by Steven Foster
And the winners are…. Click on the links for the 2010 Outsmart Readers’ Choice Award Winners.
In honor of the new communications craze that’s changed all our lives, we instant messaged some of this year’s Gayest & Greatest (both the web-savvy and the tech-challenged) to find out how they’re using social media to keep in touch with their community—gay & straight, local & global, in-person and on-line.
These days you’ve got to be a Foursquare mayor. You’ve got to vlog or blog, occasionally participating in the debate of Wordpress versus Tumblr (though, admittedly, you only do this online and not at cocktail parties). You must post pithy tweets, and update your Facebook status with witty vigilance if you want to stay visible and, to many employers, viable. But don’t share too much, flame your boss in a sudden unchecked itchy-fingered rage, or post pix from those vodka-soaked Saturday nights. Two of this fall’s most buzzed-about movies tackle the Facebook phenomenon, from the legal (David Fincher’s The Social Network) to the lurid (the creepy independent Catfish).
Why not examine this revolution through a local lens? To do just that, we IM’d, texted, Googled, Skyped, emailed, and, yes, spoke with, a selection of this year’s Gayest & Greatest Winners to find out their thoughts on the subject. Let’s see how they keep in touch with their followers, and who they follow. Are they texting? Tweeting? Do they Grind? We think you’ll be surprised at some of their answers. ; )
And, as always, we’ll share with you some of our G&G faves that we think you’d like…and a few that we’re unfriending.
Congratulations to all of this year’s winners. You’re the Best.
Donna Buchanan, Buchanan’s Native Plants
Best Garden/Nursery Supply
Facebook friends: 123. Wall sample: “Having brekkie at Café Express . . . French toast is great!!” Fotos of self: one. How often do you update your FB? I’m kind of negligent about my personal Facebook, but my business has a page and I’m pretty good about updating that. Ever unfriended anybody? Yes, I have. Do you tweet or blog? No, I don’t. Do you consider yourself a cyber exhibitionist or voyeur? Voyeur. I just like to see what other people are doing. Have you ever Googled yourself? Um, my personal self? I think I did, yeah. I don’t remember what I found. I don’t think I found me. Last handwritten letter or card you mailed was . . . ? Ooooh. [Laughs] I think it was probably in the last year. Maybe once. How has the new social media impacted your business? I think marginally. But I think it’s good for my business. I believe it’d be better if I’d be better at it.
Best Hairdresser (Female)
Facebook friends: 316. Wall sample: “It’s a head ’til happy hour.” Fotos of self: 22. How often do you update your FB? At least once a day. Ever unfriended anybody? Yes. When the past catches you, you just gotta block. Do you tweet or blog? No. I’m a text message queen. Do you consider yourself a cyber exhibitionist or voyeur? I guess that just depends on my mood. Sometimes I feel like cyber stalker. Have you ever Googled yourself? Yes, I have, and I found out I was wanted by the law in Chicago. And I was like, That’s not me. Wrong Patty Gooch! Last handwritten letter or card was? I think it was a couple weeks ago. I sent a thank-you card to a client. Has any of the new media impacted your business? Actually, I think it has. It’s helped a great deal. I’ll post something about my roots, and suddenly my phone will be filled up with messages from people saying, “I need to get my roots done! I need an appointment!” Do you feel more in touch or less in touch? Probably more. I’m not real big on talking on the phone. So I keep in touch this way. If there was a Grindr for lesbians, would you Grind? [Laughs] Not that I’d admit it.
Best Personal Trainer (Male)
People like this: 143. Wall sample: “Starting today, I’ll be posting healthy lifestyle and workout tips at least twice a week. I hope you enjoy them and find them helpful! I also hope they don’t get annoying to those of you who will read them.” Fotos of self: one. How often do you update your FB? Personal? Probably every other day. Professional one, twice a week. Ever unfriended anybody? Off my personal page, yes. Do you tweet or blog? I don’t do either, actually. Do you consider yourself a cyber exhibitionist or voyeur? Probably a little bit of both. Depends on my mood. Have you ever Googled yourself? Yes. Last handwritten letter or card was? Actually, just a couple weeks ago. I’m a big believer in thank-you notes, cards, and birthday cards. How has the new social media impacted your business? Since I just started it, I don’t believe it’s had much success yet. But through my personal page, I’ve had people approach me to be clients. Do you feel more in touch or less in touch? Actually more. I have a lot of friends who live out of town, so we’re able to keep in touch a lot easier. It feels like I’m much more involved in their personal lives even though I’m in another city. Are you a Grindr? No, I’m not.
Leading Female Fundraiser
You’re not on Facebook. Why? I’ve made so many enemies because of my politics, why would I put myself out there? No blogging, vlogging, or tweeting then? I shy away from the whole area. I like to call people and hear their voices. I like the personal touch. I’m not opposed to [the communication revolution], it’s certainly connected a lot of people. I like the old-fashioned way. I’m an old-fashioned girl. Have you ever Googled yourself? Heavens, no. Why would I? Last handwritten letter or card was? I send one every day.
Favorite Blogger (Male)
Facebook friends: 1,678. “My Project Runway recap! Jackie NO. And GOD I hate Ivy.” Fotos of self: 329. Twitter followers: 1,233. Tweets: 34,016. Sample: The interview this morning happened. Me. @Dolly_Parton. On the phone. Amazing. How
often do you update your FB? I try to update it every day. Because I blog every day I put my articles on there, concerts review, whatever. Ever unfriended anybody? I did unfriend somebody. I didn’t know who he was. He was somebody running for political office and he was very conservative. The key to blogging is consistency. Do you ever just hate doing it? Honestly, no. I love what I do so much. Do you consider yourself a cyber exhibitionist or voyeur? [Laughs] Hmmm. I guess because of so much of what I do is promotion of myself and what I write, I would have to say exhibitionist. Have you ever Googled yourself? Uh, yeah. [Laughs] Last handwritten letter or card was? A note for my niece, but I left it. I didn’t actually send it. Do you feel more in touch or less in touch? I feel much more in touch. There are people all across the country that read what I write. And if my stuff just existed in print, they’d never read my stuff. Are you a Grindr? I have a partner and he probably wouldn’t like that.
Phyllis Randolph Frye
Most Prominent GLBT Female Activist, Runner-up
Facebook? I don’t Facebook. Do you tweet or blog? I do not tweet, but I am one of the forerunners of the blog. I have an eblast list, and I send out the “Phyllabuster” that I started in 1995 before anybody knew what a blog was. Have you ever Googled yourself? Yes, I have, and I’ve been pleased because it goes on, page after page after page. And I’ve been disappointed because my main listing for my law firm doesn’t pop up. Last handwritten letter or card was? Hmm. Um, a couple months ago. Why don’t you use any of these new communication technologies? With my notoriety, I’m on so many lists, I get 50 to 150 emails every day. I don’t have time to see how many hits I got on my Facebook. And I don’t text. I’d rather talk to somebody in person. Do you feel cultural and societal acceptance of the transgender community is changing with the speed of communication technology? I think changes have been radical. And I mean radical in a good sense. When you consider in 1992, the transgender community was not accepted as an equal partner in the LGBT community, and now, a mere 18 years later, we are fully integrated to the place that we originally were during the Stonewall riots. It’s very gratifying to see us regain our rightful place in the LGBT community. I’m very pleased with how things are going.
OutSmart commented on Andy Whitfield’s status
The most proudly soft-core pornographic T&A (and D&A) fleshfest on cable, Spartacus: Blood & Sand, was a boner-fide hit for cable’s redheaded stepchild Starz network, and deservedly so. Special effects were surprisingly vivid. Fights were choreographed with a visceral panache. Flesh was bared as much as scenery was chewed, often by lesbian icon Lucy Lawless, who still looks amazing. And the show was surprisingly grounded by a bravura performance by the soulful and sexy Andy Whitfield as Spartacus. So when it was revealed in June that Whitfield was diagnosed with cancer, Starz postponed production to wait for his recovery. Signs pointed toward hopeful. But on September 19, the network issued a statement saying Whitfield’s cancer is back and he is forced to leave the series to undergo aggressive treatment for his second battle with the disease. OutSmart hopes Whitfield’s cancer is vanquished just as successfully as his character’s gladiator opponents. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.
Most Valuable Male Volunteer, Runner-up
Facebook friends: 527. Wall sample: “Done with the gym . . . now craving ice cream. NOOOOOO!” Fotos of self: 31. How often do you update your FB? Every day. Three or four times a day, I’m sure. Ever unfriended anybody? Uh, yes. [Laughs] Do you tweet or blog? I use bing.fm, so it updates both my Twitter and my Facebook accounts. Do you consider yourself a cyber exhibitionist or voyeur? [Laughs] Probably an exhibitionist. Have you ever Googled yourself? Yes, I have. Last handwritten letter or card was? Oh gosh, it’s been years. Are you a Grindr? Yes, I am on Grindr.
Jenifer Rene Poole
Favorite Radio Personality (Female)
Favorite quotations: Churchill’s “Never, ever, ever give up” and “Do or don’t do, there is no try” by Yoda.
Likes: 97 Fotos of self: 132. How often do you update your FB? Oh gosh, probably once a month. I mean I go on every day to check friend requests or my messages, but as far as updating the information, maybe once a month. Ever unfriended anybody? No. I’ve never run into—knock on wood—an individual who was abusive and needed it. Do you tweet or blog? I do a weekly radio program called Common Sense on the Internet, and that’s where I do my blogging, if you will. Do you consider yourself a cyber exhibitionist or voyeur? It would have to be a voyeur. I’m out there, but I’m more of a watcher and a listener. I learn more by listening than I do by talking. Have you ever Googled yourself? Oh God, yes! Last handwritten letter or card was? I come from an era where you send thank-you notes. A handwritten letter? It’s been quite a while. How has the new social media impacted your career? Probably the single greatest advantage I’ve found is finding people you’ve lost touch with. If there was a Grindr for lesbians, would you Grind? [Laughs] You know what? I’ll have to give that some thought.
Tim Wilde, Male Uwear
Best GLBT Businessperson (Male)
Facebook friends: 2,924. Wall sample: “Foam Party at South Beach tonight. Come in and get your undies for the party.” Fotos of self: 52. How often do you update your FB? Mine, I don’t update very often. The business site, I update it almost every day. Ever unfriended anybody? Yep. Do you tweet or blog? No. Do you consider yourself a cyber exhibitionist or voyeur? I do a lot of both. Have you ever Googled yourself? Uh, yeah. Who hasn’t? Last handwritten letter or card was? Actually, it was about a month ago. How has the new social media impacted your business? I think it has in a positive way. It’s definitely a cheaper form of advertising. Do you feel more in touch or less in touch? To be honest with you, I don’t see a change. Do you Grind? What’s that?
OutSmart Suggests You Be a Fan of “Save Me”
Dust off an old Orchestral Maneuvers in The Dark song, remaster it, and add vintage vocals from her majesty Aretha Franklin, and what do you get? The year’s hottest, most infectious, and deliriously joyous dance hit. In a year of fantastic singles from the contemporary sirens (Katy Perry, Florence + The Machine, Nicki Minaj), the Queen of Soul ups the ante, and caps off a great year in music with a number that offers Saturday night salvation to clubs the world over.
Monica Pope, t’afia, Midtown Farmer’s Market, Beaver’s
Best GLBT Businessperson (Female)
Facebook friends: 4,042. Twitter followers: 2,061. Blog: Monicaspeak. Fotos of self: two. Fotos of food: (We lost count and had to go eat.) How often do you update your FB? That’s a good question. Do you tweet or blog? I have a blog, monicaSPEAK, and if I tweet, it goes into Facebook, so technically I’m doing it every week. I just got so tired of doing everything, but people wanted to know what I was doing, especially when I traveled, so I send out “twogs,” tweets with a blog. When I’m away, I want to be able to eat and enjoy everything, but still keep in touch. Do you consider yourself a cyber exhibitionist or voyeur? Oh my god. I’m definitely not a voyeur. So does that make me an exhbitionist? There’s gotta be another label for me. Have you ever Googled yourself? I have never Googled myself, but I have warned other people about Googling me. Last handwritten letter or card was? If I received one, I responded in kind with a handwritten note, because it was one of those shocking things to receive. But after [I appeared on] Top Chef Masters, I received a lot. It took me, unfortunately, longer than it should have. I tend to use the computer as a way to write people. It’s easier for me to text, keep it simple and short and sweet. But these people with their feet in the ground, resisting the change? I don’t get it. I think there’s a generation coming that won’t even understand snail mail.
Best Local Non-Drag Entertainer (Male), Runner-up
Facebook friends: 1,287. Wall sample: “Here’s to cheap cosmos, new friends, matchmaking, long walks, venti coffees at 10pm, paychecks, baby daddys, old friends, business, hot messes, and on and on til the break of dawn.” Fotos of self: 463. How often do you update your FB? Oh god, embarrassingly often. Ever unfriended anybody? I’ve never defriended anyone, but I’ve certainly been defriended. I think it’s so passive aggressive and rude! Do you tweet or blog? I don’t tweet and I don’t blog. I’m worried that I might hurt something if I try to tweet. Do you consider yourself a cyber exhibitionist or voyeur? Oooooh. I like to claim versatility. Have you ever Googled yourself? Of course! Hello! I gotta know what people are sayin’! But all that comes up is tie-dye T-shirts, and it usually ends up with me shopping. Last handwritten letter or card was? I sent something to a friend in LA recently. It was a check. But it was handwritten! Do you Grind? Do you mean Grindr? I’m against Grind. I only grind if there’s bumping involved.
Kathy Hubbard, Hubbard Financial
Best GLBT Businessperson (Female)
Do you Facebook? Not until now. My friends are setting one up for me, but I haven’t looked…yet. Have you ever Googled yourself? On occassion. Last handwritten letter or card was? Handwritten note? Last week, using a fountain pen. If Guttenberg hadn’t invented the printing press, we could still be memorizing Beowulf. What are your thoughts on the social media revolution? Times change, tools change. Some things that should evolve don’t. Like the qwerty keyboard. So what’s it like being Houston’s First Lady? I love it! I am excited about the greater variety of issues where I feel I can have a positive impact on Houstonians and Houston. For years I’ve quipped that Annise and I are so far out of the closet that we live on the front lawn. The scrutiny isn’t too much? No, the matter-of-fact activities and ceremonial events that come with the First Lady role are simultaneously making a statement for equality. Social media is a great publicist.
OutSmart Suggests You Be a Fan of BRC’s BRC
Aw, come on, you know why.
Connie Moore, Moore & Hunt
Best Attorney (Female)
Facebook friends: 296. Likes and interests: Chicago Bandits, Sur La Table, Galveston.com, OutSmart magazine, seven others. Fotos of self: 163. How often do you update your FB? I usually don’t update. I pop on occasionally to check on what my family’s doing. Ever unfriended anybody? No. Do you tweet or blog? No. I have a Twitter account! But I can’t keep up with Facebook, so I know I’d never keep up with that. I keep hoping my grandkids will teach me how to do everything, but they just laugh at me. Do you consider yourself a cyber exhibitionist or voyeur? Oh, a voyeur. I’m a lurker. Have you ever Googled yourself? Yes, I have googled myself. Last handwritten letter or card was? I do a lot of handwritten cards. Just last month. Actually handwritten and handmade. Have you experienced any legal impact the new social network has had? Absolutely. It’s amazing what people can find out on someone’s Facebook page. Whether the person posting is your ex-spouse, or your teenager living with the other parent. Attorneys get on their Facebook or MySpace and print all of it before it all goes away. I’ve seen MySpace printouts in official files. It shows up a lot in CPS cases, suspects of abuse or neglect. You bet I’ve used that information about the opposing party.
OutSmart is unfriending Chelsea Handler
Or is it “defriend”? Maybe the OED got it wrong . . . Oh, who cares? We’re done with you. At the end of your show, you sign copies of your abysmally written and painfully unfunny books with obvious disdain. You criticize E! programming while exec-producing similar swill like Pretty Wild, the reality show with the pole-dancing sluts of the Bling Ring. You threw Grey Goose under the bus when Belvedere sponsored your tour (and then lied about the reason, saying Grey Goose had sugar). And, lastly, stop shoving your staff of mediocre comics and their behind-the-scenes antics in our faces. The navel-gazing in-jokes are boring, the skits are cringe-inducing, and the only reason to watch clips of a pool party at your $35,000-a-month Hollywood pad is if one of you drowns. Put down the Belvedere and serve yourself a big fat slice of humble pie.
Best Physician, Male
Facebook friends: 344. Wall sample: “Gordon Crofoot spent his birthday teaching students in the Mayan villages of Yucatan, Mexico, about HIV education & prevention, followed by birthday wishes in English, Spanish and Mayan.” Fotos of self: 29. How often do you update your FB? Daily. Ever unfriended anybody? No. Do you tweet or blog? We blog through our office site. Do you consider yourself a cyber exhibitionist or voyeur? Neither. Have you ever Googled yourself? Yes. I think it’s important to see what other people are seeing. And every employee I interview, I Google them. Last handwritten letter or card was? Last weekend. But I don’t do that very often. How has the new social media impacted your practice? [Laughs] I went through medical school 36 years ago, and they never taught anything about this then. Now my patients know all about me because of the Internet. And I’m able to find out details about them. If a patient is concerned about their weight gain, I can see that they’ve hosted a brownie party at their house and posted it on Facebook. I can tell them, “Well, if you want to lose weight, you might want to lay off the brownie parties.”
OutSmart Shares a Link with you
Your Tax Dollars at Work (I’m in the blue gloves)
A platoon of camo-wearing jarheads gyrating, step-by-step, to a line dance more associated with boozy weddings than a war zone. Is it funny? (It’s hysterical.) Sexy? (Kinda, yeah.) Gay? (Well, one of the guys seems pretty Justin Timberlight with his booty-shakin’.) But we believe the real beauty of this clip—and why it’s received over 1,600,00 hits—is that in the middle of a far more dangerous dance these men perform every day, they can, however briefly, have a few steps of macho, goofy, choreographed bliss. And you know what? They’re pretty damn good, too. We hope they and their brothers and sisters in uniform come home safely to show us these super-groovy moves in person. And now that the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell imploded in the senate, the ones who can’t be out will get out (of the service) and live out, free. If gays and lesbians walked out, en masse, that molasses-paced Pentagon study would come out so fast and be so pro-gay, it’d make John McCain’s deranged head spin.
Best Insurance Agent (Male)
Facebook friends: 494. Wall sample: “Watching WILD HOGS. This movie stinks, the script is so weak it’s like sucking on lemons.” Fotos of self: 10. How often do you update your FB? Maybe once a week or so. Ever unfriended anybody? Yes, once or twice. Do you tweet or blog? No, I’m not on Twitter and I don’t have a blog. But I do enjoy Facebook. Do you consider yourself a cyber exhibitionist or voyeur? [Laughs] I’m neither one. At work I have a network of 10 computers, and when I get home I don’t wanna deal with it. Have you ever Googled yourself? Oh, yes. Last handwritten letter or card was? Probably within the last 30 days. For a birthday card, two weeks. But I like the social media. I think it brings people together.
An OutSmart Tweet
Diva dykes, crooning bears, gay-loving straights. It’s Thursday karaoke @ The Usual!!! Best sing-a-long on any side of the tracks!
Clint Herzog, DDS, Floss
Best Dentist, Male (Tie)
People like this: 806. Wall sample: “I had the honor of being quoted on E! News Online! Check out the story for more on the current real-life vampire teeth craze.” Fotos: 25 albums. How often do you update your FB? We blog daily and tweet on a regular basis. We have a pretty systematic way to stay engaged with our patients and friends. Ever unfriended anybody? [Laughs] No. You know what my feeling on that is? You can say whatever you want, and our friends on Facebook will take up for us. Do you consider yourself a cyber exhibitionist or voyeur? [Laughs] I’m kind of an exhibitionist. I’m gonna live full-out and lay it all out all there. Have you ever Googled yourself? Not in the last five years, no. People tell me what they find. Now I might be afraid to Google myself. Critics blame all the new social media for everything from shorter attention spans to the death of eloquent correspondence. When was the last handwritten letter or card you sent? You know, I handwrite thank-you notes daily. And as far as the criticism about this new communication: you can ride the trend or get hit by the wave. I’d like to ride the front wave . . . on the long board. How has the new social media impacted your business? Both positively and negatively, so it helps me run a better business. You’re a brilliant marketer, and you have advertised creatively and consistently to the gay community. Why? You know, it stems from early in my career. I’m kind of a big proponent of fairness. And I love people. I’ve been a big part of the gay community here in Dallas and now in Houston. I was the first straight guy on the gay softball team in Dallas. Really? Yep. The token straight. [Laughs]
Favorite Radio Personality (Male); Lead Male Fundraiser, Runner-up; Most Valuable Male Volunteer, Runner-up
Facebook friends: 2,240. Wall sample: “Ouch! Pink dollars unite!” [Attached link of Target’s and Best Buy’s lost gay dollars.] Fotos of self: 646. How often do you update your FB? Many times a day. Ever unfriended anybody? No. Do you tweet or blog? I don’t tweet. I’m considering starting a vlog. I did it on a cruise and I kinda liked it. I have a YouTube channel. Do you consider yourself a cyber exhibitionist or voyeur? I’m kind of a cyber exhibitionist. I get accused by my partner of posting too much. I’m kind of a Facebook ho, I think. Have you ever Googled yourself? I have. Last handwritten letter or card was? It’s been a few months. How has the new social media impacted your endeavors? I think it’s helped tremendously. I worked on the Annise Parker campaign. I think it’s opened the world of fundraising. Do you feel more in touch or less in touch? More in touch. I can instantly know what a hundred of my friends are doing at any given time. That would have been impossible years ago. Are you a Grindr? I do not Grind. I’m in a very happy monogamous relationship. The funny thing is, I go to Meteor and I see people Grinding at Meteor. It’s like, You’re at a gay bar, what are you doing?
Best Massage Therapist (Male)
Facebook friends: 437. Wall sample: “Save the date! Come visit my studio and see new work: Oct 2, 5–9pm [at Winterstreet].” Fotos of self: 31. How often do you update your FB? Whoa, not very often! Maybe once every couple weeks. Ever unfriended anybody? I have unfriended some people. Do you tweet or blog? I do not tweet and I do not blog. But I’m planning to start blogging just for my art website. Do you consider yourself a cyber exhibitionist or voyeur? A cyber voyeur. Have you ever Googled yourself? Yes. Last handwritten letter or card was? [Long silence] I’d say probably a month ago. For my grandmother. But, honestly, it’s a rare occassion. How has the new social media impacted your business? I think it’s kept my name out there. It’s helped people who’ve forgotten how to get a hold of me find me and contact me that way. Do you feel more in touch or less in touch? I definitely feel more in touch. Even if I’m not contacting them or talking to them or texting them, I get to know what’s going on in other people’s lives, so I feel more connected to their lives. Are you a Grindr? No.
OutSmart likes The Grrrrl Power of The Boards
2010 is going down as the year of the Grand Dames & Little Divas of the Houston Theatre. Bravas to Stages’ Sally Edmundson for her breathing new life into an old warhorse, Auntie Mame (but will you please encore Diana Vreeland?). Roses to: Melissa Pritchett’s bawdy, busty German, Elizabeth Bunch’s delicious, al dente-sexy Italian temper tantrum, and Emily Neves’ skin-flashing seduction gymnast; this tarty trifecta made Boeing Boeing the best, most hilarious sex romp to hit town in years. Upcoming estrogen treats? Joe Babb is once again throwing Unhinged’s infamous Drag Brunch. The Alley will unleash God of Carnage, August: Osage County, The Medusa Body, and Pygmalion, all very feminine-identified. And Main Street gives us The Heidi Chronicles, Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, and I Am Barbie. Girl! We are there!
Steven Foster also reviews the film Howl in this issue of Out-Smart magazine.