta Film Festival 24 | LGBT sports leagues invade Atlanta this spring 25 | Catching Up...with Maureen Kalmanson 26 | Food: Two new eateries put a spring in your foodie step 27 | Indigo Girl Amy Ray goes country in new solo album 28 | Festival and events to keep you busy this spring 29 | Music: Spring releases, concerts add up to harmonious season 30 | Theater: Talent abounds in local productions 35 | TV: Longtime faves come to a close with promising new shows added to the mix 36 | Film: Indie LGBT films highlight spring, summer lineups 37 | Books: ‘Teaching the Cat to Sit’ delves into Catholicism, sexuality and standing upin the gay ATL
CALENDAR 31-34| Calendar
COLUMNISTS 25 | That’s What She Said: Melissa Carter talks about Bea Arthur living on in our heart and pop culture 39 | Sometimes Y: Ryan Lee figures out how to grieve for Fred Phelps
“We are determined to find unity in our diversity.” — Richard Stearns, president of World Vision USA, one of the the country’s largest Christian charities with more than 1,100 employees, announcing that the organization will now permit gay Christians that are legally married to remain employed there. (March 24, Christianity Today)
THE GEORGIA VOICE
SOUTHERN LGBT ADVOCACY GROUPS JOIN FORCES AT ANNUAL EQUALITY FEDERATION SUMMIT It was a night of celebration on the evening of Mar. 22 as Georgia Equality hosted a reception to cap off the Equality Federation’s annual Southern Regional Leadership Summit. The weekend-long event brought together representatives of 13 LGBT advocacy groups across the region, as well as a few representatives of national LGBT groups including Freedom to Marry and the Human Rights Campaign. The mood was light as 40 to 50 people sipped wine and snacked on hors d’oeuvres in the annex at the Phillip Rush Center to complete another year of coming together to strategize and share ways to break through with victories in a conservative region. The event continues a recent trend of the spotlight turning towards the region, after the Southerners for the Freedom to Marry initiative kicked off in February, an expansive study on domestic LGBT funding in the south was released and successful defeats of antigay “religious freedom” bills occurred in the just-ended Georgia legislative session. “For us, this is the moment of the south,” Equality Federation Executive Director Rebecca Isaacs told GA Voice. “We’re completely interested in making sure the south gets its due and the recognition and its fair share of resources.” The Equality Federation is a national organization that provides support and resources for state-based LGBT advocacy groups across the country. Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff Graham called them “the most important organization that you’ve never heard of” in a speech during the event. This southern cohort of the Equality Federation began ﬁve years ago, when representatives from each state in the region decided that an additional yearly event would be helpful to address the issues unique to the south. “A lot of the work that we have done with our Safe Schools work in Georgia actually came from that very ﬁrst southern cohort meeting,” Graham told GA Voice. “That gave us the idea of how we could do this work district-by-district across the state, measuring it not by the number of districts that we touch but the percentage of students that we touch, which allowed us to help think strategically.” Bob Gibeling, openly gay candidate for the state House of Representatives, was among the crowd and spoke to GA Voice about how such events help everyone stay informed on the issues at hand. “We’ve been in a defensive position for a long time, so we’re beginning to feel the enthusiasm to see how we can move to a more positive position on claiming LGBT rights in Georgia,” he said. “There is no interest in any part of the country being left behind,” Isaacs said. “Basically, it’s all for one, one for all. If we have equality, it has to be everywhere.” — Patrick Saunders
NEWSIN BRIEF Representatives from 13 LGBT advocacy groups in the South met in Atlanta to go over strategies on how to bring full equality to the Bible Belt. (Photo by Patrick Saunders)
FEDERAL JUDGE RULES AGAINST MICH. MARRIAGE BAN; HUNDREDS MARRY BEFORE STAY ISSUED The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals issued a stay at 5 p.m. on March 22 of a district court decision the day before that struck down Michigan’s ban on same-sex couples marrying, but hundreds of couples had already married by that time. Michigan’s ﬁrst marriage of a same-sex couple took place just after 8 a.m. on Saturday, March 22, in Mason, just south of Lansing, Mich. The couple was Marsha Caspar and Glenna DeJong, both in their 50s, who have been together for 27 years. The Detroit Free Press reported that at least four other counties had ofﬁce hours on Saturday and issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In Oakland County, the paper said, a line stretched out the door when the ofﬁce opened at 9 a.m., and marriages were being performed in auditoriums and hallways. At least some of the rush was fueled by the knowledge that Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette ﬁled an emergency order the evening of March 21 seeking a stay of U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman’s ruling that the Michigan Marriage Amendment was unconstitutional. A ruling on the stay was expected after press time on Tuesday. Dana Nessel, attorney for the plaintiff couple, April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, said the couple opted not to seek a marriage license Saturday, noting that to do so at this point in the litigation they could lose legal standing to pursue an appeal if the Sixth Circuit overturns the district court decision. “Our clients have decided to get married when they can legally stay married,” said Nessell, “and their marriage cannot be deemed illegitimate.”
U.S. District Court Judge Friedman (a Reagan appointee) ruled March 21 that Michigan’s ban against same-sex couples marrying violates the couples’ constitutional rights to equal protection. The Michigan decision falls squarely in line with rulings from federal district court judges in eight other states in the past year since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) with U.S. v. Windsor. The other eight are all on appeal to their various courts of appeal. Some suggest the Michigan case, DeBoer v. Michigan, may have a better chance at reaching a U.S. Supreme Court appeal because, unlike the others, it involved a twoweek-long trial. Friedman issued the DeBoer ruling two weeks after hearing closing arguments in the trial that gave the state of Michigan a chance to establish a rationale for banning same-sex couples from marrying. Judge Friedman said he found the testimony from the state’s star witness, California sociologist Mark Regnerus, to be “entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration.” Regenerus’ studies stating children can only thrive in a household with a mother and father have been widely debunked by others professionals, including his colleagues. Judge Friedman also said he was unable to accord the testimony of three other state witnesses with “any signiﬁcant weight,” because it was “largely unbelievable” and represents “a fringe viewpoint that is rejected by the vast majority of their colleagues across a variety of social science ﬁelds.” Human Rights Campaign President Chad Grifﬁn said the Michigan decision shows that the “momentum for marriage equality is undeniable.” DeBoer v. Michigan started out as a lawsuit to challenge a state law barring unmarried couples from adopting. DeBoer and longtime partner Rowse were seeking to adopt three children they had been raising together. But while hearing arguments in that case last year, Judge Friedman suggested the plaintiffs amend their lawsuit to challenge the law barring same-sex couples from marrying. — Lisa Keen
April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse sued the state of Michigan in federal court to overturn the same-sex marriage ban. (Photo via Facebook)
GA VOICE | 5
6 | GA VOICE
Atlanta BeltLine springs forward...
Massive projects underway, local LGBT businesses consider hopping on board
by PATRICK SAUNDERS One day in 1999, a Georgia Tech student and masters candidate named Ryan Gravel had an idea. The transportation alternatives in Atlanta were severely lacking, so he came up with a plan. A vision for what could be possible in his city. He devoted his thesis to the idea, and with the help of two colleagues, summarized it and mailed copies to two dozen inﬂuential Atlantans. One of the ﬁrst supporters to see the same vision that Gravel saw and to throw her weight behind the idea? Cathy Woolard, the ﬁrst openly gay person to be elected to ofﬁce in Georgia. She joined forces with Gravel and his colleagues and pushed the idea out to business leaders and neighborhood groups throughout the city over the next several years. Flash forward to December 2009. After 10 years of blood, meetings, sweat, votes, tears and plenty of money ﬂying around to ﬁgure out how to make it happen, ground is broken on the ﬁrst trail. And now we’re seeing how an idea can become a reality, and how that new reality gave a city a new way to look at itself—by winding through the previously unknown trails and passageways we used to ﬂy by in our cars on the way to the next errand, the next meeting, the next bar. We’re slowing down and taking it all in, step by step. Simultaneously, the army of people behind the BeltLine are speeding up—introducing a slew of new activities and events to take part in, ramping up the process of connecting those missing links we didn’t know we had a craving for. Here’s what they’re doing.
Above, artist Santiago Menendez Gil’s mural on the Westside Trail. (via Atlanta Betline) Left, “Phoenix Atlanta’s Railroad Rebirth” is one of many sculptures lining the Atlanta BeltLine. Art on the BeltLtine is in its fifth year. (Sculpture and photo by Allen Peterson)
trail, so folks using the trail can get up and go to all of the restaurants in Inman Park.” Construction has also started on the Eastside Trail Extension, which currently ends at Irwin Street. When complete, the trail will end at Memorial Drive right at the restaurant H. Harper Station.
THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED . . .
Lee Harrop is program management ofﬁcer for the Atlanta BeltLine. The openly gay Harrop is clearly a BeltLine disciple—loving his job while spreading the gospel of the BeltLine. The BeltLine Overview map [opposite page] shows the current state of the BeltLine. The trails in red have been completed, construction will start this summer on the trails in yellow, and the ones in blue are in planning or design. It looks like a daunting task, but several initiatives are in place, with a big construction project on the Westside Trail about to break ground this summer, with Washington Park on the north end and University Avenue/Adair Park neighborhoods and the Urban Agriculture Site on the south. The Westside Trail will end up being just as long as the Eastside Trail, which is anchored by Piedmont Park. “The Eastside Trail went through all of those great communities that the gay community knows and loves,” Harrop says. “This Westside Trail is going through the up-and-
BELTLINE A ‘GREAT ASSET’ TO LGBT BUSINESSES
coming neighborhoods.” Harrop also teases that construction is happening right now connecting Historic Fourth Ward Park and the Eastside Trail right behind the Masquerade, due to open this summer. “And we’re reopening the Edgewood Avenue Bridge [see rendering on opposite page] which has been a huge disconnect,” he says. “That will include stairs and a ramp down the
Rumors have spread about what’s going to happen in Ansley Square. Will gay and gayfriendly businesses throughout the complex be redoing their facades to take advantage of the impending BeltLine foot trafﬁc? “We’re working with Mixx,” Harrop says. “They’ve hired an architect to look at the patio, with bike racks and dog bowls, the whole nine yards. We’re helping facilitate that.” Harrop says they would love for Burkhart’s to do the same thing, but that Mixx is taking the lead on it. “Certainly when the BeltLine is ﬁnished back there and there are improvements with security and the path itself, once those occur and we see a marked increase in trafﬁc, we’ll
follow course,” Burkhart’s manager Steve Tallas tells GA Voice. Tallas said the Burkhart’s team is eager to support the BeltLine, especially if it’s going to increase business, “but like I said, the owner wants to follow a wait-and-see plan,” he says. Jenny Odum, communications coordinator for the Atlanta BeltLine, tells GA Voice that on March 2, trail counters logged 1,000 users at Lewis Gulch, a spot on the stretch of interim hiking trail just south of Clear Creek and Burkhart’s. “The Path Force, our dedicated squad of police ofﬁcers that patrol the Atlanta BeltLine parks, trails, and surrounding neighborhoods, also patrol the interim hiking trails for public safety,” Odum says. Odum says that stretch of trail is slated to go into construction during Period Two of the BeltLine’s Strategic Implementation Plan. Mixx General Manager Kish Devaraj refused to discuss with GA Voice any plans the bar has for redoing their facade to take advantage of the BeltLine. The BeltLine’s Harrop also notes that they are in conversation with Halpern Enterprises,
GA VOICE | 7
EVENTS ON THE BELTLINE This is a sampling of the many events available through the Atlanta BeltLine. Most of these occur on multiple dates throughout the week and month, so check www.BeltLine.org for a full list of events.
Atlanta BeltLine Bus Tour March 28 from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Inman Park MARTA Arboretum Walking Tour March 28 from 10-11:30 a.m. Parish Restaurant Boot Camp March 28 from 9-10 a.m. Gordon White Park Aerobics March 29 from 10-11 a.m. D.H. Stanton Park Eastside Bike Tour March 29 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Atlanta BeltLine Bicycle (Eastside BeltLine Trail) Trail Yoga March 30 from 1-2 p.m. Washington Park (Tennis Center) Play Day March 30 from 1-5 p.m. Boulevard Crossing Park
A rendering of the Edgewood Avenue Bridge Replacement project due to be completed this summer.
...and into a new phase
Westside Bike Tour March 30 from 2-5 p.m. The Hammond’s House (Westside Trail) Nutrition Walk April 2 from 5:30-7 p.m. Eastside Trail Extension (H. Harper Station) Atlanta BeltLine 101 (Northeast) April 3 from 6-7 p.m. Keller Williams Midtown
which owns Amsterdam Walk, to develop a ramp or stairs to make the connection to the BeltLine. Harrop is excited by the prospects for all of the LGBT and LGBT-friendly businesses in town. “When we ﬁrst started the Eastside Trail, none of the businesses knew what to expect,” he says. “Last Sunday there were 9,700 people on the trail. I would love to see Midtown Art Cinema make a connection. We’re working with the adjacent properties as they realize it’s a great asset.” “They’re going to catch a lot of good business, and I think other businesses will follow suit,” he says.
THE ART OF THE DEAL
One of the enduring legacies of the Atlanta BeltLine, and what adds to the constant surprises in addition to the new avenues unearthed by pedestrians every day on the trails, are the art installations littering the entire line. People who never had the time or the inclination to explore a museum are stumbling upon works of art as they round each corner of the BeltLine, and are being exposed to new experiences. The works of hundreds of visual artists,
Art on the Atlanta BeltLine April 3 from 7-9 p.m. Abernathy Arts Center Sunset Hike April 4 from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Washington Park (Natatorium) Eastside Bike Tour April 5 from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Atlanta BeltLine Bicycle (Eastide Bike Trail) Sunrise Hike April 7 from 6-8 a.m. Historic Fourth Ward Park Skatepark On this latest image showing the progress of the BeltLine, the completed trails are in red, construction is starting this summer on the trails in yellow, and the ones in blue are in planning or design.
performers and musicians are being displayed all along the corridor. And the numbers keep growing. “Art on the Atlanta BeltLine” is in its ﬁfth year as the city’s largest temporary public art exhibition. “We have a call for artists until mid-April,” Harrop says. “It will start right after Labor Day
with the Lantern Parade and run through early December. Proposals are still coming in. It’s the ﬁfth year, so we want to do a little something a little extra—I’m not sure what though.” A similar question perplexed one masters candidate 15 years ago. “How do I make this situation better?” he asked. The answer came, and a city ﬂocked.
Atlanta BeltLine 101 (Southeast) April 15 from 6-7 p.m. Historical Concepts Brasfield Earth Day on the Atlanta BeltLine April 19 from 8:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. 500 10th Street NE Atlanta BeltLine 101 (Northside) April 23 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Buckhead Library 2014 Northside 5K April 26 from 8-10 a.m. Tanyard Creek Park
12 | GA VOICE
First Southern LGBT Asian summit comes to Atlanta in April Regional confab needed to address unique issues facing AAPI communities By DYANA BAGBY When she was coming out, Florence Tang of Atlanta found the Asian Paciﬁc Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Network to be a crucial resource in ﬁnding fellowship and identity. But Tang also learned that such a resource was rare. “I remember hearing from fellow members back when the group existed about how one Chinese woman would cross state lines on transit just to attend our gatherings,” Tang says. “APLBTN was crucial in my coming out process. I needed the support of other queers with my values and experiences who could be honest with themselves.” Now 40, Tang, a Chinese-American pansexual, says many queer Asian American Paciﬁc Islanders (AAPIs) are able to ﬁnd informal networks but she believes visible organizations are still valuable. “One concern for me is that in a metro area where Koreans or Korean-Americans comprise .8 percent of the population (43,870 people,) I know of only two out queer KoreanAmericans who live here. Three, if you count Margaret Cho,” Tang says. To help LGBT AAPIs in the south ﬁnd connections and resources, the ﬁrst southern regional summit is taking place in metro Atlanta April 4-6. Approximately 50 people from Kentucky, New Orleans, Atlanta and North Carolina will be attending with presenters coming from as far as California and New York. Stan Fong, who is co-chairing the summit with Tang, says he pushed to have a regional summit in the south after attending last year’s National Queer Asian Paciﬁc Islander Alliance’s (NQAPIA) Leadership Summit in Honolulu, Hawaii. “It brought together queer Asian leaders, activists and organizers from all around the United States. In a regional caucus we held for participants from the south, which included activists and organizers from New Orleans, Atlanta, and Raleigh, N.C., we determined that a regional summit for the south was needed, and that it should be held in Atlanta this year,” he says. NQAPIA is a federation of LGBTQ Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian and Paciﬁc Islander organizations with the mis-
Stan Fong of Atlanta, co-chair of the Regional Summit of LGBT AAPIs in the South, says it is time for queer Asians to start organizing in the south. (Photos by Dyana Bagby)
Anneliese Singh, a queer Sikh South Asian American, is the keynote speaker at the first LGBT Asian summit in Atlanta.
sion of building local LGBT AAPI organizations through grassroots organizing. The organization also seeks to “develop leadership, and challenge homophobia, racism, and anti-immigrant bias.” Fong recently joined its board of directors, with the “explicit goal of helping to advocate for LGBT AAPI issues in the South.”
CHANGING THE PERCEPTION OF ‘INVISIBILITY’
Atlanta, with its central location and one of the largest Asian populations in the region, was the perfect location for this summit so people can come together and talk about the issues facing them uniquely in the south, says Fong, 29, a gay Chinese Indonesian raised in Puerto Rico. “In the south, a lot of times when we talk about issues affecting LGBTQ people of color, the faces and experiences that are brought up are not those of Asian Americans. Asian Americans are the fastest growing minority group not just in the south, but in the nation, largely due to immigration, Fong says. “And with this comes a lot of challenges that come with being either immigrants or the children of immigrants. LGBTQ Asians are less likely to be out to family,” he says. LGBT Asians are less likely to get tested or
Regional Summit of LGBT AAPIs in the South April 4-6 Center for Pan Asian Community Services 3510 Shallowford Road NE Chamblee, GA 30341 http://bit.ly/NQAPIASouth
get treatment for HIV and other STIs because of the social stigma within their communities and are less likely to be present at the LGBT table when issues are being discussed, Fong adds. “Some of the issues that affect LGBTQ Asians, such as immigration, and are not issues that are talked about in the mainstream LGBTQ community. One of the ways that we can change this perception of ‘invisibility’ is to be present at the table when LGBTQ issues are discussed, to be conﬁdent enough to represent LGBTQ issues in their own AAPI communities,” he says. In California, New York and Chicago, where there are large Asian communities, the community is recognized. Signiﬁcant strides in recent years in Atlanta and Georgia through organizations such as the Asian American Legal Advocacy Center to empower the straight Asian community has helped halt discriminatory laws, such as trying to make English the state’s ofﬁcial language. But for the LGBT Asian community, more work needs to be done. “One of the goals of the conference is to explore the need for a LGBTQ API advocacy group in the south. This will be done through the conversation and momentum a regional
summit like this can create,” Fong says. Workshops ranging from immigration issues, how to build LGBT AAPI community organizations as well as HIV/AIDS awareness within the API communities will be offered. There will also be trainings on trans allyship, and how to build an ally base in API communities. Allies are also invited to participate. “One of the unique aspects of a summit such as ours is that we get to talk about issues of immigration, trans issues, advocacy in schools, HIV/AIDS, and how policies in Georgia such as Voter-ID laws and anti-immigrant state legislation affect AAPI LGBTs, all under one roof,” Fong says. For Tang, the workshop on how to create a 501c3 is especially important. “NQAPIA helps local queer AAPI organizations but we don’t have many in the south. As a queer woman of East Asian ancestry whose Chinese is not ﬂuent, there really isn’t a local queer AAPI organization I can comfortably join,” Tang says. “I don’t want the rest of queer AAPI USA to think that it’s easy for queer AAPIs in the south to come out within their communities or ﬁnd accepting communities because we’re not organizing.” The keynote speaker for the summit is Anneliese Singh, a queer Sikh South Asian American with a long history of activism in HIV/AIDS, reproductive justice and immigrant rights. She is also a founder of the Georgia Safe Schools Coalition. Singh is an associate professor in the Department of Counseling and Human Development Services at the University of Georgia and a licensed psychologist.
GA VOICE | 13
State Senate race to replace Jason Carter heats up Democrats Kyle Williams, Elena Parent in ﬁght to be the more progressive
mon sense bill is good for people and for businesses in Georgia and enjoys the support of a majority of Georgians. It should be enacted into law immediately. I will co-sponsor this bill again and work with my friends from both parties to grow bipartisan support for this important workplace protection and ensure passage next session.
By DYANA BAGBY The race to replace state Sen. Jason Carter for the District 42 seat has become a bit of a bumpy one in recent weeks. The two Democratic candidates, Kyle Williams, an attorney from Decatur who also chairs the Decatur Education Foundation, and Elena Parent, executive director of Georgia Watch and a former state representative, are in a battle to paint themselves as more progressive than the other. The GA Voice interviewed each. You can read the entire interviews at www.thegavoice.com. GAVO: Why did you enter this race at this time? Why do you want to win? Kyle Williams: To understand why I am running you just need to know who I am, where I came from, and what I have done day-by-day in this district for more than a decade. This campaign is personal because the issues are personal. The values and conscience of this district are my values and conscious. This district has a tradition and I believe a moral obligation to not just be a Democratic vote, but to be a progressive voice and advocate. This district and our current and past state senators have a history of not just sitting back, watching, or waiting for the pendulum to swing. We step up, roll up our sleeves, get to work and push. That is what I have done here on the ground in this district for over a decade. I am running to be an unwavering progressive voice and leader. That is why I am the best candidate to be the next state Senator from this great district. Elena Parent: I am passionate about using the platform provided by public service to improve the quality of life for all Georgians. I look forward to continuing the good work my friend Sen. Jason Carter has done on behalf of District 42. In the state Senate I will be an effective leader ﬁghting for increased education funding, expanding access to health care and equality for all Georgians. If elected, what will you do, if anything, to work toward a repeal of the ban on samesex marriage in Georgia? EP: I am committed to seeing marriage equality in every state, including Georgia, and will be a vocal sponsor of legislation to repeal the state’s constitutional ban on samesex marriage. I will also work to legislate legal recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states, something we may be able to accomplish even before the repeal of the constitutional amendment, particularly
Kyle Williams (File photo)
Elena Parent (File photo)
given the federal government’s stance. For those constituents who are legally married in another state, I will use the resources of my ofﬁce to assist them in accessing the current federal beneﬁts they are entitled to receive, while working towards the day when they will also enjoy equal state beneﬁts as citizens of Georgia. KW: When elected I will be the ﬁrst openly gay male elected to the Georgia General Assembly and the only open LGBT member of the State Senate. I live the ﬁght for equality. I struggled through my own coming out to family, friends, and employers. I know that my 13-year commitment to my partner is not recognized, valued or protected by Georgia. If elected to succeed Jason Carter as state Senator of Georgia’s 42nd District, I would unequivocally and with no hesitation introduce legislation to repeal Georgia’s Marriage Ban … that excludes same-sex couples, like my family, from marriage and prohibits same-sex couples from any legal recognition. There is no time like the present to begin the process of correcting this injustice so that same-sex couples are afforded the same legal rights to protect, validate and celebrate our families and our love, no Georgian left behind.
tion in public employment based on sexual orientation and gender identity. If passed, the legislation would protect more than 170,000 state employees from discriminatory hiring and ﬁring practices. Currently, there are no workplace protections for the LGBT employees. This legislation is crucial to the dignity and for the protection of LGBT state employees. This legislation is also good business. I applaud the work of Rep. Drenner in her continuing work to introduce this legislation. Upon my election, I would proudly shepherd this legislation through the state Senate, work with Rep. Drenner on a companion piece to introduce in the Senate and to build the bipartisan sponsors and supporters. I also know that this legislation does not go far enough as it does not address private employment in Georgia. I am founder of a four attorney law ﬁrm that adopted a written nondiscrimination and no harassment policies prohibiting discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in employment based on race; color; religion; national origin; sex, sexual orientation, transgender, sexual identity; pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions; age; disability or handicap; citizenship status; service member status; genetic information or any other category protected by federal, state, or local law. I am committed to continuing this work to ensure fundamental workplace fairness and protections for all LGBT Georgians. EP: As a State Representative in 2011, I was proud to cosponsor Rep. Drenner’s Fair Employment Practices Act. This bipartisan, com-
How would you work to further Rep. Drenner’s Fair Employment Practices Act? KW: The Georgia Fair Employment Practices Act (HB 427) was ﬁrst introduced in 2011 and would amend our state labor laws to safeguard against employment discrimina-
Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus) has promised to bring back his “religious freedom” bill—this year SB 377—next year and state Rep. Sam Teasley also wants to reintroduce his “religious freedom” bill, HB 1023. Why are these bills bad for LGBT people and others and what would you do to block this bill (SB 377) from becoming law? EP: This bill attempts to allow businesses to refuse to serve any customers of backgrounds different from their own, including LGBT individuals, along with persons of different religious faiths, marital statuses, or other lifestyle situations. This is a bill that thousands of citizens and major corporations have expressed objection to, both in Georgia and across the country. Discrimination disguised as religious freedom is not something that can be tolerated. As a state Senator I will continue to work with all of our allies, including those in the business community who were key to helping defeat this legislation, and endeavor to grow our coalition in order to ensure such discriminatory legislation will never be enacted into law in Georgia. KW: HB 1023 and SB 377 were reckless and dangerous bills that are bad for all Georgians, but would have devastating effects and implications on the LGBT community because it would license discrimination and roll back existing anti-discrimination, public safety, and health protections afforded under Georgia and Federal law. This legislation deeply troubles and concerns me as a lawyer, as a small business owner, and as a Georgian. As a gay man and advocate for equality, this discriminatory legislation would regulate my family and all LGBT Georgians to the inequality of a second-class citizenry. This discriminatory legislation is personal to me. This legislation is not reﬂective of the Georgia that I know or the community that we have worked together to build in District 42. Georgia is the birthplace of the civil rights movement and today welcomes the world. Georgia is home to multi-billion dollar a year corporations and fast-growing small businesses that value diversity and inclusivity. We can’t possibly hope that commerce will continue as usual should either of these bills pass. As the ﬁrst and only openly gay state Senator, I would continue to live open and honest, speak up and speak out, and join the members of the LGBT caucus in the House of Representatives to work against, testify on, and counter these discriminatory efforts.
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GA VOICE | 15
AID Atlanta, Deloitte to create ‘medical home model’
Changes planned to account for ACA, political environment
one globally at the moment,” said Joey Helton, director of development.
By DYANA BAGBY
WHAT BUSINESS PLAN INCLUDES
AID Atlanta is changing up its business model to accommodate changes to the healthcare system through the implementation of the Affordable Care Act with the help of Deloitte, a global private ﬁnancial consulting ﬁrm. The engagement with Deloitte aims for AID Atlanta to become the ﬁrst-ever AIDS service organization in the region with an integrated health setting to effectively merge both the behavioral and medical health model all under one roof, commonly known as a medical home model, said AID Atlanta’s new CEO Dr. Jose Rodriguez-Diaz. “The importance of this to the community is that with all the changes happening with the ACA and the political environment we may be coming into in November, we need to ﬁnd ways to diversify our funding stream … by getting ahead of the curve,” Rodriguez-Diaz told the GA Voice. For example, funding for the federal Ryan White Act may not be authorized, RodriguezDiaz said. And if it were to be defunded or the funding reduced, this new strategic plan with Deloitte will allow AID Atlanta to remain open
AID Atlanta CEO Jose Rodriguez-Diaz. (File photo)
and continue to provide the level of services it always has, he said. Deloitte comes into play by being committed to help AID Atlanta—at no cost to the agency— develop a broad business plan that “supports its integrated healthcare goals and results in a ﬁscally sustainable model,” Rodriguez-Diaz explained. The partnership between Deloitte and AID Atlanta was made possible with the help of Chip Newton, senior manager with Deloitte and chairman of the AID Atlanta board of directors. “This pro bono agreement is Deloitte’s largest
AID Atlanta is looking to launch a new wellness center, offer chiropractic services onsite, offer primary care, its own x-ray services, a dentist and even have a pharmacy. These services will enable the agency to become a “medical home model”—a place where a patient can receive all services they need. The “home model” means a more broad wraparound set of services that will seamlessly integrate behavioral and mental health into our primary care services, Rodriguez-Diaz explained. “This will allow the agency to expand its behavioral health services to support chronic disease management. As HIV has become a more manageable chronic disease, we have to expand our scope of work and endeavor to treat each member holistically. At AID Atlanta we are striving to take the agency to a place where we can provide an array of integrated medical and mental health services designed to improve health outcomes and quality of life,” said Rodriguez-Diaz. Currently AID Atlanta serves about 300 people in its wellness clinics and the agency hopes to expand that number to 1,500. In case management, AID Atlanta serves 1,400 patients and
wants to expand to serve 3,000. With behavioral health, AID Atlanta has about 264 patients and plans to expand to serve 3,500, Rodriguez-Diaz said. “Deloitte helped us calculate and determine the capacity,” he added. AID Atlanta will continue to serve primarily those with HIV/AIDS and especially those who will ﬁnd themselves unable to afford healthcare despite ACA because Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal refused to expand Medicaid. AID Atlanta receives approximately $3 million in Ryan White funding annually. Rodriguez-Diaz said no one will be turned away for services. AID Atlanta’s annual budget is $7.6 million and provides services to some 50,000 people each year. “Seventy percent of our funding comes from the government and 30 percent comes from community. The biggest portion of that 30 percent is from the AIDS Walk, and then also Cotillion and other fundraisers,” Helton said. The plans underway do mean expansions are being made to the AID Atlanta location on Peachtree Street but there are no immediate plans to relocate, Rodriguez-Diaz said. The changes mean AID Atlanta will soon be hiring, doing more community work, for example, at the Rush Center and Health Initiative. Future plans also include expanding on women’s health, Latino community outreach and health and trans health, Rodriguez-Diaz said.
Ga. lawmaker vows to revive anti-gay ‘religious freedom’ bill in ’15 Could same-sex marriage also be on agenda next session? By PATRICK SAUNDERS State Sen. Josh McKoon, who introduced the anti-gay “religious freedom” bill earlier this session, tried to revive it on the ﬁnal day of the legislative session by adding it as an amendment to House bills dealing with unemployment, but ultimately decided to withdraw it due to opposition from the business community, he said. The General Assembly adjourned at midnight on March 20, known as Sine Die, with no religious discrimination bills passed. Sen. McKoon promised to bring the bill back in 2015. The language McKoon used to tack onto two House unemployment bills, including HB 1027, on the ﬁnal day of the legislative session was part of his SB 377, a bill he was the lead sponsor on and introduced earlier in the session. That bill, however, died before Crossover Day. Rep. Karla Drenner told GA Voice late on the afternoon of March 20 that she hadn’t heard anything about HB 1027 making it through to the House ﬂoor for a vote and didn’t get the impression from the rules committee chairman that the bill would be taken up. She also said she spoke to Rep. Sam Teasley (R-Marietta), the lead sponsor of HB 1027, who agreed the bill should wait to be discussed until next year.
PRO-GAY BUSINESS GROUPS TURNED UP THE PRESSURE
McKoon, a Republican from Columbus, went on to explain his reasoning for dropping the amendment in a Twitter exchange with GA Voice, saying “business interests that don’t understand SB 377 have maintained opposition & for 1st time expressed interest in dialog.” Speciﬁcally, McKoon cited a letter dated March 20 from the Metro Atlanta Chamber placed on the desks of all senators stating its opposition to the bill. The letter, signed by the Metro Chamber’s President and CEO Hala Moddelmog, also stated discussions about the proposed bill can take place over the summer to decide “how best to both preserve religious freedom and the vibrant business climate that Georgia families rely on.” InterContinental Hotels Group and several Atlanta-based companies including Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines denounced the proposed legislation, saying it would hurt its ability to be diverse in serving and hiring LGBT people. Georgia Equality praised the work of the LGBT community and also the corporations who came out to speak out against the discriminatory bills.
DRENNER: LOOK FOR SAME-SEX MARRIAGE BILL NEXT YEAR
Going forward, all parties are preparing for
the “religious freedom” bills to come back in one form or another in next year’s session. “I expect that right out of the gate,” Drenner said. Drenner believes it will be a much more coordinated effort next time, with simultaneous bills in the House and Senate. However, there is one scenario to be settled this November that could kill the bill no matter if the legislature passes it. “I’m hopeful that Sen. Carter will then be Gov. Carter and a bill like that, where as it may pass, it may be vetoed,” she said. Drenner said she and Teasley had “multiple” conversations about his bill, HB 1027. “I’m hoping that as time progresses, that my sentiments with him have been that, ‘I understand that you believe your religious rights are being discriminated against, but what I want you to understand is that you didn’t even recognize that I have any rights that are discriminated against,’’’ she said. Drenner also said she thinks there will be some movement on a same-sex marriage bill next year. The difference between 2004 and this time around? The bill would be proposed by progressives in favor of same-sex marriage instead of being proposed by conservatives that are against it. “Next year will be an increasingly proactive attempt by some of the progressives to at least make some symbolic points,” she said.
Gay state Rep. Karla Drenner notes that if state Sen. Jason Carter is elected governor, he would have veto powers over any anti-gay ‘religious discrimination’ bills. (File photo)
22 | GA VOICE
Ample LGBT selections make ﬁnal cut for Atlanta Film Fest
Pink Peach features, shorts radiate and illuminate drama of our lives By STEVE WARREN The 2014 Atlanta Film Festival, opening tonight and running through April 6, has twice as many documentaries as narrative features with signiﬁcant LGBT content, most of them in the Pink Peach section. That may just mean our real lives are more interesting than the dramas we create. But isn’t the drama we create what makes our lives so interesting? There are also LGBT shorts which illustrate how some people can tell a complete story in three minutes while others can go on for 20 or 30 and seem incomplete.
Features Bayou Maharajah
As a lover of all kinds of music, I’m shocked and ashamed at how unaware I was of James Booker (1939-1983) before seeing Lily Keber’s documentary about him. Although it’s in the Pink Peach and Music sections of the festival, it’s far more relevant to the latter. Booker was gay, but that’s only mentioned a couple of times in the ﬁlm. As Vernel Bagneris says, it was “just an element” of who he was; his extraordinary piano skills are far more signiﬁcant. Harry Connick, Jr., who considered Booker a mentor, analyzes his playing. Basically he could do more with each hand than most pianists do with both. He toured with everyone from Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin to Jerry Garcia and the Doobie Brothers, playing jazz, soul and the blues with a touch of classical, plus the distinctive sound of his New Orleans hometown. Heroin addiction made Booker too unreliable and unmanageable to reach the heights his talent merited,
Left, James Booker, the subject of Lily Keber’s documentary “Bayou Maharajah.” Above, “The Unwanted” sets a lesbian love story against a backdrop of family drama and campy, horror. (Publicity photos)
but this ﬁlm celebrates his genius in a funky, jazzy style that’s quite ﬁtting. If there’s more to say about his gay life, someone else will have to say it. (Thursday, April 3, 9:15 p.m., Plaza Theatre, Chipotle Auditorium)
If all you know about burlesque you learned from “Gypsy,” you’re in for some surprises when documentarian Beth B introduces you to “new burlesque,” a form of exhibitionism without inhibitionism. Although nudity is a common denominator of most acts, comedy and politics also ﬁgure heavily in many of them. B’s ﬁlm is about the diversity (other than racial) of the performers, especially along the gender spectrum. Rose Wood is a man who does drag but also plays a comic rabbi; he gets breast implants to en-
hance his genderfuck performances. World Famous *Bob* is a woman who was raised by drag queens and wanted to be one. After considering a sex change she settled for performing as a woman but with a male sensibility in her head. Dirty Martini was inﬂuenced by the classic strippers of the 1950s and taught Rose to emulate Vickie Lynn, the ﬁrst drag stripper. Mat Fraser, a Thalidomide baby born with freakishly short arms, keeps his sense of humor and gets audiences laughing with him. With these and others opening up to her, B doesn’t seem to have had the heart to cut anyone. Likewise there are dozens of performance snippets, most of which don’t work well out of context and don’t create the desire to see more. Like the new burlesque it proﬁles, “Exposed” is not entertainment for the masses. (Friday, April 4, 9 p.m., 7 Stages Theatre, Main Stage)
she’s in Atlanta for the festival) is a New York newbie who tries hooking when she can’t get other work. She’s befriended and mentored by Jo (Jackie Monahan), who shows her how to make a home in the women’s bathroom at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Unless I missed a line, we don’t learn until late in the game that Jo is straight. The movie’s mostly about their friendship and has almost no sexual activity, just a bit of talk. Alex Karpovsky of “Girls” shows up selling merkins, which he describes as “a toupee for your vagina.” The dry wit, deadpan style and surreal situations keep the movie off-the-wall and the viewer off-guard. Who can resist a line like, “I couldn’t sell a sex tape with Mussolini and Phyllis Diller,” whatever the context? (Thursday, April 3, 9 p.m., Plaza Theatre, Main Theatre)
In one of my favorite TV shows, “Shameless,” William H. Macy plays the despicable Frank Gallagher, an alcoholic welfare cheat who virtually abandons his ﬁve children except when he needs their help. You wouldn’t want to encounter him in real life, but safely ﬁctional and on the other side of the screen he always manages to say something ingratiating to keep you somewhat on his side. Lucky (real name Waleska Torres-Ruiz) is a real person who, as proﬁled by Laura Checkoway, is as difﬁcult to love or hate as Frank. She was raised an orphan and has a four-year-old son of her own. (Her ﬁrst child, a daughter, was
The Foxy Merkins
One of my problems with “The Foxy Merkins” was high expectations, because I was such of fan of director Madeleine Olnek’s “Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same.” The other was that the script, by Olnek and two others, lacks an arc; too many scenes seem to be in random order. But that’s a “critic thing” that shouldn’t bother ordinary viewers, and I still liked a whole lot of it a whole lot. Some of the characters could come from early John Waters movies. Margaret (Lisa Haas, who would like to try fried okra while
“Exposed,” a documentary about the “new burlesque.”
www.theGAVoice.com taken from her when Lucky was 14.) Covered in tats and piercings, she can’t get hired for even menial work; a modeling agency offers to look for jobs for her “type” but doesn’t ﬁnd any (and probably rips her off for headshots). After years of going from shelter to shelter she ﬁnds a way to play the system for a free apartment. She has her likable moments but is more often confrontational. At the risk of sounding conservative, I couldn’t help wondering where the money came from for the tats, piercings and frequent hair treatments—the ﬁlm’s time span isn’t speciﬁed but Lucky’s hair is rarely the same color or style twice. That she’s a lesbian is almost incidental. She loses one girlfriend and gains another along the way. You’ll form your own opinion—or opinions—about Lucky. What I like about the ﬁlm is that Checkoway doesn’t try to force you to feel one way or the other. (Sunday, March 30, 8:45 p.m., 7 Stages Theatre, Main Stage)
One: A Story Of Love And Equality
Here’s a lovely movie that has no audience. The people who should see it, won’t. The people who will see it have seen so many similar ﬁlms, they’re supersaturated. When, two years ago, North Carolina became the last state in the South to put a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage (and civil unions and domestic partnerships, in their case) on the ballot, ﬁlmmaker Becca Roth and her girlfriend, Melina Marini, went down there from New York, where Marriage Equality had just been legalized, to study both sides of the issue. Word quickly spread among pro-amendment forces, who warned their followers not to talk to the “liberal media,” so Roth had a hard time getting their perspective. As a result their side takes up less than ten percent of the ﬁlm, making it as “fair and balanced” as Fox News. The rest is time well spent with people ﬁghting the amendment, including the eloquent Tracy Hollister and lesbian, gay and transgender poster couples who show the kind of families the amendment would disenfranchise. Both sides need to hear the ﬁlm’s message about the importance of dialogue. We can’t win anyone over by ignoring or demonizing them, only by getting to know them and letting them know us, so we can ﬁnd points we agree on and work from there. (Wednesday, April 2, 7 p.m., 7 Stages Theatre, Main Stage)
Queens & Cowboys
I’m not a big animal lover (although horses are my favorite), and I’ve never taken a position on whether rodeos are harmless entertainment or the four-legged equivalent of SeaWorld, without the water. “Queens & Cowboys,” Matt Livadary’s documentary about the gay rodeo circuit, totally sidesteps the controversy rather than addressing it, which is disingenuous if not dishonest. For a ﬁlm about competition, it devotes amazingly little time to showing actual rodeo events. Instead it does a wonderful job of telling the stories of a few human participants as they strive to reach their goals in 2012.
GA VOICE | 23
Dominic McDonald and Andrew Steel in writer/director Keith Adam Johnson’s “Little Lies”
Wade Earp, a descendant of Wyatt, hopes to win the All-Around Champion award after being runner-up the last two years. Char Duran, a bullridin’ bulldyke who’s been injured more times than Jackie Chan, hopes she can ﬁnally stay on a bull the full six seconds. International Gay Rodeo Association events are equal-opportunity, open to men and women, gay and straight. Like many groundbreaking LGBT organizations the IGRA is graying—average age of competitors is 42—and facing declining membership and attendance. Hence this ﬁlm, the equivalent of what newspapers call a “puff piece” or “advertorial.” If you can ignore what happens to animals at rodeos—and “Queens & Cowboys” makes it easy to do that—this is a well-made documentary about a nice bunch of LGBTs doing what they love. It’s your call. (Wednesday, April 2, 9:30 p.m., 7 Stages Theatre, Main Stage)
Here’s my favorite dialogue from “Speak Now,” a melodrama set around a wedding. After the ceremony a couple (not the newlyweds) have a quiet moment. “I’m pregnant,” she tells him. “I’m gay,” he replies. That gives you an idea of what to expect as the ﬁlm teeters on the edge of self-parody without ever going over. Except for the bride’s lesbian sister and her wife, who ﬂew in from Los Angeles, all these 30ish people have been in each other’s lives since school, so you wouldn’t think a lot of secrets could come spilling out like at a reunion. But a brief ﬂing, a longstanding crush, an attempted seduction, a lingering grudge, a new hookup and other tidbits keep the movie moving along at a good pace for soap fans. While the characters are mostly hetero, one of the lesbians rightly points out, “We are the most normal couple here.” (Saturday, March 29, 9 p.m., 7 Stages Theatre, Main Stage)
Two Men And A Wedding
Until the end of 2009 Malawi was known primarily as an African mall where Madonna shopped for children to adopt. Then two gay men, Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, held a public engagement party and their arrest brought the country international attention.
Sara Blecher’s polished documentary covers all sides of the story in under an hour, with news clips of the country’s president, courthouse demonstrations and such, and interviews with the prisoners, their families, Tiwonge’s employer (who let him use her facility because she thought he was a woman), police, lawyers, preachers, activists, a reporter, a UN representative, etc. When the world exerts ﬁnancial pressure on Malawi to get the men’s 14-year prison sentence overturned, the question is raised of how many other innocents will die if aid is cut off. It’s also established that Monjeza is no angel, with a criminal record before and after these events. To learn about the inﬂuence of American churches on the more than two-thirds of African countries with anti-homosexuality laws, see “God Loves Uganda” (on DVD May 19). For a balanced report on how the law was applied in Malawi in 2009-10, see “Two Men and a Wedding.” (Saturday, March 29, 7 p.m., 7 Stages Theatre, Main Stage)
If you can’t attend the entire festival, “The Unwanted” lets you see an entire festival in one ﬁlm. It’s an indie family drama, a campy midnight horror ﬂick, a Southern gothic mystery, a thriller and, of greatest relevance here, a kinky lesbian love story. Make that two kinky lesbian love stories. Carmilla (out actress Christen Orr) is a rootless young woman who arrives in a small Georgia town looking for the mother she never knew. Mom’s last known address is a house occupied by widower Troy (William Katt, a onetime screen hunk who now eerily resembles Bruce Dern) and his apparently naïve daughter Laura (Hannah Fierman). Events of a generation ago are revealed sparingly and, in the protracted ending, somewhat confusingly. Sufﬁce it to say, with minimal spoilage, that lesbian relationships develop in the past and present, and they involve more bloodletting than an episode of “The Vampire Diaries.” Atlanta writer-director Bret Wood has obviously studied some lesbian classics for their erotic beats, but the ﬁlm’s ultimate impact is closer to that of “Showgirls.” (Monday, March 31, 9:30 p.m., Plaza Theatre, Main Theatre)
Written, directed and edited by Vic Coram, “Gum” gets its story across in three short scenes. It’s about a small town lesbian teenager trying to ﬁgure out how to come out to her conservative parents. While the outcome is left to your imagination, Coram manages a surprising amount of depth and even some humor in about three minutes (plus credits). (screens with “Speak Now,” Saturday, March 29, 9 p.m., 7 Stages Theatre, Main Stage)
A professional-looking German school project by Benjamin Teske, “Escaping Gravity” should spawn a feature-length version in short order. A transgender woman (Sabin Tambrea) returns to her family home – dressed as Leo, her former incarnation – when she learns her father is dying. Her parents run a haunted ride at a fun fair, which provides interesting backgrounds. You’ll want Teske and writer Cherokee Agnew to ﬂesh it out and ﬁnish the story. (in Drama Shorts 2, Saturday, April 5, 12 p.m., 7 Stages Theatre, Main Stage)
“Annalyn” wisely tells a 30-minute story in 30 minutes, instead of trying to stretch it into a feature. It was made in Sweden as Maria Eriksson’s thesis ﬁlm but is spoken mostly in English (though even that is subtitled). Agnes (Nina Jeppsson) and Lina have a lovers’ quarrel, make up and go to visit Agnes’ father, who—surprise!—has a new bride, Annalyn (Errah Seno), a Filipino woman about Agnes’ age. The next surprise is how quickly Agnes bonds with Annalyn. They become friends so quickly it’s no surprise when they become more than friends. Based on this sample Eriksson should have some very good work ahead of her. (in Drama Shorts 1, Sunday, March 30, 3:45 p.m., 7 Stages Theatre, Main Stage)
Keith Adam Johnson, writer and director of “Little Lies,” appears to have been following a template that called for a dramatic bump at one point; so he inserted an inappropriate line of dialogue that threatens to push the ﬁlm into a different genre until it proves irrelevant. Otherwise there’s a lot to recommend in the story of Phillip (Dominic McDonald, who should play the lead in John Hurt’s biography if it’s ever ﬁlmed), who hires a hustler (Andrew Steel) following the death of his partner of 20 years. (screens with “Two Men and a Wedding,” Saturday, March 29, 7 p.m., 7 Stages Theatre, Main Stage)
24 | GA VOICE
SPORTS by PATrick SAUNDERS
LGBT sports leagues invade Atlanta this spring
So, what team do you play for? There is something for every color of the rainbow
largest LGBT softball league in the country. The spring season has already kicked off but you can still come out to catch games and see what all the fuss is about at the West Metro Atlanta Softball Complex every Sunday through June. The league is co-ed, and while in the past it was the women who ﬁlled the majority of the rosters, it’s been the men who have ﬁlled out the biggest chunk of the league in recent years. However League Commissioner Kyle Miller tells GA Voice that this year saw a surge in female signups.
You now ofﬁcially have no excuse to be bored this spring. You have been warned. Atlanta is packed with sports for every gender identity, sexual orientation, body type and skill level out there in the LGBT community. Want to take a dip? Check. Hit the trails? Check. Join the scrum? Check. Throw the pigskin, charge the net, spike the ball, steal a base? Check, check, check and check. And you meet fresh faces while you’re at it. Here’s a rundown of all that awaits you in LGBT sports leagues this spring, so go forth and be active.
Above, the Atlanta Pride Run. Left, Decatur Wome’ns Softball League. (File photos)
FRONT RUNNERS ATLANTA
Packs of gay runners have been pounding the pavement and trails of Atlanta since the early 90’s, thanks to Front Runners Atlanta. The “running, walking and social club for gay people and friends” as they call themselves meets Monday and Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings to navigate various routes throughout the city. You’ll usually ﬁnd them in various restaurants around town for post-run meals too. The group is all men this year, but Front Runners President Bernie Colligan tells GA Voice they’re open to everyone, male and female, and all levels of physical activity. Membership fee: $25/year Event to watch out for: Atlanta Pride Run June 21 at 8 a.m. Piedmont Park www.eteamz.com/frontrunnersatlanta
NATIONAL FLAG FOOTBALL LEAGUE OF ATLANTA (NFFLA)
The boys of the NFFLA are chasing each other around their new home park this year, Boulevard Crossing Park. The 7-on-7 league has nine teams this year, most of which are sponsored by gay-friendly businesses around town. NFFLA chairman Jonathan Frank boasts of a 70 percent return ratio from last year, which he says is due to the camaraderie the players experience on and off the ﬁeld. “They’re hanging out after games, they’re hanging out on the weekends and a lot of friendships are formed,” he says. All ages, sizes, experience levels, gender identities and sexual orientations are welcome.
these guys play. If you’re new the the sport, the club recommends attending a practice to see what it’s all about. They meet every Tuesday and Thursday night at from 7 to 9 p.m. at Toomer Elementary School. There are also “Rugby 101” sessions twice a year where you can learn the basics and test your skill level. As far as how in shape or coordinated you have to be, the club simply says “having some athletic ability is a good thing.” Registration: $100 for a single season, $180 for a full year Event to watch out for: Purple Dress Run 2014 Beneﬁting the Bucks and Lost-N-Found Saturday, May 10 at 1 p.m. starting at Mixx www.atlantabucksrugby.org
ATLANTA TEAM TENNIS ASSOC.
ATTA was founded in 1987, so this group knows what it is doing when bringing a quality tennis experience to the LGBT community. Members have access to lots of different options, including open play doubles and singles
Registration: $30 per calendar year (reduced to $20 on or after July 1) Event to watch out for: 2014 City of Decatur Tennis Tournament May 12 – 18 Decatur, GA www.atta.org
HOTLANTA VOLLEYBALL ASSOC.
Yes, there’s even gay volleyball! That’s right, you can bump, set and spike with a couple hundred of your fellow LGBTs (and allies). Spring league play has already begun, but the league has four sessions of open play each week for you to check out. While the league is about 90 percent men at this point, Commissioner Quentin Walker encourages more women to come out and participate, and all skill levels are welcome. Walker says the volleyball is second to the social aspect, telling GA Voice, “It’s a way for us to get together and build community and be a place of camaraderie and support.” Registration: $25 per year. Event to watch out for: Four sessions of open play each week, with info TBA on summer beer busts throughout Midtown www.hotlantavolleyball.org
Membership fee: Registration closed for season Event to watch out for: Weekly Saturday afternoon games at Boulevard Crossing Park www.nfﬂa.com
HOTLANTA SOFTBALL LEAGUE
And here we have the big bruisers in purple. If you don’t think “gay” and “rugby” belong in the same sentence, you obviously haven’t seen
and doubles ladders, as well as various social activities throughout the year. All skill levels are welcome, and all gender identities— the makeup is about 80 percent men to 20 percent women this year. Fun fact: a couple that met through ATTA got married in New York recently, so you never know...
National Flag Football League of Atlanta
Hotlanta Softball is well into their third decade of offering fun spring days on the diamond and have become the second
Registration: Closed for spring season. Event to watch for: Mr. HSL May 3 Jungle www.hotlantasoftball.org
ATLANTA RAINBOW TROUT
The perennial “best named LGBT Atlanta sports league” just keeps on stroking into year 19. There’s swimming, water polo, diving and even a triathalon for men and women up for a dip at the world class Georgia Tech Aquatic Center. And you don’t need a swimmer’s build to hack it with the Trout. All shapes, sizes and skill levels are welcome (as long as you can swim freestyle for 50 yards), and if the Fear of the Speedo has you hesitant, fear not—you can wear any kind of suit that makes you comfortable. Registration: New members $105 per quarter. Renewal is $85 per quarter. Event to watch for: Practice on Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays www.atlantarainbowtrout.com/
DECATUR WOMEN’S SPORTS LEAGUE
The Decatur Women’s Sports League isn’t all gay—just 99 percent per league founder and commissioner Anne Barr. All women of any age or skill level are welcome. “We just got a new team of nice ladies from Clayton County that are all 55 and older called the Silver Foxes. They’re doing really well,” Barr tells GA Voice. They offer a variety of sports including badminton, basketball, bowling and volleyball, but the offerings available for this season speciﬁcally include soccer, softball and tennis. They’re a charitable group as well, giving out around $70,000 to local organizations since opening eight years ago. And they even have a new softball team called the Bluebirds in honor of the late Ria Pell. Registration: Check the website for the fees for each individual sport Event to watch for: Charity Poker Night for the Fallen Soldiers Friday, March 28 at 7 p.m. Phillip Rush Center www.decaturwomensports.com
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GA VOICE | 25
Henry’s, Campagnolo owner dishes on Midtown, diversity and the big deck By PATRICK SAUNDERS
a little bit of fear, if you didn’t you’re a fool. But that’s what drives me is the analysis of what you need to do. And Henry’s, you know I looked at this building a million times and thought, “Why is nobody putting a bigass deck under those trees?” I mean, on a beautiful corner! And I painted it brown so what you see are the people. The building kind of goes away and the people are the décor, particularly in this space outside. It’s a pretty diverse crowd, it reﬂects this community, it reﬂects the neighborhood.
The sun is shining on the ﬁrst beautiful Saturday of the year, and the deck is bustling at Henry’s Midtown Tavern. Servers breeze back and forth delivering trays of mimosas and gastropub fare to a lively and content crowd. In the middle of it all, gliding from table to table giving out greetings and the occasional hug, stands owner and longtime Atlanta restauranteur Maureen Kalmanson. The 50ish gay Miami native has quickly become a ﬁxture of the 10th street corridor, opening Italian standout Campagnolo by the corner of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue in 2012, then Henry’s on the corner of 10th and Juniper the following year. GA Voice sat with Kalmanson in the thick of the action that recent Saturday to talk about her path to Atlanta’s gay Ground Zero, tackling two snake-bitten locations, and why the LGBT community continues to inspire her every day. GAVO: So, Maureen, can you take us through your restaurant career and how you got to this point? Kalmanson: I was going to go to law school. I put myself through college working in restaurants, then I graduated and ended up in Manhattan. I ran gay bars there, came back here and went to work for The Peasant in 1987. I loved it—great company and great culture. Then I started managing restaurants and managing concepts. I started in the kitchen, then I was a front-of-the-house manager, then I was a director of operations. I bought my ﬁrst restaurant in 2000. When the Peasant broke up I bought Pleasant Peasant and Mixx Midtown. I designed my ﬁrst restaurant and concept downtown, Peasant Bistro, in 2008. It closed right before I opened Campagnolo. Then I opened Campagnolo, and then Henry’s. So what made you want to move out of downtown and into Midtown for your next restaurant after Peasant Bistro closed? Once I got into Campagnolo, it felt like where I needed to be. This is my community, and I mean not just the gay community but the whole diversity of this community, the diversity of Midtown. The idea that people live here because they like diversity and they want to be around a diverse group of people—that’s where I want to be. When I ﬁrst opened Campagnolo, just the warmth and the support of the community was overwhelming. It remains overwhelming for me how wonderful this community has been to my restaurants and to me. It’s just...sometimes it makes me cry. It makes a huge difference in the way that you approach what you do. I love being around people and I love what
That diversity was important to you, to have gay and straight alike be a part of this. There’s no point in gay people being in some kind of enclave and that’s all they’re in. We’re a part of all of it. I have friends who only want to talk to people that think like they do. Well that is number one, boring, and number two, there’s no exchange of ideas or exchange of perspectives that will help everybody grow. So for me, being in this kind of neighborhood and being touched by all kinds of people is important to me as a person to grow. Downtown, I didn’t feel like I got to do that. It wasn’t an exchange. Midtown’s great. I might like to do one more concept in Midtown and then I’m done. I’m old [laughs]. There are a couple of ideas and I’m trying to ﬁgure out if I can make them work. I like things in threes for whatever reason. That’s always been my lucky number.
Maureen Kalmanson, owner of Henry’s and Campagnolo, has quickly become a fixture of the 10th street corridor. (Photo by Patrick Saunders)
I do, and this has just been so rewarding personally. I’ve made so many new friends, and they’re real friends. They’re people that I see outside of this environment, and they’re people that know I work a lot so they come to see me. You know, it’s just...ahhhhh! It’s great! And it gives me an opportunity to give back to the gay community. All of it is just.... [Kalmanson starts tearing up]. I’m such a baby [laughs]. Campagnolo means “peasant” in Italian, right? What made you want to have that tie-in? My experience with Peasant restaurants was a great one. I liked the culture, I loved the people that I worked with many, many years that taught me a great deal about this business
and myself, which was imperative. And I’m kind of a sap—I can’t let go of that connection, it was important to me and remains important. So I was trying to ﬁnd a way to do Italian, and have it be Peasant without being that direct, so that’s why it’s called Campagnolo. And Henry is my dog. He’s a little terrier mutt. Precious little knucklehead. The two spots you ended up choosing for Campagnolo and Henry’s were probably the most snake-bitten locations in the city—especially Campagnolo’s. What made you think you could succeed where others didn’t? I didn’t really care what others did [laughs]. I don’t think of it that way. The ﬁrst time I saw Campagnolo, I felt like the deal wasn’t what it needed to be for me to do what I needed to do there. And then I went back to them, because I kept it in my head that I wanted to be in Midtown. And I knew I could make it a nice looking restaurant. I knew in my brain what it could be. And I just never thought about failing. I mean, certainly you approach everything with
You held AIDS-related beneﬁts at both spots right after opening. Was that a signal to the gay community that they would be welcome here and that you would want their business? I certainly knew that there was a signal inherent in that, but those are causes that I’ve always been a part of. I was out on Fire Island in 1982 and had a Chinese restaurant in the Pines and that’s when AIDS ﬁrst started to be a major, major topic of conversation and health issue. I moved to Manhattan right after that. My life changed dramatically through that experience. My understanding of the gay community that I was a part of changed dramatically. The gay community fought for their survival when the culture at large did not. They organized on all fronts—on helping people personally, on the political front, on the health front. It was just an amazing experience and all of the young gay people today don’t realize how much that impacted all of the things that went afterward. So I will continue to support the ﬁght against AIDS. I think sometimes they forget that it’s still an issue. Taking a pill won’t change that. I am very proud of how the gay community responded, and how they continue to stand up and change the world—and they have.
26 | GA VOICE
EATING MYWORDS by CLIFF BOSTOCK
Two new eateries to put a spring in your foodie step
Negril Village, Big Sky Buckhead deliver on scrumptious dishes
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Spring has arrived. We open our windows. We join the strolling crowds in Piedmont Park. Baby birds break out of their shells. Pollen allergies, alas, turn us into sneezing, red-eyed zombies. And, of course, there’s that worst allergic reaction of all. Every creature alive falls in love long enough to breed. Where will you take your three-week lover to dine? Like those baby birds, two new restaurants of note have hatched recently. I’ve only visited them once each, but they’re worth checking out. Negril Village. This restaurant in the old ﬁre station on North Avenue is kind of a big deal. Open only a week when I visited, it’s the spawn of a well-know Caribbean restaurant of the same name in New York City. The smallish menu includes the expected Jamaican dishes, along with some ambivalently Jamaican ones. Among the classics is oxtails braised with lima beans, served in a shallow bowl with glossy gravy and a mound of rice and peas. It may be the best version of the signature Jamaican dish you ever sample. A tad more challenging is the island favorite of curried goat served with jasmine rice. For the uninitiated, goat hits a strong funky note on ﬁrst taste, but quickly mellows. Negril also serves classic jerk chicken. Zagat readers voted the New York restaurant’s version the best in the city a few years back. An example of a dish outside the Jamaican norm features a take on shrimp and grits. Negril’s chef adds big chunks of lobster and reclaims some island inﬂuence by using coconut milk to make the grits. It’s an incredibly rich dish. There’s also trendy but not Jamaican “brick chicken” zapped with lime and ginger. The restaurant, happily, uses ginger like it should be used – strong enough to cause a sting in the throat. A carrot-coconut-ginger soup with roasted carrots and a virgin cocktail made with ginger both demonstrate this. Negril’s redo of former tenant Engine 11’s expansive interior is gorgeous, with glistening, ornate pub-style paneling, glowing chandeliers and polished marble tables. And speaking of gorgeous, the perfectly trained staff ﬁts that description. (30 North Ave., 404-464-7159, www. negrilvillageatl.com.) Big Sky Buckhead. Hector Santiago is one of my favorite chefs. When his Puerto-Ricaninspired Pura Vida closed, we lost one of the city’s best. Santiago is now chef at Abattoir, but he was recently consulted to produce the menu for the new, gigantic Big Sky Buckhead. (Yes, the
The new Negril Village on North Avenue cooks up such dishes as lobster and shrimp with coconut-milk grits. (Photo by Cliff Bostock)
name is meant to evoke Big Sky, Montana, set amid the Rocky Mountains, near Yellowstone. The view in Buckhead is not quite so rich.) Big Sky’s day-to-day chef is Pedro Matos, who was chef at Santiago’s also-closed sandwich shop, Super Pan. The two chefs have produced a menu that can be a bit confusing. You choose a meat—pork belly, adobo-roasted pork, chicken or barbecued beef—to top off a $11.95 bowl of rice and beans or mixed greens. You can also order Santiago’s deservedly “legendary” slider-sized coconut-bread buns stuffed with some of the meats. There’s a menu of snacky starters and sides—fries, Sriracha wings, black-bean hummus, for example—and agua frescas for those who want a cool drink without alcohol. One, for example, includes beets, orange and Andean blackberries. Dessert is fried coconut bread rolled in cane sugar and ﬁlled, if you like, with a pudding—vanilla-lime-avocado or coconut, for example. The food is terriﬁc, but certainly not on a par with the original Pura Vida’s. There’s an easy explanation. Big Sky is a Big Party, mainly for the under-40 crowd. Six of us dined there soon after its opening and we literally could not hear one another speak. Our server was hoarse from trying to explain the menu repeatedly. If you want to drink a lot, that won’t be a problem. An alternative is to go for lunch, when the scene is far less manic. Word is that specials will eventually be added to the evening menu. You might want to call ahead to check that out. (3201 Cains Hill Place, 404-481-5168, www.bigskybuckhead.com.) Cliff Bostock, PhD, offers workshops and individual life-coaching sessions. Upcoming workshops include one on gay aging and one of the psychology of taste. 404-518-4415.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Love her ‘Tender’
GA VOICE | 27
An interview with Amy Ray
Atlanta’s Indigo Girl goes country in new solo album By GREGG SHAPIRO Indigo Girl Amy Ray’s ﬁfth solo studio album “Goodnight Tender” fulﬁlls a promise Ray has been hinting at throughout her music career. A country record through and through, the traditional sounds on “Goodnight Tender” have a history of popping up on the Georgia native’s recordings, either on her own or with fellow Indigo Girl Emily Saliers. But here, on the album’s dozen exclusively country songs, Ray is, to quote Paul Simon, “shining like a National guitar,” backed by an all-star band playing pedal steel, dobro, banjo, ﬁddle, mandolin and stand-up bass. She performed in Atlanta in January and is now touring in the Northeast, but for those up for a road trip she comes back south to Kentucky on April 7 and to Nashville, Tenn., at the end of April. Gregg Shapiro: Amy, how long have you wanted to record a country album such as “Goodnight Tender”? Amy Ray: About 10 years, maybe a little longer. About 10 years ago I started writing songs and putting them in a pile and ﬁling them away in my mind, (thinking) “When I get enough songs and when I’m ready to do this, I’m going to make a traditional country record.” Over the years, as I’ve made my other solo records, sometimes I’ve thrown the more rockabilly/mandolin/fast songs on the punk or rock records. I didn’t have the amount of songs or content that I wanted. So, did any of these songs start out in a different musical genre and you realized that they were better suited for country arrangements or were they all written speciﬁcally in the country style? “Hunter’s Prayer” is the main one that went through that. It changed drastically. It was more of a folk song; even the chord arrangement was different. I tried it that way, I even tried suggesting it for Indigo Girls, but it just wasn’t working. So I bagged it for a few years. I was working on something, some other song, and I just started singing the lyrics to “Hunter’s Prayer” to a different chord progression and I was like, “Ah! This is supposed to be a country song” [laughs]. Other than that, the other stuff I pretty much knew as I was writing it, I was sure of what the genre was. Who would you cite as your greatest inﬂuences in country music?
From the earliest time, Townes Van Zandt and Steve Earle are two writers I took inspiration from. Even for songs I was writing for Indigo Girls. As far as strictly traditional country artists—Hank Williams and George Jones and Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton and Merle Haggard; all the greats. I like that era from the Carter Family, gospel mountain music, a whole lot. To me, they’re the parents of folk music. (Ethnomusicologist) Alan Lomax’s recordings played a big part when I was writing a song such as “Johnny Rottentail” and more of the storytelling kinds of songs. As far as production goes, the earlier 1950s stuff, (such as) Lefty Frizzell. I like (it) heavy on the pedal steel, and the drums to not be the center focus of the project, but still have the groove. Where does Duane Allman, who is feted in the song “Duane Allman” on “Goodnight Tender,” ﬁgure into your inﬂuences? [Laughs] Southern rock was the earliest thing I listened to as a kid. It had its roots in some country. That’s something I was brought up on—the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd—that was in my house. Allman Brothers were one of my favorite bands from second grade on. My sister, who’s ﬁve years older than me, deﬁnitely inﬂuenced that. I’d listen to her records and she had a lot of Allman Brothers. We listened to Marshall Tucker and Charlie Daniels Band [laughs]. That’s what a lot of people were listening to when I was in high school in the south. But the Allman Brothers have stayed a favorite for me. There are some old records that I go back to and listen to all the time for pleasure. Not for songwriting tips or anything like that. To me, their music is more about the melodic sense between the instruments and the vibe; the passion of it. That’s culturally how I understand it.
such as me to be embraced because I’m so obviously left-of-center and gay and out and political and masculine and all that. It’d be a pretty big deal [laughs] on another level, but I would love that. But I don’t have any expectations in that arena whatsoever. I spend more time in Nashville than I used to. I have a lot of friends there. I would say that over the years I’ve noticed discernible changes in the culture there. It used to be, 12 years ago, if I played in Nashville, there were always derogatory remarks from the bartenders and even the club-owners. It was hard. I had a hard time and I was always surprised by it. That was when I ﬁrst started touring solo and I have seen a noticeable difference. The contrast is stark. The last time I played there, people and the club-owner were super-friendly and I had a big crowd. I didn’t expect to have a crowd at all. And I was with The Butchies. It wasn’t like I had toned it down at all or anything [laughs]. I would at least like to make inroads in the Americana scene. I have a lot of friends in that scene. To break into any scene at this age is very hard. I just have to put the music out there and hope that it ﬁnds its way.
Attitudes continue to evolve in Nashville, albeit slowly. What would it mean to you to have this album embraced by the Nashville music community? It would be huge. But that would mean something bigger than me. (Lesbian country artist) Brandy Clark is being embraced. Kacey Musgraves has that “Follow Your Arrow” song that was embraced. It might be slightly different for someone
Amy Ray’s new solo CD ‘Goodnight Tender’ is the country record she’s been wanting to record for years. (Publicity photo)
Over the course of your four solo albums, you have touched on genres ranging from punk rock to riot grrrl to R&B, to mention a few. Are there other musical genres in which you would like to work on future solo releases? Nothing radical. I probably wouldn’t try to do a soul or hip-hop record or something that would be a little bit co-opting [laughs]. I’d probably like to explore country a little more and do some country-punk, like Waco Brothers, with more of that punky side. I didn’t have it in me for this record. I just wanted to do something with an easy feeling to it. You could drive down the road to it and nothing was going to shake you up too much.
28 | GA VOICE
Is there a better time of year in Atlanta? By DYANA BAGBY Break out the plaid shorts and striped tank tops, the ﬂip ﬂops and Ray Bans, get those mani and pedis and gather at the place most holy during this time of year for all of gay Atlanta (and everyone else)—Piedmont Park. It is spring, y’all. Finally. The sure signs of spring in Georgia, besides the blooming trees and the pollen-covered cars, are the festivals. Dozens and dozens of them. Every neighborhood in every corner of the city welcomes visitors for beer, food, art, live music and the opportunity to be emerge from a long, hard winter. The season kicks off with straight pride, er, the Dogwood Festival in Piedmont Park set for April 11-13. Because Easter fell on the fest’s traditional weekend, this year’s fest is earlier than it has ever been, says Carrie Whitney, festival spokesperson. New this year is the Backyard Barbecue & Brews, a VIP tasting event on Saturday and Sunday afternoons with barbecue and picnic food from some of the city’s top chefs and restaurants. Craft beer, moonshine, corn hole, lawn bowling, private bathrooms—all of this available to VIPs willing to pay $25-$45, she adds. And on the other end of the spectrum, the gay event of the season (at least one of them) is the Armorettes Easter Drag Races. This year the event falls on Easter Sunday, April 20— and there’s no rescheduling for this troupe that works holidays—so be sure to don your
The Dogwood Festival falls early this year, April 11-13. (Courtesy photo) The annual Purple Dress Run, benefiting Lost-n-Found, takes off on May 10. (Photo by Dyana Bagby)
biggest bonnet and get to Burkhart’s early for a good seat to witness the hilarity, all for a good cause to raise funds to ﬁght HIV/AIDS. More men in dresses equals the annual Purple Dress Run sponsored by the Atlanta Bucks rugby club. Started about seven years ago as a way to give back to the community while also having a good time, this year’s event raises money to help Lost-n-Found, the nonproﬁt group helping homeless LGBT youth get off the street. And what about a road trip to the gayest place in Georgia? The annual Cotton Pickin’ Fair in Gay, Ga. Yep, the city is named Gay and is located about one hour south of Atlanta. The fest is May 4-5. Just think of all the “Gay” selﬁes you can take to ﬁll your Instagram account.
CHECK OUT THESE FESTIVALS AND EVENTS Festival on Ponce April 5-6 Olmstead Linear Park www.festivalonponce.com Party with Impact for Positive Impact April 10 The Wimbish House www.positiveimpact-atl.org Dogwood Festival April 11-13 Piedmont Park www.dogwood.org Atlanta Leather Pride April 11-13 Atlanta Eagle www.atlantaleatherpride.com Bearapalooza Oz Campground in Unadilla, Ga. www.ozcampground.com Sandy Springs Artsapalooza April 12-13 6100 Lake Forrest Drive NE www.sandyspringsartsapalooza. com Sweetwater Brew 420 Festival April 18-20 Centennial Olympic Park www.sweetwater420fest.com Georgia Renaissance Festival April 19-June 8 Fairburn/Peachtree City www.garenfest.com
The annual Armorettes Easter Drag Races will be on Easter Sunday, April 20, and is a great way to celebrate the holy day. (Photo by Brent Rence Corcoran)
Armorettes Easter Drag Races April 20 Burkhart’s parking lot http://on.fb.me/1p0EDKp
Inman Park Festival April 25-27 www.inmanparkfestival.org OurSong Spring Concert Joie de Vivre May 2-Druid Hills United Methodist Church May 3-Spivey Hall www.oursongatlanta.org Tybee Rainbow Fest Weekend May 2-5 www.gaysavannah.com/tybeerainbowfest HRC Atlanta Dinner and Silent Auction May 5 Hyatt Regency www.hrcatlanta.org/dinner Shaky Knees Music Festival May 9-11 Atlantic Station www.shakykneesfestival.com Sweet Auburn Springfest May 9-11 Historic Sweet Auburn District www.sweetauburn.com
Atlanta Jazz Festival May 23-25 Piedmont Park www.atlantafestivals.com Decatur Arts Festival May 23-25 Downtown Decatur www.decaturartsfestival.com Big Peach Softball Tournament May 23-25 7301 Campbellton Road www.hslbigpeach.org Peachtree Hills Festival of the Arts May 31-June 1 308 Peachtree Hills Ave. NE www.peachtreehillsfestival.com CHRIS Kids Premiere Party June 7 Mason Murer Fine Art Gallery www.chriskids.org East Point Possums Show June 14 Downtown Commons of East Point www.eastpointpossums.com
Atlanta Bucks Purple Dress Run May 10 MIXX http://on.fb.me/1jrf8mz
Atlanta Cotillion Cirque de Nuit en Rouge June 21 Delta Flight Museum www.atlantacotillion.com
Buckhead Spring Arts & Crafts Festival May 10-11 Chastain Park www.buckheadartsfestival.com
Georgia Equality’s Evening for Equality June 21 Twelve Hotel at Atlantic Station www.georgiaequality.org
GA VOICE | 29
MUSIC by DYANA BAGBY
Soul-soothing sounds Spring releases, concerts add up to harmonious season Gay favorites—and a band called My Gay Banjo—don’t disappoint in a new, and not so new ﬂock of albums coming out in time to sing along with in your car, windows down, as the sun shines down on the earth. First up is sexy George Michael. In his ﬁrst album in seven years released earlier in March, “Symphonica,” he brings his live tour of the same name from 2011 and 2012 to a medium all can enjoy featuring live classics and covers. Diva Kylie Minogue delivers again with her new just released album “Kiss Me Once” with collaboration with Sia and Pharell Williams. Enrique Iglesias also sings with her on the song, “Beautiful.” You can’t keep a good man down and Boy George is proving to be quite the chameleon, reinventing himself over and over, through the good and very bad times. This time he returns to the studio to produce his ﬁrst album in more than 20 years with “This Is What I Do” released this month. Boy George tips his hat and soulful voice to jazz and soft rock in this album.
Girls always want to have fun and Cyndi Lauper is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the wildly popular “She’s So Unusual” with a re-release of the album on April 1 including, of course, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and “Time After Time.” The gays love Dolly Parton for her vocal support of equality for all—and that tender voice of hers makes us love her even more. Dolly Parton comes out with her new album “Blue Smoke” on May 13 including a duet with old friend Kenny Rogers. Tori Amos, an enigma whose devoted LGBT fans follow her to the ends of her sanity, drops “Unrepentant Geraldines,” also on May 13. In June, bi singer Meshell Ndegeocello, is set to release her newest album, “Comet, Come to Me.” Gay singer Matt Zarley is also set to release a new album, “Hopeful Romantic,” in June to follow up his hit single and video “Somebody 4 Everybody.” Hardly mainstream but still worth a listen is queer country duo “My Gay Banjo” who recently released their third album, “Country Boys in the City.” Julia Steele and Owen Taylor sing gaythemed tunes with a country twang and and love to also inject politics into their music.
My Gay Banjo, a grassroots band making its mark as a queer country duo, released its third album recently and is definitely something to check out. (Publicity photo)
SPRING CONCERTS Antigone Rising and Hannah Thomas April 4 Eddie’s Attic www.eddiesattic.com Gringo Star April 5 The Earl www.badearl.com Marsha Ambrosius April 6 Center Stage Theatre www.centerstage-atlanta.com Cheryl Wheeler April 9 Eddie’s Attic
Bruce Springsteen April 26 Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood Santana April 26 Chastain Park Amphitheatre chastain.parkamphitheatre.com Bastille April 29 Buckhead Theatre www.thebuckheadtheatre.com Lana Del Ray May 1 The Tabernacle Willie Nelson and Alison Krauss May 2 Chastain Park Amphitheatre
Lady Antebellum April 11 Eric Clapton Aaron’s Amphitheatre May 3 at Lakewood aarons.lakewoodamphitheatre.org Chastain Park Amphitheatre
Clockwise from left, Boy George makes a welcome comeback with new album “This is What I Do” (Photo by Dean Stockings); Gay singer Matt Zarley, who made a splash with his song “Somebody 4 Everybody,” releases his album “Hopeful Romantic” in June; Bi singer Meshell Ndegeocello drops her newest album, “Comet, Come to Me,” in June. (Publicity photos)
Tegan and Sara May 15 Buckhead Theatre An evening with AG, Garrison Star, Maia Sharp May 23 Eddie’s Attic Dave Matthews Band May 24 Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood Roxie Watson May 24 Eddie’s Attic Michelle Malone May 31 Eddie’s Attic Morrissey June 4 Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre
Sonia Leigh with guest Josh Kumra April 18 Eddie’s Attic
Lady Gaga May 6 Philips Arena www.philips.arenaatlanta.com
Zac Brown Band June 7 Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood
Kristy Lee April 19 Eddie’s Attic
Megan Hilty May 10 Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre www.cobbenergycentre.com
Elvis Costello June 19 Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre
Nickel Creek April 25 The Tabernacle www.tabernacleatl.com
Cher with Cyndi Lauper May 12 Philips Arena
Katy Perry June 28 Philips Arena
30 | GA VOICE
theater byJIM FARMER
ATL stages spring Talent abounds in local productions LGBT-friendly theatrical productions in Atlanta are almost always prominent, but this spring and summer there is quite an abundance indeed, from shows about Judy Garland to Evita Peron. The promising “Secret History of Love” is coming to 7 Stages via a 20-city national tour. Created by transgender artist Sean Dorsey as part of a two year National LGBT Elders Oral History Project, it looks at covert love throughout the decades, beginning in the 1920s. Featuring dance and stories of defying obstacles to be with the partner of one’s choice, it’s one of the season’s can’t-miss productions. As expected, Actor’s Express always seem to be at or near the forefront for LGBT-centric product. The spring’s “End of the Rainbow,” directed by Freddie Ashley, looks at the legend of Judy Garland, as she attempts a comeback. Later this summer, the company will offer “The Rocky Horror Show,” directed by gay artistic director Freddie Ashley and starring gay actor Craig Waldrip. With a trio of shows, Onstage Atlanta looks to have a robust season, starting with Process Theatre’s annual “Designing Women Live.” The eighth edition will return Topher Payne, DeWayne Morgan and the rest of the quotable Sugarbakers. Speaking of Payne, he collects the Elizabeth Osborne New Play Award from the American Theatre Critics Association on April 5 for his play “Perfect Arrangement” which premiered in Washington, D.C., in June. His play “Lakebottom Proper” makes its local debut at Onstage Atlanta and combines a wedding, a sinister mother of the bride and a secret at the bottom of the lake.
The new troupe the Weird Sisters Theatre Project, which scored a hit with ‘5 Lesbians Eating Quiche’ last year hope to score again with two new comedies this spring. (Photo by Katie Causey)
MUSICALS MAKE SPLASH IN LOCAL THEATERS Making a return to Atlanta is Chris Coleman, the gay former artistic director of Actor’s Express, who will direct True Colors’ “Same Time, Next Year” with a stellar cast—Phylicia Rashad and Kenny Leon take on the roles of Doris and George, who continue a once-a-year affair for decades despite being married to other people. “I’ve only had a chance to be in the city proper a few times since moving to Portland, as my folks retired to Highlands, N.C.—and my trips back East focus on time with them,” says Coleman. “So I’m thrilled to have an excuse to explore who the city has become over the past 14 years. And what a kick that my ﬁrst excuse to return as a director is a chance to be in the room with Kenny and Phylicia.” Fans of splashy musicals should be happy— the Atlanta wing of Broadway Across America has a packed calendar. Following the local debut of Green Day’s “American Idiot” will be two more high-proﬁle shows—“Evita,” fresh off a Broadway run with Ricky Martin, and then “The Little Mermaid.” “Mermaid,” based on the Disney movie, was scheduled for last year courtesy of Theater of the Stars but when that company went bankrupt it landed in the hands of the Broadway series. Last year’s Serenbe Playhouse summer season included “Hair” by gay artistic director and company founder Brian Clowdus. His 2014 summer looks to keep audiences coming, with a new adaptation of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” and “Oklahoma!,” directed by Clowdus himself. One of the buzzed-about new troupes in town is The Weird Sisters Theatre Project, which staged “5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche” last year. The group has two new comedies—Jane Martin’s “Criminal Hearts” and Sarah Ruhl’s “Late, A Cowboy Song,” in which a married couple’s livelihood is threatened when the wife takes a liking to a cowgirl. And speaking of cowgirls—director Heidi Cline McKerley is returning to Horizon Theatre for a 30th anniversary production of the crowdpleasing musical “Cowgirls.” The honky tonk fave ﬁnds classical musicians accidentally booked at a country music roadhouse with just 24 hours to adapt their act. Among other shows opening this spring/ early summer are the dance friendly “Maurice Hines is Tappin’ Thru Life,” Stage Door Players “Miracle on South Division Street,” Fabrefaction’s new take on “Willy Wonka,” Aurora Theatre’s “Don’t Dress for Dinner,” and Georgia Ensemble Theatre’s “Camelot.” And although it’s for kids, look for Tony and Oscar winner (“Avenue Q” and “Frozen”) Robert Lopez’s “100 Nights: A Love Story About Loving Stories” at the Center for Puppetry Arts. It’s about a princess, blessed here with a Broadway-caliber voice, who saves her kingdom from evil.
Transgender artist Sean Dorsey’s “Secret History of Love” comes to 7 Stages at the end of May as part of a 20-city national tour. (Photo by Lydia Daniller)
ON STAGE THIS SPRING “1001 Nights: A Love Story About Loving Stories” Center for Puppetry Arts 1404 Spring St. at 18th Atlanta, GA 30309-2820 Through April 6 www.puppet.org
“American Idiot” Fox Theatre 660 Peachtree Street NE Atlanta, GA 30308 May 1 - 4 www.broadwayacrossamerica.com
“Steel Magnolias” Onstage Atlanta 2969 E. Ponce De Leon Ave. Decatur, GA 30030 June 6 - 28 www.onstageatlanta.com
“Miracle on South Division Street” Stage Door Players 5339 Chamblee Dunwoody Road Dunwoody, GA 30338 Through April 13 www.stagedoorplayers.net
“Don’t Dress for Dinner” Aurora Theatre 128 East Pike Street Lawrenceville, GA 30046 May 1 – May 25 www.auroratheatre.com
“Criminal Hearts” Weird Sisters Project at Shakespeare Tavern 499 Peachtree Street Atlanta, GA 30308 June www.shakespearetavern.com
“End of the Rainbow” Actors Express 887 W. Marietta St. Atlanta, GA 30318 May 14 - June 15 www.actorsexpress.com
“The Little Mermaid” Fox Theatre 660 Peachtree Street NE Atlanta, GA 30308 July 8 - 13 www.broadwayacrossamerica.com
“Cowgirls” Horizon Theatre 1083 Austin Avenue Atlanta, GA 30307 May 16 – June 29 www.horizontheatre.com
“Same Time, Next Year” True Colors Theatre Company at Southwest Arts Center 915 New Hope Road Atlanta, GA 30331 July 8 – August 3 www.truecolorstheatre.org
“Maurice Hines is Tappin’ Thru Life” Alliance Theatre 1280 Peachtree St. Atlanta, GA 30309 April 2 – May 4 www.alliancetheatre.org “Designing Women Live 8” Onstage Atlanta 2969 E. Ponce De Leon Ave. Decatur, GA 30030 April 3 - 13 www.onstageatlanta.com “Camelot” Georgia Ensemble Theatre Roswell Cultural Arts Center 950 Forrest Street Roswell, GA 30075 April 10 - 27 www.get.org “Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka the Musical” Fabrefaction Theatre 999 Brady Avenue Atlanta, GA 30318 April 24 – May 11 www.fabrefaction.org “Lakebottom Prime” Onstage Atlanta 2969 E. Ponce De Leon Ave. Decatur, GA 30030 April 25 – May 17 www.theprocesstheatre.org
“Secret History of Love” 7 Stages 1105 Euclid Avenue NE Atlanta, GA 30307 May 29 – June 1 www.7stages.org
“The Rocky Horror Show” Actors Express 887 W. Marietta St. Atlanta, GA 30318 July 9 – August 9 www.actorsexpress.com
“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” Serenbe Playhouse 9110 Selborne Lane Chattahoochee Hills, GA 30268 May 30 – August 2 www.serenbeplayhouse.com
“Oklahoma!” Serenbe Playhouse 9110 Selborne Lane Chattahoochee Hills, GA 30268 July 24 – August 10 www.serenbeplayhouse.com
“Evita” Fox Theatre 660 Peachtree Street NE Atlanta, GA 30308 June 3 - 8 www.broadwayacrossamerica.com
“Late, A Cowboy Song” Weird Sisters Project at Shakespeare Tavern 499 Peachtree St NE Atlanta, GA 30308 July www.shakespearetavern.com
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FRIDAY, MARCH 28
FRIDAY, MARCH 28
Whose Beloved Community? Evening of Spoken Word Poetry featuring Staceyann Chinn, Jericho Brown and Red Summer. Free and open to the public. 7:30-9:30 p.m., Dobbs University Center-Harland Cinema, www.emory.edu/wbc
Photo via Facebook
SUNDAY, MARCH 30 Charis and ZAMI NOBLA sponsor an afternoon with Cheryl Clarke upon the rerelease of her famous poetry book, “Living as a Lesbian,” from 3 – 4:30 p.m. This is a Charis Circle From Margin to Center Event, suggested donation $5, Charis Books, www.charisbooksandmore.com
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two w our online There are clusion in in r fo t n e v it your LGBT e dars. Subm ice. n le a c t n ri GAVo and p www.the ditor@ to fo in t n e ev to e ail details com or e-m om. e.c theGAVoic
ATTA – Atlanta’s Team Tennis Association – sponsors a Friday Night Spring Mixer, with open play, instruction and food and beer. A pro-clinic is from 6 – 7 p.m., and the mixer is from 7 – 10 p.m., Athletic Club Northeast, $5 for ATTA members and $10 for non-members, www. wellbridge.com/athletic-club-northeast/atlanta
“Strawberry Fields Forever,” indeed - the national tour of “Beatlemania” is at 8 p.m. at the Cobb Energy Centre, www.cobbenergycentre.com
DJ Tony Moran returns to Jungle Atlanta, www.jungleatl.com
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The Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce gathers for its monthly Fourth Friday networking/meeting at the Alliance Theatre, with discounted tickets to the company’s “The Tall Girls” available, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., with the play at 8 p.m., www.atlantagaychamber.org
Get your Italian on with Dinner With the Bears, as Southern Bears’ members go to Bambinellini’s Italian Restaurant, with coffee at 7 p.m. and dinner at 8 p.m., www.bambinellispizza.com
SATURDAY, MARCH 29
SATURDAY, MARCH 29
Join Broadway performer Robert Ray for a special birthday edition of his weekly “Piano Bar Sing Along” at Campagnolo in the heart of Midtown. Gather ’round Robert’s piano for a night of standards, broadway, R&B and more. No cover. 10 p.m., Campagnolo, www.camagnoloatl.com
Sweet Tea: Girl Powerrrrr! A queer variety show is celebrating Women’s History Month in its third show to honor all the “women, ladies and femmebots of the world.” The event is free but suggested donation of $5 gets you two raffle tickets. Hosted by Taylor Alxndr and featuring DJ PK FIRE. 8 p.m., The Hangar, 151 Sampson St., Atlanta, GA 30312.
SOMETHING GAY EVERY DAY!
Swank, a ladies monthly social mixer, is tonight from 9 p.m. – 2 a.m., with DJ Prism and no cover, 10th & Piedmont, www.communitashospitality. com/10th-and-piedmont/
The Atlanta Film Festival opens tonight and lasts through next weekend, with several LGBTthemed films and filmmakers, various venues, www.atlantafilmfestival.com
Free line dance lessons are from 8 – 9 p.m. just before Early Country Night at the Heretic until 12:30 a.m. with DJ Wayne, then DJ Mike Pope takes over to spin, www.hereticatlanta.com
Edie Cheezburger and a gaggle of special guests present “The Other Show” drag event weekly at Jungle Atlanta, 9:30 p.m., www.jungleatl.com
SATURDAY, MARCH 29
A bear bash, undergear edition, and DJ Berry Huffine get the night kicking at 10 p.m. at the Atlanta Eagle, www.atlantaeagle.com
Get the flannel and boots ready – it’s Manshaft night, with a Lumberjack Gear theme, with DJ Diablo Rojo, beginning at 10:30 p.m., preceded by DJ Dancing Bear at 7:30 p.m., Mary’s, www.marysatlanta.com “Stranger By the Lake,” the acclaimed gaythemed drama that was the winner of the Queer Palm and Un Certain Regard Directing Prize at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, continues at the Midtown Art Cinema, various times, www.landmarktheatres.com
Bookmark www.thegavoice.com to get your daily dose of local LGBT events.
Lost-n-Found 5th and Juniper House Cleanup/Round 3. In this cleanup volunteers will be removing metal pipes, old HVAC systems, tear off floor coverings and pull down ceilings to prepare the house for rehab work. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 768 Juniper St., Atlanta, GA 30308. www. lostnfoundyouth.org Free Texas Hold ’Em poker is available from 4 - 8 p.m. followed by various DJs at 10 p.m at Mixx Atlanta, www.mixxatlanta.com DJs Liz Owen and MC Chase Daniels liven up My Sister’s Room with an Electronic Paint Party. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the cover is $10 all night, www.mysistersroom.com
Shawnna Brooks hosts Synergy at Burkharts beginning at 11 p.m., www.burkharts.com
SUNDAY, MARCH 30
Xion opens its doors for its weekly dance party, beginning at 3 a.m., www.xionatlanta.com Wanna lean more about roller derby and try out to be an Atlanta Rollergirl? Come to the Spring Skills Workshop today, from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., 1721 Wilwat Drive, Norcross, GA 30093
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Photo via Facebook
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THURSDAY, APRIL 3
Topher Payne, DeWayne Morgan and more bring “Designing Women Live 8” to Onstage Atlanta with two new episodes of the Sugarbaker antics, 8 p.m., www.onstageatlanta.com
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 31 Lips Atlanta is the home for Gospel Brunch, with the Sisters of Sequin, hosted by Bubba D. Licious, with a brunch special and $5 show cover, with brunch at 12:30 p.m. and entertainment at 1:30 p.m., www.lipsatl.com It’s Opening Day of the new Hotlanta Softball League, with various Atlanta teams. More information on games and times can be found at www.hotlantasoftball.org As part of the REEL OUT LGBT Film Series sponsored by HIV/AIDS advocacy group Cycle for Freedom in collaboration with the Auburn Avenue Research Library, a screening of “MissunderSTUD,” a feature length documentary giving voice to women within the gay community who identify as masculine. There will be a brief community discussion following the film. 3 p.m., Philip Rush Center, www.afpls.org/aarl Jazz @ 781, a new series sponsored by St. Mark United Methodist Church, runs through June 8, Sundays at 6:30 p.m., www.stmarkumc.org LESLIE A. COOK JD, CFP®, CDFA™ Financial Advisor 825 Juniper St Atlanta, GA 30308 404.564.4265 firstname.lastname@example.org ameripriseadvisors.com/ leslie.a.cook
Can you keep your lifestyle in retirement? Let’s talk.
Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC. © 2014 Ameriprise Financial, Inc.
Lateasha Shante Shuntel, Nicole Paige Brooks, Shawna Brooks and more divas host Cell Block Sunday at 8 p.m. at Blake’s, www.blakesontheparkatlanta.com
MONDAY, MARCH 31
Get your voice ready for Blue Monday Karaoke with Darlene Majewski, 10 p.m., Burkhart’s, www.burkharts.com New Monday Night Trivia, emceed by Wild Cherry Sucret, offers chances to win up to $250 in cash and prizes. 11 p.m., Blake’s, www. blakesontheparkatlanta.com
TUESDAY, APRIL 1
The public is invited to the Charis Book’s 40th Birthday Planning Meeting, 6:30 – 8 p.m., Charis Books, www.charisbooksandmore.com Dine Out at Yeah! Burger in Virginia-Highlands to raise funds for AIDS Vaccine 200, www.actioncycling.kintera.org
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 2
“American Idol” winner Kris Allen visits Eddie’s Attic, 8 p.m., www.eddiesattic.com Hump Night fun is hosted by Regina at Friends on Ponce at 8 p.m., www.friendsonponce.com Yo-Yo Ma brings a legion of fans to the Atlanta Symphony, 8 p.m., www.aso.org Angelica D’Paige, Monica Van Pelt and more guests add spice to Bitchy Bingo Wednesdays at Lips Atlanta. www.lipsatlanta.com Karaoke Wednesdays at My Sister’s Room features DJ M, Twee, and hosts Jack Daddy and Missy, www.mysistersoom.com LeBuzz cranks up its new Newcomer drag competition tonight at 10 p.m., www.thenewlebuzz.com Traxx Atlanta presents Primetime Wednesdays with hip hop all night, $3 martinis and $5 well drinks, Sutra Lounge, 1136 Crescent Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30309
THURSDAY, APRIL 3
SAGE Atlanta takes a field trip to the Emory LGBT Archives, leaving the Phillip Rush Center at 10:30 a.m. and having lunch afterward at Our Way Café.
A drop-in photo shoot with Familiar Roots Photography exploring feminism begins at noon today at Charis Books, www.charisbooksandmore.com Atlanta Gender Variations: Parents of gender variant/trans children support group meets in Atlanta, 2 – 4 p.m., St. Mark United Methodist Church, www.stmarkumc.org
Daphne Willis and The Sea The Sea with special guest Robby Hecht play tonight at Red Clay Theatre at 7:30 p.m., www.eddieowenpresents.com Author Angela Jackson-Brown reads from her coming-of-age novel “Drinking from a Bitter Cup” tonight from 7:30 – 9 p.m., Charis Books, www.charisbooksandmore.com Ruby Redd brings Dirty Boy Bingo to Cockpit at 10 p.m., www.thecockpit-atlanta.blogspot.com Tat It Up Thursdays at the new Anchor Bar offers free admission and $5 drinks, 1878 Piedmont Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30324
FRIDAY, APRIL 4
DJ Nat headlines Onyx Bar Night, 10 p.m., Atlanta Eagle, www.atlantaeagle.com Destiny Brooks and Justice Taylor turn it up for Femme Fatale, 11 p.m., Burkhart’s, www.burkharts.com Drag Otic is a drag extravaganza with Nicole Luv Dupree, Trinity Bonet and many more, 11 p.m., Blake’s, www.blakesontheparkatlanta.com
Photo via Facebook
The Silver Stars Party and Silent Auction, a benefit for Jerusalem House, offers great entertainment and merchandise to bid on, tonight from 6 – 9 p.m. at the Georgian Ballroom of the Biltmore, www.jerusalem.org
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FRIDAY, APRIL 4
Lesbian-led Antigone Rising brings its boot-stompin’ alt-country-rock to Eddie’s Attic as part of the release of its two new EPs “Whiskey & Whine – Volume 1” and “Whiskey & Whine – Volume 2”.Also performing is Atlanta lesbian rocker Hannah Thomas. 9:45 p.m., Eddie’s Attic, www.eddiesattic.com Traxx Girls night at My Sister’s Room offers drink specials, great music and lots o’ women, www.mysistersroom.com Wassup N Atl hosts Fame and Fortune Fridays at Tantra, with free admission, 10 p.m., 2285 Peachtree Road, Atlanta, GA 30309, www.wassupnatl.com
LeBUZZ is the home for the M4M hardbody revue/competition, with a $100 cash prize weekly, hosted by Envy Van Michaels, 10 p.m., www.thenewlebuzz.com The all new Faded Fridays hosted by Angel X Events, Trump Entertainment and Traxx 2.0 takes place at Enigma nightclub, 2000 Powers Ferry Road, Atlanta, GA 30067, www.traxxatlanta.com
SATURDAY, APRIL 5
A 5K Run for Kenya to benefit the Mwangaza Children’s Home starts at 8:30 a.m. at Yellow River Park. One run supports one orphan for one month, www.mwangazachildren.org
The Atlanta Bucks play host to a home rugby game today at 2 p.m. More information at www.atlantabucksrugby.org Dixie Does Drag is a fundraiser for the upcoming Dixie Invitational Bowling Tournament, 6 p.m., Jungle Atlanta, www.jungleatl.com Lady Antebellum plays Aaron’s Ampitheatre at Lakewood, 7 p.m., www.ticketmaster.com Atlanta’s Every Womyn hosts Soul Out Saturday Poetry Slam. First 10 poets to sign up will be competing for a chance to win two airline tickets from Southwest airlines. The mistress of ceremonies is LadyVee Da Poet and judges include Imani Evans, Daryl Funn, Namaste Evolving, Sparatic General and Tiffany Naturally Nubian. All inclusive. Cost is $25 to compete, 7-10 p.m at the Phillip Rush Center, http://on.fb.me/1hdcmKu
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COntinued FROM PAGE 33 The Atlanta Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence present Jock Strap Sister Twister from 9 – 11 p.m., Atlanta Eagle, www.atlantaeagle.com Hot Mess is a weekly dance party at Mary’s tonight, www.marysatlanta.com
SUNDAY, APRIL 6
Joining Hearts’ Change of Seasons Tea Dance/fundraiser, with special guest DJ Corey David, is tonight from 4 – 9 p.m. at Loews Atlanta, www.loewshotels.com, www.joininghearts.org
The PFLAG-Atlanta Support Group meets tonight from 7:30 – 9 p.m., Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta, www.uuca.org
TUESDAY, APRIL 8
Author Jan Willis discusses her novel “Dreaming Me: Black, Baptist and Buddhist” tonight from 7:30 – 9 p.m., Charis Books, www.charisbooksandmore.com Jungle Atlanta hosts Dance night featuring EDM. Doors open at 10 p.m., www.jungleatl.com
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 9
Bring an empty stomach to Taco, Tequila and Beer Night at Amsterdam Atlanta, with $5 tacos, 6 – 11 p.m., www.amsterdamatlanta.com
FRIDAY, APRIL 11
Out singer/songwriter Cheryl Wheeler brings her set to Eddie’s Attic. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the show at 8 p.m., www.eddiesattic.com
Atlanta Leather Pride kickoff with Fetish Night, 10 p.m.-2 a.m., Atlanta Eagle, www.atlantaleatherpride.com
Celebrate the 25th anniversary of Georgia USofA Pageantry at the Miss Gay Georgia USofA and Miss Gay Georgia USofA at Large, 7 p.m. at Jungle, www.jungleatl.com
B-23! Bubba D. Licious, Brent Starr and Kimora Layou join together for ‘80s Bingo, raising money for PALS (Pets Are Loving Support). Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the program begins at 7:30 p.m., Jungle Atlanta, www.jungleatl.com
The infamous, ubiquitous Ruby Redd hosts Birdcage Bingo at 8 p.m. at Atlanta Hideaway, www.atlantahideaway.com
Trans and Friends: A Project of the Feminist Outlawz is a youth focused group for trans people, people questioning their own gender and allies. 7 – 8:30 p.m., Charis Books, www.charisbooksandmore.com
Photo by Dyana Bagby
$2 well drinks are on tap all day and night at Sunday Funday at Bulldogs, 893 Peachtree St., Atlanta, GA 30309
MONDAY, APRIL 7
A director’s cut screening of “The Tin Man Project,” about Atlanta entertainer Barry Brandon and his ordeals living with a rare heart condition and the show he created “In My Own Words” takes place at 7:30 p.m. at the Plaza Theatre. Tickets at www.hausofbarrybrandon.com
Woofs Atlanta’s Trivia begins at 8 p.m., www. woofsatlanta.com
THURSDAY, APRIL 10
It’s cards and social hour morning for SAGE Atlanta, from 10 – 11 a.m., Philip Rush Center, www.rushcenteratl.com
Want to make a difference in helping to bring homeless LGBT youth off the street? Lostn-Found Youth hosts volunteer training from 7 – 9 p.m. at the Lost-n-Found Youth Center, 2585 Chantilly Dr NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30324 Atlanta’s Original Ladies Night marks the return of Monica Van Pelt and special guest hosts each week. Early Karaoke begins at 9 p.m. for the ladies and a dance party goes until 3 a.m., LeBUZZ, www.thenewlebuzz.com
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TELEVISION by DYANA BAGBY
Spring preview of what’s blooming on the boob tube Freeman (“Sherlock”) and Billy Bob Thornton as well as Kate Walsh, Colin Hanks and Bob Odenkirk. This show was ordered for 10 episodes only and could very well end up becoming an anthology series, like “American Horror Story” and “True Detective.”
Longtime faves come to a close with promising new shows added to the mix While everyone has settled in with their favorites such as “Scandal,” “Girls” and the “Real Housewives of Whatever,” there are also plenty of new shows hitting the small screen with plenty of promise. Some of our longtime favorites like “Drop Dead Diva,” ﬁlmed in Peachtree City and starring Atlanta part-time resident and favorite queer star Margaret Cho, started back up this month and is in its ﬁnal season on Lifetime. “Game of Thrones” on HBO returns for its fourth season on April 6. Perhaps the gayest non-gay show (besides “American Horror Story”) on TV returns with a vengeance. Like, for real vengeance. There’s sure to be plenty of murder and gore and sex and more sex in the popular show. And gay fans even have more to cheer besides the Red Wedding and men and women in various stages of undress—actor Kristian Nairn, who portrays Hodor on the show—recently came out gay. “Nurse Jackie” and her skills return to Show-
‘Game of Thrones’ returns for its fourth season on HBO on April 6. (Photo via HBO)
time on April 13 and “Mad Men,” the deliciously designer-centric series combined with lots of sex and alcoholism, makes its ﬁnal farewell as it signs off after this season that also begins April 13.
NEW SERIES TO WATCH OUT FOR “Fargo” on FX Premieres April 15 The TV adaptation of the 1996 Oscar-winning ﬁlm by the Coen Brothers, complete with their blessing, stars heavy-hitters including Martin
hiding the fact she has bipolar disorder. The show promises to bring awareness to the mental illness, hopefully in a respectable manner. “Last Week with John Oliver” on HBO Premieres April 27 Anyone who caught John Oliver sitting in all summer on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” while Stewart took the summer off to direct a feature ﬁlm knew Oliver was destined for greatness. Why, he was even often funnier than the original host— no offense to Mr. Stewart. So it’s with great joy Oliver gets his own show, although only airing once a week. This is a show not to be missed.
“Faking It” on MTV Premieres April 22 This new romantic comedy stars Katie Stevens and Rita Volk as best friends who are, somehow, mistakenly outed as lesbians. Instead of being shunned and bullied by their classmates, they become celebrities in their John Oliver stars in his new show high school. And while the two “Last Week with John Oliver” premiering April 27 on HBO. (Photo by aren’t actually lesbians, the David Shankbone) pomp and circumstance that comes with being the cool lesbians lead them to explore their relationship “24: Live Another Day” on Fox further, if you know what we mean. Premieres: May 5 Keifer Sutherland reprises his role of Jack “Black Box” on ABC Bauer, the agent with nine lives in a 12-epiPremieres April 24 sode story set in London. “Live Another Day” Dr. Catherine Black, a world-famous picks up after the Season 8 ﬁnale with Jack neurologist played by Kelly Reilly, is a master still on the run and being hunted by the CIA. researcher in all areas of the brain. She is also Run, Jack, run.
36 | GA VOICE
FILM byJim Farmer
Indie LGBT ﬁlms highlight spring, summer lineups Several blockbusters sure to drive gay fans to theaters
Audiences seeking queer fare were spoiled last fall by ﬁlms with major LGBT themes such as “Philomena,” “Dallas Buyers Club” and “Blue is the Warmest Color,” all of which were hits at the box ofﬁce as well as critically acclaimed. The list of gay themed ﬁlms opening this spring and into the summer is a much tinier one, especially in higher-proﬁle features. Yet some independent features seem quite promising. The acclaimed “The Case Against 8”—a hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival—is the latest documentary to look at California’s Prop 8 and the ﬁght against it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. This one was shot over ﬁve years and won a Sundance documentary directing award for Ryan White and Ben Cotner. It will hit theaters in early June and then debut on HBO later that month. The gay-themed “Love is Strange” is expected to debut this summer, although it could be pushed to fall. Another Sundance hit, this one explores the relationship between a male Manhattan couple, played John Lithgow and Alfred Molina, who marry after almost 40 years together but face homophobic and ﬁnancial obstacles afterwards. It’s directed by Ira Sachs, who made the dark, moody “Keep the Lights On” a few years back. “Love is Strange” also stars Marisa Tomei and out actor Cheyenne Jackson. Another gay couple, albeit a real-life one, is at the core of Jalil Lespert’s “Yves Saint Laurent,” scheduled for June. The narrative ﬁlm looks at the beginning of the French fashion designer’s (played by Pierre Niney) illustrious career in 1958 through the time he met his business partner and lover, Pierre Berge (Guillaume Gallienne). From all accounts, the ﬁlm doesn’t shy away from thornier issues such as the designer’s depression and drug dependency. Del Shores’ festival hit “Southern Baptist Sissies”—based on his hit play about four young men growing up gay in the South—is landing in theaters this spring so look for it in Atlanta at some point. A ﬁlmed version of the play, it stars Leslie Jordan and Emerson Collins.
BIG BUDGETS HIT BIG SCREEN In terms of bigger-budget ﬁlms, “Jersey Boys” is something of a wild card. Clint East-
A hit at this year’s Sundance Festival, “The Case Against 8” — a documentary on California’s Prop 8 — hits theaters in early June and then will air on HBO later that month. (Publicity photo)
actor Ian McKellen and a slew of returning cast members, including McKellen’s BFF Patrick Stewart and also Michael Fassbender, Halle Berry, Jennifer Lawrence and Anna Paquin. It will be loud, it will be silly—and it will be seen. “Jupiter Ascending” is the latest sci-ﬁ ﬂick from Andy and Lana (formerly Larry) Wachowski. Mila Kunis is Jupiter Jones, an ordinary woman who learns that she is in line to be assassinated by the Queen of the Universe—and that she is destined for a lot more than cleaning toilets. The brothers are known for the “The Matrix” series and “Cloud Atlas,” so this sounds like a snug ﬁt. Tate Taylor, the gay director whose “The Help” vaulted him to the big leagues, follows up that Oscar nominee with the summer’s “Get On Up,” a look at the career of James Brown, while Francois Ozon (“8 Women”) has a new feature as well. “Young and Beautiful” is a coming of age drama about a young girl who loses her virginity—and then decides to become a call girl, meeting older gentlemen in hotel rooms. There’s probably nothing gay about it, but May’s “Maleﬁcent” from Disney looks like it could be a gay fave of the season, with Angelina Jolie playing the “Sleeping Beauty” villain. Who doesn’t love a moody diva? And in other blockbuster news, hunky Chris Evans reprises his titular role in April’s bound to be popular “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” As always, though, release dates are subject to change.
LOCAL SPRING FILM FARE Disney’s live-action “Maleficent” starring Angelina Jolie opens in theaters May 30. (Publicity photo)
wood wasn’t afraid to tackle a gay love story in his “Edgar” so it will be interesting to see what he does with the big screen adaptation of the Tony-winning musical “Jersey Boys,” a biography of the Four Seasons. The only major name in the cast is Christopher Walken; for the most part Eastwood is using stage actors, including some of the original Broadway performers. Mike Doyle plays Bob Crewe, the band’s producer and songwriter who was out at a time many weren’t. How his character comes across in the June release is to be determined. At least four out LGBT directors have spring/ summer releases. Gay director Bryan Singer brings the latest in the “X-Men” franchise to theaters in May. “X-Men: Days of Future Past” sees the group of mutants from the ﬁrst trilogy of ﬁlms facing off against the newer generation ones in a battle for supremacy. It stars out
Locally, some LGBT product can be found as well. Besides a half dozen LGBT ﬁlms at the Atlanta Film Festival starting this weekend, including the lesbian-themed “The Unwanted,” Andy Ditzler’s Film Love series should have some intriguing projects this season. Larry Kramer’s “The Normal Heart” will debut on HBO in May but look for an advanced local screening of the buzz-friendly ﬁlm just before. Out On Film will be teaming with Atlanta Pride for a Stonewall Month screening in June of the documentary “To Be Takei,” following the career of out actor George Takei and his marriage to Brad Altman. It’s directed by Jennifer Kroot, who made the adorable documentary “It Came from Kuchar,” about ﬁlmmakers George and Mike Kuchar. Out On Film will also team with St. Mark United Methodist Church for a May 16 screening of the documentary “Call Me Kuchu,” examining the political and anti-gay climate of Uganda. Editor’s Note: Jim Farmer is the director of Out on Film.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
BOOKS BY Terri Schlichenmeyer
‘Teaching the Cat to Sit’ delves into Catholicism, sexuality and standing up
Lesbian mom strives to have family accepted by church Sometimes, you feel so adrift. Unmoored, unanchored, you feel as though you ride each wave alone, emotions and events washing over you until you can’t weather the storm any longer and you need an anchor. That’s when you reach for your family or your God. But what if both were denied to you? In “Teaching the Cat to Sit,” Michelle Theall shares her story of standing up instead of standing still. Al Theall and his wife were sure their second child, born in 1966, would be a boy but—surprise!—they got another daughter. Later, they were even more astounded that their second girl was so different from the ﬁrst one: unlike her older, popular, outgoing sister, Michelle grew to be athletic, bullheaded, and introverted; in fact, aside from the cat, her only friend was a neighbor girl whose parents had scandalously been divorced. Divorce, of course, was against the teachings of the Catholic Church, the religion that Theall’s mother devoutly followed. She was reluctant to even let her daughter play at the Crandall’s house, but reasoned that Theall needed one friend. That bond ended abruptly when the girl’s father molested Theall. In high school, Theall had an Evangelical Christian friend, but the girl’s mother thought Theall was a lesbian, and put an end to the relationship. That hurt, because Theall herself didn’t yet realize her sexuality. After a sweet and almost-accidental love affair with another woman while at college, Theall examined her sexual feelings and felt deeply ashamed. Catholicism taught that being gay was a sin against God. Her parents would not accept her as a lesbian. She tried to be heterosexual, but that wasn’t who she was—so, upon graduation from Texas Tech, she moved to Colorado where she chose long-term celibacy and started rebuilding a relationship with her parents. Then, after a surprising (and awkward) introduction, Theall fell in love. When she
Michelle Theall (Courtesy photo)
and Jill started their family, she fell in love again with a baby who’d had a rough start in life. They’d hoped to raise their child in Theall’s Catholic faith. And the Church said “no…..” Though it made me very sad, and though I spent a lot of time with my mouth open in astonishment, I just couldn’t stop reading “Teaching the Cat to Sit.” That might be because author Michelle Theall is a ﬁrst-rate storyteller, and she really knows how to keep a reader wanting more. Half of this book is about her battle with Catholicism and with the Church for recognition of her partner and their son and, eventually, their search for an acceptable (and accepting) religion. That’s fascinating, but there’s more: the other half is the memoir of her tumultuous relationship with her parents and her journey to understanding, both of them and of herself. Overall, I think I liked this book because of its deliberateness and its ultimately empowering message of truth to self. For that, and for the great biography it is, “Teaching the Cat to Sit” is a must-read—especially if you’re in the same boat.
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THAT'S WHATS SHE SAID That’s what Bea said ‘Golden Girl’ Bea Arthur lives on in our hearts— and in pop culture There’s a new Bea Arthur video game. Yes, fans of “Maude” and “The Golden Girls” can now enjoy Bea Arthur once again, in the form of a video game character. Called “Busy Bea,” the game stems from an art project by Mike Denison, called Bea A Day, that puts the icon in with other pop culture references. Denison describes the new game as “FakeBit,” which “crudely emulates old school 8 bit video games.” Because it’s free in the iTunes store I’ve tried it out, and must admit it is quite odd. That’s because your avatar is Arthur’s HEAD in the very “Flappy Bird”-style play. It’s also hard, since I’ve only been able to achieve a piddly two points so far. It’s not the only thing honoring Bea Arthur that’s taking place. A bookstore in North Carolina just held a “Spelling Bea” in honor of the late performer. Scores of “Golden Girls” live performances are held at any given time around the world. And you remember last year’s art auction in New York where a topless painting of Arthur sold for $1.9 million. As we near the ﬁfth anniversary of the actor’s death, why do we still honor her? Is it because of the strong, sometimes brass female characters she played, like Maude Findlay and Dorothy Zbornak? Maybe her stellar (see what I did there) performance as the bartender, Ackmena, in the hard-to-ﬁnd “Star Wars Christmas Special?” Or is it because she was a true supporter of our community, leaving in her will a donation to New York’s Ali Forney Center, an organization supporting homeless LGBT youth? For me it is all of the above, plus the part of her life she didn’t let the public see. Did you know she was a real-life Marine? Now that I have the lesbians’ attention, Arthur entered the military as a private in 1943 and left as a staff sergeant in 1945. This is not by
Melissa Carter is one of the Morning Show hosts on B98.5. In addition, she is a writer for Huffington Post. She is recognized as one of the first out radio personalities in Atlanta and one of only a few in the country. Follow her on Twitter @MelissaCarter
her own admission, since she denied ever serving during interviews. But several years ago the Smoking Gun website obtained records proving her military history, since she was ﬁngerprinted during enlistment. She was assigned at Marine headquarters in Washington, D.C. and at Marine Corps and Navy air stations in Virginia and North Carolina. Badass. Those records, released in response to the website’s Freedom of Information Act request, include a misconduct report ﬁled while she was stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station in Cherry Point, N.C. Hilariously, it stemmed from Arthur’s contracting of a venereal disease, which left her “incapacitated for duty” for ﬁve weeks in late-1944. Semper Fi, Ms. Arthur. But being a ballsy lady, someone willing to take on non-traditional roles, or even serving our country is not enough for Bea Arthur’s iconic status. The added ingredient that makes her beloved: despite her harsh truths, she’s going to love you afterwards. My favorite images of Arthur include her longtime bestie Angela Lansbury, who she met on Broadway. From snapshots of the dark-haired divas from the ‘60s to the ﬁnal photos of the gray starlets just a few years ago, the images seem to reﬂect Arthur’s dedication to someone she loved. Unlike the forced friendships of stars like Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez or Will Smith and Tom Cruise, every depiction of Arthur and Lansbury showed a connection that didn’t depend on a photographer to exist. We all want someone like Arthur to steer us effectively through our lives, albeit uncomfortably, but who will always have our back along the way. Uncompromising, enterprising, anything but tranquilizing. No wonder we have a hard time letting her go.
TSOMETIMES 'Y' Requiem for the reviled How to grieve for a nemesis
Fred Phelps was going to die whether I expressed my opinion about it or not, and that felt good enough for me. I’m queasy with celebrations of death, even of universally despised ﬁgures like Phelps and Osama Bin Laden. Yet, I was surprised how a man who committed his legacy to deﬁling other people’s deaths received such a reverent send-off from his (literally) sworn enemies. Everyone processes death differently, which is one of the reasons the consensus that quickly developed to show restraint at Phelps’s passing felt a little too convenient, both for Phelps and the fags. There are beneﬁts to proving our moral superiority to those who hate us, but we should not focus so much on our respect—and respectability—that we blur the malice our nemesis inﬂicted upon us. Stages of grief, including for the loss of a foe, are necessary and healthy. PLEASURE I instinctively felt slight joy upon hearing of Phelps’s ﬁnal days, and had I not, I would’ve started developing new instincts. “Relief” or “justice” might be more tactful headers for this stage of grief, but they don’t capture the pang of satisfaction brought on by my thoughts of a world without the Rev. Fred Phelps. I had no urge to dance on his grave, but I felt no guilt from my mild delight in the death of someone so loathsome. RESENTMENT In my early days of using the internet, I used to search terms like “homosexual” and “gay” in a desperate attempt to understand who I was and what I was feeling. Among the ﬁrst search results, and really the only result that I remember, was godhatesfags.com. It was a jarring combination of words for a gay teenager to read, although it was simply the bluntest articulation of what my parents, pastors and society had taught me to believe about God and gay people. The brutality of this website and catchphrase, and the spiritual terrorism that Phelps led against LGBT for the past two decades, stung too much for me to be celebratory about his demise, or to grant forgiveness immediately upon death. DECENCY It seemed fashionable for many who ex-
Ryan Lee is an Atlanta writer.
pressed an opinion about Phelps’s death to skip the ﬁrst two stages of grief and leap directly onto the high ground. This was a noble trend, even if it came across as insincere at times. It is possible to grant Phelps dignity in death without protecting him from the vile reverb of his life, and to make sure our sense of decorum does not distort the truth. The ﬁrst words of Fred Phelps’s obituary ought to reference his unyielding hatred, but this was almost unmentionable among many LGBT “mourners.” Decency is not a bad thing, either as a sentiment or as a political tool. A lack of decency around death, as Phelps and his cult often reminded us, wins few arguments and fewer allies. GRATITUDE The emotion that surprised me most as Phelps lay dying was the appreciation I felt toward him. Fred Phelps is arguably as signiﬁcant a force as any other in the advancement of gay rights this millennium. In the 2,000 years since Sodom and Gomorrah burned, it was taken as fact that God wasn’t too fond of gays. He considered us abominations, detestable, unnatural, wicked and worthy of eternal judgment. All Fred Phelps did was distill that antipathy into the Twitter-friendly slogan: God hates fags. In doing so, he placed the gospel out of bounds. Suddenly, people who were comfortable using their religion to justify personal bigotry had to nuance their prejudice. “Hate the sin, not the sinner” grew more attractive as people of faith tried to prove they weren’t the same type of Christians as the Baptists from Westboro. We’re now on the brink of a spiritual renaissance in how homosexuality is interpreted in the bible, and I don’t think we’d be here so soon without Phelps’s antagonism. ACCEPTANCE It will be a bit strange to continue this battle without our most tenacious adversary, and of course the descendants of Westboro will keep up the ﬁght. We should accept that Fred Phelps is dead, and everything that he stood for is dying. It might still be too early to boast about victory, but one of our chief enemies has departed the battleﬁeld thoroughly defeated.
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