Happy New Year, readers!
In keeping with the year-end tradition of columnists’ picking the best, worse and whatever, I am introducing OUTspoken’s list of the Best (or Worst) of 2008, or the OUTIES. It’ s an unapologetic, biased, subjective, slanted list of the best (or worst in some cases) of politics, culture, the city, the state and the scene. Some selections call for a brief explanation; others clearly do not.
In no particular order, welcome to the 2008 OUTIES:
Best Date of the Year—November 4, 2008.
Best Campaign Slogan—"Yes We Can"
Most Inaccurate Campaign Slogan—"Putting Country First"
Best Political Decision—Barack Obama’s eschewing public financing to raise private contributions instead
Worst Political Decision— You betcha! John McCain’s picking Sarah Palin as his running mate. (See Most Inaccurate Campaign Slogan above)
Most Disappointing Outreach Effort—Obama’s selecting Pastor Rick Warren to deliver the inauguration’s invocation
Gutsiest Political Decision—Obama’s choosing Hillary Clinton to be Secretary of State
Most Nauseating Character in the Campaign—"Joe the Plumber"
Most Nauseating Word in the Campaign—"Maverick"
Most Influential Entertainer During the Campaign—Tina Fey
Most Ironic Disclosure—Turns out that daughter of social conservative Sarah Palin isn’t so big on abstinence only
Best Court Decision—California’s Supreme Court ruling that same-sex marriage should be legal
Worst Election Result—California passing Proposition 8, which negated the court decision above
Best Hollywood Straight LGBT Ally—Brad Pitt, for his substantial contributions to defeat Prop 8.
Best Hollywood LGBT Person—(Tie) Neil Patrick Harris and Ellen Degeneres
Worst Hollywood LGBT Person—Elton John, for his problem with the word "marriage" during the Prop 8 debate
Most Supportive Straight TV Commentator—Keith Olbermann
Best Lesbian TV Commentator—Rachel Maddow
Best Local Elected Official on Marriage Equality—Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, for his public support at a legislative committee hearing
Most Disappointing Local Elected Official on Marriage Equality—Gov. Martin O’Malley
Most LGBT-Supportive Baltimore City Elected Official—Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
Most Vile Democrat in Maryland—Sen. President Thomas V. "Mike" Miller for standing in the way of transgender protections and marriage equality
Most Vile Republican in Maryland—Too many to mention
Best LGBT Organization—PFLAG-Columbia/Howard County, for not only offering year-round support to the parents of LGBT children, welcoming all LGBT folks and allies to the organization and providing a safe space for LGBT youth and their friends, but also producing on a shoe-string budget the splendid multi-media "Someone You Love is Gay" ad campaign that has been praised by PR pros. In addition, the chapter formed the largest contingent at Equality Maryland’s Lobby Day and its advocacy work has been a prototype for other PFLAG chapters.
Best Political Event—Join the Impact on November 15, which through the use of the Internet and a zero budget, on just 5 days notice managed to muster about a thousand (half of them straight) to a protest Prop 8 rally outside City Hall.
Best Non-political Event—Baltimore Pride, for its colorful, well-run parade, block party and festival
Best Gay Bar—PW’s Sports Bar in N. Laurel, for its friendly staff and crowd and its wide range of events and community involvement
Best Karaoke Gay Bar—Hippo with Steve Smith as the emcee and The Drinkery as runner-up
Best Happy Hour—The Quest
Best LGBT Bartender—David from the Hippo’s Karaoke room
Best Hair Studio and Day Spa—Neal’s on Park and Read
Best Piano Bar—Jay’s on Read
Best Change in Bars and Restaurants—Ban on smoking. Our lungs get to survive another year.
Best Baltimore Drag Act—Dimitria
Comeback of the Year—Britney Spears
Best Departing Hero—Dan Furmansky of Equality Maryland
Saddest Departing Hero—H.E.R.O.
Best Newcomers—Joe King and Makemie Taylor, for organizing the Join the Impact rally. It was a model for grassroots organizing.
Gay Bar Owner of the Year—John Cook, owner of PW’s who generously allows worthy LGBT organizations as well as community groups to hold fundraisers at PW’s
Best Conscience for People of Color—Rev. Meredith Moise. She speaks her mind and does it so well.
Best Jack-of-all Trades—Skip Koritzer
Best ‘T’ in LGBT—Drew Saine who does a fabulous job with the OUTloud website and Mara Drummond, a beautiful person through and through and who is active on LGBT issues. I love them both.
Best Baltimore LGBT Friendly Theater—Spotlighters
Best LGBT Movie—"Milk." Will the homophobes in Hollywood keep it from winning Oscars?
Best in Mining for Gold—Michael Phelps (not too shabby in a Speedo either)
Best Baltimore Sports Team—The Ravens who also wear our fave color purple, and Todd Heap is still a great Tight End
Best Orioles Off-Season Move—Finally getting "Baltimore" written across the road jerseys for 2009.
Worst Team in 2008 (and All-Time)—Bush-Cheney