Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 28, No. 34, Ed. 1 Friday, January 6, 2012 Page: 4 of 40
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CLOSE CALL | Former Piano resident Benjamin Lutz's Los Angeles apartment building was among those hit by a serial arsonist.
L.A. arson spree narrowly misses
'Bite Marks'actor, SMU alum Lutz
After director Mark Bessenger posted on Face-
book that Benjamin Lutz was almost a victim of the
recent arson attacks in Los Angeles, I contacted
the former Piano resident and SMU alum to see
just what happened. He responded with the good
news that he's OK, but described how it went
"Yes, my parking garage was one of the ones
hit by the arsonist," he said. "It was on New Year's
Eve and I was at my apartment getting ready for a
dinner party. I heard people yelling 'fire,' and sure
enough the car next to mine was set on fire. I was
lucky enough to move my car in time and the fire
didn't spread to my apartment. Sadly, three other
cars and the side of the building didn't make it. It
was a weird holiday and I couldn't get back in my
apartment for a long while. I did not lose my car,
but some of my friends mistook the info as my car
being blown up."
Lutz starred in the 2011 indie horror flick Bite
Marks which we featured in our coverage of the
Fears for Queers film festival and its recent DVD re-
lease. The perp was finally arrested on Monday.
UPDATE: Soon after posting this, I learned that
former Dallas Voice writer Alonso Duralde and his
partner Dave White were directly affected by the
arsonist as their two cars were firebombed at their
West Hollywood complex. A fund has been set up
to help cover repairs and replacement of their vehi-
cles (one was not insured). To contribute, go to
— Rich Lopez
Openly bi Arizona state senator
announces bid for Congress
One night just about four years ago, I was in the
Rose Room at Station 4, waiting to participate in
what was then an unprecedented event in Dallas
— a debate of sorts between official representa-
tives from the campaigns of then-senators and
Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama
and Hillary Clinton.
While I was standing around waiting for organiz-
ers to tell me it was time to start, a vivacious young
woman with short blond hair walked up and intro-
duced herself to me as Kyrsten. It w^s kind of loud
in the Rose Room then and so I couldn't clearly
hear what she was telling me. I did hear her say
that she was from Arizona, and that she was back-
ing Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination.
I thought she was an Obama campaign staffer.
Before long, though, I found out that Kyrsten
was actually Arizona State Rep. Kyrsten Sinema,
that state's first legislator who was an out and
proud member of the LGBT community.
I was impressed with the young woman's per-
sonality and her passion. So since then, I have kind
of kept up with Sinema through news stories about
her on the Internet. I read with interest the news re-
ports two years ago with Sinema was elected to
the Arizona State Senate. I was actually quite
pleased today when I read that Sinema has an-
nounced she is resigning from the state Senate to
run for Congress representing Arizona's newly
drafted 9th District.
Don't take that as an endorsement of Sinema's
campaign for Congress. I just mean that I believe
our community has a better chance of making
progress toward full equality when there are mem-
bers of our community holding elected office, and
we can't have LGBT elected officials if we don't
have LGBT candidates. And from what I hear,
Sinema is a strong candidate.
According to the Phoenix New Times, Sinema is
the only Democrat to have officially declared a can-
didacy in District 9, although another state senator,
David Schapira has formed an exploratory com-
mittee for a possible congressional run, and Ari-
zona Democratic Party Chair Andrei Cherny is also
rumored to be considering joining the race.
As the New Times also pointed out, in Arizona,
members of Congress aren't required to live in the
district they represent. And Sinema actually lives in
District 6. She chose to run for District 9, however,
because it is more progressive than her home dis-
trict, which leans toward the Republican side.
And speaking of Republicans, the New Times
said Congressman Ben Quayle (yes, the son of for-
mer Vice President Dan Quayle), who lives in Dis-
trict 9, is likely to run instead in District 6 where he
would face Congressman David Schweikert in the
Turning back to the Democrats, Sinema, in an-
nouncing her candidacy on her Facebook page,
said: "I've decided to run for Congress because
we need to wake up Washington! I will fight for the
forgotten middle class and stand up to a system
that is rigged against them."
— Tammye Nash
4 dallasvoice.com ■ 01.06.12
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Nash, Tammye. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 28, No. 34, Ed. 1 Friday, January 6, 2012, newspaper, January 6, 2012; Dallas, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth239201/m1/4/: accessed November 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.