Pittsburgh: Gay Vacation Destination, Since When?

January 24, 2008

I wanted to share some excerpts from “The Out Traveler: Andy Warhol’s Pittsburg” by H. William Bain

From the spring 2008 issue of The Out Traveler.

“I am from nowhere,” Andy Warhol was known to say when asked where he grew up. With these four words, he often gave the impression of a strained relationship with his hometown of Pittsburgh, the working-class city that fostered his talents as a child and gave rise to many of the themes that recurred throughout his work and defined his career.  Today, Pittsburgh stands as a paradigm of urban renewal, shedding its reputation as the Smoky City and officially claiming the title of “America’s Most Livable City.” In fact, Pittsburgh is quickly becoming a haven for “gay nesting” among settled Eastern same-sex couples.

You’ll find Andy’s boyhood home (3252 Dawson St.) in Pittsburgh’s university section of Oakland. The humble brick house has been privately owned for many years, but plans are being made to restore the home to appear as it did during Warhol’s childhood and open it as private housing for art students. Throughout his childhood, Andy’s family attended Mass each week at St. John Chrysostom Byzantine Catholic Church (506 Saline St.; 412-421-0243).

Visitors to Pittsburgh will find a majestic theater nearby at the Benedum Center (719 Liberty Ave.; 412-456-6666), built in 1927 and restored to its original splendor as Warhol would have seen it.

It was while studying in the commercial art program at Carnegie Institute of Technology that Warhol first began to develop his ideas about the relationship between capitalism and art. Now called Carnegie Mellon University (5000 Forbes Ave.; 412-268-2000), this Pittsburgh institution is recognized as one of the world’s top arts and technology schools. Carnegie Mellon also borders on Shadyside, a mainly residential area where many gay couples now settle. While Pittsburgh lacks a true gay area, one can find several gay bars here, and it’s not uncommon to see shops flying the Pride flag.

Not far from Carnegie Mellon, you will find the Carnegie Museum of Art (4400 Forbes Ave.; 412-622-3131), which houses a number of Warhol’s works. Called the world’s first museum of modern art, it was envisioned as a showcase for the “Old Masters of tomorrow” by its founder, Andrew Carnegie, in 1895.

…the city is now ground zero for Warhol art, thanks to the Andy Warhol Museum (117 Sandusky St.; 412-237-8300), one of the most extensive museums dedicated to a single artist in the world. Opened in 1994, it houses more than 12,000 of his works, including homoerotic drawings, portraits of gay icons, and films that explore the connection between voyeurism and desire, like Blow Job and My Hustler, as well as important documents, records, and source material. Together with the Mattress Factory (500 Sampsonia Way; 412-231-3169), an avant-garde art museum exhibiting room-size installations, the Warhol plays an integral part in the contemporary art scene touted by Pittsburgh’s urbane gay set.


New Law School Rankings

January 13, 2008

Breaking News: According to a new law school ranking system, Temple University Beasley School of Law just surpassed University of Pennsylvania and Harvard.

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(source: a survey of Nicole and Christina and careful examination of the selectivity of the admissions process)

So my friend, lets call him “Alex”, got into law school. Super early and with a scholarship, so basically they really really want him. They get a ton of applications (Admission for the Fall 2007 entering class was highly competitive, with 4,856 applicants for an entering class of 314.)

It is a double edged sword though. I am happy for him achieving his goal, and of course getting into such a fantastic school (I also go to Temple). But at the same time it is the end of his soul and now the endless slew of lawyer jokes begin. Unfortunately I don’t know any good lawyer jokes so here are a few cheesy ones from the internet.

Q. What do you call 5000 dead lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?
A. A good start!

Q. How can you tell when a lawyer is lying?
A. His lips are moving.

Q. Why won’t sharks attack lawyers?
A. Professional courtesy.

Q. Why is it that many lawyers have broken noses?
A. From chasing parked ambulances.

Q. What’s the difference between a lawyer and a vampire?
A. A vampire only sucks blood at night.


Good Medicine, Bad Behavior

January 13, 2008

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You might be wondering where the “Good Medicine, Bad Behavior” exhibit is showing. The answer: the DEA Museum. Although it may just be my ignorance, but did anyone know there was a DEA Museum? Well I am going to a wedding in October that is in Virginia and my mom cut an ad out for this museum in case we want to go.  Hopefully we’ll check it out and then I will promptly fill you in on what exactly a DEA museum entails.

I feel like it was designed for pharmacy school field trips.

The ad reads:

“This interactive exhibit delves into prescription drug abuse and explores the history of drug abuse from period pharmacies to rogue internet pharmacies.”

DEA Museum

700 Army Navy Drive Pentagon City Arlingotn, VA 22202

www.deamuseum.org


Veteran’s Day: Our Heroes, Our Homeless

November 11, 2007

Who are homeless veterans?

The U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) says the nation’s homeless veterans are mostly males. The majority are single, most come from poor, disadvantaged communities, 45% suffer from mental illness, and half have substance abuse problems. They have served in every war from the second World War to Iraq.

How many homeless veterans are there?

The VA estimates that nearly 200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. And nearly 400,000 experience homelessness over the course of a year. Conservatively, one out of every three homeless men who is sleeping in a doorway, alley or box in our cities and rural communities has put on a uniform and served this country.

Why are veterans homeless?

In addition to the complex set of factors affecting all homelessness — extreme shortage of affordable housing, livable income, and access to health care — a large number of displaced and at-risk veterans live with lingering effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and substance abuse, compounded by a lack of family and social support networks.

Doesn’t the Department of Veterans Affairs take care of homeless veterans?

With an estimated 400,000 veterans homeless at some time during the year, the VA reaches 25% of those in need. For more information about VA homeless veteran programs, go to www.va.gov/homeless/.

What services do veterans need?

Veterans need a coordinated effort that provides secure housing and nutritional meals; essential physical health care, substance abuse aftercare and mental health counseling; and personal development and empowerment. Veterans also need job assessment, training and placement assistance.

The solution?

I don’t know. More government money, more private charity, and more awareness would be a start. But on a personal level, I think the first step is just keeping in mind when you see the homeless on our streets that many of them fought for our country.  I also think this is a cause that organized religion really can and often does step up for.  I know personally, my church and the Catholic church in general does a lot to help the plight of the homeless.


Faces of Autism and the Need for Screening

October 30, 2007

The Andrew Child Photography Project has an exhibit “Faces and Voices of Autism Photo Exhibition”

Presented by May Institute and the National Autism Center. The website has some of the sample photos. Here is one boy’s photo that caught my eye. It is just an intense look that translated well into the photo. It looks like he can just see right through the computer screen.

This is Austin.


“When Austin and I are together, we float away in our bubble. A giant bubble filled with appreciation, love, hope, and laughter. He has this effortless way of making me feel like a child all over again. When I am with him, it’s an escape from a chaotic world filled with noise and ignorance.” — Jessica, Austin’s cousin

 

Most popular news outlets are reporting what I have always supported and many medical practitioners have privately been saying for years, every child should be tested for autism. A condition as common as autism should be considered a priority in early childhood detection. Particularly because autism treated early has much higher rates of success. Additionally it helps parents cope with the process of raising an autistic child if they know that is what is wrong and what resources are out there.

A report from the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests screening every child for autism twice by age 2. The report gives explicit instructions for the warning signs of autism at various ages. Current estimates by the CDC say as many as 1 in 150 children have a form of autism. Read More.

Maybe with some autism education out there, people will stop blaming the MMR vaccine, and more research into a science based cause could be discovered (cough=pollution).


Trick-or-Tini

October 29, 2007

Cute little drink for your Halloween parties. It has the look of a candy corn, the taste of a sweet tropical drink, and the punch of a martini. Enjoy!

Trick-or-Tini
From Stirrings

1 part coconut cream
1 part tangerine flavored mixer
1 part banana liqueur
Splash of white rum

  1. Chill ingredients in fridge or freezer.
  2. Once cooled, pour the first three ingredients, in the order listed above, slowly over the back side of a spoon into a martini glass.
  3. Top with a splash of white rum.

What is an EMO?

October 29, 2007

The burning question is what is an EMO?


Eugenics is apparently making a comeback

October 19, 2007

I love me some DNA, but I am not loving James Watson right now. The Nobel winning biologist most famous for his part in the discovery of DNA structure has hit some nerves across the country with his racist remarks.

LONDON, England (CNN) — Nobel laureate biologist James Watson was suspended Friday from his longtime post at a research laboratory and canceled his planned British book tour after controversial comments that black people are not as intelligent as white people. Watson, 79, an American who won the 1962 Nobel prize for his role in discovering the double-helix structure of DNA, apologized Thursday for his remarks — but not before London’s Science Museum canceled his talk there, planned for Friday evening.

The controversy began with an October 14 interview Watson gave to the Sunday Times, which quoted him saying he was “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa” because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours, whereas all the testing says not really.” Watson also asserted there was no reason to believe different races separated by geography should have evolved identically, and he said that while he hoped everyone was equal, “people who have to deal with black employees find this is not true.” The biologist apologized “unreservedly” Thursday for his comments and said he was “mortified” by the words attributed to him.

Watson is no stranger to controversy; he has a history of saying offensive and often scientifically inaccurate statements:

In 1997, Britain’s Sunday Telegraph quoted Watson as saying that if a gene for homosexuality were isolated, women who find that their unborn child has the gene should be allowed to have an abortion. During a lecture tour in 2000, he suggested there might be links between skin color and sexual prowess and between a person’s weight and their level of ambition. And in a British TV documentary that aired in 2003, Watson suggested that stupidity was a genetic disease that should be treated.

I have a theory about his statements. My theory is that the old man in a racist homophobe who feels superior to most people and is now senile enough to say what he thinks in public. I mean theory in the scientific way, like the theory of evolution.


Just Playing Gay

October 14, 2007

A priest has come out, well sort of. He has come out as a gay fake. Not to be confused with a yestergay, he claims to never have been gay. A gay fake is someone who pretends to be gay for some secret reason they believe with benefit them. Pop culture reinforces the idea that a guy would fake gay to get in good with the ladies. In the real world, this doesn’t happen (not to say it has never happened). So to you Father Stenico, I say use this to your advantage. You’re gay, we all know now, and therefore you are going to lose your priestness. So why not hit the clubs twice as hard, meet some cute boys at are actually over 18, and marshal the gay pride parade next year. Write a scandalous book. Do motivational speaking about your journey. Do something, really anything, but claim to be a totally straight man who hits on boys for educational reasons.

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VATICAN CITY (AP) — A Vatican official suspended after being caught on hidden camera making advances to a young man said in an interview published Sunday that he is not gay and was only pretending to be gay as part of his work.

Stenico was suspended by the Vatican after he was caught on tape making sexual advances at a young man.

In an interview with La Repubblica newspaper, Monsignor Tommaso Stenico said he frequented online gay chat rooms and met with gay men as part of his work as a psychoanalyst. He said that he pretended to be gay in order to gather information about “those who damage the image of the Church with homosexual activity.”

Stenico is a top official in the Vatican’s Congregation of the Clergy. The Vatican acted after officials recognized Stenico’s office in the background of a television program on gay priests that was broadcast on Oct. 1 on La7, a private Italian TV network.

Stenico was secretly filmed making advances to a young man and asserting that gay sex was not sinful. In the Repubblica interview, Stenico said he had met with the young man and pretended to talk about homosexuality “to better understand this mysterious and faraway world which, by the fault of a few people — among them some priests — is doing so much harm to the Church.”

He said he had never been gay and was heterosexual, but remained faithful to his vow of celibacy.


HIV in the Media

October 10, 2007

This video is generating a good deal of controversy in the gay community, this is what queerty.com reported on the ad.

Some gay bloggers have told filmmaker Eric Leven his AIDS PSA’s “fear-based”. And, you know what, he’s okay with that. HIV commercials should be fucking scary – or, at least, jarring. This one’s both. In an interview with Michael Crawford from Bloggernista, Leven explains his – er – position:

“I’ve been through the ranks of gay life. I’ve seen it in its most beautiful and darkest arenas. I want to take these experiences and shine light on them. Expose them for what they are and nothing less. I want gay men to start realizing the realities of their own community. I want them to step up to the plate and be a man (whether you’re wearing leather or a dress!) I want them to start taking their lives seriously and thinking before they act.”

Because HIV is something that affects the whole world, it is important that HIV/AIDS education be effective. I think by now, much of the world understands how it happens and many have an idea of what they can do to prevent it. But that doesn’t guarantee people will actually take those precautions even if they know it is a good idea. I absolutely agree with the writers over at queerty.com, I think ads related to HIV/AIDS should be incredibly scary, so people get it. HIV is scary. And since the main path of transmission is sex, which is incredibly temping and glamorized, campaigns need to be particularly jarring. So I figured I would share some of my favorite HIV/AIDS awareness print campaigns.

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I also think the approach of showing real people dealing with it is incredibly effective. There are campaigns taht show people with AIDS who are wasting away and there are also campaigns with people who look completely normal, both can be powerful.

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There is also a site I like, Positive Lives, that has pictures with the associated stories on it. It is organized by region of the world.

http://www.positivelives.org/index_en.html

“Positive Lives is a unique international project that photographs and documents the social and emotional impact of the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, illuminating positive human responses to this world crisis. By sharing these stories, we can all face the challenges, myths, and prejudices surrounding HIV/AIDS.

No matter what are an individual’s prejudice, the virus does not discriminate. HIV affects us all”