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Editor: Laura Douglas-Brown Deputy Editor: Dyana Bagby

Out in the military: One year without ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ Page 4 Ga. eliminates wait list for AIDS medication program. Page 9 Atlanta settles HIV police discrimination case. Page 9

Web Manager: Ryan Watkins

Former gay bar dancer convicted of human trafficking. Page 9

Art Director: Bo Shell Contributors: Melissa Carter, Brent Corcoran, Jim Farmer, Shannon Hames, Topher Payne, Matt Schafer, Steve Warren, Ryan Lee

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


Richard Eldredge, Sandy Malcolm, Lynn Pasqualetti, Robert Pullen All material in the Georgia Voice is protected by federal copyright law and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Georgia Voice. The sexual orientation of advertisers, photographers, writers and cartoonists published herein is neither inferred nor implied. The appearance of names or pictorial representation does not necessarily indicate the sexual orientation of that person or persons. We also do not accept responsibility for claims made by advertisers. Unsolicited editorial material is accepted by the Georgia Voice, but we do not take responsibility for its return. The editors reserve the right to accept, reject or edit any submission. Guidelines for freelance contributors are available upon request. A single copy of the Georgia Voice is available from authorized distribution points. Multiple copies are available from the Georgia Voice office only. Call for rates. If you are unable to reach a convenient free distribution point, you may receive a 26-issue mailed subscription for $60 per year. Checks or credit card orders can be sent to Tim Boyd, Postmaster: Send address changes to the Georgia Voice, 1904 Monroe Drive, Suite 130, Atlanta, GA 30324. The Georgia Voice is published every other Friday by The Georgia Voice, LLC. Individual subscriptions are $60 per year for 26 issues. Postage paid at Atlanta, GA, and additional mailing offices. The editorial positions of the Georgia Voice are expressed in editorials and in editor’s notes. Other opinions are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Georgia Voice and its staff. To submit a letter or commentary: Letters should be fewer than 400 words and commentary, for web or print, should be fewer than 750 words. Submissions may be edited for content and length, and must include a name, address and phone number for verification. Email submissions to or mail to the address above.


“For our brand, this program feels inappropriate on several dimensions, especially during family viewing time.”

Four Ga. Pride celebrations set for September. Page 15 Event spotlight: Atlanta Cotillion prepares for crowning. Page 16

— Jeff Simpson, CEO of the parent company of Salt Lake City television station KSL, on why the station, which is owned by the Mormon church, will not air “The New Normal.” The NBC sitcom about two gay dads who have a child with a surrogate mother launches Sept. 11. (Salt Lake Tribune, Aug. 24)

Event spotlight: Business groups focus on trans education. Page 16 Business spotlight: Get ready to ‘chill’ and ‘sizzle’ at Mixx. Page 19

BLACK GAY PRIDE Celebrities throng to Black Gay Pride parties. Page 23

— Herndon Graddick, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, criticizing KSL’s decision not to air “The New Normal” as “sending a dangerous message to Utah.” (, Aug. 25)

Calendar: Your guide to the hottest happenings. Pages 24-25

“You are freeing the soul of the American people.”

Empowerment, education on tap for weekend. Page 26 Offi cial port rait

— Vice President Joe Biden, praising LGBT rights advocates for their “courage” in advancing civil rights “at great expense,” during a campaign visit to Provincetown, Mass. (, Aug. 27)

A&E Labor Day packed with LGBT-friendly major events. Page 29

“I’ve always fought for justice and equality in America, which is why I think it is wrong to tell two people in love that they can’t get married just because they are gay or lesbian.” — U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.) in a new video for the Human Rights Campaign’s Americans for Marriage Equality project. (, Aug. 22)

“We do not believe the proposed constitutional amendment [to ban gay marriage] is in the best interests of our employees or our state economy. We value diversity. We value inclusion.” — Sarah Longwell, a board member for the gay Log Cabin Republicans and a leader of Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry, in an interview as Log Cabin prepared to join in the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Aug. 27)

Comedy: Margaret Cho’s ‘Mother’ of all tours. Page 31 Film: Gay best friend key to ‘For a Good Time, Call…’ Page 33 Food Porn: How to have sex with a Republican. Page 35 Photos: Rainbow Days shine at Six Flags. Page 39

CALENDAR Pages 40-43 Photo via

Publisher: Christina Cash

“Same-sex families are a beloved part of American television thanks to shows like Modern Family, Glee and Grey’s Anatomy. While audiences, critics and advertisers have all supported LGBT stories, KSL is demonstrating how deeply out of touch it is with the rest of the country.”

Official photo


08.31.12 NEWS

Publicity photo via Facebook

The Georgia Voice


COLUMNISTS That’s What She Said: Melissa Carter’s final frontier. Page 45 Domestically Disturbed: Topher Payne goes back to school. Page 47


GA Voice


August 31, 2012


n Sept. 20, the United States military will mark the one-year anniversary of the official repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the 1993 law that barred gays and lesbians from openly serving in the armed services. As the milestone nears, gay military members are thrilled to be able to be out, but note that inequities remain. “During DADT, I did not ever hang out with other gays or even act on doing anything in fear of being caught so I waited until it was repealed to come out,” said Joshua Gravett, a gay Georgia native and sergeant in the U.S. Army currently stationed in Afghanistan. Before repeal, Gravett — who enlisted at age 17 — planned to leave the Army. Now, he is considering completing the 20-year military career that would allow him to retire from the service at age 37. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was the law of the land for nearly two decades. Some 13,500 soldiers were discharged simply because of their sexual orientation, according to numbers from the Department of Defense. The battle for repeal was hard fought in the United States Congress and nearly didn’t happen. Democrats in the Senate attempted to include repeal language into the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act, but Republictan senators objected to using the usually bi-partisan NDAA as the avenue for repeal. Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Ct.) and Susan Collins (R-Me.) introduced a standalone bill called the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Act of 2010,” which was passed as one of the final acts of the 111th Congress. “By ending ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ no longer will our nation be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans forced to leave the military, despite years of exemplary performance, because they happen to be gay,” President Barack Obama said at the time, fulfilling a 2008 campaign promise to work toward eliminating the discriminatory law. Following Obama’s Pride parade and signature, military now the first-ever leaders were charged openly gay general with training and imin the military’s hisplementing the change tory have all hapin policy while gay pened now that solSgt. Joshua Gravett, U.S. Army, says the military groups condiers are no longer repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ convinced tinued to urge caution on forced to remain in him to re-enlist (courtesy photo) coming out during the the closet. transition. Certification was handed down July 22, 2011, Challenges for gay and after a 60-day grace period, DADT was of- service members remain Gravett, a native of Marietta, Ga., says that ficially repealed at midnight on Sept. 20, 2011. In the year since, the military has cel- despite repeal, challenges remain for gay and ebrated a number of gay firsts. The first-ever lesbian soldiers. “With the military, it is still no one’s busipromotion ceremony attended by a same-sex spouse, the first-ever sanctioned participation ness about your personal life so there was no of uniformed, active-duty soldiers in a Gay need to come out officially to anyone,” Gravett

told GA Voice through a recent email interview. The culture of coming out is still tough for some gay and lesbian soldiers, Gravett said. Finding a network of support half a world away from home can be challenging for those who don’t know where to look. “Even though the repeal has happened, not everyone is out. So finding other gays to talk to can be challenging,” Gravett said. How did Gravett come out? He showed up for assignment at North Carolina’s Fort Bragg wearing a “Legalize Gay” t-shirt. And when his fellow soldiers ask, he now tells. “Everyone seems to be very supportive,” Gravett said. “I tend to think most people in my generation are more progressive in the way that they think. Some are curious on how long I knew and how it felt to hide it.”

Repeal has opened the doors for real policy change, something Gravett hopes will lead to greater acceptance and equal rights for all LGBT people. “I am hoping that one day we will see the same benefits as straight couples for gay couples. Most Americans support the military and often tend to take our side. If they see that a gay service member is willing to fight for the rights of other Americans, maybe America will support them in their rights to marry or have a family,” Gravett added. Spousal benefits, on-base housing and deployment are some of the ways that the military still fails to treat gay and lesbian soldiers equally with their heterosexual counterparts, Gravett said. Please see MILITARY, continued on Page 6

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GA Voice

August 31, 2012


Gays in the military still face unequal benefits MILITARY, continued from Page 4 Thanks to the Defense of Marriage Act, the military is forbidden from officially recognizing same-sex unions, regardless of where they are performed. While DOMA has been found unconstitutional in at least three different ongoing legal challenges, the law remains in effect.

Continued support in the post-DADT era

Organizations like OutServe and others continue to provide resources for gay and lesbian soldiers, both in and out of the closet. OutServe was formed during the repeal fight and quickly grew to one of the largest organizations advocating for gay and lesbian inclusion in the military. “OutServe is still doing the same thing we were doing before the repeal, we’re still connecting and supporting thousands of LGBT military personnel,” Ty Walrod, co-director of OutServe, told GA Voice in a recent phone interview. Walrod said OutServe is now comprised of some 5,000 active-duty gay and lesbian soldiers. Many joined after DADT was officially repealed. OutServe publishes a bi-monthly magazine specifically for gay and lesbian soldiers that is distributed to military bases across the world. The group also organizes the largest annual conference for out military personnel. Set for October, the OutServe International Leadership Conference will bring together hundreds of active-duty out military members. “Before, when we had “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a conference like that would have been impossible,” Walrod said. Increased visibility has come with out servicemembers, but Walrod acknowledged the work that needs to take place before military policies for gay and lesbian soldiers mirror those for heterosexual soldiers. “Spouses don’t get equal treatment. Co-location at the same base is a challenge for OutServe members. OutServe members want to have access to the same working conditions and the same benefits, rights and responsibilities as everyone else in the military. There are certain federal statutes that stand in the way of that like DOMA,” Walrod said. With continued progress on LGBT equality, the military still has many firsts in the coming years. From allowing transgender soldiers to openly serve to providing spousal benefits for families of out soldiers, there is much left to advocate. But the military now has a loud, and proud, voice to continue that march.

Shattering the military’s gay glass ceiling

Promotion makes Army reservist highest ranking out service member By Ryan Watkins

Less than a year after the official repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, Brig. Gen. Tammy Smith of the United States Army Reserve became the first-ever openly gay or lesbian general. Smith, a career officer, is the director of the Army Reserve Human Capital Core Enterprise. Smith has served in Panama, Costa Rica and most recently Afghanistan. She currently lives in Washington, D.C. GA Voice asked Smith about her career, her status as a role model and the challenges that gay and lesbian soldiers continue to face in the post-DADT era. When did you first enlist? What were some of your early assignments? I was commissioned through the Reserve Officers Training Corps in 1986 at the University of Oregon. I attended college on a four-year ROTC scholarship. My first assignment was in the Republic of Panama, which was great for a new lieutenant. I love that I was exposed to a nonU.S. culture and I really learned to appreciate cultures that are different than mine, and to also be thankful for the life I had in the United States. The one-year anniversary of the DADT repeal implementation is quickly approaching. In your view, how has military culture changed in the year that gay and lesbian soldiers have been allowed to serve openly? I don’t really think the military culture has changed. The Army was already resilient and diverse. Repeal simply added another layer of diversity. So far, all indications are that repeal has been overall positive. How did you manage to stay under the radar during the DADT years? Were you ever worried about being outed and disciplined or even discharged? I stayed off the map, so-to-speak, by keeping my two lives separate. I didn’t talk about my home life to my military peers. I compartmentalized my two lives in my mind and in how I interacted in the world. Individuals serving under DADT were worried about being outed and it was always in the background, which is why there was so much diligence to keep the two lives separate. How long have you and your wife, Tracey Hepner, been together? Has she always been supportive of your career in the military?

Brig. Gen. Tammy Smith (right) and her wife, Tracey Hepner, celebrated at Smith’s promotion ceremony. (Photos courtesy U.S. Army Reserve)

She sure looked proud in photos from your promotion ceremony. Tracey and I met in 2004 and were married in Washington, D.C., on 31 March 2012. We were married at the Jefferson Memorial. She understands that a soldier wants to serve, and she marginalized herself so that I could serve. She understood that I had to compartmentalize my life and lead two separate lives. She understood, but it didn’t mean that as a civilian she had to be silent. I am so proud of Tracey’s participation as a partner who provided direct testimony and discussion to the Department of Defense Comprehensive Working Group, the lead Pentagon entity responsible for conducting the study that measured the impact that potentially repealing DADT would have upon military readiness. We imagined that her participation was risky to my career, but you reach a point where risk feels necessary. The DoD was very professional and kept the identities of the participants off the record. Tracey was a powerful voice to the comprehensive working group, informing understanding within the DoD about LGBT military families. What are some of the outstanding issues that gay and lesbian soldiers still face, like gaining spousal benefits and family housing? The Department of Defense is continuing to work through how to support all military families. The DoD General Counsel Jeh Johnson, who spoke at the Pentagon LGBT Pride event and was also the lead for the Comprehensive Working Group, noted in his Pentagon remarks that “The repeal of DADT reveals certain inequities

between similarly situated couples in the military community. This troubles many of our leaders. On the other hand, we must comply with current law, including the defense of marriage act.” I understand that the Department of Defense must comply with law, but I am comforted by Jeh Johnson’s remarks. What advice do you have for gay and lesbian soldiers or people considering joining the military in the post-DADT era? My advice is to remain focused on that service to the country is a selfless act. The first concern should be to serving something larger than you. If a young person feels called to service. They should answer that call now. Are you comfortable with being identified as role model? I am growing into my “role model” identification. I would suggest that simply being gay isn’t any sort of leader attribute, but I have come to believe that people are identifying with the personal courage and the integrity that I exhibited by having Tracey introduced as my partner at the promotion ceremony, and by having her put that star on my shoulder. In addition to my father, her parents also participated in the ceremony. It was truly a family event. Tracey and I talked in length prior to my promotion about my pending responsibilities, and we agreed that we needed to live an authentic life. We are a military family that happens to be gay, not a gay family that happens to be military. Our role as a couple is to support our soldiers and their families.

August 31, 2012

GA Voice



August 31, 2012

GA Voice

Atlanta settles HIV police discrimination suit for $250k A man who was denied employment with the Atlanta Police Department because he is HIV positive will receive a $250,000 settlement from the city. “People with HIV are working in law enforcement all across this country, and there is no reason their service should not be welcomed and encouraged by the Atlanta Police Department,” said Scott Schoettes, HIV project director for Lambda Legal, the non-profit group that represented the anonymous plaintiff, identified in court records as “Richard Roe.” The settlement was announcement Aug. 22 by Lambda Legal. Roe first applied to the APD in early 2006, but was told he was disqualified when a pre-employment medical exam showed he was HIV-positive, according to Lambda Legal. Roe sued the city when he wasn’t hired. City lawyers first maintained that Atlanta did not have a policy against hiring police officers with HIV, then later claimed that his HIV status presented a “direct threat” to others. “Actions speak louder than words,” said Steve Koval, who represented Roe early in the lawsuit and served as co-counsel with Lambda

Attorney Steve Koval said he hopes the city of Atlanta will not continue to have to spend taxpayer dollars to ‘defend discriminatory conduct.’ (Photo via Facebook)

Legal as the case progressed. “Throughout this litigation, the city claimed it had not discriminated against our client based on his HIV status, but this settlement shows otherwise. Let’s hope the city takes the additional steps necessary to ensure it doesn’t ever again have to spend taxpayer dollars to defend its discriminatory conduct.” — Laura Douglas-Brown

Former Atlanta gay bar go-go dancer guilty of human trafficking

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office

A former go-go dancer at Atlanta gay bar victims were identified as being from Alabama, BJ Roosters faces 25-50 years in prison on South Carolina and Georgia. human trafficking charges and Lemery used social network25 to life on aggravated child ing sites such as Facebook and molestation charges after being Myspace to lure teen boys to have found guilty of luring young sex with him at his house in Dougpeople via the internet to his las County but then would not alhome for sex and also selling low them to leave. Lemery also althem for sex to others. legedly did not feed the boys and Steven Lemery was found kept them locked in a closet. guilty on Friday, Aug. 24, acLynch, aka Pasha Nicole, cording to a report in the Dougpleaded guilty in March 2012 to las County Sentinel. Lemery was sexual exploitation of children, arrested in March 2011 along pimping, pandering by compulwith Atlanta drag personality Steven Lemery sion and sexual exploitation of Pasha Nicole, whose legal name children. Lynch was sentenced is Christopher Thomas Lynch. to 30 years in prison and manThey were indicted in April 2011. According dated to spend the first 14 behind bars. to Douglas law enforcement, the investigation into the two began in January 2011 and multiple — Dyana Bagby

Wait list eliminated for Ga. AIDS Drug Assistance Program After topping the nation just a few months ago for the most people waiting for help through the AIDS Drug Assistance Drug Program, the Georgia state Department of Public Health announced Aug. 24 that the wait list had been eliminated. “The reduction of our wait list to zero is a remarkable accomplishment, especially considering where we were in 2011,” said DPH Commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald in a prepared statement. In December, there were 1,520 people who were on the wait list for life-saving drugs used to treat HIV and AIDS — making Georgia the state with the highest number of people on an ADAP wait list.

According to the DPH: “More than 350 patients previously enrolled in ADAP have now been transitioned to the relatively new Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP). Along with medications like those provided by ADAP, PCIP also provides participants with physician care.” The PCIP is part of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Eliminating Georgia’s ADAP wait has taken more than two years. The list was implemented on July 1, 2010, making it the first time Georgia had such a list in years. — Dyana Bagby

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August 31, 2012

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WHEN: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 WHERE: CNN Center, 190 Marietta Street Northwest, Atlanta, GA 30303 TIME: 8:30 AM – 12:00 PM CNN CENTER TOUR: Free CNN tours will be available after the seminar (50 person limit)

Creating Transgender Inclusion In The Workplace An Educational Seminar What is it like for an employee to re-enter the workplace after they have undergone gender reassignment surgery? What are some change and culture considerations for companies? What are Atlanta companies doing to address this issue? Who should attend?

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REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. SHRM credit hours will be given. Continental breakfast and coffee will be served. There is no cost to attend this event.

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Show your Pride, Georgia! Upcoming fests celebrate LGBT life in Athens, Savannah, Valdosta and Columbus

GA Voice


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By Laura Douglas-Brown June might be National LGBT Pride Month, but fall is when Pride season really heats up in Georgia. In addition to Black Gay Pride in Atlanta over Labor Day weekend, four areas around the state host Pride events in September, followed by the massive Atlanta Pride in October. The second annual Athens Pride Weekend, set for Sept. 6-9, features several events rather than one large festival. It launches Sept. 6 with the 18th annual GLOBES reception at the University of Georgia and an after-party, and concludes Sunday, Sept. 9, with a Pride church service at Our Hope MCC, a commitment ceremony, a Pride picnic at Lake Herrick Pavilion at UGA, and a cabaret. The same weekend, Savannah Pride pulls out all the stops for the city’s 13th annual Pride Fest, planned for noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8, in Forsyth Park. The festival’s headliner is pop / R&B singer JoJo; other entertainers include The Cusses, Atlanta’s fave trans rocker Amber Taylor and the Sexual Side Effects, She N She, and more. Other highlights include more than 50 vendors and a children’s area. “Savannah Pride has reached a new level of entertainment this year. We started 2012 wanting to focus on giving back to the community, this is just one way we feel we’re able to do that,” Savannah Pride President Chris Brown writes in a recent blog for Visit Savannah ( “This year alone Savannah Pride has given thousands of dollars worth of donations and support to several different charities including Safe Shelter, and the domestic violence shelter in Savannah,” Brown says. Savannah Pride charges an admission fee of $5 before 5 p.m. or $7 after. Related events include the Miss Savannah Pride Pageant on Thursday, Sept. 6, at Club One; the White Party at Brockington Hall on Friday night; and Sunday’s Volunteer Appreciation Dinner at Club One.

August 31, 2012

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Savannah Pride, the state’s second longest-running LGBT festival, will bring throngs to Forsyth Park on Sept. 8. (Photo by Chris Seely)

Regional celebrations in South and Central Ga.

The crowds won’t be as large, but the community spirit will be just as strong the next weekend as South Georgia Pride comes to Valdosta. The day-long event takes place Sept. 15 from noon until 7 p.m. at John W. Saunders Park, with organizers expecting about 800 attendees. South Georgia Pride brings headlining performances by folk singer Julie Schurr and hiphop performer Young Kaii, plus other entertainers, food, games and more. The festival will remain decidedly familyfriendly, organizers say. “We at South Georgia Pride feel that in order to inflict positive change, it is crucial that we put emphasis on the moral structures of love, tolerance, and family that truly embody the LGBT community of Valdosta,” says Pride Executive Director Richard Willis. Despite Mayor John Gayle’s refusal to grant a proclamation for South Georgia Pride, leaders said they think support for the LGBT community is growing in Valdosta. “I think that with every year by hosting this event we are making a difference,” says Assistant Executive Director Raynae Williams. “That it is giving Valdosta an opportunity to get to know us

MORE INFO Athens Pride Weekend Sept. 6-9 at multiple locations in Athens Savannah Pride Sept. 8 at Forsyth Park in Savannah, GA South Georgia Pride Sept. 15 in Valdosta, GA Chattahoochee Valley Pride Sept. 29 in Flat Rock Park in Columbus, GA Atlanta Pride Oct. 13-14 in Piedmont Park as ‘people’ and not as a weird ‘lifestyle.’” September concludes with another regional Pride — Chattahoochee Valley Pride on Sept. 28 at Flat Rock Park in Columbus, Ga. The goal of organizers, according to the Chattahoochee Valley Pride website, is to “look beyond race or culture and provide the tools needed to elevate the LBGT community to a socially accepted status, a status that will encourage ‘society’ as a whole to look beyond our sexual orientation and view us as we should be as human beings, first and foremost.”

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Atlanta Cotillion prepares to crown new queen AID Atlanta celebrates “11 years of royalty” with the annual Atlanta Cotillion on Saturday, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m. at The Foundry at Puritan Mill in Atlanta. “The cotillion is a fundraising event based off of a traditional Southern cotillion,” says Steven Igarashi, Gay Men’s Health & Wellness Coordinator at AID Atlanta. “Each year, there is a class of debutantes that is made up of men from the LGBT community. They volunteer to serve as a debutante and create a persona, which is their drag character. They spend cotillion season raising money for AID Atlanta.” As with a traditional cotillion, these debutantes will be presented at the ball by their escorts to celebrate their fundraising success. The evening culminates with the crowning of the Queen of the Atlanta Cotillion Ball, the debutante who raised the most for AID Atlanta. The three gentlemen debutantes who will be battling for the title of queen are David Janke (Victoria Isabel “Tore’bella” Candler), Jose Guillen (Maria Francesca Della Catessen “Cupcake” Gonzaga) and Scott Tucker (Virginia Bouvier-St. Cloud). Event Chair Ronnie Mallette had a specific goal in mind for this year’s event. “I wanted to make sure that the event would be something that the straight community would want to get involved with. In past years, it was a requirement for everyone who attended to dress in drag. Then, we allowed some to come in tux-



MORE INFO Atlanta Cotillion Ball Saturday, Sept. 15, 7 p.m. Foundry at Puritan Mill 916 Joseph E. Lowery Blvd., Atlanta, GA 30318

Atlanta Cotillion features men dressed as women competing to raise funds to fight HIV. (Photo by Brent Corcoran/RNZ Photography)

edos but only a certain percentage. This year, we aren’t enforcing that,” Mallette says. Attire for Cotillion can pose some interesting questions, but the one most asked of Mallette is this: Why do gown seats cost $85 but

tuxedo seats cost $160? “We wanted to make it cheaper for the people in drag since they spend so much to look gorgeous,” he answers. In addition to the traditional cotillion components, the entertainment includes drag star Varla Jean Merman and celebrity impersonator Randy Roberts, known for portrayals of Cher, Bette Midler and others. Igarashi describes the event as “huge” for AID Atlanta. “The money that it generates is crucial to the work that we do. The amount of money that these few individuals raise each year is typically over $100,000. When you think about how much money is being raised by such a small number of people, it says something about the commitment of these men to the cause of AID Atlanta and their passion for it,” he says. — Shannon Hames

Events focus on transgender issues in the workplace Human relations professionals, as well as other parties interested in diversity, have a golden opportunity to learn more about the issues surrounding transgendered employees. Out & Equal of Atlanta, in conjunction with Turner Broadcasting’s TurnOut, hosts two back-toback events to help foster dialogue about issues that come up when an employee experiences a gender transition. On Tuesday, Sept. 18, a special screening of the film “No Dumb Questions” will be shown at Turner Broadcasting. This film is a lighthearted documentary profiling three sisters, ages 6, 9 and 11, struggling to understand why and how their Uncle Bill is becoming a woman. Filmmaker Melissa Regan will answer questions along with the father of the girls and, for the first time, the three sisters together. Since this film was made 10 years ago, the sisters have a different perspective and are eager to share with the audience about the process they went through. “Now that the girls are older, we have an opportunity to do a longitudinal study of one family and having open dialog at the beginning of the process and see how life goes on,” Regan says. Regan decided to make the film as a response to being told by her mother not to share the fact

MORE INFO • ‘No Dumb Questions’ film screening Sept. 18, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Turner Entertainnment Network 1050 Techwood Drive, Atlanta, GA 30318 • Educational seminar Sept. 19, 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. at CNN Center 190 Marietta Street, Atlanta, GA 30303 Registration required:

that she was a lesbian with her younger siblings. “When I came out as a lesbian, I had little sisters that were about the same age as the girls in the film were. My parents were insistent for years that I not tell them that I was gay. I had a sense that the girls in the film were really going to handle this news about their uncle in an open, honest way,” she says. The second event the following morning, Sept. 19 from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., is a free educational seminar about workplace issues that surround transgendered employees. Chip Newton, Out & Equal’s co-chair, notes how important these events are to corporate America.

In ‘No Dumb Questions,’ three young girls talk matter-of-factly about their Uncle Bill becoming Aunt Barbara. (Screen capture)

“This training addresses serious issues that companies are grappling with such as transgender worker re-entry into the workplace after transitioning,” he says. “Companies need to know how to alter their culture, how to help transitioning employees, and how do we help the other employees that are surrounding the person going through the transition?” — Shannon Hames

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GA Voice


Mixx blends social, upscale atmosphere Upcoming events at Mixx

Club undergoes renovations ahead of re-branding campaign The owners of Mixx are in the middle of a series of renovations designed to make the club more comfortable and upscale — something they believe is lacking in LGBT Atlanta’s nightlife scene. The bar first opened in 2009 as one of the only non-smoking venues in Midtown and has since become a popular after-work destination. The 3,200 square-foot club features a large dance floor, two bars, a covered outdoor area and a wall-sized projection system that plays music videos. Mixx hosts a variety of weekly events, including local pianist David Reeb, Texas Hold’em Poker and the weekly Grown and Sexy Party, but the bar’s owners are planning a series of upcoming events they hope will make Mixx a local nightlife fixture. A three-day event for the fall is in the works, which will showcase the bar’s new attitude. Called “The Big Chill,” the event will show off the renovations and new theme “Chill at Mixx.” The bar’s owners say there will be giveaways and activities for patrons during the event. The goal is to make Mixx an upscale video lounge during the day and a hopping nightclub at


SPOTLIGHT night, the owners MORE INFO say. At night and on the weekends, Mixx Atlanta 1492B Piedmont Ave. NE the theme becomes Atlanta, GA 30309 “Sizzle at Mixx.” Jim Randig, Mixx’s general manager and its first employee, says the next big event for the lounge revolves around Labor Day Weekend’s Black Gay Pride celebration. “We have different models coming in and liquor promotions,” Randig says. The smoke-free atmosphere is appealing to many of Atlanta’s residents, including part-time TNT basketball commentator Charles Barkley, who Randig says might just be Mixx’s most famous patron so far.

Mixx plans a series of renovations and events to invite patrons to ‘Chill at Mixx’ earlier in the day and ‘Sizzle at Mixx’ later at night. (Courtesy photo)

“He came in taping during the basketball season,” Randig says. “We’re one of the few non-smoking bars that advertise in the city. He had a couple of drinks with his entourage.” Barkley, Randig says, was a great customer and even posed with a fan for a picture.

During the year, Mixx hosts several charity events to benefit local nonprofit organizations. The next event is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 29, and will benefit AID Atlanta. Other upcoming events include an evening Q&A with drag performer Coco Peru as part of the 2012 Out on Film festival. Peru will join “Trick” director Jim Fall on Oct. 10 following a screening of the film. She will also perform her one woman show Oct. 11 at Mixx. Peru’s appearance is part of Mixx’s new “Backstage at Mixx” entertainment showcase, which is billed as an intimate evening with entertainers. Other personalities to have participated in the series include funnyman Leslie Jordan and Amy and Freddy, a comedic duo from Chicago. Mixx has also become the new unofficial home for author readings since Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse closed earlier this year. In a partnership with gift/bookstore Brushstrokes, Mixx has hosted readings from Atlanta author K. Murry Johnson, dating blogger Totally Tyler and Big Meach. Future author readings and book signings are also in the works. — Ryan Watkins

Varner, Fantasia, Noel, Fiona publicity photos. Events by Dyana Bagby and Brent Corcoran/RNZ Photography

All night long Black Pride’s nightlife scene scales back on major stars, but still promises plentiful parties

There won’t be a Nicki Minaj versus Lil Kim drama storm, a Brandy sing-a-long or Kelly Rowland waving to the masses at this year’s Black Gay Pride. Expect old-fashioned block parties, plenty of great music from up-and-coming artists, and still a few notable names including Elle Varner, Fantasia and Melanie Fiona. Tough economic times are taking a toll on Black Gay Pride promoters known for bringing in the big names and many decided this was the year to cut back and work to produce quality parties with great talent at affordable pricing. For the first time ever, Traxx Atlanta, Rockstars Production and the Lions Den are combining their VIP and Club Hopper passes so participants can purchase one pass from any promoter and have access to all parties the promoters are producing. Phillip Boone, owner of Traxx Atlanta, said it was time for the promoters to come together to show solidarity, get rid of some of the competition as well as serve the clients in the best and most affordable way — and with these three promoters working together, he said he hopes the venture is successful.

search. This year there will be a live performance by Eva Kennedy, a favorite of Atlanta’s music scene, and the event is hosted by Juelz and Onyx from the Atlanta-based web show “Between Women.” Traxx Girls is also known for packing out the Georgia Freight Depot on the Saturday of Black Gay Pride (Sept. 1) with some 4,000 Sapphic partiers for its “Big Bang” show. Headlining the show is Canadian Melanie Fiona, a 2012 Grammy-award winner for her R&B song “Fool for You” with Atlanta’s own Cee Lo Green. Also on Saturday, Traxx Atlanta, RockStars Production and Lions Den will host a block party with Melanie Fiona performing. The entire block of Spring Street, from 3rd Street to 4th Street, will be blocked off for people to party. There will be reggae, hip hop, house and R&B playing inside and outside at the club at the center of it all, XS Ultra Lounge, along with Apache Cafe and Quad. There will of course be plenty of action for the men as well with a sexy pool party at the Melia Hotel, the host hotel for Black Gay Pride, on Saturday. A J-Sette competition will be at XS Ultra Lounge also on Saturday before the men primp to go out to the Georgia Freight Depot for one of the largest gatherings of black gay men. Last year, Brandy performed. At press time this year, Traxx Atlanta could only promise an international recording artist to be announced.

Party all the time

‘So many beautiful black gay men’

By Dyana Bagby

Traxx Atlanta and Traxx Girls scored this year with Elle Varner, whose debut album “Perfectly Imperfect” is now at No. 4 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip Hop Albums. Her song “Only Wanna Give It to You” is also a hit in the clubs. Varner will perform her hits “Only Want to Give It to You” and “Refill” on Friday, Aug. 31, for Traxx Atlanta at 595 North with doors opening at 10 p.m. She also performs for Traxx Girls the same night at 1789 Cheshire Bridge Road. “We’re very excited to get Elle Varner,” said Melissa Scott, owner of Traxx Girls. Other acts lined up for Traxx Girls include Melanie Fiona and stars from the VH1 hit reality TV show “Love and Hip Hop,” based in Atlanta. The show just had part one of its reunion show air this week and breakout “Love and Hip Hop” star Joseline will judge the “legendary” Traxx Girls wet t-shirt contest on Saturday, Sept. 1, at Primal. Girls, it’s time to get wet. The annual “Booze Cruise” on Friday, Aug. 31, by Traxx Girls allows women to take a boat ride around Lake Lanier with an open bar while also helping raise money for breast cancer re-

Wassup N ATL brings Fantasia back to Atlanta Black Gay Pride after her successful show in 2010. This time, however, Fantasia will mingle with guests and share intimate moments in the setting of the Nest as part of the official after-party for her concert on Saturday, Sept. 1, at the Labor Day Music Festival at Wolf Creek Amphitheater. “Fantasia will be in town performing and we are providing the official after-party for her show,” said Mario Harris, owner of Wassup N ATL. The Labor Day Concert at Wolf Creek also features Joe, Tony Terry and Dru Hill. Harris said to expect celebrities at the Nest for the after party, but likely no performance — instead, he said, Fantasia wants to mingle with her loyal gay fans. “Our most challenging obstacle this year is getting talent. It used to be there was a plethora of talent with good songs — now nobody is making good music and some who are we can’t afford,” Harris said bluntly. With Wassup N ATL also celebrating its 10th year and understanding the tough economic

Black Gay Pride

August 31, 2012

GA Voice


Some of the highest-profile performers at this year’s Black Gay Pride include (left to right) Melanie Fiona, Elle Varner and Fantasia. (Publicity photos)

times, all of its events (besides VIP treatment) are just $10. And it’s back to basics for the gay men who travel from such places as Japan, Puerto Rico and Venezuela to attend the largest Black Pride event in the nation — strippers, porn stars, DJs and dancing. Also, underwear fashion shows where you can buy the underwear right off the model on Sunday, Sept. 2, at Dirty Ratz. “We have so many beautiful black gay men from all over the world come to Atlanta,” he said. “Our underwear fashion show has been going on for five years and is one of the most popular events.” And while there is plenty of partying and, yes, hooking up just like any gay party event, Harris says the fellowship Black Gay Pride brings is his favorite part of being a club promoter. “We’re meeting other gay brothers who can sometimes help take our life to another level,” he says. All club promoters acknowledged they are feeling the heat of a long-term recession and clients who cannot pay extravagant prices to see the likes of Nicki Minaj. So it’s back to the “meat and potatoes” for Black Gay Pride this year, Harris said. “We sent out emails asking our customers what they wanted and they all said they wanted it to be affordable,” Harris said. But be on the lookout for talent Harris said is not to be missed — on Friday at Jungle, there will be the Blatino Awards with live performances by Harris’ favorite “fag hags” — former Danity Kane songstress D. Woods; singer and rapper Elite Noel (younger

sister of Keyshia Cole and BET reality TV star); Paris Bennett of “American Idol”; and Miss Chi Chi of “Too Wong Fu, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar” fame. Friday night’s festivities are hosted by Brent Star. Harris said this promises to open Black Gay Pride on a serious party note. “We want to bring the focus back on the customer,” Harris said.

For ‘all flavas’

“What goes on in Atlanta stays in Atlanta” is the motto of this year’s Girls in the Night 17th annual Femme-Nomen-Non Labor Day weekend. The event is not about black women, white women or purple women, says Lisa Cox, owner of Girls in the Night. There will be plenty of options for women including a trip to strip club Magic City on Thursday, Aug. 30; and the “Midnight in Paris All Black Affair” on Friday, Aug. 31, at Compound featuring recording artist Rasheeda and hosted by Mimi Faust and Ariane Davis of “Love and Hip Hop” fame. Cox is especially thrilled to bring the Juicy to Atlanta, the famous club seen in “The Real L Word.” DJs and dancers from the Los Angeles Club are coming to Atlanta to bring Juicy to the ATL and transform Museum Bar into a scene from “The Real L Word” including stars Whitney Mixter and Sara Bettencourt. “We want to make sure all women feel welcome. That’s why we say all flavas. This is about lesbian pride for us,” Cox says.

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GA Voice

August 31, 2012

Black Gay Pride

Black Gay Pride celebrates community, culture Get empowered with In the Life Atlanta, State of Black Gay America Summit, Pure Heat fest By Dyana Bagby Every year, Atlanta Black Gay Pride makes headlines for its headliners. But there is another side of Pride that invites attendees to come together to think about how to empower the community, plus celebrate identity through cultural events like author readings and film screenings. This year, Pride goers can also visit Piedmont Park to participate in organized activities and free, live entertainment. Far from criticizing nightlife, two of Black Gay Pride’s major community events are put on by leaders who also organize club events. This year perhaps sparks a movement to bring both sides of the coin together.

Summit focuses on ‘collective power’

The State of Black Gay America Summit, set for Saturday, Sept. 1, at the Melia Hotel, aims to come up with answers rather than focus on questions, according to co-founder Darlene Hudson. The event is put on in conjunction with Xtreme Entertainment, which also promotes nightlife events. “We try to bring solutions and not just highlight problems in our community,” Hudson says. “We will also talk about the power of the people and talk about resilience and how we deal with oppression and how it helps us find our voice.” This year, past panelist Je-Shawna C. Wholley, a Spelman alumna who has been recognized for her work on behalf of LGBT people by the Human Rights Campaign and the National Black Justice Coalition, will be the keynote speaker at the summit. Wholley is a senior fellow with the NBJC and while at Spelman she was the president of Afrekete, the LGBT student group. A special guest appearance will be made by Keith Boykin, a New York Times best selling author, BET columnist, contributor to CNBC, MSNBC and CNN, and former White House aide to President Bill Clinton. He is also editor of the anthology, “For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Still Not Enough.” The theme for this year’s summit is “Embracing Our Collective Power to Influence Change. It will include five “power panel” discussions on the Affordable Care Act, how to fund progressive organizations and support political allies, faith, prevention and research and also resilience in the black gay communities. The summit will include a special tribute to Rudolph P. Byrd of the James Weldon Johnson

MORE INFO In the Life Atlanta events Thursday, Aug. 29-Sunday, Sept. 2 The Melia Hotel, State of Black Gay America Summitt Saturday, Sept. 1 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the The Melia Hotel 590 W. Peachtree St., Atlanta, GA 30308 Pure Heat Community Festival Piedmont Park Sunday, Sept. 2, noon to 8 p.m. Institute for the Study of Race and Difference at Emory University, a gay scholar who studied modern day civil rights and died in 2011. Panel discussions are free. A lunch special is available for purchase to include keynote speakers. The summit takes place from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

In the Life Atlanta celebrates‘Sweet 16’

In the Life Atlanta, a nonprofit dedicated to organizing Black Gay Pride events, celebrates its “Sweet 16” of community involvement in 2012. “We are the cultural side of Pride,” says Rickie Smith, board member of ITLA. Each year, ITLA produces a film festival, a literary cafe, a candlelight vigil to remember those who have died, a fashion show as well a marketplace for vendors to sell their crafts. All events are at the Melia Hotel unless otherwise stated. ITLA events and parties kick off on Friday, Aug. 31, at the Melia with an opening ceremony at 8 p.m. featuring filmmaker Maurice Jamal followed by the sexy and erotic SpeakFire erotic poetry readings beginning at midnight. “This is truly an adult show,” Smith says. There will also be a Health Expo on Saturday, Sept. 1, at the hotel with 26 vendors providing free health screenings and HIV testing, Smith says. Craig Washington of AID Atlanta says AID Atlanta programs Deeper Love and the Evolution Project, which target black gay men, will join the ITLA Health Expo to provide HIV

Left to right: Je-Shawna Wholley is this year’s keynote speaker at the State of Black Gay America Summit on Sept. 1. KeKe Wyatt headlines the Pure Heat Community Festival in Piedmont Park on Sept. 2 while Derek J of ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ fame will judge a hair competition at the park festival. (Wholley and Wyatt photos via Facebook; Derek J publicity photo).

testing as well as pass out safer sex kits. “We’ll also be hosting a lounge discussion at the ITLA marketplace (Friday, Aug. 31, from 6-10 p.m.) — to allow for free flowing discussion with attendees. This gives people a chance to discuss issues relevant to them in a way that’s not so starchy, formal,” Washington says. There will be plenty of time for introspection with the Literary Cafe on Sept. 1 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. featuring Tim’M and Chris Beckwith, author of “Raw.” Also on hand will be author Daniel Black of Clark University with his book “A Perfect Peace.” Another major event is the See Us in the Life Film Festival on Sept. 1 from 2-10 p.m. The major red carpet film showing at 6:30 p.m. is “Finding Me: Truth,” a romantic drama and sequel to “Finding Me” that focuses on a group of tight-knit friends in Jersey City. ITLA closes out its festivities with a fashion show on Sunday, Sept. 2, from 8 p.m. to midnight. That same night, ITLA hosts the second annual White Party by “Tha Bigdogs” that “caters to the big men of color and all of their admirers.”

Pure Heat in Piedmont Park

Sundays in Piedmont Park have always been a place for black gay people to gather, have picnics and barbecues. Over Labor Day weekend, the park gets even more crowded and celebratory. This year, however, Traxx Girls and the Vision Community Foundation wanted to harness the community energy into something positive. They are organizing the first Pure Heat Community

Festival that will include gospel singing, a hair competition, a J-Sette competition, live musical entertainment and more. Headlining the event is KeKe Wyatt, who has a gold album, “Soul Sista,” from 2001 and in 2010 became a spokesperson for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence after surviving an abusive relationship. “People already congregate there so we wanted to bring some unity,” says Melissa Scott of Traxx Girls. The fest is meant to unite the community, Scott stressed, and she hopes local politicians will attend and non-profit groups will have time on the stages to share information about their organizations. The pavilion in the park across from the pool will have House music playing all day and will be a memorial to those who have passed, including Durand Robinson, the owner of Traxx Atlanta who was shot and killed in Atlanta in 2010. His killing has not been solved. There will be HIV testing available at the pavilion as well. Darlene Hudson, organizer of the State of Black Gay America Summit, praised Traxx and Traxx Girls and other nightlife participants for organizing the festival in the park because it shows “solidarity” between the club scene and community organizers. “You all are setting precedent,” Hudson says. Washington of AID Atlanta, who will be at the fest with others providing HIV testing, added also this festival was a long time coming. “Too long there has been the perception of divided camps — the party kids and workshop/ activists kids,” he added. “But this is a social event to bring us all together. “Plus, back LGBT people — we need to see each other in the light and outdoors,” he adds with a laugh.

Labor Gay grab bag



Three days of huge LGBT-inclusive events as Hotlanta’s summer winds down It might as well be called Labor Gay Weekend for all of the LGBT and gay-inclusive events crammed into the three-day holiday. Along with Black Gay Pride packing venues around Atlanta, you can also head out to these other diverse major events. Need still more to keep you entertained for Labor Day weekend? Check out our Best Bets calendar starting on Page 40.

LGBT draws at Dragon*Con

As over 50,000 fans of science fiction and fantasy hit Atlanta over Labor Day weekend for Dragon*Con, there are plenty of guests and events at the intersection of gay and geek. One of the biggest names at this year’s convention will be John Barrowman, the actor who portrays the “omni-sexual” Jack Harkness on the BBC’s “Dr. Who” and “Torchwood,” which aired on BBC America and now Showtime. The character has had a number of homosexual relationships while Barrowman has used his fame to promote gay rights in his native Scotland and across the world. He has produced the documentary “Making of Me” that attempted to determine what caused him to be gay. While Barrowman has the largest profile of openly gay guests at Dragon*Con, the convention’s roster also includes Nelsan Ellis, who portrays Lafayette Reynolds on HBO’s “True Blood,” and openly gay writer David Gerrold, who worked on the original “Star Trek” and whose autobiographical “The Martian Child,” about an openly gay man adopting a boy who claims to be a Martian, was made into a movie. There is LGBT-specific programming every day of Dragon*Con, but since most of the panels rely on questions from the audience, gay issues can appear in almost any panel. Outside of scripted programming, the Rainbow Flag Party continues to grow and will be held in the Sheraton on Saturday night. While the convention requires memberships in order to enter the hotels, the yearly parade Saturday morning is free to the public and shows off one of Dragon*Con’s more interesting features: homemade costumes. Expect plenty to set off your gaydar.

For schedules and venues, visit www.

‘Peach’ gay tennis tournament

Tennis players from across the country will be in town this weekend for the 25th annual Peach International Tennis Tournament, sponsored by Atlanta Team Tennis Association, the city’s gay and lesbian tennis league. According to Thanh Doan, ATTA’s president, roughly 185 players will compete in this year’s event. The biggest LGBT tennis tournament in the Southeast, The Peach this year is part of the Masters series of the larger Gay & Lesbian Tennis Alliance, in which players accumulate points by how they fare at each tournament throughout the season. The Peach offers men’s and women’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles in divisions Open, A, B, C and D. As well, there’s a 40+ division, offering players that age only one match a day. “We have a great women’s draw here and the mixed divisions are popular and competitive,” Doan says. The tournament committee tries to spice it up each year with its opening night draw party and the tournament-ending banquet. Einstein’s will host the 2012 draw party and Hudson Grille will be the site for the banquet, which will include some acknowledgment of the past 25 years. Most of the actual tennis will be at the DeKalb Tennis Center. Each year The Peach awards some of its net proceeds to various charities. This year’s beneficiaries are Jerusalem House and the Chris Lester Scholarship Fund. For more information, visit

Queer literature at the Decatur Book Fest

The Decatur Book Fest is now a Labor Day weekend tradition, drawing thousands to the Atlanta suburb. As in years’ past, the 2012 event features a series of LGBT readings and discussions in cooperation with the Atlanta Queer Literary Festival. “We work with Decatur Book Fest every year to insure LGBTQ voices are represent-

Left: One of the highest-profile gay guests at this year’s Dragon*Con is actor John Barrowman, who played Capt. Jack on ‘Torchwood.’ (Publicity photo) Top Right: The Peach International Tennis Tournament is the Largest LGBT tournament int he Southeastt. Bottom right: Carioca Productions brings DJ Isaac Escalante for a spin at Jungle on Saturday, Sept. 1 (Publicity photos, tennis by Brent Corcoran/RNZ Photographry)

ed,” says AQLF organizer Franklin Abbott, noting, “They approached us about helping to make the festival queer friendly.” “Divining Divas: 100 Gay Men on their Muses” features Michael Montlack and his newest anthology, along with several contributors, from 11:15 a.m. - 12 p.m. on Saturday at the City Hall Stage. “Identity and Self in a Shifting Landscape” brings together authors Eric Sasson and Carter Sickels with moderator Elizabeth Anderson of Charis Books & More from 1:45 - 2:30 p.m. at the Decatur Conference Center Auditorium. On Sunday, “A Different Sort of Family” sees authors Michael Lowenthal and Kerry Reichs with moderator Franklin Abbott from 12 - 12:45 p.m. at the Decatur Library, while “Hybrid Poets” brings Megan Volpert and Laura Mullen and their newest work from 1: 15 - 2 p.m. at the Decatur Conference Center Auditorium. Visit and choose the AQLF track for more details. While not part of the AQLF track, gay poet Mark Doty reads on Saturday with other writers included in the “Best American Poetry 2012” collection, and Deardria Nesbitt, who also reads at Charis Books & More for Black Gay Pride, speaks on Sunday at the Emerging Authors Stage.

Top DJs make nightlife even hotter

Labor Day weekend means an extra day of recovery no matter where you like to party.

While many of Atlanta’s dance queens will be braving wind and rain at Southern Decadence in New Orleans, our own Jungle, Heretic and Xion are planning events that might make your sinning sisters a little homesick. Friday, Aug. 31, Heretic welcomes the long weekend with local DJ Lydia Prim, who opens for international artist/DJ/producer Eddie Martinez. Saturday, Sept. 1, Jungle and Carioca Productions bring Mexico’s Isaac Escalante for an Atlanta performance. Escalante, who’s been a DJ since he was 16, is known for his house, tribal and electro house mixes that he spins all over South America and the world. It’s become standard for the private club Xion to keep the party going after the rest of the Cheshire Bridge corridor closes their doors. Washington DC’s DJ Alex Cohen returns to Atlanta for the occasion, bringing with him the beats that have caught the ear of DJs Chus & Ceballos and the legendary Tony Moran. Saturday also sees some action for the ladies at Atlanta’s only lesbian bar, My Sister’s Room. Though loosely tied to Black Gay Pride, the bar’s Sin City party also offers some familiar faces from their usual line-up. Expect Vegas-style black jack, roulette and craps with hosts Jersey Moulin and Chase Daniels, DJ Pat Pat on the turntables, and performances by Brent Star, Skyler Lee and more. Usually closed on Sundays, Heretic opens its doors on Sunday, Sept. 2, for a special Labor Day party with DJ Alexander of Los Angeles. Dragon*Con by Matt Schafer; Peach Tennis Tournament by Jim Farmer; Decatur Book Fest by Laura Douglas-Brown; Nightlife by Bo Shell.






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COMEDY by Dyana Bagby

‘Mother,’ may I?

Margaret Cho’s new comedy tour is the mother of all shows

She sounded a bit tired in the phone interview. Between guest starring on a hit TV show, planning her “Mother” comedy tour, singing, embracing her new passion of riding motorcycles, starring on “Drop Dead Diva,” traveling, writing her blog, and answering the same questions from reporters all day, Margaret Cho has a right to be a bit reserved when not “on” in front of an audience. But Cho is still thrilled to be nominated for an Emmy for her guest actress appearance on “30 Rock.” She actually played a man — well, two men — to receive the Emmy nod. “It’s great. I really love that show. It’s an honor,” Cho said of the nomination. Cho’s parents came to the United States from South Korea due in part to the Kim Jong Il regime and the hardships he brought to the entire Korean peninsula. Cho’s mother loved seeing the cruel dictator get a bit of a comeuppance as he was portrayed and mocked by her daughter. “It was fun getting to make fun of something they were aware of,” Cho said. Plus, Cho added, no makeup was necessary to make her look like Kim Jong Il and his son. Without makeup and with the help of a fat suit, her appearance to the now dead dictator with the big square glasses was not a huge jump for Cho. The major battle was trying to figure out what he sounded like — there are not many recordings of the reclusive dictator, who died last year, so Cho’s imagination was able to run wild. Perhaps just like the character she portrayed. Cho is well-known for not only being funny but for poking fun at serious political issues in her comedy and her work — and not just crazy North Korean dictators. The Aug. 19 episode of Lifetime’s “Drop Dead Diva” focused on the fact that gay men cannot donate sperm according to federal Food & Drug Administration guidelines. The ban has been in place since 2005 due to concerns of STDs and HIV. Bringing awareness to this and other LGBT issues is the kind of writing and that makes Cho love working on the show so much. “I think we bring some things that are in the dark out into the light,” Cho said of the show, now in its fourth season. “This episode was a great example of what this show does. We definitely do a lot of that.”

‘Nothing is sacred’

But, wait, let’s talk about “Mother,” the tour that comes to Atlanta’s Punchline on Sept. 16. Cho knows she has almost made an industry of mocking her mother on stage — her exaggerated (or

Margaret Cho brings her ‘Mother’ tour to Atlanta on Sept. 16. (Photo by Austin Young)

MORE INFO Margaret Cho ‘Mother’ tour Sunday, Sept. 16, 7 p.m. Punchline Comedy Club 280 Hilderbrand Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30328 maybe not so exaggerated) accent, her obvious displeasure with some of her daughter’s choices. But Cho’s fans know her mother is probably one of the coolest people on the planet, especially toward the gays. Anyone remember the skit where Cho impersonates her mother telling the audience about her “daddy’s gay friend” in Korea? Check it out on Youtube; the moral of the story is good. Cho said compiling all the stories, jokes and morals from her mother into one show simply made sense. Her mother is tickled to be the focus of a tour and has never minded, too much, people laughing not at her, but with her. Cho said she and her mother share a deep bond, as evident on stage in Cho’s stories about her parents, and behind the scenes, the two are great friends who love to drink wine together for hours at a time. The show taps into both motherhood and queer culture with no holds barred, Cho says. “My all new standup show, ‘Mother,’ offers up an untraditional look at motherhood and how we look at maternal figures and strong women in queer culture. It’s probably my edgiest show to date, filled with riotous observations on race, drugs, sexuality — gay-straight-everything in between, celebrity, culture, politics — nothing is sacred,” she says. Of course nothing is sacred. This is Margaret Cho.

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by Jim Farmer

Funny phone sex

Gay best friend brings female roommates together for raunchy comedy

In gay director Jamie Travis’ raunchy new comedy “For a Good Time, Call…” two women who loathe each other initially grow to bond over, of all things, a phone sex operation. Lauren Powell (Lauren Anne Miller) and Katie Steele (Ari Graynor) have an unpleasant first meeting in college but years later, thanks to their mutual gay best friend Jesse (Justin Long), decide to room together out of financial necessity in New York. Prim Lauren finds out that Katie is a phone sex operator and, with her own professional life in limbo, decides to give it a go herself. In the film the women grow to fall in love with each other, but only as friends. Graynor, Miller (who co-wrote the film), Travis and co-writer Katie Anne Naylon were in Atlanta recently promoting the flick, which made waves at Sundance earlier this year. The filmmaking team knew going in they weren’t making a documentary on the industry but felt they could mine it for laughs. Miller feels the success of last year’s “Bridesmaids” has opened the door for films that show women can be as down and out dirty as men. “There was sort of a gap for a little while between the ‘80s and more recently that there really weren’t just straight comedies about women about things besides finding a man,” says Miller, who is married to Seth Rogen, who has a cameo in the film. “A few here and there, but really ‘Bridesmaids’ was the one that reawoke that genre. “It is super exciting. There seems to be a new wave and hopefully it won’t be even a ‘thing’ anymore. It’s just another comedy; you don’t have to say it’s an R rated female comedy,” Miller says. When Travis saw “Bridesmaids,” he remembers thinking “why don’t I see more movies like this?” “It felt so fresh and reminded me so much of the films from the ‘80s that I loved with Goldie Hawn and Shelley Long and Bette Midler,” he says. “Outrageous Fortune” is a personal fave. “For a Good Time, Call…” marks the second time Long has played gay following “Zack and Miri Make a Porno.” Travis worked hard not to make his character a stereotype. “Justin is such a talented actor; he brought so much to it,” Travis says. “He was better than we could have ever imagined. He took this character and made it so alive. I believe he was interested in me and my persona and my physicality. This became evident on our very first

A mutual gay best friend brings Lauren Powell (Lauren Anne Miller) and Katie Steele (Ari Graynor) together to launch a phone sex line in ‘For a Good Time, Call…’ (Publicity photo via Focus Features)

MORE INFO ‘For a Good time, Call…’ Opens Sept. 7 in Atlanta phone call that he had ideas about the role that were a bit different than mine. I wanted it to be a very grounded character that didn’t subscribe to stereotypes. “ Miller, Graynor and Naylon all say they have gay best friends in their own life. “I’m an only child and I have a gay brother,” Graynor says. “We were saying that the relationship between a woman and a gay man is so special, I think, because relationships between women, there can often be hints of competition in there. Even in healthy relationships, totally loving relationships, by the very nature of being two women there is innate competition. “Then, with a straight woman and a straight male, there is the question of sexual tension, but with a straight women and a gay male there is neither of those two things in place,” she says. Travis has screened the film to both straight and LGBT audiences and has been pleased with the reactions. “For me, I have always felt confident that gay men would love this film,” he says. “A lot of that is that because there is such a reverence for women in it, and that is something I feel and share with many of my gay male counterparts, this love and adoration for the girl friends in our lives. Lauren and Katie adore each other, and in any way the movie adores them, puts them on a pretty pink pedestal.” “For a Good Time, Call…” opens in Atlanta area theaters on Sept. 7.

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August 31, 2012


What is Out on Film?

Out on Film is Atlanta’s own LGBT film festival. We’re in our 25th season. Out on Film was created in 1987 to inform, entertain, educate and enrich the regional LGBT community by recognizing the creative work of LGBT artists and professionals.

What films will be shown?

Out on Film selects a variety of films for our LGBT audiences, including comedies, dramas, romances and documentaries. In addition, we screen multiracial and multi-cultural films.

Where is the event?

The majority of films are shown at the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema, 931 Monroe Drive, Atlanta GA 30308. Additional screenings will be held at other local venues.

How do I buy tickets?

Tickets can be purchased at, the Landmark theater, and online at the Landmark’s website. Please visit for more ticket information.


LGBT Film Festival

Celebrating Pride at the Movies October 4 - 11, 2012

Landmark Midtown Art Cinema

Are there other activities?

How can I learn more?

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Yes. Out on Film schedules opening and closing night parties plus events before and after select films, including Q&As with filmmakers. has complete details about films and schedules, including trailers, special events, and volunteering.


The Spence is the newest concept from TV ‘Top Chef’ Richard Blais of Atlanta . (Photo via Facebook)

#8: How to have sex with a Republican after dinner Paul Ryan, welfare programs, and bone marrow on toast Robert looked around the room and squinted. He was on a dinner date at the Spence and was happy to have an opportunity to check out the restaurant for a future meeting of the Atlanta Food Porn Supper Club. It wasn’t cheap and he was glad his date, Ronnie, had offered to foot the bill. “What do you think?” Ronnie asked. “Well, no restaurant in the city is as foodpornographic as this one,” Robert said. The Spence was opened by Richard Blais, the city’s kinky-cooking bad-boy chef, who won the title of “Top Chef” on Bravo’s TV show of the same name. Ronnie was the second man who attended a supper club meal and later invited Robert on a date. He was a successful real estate agent and had an intensely extroverted style that was a bit off-putting to the comparatively introverted Robert. This was even true in their way of dressing. Robert, a university professor, was in his usual jeans and polo shirt, while classically handsome Ronnie was in a dark, tailored suit. He explained that he’d been at a meeting and didn’t have time to change before he picked Robert up in his Mercedes. But he had appeared at the supper club in the same kind of getup.

Food Porn is a fictional series by longtime Atlanta food critic Cliff Bostock. Set in real Atlanta restaurants, it chronicles the adventures of Robert, a gay man in search of a husband — or at least a good meal. Read the whole series at Robert’s starter arrived — a huge, cracked cow bone with lots of roasted marrow to spread on toast. It was somewhat strangely topped with diced tuna tartare and two fried quail eggs. Some preserved lemon broke up the velvety textures and tastes. Meanwhile, Ronnie twirled uni-infused pasta on his fork and speared chunks of lobster. A man who might have been Ronnie’s clone appeared at the table. Ronnie jumped up to greet him. The man extended his hand to Robert. “I’m George,” he said enthusiastically. “I hope you’re keeping my buddy in line.” He turned to Ronnie. “Will I see you at our meeting next week?” he asked. “I’m very excited about Paul Ryan.” “I’ll be there,” Ronnie replied. Please see FOOD PORN on Page 37

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Food porn + presidential politics = one hot meal FOOD PORN, continued from Page 35 George headed back to his table and Ronnie explained that George was an old friend. They had been active in politics since college. “Paul Ryan?” Robert said, feeling confused. “The mean, out-of-touch Republican vice-presidential candidate? The liar whose budget proposals make no sense and whose

misogyny, racism, classism and homophobia make him the male Michele Bachmann?” Ronnie laughed. “Yep. I’m a longtime member of the Log Cabin Republicans and we are feeling better about Romney’s candidacy since he picked Ryan, who talks about real economic change.” Robert looked at Ronnie, waiting for a punchline.

“I’m disgusted,” he said finally. “You people really do support a party that opposes gay rights for the most part and has no hesitation in openly favoring the wealthy while it slashes support of the poor and middle class.” Robert sliced his country-fried steak and laughed. “I’m really tired of hearing that. We don’t favor punishing the poor. We want to stop overtaxing and regulating the very people

who can create jobs to employ the poor.” “And I’m likewise sick of hearing that,” Robert snapped. “Trickle-down economics is a theory whose originator has even abandoned it. Can you give me one example – one! – when reducing taxes on the wealthy resulted in more jobs? That’s what Bush did, and you can see how well that worked.” Robert angrily chewed a forkful of sousvide lamb. It was good enough that he felt calmer. Ronnie sighed. “Look, I don’t want to talk about politics, but you liberals have put the country in huge debt with your welfare programs. You complain about the huge military budget, yet your president has vastly enlarged the war. He’s….” “I’m not defending Obama,” Robert snapped “He might as well be a Republican in many respects, but he came around to supporting gay marriage….” “When re-election became of concern,” Ronnie interrupted. “And, by the way, who was responsible for pursuing ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ until it was overturned in the courts? The Log Cabin Republicans.” “You know,” Robert said, “you’re right. There’s no point in discussing this. We’ll never agree. If money matters more to you than anything else, vote Republican.” “This pineapple upside down cake is outrageous,” Ronnie said. “It makes me horny. Do you want to go back to my place?” “The only way I’d ever fuck a Republican is with a very rough, unlubricated condom,” Robert replied. “Sounds perfect to me,” Ronnie replied. “Another Republican masochist,” Robert said. “Imagine that.”

Recommended The Spence 75 Fifth Street, Atlanta, GA 30344 404-892-9111, The menu changes daily, so it’s difficult to make specific recommendations. Generally, small plates are more interesting than entrees, but it’s best to stick to simple dishes. Blais can go overboard now and then, but that’s the risk he takes in being a brilliant experimenter. The bone marrow is always available. If you want a cheap entrée, the burger ($12) is fantastic. Go ahead and try the decadent pineapple upside down cake with foie-gras caramel. Here’s a bargain: Go when the restaurant opens and you will get to share the employees’ meal for very little money.

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PHOTOS See the full photo album at

Rainbow Days at Six Flags Thrills, music and more were on tap Saturday, Aug. 25, for Rainbow Day at Six Flags, an LGBT day at the popular Atlanta amusement park. Attendees enjoyed coasters and other Six Flags rides, plus concerts by gay rapper Cazwell and ‘80s pop sensation Tiffany. (Photos by Brent Corcoran/RNZ Photography)

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August 31, 2012

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August 31, 2012


BEST BETS 08.31 - 09.13


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

Friday, Aug. 31


Lez’elegance presents the ATL Meltdown Blue Carpet Fashion Affair with special guest host Tajir. Blue carpet 5:30 - 6:30 p.m., fashion show 7 - 9 p.m. at the Funkshion Factor, 608 Interchange Drive, Atlanta, GA 30336,

• 2012 •



“Kick off Black Gay Pride in Style” with a meet and greet with the founders of, an Atlanta-based blog dedicated to providing visibility and information to masculine, butch, gender-queer women and transmen. 7:30 - 9 p.m. at Charis Books & More, 1189 Euclid Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307, Local gal DJ Lydia Prim and guest DJ Eddie Martinez spin on Cheshire Bridge. 10 p.m. at Heretic, 2069 Cheshire Bridge Road, Atlanta, GA 30324, www.

Friday, Aug. 31 - Monday, Sept. 3

Saturday, Sept. 1

Thursday, Sept. 6

Publicity Photo

Every first Thursday is Atlanta Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence fundraising night at Woof’s. Tonight, they’re joined by Hotlanta Softball’s Pink Cadets to raise funs for Breast Cancer awareness and prevention. 6 - 9 p.m. at Woof’s, 2425 Piedmont Road, Atlanta, GA 30324, http://,

Saturday, Sept. 8 Joining Hearts DJ and Atlanta favorite DJ Roland Belmares returns for a spin at the Heretic. No cover before 11 p.m. at the Heretic, 2069 Cheshire Bridge Road, Atlanta, GA 30324,

It’ll be a long weekend with tons to do at the “World Famous Drive Invasion 2012.” Expect performances by a ton of local bands, camping and the classics “Big Trouble in Little China,” “Blade Runner,” and more on the big screens. Gates open at 10 a.m. at the Starlight Drive-In, 200 Moreland Ave., Atlanta, GA 30316, The State of Black Gay America Summit is the annual meeting of diverse minds, this year focusing on “Embracing Our Collective Power To Influence Change.” Panelists from around the country join in discussion with an emphasis on solution-based approaches to challenges in the African-American LGBT population. 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the Melia Hotel, Atlanta Ballroom, 590 W. Peachtree St., Atlanta, GA 30308, Enjoy a day of diverse acts at the One Music Fest. The lineup includes former Black Gay Pride performer Marsha Ambrosius and alt-hiphop-dance sensation Santigold. 12 p.m. at Masquerade, 695 North Ave., Atlanta, GA 30308, See the Georgia Bulldogs start their football season on nine flat screens at the grand opening of the My Sister’s Room Sports Bar and Grill. 12 - 8 p.m. at My Sister’s Room, 1271 Glenwood Ave, Atlanta, GA 30316, Today is the start of the college football season. Watch with friends every Saturday of the season on one of the new HD TVs upstairs at Blake’s. 1 p.m. at Blake’s on the Park, 227 10th St., Atlanta, GA 30309,

Wednesday, Sept. 5

Tonight begins Charlie Brown’s “Drag Idol 5.” The 12 contestants will be pulled from previous seasons of LeBuzz’s Drag Idol and competing requires nomination from one of the bar’s feature queens. Looks to be a best of the best. Every Wednesday at 10 p.m. at LeBuzz, 585 Franklin Road, Marietta, GA 30367,

File photo

Photo by Dyana Bagby

The 25th annual Peach International Tennis Championships bring together tons of LGBT tennis stars for a tournament hosted by the (gay) Atlanta Team Tennis Association. Details of the four-day event:

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

The Atlanta Rollergirls play two roller derby bouts starting at 5 p.m. at Yaarab Shrine Center, 400 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30308,

Atlanta’s only lesbian bar hosts a Black Gay Pride “Sin City” party with black jack, roulette, craps and more. 9 p.m. - 3 a.m. at My Sister’s Room, 1271 Glenwood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30317,

Black Gay Pride performer Fantasia plays a show with Joe, Tonny Terry and Dru Hill. 6 p.m. at Wolf Greek Amphitheater, 3025 Merk Road, Atlanta, GA 30349,

Saturday, Sept. 1 Sunday, Sept. 2

Celebrate Black Gay Pride with author Deardria Nesbitt, who brings “Throb: The Remix,” a graphic novel and “A Question of Fulfillment,” the fourth installment in the “Girls Around the Way” series. 7:30 - 9 p.m. at Charis Books and More, 1189 Euclid Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307,

The Decatur Book Festival includes an LGBT track with several events on Saturday and Sunday. For more information, check out

Sunday, Sept. 2

The Atlanta Dream takes on the Connecticut Sun. 3 p.m. at Philips Arena, 1 Philips Drive, Atlanta, GA 30303,


No work on Monday means you can party all night with DJ Alexander at Heretic. 10 p.m. at 2069 Cheshire Bridge Road, Atlanta, GA 30324,

Publicity photo

Make your Labor Day weekend a long with a super late night (or early morning) set from DJ Alex Cohen, 3 a.m. (technically Sunday) at the members-only Xion, 2241 Faulkner Road, Atlanta, GA 30324,

Monday, Sept. 3

“T&F Transitionz: a Project of the Feminist Outlawz” is an open forum to discuss gender and facilitating dialogue and activism around social issues. 7 - 9:30 p.m. at Charis Books & More, 1189 Euclid Ave NE, Atlanta, GA, 30307, The Atlanta chapter of PFLAG hosts its first Monday Support Meeting where attendees are divided into small groups led by a trained facilitator. No advice, just discussion. 7:30 - 9 p.m. at 1605 Northeast Expressway NE, Atlanta, GA 30329,

Wednesday, Sept. 5

The Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce hosts a Business Builder Luncheon. 11:55 a.m. - 1 p.m. at Carpe Diem, 105 Sycamore Place, Decatur, GA 30030, The Atlanta Dream takes on the Indiana Fever. 7 p.m. at Philips Arena, 1 Philips Drive, Atlanta, GA 30303,

Thursday, Sept. 6

Though not explicitly gay, we’re sure you’ll find some well dressed “family” at Vagrant Magazine’s Fashion Night Out party. See fashion by three local designers, live music from Rahbi Raw and the Fire Squad and an art exhibition that includes local gay artist Patrick Hanson. 7 - 10 p.m. at Viewpoint, 855 Peachtree St., Atlanta, GA 30308, PDe26i, The Process Theatre and Onstage Atlanta present “Designing Women Live,” three episodes of the classic sitcom presented by men, including GA Voice’s own Topher Payne, playing the heroic Southern women. 8 p.m. Thursday - Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday at OnStage Atlanta, 2617 N. Decatur Road, Decatur, GA 30033,

Friday, Sept. 7

Chris Isaak plays for Concerts in the Garden. 8 p.m. at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30309, Wassup ‘N ATL hosts the upscale First Friday party with DJs Trouble and Angel X with MC Wild Thang on the mic. 10 p.m. - 3 a.m. at Jungle, 2115 Faulkner Road, Atlanta, GA 30324, The Decatur Women’s Sports League starts the fall softball season with games tonight through Oct. 26. Kelly C. Cofer Park, near Chamblee Tucker Road at North Park Drive, Tucker, GA 30084 ,

Wednesday, Sept. 5 Tuesday, Sept. 11

Enjoy a blast from Broadway’s past with the classic “King and I.” Most performances at 8 p.m. with matinees on Saturday and Sunday at the Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St., Atlanta, GA 30308, So it’s a little out of the way, but treat yourself to something different. The 2nd Gender Fusion Cabaret sees several of the Armorettes go way OTP for the sake of really good, bag drag. 10:30 p.m. at Fuzions, 806 North Broad St., Monroe, GA 30656,

Saturday, Sept. 8

The Health Initiative hosts an LGBT Weight Watchers group every Saturday morning. First weigh-in starts at 8 a.m., with a meeting at 8:30 a.m. Second weigh-in starts at 9:30 a.m., with a meeting at 10 a.m. 1530 DeKalb Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307, MEGA Family hosts a “Maybe Baby” seminar for potential LGBT parents. Learn about the many options, costs involved, time frames to consider and how age or geography might factor into your decision. 9:30 - 11:45 a.m. at the Rush Center, 1530 Dekalb Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307, Savannah Pride celebrates its 13th year of “unity, acceptance and inclusion” as JoJo, The Cusses and Atlanta’s fave trans rocker Amber Taylor and the Sexual Side Effects perform at the day-long festival complete with vendors and “plenty of Pride to go around.” 11:45 a.m. - 10 p.m. in Forsyth Park, Savannah, GA 31401,

Sunday, Sept. 9

Today is opening Day of the Hotlanta Softball fall season. It’s more casual than the competitive spring season, but we’re sure the spectating is just as celebratory. Games through Oct. 7. 10 a.m - 2 p.m. in the Piedmont Park Active Oval Fields.


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Hotlanta Softball’s Atlanta Talons kick off their fall season with a Beer Bust at F.R.O.G.S. All the PBR you can drink, jell-o shots and DJ Joey make way for the Queen of the Strut, Amanda Topp. 1 - 7 p.m. at F.R.O.G.S., 931 Monroe Drive, Atlanta, GA 30308. The Atlanta Dream takes on the Washington Mystics. 3 p.m. at Philips Arena, 1 Philips Drive, Atlanta, GA 30303, For the past several Sundays, Regina Simms has played host to a ton of local talent, culminating in tonight’s “New Faces” final. Weekly winners return to compete for the crown. Go early to get a seat. 11:30 p.m. at Friends Neighborhood Bar, 736 Ponce De Leon Ave., Atlanta, GA 30308, The infamous drag queens of the South, the Armorettes take over Burkhart’s. Remember tips are donated to their nonprofit fund for various AIDS-related organizations. 8 p.m. at Burkhart’s, 893 Peachtree St., Atlanta, GA 30309,

Monday, Sept. 10

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

Tuesday, Sept. 11

The Atlanta Lesbian & Gay Chamber of Commerce hosts a Business Builder Lunch. 11:50 a.m. at Brio Tuscan Grille. 2964 Peachtree Road, Atlanta, GA 30306, The Atlanta Dream takes on the Seattle Storm. 7 p.m. at Philips Arena, 1 Philips Drive, Atlanta, GA 30303,

Wednesday, Sept. 12

The Atlanta Lesbian & Gay Chamber of Commerce hosts a Business Builder Lunch. 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Soho in Vinings, 300 Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta, GA 30339, Viva Las Vegas is the theme for this month’s PALS Bingo, hosted by Bubba D. Licious and Brent Star. Doors at 6:30 p.m., program at 7:30 p.m. at Jungle, 2115 Faulkner Road, Atlanta, GA 30324, “Resistance is futile” at “Unplug” with Paul P. at Heretic. The dance floor opens at 10 p.m. with no cover and “hot hard music” all night long. 10 p.m. at Heretic, 2069 Cheshire Bridge Road, Atlanta, GA 30324,,

hoto lity p Pub

Friday, Sept. 14intimate

The Indigo Girls play an nta show to wrap up this year’s Atla the in ts cer Con ’s den Gar Botanical nta Garden series. 8 p.m. at the Atla ont dm Pie 5 Botanical Garden, 134 Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30309, rg www.atlantabotanicalgarden.o

UPCOMING Saturday, Sept. 15

OurSong gay and lesbian chorus hosts a Gospel Brunch benefit with two shows for your listening pleasure. 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. seatings at Jungle, 2115 Faulkner Road, Atlanta, GA 30324, After a season of raising money for AID Atlanta, the Atlanta Cotillion XI takes over the Foundry at Puritan Mill with its annual drag ball to crown this year’s highest fundraiser. This year’s theme? “Le Bal en Robe Rouge.” Special guests include host Randy Roberts and the legendary Varla Jean Merman. 7 - 11 p.m. at the Foundry at Puritan Mill, 916 Joseph E. Lowery Blvd., Atlanta, GA 30318, The annual East Atlanta Strut means a kooky-good parade followed by revelry in the streets of Atlanta hippest neighborhood. Stop by Mary’s, the local gay bar, for an Atlanta Talons (Hotlanta Softball) fundraiser and beats by DJ Joey. The infamous Mary-oke takes partygoers into the night. Parade at 2 p.m., party afterwards at Mary’s, 1287 Glenwood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30316,,

Saturday Sept. 15 Sunday, Sept. 16

The Festival on Ponce, part of the gayowned and operated Foundation for Public Spaces festivals, offers local arts and crafts at Olmsted Linear Park. Saturday, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. at Olmstead Linear Park near the intersection of Ponce De Leon and Moreland Ave., Atlanta, GA.

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SEPT 5-11

Groups Call (404) 881-2000










SHE SAID The fi nal frontier Remembering Neil Armstrong, Sally Ride, and the heroism of human space flight My home office is dedicated to space. The walls are covered with images of the space shuttle, former astronauts, and science fiction characters of a future some hope to experience. But as NASA excitedly gives updates on the movements of the Curiosity Rover on Mars, I can’t help but wonder if Neil Armstrong and Sally Ride would be equally impressed with the space agency’s remote controls. We lost these national heroes within about a month of one another, and I doubt they envisioned that at the time of their death America’s vast exploration of space would rely solely on a robot. A test pilot and member of other space missions, Armstrong is best known for the historic footprint he placed on the moon on July 21, 1969. Before he made that one small step for man, he had less than a minute worth of fuel remaining in the lunar module when he landed it on the moon. Having kept his cool on two previous occasions in his career that almost took his life, Armstrong proved to be someone who excelled under extreme pressure. Upon leaving the moon, Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left a patch to commemorate NASA astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts who had died in pursuit of space. While working on her doctorate in physics in 1978, Sally Ride responded to an ad in the Stanford University student paper encouraging men, and for the first time women, to apply for the NASA astronaut corps. Some 8,000 other people applied, but by the next year Ride was an astronaut candidate. In 1983, she flew aboard the space shuttle Challenger at age 32, which is still an American record. By coming out in her obituary, Ride became the first known LGBT astronaut. Don’t get me wrong: I like robots. I was fascinated when rovers on Mars began to successfully communicate with Earth, and saddened when NASA announced last year that they had permanently lost contact with Spirit. And I understand the desire to save lives by letting machinery do the dirty work.

Melissa Carter is also a writer for Huffington Post. She broke ground as the first out lesbian radio personality on a major station in Atlanta and was one of the few out morning show personalities in the country. Follow her on Twitter @MelissaCarter

But that also limits our chances as a society to have heroes like Armstrong and Ride who, knowing they could easily lose their lives, stepped into their respective ships and blasted into the sky. The proof is in the ratings. Earlier this month, Curiosity landed on Mars while 3.2 million people watched. Comparatively, when Armstrong touched down on the moon 43 years ago, it was watched by 600 million people. These numbers prove that as intriguing as exploration is, we are truly inspired by those faced with incredible danger who show courage and self-sacrifice for the greater good. It’s hard to do that sitting in front of a monitor some 33 million miles away from your robotic camera on Mars. According to USA Today, when the Obama administration canceled NASA’s plans to return to the moon, Armstrong was so dismayed that, in the final years of his life, he gave up his cherished privacy to voice frequent and loud criticism of the decision. The state of NASA’s human-spaceexploration plans, he told Congress last fall, is “lamentable, embarrassing and unacceptable.” Of the many pictures that decorate my office walls, there is only one dedicated to a machine. I’m not sure how to categorize my 3rd Grade Super Scientist Award, but the rest highlight people. Some are actors from “Star Trek,” “Babylon 5,” and “Star Wars.” Others have worked on art or animation of space. One of my favorites is a Louis Vuitton ad, with Sally Ride, Buzz Aldrin, and Jim Lovell sitting on the hood of a car staring up at a full moon. The tagline reads, “Some journeys change mankind forever.” As we honor the lives of Neil Armstrong and Sally Ride, may we always remember that the full beauty of any journey is only known to the one who takes it.

August 31, 2012

GA Voice





Back to school Shopping in the Girls section. Please don’t call security.

I’m working as a teaching artist at a high school this fall, costuming a production of “The Women.” I’m spending my evenings and weekends putting together 1930s ensembles for 25 adolescent girls. Roughly half of them are a size zero. It’s alarming. Their skirts look like they were made for Cabbage Patch dolls. I said so. None of them knew what a Cabbage Patch doll was. If you’re a large adult male who loves having to defend your actions to complete strangers, I suggest spending your free time browsing the Girls section at various discount clothing stores. You will be provided with the opportunity to explain yourself repeatedly, while holding tiny little blouses in your fumbling hands. Your explanation about a high school play may be greeted with an arched eyebrow if you, like me, do not look like the sort of person who would ever be allowed any responsibility of any kind, especially around minors. In my case, it isn’t because I look dangerous. It’s because I look mildly befuddled at all times, and tend to get shaky when challenged. I’m the sort of person you’d think twice before handing something fragile, like a vase, or a soufflé, or a child’s education. I got the gig from my friend Shelly, who used to bring me in to work on shows at the public school where she was teaching. Then she got a job at a fancy private school, and was kind enough to bring me along, like how Andy Richter made the move when Conan went from NBC to TBS. But because this is a fancy private school, the hiring practices are much more involved. I can’t just be the random guy in paint-splattered pants wandering the halls. This school insisted I assume the role of an actual staff member. Filling out the paperwork made me realize I’m only marginally fit to live in society. Regarding the criminal background check: “Okay, you should know I changed my name when my husband and I got married, and the IRS and Social Security office found that really confusing, so sometimes it looks like I’ve only been alive for the last three years.” Regarding the credit check: “Here’s the

Topher Payne is an Atlanta-based playwright, and the author of the book “Necessary Luxuries: Notes on a Semi-Fabulous Life.” Find out more at

thing. I’m a writer. And I’ve had cancer. So, um, I don’t pass credit checks. For anything. I once got rejected for a membership at a video store because of my credit.” Regarding my education: “I really, really meant to finish high school. But, you know how things just keep getting moved down the priority list? I do have an honorary diploma from an arts school in California.” Regarding the Staff Online Reputation Policy: “You should probably know that I professionally impersonate Dixie Carter, so if the kids Google me that’s gonna come up.” I remember being 12 years old and realizing I had already engaged in enough odd behavior to take me out of the running for president of the United States. Even if I turned it around and handled myself perfectly from that point forward, I’d already delivered a book report on “Not Without My Daughter” while wearing a burka, and I’d never make it through the primaries with that story following me. When I was 14, I gave up any thought of becoming a Methodist minister when I discovered how much I liked kissing other boys — although, fun side note, the boy I liked kissing became a gay Episcopal priest — and I abandoned my dream of being a teacher at 16 when I just couldn’t stand another day of high school. That, incidentally, was why I wanted to be a teacher. I hoped to be the sort of teacher who compelled kids like me not to quit school. But amazingly, despite my being a total HR nightmare, the fancy private school added me to their staff. And now I’m working with young people. It’s not teaching in the traditional sense, but that’s fitting because I don’t do traditional very well. I take a tremendous amount of pride in having lunch in the faculty dining room. And I smile real big when I explain to the saleslady, “No, really. I’m a teacher. Do you have this in a size zero?”

August 31, 2012

GA Voice


The Georgia Voice - 8/31/12 Vol.3, Issue 13  

For our Aug. 31 issue, we're running two different covers! The first is all about Labor Day Weekend's Black Gay Pride. The second highlights...