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Utah’s Gay and Lesbian Biweekly Newspaper Volume 2 ■ Issue 25 December 8–21

Salt Lake: ‘Gay Friendly Place to Live’ Listed as a ‘Bonus city’ in a new guide for gay and lesbian people

Center Seeks to Restart GLSEN Utah chapter was instrumental in nation’s Gay-Straight Alliances

Holiday Food and Toy Drives Underway Center, Utah AIDS Foundation helping local families

Presbyterians Debate Gay Rights at UofU Rigby: ‘There’s no one here that keeps the Levitical code’ What’s Going On Now in Laurie’s Head? Ruby in a Dither Over the ‘Natural Family’ Gayle Unlikely Happy About ‘Rent’ Gay Agenda


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SALT LAKE METRO ■ DECEMBER 8, 2005


American Family Assoc. Claims Victory, Ends Ford Boycott

WORLD AND NATIONAL Robbie Williams Wins ‘Gay’ Libel Action London — Superstar Robbie Williams has won damages against a U.K. newspaper and magazine over allegations that he is a “secret homosexual.” Just before the publication of “Feel,” a book on the singer’s life in 2004, the People newspaper claimed that Williams would be deceiving the public by stating that he only had sex with women. His barrister, Tom Shields, told London’s High Court, “Mr Williams is not, and has never been, homosexual.” Then in September of that year Star and Hot Stars magazines published articles stating that Robbie kept secret gay encounters. In court the publishers accepted that the allegations were untrue and apologized for the distress caused. As well as having to pay substantial damages the publishers agreed to print apologies and pay Mr Williams’ court costs.

Supreme Court Hears Military Recruiting Case

Lynchburg, Va. — Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint this past week with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) against James Dobson’s Focus on the Family. Joining CREW in bringing this matter to the country’s attention is Soulforce, Inc., now circulating a web petition calling for the IRS investigation of James Dobson and Focus on the Family. “Misusing religion and/or God to support bias against sexual and gender minorities, inappropriately justifies psychological, legal and physical violence against them. Such abuses must be stopped and can no longer be subsidized via misuse of the tax laws.” says Rev. Dr. Mel White, founder of Soulforce. Focus on the Family is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization whose stated purpose is “to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ through a practical outreach to homes.” In past years, Dobson has become increasingly shrill about his political beliefs, especially against gay and lesbian people, on his daily radio program and through his fundraising letters.

SLAC

publications next year.” Moran added that the Ford and Lincoln Mercury brands were never advertised in the gay and lesbian community and will not be, and that Volvo is making a big marketing outreach to gays and lesbians. Mark Elderkin, president of PlanetOut Inc., said his company had not heard directly from Ford and declined to speculate on the reasons for the automaker’s advertising decision. “Advertisers come and go due to various economic reasons,” Elderkin said. “Ford is saying that its decision to not renew its ad campaign is due to business issues, not gay issues. I can’t assume otherwise.” Moran suggested that the timing of AFA’s boycott end and Ford’s advertising decision was coincidental. “In our view, AFA’s boycott ended because, due to our dialogue with them, their officers have a better understanding of the principles that drive our company’s policies as well as our wish to not engage in political or socially charged debates,” he said.

THE SALT LAKE ACTING COMPANY

High-School Can’t Out Students, LA Judge Rules Los Angeles — A federal judge in Los Angeles ruled Thursday that a high school does not have the right to “out” a student without his or her permission. The American Civil Liberties Union brought the lawsuit on behalf of Charlene Nguon, a senior in Orange County’s Garden Grove Unified School District, who claimed the principal violated her right to privacy by telling her parents she was a lesbian after he disciplined her for being affectionate with her girlfriend. The school sought to have the lawsuit dismissed, but Judge James Selna of the U.S. District Court in the Central District of California allowed the suit to move forward. “We are pleased that the court recognized that the school does not have the automatic right to disclose a student’s sexual orientation just because that student is out of the closet to his or her friends at school,” said Christine P. Sun, a staff attorney for the ACLU. “Coming out is a very serious decision that should not be taken away from anyone, especially from students who may be put in peril if they live in an unsupportive home.” Nguon said she was repeatedly disciplined during the 2004-05 school year by Santiago High School Principal Ben Wolf for displaying affection for her girlfriend. The straight-A student was even suspended for a week and eventually asked to leave the school, which she did halfway through the spring semester of her junior year. Last summer, she was allowed to return to Santiago, but her disciplinary record has not yet been cleared.

By

Tracy Letts

Ken Carpenter is having a crisis of faith. Somewhere in his happy life; something inexplicable has crept in... a question. After nearly sixty years he suddenly finds he no longer understands the stars at night and cannot find God at the end of his prayers. A moving, sublimely human look at the evolving psyche of America’s fabled heartland. Recommended for Mature Audiences.

Nov.15-Dec.11 For Tickets call 363-SLAC or 355-ARTS www.saltlakeactingcompany.org

DECEMBER 8, 2005 ■ SALT LAKE METRO ■ 3

Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Nov. 6 in FAIR v. Rumsfeld, a case challenging the federal Solomon Amendment. The Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights coalition of law schools is challenging the constitutionality of the amendment, passed in 1996, which requires universities to grant military recruiters full access to students despite university non-discrimination policies which bar recruiters who discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Congress has threatened to withhold millions of dollars in funding to schools refusing to comply. In November 2004, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of FAIR. “Our armed forces should recruit among the best and brightest for service to our country,” said Sharra E. Greer, director of law and policy for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. “The best and brightest, however, include LGBT students, too. “Law schools are simply asking the military to adhere to the same rule as every potential employer recruiting on campus: no discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Military recruiters should not receive a special exception to university non-discrimination policies. Our country, and our students, would be better served by a welcoming policy in our armed forces.” A recent news report noted that three law schools — New York Law School, Vermont Law School, and William Mitchell College of Law — have already been targeted under Solomon. SLDN has filed an amicus brief in the case, supporting the law schools’ right to enforce non-discrimination policies and ensure equal employment opportunities for LGBT students.

Petition Calls for Investigation of Focus on the Family

Colorado Springs, Colo.—The American Family Association is claiming victory in the war against Ford Motor Company by lifting its boycott against the company completely after Ford decided not to renew advertising campaigns for its Jaguar and Land Rover brands in gay publications in 2006. Neither Ford nor the American Family Association disclosed what formal agreement, if any, had been reached. But a prepared statement by AFA chairman Donald Wildmon released last week suggested that Ford’s decision was linked to AFA’s pressure. “They’ve heard our concerns; they are acting on our concerns. We are pleased with where we are,” Wildmon said. Ford spokesman Mike Moran, however, assured PlanetOut that the company’s decision was “for business reasons, not a social statement.” “We advertise our brands wherever it makes business sense,” Moran told PlanetOut Network. “Jaguar and Land Rover continue to face pressure on their marketing budgets and can’t support as many


Salt Lake Ranked as Gay Friendly Place to Live by JoSelle Vanderhooft joselle@slmetro.com

LOCAL

Center Holds Food and Toy Drive Jennifer Nuttall: ‘We’re the only oppressed group that faces discrimination within our own families.’ by Kim Burgess kim@slmetro.com

The Center is seeking donations of toys and nonperishable food, which will be passed out to needy queer families and individuals. Canned soup and vegetables, boxes of stuffing and mashed potatoes, peanut butter, jam, cake mix and new toys are on the wish list, said Jennifer Nuttall, program director at the Center. “We’re hoping to receive 25 toys and food to fill 25 boxes. The goal isn’t huge right now, but we’ll expand it next year.” Volunteers will be assembling the food and toys into gift boxes at the annual Christmas Party on Dec. 17. Anyone who needs a food box or toy can pick one up at the party or stop by the Center until Dec. 23. Nuttall has contacted the YWCA and other social service organizations to let them know the boxes are available. She is also hoping that word-of-mouth gets the boxes to the right people. “If anyone within the community knows of someone who

needs something, you can come down and pick it up for them.” Nuttall sees the food box and toy drive as a way to bring the queer community together and give something back to the needy. “It’s particularly important to have support during the holidays. We’re the only oppressed group that faces discrimination within our own families. The holidays can be extra hard if you have family conflict.” She also hopes to draw a lot of participants to the Christmas party, which will include music, eggnog, hot chocolate, tree trimming, making decorations and taking pictures with Santa. Anyone who sits on Santa’s lap will receive a prize — even the big kids. There will not be a Mrs. Claus available for lap-sitting, but Nuttall is considering it for next year. The party is sponsored by Equality Utah, sWerve and Lavender Catering. “We want to invite everyone,” Nuttall said. “If you have kids, bring your kids. If you’re a teenager, come down. It’s a great event for all ages. We’re celebrating how fabulous we are.”

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When writer Gregory A. Kompes submitted a book proposal to write 50 Fabulous Gay Friendly Places to Live, he never expected to include Salt Lake City among them. “I’d been there in the early 90s and I felt out of place there,” says Kompes, who visited over 300 American cities while working as a theatre musician. “At that time, things were pretty hidden. You had to go to private clubs to meet other gay people and certain things didn’t seem Gregory A. Kompes to be talked about, except maybe on the college campuses.” But while gathering information for his book this September, Kompes realized that the city had changed a lot in the last decade. One day, he came across an exciting news story. Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson had just signed an executive order granting health care benefits to the same-sex partners of city employees. His interest was piqued. “So I started reading a little more and I discovered there’s also an out gay senator, Scott McCoy. That led me into seeing what was going on currently in Salt Lake City. I discovered all these gay events and programs and some of the shift that’s happened socially since the 2002 winter games. It seems the world’s loosened up a bit in Salt Lake.” Some of the programs and events Kompes discovered were Utah Pride (which drew over 15,000 attendees in 2005) and the Gay and Lesbian Ski Weekend that, according to him, “has become a very popular national event in the gay community.” “I was actually surprised,” the writer admits. “I was surprised at the support and turnout for the big gay events from inside and outside the gay community. I was surprised at the marketing efforts being done by private companies and the city itself, letting the world know that it would make these changes.” Kompes’ publisher, Career Press, was also surprised by Salt Lake City’s about-face. So surprised, in fact, that they asked Kompes to strike the city from the final draft. “They said they just couldn’t believe that Salt Lake City was a gay friendly place in America,” he explains. “It had the tradition of being a red state, a very conservative place, with the Mormon Church. They just couldn’t see it.” Still, Kompes said he knew what was happening in the city was important. So he fought to keep it. “I think it’s important that cities that are changing their own perception be included in the book, which is one of the things I think Salt Lake is really about right now, changing perceptions,” he explains. “There’s such a great economy there, just every other factor fit [criteria for inclusion

in the book]. And then, of course, there is this large gay community.” At last, they reached a compromise. Kompes would add another city and Salt Lake would remain as a special “bonus” city in an appendix. But far from being distressed, Kompes says he “actually loved” the decision. “If it were just included in the 50 that would be great. But by being the bonus city Salt Lake is actually getting a lot more attention,” he says. And given the praise Kompes heaps on this “bonus city,” it’s easy to see how readers would pay attention. “This may be a shock to many,” he writes, “but when big-city cosmopolitan meets rugged adventure in this clean, safe, and beautiful city, Salt Lake City has become home to a large, organized, and politically supported GLBT community.” But 50 Fabulous Gay Friendly Places to Live isn’t only about how well its 51 cities — listed alphabetically by state — treat their gay populations. Kompes says he based a lot of his research on Richard Florida’s The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life, which examines the roles scientists, engineers, artists and writers play in urban development. Florida has also created a list that ranks American cities on job environment, types of jobs offered, and each city’s cultural and social environment — all factors important to the creative class. When examining The Gay and Lesbian Atlas, which analyzes the 2000 census data in an attempt to plot where same-sex couples live in America, Kompes says he noticed a startling trend: “The [cities with high] creative index numbers and the highranking Gay and Lesbian Atlas cities were almost exactly the same.” “I don’t have the exact numbers in front of me but Salt Lake ranks very high,” said Kompes. Some other high-ranking “surprise” cities that appeared in the book are Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Ithaca, New York; and Ferndale, Michigan, an outlying suburb of Detroit. According to Kompes, all these cities have been renovated and reinvigorated by gays and lesbians. “And in the process, [these cities] started drawing more of the creative class economy which draws more of the creative class community,” he explains. But Kompes says he likes Salt Lake City for more than its creative class index and the way it treats its gay people. “I think Utah is just one of the most beautiful states in the country, beyond the chat we’re having about the gay and lesbian community,” he says. “I’m so impressed by the people of Salt Lake. Everyone I’ve talked to has been so helpful. I’m also really impressed by the sense of humor in Salt Lake. I really do like the town and I’m so glad I get to add a little bit to your success. I’m gratified in letting people know about Salt Lake in a positive way. I think it’s important not only for the city but for the country as well. We all divide ourselves and are divided by race and religion and sexuality and all this stuff. It’s kind of nice to try and open up people’s eyes.”


University of Utah Hosts Gay Clergy Debate By JoSelle Vanderhooft joselle@slmetro.com

Utah AIDS Foundation Solicits Holiday Meal Baskets for PWAs Each season, the Utah AIDS Foundation provides meal baskets for those living with HIV/AIDS to help brighten their holidays. Donations are requested from those in the community who are able to share. Meal baskets should contain enough non-perishable food to provide a complete holiday meal for a family of four. Items may be placed in a decorated box, a wicker basket, a laundry basket, or whatever type of container you wish. These baskets may be the only holiday food the organization’s clients and their families receive, so you are aksed to take the time to be creative. A card to the family may be included as long as there is no personal information included with it. You may also include festive paper plates, napkins, and so forth. Please do not include meat with your basket, though you can include a gift certificate for a turkey or ham, if you like. Turkeys and hams will be provided by UAF. If you have a turkey or ham to donate we would love to accept it separately. All baskets need to be delivered to the UAF on or by November 22nd for Thanksgiving, and December 19th for Christmas/ Chanukah. If you can, please call us and let us know how many baskets you are planning to bring in. Please call Duane Abplanalp at 487-2323 or visit utahaids.org if you have any questions. The Utah AIDS Foundation is located at 1408 S. 1100 East.

DECEMBER 8, 2005 ■ SALT LAKE METRO ■ 5

The Orthodox Presbyterian Churches of Utah and their campus ministry, Reformation Fellowship, sponsored a debate on the ordination of gay clergy and the Bible Nov. 22 at the University of Utah. The Rev. Dr. Jim Rigby of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas and Rev. Jason Wallace of Salt Lake City-based Christ Presbyterian Church addressed an audience of 30 in the Olpin Student Union Ballroom. Rigby, who was investigated in 2004 by Presbyterian Church officials for presiding at a wedding ceremony for two male students and who ordained an openly lesbian minister the same year, defended the ordination of gay clergy. Wallace argued that such ordinations were against sacred scripture. Lasting nearly two hours, the debate began with twenty-minute opening statements from both participants. “There seems to be something in us that wants others to be like us,” said Rigby in his opening statement. “This is a deep, abiding feeling. Whether or not you agree with me tonight, I hope you’ll walk away realizing how dangerous it is to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender when the church doesn’t offer you a safe place. We’re not only talking about an abstract subject [in this debate], but real people’s lives.” Rigby argued that Biblical injunctions against homosexuality are typically drawn from the Book of Leviticus, an Old Testament book concerning legal rules and priestly ritual. Chapter 18, verse 22, often cited as a “clobber” passage to prove the sinfulness of gay sex, reads: “you shall not lie with a man as with a woman, for that is an abomination.” But the text also says that eating some foods, such as shellfish and pork, are abominations — a law which most Christians believe Jesus Christ overturned in his Sermon on the Mount. Rigby said that while some parts of Leviticus still concerned themselves with a moral code, Christians needed to “honestly ask” themselves which parts still apply. “There’s no one here that keeps the Levitical code,” he said. “Is there anyone here that eats shrimp? According to this book, that’s an abomination too.” “Should homosexuals be ordained as clergy?” Wallace asked in his opening statement. “My simple answer is no, because God tells us that unrepentant homosexuals simply are not Christians.” Wallace added that he did not consider homosexuality a worse sin than “adultery, lying and covetousness.” He also stressed that he did not approve of Christians “using what the Bible says about homosexual people as an excuse to mask their own sin” or to hate anyone. Still, he argued that both the Old and New Testaments clearly condemned homosexuality, particularly in St. Paul’s Letters to the Romans and Corinthians. “There are scholars and churchmen who are telling homosexuals that they

don’t need to cleanse themselves and repent,” he said, referring to authors such as John Boswell (Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality) and J.J. McNeill (The Church and the Homosexual). “The idea of these scholars is that for 3,000 years no one understood the word of God, but now they do, and [homosexuals] should believe them.” Both clergymen developed their arguments further in their 15-minute rebuttals, touching on whether or not Sodom and Gomorrah’s sin was homosexual sex or mistreatment of the poor, and the King James Bible’s translation of St. Paul’s writings and Jesus’ apparent silence on the topic of homosexuality. After a 5-minute break, both speakers were allowed 15 minutes of cross-examination. “This is the question that haunts me at night,” said Rigby. “What if these people are born this way, and we reject them?” “I don’t believe as a Christian that I can reject anyone,” said Wallace. “That means trying to do good for them and be a loving neighbor to them. But at the same time I point them to Jesus Christ because they’re in sin and in Jesus Christ they’ll find forgiveness. I don’t reject them, I plead for them.” “Can you name anyone else who had [the point of view you support] before Bailey in 1955?” Wallace asked during his cross-examination. “Jesus,” Rigby responded.


LOCAL

Utah’s GLSEN Chapter to Start Up Again by JoSelle Vanderhooft

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SALT LAKE METRO ■ DECEMBER 8, 2005

joslle@slmetro.com

The long-defunct Utah chapter of the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) is about to be resurrected, thanks to the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Community Center of Utah and volunteers. “On December 14 we’re getting together some people who were involved before, and some new people to see if we can revive the chapter, and to talk about the current issues that are happening in schools,” said Stan Burnett, the Center’s Youth Director. “We’re going to try and bring teachers and counselors together so they can figure out their goals.” Though Utah’s chapter has been inactive for quite some time, it was instrumental in several cases involving gay and lesbian students in the 1990s, according to former GLSEN board member and retired science teacher, Richard Teerlink. In February 1996, students at East High School in Salt Lake City attempted to form a gay-straight alliance. In response, the school board placed a ban on all non-curricular school clubs. The ban was later lifted. “When the legislature heard about [the GSA], it was almost like an atomic bomb went off,” said Teerlink. “It was just the greatest overreaction in the whole world. And when that happened a few teachers who were very courageous got together and said we need to form something. We knew there was an organization called GLSEN. That’s what really started it.” Though Teerlink said East High’s GSA had a faculty advisor, the West High group lacked a sponsor. So he and his partner, Paul Train — another recently-retired teacher — stepped in. They served as the club’s advisors for over a year. They also found a way to get around the legislative ban against clubs referencing “human sexuality.” Community members donated money to rent classroom space after hours. But when GSAs were allowed back into the school day, the former teachers had to step down. “When the policy changed, it was not possible to rent space to run a GSA because they were allowed inside the schools,” he said. “You had to be a teacher to run it.” Since few teachers were involved with the chapter, it soon folded. “Without the participation of the teachers who were involved with the students, there was simply not the leadership there.” Center board member and teacher Robert Austin, who was also involved in the chapter’s first version, said that GLSEN also exists to help teachers who want to help gay and lesbian students — particularly if they are gay themselves. “There are many, many teachers who are exemplary professionals, and who still face the fear that they could lose their jobs at worst, be harassed or outed,” he said. Austin added that GLSEN can help

schools learn how to help their gay students and employees by showing them “policies they can put in place to be supportive, institutional changes so faculty can be more aware of the issue.” “A lot of schools, districts, teachers and principles have the best intentions,” he said. “Most of the people out there in the schools, I believe, do not actively want to discriminate against their GLBT students and employees. But for some of them it’s uncharted territory.” Austen also stressed that GLSEN does not exist to force people to “embrace” gays and lesbians, or to convince teachers to advocate for their sexual orientation. The organization, he says, simply tries to teach “tolerance and respect” for all people, regardless of orientation. “Virginia Woolf talked about how tolerance is the supreme virtue,” he said. “If you think about it in terms of all of us in this incredibly diverse nation … trying to figure out how to get along and what is at the core of the common good for all of us, that tolerance is not a bad word to stick to.” Burnett, who has recently taken over the position of youth director, said that restarting the GLSEN chapter has been one of his top priorities — particularly because of the support the organization provides to gay teachers, and to Gay-Straight Alliances. “The priority is to see if we can stabilize the GSAs, because they need a lot of support,” said Burnett. “The next step is getting faculty, counselors and school staff involved. The schools that have GSAs tend to be able to handle all of the problems that come up with GLBT kids pretty well. If there’s harassment, there is a quick understanding of what that means because there’s a visible community. The faculty and administration have already dealt with the issue of queer kids being in school and how to take care of them. But without the GSA culture as part of the school, it’s so easy for kids to get dismissed when they complain.” Though only 14 such clubs exist in Utah’s school districts, Burnett hopes that the revived GLSEN chapter will be instrumental in helping students create more. He stressed, however, that GLSEN doesn’t start GSAs, but serves as a resource for students interested in founding them. “Basically if there are one or more kids that want to start a GSA we hand them resources, we show them how, we’re happy to help them or put them in contact with other GSAs,” he said. “But if they don’t start it themselves, then we don’t have access to the schools.” Teachers, school counselors and staff and anyone else who would like to get involved with GLSEN may attend the meeting on Wednesday, December 14 at 7pm in the GLBT Community Center’s upstairs Admin Conference Room (361 N 300 West). For more information on GLSEN, visit glsen.org.


WILLIAM H. MUNK

The Center is Expanding the Youth Activities Program, Requests Help

Party-goers at Hotel Monaco’s ‘Paint the Town Red’ celebration honoring Utah AIDS Foundation’s 20th anniversary.

The Center Announces a Ten-Day ‘Winterfest’ silent auction, live entertainment, a threecourse dinner, prize drawing and dancing. The heart of Winterfest is the tenday “Flurries” of over 20 activities. The opening weekend, Feb. 3–5, will include comedian Jason Stuart from Los Angeles and New York City comedians Michele Balan and Vidur Kapur. Other opening weekend events include a community service project, ice skating for families, an interfaith service, a gallery art show, an “emerging artist” exhibit, neighborhood potluck socials, queer film premiers and a bowling party. Activist/entertainer Holly Near (top) During and National Gay and Lesbian Task the followForce Executive Director ing week, the Matt Foreman Center has planned a political rally at the capitol and the unveiling of the “Love Makes A Family” art exhibit. The closing weekend, Feb. 10–12, includes a book signing, club night parties, university students forum, a youth Valentine’s activity, a Sunday brunch, gay ski day, a theatre reading with Carol Lynn Pearson, and a performance of “My Big Gay Utah Wedding.” Winterfest tickets will go on sale Jan. 1 at a special website created for the event, www.slcwinterfest.com. All proceeds will benefit programs of The Center.

Center is moving the YAC from its current location to the front of the building (the “front” and “middle” meeting rooms). This will provide more space, greater security, and allow for more diverse activities. The YAC is asking for assistance from the general gay community. They are seeking donations of specific items, money to cover building improvements, and volunteer time to make the move as successful as possible. The Center is asking for any of the following items: 27”–32” television/DVD player, pool table, foosball table, area rugs, refrigerator, plants, keyboard, and, of course, cash is always welcome. For more information, contact Stan Burnett, the Director of Youth Programs, at 539-8800 x14 or stan@glbtccu.org.

DECEMBER 8, 2005 ■ SALT LAKE METRO ■ 7

In what is promised to be the secondlargest gay and lesbian event in Utah, the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Community Center of Utah announced plans Dec. 1 for Winterfest, a “ten-day celebration of family, music, art, theatre, sports, education, and equality.” The event will take place Feb. 3–12, 2006, culminating just prior to Valentine’s Day. The festival has three components: a Feb. 11 conference at the Sheraton City Center, a Valentine’s Gala that night, and the “Winterfest Flurries,” over 20 activities from Feb. 3–12. The Winterfest Conference will feature national, regional and local speakers addressing issues facing the gay and lesbian community and families, friends and allies. Holly Near, longtime activist and musician will be the opening speaker. Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force will be the closing speaker. Two authors will also present during the conference: Bryan Harris, “The Sanctity of Marriage Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Marriage— Between a Man and a Woman—Featuring Those Who Cast the First Stone” and Ann Pellegrini, “Love the Sin: Sexual Regulation and the Limits of Religious Tolerance” and “Queer Theory and the Jewish Question.” A pre-conference reception and concert featuring Holly Near is planned for Friday, Feb. 10 at 6:00 p.m. at the Rose Wagner Black Box Theatre. The Valentine’s Gala is promised to be an elegant event set in the Roaring 20’s to affirm and celebrate queer love. The gala is planned to “provide an alternative safe and supportive environment for the GLBT community to enjoy Valentine’s traditions,” said John Johnson, one of the event’s coordinators. The evening will include an opening cocktail party and

In 1998, no one but those closest to the decisions to start a “Youth Activities Program” at the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Community Center of Utah believed it would survive and flourish in Salt Lake City — a place so often perceived as conservative, close-minded, and not safe for queer people, especially youth. In addition, no one could have predicted that in 2005 there would be over 14 high schools with Gay Straight Alliances and the Center’s Youth Activities Center would demand even more of a “home of its own.” Well that time is here, according to Stan Burnett, director of youth programs at the Center. “Today, young people are coming out to themselves, friends and family much earlier in life,” Burnett said. “Because of this, the GLBT community is experiencing a sort of ‘baby boom.’ For example, last year’s Queer Prom was attended by 365 young people.” The Youth Activity Center brings youth together and builds a peer-based community by and for young people. It provides activities, programs, and events that allow queer youth to grow and enjoy themselves in a safe and supportive environment. The YAC is also a resource to young people who are in the process of coming out, who are starting or running Gay/Straight Alliances, or who find themselves homeless. In an effort to better support and nurture the growing queer youth population, the


From the Editor Size Matters

Executive Editor Michael Aaron

by Michael Aaron michael@slmetro.com

Arts Editor Eric J. Tierney

Well, either your ‘workouts’ at 24-Hour Fitness are really working out, or the paper you just picked up got a bit lighter this issue. I hate to tell you it is the latter. After killing ourselves getting the previous issue — the Holiday Shopping Guide — out early because of the holidays, and before killing ourselves to put together the Year In Review issue that will hit the stands right before Christmas, we thought it was a good time to sit back, enjoy a soak in the hot tub and decorate the tree. Ruby Ridge, on the other hand, has had to finish this column, the next column and an introduction for her book that goes to press this week. This, on top of a grueling bingo schedule and Draper drive-bys (to see how the IKEA building is coming along), has her looking quite haggard ... well, a bit more haggard than normal. So, please pardon our brevity and run down to your nearest alternative bookstore and buy up the entire stock of Ruby’s rantings for all your special and fabulous friends for Christmas. We’ll print more.

Proofreader Nicholas Rupp Contributing Kim Burgess Writers Vanessa Chang Jason Clark Benjamin Cohen Matthew Gerber Tony Hobday Beau Jarvis Laurie Mecham Paul E. Pratt Ruby Ridge Eric Rofes David Samsel Joel Shoemaker Brendan Shumway Eric J. Tierney Darren Tucker JoSelle Vanderhooft Ben Williams Contributing David Harris Photographers William H. Munk Joel Shoemaker Sales Director Steven Peterson Display Ad Russ Moss 259-0844 Sales Steven Peterson 860-7505

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SALT LAKE METRO ■ DECEMBER 8, 2005

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Michael Aaron Steven Peterson Steve Whittaker Larry Tanner

AberRant Monkee Mind by Laurie Mecham laurie@slmetro.com

My daughter and I were driving home from Park City and I suddenly asked her, “Life is a something, take a something. Where did I just see that?” She understood and helped me look around at the Wild Oats shopping bag and the magazine on the car seat. Finally, she pointed out the bumper sticker on the white car beside us when we were pulling to a stop. It read, “Life is a trip; take a paddle.” I suggested that it should be changed to, “Life is shit creek, take a paddle.” Em said, “I know exactly what you’re talking about. Something gets in your mind and you start repeating it, and you wonder where it came from.” No freakin’ kidding, daughter. My mind is so cluttered with debris, background noise, sound effects, ad clips and elevator Muzak, that it’s a wonder I can function normally. Or, you know, something. Apparently everyone in this house is afflicted. We don’t know about the dogs, but the people certainly are. Here’s a typical firstthing-in-the-morning conversation in my house: A. “Jump for my Love by the Pointer Sisters.” B. “Oh my God, that’s what’s in your head this morning?” A. “Yup.” B. “Mine is I Love Rock ‘N Roll.” Together, we then sing the first stanza to I Love Rock ’N Roll. I hate Spring Wireless. That damn jingle almost sent me over the edge when I could not stop it from repeating over and over in my head. I tried to think of other songs, but it kept returning FOR DAYS. As I was trying to sleep at night, there it was, “Get your ring

from Spring. Get your ring from Spring!” Thank God Cingular is taking them over. I don’t give a shit about their logo, their ad campaign, or their corporate culture. I just don’t ever, ever for the rest of my life want to hear that repetitive, torturous jingle. As part of our early courtship, my wife and I had contests where we tried to outdo each other in mind-pollution, competing to think of the most repetitive and obnoxious tune. To win, you must infect the other with a truly awful song. This is a beautiful tradition that we carry on to this day. “…Muskrat Susie, Muskrat Sam, do a jitterbug in Muskrat Land, and they giggle…” “…Cherokee peo-PLE! Cherokee tri-IBE! So proud to li-i-ive, SO PROUD TO DIE!” “…Oops, I did it again…” “…So long, farewell, auf weiderzhein, goodbye!” “…My eyes adored you, but I never laid a hand on you…” “…Havin’ my baby — what a wonderful way of sayin’ how much you love me…” But I don’t have to be playing a game to have these songs descend upon me. It just happens. For example, we’re stopped at a traffic light and I’m looking in my rearview mirror. She’s the first to see the traffic light change, so she says “Green,” which triggers my instant response: “…ACRES is the place to be! FaaARM living is the life for me! Land spreadin’ out so far and wiiiiide, take Manhattan, just gimme that countrysiiiiide.” Unlike many other songs, I know all the verses to this one. Later, I’ll leave a toll-free number where you can call to listen to me sing it all the way through. You know, in case you don’t have a date or something. And the songs that show up in my head — where do they come from? I have somehow absorbed things I never sought to know. For some bizarre reason, devoid of any possible

scientific explanation, inexplicable even by intelligent design, I get a song from the old Disney movie Dumbo stuck in my head. There are some classic numbers in that movie, but what do I get? Probably the most obscure, and definitely the very most obnoxious, tune in the film. It’s the song they play when the circus train is rolling. “CA-sey JUNior’s coming DOWN the track, down the RAILroad track, something SOMEthing ack…” Because that’s the way it is with song bits. You only know a snippet of the words, so only one phrase of the song repeats and repeats on an insane loop. Here’s another from the sadists at Disney. (Thanks, Walt, for whatever you infected me with.) “I got no strings to hold me down, da something something something la la round. I got no strings to dee dee dee, I got no strings on me…” Of course, there are those times when you mix up the lyrics from one song with the melody of a different song. The other day I found myself singing the hymn “Hope of Israel,” only the lyrics I was singing were, “See the Yule Log bright before us…” It’s true, at times my noisy mind has kept me awake at night. There have been days when the soundtrack seemed like it could drive me insane. In spite of this, I’m going to get the wife going in a contest later. I have the ultimate song to spring on her, an inspired water-torture of melody. Why am I driven to do this? I guess it’s just because “…it’s a world of wonder, a world of tears, a world of hope and a world of fears. There’s so much that we share that it’s time we’re aware — it’s a small world after all. It’s a small world after all, it’s a small world after all, it’s a small world after all, it’s a small, small WORLD.” (Repeat.) Laurie Mecham didn’t used to be so sadistic. Or did she?


Ruby Ridge Living Return of the Pink Piñata by Ruby Ridge, ruby@slmetro.com

Ruby Ridge is one of the more opinionated members of the Utah Cyber Sluts, a camp drag group of performers who raise funds and support local charities. Her opinions are her own and fluctuate wildly due to irritability and burning overpriced Bayberry Christmas candles that smell like Ramen Noodles and Lysol.

Condone, Not Condemn, Safer Sex On December 1, World AIDS Day, the LDS Church made its most progressive statement to date regarding the global pandemic. In a news conference, Elder Robert C. Oaks of the Presidency of the Seventy said that people with AIDS should be treated with dignity, kindness, and increased compassion. Gone, it seems, are the days when President Gordon B. Hinckley, in an April 1987 speech about the AIDS pandemic, stated that “the fruits of sin are death.” Yet, in the same conference, Elder Oaks made some inaccurate statements about the AIDS crisis in Africa, flatly stating that “so called ‘safe-sex’ programs” and free condom distribution don’t work. Of course fidelity and monogamy help prevent the spread of HIV. However, Elder Oaks’s sweeping statement ignores scores of women who are forced into intercourse by

Hugo Salinas Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons Salt Lake City

Local Gay Movement No ‘Gay Moron’ Editor, I wanted to respond to the two letters regarding “New Strategies for a Hate Crimes Law” [Letters, Nov. 23]. There is and has been much going on in addition to the items the letters mentioned. In ’03, ’04 and ’05 , proven lobbyists were hired and in ’04, the bill passed in the House

continued on page 15

DECEMBER 8, 2005 ■ SALT LAKE METRO ■ 9

Brace yourselves kittens, I’m a tad cranky ... and here’s why. While hiding behind their facade of being “Pro-Family,” Paul Mero and his ultra conservative “think tank,” the Sutherland Institute, are back using the gay and lesbian community as their convenient punching bag and their best fundraising tool. So, Ruby, what’s their latest, not so stealthy, attack? It’s submitting a resolution to various city governments in Utah that says that all policies should be run through a “natural” family filter that only recognizes an idealized married heterosexual family of mom, dad and kids. Subtle? Yeah about as subtle as my eye makeup! Right off the bat, cherubs, the resolution devalues any type of alternative family structure — single moms, single dads, divorced and blended families, same-sex couples and so on that comprise a big chunk of American households today. If the Sutherland Institute really wants to protect and promote families, then they need to start looking at where the real threats to the American family are. Namely the Bush administration and its war on workers and the systematic dismantling of the American middle class. Mero and the cabal make it sound as if militant gays and lesbians are the only thing thwarting a return to the idealized America of the 1950’s. You know, those safer and simpler 14-inch black-and-white screen days when strong manly dad went to work to support the family and pay the mortgage on their safe suburban home in their homogenous white neighborhood while mom contentedly stayed home and cleaned house, ironed the clothes, and baked cookies for their 3.2 children while tossing dog biscuits to their golden retriever. Well, guess what, pumpkins? What the ultra-conservatives conveniently leave out is the fact that there were some really vital public and private sector things going on that made that kind of romanticized Ozzie and Harriet existence possible. They also neglect to mention that W and his cronies are undermining all of them. First off ... the G.I. Bill and student loans put hundreds of thousands of folks through higher education, thereby increasing their earning potential and raising their standard of living. Next up … the post war suburban building boom and an expanding economy created affordable middle class neighborhoods that could support families and foster healthy communities. Government safety nets like Social Security, Medicare and retirement benefits ensured that even our poorest folks had a baseline of support that promoted security and intergenerational stability in their families, their communities, and across the nation. Plus, employers of the day were loyal to their employees and jobs were stable and

secure. Contrast that to today when CEO compensation is completely disproportionate, any job can be outsourced to India in a heartbeat (and with tax incentives no less), pension programs are under-funded, health benefits are non-existent or unaffordable, and corporations like Wal-Mart would rather close a location than allow unionizing. How do you expect a family to cope under those types of pressures? In my mind, corporate greed, political cronyism, and the demise of the middle class are what’s undermining the American family Mr. Mero. So where’s your self-righteous resolution for that?

Letters

their HIV-positive husbands. Indeed, Elder Oaks’s statement is of little comfort to any person who grew up believing in monogamy but, unknown to them, their spouse or partner was not being faithful. We need solutions for the real world we live in. If the LDS Church were willing to condone, rather than condemn, safer sex, they would be helping fight ignorance and fear — two of the root problems associated with AIDS.


Director Ang Lee and actors Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal discuss a scene while shooting Brokeback Mountain.

By Paul E. Pratt paul@slmetro.com

hate evoking anger,” admits Ang Lee. Yet by mixing the most “American” movie genre — the Western — with gay themes, the director realizes this could well be the impact of his latest cinematic masterpiece, Brokeback Mountain. “I tried not to think about the possible results while I was filming,” the Academy Award-winner confesses during a recent in-person interview. “It might have prevented me from telling the story I needed to.” Rather than trying to make a political or social statement — though he recognizes both are possible — Lee focused on making the best possible adaptation of Pulitzer Prize-winner E. Annie Proulx’s short story. Adapted for the screen by fellow Pulitzer-winner Larry McMurtry (Lonesome Dove), Brokeback Mountain chronicles a 20-year emotional and sexual bond formed between Texas rodeo cowboy Jack Twist and Wyoming ranch hand Ennis Del Mar while herding sheep in the contemporary West during the summer of 1963. Filled with romance, longing, heartache and loss, in Lee’s hands, it becomes a classic, tragic love story. While the film might seem a surprising choice for a director who exploded into the public consciousness with the 2000 martial arts epic and Oscar-favorite Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Lee is no stranger to gay-themed films. Lee wrote and directed the 1993 critic darling The Wedding Banquet, which revolves around a marriage of convenience between a gay Chinese immigrant and his neighbor. When the man’s parents arrive in America to celebrate the wedding, insanity ensues. “I wrote that film to challenge my upbringing,” says the Taiwanese-born Lee of his generational and cultural ex-

10

SALT LAKE METRO ■ DECEMBER 8, 2005

“I

amination. “In my culture, to have a gay son is the ultimate shame. I wanted to raise consciousness around that by showing it in film.” With films such as Eat Drink Man Woman, Lee has long been a staple on the Oscar and art house circuit. His first mainstream Hollywood film, Sense & Sensibility, earned Lee the Best Director nod from the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Circle. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon garnered an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film and Golden Globe for Best Director. Following critical success, Lee tackled the big-budget Hulk. Costing more than $120 million to shoot, the film reeled in a quarter-billion dollars worldwide. While the comic book adaptation proved his greatest box office success, it took its toll. “After Hulk, I was wrecked!” Lee says. “I was just exhausted. I really thought I was done making films for a while. That changed when his longtime collaborative partner and Oscar-winner James Schamus, who now heads Focus Features, told him Brokeback Mountain was still unmade. Approached with the script previously, Lee was already committed to Hulk. “I knew I would be so jealous if someone else did [Brokeback Mountain],” he admits. “This is a film that had to be made.” With that in mind, the pair set about securing funding — much of it from abroad — and started casting. To anchor Brokeback, Lee chose Jake Gyllenhaal (Jarheads) as Jack and cast Heath Ledger (Lords of Dogtown) as Ennis. Showing shades of a young Sally Field, Dawson’s Creek alumna and Ledger’s real-life fiancée, Michelle Williams, plays Ennis’ wife Alma to sullen and rejected perfection. Anne Hathaway finds herself a long way from The Princess Diaries as Jack’s bitter, angry wife Lureen.

With the film spanning a 20-year period, Lee says he knew from the start he wanted to age younger actors. “There is no way to recreate that innocence,” he points out. Additionally, viewers have less preconceived notions about lesser-known talent. Says Lee, “Actors in their 30s have been around 15, sometimes 20 years already.” In preparation for the roles, the leads were sent to “cowboy school” to get hands-on experience with horseback riding and ranch work. Lee says Ledger, already familiar with farm life, was bored. Gyllenhaal, who the director describes as a “city boy,” was frustrated by splinters, bloodied hands and all that goes with building fences, feeding animals and moving bails of hay. “We tried to rough him up a bit. There’s nothing I could do to make Jake look like a cowboy,” Lee jokes, “But they looked like they would make a good couple.” As Lee hoped, the men also used the time to bond, which becomes more than obvious during their raw, powerful, on-screen love scenes. Though the director admits making Brokeback Mountain presents a certain professional risk for all involved, he does not find the act particularly “brave” of his stars. “They’re actors,” he notes. “Of course they want juicy parts.” “I’m not their manager. I don’t care if this movie dooms the rest of their careers,” he half-jokes. “All I cared about was that they performed for me.” Besides, Lee provides his own unique perspective. “I was directing a gay Western set in the mountains of Wyoming, and there is nothing further from my personal experience,” he says. “If I can do it and make it convincing, so can they.” Paul E. Pratt is a San Francisco-based entertainment and features writer. To read more of his articles, visit: http://www. PaulEPratt.com.


Beautifully Broken Director Ang Lee’s Epic Romance Well Worth the Wait By Paul E. Pratt paul@slmetro.com

Paul E. Pratt is a San Francisco-based entertainment and features writer. To read more of his work, visit: http://www.PaulEPratt.com.

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN Directed by Ang Lee Based on a story by E. Annie Proulx Screenplay by Larry McMurtry Starring Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway and Michelle Williams Limited Release Dec. 9 Opens in Salt Lake Jan 9 at the Broadway Centre Theatre, 111 E. Broadway Watch for a special event sponsored in part by Salt Lake Metro to be announced in our next issue.

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Forget for a moment, if possible, that Brokeback Mountain centers around gay cowboys. This deeply affecting film tells a story far more universal than that alone would suggest. While those hoping to see a raw, need-driven sexual encounter between two of Hollywood’s finest young actors will certainly not leave disappointed, at its (broken) heart Ang Lee’s riveting new masterpiece contains all the unbearable yearning, ache and intense loss of a classic, tragic love story. Adapted from a short story by 1994 Pulitzer Prize-winner E. Annie Proulx, the film chronicles an unexpected — and life-long — love that blossoms between two men spending the summer herding sheep in the mountains of Wyoming. On a deeper level, Academy Award-nominated Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Hulk) illustrates the destructive impact societal pressures and internalized fears can have when such emotion is prevented from running its natural course. In 1963, Ennis Del Mar (Lords of Dogtown’s Heath Ledger), a ranch hand orphaned young and raised by his siblings, accepts a job on Brokeback Mountain. His employer (Randy Quaid) partners him with Texas rodeo cowboy Jack Twist (Jarhead’s Jake Gyllenhaal). Each takes the job to raise money for their respective futures, expected to include societal norms of wives, children and perhaps their own farms. The unique camaraderie and sexual tension that emerges ultimately erupts in animalistic passion. “I’m not queer,” asserts Ennis the next day, to which Jack declares, “It’s nobody’s business except ours.” The milieu provides an escape from a society that would force each into a life he does might not want. At turns tender, playful and sometimes even violent — as when unable to verbalize their anger and disappointment at summer’s end — it is apparent a genuine love has been born. Though Jack urges Ennis to continue their relationship, the latter is not prepared to face the social ramifications of taking their feelings away from their private setting. Jack’s desire to be together, alone on a ranch of their own, and Ennis’s denial of his feelings and need to abide by society’s standards, causes the two to part company brokenhearted, and provides a conflict that lasts the next 20 years. After an initial four-year separation — during which Ennis goes through the motions of familial life — the men reunite for a passion-filled escape to Brokeback Mountain. While the film rests on this relationship between its exemplary leads, what makes Brokeback complete is the objective illustration of its far-reaching and destructive impact on their respective lives. The longer each man denies his own feelings, more and more people are pulled into the web. Unable to get Ennis to commit to a life together, Jack also settles into a lackluster marriage and career. They schedule several “fishing trips” to their Wyoming get-away each year to romp happy, joyous and free for a week before returning to lives they resent and families for whom they are

largely emotionally unavailable. Ennis’ wife Alma, beautifully portrayed by Dawson’s Creek alumna and Ledger’s real-life fiancée, Michelle Williams, stumbles on his double-life. Racked with pain and loneliness, she grows evermore sullen as her marriage crumbles. Meanwhile, Anne Hathaway as Jack’s wife Lureen — a stark contrast to her role in The Princess Diaries — is utterly convincing. Even a life of privilege cannot prevent her growing bitter, withdrawn and angry as years pass. Though all the actors involved are surprisingly young, the director coaxes career-best performances from each. From his leads — both heterosexual — Lee elicits shocking intimacy. Indeed, Gyllenhaal and Ledger create an on-screen connection beyond merely “believable.” Their chemistry is palpable, electric. Whether in the sexual or emotional context, both give themselves completely to the vulnerability of complex, human and flawed characters. Gyllenhaal embodies the dreamy, idealistic romantic willing to risk all for love. So paralyzed by internalized homophobia and traumatized by childhood images of a gay bashing, Ledger’s Ennis is heartbreaking. Adapted for the big screen by 1986 Pulitzer-winner Larry McMurtry (Lonesome Dove), the film captures a true feel of the contemporary West. Indeed, the Wyoming highlands, and Brokeback Mountain itself, are a character in their own right. Lee successfully juxtaposes the characters’ perceived privacy against the expansive Rocky Mountain backdrop yet maintains an intense intimacy. He handles the film with the care and reverence one would expect of the man who wrote and directed The Wedding Banquet. An eye for casting is clear; even the smallest supporting role is impeccably portrayed. Though beautifully scripted, acted and shot, there is no happy Hollywood ending for Brokeback Mountain. Fate takes a cruel turn as the men chase a dream close enough to grasp — if only they had. Sadly, more than 40 years after this film begins, many of the same social pressures, fears and problems that prevented its leads from being together remain. This epic tale of love and loss serves as a powerful reminder why they should not.


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SALT LAKE METRO ■ DECEMBER 8, 2005


THE GAY AGENDA by Eric Tierney, eric@slmetro.com

Ladies and gentlemen, please pardon the Agenda’s brevity and lack of wit this issue; we are fighting off a terrible cold. Also, Michael Aaron will not allow us to add any coal to the stove, making it rather too cold to type.

8THURSDAY Crumpet returns! Tooth and Nail Theatre Company presents its fifth annual production of David Sedaris’ The Santaland Diaries, the story of a wayward, underachieving 34 year-old man who must take a job as an elf at Macy’s one desperate Christmas. After a one-year hiatus, during which Robert Scott Smith took over the role, Salt Lake favorite Todd Parmley returns. Continues through Dec. 30 at 8pm with 2pm matinees Dec. 11 and 18, 3pm matinee on Dec. 24, Studio Theatre at Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 W. Broadway. Tickets $22 at 355-2787 nor arttix.org

9FRIDAY Over 140 voices will combine with both jazz and classical orchestras to bring forth a uniquely powerful version of Handel’s beloved Messiah. For the fourth year in a row, some of Utah’s most talented musicians will take to the stage of the Grand Theatre in what has become one of the state’s loudest, most passionate, and best loved holiday musical traditions. Tonight, Saturday and Monday at 7:30pm, Grand Theatre, 1575 S. State Street. Tickets $10–24 at 957-3322.

10SATURDAY

Continues Mondays through Saturdays at 7pm. Matinees at 2pm on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays, 3:30pm on Christmas Eve. Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South. Tickets $17–65 at 355-2787 or arttix.org

This year, the Royal Court of the Golden Spike Empire is holding one of their largest annual events, Snowball, at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center.

Doors open at 5pm, food at 6pm. Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 W. Broadway. Tickets $20 at 355-ARTS or ArtTix.org

11SUNDAY After the gospel Messiah earlier in the week, you’re probably aching for a chance to show off your own oratorio blasting skills. Bring your pipes and score to Abravanel Hall tonight and join the Utah Symphony in another great holiday tradition: the Messiah Sing-In. Lift your voice with 2,000 strangers all trying to remember from their high school choir days the alto or tenor lines to the Hallelujah Chorus. To paraphrase A Chorus Line: What they lack in pitch, they sure make up in power! Tonight and Monday at 7pm, Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple. Tickets $6-$13 at 355-2787 or arttix.org.

Those campy homos, the Salt Lake Men’s Choir, are taking to the stage with A Hard Campy Christmas, a program of holiday music that features a musical tour of Utah. With their tongues planted firmly in cheek, the boys will sing the praises of our fair cities, from Sandy to Vernal. Sing the words “Provo” where the “Gloria” should go in the chorus of “Angels We Have Heard on High” and you’ll get the idea. 7:30pm, Jeanne Wagner Theatre at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 W Broadway. Tickets $10–15 at 355-2787 or arttix.org.

16FRIDAY Or, if choirs, toe shoes and orchestras aren’t your thing, you could come out to the Utah Symphony’s Big Band Christmas concert. You’ll hear Duke Ellington’s swingin’ take on The Nutcracker’s overture, Mel Torme’s “The Christmas Song” (also known as “Chestnuts Roasting…”) and “a set of classic swing.” It beats watching those freaky claymation specials from the sixties on TV. Tonight and tomorrow at 8pm, Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple. Tickets $20-$48 at 355-2787 or arttix.org.

SANTALAND DIARIES See Dec. 8

18SUNDAY Finally, if all this holiday mirth is proving too much for you, I suggest you check out Utah Contemporary Theatre’s production of Dirty Blonde. This fantastic play, the Best Play Tony winner in 2000, follows the story of blonde bombshell Mae West — the original sexpot — and two of her most devoted fans. Continues Mondays through Fridays at 7:30pm until Dec. 30, Leona Wagner Black Box Theatre at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center. Tickets $20 at 355-2787 or arrttix.org.

Equality Utah Announces Legislative Events Equality Utah announced the following events to gear up for the 2006 legislative session: “OUT for Equality” Kick-off Jan. 11, 5–7pm at Baci Ristorante A social event similar to the “OUT Against Amendment 3” events held at Panini during the “No on 3” Campaign of 2004. Come nibble on appetizers, have a drink with friends and learn about the upcoming legislative session from those who are making it happen. Special Guest will be Sen. Scott McCoy. Lobby Training: “How to Talk to Your Elected Officials” Jan. 14, 9am–1pm Capitol Hill West Building Training will be conducted by Rep. Jackie Biskupski & Sen. Scott McCoy. A discussion panel will include Rep. Roz McGee, Rep. Ross Romero, Sen. Karen Hale & Sen. Gene Davis. A town hall meeting on hate crimes legislation will be presented by Rep. David Litvack. “OUT for Equality” Update Jan. 25, 5–7pm at Baci Rep. Jackie Biskupski will talk about the first 2 weeks on “The Hill.” For more information, visit equalityutah.org

Todd Parmley Returns for Sedaris’ The Santaland Diaries Tooth & Nail Theatre’s fifth annual hit production of The Santaland Diaries by comic genius David Sedaris returns to the Rose Wagner Studio Theatre for the holidays. Actor Todd Parmley, who originated the role for Tooth & Nail, will return from New York to reprise his role as the urban slacker whose dire circumstances force him to take on the humiliating holiday job as Santa’s slave in a New York department store. Adapted by Joe Mantello for the stage from an essay by David Sedaris, The Santaland Diaries details the dire and hysterical humiliations that Sedaris endured as one of Santa’s elves at Macy’s during the holiday crunch. Sedaris brilliantly captures the insanity of Christmas commercialism in this day-by-day account of life on the inside. Tooth & Nail’s production will again be directed by Roger Benington and designed by Rodney Cuellar, with lights by Stephen Terry. The Santaland Diaries runs Dec. 8–30. Tickets are available through ARTTIX by calling 355-ARTS or online at arttix.org. Tickets are $22, with $10 student tickets on specific days (see www.toothandnail.com). Salt Lake Metro readers who mention code SANTA when purchasing tickets can save $5 if they see the show before Dec. 14.

DECEMBER 8, 2005 ■ SALT LAKE METRO ■ 13

Ballet West is thrilled to present its 50th (yes, fiftieth) annual production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. This is the granddaddy of Utah Christmas traditions, and everyone should see the show at least once in their lives. The music, the incredible sets and, most of all, the astonishing beauty of the dance are enchanting. Also, there are lots of hot guys in tight clothes.

There will be a live show and a silent auction, with proceeds benefitting the group’s People With AIDS Christmas Fund. Last year, the fund granted over $12,000 in $100 gifts to people living with HIV and AIDS.


EarPiece This Space for Rent by Eric Tierney eric@slmetro.com

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The holidays are undoubtedly a busy season for Mrs. Ruzicka. She’s a mother and a grandmother, after all, which means a great deal of decorating, baking, and judgment of the poor to be done. Then there’s all the shopping to do for the legislators — one must remember one’s underlings! And since the new legislative session is just around the corner, there’s a whole new season of Designer Laws to create; rumor has it that spring 2006 features a flatter tax and plunging revenue lines. All this yuletide activity probably means that Gayle hasn’t had much leisure time lately and, more than likely, has not taken in a film for a while. This is probably a good thing for everyone, because if she’d been at the Gateway’s Megaplex 12 on November 23, she would either of have had a massive coronary or retired straightaway to her underground lair to fashion a law banning gay-revered entertainments in family movie theatres. Every homo in a fifteen mile radius turned out to see the film version of Rent on its opening day. Yes, there were FCUK Tshirts and Energie sneakers as far as the eye could see, jostling for space in the wide corridors with the dazed, sun-starved Harry Potter crowd and the exhausted twenty-four year-old mothers-of-three dragging their howling broods to Chicken Little. My esteemed editor, who, in addition to possessing such admirable traits as the belief that a bottle of brandy should be kept in the office at all times, has quite a way with words, described the audience emerging from one screening as “a phalanx of faux-hawks.” Of course, one of our cultural touchstones, according to Straighty, is an irrational, fanatical obsession with musical theatre. It’s true that we turned out in droves to see Madonna and Antonio Banderas in the ham-and-cheese face-off that was Evita, and something like seventy percent of Chicago’s domestic box office was generated by gay men and their mothers, but Rent is something else. Rent is the ultimate gay musical. From its complex, sensitive and probing exploration of AIDS issues, to its portrayal of authentic, realistic gay relationships, both good and bad, Rent was the first musical — in an art form that for over a century has counted gay men and women amongst its fiercest devotees and dedicated professionals — to take an interest in what day-to-day life is like for gay people and their friends and telling those stories. Also, of course, it’s schmaltzy as hell. Schmaltzy in the best way though — tears, laughter, anguish, redemption. “Rock opera” pretensions aside, the thing is still a musical.

There’s sassy comedy, passionate love duets, dazzling chorus numbers (alas, though, no tapping) and, of course, a drag queen. After all, make the set’s costumes look as dingy as a lower east side junkie’s flophouse as much as you want and give the characters all the New Bohemian foibles you like (singing vegans, anyone?) but, as Jerry Herman might say, you’ve got to get toes tapping to keep the asses in the seats. I think it’s safe to assume that Gayle’s ass won’t be in any of those seats this holiday season. For one thing, Rent is set in New York, that capitol of iniquity — the state that elected that man-killer Hillary to the Senate — and, for another, it paints a sympathetic picture of the kinds of people that Ruzicka seems bound and determined to legislate out of existence. More likely, she’ll stay at home, crocheting beanies for House Republicans and nursing a cup of Postum by the fire while writing her Christmas cards to Phyllis Schlafly. Which is fine. She won’t shush us as we sing along. In other holiday movie news, an event

that I have been dreaming of since the age of eight will take place the day after this issue hits newsstands, which is the premiere of a film version of one of the books I value most in the world: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I spent a considerable amount of my own childhood in Narnia; a homemade Narnian flag hung over my bed and I was never seen without one of the books in my hand between the ages of between roughly eight and eleven. I still read all seven about once every other year or so. Naturally, as one who is more than commonly, or even rationally, passionate about what are, fundamentally, a bunch of British kid’s books from the fifties, I feel that I ought to have been consulted when the project was being developed. Judging from preview footage and clips, though, the film’s creators have done rather well in the absence of my expertise; the movie just looks like it’s supposed to. You can bet that on opening day, I will be in attendance with all the other Narnia geeks, laughing behind our hands at the Potter set and displaying outright contempt for the fan-boys ogling Charlize in Aeon Flux. We’ll have a great time, just like a clatch of homos getting misty at Rent, and the moment will be sweeter because we’ll know Gayle’s not around. The movie, you see, takes a rather unsympathetic view of megalomaniacal women who silence their critics. Also, the country is ruled by a benevolent talking lion. And if there’s one thing Gayle hates more than homos, it’s people loving lions.


Letters,

Continued from page 9

Michael Picardi, Utah Stonewall Democrats

DECEMBER 8, 2005 ■ SALT LAKE METRO ■ 15

only to be called back by the House leadership before being voted on in the Senate. We have had numerous experts from outside Utah come here to lobby the Legislature and the governor. Among them, Judy Shepard, LaVon Byrd Harris (whose brother was brutally murdered as the result of a hate crime) and Jonathan Bernstein, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, in the last three years alone. They all met with the editorial boards of both daily newspapers, house and senate leadership, and the governor. Ms. Shepard was part of a town hall forum on hate crimes held at City Hall, and Mr. Bernstein took part in a debate/discussion with thenSenator James Evans and Representative David Litvack at the Salt Lake County Council Chamber. (In a side note, I believe the GLBT Community played a major role in removing James Evans from his Senate seat!) There have been fundraisers, house parties and even a CyberSlut bingo to help the Utah Stonewall Democrats raise the funds necessary to hire lobbyists. We have had in-kind donations from straight allies in the form of receptions at their restaurants and/or places of business. We have met with the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and, as a result, they “did not oppose the bill as written, including sexual orientation,” to the dismay of Gayle Ruzicka. We have had press conferences headed up by Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, who has been in support of this legislation since he was first elected, due in no small part to our lobbying. We have built coalitions with the disabled, Latino, African-American, Asian, Pacific Islander, prosecutorial and church organizations, encouraging them to speak with their members and have them contact their state representatives and the governor way before the session even begins. This legislation is NOT “pro-gay legislation.” It is to protect MANY and ALL minorities from hate crimes. The extreme right, which holds way too much influence on the hill, is hell-bent on removing “sexual orientation” from the groups identified in the past verbiage of hate crimes legislation. The fear they spread is the so-called “Howitzer” they are armed with. They continually use the “slippery slope” argument to scare their base to flood the in-boxes of our representatives with anti-gay vitriolic rhetoric. This year, there is new language that has been developed since last spring. Along with a former Chief Justice of the Utah Supreme Court, legal professors from BYU and the U of U, members of the Utah League of Prosecutors, members of the GLBT community and other minority groups affected by Hate Crimes have worked throughout the summer with Rep. Litvack and are still working to make this year’s legislation effective and passable. Some may think this is “fly by the pants politics,” but I for one, having worked on this for the past seven years, do not. (There have been many before me who have worked on this for a lot longer than seven years, and to them we owe a debt of gratitude.) I doubt David Litvack, Jackie Biskupski, Scott McCoy or Senator Karen Hale and the many other allies we have found and worked with would agree with that assessment either. While much of our work on this legislation is done without the high profile of some other individuals, we do send e-mails, post on blogs, write letters to the editor and constantly and consistently spread the information that this is the right thing to do. Equality Utah, the Log Cabin Republicans

and the Utah Stonewall Democrats have been on the forefront of being up at the legislative sessions consistently speaking with and trying to convince the conservative majority that this is the right thing to do. I have mentioned some of the activities the GLBT community has been doing. There is much more that continues to be done to move this forward. If this is being “a moron with a three inch blade,” then so be it. The co-sponsor in ’05, Republican Rep. James Ferrin, told me this would not pass until the “faces in these rooms change.” As the “name withheld” stated, we are doing anything and everything to rid the state of right wing extremists like Rep. Christiansen and Sen. Buttars. I ask what he is doing. Change starts at the grassroots level; as much of a cliché as that is, it is true. You, too, can write letters of support for the work that is being done, you too can write to your legislator and demand that this legislation pass, you too can speak to your neighbors, friends and family to encourage them to call their state representative and ask that this be passed. And you do not need to wait until a “mass e-mail” is sent out. Do it now! The “local gay politicos,” including myself, are always looking for new ideas and support from any and all areas (as hard as that may be to believe!). I would like to close by asking that our energies be spent focusing on our individual representatives and the governor. Let them know how you feel. Write letters, call them, and let us know of any ideas you may have so we may all be able to move forward and gain true and real equality with our friends and neighbors.


The Gay Table — What’s On Yours? by Vanessa Chang, vanessa@slmetro.com

It’s just been a little over a year since I started reviewing restaurants for The Metro. In that time, I’ve tried to hit up a microcosm everything this little gay mountain hamlet offers. Swanky joints that could just about convince someone they weren’t in Utah. Holes in the walls where sometimes English isn’t the primary language. And the spots that are so familiar, you visit them like clockwork without much thought to food and ambience — doesn’t matter

because you simply like it. All of this in an effort to advise you on what’s available out there in the big bad world of menus and service. All of this to tell you where to eat. But this week, I’d like to turn the tables a bit. I want to ask you, the reader, where and (more importantly) how do you eat? During one of my unauthorized web surfing moments at work, I came upon an article by Edmund White in the UK’s Observer. “The Gay Man’s Guide to Dinner” was a humorous sociological look into the relationship between food and gay men. Whether eating out or giving a dinner party at home, what we eat, serve, and share says a lot about us — gay, bi, or straight. There’s plenty of talk about “ethnic” or

“minority” cuisine. Wonton soup, posole, and tempura represent various groups dissected by cultural traditions and geographic situation. But if you look at the gay community as a minority, is there an actual cuisine? For White, the answer is a conditional yes. It isn’t a categorized cuisine, per se. But the approach to it that can identify the gay man in the restaurant or in the kitchen. For straight men, there’s the enduring sex appeal of a dark-wooded steakhouse where the meat is bloody, the brandy plentiful, and the cigars so phallic. At home, these same connoisseurs of the filet, plonk out the same two recipes for guests, no matter the time of year. Funny, but not true you say? Tell that to my über-male friend who’s only claim to kitchen fame are homeversions of the steaks from his favorite restaurant, frozen peas, sliced tomato salad, and the baked potato. The gay redux of that meal would have the steaks perfectly cooked, rested for 15 minutes (‘to let the juices settle’), and sliced into perfect ribbons for the serv-

ing dish. The frozen peas would be petite pois slathered with good European butter and shards of fresh mint. Don’t even think about tomato salad this time of year. The gay foodie knows to savor tomatoes when they’re cheap and in season. And that baked potato? Served piping hot with crème fraîche and a dollop of caviar. And according to White, the principles are even simpler. If you’re butch, you’ll serve/ eat meatloaf and gravy. If you’re femme, it’s all about the scallops in some sort of beurre blanc. I’m sure that there are more variables to this hypothesis (i.e. gay men who cannot cook or are plenty happy with fast food versus haute cuisine). But the only constant in this gay gastronomic equation that I’ve observed as a straight food-obsessed woman is that there’s always plenty of good conversation at the gay table. So let’s dish. Tell me what you like to eat: vanessa@slmetro.com. In the meantime, check out next issue’s column when Beau, aka The Basic Juice Wine Guy, and I join forces to pair good wines with local restaurant food.

Di ing Guide Dining de

Nick-N-Willy’s Pizza

Bangkok Thai

Fiddler’s Elbow

1400 Foothill Dr. / 582-8424 HOURS: MO-TH 11:30-2, 5-9:30PM F 11:30AM-2PM, 5-10PM SA NOON-10PM, SU 5-9PM CUISINE: THAI PRICE: $ CARDS: TC AE D MC V

1063 E. 2100 S. / 463-9393

Rated “Best Thai” 1992–2005 by local and national press.

Café Med 420 E. 3300 S. / 493-0100 HOURS: SU-TH 11AM-9PM F-SA 11AM-10PM CUISINE: MEDITERRANEAN PRICE: $ CARDS: TC AE D MC V

Persian, Greek, Italian, Turkish and Vegetarian in a warm, relaxing atmosphere.

Coffee Garden 898 S 900 E / 355-3425 HOURS: SU-TH 6AM-11PM F-SA 6AM-12AM CUISINE: COFFEEHOUSE PRICE: ¢ CARDS: AE D MC V

fiddlerselbowslc.com M-TH 11AM-11PM F-SA 11AM-12AM SU 9AM-10PM CUISINE: AMERICAN PRICE: $ CARDS: TC AE D MC V HOURS:

32 beers, including Utah’s best selection of microbrews.

Michelangelo Ristorante 2156 S, HIGHLAND DR./ 466-0961

michelangeloristorante.com TU-SA 11:30AM-1:30PM 5:45-9PM CUISINE: ITALIAN PRICE: $$ CARDS: AE D MC V HOURS:

Begun by childhood friends

16

SALT LAKE METRO ■ DECEMBER 8, 2005

SLC’s buzzing java shop with a Paulo Celeste and Marco diverse crowd. Gabrielli of Tuscany.

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Orbit Cafe 540 W. 200 S. / 322-3808 orbitslc.com HOURS: SU-TH 11AM-10PM F-SA 11AM-3AM CUISINE: AMERICAN ECLECTIC PRICE: $ CARDS: TC AE D MC V

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Salt Lake Pizza & Pasta 1063 E. 2100 S. / 484-1804

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Sage’s Cafe 470 E. 300 S. / 322-3790

sagescafe.com W-F 11:30AM-2:30PM, W-TH 5-9:30PM FRI 5-10PM SAT 9AM-10PM SUN 9AM-9PM CUISINE: VEGETARIAN/ORGANIC PRICE: $ CARDS: TC AE D MC V HOURS:

Committed to providing the freshest, healthiest cuisine possible, without compromising.

The Original 1751 S 1100 EAST / 483-2971 HOURS: M-SA 11AM–7PM CUISINE: SANDWICHES PRICE: $ CARDS: TC AE D DC MC V

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Red,White Bubbly Give a Good Gift. Give Wine. by Beau Jarvis beau@slmetro.com

QUALITY WAY OVER QUANTITY Perhaps the object of your wine giving prefers to save her pennies and go to that nice restaurant just once a month, rather than eating at the greasy buffet place daily. Surely she would adore a bottle of Perrier Jouët (you do, in fact, pronounce the “t”) Cuvée Fleur de Champagne 1995 ($128). Vintage champagne is a rarity and it’s almost always of great quality. Perrier Jouët’s Fleur is a delicate, yet rich, bubbly that pairs well with almost any food. It’s also amazing as a solo sip.

QUALITY OVER QUANTITY Of course your wine lover may appreciate quality but shy away from ostentatious gifts. You can still go for quality, just tone it down a notch. Wrap up two bottles by Italian Barolo master Silvio Grasso: ‘Pi Vigne’ 2000 ($54) and ‘Giachini’ 2000 ($70). For less than $130, you’ll be giving your wine lover two wonderful wintertime wine treasures. Take a bottle for that special ski weekend. Or channel your inner Italian chef and serve a bottle with osso bucco. He’s sure to love it.

YOUR FREELOADING FRIENDS DRINK ALL YOUR WINE Maybe you and your significant other are both wine lovers. However, your friends are, shall we say … always thirsty. This results in a frequently barren wine cupboard. Give a gift that you’ll both enjoy. Buy one case of El Paseo Tempranillo 2003 ($4.95) for sixty dollars. This is perfectly drinkable Spanish red wine. Place it prominently in your wine cupboard and allow your friends to help themselves. With the remaining seventy dollars, purchase two bottles from Kalin Cellars: Kalin Cellars Chardonnay Cuvee LD 1994 ($33) and Kalin Cellars Semillon Livermore Valley 1995 ($30). These California white wines are sure to be the most unique American vino you’ve ever tried. Hide these bottles and open them only when the party has just two guests.

Comics A COUPLE OF GUYS by Dave Brousseau

Enjoy the holiday season. Give thoughtfully. And remember; it’s better to give good wine than silly, overpriced wine accessories. Cheers! Beau Jarvis is a sommelier and wine educator. He operates basicjuice.com, a wine review and info website. He also runs basicjuice.blogs.com

BITTER GIRL by Joan Hilty

DECEMBER 8, 2005 ■ SALT LAKE METRO ■ 17

If you have a wine lover in your life, there are hundreds of wine-related gift items that are supposedly “perfect” for her or him. Sadly, many wine gifts that aren’t actually bottles of wine are just plain silly. So, in the spirit of the season in which it is better to give than receive (but better to receive good loot over useless crap), I present six silly wine gifts to avoid during this year’s holiday celebration. 1. $230 crystal decanter — It’s just one bump/nudge/cajole away from being a $230 jigsaw puzzle. Yes, most wine benefits from aeration, but it doesn’t necessarily benefit any more from a $200-plus decanter than a simple $30–40 decanter. 2. A limited edition waiter’s corkscrew for $200 — Um, no thanks; I’ll take the $10 corkscrew instead. For that much dough, that pricey corkscrew better be remote controlled or come with a gift certificate for a bottle of my favorite champagne (Krug Grande Cuvée, $158). 3. Personalized “perfect pop” champagne cork remover ($40) — How about five monogrammed hand towels for the same price? Take one of said towels and use it to open your bottle of bubbly. Grasp bottle firmly in one hand, loosen cage (wire thingy over the cork), drape the towel over the cork and place the thumb of your other hand firmly over the top. Then ease the cork off by slightly twisting while maintaining pressure. It’s easy, and no one loses an eyeball. Or forty dollars. 4. Another forty bucks for something called the “Wine Clip” — It contains “rare earth magnets” that magically make wine taste better. If you want this, I’ll sell you two “wine rocks” for $19.99 (plus shipping & handling). They’ll make wine taste better … I promise. 5. The deluxe travel wine fridge — Yes, for $180, you can give your wine lover a battery-powered, temperature-controlled wine fridge. With wheels! Psst … for around $160 less you can give them a little something called a COOLER! 6. Faux wine magazine cover of your favorite wine lover as the “Wine Man of the Year” — For $130, I suggest you purchase your wine man/woman of the year something else. Hey, I don’t mind a little vanity,

but I can do without my photo on the fake cover of a mediocre magazine, thank you. The best gift I can think of for wine lovers is — get this — wine. Let’s take that $130 you just saved on the silly magazine cover and spend it on some wine for that special wine enthusiast in your life.


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Metro, Volume 2, Issue 25  

Utah's gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and ally magazine. Brokeback Mountain: Director Ang Lee tells Metro about 'the film that had to...

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