This summer, a Los Angeles gay bar called the Abbey banned bachelorette parties from its establishment until marriage equality is achieved, which sparked discussion in LGBTQ communities elsewhere about the tradition of straight bachelorettes celebrating impending nuptials in queer spaces. Here in Portland, a gay bar called CC Slaughters announced it would permit bachelorettes and their parties to celebrate there provided they didn't “flaunt it.” That is to say, bridal veils, tiaras, penis hats – and, presumably, sequined “Bride” T-shirts – now have to be checked at the door.
Just how long brides-to-be have been crashing the gates of gay bars for pre-nuptial fun, I can't say: the bachelorette party itself is a relatively new phenomenon (historical info online is spotty, but the first how-to-plan-a-bachelorette-party guide was published in 1998, and etiquette and bridal books only started referencing this alternative to the bridal shower in the 1960s). Why precisely dancing at a gay bar, or seeing a drag show, evolved as the counterpart to male bachelor party traditions (mostly, if Hollywood is telling me the truth, going to Vegas and either accidentally marrying strippers or accidentally killing them) is another question.
Part of it at least stems from a perception of gay bars as safe spaces for straight women – where they can drink or dance without likelihood of being hit on or groped the way they might be in straight clubs. (I like dancing in queer clubs for just this reason – and sometimes drag my computer or a book to happy hour at the gay bar in my neighborhood, partly because they have really good drink specials and partly because I know no one will tap my shoulder and ask me what I'm reading or working on.) Perhaps seeing a drag show, or dancing with gay men, or watching male strippers might provide straight women with a means to act out sexually without running a real risk of zero-hour infidelity (the likelihood of which is the running joke in pretty much all plans and narratives around bachelor/ette parties).
Yesterday, Republican Presidential hopeful Herman Cain clashed with Piers Morgan about whether or not people are born gay. Here's the video:
The important thing to know is that Cain sets out saying that "homosexuality is a sin" because of his "Biblical beliefs," but Morgan quickly steers the conversation into "born this way" territory, outraged that Cain won't concede his point. Cain's response: "What does science show? You show me evidence other than opinion, and you might cause me to reconsider that... Where's the evidence?"
As their biggest hits in the US were love songs, one may forget that much of Savage Garden's music is decidedly dark, especially on their eponymous debut. Major themes on Savage Gardeninclude depression ("To the Moon and Back," "Santa Monica") and troubled or abusive relationships ("Tears of Pearls," "Break Me Shake Me," "A Thousand Words"). As might be expected from a group named after an Anne Rice quote—"The mind of each man is a savage garden"—the gothic subculture was a major influence musically and aesthetically; the liner notes featured artwork from Hieronymus Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights. The stunning song "Mine" was axed from the USA release for its reference to "crosses and crucifixes" and replaced by a cute track about how people shouldn't break promises. Still, there's no real losing with Savage Garden, because regardless of how bright or dreary each song is, they share an essential quality: terrific, poetic songwriting.
Yesterday, the United States Senate is holding a few hearings (such things are germane to their jobs). One of them, on the Judiciary Committee, is focused on an evaluation of the damage the Defense Against Marriage Act has caused American families. While the House GOP is congratulating itself over an empty "cap, cut, and balance" bill as part of their debt ceiling negotiations, the Democrat-run Senate is thumbing it to them by talking about LGBT rights. Or more specifically, same-sex marriage rights. Which some would argue aren't LGBT rights at all, but old-school gay rights. What's the difference, exactly?