WiGWAG: Willie Nelson, gay Republicans, bearded drag queen, PETA and more

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A request to place this on a roadside in Utah was rejected.

Bearded drag queen wins Eurovision

Austrian bearded drag queen Conchita Wurst won the 59th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest with a James Bond-inspired entry that had unleashed a wave of protests in Eastern Europe before the competition. The power ballad, “Rise Like a Phoenix,” helped Wurst — the alter ego of 25-year-old Thomas Neuwirth — secure Austria’s second victory in the competition with 290 points. The contest’s most famous winners include ABBA and Celine Dion. “This is dedicated to everyone who believes in a future of peace and freedom,” Wurst said in accepting the trophy. “We are unity.”

Black-belted Nelson

Willie Nelson, who recently turned 81, received his fifth-degree black belt in the martial art of Gong Kwon Yu Sul. Nelson trains in Austin, Texas. The redheaded stranger said that keeping physical — with martial arts, running and biking — is the key to his good health. Not smoking pot?

‘Oh Mary’ gets to Log Cabin

Log Cabin Republicans demanded an apology from Democratic Congressman Scott Peters after his campaign reposted a blog by liberal political activist John Aravosis referring to Peters’ opponent as a “Mary,” dishy gay slang for a gay man. Openly gay Republican Carl DeMaio had complained that social conservatives were more tolerant of him being a gay Republican than were gay people. Aravosis wrote in his blog, “Oh Mary, it’s so hard to be you.” On social media, reactions to Log Cabin’s demand for an apology and to DeMaio’s being a gay Republican were way harsher than “Oh Mary.”

What a drag

Steve Wiles, a Republican state Senate candidate who supported North Carolina’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, performed in drag at a gay nightclub a little over a decade ago as Miss Mona Sinclair. Wiles is now a real-estate agent and Republican activist. He placed third in a May 6 GOP primary against two other candidates in the solidly red state Senate district. 

In memorium

The Utah Department of Transportation has rejected an animal rights advocate’s request to erect a roadside memorial to 720 turkeys killed in a traffic accident near Provo in late April. The DOT said the proposed People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals memorial — which included a suggestion to “try vegan” — didn’t meet state standards, namely that relatives erect memorials to loved ones killed in crashes. But activist Amy Meyer argued the standard shouldn’t apply to factory-farmed turkeys, because they all get slaughtered and thus have no living relatives.

‘True Outfitter’

Celebrity interior designer Nate Berkus, host of American Dream Builders, tied the knot with his fiance Jeremiah Brent on May 3 in the New York Public Library, becoming the first same-sex couple to wed in the iconic building. Sheri Salata, president of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network & Harpo Studios, officiated the ceremony. Berkus and Brent are part of Banana Republic’s “True Outfitters” campaign, which features real-life couples. Milwaukee-area residents can see the couple’s picture in the window of the BR store at Bayshore Town Center in Glendale. 

Wisconsin gobbles up Girl Scout cookies

Despite a boycott by Pro-Life Wisconsin, members of the 24-county Badgerland Council of Girl Scouts of the USA sold 1,427,412 boxes of cookies during the recently concluded six-week sales period. That’s up about 1 percent from the fall of 2012. This year’s total is the highest so far for the Badgerland Council, which was formed in 2009. Pro-Life Wisconsin contends that Girl Scouts of the USA is too palsy with  Planned Parenthood and other supporters of reproductive freedom.

NYPD blue

An NYPD baseball team had to cancel a tournament championship game after a thief broke into the team’s minivan and stole $15,000 in jerseys, gloves and bats. New York’s Finest Baseball Club had been scheduled to play the Dallas Fire Department in a Texas tourney. And CrimeStoppers tip No. 1? Do not leave valuables unattended in vehicles.

Bright lights, steel city

Steel city, Big screen: Pittsburgh is celebrating its cinematic heritage with bus tours to settings in Flashdance, The Deer Hunter, Night of the Living Dead, The Dark Knight Rises, The Silence of the Lambs, Jack Reacher and more. The Lights, Camera, Pittsburgh! tour is being made ready for action later this month — in time for a visit from 75 Canadian journalists who might think all Hollywood films are shot in Toronto or Vancouver. WigWag tip: IMDB.com is a great resource for film locations.

More WiGWAG at wisconsingazette.com.