The Sun-Times review of the "Up in Smoke" tour's Chicago stop-over last week noted that it was basically blowing smoke. Detroit white rapper Eminem's set was filled with "bile" said reviewer Jim DeRogatis: "After opening with 'Kill You' ... he quickly put lie to his handlers' argument that he does not really hate homosexuals, he just verbally abuses them by habit. 'The gay groups are after me,' Eminem rapped, clarifying his position. 'So [ expletive ] those flaming faggots.'" Jim says Eminem's lyrics can be "horrifyingly misguided" when it comes to homosexuals and women. Go, Jim!
While Eminem gay-baits, legendary singer Judy Collins is showing her class. She announced last week that she was canceling a performance July 10 before the hierarchy of the Episcopal clergy at the National Episcopal Church Convention as a protest of their anti-GLBT policies. She said: "I was shocked to learn that the Episcopal Church, of which I'm member and in which I was married, does not have an official national church policy allowing ministers to officiate at same-sex unions or ordain openly gay people. Allowing each Diocese to determine whether or not to ordain gays and lesbians or bless same-gender couples on a local level, rather then making a church wide decision, I feel is tantamount to accepting and supporting discrimination."
Welcome back to the Twin Cities>Wisconsin>Chicago AIDS Riders, who will gather in Grant Park downtown Saturday, July 15.
Sahir Cultural Academy Ludhiana last week gave their highest award, which is called the Adeeb International Award, to Ifti Nasim, a Chicago-based writer and activist. Nasim has several Urdu books and English poetry books to his credit. Nasim is also in Chicago's Gay & Lesbian Hall of Fame.
Congrats to Chicago dyke band Stewed Tomatoesone of their songs was on Sci-Fi Channel's First Wave this past Sunday night ( it re-airs Sat., July 15 ) .
k.d. lang returns to Chicago to promote her new CD at the Auditorium Theatre Aug. 19, with guest Shelby Lynne. Tix on sale Saturday, ( 312 ) 559-1212.
Talk about a musical high: Ellen Rosner's celebrating the release of the Big Fish Little Fish CD of emerging Chicago women musicians July 15, then on July 20 she is opening for Joan Armatrading at House of Blues. The Double Door show July 15 starts 9 p.m., 1572 N. Milwaukee. Performers on the CD ( some perform at Double Door ) include: Antje, Rosner, Dolly Varden, Kelly Kessler, The Twigs, Karen Anderson, Cathy Braaten, Ripley Caine, Anne O'Meara Heaton, Patty Ortega, and Astra Kelly.
CHER fans host a convention July 14-15, Congress Plaza Hotel. Call 773-848-CHER.
Mixed ( up ) Media
This week's Crain's has a rather choppy and incomplete article on the local gay newspaper wars. Any press is good press, even when it tells one-tenth of the complete story?
The July 5 Nation magazine was their annual pride issue, with a feature story titled: "Search and Destroy: Gay-baiting in the military under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'" There were also articles on the new women's music movement and the national gay press being swallowed up by mergerswhile regional papers serve the community well. The military piece begins: "In the wake of Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy's high-profile sexual harassment case against another Army general ... the mainstream media have given a substantial amount of coverage to the appalling rates of sexual harassment of women in the armed forces. But you would be hard pressed to find in these news reports any mention of one of the principal spurs to this harassment: the policy on gays in the military. ... 'You can't separate this policy from sexual harassment,' says Michelle Benecke, a former captain of US Army defense artilleryand a Harvard-trained lawyerwho is the co-founder and co-director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network ( SLDN ) . 'A lot of the perception that women in the services are gay stems from the fact that they're not sleeping with anyone in their unit,' Benecke says. 'The Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy pressures young women into sexual activity with their superiors by making them subject to the threat of discharge as gay.'
The Defense Department's own discharge figures support Benecke's contention that women are being disproportionately targeted by the policy: Women accounted for 31 percent of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell discharges in 1999, even though they are only 14 percent of the uniformed services. The numbers are most striking in the Army, where women are only 15 percent of the force but 35 percent of the gay discharges; in the Air Force, where they are 18 percent, compared with 37 percent of discharges; and in the Marines, where women are 6 percent of the Corps but account for 21 percent of those discharged. Since lesbian-baiting is the military man's best defense against
charges of sexual harassment, these numbers help explain why many women in the military are afraid to report such conduct, let alone tell their superiors about antigay harassment."
The People Magazine 100 Most Eligible Bachelor's issue include Michael Lyons, 33, a college admissions counselor, from Brattleboro, Vt.: "A revolution hits Lyons's home this week: Vermont becomes the first state in the nation to legalize unions between same-sex partners. Lyons, who is gay and dates occasionally ... cheers the changebut notes, 'Unless you have someone in your life, it doesn't mean much.'"
Billy Bean on ABC's '20/20'
Baseball player Billy Bean at HRC Chicago gala Aug. 5
Former pro baseball player Billy Bean, who came out and quit baseball after he got tired of living in the closet, will be the keynote speaker at the the Human Rights Campaign annual Chicago fundraising dinner, Saturday, Aug. 5 at the Hyatt. Call 1-800-494-TIXS or www.boxofficetickets.com . Awardees include the Mildred's Circle of Howard Brown Health Center. ... HRC is taking heat in Vermont, where openly gay Senate candidate Ed Flanagan is running against Republican Jim Jeffords. Charles Kaiser, in his July 18 Advocate column, attacks HRC for even considering not backing Flanagan, a clear gay-rights supporter, in favor a sometimes-middle-of-the-road Republican who props up the right-wing elements of the Republican Party.