Folk singer Michelle Shocked, whose anti-gay comments at a San Francisco concert last Sunday night made worldwide headlines after fans walked out and the venue pulled the plug on her mic, will appear on an Internet radio show tomorrow morning to discuss the incident.
Shocked, a former New Orleans resident who performed at the 2011 Jazz & Heritage Festival and local venues around town (most recently a gig at Chickie Wah Wah in November), had much of her upcoming tour canceled after her remarks, which reportedly included her belief that the overturn of California's Proposition 8 (which put a ban on same-sex marriage in the state Constitution) would result in the return of Jesus Christ. (Time reported the story with the headline "Singer Who Everyone Thought Was a Lesbian Spews Anti-Gay Hate at Concert.")
Shocked, now a self-described fundamentalist Christian, has taken to Twitter to explain, somewhat, that her remarks were taken out of context and misquoted. "Am neither against a woman's right to choose nor gay marriage. Am a fundamentalist tho," she explained. "Most don't even know what my 'views on Gays' are. What is reported to be my views on Gays isn't," she added, as well as "Just my usual troublemaking, at the expense of dear friends who trust me, even when I appear to be gay-bashing."
She is scheduled to appear on The Nicole Sander Show on RadioOrNot.com Thursday morning at 10 a.m., where she'll certainly be asked about exchanges like this:
The crowd had come, presumably, to hear songs like “Come a Long Way” and “On the Greener Side,” which got airplay on MTV back in the day. (“Greener Side” was even up for a VMA against Madonna’s “Vogue.”)
Instead they were treated to a tirade that allegedly included Shocked announcing “God hates fags.”
Matt Penfield, who was live-tweeting the show from onstage called her rant, delivered during her second set, “totally sincere [and] super anti-gay and hateful.”
We’re still trying to get the full text of her speech, but apparently she told fans “you can go on twitter and say Michelle Shocked said ‘God hates fags.’”
Another Twitter user posted that Shocked “said she lives in fear that the world will be destroyed if gays are allowed to marry.”
Members of the Baton Rouge LGBT community are raising questions about the “2012 Municipal Equality Index,” a new report from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).
The HRC, the country’s largest LGBT advocacy organization, gathered data on more than 100 U.S. metro areas on their laws and policies regarding gays and lesbians, and presented each city with a score from 0 to 100. Only two cities in Louisiana were evaluated, and Baton Rouge scored 2 out of 100 — one of the worst scores in the nation. (In contrast, New Orleans received a 79, while Jackson, Miss. got an 8 — six points higher than Baton Rouge.)
Meanwhile, Fox News personality and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee launched a “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day” set for Aug. 1, which was supported by self-styled family-values types including Fox News personality and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Family Research Council head Tony Perkins, former Pennsylvania Gov. Rick Santorum — and the newly formed East Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce.
A civic business council taking a stance on a divisive social issue? It makes sense when you find out that the chamber’s chairman is Woody Jenkins, publisher/editor of several small newspapers in central Louisiana and a former member of the Louisiana House of Representatives for nearly three decades, where his voting record was lauded by both the Christian Coalition and Focus on the Family.
Last week, Landry grabbed more headlines when he asked Dr. Joseph Savoie, president of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (ULL) to drop the school’s new sociology minor in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) studies, saying “it fails to provide an economic benefit to the participants or financial sense for the taxpayer.” (Savoie pointed out that the classes already existed before the minor was created and that adding the new minor to ULL’s 100-some other minors cost the university nothing.)
Landry’s stance on LGBT issues hit a nerve with one member of his family: New Orleans resident and event planner Nicholas Landry, who is gay. As first reported by Walter Pierce in the Lafayette weekly The Independent, Nicholas Landry posted an open letter to his brother on Facebook:
In this week's Gambit, I look at women's health organization Women with a Vision as it recovers from an arson at its office in Mid-City.
One of Women with a Vision's primary focuses is HIV education and prevention, and its executive director Deon Haywood is a guest at this year's International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. (July 22-27). It's the first time since 1990 the conference has been held in the U.S. Haywood will discuss the group's victory against the state's 200-year-old crimes against nature statutes, but Haywood also represents Louisiana and speaks to the international community on behalf of the state's battle with HIV/AIDS.
"My voice will be speaking about the experiences of poor women in the South, and I’ll be doing a satellite presentation to women who are experiencing the same things as we are in the U.S. south. That is big," she says. "The fact the state doesn’t invest any more into HIV prevention says a lot. Yet we rank — Baton Rouge and Louisiana are always in a race now for HIV rates."
Tonight on Dan Rather Reports, the veteran journalist presents "It's a Southern Thing," an in-depth look at the rates of HIV in the South, which continuously rank higher than anywhere else in the country.
More than half of all new HIV cases are in the South, and 53 percent of HIV-related deaths in the U.S. are in southern states — yet there's still little funding and education to combat it.
Also representing Louisiana at the conference is St. John No. 5/Camp ACE, which famously used billboard campaigns ("The HIV Prevention Mafia") to draw attention to HIV and STDs in New Orleans' African-American communities.
Dan Rather Reports: It’s A Southern Thing airs tonight at 7 p.m. on AXS TV.
New Orleans Pride Week kicks off today with the screening of Vito at the Contemporary Arts Center, sponsored by the New Orleans Film Society. The week-long celebration includes another film screening, book signings, parties, family events, including Family Day in Washington Square (1 p.m.-5 p.m. Saturday) and concludes with the Pride Parade, beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday. For a full list of events, visit the Pride website.
The New Orleans Film Society screens two films in conjunction with NOLA Pride Week. Vito screens at 7 p.m. Monday at the CAC. Jeffrey Schwarz's documentary about writer and activist Vito Russo is a very well made piece examining three periods of Russo's life, two of which coincide with crucial phases of the gay rights movement.
Russo was born in New York and grew up in New Jersey. As soon as he turned 18, he moved back to the city and was a familiar face in the downtown gay community pre-Stonewall. It was a similar police raid on a another bar (resulting in the death of Diego Venales) that politicized him. The film covers the formation of the Gay Activist Alliance in the early 1970s, and there's entertaining footage of its confrontation with New York's city clerk over remarks disparaging the prospect of gay marriage. But Russo also thought the movement should be cultural, and the alliance created a community center that became a vibrant social space, hosting dances, film screenings and more.
Russo had always loved film and he showed movies at the center, which helped guide him to his career as a film writer. Russo spent years chronicling homosexual characters in early films (before 1933). The project became known as The Celluloid Closet, which Russo presented as a lecture with film clips and later published as a book. For anyone unfamiliar with that work, the documentary offers a good overview with great clips of monstrous and clownish gay stereotypes from early films. The final phase of the film deals with the spread of AIDS and the resurrection of gay activism, and again Russo was at the center of it, working with Larry Kramer to found Act Up. Russo was both very charismatic and, when he developed into a political leader, quite insightful and elegant as a speaker. The film includes interviews with everyone from Russo's very supportive family to activists, friends and writers he influenced, including Lily Tomlin and Armistead Maupin (Tales of the City). It offers a great look at the gay rights movement from a very personal but vital perspective.
Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same is a sci-fi spoof/romantic comedy. Bothered by troublesome emotions, a trio of aliens hears that Earth is the best place to lose all interest in romantic attachments, so they journey to New York City. It screens 7 p.m. Wednesday at the CAC.
We know about the reality show that aspires to be the real-life Will & Grace, and now another series wanting to be the unscripted version of a show about hilarious gay people is in the works. World of Wonder Productions, the same production company behind Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys (the aforementioned Will & Grace-esque series), is working on a show called My Modern Family that wants to be — you guessed it — the reality TV version of the ABC hit Modern Family. And they're looking for gay dads!
But don't worry, the company won't make you into a stock character. Besides having a few LGBT-centric shows under its belt — besides GWLBWLB (such a mouthful), they've produced The Fabulous Beekman Boys, Becoming Chaz, RuPaul's Drag Race, Drag U and the HBO doc Don't Ask Don't Tell — World of Wonder says they will "handle [the subjects] with care and make sure that the gay movement is moving forward." The company also claims to be run by "a multitude of gay dads."
If you're interested, email firstname.lastname@example.org with family photos, contact info and a description of your family, where you live and in which ways your life mirrors that depicted on the ABC show. In case you're not familiar with the show, you're gonna need: a sexy and funny (because of her crazy accent) Latin lady friend, Al Bundy and an adopted Vietnamese baby. You also better have funny stuff like this going down in your house on the regular:
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