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Bad seed

Out &About





Forever Audrey

Int'l Ms. Leather



Vol. 43 • No. 18 • May 2-8, 2013

Senator Feinstein by Richard Dodds

From P.J. Raval’s Before You Know It.

International: take two

Michael Feinstein is opening Feinstein’s at the Nikko in San Francisco.

by David Lamble

Courtesy San Francisco Film Society


he 56th San Francisco International Film Festival heads into its final week with a distinct array of narrative and documentary fare, both entertaining and disturbing. Before You Know It In P.J. Raval’s witty documentary journey, we discover another America. It’s a landscape dotted by small enclaves of hardy souls, pioneers in a way, guys who are facing their journey’s end with a lot more trepidation and uncertainty than they deserve. At a Harlem center for LGBT seniors, outreach coordinator Ty explains why so many of his surviving friends are looking at gay marriage as a life raft. Ty points to a small group

photo of his friends back in the 80s. “Allan died, Bill died, Sherman died, Harriet died, Ann died. If we hadn’t been bombarded by HIV/ AIDS, many of us would probably have had longer relationships. Most of my friends that I envisioned growing old together, they died!” Ty confesses that his partner of 30 years is dragging his feet about tying the knot. Dennis lives in a shabby Florida trailer park with the relics of an active life. The one-time virile racquetball champ shyly guides us to a closet full of women’s clothes, confessing that the few social See page 22 >>


f you’re going to hang a shingle outside a nightclub entrance, there is unlikely any better name to put on it than “Feinstein’s.” As in Michael Feinstein, the singer, pianist, musicologist, and champion of the Great American Songbook. For 14 years, his name has brightened the always-threatened yet somehow always-surviving cabaret nation with Feinstein’s at Loews Regency in New York. But with the hotel undergoing major renovations, Feinstein’s had to shut up shop on Jan. 1. Actually, he was ready to vacate. “It took us two hours every night to put in the stage and

the piano, and two hours every night to break it down, because that’s where the hotel had its ‘power breakfasts’ in the morning. It drove me crazy that it wasn’t a 24-hour dedicated room, and it cost $150,000 a year just to set up and take down.” Meanwhile, in San Francisco, the Rrazz Room at the Nikko Hotel closed its doors the night before, following an ugly dispute with the hotel management. Beginning May 8, Feinstein’s at the Nikko will be the new name above the door of the 140-seat room. It was a See page 14 >>

Wanda Sykes speaks her mind by David-Elijah Nahmod


Comic Wanda Sykes.

was personally attacked. They pissed me off. Now I have to get in your face.” – Wanda Sykes, speaking at a rally after the passage of Proposition 8. Sykes has never been one to mince words. The openly lesbian (since 2008) comic has carved out a reputation as a brilliant social satirist who can reduce her audiences to hysterical laughter while making them think about social issues. In addition to her wildly popular stand-up act, Sykes is well-known for her television roles on Curb Your Enthusiasm and The New Adventures of Old Christine. She also won an Emmy Award for her writing work on The Chris Rock Show. Sykes, who lives with her wife and children, will appear at the Marin Center in San Rafael on Sat., May 11, at 8 p.m. “Expect to see a woman who’s happy to get out of the house with adults, getting the respect she deserves,” she said in a telephone interview with the B.A.R. But Sykes made it obvious that she takes her work quite seriously. “I’m going to talk about marriage, politics and the new Pope,” she said. Sykes addressed the sea change in a society where the majority of people now embrace an African American president and an openly gay, black comedian. “This is how the country should be, how it was intended to be. This is the world now. That’s why the zombies on the right are so big right now.” Her social consciousness continues when she’s off-stage. A few years ago she recorded a public service announce-


ment for GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. In the video, she chastises a young student for using the term “that’s so gay.” “It’s hard for these kids,” she said, in reference to LGBT youth who come out while still in school. “I’ve been around friends who’ve used that term. They didn’t know what they were saying. How would I feel if I were a kid hearing those words? We have to help these kids and change their perceptions – we have to make it easier for these kids.” As a happily married woman, the Supreme Court Prop 8/DOMA trials are also of great interest to Sykes. “It’s weird. The hearings are happening on Spring Break, so we have the kids home all day. The case will decide whether or not we’re a ‘legit’ family. I’m hoping that the court will rule that Prop 8 is unconstitutional, and that we’ll have marriage equality. I can’t see them upholding Prop 8.” The politically astute Sykes has been asked if she would ever consider a run for office. “Hell, no!” she said. “I’d piss a lot of people off! I wouldn’t play the game.” For now, Sykes is concentrating on her current tour and her family. She professes to have a great affection for the Bay Area, and cites Zuni Cafe on Market Street as a favorite place to unwind when she’s in town. “They make a mean Bloody Mary,” she said.t Wanda Sykes Live, Sat., May 11 at 8 p.m., Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. Tickets ($69.50/$49.50): (415) 473-6800

May 2, 2013 Edition of the Bay Area Reporter  

The undisputed newspaper of record for the San Francisco Bay Area LGBT community and the oldest continuously-published gay newspaper in the...

May 2, 2013 Edition of the Bay Area Reporter  

The undisputed newspaper of record for the San Francisco Bay Area LGBT community and the oldest continuously-published gay newspaper in the...