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View Article  Storms, Films, Saphhic Delinquency and A Shout Out to Erie!

Well, we didn't make it to the sex toy party.  And what's up with the comments about marriage in relation to that?  Who needs marriage to enjoy a good dildo?  Hmmm ...

We ate Chinese food and grabbed some ice cream at Klavons in the Strip.  I was still a little rattled by my experience of being trapped in my car in the middle of the Waterworks parking lot during Part Deux of the storms on Thursday.  While we are fortunate to have no damage to our property, it was the most terrifying 20 minutes of my life and I was surprised to find that I couldn't just shake it off.  Of course, Friday I had to staff a table out in the middle of Schenley Park in the rain.  We packed up and ran for the cars, but I was trembling at the thunder roaring in my imagination.  So needless to say, a quiet evening minus any thumping bass seemed restorative.  I am somewhat bummed that Klavon's is temporarily out of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream which cures all sorts of ailments and nervous conditions.  And I am happy to report that those yuppies who brought their children into the establishment were in full parental mode resulting in several charming moments and much pleasurable ice-cream consumption time. 

Anyway, there's some other good stuff coming up you should know about ...

The Singles Supper Club is coming up on Wednesday August 15 at 5801 in Shadyside.  It is $12.00 per person and reportedly has some women in attendance.  For more information

The Renaissance City Choirs (men and women) are holding auditions at the end of the month.  Check out www.rccpittsburgh.org for more details. 

The Pittsburgh Lesbian and Gay Film Society is seeking submissions from folks with local connections.  Check out www.plgfs.org for more information.   I'm going kayaking with the plgfs president on Sunday.  But, alas, I have nothing to submit. 

Operation Sappho has moved to Cattivo in Lawrenceville (all the lesbians are buzzing about Cattivo) on Saturday, August 18 from 10 PM - 2 AM.  Apparently, it is a juvenile delinquent theme -- Ehrrin and I tried to decipher that and its the best we could come up with!). 

Erie Pride is August 25, 2007

Here's something you should bookmark ... the Pgh Queer Events Calendar  Ehrrin does a super-duper job keeping us homos informed on what's going down in Pittsburgh's Queer and Queer-Friendly scene.  And she does it out of the goodness of her heart.  Visit early and often.  I've gotta come up with a street name for Ehrrin since she's a recurring character in this blog.  Suggestions? 

So that's it for me.  Other icky stuff is happening across the homosphere.  Fred Phelps says the bridge collapsed to punish Minnesota for being so gay tolerance (huh?).   The Phillies have lost five years in a row on "Gay Night" and Repent America thinks they know why.  Good grief.  No links provided. 

I'm off to put up flyers, hit the library and then, apparently, do housework to appease Ledcat.  Tomorrow, we are going kayaking with some friends.  I'm very excited.  As long as there are no river snakes ...

View Article  The Groundbreaking LGBTQ Presidential Forum on LOGO

I didn't see it.  We don't have cable here at Lesbian Central, so we miss out on all sorts of things like The L Word, Queer as Folk and, well, the entire lineupon LOGO.  I've never seen The Sopranos or pretty much any of its peers.  (Don't cry for us -- we trade a cable payment for internet access, dozens of cool magazines and plenty of nice evenings sitting on the porch with popsicles, observing real life on the Northside.)

So, I have a choice. I have been pouring through reports from various blogs and online homosites.  I could share my thoughts from that second-hand perspective.  But I'm not going to do that.  Instead, I'll share my thoughts on the meaning of the event and give you a few links to chew on the content. 

First, I'm absolutely pleased this event took place.  It is historic and a recognition that our community is a significant voting block.  Our responsibility is to use that power effectively.  As all politics are local, think back to the ACDC forum in May 2007 (aka "The Big Gay Chat")  We learned quite a bit about the stances of our local politicians on "gay issues" and voted accordingly (i hope you voted!).  Now we'll see what happens.  County Council Prez Rich Fitzgerald promised a meeting with LGBTQ human services leaders, of which yours truly was included, but so far -- no meeting.  Dan Onorato is calling for progress on City-County mergers, but not a single line of coverage on what this means for those of us who rely on domestic partner benefits provided to city employees (Hey, Mike Lamb!).   Is our community moving on these issues?  Has Steel-City Stonewall or Gertrude Stein been talking with County Council members? Who is taking the lead on the meeting with Rich Fitzgerald?  And, did anyone ask Beth Pittinger what happened to putting a queer person on the CPRB?

My point is that having an opportunity to hear what candidates for public office have to say about our issues does matter.  But what comes next is what matters more.  I personally haven't seen any "next" yet from the ACDC event.  Even the moderator, Hugh McGough, left public service for the private sector!   

As for our Presidential candidates, the general consensus seems to be that they are pretty good across the board on most issues ... Don't Ask, Don't Tell; hate crimes protections, non-discrimination.  So they want us to be free to be productive members of society without fear of being bashed or denied the right to die in Iraq.  Great.  And I only mean that to drip with a little sarcasm.  It really is great how far we've come on basic issues.

Then there's the marriage issue.  More importantly, the states' rights issue.  Hillary et al seem comfortable leaving a civil rights decision to the individual voters within each state.  It is not a credible position given our state-by-state track record on legislating discrimination, especially around marriage (hello to my friends in marriages of mixed racial heritages).  And it is a political cop out.

Anyway, here are a few links for more information on what went down.

Huffington Live Blog

Pam's House Blend (including a nice follow up on New Mexico's Bill Richardson saying homosexuality is a choice, perplexing given his good record on LGBT issues)

365gay.com has a nice overview

The Bilerico project has an overview and an analysis of what went wrong.

And you can catch all sorts of snippets from the event at YouTube.

My call after reviewing the materials   - Edwards is best on our issues and did a good job tying OUR rights into universal HUMAN rights ... like healthcare and he nailed it on homeless LGBTQ youth.  I've said all along it will be Edwards with Obama or Clinton as the VP candidate.  I've thought that because I know America isn't ready to elect a black man or a woman.  I'm starting to think he's our best candidate.  I truly believe Edwards has a better grasp of what life is like for those without privilege, especially those enmeshed in poverty. We'll see what happens ...

A gentle chastisement for my fellow bloggers here in the Burghosphere ... where is your coverage on this historic political event?  I have received numerous email messages asking me for my response.  Did anyone email dayvoe, the admiral, ms.monongahela or bram?  How about Johnny Mac?  Might Chris Potter write a column comparing the ACDC event to the LOGO/HRC event?  Will Dr. Goddess take a stab at what's happening on LGBTQ issues in the African-American community  - would Obama lose or gain local support if he was more openly supportive?  There's a lot of chatter among openly gay African-American bloggers about these issues.  What does it mean for Pittsburgh?

Some of them might even have cable ....

View Article  City Council Meeting on Police Domestic Violence

The City Council Post Agenda mtg. on Police officers/domestic violence will be on:

Monday, Sept. 10 at 1 p.m.

It will be televised.

In 2003 a Police Chief in Tacoma, WA, who'd been abusing his wife for years,

murdered her & killed himself. This caused the Seattle Post-Intelligencer to run

an excellent series of articles on the topic of law enforcement officers who are

domestic abusers. The information & insight are amazing, heart breaking, but

necessary reading in my opinion.

The series is titled "Badge of Dishonor", primary reporter was Ruth Teichroeb.

You'll find it here:

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/131879_cops23.html

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We'll be live blogging again at http://pghwomenbloggers.blogspot.com 

Don't steal our thunder, Bram and Potter!

View Article  Friday Night ~~ The Sexiest Adult Sex Positive Toy Party and Dance!

 

Girl's Night In rocks.  We hosted a sex toy party for queer women at the GLCC back in 2005.  It was standing room only and big kinds of fun.  This seems waaaayyyy more fun. Click on the image to get more details. 

We don't have plans for Friday evening so this is definitely at the top of my list. 

View Article  Monday Video: A hammer and a nail

I caught a few bars of this song while rushing around in the morning ...

 

if i have a care in the world, i have a gift to bring ....

View Article  A Lesbian Weekend in Pgh: Edgar Snyder, Yuppies and Decapitated Jesus

UPDATE:  Upon the advice of my counsel, I have deleted references to minors that may or may not be affiliated with Mr. Edgar Snyder as well as comments about the parenting skills of adults that may or may not be the parents of said minors.  My apologies for assuming that the behavior of children (older than age 4) who repeatedly bump into other people and occupy counter seats, intended for other patrons, while they wait for their table might be a reflection of the parenting skills of those supervising said children.  Further, I should not jump to conclusions about the parenting skills of an individual who post their children's ages and gender as well as contact information for their father on a blog.  Or sent his telephone number to the blog author whom he has never met.  In all seriousness, I recently attended a workshop on Internet safety for my job -- it is NEVER safe to post email addresses or telephone numbers in relation to children.  I am deleting that from his comment b/c I don't want to contribute to any harm or danger to children, regardless of my opinion of their parents. 

***************************************************************

This is just a general rant about my weekend.  Nothing too exciting.

Friday, I stayed home and recuperated from a hard week at work.  My boss resigned and moved to Texas (she left today) so I was a bit down that evening. Ledcat made homemade pizza, so that helped.

Saturday, I had to trot off to Boyce Park for our company picnic.  Ledcat chose not to come with as we were fairly sure I would be the token homo at the event.  We was right.  It wa a nice day for a picnic.  After an appropriate amount of chatting and mingling and general revelry, I had to leave when the temperature soared and it became difficult to breathe.  I then faced the odious task of getting home w/o the benefit of the Parkway East, a feat that took 30 extra minutes and a detour through Verona. 

We had a contractor stop by which really excited me. We visited his sister's house a few weeks ago and saw his work firsthand.  Awesome!  Plus, he is one of those really cool people who is just nice. Plus, the dogs liked him.  Check out his band.  I hope we can get him to work on our house. 

Afterwards, dinner with Ledcat's Mom at Muriel's.  We love this place.  I had the grilled chicken over quinoa, which I discovered is an Aztec grain.  Ledcat had the special, Mahi Mahi.  Ledcat's Mom and her ladyfriend had mushroom ravioli.  After a quick trip to say hello to our 19 month old niece (totally awesome playtime), we sent Mom and ladyfriend back to Mercer County and headed over to the cinema at the Southside Works.

So I have to stop here and admit that I was wrong.  I've been dissing the Works for a year as a pretentious, yuppie-filled magnet.  I went to the Cheesecake Factory one time and waited in line against my will for 1.5 hours with a broken foot (long story) only to discover that it wasn't all that and a bag of chips.  So I complained and whined whenever we returned.  However, this time we decided to catch Hairspray at the Works.  It was cool.  No crowds, no whirling lights and no hideous video games.  The staff was nice and the theater was pleasantly uncrowded.  John Travolta was great. 

Plus, in a surreal moment, we ran into two characters from our friend Ehrrin's blog .. E-dawg and Lareese.  We were at the snack bar (small popcorn, no butter and a pepsi to share).  That was kinda cool.

Sunday, we slept in and then headed to the Square Cafe to break our fast.  It was semi-crowded, but nothing atypical.  After being seated, Ledcat points out to me that Edgar Snyder was there with a large party, including several bratty kids poorly behaved individuals who have the horrendous social skills instilled from privileged upper-middle class over-indulged white parents. A few moments later, we saw why when Edgar stormed up to the manager and threw an actual hissy fit because his meal for twelve took a more than ten minutes to prepare.  I almost snorted my waffle when I saw him flailing his arms.  That staff were very cool and composed even as he made a complete jackass of himself. 

I guess all the money in the world can't buy class.  I shared the story at a nearby coffeehouse later in the day, only to have the barista confirm that he's had similar encounters with Mr. Snyder at Whole Foods.  As we had to make a Whole Foods stop, I was a little scared we'd see him again.  Thank goodness, he took his brood to some other post-luncheon locale

We hit up the Co-op for some yummy groceries.  I wanted lentils since my friend made us a great lentil dish a few nights ago after our composting workshop.  Then we hit WF where I, apparently reaching my tolerance for yuppies, almost had a breakdown in the grains section when we couldn't find basmati rice.  It was awful.  Someone almost ran over my foot and another person actually rammed Ledcat's cart.  I really don't like WF enough to put up with that crap.  I'll take Shakespeare Giant Eagle anyday of the week. 

So this weekend sort of turned my world upside down.  Whole Foods is off my list for the time bing until they implement some yuppie control.  Southside Works is back on my list until they install video games in the lobby.  I've got 897 worms living in the basement eating my rotten peaches. I'm going to try and cook lentils.  And I'm seriously contemplating installing this in my backyard.

 

One final note.  Chris Potter and his posse take us inside the world of buskers.  I have to admit that I hate buskers.  In theory, they are a cool, alternative form of entertainment and I certainly get that they have a right to make a living.  But there's a violinist who plays in front of the Manor in Squirrel Hill.  She takes up half the entrance and is very dramatic.  It is all very charming in a delusional, upscale sort of way.  But I hate dodging her when I come and go.  A few weeks ago, it got worse when this dancing woman showed up.  Not only did the completely block the entrance, but a large crowd gathered to watch.  I made a few attempts to pass by, but I almost got knocked over by whirling girl. Getting into a movie theater isn't an ultimate sport.  So I left.  And I complained to the owner who promised me they would be more attentive to keeping the entrance clear.  Great.  Because that's why I went to the Southside Works this weekend.  I'll go back and give it a try.  Eventually.  When the scars heal.

So that's my busking story.  God bless 'em for trying to make a buck. 

View Article  CPRB and Free Speech?

Beth Pittinger, Executive Director of the Citizen Police Review Board and longtime friend to local activists, seems to have changed her tune of late.  Usually on the frontline defending members of the Pittsburgh Organizing Group and other local activists from police-driven infringements on their right to assemble, Pittinger's sensibilities have been offended by local animal rights activists who protested at Dan Onorato's church in response to his decision to kill geese in North Park. 

?We?re concerned about the disruption that occurs to the person?s family and neighbors,? says Beth Pittinger, executive director of the CPRB, who called a recent protest by animal-rights activists at the church of county chief executive Dan Onorato ?offensive.?

?There are plenty of other places a group can take their protest,? she says.

To protect the home as a "safe haven," Pittinger wants Pgh City Council to make pickets at dwellings illegal.

Well, that's an interesting twist.  It is certainly debatable whether protesting at someone's home is tactically sound or in good taste, assuming one is concerned about such things.  But at last check, the Constitution wasn't designed to protect friends and neighbors from being offended. 

I'm perplexed that Pittinger has championed this cause.  She shows up at just about every peace and justice event in town to keep an eye on police conduct.  She pushes for transparency on police procedures regarding crowd control (and the use of tasers).  She seems to actually be trying to protect the civil rights of city residents, even when her organization is dismissed as ineffective and powerless. 

Unfortunately, I believe that Pittinger has failed to deliver on a promise she made to the LGBTQ community in the fall of 2005 when she agreed to work with the Mayor's office to appoint someone from our community to the CPRB.  That was three mayors ago.  So I'm skeptical of her ability to deliver. (It would be great if someone could prove me wrong and identify a current member of the CPRB who was appointed to represent the LGBTQ community.)

I'm even more skeptical of her motive for restricting free speech.  What does she say to housing and community groups that show up at the front door of slumlords who have refused to take responsibility for their properties?  Does the disruption to the neighbors outweight the disruption to the neighbors of the blighted rental properties? 

Is it possible that Ms. Pittinger is looking ahead to a potential City-County merger and what that might mean for her organization?  Is it just a coincidence that she has spoken out when the protest involved the County Chief Executive, the most powerful Democrat in the region? 

I should disclose that Ledcat has ties to the Department of Public Safety, so I fully expect that Ms. Pittinger's defenders would use that to suggest bias on my part.  That is probably true.  However, I also used to work for a statewide agency that served adults with developmental disabilities and Ms. Pittinger was the former divisional director and ongoing legal guardian to consumers while I was there, giving me ongoing indirect contact with her over civil rights issues. More room for bias?  Probably true.  Just want to get that out there.

Personally, I think protesting at a church over the geese issue wasn't tactically sound.  I think killing geese was a stupid option given that there are proven dog herding methods that are more humane and just as effective.  However, I doubt the church folks see it that way.  That being said, they had a right to assemble there. 

But where would it end?  Would survivors of sex abuse at the hands of priests be unable to protest at a church that harbored a perpetrator?  What is a so-called Christian politician engaged in political activity in direct conflict with his or her professed faith? 

If someone showed up to protest my neighbor harboring her drug-dealing, gun toting son and his incessant need to hurl glass bottles all over the street, I'd bring them glasses of ice team and an assortment of pastries.  Alas ///

My favorite example is Fred Phelps of www.godhatesfags.com. He protests at the funeral of soldiers, believing that God is mowing them down to punish America.  Laws are being passed to protect the families of soldiers.  Unconstitutional laws, but perhaps well intended.  Too bad Beth Pittinger and every elected official in the United States didn't feel so moved to restrict free speech when Phelps showed up at the funerals of gay men and women, bearing signs that said "Your son is in hell."    What's more offensive -- geese lovers in the parking lot after Mass or a grieving mother faced with personalized hatred directed at her dead child? 

The degree of offense is not the point. The point is that Beth Pittinger and the City Council are not in a position to protect people from being offended.  Unlike the bubble zone ordinance, this is not a matter of balancing two constitutional rights.  If the protestors prevent people from attending their religious services or trespass on private property, enforce the law.  But don't strip the protestors of THEIR rights.

One can only imagine that police misconduct must be non-existant if Ms. Pittinger has turned her attention to the woes of Onorato's neighbors.  If only that were the case ...

View Article  Friday Night Lesbian Stuff

"Mr. Bingley is coming back to Netherfield and the whole town is talking of it!"

Tis Friday evening and I'm home alone while Ledcat is rocking out at Mr. Small's tonight.  I'm allegedly doing some work, but let's be honest ... I'm just lounging.

I popped in the final 1/3 of Pride and Prejudice  -- the BBC version, not the recent movie version.  Mr. Bingley has just popped back into town and Lizzie is desperately trying to figure out why Mr. Darcy has entangled himself in her family's scandal.  It sort of makes my squabble with Ledcat over who broke the chocolate chip cookies seem so paltry.

What an awful week.  My favorite coworker and supervisor gave her notice and is moving out of state tomorrow.  Sigh.  I had horrid cramps.  And there's the whole chocolate chip cookie incident.  You can see why I didn't blog this week.  :-)

Let's hope the weekend offers more promise.  I have a company picnic tomorrow and dinner with Ledcat's mother.  We'll see what happens ...

 

View Article  Video Monday: Sinead Lohan

This is Sinead Lohan.  I first heard her at Lilith Fair in 1999.  She was on a small stage and I stopped for a few moments. I have absolutely no idea what happened for the next 7-9 minutes.  She played "No Mermaid" and "Whatever It Takes."  I just stood there transfixed.  Then I bought her album on my way home.  Then I played it 90 gajillion times.  Then I put at least one song on every single mix tape or CD I have made since then.  Including the mix tape I made for Ledcat because she had a tape deck in her car. 

Here's my little Lilith Fair secret.  After my Sinead encounter, I enjoyed the Dixie Chicks, Queen Latifah, and Sheryl Crow.  Then, Sarah McLachlan put me to sleep.  My friend was horrified that I preferred some Irish singer-songwriter nobody to Sarah.  I'm sorry. I'm glad she founded the event and do like some of her music.  But, I can't understand her lyrics when she's wailing.  And that annoys me.   Why does it all have to be so dramatic?

So anyway, the latest I've been able to find on the Internet about Sinead is that she wrapped up her newest album in January 1997.   Not sure what that means, but there you have it.  I will buy it.  Whatever it takes.  :-)

View Article  Photo Exhibit Focuses on Queer Black Life in Pgh

Not a very exciting headline, I admit.  I'm a little tired this morning, but I've been meaning to blog about this exhibit for a few days so I need to get down to it.

Teenie Harris.  You may have heard of him -- photographer, documentarian of life in the Hill District for nearly 30 years (30's - 60's) which was, as you know, a period of intense socio-economic, cultural and demographic change.  Harris exhibits are nothing new for Pgh, but this one provides a unique glimpse into what is generally assumed to be an anomaly in Pittsburgh - historical queer black life. 

What's even more interesting is that these photographs are not from hidden little corners frequented by furtive members of Pittsburgh's African-American community.  No, this was an integrated scene wheer queer members were part of the larger culture, not separate from it.  From the City Paper:

While clubs such as Little Paris, the Loendi Club and even the famed Crawford Grill weren't necessarily gay-owned or specifically gay clubs, they hosted cross-dressing performers and welcomed a gay audience. In some photos in Carryin' On, in fact, female impersonators are backed up by legends of jazz and R&B, likely after their pay-gigs let out: R&B singer Sonny Hines, legendary drummer Joni Wilson, pianist Roy Hamilton. In one of Tines' favorite photos, a car, bedecked in streamers and toting a huge speaker on its roof, drives slowly along in one of the Hill's annual parades. On the car's hood, two drag queens bear a sign: "Meet Me at Little Paris."

The exhibit is the brainchild of Deryck Tines who serves as guest curator for the exhibit.  Tines plans to work with local photographers to document today's queer scene for a planned "Then and Now" exhibit in 2008.  (Tell your queer photographer friends.)  

I really like this particular photograph.  There's just this lovely fusion of flamboyance and ordinariness that makes me actually believe the rest of the story about the integration and acceptance of queer black community within the larger cultural context of the Hill District.

The exhibit runs through September 2 at the Andy Warhol Museum over here on the North Side.  We are absolutely going to catch it and I must say the articles in the PG and the City Paper have prodded me to make that happen sooner rather than later. 

I'm really interested in Deryck's plans to capture the current queer scene. I wonder what the photographers are going to document?  Most of the "images" the media feeds us involve this perception that the African-American community is highly homophobic.  The City Paper did a stunningly awful job on that front in April of 2006 <how can you write about the local gay black experience without including local gay black women?> 

My African-American friends deny that is true and regale me with stories about their parental generations mingling freely with gay individuals.  I'm sure my slice of friends are not representative b/c of the fact that they are friends with a lesbian, but still there's this dischotomy.  That's my new word ... dischordant + dichotomy = dischotomy. 

What should be really interesting is if Deryck's photographers examine the younger queer community and the older gay and lesbian community.  I wonder what differences, if any, would crop up? 

Anyway, check out the exhibit and stay tuned for more from Deryck Tines.  Maybe next year, the City Paper will have found a few local gay black women to interview <just kidding, Chris.>

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