Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Support the LGBT community in FW - Call for Justice in the Case of the Rainbow Lounge Raid on Sunday, June 28th

It's all over the local (DFW, TX) news--radio, television, print--and apparently, even various national media news outlets covered this in front-end broadcast segments. The newest gay bar in town, the Rainbow Lounge, is located less than a 5-minute drive from my home, and was recently the site of a now-controversial raid by FWPD and TABC (Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission) that has sent a Lounge patron to John Peter Smith Hospital with a serious head injury.

Q Cinema founder Todd Camp, present during the raid, was compelled to take action and so has created a Facebook group, "Rainbow Lounge Raid", which in less than three days time has attracted over 4,000 members.

At tonight's community policing forum, local residents spoke out against what is increasingly being labeled "excessive force" and "homophobia" on the part of the arresting officers at the Rainbow Lounge on early Sunday morning. Police Chief Jeff Halstead so far seems to be doing the right thing: promising an investigation of the circumstances surrounding the arrests and urging witnesses to step forward and offer their testimony. Of course, many folks in the LGBT community--and their allies--are alarmed by what this bodes for the future, given the historical (hysterical) homophobia of Texans in general and that of Texas law enforcement officers in specific. Because of this, local activists are mobilizing quickly to build solidarity networks and to organize public demonstrations of support for the Rainbow Lounge, its patrons, and those who suffered at the hands of the FWPD on that fateful Sunday morning.

Some folks are even calling on nationally-syndicated sex columnist Dan Savage to make a trip to Cowtown for an appearance at an upcoming protest rally...



July 1 - Wednesday - evening candlelight vigil in front of the Rainbow Lounge - 8pm - 651 S. Jennings
July 5 - Sunday - "Milk Box" speak-out at Sundance Square, downtown FW - 7pm - Houston & 3rd Streets
July 12 - Sunday - LGBT North Texas Rally - Tarrant County Courthouse - 7pm - 100 E. Weatherford


More information, via the Equality Texas blog.

More information, via Queer Liberaction:

From: Queer Liberaction
Subject: The Rainbow Lounge Raids - Stonewall 2009
To: lgbtliberaction@gmail.com
Date: Monday, June 29, 2009, 6:00 PM


This past Sunday, June 28th was the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellions, the moment which sparked our civil rights movement. At Stonewall we were indignant and outraged. With this anger we got energized, got creative and got organized and stood up to society to proclaim that we are not going to be treated like any less than the human beings that we are.

Forty years on, GLBT people are still being harassed and brutalized within their own bars and clubs. At about 1:00 AM on the exact anniversary of Stonewall, the Fort Worth Police, along with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), raided the Rainbow Lounge. A patty wagon along with several police cars were parked outside as the police entered with plastic handcuffs ready to make arrests.

The Fort Worth Police are claiming that arrests were made for public intoxication. You can’t get drunk at a bar in Texas anymore? The police are also claiming that customers made “sexually explicit movements toward the police supervisor” and that other officers were “groped'.

Customers from the Rainbow Lounge have a sharply different account of the events. First hand accounts indicate that this raid was a clear-cut case of police brutality and harassment. These sorts of vile intimidation techniques must not be allowed to pass without angry condemnation from the North Texas LGBT community.

While there is still uncertainty as to the exact number of arrests made, those who were present at the Rainbow Lounge that evening are reporting that about fifteen people were arrested.

Violence was used to such an extent that a Rainbow Lounge customer, Chad Gibson, is still in the ICU suffering from internal hemorrhaging on the brain. His condition is reported to be worsening. Our thoughts and prayers are with Chad and the Gibson family.

Please visit the Dallas Voice Instant Tea blog for a more complete story and for the latest developments. (I recommend hitting the refresh button every few hours, at least for the next week or so...)

LGBT North Texas will rally again at the Tarrant County Courthouse on Sunday, July 12 at 7:00 PM. If in the next two weeks there is city-wide condemnation of the Rainbow Lounge Raid then the rally will then be one to congratulate the city on their swift and sharp action. On the other hand, if first hand reports still contradict the official story, if arresting officers are not seriously disciplined, if the officer responsible for Chad Gibson’s brain hemorrhage is still an active member of the Fort Worth Police Department, if apologies are not issued by the mayor, Mike Moncrief, and the Fort Worth Police Chief, Jeffery Halstead then the tone of the rally will adequately express the indignation from our community regarding the City of Fort Worth’s less than aggressive response to homophobia and police brutality.

Rainbow Lounge Raid Rally
Tarrant County Courthouse
100 E Weatherford
Sunday, July 12
7:00 PM


Chuck Potter and Todd Camp were both at the Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth around 1 a.m. Sunday morning, June 28, when it was raided by Fort Worth police officers and agents with the TABC. Seven people were arrested and one man remains hospitalized with a serious head injury that may require surgery as a result of the raid — which by the way, happened on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion.

Potter, Camp and many others were outraged by what has been described as the officers' brutality during the raid, and by what appeared to many as nothing more than an effort to harass management, staff and patrons at the newly-opened nightclub. Potter and Camp organized rallies on Sunday that drew as many as 200 people to the steps of the Tarrant County Courthouse to protest the raid.

Now Chuck Potter and Todd Camp are coming to Dallas Voice's monthly "Freedom of Speech Night" on Tuesday, June 30, to talk about what happened. We want you to come, too, to get information and to give your opinion.

Come on out and exercise your freedom of speech!

Tuesday, June 30
8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Buzzbrews Kitchen
4334 Lemmon Avenue


In response to the raid at the Rainbow Lounge, Queer Liberaction is set to take its Milk box to Sundance Square in the heart of downtown Fort Worth this coming Sunday, July 5th at 7:00 PM. Those that were at the Rainbow Lounge Raid will speak on the events they witnessed.

Ambassadors and leaders from the Queer community will be setting up Queer Liberaction's Milk box outside of the gayborhood as a way to engage the public in a discussion on GLBT equality. Named in honor of Harvey Milk, our public free speech event is a fun and engaging way which encourages dialog regarding homophobia and the civil rights denied to GLBT people. Join Queer Liberaction as we stand up and speak OUT to our neighbors about how discrimination affects us all.

Milk box
Sundance Square in Fort Worth
Houston & 3rd St.
Sunday, July 5
7:00 PM

All the information coming out regarding the Rainbow Lounge Raid is all very new and a single consistent story has been difficult to establish. Please keep checking Queer Liberaction’s website for the latest steps we will be taking in the coming weeks.

Queer Liberaction

Sunday, June 14, 2009

"Howl" - a live theater adaptation of a poem- at the Hip Pocket Theater in FW

Allen Ginsberg's book-length seminal poem "Howl" has been adapted by Johnny Simon of the Hip Pocket Theater in Fort Worth. I'm going to see and hear it tonight. I've been told the performance runs a brief 45 minutes. "Howl" was written 50 years ago, and apparently still speaks volumes about the state of our society--I'll let you know my first impressions later this week.

I've also been reading that producer Christine Vachon (one of my living cinematic heroes) has been working on a narrative film which focuses on the drama and controversy that surrounded Ginsberg (and a few other Beat poets) in NYC. Titled "Kill Your Darlings", this film has been generating alot of buzz, though it's not slated to be released later this summer or in the fall. A biopic, also based on Ginsberg's "Howl" is forthcoming in 2010.

Check out some related images here, here, here, and here.

One online pundit suggested that Jemaine, of hot indie band-of-the-moment Flight of the Conchords, woulda made a great onscreen "Ginzy"--as many of us affectionately called Ginsberg over the years.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Do Dance, Do Music--in Dallas, Saturday, June 13th

The city of Dallas will be host to two exciting fests in one day. First, there will be a 6-hour TangoThon at the Latino Cultural Center. Afterwards, the Dallas Symphony Latino Festival will commence at the Meyerson Symphony Center, in the downtown museum district. Both events are FREE and open to the public! Details follow.


SPONSORED BY Latino Cultural Center and Target

(Argentine Tango Classes for FREE. ALL classes are geared toward beginners.)

Saturday June 13th, 2009
11am - 5pm

Location: Latino Cultural Center - 2600 Live Oak St. - Dallas, Texas 75204
(The Latino Cultural Center is located just east of downtown Dallas.)

Registration for the Free Classes is Highly recommended.

How to Register:
Send an e-mail to dancing@evolutiontango.com with the following information:
Subject: TangoTHON 2009
First and Last Name of all the participants
Class # (you can take one, tw,o or all three classes)

Class #1 - 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.– Intro to Argentine Tango taught by George and Jairelbhi Furlong

Class #2- 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. - Intro to Argentine Tango taught by Karen & Larry Hallman

Class #3- 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. –Intro to Argentine Tango taught by Reese Fuentez & Gail Horne

2:30pm to 3:00pm – Performances by Tango Instructors

3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. – Open Practica (This is the time to practice what you have learned in the classes)

NEW THIS YEAR: There will be a Tango Performance in between classes by Tango Students

If you have any questions, please call: 469.939.4120 or email at dancing@evolutiontango.com.

[Thank you, Jairelbhi Furlong, for sending along this tango fest invitation.]


Dallas Symphony Latino Festival 2009

Saturday, June 13, 2009 
7:30pm -- FREE and open to the public

Meyerson Symphony Center - in the downtown Dallas museum district - Dallas, TX

Admittance will be on a first-come , first-served basis. Please arrive 45 minutes early to ensure seating.
Vouchers can be obtained by calling: 214.692.0203

GNO - live tonight - presented by WordSpace in Dallas

[Thanks to Adrienne Cox Trammell of WordSpace for the following announcement.]

WORDSPACE of Dallas, Texas, will present veteran slam poet John E. Doom aka GNO, tonight, June 12th, at Cafe Madrid in Dallas.

Date: Friday, June 12
Time: 10:00 p.m. to midnight
Place: Cafe Madrid - Bishop Arts District - 408 N. Bishop - Dallas, TX

I've known GNO for over ten years, and he always, quite capably, delivers a fun and riveting performance poetry set. He's worked solo, and he's also been on several slam poetry teams representing Dallas at the National Poetry Slam competitions over the past 12 or so years. I also booked his threesome, OIL (Ordained in Lyrics), which performed to thunderous ovations at the Texas Book Festival under the Poetry Tent (which I curated and hosted for seven years). OIL is one of the best spoken word performance ensembles I've ever heard in the great state of Texas. The first time I witnessed this trio, performing well-orchestrated group pieces with the flavor of jazz, was at Mojo's Coffeehouse in Austin during South by Southwest. OIL slicked me down and fried me deep--wow. For now, it appears that GNO is doing a solo routine for his public appearances. No worries, this man can definitely entertain on his own. Highly recommended.

More info at wordspacetexas@yahoo.com

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My personal Nepal anniversary

This week, this precise week, marks the 10th year anniversary of my FIRST (yes, someday i WILL return) journey to and in Nepal. I long-ago started a blog which was designed to depict at least a few of my experiences and impressions while there in the summer of 1999. So, you can go there if you want to read more details about that. For here and now, let's just enjoy these two images and some elevation stats. Yeah, I trekked up to see Everest, and yes, it rocked my world.

Uhm, some folks got me to do an interview for an August 1999 edition of the Sandhiya Times (a Nepal Bhasa-language daily that's distributed in Kathmandu). Pretty unexpected thing to happen to a Chicana from Tejas, que no?

Kathmandu, 4500 ft. elevation

Lukla, 9380 ft. elevation

(Oh, that's right: I flew into Lukla, at the "most dangerous airport in the world". Glad I didn't know this back then. You gotta watch the embedded video footage of a SAFE landing into Lukla on this site. No wonder all the passengers and flight personnel break into excited (and relieved) applause whenever this plane lands in one piece..)

Namche Bazaar, 11,300 ft. elevation

Khumjung 12,400 ft. elevation

Tengboche 12,670 ft. elevation

Pangboche 12,800 ft. elevation

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Who's Counting?

[Thanks to Lionheart, who identifies as a "Nerd for Word," for the following news and links.]

"check this out. the english language will be getting its millioneth [sic] word very sooooooon."



1. This
2. is
3. very
4. fascinating
5. especially
6. to
7. folks
8. who
9. enjoy
10. playing
11. with
12. words

Thursday, June 04, 2009

I'm performing at tonight's Spoken Word Salon @ Christopher Walker in FW

There is going to be a special edition event at the Christopher Walker Salon tonight, Saturday, June 6th, from 6-9pm. Apparently, one of the owners at Christopher Walker is a poetry/spoken word aficionado and has spearheaded this first-time Spoken Word Salon--which will feature various "speaking" artists, including some mc's (rappers). I'll be on the mic too, starting sometime between 7:30pm and 8:30pm. Doing about a 15-20 minute set.

Wine/fruit/spoken word/camaraderie with creatives/Los Vaqueros tex-mex-----sounds good to me.

10 dollars at the door.

817.207.9898 to rsvp or for more info.

6-7pm wine reception
7-8:30pm performances
8:30pm more food, catered by Los Vaqueros Restaurant

Christopher Walker Salon
3065 Greene Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76109

What's in your camelbak?

The one and only time i ever participated in a foot race (it was a 10k), i was about 18 years old. Near the finish line, the organizers had set up barrels and barrels filled with ice-cold cans (the 8 oz. size) of Budweiser. As the legal drinking age at the time was 18, I swigged a couple cans of Bud--ahhh. Quite refreshing, if not actually hydrating.

Back to the garden(ing).

Sometimes I fret that I am spending (my all-too-precious) time doing the wrong things. I often double up by listening to some interesting radio (KERA's Think or This American Life or Radio 360) as I move to and fro cleaning, arranging, blogging, cooking, cat-bonding, etc. Today, I decided--with utmost intent--to push everything aside so that I could finally make fresh herb bundles to share with neighbors and friends who live in my very walkable neighborhood. It was a gorgeous sunny day, with a mild cool breeze blowing, and so I knew that a walk could do me some good. As I listened to Middle Eastern students and young professionals interpret and analyze President Obama's recent speech in Cairo, I carefully arranged and tied together short cuttings of fresh rosemary and oregano from my garden. It was a little bit of a fight that I had to wage, within my mind, to keep myself from labeling this activity as frivolous and dashing back to the internet for online browsing, researching, bulletin posting, whatever, whatever. Seems that, more and more, it becomes harder to justify spending time OFF-line. This concerns me greatly. And so, I am trying to liberate myself from the cyber-hood by doing things that really matter. Er, because they deal with actual matter. Hence, I have been gardening (i.e., growing things in dirt, specifically in the dirt around my house). So far, I have the following new little lovelies soaking up sun (and water) and stretching up, millimeter by millimeter, every day--much to my delight and unwavering fascination: basil, cabbage (c'mon, little guy, you can do it!), onion, carrots, collard greens (from seed, mind you), chili peppers, squash, pole beans, mint, and parsley. I am so protective of my little growing project that I cannot imagine the pain I am likely to inflict on anyone caught trying to heist my garden edibles.

I wanna say some words about my experience of the ABC network special "Earth 2100", which I caught on the telly this past Tuesday. But all I can manage to share about this right now is that 1) the info and narrative of this program was very sobering; 2) I'm glad i've been living my "economic downturn" lifestyle for over 15 years already; and 3) we really need to grow a solid mentality and practice of living the aphorism that "we're all in this together."

If you want some fresh-cut rosemary or oregano, just let me know. I'll be happy to share the harvest.

Recommended reading

Peak-Oil Prophet James Howard Kunstler on Food, Fuel and Why He Became an Almost Vegan

* By Kerry Trueman
Alternet, May 7, 2009
Straight to the Source

I grew up in Woodland Hills, Calif., a nominally pastoral, petrocentric Los Angeles suburb, so peak oil prognosticator James Howard Kunstler's dim view of our car-crazed culture really resonates with me.

Kunstler's relentless skewering of suburbia, and his penchant for apocalyptic predictions have landed him a reputation as a cranky Cassandra. But as Ben McGrath observed while strolling around Saratoga Springs with Kunstler for a recent New Yorker piece, "Far from the image of the stereotypical Chicken Little, he was more like an amiable town crier whom the citizenry regarded fondly, if a bit skeptically."

So, when a friend and I found ourselves headed to Kunstler's neck of the woods for a conference recently, we arranged to have dinner with Saratoga Springs' resident soothsayer. Contrary to his contrarian reputation, Kunstler proved to be an affable, upbeat guy.

We chatted about food, politics, urban planning, gardening and a dozen other topics, but I'm not much of a note-taker; I'd rather eat than tweet. So our dinner conversation was off the record, including, mercifully, his ribald remarks about Alice Waters and Martha Stewart, which decency should preclude me from even alluding to.

However, he graciously agreed to answer my questions via e-mail about his conversion from carnivore to (mostly) vegan and other foodish and fuelish topics.

Kerry Trueman: Let's get right to the meat of the matter -- or, rather, the lack thereof. You used to enjoy eating "lots of meat, duck fat, butter by the firkin." What made you decide to go more or less vegan in recent months? Was it hard to make the transition to a plant-based diet?

James Howard Kunstler: It was as simple as a trip to the doctor's office. My cholesterol and blood pressure were too high. I had to take some radical action. I've enjoyed the challenge of cooking with a very different range of ingredients. But I like cooking and am pretty good at it -- I worked in many restaurant kitchens when I was a starving bohemian -- and I figured a lot of things out.

For instance, that you can make stocks and sauces by braising onions and aromatics without oil or butter. The only thing I really miss is making really bravura dishes for company, like chicken pie with a butter-saturated crust, duck-and-sausage gumbo, brownies ... you get the picture. ... I'm still excited by the challenge of vegan (or nearly vegan -- I use skim milk) cookery.

There are some excellent cookbooks out there, by the way, like Vegan With a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, The Accidental Vegan by Devra Gartenstein, and the Candle Cafe Cookbook by Joy Pierson and Bart Potenza.

KT: A study has just come out showing that although the French spend two hours eating each day -- roughly twice as long as we do -- they're among the slimmest of the 18 nations in the study. Americans were the fattest, with more than 1 in 3 Americans qualifying as obese. How would you explain this phenomenon? What compels Americans to eat so many of our meals in our cars?

JHK: Americans eat so many meals in cars because: 1) The infrastructure of daily life is engineered for extreme car dependency, and 2) because the paucity of decent quality public space and so-called third places (gathering places) for the working classes (and lower) -- and remember, it is the working classes and poor who are way disproportionately obese. The people portrayed in Vanity Fair magazine are not fat. I suspect that the amount of time Americans spend in their cars is roughly proportionate to the amount of time French people spend at the table.

Fast food is not a new phenomenon in the USA, however. Frances Trollope's sensational travel book of the 1830s, The Domestic Manners of the Americans dwells on the horrifying spectacle of our hotel dining rooms, where people bolted their food with disgusting manners. Americans have been in a tearing rush for 200 years.

KT: In The Long Emergency, published in 2005, you predicted with astounding accuracy how the subprime mortgage meltdown would unfold. Your latest novel, World Made By Hand, takes place in the near future after a massive flu outbreak that originated in Mexico. Um, what should we start worrying about next?

JHK: Worry about the "recovery" that never comes and the insidious collapse of our institutions and arrangements that will proceed from this. Worry about lost incomes and vocations that will never come back (e.g. marketing exec for Target, Inc.) and the need to find new ways to be useful to your fellow human beings (and incidentally perhaps earn a living). Worry about finding a community to live in that is cohesive enough to stave off anarchy at the local level. Worry about building the best garden you can and making good compost. Worry about how difficult it is to learn how to play a musical instrument at age 47.

KT: You recently wrote "there's no way we can continue the petro-agriculture system of farming and the Cheez Doodle and Pepsi Cola diet that it services. The public is absolutely zombified in the face of this problem -- perhaps a result of the diet itself." OK, so how will we stock our post-peak-oil pantries? Do we really need to start hoarding rice and beans?

JHK: Get some kind of a hand-cranked home grain mill. Personally, I think it is indeed a good idea to lay in a supply of beans, lentils, rice, oats, other grains and don't forget salt, boullion (soups can sustain us with any number of ingredients), dried onion flakes, spices (chilies and curries especially). Our just-in-time, three-day's-worth-of-inventory supermarket system is very susceptible to disruption. And we're very far from establishing workable local food networks in this country.

The fragility of petro-ag is being aggravated by the collapse of bank lending now. Farmers need borrowed money desperately. Capital is as important an "input" as methane-based fertilizers. I think we could see problems with food production and distribution anytime from here on.

KT: You're an avid gardener -- do you grow much of your own food? Do you worry that you'll have to guard your greens with a gun if our collapsing economy sends the mall rats outdoors to forage after the food courts run out of pretzel nuggets?

JHK: I don't grow any grains. I have successfully grown potatoes, but won't this year (I'm renting my current house and its accompanying property). This year, I'll be planting mostly leafy greens -- collards, kale, chard, lettuces, plus some peppers and tomatoes (pure frivolity). It is not hard to imagine that food theft will become a problem. The trouble, though, is that the sort of people liable to do the thieving are exactly those with the poorest skills in cooking. You have to know what to do with kale to make it worth stealing. It may be more like kitchen theft: "... what's that you got on the stove, pal?"

KT: You evidently enjoy cooking and entertaining. Who would your dream dinner guests be (limiting your guest list to those folks who are currently among the living)?

JHK: I have a pretty good revolving cast of characters among my friends locally who make regular visits to my table. This week, a farming couple who are renting 20 acres off a wealthy land-truster (and doing a great job of market gardening) are coming over, along with the Rolling Stone environmental reporter and his wife, who is writing a gardening book. I don't need no steenkin' outatown celebrities.