Tag Archive | "shannon jenkins"

Is There a Butt Doctor in the House?


Shannon Jenkins, Associate Writer, Lifestyle & Culture

During my senior year in high school I was fascinated with butts. In fact, I dedicated a whole section of my senior memories book to photos of my classmates’ rumps. Seems a little creepy now, but it was innocent good fun then.

Fifteen years later—God, where does the time go?—I still appreciate a nice bubble butt. Frankly, I think everyone does, regardless of age, race or orientation. Dr. Nedra Dodds, who is affectionately known as The Butt Doctor, agrees. She said the derriere is universally treasured.

“I have an eye for a good ass,” she informed me. “Another doctor once told me the butt is the final destination as the eye travels down a good body. So it’s not just the butt. You’re looking at the waist. You’re looking at the back. You’re looking at everything. It’s kind of like the icing on the cake.”

When it comes to “icing” the cake, Nedra says there are two options: butt implants or fat injections. She uses the latter for her patients. Personally, I would too. What if your implant slips down and you end up with an ass behind your knee? Not cute.

Anyway, the talented Nedra takes some fat from your love handles (or wherever) and pumps up your backside. Of course that’s just a simplified summary of what she really does.

“The key is looking at the body as a whole,” she said. “You have to look at bone structure, among other things. I’m not just focusing on the fact that you want your butt bigger. I always look at how athletes are built. On a guy like a baseball player or quarterback their gluteus maximus has a nice protrusion. It’s built up.”

I’ve done years of research of athletes’ asses, so I can certainly relate to Nedra’s observation. She also said a plump behind can make someone look younger. And thanks to cosmetic surgeons like Nedra, a youthful look is just a butt injection away.

But don’t think Nedra deals with posteriors all day. [Wouldn't that be an ideal job?] She spends her work days making people look and feel younger. Her male patients, she said, tend to request skin-related procedures, such as correcting acne scars or tightening up the skin. But, she said she works hard to keep her patients from ending up like Burt Reynolds [bless him].

“My practice is definitely less is more,” she said. “What we tell patients is we want to shoot for improvement, not perfection. We don’t want to make someone who is 70 look 35. That’s where it starts looking nuts.”

In the end—hee hee—Nedra talks a lot of sense. If I had the coins, I’d ask her to reshape my ass back to its former high school glory.

To find out more about Dr. Nedra Dodds and her practice, please visit OpulenceAntiAging.com.

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Why Do We Need More Than One Pride?


Shannon Jenkins, Associate Writer, Lifestyle & Culture

Imagine a world where everyone shared the same beliefs and culture. Unless your a right-wing conservative that might seem like a gloomy prospect. So, why do people keep questioning why the black LGBT community holds its own Pride event?

On more than one occasion I’ve heard someone ask that question. I think some might think it’s a race issue, but I’d argue it’s more about culture than anything else. Our gay community is composed of various subcultures—bears, twinks, muscle heads, drag queens, leather lovers, etc. Those individual segments celebrate their respective cultures with festivals and pageants and whatnot. While we’re on the subject, don’t most like-minded groups host events so they can gather together and celebrate? Religious people have revivals. Creative folks organize arts festivals. Music lovers host Lollapalooza and JazzFest. Hippies have Burning Man. The sci-fi nerds have Dragon*Con. Shall I go on?

As a journalist, I was obligated to ask the question of why there’s a Black Gay Pride to the man who runs the whole show. Raymond Duke, president of In the Life Atlanta (the organization that runs the yearly festival), said he gets asked that very question a lot.

“The reality of it is plain and simple,” he told me. “The black gay community has to provide certain services for the black gay community that aren’t provided by any other community. Therefore Pride exists. Besides, who else would celebrate our culture?”

That’s exactly what I’m talking about! Black Gay Pride is all about celebrating a specific culture. This particular festival is no different than all the other festivals celebrated throughout the world. People have even questioned the need for “regular” Pride. Are you serious? Let’s just not have any festivals. Just rid ourselves of any type of celebration whatsoever. Enjoy your bland life but give me a parade full of drag queens and scantily clad men any day. I’m going to enjoy my life as much as I can while I’m on this hateful little planet.

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‘Addams Family’ Actor Reveals His Dark Side


Shannon Jenkins, Associate Writer, Lifestyle and Culture

Douglas Sills is neither creepy nor kooky. In fact, he’s downright charming and refreshingly friendly. The seasoned actor called me recently from his hotel room in Washington DC, where the touring production of “The Addams Family” was playing. Douglas, who portrays a dashing Gomez Addams with a pencil-thin moustache, will soon arrive at the Fox Theatre for Atlanta’s run of the Broadway comedy. Our interview went a little something like this:

Shannon: How did you get interested in acting?
Douglas: I went to a Jewish summer camp with my brother and sisters. They were older and popular and they did the talent show. And so I did it. I recognized pretty quickly that was some facility there for me, and I just kept enjoying it.

Shannon: What do you think about being on tour?
Douglas: Touring is a very rough life. To be pulled away from your family and friends, your home, everything you know, and to start living on the road out of two suitcases and the hardship of traveling every week is really brutal. It’s a difficult life to adjust to.

Shannon: You do what you gotta do sometimes.
Douglas: You do. And this was fun. I’m glad I chose to do it. It’s turned out to be much more fun and pleasurable than I expected.

Shannon: What do you like most about playing Gomez?
Douglas: The laughter from the cast and the audience. The comedy really lands. I’ve come to really appreciate the joy of that. It’s easy to overlook and say it’s just a joke. It’s a really energizing experience for everybody. Also, the cast has been great to work with. I really enjoy traveling with them and learning from them and seeing how often we can set the bar high for each other and meet that challenge.

Shannon: What would you say is most challenging aspect of the role?
Douglas: Energy. He’s a very energetic person and it’s a demanding role, particularly on the weekends where we do five shows in 48 hours. And timing. The timing for comedy is an incredibly precise thing. The slightest distraction or lack of concentration on anyone’s part on stage can really mess up a laugh. So the precision has been challenging.

Shannon: Can you tell me a little about the show?
Douglas: Wednesday finds a boy that she’s in love with and he’s coming to dinner with his family for the first time. She comes to Gomez privately and says she’s going to marry this guy and she doesn’t want Gomez to tell Morticia—at least for the day. She wants to see if the two families get along. Gomez and Morticia have never kept a secret from each other. That’s the new element in the tour. The tour has been written pretty significantly—like forty or fifty percent.

Shannon: Speaking of couples, are you seeing anyone?
Douglas: I have a partner of 18 years. His name is Todd.

Shannon: How did you meet?
Douglas: We met in a touring production of “The Secret Garden.”

Shannon: So he’s an actor, too?
Douglas: He was an actor. He’s still a performer. He’s a concert artist now. But we played the Fox together back when we met.

Shannon: What was it like to date during the tour?
Douglas: We were sexing. We weren’t dating. We were having what would be referred to as a “showmance.” It was great fun.

Shannon: If you were in a gay play and you could cast your romantic interest, who would it be?
Douglas: I would probably cast your local Mitchell Anderson. I think he is just the dreamiest thing. Who else would I cast besides the gorgeous Mitchell Anderson? Maybe Hugh Jackman. Or it would probably be Denis Leary or Jerry Seinfeld—somebody really funny.

Shannon: I guess it would be a comedy then.
Douglas: It probably would. Let me think of one more really hunky guy. Come on, Shannon, who am I forgetting? Somebody dark and little hairy.

Shannon: Gerard Butler?
Douglas: Eh, nothing is really going on there for me.
Shannon: Oh, well, I can’t help you then.
Douglas: I will think about it by the end of the interview.

Shannon: Do you have any obviously gay traits?
Douglas: [Laughs] What does that mean?
Shannon: You know. Do you love Madonna or Cher? That kind of stuff.
Douglas: Oh … well, I like musicals. I wouldn’t say I was a musical queen. I don’t know a lot about musicals. I know more about plays. Oh, I like Patti Lapone.
Shannon: I suppose that’s “gay” enough.

Shannon: What’s your guilty pleasure?
Douglas: Domino’s pizza and pornography. But only together. You have to consume them together.

Shannon: What do you like to do in your spare time with Todd?
Douglas: Domino’s pizza and pornography. No, I’m kidding. We like to go out to eat. We like to look at art. And we like to travel.

Shannon: Where’s your favorite vacation spot?
Douglas: I just took my vacation to Hawaii. That was pretty incredible. I have this other trip formulating in my head to India and Thailand. I’m an animal freak. I love watching animals in a wild setting, and there’s a baby elephant sanctuary in Thailand I want to visit.

Shannon: What do you find most sexy about a man?
Douglas: Do you know the whirls on a chest…the chest hair…where they go in a whirl like a circle? That’s really sexy to me. The light of a quick mind behind the eyes and a beautiful smile.

Shannon: Did you think of another male celebrity?
Douglas: Oh, another hunk would be … oh god there’s so many hunks. I guess I would say Chris Evans.
Shannon: He’s good. He’s on my screensaver.
Douglas: Yeah, he’s pretty dreamy.

The Addams Family
Where: Fox Theatre
When: August 14-19
Details: FoxTheatre.org

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Discussing the Dangers of Club Drug G


Shannon Jenkins, Associate Writer, Lifestyle & Culture

Much like lady parts, drugs never interested me. My closest encounter happened when I was about 12. My step brother and I thought it would be fun to make homemade cigarettes from sheets of paper and dried leaves from the backyard. That experience certainly satisfied my curiosity for anything drug related.

Fast forward 22 years later to the Regal Cinema at Atlantic Station. I’m sitting between two buddies during a matinee of “Magic Mike” (another serious lack of judgment on my behalf) and one of the male strippers mentions the drug “G.” Being one of the most naïve gay guys alive, I wondered, “What the hell is G?”

After some research I discovered G is also known as gamma-hydroxybutyric acid or GHB. Oh, and it’s been around for years. Clearly I’m behind on my drug knowledge. Initially the compound was used by body builders to stimulate muscle growth and eventually became a popular “club drug,” which is often used in combination with other drugs. It’s available in a clear liquid, white powder, tablet and capsule, and it’s odorless and nearly tasteless.

Now that I had crawled out from under my rock, it was time to talk to an expert. I spoke with Michael McAllister, who is a therapist at Equality Counseling Services and volunteers his therapeutic services at Positive Impact, and he has worked with several clients who have been addicted to GHB.

“G is prevalent in the gay community with the average user likely to be a gay man in his 20s or 30s, in stable housing, employed, and possibly in a relationship,” Michael said. “The drug’s appeal lies in its initial side effects, such as euphoria, disinhibition, and increased self-acceptance. Its usage is increased by the desire to fit into a particular social group. Many guys use GHB over the weekend to enhance sex drive and its use among gay men has become increasingly sexualized with use at sex parties, bath houses, saunas, and of course, circuit parties.”

Now that I understood its appeal, I was curious about its use as a date rape drug.

“Since G comes in a clear liquid form, it would be easy to dose a drink,” Michael said. “That’s why you always keep your eye on your drink at a club and never accept a drink you didn’t watch being prepared. G has an extremely fast onset (30 minutes) and can cause disinhibition, amnesia, and fast onset of incapacitation.”

As far as G’s side effects, Michael said the user could feel euphoria, loss of inhibitions, rapid mood swings, increased libido within 30 minutes of ingestion. The high, he said, generally evaporates within four hours of initial use and users may feel fatigued or hungry. Long-term use of GHB, however, can really take its toll on a body.

“Prolonged use allows the central nervous system to adapt to the sedative effects of the drug, in which case the user would develop tolerance and need to use the drug in higher amounts to get the same high,” Michael said. “At this stage of use, rapid discontinuation of the drug could lead to an abstinence syndrome with symptoms like hallucinations, tremor, anxiety, insomnia and could progress to more life-threatening side effects like seizures and delirium which may require a trip to the emergency room and a stay in the hospital.”

Michael gave one last warning about G.

“Using GHB with alcohol is typically known as a recipe for a coma,” he said. “This can be very dangerous”

I’d have to agree. Going into a coma sounds about as fun as inhaling leaf smoke.

For more information about Michael McAllister, please visit www.NowTherapy.com.

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Getting Cozy With Cathy Rigby


Shannon Jenkins, Associate Writer, Lifestyle & Culture

I’m totally crushing on Cathy Rigby. The petite actress and former Olympic gymnast strolled into the Fenuxe office recently to promote her upcoming production of “Peter Pan” at the Fox Theatre, and I just fell in love. If she has a “best gay” he better watch out. Honestly, I could just gush for hours about how genuine and lovely she is in person, but you’re here to read her interview. So here it is!

Shannon: How did you get your start in acting?
Cathy: I started after my second Olympics in 1972. I was offered different parts in TV and commercials. I took voice lessons and acting classes for seven years in California. I was as obsessive about my training as I was gymnastics and I loved it. I started from the bottom up. Eventually after seven years my voice teacher said it was time to audition. So I did for Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.” I got the part, and my first song was “Over the Rainbow” in front of 2,000 people. It was a pretty heavy and exciting time.

Shannon: What was it like to be Peter Pan for the first time?
Cathy: What I found most difficult was letting go and being playful and mischievous and not being predictable, not being careful. Everything else I did in life I was very careful. It was the first time I had to find my inner child. Ever since that time the role has grown. If anything I’ve learned to quit worrying and quit trying to be perfect and be more spontaneous and just enjoy the role.

Shannon: What do you like most about playing Peter Pan?
Cathy: The thing I think is the most fun is the flying. You’re soaring from one side of the stage to the other. It’s choreographed but there’s lots of room to improvise. I have two people who fly me—one takes me up and down and the other from side to side. They are the best partners you could possibly have. They breathe with you; they think with you. They feel the movement. We’re all in sync.

Shannon: I’d be afraid the wire would snap and I’d crash to my death.
Cathy: That wire holds 1,200 pounds. I feel pretty good about it.

Shannon: Well, you have at it. What’s the biggest challenge of “Peter Pan”?
Cathy: Eight shows a week is a lot. It’s physically demanding. You want to be social and go out with the cast, but you can’t go to the local pub and hang out. The next day you have a show and you have to use your voice.

Shannon: How does live theater compare to gymnastics and the Olympics?
Cathy: For ten intense years of my life and two Olympics I ate, slept, drank, and breathed every moment of it. You tend to burn out quicker. The pressure is so enormous. You have one chance every four years and you hope you hit. The beam is this wide and if you wobble the difference between first and sixth place can be a tenth of a point. All these people are counting on you. You’re counting on yourself. You’ve spent all this time and you hope it all comes together. It’s a lot more stress.

Shannon: What play would you most like to do?
Cathy: I have done so many great shows. I would like to do something new. I don’t know what that is yet. I’ve played a dog, a granny, Peter Pan, the Cat in the Hat, Annie Oakley. I don’t know. I would love something brand new. After doing “Steel Magnolias” recently I want to do a lot of funny, happy stuff. I love drama but not for weeks on end.

Shannon: You’re in a new movie, right?
Cathy: I just did an American Girl film that came out in July called “McKenna Shoots For the Stars.” I played a gymnastics coach. I’m very curious to see how that goes over.

Shannon: What’s your guilty pleasure?
Cathy: Taking a bath in a big Jacuzzi. Or just lying in bed doing nothing.

Shannon: Do you have any favorite TV shows?
Cathy: My husband has the power over the remote because I don’t care enough about it. I have watched more movies on Hitler, World War II, the Civil War, outer space and black holes. I truly have learned so much more than I ever did in school. I tend to watch more of the forensic stuff. But I do like the History Channel and “Downton Abbey.”

Shannon: What else do you like?
Cathy: I love animals. If I could, I’d have a zoo.

Shannon: Is there anything you haven’t done that you’d really like to do?
Cathy: I want to be on “Dancing with the Stars.” I really, really want to do that. It would be interesting to be put into a competitive situation like that again.

Shannon: What must you have in your green room?
Cathy: Fairy dust. I must have fairy dust. Clean tights. And usually hot tea. And sometimes donuts.

Shannon: You’re not aging. What’s going on there?
Cathy: Oh yes I am! I did have a little boy say, “You’re really good in ‘Peter Pan.’ But as I get up close I see you have wrinkles.” Thank god for theater!

Cathy Rigby in “Peter Pan”
Where: Fox Theatre
When: August 7-12
Details: FoxTheatre.org

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Latrice Royale Breaks It Down


Shannon Jenkins, Associate Writer, Lifestyle & Culture

Despite all the makeup, padding and fake boobs, drag queens keep it real. And Latrice Royale is no exception. The tell-it-like-it-is diva quickly won my admiration as a fierce contestant on season four of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” She didn’t bite her tongue when it came to expressing opinions. She remained honest and ladylike throughout the whole show, which I suspect helped her snag the title of Miss Congeniality during the season finale. And, when she sang out “Jesus is a biscuit,” she forever joined my list of favorite entertainers. I had the pleasure of speaking with Latrice about her blooming drag career, her connection with Atlanta and more.

Shannon: How did “Drag Race” change your life?
Latrice: Oh my god! Like wow! First of all, I go there to win $100,000 but I didn’t realize I had so much healing to do. It winded up being like a therapy session. I learned a lot about me. It really put me in a different position. Financially I’m more secure. I’m traveling. People love me, and I’m loving it.

Shannon: What did you enjoy most about the show?
Latrice: Making all these connections. It’s a whole new world, and it’s a whole new sisterhood. I have new friends for life. It’s definitely not for the average or the meek at heart. It’s stressful but it’s so worth it.

Shannon: What was the hardest aspect of the show?
Latrice: Honestly it was standing up in heels for deliberation for all those hours. It looked easy on TV but we were standing up there forever. Forever and ever! That was the hardest part. For real, for real. I can deal with the drama but the pain in the feet, in the knees, in the legs…whoooo! That was hard.

Shannon: What was your favorite challenge?
Latrice: It was the boat challenge. That one represented gay pride. It was just a really great opportunity for me to showcase what I love to do, which is being creative and out-of-the-box.

Shannon: Some of your fellow contestants worked your nerves during the Snatch Game. Why did their behavior upset you so much?
Latrice: That was what I was looking forward to the most. It was just a rumpus room fest. I understand you’re trying to be seen, boo boo. But you are stepping on people. You are stepping on me. You are stepping on Ru. You’re just out of control. We see it on TV for a few minutes but there were hours of that going on. I was so through and so checked out by that point. I was like, “I can’t do this.” I was over it.

Shannon: Any regrets?
Latrice: I wouldn’t change a thing. I was very happy with my outcome and how I placed. I was just glad I was able to represent and sustain and keep my integrity the whole time because it was very important I didn’t lose myself. I’m happy.

Shannon: Viewers voted you Miss Congeniality. How did that feel?
Latrice: That’s amazing. That’s the most amazing thing! That was voted on by the fans. It just goes to show people really are invested in you and really do love you. It made me feel good and it let me know I was doing something right. So I’m gonna keep on doing it.

Shannon: Tell us about “Drag U.”
Latrice: This is right up my alley—just helping people get through things. I have a lot of identifying moments with these women. The most important part for me is connecting with my “students.” The whole concept behind “Drag U” is about helping these women come to terms with their inner divas and realizing their self-worth. They kind of lost it with whatever trials they have been through. My whole thing is really digging in and getting them to understand what they’re worth. They’re beautiful. That’s what I love the most. It does make a difference in these women’s lives.

Shannon: How did “Drag Race” heal you?
Latrice: I knew I had baggage. I’m very good at suppressing things. I wasn’t prepared for them to bring it all up. A lot of the girls had things that stirred up emotions and it was things I had suppressed. So through talking it out with them it helped me. I got a lot more out of the contest than I had expected.

Shannon: What makes a great drag queen?
Latrice: A great drag queen knows who she is. She’s strong. She’s powerful. She’s diverse. She’s real. These are things that make great drag queens.

Shannon: I hear you have some Atlanta ties. What’s that all about?
Latrice: My brother and his family relocated to Atlanta. I went for a family wedding and I spent a week there. I fell in love with the city a little bit. If I decide to buy a home it might be in the South. It might be right there in Atlanta. I was loving it.

Shannon: What did you like about Atlanta?
Latrice: Obviously the Southern hospitality. Everybody is just sweet as sugar. It’s laid back. Not too pretentious. It was cool. I could get into that kind of vibe.

Shannon: Did you delve into the gay scene while you were here?
Latrice: I went to Jungle. I went Chaparral. I got around. It was cute.

Shannon: What kind of guys do you find attractive?
Latrice: I like cowboys.

Shannon: There’s a cowboy night at the Heretic.
Latrice: Oh yeah? I like cowboys. They’re sexy.

Shannon: How did you come up with your drag name?
Latrice: Well “Latrice” was my little childhood friend from elementary school. She was a beautiful little black girl, and her name just suited the way she looked. I always loved her name. As for “Royale,” my friend gave me that name as I was trying out for my first drag show. He said, “You’re chocolatey and fudgey like royale fudge.” So, there you have it. And here we are twenty years later.

Shannon: What can we expect from your show in July at Jungle?
Latrice: You know that is going to be all about me tearing down the house and bringing down high energy. If you’re not losing your mind and screaming and throwing me all your money then I’m not doing my job.

Shannon: I’ll be there and I’ll have my camera.
Latrice: Fabulous! Take lots of pictures. I’m really fast.

LATRICE ROYALE
Where: Jungle
When: July 25, 9PM
Details: JungleClubAtlanta.com

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G-Star Raw Brings 3D Jean to Life


Shannon Jenkins, Associate Writer, Lifestyle & Culture

Sometimes I’d rather hug Ann Coulter than shop for jeans, and I’d take a bullet before I’d touch that hateful shrew. Aside from searching for a parking spot at the Midtown Promenade Center, finding a perfectly fitting pair of jeans is a painfully frustrating experience for me.

Thanks to the cheesesteak place near my house and a serious lack of willpower, I’ve packed on some pounds in the last year. If I had fat legs to match my behemoth butt, finding a good fit might not be so difficult. Maybe it’s time to consider kilts?

However, I did recently try on a pair of unique jeans at G-Star Raw, a new concept store that recently opened as part of Standard at Lenox Square. The store manager, Farshad, made me try on the brand’s Arc jeans.

“It’s the hottest look right now,” he told me. “It’s basically a denim pant with an over exaggerated curve on the leg.”

Despite my protests of being style-challenged and an ill model for trendy clothing, Farshad ushered me into a dressing room and assured me I’d like the fit. And I did. The unusual cut of the jean, which resulted in a layered look on the legs, would admittedly take some getting used to but the bottoms looked pretty damn good.

“You see a design element from every angle with the Arc jean,” Farshad explained. “It has a baggy feel and sits great if you roll up the cuff.”

Like many of the jeans at G-Star, the Arc is a three-dimensional pant.

“G-Star has done an amazing job creating what they consider 3-D denim,” Farshad said. “It’s a jean that has design from every angle. It’s not just two pieces of flat fabric sewn together. From a side view you have design concepts, and from the back you have design elements.”

Another trait of the clothing brand is its raw denim concept. Denim in its original form, Farshad said, comes in an unwashed and “un-enzymed” fabric.

“You wear this jean and let it take the shape of your body,” he said. “Let it wash naturally. Let it fade naturally. It gives it that organic wear. It’s personal.”

I’m all about personalized jeans and “organic wear” but I don’t want any pants shaping to my blob of a body just yet. It’s time to lay off those cheesesteaks and suffer through some crunches. Don’t you worry, G-Star. I’ll be back soon.

For details, visit G-Star.com.

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Sex Toys Even a Prude Will Enjoy


Shannon Jenkins, Associate Writer, Lifestyle & Culture

No one has every accused me of being kinky. Sure, I get downright dirty when talking the talk, but when it comes to “walking the walk” I’m practically crawling backwards. I’m not a complete prude but I’m definitely a member of the “vanilla” crowd. Ever since I was a child I’ve been painfully modest. I used to be embarrassed to buy deodorant for god’s sake. A high-priced therapist could probably pinpoint what triggered my issues expressing my sexuality, but why try to fix it? I’m an artist; I’m supposed to be tortured. But not tortured as in bondage. Just mentally. You know what I mean.

The Tenga Egg ($7.50) offers a variety of internal textures.

With all that said, I’m going to tell you about sex toys. Yes, I know, it’s ironic. But just because I’m a sexual scaredy cat doesn’t mean I don’t know a good toy when I see one. Plus, I walked into Capulets/Brushtrokes Pleasures at 10:30 in the morning to browse through naughty-time gear, and I hadn’t even had breakfast yet. So cut me some slack!

The Electrosex Deluxe Digital Power Box ($130) offers a shockingly good time.

Anyway, I found two particularly interesting products at the Midtown adult store. The first gizmo to catch my eye was the Tenga Egg. You actually break open the shell and out pops an egg-shaped masturbation sleeve. The Tenga Egg comes in a variety of styles, with each offering its own individual internal texture. Just so you know, the little guy is intended for a single session, but could be used a few more times if handled and cleaned carefully.

The Autoblow Blowjob Machine ($100-$120) comes in handy on those extra lonely nights.

Next was the Electrosex Zeus Deluxe Digital Power Box, which includes adhesive pads and lead wires. It sounded like part of car kit to me, but the cashier assured me it’s a popular item. Apparently it’s a “great toy for beginners” but possesses plenty of power for even the most intense user. The currents from this gadget reportedly don’t hurt, but rather send stimulates the nerves and creates a pleasant sensation.

The CB-6000 ($130) will keep your man’s special parts safe and sound when you two aren’t together.

After my trip to the local retailer, I discovered two other intriguing gadgets—the Autoblow Blowjob Machine and the CB-6000. The former is exactly what the name describes, and offers machines for average guys (the Blast), big guys (the Max), and small guys (Pico). I’m talking endowment size, fellas. And finally, the CB-6000 is a male chastity device from the company CB-X. Complete with a padlock, this doohickey allows you to lock up your man’s junk and keep the key. Ah, peace of mind.

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Ex Soldier Still Fights On


Shannon Jenkins, Associate Writer, Lifestyle & Culture

Danny Ingram’s career in the U.S. Army began and ended with defiance.

“I didn’t like being told I could not serve my country,” said the Atlanta native, whose service spanned from 1988 to 1994 despite the ban on gays serving in the military.

For Danny, there was nothing particularly difficult about being gay in the Army.

“We were all soldiers,” he said. “We were all green. And we all bled red.”

In October 1992, Danny’s principles took over once again and he came out to add fuel to the fire following presidential candidate Bill Clinton’s promise to lift the ban.

“I didn’t like it that others were putting their careers on the line to fight my fight,” Danny said of the men and women who were fighting for the inclusion of gays in the military. “I couldn’t remain silent.”

After he admitted he was gay, Danny said he talked with the soldiers in his unit and everything was OK. Regardless of that fact, he faced dismissal. His discharge was frozen in 1993 while the new president and the Pentagon worked out Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, which was intended to be a compromise on the issue.

“Once the policy was decided, my discharge was unfrozen, and since I had told, the new DADT policy did me no good,” Danny said. “Thus I became one of the first members of the military to be discharged under DADT in April 1994.”

Twenty years after coming out to his commanding officer, Danny now serves as national president of American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER), which strives for equality of lesbian, gay and bisexual service members. The organization is also fighting for the right of transgender people to serve in the military. Although the official end of DADT in September 2011 allowed LGB people to openly serve, transgender people are still battling for that same right.

Many issues still remain for the LGBT community but the repeal of DADT was a great victory, especially for Danny, who attended the repeal signing in at the Department of Interior in Washington D.C.

“Being invited to the repeal signing was the most exciting thing that ever happened to me,” Danny said. “We won! After a 20-year battle, we finally won! It was an incredible closure to a long fight.”

AVER, Danny said, played a pivotal role in ending DADT.

“When we went to the Pentagon to speak with members of the military we were not going there as politicians or lobbyists or researchers,” he explained. “We went there as fellow service members and we were able to relate to them. We weren’t trying to force something on them from outside. We were trying to get them to look at an issue from inside the military. Ultimately I think that made a large difference in getting some of the members of the military to change their minds on DADT.”

On June 15, Danny returned to the District of Columbia. This time he visited the White House to attend a reception honoring Pride Month and a meeting of Joining Forces, a program coordinated to increase support to service members and military families. Danny said the attendees discussed many topics important to gay service members, including insurance, moving expenses, spousal employment support, and status overseas.

The meeting and other recent victories certainly signify progress for AVER’s goals, but it’s been a long process for Danny.

“It took twenty years of continued work and pressure,” he said. “So it’s not something that’s happening really fast. It took a lot of work to get here.”

And more work lies ahead with the fight for marriage equality, an issue AVER wants to resolve so gay service members with partners may share the same benefits as their straight counterparts.

“I sure hope same-sex marriage happens before that Sadie woman dies,” said Danny, referring to Sadie Fields and her tedious efforts to prohibit marriage equality through Georgia Christian Alliance. “I want her to see it happen. I really want her to see it happen.”

Hopefully Danny will get his wish. In the meantime, the ambitious former Army sergeant continues his efforts to achieve full equality through his position with AVER. And despite all he’s been through, Danny said he’d still enroll in the Army if he had to do it all over again.

“I would still serve, and for the same reasons. I think it’s one of the best things any young person can do.”

To find out more about AVER, please visit AVER.us.

Posted in Urban CultureComments (0)

How Country Dancing Changed My Life


Shannon Jenkins, Associate Writer, Lifestyle & Culture

Almost two years ago I wandered into a country western bar on Monroe Drive and my life changed forever. A cute guy had invited me to two-step lessons at the 3 Legged Cowboy, and I must admit I’m a sucker for both dancing and a ball cap-clad bubba with a country twang. The day after that first lesson I took a close girlfriend to Laredo Western Wear on Buford Highway and bought a pair of cowboy boots. I was hooked.

For the next few months I spent nearly every Saturday at the 3 Legged Cowboy, and it wasn’t a good night unless I left drenched in sweat and sore from dancing. God, those were good times!

What made this experience so memorable for me was a group of fellow dancers who would eventually become some of my closest friends. Although the bar closed and now operates only on specific nights at Heretic, our little gang stuck together. We go on vacations and have movie nights. We celebrate birthdays and attend trivia at Joe’s. We have “True Blood” parties and play friendly card games at Bearbucks (until I start losing and call them dirty names). Yes, I’m thankful for that invite to the country western bar in the fall of 2010.

I learned to two-step and discovered Sugarland, but most importantly, I found a group of pals that changed my life for the better. Thank god for cute guys in ball caps.

Sidebar
Title: Essential Facts About Country Dancing

Lead or Follow?
If you like to navigate the dance floor and initiate dance moves, you’re a lead. If you like to stare at a man’s chest and glide backwards, you’re a follow.

Line of Dance
The dance floor consists of three paths. The outer path is for the fast moving dancers, the inner path is for slower dancers and the center is for stationary and line dancers. So don’t screw up the flow!

The Shadow Dance
It’s basically spooning. Only you and your partner are vertical as you twirl around the dance floor. It’s very sexy. Trust me.

Be Polite
It’s always good manners to dance when asked. If you cannot dance at that moment, apologize, and be sure to find that person later on for a dance.

3 Legged Cowboy Nights
Where: Heretic
When: Tuesdays, 8-9PM (Free basic and intermediate two-step lessons followed by open dance at 9);
Thursdays, 8-9PM (Free line dance lessons followed by open dance at 9); Select Saturdays, 9PM-12AM (Open dance)
Details: HereticAtlanta.com

Posted in NightlifeComments (0)

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