As visitors to this blog surely know from my avatar, I worship and adore the great Charles Walters as both one of the most glorious (yet sadly little-sung) geniuses of the Golden Age of Hollywood, and one of the most interesting gay men of all time. It’s his birthday today — a day he shares with Rock Hudson (the most famous gay man of all time) and Martin Scorsese, one of my all-time favorite heterosexuals.
My but times have changed since Chuck was one of “Freed’s Fairies” over at MGM. Consider this fait divers:
“SHILOH, Ill. – A picture book about two male penguins raising a baby penguin is getting a chilly reception among some parents who worry about the book’s availability to children and the reluctance of school administrators to restrict access to it.
The concerns are the latest involving “And Tango Makes Three,” the illustrated children’s book based on a true story of two male penguins in New York City’s Central Park Zoo that adopted a fertilized egg and raised the chick as their own.
Complaining about the book’s homosexual undertones, some parents of Shiloh Elementary School students believe the book available to be checked out of the school’s library in this 11,000-resident town 20 miles east of St. Louis tackles topics their children aren’t ready to handle.”
Oh my stars! Gay Penguins? Whodathunk it? Surely not this Concerned Mother
Lilly Del Pinto thought the book looked charming when her 5-year-old daughter brought it home in September. Del Pinto said she was halfway through reading it to her daughter “when the zookeeper said the two penguins must be in love.”
“That’s when I ended the story,” she said.
What a grouch! Guess you’re not planning to see Happy Feet, hunh? (Those dancing penguins MUST be gay!)
Meanwhile on the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” front
“WASHINGTON — Pentagon guidelines that classified homosexuality as a mental disorder now put it among a list of conditions or “circumstances” that range from bed-wetting to fear of flying.
The new rules are related to the military’s retirement practices. The change does not affect the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that prohibits officials from inquiring about the sex lives of service members and requires discharges of those who openly acknowledge being gay.
The revision came in response to criticism this year when it was discovered that the guidelines listed homosexuality alongside mental retardation and personality disorders.”
So now we’re bedwetters. Such progress — it’s positively breathtaking!
That’s the word from Dallas tourism officials attempting to lure gay and lesbian visitors with a message that the city is a great place for them to spend their time and money.
“Big D” is a diverse metropolitan area that “has left behind stereotypes of big-haired women and rowdy cowboys — that is, unless you count sassy drag queens and strapping gay rodeo champs,” according to a Web site operated by the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“Our Secret is Out” proclaims the site, which features images of same-sex couples enjoying the local sights.
“It’s not about being politically correct, it’s about being economically correct,” said Phillip Jones, president and CEO of the tourism bureau. He said gay travelers spend an average of $100 more per day than other travelers and plan four to six trips a year.
The city’s appeals won over the Washington-based Family Pride Coalition. The gay family advocacy group conducted its national conference in Dallas last month after the bureau made a presentation at the organization’s D.C. office.
Though some members were initially reluctant to bring their meeting to Texas — where a gay-marriage ban passed with 76 percent support last year — Dallas was chosen over Minneapolis and Chicago, said the group’s Executive Director Jennifer Chrisler.
“There’s a very large and vibrant gay parenting community in Dallas and an even larger gay and lesbian community in Texas — that coupled with the fact that Texas is a place where there is still a lot of work to be done to educate people about gays and lesbians and what their lives are like, what their families are like,” she said. “It really made Dallas the right choice at the right time.”
With about 250 people attending, Jones said winning the Family Pride conference was the bureau’s biggest success so far. The weekend drew rave reviews.
“I think it was an extraordinarily positive experience in that most of the participants found Dallas to be a warm, receptive inviting place for them,” Chrisler said.
About 20 gay-oriented meetings have come to the city since the promotion began two years ago, Jones said. About six events are scheduled over the next year, including a gay rodeo.
The tourism bureau put up the Web site this year, listing more than 20 gay-friendly hotels, shopping areas, tourist attractions and night clubs.
“We’ve come a long way since the days of the saloon,” the site says. “Everyone should experience the queer life and rich history of this ‘Texas-sized’ city.”
So all you cowboys, penguins and bedwetters get together for the big finale, as peerlessly performed by June Allyson, Peter Lawford and the entire cast of Good News
“We’ve al -ways thought,
know -ledge is naught;
We should be taught
Right here at Tait,
We’re up to date;
We teach a great
Don’t think that I brag.
I speak of the Drag.
Why should a Shiek
learn how to speak
Lat -in or Greek
Give him a neat
mot -to com -plete,
“Say it with feet
First les -son right now;
You’ll love it and how you’ll love it!
Here is the Drag,
See how it goes.
Down on the heels,
up on the toes.
That’s the way to do the Var -si -ty Drag.
Hot -ter than hot,
New -er than new.
Mean -er than mean,
Blu -er than blue.
Gets as much ap -plause as wav -ing the Flag.
You can pass
man -y a class,
wheth -er your dumb or wise.
If you all
an -swer the call,
when your pro -fess -or cries:
Ev -‘ry -bo -dy
Down on the heels,
up on the toes,
Stay af -ter school, Learn how it goes.
Ev -‘ry -bo -dy do the Var -si -ty Drag”.