Friday, July 12, 2013

NOW THERE ARE 2: Meet Our New Writer Dan Furmansky // HIS DEBUT: Fillmore Silver Spring Welcomes Anti-Gay Act

Meet Maryland Juice's new writer: Dan Furmansky










OUR NEW JUICER: MEET DAN FURMANSKY - Maryland Juice is proud to introduce a new writer to our upstart progressive blog!  Meet Dan Furmansky, a social justice advocate who formerly served as the head of Equality Maryland and Standing on the Side of Love. Below we provide a little bit of background on Dan, followed by his very first Maryland Juice post. Note that Dan is no stranger to Annapolis politics and has even been written about in the papers due to his work on various issue campaigns:
  • "There's no doubt that Furmansky was sort of like a superhero working to protect the rights of GLBT Marylanders...." - Baltimore City Paper, June 2008
  • "Throughout history, there have been few LGBT leaders the community could directly turn to when we needed political strength and influence. Yet, we have been fortunate that Dan Furmansky has been such a leader, as he provided passion, eloquence and dedication in the face of discrimination, virulent anti-gay rhetoric and weak-kneed politicians...." - Baltimore Out Loud, November 2008
Though we are still ironing out the details of his transition to Maryland Juice, Dan decided to jump right into his new writing duties by flagging an emerging controversy in Montgomery County. The Fillmore, a Silver Spring concert venue, decided to book a reportedly anti-gay band called "Molotov" to perform this August. The Fillmore is a LiveNation owned venue that generated some measure of controversy when it was built with $8 million in taxpayer incentives to bring the venue to downtown Silver Spring. In any case, you can read Dan's thoughts on the matter below, along with some information about his background and work history. In the meantime, if you've got juice for Dan or just want to reach out, you can contact him at dan@marylandjuice.com.
ABOUT DAN FURMANSKY - Dan Furmansky has worked for 15 years as a social justice advocate focused on addressing civil rights issues, economic and environmental justice, animal welfare, fair and impartial courts, and global hunger and poverty. Currently, he is an independent consultant offering communications, political strategy, and organizational management support to several non-profit organizations.

For two years, Dan was director of a national, interfaith public advocacy campaign, Standing on the Side of Love, helping individuals translate their faith into action on behalf of marginalized communities. He worked for five years as executive director of Equality Maryland, where he grew the organization ten-fold, launched a marriage equality campaign in the courts, the court of public opinion, and the legislature, and successfully led efforts to pass a hate crimes law, Montgomery County's transgender anti-discrimination law, and multiple bills to provide rights for domestic partners.

He has served as a spokesperson in numerous print, radio and television interviews and appearances, including CNN, “The Bill O’Reilly Show,” NPR, Washington Post, and the New York Times. Dan has been honored with the EPA EnergyStar Congregation Award; the DC Capital Pride Hero award; the Washington Peace Center Justice Award; the Gerald B. Roemer Community Service Award from the Dept. of Justice, and the Cornerstone Award from the Jewish Funds for Justice.

He has served on the boards of the Equality Federation, Progressive Maryland, and the Public Justice Center of Maryland. In addition to his political work, Dan proudly officiates weddings, helping couples create personalized, meaningful ceremonies: www.ameaningfulday.com. He lives in Silver Spring, Md. with his husband, Jonathan.

JUICE #1 BY DAN FURMANSKY: Montgomery County Subsidizes Hate? - Below Maryland Juice blogger David Moon publishes Dan Furmansky's first piece of juice, which highlights an emerging controversy regarding an anti-LGBT music act coming to Montgomery County. Dan targets the Fillmore Silver Spring concert venue for hosting a controversial Mexico City rock-rap band called Molotov. Note that Maryland Juice is no stranger to protests over inflammatory speech, as we previously zinged the fast-food chain Chik-Fil-A for supporting anti-gay sentiment, Fox News Baltimore for trying to steer viewers to an anti-marriage equality petition, and hardware store Lowe's for caving to Islamophobia. But the band Molotov is no stranger to protests over its anti-gay (and sexist) lyrics (excerpt from Wikipedia below):
WIKIPEDIA: Puto is a song by the Mexican band Molotov from their album ¿Dónde Jugarán las Niñas?. The word puto literally translates as "man-whore", which is often used as a derogatory term for gay males in Mexican Spanish, similar to the American slang word faggot. It is also used to mean "bastard". The term, as many other homophobic slur in Mexican Spanish is also used to describe an unmanly act such as cowardice. Although the song itself allegedly follows the latter connotation in which the group is mocking those who do not stand up for themselves, the lyrics do not only include "puto," but also "marica," and "joto," other homophobic slurs. The band faced criticism when the song was interpreted as a slur against homosexuals. As a result, the group's first tour in Germany was met with crowds of angry gay and lesbian protestors.
 A few years ago a New York blogger highlighted Molotov's inflammatory lyrics and translated the words to their song "Puto" (excerpt below):
So you are macho man, no? Ah, so macho, no?
Faggot, girly, you're rather a little male-whore, no?

Background chorus: Fag, Fag, Fag, Fag, Fag. Fag, Fag, Fag

FAG!! He who doesn't jump up and down
FAG!! He who doesn't shout and swear
FAG!! The guy who remained in conformity
FAG!! He who believed the official reports
FAG!! He who takes away our food
FAG!! Also he who covers it up
FAG!! He who doesn't do whatever he wants
FAG!! Born a fag, dies a fag

Love the killer
Kill the faggot
And what does that son of a bitch want?
He wants to cry, he wants to cry
 With that being said, check out Dan Furmansky's first piece below:


DAN FURMANSKY: Montgomery County and the State of Maryland spent $8 million of our taxpayer dollars subsidizing the establishment of the Fillmore in Silver Spring.  As a Silver Springer, I was thrilled when it opened. I love live music, and like to see our downtown become increasingly dynamic.

So I was particularly pissed off to read this morning that the Fillmore is hosting an anti-gay Mexico City-based band that has prompted radio bans and concert protests:

Reports the Blade (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON BLADE: The scheduled appearance next month in Silver Spring, Md., of a controversial hip-hop act from Mexico that uses the phrase “kill the faggot” in one of its songs has prompted LGBT activists to consider holding a protest outside the theater where the band is set to perform on Aug. 26.
LGBT Latino activists familiar with the popular Mexico City band Molotov say the Spanish language lyrics in several of its songs include the words “puto” and “maricon,” which sometimes are used in different ways but are widely interpreted as a slur against gay men.
Gay Latino activist and blogger Andres Duque of New York City, who’s a native Spanish speaker from Colombia, told the Blade that one of Molotov’s most controversial and popular songs is entitled “Puto” and repeats that word more than a dozen times.

Duque said that while the word is sometimes used to describe a male prostitute and a coward it is most often interpreted as “fag” or “faggot.”

A spokesperson for the Fillmore Silver Spring Theater, where Molotov is scheduled to appear for a one-time performance on Aug. 26, did not return calls from the Blade seeking comment as of late Tuesday.
“We are considering a protest at the theater,” said Alex McNeill, a spokesperson for the statewide LGBT group Equality Maryland. “We want people to know that most Latino people don’t agree with the lyrics that use ‘puto.’ We want to make sure people know the word is hurtful....”

Why in the world would the Fillmore court this controversy, here in Montgomery County, no less? Did they think we wouldn’t notice? This is unacceptable.

I’m all about free speech. The Fillmore has every right to put on whatever act they want. But we also have every right to protest and let the Fillmore know that they are officially on notice. Our tax dollars shouldn’t go to support a band who uses lyrics like “Born a fag, dies a fag, Love the killer,
Kill the faggot.”

And you know what? I don’t want to forfeit a perfectly good summer evening protesting in front of the Fillmore. This is one show that must not go on.

Montgomery County lawmakers need to lean on the Fillmore to cancel this act ASAP.

Please register your disgust as well. Call the Fillmore at 301.960.9999, Tweet at them, and send them an email: http://fillmoresilverspring.com/#

Dan Furmansky is a social justice activist and consultant to progressive non-profit organizations.

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