The Time Has Come…

October 16, 2009

The time has come, the blogger said, to speak of lots of stuff

Of how since ’64 is dead, relevancy has been tough

So now we’ll merge this site with his, join the alaskacommons crew

And hopefully have a bit more time to make a difference for you.

Unity for the Anchorage Community

Unity for the Anchorage Community

So I’m not a poet, I’m a blogger, and a neglectful one at that.  SOSanchorage.net is going to be merging with alaskacommons.com, and here’s why it’s a good thing:

  • The battle for the Equal Rights ordinance may be over for now, but simplifying the blogging process will allow more time to work on real-life projects that will further the cause.
  • Merging the two blogs will allow for more frequent updates, instead of simply re-posting things on either site.
  • We feel like we’ll be able to write more relevant articles for the community if we broaden our scope a bit.

I’m hoping that if there are still any readers left (I know it’s been a few weeks since the last post) you’ll follow us over to The Alaska Commons, where we will continue to try to keep the community updated on events and issues of note.  Don’t worry, every post on this blog will be moving to alaskacommons as well, so if you’re interested in reading up on our perspective on the Summer of ’64 you’ll still be able to do so.

I’ve been glad to be a part of this.  It’s one of the things I’m most proud of.

Thank you.


Join us if you can

September 25, 2009
Join us at the Snow Goose for a shindig!

Join us at the Snow Goose for a shindig!


George Sullivan, 1922 – 2009, RIP and Sleep in Fame.

September 24, 2009

[Reposted from Alaska Commons]

Death is never a welcome guest in anyone’s life. The tragic event of a loved one’s passing never comes as an expected event, no matter the circumstance. When I was a little kid, my grandmother suffered in a hospital bed for months suffering from emphysema while the candle light slowly flickered before it finally gave way to the very empty darkness that always and sadly prevails. Still, no one was able to prepare for the moment when the heart rate monitor told us what logic had warned us of for a long time beforehand.

georgeanddan1Tonight, George Sullivan, father of the current mayor of Anchorage, Dan Sullivan, passed.

According to the Anchorage Daily News:

George Sullivan, the mayor who steered Anchorage’s city government into a modern municipality, died at home Wednesday night of complications from lung cancer.

His eldest surviving son, Tim, said his father died peacefully in his sleep at 10:08 p.m. He was surrounded by his family. He was 87.

A lifelong Alaskan, Sullivan was born on March 31, 1922, and raised in Valdez.

He had a long and storied career in Alaska and its politics. He was a deputy marshal in Nenana, a city councilman in Fairbanks and Anchorage, and became Anchorage’s city mayor in 1967.

He held that position until the old Anchorage city and borough governments unified under a new charter in 1975, when Sullivan won election as the new municipal government’s first mayor.

He served the charter-limited two terms in that position.

Altogether, Sullivan held the top post in Anchorage’s city government for 14 years, longer than any other person.


He and his wife, Margaret Eagan Sullivan, had 9 children. Margaret Sullivan died in 2007.

One of his sons, Dan, is Anchorage’s current mayor.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Tomorrow, the ongoing disagreements that are commonplace in politics should take a breath to bid farewell to an important and respected figure in Alaskan history. I’m not a fan of anyone’s passing sanctioning Fox News-esque mythology and don’t think this will be the case. More importantly, I’m not a fan of anyone having to deal with a loved one passing. Period. I hope we, as a community, can separate the vitriol of politics from the compassion and apathy of recognizing that death hits us all; each uniquely and deeply.

Let me be clear. There should be not one case where one conflates the passing of a loved one with heated political argument.

If only for a day, away from politics as usual, and out of respect for the Sullivan family, I hope they find comfort in family and community and memories. For those who pray, please do. My thoughts are with the Sullivan family. I am deeply sorry for your loss, and I raise my glass to the passing of someone whom you cared so deeply for.

I can’t offer anything substantive, only relative. Here are some words that helped me through a similar situation, when a close friend of mine named Tom Valero passed a couple years back; they’re from Pearl Jam’s song “Come Back,” which was written for Joey Ramone, a close friend of Ed Vedder, shortly after his passing:

If I keep holding out
Will the light shine through
Under this broken roof
Its only rain that I feel
I’ve been wishing out the days
Come back

I have been planning out
All that I’d say to you
Since you slipped away
Know that I still remain true
I’ve been wishing out the days
Please say that if you hadn’t gone now
I wouldn’t have lost you another way
From wherever you are
Come back

And these days they linger on
And in the night I’ve been waiting for
The real possibility that I may meet you in my dreams
I go to sleep
If I don’t fall apart, Will my memory stay clear
So you had to go, And I had to remain here

But the strangest thing today
So far away and yet you feel so close
And I’m not gonna question any other way
There must be an open door
For you… To come back

We all have, and will have, and probably should have our differences. This isn’t, and can’t be, one of them. Mayor, I wish you well on this sad and trying day. May your father rest in peace and sleep in fame.


Tim Miller tells Anchorage about the Lay of the Land

September 18, 2009

For those of you who missed it tonight, Tim Miller performed his Lay of the Land show at Out North Theatre.  Miller pulled inspiration from his own childhood and adult life, wrapping it in with experiences he’s had fighting for equal rights around the country.

At the same time, Miller made sure to draw allusions between the struggles that we’ve gone through with Ordinance 64 and similar fights going on in other communities.  He was full of energy, humor, and a sense of awareness about the state of the country that’s quite refreshing.  There was a great discussion afterward, as well, where audience members could bring up some of the topics connected with his show, or ask his opinion on things going on in our own community.

I highly recommend catching his show if you can.

Miller will be repeating his performance tomorrow, Saturday, September 19 at 7:30pm at Out North Theater.  Check here for ticket information.

Thank you to Tim for your great show, and to Tiffany McClain from Equality Works for helping make it happen!

Tim Miller, Me, and his spirit bear.

Tim Miller, Me, and his spirit bear.


Friday Night is Equality Works Night at Out North Theater!

September 17, 2009

Equality Works Logo

Tomorrow Night: Friday, September 18th is Equality Works Night at Out North!

Are you feeling drained after this summer’s activities surrounding AO 64 and searching for a way to re-energize your political and emotional batteries? Are you simply in need of a laugh after months of high drama?

If so, you should join us at Out North for a presentation of performance artist’s Tim Miller’s “Lay of the Land,” a show that explores the current state of the Queer Union with sharp insight and humor, and deftly taps into the emotional experience of what it’s like to be “perpetually on trial, on the ballot, and on the menu.”

Miller has been closely following the public hearings surrounding AO 64, the Assembly’s 7-4 vote, and the Mayor’s veto and he is looking forward to a post-show discussion with all of you. Let’s give him a big Anchorage welcome!

Tickets are $20.00 (plus 1.25 if you buy online)

Students get in for $10.00 at the door with i.d.

We hope to see you there!


Announcement: True Diversity Dinner!

September 14, 2009


September is our Mayor’s Diversity Month and September 25th is the Diversity Awards banquet at the Hilton in downtown Anchorage. Unfortunately, Mayor Sullivan is uncomfortable with the term “diversity” and has changed the name to the “Unity” Awards Banquet and celebration. The mayor has stated publicly that he does not celebrate the ways in which we are all different, but rather, the ways in which we are the same.

Some of us do not feel celebrated at all, and are organizing a true diversity celebration on the same night. We have rented the Snow Goose (September 25th, doors will open at 7pm and festivities begin at 7:30pm). We wish it to be as diverse and multi-cultural as possible and much more fun than whatever will occur at the Hilton. And while the “Unity” Dinner will feature a silent auction and cost the small price of $60 a ticket… Ours will be only $10 (just to cover costs) and is quickly filling up with local performers, an awards ceremony, and speakers including Assemblywoman Elvi Gray-Jackson, Diane Benson, and Shannyn Moore!

It will be a great night, after what has been a rough summer for many in our Alaskan family.

Now we need you to figure out who gets the awards! Nominations begin now! Head over to the event website and check out the voting page! This is your event, Anchorage. Have your say! So tell your friends! Spread this around! And we’ll see you on the 25th!

Advance tickets are now available for sale at Borders Books & Music!

(Cash or check only; Sorry, due to short notice)


Abject Terror: My Experience at the Anchorage Baptist Temple

September 9, 2009

[Contributed by our friend Marcin Druzdzel.]

I have only recently become informed of a very very conservative group within Anchorage. I did not know anything about the Anchorage Baptist Temple until I got involved at the Ordinance 64 Assembly meetings, and they definitely shocked me with their backwardness, stubbornness, and dogmatism.
For the past few months I have wanted to go to an ABT service to see what it’s like—to go to the lion’s den and see what makes the people against gay rights be against gay rights. Earlier today, I finally went to one of the services. Like I said earlier, I was shocked and scared at what I saw.

Grandparent's Day is September 13th

Grandparent's Day is September 13th

The subject of the sermon was “Grandparents Day”, which Pastor Prevo decided to celebrate a week early in order to remind the congregation to send cards to out-of-state grandparents in time for the national Grandparents’ Day next Sunday. Mellow enough topic, right? Nothing controversial there at all. What intrigued me, however, was how he elaborated on the importance of grandparents, telling the story of Noah’s genealogy (from Enoch to Shem in Genesis). Anyone familiar with the Bible should remember that these figures allegedly lived for a very long time (Methuselah being the longest-lived at 969 years old). Pastor Prevo stated that because of Noah’s virtue, he was spared from the flood and lived to father the ancestors of Abraham. He made some allusions to the wickedness of Noah’s contemporaries and the modern world. Touchy, at least getting really close to controversial. Most conservatives are quite worried about the moral decay of society. Also, I was under the impression that the Old Testament wasn’t followed at all, or at least that’s the impression I got in my discussions with the protestors at the rallies. Perhaps they only believe the useful parts (which would make them hypocrites, as they accuse more tolerant churches of doing that too).

Jerry Prevo identifies with Noah

Jerry Prevo identifies with Noah

What started to get disconcerting was the pseudoscience that went into Jerry’s explanation of the flood. Before the flood, he said, there was no rainfall and no oceans, but instead the atmosphere was heavily-laden with water vapor, which kept the plants moistened, distributed heat all across the globe (accounting for dinosaur fossils in currently inhospitable climates [Dinosaurs are apparently just reptiles that lived a long long time and kept growing]), and dissipated the sun’s UV rays enough to allow for the extreme longevity of the Biblical figures (no account, of course, of Telomerase protein caps on the DNA strands in the chromosomes that limit cells to about 50 divisions). That’s scary in itself; that someone with that much sway over the mindset of so many (the congregation is numbered in the thousands) puts absolute faith in an old book with many unknown and anonymous authors (at least he acknowledges that God ‘inspired men’ to write it), and bullshits his way through specific scientific facts to make the story sound legitimate. He also stated multiple times that faith was genetic, hereditary, and in the DNA (does evolution exist or not, pastor?).
Now, the thing that does worry me is the mindset that the Pastor is fostering. Time and time again, he alluded to Noah’s contemporaries. Just as Noah’s contemporaries laughed at him for building a boat on a hill, because they didn’t know what rainfall or floods were, that outsiders of the modern churches would laugh at their (and by extension, his) beliefs. Then, just as in this age, they would realize too late that it was them that were wrong. In Noah’s time it was this mysterious water that fell from the sky, but God’s going to mix it up and annihilate people in some different way next time. They believe that the rapture is coming. Wait, that doesn’t express it enough….they REALLY believe Jesus is going to show up next week and spirit them into heaven, and they don’t get disappointed by the fact that he’s a no-show. They just keep waiting and hope he shows up the week after that. This worries me too, as how much can you care about the well-being of a planet you’re planning on leaving sometime next week?
This mindset that I am so appalled and scared of, the stubbornness the Pastor was instilling in the congregation, has many implications. They are taught to believe that they are the only right ones, and that leaves no room for compromise, as there is only one way to earn God’s salvation–God’s way. This puts them in a black-and-white mindset that undoubtedly transfers into the rest of their lifestyle. How can they compromise in politics, or come to mutual agreements with coworkers at their earthly jobs if they feel like only they are entitled to the truth, and that they are on the path of righteousness? How can they be tolerant of other beliefs? They can’t… any time they refer to the First Amendment, it is an effort to either shield their views from criticism or to try to push them on other people.

This mental block prevents them from being able to debate towards a greater truth. This was quite apparent at the assembly meetings. They stated the same things, over and over and over again, with no regard to counterarguments made by Ordinance 64’s supporters. This arrogant righteousness is what puts me off of debating religion. It ends up being an exercise in futility, as they are too stubborn to question their values and beliefs, much less change them. I saw this all too often. Now I am beginning to understand how this mental block got put in place.
sheepleI must say I felt something when I was there. The music, the lighting, the sermons… something almost supernatural. There was something more there. However, I must hope that I’m not the only one who can see the puppet strings. I saw what technicians labored to accomplish behind the scenes, because that’s all it was, complete with a glitch or two. The congregation was captivated like strung-up puppets. Simple, repetitive musical pitches and vocal inflections along with synthesized drums made a very simple but potent mix of music that sounded damn near inspirational. Prevo used many different vocal tones to captivate the audience. He was definitely a skilled puppet master, a shepherd of sheeple. It was a bit annoying to hear some guy in the pews moaning “amen” after everything the pastor said. They also had a visiting Christian musician, Dennis Agajanian who had some acoustic guitar skills, which did surprise me. I was under the impression that Christian musicians were simply bad musicians cashing in on the faith factor. That’s not based on reality though, but instead on South Park. I’ll look into it if I continue studying ABT’s services.

At the end of the service, Pastor Prevo briefly referred to the bill to notify parents of their children’s abortions, and mentioned something about either a vote or contacting politicians (I don’t remember which it was). Doesn’t that violate the 501(c) status (or whatever the tax-exempt status is called)?