Monday, June 29, 2009

Ft. Worth Police Celebrate Stonewall Anniversary With Raid On Gay Bar

A raid by Ft. Worth police on a gay bar Saturday night, the fortieth anniversary of Stonewall, lead to several arrests and left one person hospitalized.
[S]even people were arrested in the raid although witnesses at the scene said many more people were handcuffed with zip ties and taken out of the bar. One man, identified by his sister as Chad Gibson, was in the intensive care unit at Fort Worth’s JPS Hospital with bleeding in his brain after officers threw him to the ground and used zip-ties to handcuff him.
(The story played out here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here over the weekend.)

To sum up briefly, the cops arrived with a police van and zip-tie handcuffs, under what may be rather flimsy pretenses and carted off several allegedly intoxicated patrons of Ft. Worth's newest gay bar. Some arrestees were charged with groping arresting officers. One man received a head injury when police threw him to the ground. He is now in critical condition.

Civic leaders are calling for an investigation. A rally was held last night in response.

(Sorry for dashing this off with no commentary, things have been busy here this afternoon, and I wanted to get word out.)

India To Decriminalize Homosexuality

Homomentum on the Subcontinent:
The Indian government is considering rewriting a law drafted more than 100 years ago that criminalises homosexuality. The news emerged as the capital, Delhi, held its second gay rights march yesterday and other cities across the nation played host to similar parades.

"This [law] is an absurdity in today's world," a government source said. "The government will certainly move to repeal it."
Details here.

RIP Billy Mays

Famed TV pitchman Billy Mays, he of OxiClean fame, passed away Sunday at the age of fifty. Details are here. RIP, Billy. The world will be a little more dingy without you.


Radio Shakesville

Women Who Dare To Make Noise*, Part 2, is now available. You can pick it up here. Or click the player embedded below. (Not sure how well that actually works, by the way, but I thought it was worth trying.) If you're a subscriber, the RSS feed is making its way across the toobz as we speak, expect a download soon. Same for iTunes users. This ep's playlist is here. Enjoy!

Radio Shakesville

* Thanks to Kevin Wolf for giving this series a decent name.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson Hospitalized

Celebrity gossip site TMZ is reporting that pop singer Michael Jackson has been rushed to an L.A.-area hospital. "[W]e're told it was cardiac arrest." The site also says they've have spoken with Jackson's father who says "he is not doing well."

You know, the other day I heard the Jackson 5's "I'll Be There" in some TV commercial. All I could think at the time was "Damn, that kid really could sing."

Here's to wishing him a safe and speedy recovery.

UPDATE: As I was leaving work, NPR was reporting Jackson in a coma. By the time I pulled into the driveway, they'd reported him dead. Most sources are reporting he passed away this afternoon, though, as I understand it, there's been no official word from the family, the hospital, or the police.

I hope he's found the peace that seemed to allude him in this world.

EDITED: I've always loved this video and song. Hard to believe it's over twenty years old.

Michael Jackson: Dirty Diana

[H/T to InfamousQBert]

Movies You Can't Netflix: Max Headroom: 20 Minutes Into the Future

Max Headroom. You remember him, don't you? He was everywhere in the eighties. He had a couple TV shows, he was in commercials for New Coke (Ha!), appeared at the Superbowl, at Reagan's 1984 inauguration and even sang a new wave tune. Well, he didn't sing, he just stuttered his way across an old Art of Noise track, but it was a big hit anyway.

Max began his career as a VJ on the BBC introducing Duran Duran videos and cracking wise in his synthesized staccato, making him a lot like Martha Quinn, but with a personality. But you can't just throw a computer-generated host (albeit a fake one) on Britain's TV screens and not expect people to ask questions. You might be able to get away with that in America (According to Jim has been on the air here for eight years and no one's so much as batted an eye) but across the pond, they're a curious lot.

In the UK, people wanted to know where this guy came from. So this film was produced to give him some back story. The result is an odd cross between Blade Runner and Network.

Edison Carter is the world's most famous reporter, working for Network 23. When he stumbles onto a story the network wants buried, Carter nearly ends up dead. It seems the Network's new advertising scheme, blipverts, are causing viewers to spontaneously combust. Need less to say, they can't allow this story to get out.

An overzealous computer engineer tries to put an end to Carter's snooping by bonking him on the head and selling his body to the local organ resale outfit. The sudden disappearance of Network 23's star reporter might arouse suspicions, so Carter's face and memory are dumped into a computer. The idea here being this simulacrum will take Carter's place and no one will be the wiser.

Unfortunately, the new Carter is a hyperactive, glib chatterbox who bares little resemblance to his progenitor, or any actual person. Things go from bad to worse when the computer containing the new Carter falls into the wrong hands and the real Carter wakes up and escapes from the body bank.

The computer falls into the hands of Blank Reg, a grizzled sixty-something punk with a pirate TV station broadcasting from an old Winnebago. Reg hooks up the computer and releases the creation onto the airwaves, and thus Max Headroom is born. "Max headroom" was the last thing Carter saw before blacking out, as he got his head smashed into a sign in a parking garage, and it's the first thing he utters when booted up. (Later in the TV series, the same thing happens to another character who takes on the name Ped Xing.)

So Network 23 has a whole mess of problems: Their advertisements are killing people. Carter is back from the dead and even more determined to find out what they're hiding. Max Headroom is loose and mouthing off, and pulling in excellent ratings.

20 Minutes into the Future is an interesting example of the early cyberpunk genre, a group of films that remains relatively small. This is probably the only cyberpunk film that is a comedy. There is some tension and drama, but most of the action is played for laughs. Max himself is essentially a wisecracker, and little is done to mold him into anything with more depth.

Clearly the film owes plenty to Blade Runner and its dystopian landscape of urban decay. Max Headroom's London is a rotting, crumbling metropolis, overrun with homeless, and rife with Scottish organ thieves. It's certainly ahead of its time. Cyberpunk film really didn't come into its own until the mid-Nineties, with Johnny Mnemonic driving the proverbial nail in the coffin before the genre really got off the ground. It wasn't until The Matrix trilogy that cyberpunk gained any respect, and by then no one really cared, and certainly no one was calling it cyberpunk any longer.

You know, it's hard to get too enthusiastic about a soulless world built on shallow simulation and instant gratification when you're actually living in one. But in 1985 a world of invasive technology, corrupt multinationals, and computer hackers seemed fun. Twenty-five years on, the novelty has worn off.

Despite being a bit ahead of the curve, this film is still a product of the times: The score is by Midge Ure of Ultravox. The computer graphics are decidedly Commodore 64. And Max, well, he's not even computer generated. He's actually Matt Frewer in prosthetic makeup. Technology in 1985 wasn't advanced enough to actually create a computer-generated person, so the filmmakers had to fake one.

There are none of the Eighties' hallmark Day-Glo headbands or parachute pants, but that's not dystopian. No, that's the stuff of utopia.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Family Values = Two Felony Counts of Child Abuse

Brian Blair wants to protect children from teh Gayz.

What children need protection from is Brian Blair.

Blair (left) spent Father's Day allegedly punching and choking his two sons, aged 17 and 13. The former Hillsborough County, FLA, commissioner, champion of family values and professional athlete (in the totally-not-gay sport of wrestling) was arrested Sunday morning and charged with two felony counts of child abuse.

Yup, family values, bitchez!

[Via JoeMyGod.]

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Slip In The Polls

I'm from a predominantly Hispanic family, and as such, people often ask me "Hey, what do your relatives think of this?" I usually shrug, and make something up, because uno) I don't know what every single one of my relatives thinks, dos) experience has taught me that my family, as with most families, does not always agree on every subject y tres) I'm mostly interested only in hearing my own opinion.

I got one of those questions today, about the GOP's continued playing of the Let's Hate On Mexicans Game, specifically, their opposition to Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court. And yes, I know Sotomayor is not Mexican per se, but I think that is splitting hairs as far as the GOP is concerned. The GOP, it seems, is suffering a bit of a backlash.
[O]pposition to Sotomayor seems to be hurting the party among Latinos in a big way.

The latest numbers ... find that only eight percent of Latinos view the party favorably, while an astonishing 86 percent view it unfavorably.
So, what does my family think of this? Let me just say, they're not at all surprised.

Seriously, how long does the GOP think it can demonize an entire race before that comes back and bites them in the ass? And just to put that slip in perspective, the drop is a loss of about 25% of their support from whatever few Hispanics the GOP was still able to court. Of course, the next question is, who are those remaining eight percent? That one I don't have an answer for.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I Write Letters

Dear Trent Reznor,

I can't be your boyfriend now.

We're through.

Hey, look, you know I've bought every one of your albums, even the shitty ones. Even the one you gave away free, because I just have to have a tangible, physical copy of my music; call me old-fashioned if you want.

And even though I may be old-fashioned, there are some things I am so not cool with: Like misogyny. Like calling women fat cunts.

(I do find it interesting, in its own weird way, that you seem to regard calling someone a cunt better than calling them fat. But I think that says more about you than it does me.)

I understand these people said some pretty vile things.

And I also understand you're a rock star and are therefore expected to be all edgy and in-yer-face and whatnot, and because of said rock stardom most people will give you a pass for your boorish behavior. But I'm not most people, and I expect the men in my life to act like men, to act like grown-ups, not petulant little name-calling children. Not petulant little name-calling, misogynist children

So, that's it. We're through.

No Longer Yours,



Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Art or Larceny?

Raleigh, NC, resident Joseph Carnevale was charged with misdemeanor larceny after allegedly destroying $360 worth of barrels after the artwork pictured above was traced back to him.

So, what say you, friends? Guerilla sculpture or misdemeanor offense? Good-natured hijinx or a danger to road workers? Public art or a distraction to drivers?


Monday, June 01, 2009

The 21st Century Ain't What It Used To Be

As much as I felt loath to do, this weekend I finally gave in and got a cell phone. Now I can rest assured that should I show up at a bus depot outside Chicago on a snowy, shivery day, Liss and company will be waiting curbside to greet me, trusty car heater pushing back the frost, all because I'd called ahead to let them know my arrival time. Such are the conveniences of the 21st century.

Of course, I immediately sent my new number to Melissa, and a short while later her inaugural text message hit my screen: "Ur an asshole." I respond with the equally clever and mature "You are!"

Now I totally feel like Buster Crabbe, living in a future where messages are beamed through time and space in the blink on an eye, and I am told, once again, that I'm an asshole. Welcome to the 21st century.

Sometime later she emails me "Btw, please tell me that 'ur an asshole' was the first text message you got."

"It was the first one I got calling me an asshole." I love the 21st century.