Monday, April 21, 2014

Southern Illinois HIV cases at decade high : Lifestyles

Southern Illinois HIV cases at decade high : Lifestyles

MURPHYSBORO, Ill. •  HIV cases in southern Illinois reached the highest number in nearly a decade last year, with more than half the infections from the virus that causes AIDS reported in people 24 years old or younger, public health officials said.
Complacency in public education about the virus was cited as the main reason for the increase, according to officials.
The Southern Illinois HIV Care Connect office in Jackson County's health department, which tracks the data in 19 counties, said the region stretching from Mount Vernon to Cairo has averaged 14 to 15 new HIV cases a year. But that number jumped to 21 in 2012 and to 23 last year.
Given the prevalence of the disease among teenagers and young adults, Dr. Erica Kaufman — Southern Illinois Healthcare's infectious diseases specialist — said she believes "we are in a time when a lot of young people don't know about HIV."
"People know a bit about HIV, but they don't know the devastation of it," Kaufman said. "They don't know that it changes their lives."
Tony Wyatt, a 56-year-old Murphysboro man who has lived with HIV since 1994, said his outreach through Southern Illinois HIV Care Connect often has fallen on deaf ears in recent years.
"I saw (the HIV increase) unfolding about 15 years ago, mainly in the black community," Wyatt said. "I would knock on doors to try and educate people any way I could about HIV in the community and the doors would be shut in my face."
Said Kaufman: "I suspect (the trend) is going to continue, and the reason is that we don't have the public health push on HIV like we used to have. I think what we are seeing here are a lot of young people who do not know they are infected who are passing it on to other people."

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Barilla Pasta: Gay People Can Eat Another Brand If They Don’t Like Straight-Only Advertising

Barilla Pasta: Gay People Can Eat Another Brand If They Don’t Like Straight-Only Advertising
Guido Barilla, head of the eponymous Italian pasta company, has come out against LGBT equality, saying that he would never use gay people in Barilla advertising, and if anybody doesn’t like it, they can go eat another pasta. Here were the remarks he made on an Italian radio show, as translated by The Huffington Post:
BARILLA: For us, the ‘sacral family’ remains one of the company’s core values. Our family is a traditional family. If gays like our pasta and our advertisings, they will eat our pasta; if they don’t like that, they will eat someone else’s pasta. You can’t always please everyone not to displease anyone. I would not do a commercial with a homosexual family, not for lack of respect toward homosexuals – who have the right to do whatever they want without disturbing others – but because I don’t agree with them, and I think we want to talk to traditional families. The women are crucial in this.
I respect same-sex marriage because that concerns people who want to contract marriage, but I absolutely don’t respect adoptions in gay families, because that concerns a person who is not the people who decide.”
After the interview, Barilla tweeted an apology for “offending the sensibilities of many” (via Google Translate), though he didn’t recant any of his statements. In an official statement, he clarified that he “only wanted to underline the central role of the woman in the family.”
Mirroring the U.S. response to Chick-fil-a’s anti-gay positions, Italian LGBT groups are calling for a boycott of Barilla pasta. Barilla also makes up 25 percent of the U.S. pasta market, suggesting an international response.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Gay Bars Across Globe Dump Russian Vodka| Gay News | Towleroad

Gay Bars Across Globe Dump Russian Vodka| Gay News | Towleroad
Prompted by Dan Savage's recent op-ed urging people to boycott Russian vodka, gay bars in the United States and elsewhere around the world have started banning Stolichnaya and other Russian vodkas. The goal of the boycott is to bring attention to the recent LGBT human rights violations in that country.
So far, bars in NYC, LA, Miami, Vancouver, Toronto, London, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, San Diego and Sydney have all participated in the ban. In the photo above, the manager of The Fountainhead Pub in Vancouver dumps out a bottle of Russian vodka.
An article in today's LA Times reports on the growing campaign:
West Hollywood bars join a growing number of U.S. gay bars boycotting Stoli. Numerous Chicago bars have boycotted the vodka and other Russian products, according to the Windy City Times, a Chicago newspaper that focuses on the gay and lesbian community.

“Consumer action, for a long time, has been a part of any activism,” Art Johnston, the co-owner of the gay bar Sidetrack Chicago, said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

Sidetrack--in Chicago’s Boystown neighborhood, an LGBT hub–stopped selling Stoli earlier this week, Johnston said. The spaces on the bar where Stoli vodka bottles would sit remain empty so people will ask what used to be there, he said.

“I’m hopeful people will talk about this,” Johnston said. “Either the lives of gay and lesbian people in Russia mean something, or they don’t. Clearly, to us, they mean something.”
In case you missed it yesterday, the parent company of Stolichnaya, the SPI Group, responded to the ban via an open letter.
Sidetrack was one of the first gay bars to ban the sale of Russian vodka. They stopped selling it this past Wednesday. Watch a WGN-TV news segment about that bar and the boycott, AFTER THE JUMP.
Has your local gay bar stopped selling Russian vodka?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Novak's nightclub in the Grove closing : Entertainment

Novak's nightclub in the Grove closing : Entertainment
Novak's, the long-running gay dance club/bar at 4121 Manchester Ave. in the heart of the Grove neighborhood, is closing.
The last day is June 30.
Rumors began swirling all day Thursday about the state of Novak's, and nothing was said on Novak's Facebook page or owner Nancy Novak's Facebook page until late in the day.
On the club's page was a message presumably from Novak that read "I'm retiring and I'm pretty excited about it. There are negotiations with the next owners so I'm not sure but it shouldn't be too long. Thanks for a great 17 years. You have made my life so great and full of love. See you soon. Going to try and be at the bar every night to say goodbye. No crying now."
Novak's employees were apparently informed the bar was closing via email on Wednesday.
Novak did not respond to a request for an interview.
Novak's is known for karaoke, drag queen and drag king shows, dancing, its Open Mic Mondays, Phone Tunes Tuesdays and more.
More information on Novak's is at

Thursday, June 20, 2013

East St. Louis considers extending nightclub hours : Stltoday

East St. Louis considers extending nightclub hours : Stltoday
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A decision by the mayor and leaders in East St. Louis to consider all-hours nightclubs in the crime-plagued city drew sharp criticism Thursday from U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and the St. Clair County prosecutor.
Durbin and Brendan Kelly wrote a letter to Mayor Alvin Parks after the Belleville News-Democrat reported ( that the southwestern Illinois city's council wants to create an entertainment district for 24-hour and late clubs.
The community cut the clubs' hours last year, requiring them to close at 2 a.m. during the week and 3 a.m. on weekends. The change came after pressure from police, prosecutors and even Durbin, who wanted to limit liquor sales. Clubs had been open until 6 a.m.
Durbin and Kelly said extending hours will increase the risk of violence and undermine federal law enforcement efforts. They called the proposal, which is set for a public hearing, "shocking and disappointing."
"We urge you to withdraw this proposal and should you press forward with it, we urge the City Council to vote it down," Durbin and Kelly wrote to the mayor. "The cost of this violent crime to East St. Louis' families far exceeds any economic benefit that extended club hours might bring."
The city also wants to double the cost of liquor licenses. City council supporters argue concentrating nightclubs in a single area would make it easier to control public safety.
Parks said the city has lost nightlife dollars to nearby communities since clubs started closing earlier. He said he wants that atmosphere to return to East St. Louis.
"In the '80's, East St. Louis was known as East Boogie," Parks said.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Will Yahoo Try to Get Its “Cool Again” by Doing a Deal for Tumblr?

Will Yahoo Try to Get Its “Cool Again” by Doing a Deal for Tumblr?

Earlier this week, Yahoo CFO Ken Goldman spoke at JP Morgan’s Global Technology conference and underscored the need for the aging Silicon Valley Internet giant to attract more users from the coveted 18-to-24-years-old age bracket. Along with more marketing, he explicitly said Yahoo needed to be “cool again.”
“One of our challenges is we have had an aging demographic,” said Goldman at the Boston event. “Part of it is going to be just visibility again in making ourselves cool, which we got away from for a couple of years.”
According to sources close to the situation, that could mean a strategic alliance and investment in or outright buy of perhaps the coolest Internet company of late: Tumblr.
Sources said the talks were serious, but any kind of deal — of course — could come to naught.
But it’s not the first time Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has been interested in the New York-based hipster blogging service. As an executive at Google, she had closely watched its fast growth, along with that of Foursquare. Since she took over at Yahoo, several sources said that she has met with its top execs, including founder and CEO David Karp.
But sources said that interest has gotten stronger more recently, coming at the same time as Tumblr has been stepping up its efforts to raise a large funding round that could value the New York company at $1 billion. In a series of fundings since 2007, Tumblr has raised $125 million so far, at a reported valuation of $800 million.
In the latest round, one source close to the situation said Tumblr was considering “strategic” investments, which would presumably be of the kind that Yahoo had tried and failed to do recently with France’s Dailymotion video service. Since then, Mayer and her team have looked at the ongoing deal to purchase Hulu that has many possible other bidders.
Tumblr is different from Dailymotion or Hulu, of course, in that it focuses heavily on user-generated content, largely text and photos, although there is an increasing use of video on the site.
But this puts it directly in Yahoo’s main wheelhouse, especially recent efforts to undergird its strong set of existing media offerings to appeal to a different audience and also get into the social space via consumer-based software solutions that are both elegant and easy to use.
“If you could pick a company that fits in with what Marissa Mayer has demonstrated in her career — aesthetics software technology and fast-growing — you could not land on a better choice,” said another source.
That said, Yahoo has been sticking to smaller acquisitions under Mayer’s regime, spending very little on a clutch of small mobile startups to up its game in the important sector. And at the same investment conference, Goldman also said additional M&A would continue to be smaller for Yahoo.
Still, any kind of deal with Tumblr could certainly bring Yahoo a big, young audience. Its worldwide traffic was at 117 million visitors in April, according to comScore. On its home page, Tumblr claims it has 107.8 million blogs and 50.6 billion posts. U.S. desktop traffic to Tumblr was 37 million in April, close to LinkedIn and Twitter, although Twitter obviously has much more via mobile.
But figuring out how to make money from that audience is a task that the company has only recently started to tackle.
Like other recent Web startups that have seen rocket ship growth — see: Twitter, Facebook — Tumblr resisted advertising for its formative years, and its user base seems particularly unwilling to accept standard banner ads. In addition, many industry observers think that Tumblr’s pages are packed with porn and/or other questionable content that would scare off advertisers.
But within the last year or so, Tumblr has started selling modestly sized “native ads” promoting brands’ Tumblr pages, on users’ “dashboards.” That’s the equivalent of running ads in a Facebook user’s News Feed or a Twitter user’s main feed.
Initial signs are promising. Tumblr told Forbes that it generated $13 million in revenue last year, and suggested it could do as much as $100 million this year; people close to the company say its momentum has continued this year.
In addition to figuring out its top-line business, Tumblr and its backers have also been spending a long time trying to figure out a managment structure. Even Karp’s strongest backers say that the 26-year-old needs help running the company, and for months they have been looking for a “Sheryl Sandberg”-style COO candidate.
“David is very charming, and clearly very very bright, and understands the product,” said an executive who talked to Tumblr about the role. But, “he’s incredibly confrontation averse, and there’s almost a ‘Game of Thrones’ palace feeling to the management team.”
Possibility of death by wildfire aside, sources said that the search has yielded two or three candidates that Tumblr is considering. It is a key hire since the company needs to build out an extensive infrastructure quickly, given its sharp consumer growth, including fielding a more robust advertising team. Tumblr hired an experienced exec, Lee Brown, from Groupon last fall, who has been busy hiring more sales execs. Interesting aside: Brown was a longtime Yahoo ad exec.
But building out the needed structure at the company is a long slog, and Tumblr might be seeking more help one way or another.
Yahoo declined comment and Tumblr has not gotten back to us as yet.