Archive for August, 2011|Monthly archive page

Outrage: Documentary Few Saw

Outrage: the actions of closeted homosexual, gay, bisexual and lesbian politicians who vote against any legislation that advances the rights and offers benefits to gay people, including gay marriage, benefits, equal protection under the law, gays in the military.

Outrage: closeted homosexual, and out gay, bisexual and lesbian politicians political operatives who run political campaigns that demonize homosexuality and strike fear into people in order to have their candidates win elections.

Outrage: the energy that motivates certain reporters and bloggers to report on the closeted political figures who are hypocritical because they demonize gay and lesbian people.

Outrage: what viewers might feel as they watch the movie Outrage

The argument is that these repressed people with homosexual desires attack the gay, lesbian community more in order to be seen as not gay or lesbian. There is some validity to this, especially for people who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s. The outing is a fight back method to force these politicians to end their hypocricy. The belief is that if everyone comes out then it will be harder for people to be anti-gay/lesbian.

There are interesting questions about the psychology of these politicians and political operatives but also about the people who marry them and what there lives must be like being with someone who is leading a double life.

What works less successfully are:

The movie does not address the page scandal that rocked Congress in the early 1980s, virtually forcing Congressman Gerry Stubbs to come out. Nor does it discuss Congressman Bob Bauman and his arrest for attempting to solicit sex from a male prostitute. These would have been interesting to establish context and to discusds how difficult it is for some people to come out.

whether being a Republican means more as an identity to these politicians and political operatives than being gay or lesbian. One could argue that the politicians are being hypocritical but also are Republicians who believe in most of the party’s creed. They care less about their gay identity, if they even have such an identity.

whether the politicians can vote against these laws because they view the laws as having no effect on their daily lives as opposed to the effect that coming out would have on their lives.

Out In Major Leagues

Versus Television showed a fascinating documentary on Glenn Burke, the Los Angeles Dodger and Oakland A who was out of the closet while on these teams.

As a gay man and a huge sports fan I already knew Burke’s story. When I played gay softball in Boston there were other people who played minor league professional baseball who were on teams. Burke played semi-professional gay softball after leaving professional baseball in the early 1980s.

The documentary asks tons of people to discuss Glenn’s story and is a great look at his childhood through the days in the Castro as its sports king. Burke certainly faced prejudice from several managers, including Tommy Lasorda and Billy Martin. I had no idea that Lasorda had a gay son and that he was not reconciled with that fact, which is very sad.

The documentary does a good job of asking how Glenn Burke’s homosexuality hurt him among the team leaders.

The documentary misses an important question and focus: how did Burke’s homosexuality affect his baseball playing.

Burke is a four-tool man: run, hit with power, great arm and great defense: lacking hitting for average. What happened when he reached the show is that much of the talent remained unrealized.

When Burke was traded from the Dodgers, probably through Lasorda’s machinations, a person in the documentary asserted he was hitting .250. Actually, Burke played in sixteen games, scored two runs, drove in two runs, had no home runs and was hitting .211.  Not a valuable utility player’s statistics.  His average barely rose in the 1979 season in Oakland. My question is did Burke put in the work necessary to make himself a better ballplayer? We heard he spent a lot of time in the Castro District having a ball. No problem except you have to do your job well or it is possible that you will lose it. This is called work ethic and gay or not, it is vital.

We hear from players on the Dodgers and the Athletics that Burke would frequently not ride on the buses or sleep in the same hotel as the team. This is bad for team morale and chemistry. The documentary did not ask the players if heterosexual players did something similar. Did big stars do this? Did they have women and groupies waiting for them to drive them away as Burke did? If they did, how did the other players’ on the team react?

Two Day Trip

Ah, western Virginia. Into the mountains and the small towns along the Blue Ridge. First day hit Staunton, birthplace of Woodrow Wilson and Billy Haines. President Wilson’s library and museum have much to see. Collections of his personal memorabilia and everything to do with the events of his time. Women’s suffrage, World War I, including old Pierce Arrow autos.

There is no marker for actor Billy Haines’ birthplace. The M-G-M star of the 1920s made a post-movie career for himself as an interior decorator for the stars. He and his partner Jimmy Shields lived a long happily married life.

Went to the local farmer’s market and were amazed at the size and amount of vegetables and other items. Great number of businesses along the main street, Beverly but less so in other parts of downtown. Very helpful visitor’s center.

Down Route 81 to Roanoke, Virginia. We went to the Taubman Museum to see its collection.

The building is a great design but it really lacks effective connection to the local streets. The cafe is hidden and there are no entrances to the Market Square where many locals and tourists go for food and activities.

We enjoyed much of the collection and really enjoyed Tim Tate’s exhibit.

The show had beautiful imagery inside glass reliquaries and on the walls beside the glass pieces. It really drew raves from staff and visitors.

After going to our hotel and relaxing, we drove back downtown to look at the Market Center area for dinner. We were surprised to see pricey menus and eventually opted for a sea food restaurant in the Grandin Court neighborhood. Home to hipppies who could afford to move out of downtown, the area had an art deco movie theater, a ballet theater, and a few co-ops and natural foods locations.

Eventually, we returned to downtown and drove past a few of the local gay bars.  The neighborhood place had a big pool table and a small counter area. The dnace club wasn’t opened yet and the other palce seemed more gay-friendly than gay.

Next day we drove to Otters Peak and saw the National Park Service’s Johnson Family Farm from the 1850s. Enjoyed the excursion in the woods and seeing fauns. Then off to Otter Peak Vineyard to taste wines made of fruits, including plum, apple, and mango (Plumlicious, and Mango Tango were some of the 11 names for these sweet after-dinner wines).

Stopped in a small town called Bedford for a walk around and lunch at a nice little restaurant, Court Street Pizza. Nice to see all the small businesses that can continue to flourish in a small county seat.