The Daily Agenda

Jim Burroway

May 7th, 2011

The 137th running of the Kentucky Derby is today at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY. “The most exciting two minutes in sports” begins at 6:24 p.m. EST. The hats and mint juleps however can be had throughout the day and on into the night.

Transgender Job Fair: The GLBT Community Center of Colorado’s Transgender Career Advancement Project (TAPC) will hold the first-ever Colorado Transgender Job Fair. It’s being touted as “the first one of its kind to be held in a non-coastal city.” The fair goes from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and will be held at the GLBT Community Center at 1301 E. Colfax Ave. in Denver. To learn more or to register, call 303-951-5203, e-mail or go to

AIDS Walks this weekend: Charlotte, NC, Cheyenne, WY, Ft. Wayne, IN, Ogunquit, ME, and Poughkeepsie, NY.

Pride celebrations this weekend: Edinburgh, Scotland and Northampton, MA.

Jesse Helms rails against “militant-activist-mean lesbian”:
1993. But of course, in Helms’s imagination what other kind of lesbian was there? President Bill Clinton had nominated Roberta Achtenberg, a San Francisco civil rights lawyer, as Assistant Secretary for Housing and Urban Development. As San Francisco City Supervisor, she supported efforts to bar the Boy Scouts from using the city’s school facilities because of its exclusion of gays scouts and leaders. Helms blew his stack over that. “She’s not your garden-variety lesbian,” he told the Associated Press. “She’s a militant-activist-mean lesbian, working her whole career to advance the homosexual agenda. Now you think I’m going to sit still and let her be confirmed by the Senate? . . . If you want to call me a bigot, go ahead.”

Helms was a bigot and Achtenberg was confirmed. She remained on the job until 1995 when she left to run for against Willie Brown for mayor of San Francisco. Obviously, she didn’t make it. Achtenberg is currently serving on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Helms is currently dead.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky:
1840. The great Russian composer’s brother, Modeste, was comfortable with being gay, but Pyotr was not, at least not until much later in life. But he had to undergo an short, disastrous marriage before he arrived at the conclusion that his sexual orientation was insurmountable. Meanwhile, he became Russia’s most celebrated composer, with Swan Lake, Eugene Onegin, The Nutcracker, and his Fourth Symphony and Sixth Symphony (Pathétique) probably his finest works. He composed the 1812 Overture to celebrate Russia’s defeat of Napoleon at the outskirts of Moscow. Tchaikovsky confessed that the work, complete with live canon shots, would be “very loud and noisy, but I wrote it with no warm feeling of love, and therefore there will probably be no artistic merits in it.” He warned one Russian conductor, “I shan’t be at all surprised and offended if you find that it is in a style unsuitable for symphony concerts.” The 1812 Overture, it turned out, became one of his most popular works.

His death in 1893 was attributed to cholera, although many people believe his death was a suicide. One story has it that a sentence of suicide was imposed in a “court of honor” by Tchaikovsky’s fellow alumni of the St. Petersburg Imperial School of Jurisprudence because of his homosexuality. Another has it that his suicide was ordered by Tsar Alexander III himself. There doesn’t appear to be much evidence for either theory. By whatever means he may have died, many have taken Pathétique, which Tchaikovsky premiered just a few days before his death, as his final statement. According to an eyewitness at the premiere:

Tchaikovsky began conducting with the baton held tightly in his fist … in his usual manner. But when the final sounds of the symphony had died away and Tchaikovsky slowly lowered the baton, there was dead silence in the audience. Instead of applause, stifled sobs came from various parts of the hall. The audience was stunned and Tchaikovsky stood there, motionless, his head bowed.

Many regarded Pathétique as Tchaikovsky’s requiem. Indeed, it was played a second time three weeks later at his memorial concert in St. Petersburg.

Mike Jones: 1957. In November, 2006, Mike Jones revealed to a Denver radio station that Rev. Ted Haggard, pastor of Colorado Springs’s New Life Church and head of the National Association of Evangelicals, had been Jones’s client for nude massages for the past three years. Haggard’s career was essentially over as he went off to seek — well, its unclear what he sought exactly. Without a doubt, Haggard’s life became infinitely more complicated. But, surprisingly, so did Jones’s. In many people’s minds, the fact that Jones offered massages with a happy ending was as shocking as Haggard’s fall — even among some elements of the LGBT community. Mike has been out of the limelight lately, but I’d like to take this opportunity to wish him a happy 54th, and to thank him once again for going public.

If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here.

Donny D.

May 7th, 2011

Roberta’s last name is spelled Achtenberg.

Jim Burroway

May 7th, 2011

Sorry for the typo. Fixed.


May 7th, 2011

The story of Tchaikovsky commiting suicide is an historical urbam legend. It seems to have orginated in the St. Petersburg rumour mills. Subsequently many have accepted it has true. Why? Well it appears that the attitude of so many is that since Tchaikovsky was Gay he must have killed himself because that is what people like that do. The evidence for the court of honour and related matters to the alleged suicide is close to zero. It is a fantasy. It is very annoying that so many sources including biographies of Tchaikovsky accept the suicide myth.

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