Issue 422

Sports Spotlight


The local softball teams, run through the Twin Cities Goodtime Softball league, have had a busy July, and are winding down another summer season. Earlier this month, the league celebrated another successful season with the TCGSL All-Star Game and picnic on July 10th, and, this past weekend the league held their annual Miss TCGSL Pageant / talent show at Solera in downtown Minneapolis. The contest is a league fundraiser featuring many players and teams busting out drag performances, and is always a crazy fun time.

The 2011 Gay Softball World Series is coming up in Chicago, and several local teams competed for a chance to earn a spot in that series. The Edge and the Mess softball teams fought their way through to victory in the C-Division playoffs, and will be competing in the games August 29th through September 3rd. They will be joining three other local teams who will be competing, the Frostbite, Sabres, and Titans.

Finally, to round out July, and kick off August, you’ll want to mark your calendars for upcoming softball events this Sunday, July 31st and next weekend, August 6th and 7th. The Slammers local softball team will be holding a fundraiser, described as “Slammers Embrace the Diva Tea Dance”. Join them at the Saloon at 9th and Hennepin in downtown Minneapolis for beer bust, the famous ‘slammer shots’, games, and prizes from 6pm to 9pm. Closing out the summer softball season, the teams will be kicking it into high gear for the league playoffs next weekend. The games start at 9am at Northeast Park in Minneapolis. All of the local teams will celebrate a hard-fought season with fun and camaraderie at their end of year banquet on August 7th at the Nicollet Island Pavilion.

Along with MN Rallies, GLASS organizes volleyball teams who will be hosting the NAGVA-sanctioned MN Autumn Classic Volleyball Tournament. Held at the Bloomington Kennedy Activity Center, the tournament will feature teams both locally, and from throughout the United States. Early registration is open through the end of July for any interested teams. The tournament will take place September 17th & 18th.

GLASS has opportunities available for volleyball on various nights of the week for those with varying skill levels. Monday night is for intermediate players, at the Midtown YWCA. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights are reserved for beginners, advanced, and intermediate players. You can find those matches being played at the Sabathani Community Center. Check out for more info on Tennis and Volleyball.


The GLASS Tennis group, MN Rallies, held their annual North Country Classic tournament June 3rd-5th. In their18th year, the group had thirty-seven players who turned out from all over the US, and here at home. Thanks to donations from local businesses and the United States Tennis Association (USTA), GLASS was able to raise $700 for their PFund charity raffle.

USTA and MN Rallies provided tennis equipment and coached some new tennis players during Pridefest. Staffed by USTA and MN Rallies volunteers, the group spread the word out about different tennis programs available around the Twin Cities.

Cruisin’ the Med

Okay, I’ll come right out and say it: I heart Italy. So when a flier came my way announcing a sale on a two-week cruise from Rome to Venice, I plunked down my money in a nanosecond—and I don’t even like cruises.

Here’s what tipped the scale: The Aegean Odyssey, a new, 350-passenger ship, would be an adroit David to the loutish Goliaths that muscle into many a harbor. Airfare, regional meals, wine with dinner, crew tips and shore excursions all were included in the price. No single supplement, either. Bonus: The Smithsonian, sponsoring the offer, would act as a group of 35, with our own bus and guide. The other passengers, with whom we’d mingle were Australians, Canadians and Brits, carbonating the brew. Read the rest of this entry »

Socially Savvy: Tailgating with Pride

Of the many Twin Cities Pride Celebration activities, events, and private parties, Socially Savvy’s 2011 Pride Pick goes to Kim and Christy Taylor. Raising the tailgating party to a new level, they have moved their pop-up camper trailer to a well-trafficked location on the Hennepin Avenue parade route for the last five years. This party was inspired initially by the need for clean, available restrooms during an understandably messy weekend. After tailgating for a few years with friends, the Taylors thought, “Why not bring the camper?” An early arrival the morning of Pride guarantees their spot for the final festivities of the weekend. Read the rest of this entry »

Viva la Seven!

When Lavender asked me to profile some of the area’s social scene, I jumped on it faster than I do a giant plate of Chicken Alfredo. ??What better way to start off than by visiting my favorite Chicken Alfredo place–a place known for sushi and steak: Seven.

I’ve yet to have a bad anything there. The food is delicious, the service impeccable, the atmosphere unmatched, and the social scene will blow your Santonis off.??Easily in my top three “straight” places to have fun with friends, Seven offers up the foil to Minnesota’s modest stereotypes: the environment here beckons patrons to bust out little black dresses and blazers, walk with flare, and dish with class. ??Split into three public levels including one of Minneapolis’ best rooftops (plus one private “mezzanine”), Seven is host to some of the town’s hottest social tickets–from local fashion shows to charity benefits to visiting celebrities (Kim Kardashian reserved half the rooftop during her Fourth of July Weekend visit). Read the rest of this entry »

Off the Eaten Path: Butcher Block

When I became a food writer for Lavender, I was absolutely ecstatic. There was only one nagging, horrid little thought in my head—that one day in the distant future I would somehow tire of writing about food, food, and more food. Food is one of my lifelong passions, but it occurred to me—at that very moment—that there are only so many adjectives in the English language to describe the scent of lamb.

Every now and then, a certain element of fatigue can creep in when eating out so often…I believe this is true of any frequent diner, critic or otherwise. I’ll put it this way: if perusing a menu is no longer as much a pleasure as it is a perfunctory exercise, a visit to the Butcher Block is in order. The appetizer list reads like a delicious bit of food erotica—to the point where my ordering the beef tenderloin Carpaccio ($11) was simply inescapable. I’m very glad I succumbed; delicate, paper-thin tenderloin is lightly drizzled with olive oil, and then crowned with peppery arugula, parmesan and a wedge of lemon. If you have no stomach for raw meat, then I truly feel pity for you, for this Carpaccio is divine. Read the rest of this entry »

Big Gay News

Violent Murder in Myanmar Prompts Police Warning to Gay Community
The Myanmar Times reports that, following a local gay man’s vicious stabbing death in May, police in Myanmar have blamed the man’s “lifestyle” in part for his death. They argued he “created the opportunity for the murder to be committed” through his lifestyle. Homosexuality is illegal in Myanmar. A suspect has already been arrested in the case.

Last Inmate Gets Parole in Houston Gay Beating Death
The Woodlands Villager reports that Jon Buice, the last of ten men convicted for the 1991 brutal murder of openly gay Paul Broussard, was granted parole Friday, just three days before the 20th anniversary of his murder. Buice and nine other male high school students beat, stabbed, and stomped Broussard to death outside a Houston area gay bar. Buice was found to have delivered the stab wounds that ultimately led to Broussard’s death. Broussard’s family said they were stunned when they learned Buice was paroled after serving only 19 of his 45 year sentence. Read the rest of this entry »

Violence (in Rhetoric) Begets Violence

I recently contributed a commentary piece to the Minneapolis Star Tribune drawing connections between hate speech in its legislative forms and violence toward GLBT citizens; connections that are more than obvious to our community. That article was sparked by my own experience as a victim of a hate crime; my friend Larry and I were assaulted in front of the Oak Grove Hotel on the eve of Pride weekend.

We were shoved around, verbally abused and threatened; there were far more violent attacks over Pride weekend. We’re both Scandinavians who tend to minimize traumas. I might say to a concerned friend, “It’s fortunate that we weren’t seriously injured. We were very lucky.” The reality is that Larry and I were plunged plenty deep into the well of homophobic hell. But we were only shaken; we weren’t shattered. There are many more victims who are so deep in that well that you can’t hear them. Read the rest of this entry »

Theater Spotlight: 422

H.M.S. Pinafore — Why does Gilbert and Sullivan’s 1878 operetta H.M.S. Pinafore still have legs? My theory is that it hits two central nerves: (1) it savages political favoritism in the military, and (2) it challenges the way marriage was and, frequently, still is defined. The Guthrie’s current revival reverberates now because its observations can actually apply to contemporary American events.

In April ‘08 the New York Times’s David Barstow exposed how the Pentagon secretly paid retired high-ranking military men to disinform the US public about Bush’s war policy. For over five years we’d seen networks (not just Fox) trot out lying old curmudgeons squawking official lies. Hence, Peter Thomson’s deliciously disgustingly decadent performance as Sir Joseph Porter, First Lord of the Admiralty, strikes contemporary parallels. Based on a real life figure from Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli’s administration, here’s the top navy secretary who knows nothing of ships! (Remember Bush’s incompetent ‘heck of a job’ Brownie, FEMA Chief during Katrina?)

Pinafore’s class-challenging advocacy for love between a mere working-class sailor and the loftier Captain’s daughter may not be the same-sex marriage battle, but it has teeth as 1878’s audience knew intrinsically that marriage had perennially been not about romantic love, but about arrangement.

Aleks Knezevich and Heather Lindell shine as the lovers, with a breathtaking Streisand-caliber showstopper sung by Lindell – “The Hours Creep on Apace.” Robert Berdahl is uptight perfection as her Captain dad, with a vibrant Christina Baldwin as his lower-class latent love interest. Director Joe Dowling’s sensual cast matched with David Bolger’s dazzling choreography is utterly joyous. • Through Aug. 28 • Guthrie Theater, 818 So. 2nd St., Mpls. • (612) 377-2224 •
The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: The Melodrama of Sweeney Todd — The tale of the barber who provides human corpses for his landlady’s meat pies is a popular Sondheim musical. But C. G. Bond’s melodrama version also crackles with macabre dynamism, along with the innards roasting in the cellar oven!

Charismatic Billy Mullaney relishes the obsessiveness of a common man’s vengeance quest for misdeeds done him by corrupt oligarchs. But ironically, Todd ends up victimizing less fortunate men.

Director Peter Moore’s U of M cast embodies Victorian social hierarchy. Set designer Lance Brockman, Jonathan Offut’s scenic team, and Mark Larson’s lighting evoke cryptic moods reminiscent of ‘30s British films. • Through Aug. 27 • Minnesota Centennial Showboat, Harriet Island, St. Paul • (651) 227-1100 •
Cedar Rapids Famous — When Andy and Barney move to Cedar Rapids from San Francisco in 2007 they expect to be met with parochial attitudes. Instead, they’re embraced as founders of the town’s first gay community. They even become celebrity judges of a Pork Queen Contest and local media regulars.

Playwright Joe Jennison of Mt. Vernon, Iowa, says it’s about “meaningful gay love in a community that isn’t exactly on the k.d. lang tour.” Alex Schulte and Zakary Morton play the couple that gets married during that 22.5-hour window when marriage equality existed in Iowa. • Aug. 6-14 • Augsburg Mainstage, 2211 Riverside Ave., Mpls. • (866) 811-4111 •

Bluehouse – Australia’s Dynamic Lesbian Duo Plays the Loring Theater — To catch the dreamy wave of the acoustical sounds of Bluehouse you don’t have to go to a beautiful beach in their native Australia, but simply kick back at the Loring Theater. An indie band sensation “down under,” the folk-pop duo of Jacqueline ‘Jacqui’ Walter and Bernadette Carroll began collaborating after meeting at a Melbourne pub in 1995. They’ve toured throughout Australia and the US and have played New Zealand’s World of Music, Arts, and Dance Festival (WOMAD) and Scotland’s Edinburgh Festival.

Walter says, “our journey has been amazing and, of course, when you go into this industry you never know what the future holds. We have been so lucky to work with the caliber of artists that we have and to have built such a loyal fan base both in Australia and the USA.”

Like the Topp Twins duo from New Zealand, Australia’s sister nation down under, Bluehouse has an utterly mystical appeal across the sexual orientation divide that’s led to recording in Nashville and a fan base within both the country music crowd and the GLBT community. Their video to “Walking Down the Line” from their One More Kiss album has them grooving in cowboy boots with motorbike bubbas down in Johnson City, Texas, home of the aggressively pro-civil rights President Lyndon Johnson.

Carroll, very much a civil rights proponent, points out that “Australia has a proud history of lesbian and gay activism. We recently played at one of the Australian GLBT community’s most iconic events called ‘Womyn Down Under.’ It was a four hour, all-female concert at the Sydney Opera House.” • Bluehouse • Doors 7pm, Music 8pm • Wed., Aug. 3 • Loring Theater, 1407 Nicollet Ave. So., Mpls. • (612) 353-6781 •

The Cherry Orchard — Minneapolis director Luverne Seifert and his wife, actress Darcey Engen, have roots in southern Minnesota. He says, “We’ve witnessed the gradual loss of once-vibrant towns. Long-established families lost their businesses, creating a gradual decline.” While playwright Anton Chekhov relates the loss a family estate a century ago, farm foreclosures have plagued contemporary Minnesota. Therefore, that parallel is served by staging the classic in a New Ulm house built in 1887 by Minnesota’s 14th Governor, John Lind.

Engen, who plays protagonist Lyubov, says her character “is surprised and confused about the social and political change happening around her.” • July 27-31 • Historic Lind House, 622 Center St., New Ulm, MN • (800) 838-3006 •

Arts Spotlight: 422

The 17th Annual Minnesota Fringe Festival is packed with Bad Boys, Busty Pirates, and Sex Ed. Gay serial killer Andrew Cunanan leads the pack with
My Dinner with Andrew from actor/writer Robert John Ford. The FBI investigation regarding Cunanan’s 1997 killing spree figures deeply into the conversations dramatized. That’s because Ford had frequent encounters with the man who would ultimately murder fashion designer Gianni Versace in broad daylight. As the playwright puts it, he hopes “to exorcise the memories that have weighed heavily on me for 14 years.” Cunanan’s first three murders occurred in Minneapolis and Chicago.

Social networking’s dark side is portrayed in Status Update by Laurel Schwarz inspired by Rutgers student Tyler Clementi’s suicidal jump off a bridge last year. A male-male sex experience he engaged in was released via internet without his permission. Schwarz addresses youth issues, as well as charged privacy issues in our high tech era. Read the rest of this entry »

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