Sunday, September 30, 2007

Musica: I Feel Love / Johnny Remember Me


OMG, how gay can it get! Can you believe this was on the air in the mid-1980's? Bronski Beat (feat. Jimmy Somerville) and Marc Almond doing the Donna Summer / Giorgio Moroder classic "I Feel Love." I hadn't seen this video in years and thought I'd share.

But wait! There's more! There's the live version of the above track, there's "It Ain't Necessarily So" questioning homophobic interpretations of the Bible, and the hits "Smalltown Boy" (including a Bronski Beat vs. Destiny's Child version and a Seamus Sexton's home-made folky cover) and "Why?"

And a groovy rare vid from Jimmy Somerville's solo career, "Here I Am," taken from the soundtrack to the movie "Orlando" and posted below. Enjoy.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Los Dogos: World Gay Soccer Champs!

Today, Argentina's Los Dogos beat the defending world gay soccer champs Stonewall (from the UK) to become the world's top gay soccer team. Yay! But it doesn't mean there haven't been a few bumps along the way.

On Friday, according to La Capital, a Buenos Aires councilmember asked the Buenos Aires Human Rights Commission to officially denounce the tournament. Jorge Enríquez argued that it was one thing for the government to respect what individuals did in private and quite another to allow events that promote immoral practices such as the soccer tournament.

Councilmember Facundo Di Filipo, chair of the Human Rights Commission, called Enríquez' statements homophobic and said that it exposed a point of views that should have been left behind in the 20th century.

In the meantime, the absence of a Brazilian team at the tournament was blamed by some on an unwillingness by Brazil to support a gay or lesbian team and on generalized homophobia in a land that is supposed to be not only soccer-crazy but also tolerant of gays and lesbians.

Celeste Gay, the team from Uruguay which was said to be a contender for the championship but ultimately did not reach the final, was also rumored to be writing a complaint letter to the International Gay and Lesbian Football Association (IGLFA) calling into question the disorganized structure of the event and the prohibitive costs for some of the smaller international teams that would have wanted to participate (this according to AG Magazine).

Perhaps the most bizarre complaints about the event came in a scanned image from a newspaper that I have yet to identify (above) which says that some participants in the event were less than comfortable with the Mexican team's supposedly overtly affectionate way of celebrating each score with a kiss between playmates .

Ricardo Leon, director of Chilegay Deportes, traveling with the team from Chile, told the unknown paper "I haven't seen the Mexicans, but I can say that we don't do that. We are respectful athletes and we are representing our country, we did not come for relaxation."

Nestor Gamella, technical director for champs Los Dogos also said that he didn't like the Mexican team's field smooches. "To be gay does not mean being effeminate or ridiculous," he said.

Daniel Santoyo, a team member from Mexico's Tri Gay, didn't seem worried by the complaints raised about the kisses and might have added fuel to the fire, according to the paper, when he told some members of the press that during the tournament they were facing "very tall, very strong players and, well... also very handsome and blond and all that."

Despite all the kissing, El Tri failed to win a single match game but still went back home with a smile on their faces.

The final was seen by over 2,000 fans who, according to some reports, were drinking lots of Kilmes beer and eating something called choripanes. For those Argentineans among you, what are choripanes and are they as delicious as I think they might be just by name alone?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Love will tear us appart, again

The last time I recommended a movie ("Once"), some people let me know that they had taken a chance on it and greatly enjoyed it. So excuse me for plugging another flick but this one looks to be too good to pass - even if I have yet to see it (I mean, to some of us Joy Division and New Order are just godly but that doesn't mean film will do them justice).

In any case, here comes "Control" - an Anton Corbijn film that just looks stunning which is not surprising since he's mostly known for his emblematic images of Depeche Mode and U2 (circa "The Joshua Tree").

"Control" opens first in the UK on October 5th and the following week it opens up in the United States in a limited run. Let's hope it's as great as it promises to be.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dirty Sexy Money? Best new TV show of the season... So far!

So I've tried the Bionic Woman (yes, I am still in love with Lindsay Wagner). It sucked.

And I've tried the ball-tastic
Tell Me You Love Me on HBO (mostly because of the great Ally Walker). It sucked.

And I've tried the
Kid Nation (mostly because of the indentured child labor). And, guess what! It sucked too.

And I even tried the Duque clan at the Hispanic-rifick Cane (mostly because I wished it would have taught people how to pronounce my last name). And not even Rita Moreno nor former Colombian beauty queen Paula Turbay - in her first US starring role - could save it (at least the similar Kingpin was upfront about its portentous ridiculousness). By the way, Guanabee wants to know just how many Latino stereotypes have you spotted in Cane?

So it was a surprise to tune in to Dirty Sexy Money tonight and be so entertained! It wasn't only the great Peter Krause (of Six Feet Under fame) or Billy Baldwin (of the mostly hawt Baldwin clan AND a Binghamton University graduate to boot - just like me!) or Donald Sutherland (of the 1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers re-make AND dad or the just arrested 24 Keiffer-man) or a surprise appearance by eminent journalist Dan Rather! No! It wasn't just that!
And it wasn't even that it out-did Cane with handing a leading role to trans performer Candis Cayne (get it? Cane, Cayne, sometimes I even amuse myself with my wit). Well, not even! It might well be the first time that a trans person performs on TV as a trans person in the United States. But Argentina and Colombia has got the USofA beat (that's Candis in the pic above).

It might just be good writing and pacing and a knack for setting up a great yarn. In any case I will be back for more next week. Let's hope it lives up to my expectations.
  • Here is what TV Squad's got to say about the show, including a list of favorite quotes
  • Manhattan Offender also gives back some realness

Soccer player "outed" in Peru as Argentina hosts gay soccer tournament

Above: Goalkeeper Juan "Chiquito" Flores' professional soccer career might be coming to an end after a homophobic gossip show "outs" him (An extended version of the video here); Below: Argentina's main gay soccer team, DAG.

International gay soccer tournament takes over Buenos Aires - For months now I've been getting bombarded by so many press releases, news items and e-mail messages about this week's international gay soccer tournament in Buenos Aires, Argentina, that in some respects I will be oh-so-happy when the event ends this Saturday (additional information about the tournament can be found at Bloomberg Canada's Digital Journal).

No more newspaper articles about the Mexican team's pink uniforms! No more press releases about cute team mascots! No more debates about why there are no lesbian teams at a "gay and lesbian" event! Or complaints that the event is too expensive for the average Argentinean to attend! (the last two being pretty valid points but nevertheless I'll be happy when the e-mail bombardment stops).

Still, there is no denying that the event, the first of its kind in all of Latin America, is a landmark event that illustrates the amazing advances that the gay community has seen in the region over the last decade.


But, should there be a 'gay' soccer tournament at all?
- Last week I read an interesting post over at Dollymix questioning the need to gave a 'gay' soccer tournament at all instead of "working to make straight football a more supportive and welcoming place for gay athletes and fans" which is fine and dandy - except that it's easier said than done.

I mean, to my knowledge, there has never been a single soccer player that has come out as being gay while still on a professional team and I can only name one player who came out after he finished his professional career - and he is said to have committed suicide in part over the pressure and stress that followed his announcement.

No doubt a reflection of the intense homophobia that haunts the sport. No wonder the Brazilian soccer world was "thrown into turmoil" as recent as last month over "insinuations that a player was gay" as this Associated Press article explains.

Peru soccer star in free-fall after video shows him canoodling with two men at a bar
- Just a couple of weeks ago, on September 13th, a popular television gossip show in Peru ran video of an apparently inebriated Juan "Chiquito" Flores - a star goalie for Peru's Cienciano professional soccer team - standing at a 2nd floor bar terrace getting pretty chummy with a couple of male friends (see above).

In a
longer version of the segment, the show goes at length about the women that have been rumored to be his girlfriends in the past, then takes a cheap-shot at his virility by showing scenes from a Punked!-type prank show in which Flores is caught shrieking when he thinks a television studio has caught on fire, and - finally - they gleefully unveil the video of Flores and his friends at the bar.

Flores' response could not have come faster. The day after the images aired he told Veronica Gasco of Peru21, in no unequivocal terms, that
he was not gay and only liked women.

He said that he was out with friends and that the scenes in the video had been taken out of context, that he'd seen a beautiful woman walk by and was trying to point her out to a friend. The kiss that was supposedly caught on camera? Flores says that the music was too loud and that he had to get very close to his friend's ear in order to be understood and that, while he had a number of gay friends and partied at gay bars, he was only sorry to say that he was not gay (there is also a great interview with Jaime Bayly also from Sep. 16th to which I have linked at the bottom of this post).


"Chiquito faggot! Chiquito faggot!" - Denials notwithstanding, the damage to his career seems irreversible, even if it's been days since the video aired.

On September 16th, on the eve of the first match in which Flores played after the images were aired, his teammates were already telling sports publication
El Bocon that they would defend Flores from any gay taunts by members of their opposing team or their fans.

Correo
reports that Flores' team went on to lose 4-1 and that it was uncharacteristic of the goalie to let so many soccer balls fly past him in a single game. They also said that fans of the winning team, Melgar, filled the air with chants of “Chiquito maricón, Chiquito maricón” ("Chiquito faggot! Chiquito faggot!") which the paper says had a visible effect on Flores.

On the 18th,
Libero reported that Flores admitted that insinuations by the gossip show host Magaly Medina had "affected the entire team's performance" and added "if I am seen with a woman, I'm a womanizer; if I'm seen with a man, I'm a maricón."

Things got much worse at Cienciano's next game on September 19th and not only because the team lost again 1-0. At least they couldn't blame Flores for allowing the score: By the time the score came, he had already been removed from the game for attacking a ball-handler (no pun intended).


"He's gone crazy"
- That's the Sept. 20th Correo headline in an article that describes how after 28 minutes of play Flores simply walked over to the sidelines and kicked a soccer ball-handler in the shin.

The paper says that from the start of the match every single person in the stadium kept screaming 'maricón, maricón' at Flores and that the goalie lost it when he looked over and saw the ball-handler smile at him.
The ball handler, Freddy Caoquira Ccalla, was taken to a hospital to make sure he did not have any fractures but first requested a police inquiry upon which Flores was led off the field by the police and released later after giving his declaration on the incident (there was no fracture but Flores has been ordered to pay the medical costs).

He tells
Correo that the ball boy had been throwing insults at him and calling him a fag from the start of the game and that he was overcome by anger and by the discomfort that the chants ricocheting around the stadium walls had caused in him.

Cienciano, Flores team, is said to be seriously considering letting go of Flores early (his current contract with the team ends in December) and told the paper that it could not deal any longer with the 'scandals' surrounding the goalie.


El Bocon
says that, as Flores came out of the police station, several people waiting for his release shouted 'maricón' at him and told him he should go to jail.

Bayly probably is right to say Flores is not gay: Back on the 16th Flores also did an telephone interview with popular Peruvian talk show host Jaime Bayly (for those of you who understand Spanish, Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here).

Bayly, who is bisexual, says that it's obvious from the images shown on the tape that there is no romantic link between the men and that the producers of the gossip show edited it with malice and with the sole purpose of damaging Flores' reputation.

Bayly addresses issues related to homophobia, masculinity and male bonding with humor and calls the scandal unjust. And I tend to share his assumption that Flores not gay.

Nevertheless it seems Flores' career might be coming to an end. Perhaps proof that we do need international gay and lesbian soccer tournaments to combat homophobia in soccer while a new reality takes shape.

Previously:

Jaime Bayly interviews in Spanish:

1st interview, parts 1 and 2 - Sept. 16, 2007


2nd interview, parts 1 and 2 - Sept. 23, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Father John Azzali has died

[NOTE: I have corrected the date of the memorial service, see below for more information] I received some sad and unexpected news today: Father John Azzali, a minister at the Sts. Sergius & Bacchus Catholic Parish in Jackson Heights, Queens died of a heart attack on Saturday, Sept. 22nd, according to an e-mail message that I received from the Queens Pride House.

I'd just seen John earlier this month at the 6th anniversary vigil in remembrance of the death my friend Eddie Garzon. At the vigil, I had a chance to briefly chat with him as we waited for Eddie's parents to show up. At the end of the vigil, Father Azzali was also gracious enough to lead those gathered in prayer and to introduce me when the Garzon family asked me to say a few words.

I must have met John when we were both on the founding board of the Queens Pride House back in mid-1990's and also were members of the Queens Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club. He later became chair of the Queens Gays and Lesbians United (Q-GLU) for which he also went to produce a series of weekly public cable television shows on issues facing the borough's gay community.

I took this photo of John on June 4th, 2006, when he was named one of the Grand Marshall at the Queens LGBT Pride Parade, a much deserved honor for a man that devoted his life to the gay community in Queens through his tireless activism and his religious ministry to the LGBT community in the borough.

To those who know a little bit about the borough's entangled and fractured LGBT political world, I will always remember John for rising above the pettiness and posturing. Despite knowing that I have not necessarily been on the good side of the Queens LGBT political forces that be, John never let this keep him from greeting me warmly every time we saw each other and of asking after my partner and about life in general. That might be a small thing but I always thought this was such a loving gesture and something that truly defined who John was to the community and to the borough. I dare say that John was one of the few people that could really get along with everyone in and bring them together.

It had been a while since I had seen John and I am glad that I got a chance to talk to him on September 4th. Sometimes these things really come out of nowhere and I can't fail but feel that we just lost someone that was incredibly important to the LGBT community in Queens.

A public memorial service in honor of John's life will be held on Friday, October 5th at 7pm at the Community Methodist Church (81-10 35th Avenue in Jackson Heights; 7 train local to 82nd Street is the best option, you can also take the R/F/V/E Trains to 74th Street/Roosevelt Avenue). A private funeral service will also take place, no details are available.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Monica Taher leaves GLAAD

For the casual Blabbeando reader, you might not know just who Mónica Taher is but, trust me, Monica is just one amazing woman. I think we first met when she was editing Tentaciones, a now defunct glossy Latino gay magazine which was based in Los Angeles.

Back then, I can safely say that I was one of the few people monitoring Spanish-language media in the United States for their representation of gay issues so when the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, then under Joan Garry's leadership, reached out to me and shared plans to launch a Spanish-language media component, I was a bit skeptical but excited, and when I found out that Mónica had been hired I was just elated. I truly believe that GLAAD, in some ways, simply lucked out in getting Mónica: The tremendous work she has done over the last five years at the agency has truly had an incredible impact on how Spanish-language media sees the community.

The fact that La Opinion became the first Spanish-language newspaper in the United States to editorialize in favor of same-sex marriage, that both HOY and El Diario La Prensa now publish semi-annual gay pride supplements, that El Gordo of El Gordo y La Flaca now watches what he says about the gays, and that Luis Jimenez of Univision radio was silenced for a couple of months after making offensive remarks about lesbians is all due to Mónica and her staff.

It's really difficult to convey just how much I admire what Mónica did at GLAAD and how much it saddens me to see her go, even as I know we will continue to be life-long friends, and that her move to Azteca TV will open new and much-deserved professional doors for her.

When she shared the news with me a couple of days back, I tried to thank her for all she had done, which sounded a bit awkward since I wanted to convey just how much it has meant to me as a community advocate but when you say it to someone who is a close friend, well, it just sounds funny. So I guess I'll do it publicly through this blog as well. Mónica: You rock! Azteca TV, you just hired one amazing woman. And, GLAAD, you have got some pretty big shoes to fill.

Above, a photo of la M
ónica between Pedro Julio Serrano and myself. Below is the statement that Mónica just sent out:
September 21, 2007

Dear Friends,

It is with a great deal of happiness and pride that I share these news with you:

Azteca América, one of the nation’s largest Spanish-language media networks, has tapped me to serve as its Press Relations Director. This position will allow me to grow professionally while overseeing communications strategies for the most important Spanish-language DMAs in the U.S. and will enable me to collaborate on corporate communications for its Mexico City-based sister network, TV Azteca. I will be gravitating between Los Angeles and Mexico City.

I am exhilarated to have the opportunity to become a part of another front to keep pushing for more visibility of LGBT Latina/os. The next 5 to 10 years will be instrumental for the development of Spanish-language media in this country. I want to be in the middle of it. I want to be where the action is.

I thank you for 5 wonderful years of service and the opportunity to help lead a necessary change in Spanish-language media. Thanks to you, we were able to sit down with Univision, Televisa, Telemundo, TV Azteca, Azteca America, Mega TV, Si TV, MTV3s, CNN en Español's executives as well as hundreds of journalists at several newspapers, magazines, radio and online outkets - in order to change the way they discuss our issues.

Thanks to you, we started a much-needed cultural change in the Latina/o community and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

My last day at GLAAD will be Wednesday, October 3. Should you have any media needs after my departure, please contact Chuy Sanchez at: 646.871.8008 or at sanchez@glaad.org

This is not a good bye, but a "¡Hasta luego!"

Mónica Taher

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Oscar De La Hoya in fishnet stockings and high heels

[UPDATE: De La Hoya has admitted the photos were real in an interview with "Aqui y Ahora" which aired on September 1, 2011]

Considering a whole day has gone by since these images surfaced all over the (gossipier) side of the blogosphere, this probably already is old news.

Still, in light of the recent attempt by a Spanish journalist to question Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez' virility by asking him if he was gay, these images of boxer Oscar De La Hoya wearing make-up, a wig, a full-body fishnet mesh getup and high heels struck a nerve.

The X17 site "exclusive" introduces the images as "Presenting Miss Oscar De La Hoya" and claims "These images will send Oscar De La Hoya's career to the canvas!"

Several people have responded on the X17 page with the usual snickering jokes and outright disgust that is so representative of a culture that is still so uncomfortable with seeing a man dressed as a woman. Others have said that the images are obviously fake and just an instance where De La Hoya's head has been Photoshopped into another man's body.

By this morning the images had made it to national media with the New York Daily News not only reporting on the photos but printing yet another depiction - or, as they call it, "artist's rendering" - of De La Hoya in drag, and, in doing so, fully engaging in the not so hidden homophobic / transphobic subtext of the online dialogue.

In the article Debbie Caplan, a representative from the De La Hoya camp says that the photos are indeed fake: The photos "are Photoshopped. They're not real. His head's too small and it doesn't even look like his body."

Towleroad has additional links to a statement from De La Hoya's lawyer who also says the images are fake and that they are considering legal action against X17.

The Daily News article, on the other hand, says that the photos come from a woman who had a "kinky" relationship with the boxer, who happens to be married (Update: She has changed her story).

As I wrote in March of 2006, De La Hoya is no stranger to attacks on his masculinity in the form of homophobic taunts or allegations from former contenders he has gone on to defeat. And, unlike many in the sport, De La Hoya has always risen above the fray and responded with dignity and honor without resorting to throwing back homophobic taunts of his own.

Whether the photos turn out to be fake or not, at most they show De La Hoya likes to ad spice to his sex life - as so many other people in the United States do (he might also have been dressing up for sport and not necessarily for kinks); he also might have been unfaithful, as so many other people also have as well. Allegedly, the sexual partner in question is a woman which still would make De La Hoya, hm, straight? The reaction actually speaks less about De La Hoya than about those who gleefully think that his career is done with the publication of these possibly fake images (and Latino gossip sites are just as complicit in rejoicing).

The De La Hoya camp certainly seems threatened - if their swift reaction and denials are any indication - and I guess that in boxing this sort of thing can indeed affect someone's career. If I were them, though, I'd look at how De La Hoya has handled himself in the past when he's been called a fag and learn from the way that he has addressed those attacks with humor and honesty.

Updates:

  • Mario Lopez says De La Hoya is getting a kick out of the scandal (EXtra clip here)
  • Model changes story: Says that the camera that was supposedly used to take the shots was hers but that she wasn't in control of the camera when the photos were "taken" (New York Daily News, Mon., Sept. 24, 2007)
Related:
Previously:

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The kind of thing that makes a cynical, jaded heart turn a little happier

Politics can leave you cynical and jaded sometimes. Thanks to Rex, then, for passing the news along. Kudos to San Diego Republican Mayor Jerry Sanders! Raw video of the press conference here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tidbits: Michael J. Sandy, HIV & Latinos, Montel Williams, alien invasion

A few tidbits:
  • Both Gay City News (here) and The New York Times (here) have stunning news from the Michael J. Sandy murder trial: One of the accused defendants says he is also gay in a trial that prosecutors have tagged as a hate crime against a gay man.
  • Mike Lavers looks at the 9/11 announcement from the New York City Department of Health on the increasing HIV transmission rate among black and Latino "men who have sex with men" in New York.
  • My friend Pauline Park (pictured above when we were both Heritage of Pride parade judges in 2004) will be on "The Montel Williams Show" this Thursday. This is what she has to say about the show:
The segment will include Susan Stanton's first television interview since she transitioned and was fired as city manager of Largo (a small city in Florida near Tampa). The show will also feature an interview with the father of a Duke University student who was informed that a transgendered woman would be moving into her dormitory on campus. The hour-long segment will conclude with an interview with a 12-year-old girl who was born male and a 26-year-old transman who recently began transitioning from female and with the mothers of both individuals.

I was invited to comment as a 'guest expert' sitting in the front row of the audience, and while I have not seen the edited version of the show that will be airing on Thursday, I thought Montel handled the interviews with sensitivity. The show airs from 1-2 p.m. on Channel 9 in New York City; check your local listings for air times in other cities.
It might all be a moot point though because, as few people know, the pod people might are already here: Disturbing news from Perú (h/t Towleroad)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Musica: A moment of pure blissful happiness

It might have started hours after the announced 4:30pm start time but it was right about the time that the bright little blue plankton started to float up into the Central Park air that I just felt myself go and start almost levitating with euphoria.

The feeling of pure unadulterated bliss caught me by surprise, then again it was the one and only Karl Hyde and Rick Smith of Underworld on stage joined by Darren Price opening up their Friday night Central Park set with the beautiful pulsing, mournful, driving "Luetin" from their 2002 album "A Hundred Days Off" (the plankton business starts around the :43 second mark).

"New Yoooooooooork..."


(Sorry about the sound quality - the speakers were booming, and the shakiness - there were hundreds of people jumping up and down and bumping into each other).

James Holden opened up earlier with a techy techno set that had heads bopping but was boring the heck out of my boyfriend Raul and my Colombian-Venezuelan bestest friend Diana (above) who had no idea what they were in for. I kept imitating Holden twirling his knobs while holding his headset to keep them entertained, promising that Underworld might be a tad more vocal and visual an experience. Boppin' to Holden:


Considering that this was Central Park, I didn't necessarily expect the Everything, Everything live experience but shockingly Underworld seemed more than prepared to tackle the outdoors in ways that actually played into the setting (they were also scheduled to perform at the Red Rocks amphitheatre in Denver but had to change venue when tickets didn't sell as well).

I mean there also were some giant color-changing inflatable wormy thingies that made it seem like another planet altogether:



I'm not sure if they sold out in New York but the Rumsey Playfield stage grounds were packed. And very appreciative of the band, specially when they performed their biggest hit "Born Slippy. NUXX" from the "Trainspotting" soundtrack (not a personal favorite):


Chills went up my spine though when that classic Moroder/Donna Summer "I Feel Love" riff announced the start of "King of Snake" from 1998's "Beaucoup Fish."


The closer? "Jumbo" also from "Beaucoup..."


All in all an unforgettable night. More YouTube videos here.

Underworld are releasing a brand new album called "Oblibvion with Bells" on October 16th (their first studio album since 2002 although they have since made music available exclusively through website downloads and produced a soundtrack to a Bristish film). A video of their new single, "Crocodile," is available at their website. A limited edition of the CD/DVD that also includes a groovy T-shirt is available for pre-order here.

The complete set from Friday night's show was:
1. 'Luetin'
2. 'New Train'
3. 'Crocodile'
4. 'Pearl's Girl'
5. 'Biro the Leggy'
6. 'Two Months Off'
7. 'Rowla'
8. 'Glam Bucket'
9. 'Rez / Cowgirl'
10. 'Born Slippy Nuxx'
11. 'King of Snake'
12. 'Jumbo'

What others are saying:

Venezuela: President Chavez is too macho to be gay

It didn't take long for Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez to react to questions about his sexuality as raised by an OpEd piece printed last week in one of Spain's leading newspapers.

Here's what he told thousands of sympathizers yesterday in a rally that took place in the city of Barquisimeto about the 'accusation,' according to EFE:

I've been accused of everything. The only thing they haven't accused me of is being homosexual. Well, now they've started to accuse me of being homosexual. I don't have anything against homosexuals because I respect whichever human condition...
Hm, if he'd only stopped there...

... but the thing is: I consider myself sufficiently macho to pulverize any accusation along those lines
Ah, let's see what Chávez' supporters have to say of his inability to consider that masculinity might not always denote heterosexuality, his belief that being called gay is an "accusation" (would anyone who is alleged to be heterosexual consider it an "accusation"?) or his usage of the word "condition" when talking about homosexuality.

Or at the very least ask him to support a same-sex civil-unions bill that some of the leading LGBT organizations and activists are asking the
Chávez government to support?

I for one, would be more interested in knowing just to what extent he respects the gays through government policy than about who he boinks in bed - or whether he thinks of himself as being the most macho of machos.

Previously:

Friday, September 14, 2007

Other blogs: Bi-national couples and immigration rights

I haven't had much time to blog as of late so I thought I'd point out some recent blog posts elsewhere. In this particular edition, we'll focus on what other blogs are saying about bi-national couples and immigration rights:

Citizen Crain: Over at former New York Blade editor Chris Crain's blog, it might have surprised a few people that he recently gave props to presidential candidate Barack Obama. It's over a response the Obama camp gave one of the blog's readers on the issue of immigration rights for same-sex partners of United States citizens. Crain is writing from personal experience as his partner is a Brazilian man and, unlike heterosexual bi-national couples, he is not allowed to sponsor him for immigration. One of the most glaring examples of how same-sex partners are discriminated in this country.

Canadian Hope: Long time readers will also know of the bitter struggle that my friends Tom and Emilio (pictured above on the right next to my partner and I) have had in being able to remain in this country as a couple. Just last December Emilio got word that he had been granted political asylum in the United States which would have allowed him to stay but their hopes were dashed days later when they found out that the Office of Homeland Security had decided to appeal the asylum ruling. So for a while now both have looked up to Canada as a beacon of hope.

An update: Just this Monday they received news that made those hopes
a little bit closer.

The couple is featured in "Through Thick and Thin," a recent documentary by Argentine filmmaker Sebastian Cordoba currently making the film festival rounds.


Boy in Bushwick:
Reporter Mike Lavers, incidentally, recently penned a column on the issue which he has posted over at his blog. He covered a recent forum at New York's LGBT Community Center on the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) introduced by NY Congressman Jerry Nadler (more about it here) which would, if passed, allow couples like Tom and Emilio to remain together.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Dominican Republic: Belky's Salon


Youtube ad for Belky's Salon
Off-camera: Hey Apolinar! Since when did you come out with a beauty salon!
[Title: Apolinar Martinez de la Rosa, President and Administrator]
Apolinar: Well, my daughter, this one here, I always saw her come back... [off-camera, a rooster's call interrupts him, Apolinar looks annoyed] ...from the salon with the flu. I decided to open a salon that had hot water. Zero flu! beautiful hair!
Off-camera: And what services does Belky's Salon offer?
Apolinar: Hair washing and drying, manicure and pedicure, dying, normal trimming of pointy and curly hair, we also cut men's hair... [reading from sign on the wall] ...for make up and bows for 15th birthdays and weddings please make advance reservations... [Apolinar is then shown in the kitchen next to the oven] ...and always remember that we wash your hair with warm water! If the electricity fails? We boil the water!
BELKY'S SALON LOGO IS SHOWN ON SCREEN
(hm, seems familiar): BELKY'S SALON: WE WASH YOUR HAIR WITH WARM WATER!
Apolinar's daughter: Belky's Salon, we wash your head with warm water [wink!]
Apolinar to customer: Isn't it warm?
Customer raises her hands to heaven:
This water is DIVINE!

Then again, as my friend Mariano from Buenos Aires has asked, could it be a hoax? The sign that is shown on the wall has some tidy grammatical errors that ads to the hilarity but it also has a sticker that reads tingola.net (the image is prominently featured on Salon Belky's website). If you head there you'll see that they're a t-shirt company and they prominently display the iconic shirt.

Smart promotional ploy? Seems like it!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

ZERO Latin America

Some interesting gay-themed publishing news, although details remain somewhat sketchy.

Spain's ZERO magazine, one of the better gay-themed publications in the world released it's it's 100th issue over the weekend.

Reportedly the cover has a metallic silver look and reflects the reader's image, a stunt reminiscent of the much-ridiculed Time magazine 2006 "Man of the Year" issue which chose "You" as the cover person. EFE also says that for the special issue, ZERO is running a gallery of new photos of people that might have graced their cover in the past (although I doubt it will include Reverend José Mantero who shocked the world when he came out as an openly gay Catholic priest on ZERO's cover but later criticized the editorial direction the magazine had taken).

I guess I'll wait for it in the mail but that's not necessarily what caught my attention.

The most interesting part of the EFE reports is that ZERO editor Miguel Ángel López also says that Grupo Zero Communications is considering a purchase bid from an unnamed North American organization who is ready to pay "various millions of Euros."

Even more interesting: The unnamed organization says that it intends to buy ZERO as a way to enter into the "international scene" with plans of launching a Latin American version of the magazine as well as open it up to "audiovisual media" (an international Spanish-language gay channel?).

All this is very exciting (hm, I'd be willing to work there) but few other details were offered. López would only say that a final decision on the sale of ZERO would not be taken until at least two weeks from the date of the original EFE report (Sept. 9).

If it does happen, I wonder what the impact will be on an array of small and mostly web-based "magazine" efforts in Latin American countries (including Mexico's Anodis and Enkidu, Argentina's AG Magazine, Peru's Diario de Lima Gay, Brazil MixBrasil and Chile's Gay Magazine among others). We'll keep you posted if there are any developments.

Venezuela: Embassy in Spain defends Chávez from gay rumors

OK, I'm pretty sure that Mr. Luis Maria Ansón probably did mean to put Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez masculinity into question with his essay on Friday calling him gay but that doesn't mean that he was correct in doing so (I mean, masculinity is not necessarily a function of being gay or straight). Unfortunately Elba Martinez Vargas (right), the Venezuelan ambassador to Spain, seems to think that Chávez virility was indeed called into question and doesn't necessarily explain in which ways the Chávez government has been good to da' gays. But she does have a response to Ansón's ludicrous essay, as reprinted by Rebelión today.

Here is the translated text of her full letter to El Mundo:

Mr. Pedro J. Ramírez
Director, El Mundo


Mr. Director,
Last Friday, your newspaper published a wretched [opinion] note by Luis Maria Ansón, in which he identifies as a member of the Royal Spanish Academy. I read it feeling shame for others and noted the change in tactics in the already well-known vileness of the most backward of right-wing forces; now that they have exhausted all the lies and manipulations used to promote an image of President Chávez as a dictator, autocrat, populist, human rights violator and all those strings of dirty tricks with which they have failed, Mr Ansón now tries to break into the most intimate of spaces in the life of President Chávez, accusing him of being homosexual.

I will not turn this missive into a defense of Hugo Chávez’ virility, of the man I deeply respect and admire, what is of interest to me, as to the great majority of Venezuelans, is his condition as an honest and noble man, connected to his people, his stature as a statesman, his braveness, his moral high-ground. Ansón’s article has little mention of this man’s world-respected stature, especially in the badly called Third World, which is fighting to generate a democratization processes based on its own realities (Mr. Ansón and his ilk should once and for all abandon their attempts to dictate how we should build our democracies, those Western “models” have too many knots that we would not like to import). Hugo Chávez holds the banner in leading a process of change in the Venezuelan society, framed by a widely democratic proposition, with full participation, in which minorities are, for the first time ever, being visibly respected and their needs being met by the State.

I am going, then, to refer to the inclination of the note, which clearly illustrates Mr. Ansón’s condition, who on this occasion presents himself as a standard-bearer of the rights of homosexuals (I suppose that he lived a bitter life during the Franco years and during the democratic period in which their rights were not recognized). In said note, he makes reference to “respected homosexuals” who have spread the rumor. And so it is that once again, as the right has made us used to, the burden of proof is reversed and using a false argument, he asks that Chávez to declare if is true or not that he is homosexual – instead of being the others who contributed [declarations], in the supposed chance that they exist, proof [for their claims], as would be logical.


I imagine that Mr. Ansón, as a distinguished member of the Royal Spanish Academy, has not had to make a public declaration about his sexual condition, religion or any other condition. As a personality who is used to swimming through the waters of "organic democracies" I can assume that for a long time he had to repress his spirit as defender of the sexual minorities.

Nevertheless we still have doubts about Mr. Ansón’s intent with this article. If homosexuals are people who do not deserve to be discriminated, why should they be asked to openly declare their condition? And if they have to make it known, could it be that in the heart of it lies [plans] to create lists of “homosexuals” just in case new eras arrive? Why use the figure of President Chávez to “defend” the rights of this respected collective? Perhaps it’s because it’s the last list of damning issues (proscritos) elaborated by the right in which they had yet to involve him.

Knowing the trajectory Mr. Ansón the reader might be overcome by doubts about the defense of a minority such as homosexuals. I suppose at the heart of it, it’s one more way to try to tear down the image of an elected president who incorporates some ways of governing and of social development that are bothersome for the right. Much in spite of Mr. Ansón, there is a revolution taking place in Venezuela that cannot be stopped by even his most atrocious of lies.

Mr. Director, I hope that this letter will be published in your medium in clear fulfillment of the right to respond.


Elba Martinez Vargas

Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
before the kingdom of Spain
PREVIOUSLY: Is president Hugo Chávez - gulp! - gay?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Musica: I guess you just had to be there...

Yesterday we made our annual pilgrimage to Brooklyn for - yes - the 14th annual Prospect Park Clubhouse Jamboree (and a damn pilgrimage it was - the trains were a mess).

Aside from
DJ Spinna, who always makes an effort to be there, the star attraction was the up and coming Martinez Bothers from the Bronx who showed up with their, em, dad, as they have yet to turn twenty but are certainly getting some major attention.

For my money (and I guess that's pretty cheap because the event is always free and you also get a free plateful of really good food), the star of the afternoon was
DJ Brian Coxx of Soulgasm. He just had an amazing set and was pretty damn sexy to boot! In any case, I took a few video snippets so I could show you some of the fun.

First up, Brian Coxx showing that a DJ can actually really get into his sets:


Then we have proof that if a DJ gets into his sets, the crowd might follow:


Then we have another groovy encounter with Afro Mosaic Soul who did something special with a Thom Yorke ditty:


We nearly missed the Martinez Brothers because we were standing in the long-ass line to get food but we did get DJ Spinna dropping a classic:


And, because there is no such thing as too little dancing, well, here's more dancing:


Props to DJ Li'l Ray and his crew of volunteers who always manage to make this one of the most enjoyable summer experiences!