In July, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) placed Be and Westword on the "worst" section of its monthly Best and Worst of National News for a cartoon that used the term "Gear Fags" to describe camping enthusiasts who spend a lot of money on ridiculous gear. Be responds -- in hilarious fashion -- with this week's cover story, which points out that more than one celebrity who has received GLAAD Media Awards has also used the word the group apparently found so offensive. "If GLAAD claims that their mission is to 'prevent defamation' and to 'ensure accuracy and fairness for LGBT people in the media,' then why are they fawning over these fearless funny women, yet censoring me like some backwoods LGBT bigot?," he wonders. "Maybe if I had a vagina and a cable TV sitcom, I too would be a red-carpet-worthy GLAAD icon."

Continue ReadingCalled the ‘Worst’ by GLAAD, Westword Cartoonist Kenny Be Strikes Back

For the past 56 weeks, staff cartoonist Kenny Be has studied the 56 delegations headed to Denver for the Democratic National Convention, and shared his research results in a weekly cartoon called "Delegating Denver." With the convention just around the corner (Aug. 25-28), the cartoons are now collected in a single slideshow on Westword's site. Editor Patricia Calhoun says AAN-member papers are free to excerpt parts of the cartoon in print or link to it online, accompanied by their own commentary. In addition, the Sacramento News & Review has made available free of charge to AAN members a piece from Tom Hayden on what to expect from Denver, and the significance of it all for the future of the country. For more details on that piece, which is available today, email Cosmo Garvin at cosmog (at)

Continue ReadingWestword Cartoonist Unveils ’56 Faces of the Democratic Convention’

Greg Mitchell's Thursday column on describes Louis Black's role in financing and producing Be Here to Love Me, a new documentary about the late singer/songwriter Townes Van Zandt. Black was personally acquainted with Van Zandt, and describes him as "usually pretty fucked up but very friendly." The Chronicle also printed a cover story about the film; Black says that "if the staff felt it was a conflict of interest, believe me, I would have heard about it." Be Here to Love Me has been well-reviewed for its warts-and-all portrayal of Van Zandt. Black is now working on a book about the films of Jonathan Demme.

Continue ReadingAustin Chronicle Editor Produces Documentary