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View Article  No longer a Vagina Monologues virgin

Saturday night, Ledcat and I caught a local performance of The Vagina Monologues at the City Theater. It was bloggers night. I snatched two tickets as soon as word hit the Internet.  Clearly, this was the perfect occasion for Ledcat and I to see the show that pretty much defines your feminist street cred. 

Overall, it was a good experience.  The performers were engaging, the venue was comfortable and the crowd was energetic.  They built up the tension by alternating humorous skits with soulful monologues.  The piece about the use of rape in war zones was very sad.  The piece that pushed the envelope involved a survivor of childhood sexual assault describing the healing she found at the age of 13 when she was "seduced" by a 24 year old woman. 

That was tough and several of us chatting afterward agreed that there was just no way that was gonna fly.  While you feel this empathy and appreciation that the child found solace and comfort being treated with gentleness, the fact remains that the 24 year old woman seducing a child is little better than the grown man who raped her at the tender age of 10. I was angry that the child's earlier experience made the "seduction" seem less of a violation. 

You can catch the Vagina Monologues at the City Theater through Feb. 17th and if you mention "blog" when you call you can save $5.00.  The number is 412-431-2489. (I learned that calling versus purchasing tickets online will save you a few extra dollars.)

After the show, we toodled up to Cambod-ican Kitchen which was packed.  We caught a table in the corner and enjoyed one of favorite meals.  If you like Asian food, I highly suggest you swing by sometime.

Sunday we met up with Gab Bonesso for a late breakfast at the Square Cafe. She and John McIntire have a show coming up on January 25 at the Club Cafe.  We'll blog more about that later.  Suffice to say that this show will be minus the clump of shlubs from her last show.  Plus, one of our favorites, Jason Kirsch, will be performing. 

Breakfast with Gab is a good time.  She's one of the best hanger outters I know.  Admittedly, I have low standards ... coffee and witty banter are my bailiwicks ... but throw in some bacon,and references to sixteen obscure bands that Ledcat loves and it is a heck of a morning. 



View Article  I love The Big Bang Theory

I love the weirdest shows.  My newest fav is CBS's "The Big Bang Theory" starring that cute little dude from Roseanne (another fabu show).  It is a classic setup -- two nerdy guys and the hottie definitely unnerdy chic living next door.  I expected little, but was mightily surprised at how freakin' awesome is the show. 

Awesome, how?  Well, there's the lesbian connection.  Sara Gilbert, also of Roseanne and little sis of Melissa Gilbert, has a recurring role.  Sara is a lesbian and she's really, really cute.  Especially as a physics researcher wielding a violin.  So that's a huge plus. 

What's most engaging is the witty dialogue which reminds me of SportsNight.  The writers make high falutin' science-speak ... funny.  And not funny in a Revenge of the Nerds kind of way.  Funny in an endearing, wry sort of way. 

Here's my best example.  The guys invite Penny over to watch their Superman marathon.  She innocently said she didn't realize there was more than one Superman movie which makes them cringe.  She asks why they like it so much.  Sheldon pushes his way to the front and says "You have to suspend your disbelief ..."  She interrupts "Because a man can't fly."  He looks disdainfully at her and proceeds to explain the suspension of disbelief required by the scene where Superman catches Lois Lane falling from the sky ... because the laws of physics would dictate that a woman falling at that rate of speed into arms of steel would be cut to ribbons. 

Does that translate in blogspeak?  It is really a funny show.  Mondays at 8:30 on CBS. 

The lesbians say just do it.

View Article  The Awakening

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

View Article  Gay Straight Alliances have positive impact on schools; Pittsburgh 92.9 not so much ...

A GLSEN study on the impact of student Gay Straight Alliances found that schools are generally less tolerant of homophobia, while LGBTQ students are less likely to hear gay slurs, more likely to perform well academically and feel safer in the classroom. 

Wow, a supportive environment makes a difference for the well-being and academic progress of gay kids.  Who would have thunk?

Not Gay and Beth of WLTF FM 92.9 and their parent company, Steel City Media.  As I blogged last month, this morning duo allowed a caller to make a joke about a "dissing" tee shirt that read "If you aren't gay, why is your girlfriend calling me?" They ended the call and moved on.  No comments repudiating a gay slur, nothing. 

So, I complained using the form on the website, directed to the Program Manager.  A few days later, PM Chuck Stevens told me would investigate and get back to me. The, I received an response from "Gary "

> in regard to your email...you had to be listening to someone else.

> there is no way you heard that with us. first of all, while it is

> impossible to meet the standards of every listener, i can assure you

> such a remark would not get by. if by chance you were listening to

> us, then it was taken out of context.


> i agree, such a remark is insensitive. it just didn't come from gary

> or beth. we value all our listeners and appreciate your input.

Huh.  So, I took it out of context, even though there was "no way" it happened in the first place.  I hope someone scripts this guy's witty banter, because wits are not his strong suit.

Note that I never said Gary & Beth MADE the comment -- simply that they allowed it on the air and that they didn't put it into context with any comments of their own.  There is no way on God's green earth they would let a comment about a dissing shirt that was racist or anti-Semitic on the air.  But it is okay for a grown adult - a parent -  to mock gay kids. That's the message from Gary & Beth in the morning. 

I complained again to the program manager. In essence, he refused to take responsibility for the call.  He claims that Beth's statement that she doesn't like those shirts is the same thing as saying that mocking LGBTQ teenagers is wrong.   I don't like your shirt = picking on gay kids is wrong.  I missed that in my thesaurus. 

I proposed that Gary & Beth invite GLSEN onto the show to talk a little bit about the impact of intolerance in the schools.  Mr. Stevens disregarded my suggestion.  Shocked, are ya?  WLTJ just wants me to shut up and go away.  They have no intention of highlighting gay anything on their programs.

It is disappointing that Mr. Stevens didn't recognize an opportunity to undo potential harm caused under his watch.  If he can't allocate one small segment to the message that all kids deserve a safe learning environment, what does that say about his station's priorities?

Gary & Beth.  Homophobia in the morning.  

View Article  "Take your tolerance and shove it." -- wingnuts shower the love on Jerry Lewis

Good grief!  I've been blogging for about 20 months during which I've tackled everything from Rick Santorum's former spokesfag to annoying Republican ice cream twins.  I've mocked the homophobic Ravenstahl administration.  I've targeted Joey Porter, the Archbishop of Nigeria, the City Paper, Edgar Snyder, a lesbian variety show, Pride in the Streets and most major religious denominations. 

Sure, I get a few comments. I even had to delete one because it was so filled with hate-rhetoric.  More frequently, my comments are interesting and instructive with the occasional naysayer. 

Then today, my innocuous post about Jerry Lewis -- it wasn't even very well written or thoughtful with a very low snark factor --was picked up by CNN's blog referrals and generated hundres and hundreds of visitors.  It also generated a lot really small-minded homobigoted comments.

Seriously - Jerry Lewis?  That's the big draw.  Sigh. 

Here's some related stuff.

GLAAD's Press Release

Jerry Lewis' apology.  Note that Lewis does not deny that he used the word "fag."   He accepts responsibility.  Hmmm. 

View Article  Breaking News -- Jerry Lewis uses "fag" on the air during live telethon ...

h/t Ms. Monongahela

I did not see this myself, primarily because I would rather gouge my eyes out with a stick than sit through 78 hours of Jerry Lewis.  Instead, I went shopping.

It seems I missed quite a moment today.  Jerry Lewis refers to someone in the audience as "Jesse, an illiterate fag" while the audience titters and groans. 

Tabloid Baby has the story.

Jerry really went and struck a blow against allowing 81-year-old tumlers to host live telethons when, in a bit, he referred to the imaginary son of a cameraman as "the illiterate fag."

It's Old School Vegas. Way old school. Did it take a bite out of donations? No. The final tote read $63.7 million for Jerry's 42nd telethon. Last year's record was $61 million.

But it could mean that Jerry goes the way of Imus and Rather...

Because I cannot figure out how to imbed the video, go here for the clip.  <And someone tutor me on how to do it, please.>

Is this an Imus moment?  Your thoughts? 

View Article  Pgh Lesbian Variety Show Issues Statement Regarding Trans-Discrimination

I should preface by saying the CTN has repeatedly ignored my requests for comment.  I received this through a local queer events email list.

As we reported two weeks ago, a local woman, Jessi Seams, alleges that Celebrate the Night, a lesbian variety show in honor of National Coming Out Day, discriminated against her by refusing to allow her to audition.  Jessi, a transwoman, provided email from CTN claiming she was denied because she had been an escort, an allegation Jessi denies.  CTN eventually acknowledged that they refused to allow Jessi to perform because a background search on the Internet found spaces where Jessi still identified herself as male.  To date, CTN has not explained why they misled Jessi about the situation and continues to state they are transfriendly. 

CTN's statement as per the Queer Events List:

   We, CTN, would like to thank everyone involved in this public discussion, and those who contacted us directly, for sharing open dialogue &/or showing support.
   CTN is growing and learning, and relies on the collaboration of volunteers and community. While we believe this situation could have been handled differently, we have taken all your feedback into consideration, and feel that CTN is going to be better and stronger as a result.
   CTN has been growing each year, thanks to the dedication of our completely voluntary committee, staff and the community, which we hope to serve. Every year, we learn more, and moving forward, we intend to re-evaluate our policies for next year. We acknowledge and accept that we can not, and will not please everyone. We also, as always, encourage everyone to get involved, if not with CTN, then thru another organization that aspires to help our community.  Sincerely, CTN

I'm going to be kind here b/c I do recognize that CTN is an amateur organization. 

But this doesn't say anything, does it?  It doesn't even use the words "discrimination" "transgender" or "inclusion," much less "we made a mistake."  Cause clearly they don't think they have and they have no intention of acknowledging or rectifying their discrimination.  "We cannot and will not please everyone" pretty well sums it up. 

Does it please you, dear readers, that a woman in transition was accused of being a sex worker, denied the opportunity to face her accusers and in the end, discovers it was a cover for the real discrimination?

Does it please you, dear readers, that an organization honoring all women and the coming out process blatantly disrespects the unique (aren't they all?) coming out of a sister in transition?

Does it please you, dear readers, that CTN will not clarify their policies on background checks nor confirm if they are universally conducted? 

Does it please you, dear readers, that CTN has subtly implied through various email messages that Jessi's behavior was vaguely threatening throughout the process with no real specifics?  Doesn't that nicely reinforce the stereotype and tap into lesbian fears that she's really a man? 

Does it please you, dear readers, that CTN will review their policies for next year? If policies are discriminatory, isn't now the time to address them?  How will they do so?  Will they contact the Pittsburgh Transsexual Support Group or Persad for assistance in reviewing those policies? 

Personally, I need a bit more to go on before I would drop $20.00 at this point.

There should be more breaking on this story today.  Live from Lesbian Central ....

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  Me and McIntire talk about the Dyke March this afternoon

Yo yo yo ... maclesbians.  OK, that worked so much better in my head.  :-)

Never one to let Jim and Randy beat him on a salacious topic, John has asked me to do a segment on the upcoming 2nd Annual Dyke March today at 2:25 on 93.7, The Zone.  They may have broken the story, but MacYapper has a dyke in his pocket.

It ain't gonna be the same discussion you would hear on Lynn Cullen, but the spirit of the Dyke March isn't about hiding out in safe spaces. It is about claming new spaces. 

So tune in ... I have no clue where the conversation will go, but I'm sure it will be interesting.

View Article  Riveting Rosies Rock

UPDATE:  See You Tube link at the end ...


Here's one suggestion for a perfect summer evening:  spend a few balmy hours out on the patio of a local coffeehouse in the company of friends (and your lover) while you listen to some of Pittsburgh's talented chica singer-songwriters, collectively known as the Riveting Rosies.

I was feeling rather nosy

so I thought that I would go see

the most Riveting of Rosies

the stage was kind of cozy

There's more than one singer of these lyrics that keeping running through my mind.

The most I seek my music locally the closer I am to fine ...

Better keep my day job, huh? 

Seven women filled the stage with more than an evening's worth of melody, harmony and memory.  The Rosie's include:

Tracy Drach - after a few bars of her first song, I immediately thought of that perfect moment in the morning when you caress your first cup of coffee -- rich and strong with just a hint of cream.  The kind of java that you need to drink so it can sustain you through the rest of the day.  That's what I thought about.  I also thought that Tracy's voice is exactly how I sound in my head when I belt out my favorite tunes. 

Stacy Mates - She sang this really unique love song about hating Ohio.  It worked.  Here's what I noticed about Stacy -- she sang harmony on just about every song the others performed and she was really good.  Good as in transforming a good song into a really great performance. 

Patty Spinner - I kept thinking I knew her songs or maybe I just should know them.  I wrote in my notes (yes, I carry a notepad with me to capture bloggable moments) "fuses good rhythmic guitar with interesting lyrics."  She's moving away which is a pity b/c she has this whole package of good songs, good instrumentation (is that the right word?) and a good voice.  Plus, she played the washboard.  How cool is that?

Heather Kropf - Heather played the keyboard at the back of the stage, so she was sort of this mysterious goddess voice speaking from the midst of the Rosies.  She had a really rich and polished voice.  She also was incredibly gracious about lifting up her talented friends.  I bought one of her CDs.  I expect it to be good.

Janet Ingram - Janet had a great dress on.  I know that seems like a shallow thing to observe, but I just had to put that out there.  Janet was wry and funny.  She writes some cool stuff, especially a great song about actually liking Pittsburgh.  That alone gives her a kajillion bonus points in my book.  I would love a copy of that song.

Sue Gartland - Another irrelevant note:  Sue has an uncanny resumblance to my sister-in-law Candace.  So I was disposed to really like her from the get go.  She did not disappoint.  She has a rich, charismatic voice and really delightful lyrics.  She had a super fun song about fast food that really transported me right to my childhood.  I was disappointed that she didn't have a CD. 

And, finally, there's Eve Goodman.  You may recall that we really like Eve's music. It has just been a little over a year since we met her and her also very cool significant other.  We've had the good fortune to get to know them a bit which just adds to the pleasure of listening to her perform.  What struck me the most last night was what a wicked guitar player she is.  She played the entire evening and the other performers gave her multiple shout outs for her improvisations.  She is seriously really good. Really.  The other thing that struck me was how much she was enjoying herself. 

My only wish would have been for the performers to reconstruct an unexpected song, much like Mary Chapin Carpenter and friends during their "Singer-Songwriter" tour a few years ago.  I think her group did a folk take on a boy band song.  As I was composing this, Blondie comes on the radio.  I'd love to hear Dreaming or maybe I Love Rock and Roll or even I Wanna Be Sedated.  Maybe I'm weird, but I think it would be fun.  (Please no Beatle songs.  Thank you.)

It was a really nice evening.  The weather was great.  The crowd was mellow.  Yes, there were a few less than perfect moments.  The menu was really limited which was a bummer because we had to get there super early to get a seat.  The opening act (Prickly Pear?) was just so-so, but drew this really large group of people with toddlers and preschoolers.  It was like a conference of yuppies with poor parenting skills.  The kids were cute, but unruly.  Their parents were not so cute, especially those who were actually pouting because they couldn't find a seat.  One woman plopped her toddler down on the pathway between the kitchen and the patio, taking umbrage when the chef politely asked her to move. Jesus. 

Plus, this is the second venue we've been to where the hummus is not accompanied by pita or anything crispy.  Just veggies.  Ironically, the Quiet Storm (veggie heaven) does serve pita. What's up with that?

The Riveting Rosie's are definitely worth an evening of your time.  Or two.  You'll have a good time.  And you'll support local music.  Do it.

UPDATE:  I found an excerpt of the Mary Chapin Carpenter Singer/Songwriters Tour.  And, yes, it includes a few moments of their rendition of "I Want It That Way."  So without further ado ...


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