In a decision that I find disappointing, California's Supreme Court decided to uphold Proposition 8, thus continuing California's ban on same-sex marriage. The one positive caveat to the decision was that the 18,000 marriages already completed in the state would remain in tact. 18,000 of the millions of gay people in California have equal rights. Yay? Oh well.
The decision ratifying Prop 8 runs in stark contrast to the apparent temperature of much of the United States, with what seems to be a domino effect of same-sex marriage legalization: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and Iowa have all legalized same-sex marriage, Vermont's law will take effect in September, and New York is (hopefully) not far behind.
The bright side of this dark decision comes twofold today. One, Judge Sonia Sotomayor was nominated by President Barack Obama to the highest court in the land, the United States Supreme Court. A month ago, I wrote a piece for Fox Forum predicting Sotomayor to be the best choice for the position. I argued that she fulfilled Obama's call for change, as her appointment would be a historical one (she'd be the first Latino on the Court), and her experience with community building and pro-socal work is extensive. Further, she was named a U.S. District Court judge by George H.W. Bush in 1992 and elevated to her current seat on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by Bill Clinton, giving her a bi-partisan background. She's a liberal judge, but Obama claims that she will "interpret" laws rather than make them.
NEW YORK — Last night, on a cold and blustery May evening, I boarded a boat with a few friends to check out Passion Pit's release party for their new LP, Manners. Despite the weather, hundreds of hipsters and double the amount of leggings came out to dance, drink, smoke and enjoy the new sounds from the Boston based quintet.
First, though, we had to get past the sea-sickness. At the dock on West 41st Street and 12th Avenue, the wind was a bit stronger than we'd all hoped, and much of the early night conversation turned to advice like "just watch the horizon" or "maybe lay off the drinks till we get moving." I even saw one or two dramatic haircuts leaning over the side of the ship.
Finally, the music picked up and the rocking of the boat turned to some of the most creative dancing I've seen since the Knife's concert at CMJ in 2007 (if you've ever watched serious Knife fans dance, you know what I'm talking about). Read More...
On Tuesday morning (May 12), Donald Trump, president of the Miss USA Pageant, decided that the controversial Carrie Prejean, Miss California, can keep her crown. "We've really studied these photos," he said, according to E! Online. "We've made a determination that everything we've seen to date that she's done—some were very beautiful, some were risqué—the pictures taken were acceptable, were fine, and in some cases were lovely pictures. ... We are in the 21st century." Fine. But after the events of recent weeks, the "crown" is perhaps a small detail in this ever-growing saga.
First it was the photos, then the breast implant detail, and neither of those two controversies seemed to legally seal Miss California winner Carrie Prejean's fate. As a gay woman, I'm certainly disgusted by her anti-same sex marriage stance, but as an American, I believe in free speech, and am more disturbed by the concept that that sort of litmus test could be used to determine the winner of a national pageant. As much as it irks me to say so, I don't think Perez Hilton's question about same-sex marriage was fair. Did we really expect Miss California to come up with the articulate and diplomatic answer of "Well, Perez, I really believe that the question of marriage should be left up to the states not the federal government?" I don't think so. She spoke her opinion, and while I don't agree with or applaud that opinion, I applaud her for expressing it. Sadly, so did the audience.
On Wednesday night, I attended "Stand Up and Be Counted," a fundraiser for the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village
(ASYV) in Rwanda.
ASYV is a residential community, as well as high school, in Rwanda. It houses youth who lost their parents during the horrific 1994 Rwandan racial strife, when over 1 million ethnic Tutsis were killed by Hutus. In college, I actually wrote a chapter of my honors thesis in part on the Rwandan genocide, and knowing the details of the tragedy, I was excited to be a part of an event held by such an organization.
I arrived with John Norris as my date; we walked the carpet together (I'm not sure we were fooling anyone, even though I called him my "boyfriend" twice — oh well!), and went inside to a completely packed room at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square. I brushed shoulders with Whitney Port, Spencer Grammer (Kelsey's daughter) and actress Susan Egan. I think Natalie Portman may have been there too (she's on the board of the organization) but I didn't see her.
After a few speakers and an excellent short film about the residents of ASYV, artist Michael Israel put on a rock-art-interactive performance, which was actually excellent. Read More...
SAN FRANCISCO — "I'm going to Hollywood, wooooooooooooahhh!" Green Day's Tre Cool exclaimed, breaking out of a suite at a hotel where the band has been doing interviews, just a few miles from their East Bay home base. The hallway had been quiet for hours until this point, and there was no apparent reason for Cool's exclamation, but that's probably why he did it in the first place.
The first time I heard Green Day I was at an interschool dance in 6th grade. My boyfriend (!!!) Brandon and I were slow-dancing when all of a sudden, the volume was raised and a unique voice invaded the room. "Basket Case," from Green Day's breakthrough album Dookie, was requested at every subsequent "dance" from that point forward.
Now, almost two decades later, Green Day has pushed boundaries again with their forthcoming album, 21st Century Breakdown.
The album's lyrics are political, revolutionary, angry and hopeful; sonically, the album harkens back to the Who and Queen, and brings an influence of classic rock marked with a large, sometimes abrasive sound that is markedly distinct from 2004's American Idiot. Breakdown, with its 3-minute pop songs, reminds me of Billie Joe Armstrong's roots and the power of Dookie.
From FoxNews.com: Once again, President Barack Obama’s campaign promises and statements about “changing Washington” have come back to haunt him. The young, vibrant candidate who stole Iowa from Hillary and took the presidency by storm with exclamations of “hope” and “Yes We Can”s is now in the hot seat and realizing that revamping a centuries-old system is not as easy as winning an election. Continue reading at FoxNews.com …
FROM THE HUFFINGTON POST: President Obama is nearing the end of his "First 100 Days." While important policy decisions, both foreign and domestic, are at hand, the president and his team must also think hard and be cautious of what kind of "personality" the White House will be perceived to have by everyone watching. Every decision Obama makes has the capacity to make him look strong, weak, timid, hawkish, radical, compromising, and the list goes on. In addition, in 2009, which he has forecasted to be a "difficult year," it is more than likely that he will be called all of those things, but will have to stay focused and strong in his decision-making.
Continue reading Kim's opinion of President Obama's decision-making at HuffingtonPost.com.
NEW YORK — Last night, I hit the release party for Asher Roth's Asleep in the Bread Aisle LP, the debut full-length from the young, much-hyped rapper.
Considering he's already had a mixtape out, The Greenhouse Effect, as well as a plethora of tracks all over the Internet, I almost did a double-take when I saw an "Asher Roth Release Party" invite in my mailbox — but hey, these days people seem to come to "release parties" for the party rather than the release.
And a party it was! It was held in a three-floor penthouse at the Rivington Hotel on the Lower East Side, packed with bloggers, label reps and other industry peeps — not to mention kegs and college-style party cups that each displayed the Asher Roth crown logo. Asher and his "Roth Boys," Brian Langley and Thomas Boyd, arrived at around 11 p.m. or so, and situated themselves at the back of the second floor, where a small bathroom looked out onto downtown Manhattan. Read More...
Posted 4/13/09 3:19 pm EST by Kim Stolz in Uncategorized
FROM THE HUFFINGTON POST: It's no secret or surprise that musical artists from the '60s, '70s and '80s are much enraged by what the Internet has done for record sales and music piracy. When I interviewed Stevie Nicks last week, she explained that part of the reason for releasing her new "Live in Chicago" DVD was to show "the kids" a real rock show. In addition, she told me, as so many artists have, that "downloads are the end." We all know that the music industry is in a fragile state right now.
Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of the new stuff. The electro-pop and indie-rock genres are innovative and exciting, and arguably, hip-hop and rap are truly flourishing genres (see Lil Wayne, Tha Carter III, 3X platinum). However, I can't help but wonder, what if this is the last wave before utter destruction of the music scene, both in quality and production? And further, what if the tangible threat that "technology" poses on the music and movies industries is reflected more subtly but equally as strongly, in literature, friendship and even love?
Continue reading Kim Stolz's post about Facebook, Twitter and texting at HuffingtonPost.com.
Today, the Vermont Legislature overrode Governor Jim Douglas' veto of the bill allowing same-sex couples in the state to marry legally. Vermont, with this measure, became the fourth state to legalize gay marriage, along with Massachusetts, Connecticut and everyone's favorite wild card, Iowa. (Come on, New York! Seriously.)
What is exceptional about this story, however, is that Vermont is the first state to legalize gay marriage by legislation rather than a ruling which, to many, signals an even greater sea change for gay rights in America.
With that in mind, our attention turns to Proposition 8, which the Supreme Court of California must decide to uphold or overturn by June 5, three months after the court heard oral arguments. While those of us in the LGBTQ community obviously would like to see Proposition 8 overturned, I'd like to pose a caveat to that argument.