alternative press serving the lower columbia pacific region

QFOLK

Out of the Closet With Female Rapper JenRo

Jen Ro’s video CLOSET opens the film weekend Friday, Oct. 5

JenRo is an out, proud female rapper.

If that sounds like that might be unusual and downright tough in the rough and tumble world of the rap music business, it is. But don’t tell her that. JenRo is just doing what comes naturally, making music, something she has done her entire life.

JenRO’s first time rapping on stage was at the age of 10 years old. She’s never stopped.

Today, JenRO has released four independent albums under her own successful indie label RO Records. She has toured numerous cities across the country with a dedicated and growing fan base that follow her every beat. Her music videos have been featured on the lgbt-focused network, LOGO, along with a documentary she is featured in, “Pick up the Mic.”

But The Astoria Queer Film Weekend will be one of the only places to see her new music video, “Closet.” The music video details the struggles JenRo faced after she came out as a lesbian and what many might see as a very young age. HipFish spoke to JenRo about her latest project and here is what she had to say:

JenRo, where did you grow up?
I was born and raised on the West Coast in the Bay Area of California.

When did you come out?
When I was 13, in 7th grade. Pretty damn young, but I was proud and it made me who I am.

When did you get involved with music?
I grew up around music all my life. My dad was a DJ and my older sister is a musician. I started playing drums for jazz band in 6th grade until high school. Got my first beat machine when i was 15 and been writing music at young age. I’ve been involved in music dam near all my life.

Did you ever get bullied as a kid?
I never really got bullied, but I was more like the bully. I had a lot of anger when I was young and just wanted to punk everyone, including the boys. It was fun to me back then, but I look back and found better ways to take out aggression,

Do you find it difficult to be a queer musician?
Not really, because I accept myself for whom I am. That’s where it has to start: within yourself. God gave me this gift to share with the world.

Why did you make “Closet”?
I made it to share with everyone my experience on coming out and to let people out there who haven’t came out, that they are not alone.

How personal is this music video to you?
Closet is very personal; coming out is a big deal when you’re young and finding yourself. So I wrote this with my heart and people have told me that I have changed their life.

What are your hopes for “Closet”?
I want it to influence those who may feel alone in this world. I want them to know that I went through a similar situation growing up.

Would you like to make more films/videos that deal with subject matter such as bullying?
Most definitely. I have done some other bullying PSA with youth and plan to do more,

What is the message that you would like young kids to learn from your video?
Don’t be afraid to be who you are. Don’t be afraid to be different and learn to love yourself no matter what.


In The Garden With The Marble Faun

Filmmakers Jason Hay and Steve Pelizza (left to right) at the Maysles Brother’s Theater in NYC.

The Astoria Queer Film Weekend will be the West Coast premiere of The Marble Faun of Grey Gardens.

There are very few documentary films as worshiped (especially by gay men) and analyzed (specifically by film buffs and critics) as the 1975 documentary Grey Gardens.

This is the true story of two very quirky and reclusive socialites/hoarders (much like Astoria’s own Flavel family) who also just so happened to be relatives of a First Lady named “Jackie.” The lives of the these two “Edies,” as told by acclaimed documentary filmmakers David and Albert Maysles, have gone on to influence film, fashion and pop culture. Everyone from photographer Bruce Weber to director Gus Van Sant have found inspiration in this film. An instant art house classic The Beales; story has been adapted for the stage and as an Emmy-award winning feature for television.

This seminal documentary may focus on the story of a quirky mother and daughter, but within that tall tale, filmmaker Jason Hay was intrigued by another person in that “cast,” a particular character who he believed might be worthy of a documentary film of his own: Jerry Torre, aka “The Marble Faun.”

“I had come to the end of my personal research of Grey Gardens, and it stood out that there was this really missing story about Jerry,” says Hay, who lives and works in Portland, Oregon. “Not much was known about his life before or after. With very few living links to Grey Gardens, I wanted to help fill in more of the story. What we found was that the original documentary wasn’t even the most amazing part of his life, and the film grew and developed from there.”

Torre, a native New Yorker born and raised in Brooklyn, was given the nickname “The Marble Faun” by Edith “Little Edie” Bouvier Beale. He is now a New York-based sculptor and spends his time pursuing his lifelong ambition, carving stone at the Art Students of League of New York.

“Not only does Jerry have a phenomenal story to tell, but he is also an enthralling raconteur,” says Hay. “His story unfolds as a classic American tale. A compromising childhood, then a dash for freedom leading him indirectly to Grey Gardens, a formative event in his life. Later awakening to his sexuality in the 1970′s in New York City, going on to travel in Europe and the Middle East under unique circumstances, and sadly falling into some of the darker passions in life. Eventually pulling himself up and dusting himself off, he decides to heed a lifelong call to carve stone and discovers his love for the craft. Jerry Torre’s sculptures help free him, and he fully develops into the beloved individual he is today.”

So how did Hay initially track down The Marble Faun?

“After researching where to find Jerry, I connected with him through email and he then reached out by phone,” says Hay. “We met up in New York to discuss the project I had in mind. Shortly after, I met up with a long-time friend, Steve Pelizza, and we started working on the film together.”

The real two Edies and Jerry Torre the “Marble Faun.”

Filming of “The Marble Faun of Grey Gardens” first stared in 2009. Both Pelizza and Hay were living in New York City at the time and shooting as much as possible. “It is 100-percent natural with no second takes. The cinema verite style is as much of a tribute to the original documentary by the Maysles, as it is a story about Jerry. Since this was our first film, everyone, including Jerry, was really involved with every aspect.”

This includes filling in the blanks left out in the original documentary.

Says Hay: “The nature of Jerry’s stories at first was Grey Gardens focused. As we went on, he got comfortable that we were telling his whole story and topics got a lot more personal. He was very forthcoming about being a runaway child, his troubles with addictions, and medical concerns. Very little was left out.”

According to Hay, from a cinematic standpoint, Pelizza developed a slow and methodical way of dealing with the camera and Jerry as a subject. This method worked well for both the subject and the filmmakers.

“It lends well to what we encountered; Jerry, the mansion, the stonework. Taking a careful, close look at Jerry’s many facets, the viewer is invited to explore all of these stories, instead of being overwhelmed by the whole picture at once” says Hay. “We shot 30 hours of film over the course of a year. There were a lot of sculptures completed and filmed during the time. We could do a whole documentary about his 300-pound marble sculptures.”

After returning to Oregon from the Maysles Institute, in New York’s Harlem neighborhood, where they first premiered this film, Hay and Aggregate Pictures’ main focus is getting through the final stages of production.

“This story is far from being just about Grey Gardens. Jerry’s story encompasses many personal issues of social relevance, making him very identifiable. It also makes for an engrossing film. To that end, we are getting it seen at festivals, such as the one in Astoria, which will be the West Coast premier,” says Hay. “The final goal being theatre and DVD releases.”

And did Torres get under their skin, much like the Beales did for the Maysles brothers?

“Jerry impacted both Steve’s and my life incredibly,” says Hayes. “We formed a life long friendship, working together for 3 years. During the whole process, we knew that we were making a friend as well as a movie.”


QFOLK/HIPFiSH PROUDLY PRESENTS Q-FILM WEEKEND – Astoria Oct. 5-6 @ KALA

ASTORIA Q-FILM WEEKEND SCHEDULE

Q-FILM HIGHLIGHTS

PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS AT BROWN PAPER TICKETS

In the Garden With The Marble Faun

Out of the Closet With Female Rapper JenRo

Q-Film Dance Celebration and Cocktail Party

QFOLK/HIPFiSHmonthly proudly presents “Astoria Q-Film Weekend,” Friday and Saturday, October 5 – 6 at KALA Performance Space. The first time event features three separate screenings, (Friday night, a Saturday matinee and Saturday night), including two short features and a selection of short films. Event programmer Sid Deluca, in collaboration with the South Texas Underground Film Festival (LGBT programming) has assembled a wide spectrum of works; from documentary to drama, comedy, music video and even science fiction, all from the queer perspective and experience. Low-budget D.I.Y. to big studio quality, the program also includes two west coast premiers.

Deluca, a recent transplant to Astoria, coincidently screened his own short film Poison Oaks last October 2011 at the Big Fat Gay Movie Night at the Columbian Theater.

Poison Oaks is a comic, B&W homage (mockumentary) to the original 1975 documentary, Grey Gardens (directed by filmmakers The Maysle Brothers — Gimme Shelter, Salesman), which chronicled the declining years of Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter “Little Edie,” who were the wildly eccentric paternal aunt and first cousin of Jackie Kennedy Onassis. In 2009, HBO aired the film Grey Gardens on the life of the Beale women starring Drew Barymore and Jessica Lange.

Now back to one of QFILM Weekend’s exciting west coast premiers, The Marble Faun of Grey Gardens Filmmakers. Jason Hay and Steve Pelizza are presenting their doucumentary based on the life of Jerry Torre, who at the time of the original Grey Gardens film, was a 17 year old gardener/handyman on the Beale’s East Hampton, condemned and crumbling estate. Torre became an accidental celebrity, who then disappeared from the public eye. Filmmaker Jason Hay took interest in Jerry’s story with the result, his new documentary. (see the accompanying feature for the rest of the story)

It was Jerry Torre that connected Sid Deluca with the Portland-based Jason Hay after seeing and loving Deluca’s Poison Oaks. This past June, “Marble Faun” debuted in NYC at The Maysle Brothers theater – and now makes its west coast premier right here in Astoria.

Equal parts the genesis of Astoria Q-Film Weekend, is Deluca’s association with South Texas Underground Film Festival and its programmer Mariella Sonam-Perez. Deluca’s film won two awards at the South Texas 2011 festival; Spirit of The Underground and Original Soundtrack, and will screen again at the 2012 festival. Deluca turned to Sonan-Perez for her participation in the development of a film screening event in Astoria, after being impressed by the diversity of her programming in the LGBT arena. Sonan-Perez was excited to help plant seeds for a future festival, beginning with the concept of Q-Film Weekend. While films have been selectively chosen to represent a broad spectrum of topic and style, Q-Film Weekend is in the spirit of a film festival — it did not do a submissions call, but worked directly with the South Texas Festival and various film and video makers directly. A multi-venue LGBT film festival, supported by a filmmaker submission call is a future vision.

“I didn’t know just how open and arts-loving this town was until I moved here, and my film was shown at Big Fat Gay Movie Night at the Columbian Theater. It was a pleasant surprise and it made me realize how an event like Q-Film would certainly be a success. We’ve got great films, we’ve got a great venue, we’ve got a great town. I hope that this intimate-style mini-film fest will be an exciting new event that offers film as a socially aware medium as well as entertainment,” says Deluca.

Although the seating for each screening is limited, we look forward to this opportunity to present an LGBTQ film event of this caliber. The schedule of films offers a diverse look at the many issues facing the lives of LGBTQ peoples. We welcome all film lovers with respect and dignity. Get your tickets folks.

Q-FILM HIGHLIGHTS

Amongst the current 12 films slated (also with a TBA list in progress), on the schedule is yet another west coast premier, SALTWATER, the Friday night short feature which explores the issue of “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” in the life of a former Navyman, in addition to his personal challenges of coming out. The film also marks the acting debut of openly gay Australian rugby star, Ian Roberts.

  • Poignant short film, EMBRACING BUTTERFLIES from the Czech Republic, reunites two older women on a chance meeting, and rekindles childhood memories of a crush between them, and a possible future love affair.
  • Bollywood love story, YOU CAN’T CURRY LOVE, lushly filmed in Indian and co-starring Indian soap star Rakshak Sahni who finds surprising love on a business trip back to his homeland.
  • And jumping right off the screen, is Oakland, CA rap star Jen Ro, with her music-driven biographical coming out film, called CLOSET. Portland Queer Band Mattachine Social, who played earlier this year at KALA, filmed a music video in Astoria, featuring the pre-boarded Flavel House.

Friday and Saturday nights present Film Shorts and one 80 minute feature oer night. The 4pm Saturday matinee features all Film Shorts. Each screening presents new films. Please see page 13 for ticket buying info. Film goers can purchase all three screenings for a discount. Each screening event is $15. All three screening events is $40.

The Film Viewing Experience at KALA

HIPFiSHmonthly Performance Space, KALA, hosts the event. The refurbished vintage storefront will be fully curtained for optimal viewing, is equipped with professional sound and light, features cabaret table seating, cocktail specials, beer and wine, and complimentary movie snacks.

Seating is limited to 40 seats per screening. Due to the limited seating, tickets must be purchased in advance, online at Brown Paper Tickets. www.brownpapertickets.com If access to online purchase is not available please call HIPFiSHmonthly to arrange for ticket purchase. 503.338.4878.


Q-FILM WEEKEND SCHEDULE

• Friday, October 5, 2012
Film Shorts and Feature Short
West Coast Premier
7:30pm – 9:30pm
doors open 7pm

Closet
Oakland, CA rapper Jen Ro explores her own early coming out in this emotionally charged music video. 4 Minutes.

I Need A Hero
Director – W.H. Bourne (Los Angeles, CA/New Orleans, LA)

Starting with the infamous quote by then Marvel Editor in Chief Jim Shooter, “There are no gays in the Marvel Universe”, I Need a Hero briefly follows the progress of LGBT representation in comics from Northstar coming out in the late 80’s, to Archie comics Kevin Keller, to Bunker in the New Teen Titans. It also takes a look at independent comics written by LGBT creators as well as the characters they create. Finally, the film explores the effects of LGBT characters on fans. 15 Minutes

Femmes Want Revolution
Directors: Simone and Haley Jude, San Francisco, CA.

A glittery, revolutionary romp. 4 Minutes

Polly, Jennifer, and Melissa
Director – Diego Ramirez (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia/Mexico)

An androgyne by the name of Polly recalls an episode of post coital anxiety while Jennifer confesses to a disquieting priest, and Melissa poses flirtatiously for the viewer. Mixing Sci-Fi, Queer and Horror- POLLY, JENNIFER AND MELISSA is a provocative performance-based video challenging gender roles and identity politics. 5 minutes

• 30 Minute BREAK – Complimentary Movie Snacks and No-Host libations

SALTWATER
(West Coast Premier)
Directed by Charlie Vaughn, Los Angeles, CA

This American Indie drama follows several endearing characters as they wade through life seeking happiness, peace and ultimately, love. Will (Ronnie Kerr, Vampire Boys 2, Shut Up and Kiss Me) leaves the Navy after many years, soon reunites old friends and begins to start his new civilian life. His friend Rich (Bruce L Hart) tries to set him up with ruggedly handsome Josh (Ian Roberts-a former Australian professional rugby player, actor and model-Cedar Boys, Superman Returns, Little Fish). While there is immense chemistry between the two, timing and certain ideals never seem to align. When a shocking tragedy happens the two are paired up to pick up the pieces and sort through the after effects. Saltwater is a story about men of all ages, finding love, losing friends, navigating their way through life and knowing it’s the journey rather then the destination that’s important. 81 Minutes

• Saturday October 6, 2012
FILM Shorts Late Matinee
4pm – 6pm
doors open 3:30pm

CLOSE
Mattachine Social- Portland, OR

Music Video shot in Astoria featuring drag star Tammy Whynot. 3 Minutes

AMERICA’S MOST UNWANTED
Director- Shani Heckman, San Francisco, CA

A moving and provocative video project focusing on LGBT foster youth who have emancipated and what their lives look like today. 23 Minutes.

Surprise Short TBA.

YOU CAN’T CURRY LOVE
Directed by REID WATERER, Los Angeles, Ca.

Westernized guy Vikas has been obsessing about his straight boss Thom for years, much to best friend Amrita’s displeasure. But when a business trip sends Vikas to New Delhi and he meets handsome Sunil, the desk clerk at his luxury hotel there, everything changes for him. Amazed by Sunil’s sweetness and India’s beauty, his initial disgust at the transfer turns into a love affair with both. When a return to London and his boss inevitably arrives, Vikas must make the most painful decision of his life. A crowd-pleasing, east-meets-west, boy-meets-boy love story… with a Bollywood twist! 23 Minutes

15 minute break – Complimentary Snacks and No-Host Libations.

POISON OAKS
Directed by Sid Deluca, Astoria, OR

Shot with a $200 budget, this DIY “mockumentary” pays tribute to Grey Gardens with nods to John Waters and Andy Warhol. 27 Minutes followed by a Q&A with Director

• Saturday, October 5, 2012
Film Shorts and Feature Short
West Coast Premier
7:30 pm– 9:30pm
doors open 7pm

Embracing Butterflies
Karen Davidsen, Czech Republic.

Louise has lived her whole life in self-denial. An ordinary-seeming day takes an unexpected turn when she meets Anna, whom she went to school with as a young girl. Going down memory lane and the symbolic appearance of two girls brings up hidden emotions, insight and the thought that it’s never too late to embrace your butterflies. 8 Minutes

Daddy’s Big Girl
Directed – Reid Waterer(Los Angeles, CA)

Overweight and uninspired Millie attempts to finally reconcile with her father, but his half-dressed male companions keep getting in the way. 17 Minutes

Welcome To New York
Directed and written by Steven Tylor O’Connor- Los Angeles, CA

A comedy short film based on story by Sean David. It starring Sherry Vine, Sean Paul Lockhart, Lauren Ordair, Ashleigh Murray, Megan Kane, Matthew Watson with Casper Andreas, Trey Gerrald, Shacottha and Steven Tylor O’Connor. Welcome to New York is based on the stories of young New Yorkers, both gay and straight, and their first time experiences in New York City. 30 Minutes

• 30 minute BREAK – Complimentary Movie Snacks and No-Host Libations

The Marble Faun of Grey Gardens (West Coast Premiere)
Jason Hay (Portland, OR) and Steve Pelizza (New York, NY)

Jerry Torre is a sculptor at the Art Students League in New York City. He is best known for his appearance in the original 1975 Maysles Brothers documentary Grey Gardens. He was referred to by Little Edie Beale as “The Marble Faun.” The unique and colorful life of Jerry Torre. Join Jerry as he recounts tales from his troubled childhood, his escape to Grey Gardens, his travels overseas and learn more about this earnest man’s tumultuous life. Jerry has overcome much adversity in his life and his story is an inspiration to many who have suffered the same trials and tribulations. 80 Minutes Followed by a Q & A with Jason Hay


Q-Film Dance Celebration and Cocktail Party on Saturday, October 6, following the last screening-closing the weekend. Complimentery to ticket holders. $5 for non-ticket holders.

PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS AT BROWN PAPER TICKETS

Astoria Q-Film Tickets must be purchased online at Brown Paper Tickets. This is great service based in Seattle, WA that makes selling and reserving tickets in advance easy for small event promotors as well as large events. It is a socially-responsible company that donates a percentage of sales to charitble organizations, and charges a small service charge of .99 cents plus 3.5% of the ticket fee to the buyer.

Just go to www.brownpapertickets.com and search Astoria Q-Film Weekend and purcahse tickets for each date of show or “season pass” if you would like to attend all three screenings at $40.00 Tickets will be on a will-call list, and you also have the option of printing the ticket at home. NOTE: If you do not have access to online purchase please call HIPFiSHmonthly to purchase your ticket. 503.338.4878


How Basic Rights Oregon and rural campaigns across the state are building a majority for marriage equality

“This is an amazing time in history for the Pacific Northwest and the cause of equality,” say Jeana Frazzini, the Executive Director of the statewide LGBT organization, Basic Rights Oregon.  “For the first time ever, a sitting president has endorsed the freedom to marry, support is spreading across Oregon as we expand our majority for marriage, and Washington voters will go to the polls in November to decide whether to uphold legislation passed this year granting the freedom to marry to gay and lesbian couples.”

Basic Rights Oregon’s education campaign, Frazzini says, has led to a double-digit increase in support for marriage equality in Oregon.  “Each day, more and more Oregonians are looking into their hearts and deciding that treating others as you wish to be treated includes extending marriage to all caring and committed couples.”

The Astoria-based Clatsop County Marriage Equality Project, in over a year and half’s efforts, collected over 500 signatures in support of a marriage equality bill, setting up tables in numerous locations and events such as the Astoria Sunday Market, and Second Saturday Art Walk. “The response was overwhelmingly positive,” says committee member Dinah Urell, and furthers, “the group did a lot of outreach work to make it happen and the results were inspiring – so many people who care about their LGBT family member’s health and welfare.”

But despite these national and local successes, the effort to win the freedom to marry in Oregon—and across the country—is not a slam-dunk.

While more Americans are becoming comfortable with the idea of allowing civil marriage for gay and lesbian couples—some national polls say support is now over 50-percent—no state has yet to pass marriage equality at the ballot.  Every state that has enacted marriage for same-sex couples so far went through their legislature or courts.

That’s simply not an option in Oregon. Because voters here passed Measure 36 in 2004, our constitution bans same sex marriage. The legislature cannot amend the constitution on its own, and courts have refused to take up the case, so it will take another vote of the people to remove the ban.

Basic Rights Oregon made the hard decision last fall to continue building support for the freedom to marry rather than going to the ballot in 2012. A few months later, voters in North Carolina approved a measure banning gay and lesbian couples in that state from civil marriage. And just over a month ago, marriage equality opponents in Washington gathered enough signatures to force a vote on the state’s recent freedom to marry legislation.

“Every day without the freedom to marry is hard,” says Frazzini. “But going to the ballot before we are confident we can win would be devastating. We heard overwhelmingly from our supporters this past fall that we should continue and deepen that education work to build a majority for marriage before heading to the ballot, as early as 2014.”

“I think it was the right decision to wait,” says Jeanne St. John, President of the Oregon Central Coast Chapter of Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). “As we have more conversations, we’re building more support across the state.”

President Obama’s recent public announcement, in which he came out in support of same-sex marriage, makes him certainly the most high-profile person that has changed their mind, but he’s not alone. All across Oregon and the nation, people are changing their hearts and minds as they come to realize that treating others as you wish to be treated includes allowing civil marriage for caring and committed same-sex couples.

“Three years ago, when BRO started doing events (in Lincoln County) around it, we had a good turn-out, but now we see much greater support for marriage equality,” says St. John.  She and others continue to collect pledges in support of marriage equality at Newport’s Saturday Market and other venues. “We now have seven welcoming churches that are also collecting pledges and last summer, we published an ad in the local paper that had the names of 400 residents of Lincoln County who supported the freedom to marry. We turned that into a poster that was displayed all over the county.”

While Oregon does not have a measure at the ballot this year, supporting Washington and other states is important to supporters of the freedom to marry in Oregon and across the country.  “With each state victory, we build a climate that empowers elected officials, judges and voters across this country to look into their hearts and decide to support the freedom for all caring and committed couples to marry,” says Frazzini. “That’s why we’re spending this year expanding support for the freedom to marry.”

According to Basic Rights Oregon, it is not enough to win marriage on the state level.  It is also important to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act at the national level. DOMA prevents same sex couples (even in states with marriage equality) from accessing any federal marriage rights. Winning at the federal level will not provide freedom to marry in Oregon until we change our state laws, and winning in Oregon will not provide Oregon couples with any federal recognition until DOMA is gone. It is necessary to do both—win in Oregon and overturn DOMA—and Basic Rights Oregon is making strides toward doing just that.

“Basic Rights Oregon is currently engaged in an ongoing, nationally-recognized education campaign to build support for the freedom to marry in Oregon,” says Frazzini. “We’re committed to having a dialogue with our friends, family and neighbors and, ultimately, winning the freedom to marry as early as 2014.”

BRO has been traveling Oregon, hosting a series of community conversations about marriage and working to expand community support for the freedom to marry.  Their mantra is: “One person at a time, one conversation at a time…expanding the majority for marriage in Oregon.”

BRO kicked off the summer with a marriage road trip. Field staff traveled the state, meeting with community-based volunteers about how to expand the majority for marriage in Oregon. In May and June alone, Basic Rights Oregon staff held community conversations in: Ashland, Astoria, Grants Pass, Klamath Falls, Newport, Eugene, Corvallis, Pendleton, La Grande, and Bend. One of those community conversations was held in Astoria on June 2nd.

“Basic Rights Oregon has met with folks in towns from Ashland to Pendleton to talk about how they are working to build a majority for marriage in their community and how to talk to our friends and neighbors about why marriage matters,” says Basic Rights Oregon Field Organizer Mike Grigsby. “We had a great meeting in Astoria…where we heard from local community members about how they’re working one conversation at a time to expand support for the freedom to marry.”

And what is the most important message that Grigsby wants to deliver? “My advice to anyone who wants to win the freedom to marry in Oregon is to talk to the people in your life about why marriage matters to all caring and committed couples. Many of the people we talk to across Oregon are slowly reconsidering their position on marriage equality as they talk to gay and lesbian couples they know.”

One of those couples having those conversations is from Astoria. Mindy Stokes and Katie Rathmell, who were present at the June 2nd meeting, appreciate the opportunity to discuss the issue with those in and outside their community.

“I think we are having the same conversation in rural areas as people are in bigger cities like Portland,” says Stokes. “We are in it for the same reason, to win over hearts and minds.”

Stokes said what she personally realized from the meeting was that some people like President Obama, go through an actual process before making up their mind about this issue.

“For some (undecided voters), marriage is something they take for granted,” says Stokes. “It’s something they don’t have to worry about it. It’s like the fact a fish in water doesn’t know its in water. It just swims along. That’s why it might take some people longer to realize we want to marry for similar reasons as other couples – to make a lifelong commitment to the person we love.”

Stokes learned something else from the meeting, something that has had a profound effect on her.  “When we talk to (undecided voters) about civil rights they get turned off,” says Stokes. “But they bond with us when we discuss the issue of ‘love.’ We really do have to win over people’s hearts before we can win over their minds.”

St. John agrees, and can’t wait to get the issue out in front of the voters in the coming months. “We need to get beyond theory and take action. I think people in Lincoln County will support us,” says St. Johns. “I think people here will work hard for it.’

It’s something St. Johns and her partner Kae Bates—both 69-years old they have been together for 30 years—have waited a lifetime for. “I didn’t think I would live long enough to see this but now I know it will absolutely happen,” says St. Johns. “It’s just a matter of time.”


Q-NIGHT AT KALA!

Mattachine SocialCelebrate the LOVE!
Q-NIGHT AT KALA!
A QFolk Benefit Performance and Dance Party
Featuring Portland Electro-Pop Band
MATTACHINE SOCIAL
Saturday, February 11
Doors open 8pm
No Host Bar.
Complimentary EATS!
Mattachine Social 9pm.
(special guest performer Matthew Kern 8:45)
DANCE PARTY 10PM TO MIDNIGHT . . .
$10 at door. 21 and over please.
KALA, 1017 Marine Drive in Astoria

IN AUGUST of 2007, HIPFiSHmonthly introduced QFOLK, an LGBT visibility news and culture spot for the Columbia Pacific Region. Suffices to say, it is rare to find an LGBT section in a community newspaper in a rural region. In fact, prove me wrong, I’ve yet to find another. Hipfish albeit is an alternative newspaper, but that vehicle too is an urban construct. Though, the A&E (Arts and Entertainment sections) has found its place in almost all daily and weekly rural papers. Since the advent of printing, human activists have made use of the medium as a means of freedom of speech. The alternative newspaper today — in many smaller urban areas, in the Northwest, such as in Eugene (Eugene Weekly) and Bellingham, WA (The Cascadia Weekly), have culled what could be described as a progressive community culture and news medium, in addition to “watchdog” and investigative journalism.

What to deliver? A more upfront and inside reporting on where we live. The existence of QFOLK in HIPFiSH reflects a visible LGBT community supported by a whole community. On February 11 at KALA, we celebrate this community, The LGBT Community; friends, family and allies, please join us.

MATTACHINE SOCIAL

Described as the “love Child of Björk and The Jesus and Mary Chain” Portland, Oregon based MATTACHINE SOCIAL are a queer-core post-punk/pop musical project. Their songs run the emotional gamut of pop musical styling but each deal with historically important queer icons, civil rights uprisings, and a critique of modern queer culture…all while keeping your ass shaking!

Co-founders Justin Warner and Andrew Klaus are both accomplished multimedia artists with long careers in both film and music. As such Mattachine Social live shows are a heady mix of post-punk dance music and wild visuals aided by projection screens and glitter cannons all crafted by the band.

Mattachine Social also were local headliners for Portland Pride 2011 and participated in the first annual Portland Queer Music Festival. Next up they’ll be opening for Sandra Bernhardt.

Klaus has performed with lesbian punk icons The Butchies and Le Tigre before relocating to Portland in the early part of the decade pursuing a successful career as a filmmaker and internationally exhibited visual artist

Co-founder Justin Warner is an acclaimed animator and filmmaker and has had work appear on stage and in theaters from New York to Seattle, as well as mastermind behind the now defunct outfit Violet Uprising.

Warner and Klaus are joined onstage by the remarkably talented and handsome guitarist Ben Jansen, and the equally fabulous and beautiful Tammy Whynot on tambourine and backing vocals.

Mattachine Social released their debut ep in limited release in November of 2010 and expect a full album by early 2012.


TransActive & PFLAG Oregon North Coast Present “Of Trucks and Tiaras” Workshop November 17 at CCC

Of Trucks and TiarasIn partnership with the Clatsop Community College IOU (Isms, Obias, and Us) Committee, TransActive Education & Advocacy and PFLAG Oregon North Coast present “Of Trucks and Tiaras: Supporting Trans and Gender Non-conforming Children and Youth in Your Community” Thursday, November 17 from 3:00-5:00pm at Clatsop Community College’s Columbia Hall, 1651 Lexington Ave, Astoria, in Room 219.  The two-hour workshop will cover tools and tips for how to best support gender non-conforming youth aged 4 to 18 – kids who may identify as transgender, gay, or lesbian, but also any youth bullied for “not acting like a lady” or “being a sissy”.  The workshop is designed for parents, teachers, students, counselors, and other adults in the community who work with youth.  There is no cost to attend the workshop, though donations will gladly be accepted.

TransActive Executive Director Jenn Burleton will also be the guest speaker at the November meeting of PFLAG Oregon North Coast.  The meeting will take place Thursday, November 17th from 6:30-8pm at First Lutheran Church, 725 33rd Street, in Astoria.

TransActive Education & Advocacy works with the families of gender non-conforming children to minimize and prevent child abuse by providing parents with resources and support, and encourages youth empowerment by working with schools, pediatricians and case workers to ensure a healthy and safe environment for gender non-conforming children to grow up in.  For more information, visit http://www.transactiveonline.org.

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) promotes the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, their families and friends, providing opportunities for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.  PFLAG Oregon North Coast meets in Astoria on the third Thursday of the month. For more info, contact Drew Herzig at drewherzig@yahoo.com.


Clatsop County Marriage Equality Project

Attend a gathering in preparation for the new marriage ballot measure

We are making history. In a few days, Basic Rights Oregon’s Board of Directors will make a recommendation on whether to go to the ballot next year to ask Oregonians to support the freedom to marry or whether to delay this campaign. A victory in Oregon could make ours the first state in the country to pass the freedom to marry by a vote of the people.

Please join Clatsop County Marriage Equality Project in this monumental moment to learn about the direction of the ballot campaign and to discuss the role Clatsop County will play! Review the latest information about the ballot measure and share thoughts about the timing of this campaign. Review the most up-to-date information from statewide leaders about public opinion research that will help all of us to understand how Oregon voters think about marriage and whether they support the marriage equality ballot measure. Most importantly, we will take the time to consider what all of this means for our state and our community and strategize about how we can win the freedom to marry in Oregon.

CCMEP is committed to winning the freedom to marry in Oregon, your are invited you to attend and share the commitment.

WHEN: Thursday, November 10. Time: 6pm. Location: KALA@HIPFISHmonthly, 1017 Marine Drive in Astoria. For more info, and if you are interested in involvement with the campaign please contact: Katie Rathmell of CCMEP rathmellk@stccmop.org.


Women Performance Grant

MRG Foundation is seeking two women performers who live in Oregon to sing or perform music/spoken word at MRG’s Justice within Reach party on Saturday, April 21, 2012 in Portland, Oregon. Each of the two chosen artists will receive $2,000.

“Justice within Reach” is an annual fundraiser where people from across Oregon’s progressive movement come together, and we expect three hundred people to attend. Each performer will work closely with MRG to create an inspiring experience for all the people at the event. A detailed description of the selection process and performance contract are available on the MRG website, along with an application.

The two selected artists will:Have excellent artistic and performing abilities, Demonstrated success as a performing artist, Proven experience performing in front of a large (200+) audience.

Who Should Apply
The Lilla Jewel Fund for Women Artists will fund these performances. The Lilla Jewel Fund for Women Artists at MRG promotes the work of women artists, particularly women of color and queer women. In order to be selected for this performance opportunity, an applicant must: Identify as a woman; Live in Oregon; Be able to work collaboratively with MRG staff and volunteers to create an event that will inspire MRG’s audience; perform either music or spoken word that addresses progressive social, racial, economic and/or environmental justice issues. Have a level of accomplishment in your chosen artistic direction. Deadline for Submissions: Monday, November 14, 2011.

Applications (including work samples) need to be in MRG’s office by 5:00 PM, or postmarked by that date. Late applications will not be considered. Please read the full description of the project before submitting your application.


Q-JAZZ at the Bridgewater Bistro Third Thursdays

Q-Jazz invites the LGBTQ Community and friends the third Thursday of each month to enjoy the Basin St. Northwest Jazz Trio, complimentary apps, and piano bar hosted by friends and performance associates Dinah Urell and Walt Trumbull.

Arrive at 8pm for complimentary appetizers and catch a sampling of Basin St. NW piano trio led by Chuck Wilder, featuring guitarist Dave Drury,  and bassist Todd Pederson. Urell and Trumbull dip into the American songbook, in solo and duo,  and open the mic for folks who would like to sing, in the vein of American standards, jazz and blues. Expertise not required. Old school piano bar culture, with a jazz twist – the soulful progressions of pianist Chuck Wilder as your back-up is a treat.

The event, now underway, is proving to be a spacious and welcoming social gathering. Owners of the Bridgewater, Ann and Tony Kitchner welcome the community, and look forward to the event growing as a permanent monthly mixer for the Q-Community.

Third Thursdays. 8pm-10pm. The Bridgewater Bistro is located at the Port of Astoria, 20 Basin St., 503.325.6777.


Third Thursday PFLAG Meeting

The next regular PFLAG meeting will be on the third Thursday of November – Nov. 17, 6:30 pm at the First Lutheran Church, 725 33rd Street, in Astoria.


My Name is David and I’m an Actor – a gay actor

David LoringMY BROTHER David died of AIDS in May of 1991, 20 years ago. He was 47 years old.  In the 1970’s he became involved in the gay rights movement and began living what he referred to as an “openly gay life”.  It was during this time that he “came out” professionally and to our family, though he had “come out” to himself long before that.

He is not here to tell his own “coming out” story, but I have put together passages from his many writings in the hope of portraying a little of what it was like to be a gay man “out of the closet” during the 1970’s.

In 1977, in the midst of some important issues in the gay rights movement, David wrote a public statement to members of the entertainment industry which he had been a part of for many years.   He explained his reasons for doing this: “In actuality, what I am doing is “coming out” professionally.”  In addition to sending this statement to people in the Hollywood community, he sent copies to various publications of the Gay Media “… in the hope that this statement may encourage other entertainers and artists to take similar stands.”  The Gay publications printed the statement.  However, he also sent copies to the Hollywood “trade” papers, none of which published the statement.   David wrote that his gay activist friends warned him that he was committing “professional suicide” by sending out this statement, but David assured them that at that point “I have no career to lose and, hence I am in a position to do and say what so many others would  like to do and say, but are in fact unable to because of their professional status.”

The Statement:
“My name is David and I am an actor – a gay actor.  I spent over six years in Hollywood and during that time, I became well acquainted with the motion picture industry’s attitudes, mores, and social rituals.  The existing system – and make no mistake about it, it is a well entrenched system – allows the individual to do anything; as long as it is kept in “the closet”.  Any controversial activities, either political or sexual, that become public knowledge are either frowned upon by the so called “liberals”, or blatantly discriminated against by the more reactionary members of the entertainment community.  This system is harmful to the arts in general; but worse, it is stifling and repressive to the individual artist, attempting to create meaningful art within its confines.  In contemporary society and, specifically, in western society, individuals who attain prominence in the arts are respected, even adored by the public who value their opinions on various issues.  There are many actors, musicians, artists and writers who, over the years, have been outspoken in their support of the various issues surrounding the human rights movement.  For this I commend them; but this is not enough.  The right to love and be loved is the most personal, the most inalienable of all human rights.  Why the silence on this issue by prominent members of the entertainment industry?  There is probably more homosexuality and bi-sexuality among members of the arts than in any other profession.  I repeat, why the collective and individual silence?  Isn’t it time for the hypocrisy  and deceit to end?  At the very least they could support the gay rights movement as individuals, openly and publicly.  At best they could acknowledge who and what they are.  The cost of such silence is the respectability and acceptance of the humanity of us all.”
– June 22, 1977

In 2011 it is difficult to imagine that being gay in the entertainment industry is at all an issue, but when my brother was involved in this world, things were very different than what they are today.  One of his dreams was to be a part of a quality picture that dealt with gay love.  How I wish he would have lived to see the making of a movie like “Brokeback Mountain”.

As he wrote: “The real inroads in the human rights area will be made through the treatment of the issues by the arts and humanities in an intelligent, sensitive and dignified manner.”

David and family

Shelley, Mother and David

Our parents were quite concerned about David’s “coming out” statement and did not understand his need to do this.  But as David wrote, talking about our mother:  “…but  she has never felt the need to, once and for all, throw off the fear and guilt that are so much a part of the gay person’s experience in this society, and which can only be eased by the “coming out” process for the majority of us.  While they are both in support of me, and have been throughout the ups and downs of what living an openly gay life imposes, it is difficult for them, as it is for most people, to totally comprehend the kind of oppression and discrimination I have undergone for the past fifteen years, and even before that, throughout school and even childhood.”  David used to say to me:  “How would you feel if you were told by the psychiatric community that you are sick, told by the religious community that you are a sinner and told by the legal community that you are a criminal?”

Attitudes have definitely improved in the 30 plus years since my brother “came out”, but we are still not entirely there.  Until gay people can enjoy all of the rights that others in our society enjoy, we have our work cut out for us.  As David wrote some 30 years ago:  “Many of us have wondered why it is necessary for us to defend practices that we know are normal and human.”  The right to “love and be loved” should not have to be fought for.  However, as David wrote:  “Throughout history groups of individuals have been singled out for oppression, usually as a means to divert public attention from the real problems at hand.  This season and for many seasons throughout history it is the gays.  We are the easiest of scapegoats because we pose a fundamental fear in the minds of bigots from all groups.”  And now in 2011, we must not let the bigots win again!


A Wave of Pride

Dykes on BikesIRIS PRIDE • Sept 16 – 18 • Lincoln City

The Central Oregon Coast website boasts, “Lincoln City has the first and only gay pride event on the Oregon Coast, September’s annual Iris Pride Festival.” WRONG! However, that the regions general publicity website brags about their gay pride festival – now that needs to be in the news!

And, one can’t argue that the scale of this pride event certainly is worth boasting about in addition to attending, replete with Rainbow Glass Float Hunt.

BIG CUDOS: Helping the community and giving back is part of Iris Pride. Reflecting on the current bullying epidemic in schools this year’s Iris Pride beneficiary will be the Oregon Safe Schools and Communities Coalition.

Lincoln City Visitor & Convention Bureau hosts the fourth annual Iris Pride Festival September 16 – 18, 2011. During the 3-day PRIDE event there will be some extraordinary returning events and some remarkable new additions!

The event kicks off on Friday, September 16th, with an All You Can Eat Clambake at Surftides Resort.  Afterwards, head to BK Mulligan’s for “Drag U-Licious”.  You won’t want to miss this event! Come see the contestants go from Ordinary to Fabulous in the special Drag U style show.

GLAMAZONIA!

During the beach-side Street Fair September 17th its free fun for all! The Street Fair is open from 1pm-6pm on SW 51st Street in the Historic Taft District. Return performances by Emmy Nominee Lily Armani, 7 foot tall GLAMAZONIA, and The Superstar Divas, will delight on the main stage from 1pm-5pm during this Super Hero-themed event. Throughout the day you can enjoy a super hero “Quick Change” contest, free caricatures by Deena Printz, a free Batman Bounce House for the kids, and don’t miss your chance on the Acro-flight Bungee Jump!  Bungee sporting takes on a new direction with this system . . . Straight Up! You will be fit at the waist with climbing harness and bungee cords that are then used to suspend you from above, enabling you to flip, spin, and jump to amazing altitudes!

On Saturday night show more of your pride at Aunt Mary’s Toaster Bistro for the “Filthy Meet & Greet” and afterwards drag yourself to Surftides for a no cover Coastal Aids Network benefit “Drag Show” with a full service bar!

All weekend long hunt for one of the rainbow glass floats on all 7 ½ miles of Lincoln City beach and on Sunday join in a fun game of Flamingo Bingo at Surftides resort complete with prizes, special menu and drink service. With all of these events and more you are sure to have a good time!

For a complete listing of events and lodging specials please visit www.oregoncoast.org.

The year 2011, the year the State of New York ruled matrimony legel for same-sex couples, also marks the first visible sign of queer support in the Astoria Regatta Grandland Parade. NorthCoast PFLAG proudly brought up the end, with their loud and colorful banner, with cheers, no jeers reported. However, this is not the first time LGBT community has marched in Clatsop County. The late 90’s the North Coast Pride Network marched in the Seaside 4th of July parade, positioned behind The Dairy Queen float. Many cheers, and some hostile jeers reported such as, “Go back in the closet homos.” At least they had the right terminology.

Lets hear it for PFLAG!!!!!!!!!

Third Thursday PFLAG Meeting

The next regular PFLAG meeting will be on the third Thursday of Sept. – Sept. 15th, 6:30 pm at the First Lutheran Church, 725 33rd Street, in Astoria..

Q-JAZZ at the Bridgewater Bistro
Third Thursdays

Q-Jazz invites the LGBTQ Community and friends the third Thursday of each month to enjoy the Basin St. Northwest Jazz Trio, complimentary apps, and piano bar hosted by friends and performance associates Dinah Urell and Walt Trumbull.

Arrive at 8pm for complimentary appetizers and catch a sampling of Basin St. NW piano trio led by Chuck Wilder, featuring guitarist Dave Drury, and bassist Todd Pederson. Urell and Trumbull dip into the American songbook, in solo and duo, and open the mic for folks who would like to sing, in the vein of American standards, jazz and blues. Expertise not required. Old school piano bar culture, with a jazz twist – the soulful progressions of pianist Chuck Wilder as your back-up is a treat.

The event, now underway, is proving to be a spacious and welcoming social gathering. Owners of the Bridgewater, Ann and Tony Kitchner welcome the community, and look forward to the event growing as a permanent monthly mixer for the Q-Community.

Third Thursdays. 8pm-10pm. The Bridgewater Bistro is located at the Port of Astoria, 20 Basin St., 503.325.6777


A Wave of Pride! Fun-out on the Coast.

North Oregon Coast PFLAG Marching
And you’re invited!

Gay Pride Parades around the world

The North Oregon Coast PFLAG will march in the 2011 Regatta Parade.  This will mark an inaugural gay and lesbian parade presence in Astoria. A banner has been designed and all are invited to show your support for the GLBTQ Community on the coast and walk behind the banner. PFLAG is a national organization, (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), with hundreds of local chapters all over the US.

The parade starts at noon, and gathering time is 11:30am. This year the parade begins at the Heritage Museum at the corner of 16th and Exchange, and organizing is a block down the street near the Columbia Memorial Hospital grounds. Look for folks holding the banner. For more details contact Drew Herzig, drewherzig@yahoo.com.


Clatsop County Marriage Equality Project
Get on the List! Do we have you on the list? Please send your email/snailmail address to ccmepinfo@gmail.com. We’ll keep you informed.


Third Thursday PFLAG Meeting

COMING OUT Stories. Theme for the Third Thursday PFLAG meeting is “Coming Out Stories.” Something we all share across the boards in the queer community. There will be talk a bit about experiences coming out – a life-long process – and do some writing. Plans have been put into works to develop short essays and poems together for a possible ‘Coming Out’ section in the October Hipfish. October 11th is National Coming Out Day.


Pride Potluck Picnic – August 23

THE CLATSOP COUNTY MARRIAGE EQUALITY PROJECT (CCMEP) is organizing a Pride Picnic. Hoping for non-rainy weather and sun, a gathering is set for Saturday, August 23 at Carruthers Park in Hammond, 12 noon to 3pm. Fred Meyer of Warrenton is donating hamburger and hot dog fixings. Bring a dish or beverage, kids, friends, and a chair.  Fun, Informal, with info on latest planning efforts.  For more info: ccmepinfo@gmail.com.

The CCMEP mission is to promote marriage equality for all Oregonians by educating the public on the importance of legalizing civil marriage for same-sex couples, thereby guaranteeing all the benefits and full legal protections of marriage to same-sex spouses and their families.

CCMEP works in conjunction with Basic Rights Oregon Marriage Matters Campaign working to place same-sex marriage legislation on the 2012 ballot.


Q-JAZZ at the Bridgewater Bistro

THE BRIDGEWATER BISTRO in Astoria begins a new offering this spring/summer season. Q-Jazz and Song Social invites the LGBTQ Community and friends the third Thursday of each month to enjoy the Basin St. Northwest Jazz Trio, complimentary apps, and piano bar hosted by friends and performance associates Dinah Urell and Walt Trumbull.

Arrive at 8pm for complimentary appetizers and catch a sampling of Basin St. NW piano trio led by Chuck Wilder, featuring guitarist Dave Drury,  and bassist Todd Pederson. Urell and Trumbull dip into the American songbook, in solo and duo,  and open the mic for folks who would like to sing, in the vein of American standards, jazz and blues. Expertise not required. Old school piano bar culture, with a jazz twist – the soulful progressions of pianist Chuck Wilder as your back-up is a treat.

The event, now underway,  is proving to be a spacious and welcoming social gathering. Many expressed gratitude to Dana Gunderson for hosting the Qmixer for a number of years at the Cannery Cafe, destroyed in the Astoria, Dec 16 Riverfront fire. Owners of the Bridgewater, Ann and Tony Kitchner welcome the community, and look forward to the event growing as a permanent monthly mixer for the Q-Community.

Third Thursdays. 8pm-10pm. The Bridgewater Bistro is located at the Port of Astoria, 20 Basin St., 503.325.6777.


PFLAG Oregon North Coast

PFLAG Oregon North Coast will have its July meeting on Thursday, July 21st – 6:30pm at the First Lutheran Church, in Astoria – 725 33rd Street, Astoria, OR. – At this meeting we’ll be serving FREE PIZZA!!! Don’t miss it!

PFLAG – Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. For more info – Drew Herzig – drewherzig@yahoo.com – 503-325-1895.


Q-JAZZ at the Bridgewater Bistro

THE BRIDGEWATER Bistro in Astoria begins a new offering this spring/summer season. Q-Jazz and Song Social invites the LGBTQ Community and friends the third Thursday of each month to enjoy the Basin St. Northwest Jazz Trio, complimentary apps, and piano bar hosted by friends and performance associates Dinah Urell and Walt Trumbull.

Arrive at 8pm for complimentary appetizers and catch a sampling of Basin St. NW piano trio led by Chuck Wilder, featuring guitarist Dave Drury,  and bassist Todd Pederson. Urell and Trumbull dip into the American songbook, in solo and duo,  and open the mic for folks who would like to sing, in the vein of American standards, jazz and blues. Expertise not required. Old school piano bar culture, with a jazz twist – the soulful progressions of pianist Chuck Wilder as your back-up is a treat.

The event, now underway,  is proving to be a spacious and welcoming social gathering. Many expressed gratitude to Dana Gunderson for hosting the Qmixer for a number of years at the Cannery Cafe, destroyed in the Astoria, Dec 16 Riverfront fire. Owners of the Bridgewater, Ann and Tony Kitchner welcome the community, and look forward to the event growing as a permanent monthly mixer for the Q-Community.

Third Thursdays. 8pm-10pm. The Bridgewater Bistro is located at the Port of Astoria, 20 Basin St., 503.325.6777


Big Fat Gay Movie Night – Put on your Gaaaaaaaayest Costume.

Big Fat Gay Movie Night

THE COLUMBIAN Theater hosts another Big Fat Gay Movie Night. Ridiculously fun and gay, treats, tricks and games are part of the affair. Host Marco Davis encourages you to look in your closet, and come out screaming!!! Fun surprise shit,  prizes and big opportunity to “camp” for a few hours.  Kids in the Hall star in Brain Candy, the zany mid-90s film featch from the Canadian humour-elite.  Costumed or not – does not inhibit your fun. Are you gay? Who cares. It’s the spirit in it all that matters.

Saturday July 16. The activities begin at 10pm in the Columbian Theater in Astoria.  A mere $3. See you queer!


@KALA – Book Release Celebration – Mama Baby Mama

Mindy StokesAuthor Mindy Stokes
Mama Baby Mama, Story of a Knocked-Up Lesbian

KALA@HIFiSHMONTHLY PROUDLY presents author Mindy Stokes, in a Book Release Celebration event, TUESDAY, JULY 26, at 7pm.  Mama Baby Mama, Story of a Knocked-Up Lesbian, is a heartwarming and saucy tale of two women on their way to motherhood. This is Stokes’ first book, a memoir born of desire between she and her lifelong partner Katie and their journey to bring daughter Soleil, into the world.

An Astoria resident, and no recluse writer is she; Stokes is a vibrant fixture at Clatsop Community College, at least since 2008, when she and her family moved across the US to Astoria, Oregon from Florida. A counselor and instructor in the Lives in Transition program, she also runs her own Wellness Education practice, and is involved in numerous community volunteer positions. And, if you saw the most recent staging of The Vagina Monologues at Clatsop Community College, it was a production driven by Stokes as part of Women’s History Month, and a performance “Herstory” project she has spearheaded for 3 years.

Mama Baby Mama is a culmination of 5 years of “writing and mothering,” and as Stokes admits, “They don’t go hand in hand. Finding the time to write was the most challenging aspect of completing the book.” Friends who own a writing studio in Oysterville, Washington (established writer’s retreat location), loaned out the place, “and that’s how I finished my book,” says Stokes.

Mama Baby Mama is Stokes first foray into narrative writing. Prior to that she had written predominantly for academia, with an M.A in Women’s Studies and B.S. in Dietetics.

But about 6 months into her pregnancy, Stokes refers to episodes in the middle of the night — she would wake up with paragraphs of the book stamped into her head. And she wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep until she got up and wrote.  Once she began the process, she knew she was destined to turn these vignettes into a book.

Mama Baby Mama is in three parts, and begins with the trials and tribulations of home insemination, (endearing episodes of a gay male friend who wasn’t destined to be a sperm donor after all and sperm shipped by UPS to remote mountain vacation spots), progresses to conception and the rigorous duties of pregnancy (being as big as a billboard and hating everyone with whom she comes in contact, including her entire pre-natal yoga class) and then eventually the falling in love with a newborn baby girl.

If you do have the pleasure of knowing Mindy Stokes, you know that humor is her arsenal; she’s straightforward as hell, and a passionate, outspoken feminist. In Mama Baby Mama, her voice is loud, clear, and true to heart.

Mama Baby MamaIn the beauty of her storytelling, Stokes doesn’t hold back, soften or sugar coat the details, as she busts on through to the next practical revelation in childbirth.  Be it finding sperm donors, sex while preggars, her fears ad infinitum on becoming a mother; she’ll have you in stitches, and in tears.  Mama Baby Mama also keenly observes the effects of discrimination and hate-filled laws on same-sex partners, as well gives us new concepts of family and friends, parenting, today’s changing values put into practice, and alternative lifestyles.

In February of 2007, just months after Soleil’s birth, Stokes submitted an abstract to the Assoc. for Research on Mothering (ARM) in, Toronto, Canada. They were planning a conference in Toronto and were looking for submissions on various topics relating to feminist mothering. Stokes was accepted and read her narrative pieces (the beginnings of Mama Baby Mama).

“The response was positive,” says Stokes, “Professors of Women’s Studies asked me to let them know when I was finished with my work so that they could use my book in their classrooms. “

Stokes has gone the indie author route. After querying publishers for two and half years she has joined onto an online eBook publishing vehicle, Smashwords, and has done a first print in hard copy through a self-publishing company.

Says Stokes, “Getting published these days is extremely difficult. Who you are and your platform is more important than your craft. When I did get rejection letters with feedback, they’d always tell me they liked my sardonic humor, sense of place, etc… but their company wasn’t doing my type of book. So I decided to do it myself. Decided I’d be the Ani Difranco of publishing. “

Of course today, indie publishing, be it music or literature is running a steady, viable course. The many online vehicles, from iPads, to laptops, iPhones and Kindles have readers going for easy access. An online publishing company like Smashwords directly links your book with online book companies and tutors you on how to reach and publicize to your potential audience.  Self-publishing can draw attention to mainstream publishers. But with the high quality and accessibility of indie publishing, a passionate author such as Stokes, can reach out to a target audience and begin the work of getting her book read.

When Stokes moved to the region, she met Jan Bono, an accomplished columnist, and writing coach from the Washington Peninsula.  Bono became her editor throughout the process of finishing the book. And now with the satisfaction of soon having a hard copy in her hands,  says Stokes, “It’s a dream come true.”

Every Tuesday Stokes sends out her blog, also titled STORY OF A KNOCKED-UP LESBIAN. With a title as brazen, this is a taste of Stokes’ refreshing and spicy lesbian feminist personae.  You can sample or buy her book at smashwords.com/books/view/61371, or look her up on her new website.

But you can also meet her, have her sign a copy of her book and help celebrate an exciting, local, independent author. Refreshments too. Tuesday, July 26, 7pm, KALA at 1017 Marine Dr. in Astoria. 503.338.4878


QFolk – June 2011

Edie and Thea MarriedFILM
Edie and Thea: A Very Long Engagement

In the closeted 1960s, two young women meet and fall in love – and so begins the extraordinary tale of Edie and Thea, whose engagement to each other would span more than forty years.

Ultimately, in their 70s, with Thea’s health in rapid decline, the two seize the opportunity to fulfill their dream of getting married. The film captures their inspiring journey to Toronto – and Thea’s last trip on a plane – where Edie and Theathe lovers are finally able to make their vows. Told with candor, wit, and great affection, Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement is an American love story for the ages.

Sunday, June 5, 3pm at the Columbian Theater, 11th and Marine. Presented by PFLAG Oregon North Coast and The Columbian Theater. FREE. Everyone Welcome.

Clatsop County Diversity Committee
At 1pm on Thursday, May 26th, at the Judge Boyington Building in Astoria, County Commissioner Scott Lee, the recently appointed head of the Diversity Committee, welcomed everyone to the committee’s second public meeting.

He then introduced Mayor Willis Van Dusen, who gave a brief history of the Diversity Committee, which was formed two years ago in response to complaints of racism being experienced by members of the Coast Guard stationed in Astoria.

After the formation of the committee, it was relatively inactive, until a recent report of racist taunts being directed at Job Corps students on a local bus made its way into The Daily Astorian. In response to this, the committee had a public forum, and Thursday’s meeting was the follow-up from first public session.

Norma Hernandez, of the Lower Columbia Hispanic Council, then introduced the guest speaker, Mr. Frank Garcia, Jr., the Office of the Governor’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion. Mr Garcia spoke of diversity as the awareness of cultural differences, and inclusion as the process of working through the differences to achieve a successful outcome. He said that diversity inclusion was the only way to stay competitive in today’s global economy. The message conveyed, that we can’t afford to waste any of Oregon’s human resources, and we can’t afford to waste money dealing with the problems that a lack of diversity awareness can cause.

After Mr. Garcia’s presentation, a discussion followed. Those present were enthusiastic about a pro-active Diversity Committee being an essential part of raising diversity and cultural awareness in the Lower Columbia area.

The next public meeting of the Diversity Committee will be Thursday, June 23rd, 6 pm. For further information, contact Scott Lee – slee@co.clatsop.or.us.

Q-Community Events

Q-JAZZ at the Bridgewater Bistro
The Bridgewater Bistro in Astoria begins a new offering this spring/summer season. Q-Jazz and Song Social invites the LGBTQ Community and friends the third Thursday of each month to enjoy the Basin St. Northwest Jazz Trio, complimentary apps, and piano bar hosted by friends and performance associates Dinah Urell and Walt Trumbull.

Arrive at 8pm for complimentary appetizers and catch a sampling of Basin St. NW piano trio led by Chuck Wilder, featuring guitarist Dave Drury,  and bassist Todd Pederson. Urell and Trumbull welcome guests in song and open the mic for folks who would like to sing, in the vein of American standards, jazz and blues. Expertise not required.

The event, underway last month proved to be a spacious and welcoming social gathering. Many expressed gratitude to Dana Gunderson for hosting the Qmixer for a number of years at the Cannery Cafe, destroyed in the Astoria, Dec 16 Riverfront fire. Owners of the Bridgewater, Ann and Tony Kitchner are happy to welcome the community.

PFLAG OREGON NORTH COAST
Our monthly meeting will be Thursday, June 16th – 6:30 pm at the Arts & Cultural Exchange, 120 10th Street, Suite #2, Astoria, OR.

Our guest speaker will be Jeanne St.John of the Oregon Central Coast PFLAG – a very active chapter! Come learn the secrets of their success!

PFLAG – Parents, Family, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Everyone welcome.

Questions? Contact Drew – drewherzig@yahoo.com.


PFLAG Booth at the Astoria Bicentennial Fair Lend Your Voice!

Proudly, PFLAG Oregon North Coast , Astoria-based, will participate in the Bicentennial Heritage Fair on May 21, 2011 – joining in the celebration of the rich diversity this historic port city was built upon.

PFLAG, (Parents and Friends of the Lesbians, Gay, Bi, and Transgender People) is a national organization begun in the 70’s. Hundreds of  PFLAG groups exist now  across the nation, each state with a central organizing board and chapters serving their own regions through out.

PFLAG groups are volunteer and made up of people in their communities who love and support their gay and lesbian friends and family members, in addition to official representatives, such as clergy and councilors who work in the field of human dignity related issues. 2011 has marked a stellar year for a North Coast PFLAG. Over the course of the last five years the start up of a North Coast  chapter has had some stumbling blocks along the way, due mainly to the time and dedication, like any citizen-run volunteer group,  it takes to get a PFLAG rolling.

PFLAG ONC lead organizer Drew Herzig has found a great partner in the Astoria Arts & Cultural Exchange, a non-profit space dedicated to providing art and cultural workshops, art therapy, special events and exhibits for community members of all ages, levels of ability, and income.  PFLAG meets once a month at the Arts & Cultural Exchange – sponsoring guest speakers,  planning community out reach events, and providing a meeting ground for LGBT issues.

The PFLAG Booth at the Heritage Fair will be displaying “VOICES.” Currently they are reaching out to the Columbia Pacific/Astoria community for individuals to submit a brief contribution, (several lines) reflecting on the LGBT experience here in Astoria, as it has touched life, indirectly or directly.

Herzig states, “Whether your family has been in Astoria for generations, or you just moved here last week, you’ve got something to share. – And it doesn’t have to be upbeat. Bad times are as much a part of our experience as good times. – Just share a little bit of your self with the community. Speak your truth.”

The various “voices” will become part of a display. To make a contribution to this significant display contact: drewherzig@yaooo.com.

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When I returned in the mid 90’s to live in my hometown of Astoria, I came home to a region that had responded in strong organization to the anti-gay initiatives that began challenging the values of Oregon voters in the early 90’s. Good Neighbors was a long list of coastal residents that banned together to bring awareness to these discrimination campaigns and measures (all failing to pass) that sought to make inequality into laws.

The North Coast Pride Network, representing the LGBT community had then sprung up from the Good Neighbors group and organizing around the initiatives. A monthly film night, a newsletter, distribution of Just Out (Portland’s bimonthly queer newspaper), potlucks, and queer community from the Washington Peninsula to Tillamook and Astoria; getting together, politically, socially, like family. It was the seed for a strong core of OUT and proud queers now present on these coastal shores.

Pride organizing in the region ebbs and flows. There have been gatherings of hundreds to celebrate and pay attention to the progression of rights and securities our government needs to grant us. We come together as a joyful minority, while we continue our independent integration in our rural coastal lives. A PFLAG booth at the Bicentennial Heritage Fair represents the tolerance, the brotherhood and sisterhood we can extend to all peoples of this region, and take pride in the integrated city Astoria has become.

There are no stories in history of immigration without pain, suffering, discrimination, as there are as many stories of courage, tenacity and love that helped to bridge differences to survive and come together as equals. I am proud to be a Finnish-Astorian LGBT member of this community, and citizen of this funky-amazing-place-in-history frontier town, and run this publication that represents the spirit that somehow got us all here in the first place.

Happy Birthday Astoria! Happy Birthday Astorians!!!!

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Dreams of Power

The contribution of LGBT individuals
to the history and culture of Astoria, Oregon

On June 15th, 1811, Ko-come-ne-pe-ca and her wife arrived in Astoria, bearing a letter addressed to John Stuart from Finan McDonald, a trader with the Northwest Company. This is the first recorded instance of an LGBT person playing a part in the history of Astoria – exactly 200 years ago!

Ko-come-ne-pe-ca was a Native American woman who had experienced a dream of power which prompted her to declare herself a man, living and dressing as one, and marrying another woman. In doing this, Ko-come-ne-pe-ca was following the Native American tradition of ‘two spirits’(directly translated from the Ojibwe term Niizh manidoowag) – the belief that a spirit of the opposite gender could reside in any individual, making that individual ‘two-spirited’.

The modern term would be ‘transgendered’.

Ko-come-ne-pe-ca and her wife provided valuable information to the early Astorians, giving them a detailed description of the territory to the north and east, and drawing maps of the region. This information was critical to the founding of another Pacific Fur Company trading house at Okanogan in Washington.

It is believed that Ko-come-ne-pe-ca and her wife belonged to the Kootenai tribe, and there are conflicting reports concerning their history after they traveled back to the east with David Stuart’s party.

In this sense, Ko-come-ne-pe-ca’s story is representative of so many LGBT individuals of the past who came to Astoria, or were born here. Their contributions to the history and culture of Astoria are still with us, but the details of their lives have often been lost.

Today, LGBT individuals are a vital part of the cultural and economic life of Astoria – entrepreneurs, business owners, artists, musicians, actors, publishers, historians, teachers, activists – the list could go on and on. The energy that such diversity brings to any open community is apparent everywhere one looks.

PFLAG’s booth in the Heritage Fair highlights what we know about the role of LGBT individuals in Astoria’s past with the hope that current Astoria residents will help us fill in the gaps between the early settlers and now. What we learn will form the basis for a research project into the contributions of LGBT individuals to Astoria, past and present.

PFLAG (Parents, Family, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) has a three-fold mission – support, education, and advocacy. We constantly strive to educate ourselves and others about the depth and breadth of LGBT contributions to society. PFLAG is proud to represent the contribution of LGBT individuals to Astoria’s history and culture, as part of the Bicentennial Heritage Fair.

submitted: drew herzig

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Q-Community Events

Monday Night Q-Mix at the VooDoo Room.
The Voodoo Room located at 11th & Marine Dr.  in Astoria, hosts an LGBTQ Mixer the first Monday night of the month. Stop in, enjoy a slice of famous Voodoo pizza, relax and schmooze and be your big gay self! 6pm on.

Q-JAZZ coming in May
The Bridgewater Bistro in Astoria begins a new offering in May. Q-Jazz and Song Social invites the LGBTQ Community and friends the third Thursday of each month to enjoy the Basin St. Northwest Jazz Trio, complimentary apps, and piano bar hosted by friends and performance associates Dinah Urell and Walt Trumbull.

Arrive at 8pm for complimentary appetizers and to catch a sampling of piano trio led by Chuck Wilder, and featuring guitarist Dave Drury,  through 8:30. At 8:45, Dinah and Walt will sing it up and welcome you to bring in a standard tune and share your pipes and love for the American popular standard, jazz or blues.

“Think of it as a mixture of karaoke meets Mike Douglas. Songbooks will be available. Its all in the name of fun. And a beautiful spot to spend an evening of socializing and song,” says Urell.

PFLAG OREGON NORTH COAST
Thursday, May 19th – PFLAG OREGON NORTH COAST meeting 6:30 pm, Arts & Cultural Exchange, 120 10th Street, Suite #2, Astoria Guest speakers: a panel of Astoria LGBT Business Owners and Entrepreneurs Everyone welcome! More info: drewherzig@yahoo.com.


Q-Community Events

PRIDE Q-MIX at Three Cups Coffee House joins with Clatsop County Marriage Equality Project.
Third Wednesdays LGBTQ-Mix, formally hosted at the Cannery Café prior to the December fires, will takes place the month of April, at the Three Cups Coffee House in Astoria, THURSDAY, APRIL 20, 6pm to 8pm.

Clatsop County Marriage Equality Project will be on hand to informally discuss the progress of the Statewide ballot measure campaign, led by Basic Rights Oregon and the Rural Organizing Project. Currently Q-Mix is set to schedule for an event every other month at varying locations. If you would like to receive information, send your email and mailing address to ccmepinfo@gmail.com.

Tillamook County Human Dignity Group offers info on Marriage Equality.
Tillamook County Citizens for Human Dignity will offer a brief program and conversation on what the prospect of marriage equality for same-sex couples might mean at its regular potluck on TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 6 to 8 p.m. in the Hatfield Room at the Tillamook County Library, 1716 Third Street. Beverages are provided, but bring your own place setting and a potluck dish to share. For more information call 503 398 5223.

Monday Night Q-Mix at the VooDoo Room.
The Voodoo Room located at jksjkfs Commercial in Astoria, hosts an LGBTQ Mixer the FIRST MONDAY NIGHT of the month. Stop in, enjoy a slice of famous Voodoo pizza, relax and schmooze and be your big gay self! 6pm on.

Q-JAZZ coming in May
The Bridgewater Bistro in Astoria begins a new offering in May. Q-Jazz and Song Social invites the LGBTQ Community and friends the THIRD THURSDAY of each month to enjoy the Basin St. Northwest Jazz Trio, complimentary apps, and piano bar hosted by friends and performance associates Dinah Urell and Walt Trumbull.

Arrive at 8pm for complimentary appetizers and to catch a sampling of piano trio led by Chuck Wilder, and featuring guitarist Dave Drury, through 8:30. At 8:45, Dinah and Walt will sing it up and welcome you to bring in a standard tune and share your pipes and love for the American popular standard, jazz or blues.

“Think of it as a mixture of karaoke meets Mike Douglas. Songbooks will be available. Its all in the name of fun. And a beautiful spot to spend an evening of socializing and song,” says Urell.

Lower Columbia Pacific PFLAG Going on!
The new convergence of a Lower Columbia Pacific PFLAG organization (Parents and Friends of Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender people), now meets at the Arts and Cultural Exchange, 120 10th St., Suite #2A, the first Thursday of the month, 6:30pm. Since February 2011, The group has welcomed several guest speakers, including the Reverend Tara Wilkonson, Executive Director of the Portland-based Community of Welcoming Congregations who spoke eloquently about the work of inclusion and equality for transgender, lesbian, bisexual, gay and questioning persons. In April, the group invites Astoria Chief of Police Peter Curzon.

Want to get in touch with PFLAG. Attend a meeting at the Arts and Cultural Exchange, also email Drew Herzig: drewherzing@yahoo.com.

Tongue Point Gay/Straight Alliance
On Saturday, APRIL 9TH, as part of Astoria’s Second Saturday Art Walk, Arts & Cultural Exchange will unveil “MAKING WAVES”, an art installation created by the Tongue Point Gay/Straight Alliance and friends!

The Tongue Point Gay/Straight Alliance will also be observing the Day of Silence on APRIL 15TH. On the National Day of Silence hundreds of thousands of students nationwide take a vow of silence to bring attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in their schools. And for more information about the Day of Silence, check out the website – http://dayofsilence.org/.


Basic Rights Oregon: A new ad campaign through April

Shelley and Kristinturn your tv on!

OREGON is poised to be the first state to win marriage by a vote of the people. But to have a reasonable expectation of winning at the ballot, Basic Rights Oregon (BRO), needs to get 100,000 more Oregonians to support the freedom to marry by this summer.

Beginning on March 28, BRO launched a 3 week ad campaign airing on local stations throughout Oregon. Two ads, featuring two straight couples are designed with these goals in mind:
-Let friends and neighbors know that, gay or straight, Oregonians want to marry for similar reasons – to make a lifetime commitment to the person they love.
-Reach out to people who are still uncomfortable with marriage equality and remind them that this is about treating others as we would all want to be treated.
-Finally – and this may be the toughest one – we need to focus our message to appeal to the people who still have serious concerns.

This last point is critical: ads and literature aren’t de- signed to motivate those already in support of the freedom to marry. Not just preaching to the choir, but are designed to move the people in the middle.

Executive Director Jeanna Frazinn in an interview with fdjld says this:

“We’ve set out to build a campaign to get folks talking, get out of the head and into the heart. Get people connecting on the values that we all share. Whether you’re a same-sex couple, opposite-sex couple, straight or gay, Oregonians can agree that we believe in fundamental fairness, treating others as we want to be treated, and having a shared understanding of what marriage is. It’s about love and commitment and taking care of one another in good times and bad. This ad campaign is about bringing that conversation to a much broader audience.

It’s terrific to be at a point now where we’ve laid such a solid foundation and been able to build so much enthusiasm for the effort that we were able to raise the resources to run a statewide ad campaign like this. It expands the scope of this conversation in ways that outside of t.v. adver- tising you really can’t reach such a large number of people.

It’s really exciting to think about the kind of change that that makes both in terms of building support on the issue of marriage equality but I think fundamentally in shifting how people view their gay and lesbian neighbors. These are real families, real people who live, work, play and love right alongside folks all across Oregon, and they’re sharing their stories of why marriage matters to them.”