Saturday, 20 February 2016

IN THE COCKPIT WITH NASCAR POSTERBOY CARL EDWARDS AT DAYTONA


Carl Edwards on the cover of ESPN The Magazine

Montreal stock-car racing legend Dick Foley was not just the first Canadian to race in the Daytona 500, back in 1959, but Foley also inadvertently caused the biggest pile-up in NASCAR history at Daytona Speedway the following year.

After losing, then regaining, control of his Chevy Impala – the words "Montreal, Canada" painted on his fenders – Foley spun out into the infield. Thirty-seven cars (in a record 73-car field) behind Foley weren’t so lucky, crashing in a spectacular demolition derby.

“It was some show, I’ll tell you that,” Mr. Foley told me when he was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame at a gala in Toronto in April 2012. “There were 37 cars in that accident! Fortunately no one was seriously injured. It was a miracle.”

Scroll down to watch the spectacular video of that crash.

To this day, Mr. Foley returns to Daytona each and every February with his blonde bombshell wife and former ballet dancer Evita Perron, where they catch up with old friends and NASCAR royalty.

Stock-car racing’s storied bootlegging past, car crashes and stunts – one driver was even offered $1,000 cash to race without a roof in Daytona’s 1959 inaugural race – established NASCAR as a macho club of good ole boys, thrill-seekers and speed demons.

Over the decades, everybody knows there have been gay drivers in NASCAR – though just three have ever publicly come out of the closet, Massachusetts-born Evan Darling, who was the first out of the blocks, as well as Stephen Rhodes who raced in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2003, and Justin Mullikin in the NASCAR Grand National Sportsmen division.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

TRANS COMEDIAN TRANNA WINTOUR: "LIVE OUT LOUD AND AUTHENTICALLY."


Stand-up comedian Tranna Wintour (Photo by Reese Turner)

Bugs' original interview with Tranna Wintour ran in the Zwivel news blog on February 18, 2016.

“My favorite moment during a show is always the big breakthrough,” says transgender stand-up comic Tranna Wintour. Described by legendary comedian Sandra Bernhard as “a candle in the window on a cold, dark winter’s night”, Wintour is a sensation in her hometown of Montreal.

Her audiences are mostly made up of “cisgender” people – cisgender being a word to describe those who are not transgender. “If at the beginning of my set they might be a little reluctant to laugh out loud or don’t know how to react, there often is a turning point when they allow themselves to be entertained by me, and it’s a really great feeling.”

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN: GERALD FORD AND THE GAY MAN WHO SAVED HIS LIFE


          
President Ford winces at the sound of the gun fired by Sarah Jane Moore during the assassination attempt in San Francisco, California, on Sept. 22, 1975. White House Photograph Courtesy Gerald R. Ford Library. Photographer: David Hume Kennerly.

From the TDB archives: This instalment of Three Dollar Bill originally ran in HOUR magazine on January 11, 2007.

I once wrote in this column that if I spotted an assassin aiming his gun at the current president of the United States, George W. Bush – whose administration is hands-down the most homophobic in the history of that great nation – I would coldly turn around and walk away.

I was reminded of that last week as America mourned the passing of former president Gerald Ford, who died on Dec. 26, 2006, but whose life, on Sept. 22, 1975, was saved by a gay man whose own life was destroyed in the process.

On that September day thousands of people stood cheering the President outside the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco when a middle-aged FBI informant named Sara Jane Moore pulled out her chrome-plated .38 revolver and aimed at Ford.

Oliver "Billy" Sipple, a 33-year-old retired marine who’d been wounded twice in Vietnam, lunged for Moore. A shot rang out but the bullet missed Ford – who stood just 35 feet away – and Sipple wrestled Moore to the ground and became a national hero.