Thursday, July 31, 2008

Photos from Last Night's Mixer at O Bar

I'm not saying who, but a few people in the following photos are going to be NAKED on the cover of The Advocate when they re launch in a few weeks under the new ownership of here!.

Photos by Brian Putnam

Gay Man Sues Bible Publishers for Mental Distress

RELATED: The Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007

Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) had introduced a hate-crimes bill to the Senate in 1997, 1999, 2001, and 2003. None were successful. Senator Gordon H. Smith (R-OR) has sponsored or co-sponsored a hate-crimes bill in the senate for the previous five consecutive Congresses. In 2007, they joined to sponsor the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 (s. 1105), which Senators Smith and Kennedy renamed in honor of Matthew Shepard -- the young man who suffered death by crucifixion in Wyoming. Its short title is the: "Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007."

A companion bill was introduced by Representatives John Conyers (D-MI) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) with 171 cosponsors: House Bill H.R. 1592.

“Sexual orientation is the last bastion of acceptable hatred, discrimination and untold bias. Members of this community are being consistently harassed and terrorized. There are still people who think that gays and lesbians should burn in hell.” (Kristin Miccio, associate prof., University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law)

On July 11th 2007, instead of introducing the legislation giving sexual orientation "hate crimes" protection as a separate bill, Senators Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Gordon Smith (R-OR) opted to introduce the "Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act" as one of hundreds of amendments to the Defense Reauthorization bill requested by President Bush.

Sens. Kennedy and Smith's strategy, Staver said, forces the President into a terrible dilemma: President Bush must either approve "hate crimes" legislation or veto the entire spending bill thus leaving US troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan without new support and dwindling resources. Since the President has no line-item veto, approval of the defense bill is an all or nothing deal.

In December, 2007, the Democrats pulled HR 1592 and S.1005 from the Defense Reauthorization Bill. DOA.

Christian Groups are actively working against any Hate Crimes Bills as it would also take into question any clergy preaching hate against homosexuals from the pulpit. The Right Wing Christian groups feel this is an attack on their 1st amendments rights.

“The idea of a ‘hate crime’ is completely contrary to the American principles of free speech and equal protection under the law. Any Senator who voted for this is setting up our children and grandchildren for persecution as activist courts rule that biblical morality is ‘bigotry’," said Robert Knight.

My Secret

Okay, fine, I guess once something hits OPRAH, you can't really call it a "secret" anymore.

For those of you that know me, you know my love of the Brooks Brothers no-iron shirt. "The miracle shirt" as it's been called. I personally own 35 of them.

The miracle is that you won't ever need to dry clean or professional launder these shirts. From your back, to the floor, to the washer, to forgetting and leaving them in the dryer for 8 hours, they still look crisp and sharp.

I suspect the chemicals they use to make this possible are surely giving me cancer or eroding the very fiber of my DNA, but I don't care. NO DRY CLEANING BILLS and that fresh, crisp look every day. Plus the largest selection of styles and colors I've ever seen.

Right now, Brooks is clearing out last year's stock at 60% off. The new stock is arriving as we speak. As I type, I mean, and as you read.

The great thing is if you wear button down shirts, this is Disneyland. For men, they have three styles - regular, slim and luxury and they come in every color, texture and style.

For women it's even better. They have 4 styles - taylored, fitted, semi fitted and classic. Also short sleeve, no sleeve, regular sleeve and 3/4 sleeve , not to mention your choice of cuff and collar style. The fabric textures vary as well.

Generally these shirts cost about $79.00 - $129.00 a pop, but with the current sale you can grab these gems at around $39.99 - $45.00.

I have now, literally, given you the shirt off my back.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mad Men Returns

Am I the only one left holding the torch of narrative television?

Well, since I am missing the obviously extremely recessive gene that would allow me to enjoy reality television, I have to cling to what few dramas are left on the tube.  Sorry, I mean the LCD.  Well, the slip is fine, since this'll be a "retro" article about a "retro" show.

This week, MAD MEN returned. 

pictured, the cast as photographed for Vanity Fair by Sam Jones.

As with most one-hour dramas these days, there are gay characters! There are not only three gay characters (it being the 1950's and all, they are closeted, of course), but one out-actor starring and that would be Bryan Batt.  The three closeted 'mos are Batt's character, Salvatore Romano, the lesbian horse riding instructor Gertie (Denise Crosby) and hottie Joan's room mate Carol (as seen in this clip).

There are also two black people on the show - the maid and the elevator operator. So much is political incorrect, but don't look away! This was America post WWII, post Korea. This is what we fought for - the rise of business and industry and that glorious facade that hid so much.

The show takes place in New York City right on the cusp of change, as the calendar turned from 1959 to 1960. MAD MEN depicts that time period's American propaganda at it's finest. 

Ad men on Madison Avenue sip their martinis for lunch, smoke their Pall Malls and pinch the secretary's asses whilst back in the 'burbs, a slew of Mrs's are proud of their whirlpool washer/dryers, Frigidaires and pushing out their 2.5 kids by the age of 28 whilst making sure they have a chicken in every pot and a white picket fence lining each yard.

Little did they all know what is in store from them soon (the escalation in Vietnam, Kennedy assassination, Martin Luther King, ERA, civil right's movement, Rosa Parks, Stonewall, Kent State, Flower Power, etc)

pictured, out and proud: Bryan Batt

These Mad Men package and sell to the public everything from Kodak's slide carousel to coffee to even the presidential candidates, since it's all just a sales game, baby. As they climb the ladder of success to lasso that American Dream, they barely even notice that their souls are slipping from their heads. What to do? Kick back another martini and have an affair.   

MAD MEN is one of those shows that somehow appeals to both liberals and misogynists (the later because they're really not in on the joke - like those people that watch The Simpsons because they think Homer is a crack-up.)   The creator of the show is a former SOPRANOS scribe, Matthew Weiner, and he knows his way around a thick soap plot and complicated characters. 

If you have HDTV, prepare to melt into the production design and costumes. Absolutely delicious. Many of my friends here in SoCal have MAD MEN viewing parties, which is a wonderful reason to pull out that fab antique cocktail set you picked up, and your rad 1950's era cocktail plates.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Whittier Earthquake hits SoCal, July 29. I feel the earth. Move. Under my Feet.

los angeles earthquake july 29 whittierDear god.  Yes, I'm sitting here wearing my pith helmet and the animals are hiding under the bed.

5.8 quake hit Chino Hills/Diamond Bar.  11:42 am.  29 miles SE of Los Angeles. (CalTech saying it's 5.4 - they won't all agree on the size for a few hours).

It was a shallow earthquake, which unlike deep ones, send out wider shocks.  The quake was felt through out Los Angeles and Long Beach.  

It snuck up on you, then rattled, then rolled.  It rolled for a good while, an estimated 30-40 seconds.

There was also a 3.1 earthquake in Barstow this morning around 5 am.

This could be the prologue to a larger quake, as that is the history of the Whittier fault.

The Whittier Fault is a geologic fault that is a branch of the Elsinore Fault Zone in Southern California.

The Whittier Fault is a 40 kilometer (24 mile) right-lateral strike-slip fault that runs from Chino Hills, California to Whittier, California. It is part of the bigger Puente Hills Fault, which stretches from west of downtown Los Angeles to the Puente Hills area. The fault has a slip rate of between 2.5 and 3.0 millimeters/year (0.09 - 0.11 in/yr). It is estimated that this fault could generate a quake of MW6.0 - 7.2 on the moment magnitude scale.

In 1987, the Whittier Narrows earthquake sequence occurred with two large earthquakes, a 5.9 and a 5.3, happening within 3 days. No surface rupture happened during the quake but there has been surface rupture on this fault within the last 10,000 years. The fault caused $350 million in damages, killed 8 people and 9,000 people were displaced.

Pictured left, a news photo from the 1987 quake in Whittier.

There have been no injuries or structural damages reported today as of yet.  Verizon did report that many of it's cel phone towers in Chino Hills are down, affecting some cel phone usage.  There was also a land slide off the 91 freeway near Green River.

If your phone isn't working, that is generally because EVERYONE picked up their land line or cel phone at the same time.

Today, there were 12 after-shocks felt between 1.3 - 3.6 in the first hour after the initial quake and more are expected.

Shallow earthquakes tend to generate a large amount of after shocks. So don't climb up on any ladders!

The first earthquake attributed to the Whittier Fault and felt strongly in the Whittier area was an earthquake July 8, 1929 at 8:45am with an estimated magnitude of 4.7. It was believed to be located (felt strongest) in the area of East Whittier, which had ($50,000-$350,000) damage. It was also felt very strongly in the Los Nietos/Santa Fe Springs area where (4) people were injured.

The next strong quake in the Whittier area was on the evening of June 15, 1967 centered East of Whittier. It had a magnitude of 4.1 and was felt as a rolling quake throughout much of the LA basin and parts of Orange County, knocking objects from shelves and causing minor damage. It may have been centered in the Puente Hills, possibly North of La Habra.

The next large earthquake on the Whittier Fault occured on Jan. 1, 1976 at 9:20 am with a magnitude of 4.2. It was centered in the Puente Hills of Los Angeles County and caused damage in the Whittier area.

Pictured, in my pith helmet.  Laugh all you want, but most injuries are from things falling on your head.  My mom brought this back from her safari in Africa years ago, and it's hard as a rock.  It's out 24/7 on a wall hook for easy access.

Street Dogs of South Central

Streets Dogs of South Central
Today, as part of my "What the Gays are Watching on YouTube" series, a trailer for a documentary I found aptly titled Street Dogs of South Central.

This is a feature film produced in part by Animal Planet and Lions Gate Television.  It tells the tale of Elsie and her puppies as they weather the streets of Los Angeles.  

The reason it is particularly dear to my heart, is because my dog Charlie is from South Central. In fact, Charlie looks a lot like the star of this film - what we call at the dog park the LA Ubiquitous Black Dog (a hodge-podge of the popular dogs in this town, all watered down - lab, pit, terrier).

pictured, Elsie with her pup

The mug shot they had on file for Charlie at the pound was inauspicious to say the least.  She did not enjoy being roped and grabbed from the street (and named Rufus by the handlers at Animal Services). I spent four hours the first day downtown going through all the dogs very carefully. At the end of the day, I asked them to print out a photo of "Rufus" to take home. I put the photo on my coffee table that night and pondered as my then-girlfriend noted, "That dog looks psychotic and rabid".

My best friend Dale was just as helpful. "Why are you getting a dog from the South Central Pound? Don't you know it'll be diseased?"

My second day at the pound I noticed most of the dogs from day one were gone, including Charlie's cel mate, a rottie. A mother dog and all her puppies that I had played with were also euthanized as well as 25 six-toed cats. All were from disease.

The handlers and workers were all really great, and I could tell they were doing their best. After going through all the cages, playing with the dogs I finally decided on Rufus, who I quickly renamed Charlese Furon.

Well, first, my friend was right. Charlie came home and proceeded to be deathly ill for 5 days. I don't even think I can recount her first bath.  Or should I say her first 12 baths including a de-flea and a de-tick by a very squeamish me.  Suffice it to say, she was disgusting on arrival.  I won't even tell you how many ticks I pulled off of her.   Meanwhile, she could barely even stand in the bath tub she was so sick.

pictured, Charlie and I a few months after adopting her.

She stayed on the floor, wheezing, oozing for a week. I thought I was going to lose her as she eventually couldn't even stand.  I had to carry her out to use the bathroom. Poor thing was not leash trained and scared of her own shadow.  On our first walk, she jumped when she stepped on a dried leaf and barked at a rock.

When she finally stood up and recovered from whatever doggie plague she had, the first thing she proceeded to do was to attempt to kill the cats. So I had to buy a muzzle. It was an interesting 5 weeks as I attempted to curb her cat-eating instincts whilst considering the thought of finding her a new home.

I thought getting a full grown dog would mean no house training. I was wrong. I had to teach her everything. Luckilly, she was a quick learn. Charlie was profoundly obedient and attentive, although always quite sad and petrified. Her particular traits included a total fear of humans, although completely socialized and friendly with dogs. You also could not raise your voice to this dog. To this day, a gentle "no" is all it takes. She is strangely sensitive and she will curl up with her tail between her legs in a corner if there is any anger or conflict around (which is some times trying when I take her to work with me at a film production office!).

pictured, Charlie stars in SHELTER with Brad Rowe

Charlie is also always happy. I don't think I've ever had a happier dog. Her energy is just amazing. So good spirited, so gentle. She is a big hit in the neighborhood, and at all the offices I've taken her to. She was even a star in my last film, SHELTER.

Now that she is no longer scared of people, she loves them. She especially loves little children and babies. Charlie has an incredible memory, and if she sees an old friend after months (or even years) she gets so excited, barking and wagging her tail.  

As for the cats, she tolerates them. Both mine sleep on her every night and she doesn't seem happy about it, but they all coexist. My one cat has a strange Pepe Le Pew love for Charlie and tends her groom her, carefully licking her from head to tail. Charlie just has that frustrated look and puts up with it.
(as I'm typing this, the cats are currently curled up against the dog at the foot of the bed)

There might be a moral here. Oh, I got one of these street dogs - something thrown away by our society - that is now one of the biggest joys of my life. Just having Charlie's energy in the house, around me all the time is just a wonderful, peaceful and loving addition to my life.

pictured below,  scenes from Street Dogs of South Central.

It's been five years since she was on the streets and now Charlie loves going to coffee houses, hanging out at the office, making new friends and she's even been on several vacations and work trips with me (so far she's been to San Fran, Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, Idlewild and the Santa Ynez wine country - I've basically snuck her into the finest hotels in SoCal). When I let her, she is also a big cuddler.

The one strange thing I've noticed is that she doesn't like carrots. In fact, I can't seem to feed her anything healthy. After some experimenting, the only people food she'll eat is blueberries and tomatoes. What the fuck?

To find out more about Street Dogs of South Central, visit

As always, please get your dog from a shelter or rescue. PLEASE! I can't believe in this day and age with all these poor creatures being killed, abandoned, starving I have to type the words "Don't buy a pure bred. Don't buy from a puppy mill. "

Seriously, since the first six months, my dog is healthy, has no behavior problems, needs no special training or diet. Completely low maintenance and lovely to boot.

Mutts also live much longer, and because of a bigger gene pool, suffer far less medical issues.  Don't you want a companion that'll be with you a while!?

This is all just proof that these dogs don't belong on the street.  Dogs are only here at all because humans bred them to be companions.   So it boggles my mind that as a society, we can have a disregard for life like this.  As much responsibility as we each can take, as they say - each one, teach one - or in this case, each one, adopt one.

If the above video made you sad, here's a happy one. A street dog from South Central playing in our pool with her friends and the neighbor's cat Virginia.  As you can see, she now gets along with the feline.

My friend Lydia recently adopted a Ubiquitous Black Dog from the shelter. Lucy had many of the same shyness issues, but is coming out of them nicely. Here she is with Charlie playing in the Encino park. Once again, a far cry from the streets.

An interesting note, black coated dogs and cats are the least likely to be adopted. Once again, very odd.

If you'd like to help out the dogs of downtown LA, please visit Even if you're not adopting, you can always buy a calendar or t shirt to support them (or make a donation).

Monday, July 28, 2008

Snickers Anti Gay Ad Pulled: I Pity the Fool

Are you fucking kidding me with this?  I mean, I was just at a party yesterday in Beverly Hills sitting with a group of gay young men talking about how inescapable the "fag" taunting and teasing is in elementary school for kids that are "different".

Mars Inc produced a commercial for the popular candy bar SNICKERS with gay bashing as a theme.  A very effeminate man is power-walking through a suburban neighborhood when Mr T bursts through the yards in a military vehicle shouting, "Be a man!" and stars shooting at him with an assault rifle.  Mr. T also shouts out "You are a disgrace to the man race!" and "It's time to run like a man!"

Then the tag comes up, "Snickers.  Get some nuts."

Reps from HRC (The Human Rights Campaign) met with Mars and the commercial has since been pulled.  This is the second time in just a few years that the Mars company has had to pull an ad because of anti gay tones.

If you'd like a look at the real stories of this "comic depiction", visit Gay American Heroes, an organization established to memorialize those that have been killed in the U.S. for being LGBT. Here are a few people who have been "attacked" and murdered in the same spirit of this candy bar ad.

Upcoming Cultural Events in SoCal

Opening in theatres nationally next week.

Melineh Kurdian
Saturday, September 6, 2008
8:00pm - 9:00pm
Hotel Cafe
1623 1/2 N. Cahuenga Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA

Click here for all the info on this exciting weekend event -

A celeb-studded evening of fast-paced Texas hold ’em is in the cards for the Center’s Celebrity Poker Tournament.

“World class cards surrounded by groovy people all for a good cause—where's the gamble in that?” says event co-chair Peter Paige.

High Rollers ($500 buy-in) will compete for a weekend trip for two to Las Vegas; High Stakers ($250 buy-in), a weekend for two in Palm Springs; and Card Sharks ($125 buy-in) a weekend for two in the L.A. area. There will be the chance for additional buy-ins during the first hour.

Only 120 seats are available—so don’t let this exciting event get lost in the shuffle!
Get your tickets here and get lucky for a reason!

Wednesday September 3, 2008
Hollywood Improv
8162 Melrose Avenue one block west of Crescent Hgts
RSVP suggested: (323) 651-2583
$13 cover at door, but only $10 with attached flyer (print it out)

Thursday, September 4th
Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Monthly Mixer
6:00 - 8:00 PM

Come join the LAGLCC for our new mixer series. This is the networking event of the year. Join us the first Thursday of every month to mix, mingle and network with other Chamber members. Bring a Business Guest and your Business Guest gets in FREE! Appetizers! Drink Specials! Raffle Prizes! Members and Guests - $5.00. For more information, call 888-5LAGLCC or email

East|West Lounge
8851 Santa Monica Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA 90069

present their signature fundraiser

The 2nd Annual HERO AWARDS

honoring four extraordinary individuals
who champion LGBTQ issues and make our community proud.

Saturday, September 6th, 2008, 7pm-9pm
At the Home of Alan Uphold and Jeff Olde

at 110 S. Martel / Los Angeles 90036 in Miracle Mile

Hosted by Frances Callier and Angela V. Shelton,

Proudly join us in honoring:

Visionary Award Honoree,
LA City Council President Eric Garcetti;

Trailblazer Award Honoree,
Jenny Pizer of Lambda Legal;

Youth Advocacy Award Honoree,
Jorge Valencia of the Point Foundation;

Mentorship Award Honoree,
Michael Andraychak of the Stonewall Democratic Club

With an honorable mention to all of our LGBT veterans.

Individual tickets are $40 or $25 for Young Democrats (under 36). Sponsorships start at $250.

To buy tickets or a sponsorship,
2008 Hero Awards RSVP,
email or
call Shawn at (323) 997-0601.

For more info and tickets click here.

Dates: September 4 - October 12, 2008
Shows: Thursday - Saturday at 8pm,
Sundays 7pm
Venue: The Alexandria Hotel 501 South Spring Street, Third Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Tickets: $15 can be purchased on-line or at the box office. Group Sales, please call: (323) 883-1717

A percentage of ticket sales will be donated to the Jeff Griffith Center to help homeless LGBT youth in LA. The Griffith Center is a program of the LA Gay + Lesbian Center.

For Tickets Click Here.

Attic Studios and Attic Theatre Ensemble production of Charles Busch's Red Scare on Sunset.
Film Center
September 12-October 18.
Cindy Gendrich, director.

Set in 1951, Hollywood, the comedy centers around America's sweetheart, Mary Dale, who discovers that her husband, her best friend, her director, and her houseboy are all mixed up in a communist plot to take over Tinseltown.

Drew Droege stars as Mary Dale, with the cast also featuring Michelle Begley, Eric Jorgensen, Jan Munroe, Amy Procacci, Chris Tarantino, Sona Tatoyan and Dane Whitlock.

Droege was last seen at the Attic Theatre in Say You Love Satan , and performs regularly at The Groundlings, Upright Citizens Brigade, and Comedy Central Stage, where he produced his solo show, Bad Education.

For more information, visit

Click here for more info on Serafemme.

For information and tickets, click here for the LA Opera Site.

Buy tickets here and support the LA Gay & Lesbian Center!

The West Hollywood Book Fair

Celebrated Authors, Food, and Festivities at the City of West Hollywood’s Seventh Annual Book Fair on Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cost - Free!

Presented By: City of West Hollywood & LA Weekly

100+ Panels & Book Signings
Mystery, entertainment, politics,
memoir, comics, fiction, LGBT,
food & multi-cultural

3 Live Performance Stages
Theatre, poetry performances,
storytelling, readings & poetry
Parking - Parking is available across the street at the Pacific Design Center—Enter from San Vicente across from the park. FREE shuttle service is also available from Plummer Park (7377 Santa Monica Blvd.) the day of the Fair.

For more information, visit:

First Thursday of Every Month

6-8 p.m.
East|West Lounge - 8851 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069

This will be a great opportunity for all of us to network with each other LGBT professionals, meet others from various organizations, network with potential employers, and ask questions about participating organizations.

* Come mix and mingle with other LGBT professionals from all walks of life
* Share a fun time with other LGBT alumni from various schools
* Deepen existing relationships with existing friends and meet new people
* Just come and have fun with other professionals in our community

These high schoolers wouldn't take "NO" for an answer and staged their production OFF CAMPUS after their principal refused the performance!
photos by Adam Bouska

Students at Burbank's John Burroughs High School were so saddened by the senseless slaying of Lawrence King at another school in SoCal, that the drama class decided it would be a good idea to collaborate with the Gay Straight Alliance on a production of THE LARAMIE PROJECT, Moises Kaufman's pinnacle telling of the Matthew Shepard slaying.

Sounds like the great, forward-thinking kind of stuff that we as Americans should be proud of our youth for doing, right? No. The principal, Emilio Urioste denied them. With $500 from thegay/straight alliance, they decided to mount this production OUTside their high school.

They started rehearsals in someone's backyard and hoped for any other venue - in true Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney "let's put a show on in the barn" spirit.

What followed could be called the work of karma, angels or just plain the gay mafia.

A call to the Colony Theatre got results, and the venue was donated. Free. They also donated all the props, sets and wardrobes. The creators of the original production - Leigh Fondakowski and Kelli Simpkinsheard - about this and got involved. They not only flew out to help with rehearsals, but landed the kids part of their own theatre company grant.

Please support this show because is encompasses all about humanity that is good - gay and straight youth trying to make a difference and defying authority in true CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE and continuing on with the show, with our gay and straight community stepping up to help.

Pathways to Justice Conference: Family Law Issues Affecting Same-Sex Couples and Their Children

Friday, June 6, 2008 - 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
With Cathy Sakimura, Esq., Equal Justice Works Fellow

Join NCLR and Family Protection Project Coordinator Cathy Sakimura at the Pathways to Justice Conference for advocates providing legal services to low- and moderate-income Californians. Cathy Sakimura and NCLR cooperating attorney Diane Goodman will present a legal training on family law issues affecting same-sex parent families.

Marriott - Downtown Los Angeles
333 S. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, California
NCLR National Office 415.392.6257