"I was one of the 15 former grand marshals on the electoral commission that voted for Bradley Manning," Barry Saiff, former BiNet president, told me over the phone this morning from Washington, DC, about the Bradley Manning Pride grand marshalship controversy. (As one half of a bi-national queer couple, he lives most of the year in the Phillipines with his boyfriend, who is unable to come to the United States due to discriminatory immigration laws.)
To recap: An 'electoral college' of former grand marshals elected the jailed gay (possibly now transgender) whistleblower who provided Wikileaks with a huge dump of raw classified US government info. Someone announced the choice on Friday and the media went nuts. Then the Pride executive director issued this bizarre statement repudiating the decision and rescinding the honor, to the dismay of the electoral college and a huge swath of LGBT locals. A protest at Pride HQ is planned for today, 5pm at 1841 Market, SF.)
"The list of nominees from the other board members was presented to me in March, and the instant I saw Bradley's name on there I knew it was the right choice. Pride stands for justice, freedom, and an end to discrimination, and I feel Bradley represents all of these things -- as well as complete honesty and bravery. What the Pride board did to repudiate that choice, especially in its official statement -- to not be able to make the distinction between Manning's necessary actions and way the government is denigrating our troops with these illegal and unjust wars -- is the height of stupidity.
"They [the Pride board] are colluding in the giant 'Support Our Troops' hoax that says you must never question the leadership of the military. There is actually no contradiction between supporting our troops as individuals, including our LGBT folks in the armed services, and supporting Bradley Manning and what he did.
So. Pride did a thing. After years of being no more politically risky than an bowl of strawberry Jell-O, the Pride committee -- or some kind of mole within the Pride committee, according to SF Pride board president Lisa L. Williams' utterly weird statement about the whole thing -- announced that Bradley Manning (a.k.a. Breanna Manning), jailed and pallid hero of the Wikileaks generation, soon to face court-martialling, was to be a Pride Grand Marshall.
An honor usually reserved for washed up TV actresses who once said the word "gay" on CBS prime time in the '80s and craven politicos with dead eyes and hard hair, the Grand Marshallship has before this stirred up about as much controversy outside the community as the color beige. And yet, on Friday afternoon, the world's head exploded. (The canny queen who leaked the decision sure knew her press cycles -- Wikileaks lives!) When your dad in Detroit calls you almost immediately after the news breaks to ask how you're covering it, you know its grabbing virtual headlines.
Jajajaja -- this installment of Party Radar is going to be like a last minute dump, since I'm still kind of drunk and the weekend, she is here. Besides, bloggity bloggity blah blah blah, let's just get to the good stuff. But let's first have some delicious beef for breakfast:
It's an almost too-perfect image to represent the book's contents -- "Defenestration" cheekily channeled the out-the-window frustration of the dawning of the first Internet boom, with its hordes of tech gold-rushers pushing out old San Francisco culture. (And now, in the middle of another tech boom, the artwork itself will be pushed aside to make way for affordable housing -- the term for anything under $2500 per month rent pretty much at this point.) The End of San Francisco takes us on an atmospheric, highly personal through the turbulent period of the '90s and early 2000s, while asking some hard questions about the queer activism, participatory gentrification, and "alternative culture" of the period. Along the way, Mattilda intimately delves into issues like her recovered memories of sexual abuse as a child at the hands of her father; the rampant drug use, mental illness, and hostile attitudes of Mission queer culture; the gynophobia and transphobia of many "underground" scenes, and much, much more.
I asked Mattilda a few questions over email in advance of her appearances here at City Lights (April 30) and the GLBT Historical Society (May 9) to help set her book in the context of what was happening then, and what's still happening now. As always, she pulled no punches.
LIT "I met Johanna at a party in New York in 1998 — actually I was talking to her boyfriend first, barrettes in his dyed black hair and painted nails, I was trying to figure out if he was a fag or from Olympia."Read more »
This week's Super Ego clubs column is full of signs and wonders for the coming weekend, but here's a further quintet of banging joints to top you off just right, Your soundtrack is "Triscuits," because that's my theme song right now. (Oh, and just a reminder -- that rained-out, positively drenched Hunky Jesus contest has been rescheduled for tonight, too!)
SUPER EGO "I've been listening a lot to Hulk Hogan's new comedy album. I hear he has an acid jazz album coming out soon, too — can't wait for that." I'm being treated to some good ol' deadpan Native American leg-pulling from DJ Bear Witness of A Tribe Called Red, performing at Thee Parkside on Fri/19.Read more »
NIGHTLIFE Consider Midland. The well-scrubbed, cutting-edge dub-houser from Leeds, UK, has been kicking around for a few years in the virtual technosphere, releasing a handful of excellent tracks (including 2010 critical hit "Your Words Matter"), aligning himself with well-knowns like Ewan Pearson and Ramadanman, and appearing on perpetual "breaking out" lists — along with dozens of other young bucks with voracious musical tastes and groovy, uncategorizable sounds.Read more »
Matt Damon in a see-through Speedo and '80s porns star hair. Michael Douglas creeping in a hot tub. Rob Lowe's over-tanned needlenose. And fabulous, fabulous, fabulous fabulosity and scandal everywhere. "Behind the Candelabra," airing May 26 on HBO, truly has it all.