by Eric A. Crabtree
Ambush Quote of the Times
It seems Ambush is rapidly becoming Austin's news source of choice. Rev. Ken Martin, Pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church / MCC Austin
You Should Care! March On Austin
Each of us in the Austin Gay & Lesbian community is urged to take a stand for our families and March on Austin, Sun., Mar. 21 gathering at Palmer Auditorium at 12:30pm. Some ten thousand Texans are expected to proceed north on Congress Ave. to the south steps of the Capitol building for the "Rally for Our Families." Marchers can stop the extreme right's attack on our families by participating in this event. The Lesbian Gay Rights Lobby of Texas (LGRL) is organizing this March on Austin in concert with Equality Begins at Home - a week of actions at our state capital. LGRL urges all to write their state Senator and state Representative today and tell them you are against House Bills 382 & 415 but support the James Bryd Hate Crime Act. Why should you care? Remember folks, our own Gov. George W. Bush may become our next President and it's time we showed our community, the state and the nation, We Do Care!
House Bill #382 that was introduced last Dec. proclaims to prevent Gays and Lesbians from adopting or providing foster care in the state of Texas. In addition, House Bill #415 warrants and prohibits Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals from serving as foster parents under any circumstance in the state of Texas. Both Bills call for intrusive investigations by the state to determine whether or not potential parents are homosexual or Bisexual before placement of a child and if determined that they are, they will not be allowed to serve as foster parents or adoptive parents, even if they are relatives. The bills, if passed, will cost taxpayers some millions annually, and economist Carol T.F. Bennett, Ph.D., estimates the cost of enforcing this antiGay legislation to be approximately $50 million over five years. Money that could be used elsewhere like for abused children of Texas with the Protective and Regulatory Services who could protect literally thousands of helpless victims of child abuse by finding safe places for them to live and to grow.
As for the James Bryd Hate Crime Act, it has the solidarity of 25 State Legislators introducing SB #275 and HB #938 which consists of five main components. This act is a comprehensive approach to the prevention and punishment of hate crimes in Texas. The act calls for (1. Civil remedies for the victims of hate crimes; (2. Increased criminal penalties for hate crimes; (3. Funding for police officer training on identifying, reporting, and handling hate crimes; ( 4. Assigning an officer in the Attorney's Generals' office to prosecute hate crimes; ( 5. Funding for small counties to aid with prosecution of hate crimes. This legislative effort marks one of the largest pushes to help combat hate crimes in Texas. Texans are urged to contact Gov. Bush at 512.463.2000 and urge support of the James Bryd Hate Crime Act. A prayer vigil is slated for Mar. 12 at 9am on the south steps of the capital with religious leaders from all over the state supporting the act.
Other bills under consideration by the 76th Session of the Texas Legislature are HB #337, which is the removal of Texas' unconstitutional 119-year-old sodomy statute that makes private oral and anal sex between two consenting adults of the same gender a class C misdemeanor; HB #383, concerns the Equal Marriage Rights bill that, if passed, will prevent the needless passage of additional laws restricting the equal marriage rights for Lesbians and Gays; HB #475, proposed by State Representative Glen Maxey, will protect Texans from discrimination that is based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment; and lastly, HB #363 & #364, is the Nondiscrimination in Education bill that protects students and teachers from discrimination that is based upon sexual orientation in public schools, colleges and universities.
LGRL Director, Diane Hardy Garcia, commented, "Anyone who values equality and the integrity of family must speak out against these bills.... The 'March for Our Families' provides the perfect opportunity for action." On Sat., Mar. 20, a Youth Rally will be hosted with youth from across the state to rally on our capital steps to increase awareness of the discrimination that many of our youth still experience in our society. Gail Goodman, Executive Director of Out Youth Austin, commented, "We are excited about the opportunity to show our support about what LGRL and members of our community are doing to help represent the damaging legislation in Texas."
On Rally Day - Sun., Mar. 21, come march with thousands of people from Palmer Auditorium to our State Capital. Rumor has it that the former Human Rights Commission Spokeswoman, HRC's Chastity Bono, will be at the rally in support of our causes.
Individuals, businesses and groups are all urged to bring support, banners, signs, family members, friends, and show Austin and our state legislators that we do care and do count as proud and loving fathers, and mothers to adopted or fostered children. Immediately following the march, political leaders, entertainers, elected officials and community leaders will be featured. On Mon., Mar. 22, the community is urged to visit their state senator and representative to discuss the adoption and foster care bills as well as the hate crime bills. Participants are asked to meet in the state capital cafeteria at 7:30am for a brief organizational meeting. LGRL Reps. will be on hand to assist. More info. the weeks' events may be obtained via LGRL at 512.474.5475 or visit their Web site at www.lgrl.org.
It's Rodeo Roundup Time
It's Rodeo time in Austin and time to adorn those Stetsons, Ropers and Wranglers as the 62nd Austin Travis County Livestock Show & Rodeo and Carnival is underway till Mar. 22. This year's theme is "How the West Was Won." Many country artists are featured like Trace Adkins, Billy Ray Cyrus, Bryan White, Mark Chesnutt, Robert Earl King, Terri Clark, Sammy Kershaw and the Oak Ridge Boys. Most festivities for Austin will revolve around the fairgrounds located on Decker Lane. More info on the show and rodeo festivities may be found by calling them at 512.467.9811 or from the Web at http://www.austinrodeo.com/. Don't still know how to two-step? Why not try out Rainbow Cattle Company's new line dance classes on Mon.'s from 8-9pm or their weekly dance classes on Tues.'s from 8-11pm. Both classes are free to patrons.
SXSW Starts Mar. 12
South by Southwest Music Festival or SXSW will get under way in the Live Music Capital of the World - Austin - Mar. 12 and will continue for two weeks until Mar. 21. The music community in Austin holds this yearly event and many bands and performers from across the world vie for placement to be heard across the city. In addition to the music festival, the 1999 SXSW Film Festival will also be held at the same time from March 12-20. More information on SXSW may be obtained at www.sxsw.com or by calling 512.467.7979 or 512.451.0754 or E-mail at General Inquiries: email@example.com.
1998 Bean Awards Slated
The 1998 Bar Employee Appreciation Night (BEAN) this year will be held at 9pm on Sun., Mar. 21 at Splash Video Bar located at 406 Brazos St. The BEAN Awards are an annual tradition held with all members of the Austin Tavern Guild (ATG) and invited bars, employees and guests. The night honors all bar employees nominated and finalized by their individual bars with trophies for various categories. Two special awards will be presented by ATG, the Col. Bob Collins Humanitarian Award and the Austin Community Achievement Award. Last year's winners and categories can be accessed by visiting Ambush Web site under Steers & Queers at www.ambushmag.com/is798/austin.htm. At the last ATG meeting, members decided that they would distribute over $1,200 raised from last year's Fourth of July Picnic to the local HIV Wellness Center. ATG's next major event will be Splash Day held on Sun., May 2 with many parties proceeding. Make plans to attend Splash Day, official start of Gay/Lesbian Austin Summer.
Mardi Gras '99 - N'awlins Style
Ah-Yeeeeee," is my cry of this year's Mardi Gras in New Orleans. My birthday week was fun, eventful and oh, all the boys I chased. I ran into Mutt and Jeff from Chain Drive as well as David from RCC and Jeff from Oilcan's and several others that I partied with Mardi Gras weekend. A special thank you to my new friend Brian for harboring me for a whole week. The highlight of the week for me was attending the festivities on the Ambush balcony on Bourbon St. with my boss, Sonny Cleveland, who reigned this year as Miss Christine Cheridon. Christine led the 12th annual Queenateenas Bead Toss on Fat Tuesday as other staff members, honorees and invited guests tossed some 12,000 beads to the huddled masses below. Not all cute boys got away with freebies as most earned their beads. I was delighted to finally meet two fellow staff members, handsome Brad Benedict and yummy Brian Sands whose handcuffs I still control; also, Miss Stephanie, whose beading whoring boobs drew the hot crowd of men. Thanks to Ambush owners Rip and Marsha Naquin-Delain for opening their hospitality and home. Look for an upcoming video, Gay Mardi Gras '99, from Ambush TV soon. Good times certainly did roll this year and I declare that the rest of the year, even through Lent is still "Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler!"
Austin Circuit News
In circuit news for Austin, look for Equinox Austin with DJ Julian Marsh (NYC) on Sat., Mar. 27 at the Forum Nightclub. Tickets are being sold in advance at the Forum and the night, or shall I say morning, will be rocking with this infamous DJ until dawn. Tentative plans before Equinox has the Forum releasing The Winter Party Double CD Party. Look for details in the next Ambush. Coming up the weekend of May 28 through the 31, look for details soon of Meltdown '99. Summer rounds off with Last Splash and RIP'D in Sept. Meanwhile, next weekend starts the Winter Party in Miami Beach, FL on Mar. 11 and ending Mar. 15 with a recovery party featuring Austin's own DJ Roland (RO) Belmares. Warner Bros. has announced that the Divine Ms. M will be performing on Sat. night at Salvation at the Tropical Juice Party. The Winter Party hosts seven separate parties with weekend passes running $159. Tickets to Austin Circuit Parties may be obtained via Splash Productions at 1212 Guadalupe St. #1003, Austin, Texas 78701, 888.558.1791 or via the Web at http://www.partyaustin.com.
Austin's Ambush's Eric Crabtree and Vincent Dudonis would like to extend deepest sympathy to Oilcan's Chris Mason (DJ Dig'M - Oilcans) for the loss of his father recently. In addition, a sincere loss was also felt throughout the community as a fellow family member, Curt Wilkinson, passed away last month. Our sorrows go out with each family and to the community for their losses.
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