Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Taking it to the Streets...The Tuesday Edition

Even though this city celebrated Pride last week, these celebrations are actually spreaded over several months throughout the summer. I heard from many of you during the week that you've attended other larger events in Q-metropolitan areas that seem to impress your senses. I lived in San Francisco, witnessing the notable pride parade their, but I've never ever considered that event comparable to this city, As I've stated previously, this is not "their" and selling our selves short because we've seen it done bigger elsewhere isn't helping improve our offerings locally. Those cities such as NYC, ATL or even Dallas for that matter, have these determining factors that create those highly visible efforts. First: MONEY. The budgets for those cities are funded through various revenue sources including some city grants. In Philadelphia, local Pride events have received $10,000 for single day events and additional funding up to $10,000 for multi-day events. Can you imagine if the city of Little Rock had a "community festival funding program" equipped with such funding? How about the Mayor or Ward Representative attending? Meanwhile, in Fort Lauderdale, their festival was almost cancelled due to a $50,000 short fall for a "weekend" slate of activities, based on a budget topping over $100,000. In Columbus, budgeted items included $27,000 for staging, $20,000 for security and contracted services as well as $19,000 for catering for purchase after an admission fee. At this year's picnic co-sponsors COP:24/7 and CAR were generous in offering FREE food and beverages. Secondly, Sponsorships. Ranging from Local adult beverage vendors to AARP, each offering in-kind donations to on-site booths ran the gamut at the big events. Could this level of sponsorship be a reality for the capitol city? If not, why not? Thirdly, PEOPLE. Many of these festivals have "functioning" Board of Directors, some paid Executive Directors and distinctively committed individuals/volunteers who make these memorable events happen. For those who braved the heat and came in support, also who have send this forum "congrats," I again personally thank you and appreciate your support. However, If Little Rock wants more big city fare, then making your personal commitment starting TODAY is the challenge. Here are the building blocks of the blueprint to 2010 success. The question becomes: what can you contribute to show some pride? I promised that there would be ongoing perspectives on what it will take to give you more of what you are looking for in PRIDE 2010. Stay locked in, share your observations, participate with our widgets and get on board NOW!...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Omnibus Horizons, Part 2

The world continues to be engaged and enthralled with everything, "Michael." From this Special Commemorative Edition from TIME to his recordings both downloads and CD's being literally ripped from the shelves. Meanwhile, the speculation, musing, fuzzy math, tributes and Patriarch Joe Jackson leave us breathlessly amazed. Even though Jackson's This Is It, tour may not go off as planned, I feel certain that his passing will fill many hours in the next few months and perhaps years. Yet, even as this fallen superstar dominates the news cycles, their have been other notables that have also departed this life. Such as the life force of Farrah Fawcett whom publicly battled cancer, a son caught up in a drug sprial and her long time love connection of Ryan O'Neal. Her career ranged from her commercials, TV show Charlies Angel's, Pin up poster icon, her tour de force work in the Burning Bed and her bold foray of painting in the nude via a Playboy video, "All of Me," which I felt was interesting and quite creative for it's purpose. I watched it several times to get the full affect. Then there was the mini reality series, Chasing Farrah which was another eye opening jaunt with Fawcett allowing cameras to peek into her celeb everyday life and was bookmarked by the recent Farrah's Story which again thrust ed her ultimate crisis back into the public eye. As we bid adue to Ms. Fawcett, I believe that she was not only a American beauty on the exterior but displayed an inner beauty as well.
Quote of the Day:
Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. T. S. Eliot

Are you staying on Point? Of course you are and you can show us your support with your comments, content, observations and kicking in with our new Chip-In wideget coming soon. It's COP:24/7...giving you more of what your are looking for in the LGBTQ community and beyond!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Omnibus Horizons

As the heat of the day began to surged forth, people hurried about in their everyday race of existence, the news cycle buzzed with breaking news,updates and talking heads repeating the days news, when out of no where came the word that musical icon, Michael Jackson was dead at age 50. Was this another cruel hoax? A publicity stunt for his upcoming stellar comeback in London? Tweeters and Texters gone mad? Although somewhat surreal, it was true. The genius, the talented one, the self titled "King of Pop," was no more and it seems that the world would pause for reflection as well as mourning. I was working and my associates were in a frenzy as I tried to maintain control of the department. Out came the cell phones, the text messages, the IM's starting alerting and some even needed a "moment to collect," themselves. I later learned that at least 65,000 text messages a second were being sent upon the news of his death.
Unfortunately for myself, I understood the gravity of the news, but I still had a job to do and the responsibilities of it. Yet, I tried to handle the matter as I approach almost all crisis situations, with my calm, take charge demeanor and stiff upper lip attitude that has served me in time of unpleasantness. It was so strange that out of all the uncertainty and sketchy reports at that time, the level of importance placed upon it. Especially, since I personally was the only individual in the room, who had actually seen Jackson here in the Little Rock Christmas Parade in the early 70's. However, as I left work, I realized that it appeared that the entire world had transformed into "Jackson Land" as his music blared from radio stations, news coverage exploded and people seemed not to know anything else but MJ. Yes, he had world appeal, made significant contributions and impacted many elements of cultural shifts ranging from Black artist being featured on MTV to his statement" We are the World," on famine relief. Of his catalog, I like many had many favorites. However, I really favored many of his less popular songs such as Earth Song and Blood on the Dance Floor. When his mega hit, "Thriller" premiered, I saw it in the backroom of the then Discovery II with it's big screen TV. The room stopped as club goers stood in front of the TV as if it was a message was coming from an oracle. Jackson's Super Bowl extravaganza was front and center at then, Plumtastics Lounge as the boys pot lucked and watched the "gloved one" dance and dazzle. There's no doubt that Mr. Jackson's talent is legendary, but his soar through his existence was also often times marred with eccentricities, mis-guided circumstances and far flung strangeness that fueled the "magic" that groupies and close friends muse about. Ultimately, Michael is the child of Katherine and Jo who have lost not a famous person but rather their son. I would assume that at this time, even though their are many issues at play, it is a death in the family that they must publicly face and share. Thanks, Michael for sharing your love of music, the grit of the dance moves that has even prisoners in court yards doing the "Thriller," and the passionate lyrics that will forever ring across the planet and into the never lands of the cosmos. I bid you a final curtain call and farewell...

BAR WATCH: The 7th Street Corridor entertainment mix has been slated for a make-over and addition of a new offering according to businessman Norman Jones. Formerly known as Easy Street Piano Bar, the renamed OFF Center still features live music, early opening hours and open mic nights. Plans state that the main entrance to the music venue will be altered using a current storefront facade. Adding to the mix, PULSE will also come online in mid-July depending on construction. The new section will be a dance, clubby, show lounge mash up featuring performer, Whitney Paige as show director. Jones cited that he was attempting to answer market needs that another weekday choice should be available for those seeking such a venue. Additional information on cover charges, operation times and cast additions will soon be announced. There's some schedule tweaking happening at 610 Center, with new hours starting this week. Unfortunately, and I've mentioned it here, patronage is not supporting early opening hours thus they are being scaled back to 4 p.m. and closing at 11 p.m. weekdays and 12 p.m. on Friday's. Also, it seems that the "draft" beer recession brew has evaporated. Bartenders for several weeks have stated that the taps were in need of repairs or something to that affect. I guess finding a repair person must be a real chore these days. Meanwhile, for now you can still enjoy some value price beverages on the lounges popular Wednesday evenings and tasty munches as well.

Venue NEWS: I had many e-blast, heard much talk-talk, rumor, conjecture and everything else about the resurgence of "something" in the defunct Factory site. Finally, I've had some confirmation that indeed there are some plans including some actual construction of a soon to be operational and tentatively named, Martha's. Allegedly, the theme will be a " supper club" mix with a "puttin on the Ritz" atmosphere which will feature some live acts, and perhaps as I understand it, some type of staged show. I also gather that this launch stems from Easy Street's former MC, Michael Henderson, and prime supporter, "Martha," hence the club's moniker. I'm expecting to get some more details, including a possible peek at the new digs. Stay tuned....

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tweet,Twitter and To do's

I had someone ask me the other day, "do you Twitter?" I think the look on my face said it all, but since you dear readers didn't get that priviledge to see my expression, just let me tell you that the "crown wasn't amused!" Twitter?" Do I look like I've got time to send any more words out into the cybersphere? Well, Do I? The T phenom is just about to get on my nerves, since I'm in overload in just keeping the content flowing in this forum and other platforms in which I participate. I know I have some readers, but how many and how often I'm still not exactly sure. I Know you are out there from Star City, Cabot, Maumelle, North Little Rock, and as far away as, get this, Kuwait! Somebody in the middle east hit me up in a google search for information. This forum is open ended as a community service and your voices are always welcomed. Check in with us and don't forget to stay locked in to COP:24/7 !!!!

Tweet, Twitter: Actually I had heard about Twitter, long before it caught fire and everyone else is now on board. As for myself, I spend a lot time in front of the one eyed beast known as my moniter and a blazing keyboard. Even though I can click through a post, I'm challenged with that "texting" stuff which has me scratching my head. For goodness sake, can't we just say "hello?" If you are on board with Twitting, then I'd love for any of you to convince me that I should join the frey. Do you really want to know what I'm doing, when I'm not doing what I do daily in this blog? If so, then let me know.

To Do's 911: CAR( Center for Artistic Revolution) has joined with the Future Builders, who have recently received a grant to test 200 Young folks (16-24) of color within the next few months. June 27th is National HIV Testing Day, testing at the CAR office's at the Presbyterian Church, 800 Scott Street, in downtown Little Rock. Members want to canvas the area neighborhoods within walking distance of the church to inform them of the testing effort. Future Builders will be doing all the testing and counseling, but volunteers are needed to help with the set up, cleaning, food, and entertainment. Reach out and touch for information or updates at 501.244.9690


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Reloaded Wednesday

In the afterglow of Pride 2009, comes the summer heatwave which has many people in search of a cool spot or their favorite icy refreshing beverage. Hopefully, most of you have recovered from the nightly activities and or events that filled the schedules of our local venues last week. With the "Unity through Community" festivities now passed on, it's time for reflection and assessment of what worked for 09 as well as starting the "vision" for Pride 2010. Many of you who attended the Sunday Picnic stated that you wished you had been involved, well there's no better time than now. Repeatedly, it was mentioned that COP:24/7 had thrown down the gauntlet with the statement of "putting our money where our mouth was," and we rallied to the cause. Therefore, here's the challenge Central City, events such as the Pride Picnic happened via committed individuals whom wouldn't allow any circumstances to shackle us. Stay locked into this forum for updates, gadgets, tools and stimulating dialogue as we create the our blueprint for Pride 2010. Now, let's get busy...

Obama in the Lavender Scope: Even after an affirmation of GLBT Pride Week, offering limited benefits to SGL federal employees, as well as, an impending next week White House invite of "gay leadership," to commemorate the Stonewall Riots, it appears that there's still some grumbling going on from within national LGBTQ circles. On the home front reactions vary from very interested to our norm of "clueless." My in-box has been a off the chain with articles, alerts, commentary, links and mash up about what President O has done or not done for gays. According to an article from Politico, written by J. Gerstein and Ben Smith, they state that, "In fact, Obama’s promise to offer ancillary employee benefits — such as long-term-care insurance and the right to use sick leave to care for domestic partners — while still denying more valuable benefits, such as health insurance and retirement funds, may have further agitated gay and lesbian activists who were already fuming over other perceived snubs. Obama said he also favors extending health and retirement benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees but that such a move is currently prohibited by the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, which passed in 1996." The murmuring has extended to big time gay contributors holding their purses and reportedly again from that article citing, "gay leaders have been in a slow burn through much of the spring, distressed about the Obama administration’s failure to press for immediate repeal of the military’s don’t ask, don’t tell policy prohibiting openly gay men and women from serving. Some also chafed at the White House’s refusal to suspend forced discharges of gay military personnel." From my prospective, he's only been on the job for approximately 6 months and do gays really expect their to be some total sea change done with the entire land teetering in crisis this or that. I fully understand that these issues need a hearing, progressive action but nothing is done overnight except FEDEX. Staying vigilant is certainly the order of the day, but brow beating the prez might be ineffective. Oh Boy!, Mr. Obama said he wanted to be President to all the people and you know sometimes you have to be careful for what you ask for. Got thought? Then go to the comment icon and put it on the table!

Bar Watch: Even as I making my way through Pride 09 last week, I was privy to some other interesting tidbits that made the cut this week. It seems that the long rumored re-launch of yet another entertainment venue in the old Factory site is actually in the works. During the foggy and unsubstantiated verbiage of those connected including former front guy of Easy Street, Michael Henderson, I've learned that the new place is tentatively named, Martha's. Who's Martha you ask and what's really going on... well, you'll have to check us out this FRIDAY for the entire scoop! Speaking of openings, it's a green light for another addition to the 7th Street Corridor entertainment mix coming in July. Work is underway, the theme has been chosen, a name is in place and a new show director has been hired. Wanna know who? It's all going down this Friday here in a special edition. Spread the word...

Stonewall Meet-up: Stonewall Democrats will not hold a regular meeting this month and was cancelled in lieu of participating in the Little Rock Pride Picnic. In a E-blast from the organizations President Joe.L.," the picnic was a tremendous success and I want to personally thank all of the great Stonewall folks that volunteered, participated and showed up for the event. The theme of the day was "Unity through Community" and I was very proud of all of the groups that came together, put differences aside, and pulled the community together for a fun day of celebrating our Pride. We look forward to seeing everyone at our next meeting on Thursday, July 23rd!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Footnotes in Pride: 2.0

The reviews are coming through and we would love to hear from all of you, no matter where you attended or didn't attend any of Pride 2009. Planning for 2010 begins TODAY and it starts with you, you and you too! If you've got pictures, video, shout out's, comments or observations share it with us in the comment sections. The above montage is a small collective of Pride week and will be updated with additional content from submissions. We will keep doing what we do best, "keeping it real" and Staying on Point! Look for more from COP:24/7 in 09. Your support is tremendously appreciated! Let's Rock Together...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Footnotes: Pride 2009

It's done. Pride week 2009 has become history as the summer heat wave takes center stage and many of you move on, continue or stay in holding patterns of your daily lives. Whether you participated or attended any events, ultimately I surely hope that in some manner you took a moment to reflect on your life's journey in "living the life" that has most likely been one of the significant touchstones of your existence. As I moved among you, listening, engaging, encouraging and possibly even enraging, I personally know that despite the variations of our stories, the depths of the struggles to find a sense of acceptance or the complexities of our interactions within that "six degree" paradigm, we can not deny the commonality of our yearning for greater equality as same gender loving humans whom should respect each other as we pursue that same respect overall. Does Pride answer or even address the multi-layers of issues, concerns, constructs or disparities within the community? Probably not. However, with each year's commemoration, at least dialogue should be the order of the day, even among the more lighthearted fare. It's over, but the work for 2010 should be began TODAY and it begins with you....!

Picnic in Pride: After all the local venue activities featuring a mixed bag of shows, masquerading and bar hopping, for myself came Sunday's hastily produced Pride Picnic cobbled together with a determined band of individuals and sponsors. As my partner and myself promoted the event during the week prior, I heard all the yeahs and the nays for this event. Especially those whom mused "yeah, there we go again, Queers in the Park..." or "who planned this thing on Father's day!" All that aside and thank you for sharing all of it with me, the Pride Picnic sojourned on and to our surprise we had a decent turnout although not the massive ATL or SFO mash up's that also a few you didn't mind reminding me about. Now hear this, OF Course NOT, this is Little Rock my people! For the last time, if we had a sizable community with the broad swath of economic impact or committed individuals then "their" would be "here." But instead we had a nice gathering estimated from 125 people, maxing at 200 according to those attempting to count heads as they came and went irregardless the first day of summer heat. The agenda included brief speeches from Legislator Kathy Webb who reminded us of our political strides, candidate Jay Barth forcefully requested those in attendance to become involved in his upcoming campaign and Stonewall Democrat President, J. Lafontaine, urged greater participation in all processes revolving around issues of equality in Arkansas. Meanwhile, the event did it's damnest to be as broad based as it possibly could. There was music, mixing, equality games shepherded by DYSC coordinator, Bryan Olson, A micro RENT theatre troupe which filled the pavilion with acapella music from the famed Puccini' "La Boheme musical, Irish footwork ala Riverdance, Poetry slammers and even musical chairs. During all this interaction, this forum answered the call from organizers and offered our support for co-sponsoring the FREE food to all in attendance. My list of thanks begins with my long time companion, James who was tirelessly involved from the word go. He was toast on Monday. Our friend and co-worker, Michael T. who didn't hesitate when I asked would he assist. Brett E. who immediately signed on as a branded beverage sponsor with only a moment's notice and Charles who delivered Pride cookies from Russellville! My gratitude also goes to those straight allies and vendors who donated for the asking. On the spot, we got additional assistance from DSRA members who helped keep the beverages flowing, Jason for stepping up, all the while I attempted to keep the food coming to those is line. At one point, I thought we were a bit overwhelmed, with a swelling crowd, the line began to snake and our non-professional grill was in overload mode. We appreciated everyone for being patient and understanding as the team kept burgers, hot dogs, and veggie burgers coming for 3 straight hours! For the record, we continued to provide food, even for the very last person who got lost and shared their frustration at not having more detailed directions provided. In clean up mode thanks to all those who stayed behind to assist including Cardinal GLBTQ Advocates, DYSC members and participants that kept us ECO friendly. Believe it or not, there were some community members speculating as to whether we were friendly to Mother Earth. My readers, CorneliusOnpoint, and all those involved have demonstrated that basically there are no "circumstances," except perhaps the Apocalypse itself, that should deter this community from gathering our talented tenth in concert to produce a Pride event. I challenge all of you who attended or want to continue the momentum, let's hear from you starting TODAY. If you didn't attend for whatever reason, then so be it, but I can assure you that despite it all, we discovered that we all had reasons to be PROUD. Many thanks to everyone and there will be pictures posted this week. If you have candid shots to share or videos, comments or observations, as you know, the light is always on....

Friday, June 19, 2009


It's three days til PRIDE 2009 bows out until the next go round. So, where are we as of today, well, there's more merry making to come with birthday bashes, show girls from Dallas, Reunion Fish Fry, turn-a-about's and of course concluding with Sunday's Pride Picnic in Allsop Park at 12:30 p.m. As for myself and companion, it's been a long and winding week in which we tried to make the rounds to those events as our schedules allowed. I hope that everyone who has stopped into their favorite activity, event or spot has at least got a spark of pride that such venues are not only here for your entertainment pleasure, but free from needless raids or intimidating law enforcement such as those experienced by patrons of the Stonewall Inn in 1969. It's been 40 years since that turning point and the upstart of the "gay liberation" movement which is still striving for the human rights that this blessed land so treasures. No matter your politics, position or disposition, all of us can ask ourselves, "what have you done today to be proud?"

Pride in BLK: As we forge on to concluding Pride 2009, comes the formal announcement of the Little Rock Black Pride Weekend, July 24-26, 2009. Of course with this post their will be some pontificating as well as "mixed signals" that such an event sends, as I've been staunctly promoting unity and common grounds. That position is still intact yet, unfortunately the broadness of the concept has not been totally met, even though their have been good intentions and notable attempts to do so. This onion has many layers rooted in past racial attitudes and insensitivity's that still today result in divisiveness and inequitable perceptions. The entire mindset for Black pride can somewhat be further understood as sourced from About. Com which states, "LGBT people are thought of and referenced as one homogeneous community and not as comprised of the diverse cultures within it. Gay and lesbian people come from a variety of backgrounds and ethnic groups. One could say some of us represent a culture within a culture. These differences can pose unique challenges when addressing individual needs. And often times many LGBT people feel that they better relate to the same-gender-loving individuals that mirror their own experiences." It is for these reasons, not a "hate factor" or a "reverse discrimination," move from which these prides have flourished stateside but globally, including here in Little Rock, which has been supported by the International Federation of Black Prides. As I understand, these activities are "open and accessible" to everyone who would like to attend. I've attended event in the past which were problematic, attempted to work with this group as well to avail, but I plan to attend again when possible.
Activities include: Friday: Meet and greet at La Quinta 901 Fair Park. Gay Greek Swag Nite at Markham 801. Saturday: Free Pride Luncheon at Theressa Hoover United Methodist Church 4000 w. 13th St. LR. Label Swag Check After party Markham 801. Sunday: Family Fun Day Picnic at Reservoir Park at Cantrell and Reservoir Rd. then the final event After party Farewell Bash at the Multi-Cultural Center Corner of 11th St and Cross St. LR
Host Hotel La Quinta Inn 901 Fair Park Blvd. LR
For more information: mailto:%20srogers@littlerockblackpride.co or 501-398-0307

3rd Annual Pride Parade of NW Arkansas: NWA PRIDE announces the 3d Annual NWA PRIDE PARADE: A Celebration of Diversity and Community. It will be held on Saturday, June 27, 2009 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Parade organizers invite everyone to come together in solidarity and support of equal rights for all. The parade lineup will start at 8 AM on North East Street, between Meadow and Dickson Streets. Parade will start promptly at 10 AM. A brief Pride rally will be held at the end of the parade in the Walton Arts Center Parking Lot.
For more details, float and/or speaker applications, please go to NWA Pride's web site at nwapride.org.

Quote of the Week: " I"ve been on the "D- List" so long that I don't know anything else!" as delivered by N. Jones

Thursday, June 18, 2009

In a Pride Sweep

Are you "Prided" out yet? Well, are you? As both myself and companion continued to make the rounds, we realized that something is missing and it may YOU! Perhaps many may be reserving themselves for the weekend events, but turnout seems to have been lackluster to just about non-existent. It's understandable that our busy lives, schedules, economic concerns, the Net and who's knows what else can detract the attention from the planned events. However, as the week chugs we will be checking in and out of what's really going on.

Pride Periscope: Management of ST has always promoted this north shore venue as sort of a "club house" atmosphere, allowing patrons to come as you are and feel a since of community. However, patrons some what missed the boat on Pajama Night when only bar manager Michael showed up in his PJ's. For the record, I wasn't in "costume," basically because I was doing several places in an evening and it wasn't going to work for me. How would I explain to Little Rock's finest if needed too, why I was driving around in such a manner. Anyway, all that dosent matter since those present stated that they were unaware of the event and again the proverbial, " what pride? When is it?, Oh, is it this week...?"

INFO, Please: Even as I determined that somehow PRIDE 09 was simply not making the radar test, there was another blip of info that perhaps apparently didn't get the "hey over here" it needed as well. It was the handy "downloadable" schedule that was available from the Backstreet website highlighted with a nifty Pride button. I thought I had posted about this tool, but nevertheless, this webmaster gadget is the type of access and outreach that is imperative in our information arsenals. Now before I get the e-mail from those citing my insensitivity to those caught up in the "digital divide," this method is still handy for those who have computers that can at least pass on "correct" information. Thusly, avoiding much of the "misinformation" that gets bandied about like wildfire. I'm giving this idea a "Pride High Five" in keeping the information channel open to all those who need or want to know!

FUQ Talk-Talk: Fed Up Queers, a local activist group will be hosting their first meeting, June the 30th @ 6:00 at the Main Library Downtown. It will be on the second floor, in the Fribourgh Room. For a different twist and a smart one at that, they are offering possible transportation to the site. In an earlier posting, I reported on the direct citizen's action campaign entitled, "No to Norman," involving printed fliers, Mr. Jones and confused onlookers. If you are interested in more info you can get it directly from their site at http://www.fedupqueers.wordpress.com/ .

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pride in the City

It's mid-week as pride in the city unfolds and I have to report that so far it's been as eventful as slow boat to China. Not to mention that as I've circulated I hoped to discover at least a few who knew why we celebrate "Pride" and this year's important significance. So far, and it pains me to cite this but, not one person that I randomly engaged had a clue. Yes my people, so far not one. The answers were as varied and some times just plain old out their in the lunatic fringe sphere. While many said flatly that they "didn't know," others felt that it was "time to party," or something that the "bars" did every year. Even though their was no methodology to these inquires, I was just dismayed that most reveled in their lack of knowledge and felt no sense of need to understand. Amazing. Meanwhile the "week" rolls on and as schedule allow so will I, looking, listening and learning from the GLBTQ community and beyond...

Pride Week Recap:

* Congrats to Breanna Braxton and Mr. DeMarco as the Pride Week Royalty team. The two were crowned during the Mr.& Miss Gay Pride, last Sunday night at UBU. Both individuals have been out and about during the week. Exactly what their platform or agenda is all about is most likely in a TBA( to be announced) mode.

* I made the rounds on Tuesday to promote Sunday's Pride Picnic and checking out the scene. First up, STAR Bar. Both myself and companion like this haunt, but we were sorta perpelexed by the low-no attendance for the their TexMex night. I guess one was suppose to order some items but we were not offered any info on what it was all about. Despite, at least one order of "taco somethings" that went to an another table. I'm glad that I ate a snack before coming. Even more interesting was the fact that we were told that "we did Pride last evening (monday night's pub crawl) and we don't know what else is happening." Excuse me, but the schedule has the bar "participating" in Pride week all week with Jill S. Band, Mask Madness, flashback party? We went in search of other activities such as the Guitar Hero party at Off Center which was a kitschy nod to the New York Street performer that obviously made no connection locally. It was a bust. A few regulars sitting around the bar fully dressed with no real interest in the scheduled event. Again, what's up with the idea of doing stuff in your underwear, especially since most folks keep telling me that they are not wearing any? During the evening we stopped in to Sidetracks and 601 where customers were mixing with no sense that Pride week was even happening. And so it goes....

In an earlier post I mentioned that the Pride week was filled with bar crawls and such, but lack any depth, basically because it's not a priority and it's very obvious as I stated above, but certainly needed. So, here's a teachable moment, a light bulb moment or at least an attempt to educate, empower and enlighten from CorneliusOnpoint.

The first gay pride parade in 1969, known as the March on Stonewall, started as a protest against discrimination and violence against gays in New York City. Today, pride events have become an annual ritual and have grown to include thousands of gay and gay-friendly participants, not to mention hundreds of spectators. Many gays and lesbians dress in bright colors, head-to-toe leather or sometimes next to nothing. But regardless of the attire, all of the participants join the festivities to remind the world that gays deserve the same rights as others and people should be free to live their own lifestyle, void of judgement or hate. Gay pride is also a symbol of solidarity and an opportunity to express the vivid personalities which reflect the diverse gay communities throughout the world. During this time (and in many places year round), the skies are covered with the gay pride flags and banners, the symbol of gay solidarity and freedom.

The gay pride flag was designed by Gilbert Baker and debuted at the 1978 San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day Parade. Read more about the origin of the gay pride flag! Also, Did you know that each color on the gay pride flag has a different meaning? See what each color represents here!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pride 2009 in full affect!



We're off and running! It's Pride 2009 in the City and there's a slew of activities covering a much ground for the GLBTQ community and beyond. Of course, I don't want you to forget about the Pride Picnic in Allsop Park this Sunday, June 21, 2009. We are an official sponsor and been in full throttle to make this event a sure winner to conclude the week and as we welcome the first day of Summer 09! The Picnic committee jumped into action and we have been amazed at the creative power that has been unleashed by core members and those who have answered the call to action. Ryan Olson, CAR program director, demonstrated that we can broadcast our message in video and this forum book ended the effort with our "Pod Snap" sent out to our e-list, with the hopes that each of these new media mash ups will go viral! Did you pass it on? Personally, it's been deliciously fun even as time was of the essence and a "survivor" attitude quickly took hold. Thematically, the picnic will encourage each of us in attendance and those not, that we must began to find unity in our "six degrees of separation." Overall, it's the colorful ties that bind us, not indifference, insensitivity's or internal complexities that continue to fragment those determined to make a difference and the precious resource necessary to fuel these efforts. I urge all of you to attend what you may of the activities happening in the area, but please heed my plea for your attendance at this Sunday's event. If you haven't had a chance to donate or show your support, you still can. Call 244-9690 or hit me up here in the comment section. Come see me as I look forward to seeing all you and meeting new faces. Won't you join me!

For more info on the weeks activities, hit our link to Backstreet where you can download a complete schedule of what's going on. It's all the PRIDE!!! ( www.backstreetdanceclub.com/pride09/ )

Monday, June 15, 2009

Let Pride 2009 Ring!!!

The head of the Office of Personnel Management and the attorney general on Wednesday said the federal government must do more to ensure equal opportunities for gay and lesbian Americans.
In some of the most pointed remarks on the subject by an Obama administration official, OPM Director John Berry,(picutred) the highest ranking openly gay person to serve in the executive branch, affirmed the president's support for gay Americans, saying, "with the help of a president who supports our cause, the aid of courageous fellow countrymen and women who love liberty, and with God's grace, we shall prevail" in the quest for civil rights.
Berry and Attorney General Eric Holder spoke at the Justice Department's celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month.
Holder, who appeared with Berry at the event, said many of the same obstacles to equality for gay Americans that existed more than a decade ago are still around.
Berry drew on his personal background and experiences with family and friends to argue that public service is valuable no matter the sexual orientation of the person performing it. His father, he said, served with gay men at Guadalcanal during World War II, and told his son, " 'We didn't call 'em gays, but they were there, and died as bravely as everyone else.' "
The OPM director said his first partner, who died after a prolonged battle with HIV/AIDS, showed him the importance of supportive family and of policies that allowed Berry to care for him and be with him when he died, even though they were not legally married.
"My family has never known divorce," Berry said. "Were we married? No, but I dare anyone to say that we were not in love.... Where do you stand? Honoring love as precious and true wherever you find it, or with those who would demean or deny it? I urge you: Stand where you can be proud. Stand with service and truth. Stand with love. Stand for liberty and justice for all."
At the ceremony, the Justice Department's Equal Employment Opportunity staff and DoJ Pride, the affinity group for gay and lesbian employees, honored Frank Kameny, a former federal employee and gay civil rights pioneer who fought against discrimination and classifying gay federal workers as security risks. The event also praised Marc Salans, assistant director of Justice's Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management, who has helped DoJ Pride target personnel policies that limit benefits for gay and lesbian workers.
Holder said he planned to work closely to work with DoJ Pride to ensure that Justice offered equal opportunities to all employees no matter their sexual orientation, saying it was the department's responsibility to ensure "the right of openly LGBT employees to do their jobs with distinction and professionalism."
Other Obama administration officials have taken steps to extend benefits to the partners of gay and lesbian federal employees. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is modifying internal department manuals to give domestic partners of Foreign Service officers access to health clinics, emergency evacuations and employment opportunities when they are deployed overseas. And the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is implementing a domestic partner benefit program negotiated during the Bush administration between the agency and the National Treasury Employees Union.
Berry said in a May meeting with reporters that he expected President Obama to back legislation -- the 2009 Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act -- that would give the domestic partners of gay and lesbian federal employees access to health and retirement benefits in exchange for their agreement to abide by rules governing issues such as nepotism.
"The president has asked both State and us to do what we can," he said at that meeting. "Where we need legislation, we will seek legislation."

SHOW SOME PRIDE: GPW June 14- 21 It's Pride in the Rock!
Click our Evoca icon for an important Pride 09 announcement!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Funky Fresh Friday

The countdown continues to PRIDE 2009 rolling out starting June 14 thru 21. It's that one week of the year, that allows everyone a chance to think about "what have you done today to be proud." However, it's not all about the week, it's really about staying prideful 365 days a year, all the while passing that feeling on to as many others as possible. So with pride, here we go with a funky fresh Friday edition of COP:24/7!

Who's Who in Black SGL America: The list is out and I didn't make it. The Who's Who in Black LGBT America from BET ( Black Entertainment Television). Several years ago, I did make a Who's Who list, but I guess I'm not a Who's Who enough for the BET list yet. Anyway, it's some of the candidates that made the list that sorta had me pondering, who are these folks anyway? Now don't get me twisted, there are some that I'm familiar with yet there are many that I'm clueless to. Since it's a Pride week in the making, let's do a teachable moment. O.K. Here are a few who made the list and I wonder just how many of you know who they are? I've even posted items about at least 5 of them in this forum.

1. Angela Davis
2. E. Lynn Harris(pictured)
3. John Amaechi
4.Kevin Aviance
5.Patrik Polk
6. Wanda Skyes

If you know, then hit us up in the comment section. If you have to google, then get busy. You can search this site as well to find out why they were people of interest.

What's the "T": What's really the "T" is in Lady T, known as Teena Marie, the musical raven that has a new CD that dropped earlier this month entitled, "Congo Square." Make no mistake, I'm partial to the "ivory queen of Soul," who can pen a verse then sing it so that it pierces your senses. One of my all time favs is her soaring, "If I were a Bell," which brings me to tears. I've long been a fan of Lady T, since her days with R& B funkster, Rick James and her solo efforts populate my downloads and certainly this latest effort will make the cut. Her heart wrenching duo "Fire & Ice" with James is the number one most requested R& B ballad in history. Currently on local radio, she is high rotation with her "Can't Last a Day," duo featuring Faith Evans. It's pure Teena with a remarkable and recognizable siren voice that summons my attention at the drop of a dime. Even as she has matured, there's nothing lacking in ability to deliver and the other tracks on this CD demonstrate that Marie is in full awareness of what's going on in world. She duet teams with Howard Hewitt, MCLyte and her own daughter who is following in her mom's footsteps. The Grammy nominated icon has also partnered with PAX Stereo for the official Tenna Marie Channel to stream for the net. The CD can be obtained from I-Tunes and other online sources. If that were not enough, Lady T is also taking her catalog to new heights via the net including a complete twitter campaign to boot, plus a tour schedule. You Go Girl! I've listened in to the channel and if you are a Teena devotee, it's on point.

Pink Dust Up: Here's the latest update and clarity of the FED Up duster that occurred last Friday at the DSB complex. First up, the organizers let me know that the formal moniker of that micro-movement is "No to Norman," vs. the "just say" action words that I assume I zealously connected. We stand corrected. I've posted their comments for your consideration and there is a link to the comments from Mr. Jones on their site. However, they are not convinced that those words are of Mr. J. However, I read the comment and I feel confident those words are vintage bonafide Jones speak. As he shared with me some of his thoughts on this matter, some of the same phrases were used and his citing being at the first march in Washington is truthful. The group also chided me for inferring that the exercise was about "Consumerism vs. Liberation," and as they state it, "...that having a “gay club” simply is not enough. You are not just a business man, people see you as offering these safe spaces, which we believe to not be safe for Queer and Trans folk. Your clubs are becoming more and more straight (this is what you call assimilation) and are no longer welcoming to the people who actually need them." Just for the record this forum has posted on numerous occasions that "gay"bars are going out of business across the country due to patrons, that's gay folk, who have made choices not to exclusively go to such entities while others are nesting at the house or doing the Net. Locally, there are plenty of SGL people at the Electric Cowboy, Club Elevations and La Changes. These are primarily "straight" outlets where I'm told by club goers that they feel "welcomed." Finally, I've known Jones for nearly 20 years and we've not always seen eye to eye on a plethora of issues. During that time I've come to learn that we can agree to disagree. His unique view of the world, community sensibilities and his place in it, is his own and has been such since I first met him. Perhaps their are teachable moments in his future, but as owner and operator of his businesess he is the shotcaller, just as I am for my own empire. Mr. Jones stated in his comments that he was open for dialouge, I suggest that those concerned make an appointment to discuss it or debate it further.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Thursday 24/7 Catch Up 2.0

Pink Dusting: As promised, I got a chance to speak directly to Norman J. in reference to last weeks FEDUp Queers dust up at the DSB complex in conjunction with the new groups "Just say No to Norman," campaign. Here's a sling shot recap, the group decided to distribute fliers(pictured) at the entrance to the complex in which Jones with security in tow approached/confronted the participants about the effort. There was an foggy exchange between the parties, subsequently they departed. Flash forward to Jones, which stated to me that on that evening (Friday 6/5.09) Discovery- The Experience, actually was being leased by an outside entity for the Amsterdam Party. The organizers had contracted with him for the event, advertised independently and was the sole producer. The club was not in it's regular operation since it's closed on Friday evenings normally. Jones said, "I've had protesters at the pageants (MGA) across the country, but never had actual protester at the club since it's been open." He cited that he respects those who want to protest but he felt that this was a misguided effort. The group's website has outlined their position for the campaign including questions about Helping People With AIDS, the direct funding source for AIDS clients. Norman further said that he tried to post his viewpoint, but the site has been "comment blocked". Furthermore, according to Jones he is available for outreach to the group and willing to listen to their grievances. "We've helped individuals pay their rents and gave out thousands of dollars from HWPA." He remarked in reference to the FED Up site. He concluded that," I'm a small business man trying to make living with my businesses. HWPA is usually available on Tuesdays and their have been occasions that there was no one to answer the phones. After all I get pretty busy some days." End part 1. Need more?, yes there's more coming this Friday. You will not want to miss it. Trust me.

I found this timely and interesting article from The Advocate in regards to The Home Depot furnishing giant in regards to lavender shopping trends. Unfortunately, I wasn't apart of the survey, but both myself and my LTC have had some retail therapy at this behemoth which has provided us an outlet for everything from Plant manure to the literally the kitchen sink. In case you didn't know Home Depot has had a colorful existence in regards to it's recognition of domestic partners. Especially that ill fated move to allow employee "pets," yes- I'm not kidding, "Fido" to get insurance before employees who were in SGL partnerships. They've since reverse themselves and are rated rather highly as a comfy workplace for gays and lesbians.

Homo Depot? by Neal Broverman
From the Advocate

It's no coincidence that many gays and lesbians are often spotted at Home Depot -- a new study finds that gay homeowners are continuing to spend oodles of money on home-improvement projects.
The study -- conducted in March by Chicago-based research agency Socratic Technologies and LGBT marketing agency Target 10 -- found that gay shoppers spend almost twice as much on home-improvement items at stores like Home Depot and Lowe's compared to straight peers, with 63% of gay couples saying they plan on starting new home-improvement projects in the next 12 months.
Gay couples who participated in the survey also said they intend, on average, to spend $2,077 on home improvements within the next year, while straight couples intend to spend only $1,384. The study also found that gay couples are not scrimping during the recession and intend to purchase products from high-end brands like Viking, Sub-Zero, Jenn-Air, and Miele. Thirty-four percent of gay homeowners reported that they plan to replace a kitchen appliance in the coming year.
"Gay men and lesbians have a reputation of being major home-improvement shoppers and this survey reaffirms that," said Matt Tumminello, president of Target 10. "Renovating and refurbishing homes is in many ways a part of gay culture. Even in bad economic times, they are not stopping." Over the last three years, 72% of gay homeowners had made home improvements.
Gay and straight couples apparently have very different shopping styles, at least according to the study. "We found that gay consumers are shopping in more places than straight consumers to find the items that they want. This includes both at retail stores and online," said Jeff Kerr, vice president of Socratic Technologies. Gay consumers reported higher rates of shopping and purchasing at Home Depot, Lowe's, Sears, Best Buy, and even the warehouse shopping club Costco. "They are savvy shoppers who are determined to find exactly what they want and at the best price."

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Event Horizons in Color

It's mid-week and COP:24/7 is winding up and ready to go full tilt with Pride 2009. For the next two weeks this forum will explore everything PRIDE connected and then some. However, we certainly won't neglect breaking news, updates, and what else is happening on the globe. Therefore, without further delay, let's go get em...

Unity in Pride Picnic: COP:24/7 has joined forces with area supporters in assiting with producing this years Pride Picnic scheduled for 6.21.09 at 12:30 P.M. in Allsop Park. The plans are taking shape with a quickness, but you can still volunteer, donate, sponsor and most important of all, "tell all ya friends," to come on out. Get this, the cost is FREE. Yes my readers, it's a community unity picnic in search of creating pathways to cohesiveness as well as closing ranks on a variety of fronts. There will be speakers, music, games concluding with a softball game. Please look for posters, flyers and of course online media from CorneliusOnpoint.
The buzz is out and we will be looking for you. Need more info, get in touch today at our site or http://www.artisticrevolution.org/. Can we count on your support!

Capacity Building in the City: The Arkansas Department of Health(ADH) in collaboration with the Arkansas Department of Corrections will be hosting a training on June 26, in the ADH auditorium. The focus of the training is based on prisoner re-entry into mainstrean society, most notably barriers and the callabortive partnership required for positive outcomes. Also, this training will cover a variety of steps towards identifying means of transitioning HIV prisoners into healthcare upon release. If you are interested in attending; simply respond to Mr. Rhodes at 661-2762 by June 17 to reserve a seat. Seating capacity is limited and this is scheduled to be an all day event (8:00 – 4:30).

Saying No to Hate: After much wrangling and politicking the U.S. Senate leadership has settled on passing hate-crimes legislation -- which would expand existing federal law to include crimes motivated by a victim's actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability -- as an amendment to another bill rather than voting on it as a stand-alone piece of legislation. In case you are not up to speed on this matter, this issue has had a rough and tumble time in gaining sponsors or traction on Capitol Hill. It's been bumping around Congress for the last decade despite affirmative votes. The Human Rights Campaign has been an ardent proponent of the legislation, meanwhile urging that the final bill composition be passed and sent to President Obama before it's August recess. Locally, Arkansas' laws doesn't specifically include sexual orientation or trans-gender components but offers a broad approach to "hate crimes." This issue has more signifcance in lieu of a murder of a local transperson and assualt of another indiduviual at the Little Rock Airport. For your information, I've included some of the actual laws concerning hate crimes in this state. For more information check out http://www.partnersagainsthate.org/ (graphic: Advocate)

Ark. Stat. Ann. § 5-71-215Covers damage of "any place of worship, cemetary, or burial monument." >> More information

Ark. Stat. Ann. § 5-71-207Disorderly conduct includes damage of "patriotic or religious symbol" in a public place. >> More information

Ark. Stat. Ann. § 16-123-106Provides action for damages or injunctive relief for victims of intimidation, harassment, violence, or property damage "where such acts are motivated by racial, religious, or ethnic animosity." >> More information

Ark. Stat. Ann. § 16-123-105Provides civil action for damages and injunctive relief for deprivation of constitutional rights. >> More information

DSB Dust Up: I've been accused of not getting both sides of the story in other issues and I'm not going to be roasted for that again. Therefore, I will be speaking with Mr. Jones about his version of the FEDup Queers dust up that occurred last Friday night near the Discovery/ Backstreet complex. I'm sure that I'll get a snoot full, so stay tuned....

PRIDE in the ROCK! June 14- 21,2009

Come out and Show your Pride!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Under the Rainbow

I'm just about back to full strength this week, after a double whammy of a late spring cold and pesky infection that gave it all to TKO the big guy. However, I'm a damn trooper that just will not give in to being "sick" when I've got things to do. My long time companion gets pretty testy with me as I keep the fires burning during my health ordeals. He's of the call 911 mindset and I'm all about what's in the medicine cabinet. Yet, some how we both survive and those that know me, really know me, understand that I'm gonna keep swinging until there's no swing left. Therefore, let's swing out sister with the latest from the the SGL community and beyond....

OH LRCP!: If you've been following this forum and I know you have, this platform has posted items concerning Little Rock Capitol Pride during it's brief existence, always open for response or rebuttal. In the past we've been taken task for "airing" dirty laundry, decisiveness, and down right hate mongering from their then supporters and those who are no fans of COP:24/7. In a brief online statement, the group cited that "circumstances" caused the cancellation of the proposed River market event. However, I kept pondering what "circumstances?" So I did what all you wanted me to do and went asking. Although Ms. Chagoya, LRCP President signed off on that statement, I discovered that board members saw the entire affair differently. It seems that there was a laundry list of problems from the beginning which resulted in a total melt down. First up, a lack of committed motivation of committee members who perhaps were on board with the "idea" of producing a pride event but overwhelmed when it came to putting the shoulder to the grindstone. Secondly, the fundraising aspect of a NPO is daunting even for the experts, and if there's no well oiled machine in place it's damn near impossible to gather the cash needed. According to their internal financial guru, " there was simply no feasible way to put on the festival with the cash we had on hand." The group had done a few funders around town, only amassing about $1500 and "I couldn't find any sponsors that wanted to underwrite," they concluded. After it was decided that the event wouldn't be held, allegedly deposits on planned items (i.e. portapotty's, etc.) needed cancelling and other financial matters were is disarray. Thirdly, I surmised that at the core of this debacle was just plain old lack of visionary planning and a leadership vacuum which added to the pulling the plug. Recently, Miss C stated that LRCP wasn't interested in participating in the pride picnic, but presented a film presentation and would promote other activities on it's website. In the meantime, it's all so sad that once again, "circumstances" has infected yet another local entity most likely on it's way to the bone yard of community groups such as Positive Voices, G&L Task Force, Arkansas Equality Network and so forth and so on.

FED Up Q: There it is was, a blurb from another local group forming and plotting their course of actions. Who is it this time?, well it's FedUpQueers. Which in a brief dust up last Friday night (6.5.09) in the DBS complex area they stirred up the ire of businessman, NK while distributing flyer's as apart of their "Just say No to Norman," campaign. What's this all about? According to their new web outpost, http://www.fedupqueers.wordpress.com/ , this effort is all about "Queer liberation vs. Queer Consumerism. The FED Up 5, state that the entertainment complex is a "warehouse of exploitation," and has it's own laundry list of items that support their position. Are these folks serious? If I recall, all of this muttering is nothing new. I respect their right to voice their opinion, however, I find it curious that while I'm out and about, not necesarily in gay bars either, I see many and I do mean many Queer as Folk sporting the latest I-Pods, designer eye wear, sport cars, SUV's, and luxury cars and above all CASH. I've seen the extremely fashionable homes of some and others with Lofts, Condo's, and MacMasions with pools. I've not detected that this set is interested in the difference of Queer anything except whether it's Egyptian cotton or domestic. Is this problematic? Could be depending on how you spin it. We live in America, where our capitalistic system has ebbed and flowed for the last 200 some years, often not serving the masses or the oppressed. No one man is not the sum total of issues that affect this community. The last time I looked "people" have the ability to "choose" where they spend their dollars, or find value for them. If the 18+ have a problem with paying 15 bucks, then don't do so. If anyone doesn't care for the house rules or management mindset of that establishment, then stay the hell out. If this community needs venues or outlets that are more responsive, then seek them out. What about the DSRA clubhouse, it sits idle almost 6 days a week. Sound pretty simple to me. In the meantime hit me up on this site, I've got a great idea for a party and maybe a party spot to do so. Oh yeah, maybe we can do for half price, which still means CASH will be involved.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Rainbows Rising over a Manic Monday

The countdown continues to PRIDE 2009 as this forum keeps percolating and producing our daily brand of what's really going on from the lunatic fringe to the plateaus of power. It's all here each and every day as Arkansas' only daily source for the GLBTQ community and beyond. Here we go again....

AIDS Walking: The Stonewall Caucus of Arkansas and the Democratic Party of Arkansas will have AIDS Walk teams on Saturday, June 13 during, the Arkansas AIDS Foundation's 7th Annual Celebration of Life AIDS Walk on Saturday, at the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum. President Clinton is the one of the world's foremost activists on the struggle against the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative (CHAI) was established to reorganize markets and work with governments making treatment more accessible to the developing world. After the walk, there will be a health fair, live entertainment, and FREE food. There will be a balloon release in memory of loved ones lost to AIDS and in the hope of finding a cure. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the walk begins at 10 a.m. The entry fee for the event is $20 and all proceeds will be used to support client services at the Arkansas AIDS Foundation. To join the Democratic Party of Arkansas's team or to contribute to the walk please click here. For more information please contact Angela Bradford at (501)374-2361, or Joe L. at http://www.stonewalldemocrats.com/

Pride Picnic Meet: A planning meeting has been called for this Wed. June 10th at 3:00 p.m. for the 09 Pride Picnic being held June 21 at 12:30 p.m. in Allsop Park. The meeting will be held at the CAR offices, 800 Scott St. inside First Presbyterian. Please call 258-3186 to be let inside. For more info contact Randi at the Center for Artistic Revolution. This forum will be participating as a sponsor, so join us at this community event.

Let Us Entertain U: As you know readers, I do my best to make the rounds of the area outlets, actually "walking the walk as I talk the talk," about supporting these establishment as social alternatives. Yet to my surprise, I've been somewhat perplexed at the varying turn out that I've witnessed despite scheduled events for your pleasure. Both me and my companion have been startled when we've found ourselves to be the only faces in the place. At STAR Bar, 1900 W. 3rd Street, on a Friday evening, we were the only "two" patrons in this ultra metro spot. Although it was early evening, around post happy hour, for the next hour we had the place all to ourselves. We enjoyed some pricey, but tasty and beautifully presented appetizers in the cool lounge (pictured), listened to the DJ's mood music, strolled out to the "smoking area," with it's Tiki Torches, settled up the tab and moved on. On another outing on a Saturday evening at 601 Center, we found ourselves again, yes again, with our personal bartender, "Jeff", whom stated that he was glad that we dropped in since we were the first and only patrons during his shift. As a familiar face, we mused about a variety of topics as videos played overhead and we enjoyed cold beverages. My partner kept saying, what's wrong with this picture? I retorted that perhaps they knew I was coming so they were waiting till I was gone to come out! Silly me. Nonetheless, I realize that I've recoiled from the "late night" face in the crowd set, but finally we have outlets that do open early for those who are not on a midnight prowl. So this possible alternative is available for the taking on both sides of the river. Want a preview, then check out STAR BAR's chic website at http://www.starbarlounge.com/

Pride Picnic in the Park, June 21, 2009 - 12:30 p.m.

CorneliusOnpoint is a participating media sponsor!!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Fallout Friday, Me, U & Them

Can you feel it? It's a sensation that's starting to rush the city. It's the feeling of PRIDE 2009 that's opening like fresh flowers after a summer shower. If the buzz hasn't grabbed you as yet, I hope that in the coming days, you will find yourself getting into a pride mindset and then passing it on!! Of course, here at COP24/7 we are always in a state of pride when bringing you the latest updates, links, videos, pod casting, commentary and so much more that you can possibly handle. Therefore, let's not tarry and get it in gear for this outing. Let er rip.....

Pride Politics: It's official, POTUS has spoken. Who is POTUS, well it's the code moniker for "President of the United States", Barack Obama, who has sent forth a proclamation citing LGBT Pride Month. Say what? Yes, it's true. However, this presidential move didn't send the talking heads over the cliffs or shock waves through wall street. But, it ceremoniously pings in lavender sets and communities across the land, in lieu of Prop 8 or the renegade states signing on to Marriage equality. Nevertheless, I'm pleased as punch for that effort, it's the political home front that has me pondering if this community can get a proclamation from the Governor, Mayor or somebody? If the leader of the Free World can step to plate and reconize, then my dear voting friends, if we can't defeat, overturn anything, can we at least get a measly proclamation? For the record, this has been tried before from then guv, Bill Clinton's office was approached with the idea and was bemirched by Chief of Staff, Betsy Wright, whom saw no value in doing a radical thing like that. Oh how the times are a changing or are they? Certainly Clinton 42 and S.O.S Hillary have taken a liking to the GLBT community after them days. So the question that lies before us, can we ask for a proclamation from Gov. Bebee or Mayor Stodala without rebuff or billy goat gruff? Well, I'm don't know, but it sounds like a good idea to me. In the meantime, here's the real deal from President O. Thanks Mr. President for the shout out!

THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary___________________________________________________________For Immediate Release June 1, 2009


Forty years ago, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City resisted police harassment that had become all too common for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Out of this resistance, the LGBT rights movement in America was born. During LGBT Pride Month, we commemorate the events of June 1969 and commit to achieving equal justice under law for LGBT Americans.LGBT Americans have made, and continue to make, great and lasting contributions that continue to strengthen the fabric of American society. There are many well-respected LGBT leaders in all professional fields, including the arts and business communities. LGBT Americans also mobilized the Nation to respond to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic and have played a vital role in broadening this country's response to the HIV pandemic.Due in no small part to the determination and dedication of the LGBT rights movement, more LGBT Americans are living their lives openly today than ever before. I am proud to be the first President to appoint openly LGBT candidates to Senate-confirmed positions in the first 100 days of an Administration. These individuals embody the best qualities we seek in public servants, and across my Administration -- in both the White House and the Federal agencies -- openly LGBT employees are doing their jobs with distinction and professionalism.The LGBT rights movement has achieved great progress, but there is more work to be done. LGBT youth should feel safe to learn without the fear of harassment, and LGBT families and seniors should be allowed to live their lives with dignity and respect.My Administration has partnered with the LGBT community to advance a wide range of initiatives. At the international level, I have joined efforts at the United Nations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. Here at home, I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans. These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security. We must also commit ourselves to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic by both reducing the number of HIV infections and providing care and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS across the United States.These issues affect not only the LGBT community, but also our entire Nation. As long as the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Americans are affected. If we can work together to advance the principles upon which our Nation was founded, every American will benefit. During LGBT Pride Month, I call upon the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists.IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.


Thursday, June 04, 2009

COP: Special Marriage Equality Primer

Often I need a breather, refresher, time out or what have you. Yet, I'm always gald to get content from one of my favorite online sources, QueerCents. I felt that this item was quite timely with all the "marriage equality" shout outs going on including the newly hot spot of New Hampshire! So take a gander and I'll be back to the boards from the Big Chair, shortly....

3 Reasons Why Gays should Document Everything
by Alex Jason

I can’t wait to walk down the aisle with my fiance. Since we’ve been together almost four years now, it’s only natural that we’d love to show the world we want to commit to each other for the rest of our lives. Unfortunately, since we’re gay, such an event would only be ceremonial: the federal government doesn’t recognize same-sex relationships and who’s knows when they will.
In the absence of a political miracle that sees gay U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) succeed President Obama and legislate same-sex marriage, I figured I’d talk to some people and see what my options are.
What I found out - to be brief - is that the more patience I have, the more options I have. Just like old folks planning for their retirement, I too can make sure my fiance gets money from my 401(k) should I pass away. I can own an apartment 50/50 with a partner and even share the mortgage tax benefit. And if we have kids, we can both have legal rights guaranteeing our children can’t be taken away by the state or another family member - even if we separate.
The key? Document everything.
“If it’s not documented, then you can’t rely on any formal structure to help you or to prove your case,” says Debra Neiman, a certified financial planner in Massachusetts who helped start the PridePlanners Association, a group of financial planners serving the gay and lesbian community. “If it’s not on paper, there are no guarantees for anything.”
That’s not say your relationship should be all about spreadsheets and calculators. Not at all. But if you and your partner are serious about making a life commitment, you need to hammer out the basics surrounding your money, house, health and children (optional). Older gays and lesbians didn’t have the luxury of talking openly about relationship planning, but us young folks do and we need to start planning.
First and foremost: the federal government does not provide any benefits to same-sex couples, nada, zip, zero. Some states provide protections to same-sex couples. Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont, Maine and Connecticut have same-sex marriage laws that put gays and lesbians on equal footing with their straight counterparts. New Jersey has civil unions that are equal to marriage in everything but name. New Hampshire is close to passing same-sex marriage legislatively. Washington and Oregon have domestic partner laws, while Hawaii has limited domestic partnerships. Everywhere else, nothing.
Still, you don’t want to count on the kindness of a random judge to decide whether your decade of mortgage payments qualifies toward ownership of your apartment, or if that car your ex promised you actually becomes yours. You want to know for sure. Where to start? Write up a domestic partner agreement.
A domestic partner agreement can be as specific or general as you want. Ultimately, it’s a road map for your relationship, and like a map, it shows where you are now and where you hope to be later. If you have a car, say whose it is and outline who pays what for it. If you own an apartment, detail the mortgage payments and who gets the tax benefits that come along with the property. If one pays all the mortgage and the other takes care of the kids - and that couple equates the two - spell that out so a judge knows that the parties in the relationship see one another as equals. Some couples also outline what assets would be divided, and how, should they split up.
Doing all this allows both people in the relationship to assess themselves, what they have and what they want. Getting all this out in the open is essential to making plans. Being as upfront and honest about your financial positions is essential to coming up with an agreement that both people are happy with.
You’ll need a lawyer to draw up a domestic partner agreement that will stand up in court. Financial planners even recommend that each person in the relationship retain his or her own counsel so as to satisfy a judge who could claim that one member in the relationship was coerced into consenting to the agreement.
“You’re either very prepared or very aware or you don’t want to think about it (financial planning),” says John Fairbanks, financial advisor with Smith Barney in Hartford, Ct. He says a lot of young people in committed relationships figure they’ll start planning after they turn 40. Problem is, that may be too late.
Let’s start with what you can do with everyday things, like bank accounts, 401(k)s, credit cards, cars and health care.
So how should you handle your money? Open a joint account, keep separate accounts? Those in a serious relationship probably want some way to pay for bills together and buy groceries, so a shared account comes in handy. This part’s actually not so hard. A lot of financial planners tell you that the best relationships are those where those involved feel equal - so having your own money in addition to sharing funds is a great way to go. Just be careful in the joint account: if one person deposits $15,000 and the other only puts in $100, then you’re liable to pay the federal gift tax –which is a whopping 50% on anything over $13,000 — on the difference. The solution? Keep most of your assets in separate accounts and contribute equally, either on a percentage or per-dollar basis, to the joint account. Remember, document that there’s a 50/50 divide. A simple account statement will suffice.
Dealing with your 401(k) account at work is even easier. You can list anyone as the beneficiary for your savings, just contact your human resources department and fill out the appropriate form. Just be sure to keep an eye on the form should you split up with your partner: you don’t want your ex walking away with a hefty some just because you forgot to keep the form current!
Credit cards aren’t that tricky either. You can always put another person on your account, usually for a fee, regardless of your relationship. But be careful: credit is debt. If you sign on to the account, and your partner bails or can’t pay the bills, you may be liable. One advantage of being an unmarried couple is that your credit ratings remain separate, so if one of you needs to rehabilitate your credit rating, there’s breathing room to do so: while the person with good credit borrows the money the other can pay him/her back without having to involve creditors.
Speaking of creditors, be careful if you and your hubby want to buy a car. Sure it seems like a no-brainer: how else are you going to get from your living room to the grocery store? And for new couples, buying a car can be the first “major” joint purchase. But know your partner before you do this cause if he/she has nothing, and the car is under joint ownership, you’re the one who’s obligated to pay out if you’re sued. Joint ownership sounds great at first, but it is what it is: joint ownership.
Health care for unmarried, same-sex couples can be simple if the right precautions are taken. First and foremost, a couple needs to get a health care proxy, which is a document that outlines the rights of a same-sex partner in the absence of laws recognizing this person as a spouse.
“If you don’t have a health care proxy that lets your partner visit you in the hospital, any hospital can turn you away,” says Todd Sears, a financial planner who runs Merrill Lynch’s LGBT initiative. He suggests filing your health care proxy with the nearest hospital - the one to which you’d be taken in a 911 emergency. Also, carry a shrunken-down version of the document to fit in your wallet and save a copy of the health care proxy in your portable email account to have handy while traveling.
As for health care benefits, you should check with your employer if they offer domestic partner options. If yes, be aware that the monthly payments you pay to add your partner onto your plan will be taxed, unlike married couples. Same-sex couples aren’t alone though: employers providing domestic partner benefits also pay federal tax to provide you with the health care. This all may change soon though. Legislation in Congress is currently in the works to make benefits granted to unmarried couples equal to those who are married.