SUBSCRIPTION BostonSpiritMagazine.com FREE! DELIVERED
Curtain Up! FALL ARTS PREVIEW
Alison Bechdel What’s next after Broadway Hit the road Salem New England summer getaways Mayor’s Race Vying for LGBT voters Stonewall Vets Working Onfrom the forefront of history Within NH Log Cabin Repubicans LGBT Spellbound Bio‑Techies gay witches of AtReal the epicenter of industry New England
International Scrum Rugby Team Heads to World Cup
Iconic egos on stage
Dusty’s Drag Revue New show, more talent
The peabody essex museum presents
EXPLORE THE RARE POSTERS, GUITARS, MONSTER MASKS AND SCULPTURES COLLECTED BY KIRK HAMMETT, THE LEAD GUITARIST OF METALLICA.
ON VIEW THROUGH NOVEMBER 26, 2017
The Peabody Essex Museum organized Itâ€™s Alive! Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Art from the Kirk Hammett Collection. Carolyn and Peter S. Lynch and The Lynch Foundation provided generous support. The East India Marine Associates of the Peabody Essex Museum provided additional support.
161 Essex St. | Salem, MA pem.org
Attributed to Karoly Grosz, The Mummy (detail), 1932. Produced by Universal Pictures, printed by Morgan Lithograph Company, lithograph. Courtesy of Universal Pictures Licensing, LLC. Courtesy of the Kirk Hammett Horror and Sci-Fi Memorabilia Collection.
N AT I C K
B O STO N
B U R L I N G TO N
W W W. D OV E R R U G . C O M
Boston Spirit Magazine supporters
From The Publisher Boston Spirit magazine published our first issue in April of 2005. Since that time the LGBT community has made some amazing strides in the areas of civil/ equal rights. There have been advances on marriage equality, protections in the workplace, protection in schools and much more. Suffice to say the previous administration in the White House was extremely supportive. These days … not so much. For better or worse we, as a community, have a history of fighting for what is right and for never giving up. It would appear it is time to dust off those boxing gloves and get back to work. Thankfully we have one neighbor here in Boston who is always there for us: our friends at GLAD. Among other pursuits, GLAD recently filed suit in response to the President’s transgender military ban. Kudos to Janson Wu and everyone at GLAD for this important step. For decades GLAD has been fighting for us and their work today is as important as it has even been. If you have not supported GLAD in the past, now would be a great time to start. As for “lighter” topics, welcome to the Fall Arts Preview issue of Boston Spirit! I think
2 | BOSTON SPIRIT
we can all agree, there are many wonderful things about living in New England. One of these wonderful things is the depth and diversity of our arts scene. From worldclass museums, to the incredible Boston Ballet and Boston Pops, to live theater, we have it all. The amazing editorial team at Boston Spirit has highlighted some of the performances coming to the area over the next few months—especially looking forward to David Sedaris and Tony Kushner. Get out your calendar and start booking your tickets now. There is a lot to see. Finally, thanks to everyone who came out to support Boston Spirit at our Summer Sunset Cruise and at the Boston Pride parade where we partnered with the Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, Boston Bruins and New England Patriots for a historic day. We’ve got some great events coming up in the next few months so be sure to keep an eye out for some announcements (be sure to follow us on Facebook)!
David Zimmerman Publisher
Alzheimers Association American Heart Association BCBSMA Blue Man Group Boston Ballet Boston IVF Boston Pops Brian Gerhardson - Ameriprise Broadway in Boston Burns & Levinson, LLP Celebrity Series City Winery Club Café Comcast Destination Salem DJ Mocha Dover Rug Eastern Bank Fenway Health Foxwoods Resort Casino Gardner Mattress HRC Ink Block South End Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Landry & Arcari Lombardo’s Long’s Jewelers Lucia Lighting Marriott Copley Place Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams Morgan Stanley Wealth Services New Bedford Tourism North Shore Music Theatre Partners Healthcare Peabody Essex Musem Porches Inn Ross Simons Seashore Point Seasons Four Smooth Aesthetics TD Bank This Free Life
27 22 25 52 49 41 64 42 59 54 63 57 13 5 43 73 1 7 24 58 73 39 34 51 9 78 3 35 75 COVER 38 61 21 31 45 15 20 69 23 COVER 17
The Artisan Handcrafted Modern Chain Collection
John Hardy and Modern Chain Collection are Registered Trademarks.
Contribute your opinion: email@example.com
As We Go To Press … There’s a big bold resistance movement going on out there. Yay, team! But in the struggle for justice, is it also important to work from within? The answer, according to the newly formed New Hampshire chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans, a political organization of LGBT Republican party members, is, yes. National board member and New Hampshire state Senator Dan Innes, espouses the importance of being “virtually the only LGBT group with ‘a seat at the table in the Trump administration.’” Hmmm … But just what kind of seat at the table are we being given? The Log Cabin Republicans take credit for Trump’s early decision to keep Obama’s executive order barring federal contractors from workplace discrimination concerning sexual orientation. Um, okay. Is non-reinstatement of discriminatory policies enough? Is that the measure of success? And how true is it that the Log Cabin Republicans really had influence on this issue? Reports credit Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner for that quote unquote victory. Of course, that heterosexual couple also claims that their “seat at the table” makes a difference. Does it? Does anyone’s “seat at the table” make a difference on LGBT rights, or anything, with this famously mercurial,
4 | BOSTON SPIRIT
self-directed occupant of the White House? Peter Thiel, the openly gay founder of PayPal, who spoke at the GOP convention in support of Trump, seems to think it’s the case, even though he’s been rumored lately to be expressing dissatisfaction, in private, with 45’s performance. Caitlyn Jenner made similar insidecircle arguments in support of our current president. Of course, her patience is wearing thin, as she declared Trump’s transgender youth policy a “disaster” and also laid in to him about his transgender military ban. With about 14 percent of LGBT voters casting votes for Trump last fall, according to a New York Times exit poll, there seems to be a fair amount of similar sentiments floating around. I confess to being confounded by this. I used to like to think that I had a fairly good comprehension of human nature. But the fact that anywhere between 35-to40 percent of the people in the United States still approve of President Trump’s performance in office, makes me doubt my abilities. “Seek to understand, rather than be understood,” says St. Francis of Assisi. I’m really trying here. I’m still coming up pretty empty. On the balance, I’m inclined to think that having a seat at Trump’s table isn’t worth the fight, at best, and is a downright moral hazard at worst. After all, Trump seems to be the anti-Midas. Everyone who touches him seems to become toxic—Anthony
Scaramucci, Sean Spicer, Paul Manafort, Michael Kelly, to name a few. Then again, some reports are that Special Counselor Robert Mueller, who is investigating the Trump-Russia connections, is particularly interested in interviewing Reince Priebus. Priebus was one of the only establishment Republicans to stay close to the president. He’s unique as being one of the only players outside of Trump’s tight loyalty circle, who got a seat at the inner table. The Mueller team appears to think that Priebus may be one of the best sources for his investigation. Priebus, the ultimate insider, could be Of course if anything comes of Priebus’s testimony and Mueller’s work, such that 45 is somehow removed from office, then we’ll be left with a President Pence. What seat at the table could we possibly have with this man, who enacted one of Indiana’s most homophobic pieces of legislation, and is notoriously anti-LGBT. And so, New Hampshire state Senator Dan Innes, as much as I’d like to think it’s worthwhile to try to work any issue from the inside and outside, I’m not convinced that you and your New Hampshire Log Cabin Republicans are going to have much success. On the other hand, I really I hope you do.
James Lopata Editor
Every story in the rainbow Stirring romances. Inspiring dramas. Uplifting biographies. Pride comes in many stories. Experience the vast collection of LGBTQ movies and shows on XFINITY X1. Explore the LGBTQ Film & TV collection on XFINITY On Demand or just say “Pride” or “LGBTQ” into the X1 Voice Remote to find exciting, new entertainment curated especially for you – all year long.
I am Jazz available at xfinity.com/stream
El Canto Del Colibri available on XFINITY Stream app
Discover more about the LGBTQ Film & TV Collection at xfinity.com/findyourself
Restrictions apply. Not available in all areas. © 2017 Comcast. All rights reserved.
Contents Hit List Progressive Salem Unfiltered Vocalist Supreme Proud as a Peacock Queer Prom for High School Hero Champs at Home and Abroad Senior Spirit Marlene’s Beard From the Blogs Newsmakers | Rhode Island Newsmakers | New Hampshire Newsmakers | Vermont Newsmakers | Connecticut Newsmakers | Maine
8 10 11 12 14 16 20 20 22 24 26 28 30 32
Vying for the LGBT Vote
Salem’s long-time gay-friendly mayor challenged by city’s first openly gay city councilor
Raise the Curtain!
Real Gay Witches of New England
Much like the more subversive sides of LGBT culture, witchcraft is a rebellion
Working from Within
Log Cabin Republicans launch first New Hampshire chapter in national organization’s 40 year history
A Life Lesson of Persistence
Accused of leading a “doll racket,” prison reformer Miram Van Waters persevered with faith, love and sharp intelligence
SEP|OCT 2017 | VOLUME 13 | ISSUE 5
Champs at Home and Abroad
Our seasonal preview of the region’s best and brightest fall arts
Superstars70 American Repertory Theater’s “Warhol/Capote” explores the friendship between gay icons
Inside and Out
The River Wild
Tragedy and Farce
New Bedford Art Museum showcases LGBT art and images SpeakEasy’s comic adventure “Men on Boats” upends gender roles Provincetown’s Tennessee Williams Theater Festival shows that Williams and Shakespeare are needed now more than ever
Off the Wall
Diverse group of artists mix and merge multimedia in street art-inspired show
‘ Home’ on the Road
Bringing it All Back Home
‘Home’ on the Road
Joan Osborne returns to Boston with songs of Bob Dylan What’s next after Tony success for “Fun Home” playwright, celebrated memoirist and Iconic Cartoonist Alison Bechdel
New England Events
‘Take a Seat’ Gala 85 Summer Sunset Cruise 86 Silver Party 89 GLAD Summer Party 90 CRI Summer Party 91 North Shore Pride Parade and Festival92 Rhode Island PrideFest 93 Drive for Victory 94 State Street Pride Celebration 94 WorkHuman Conference 95
For the Love of the Local Girls
The Music Man
One of the world’s most-streamed classical artists heads to Boston
Working from Within
Raise the Curtain!
Dusty Moorehead mixes it up with big‑time celebrities and home-town talent
SPOTLIGHT Trending STORY Scott Kearnan
Hit List NEWS, NOTES AND TO-DOS FOR EVERY GAY AGENDA
and painting (his work is represented by Boston’s Gallery NAGA). Thanks for the delicious memories, sir!
SIP THE TEAat Teatotaller,
a café in Somersworth, New Hampshire that describes itself as an “oasis of queer, hipster, coffee, tea and pastry goodness.” This summer the spot caused a stir with a roadside billboard featuring a young male model in short-shorts and pink accessories (including makeup) posed seductively alongside the cheeky phrase “I like my men like I like my coffee—with breakfast at Teatotaller.” The ad earned national notice, drawing both criticism and praise. Its model, Michael Cummings, told the New Hampshire Union Leader that the image was about a “gay guy breaking gender norms.” Tea: spilled. More: teatotallerteahouse.com
RAISE A TOASTto Louis Risoli.
In July, the popular, famously gracious maître d’ retired after working 34 years at 39-year old
L’Espalier, arguably Boston’s most established fine dining restaurant. Risoli’s run may be a city record for the role, one that traditionally represents an apex of hospitality and the “face” of a dining establishment, but is increasingly endangered as new restaurants move toward more casual settings. Risoli is also a nationally known cheese expert who served as the restaurant’s fromager. He’s looking forward to spending more time with his husband, who is also retired,
BID ADIEUto the first gay bar to open in Vermont in 10 years, which closed in July just four months after opening. Though known as The Bridge Club in its final weeks, the Winooski bar debuted under the name Mister Sister, which drew criticism as a transphobic slur; owner Craig McGaughan defended the moniker as inclusive. Escalating controversy caused two Pride Center of Vermont board members to resign when the organization did not immediately denounce the name (it later did), and McGaughan’s eventual name change (accompanied by a GoFundMe campaign) were unsuccessful. The bar website fired a parting shot: “Fake social justice terrorists put us out of business.”
SCORE ONEfor former New
England Patriots player Ryan O’Callaghan, who recently came out as gay in a story on OutSports. The offensive tackle, who played for the Pats from 2006 to 2008 (he later joined the Kansas City Chiefs), told the site that he started playing football as a way to conceal his sexuality, and that once his career ended—and his “beard” was gone—he abused painkillers and even contemplated suicide while struggling with his sexuality. Today O’Callaghan is in a happier, healthier place— and, he tells “Boston Spirit,” working on a book about his story. Touchdown! More: outsports.com
KEEP AN EYE OUTfor “Before Homosexuals,” a new documentary from Emmy award-winning director John Scagliotti, who has quite a resume: he produced the acclaimed documentary
PUBLISHER David Zimmerman EDITOR IN CHIEF James Lopata MANAGING EDITOR Robert Phelps [firstname.lastname@example.org] ART DIRECTOR Dean Burchell CONTRIBUTING LIFESTYLE EDITOR Scott Kearnan [email@example.com] CONTRIBUTING ARTS EDITOR Loren King CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Alyssa Gillin, Tom Joyce, Natalie Nonken, Kim Harris Stowell CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Joel Benjamin COVER PHOTO Elena Seibert ON THE WEB [bostonspiritmagazine.com] TALK TO US [firstname.lastname@example.org] EDITORIAL CONTACT [email@example.com] PUBLISHING AND SALES CONTACT [firstname.lastname@example.org or 781-223-8538] THE FINE PRINT Boston
SEP|OCT 2017 | VOLUME 13 | ISSUE 5
Spirit magazine. A Division of Jake Publishing, LLC Published by Jake Publishing, LLC. Copyright 2004 by Jake Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this periodical may be reproduced without the written permission of Boston Spirit magazine. Neither the publishers nor the advertisers will be held responsible for any errors found in the magazine. The publishers accept no liability for the accuracy of statements made by advertisers. Publication of the name or photograph of any person, organization or business in this magazine does not reflect upon one’s sexual orientation in any way. Boston Spirit Magazine, 398 Columbus Ave. #395, Boston, MA 02116
8 | BOSTON SPIRIT
“Before Stonewall” and its sequel, “After Stonewall,” and launched both the pioneering LGBT radio show “The Lavender Hour” (on WBCN) and TV series “In This Life,” which ran on PBS for 21 years. In “Before Homosexuals,” currently making the film festival rounds, Scagliotti examines same-sex desire in days before the notion of gay identity took root, from lesbian love spells in ancient Rome to the two-spirit rituals of Native Americans. More: beforehomosexuals.com
HONOR THE MEMORYof a South
End-based artist and foster promising futures for the next generation of creative talents by supporting the Daniel J. Rabone Memorial Fund. The just-launched program, founded by Richard Trevino, Rabone’s husband of 20 years, honors the memory of the late designer, theatrical performer and art director for educational resource publishers like Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The Fund’s new scholarship
program provides financial support to attendees of the Boston University Summer Theatre Institute (BUSTI), a five-week conservatory experience for ambitious young theatre artists; this summer it named its first awardee, Dana Connolly, a high school junior from Arlington. The Fund has currently raised $50,000 toward a goal of $100,000 that will support future scholarships. To help: danielrabone.com
LISTEN TO“Epic Voices,” a new online video series launched by The Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR). “Voices” highlights five high-profile HIV-positive people—from rapper Mikki Blanco to “RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestant Ongina — discussing their diagnosis and the challenges that remain in the fight for a cure. The goal: to raise awareness, reduce stigma and inspire action. Among the participants is Greenfield, Massachusetts-based HIV/ AIDS advocate Teo Drake. Drake also sits on the board of the Transgender Law Center’s Positively Trans program and the board of Off the Mat, Into the World, a nonprofit working to connect the practices of yoga and social activism. More: curecountdown.com/ epicvoices [x]
RUGS AND CARPETING
SPOTLIGHT Travel STORY Scott Kearnan 1
SO MUCH MORE THAN “HALLOWEEN CAPITAL OF AMERICA” (THOUGH IT’S ALL THAT TOO) Boston may be far larger, but over the last few years, the smaller seaport of Salem has earned a reputation as one of the region’s most LGBTfriendly destinations. It’s well deserved. The community has a vocal ally in popular mayor Kim Driscoll, whose accomplishments include instituting an LGBT liaison at City Hall and enacting a nondiscrimination ordinance to protect transgender people, a first on the North Shore. Salem hosts the annual North Shore Pride parade and festival, and it is home to the
headquarters of North Shore Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth (nAGLY). And Salem tends to attract colorful, creative crowds who take pride in progressiveness—and have clearly learned valuable lessons from the infamous 1692 persecutions associated with the “Witch City.” As the so-dubbed “Halloween Capital of America,” Salem is an especially popular tourist attraction in October. The many historic haunts can be found in the pages of any guidebook,
6 but we’ve gathered up a few fabulous new attractions that offer LGBT visitors some specifically modern experiences in one of New England’s quaintest corners. Where to stay: Allow us to sell you on The Merchant. The boutique property, a stately 200-year old brick building in Salem’s center, brings to an intimate inn-scale property the plush amenities and sophisticated style of a much larger hotel: from gas fireplaces in every room to sumptuous linens on every bed. History buffs can sleep where George Washington did (room #3!) and couples can canoodle on a spacious, cloistered second-floor porch or clink cocktails at the cobalt blue living room’s common bar. Lark Hotels, the team
behind the Merchant, is also slated to open The Hotel Salem by October. Set inside a former downtown department store, this trendy spot will house about 40 rooms, including micro-units that promise supercompetitive rates even during peak tourist season. There’s a lower-level cocktail bar, a lobby restaurant inspired by midcentury diner culture—and Salem’s only rooftop lounge for soaking
SPOTLIGHT Song STORY Scott Kearnan
    
up the crisp fall air over booze and bites. Where to eat: As food goes, Salem is a standout city that seems to be sprouting exciting new options constantly. Among the latest and greatest is Ledger, chef Matt O’Neil’s new restaurant inside what was once America’s second savings bank (Alexander Graham Bell had an account here). The impressive interior achieves modern-chic status by creatively repurposing original relics: safety deposit boxes and teller windows are now design elements. The biggest draw, though, is the food: Contemporary spins on classic New England cookery, much of it prepared over a live fire grill. Highlights include a spectacular roasted chicken, grilled oysters and shareable “suppers” designed for multiple guests. While this bank-set beaut is one of Salem’s newest, there are other recent openings for every budget. Head to Bambolina for excellent wood-fired pizzas, dive into ramen bowls or an octopus hot dog at Kokeshi, a Japanese noodle bar in a cool industrial setting, or opt for trays of spicy sauce-slathered meats at Smokin’ Betty’s BBQ + Bar, a red hot hipster-leaning joint. What to do: Unsurprisingly, Salem is overrun with souvenir stores hawking cheesy witch souvenirs. Skip them, and swing by HausWitch Home + Healing. Stepping into the shop feels
The Merchant lobby The Merchant Salem Hotel guestroom Salem Hotel guestroom bath Ledger restaurant Porkchop at Ledger
like visiting a Brooklyn artist loft, and it eschews patchouliscented stereotypes by curating witchy wares and home décor pieces that bring a bit of magic to any pad—from spell kits to candles, pretty pillows to natural bath and body products. Following your strenuous retail therapy, rehydrate on the waterfront patio of Notch Brewery & Tap Room, downing pints of beer made on-site, or enjoy cornhole and craft cider flights at Far From the Tree, where fermented apples become luscious libations. Jump on board an excursion with Mahi Mahi cruises, which offers sunset outings, historic lighthouse tours and, in autumn only, narrated haunted harbor boat rides complete with Tarot readings and spiked cider. Culture vultures can fly by the Peabody Essex Museum for the world-class institution’s latest exhibits, including “It’s Alive!” a collection of vintage horror and sci-fi movie posters on loan from Metallica rockerslash-collector Kirk Hammett through November. And step into a 1980s time warp at Bit Bar, a Gen-X wonderland where original vintage arcade games — from Ms. Pac-Man to Centipede — let you relive your childhood while sipping on very adult beverages like the spicy Ghost Eater, a cocktail made from ghost pepper-infused tequila. What to do: Peabody essex, bit bar, notch, mahi , far from the tree. [x]
Unfiltered Vocalist Supreme LEA DELARIA RETURNS TO BOSTON WITH BOLD NEW SOLO SHOW Long before orange was the new black, Lea DeLaria has been seeing red and working blue. Playing prisoner Big Boo on the hit Netflix original show certainly opened up a whole new audience to the actorsinger-comic. But LGBT crowds have known the proudly bold and butch triplethreat for many years: From her national coming-out as the first gay comic on American television to acclaimed jazz albums to rabblerousing activism. She’s always communicated righteous ACT UPinfluenced anger at injustice through unfiltered, uproarious comedy. Fresh off a stint performing in “Mamma Mia” at the Hollywood Bowl, DeLaria is taking her solo show to Boston on October 15. An evening of song-laced stand-up and storytelling awaits. But first she took some time to chat with Boston Spirit about Donald Trump, David Bowie and “Bernie Bros.”
[SPIRIT] What do you think of Boston? Do you get to visit often? [DELARIA] I love Boston! I used
to live there. I lived over Toscanini’s [in Cambridge]. In fact, I was the emcee for the first-ever gay pride rally in Boston. I want to say it was in ’89 or ’90. [Note: the Boston Pride website indicates that the first rally was in 1971.] You can probably find a picture of me in the archives. I’m in a pink prom dress riding on a throne on a truck with two big old butch dykes in full leather drag on either side of me. I adore Boston. My dearest, closest friends all live here so I’m in Boston all the time—and I always go to brunch at [Boston] Chops!
[SPIRIT] What can we expect of your show at the Wilbur Theatre? [DELARIA] The Wilbur asked
me to do comedy as well as music, so you’re getting
SPOTLIGHT Pride STORY Scott Kearnan
Teacher of the Year Nikos Giannopoulos with the first couple.
Proud as a Peacock WHITE HOUSE TEACHER OF THE YEAR FROM RHODE ISLAND FANS FIRST COUPLE WITH QUEER CHEER It was the Thwap! heard round the world. In April, queer-identified teacher Nikos Giannopoulos traveled from Woonsocket, Rhode Island to Washington, D.C., where he and educators from all 50 states were honored at the White House’s annual Teacher of the Year awards and individually photographed with the president and first lady. In June, Giannopoulos’ photo was released—and immediately went viral across the Internet. In the photo, Giannopoulos stands beside a grinning Donald and Melania Trump in the Oval Office. His head is cocked to one side, and a rainbow Pride pin is affixed to his brocade suit. He has a piercing through his nose and wears a chunky gold anchor necklace, a nod to the Ocean State. In his hand is a black lace fan, a gift from his partner, snapped open with flourish to help Giannopoulos strike a fantastically fierce pose. The image was shared countless times across the web, picked up by outlets ranging from the “Washington Post” to “Cosmopolitan.”
Giannopoulos’s unapologetically queer attitude, set against the backdrop of an administration proving itself antithetical to LGBT equality, is a juxtaposition that feels both humorous and heartfelt—like a quiet, politely subversive middle finger to The Man. Giannopoulos, though, is entirely respectful in explaining his choice. “The fan represented the joy of being yourself,” says Giannopoulos. “It represented the joy of being authentic, of being you, and of loving who you love. I don’t know too many men who carry around a black lace fan, so it was also a celebration of gender nonconformity.” Ironically, the proudly out 29-year-old grew up in the same kind of environment that produced much of Trump’s base support. He was raised in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, a small coal town in the rural western part of the state that has fallen on tough times as mines have closed and jobs have been lost. Most young people there, like himself, are forced
12 | BOSTON SPIRIT
to leave to find better opportunity—though many, he says, will never leave at all. The bluecollar town went overwhelmingly for Trump in the last election, says Giannopoulos, and has “solidly gone from blue to red,” politically speaking, in his lifetime. Still, he has warm feelings for his hometown, even though it was a place where Giannopoulos faced his share of hassles for being the “different, artsy, nerdy and effeminate” kid that he was. He had a supportive family, though, and wound up attending the University of Pittsburgh, teaching abroad in Paris, and eventually settling into a role as a special education instructor at Rhode Island’s Beacon Charter High School for the Arts. At Beacon, Giannopoulos worked with his students to form the school’s GSA. Among its recent orders of business: drafting trans-supportive bathroom policies, a direct response to the Trump administration’s rollback of federal protections enacted under Obama. Giannopoulos says that he has a large number of LGBT students in his classroom, many of whom have express heightened anxiety post-election, and that they were front-of-mind when he visited the White House. His brief meeting with
the president was essentially a photo op, he says, with no time for chatter. But if he had been able to address Trump at length, he would have used the opportunity to speak about LGBT issues—trans rights, in particular. “The connections I have with these youths is so rich and meaningful, and I think connections like that are important to building empathy,” says Giannopoulos, speaking by phone on his way to a rally in Providence just days after Trump tweeted that he would ban transgender people from serving in the military. “I would love to know if the president has had the chance to know transgender people and hear their stories.” Giannopoulos’s actual encounter with Trump was brief. When he first entered the Oval Office, he says, Trump noticed his fan. “He said he liked it,” recalls Giannopoulos. While Giannopoulos was waiting his turn for a photo, a White House staffer asked him to put it away—but when he was finally standing beside Trump, the teacher made the game-time decision to ask the president if he could pose with the fan. He said sure, and the rest was history.
[FROM 11] Giannopoulos says he was surprised that the photo earned so much attention, though he understands the significance. “I couldn’t get my students off my mind,” says Giannopoulos. “I wanted to represent them. I wanted to make them proud. I wanted to show that we exist.” And though Giannopoulos is angry and concerned over the threats posed to LGBT people under this administration, he is optimistic that the cultural tides have already turned too far to forever recede completely. He thinks of his own hometown in coal country, where last year his mother, moved by the shootings at Pulse in Orlando, founded a local PFLAG group. More recently, there was a Pride rally in his town—something he “never could have imagined” once upon a time. The world is learning. But it still needs some outstanding teachers to fan the flames of progress. [x]
both. You can expect a lot of me telling Trump to go fuck himself. You’ll get some of my latest record, some old favorites and some show tunes. You’ve got to keep the fags happy. I know my audience! Typical Lea DeLaria fare: Not for the faint of heart. [SPIRIT] Your latest record, “House of David,” reimagines David Bowie songs in jazz form. What is it you love about Bowie? [DELARIA] When I was growing
up in the ’70s and I first heard him on my radio, I thought he was the coolest. He was quintessentially cool. Not long after, I see him wearing a skirt on “Saturday Night Live” and singing with Joey Arias. I was this little queer artist and it was everything. Never in my life growing up in the Midwest had I ever seen anything like that. It taught me I could be anything I wanted to be. Not to
mention, his work spans four decades. Pretty much anybody under 70 knows who he is. [SPIRIT] Has the current political climate impacted your act? [DELARIA] I’ve never been a
comic that talks about socks in the dryer or airplane food, you know? I’ve always used comedy as a tool to affect change in society—and get laid, that’s very important. It’s not that I have a stronger urge in me now because we have this asshole. It’s just that I have to do more of what I always do. I can’t tolerate privileged comedians who use their comedy for nothing.
[SPIRIT] The dyke community has been a vital force in social justice movements. Is there a particular perspective you think that community can bring to the resistance today? [DELARIA] I think the same
perspective it brought to the resistance in the ’80s: that
refusal to back down, to stop or to shut up. That’s what we did in the ’80s. That’s what we gave. And gay men taught the dykes how to fucking get over it and laugh once in a while. And remind people that sarcasm and irony is the language of gay people. [SPIRIT] In terms of Trump, big question: How’d we end up here? [DELARIA] If we’re talking the
election, the extreme left is completely responsible: the Bernie Bros that refused to vote for Hillary because apparently their politics are more important than my life. I blame them more than I do anybody else. When people say Hillary blew it, that’s not true. It’s blatant sexism. Hillary Clinton is a badass. And if you know anything about politics and understand what it’s like to be a woman in the 21st century, you know that. [x]
SPOTLIGHT Youth STORY Scott Kearnan
Queer Prom for High School Hero BUZZFEED REWARDS WOBURN HIGH STUDENT FOR BEING HER BRILLIANT SELF This fall, students around the country are heading back to classrooms. 18-year-old Quinn Raines is one of them. She’ll be settling into her freshman year at Salem State University, where she plans to major in French and minor in secondary education. And when Raines struts across campus in her high heels, she’ll do so with a bit more confidence than she might have managed in years past. That’s because she ended her high school experience as one of just six LGBT seniors around the country who were surprised by Buzzfeed with an invitation to the massively popular website’s inaugural queer prom. Buzzfeed selected Raines, a pansexual transgender woman, from among thousands of LGBT teen applicants across America. Raines was flown to West Hollywood (along with her chosen date, best friend Afsoun Zarrin), where she and a handful of other queer kids enjoyed expert makeovers and attended the kind of inclusive prom experience they are too often denied. As a result, Raines says she took away a lesson that lasted long after the final prom song played. “I used to walk down the halls of high school in my heels like I could slay all day,” says Raines with relish. “But when I got back from LA, it felt different. The experience built an aura around me that exuded confidence.” 14 | BOSTON SPIRIT
“When it comes to confidence, I’m a big believer in the idea that you have to fake it ‘til you make it,” added Raines. “Now, I don’t feel like I have to fake it quite so much.” It hasn’t always been easy. Raines was raised in a conservative, Catholic ItalianAmerican household in Winchester, Massachusetts, where she says the population was as homogenous as the white picket fences. Awful experiences with bullying forced her to leave public school after sixth grade. So her parents sent her to Catholic school, where Raines says she was kicked out during high school after she came out as trans. It wasn’t a revelation that her parents handled entirely well, either. Raines says she struggled with mental health issues and even hospitalized herself. For a while she wound up moving in with Zarrin’s family, who lived in the same neighborhood. Eventually, Raines wound up at Woburn Memorial High School, where she says she found wide acceptance from her peers. And her parents have been coming around too. Getting the big call from Buzzfeed certainly helped in that regard. “Having an outside source, especially a huge one like Buzzfeed, acknowledge and recognize my identity really made an impact on my mom,” says Raines. And the site’s first-ever queer prom certainly made an impact on the teen. Raines received a makeover that marked the first
Afsoun Zarrin [LEFT] and Quinn Raines at Buzzfeed’s Queer Prom. [AT LEFT] Buzzfeed’s Queer Promgoers. [ABOVE]
time she “ever truly felt beautiful,” she says. She, Zarrin and the other selected students—including another New England teen, 18-year-old Rowan Berry of Connecticut—partied with a host of other fellow LGBT kids, finding newfound community. The winning teens formed a prom court, and they were crowned kings and queens by celebrity guest Adam Lambert. Proms are a rite of passage most teens take for granted. The ability to celebrate in a supportive, pro-LGBT environment, though, was a rare experience not lost on Raines. “I was able to let my rainbow prism shine for the gods!” she says. Buzzfeed filmed the stories of the selected students—from surprise invitation to prom court crowning—for a series of YouTube videos about the event. Raines says that YouTube and other social media sites were among the few available resources when she was coming to understand her transgender identity, and she hopes that the videos in which she stars can now have a positive effect on other young people. “Something like the It Gets Better campaign was the reason I was able to believe that it does get better,” says Raines. “I hope that at least one kid can watch these videos and know that as long as you are 100-percent committed, you’ll do great things. You’ll go places. Because once you embrace your most genuine self, there are no limitations.” Here’s to the next step. In heels. [x]
Prudential Center, Boston 617-262-0935
SEP|OCT 2017 | 15
SPOTLIGHT Sports STORY Tom Joyce
Champs at Home and Abroad BOSTON IRONSIDES LEAD NEW ENGLAND’S GAY RUGBY SCENE Of the several men’s rugby union teams in the greater Boston area, the Boston Ironsides pride themselves on being the most accepting. “We don’t care what your sexuality is or what your prior sports experience is, we’re open to anyone,” says Ironsides co-captain Alejandro Cajigal, who plays lock and eight man. “We get a lot of people who never touched a rugby ball before,” adds tighthead prop Eric Villhauer. The Ironsides are the only New England team—and one of 64 teams worldwide—that has full membership in the International Gay Rugby Association (IGR) based in London, England. During their regular season—in the spring and fall—the Ironsides compete in Division 4 of the New England Rugby Football Union (NERFU). When the Ironsides team sets their annual goals, they do not focus on their wins and losses as much as they care about growing as players, competing in at least one IGR tournament per year—they competed in the Beaver Bowl in Montreal this past Augustz—and giving back to the community. Next spring, the Ironsides will travel to Amsterdam to compete in the biennial Bingham Cup. It is the largest gay rugby union tournament in the world and honors the late Mark Bingham, an openly gay rugby player who perished on Flight 93 in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. “It’s sort of disbelief,” flanker Greg Rayo says of competing in the Bingham Cup. “In most sports, you don’t get to do that. It’s hard to really process that, but we’re doing it
16 | BOSTON SPIRIT
and we’re working towards it with your best friends. It’s hard to believe you’ll ever do it and it’s hard to process.” “When you get there, it becomes so much more than winning,” inside center Dustin Dresel added. “It’s being a part of something bigger than you and it’s really beautiful. I cried a lot.” Perhaps the greatest rugby achievement for many of the team’s elder players was winning the Bingham Cup in 2006 held in New York City. Bingham’s mother, Alice Hoagland, even celebrated with the team after they won.
“We’re lifting her up, and she really liked that an American team was in the spotlight,” says veteran rugger Joe Lyman. Off the field, in addition to fundraising to help cover their own expenses, the Ironsides also volunteer and help cook food for Community Servings in Jamaica Plain and fundraise to help homeless LGBT youth. “It’s definitely a lifestyle when you join,” says blindside flanker Craig Keller, who was in charge of the team’s social calendar last season. “We’ve got practices, games and the social calendar. It’s a lot.” One of the Ironsides’ signature fundraising events is their Drag Lip Sync competitions which they have done thrice in the past year. “We have some men that make beautiful women,” Cajigal said. Although most of the team lives in the Boston area now, only a few of the nearly 50 men on the team are Boston natives. The majority of them came here for school and work opportunities. “We have an extremely educated team,” outside center Mitchell Thomas says. “A lot of guys have postgraduate degrees and are working in white collar fields. It’s pretty cool.” Many of the players joined the Ironsides because they were outsiders in a new city trying to meet like-minded people. For example, Dresel grew up playing volleyball and sought out an LGBT-friendly sports league in Boston. “I found rugby even though I hadn’t played a contact sport before,” he said, “but I stuck with it because it was just an awesome group of guys to be around.” [x] PHOTO Julie Dunn
SEP|OCT 2017 | 17
New Bedford MASSACHUSETTS
there is something here for everyone New Bedford, located less than 1 hour south of Boston, is internationally recognized as a destination for its vibrant arts and culture scene, rich history, incredible dining (including the freshest seafood and amazing international cuisine) and working waterfront. Matador Network named New Bedford as the #9 most artistic town in America. The newly installed HarborWalk and CoveWalk gives visitors a chance to walk across the city’s hurricane barrier as well as abundant recreational opportunities including outdoor trails, bike paths and beaches. Located nearby, Fort Taber—a 50-acre waterfront park, provides over a mile of ocean frontage located on scenic Clark’s Point which projects into Buzzards Bay. Get a taste for what makes this city dynamic—cultural diversity, worldrenowned feasts and festivals, beaches and boating, parks and playgrounds, great architecture, cobblestone streets and home to the New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park. We are a passionate hard-working people who’ve settled here from all over the world. Founded by optimists and built by believers, that’s New Bedford! That’s Coastal Realty! Mat Arruda knows the beautiful coastal communities of New Bedford combined with our rich heritage of wonderful people secures our spot as one of the most desirable locations now and in the future. Make your next move coastal and contact Mat Arruda, New Bedford’s #1 realtor in 2016 today! email@example.com
Getting married? Host your Wedding at the Waypoint Event Center, one of the South Coast’s most unique venues. Situated in a refurbished whaling-era building, the Waypoint Event Center is the perfect blend of old and new. The exposed stone and wood work are all original to the 1830s and
provide a historic charm unlike any other venue on the South Coast. lafrancehospitality.com/weddings/ waypoint For additional information on New Bedford weddings visit us online: destinationnewbedford.org/wedding-services
New Bedford Whaling Museum Discover whaling’s dramatic history and impact, and explore whale ecology at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Bordered by cobblestone streets overlooking the working waterfront, the Museum tells the global story of human interaction with whales through time, and explores the history of the “City that Lit the World.” Twenty-three galleries feature five whale skeletons; the world’s largest ship model—a half-scale version of the ship Lagoda; outstanding collections of fine and decorative art, artifacts and scrimshaw; and the Casa Dos Botes Discovery Center where families explore and learn together. whalingmuseum.org
Seaport Cultural District
Located along the illustrious waterfront you can explore 20 blocks of cultural attractions, businesses, restaurants, retail, cafes, boutiques, and art galleries. Visit the Seaport Art Walk along the working waterfront from June – October and view original sculptures created by local artists.
Fort Taber (photo by Michael Cabarles
Annual Events in the Seaport Cultural District JAN Moby Dick Marathon FEB-DEC AHA! Art, History, and Architecture (2nd Thursday of the month) MAR New Bedford Half Marathon MAY Viva Portugal/Zeiterion Theatre JUN New Bedford Jazz Fest JUL Cape Verdean Recognition Week & Parade JUL New Bedford Folk Festival/Zeiterion Theatre JUL-AUG Summer Sound Series (concerts on Pier 3) AUG Summer Movie Night OCT WHALE International Wine Festival OCT Oktoberfest DEC Holiday Happenings DEC City Celebrates! New Year’s Eve
Historic Centre Street (photo by Victor Simas)
its you a w a n io t a in t s ltural De
u Your newest C
f exploration. o rs u o h h it w ty eeing ci round festivals, rA historic, sights a ye , g in p p o udios, unique sh performing arts. d n Home to artist st a g in in d e d ums, seasi world class muse
EXPLO RE, S H O P,
The Most Artistic Citie in America s – R ic h a rd F lo ri d a , A tl a n ti c M a g a zi n e
rtistic 10 Mosint AAmerica Townsatador Network –M s Most Americiac’Towns Artist avel Blog d – Expe
PROVIDENCE NEW BEDFORD
• Explore whale ecology & conservation • Discover whaling’s dramatic history & impact • Board world’s largest ship model • Marvel at America’s longest painting • Hoist sail, spot a whale, steer a boat in Casa dos Botes Discovery Center 18 Johnny Cake Hill | 508-997-0046 whalingmuseum.org
Be Yourself. ..Together Wayp int Event Center NEW BEDFORD, MA
A wedding destination as unique as the two of you. New Bedford is the 2017 Creative Community Commonwealth Award recipient from the Massachusetts Cultural Council
Adjoining the Fairfield Inn & Suites 774.634.2009 www.LafranceHospitality.com
SPOTLIGHT Senior Spirit STORY Bob Linscott
Senior Spirit Marlene’s Beard
THE SECRET LIFE OF A CELEBRATED BOSTON LEGEND In the fight for marriage equality in Massachusetts, Paul McMahon and his husband Ralph Hodgden were best known for their iconic sign, annually updated: “50 Years Together, Married 1”. Many in the Freedom to Marry Coalition believed their earlier sign, “Together 45 Years,” was the Trojan horse that crept across enemy lines and won over hearts of those resistant to gay marriage. But McMahon had another claim to fame that very few knew about. It began one winter in 1961. Marlene Dietrich was in Boston for two weeks doing her one-woman show at the Colonial. At the time McMahon, 28, a shoe salesman on Newbury Street, attended every one of her shows and made a point to wait outside the
theater for her autograph. He also brought her small gifts of chocolates and flowers. After her last show, Dietrich asked the standing ovation audience to sit down so she could thank her musical director Burt Bacharach ... and the handsome young man who came to visit her every night. After the show, she invited McMahon to the cast party. McMahon was over the moon. He didn’t think it could get any better. Then two months later, he received a letter from Dietrich with an itinerary for her show in Puerto Rico, then again for her show in the Catskills. And her invitations kept coming in.. McMahon took on many roles with Marlene: dresser, secretary, body guard, stage manager and companion and escort among Hollywood’s high society. Dietrich was truly eccentric for her time, even by Hollywood’s standards. In her first Hollywood role opposite Gary Cooper in “Morocco” (1930) she appeared in a man’s tuxedo and shocked audiences by passionately kissing another woman on screen. Throughout her career she insisted on wearing men’s clothes in her films and is often credited for making slacks fashionable for women.
Life at Seashore Point is always being in Perfect Harmony. Exciting Just ask happy resident John Brewer.
Worn out from taking care of a house, I was determined to downsize. After discovering many places on the Cape didn’t take pets, I heard about The Residences at Seashore Point. Pet-friendly, it offered the perfect solution for me and my “best friends”. With underground parking, a gym, beautiful surroundings and open spaces for my dogs to run, the “boys” and I really love it here. I no longer have to shovel snow, mow the lawn, clean the gutters or do repairs. Maintenance services are wonderful. Best of all, I’ve never felt better.
Above all else, I like that Provincetown and Seashore Point is gay friendly – I didn’t want to have to go back in the closet. www.seashorepoint.org
Just 2 blocks from the heart of everything
20 | BOSTON SPIRIT
McMahon and Dietrich PHOTO Courtesy of Ralph Hodgdon What drew her to McMahon? At the time they met she was in her sixties and he was a handsome young man in his late twenties. She had hundreds of love affairs including Frank Sinatra, Gary Cooper and Earnest Hemingway. She was even courted by Adolf Hitler during her early film career in Berlin, but was repulsed by him and the Nazi Party, becoming a U.S. citizen during the war and entertaining American troops. She also had many love affairs with women, including singer Edith Piaf, actress Greta Garbo and a long-term relationship with actress Dolores Del Rio. Perhaps she felt McMahon wouldn’t judge her bisexual lifestyle. As time went on, he sensed Dietrich
REDUCED the cost of living! The Residences at Seashore Point
is now more affordable with
Lower Monthly Fees! Visit or call 508-487-0771 to learn why Seashore Point may just be the right choice for you.
A 55+ Condominium Community
100 Alden Street • Provincetown, MA 02657
Paul McMahon and Ralph Hodgden, 2004. PHOTO courtesy of Ralph Hodgdon
Dietrich and McMahon PHOTO Courtesy of Ralph Hodgdon had stronger feelings for him. No matter where they traveled, he always insisted that they had adjoining rooms in the hotels and that they keep the door between them open at night. Many times he would wake to see her watching him as he slept. But had seen her pattern with other men. After she had her way with them, they were cast aside. He didn’t want that to be his fate. For 13 years McMahon traveled the world with Dietrich, escorting her to dinners and parties and mingling with other Hollywood legends like Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman and Rock Hudson. He is frequently at her side in photos, some in “Life” magazine. Afterwards, he returned to Hodgden and his simple life as a shoe salesman.
As Dietrich approached her 70s, she grew increasingly uncomfortable about her aging. She would be devastated when younger women got more attention and enraged when other Hollywood stars like Eartha Kitt showed interest in McMahon. The beginning of the end came when Dietrich fell off the stage in Sydney in 1975. She was hospitalized for weeks and moved McMahon into her suite at the hospital to care for her. Her last film appearance was with David Bowie in “Just a Gigolo” (1979). She was devastated to see how old she looked in that film. She lived the last 11 years of her life in isolation in her apartment in Paris, dying in 1992 at 90.
McMahon and Hodgden had a loving relationship that lasted 56 years. Activists for marriage equality, the two married after 49 years the year it became legal in Massachusetts. Despite his adventures with Dietrich, he recalled the happiest day of his life the day he married Hodgden on the bridge by the swan boats in the Boston Common. The last sign the couple made read “Together 56 Years, Married 6.” Shortly after that, in 2011, McMahon died of leukemia at 78. [x]
Bob Linscott is assistant director of the LGBT Aging Project at Fenway Health.
CARE THAT HELPS YOU LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST. Every sprained knee deserves a path back to health. Every aging loved one deserves care that makes life more livable. And when you need expert healthcare, you deserve the very best.
For home care services, call 1.844.PHH.4200 | For outpatient services, call 1.888.SRN.4330 CAREER OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE
SEP|OCT 2017 | 21
SPOTLIGHT News STORY Rob Phelps
BAY STATE OFFICIALS DECRY TRANS MILITARY SERVICE BAN An estimated 15,000 active duty service people currently deployed around the world—and thousands more reserves—woke up in late July to the unsettling news that their careers were in limbo.
Jason Collins PHOTO Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images
From the Blogs NBA STAR JASON COLLINS JOINS CONNECTICUT SUN PRIDE NIGHT The Connecticut Sun and special guest NBA star Jason Collins celebrated diversity and equality at a special Pride Night game on June 10 at the Mohegan Sun Arena where the team took on the Atlanta Dream. Collins, the former NBA star and current NBA Cares Ambassador, addressed the crowd at halftime. A 13-year NBA veteran, Collins became the first openly gay athlete to play in any of the four major North American professional sports leagues after he came out in 2013. “The WNBA has always represented diversity and inclusion,” said the team’s Vice President of Sports Amber Cox. “Our goal will always be to ensure that every person who enters Mohegan Sun Arena—no matter race, gender or sexual orientation—feels welcome.
SCOTUS TO TAKE UP WEDDINGCAKE BAKER’S APPEAL AGAINST MASSACHUSETTSMARRIED COUPLE In its session starting this fall, the U.S. Supreme Court will review a Colorado court victory for David Mullins and Charlie Craig, who married in Massachusetts, after a Colorado bakery denied them a wedding cake. The Colorado Court of Appeals handed the couple a victory back in June, declining to hear an appeal from Lakewood Colorado bakery Masterpiece Cake Shop, which then asked SCOTUS to hear its case. The
A portion of all ticket sales supported the LGBTQ youth programs of OutCT.
22 | BOSTON SPIRIT
highest court announced in late June it would hear the appeal. “This has always been about more than a cake,” Mullins wrote in a statement with his spouse. “Businesses should not be allowed to violate the law and discriminate against us because of who we are and who we love.” His husband, Craig, added, “While we’re disappointed that the courts continue debating the simple question of whether LGBT people deserve to be treated like everyone else, we hope that our case helps ensure that no one has to experience being turned away simply because of who they are.”
Without warning—even to many top military brass—and characteristically without any plan or any sign of serious study, Trump announced in a Tweet a reinstatement of the ban on transgender military serving in all U.S. armed forced. That ban had been lifted during the previous Obama Administration. Among the chorus of criticism throughout New England and across the nation, Congressman and Marine veteran Seth Moulton of Massachusetts weighed in on Trump’s decision shortly after Trump’s Tweet: “It sounds like the same argument used against AfricanAmericans, used against gays, used against whoever else— simply people who are willing to put their lives on the country, which by the way, is far more than President Trump has ever been willing to do.” Rep. Joe Kennedy, Moulton’s fellow Congressman from Massachusetts remarked the same day in a speech on the House floor that service people “do not discriminate” and that the government “owes them that same courtesy, that same decency in return.” Kennedy retweeted Trump’s campaign ledge to “fight” for the LGBT community, adding: “Correction. They will fight for you. You will abandon them.” Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren was also quick to weigh in, tweeting: “By attacking thousands of troops, @ realDonaldTrump makes clear that he cares more about extreme ideology than military readiness.” and “@ realDonaldTrump can pretend
including the brave men and women who serve in our armed forces.”
this is a military decision, but it isn’t. Banning troops on gender identity is shameful & makes us less safe.”
And Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s statement read:
Ed Markey, Warren’s fellow Senator from Massachusetts, quickly put out this official statement: “Donald Trump powered his campaign for President by belittling prisoners of war and insulting a Gold Star family, and now he’s targeting the transgender servicemembers who protect our freedoms and democracy with honor and courage. Transgender servicemembers aren’t a distraction, they are dedicated patriots and Americans welcome their service and love of country.”
Congressman Seth Moulton marching with OutVets in South Boston’s 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade. PHOTO courtesy wbur.org.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker issued in a statement that he “believes no one should be discriminated against based on their gender identity,
“ It sounds like the same argument used against African-Americans, used against gays, used against whoever else—simply people who are willing to put their lives on the country, which by the way, is far more than President Trump has ever been willing to do. ” Congressman Seth Moulton
“ I am passionate about both skin care and helping people. I look forward to sharing my expertise with you. Let’s work together to bring out the best you can be ! ”
“The Trump administration’s decision to ban transgender people from the military alienates Americans who should be praised for their willingness to serve our country. It is shameful and un-American to turn away individuals who are willing to put their lives on the line for a country they love, solely based on their gender identity. No American should be prohibited from the honor and privilege of serving our nation.” On August 9, Boston-based Human Right Campaign and the National Center for Lesbian Rights filed a federal suit against Trump’s reinstatment on the ban. [x]
Facials Laser Hair Removal Acne Treatments Photo Rejuvenation Micro Needling Chemical Peels SPECIAL OFFER
Mention Boston Spirit and receive $100 OFF your first treatment of $300 or more (may not be combined with other offers)
MEGI NEVINS, FOUNDER SMOOTH AESTHETICS
Questions? Email me at: Megi @ SmoothBoston.com
SPOTLIGHT News STORY Kim Harris Stowell
Newsmakers | Rhode Island This Just in from the Ocean State TENTH STATE TO BAN CONVERSION THERAPY On July 19, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo signed into law a measure that bans the widely discredited “ex-gay” conversion therapy for minors. Raimondo announced via Twitter that she signed the measure, retweeting a Human Rights Campaign sticker declaring “Victory for LGBT youth in Rhode Island.” The bill, HB 5277, was approved by the Rhode Island Assembly in May by a 69–0 unanimous vote and by the Senate last month before it reached Raimondo’s desk for her signature.
Raimondo’s signature not only makes Rhode Island the 10th state in the country—in addition to D.C.—with a ban on conversion therapy, but also makes the state the fourth this year to ban the practice for youth.
PHOTO courtesy of RI Future.
Major medical and psychological institutions, including the American Psychological Association, the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, widely reject conversion therapy, calling it ineffectual at best and harmful at worst.
RHODE ISLAND’S “OPTIONS” SUSPENDED Just two months after publishing a letter, written by Executive Director Kyle McKendall, extolling the financial health of “Options” as well as a “clear vision for the future of ‘Options’ and a plan in place [for] how to get there,” Rhode Island’s venerable LGBT newsmagazine has suspended publication.
Your care, your community. Fenway Health is your one-stop shop for high quality individual needs, and our team of providers has a long history of caring for the LGBT community, people living with HIV/AIDS and all people in our neighborhoods. FAMILY MEDICAL CARE 1340 Boylston Street - Fenway 142 Berkeley Street - South End TEEN & ADOLESCENT CARE 75 Kneeland Street - Downtown fenwayhealth.org
an act of not only bravery but revolution.” The event addressed a full range of transgender rights, from the recent legislative victories in the area of trans rights in Rhode Island to the prejudice that trans people face every day. Ethan Huckel, board president at TGI Network of RI, said, “Trump calls for a ban on trans people in the military, and I see the right of trans people to exist more broadly being threatened.”
Transgender rights protestors at the state house. In a letter mailed to subscribers in early July, McKendall wrote, “There are two things that ‘Options’ needs to keep the publication in print: money and volunteers.” Volunteer help needed includes an advertising manager as well as assistance with distribution, the website, social media, art/photography and billing. According to McKendall, a board of directors will take a few months to gauge the community’s interest in supporting the publication, at which time they will decide the fate of the 35-year-old nonprofit.
McKendall, whose named first appeared at the top of the masthead some three years ago, also announced his resignation from his position.
TRANS PEOPLE ARE REAL AMERICANS
members of that community as speakers.
History was made in Rhode Island last month, as some 200 people came out to oppose President Donald Trump’s Tweetannounced ban on transgender people serving in the military. Many in the crowd noted that this was the first event in support of the transgender community to exclusively feature
Event organizer Nika Lomazzo stated from the outset that this demonstration was not exclusively about the military but about supporting all trans people and opposing Trump’s attempt to victimize and scapegoat them.
A trans activist from Massachusetts, Milá Kingsley shared a terrifying story of having been threatened with physical harm for being trans barely a week earlier. And Tatiana Jones, a Transgender Peer Outreach Worker at Project Weber/ RENEW, said, “Trans women, particularly trans women of color, face discrimination, marginalization, sexualization every day.” [x]
“Let us be clear,” said Lomazzo, “that every time a trans person steps out of their house, it is
Dedicated to diversity. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is proud to support Boston Spirit Magazine. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association
SPOTLIGHT News STORY Rob Phelps
Newsmakers | New Hampshire Headlines from the Granite State OFFICIALS CALL OUT TRUMP’S “UGLY RHETORIC”
“These troops are patriots who deserve to be appreciated for their service, not used as political props by their Commander in Chief,” reads the statement. “I will fight to prevent President Trump’s ugly rhetoric against our troops from becoming reality, and to make sure these troops know that Americans appreciate their service and sacrifice.”
LOCAL ADVOCATES, CITIZENS ADD VOICES AGAINST TRUMP TWEETS
New Hampshire Gay Men’s Chorus McLeod agreed with Jakows. “This is an attempt to marginalize this population that is already misunderstood,” she said. “I don’t even want to tell my child about this, although she will certainly hear about it. “The medical community has confirmed that acceptance is critical to the mental health of transgender children. To have our president attacking transgender people in this way is wrong. It is obvious to me he
Jeanne Shaheen PHOTO courtesy shaheen.senate.gov
Senator and former Governor Jeanne Shaheen, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, weighed in promptly after Trump’s late July tweets signaling that he would reverse the policy of supporting the thousands of trans service people currently on active duty and in reserves. In an MSNBC interview, Shaheen said “The president should not be setting national security policy by tweeting. We have thousands of transgender service members who are putting their lives on the line for this country every day. We should appreciate that and the president should not be suggesting this kind of a change without consulting the top members of our military.” A statement released by Congressperson Carol Shea-Porter, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, called the president’s tweets on the subject “a disgraceful slap in the face to the thousands of transgender troops who are actively serving our country, and to all transgender Americans who aspire to serve.”
anniversary year, the group is planning a series of special celebrations every month. On September 16, the guys take the stage at Greeley Park for the Thomas O. Cash HIV/ AIDS Walk in Nashua. Check aidstaskforcenh.org for details. Next, in October, the chorus performs at a big public gala fundraiser in Manchester. For details (yet to be announced at Boston Spirit press time) check out the chorus’s website at nhgmc.com, where you can also find all the fact about a December 1 World AIDS Day Interfaith Service and their early December anniversary holiday concert series in Nashua. Check out the full anniversary year program at nhgmc.com/ events.
Linds Jakows [FAR RIGHT] at Portsmouth Pride. PHOTO courtesy Linds Jakows/Tweetiz Linds Jakows, campaign manager for the Granite State transgender advocacy group Freedom New Hampshire, sees a clear connection between Trump’s tweets against trans military service people and an attack on all transgender people. “What is happening on the federal level sends a really concerning message about discrimination to folks in New Hampshire,” Jakows told Seacoastonline.com in an interview the same day. “We’re the only New England state that does not protect transgender residents or visitors from discrimination.” In the same interview, Portland business owner Barbara
26 | BOSTON SPIRIT
is just using them as political pawns.” Said Gerry Cannon of Somersworth, “It is a sad thing. We have people scrambling to figure out what is going to happen to us. We are being labeled by a president who doesn’t appreciate the transgender population here in the United States. This is blatant discrimination against American citizens who want to serve in our military.”
GRANITE STATE GAY MEN’S CHORUS TURNS 20 On July 1, the New Hampshire Gay Men’s Chorus marked its 20th anniversary. And for its
5K AIDS WALK SEPTEMBER 16 It’s not too late to register to walk in the 11th annual Thomas O. Cash HIV/AIDS 5K Walk in Nashua. In fact, registration is accepted right up until starting time on Saturday, September 16. Just go to aidstaskforce.org to print out a pledge form and get all the details. This year, the Walk is bringing back its popular updated route, which debuted in 2015, starting and ending at Point-Greeley Park. Proceeds go right to the Southern New Hampshire HIV/AIDS Task Force. [x]
Learn the signs. Contact us today. alz.org/MANH or 800.272.3900
SPOTLIGHT News STORY Rob Phelps
Newsmakers | Vermont
Green Mountain State Update prohibit any U.S. defense funds from being used to enforce the ban on transgender service members.”
BURLINGTON COUPLE START PARENT SUPPORT GROUP
Berie Sanders. PHOTO courtesy sanders.senate.gov
“MR. TRUMP, YOU ARE ON THE WRONG SIDE OF HISTORY” Adding his voice to a great big chorus of New England officials and other community leaders who swiftly responded to Trump’s late-July Tweet announcing a ban on transgender military service people came this response from Senator Bernie Sanders: “Mr. Trump, you are on the wrong side of history. Discrimination has no place in our military or society. We must stand with trans people.” “Our military has a proud tradition of breaking down barriers to service,” tweeted Senator Patrick Leahy. “Only criteria should be whether they can accomplish the mission.” Leahy added a link to a 2014 commission report finding “no compelling medical rationale for banning transgender military service.” Congressman Peter Welch told the Burlington Free Press, “In three Trump tweets, he did two very bad things—he weakened our defense and weakened our country.” The Burlington Free Press noted that in response, “Welch and other Democrats planned to sponsor a one-sentence amendment to the 2018 defense appropriations bill that would
After their son came out three years ago, George and Susan Rutherford started a support group for LGBTQ youth. They had no idea then of the support they were about to find in their community. “Everything changed for me that day,” Susan told the Burlington Free Press about the group’s very first meeting. “After I heard [another] mother describing what it was like for her, I just felt more peaceful. It felt like I wasn’t the only one going through this, that we were a normal couple with a normal kid.”
“Fake social justice terrorists put us out of business,” read the club’s final website posting. The Bridge Club (formerly Mister Sister) website’s final posting.
WINOOSKI BAR UNDER NEW NAME CLOSES Apparently, the all-news-isgood-news adage isn’t always true. Starting back in February, the Winooksi gay bar formerly known as Mister Sister caught the media spotlight when many in the local community— including the Pride Center of Vermont—protested its name as a slur against transgender women. In early July, the bar’s owner Craig McGaughan—who protested the protest, insisting he’d never intended an slur against anyone—changed the bar’s name to The Bridge Club. McGaughan said he hoped everyone would see “the nod to the historic Winooski Bridge and recognize the camaraderie and necessity in building bridges,” as he wrote on Facebook at the time. “My wish is that we can all forgive and move forward. Nothing good came from the fighting. No one won here.” But the change came too late to pick up the support it needed and the club closed in July.
LGBTQ+ DRAMA LGBTQ+ themes took center stage at the Chandler Music Hall in Randolph when the Vermont Pride Theater brought its seventh annual Summer Pride Theater Festival to audiences in Randolph for two weekends in late July. The packed program included a family farce, an emergency room drama, and a series of shorts that included a major tearjerker about a woman who first loses her same-sex partner of 20 years, second is not the biological parent of their child and third must deal with her tenuous status of familial rights. An undercurrent of current political challenges was palpable throughout all the shows. “Now more than ever, we need to be doing things like LGBTQ theater,” said Sharon Rives, cofounder and producer of the festival. “The election may be a little scary, but the state continues to move forward, and it gives us the impetus to carry on.” To find out what’s next for Vermont Pride Theater at Chandler, go to pridecentervt.org. [x]
Momentum quickly built. Now the popular Queer Care Group, which “serves as a resource for families navigating the complexities of gender and sexuality in adolescence,” is being hosted by Outright Vermont. The organization also host a similar group devoted to parents of transgender youth with membership of both groups overlapping. “I know it seems like we’ve moved ahead so much, but when you have a child who’s queer it doesn’t feel like it’s moved ahead fast enough,” Susan Rutherford said. “Even in Burlington, there are still some challenges.”
28 | BOSTON SPIRIT
A scene from Vermont Pride Theater at Chandler’s prodution of “Family Holiday.” Courtesy of Tim Calabro/First Light Studios
You know who else is reading this? Your customers.
Do you enjoy flipping through new issues of Boston Spirit magazine when they arrive in your mailbox every other month? Have you been to our annual Executive Networking, Summer Sunset Cruise, or any of our other events? Guess what, you’re not alone. Do you know who else is reading Boston Spirit and attending our events? Your customers—as well as a lot of potential customers. Reach them by partnering with Boston Spirit on a multi‑faceted, cost effective advertising campaign. Contact David Zimmerman at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
SEP|OCT 2017 | 29
SPOTLIGHT News STORY Natalie Nonken
Newsmakers | Connecticut Articles from The Constitution State GOVERNOR SIGNS EXECUTIVE ORDER TO BLOCK TRUMP’S TRANS MILITARY BAN
Governor Dannel Malloy. PHOTO courtesy governor.ct.gov
30 | BOSTON SPIRIT
On July 26, Governor Dannel Malloy signed an executive order that reinforces the state’s nondiscrimination rules in the Connecticut Military Department. The order comes in response to Trump’s announcement that transgender citizens would be banned from serving in the U.S. military. The governor’s order instructs Connecticut military organizations—including the Connecticut National Guard and Connecticut Air National Guard—“to take no action that discriminates against service members in enlistment, promotion or any other aspect of their service, on the basis of their gender identity or expression,
unless superseded by federal law, regulation, or formal directive from the U.S. Department of Defense,” according to a statement from Malloy’s office. “I never thought I would have to sign an executive order to answer a tweet or a twit,” Malloy told reporters, following a ceremony at the Bradley Air National Guard Base in East Granby. “That he chose this day to dishonor the service of Americans the way he did is quite frightening.” “I want a very clear message to go out to our Connecticut service-people that we stand with them,” he said.
STATE COMMISSION SIDES AGAINST DISCRIMINATORY GROUP The Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities ruled that the state’s Comptroller Kevin Lembo was correct in removing the American Family Association from the state’s Employee Charitable Campaign. The AFA, the commission found, had violated the state’s antidiscrimination laws. In its ruling, the commission stated that the AFA’s “nondiscrimination policy is itself discriminatory under Connecticut law because it doesn’t include sexual orientation and gender identity and because it could be discriminatory against those whose religion does not conform to the AFA statement of faith.” In a July 20 press release, Lembo stated, “The American Family Association has
the constitutional right to make discriminatory statements—however, it does not have a constitutional right to participate in the Connecticut State Employees’ Campaign for Charitable Giving, particularly if it violates state and federal anti-discrimination laws and regulations.”
GAY AND LESBIAN CHAMBER HOSTS TENTH ANNIVERSARY GALA On August 26, the Connecticut Gay and Lesbian Chamber hosted its 10th Anniversary Gala at the Riverfront Boathouse in Hartford. The gala raised funds to support the CABO foundation, and included food, drinks, a “Dancing with the Local Stars” competition and a silent auction. The mission of the Connecticut Gay and Lesbian Chamber is to “create and enhance opportunities within LGBT and allied
organizations to promote an inclusive and the thriving business community.”
OUTCT HOSTS PRIDE WEEK AND NEW LONDON PRIDE FESTIVAL Also on August 26, OutCT hosted the New London Pride Festival at Ocean Beach Park. The afternoon included food, entertainment, music, drag shows, and more. During the week leading up to the festival, OutCT partnered with local
businesses to provide events including a short film program, a book signing with J. G. Hayes of South Boston, Pride Paint Night, ice-cream specials at Berry’s Ice Cream and Candy Bar, a WNBA game, a worship service, and a cookout. OutCT’s mission is to build “a community through educational, cultural and social programming that promotes acceptance, tolerance and understanding of all sexual orientations and gender identities. [x]
bright ideas begin at lucía lighting. furniture. accessories. shop lucialighting.com
lighting & design
311 western avenue, lynn, ma 01904 (781) 595-0026 / (888) 595-0026 www.lucialighting.com store hours: mon-sat 9am-5pm / weds 9am-8pm
SPOTLIGHT News STORY Rob Phelps
Newsmakers | Maine
News from the Pine Tree State is bigoted and wrong. We are grateful to all Americans willing to serve our nation in harm’s way.” Democratic gubernatorial candidates Mark Eves, Janet Mills and Jim Boyle also weighed in according to the Portland Press Herald: “It infuriates me that the president would deny patriotic Americans the opportunity to serve their country. And it weakens our military at a time when we simply can’t afford it,” Eves said. Boyle said Trump’s tweet was “politics at its worst” and he “won’t stand for bigotry.” Mills said Trump’s stance is “disgraceful and un-American.”
COLLEGE OF ATLANTIC EARNS TOP MARKS Matt Moonen. PHOTO courtesy equalitymaine.org
STATE LEADERS DECRY TRUMP’S TRANS MILITARY BAN “Transgender people deserve the same opportunity to serve their country as any other American,” said Matt Moonen, executive director of EqualityMaine, one of many leaders across the state to offer quick and sharp criticism against Trump’s July 26 Tweet announcing a ban on transgender service people. “Our own Senator Susan Collins was a leading voice on the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and last June President Obama lifted the ban on transgender military service,” Moonen added. “Banning transgender individuals from serving in our military is discrimination, plain and simple, and does absolutely nothing to make us safer.”
The College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor Maine scored the number two spot on The Princeton Review’s most LGBTQ-friendly schools list in its “The 382 Best Colleges” book, released on August 1. Of the 382 schools, only 20 made the list. New England is home to three out of the top five, with Boston’s Emerson College and Mount Holyoke of South Hadley, Massachusetts coming in at three and five respectively. Brown University in Providence took the number 11 spot, with Vermont’s Bennington number 15, Maine’s Bowdoin 16, and Boston’s Simmons 20. (The top spot went to Bryn Mawr in Pennsylvania.)
CYNDI LAUPER BRINGS SUSAN COLLINS ON STAGE Senator Susan Collins made a special surprise appearance at Cyndi Lauper and Rod Stewart at the “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” singer’s concert in Bangor on July 14. Collins was enjoying Lauper’s show at Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion when the singer gave the senator a shout out and brought her up on stage. “This woman is a hero. And she’s my hero. And she’s a Republican,” Lauper told the cheering crowd. “She helped us so much with the LGBT homeless youth,” referring to her work with Lauper’s True Colors Fund. “She came over to the side of the stage and said come on come on,” Collins told Portland’s WCSH TV. “On center stage with Cyndi. I couldn’t believe it. I gotta say it was really exciting!” Collins praised Lauper’s work fighting youth homeless, bringing in more than $40 million in grant funding to provide resources like shelters and programs to Maine and states across the country. “Not only was I her quote ‘hero,’ which really touched me deeply, but that we Republicans care a lot about homeless youth also,” Collins said. Lauper praised Collins for working across party lines. [x]
Collins stated, “Our armed forces should welcome the service of any qualified individual who is willing and capable of serving our country.” Her fellow Senator Angus King concurred: “King believes that brave people who want to serve their country should be able to do so,” said Scott Ogden, a King spokesman. In another statement, Rep. Chellie Pingree said “Our all-volunteer military should not turn away Americans willing to risk their lives for our safety, especially as we face new threats around globe. President Trump’s statement on transgender patriots 32 | BOSTON SPIRIT
Susan Collins, Rod Stewart and Cyndi Lauper. PHOTO courtesy Twitter/@cyndilauper
SPOTLIGHT Politics STORY Rob Phelps
Working from Within Log Cabin Republicans launch first New Hampshire chapter in national organization’s 40 year history It may seem like a tough paddle upstream. The Log Cabin Republicans is the nation’s oldest and largest organization representing LGBT conservatives and allies. Since its inception in 1977, the group has faced resistance from all sides, including, from none other than the Grand Old Party itself. And the Trump/Pence era has only exacerbated the group’s challenges. Last July, when the GOP unfurled its party platform, Log Cabin President Gregory T. Angelo issued the following statement: “There’s no way to sugarcoat this: I’m mad as hell—and I know you are, too. Moments ago, the Republican Party passed the most anti-LGBT platform in the party’s 162-year history. Opposition to marriage equality, nonsense about bathrooms, an endorsement of the debunked psychological practice of ‘pray the gay away’—it’s all in there.” And yet Angelo went on to remind everyone that Log Cabin had been credentialed for the Republican National Convention, which was to begin six days later, and he and his intrepid band fully intended to be there to take a stand for equality and inclusion—even in the face of draconian derision from the folks that invited them there. Such relentless optimism is not limited to the national level: just four months after Trump—the head of that party with the most anti-LGBT platform—stepped into power, a new group of Log Cabin Republicans opened a chapter in New Hampshire. The Granite State is politically purple
Governor Chris Sununu, Jennifer Horn, Adam Lord and Gregory Angelou at the launch of the state’s new Log Cabin Republicans chapter. with a GOP generally more interested in smaller government and individual freedoms than intolerance. Clinton won the state, but only by a percentage of a point (46.8–46.5%). Roughly half of its voters supported putting the leader of that mostanti-LGBT platform into office. Despite Vice President Pence’s record of LGBT discrimination during his gubernatorial days in Indiana, Doug Palardy, one of four founding members of this first-ever Log Cabin chapter in New Hampshire, remains optimistic. Palardy, whose husband, state Senator Dan Innes, serves on the Log Cabin’s
national board, says the national organization “is virtually the only LGBT group with ‘a seat at the table in the Trump administration.’” That gives him hope. It’s not just that the Log Cabin Republicans hope to work from within their party to secure equality and inclusion for LGBT people—which they do—but that they believe they can do it in step with all platforms of the party—anti-LGBT and otherwise. And they are willing to paddle very hard to get there. Palardy, like Angelo and his fellow LCRs, are also hopeful that Trump shares their
SEP|OCT 2017 | 33
“ The national party platform and results of the past election do not represent the New Hampshire Republican party. ”
pro-LGBT values. They’re encouraged by the President’s early decision, at their urging, not to dismantle Obama’s executive order barring federal contractors from workplace discrimination. They believe their public criticism of Trump’s threat to ban transgender people from serving in the military will help turn that ship around. They see Trump as a “quiet ally,” a “do-no-harm guy,” the first GOP presidential nominee to promote gay rights at his nominating convention. They look to an invitation to attend a major fall fundraising event for top donors at the Trump Hotel in D.C. as a sign of that place at the table—literally, a seat at the table. And they see an opening in Trump’s White House for increased access into a party that has so often turned their back on them over the past 40 years of their existence as an organization.
THINKING AND ACTING LOCALLY
Adam Lord, chairman of the New Hampshire Log Cabin Republicans.
Meanwhile, the Log Cabin Republicans in New Hampshire are focusing on New Hampshire.
“The national party platform and results of the past election do not represent the New Hampshire Republican party,” says Adam Lord, chairman of the New Hampshire Log Cabin Republicans. A certified public accountant living and working in Manchester who describes himself as a fiscally conservative moderate, Lord says, “We want to show that the Republican Party is inclusive and not this monster that we’ve been painted as across the country.” He points out, for example, that in 2010 a Republican government legalized marriage equality in his state and as early as 2008 legalized civil unions for same-sex couples. Jennifer Horn, who served until last year as chair of the Republican State Committee, agrees that those mostanti-LGBT-ever planks in the national platform “just don’t reflect the way we do things here in New Hampshire.” No Log Cabin chapter was created here before, she says, most likely because, for the most part, LGBT Republicans have always felt right at home in their state. But, she adds, these politically contentious times are
inkblockboston.com 877.262.6593 300 HARRISON AVE, BOSTON MA 02118
#INKBLOCK 34 | BOSTON SPIRIT
especially opportune for the rest of the country to see how the party does things in the Granite State. The fledgling chapter was met with open arms at its launch in May at Portsmouth’s One Hundred Club. The state’s Republican Governor Chris Sununu delivered the keynote speech, and guests included state Senate President Chuck Morse, House Speaker Shawn Jasper, Vice Chairman of the state’s Republican party Wayne MacDonald and national Log Cabin President Gregory T. Angelo. That gathering, says Lord, was just the first of many for the group. In the few months since they started, they’ve held membership meetings to let voters know about at least three special elections across the state. And as November elections get closer, they’ll host many more of these events. “We’ve also supported two candidates, knocking on doors, calling voters, being part of the infrastructure that every candidate needs,” says Horn. She and Lord explain the primary goals of the group are to help the state’s GOP vet candidates and win elections, and to explain to other LGBT people and
allies—and everyone else—that their party, especially in New Hampshire, is inclusive. “Our state party is strong and our voter base is expanding,” Horn says. “It’s also extremely important for that party that we give the youngest generation of voters a reason to vote. I think we are looking at a generation of voters for whom equality and a lack of hypocrisy are very important.” “One of the things that I’m really proud of with our organization, as young as we are,” says Horn, “is that we’re very much focused on the founding principles of our party. That it’s about equality and inclusion for everyone. The Republican party was a leading voice in equality since its founding with Abraham Lincoln and the emancipation, through women having the right to vote and the civil rights efforts of the 1960s. This is who we are, and it’s important that we continue to maintain that heavy responsibility.” [x]
“ I think we are looking at a generation of voters for whom equality and a lack of hypocrisy are very important. ”
Jennifer Horn, former chair of the state GOP committee.
FEATURE Politics STORY Rob Phelps
Vying for the LGBT Vote Salem’s long-time gay-friendly mayor challenged by city’s first openly gay city councilor Salem is an old city with progressive values. In 2026, it turns 400 years old. In 2016, it became the fifth community in Massachusetts to enact a fully inclusive public accommodations law—complete with a ban on discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression. Another kind of history will be made on November 7 when the city’s popular LGBT-friendly mayor—seeking a fourth term—will be challenged by the city’s first openly gay city councilor. Boston Spirit caught up with both candidates and asked them what they’d do to make history of their own over the next four years if elected—or re-elected—into the corner office in City Hall.
The incumbent: Kim Driscoll In her 12 years serving as Mayor of Salem, Driscoll has earned the respect of the LGBT community by walking the proverbial walk. In 2014, she signed the antidiscrimination ordinance into law. And then she enforced it. That came as no surprise, since under her watch, Salem has consistently scored 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index. On a lighter but no less significant note, under Driscoll’s leadership, the city hosted the first North Shore Pride parade and festival, “which continues to grow and is just a fabulous event every June,” she says. “We have worked hard to initiate and reinforce a positive
36 | BOSTON SPIRIT
culture of acceptance both within City Hall and throughout our community,” says Driscoll. Mayor Driscoll also led the campaign for Salem to become the first community on the North Shore to raise Pride flags every June for Pride month, a tradition that every other town on the North Shore has since adopted. If re-elected mayor, Driscoll says she looks forward to “a continuance of many of the things we’ve been working on over the last decade.” She notes three top priorities: 1) Public Schools: “It’s just so key for maintaining our families and, obviously, the community’s long-term success.” Driscoll ranks this priority number one. In March 2016, the state upgraded Salem’s school system from Level 4, or “underperforming,” status, bucking a statewide trend. But
there’s a lot more work to be done, she says. 2) Housing Needs: “Salem is a very popular place to live, so we have major needs for senior housing, workforce housing, affordable housing—frankly, even market rate and high-end housing. Trying to ensure in a place of eight square miles that we’re addressing the needs of our community let alone people who are moving in, is a big challenge.” 3) Power Plant Redevelopment: “A major piece of redevelopment—a 65-acre industrial parcel that, since 1950, has been a coal-based, coal-fired power plant—is now being transformed into a cleaner, smaller, greener, natural gas plant. There will be 45 acres of land around the power plant available for redevelopment. It is a block from the House of the Seven Gables, in the historic district, abutting
[OPPOSITE-TOP] Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll signing the city’s fully LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance in 2014. PHOTO John
[OPPOSITE-BOTTOM] Former Salem City Councilman and 2017 mayorial candidate Paul Prevey at a campaign event. PHOTO courtesy
Mayor Kim Driscoll at Salam’s annual North Shore Pride Parade. PHOTO John Andrews [AT LEFT-TOP]
Prevey supporters. PHOTO courtesy Paul Prevey
the Channel and natural deepwater port. We really need to be thoughtful about what happens on those 45 acres; we don’t own them, but there will be extensive permitting. Whatever happens there certainly could have an overall impact on our community, and we’re going to get our teeth into that over the next term.” Looking back at many accomplishments over her four terms, Driscoll says one of her proudest is “professionalizing the practices and culture of City Hall. It used to have an old-boys’ network with a constant gotcha style of politics,” she recalls. “I think we’ve made it much more open, transparent and accessible as a local government. My background is in municipal management—not the sexiest thing but it’s super important that we have these foundations in place, so now it’s not who
you know but what you know here in City Hall.” On a personal note, she says, “I just love the city of Salem. I really have a passion for the place where I’m lucky enough to live. I didn’t have the good fortune to be born in Salem, but I have the good sense to live here. When I started the job I had three kids under nine years old, and now I’ve got three teenagers, so we’ve transitioned a lot as a family. A new term would allow us to stay on that positive trajectory.” Professionally, she says, her goal for four more years would be “just continuing to enhance the quality of life through investments and parks and playgrounds, streets and public safety and traffic management. And to continue leading the city as a place that is welcoming to all, really optimistic and forward-thinking about our future.”
The challenger: Paul Prevey The first openly gay city councilor, representing Ward 6 (North Salem) from 2006–2014, Prevey was also first to bring in a council resolution declaring June Gay Pride Month. Originally from North Adams, Prevey moved to Salem 17 years ago where he lives with his husband, Saul Barragan, a Mexican immigrant who Prevey helped get a visa that led to a green card. Prevey earned his master’s degree in public administration from Golden Gate University and worked until his retirement in June as a probation officer for the U.S. District Court, where he served since 1992—except of course for those eight years serving as city councilor. “Even though I’m not currently on the city council, I
continue to observe what’s going on in Salem and I stay at least peripherally involved,” he says. “Some of the changes have been positive and some I don’t necessarily agree with. In talking with lots of folks around the city, a lot of people have shared my concern in what direction the city is going and about some of the things that have been done. Mayor Driscoll had been in office for 12 years, so I thought maybe it’s time for a change.” What kind of a change? Prevey pinpoints six priorities: 1) Development: “Salem is only eight square miles and, unlike neighboring communities where there is more land to deal with, most of our development ends up being redevelopment. There’s a growing concern with a lot of residents here about the impact that’s having on quality-of-life
SEP|OCT 2017 | 37
issues, especially when it comes to traffic and city services.” 2) Public Schools: Despite their recent upgrade from Level 4, or “underperforming,” status by the state, “our schools have continued to struggle,” he says, “There seems to be an emphasis and a focus in trying to grow the administrative departments as opposed to teaching and learning and support for students.” 3) Taxes: “Salem is a great place to live, but for many people I’ve talked with that have been here for 10-plus years, they have talked about how their taxes have grown and questioned what kind of city services they get in return, and then when you add on top of the city’s budget, the school department with the schools continuing to struggle, people call into question, why are my taxes going up?” 4) The Opiate Crisis: “My background is a probation officer. I worked for the federal court for 25 years, 15 of which I was a substance abuse specialist. I think the city has fallen flat on its face when it comes to providing direction and support for people in the community. I think the city is in a
unique position to show some leadership and help families out before things reach a crisis stage.” 5) Senior Center: “When I was on the city council, the senior center is something we voted for back in 2010 and it still isn’t built. So I have made this one of my issues, promising that I would certainly make getting it built a top priority.” 6) Sanctuary City Status: “The city council passed and the mayor approved adopting Sanctuary City status. But a bunch of residents believe it should be on the ballot. Four thousand signatures have been collected to get it on the ballot and let people vote on it. From my law enforcement background, where I dealt with folks on federal supervision with immigration issues and problems, I want to be sure that the police don’t feel like they’re being handcuffed by any restrictions that exist with a sanctuary city ordinance when it’s passed. On the flip side, I’m married to a Mexican immigrant and we spent five years apart when we couldn’t get him a visa to get back into the country. If I were
mayor, I would certainly want to look at how we can help folks with that.” “Mayor Driscoll deserves a lot of credit in making sure people feel that Salem is a welcoming community for everyone,” Prevey says, “and in particular, the LGBT community.” Credit for this, he adds, also goes to the city itself. “I immediately felt comfortable 17 years ago when I bought my first home in Salem. There’s never been any secret that I am gay and married to a man. The credit also goes specifically to the LGBT community here. There’s been a lot of activism over the last few years, and people have gotten really involved. It’s transformed the city in many ways,” he says. “If I were elected, I would certainly continue some of the efforts that Mayor Driscoll has made in terms of supporting the LGBT community, but I’d also want to find other ways in which we count continue to expand and make sure people from all backgrounds feel welcome in Salem and continue to provide a great way of life. [x]
Plan to take care of each other Michele B. O’Connor
Executive Director Portfolio Management Director Financial Advisor 53 State Street, 39th Floor Boston, MA 02109 617-589-3297 www.morganstanleyfa.com/micheleoconnor email@example.com
A wealth plan that is thoughtfully constructed can help you provide for those you love. True wealth is not only about money. It’s about the relationships, interests and goals that bring you joy ... and what should be at the heart of your wealth plan. As a Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor with significant experience working with same sex couples and the larger LGBT community, I know every client’s circumstances and resources are unique. By understanding your total life picture, we will work together to build a solid financial plan so you can be more at ease enjoying those things that matter most. Building confidence in your future is my goal. Call me and let’s arrange a meeting.
The appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor’s individual circumstances and objectives. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (“Morgan Stanley”), its affiliates and Morgan Stanley Financial Advisors do not provide tax or legal advice. Individuals should consult their tax advisor for matters involving taxation and tax planning and their attorney for matters involving trust and estate planning and other legal matters. © 2016 Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Member SIPC. CRC1574588 8674698 LGBT008 08/16
38 | BOSTON SPIRIT
CREATE HISTORY. RISE UP. BUY A TICKET. HRC NEW ENGLAND DINNER 10.07.2017 S E APORT HOTE L & WOR LD TR ADE CE NTE R BOSTON , MA – Buy Tickets
– Donate an Auction Item – Become a Table Captain – Join as a Corporate Partner – Volunteer
PR E S E NTE D BY:
Dell Technologies, Liberty Mutual Insurance & Eastern Bank
FEATURE History STORY Mark Krone Miram Van Waters. PHOTO courtesy Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.
A Life Lesson of Persistence Accused of leading a “doll racket,” prison reformer Miram Van Waters persevered with faith, love and sharp intelligence In the late 1940s, charges of immorality at the Massachusetts Reformatory for Women in Framingham made front-page headlines in Boston newspapers for weeks. The city’s six daily papers reported every scrap of information they could find on the story. The Boston American,
40 | BOSTON SPIRIT
forerunner of the Boston Herald, blared, “Dwyer Report Accuses Dr. Van Waters.” Not to be outdone, the Boston Globe shouted, “Ex-inmate collapses at the Hearing: Lurid Story Shocks 700.” The charges leveled at the all-women reformatory leadership included allowing inmates
to work off-campus in non-domestic jobs, employment of former inmates, and most sensationally, permitting and even rewarding homosexuality, referred to as the “doll racket.” The target of the uproar was the reformatory’s progressive, Episcopalian, superintendent, Dr. Miram Van Waters (1887–1974), friend of the prominent and lowly alike. While she dined with Eleanor Roosevelt and was on intimate terms with wealthy socialites, Van Waters was most at home with unwed mothers, prostitutes and rape victims. Van Waters refuted the charges and dismissed the very notion that a scandal existed. She demanded a full and public hearing “as soon as possible” to clear the reformatory’s name. This was not the only time Van Waters found herself the target of accusation. She had introduced new methods at the reformatory based on her extensive studies in penology, anthropology and psychology. Her guiding force was a deep faith in the Christian Social Gospel, a progressive view of scripture that emphasized action to alleviate injustice. None of this endeared her to conservative Catholic politicians in Massachusetts who viewed the reformatory as a prison and wanted it to be run like one, emphasizing punishment and security. But Van Waters persisted in finding ways to bolster the young women at the reformatory and more often than not, she was successful.
Love and Tolerance Van Waters grew up in Portland, Oregon in her father’s rectory, which she recalled fondly all of her life and even attempted to replicate in her own home on the grounds of the Framingham reformatory. Her father, the Reverend George Browne Van Waters, espoused universal love and tolerance. Miram adored him. She shared her
father’s belief that no person was beyond redemption. Her mother, Maud Van Waters, was equally influential but in a different way. As Estelle Freedman points out in her 1996 book, “Maternal Justice: Miram Van Waters and the Female Reform Tradition,” Miram never received the attentive love she sought from her mother. Though they became closer at the end of Maud’s life when she came to live with Miram, the longing for something missing gave Miram an empathy for other children who also felt bereft. From the beginning Van Waters was a standout student, but she also loved the outdoors and athletic games. In 1904, she graduated from St. Helen’s Hall in Portland and the following fall, entered the University of Oregon where she again distinguished herself, earning a BA in philosophy and an MA in psychology. Van Waters then traveled across the country to study with G. Stanley Hall, president of Clark University in Worcester. She soon had differences with Hall’s methodologies and theories. For one thing, he believed that biology determined a person’s behavior while Van Waters
Miram Van Waters. PHOTO courtesy Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.
believed environment played the dominant role. Despite their differences Van Waters remained at Clark, earning a PhD in anthropology in 1913. This was a lesson in persistence for Van Waters. She was
able to get what she needed while having differences with a man in power. Van Waters worked in California as superintendent of the El Retiro School for Girls in Los Angeles where she emphasized outdoor recreation and health care. There, she stirred controversy by allowing El Retiro girls to complete high school in the community. Despite ongoing political opposition, the policy was popular with the girls and the high school. In 1927, while traveling, Van Waters learned that El Retiro had been “sacked” by the probation committee overseeing it. They implemented a punitive regime that included a full-time police officer. This was a great defeat for Van Waters and she was at one of the lowest points of her life. Still, she was determined to continue her reform work. While in California, Van Waters lived with several women in a group of bungalows they called the Colony. Van Waters loved to entertain at the Colony and would miss it when she moved East to Framingham to become superintendent at the reformatory. She attempted to make that residence as lively as the Colony.
Questions About Family Building? We Have Answers. For over three decades, the Boston IVF and IVF New England fertility network has recognized equality and freedom in parenting. With more than 75,000 success stories since 1986, we offer a comprehensive array of family‑building options, cutting‑edge technologies and proven experience that will help you to experience the joy of parenthood.
We were the first in New England to assist a lesbian couple achieve pregnancy We were the first in New England to provide IVF for gay male couples with donor eggs/gestational surrogacy
Together, our team of fertility experts will be by your side, every step of the way.
By the time Van Waters moved to Framingham, she had adopted a daughter, Sarah Anne. Now an adult, Sarah Anne had married and she and her husband lived in the superintendent’s residence. Sarah Anne Van Waters had a troubled marriage and was tragically killed in a car accident in 1953. Van Waters had several intense relationships with women and one with a man. The most important relationship was with Geraldine Thompson, a New Jersey heiress and social reformer. Freedman is reluctant throughout the book to label any particular Van Waters relationship “lesbian.” For one thing, Van Waters never regarded herself as a lesbian even though she almost certainly was intimate with Thompson. In a recent interview, Freedman addressed Van Waters sexuality. “I think we take for granted the meaning of the term ‘lesbianism’—though even today plenty of queer women don’t adopt it. In her time, it was associated with deviance and criminality, and at best an upper-class immorality or psychological affliction. I think she was fully aware of her deep attractions to certain (respectable)
women but that she tried hard to keep that lesbian label in a separate, clinical, category that exempted her from it.” At the height of her struggle with state prison officials, Van Waters burned most of the letters she received from Geraldine Thompson. While we will never know what they contained, the act of destroying them suggests an intimacy Van Waters did not want made public. No matter how Van Waters defined herself, others were eager to use her sexuality as a way to assault her progressive policies. The 1940s was a time of high paranoia regarding homosexuality.
A particularly appealing target World War II had brought millions of young, same-sex Americans together, often living together in cramped quarters for long periods of time. What they saw, talked about and experienced could not be unlearned when the war was over. For the first time, many straight people became aware of the existence of same-sex attraction and thousands of gay people saw that
Your financial needs are unique. Brian K. Gerhardson, CFP® Certified Financial Planner Private Wealth Advisor South End Wealth Management 546 Tremont St Boston, MA 02116 617.426.3416 firstname.lastname@example.org SouthEndWealthManagement.com CA Insurance #0D35502 Ameriprise Financial is proud to be recognized with another perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index.
they were not alone. Freedman points out that during the war, “the congregation of young men in the military and of self-supporting young women in the workplace provided new opportunities for same-sex relations to form. In major cities, gay bars flourished in the 1940s.” This awareness of homosexuality caused anxiety among some in the larger society who wanted men and women to resume their traditional roles after the war. Some politicians saw an opportunity to exploit this uneasiness and were on the lookout for scandals involving homosexuals. Van Waters, an unmarried, progressive, highly educated woman with a patrician bearing who had only ever lived with women, was a particularly appealing target. Given her progressive penal philosophy and personal life, it is a wonder Van Waters lasted as long as she did. Van Waters was an unusually charismatic figure. When she turned her attention towards an inmate, they felt the power of her concern and love. Countless inmates reported having been transformed not only by better conditions but by the knowledge that they were
Whether you want to provide for your loved ones, support the organizations that are important to you, or plan for your own comfortable retirement, I can help you plan for your goals. I’ll look at all aspects of your finances, then find solutions that are right for your unique needs. I’ll be there to adjust your plan as life unfolds. When you have the right approach, life can be brilliant.
South End Wealth Management Ameriprise Private Wealth Advisory Practice
Investment advisory products and services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., a registered investment adviser. Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC. © 2016 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved. (8/16)
11/21/16 3:45 PM
personally cared for and loved by Miram Van Waters. But her undeniably sincere love for “her girls” and magnetic charm was not enough to ward off her political enemies. When a change in administration transpired, her political enemies took action. In January 1949, Commissioner of Corrections Elliott McDowell fired Van Waters as superintendent of Massachusetts Reformatory for Women. A total of 27 charges were filed against her, the most serious of which was allowing homosexuality. The Gardener Auditorium at the State House was packed; most present were in support of Van Waters who was appealing her firing of a month before. A row of chairs was set up in the front for the interrogators. Standing in the front, facing the audience, dressed stylishly as always, was an unrepentant Miram Van Waters. The hearing had its dramatic moments. When one woman testified that she saw two women having relations on a bed, audience members gasped, and those under age 18 were ordered to leave, according to the Boston Globe. Van Waters vehemently denied condoning
Miram Van Waters. PHOTO courtesy Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University. homosexuality at the reformatory. When asked, “Would the inmate body have reasons to believe that … homosexual tendencies were condoned by you and rewarded?” “‘Certainly not!’ snapped Van Waters to a wave of applause.” According to Freedman, Van Waters was probably employing courtroom strategy in making this statement rather than stating opposition to homosexuality. Her view
on same-sex attraction was, as previously discussed, “more amorphous.” Van Waters won the appeal of her firing, and on March 11, 1949, she was reinstated as superintendent of the reformatory. She was welcomed back by inmates who cheered her at a packed assembly. Van Waters continued to serve as superintendent until 1957. At her retirement, the state immediately returned the reformatory in Framingham to a more punitive governing style. Still, many of the reforms she implemented remained. Despite lifelong opposition, Van Waters worked against the political tides, advocating for improved education, health care and dignity for the girls and women in her care. There were forces against her at every turn. When asked what Van Waters can teach us today, Estelle Freedman responded, “She refused to let lines drawn by race or class, or the label of sexual deviance, deter her efforts to reach out and try to restore human dignity and self-worth to these women—and to the male inmates with whom she corresponded.” In short, she persisted. [x]
Visit us in
SPOTLIGHT Religion STORY Scott Kearnan
Peter Mercury Joey Phoenix PHOTO Nate Buchman Photography
Real Gay Witches of New England Much like the more subversive sides of LGBT culture, witchcraft is a rebellion He always knew he felt different. But growing up, he never knew the word to describe it. She was scared to tell anyone who she really was. If they knew, they’d tell her she was going to hell. His parents told him it was “just a phase.” Sound familiar? Probably. But take note: alienation, discrimination and minimization aren’t just issues faced by the LGBT community. They’re also the curses a witch must bear. Exact estimates vary, but studies suggest that Wicca is the fastest-growing religion in America. And Wicca is just one popular form of witchcraft, a broader collection of Pagan practices united by a common embrace of magic and earth-based spirituality. Even if the overall population of practicing witches is still small when compared to major religions, the number of witches who identify with some aspect of the LGBT identity is very significant. In
44 | BOSTON SPIRIT
fact, in witch communities, it’s cisgender heterosexuals who may be most consistently in the minority. There are few realms of life in which one could say that. That witchcraft celebrates the fluidity of gender, rather than denigrating it, makes it particularly appealing to LGBT people— especially those in Gen-Y, for whom stringent identity labels feel increasingly limiting and passé. Unlike in other religions, which are largely monotheistic and patriarchal, witches center the worship of divine femininity in their practice. And most traditional practices of witchcraft are ditheistic, revering equally a goddess and god as opposing but complementary spiritual forces. “There’s a fluidity of gender in witchcraft,” says queer theatre artist and witch Peter Mercury, a 26-year old Plymouth native with strong roots in Salem, where he first debuted his ironic, broom-toting drag persona Bernadette Stake. “Because it is usually organized around the masculine god and feminine goddess, you have access to both of these experiences. It’s a balance. There’s an androgynous spirit to witchcraft, and a history of gender bending.” But beyond that most obvious source of appeal, LGBT witches in New England
point to many parallels between their sexual and spiritual identities—from the process of coming out to confronting stigma and misconceptions. “You don’t become a witch, you realize you are one,” says Tom Vallor. Vallor, 33, is a bisexual witch in the unsurprisingly vibrant community of Salem, where he is a tour guide with the Witch Walk, a biz offering historical sightseeing tours with practicing witches. As a teenager he rebelled against the Catholicism with which he was raised. But he says he never chose to be a witch: Rather, like being bi, he came to realize it was simply who he was. Feelings, finally, found words. “Other religions, you read the rulebook and say ‘This is what I have to do,’” explains Vallor. “With witches, you read the book and say, ‘This is already who I am.’” And much like the more subversive sides of LGBT culture, witchcraft is and foremost “a rebellion,” says Vallor. “It’s an embrace of the alternative, a rejection of mainstream society.” “I feel like witchcraft and queer identity are intrinsically connected,” adds Mercury. “It’s an alternative spirituality that has always been for outsiders, for people on the fringe. Before I knew I was gay, and therefore marginalized by society, I already knew I was different.” “That’s why the witch narrative resonates with queer kids,” he says. “In stories, the witch is someone with an inherent quality that separates them from the rest of society. They learn to accept and control it.” A sense of control, expressed through the ritual and magic that often surrounds the practice of witchcraft, could feel especially appealing to LGBT young people discovering their sexual identity and spiritual path in a world where agency is so often denied them. “I didn’t have the best childhood. There was a lack of control,” says Arden Barlow, 27, a non-binary queer Wiccan who lives in Allston. “In a lot of religions, you don’t really have any control. With Wicca you do. There’s a sense of participation. It’s
engaging. The belief is, what you do impacts things.” While there are certainly exciting elements of liberation in embracing one’s spiritual and sexual identity, gay witches also see parallels between their challenges. “Coming out of the broom closet” is a popular expression for witches disclosing their religion in a time when practitioners continue to be persecuted around the globe for many of the same supposed affronts to god that are ascribed to LGBT people. For instance, according to the Tanzaniabased Legal and Human Rights Centre, nearly 500 people accused of witchcraft in the East African country were killed by mob vigilantes in the first half of 2017. “My family isn’t privy to this part of my life,” says Joey Phoenix, 28, a bisexual witch in Salem, where she works as a photographer and videographer. Raised in an evangelical Christian household, Phoenix was a “lonely kid” and remembers “feeling like the only one” as she grew up trying to understand both her same-sex attractions and a communal relationship with nature
“ I feel like witchcraft and queer identity are intrinsically connected. It’s an alternative spirituality that has always been for outsiders, for people on the fringe. Before I knew I was gay, and therefore marginalized by society, I already knew I was different. ” Peter Mercury that spoke to her in a uniquely spiritual way that Christianity never could. Though she’s now proudly part of a warm and embracing witch community, Phoenix maintains a “don’t ask don’t tell” relationship with her parents around witchcraft. And she is selective about who she lets in to her broom closet. “It’s a special part of my life I share mainly with close friends,” she says. “In the craft we believe in the potency of what you say. There’s a power to words. People talk about you when you’re not around,
and I would like people to say positive things.” American witches tend to find their religious life dismissed as illegitimate or “a phase,” says Barlow, who says it is similar to the response she receives for being bisexual. She also remembers having her pentagram removed from a student display in high school that celebrated different religions. She had to explain to administrators that it was not a malevolent symbol, as pop culture stereotypes constantly suggest. Experience with persecution is, unfortunately, a theme queer and witch communities understand too well. “Witches and queers have a shared history,” says Mercury, explaining the background of his Bernadette Stake drag persona. “During the Burning Times, witches were executed and so were gays. Both know what it’s like to be persecuted for something that you are not.” [x]
The writing’s on the wall Steps from MASS MoCA Down the road from THE CLARK #InTheBerkshires
North Adams, MA porches.com
2 Cellos. PHOTO courtesy Great Northeast Productions
SEASONAL Guide STORY Scott Kearnan
RAISE THE CURTAIN! Our seasonal preview of the region’s best and brightest fall arts
Boston’s art scene is an embarrassment of riches, so any attempt to distill many seasons’ worth of cultural calendars into a single guide is, frankly, a fool’s errand. But as local arts organizations pull up the curtain on their latest productions and open doors to their newest exhibitions, we’ll do our best to direct you to the dozens of shows and events you must see in September, October and November—plus a smattering of selections for December and beyond. We’ve tried to represent a diversity of works and themes, paying special attention to LGBT-related artists and content, of course. But for full lineups, follow the provided links to various local orgs—and rip some tickets to see the Boston region’s best and brightest works of art. 46 | BOSTON SPIRIT
Dance Up. PHOTO Fig Tree Photography
SEPTEMBER Afterglow Festival
behind “gay best friends,” and “You Break It You Buy It,” the latest from celebrated drag cabaret performer Martha Graham Cracker.
John Kelly: “Time No Line”
that is a moving tribute to our ability to survive and thrive.
Oberon | 12 Arrow Street, Cambridge | americanrepertorytheater.org
SEPT 12–16 Martha Graham Cracker PHOTO Jeff Fusco
Art House | 214 Commercial Street, Provincetown | afterglowfestival.org
“The Bitter Game”
Since its 2011 founding by author-artist Quinn Cox and John Cameron Mitchell, Tony award-winning creator of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” the Afterglow Festival has produced over 60 exciting, innovative performance pieces (many with queer sensibilities), emerging as a strong and vital steward of Provincetown’s pioneering artistic legacy. This year’s lineup is another stunner. Highlights include “Too Much,” a one-man show from Paul Iacono, actor and nightlife crawler whose past film credits include “G.B.F.,” an uproarious satire of the tokenism
Since actor-playwright Keith A. Wallace debuted this nowtouring performance piece in 2015, critics have agreed: It’s a slam-dunk. The intense, enlightening show sees Wallace flit between the roles of Jamel, a young man coming of age, and his tough but loving mother, Pam, who uses the metaphor of Jamel’s most beloved sport, basketball, to coach her son through the unique discrimination-based minefield of growing up as a black man in America. A powerful response to an epidemic of racial profiling and police shootings that have galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement, “Bitter” confronts sour social realities and earns salty tears.
Oberon | 12 Arrow Street, Cambridge | cluboberon.com
NYC-based artist John Kelly is, like many who lived through the early era of the AIDS epidemic, a survivor. He emerged from the East Village performance art scene of the 1980s, a community ravaged by the disease. Since then, he has poured his passions into highly personal, socially aware (and award-winning) works — including “Time No Line,” a unique solo show that draws upon Kelly’s personal journal entries about gender, gentrification, queer history and more. He uses song, on-stage drawing, video projections and other mediums for a live memoir
If you appreciate dance as an art form but still don’t know a plié from a sashay, this style-spanning visual buffet of New Englandbased performers should be on your agenda. “Dance Up” will bring together a half-dozen artists under one banner: from the Wondertwins, Bostonborn brothers who specialize in a cool conflagration of hip hop, vaudeville and mime, to Doppelganger Dance Collective, a group that creates contemporary works for duets. The lineup should prove inventive enough to thrill committed dance lovers while offering less well-versed audiences a broad overview of our most promising local artists.
Institute of Contemporary Art | 25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston | worldmusic.org
2 Cellos “The Score Tour” “We wish we were gay,” Luka Sulic once joked to “The Advocate,” speaking about the ardent gay
SEP|OCT 2017 | 47
fan base he and Stjepan Hauser have developed since forming 2CELLOS in 2011. The Croatian music competition rivals-turnedcollaborators were championed early on by Elton John, who tapped them for his tour, and turned heads by performing “Smooth Criminal” on a Michael Jackson-themed episode of “Glee.” Now the hunky cellists bring their signature style on the road, performing classic works with selections from their new album, “Score,” which reimagines movie themes like “Chariots of Fire” and “My Heart Will Go On.”
Wang Theatre | 270 Tremont Street, Boston | bochcenter.org
Annette Lemieux: “Mise en Scene” For over 30 years, Lemieux, who was raised in Connecticut, has received numerous grants and awards for her work—personal and politically oriented pieces often riddled with doses of dark humor—that are found in permanent collections of the country’s most prestigious museums. This year Lemieux, a senior lecturer at Harvard, received the Maud Morgan Prize from the MFA, a biennial award honoring a Massachusetts woman artist for significant contributions to contemporary art. Her subsequent solo exhibition takes inspiration from classic films like “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Fahrenheit 451,” tweaking their most iconic elements to cheeky, provocative effect.
SEPT 24–MARCH 4, 2018
Museum of Fine Arts | 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston | mfa.org
Mark Rothko: “Reflection” 7 Fingers. PHOTO Alexandre Galliez
Rothko is legendary, but reactions to his abstract paintings can be polarizing: contemporary art lovers see the work of a master, while less interested audiences see little more than big blotches of bright colors. But the artist’s signature output—colorsaturated renderings of simple squares and straight lines—need to be experienced in person
48 | BOSTON SPIRIT
to be truly appreciated for the rich emotional reactions such large-scale paintings can evoke in intimate spaces. Make time, then, for this MFA exhibition of 11 powerful Rothko pieces, including “Thru the Window,” an early work on public view in the U.S. for the first time.
SEPT 24–SEPT 3, 2018
Museum of Fine Arts | 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston | mfa.org
Boston Symphony Orchestra: Opening Night As always, the Boston Symphony Orchestra has composed a season full of classical music programs that will intoxicate diehard culture vultures and more casual crowds alike. Throughout the months ahead, concerts will be peppered with centennial tributes to Leonard Bernstein, the Lawrence, Massachusetts-born composer whose inimitable work gave us scores for “West Side Story” and “On the Waterfront,” among others. For this opening night engagement, BSO music director Andris Nelson will delve deep into Bernstein, who was also, appropriately enough, a member of Tanglewood Music Center’s very first class in 1940.
Symphony Hall | 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston | bso.org
The 7 Fingers: “Reversible” You’ll need all 10 digits to grip the armrests during this latest offering from The 7 Fingers, a Montreal-based troupe of circus artists known for aweinspiring acrobatics, aerial work and inventively choreographed stage art. “Reversible” invokes all of the above, plus dance and illusion, for a show that features eight multi-skilled performers as they delve into their respective family histories, paying tribute to inspiring progenitors and confronting skeletons in the ancestral closet. They will explore—through some pretty adrenalin-packed performances—how their
“Fun Home.” PHOTO Alexandre Galliez predecessors’ stories impact who they are today.
Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre | 219 Tremont Street, Boston | artsemerson.org
“Angels in America: Millennium Approaches”
two-part work “Angels in America,” starring Andrew Garfield and Nathan Lane in the powerful examination of gay life and the advent of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. Return for “Angels” part two, “Perestroika,” when it screens in October.
Emerson Paramount Center | 559 Washington Street, Boston | artsemerson.org
It may seem odd to visit a theater for a filmed presentation of a play. But if you haven’t experienced the “Stage to Screen” series from ArtsEmerson, take note: the local arts organization partners with international companies to bring Boston audiences the most important and acclaimed interpretations of theatrical works. Among them is this brand-new staging of the seminal
“Home” PHOTO Hillarie Jason
Tony Kushner PHOTO Joan Marcus
Given our all-too-frequent ostracization from kin and communities, LGBT people— those of us who must often strike out to build our own definitions of family—understand more than most that “home” is a social
50 | BOSTON SPIRIT
construction. So gay audiences may find especial resonance in “Home,” the latest work from theatre artist Geoff Sobelle. Sobelle has designed a unique spectacle in which a house is built on stage and made subject to the whims of passing time—from changing residents to renovations, from robberies and parties to happy marriages and hauntings. “What makes a home?” it asks. Heart, to start.
incorporating into her work the bindi, a decorative red dot worn in the middle of the forehead. Kher was a 2015 artist-inresidence at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, during which time she created the works shown in this exhibition of clever, capricious drawings that cull inspiration from motherhood, pregnancy, human anatomy and other motifs with strong relationships to gender.
SEPT 27–OCT 1
SEPT 20–SEPT 6, 2018
Emerson Paramount Center | 559 Washington Street, Boston | artsemerson.org
Emerson Paramount Center | 559 Washington Street, Boston | artsemerson.org
Bharti Kher: “Sketchbooks and Diaries”
Gender politics are a recurring them in Kher’s work. The Indian contemporary artist often invokes ideas related to sex and class divisions, frequently
When it arrived on stage in 2015, “Fun Home” earned the unique distinction of being the first Broadway musical with a lesbian protagonist. Now the show is touring, bringing cities around the country a Tony-winning show based on Vermont-based cartoonist Alison Bechdel’s acclaimed memoir-style graphic novel of the same name (See interview with the playwright
WHATâ€™S YOUR PLEASURE?
Performances at the Gardner Museum MIGRATIONS
CABARET: "PICTURING WOMEN"
An evening of dance, centered on the idea of migration. Four world premiere performances, by choreographers Richard Move, Yury Yanowsky, Jean Appolon, and Ida Saki.
Musical reflections on Henry James's female characters, drawing from opera, musical theater, and popular compositions spanning from 1870 through today.
November 2nd, 7pm
November 30th, 7pm
Tickets are on sale now at gardnermuseum.org The museum receives operating support from the Massachusetts Cultural
which receives support from the State of Massachusetts and the The lead sponsors of the Henry James and American Painting exhibition are Maureen and Michael Ruettgers. Exhibition-related programming isCouncil, also generously Amy and David Abrams. National Endowmentsupported for the Arts,by and the Boston Cultural Council, a local agency is funded by the Massachusetts Council,and the This exhibition and related programs are also made possible thanks in part to support from the Barr Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, thewhich National Endowment for the Cultural Humanities, administrated by the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture. Massachusetts Cultural Council, which receives funding from the State of Massachusetts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Media Sponsor: The Boston Globe
Boston Opera House | 539 Washington Street, Boston | broadwayinboston.com
Mark Dion: “Misadventures of a 21st Century Naturalist” New Bedford-born conceptual artist Mark Dion seems to have the eye of a designer, the mind of a scientist—and the heart, perhaps, of a hoarder. “Misadventures,” the first U.S. survey of Dion’s decadesspanning work, highlights several installations that spotlight the artist’s unique approach to excavation, collection and exhibition. “Toys ‘R’ Us (When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth)”
touches on the environmental crisis through the holdings of a child’s dino-themed bedroom, while “The Library for the Birds of New York/The Library for the Birds of Massachusetts” is an ornithological housing live finches and canaries in a 20-foot cage.
OCT 4–JAN 1, 2018
The Institute of Contemporary Art | 25 Harbor Shore Street, Boston | icaboston.org
“A Guide for the Homesick” Ken Urban PHOTO Kevin Thomas Garcia
on page 80). Like its source material, the musical “Fun Home” examines the complicated relationship between Bechdel and her gay father. As our lead discovers her sexuality and uncovers the mysteries of her dad’s life, her story should resonate with anyone who has had to confront coming out and coming of age.
at MIT, and he has two world premieres arriving on stages in the months ahead—and Huntington Theatre Company will present the first, “A Guide For the Homesick.” In this two-person show, a young aid worker returning home from East Africa meets a fellow American in an Amsterdam hotel. As they recount their respective experiences, their encounter leads the men to delve deep into their internal struggles with fear and guilt, and confront their complicated emotions over abandoning those who need them.
OCT 6–NOV 4
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA | 539 Tremont Street, Boston | huntingtontheatre.org
It’s been a big year for gay playwright Ken Urban. He was recently named a senior lecturer
CHARLES PLAYHOUSE | 74 WARRENTON ST. BLUEMAN.COM | 1.800.BLUEMAN 52 | BOSTON SPIRIT
All hail the multi-talented Cumming. The bisexual “Cabaret” star has always had an edge: he’s been an out activist throughout a career that has spanned big-budget Hollywood blockbusters (like the “X-Men” franchise), acclaimed television (like “The Good Wife”) and award-winning theater work, from “Hamlet” to “Bent.” But he gets up close and personal with “Sappy Songs,” which, besides being a tongue twister, sees the impish actor cover music by everyone from Billy Joel to Miley
PHOTO BY LINDSEY BEST ©2017 BLUE MAN PRODUCTIONS, LLC.
DARE TO LOVE IN FULL COLOR.
“Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs”
SEP|OCT 2017 | 53
“Cabinet of Marine Debris,” by Mark Dion.
amazing insights By Lisa M. Cukier, Esq. Ann Hetherwick Cahill, Esq.
Leveraging Addiction Recovery in Parents by Use of Guardianship of Minors All people have a fundamental right to parent their children. Due to a person's addiction or mental illness, however, the health, safety, or welfare of their child could be at risk, requiring the appointment of a guardian of a minor child. The court may appoint a guardian for a minor child (someone who is under the age of 18) if (i) the parents are deceased or incapacitated, (ii) the parents consent, (iii) parental rights have been terminated, (iv) the parents have signed a voluntary surrender, or (v) the court ﬁnds that the parents, jointly, or the surviving parent, are unavailable or unﬁt to have custody. Any person interested in the welfare of the child can petition for the appointment of a guardian. An "interested person" could be a grandparent, aunt/uncle, adult sibling, clinician, social worker, or the like who has knowledge of the circumstances. Once 14 years old, the minor child him/herself can petition for the appointment of his/her guardian and, so long as the appointment is in the best interests of the child, the court "shall" appoint the particular person nominated by the 14-plus-year-old child. An increasingly common scenario is that grandparents petition for their own appointment as guardians of a minor grandchild because of a parent's drug addiction or mental health issues. The primary goal in petitioning for guardianship of a minor child is always the health, safety, or welfare of that minor child. Parents who suﬀer from addiction or mental illness may lack the capacity to make decisions for their children and themselves (perhaps requiring their own guardian) and are consequently o�en unﬁt to care for their minor children. A grandparent can step in to take authority of the minor child to allow the parent time to focus on his or her own recovery.
While the petition is pending, a temporary guardianship may be necessary in emergency situations if there is a risk of "substantial harm to the health, safety or welfare" of the minor child. This type of situation occurs when the substantial harm to the child is immediate and there is no other person with authority to act on the child's behalf. That temporary guardian can be appointed during the pendency of the court process. Upon receiving notice of the court proceeding, the parent is entitled to appear in court to object to the temporary and permanent guardianship appointment. In that situation, the minor child is best served if the parties communicate and agree upon certain conditions, such as custody, medical decision-making, education, schooling, extracurricular activities, and insurance, as well as visitation (possibly supervised) with the parent(s), if appropriate. The parent's sobriety becomes a key element of their right to visitation and continued relationship with their child. The parties can enter into a stipulation, which the court can approve and incorporate into a court order, requiring the parent to submit to random urine testing and hair follicle tests every 80 days (the approximate length of time that evidence of substances remain in the hair). Grandparents or other concerned relatives o�en use a carrot-and-stick approach so that, the longer a parent remains sober and evidences commitment to their child, the more parenting time he or she will receive. Once appointed, the guardian "has the powers and responsibilities of a parent regarding the ward's support, care, education, health and welfare. A guardian shall act at all times in the ward's best interest and exercise reasonable care, diligence and prudence." The guardian can get a court order for support, if needed. The minor child could reside with the guardian, in or outside of Massachusetts. This is strategically important if a guardian resides in a prestigious school district because the guardian can enroll the child in that school system. A guardianship of a minor terminates upon the guardian's death, resignation, or removal, or the minor child's death, adoption, marriage, or attainment of majority (age 18). In a situation involving addiction issues, a parent may seek to remove a guardian or terminate the guardianship while or a�er recovering from the addiction. An issue speciﬁc to addiction is when the parental unﬁtness ends. While a parent may have completed a sobriety or addiction program, the recovery process is o�en long and relapses could occur. If possible, it is important to put appropriate safeguards in place during and a�er the guardianship, so that the parent can regain parental responsibilities in a stepwise fashion, coinciding with third-party oversight of the parent's continued sobriety. If you have a family member who is battling addiction and has a child who needs a stable, safe, and predictable environment and lifestyle, feel free to contact Burns & Levinson to discuss the situation and obtain advice.
56 | BOSTON SPIRIT
David Sedaris. PHOTO courtesy Celebrity Series
Sanders Theatre | 45 Quincy Street, Cambridge | celebrityseries.org
David Sederis From “Naked” to “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” the works of American humorist David Sedaris have continually managed to amuse, engage and illuminate. His selfdeprecating style and openness in discussing life as a gay man have especially endeared him to LGBT audiences. And Sedaris’s latest tome, “Theft By Finding,” a selection of poignant and uproarious decades-spanning diary entries that inspired much of his autobiographical work, should only endear him more to fans. Steal some time to spend an evening with Sedaris when the Celebrity Series brings him to Boston.
the international bestseller of the same name. In “Curious,” teenager Christopher Boone is a math savant on the autism spectrum, seeking order and constancy in a frequently disorganized world. When a neighbor’s dog is murdered, Christopher undertakes a quest to find the culprit—and, along the way, comes to new understandings of his relationships with his parents and teachers. Curious? Give this deeply touching, gently humorous and widely lauded work a chance.
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA | 539 Tremont Street, Boston | huntingtontheatre.org
Symphony Hall | 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston | celebrityseries.org
XYZT: “A Journey in 4 Dimensions”
OCT 14–APRIL 22, 2018
Peabody Essex Museum | 161 Essex Street, Salem | pem.org
“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” Critics have howled over this Tony Award-winning play based on
Incognito | 10.17
Rickie Lee Jones | 10.21
ART GARFUNKEL | 10.26-27
Shawn Colvin | 11.3-4
Holly Near | 11.5
Rufus Wainwright | 11.28-29
Expect sensory overload at this unique, innovative exhibition that explores the relationship between four dimensions: horizontal and vertical orientations, depth and time. The interactive experience brings together 10 math- and physicsbased digital installations that engage viewers in uniquely immersive ways, turning visitor movements into expressive moments of art: guests can toss letters off digital tree limbs, scattering them like fallen leaves, or watch as their footsteps ripple like waves. Surreal and exciting, XYZT is another A-plus reason to visit the Peabody Essex Museum.
coming to 1 canal st this fall
OCT 22–NOV 18
Pilobolus PHOTO Grant Halverson
Cyrus, peppered with intimate stories from his illustrious life and career. It’s a show with heart, soul, and just enough delicious sap.
boston’s urban winery
This 1971-born dance company, started by students at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, does things a bit differently—which you might expect from a group named for a fungus that grows on animal dung. (Its co-founder’s father was a scientist studying the organism, which is known for moving fast and with precision.) Today the modern dance troupe has appeared everywhere from the Academy Awards to music videos, including the OK Go clip “All is Not Lost.” And now they’ll bring Boston the kind of exciting, acrobatic programs for which they’re known.
Shubert Theatre | 265 Tremont Street, Boston | celebrityseries.org
Takashi Murakami: “Lineage of Eccentrics” The New York Times once called Murakami “Japan’s answer to Andy Warhol.” We’re inclined
view complete schedule at www.citywinery.com/boston
food Drink BOSTON WINE CLASS SERIES 10.21 WINE 101 | INTRO TO WINE 11.11 WINE 102 | SPARKLING TO STILL TO SWEET 12.2 WINE 103 | WINE AND FOOD PAIRINGS VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR MORE INFO
email email@example.com for more info
Become a City Winery
VinoFile Member! Buy tickets before the public, avoid service fees, attend
members-only events & much more! 1 Canal st. boston ma 02114 | www.citywinery.com/boston
to agree. Murakami blurs lines between high and low culture: he coined the term “Superflat,” a postmodern movement inspired by Japanese comics and cartoons. And he dabbles in pop art and provocation: witness his 1998 piece “My Lonesome Cowboy,” an anime-inspired sculpture of a masturbating boy whose semen stream forms a powerful lasso. This exhibition pairs Murakami’s own contemporary works with selections he and renowned art historian Nobuo Tsuji curated from the MFA’s extensive collection of Japanese art. It’s a fascinating interplay between old and new.
OCT 18–APRIL 1, 2018
Museum of Fine Arts | 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston | mfa.org
“Tosca” Giacomo Puccini is regarded one of the finest Italian opera composers in large part because his contributions have continued to endure—from “La Boheme,” his masterwork upon which the LGBT-favorite rock opera
“Rent” was based, to “Tosca,” his 1900-written opera set just after the fall of the Roman Republic. At the heart of “Tosca” is a doomed love triangle that explores passionate love and brutal murder against the backdrop of Napoleon’s rise to power. “Tosca” contains some of Puccini’s most beloved arias, which only underscores the tremendous timeliness of Boston Lyric Opera’s production.
Emerson Cutler Majestic Theater | 219 Tremont Street, Boston | blo.org
“Kiss” Rising Chilean playwright Guillermo Calderón is earning plenty of affection for “Kiss,” his first English-language work. The show takes a play-within-a-play approach, focusing on a group of American actors as they try to stage the script for a Syrian soap opera they found on the Internet. In the course of things, though, the naïve performers discover that things aren’t entirely what they seem—and events take a
turn following a fateful (and fatal) kiss. Calderón traverses cultural barriers to take stock of our capabilities—and limitations— when it comes to understanding the oppression of others.
OCT 26–NOV 19
An interesting note: In 2014, Mamet’s representatives halted a Milwaukee theatre for staging a same-sex interpretation of the show.
OCT 14–NOV 5
Moresian Center for the Arts | 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown | newrep.org
Emerson Paramount Center | 559 Washington Street, Boston | artsemerson.org
“Oleanna” Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Mamet premiered “Oleanna” in 1992 at Cambridge’s American Repertory Theater— but this new production from Watertown’s New Repertory Theatre only underscores the continued relevance of its primary themes: misogyny, power struggles and political correctness. In this two-character play, a university professor is accused of sexual harassment by a female student, and the crackling “he said-she said” situation that results plays with audience ideas of intent, perception and the relationships between men and women.
“A Christmas Story, the Musical”
Here it is, the time-honored tale of a boy, his BB gun, a bunny suit and a tawdry lampshade shaped like a leg. Except you’ve never
Use code SPIRIT for 15% off at one of our AAA 4 Diamond Hotels Criss Angel
Nov 2 - Dec 17
I wannaane. pl r i a y a l p
“FUN HOME may be a deeply personal story... but as is the case with our best stories, it shares universal truths — about FAMILY, LEGACY and SELF-DISCOVERY.” –Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
.. . o t t n a w I . w o n k t ’ n I do
A TRUE STORY BECOMES A TONY®-WINNING BEST MUSICAL
OCTOBER 17-29 • BOSTON OPERA HOUSE 800-982-2787 • BroadwayInBoston.com Groups (10+) Save! 617-482-8616
SEP|OCT 2017 | 59
Top: Carly Gold & Robert Petkoff. Bottom left: Abby Corrigan. Bottom right: Kate Shindle. All photos: Joan Marcus.
I want to know what’s true.
60 | BOSTON SPIRIT
Bridget Barkan. PHOTO courtesy ART
seen “A Christmas Story” like this: on stage, with elaborate production numbers and catchy tunes—like “A Major Award” and “Sticky Situation”—that swaddle Ralphie and co. in hummable melodies like wrapping paper. In December, Fox will air a live television version—the next in the network’s series of musical events, following “Grease: Live” and others. Here’s your chance to see the real thing—in real life—before the masses.
Hanover Theatre | 2 South Street, Worcester | thehanovertheatre.org
even as times change. Take “Julius Caesar”: Earlier this year, NYC’s Public Theater earned an outcry when its staging of Shakespeare’s tragedy anachronistically cast a Trump-like central figure in the titular role of the assassinated dictator. Now our own Actors’ Shakespeare Project will take its own pass at “Caesar,” with its own twist: an all-female cast, inverting the men-only paradigm of Shakespeare’s day. ASP is billings its 2017–’18 season theme as “The Downfall of Despots” (other productions include “Exit the King” and “Richard III”), which certainly seems timely.
Bridget Barkan: “Dear Stranger, I Love You”
NOV 15–DECEMBER 17
If you’re a fan of Provincetown’s Afterglow Festival in September, make a point to experience Glowberon, the partnership between Cambridge’s Oberon and festival founders Quinn Cox and John Cameron Mitchell. The near-monthly series, which runs through May 2018, imports to Harvard Square the same fringe-focused sensibility that characterizes Afterglow. And among the glowing luminaries are Barkan, an alternative cabaret performer whose latest show uses song, dance and storytelling to tackle issues of love in all its forms—from self-love to free love—with both sweetness and sass.
Anna Myers and Dancers
Oberon | 12 Arrow Street, Cambridge | americanrepertorytheater.com
“Julius Ceasar” Great art is never stagnant, and finds new renewed relevancy
Anna Myers and Dancers PHOTO Charles Daniels
Venue TBA | actorsshakespeareproject.org
Myers was classically trained in ballet, and her professional background includes years with Boston Ballet, among others. But her own company, founded in 1992, can not be defined as any one style—rather, her Dancers have earned acclaim for fusing classic through postmodern elements. This engagement at the Institute of Contemporary Art will meld modern dance and hip-hop, expanding boundaries of the discipline as nine performers leap and stretch their way through a program accompanied by both a violist and a beat-spinning DJ.
Institute of Contemporary Art | 25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston | worldmusic.org
SEP|OCT 2017 | 61
62 | BOSTON SPIRIT
Habib Koité. PHOTO Renée Missel
Habib Koité For over 30 years, Koité has been a central figure in Afropop. The Malian musician and his band, Bamada, have found a way to seamlessly interweave elements of West African music with American-born genres like jazz and rock—and the result has earned him fans on both sides of the ocean. “Rolling Stone” once called him the preeminent pop star of his region, and collaborator Bonnie Raitt drew comparisons to Jimi Hendrix. Clearly, though, Koité is his own inimitable man— one whose soulful work deserves discovery by even more globally minded music lovers.
years ago, it scored a Tony Award. Its celebrated revival, which closed earlier this year, earned two. Now the modern classic is on tour, bringing audiences around the country its stunningly rendered story about the experiences of African-American women in the Southern United States of the 1930s, one that earned the source material a Pulitzer Prize and an indisputable place in the pantheon of great American works.
NOV 21–DECEMBER 3
Shubert Theatre | 265 Tremont Street, Boston | celebrityseries.org
“Elf, the Musical”
Somerville Theatre | 55 Davis Square, Somerville | worldmusic.org
Since 1990, World Music/ CRASHarts has been a vital force in bringing international sounds to Boston-area stages. The organization culls its lineup from every corner of the world, exposing local ears to far-flung sounds we wouldn’t otherwise hear. With that in mind, here comes DakhaBrakha: a Ukrainian folk quartet-slash-live theater crew. The group’s name means “give/take,” and DakhaBrakha invokes its own set of worldly influences—often using traditional instrumentation from Arabic, Australian and Indian cultures, among others—even as it offers up a uniquely Ukrainian sound.
Brighten Music Hall | 158 Brighton Avenue, Boston | worldmusic.org
“The Color Purple” Some things are even better the second time around. When the Oprah Winfrey-produced stage version of Alice Walker’s 1982 novel first hit Broadway over 10
“Elf, the Musical” PHOTO Joan Marcus
The 1940s gave us “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The 1980s gave us “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” And the Aughties gave us “Elf,” the funny Will Ferrell flick that has turned into a modern holiday classic. Now the musical version has arrived like a bow-topped gift from the North Pole, delivering audiences the same sly, sweet, silly sensibility of the movie. This time, though, it’s accompanied by lavishly produced songs like “Christmastown,” “Nobody Cares About Santa” and “Sparklejollytwinklejingley.” Even without Will, make your way to see this joyous jingle ball.
NOV 28–DECEMBER 10
Wang Theatre | 270 Tremont Street, Boston | bochcenter.org
All Fall 2017 dates plus Spring 2018 Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performances are now on sale! 30+ WINTER / SPRING 2018 PERFORMANCES GO ON SALE SEPTEMBER 11
Explore the full season and make plans now!
celebrityseries.org Put your dancing shoes on: Let’s Dance Boston returns to the Rose Kennedy Greenway SEPTEMBER 13-17!
SWING, MAMBO, DISCO, SALSA, AND KLEZMER COMMUNITY DANCE
’s Dance LetBOSTON
celebrityseries.org/letsdanceboston SEP|OCT 2017 | 63
To lay audiences, opera is often unfairly categorized as an art form linked exclusively to the past—a remnant of more refined days that is lovingly shepherded into the present by committed arts organizations. But new, exciting works continue to emerge every year—including this world premiere from Boston Lyric Opera. “Mr. Burke & Mr. Hare” is the first full-length opera produced by the BLO’s commissioning branch, and it is based on the true story of two 19th-century Scots who discover the lucrative business of selling cadavers to anatomy schools— and employ some pretty wicked methods to keep themselves supplied.
Cyclorama at the BCA | 539 Tremont Street, Boston | blo.org
“Gardens Speak” One of war’s greatest atrocities is its ability to reduce real human lives to mere statistics, numbered casualties robbed of their individual life stories. With “Gardens Speak,” Lebanese artist Tania El Khoury offers up stirring biographies of Syrian activists and protestors who died opposing the Assad government. The interactive experience, which garnered great notice at NYC’s recent Under the Radar Festival, uniquely immerses audience members in these carefully constructed recollections. And it named in reference to the many private and communal gardens where thousands of Syrians caught in conflict have been laid to rest. “Gardens” is stirring and stunning.
Emerson Paramount Center | 559 Washington Street, Boston | artsemerson.org
to make sense of our own terrifying times.
Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre | 219 Tremont Street, Boston | artsemerson.org
“Obsidean Tear” “Obsidian Tear” PHOTO Andrej Uspenski
“The Nefarious, Immoral but Highly Profitable Enterprise of Mr. Burke and Mr. Hare”
“The State of Siege” In recent months, many artists—from the pop to the avant-garde—have opined on how challenging, anxiety-ridden political times can inspire greater creativity. That’s a long-held sentiment, and one explored in Nobel Prize winner Albert Camus’s 1948-penned play about resistance in the face of an authoritarian regime. Paris theatre company Théâtre de la Ville brings to Boston its provocative and powerful interpretation, one that should serves as a helpful tonic for audiences still struggling
Boston Ballet will dance its way through another glorious season, and it’s a given to add the always-joyous “Nutcracker” to holiday season calendars. But don’t miss season opener “Obsidian Tear,” a co-production with The Royal Ballet in London. “Obsidian,” hailed as a
Join in the exciting 2017–18 season marking Music Director Andris Nelsons fourth season, the centennial of the birth of Leonard Bernstein, Artist-inResidence Jean-Yves Thibaudet, new Tanglewood Festival Chorus conductor James Burton, and the beginning of an unprecedented partnership with the BSO and Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, plus much more!
september 22–may 5 888-266-1200 • bso.org
SEP|OCT 2017 | 65
“The State of Siege,” Théâtre de la Ville. PHOTO Christophe Dessaigne
“choreographic breakthrough” by The New York Times last year, is an all-male program set in part to the Finnish symphonic poem “Nyx,” a reference to the Greek goddess of night. This staging roughly coincides with the 100th anniversary of Finland’s independence from Russia. The talent on stage, though, is pure Boston Ballet.
point from which to view the artist—and further flesh out her impressive body of work.
DEC 16–APRIL 1, 2018
Peabody Essex Museum | 161 Essex Street, Salem | pem.org
“The Hip Hop Nutcracker”
have a hard time not opining on how he stacks up to 45.
pleasure imperative have (and have not) changed.
JAN 20, 2018
FEB 2–17, 2018
Sanders Theatre | 45 Quincy Street, Cambridge | celebrityseries.org
Eliot Hall | 7A Eliot Street, Jamaica Plain | footlight.org
Lady Bunny: “Trans-Jester!”
Boston Opera House | 539 Washington Street, Boston | bostonballet.org
DECEMBER & BEYOND “Hold These Truths” Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it, goes the adage. And during these hyperturbulent political times, it’s one worth remembering. Against our current cultural backdrop—filled with threats of travel bans and building walls—reemerges “Hold These Truths,” a play by Jeanne Sakata. The one-man piece tells the tale of Gordon Hirabayashi, an American man who resisted the government’s order to incarcerate people of Japanese heritage in internment camps. Deft yet powerful, “Hold These Truths” reexamines a shameful piece of recent history at a time when many need a new reminder.
Lyric Stage | 140 Clarendon Street, Boston | lyricstage.com
“Georgia O’Keefe: Art, Image, Style” When you think of O’Keeffe, you might think of the pioneering mother of American modernism’s fierce independence, gorgeous depictions of Southwest landscapes—or, perhaps, art critic clichés about vaginal flowers. You may not consider her clothes. But this exhibition does, collecting for the first time O’Keeffe’s carefully designed garments, understated pieces exhibited alongside her paintings and photographs. This rare consideration of O’Keeffe’s style offers yet another vantage
This raucous remix is a breath of fresh air for those seeking new life from the classic holiday tale. The story of the Nutcracker moves from 1800s Germany to 1980 Brooklyn—and Tchaikovsky’s famed score is accompanied by dancers employing explosive moves in all styles of hip-hop. They’re also joined by an on-stage DJ and, for a special rap intro, Harlem-raised legend MC Kurtis Blow, whose hit “The Breaks” was the first certified gold hip hop song. The result is an energetic reinterpretation that finds joyful surprises in the very familiar.
Shubert Theatre | 265 Tremont Street, Boston| bochcenter.org
Tony Kushner and Sarah Vowell: “The Lincoln Legacy” A conversation between razorsharp minds is like watching a tennis match—fast, furious and adrenalin pumping. (Okay, it helps if you have a nerdy side.) We expect Wimbledon-level spectating at this meeting between Tony Kushner, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright behind the gay fantasia “Angels in America,” and Sarah Vowell, a star social commentator and author of multiple books on American history and culture. Together they’ll unpack the work and legacy of Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president—and, we imagine,
66 | BOSTON SPIRIT
Hop over to Harvard Square for an audience with the queen of drag queens (no shade, RuPaul!). Lady Bunny will shoot off her foul mouth in this gender politicsminded show, and political correctness is one of the targets in her way. Bunny has been outspoken on her opinion that PC culture can be counterproductive, and that comedy—when it’s not walking on eggshells to avoid any offense—is potent medicine for marginalized people. Expect social commentary, parodies of pop hits by artists like Adele, and of course, copious fake eyelashes.
JAN 25, 2018
Oberon | 2 Arrown Street, Cambridge | americanrepertorytheater.org
“In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play)” Here’s a comedy that is, quite literally, hysterical. Playwright Sarah Ruhl scored three Tony nominations for this examination of Victorian sexual mores and female desire, set in late 19th century America. Then, many doctors believed that the best treatment for “female hysteria”—a now-debunked catchall ailment—was to use vibrators to bring women to orgasm. As cures go, that’s not a bad one. But Ruhl’s work is no sophomoric slump through sex jokes; rather, it’s a funny but smart look at sex, intimacy, and how our perspectives on the female
When it premiered in the 1990s, “Lonely Planet” was among the many vital, vibrant works emerging from the devastation of the AIDS epidemic. Today, revived for its 25th anniversary, it feels as powerful as ever. The plot is simple and surreal: two friends, both gay men, meet in a map shop. There, one man seeks safety and order from the horrifying havoc outside. The other urges his friend to leave denial behind and confront the real world, scary as it may be. “Lonely Planet” is an insightful meditation on casualties and community.
FEB 3–MARCH 4, 2018
Morrision Center for the Arts | 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown | newrep.org
“Torrey Pines” This quirky, curious stop-motion animated film won the grand jury prize at last year’s Seattle Queer Film Festival. “Torrey Pines” is billed as a “trans-queerpunk coming-of-age story” set in Southern California in the 1990s. Filmmaker Clyde Peterson taps his own biography for the hallucinogenic story about a 12-year-old kid’s cross-country trip with his schizophrenic mother, and he tapped his coolest music industry connections to create an original indie rockinflected music for the trippy “Torrey.” For this ArtsEmerson engagement, the film will be scored live by Seattle “queercore” band Your Heart Breaks.
FEB 14–17, 2018
Emerson Paramount Center | 559 Washington Street, Boston | artsemerson.org
“Rent” The ’90s are totally in fashion again. (If only that applied to Clintons in the White House.) So score tickets to the 20th Anniversary Tour of “Rent,” the revolutionary rock opera that brought LGBT characters and
SEP|OCT 2017 | 67
“Rent.” Théâtre de la Ville. PHOTO courtesy The Hanover Theatre
68 | BOSTON SPIRIT
“Wig Out.” Théâtre de la Ville. PHOTO courtesy Cambridge One
issues to homogenous Broadway. A reinterpretation of Puccini’s “La Boheme” set in the queer East Village during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, “Rent” inspired hyper-devoted fans, kick-started theatre careers (Idina Menzel got her start as Maureen, the show’s bisexual performance artist) and resulted in rousing music that celebrates freedom, art and communities of light in a world threatened by darkness.
APRIL 5–8, 2018
Hanover Theatre | 2 South Street, Worcester | thehanovertheatre.org
“Anna Christie” Like Tennessee Williams, famed playwright Eugene O’Neill is among the luminaries whose productive years in Provincetown helped enshrine the storied spot’s reputation as one of America’s most vital art colonies. And P’town is among the settings in “Anna Christie,” O’Neill’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play about a former prostitute who struggles to turn her life around for love. Luckily you don’t need to hop the
ferry to see it—just head to Back Bay for Lyric Stage Company’s production.
APRIL 6–MAY 6, 2018
Lyric Stage | 140 Claredon Street, Boston | lyricstage.com
time when Margaret Thatcher was in power and Madonna was a Material Girl—the 1980s, when greed was good and women were asserting new gains in the corporate workplace. In “Top Girls,” a career-driven woman scores a role over a male coworker and celebrates by throwing a dinner party—one that happens to gather together some of history’s most powerful women, who share their stories and ruminations on what it means to be an alpha female in America. It’s a fierce, fantastical meditation on feminism.
Say what you will about “Brokeback Mountain,” but “Moonlight” was the more momentous success story: the first LGBT-themed film to win an Oscar for Best Picture—and the first film with an all-black cast to win it, to boot. “Moonlight” co-writer Tarell Alvin McCraney is also the playwright behind “Wig Out,” a deep dive into the NYC drag ball scene—and all the razzle-dazzle, desire and defiant politics that go along with it. Vogue your way over to the Company One production to take in this untucked examination of a critical subculture.
APRIL 27–MAY 13, 2018
Oberon | 2 Arrow Street, Cambridge | cambridgeone.org
APRIL 20–MAY 20, 2018 This groundbreaking play from Carly Churchill takes us back to a
Huntington Avenue Theatre | 254 Huntington Avenue, Boston | huntingtontheatre.org
Summer Clearance Sale! Best Savings Now! IN STOCK AND SPECIAL ORDERS- GREAT INVENTORY AND DISCOUNTS NOW!! • Outdoor Furniture • Home & Garden Décor • Tableware • Firepits • Sunbrella
• • • • • •
Cushions Statuary Pottery Fountains Perennials Trees & Shrubs Fall Plants
1265 Massachusetts Ave. Lexington, MA 02420 Tel 781.861.1200 www.seasonsfour.com
THE OUTDOOR LIVING STORE
BEST RETAILER OF OUTDOOR FURNITURE IN THE COUNTRY
DESIGNERS WELCOME CLOSED TUESDAYS Your time is important. Make a one time investment for a lifetime of outdoor living. For over 45 years offering the best selection of quality casual furnishings, priced to fit your budget.
SEP|OCT 2017 | 69
CULTURE Theater STORY Loren King
Superstars American Repertory Theater’s “Warhol/Capote” explores the friendship between gay icons Could there possibly be a gayer play than “Warhol/Capote: A Nonfiction Invention”? The American Repertory Theater’s world premiere, running September 9 through October 13, is based on recorded conversations between the pop artist and the acclaimed author of “In Cold Blood” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” It reveals two cultural icons of the ‘60s and ‘70s and the times in which they lived. Both Andy Warhol, who will be played by Tony Awardwinner Stephen Spinella (“Angels in America”) and Truman Capote (played by Leslie Jordan, the diminutive, Southernborn “American Horror Story” actor and raconteur) were singular artists who were both marginalized and heralded. For any LGBT coming of age during their heydays, when sardonic Warhol dominated the media and eccentric Capote was a fixture on late-night television, there was no mistaking that both were flamboyantly, defiantly gay. New York-based multimedia artist, director and writer Rob Roth constructed the play from more than 80 hours of never-before-heard conversations between Capote, who died in 1984, and Warhol, who obsessively recorded everything about his life before he died in 1987. It was a 10-year journey from the time that Roth, who is gay and whose work often blurs the boundaries of theater, visual art and performance, first got the idea for the play 10 years ago. It took that long for the production to have its world premiere at the ART. This was due mostly to the legal machinations required to gain access to the thousands of cassette tapes that are part of the Warhol estate. Finally, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts got behind Roth’s idea, and an archivist at the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh sorted through more than 3,000 cassettes to find 59, 90-minute cassettes marked “Truman.” “I actually cried a little bit because it was like finding a pot of gold,” says Roth.
70 | BOSTON SPIRIT
“Then I started reading and listening." He adds that fame drew Warhol and Capote to one another. “They were very odd men, and I think they dreamt that fame was going to cure that. And when they got famous, it didn’t cure it. As a matter of fact, it made them more alienated. Like Andy says in the play, ‘I go home, and I’m happy to see a cockroach.’ There is a huge, sad disparity between being at Studio 54 surrounded by people and noise and lights and paparazzi, and then going home to an empty brownstone.” Roth broke the play into four scenes that progress from public to more intimate. First, there’s the famous New York City disco that was a celebrity magnet in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Studio 54. That’s followed by a nearly empty restaurant; Andy’s studio; and, finally. Truman’s home. Tony Award-winning director Michael Mayer will make his ART debut with this production. Mayer has earned an international reputation for directing plays and musicals that not only put unconventional, even transgressive, characters and themes front and center but also for staging shows that challenged Broadway conventions. His ground-breaking musical “Spring Awakening” (2006), based on Frank Wedekind’s 19th-century play about the blossoming sexuality of repressed German teenagers, featured a young cast and an alternative rock score that brought contemporary urgency to a production that didn’t shy away from themes of suicide and sexual assault. Mayer also directed the 2014 revival of John Cameron Mitchell’s boundarybreaking musical “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” that starred Neil Patrick Harris in his Tony-winning role as an East German transgender woman on a raucous journey to self-acceptance. It’s hard to image better casting for “Warhol/Capote” than Spinella and Jordan. Spinella who also appeared in
Stephen Spinella PHOTO courtesy of ART
Leslie Jordan PHOTO courtesy of ART “Spring Awakening,” won consecutive Tony awards for for his performance as Prior Walter in Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America: Millennium Approaches” and “Angels in America: Perestroika” respectively. On screen, his many roles include those by gay writers from Terence McNally’s “Love! Valour! Compassion!” (1997) to Ryan Murphy’s HBO film of Larry Kramer’s “The Normal Heart” (2014). Jordan, who won an Emmy in 2006 for guest starring on “Will & Grace,” is a fixture in films, on television and on the stage. While Capote was famously raised by his mother’s relatives in Monroeville, Alabama, Jordan hails from Tennessee— an experience he chronicles in his oneman show “Straight? Outta Chattanooga.” Jordan in July brought another of his autobiographical stage shows, “Exposed,” to Provincetown’s Crown and Anchor. [x]
CULTURE Photography STORY Loren King
Inside and Out New Bedford Art Museum showcases LGBT art and images Tucked away in a corner of the New Bedford Art Museum, in a space newly christened as the ArtWorks!’s Fiber Optics Center New Media Gallery, is a exhibit of photographs that vividly capture LGBT individuals who are often rendered invisible. Beyond the Box, which runs to November 19, is a collection of color portraits by Easthampton-based photographer Jeep Wheat taken in the early and mid-2000s mostly at alternative culture events such as Wigstock, the legendary drag festival in New York. The images merge and blur boundaries of the drag, punk, high fashion, theatrical and leather scenes. The photos are not sensational or voyeuristic; rather Wheat captures these individuals as comfortable in their bodies and presentations of their sexuality; each one is loud, proud and without self-consciousness. “Willi Ninja” (2001) shows the subject in a runway pose with a disco ball in the background. With his naked chest adorned by a leather strap, sideburns and facial hair, and wearing a white dress, it’s a blending of the worlds of drag balls and vaguely S/M fashion. The photo titled “Orange” (2001) also depicts a person of color who’s colorfully bedecked in a bright orange wig, oversized glasses, bulbous earrings and an outlandish metal bra that
looks like gold-plated cookware. It’s a fun, subversive image. That’s true of all the playful yet bold subjects in Wheat’s digital prints. “House of Harlot” (2007) depicts a model in a wildly inventive outfit; something like a harlequin dressed as a dominatrix. The subject of “Chanel” (2001) sports an over-the-top militaristic hot pink uniform. “Glenn Marla” (2009) is a large masked figure wrapped in a fur and carrying a clutch bag. There’s a self-possession that is amusing and empowering at once. Wheat has been taking photos for decades. His work has been exhibited in both solo and group shows in venues such as Real Art Ways (Hartford, Connecticut),
The exhibit connects the avant‑garde past and present and serves as a reminder that some individuals are art exhibits simply by being their uncensored selves.
Jeep Wheat, “House of Harlot,” 2007, archival digital print. Jeep Wheat, “Chanel,” 2001, archival digital print. Jeep Wheat, “Orange,” 2001, archival digital print. Jeep Wheat, “Ninja,” 2001, archival digital print. Leslie Lohman Gallery (Soho, New York City) and The Patty DeLuca Gallery (Provincetown) as well as in publications ranging from “The Advocate” to The New York Times. Jamie Uretsky, curator of New Bedford Art Museum/ArtWorks!, says she’s committed to bringing more LGBT-themed art to the downtown museum. The New Media Gallery is a welcome addition to the art scene in Southeastern Massachusetts. The museum space, which used to house a bank, has been nicely repurposed, with the New Media Gallery in the small exhibition area formerly called the Vault Gallery (yes, it was the bank’s vault and still has the original gate.) Uretsky hopes the space can be dedicated to underrepresented art and artists working in various disciplines from video and sound installations to more traditional mediums. On the wall outside the Beyond the Box exhibit, Uretsky installed a short video performance by Australian performance artist and influential fashion figure Leigh Bowery, who died in 1994. The footage, from a signature performance at the Anthony D’Offay Gallery in London in 1988, and the accompanying text provide some context for Wheat’s photographs, which celebrate the outlandish and transgressive in LGBT culture. Beyond the Box connects the avant-garde past and present and serves as a reminder that some individuals are art exhibits simply by being their uncensored selves. [x]
SEP|OCT 2017 | 71
CULTURE Theater STORY Loren King
The River Wild SpeakEasy’s comic adventure “Men on Boats” upends gender roles Manifest Destiny was never this much fun. That’s because playwright Jaclyn Backhaus plucks the “man” out of the term for the 19th-century belief that U.S. expansion West was justifiable and inevitable. Her off-Broadway comedy “Men on Boats” is an adventure tale about an actual 1869 expedition to chart the course of the Colorado River, brought to life by a gender-bending cast of diverse performers. “Men on Boats,” which opens the new season at SpeakEasy Stage Company and runs September 8 through October 7, specifies that women or trans actors be cast as the men from various walks of life who embarked on the historical expedition led by their onearmed captain, John Wesley Powell. It’s not stunt casting, says Backhaus, but a way of looking a history through a new lens. Directed by Dawn Meredith Simmons, whose many Boston credits include shows at Theater Offensive, Company One and Actors Shakespeare Project, “Men on Boats” features a large ensemble cast of women, LGBT and actors of color. Like “Hamilton,” the subversive casting adds an important layer—even in a comedy—that provokes questions of who
gets to write history and whose stories are being told. The cast for the Speakeasy production is headed by Robin Javonne Smith, a veteran of Ryan Landry’s Gold Dust Orphans and Beau Jest Moving Theatre, making her Speakeasy debut as Powell. Another local performer, Mal Malme, co-founder of Queer Soup Theater—which is currently touring “The Pineapple Project,” a play for kids about gender diversity, created and performed by Mal and Becca A. Lewis—plays Old Shady, Powell’s older brother and a Civil War vet. Trans actor Cody Sloan, whose recent credits include “Amadeus” (Moonbox Productions) and “Gay Shorts” (Open Theatre Project), makes his SpeakEasy debut in “Men on Boats” playing Frank Goodman/Mr. Asa. As a native of Phoenix, Backhaus learned about Powell’s journey in school and at home, since her father was an avid reader of history and adventure. “I wanted to do an adventure play with a physical journey behind it and take the audience on a ride,” says Backhaus in a phone interview from her home in Queens. She read Powell’s many journals that chronicled the expedition. She also traveled to the Grand Canyon and sought out museums
72 | BOSTON SPIRIT
Playwright Jacklyn Backhaus. PHOTO Courtesy of Speakeasy Stage
“ I wanted to do an adventure play with a physical journey behind it and take the audience on a ride. ” Jacklyn Backhaus that might house additional archives and essays from the expedition. But mostly it’s Powell’s own records that provided the basis of her script. “He had a flair for heightened language; the characters jump off the pages and I thought it would be a fun thing to explore.” she says. Midway through her first draft, it occurred to Backhaus that her play would be enhanced if there were no men onstage; that women and queer performers would bring
another level of humor, adventure and understanding to the material. Developing “Men on Boats” at New York City’s Clubbed Thumb with director Will Davis helped Backhaus “grow the play” and deepened its complexity, she says. The idea was not about lampooning masculinity or creating camp but using the context of an epic adventure to raise questions such as: was manifest destiny about opportunity or exploitation?
But the play is true to the studied theater at New York spirit of adventure and, after a University. “Men on Boats” while, notes Backhaus, one for- premiered during the Clubbed gets that it’s women and trans Thumb Summerworks men playing the roles. “It’s part festival at the Wild Project in of the truth of the play. There June 2015. Clubbed Thumb are different acting styles, and Playwrights Horizons too; any successful mission remounted the comedy for a and any successful play needs special engagement last year at a wide variety of people—a Playwrights Horizons. Now it’s union, a community—because being performed by companies the trip was all about men around the country. moving in a group while in an “One of the most exciting isolated region.” productions was at Arizona Historically, there are many State University, near the instances of women (trans Grand Canyon,” says Backor not) passing as men to haus, adding how inspiring infiltrate arenas traditionit was to “watch 18- and ally closed to them: jobs, war, 19-year-olds get the message adventure and exploration of diversity and inclusion early among them, though this often on.” A rollicking adventure went unrecognized and unretale “shouldn’t be the exclucorded. “Trans people have sive domain of anyone,” she always existed; it is powerful says. “Neither should all the to watch a trans person in joy and drudgery of being on this play” because it deepens the river—of being seasick but the material by turning the triumphant.” [x] Gardner12-10-12R2_Gardnr_Dec2012R2 12/11/12 2:15 PM Page 1 www.speakeasystage.com prism, says Backhaus, who
music for your fundraiser wedding birthday
NEW ENGLAND’S FINEST BEDDING MANUFACTURER STEP 2 We pre-compress it by hand tufting.
STEP 1 We fill your mattress with cotton.
ars! e Y 0 8
STEP 3 We add the covering; non-padded, quilted or our deluxe plush top line.
C ANAL ST, SALEM, MA |
STEP 4 We handstitch your mattress together.
COMMERCE ST, WOBURN, MA |
NEEDHAM ST, NEWTON, MA
www.GardnerMattress.com • 1-800-56-GARDNER
CULTURE Theater STORY Loren King
Tragedy and Farce Provincetown’s Tennessee Williams Theater Festival shows that Williams and Shakespeare are needed now more than ever When David Kaplan decided four years ago that this year’s Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival would pair works by Williams and William Shakespeare, he could not have known how timely and relevant a choice that would prove to be in the current political climate. Of course, the choice was neither coincidence nor uncanny foresight. Both Williams and Shakespeare were poetic visionaries who wrote with “the same swings between tragedy and farce we live with now in America,” notes Kaplan, curator and a cofounder of the festival and author of the book “Tennessee Williams in Provincetown.” Not only did both authors “blur the line between tragedy and farce,” says Kaplan, they
used “wild, grotesque humor to look at life with compassion. … Laughter as a coping mechanism is not making light of [events]; it is the opposite. It’s a visceral response to understanding something.” The 12th annual Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival, which runs September 21–24, is a four-day immersion in adventurous theater staged at various locations around Provincetown by theater companies from around the world. Williams aficionados from all regions will commingle in Provincetown, where Williams summered in 1940, 1941, 1944 and 1947 and experienced some of the most pivotal events of his life, from falling in love to writing what would become among his best known works:
74 | BOSTON SPIRIT
“The Glass Menagerie” and “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Kaplan is directing two shows in this year’s festival. First, a special performance at Town Hall of Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra” with an international cast including Robertson Dean (from last year’s “Kirche, Küche, Kinder”) as Marc Antony, and four different Cleopatras from around the world: festival favorite Marcel Meyer of Cape Town, South Africa’s Abrahamse-Meyer Productions; T. C. Meltem from the National Theatre of Turkey; A. B. Abenyi from the National Drama Company of Ghana; and Everett Quinton from New York City’s legendary Ridiculous Theatrical Company. Kaplan also helms Williams’ “Ten Blocks on the Camino
Real,” a one-act play from 1947 that eventually became Williams’ full-length drama “Camino Real” in 1953. It will be performed by Abibigromma, the renowned national drama company of Ghana. The colorful show, which features music and drums, has played outdoors in Ghanaian marketplaces and will continue that tradition in Provincetown. The show will be performed at the bas relief, the green park behind Town Hall at the foot of Pilgrim Monument. To hear Williams with Ghana accents is to hear him anew, says Kaplan. “The rhythm of words was as important to Williams as their meaning,” he says. “Antony and Cleopatra,” says Kaplan, boasts many of the themes that emerged from this year’s festival. “It is about now,” he says, adding that the play examines questions such as what is truth, who is telling the story and what power does the storyteller have?
National Drama Company of Ghana’s “Camino Real.” PHOTO Courtesy Williams Festival.
Abrahamse-Meyer Productions’ “Hamlet.” PHOTO Pat Browilow-Downing.
Courtesy Williams Festival.
Abrahamse-Meyer Productions, under the direction of festival veteran Fred Abrahamse, brings to Provincetown a much-loved production of “Hamlet” featuring Meyer that will be performed in a shallow tank of water inside the historic Fisherman’s Wharf. The show echoes recurring festival themes about leaning how to find balance in a changing world. “You can’t stop the storm; you have to stand on the deck,” says Kaplan. “Artists worry about what their function is in unstable times. It’s not to stabilize and calm the sea; it is just to figure out how to continue to walk.” This year’s program also includes Abrahamse-Meyer’s “Sweet Bird of Youth” starring the very busy Meyer (in three shows in this year’s fest) as the gigolo Chance Wayne and South African film and stage star Fiona Ramsay as Alexandra Del Lago (traveling incognito as Princess Kosmonopolis). Other noteworthy
events at this year’s festival include a new production of “Pericles” performed by DieCast, a Philadelphia ensemble adept at performing in non-theater spaces. In Provincetown, they will stage “Pericles” on the deck of the Rose Dorothea, the 66-foot fishing schooner inside the Provincetown Library. Festival Executive Director Jef Hall-Flavin directs Williams’ absurdist one-act “The Gnädiges Fräulein” from Texas Tech University, which brought to Provincetown last year’s “Kirche, Küche, Kinder (An Outrage for the Stage).” Hilarious and bizarre, “The Gnädiges Fräulein” is about ragged souls trapped in a cruel, surrealist version of Key West. It stars festival veterans Rachel Hirshorn (“Kirche, Küche, Kinder”) and Anthea Thompson (“Kingdom of Earth”). The 2017 “Hotel Plays” will be staged throughout various rooms of the historic Gifford House by the Spectrum Theatre Ensemble from Providence. Audiences will travel through the building’s many portals where they will see and hear two of Williams’ most lyric texts: “Mr. Paradise” and “Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen…” Further down the hall will be staged scenes from “Cymbeline” and “The Comedy of Errors,” both set by Shakespeare in inns. There will also be a fusion of Shakespeare’s clowning and Williams’ grotesque humor in a production called “Dumb Show and Noise” featuring professional clown Jay Stewart. [x]
CULTURE Music STORY Loren King
The Music Man
Ludovico Einaudi PHOTO courtesy Celebrity Series
One of the world’s most-streamed classical artists heads to Boston Ludovico Einaudi is a most unlikely superstar. The 62-year-old Italian classical composer and pianist whose haunting, evocative orchestrations have made him one of the most-streamed classical artists on You Tube regularly sells out venues from Reykjavik to Beijing. He isn’t quite as well-known in the United States—at least not yet. Einaudi will bring his unique sound to the Berklee Performance Center October 27 at 8 p.m. as part of Boston’s Celebrity Series. “I will be coming with five other musicians—strings and percussion and electronic—it will be a broad repertoire of [material] from the past 15 years,” says Einaudi over the phone from his home outside Milan. If you don’t know Einaudi from his 17 albums or his numerous You Tube videos including many live performances, you no doubt have heard his music in films and television. His emotionally-charged music that mixes the spare and the lush makes it a natural fit for visuals, and directors often license his compositions. He also composes for film—that’s his score on the trailer for “Black Swan” (2010) and
76 | BOSTON SPIRIT
throughout “The Intouchables” (2011). Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan chose Einaudi’s heartrending “Experience” for a pivotal sequence in his 2014 film “Mommy.” “Sometimes I compose music specific for a film; most recently, a Japanese film that will be in the Venice Film Festival in September. So, yes, people discover me through the films or through the Greenpeace video,” says Einaudi, referring to the You Tube video of his “Elegy for the Arctic” that’s earned nearly five million views. “People come to my concerts from different roads and for different reasons and this is beautiful.” Einaudi gained legions of new fans last year when he teamed with Greenpeace for a remarkable performance in which he sits at his grand piano while floating in an ice-strewn sea before a range of glaciers. The mournful sounds of his composition “Elegy for the Arctic” mingle with the ambient sounds of nature to create an experience both beautiful and haunting. “Greenpeace asked me last year if I would support its campaign to protect the Arctic. We met in Spain and discussed
how and where to do it. I had limited time, just two or three days…I flew to an island [off Norway] and then boarded a Greenpeace ship. We went for two hours, in front of that beautiful glacier, and they organized a pontoon where the piano would be placed,” says Einaudi. “We worked with a fantastic team of video makers from Spain; we were at sea shooting for a couple of days. I was happy to do it because we all must do what we can to promote [saving the Arctic]. So many people have seen this video and reacted so positively.” Besides his concerns for the environment, Einaudi worries for the fate of a world where Donald Trump is one of its most important leaders. Trump’s administration bears a chilling resemblance to that of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi who was often accused of being an authoritarian leader, a strongman and a vulgarian. “I was in the States before the election and everyone was saying, ‘No, it’s impossible,’ and then Trump was elected,” says Einaudi. “In Italy, it was the same: no one was voting for Berlusconi but then they all voted for Berlusconi.
FEATURE Gallery STORY Rob Phelps When we started to hear how Trump is behaving, it was a strange déjà vu.” Einaudi hails from a creative family. His mother was a musician and his father was a book publisher. “I grew up with a mother playing piano at home; she was playing Chopin and Bach. Her father was also a composer and conductor but he died before I was born. She played, also, recorded at home and mostly it was classical but she was open; she introduced me to the Rolling Stones and The Beatles. She opened my perception and horizons and I started to listen to all types of music. I studied classical, but I listened to all different styles.” Chopin and Bach remain strong influences, but Einaudi says he also has great admiration for American composers who are part of the minimalist movement such as Phillip Glass, Steve Reich and Michael Nyman. Other influences? “Stravinsky,” he adds. “I love his way of interpreting the tradition of Russian folk music. We could name thousands.” Einaudi admits that his unlikely popularity would be impossible without the Internet. “This world, you could not imagine; it’s a completely different world. But, like everything, there is a negative with what’s positive about technology. Recently I saw a beautiful photograph [taken] at a museum with famous and beautiful paintings, and students were sitting there looking at their smart phones and not at the paintings.” Despite his You Tube fame, there’s nothing like the energy Einaudi gets from communing with a live audience, whether it’s in a Rome open air theater or a Sydney concert hall. “Germany has been great. Italy, France; Russia was one of the warmest audiences, Spain, China we had a great reaction this year. … Every country there’s a beautiful memory coming out,” he says. “The group of musicians I’m touring with now, I’ve been with the last three or four years and we are like a family. We enjoy being together and traveling the world sharing music. It’s the same atmosphere in concert; there’s always a passion and good energy with us and with the audience.” [x]
Off the Wall
“The Firmament” (detail) Studio Collaboration, © Karl Stephan Studio, 2017
Diverse group of artists mix and merge multimedia in street art-inspired show As a fundamental form of communication, art is a universal human right, says artist Karl Stephan. This is a basic tenet of street art; graffitti isn’t vandalism when it’s true creative expression. And when artists collaborate—on the wall or in the gallery—the kinds of conversations they create can do amazing things; like bring together all kinds of different people—with often wildly diverse points of view—to discover we’re all part of the same big community. Which is exactly what co-curators Stephan and Bianca Broxton aim to show through their show “Wall to Wall II: Working Together,” an exhibition running September 30 through October 29 at the Nave Gallery in Somerville. (The show also involves a series of in-the-works, but yet-to-be-announced, events you can find more about by going to navegallery.org.) “When Karl and I first discussed our ‘dream show,’” Broxton says, “our goal was to have a show that represented diversity
in every facet. As a queer woman of color, I am well aware of how homogenous the art world can be. We wanted a show that represents the community we live in, and that includes members of the LGBT.” While the show is not specifically LGBTthemed, “the idea of community is that everyone has a voice and is heard,” Broxton says. “Artistic collaboration is a model for ways we make room to listen to, work with, and include one another in community. Many voices, including LGBT, will be heard in this show.” The show is an extension of last year’s “Wall to Wall: Art Builds Community,” which Stephan curated on his own. That show focused on street art, street-inspired studio art, and the amazingly surprising things the artists in that group show did for their communities. Surprising, at least for some, because people often think of graffiti in a negative way. But these artists used the form to enrich their lives and empower others, build up their communities in creative acts of social activism, and do what art does best: reach out to friends, neighbors, strangers, everbody—and get communication lines open and fresh ideas flowing. With W2W2, as the co-curators refer to this year’s show, the artists—some
[CONTINUES 79] SEP|OCT 2017 | 77
CULTURE Song STORY Loren King
“ I looked for songs that I had a particular connection to. If you’re going to sing this material day after day after day, you want it to be something that means something to you. ” Joan Osborne
Bringing it All Back Home Joan Osborne returns to Boston with songs of Bob Dylan Joan Osborne has fond memories of Boston. “I’ve been coming to Boston since the late ’80s. When I starting singing in clubs in New York five or six nights a week, my manager at the time said, ‘let’s start expanding’ and Boston was one of the first places we branched out to. I remember a little place called Johnny D’s that always
78 | BOSTON SPIRIT
had a great audience for blues. I played House of Blues within its first month of opening. Boston is a great city for American roots music which is so much of what I draw my inspiration from,” says the multiple Grammy nominee in a telephone interview. Osborne’s been to Boston many times since then, over a career of 20-plus years.
She may be best known for her smash hit single “One of Us” from her 1995 album “Relish” (it included her cover of Dylan’s “Man in the Long Black Coat”), but she’s refused to be pigeonholed and has earned acclaim for a diverse musical career that’s spanned rock, gospel, county, rhythm and blues, Motown and more. She’ll be at Sanders Theatre November 3 at 8 p.m. as part of the Celebrity Series, performing “Joan Osborne Sings the Songs Of Bob Dylan,” a show that evolved from a pair of residencies at New York City’s famed Café Carlyle in 2016 and earlier this year. The Carlyle shows resulted in Osborne’s much-anticipated new record, “Songs of Bob Dylan,” due out September 1. The 13 songs range from Dylan standards such as “Highway 61 Revisited” and “Tangled Up in Blue” to songs from later albums: “Tryin’ to Get to Heaven” (from 1987’s “Time Out of Mind”) and “High Water” from 2001’s “Love and Theft”). “I drew from all periods of his work. Many, of course, know the older material but he put out great records in the ’80s and ’90s; ‘Love and Theft’ is a brilliant record,” says Osborne. “I looked for songs that I had a particular connection to. If you’re going to sing this material day after day after day, you want it to be something that means something to you. I wanted songs that either reminded me of someone that I knew or songs that expressed something I’d always felt but could not put into words. You could do 10 records of Dylan alone; he’s put out a staggering amount of of brilliant music but I didn’t feel I had to make a statement like, ‘these are the best Bob Dylan songs.’ Anybody that knows his work knows it would be impossible to do that. “We just tried to record songs we felt we could put a unique spin on while still respecting the song itself and to present it in a way that allows fans to hear it in a fresh way.” Besides her gifts as a songwriter, Osborne, with her smoky voice and ease with a variety of genres, is known as a first-rate interpreter of songs. She says the Dylan project has renewed her interest in doing a series of records of her favorite artists’ work. “Ella Fitzgerald in the ’50s and ’60s released a series of songbook records— Rogers and Hart; Harold Arlen; many
records—and I always thought it was a great idea and wanted to do my own, updated version of that and pick writers who are my favorites.” There are many writers she would love to cover, she says. “I’ve been on a Lou Reed kick lately. I love Tom Waits; he’d be interesting. He has such a particular voice and style [so] it would be a challenge to do [his songs] in a particular way. I love Lucinda Williams…it’s a project I’d like to continue if there’s interest from my fans.” Osborne has long been a supporter of LGBT rights and has always had a strong LGBT fan base. She endeared herself to lesbians in particular with her love song “After Jane” from her 2006 album “Pretty Little Stranger,” but she’s always dismissed labels. (She’s been in a relationship with musician Keith Cotton for nine years and she has a 12-year-old daughter.) Osborne says she’s at a great point in her professional life. “No one is standing over me saying I have to try to write hit songs. Yet I have enough of a following and an audience that’s interested in the records I put out so I can earn a living and support my family. I’m in a privileged position in that way, to be able to follow my own interests and do what I feel like doing.” She’s always admired blues artists who “have careers for their entire lives. They’re not trying to fit in a mold you created for yourself at 25 and you’re still trying to repeat at 50. The music allows you to grow and change and still have something relevant to say for an entire life. So that was the model I looked to when I was first learning how to sing and it’s an idea I still hold in my mind as the best way to do it.” She’ll be playing and singing Dylan’s music on her current tour, but Osborne will happily sing her own songs; yes, that includes “One of Us” as an encore or if the moment is right. “I’m a music fan and I understand the feeling of going to see an artist and waiting to hear that song that you love,” she says. “So I do try to play songs that I know are people’s favorites. I can’t play them all but I try to take care of the fans in that way.” [x]
[W2W2 FROM 77]
Bianca Broxton PHOTO Alexandria Pierre-Etienne returning, many new—run a little deeper with last year’s concept of connectionbuilding. This they do through creating the artwork together. Say the curators, this year’s show focuses on the practice, process, and benefits of artistic collaboration, especially across disciplines. The goal? To model and encourage artistic and social collaboration among artists and non-artists alike. “I think we’re going to give the Nave another knockout show,” says Stephan, a graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts who splits his time painting and teaching drawing, painting, and printmaking at his Cambridge studio and at the SMFA. Stephan and Broxton met as classmates at Tufts. “I admire her artistic talent, her comic chops, and her resilient spirit,” he says. When the Nave asked him back to do another show, he immediately asked her to co-curate. “We have never collaborated on an artwork, but having her as a collaborator has been fantastic.” Broxton says her first foray into artistic collaboration happened in a four-hour exercise in a drawing class at Tufts, led by the artist and writer Charles Goss. “Charlie teamed me up with Henry Funches, a fantastic artist raised in the Dorchester projects, and Alex Austin, a talented artist and teacher from Long Island. The experience of joining three minds and three sets of eyes and hands from such varied backgrounds was amazing.” You can see the resulting work, “Society’s Window,” in the W2W2 show. Whereas last year’s show focused on street and street-inspired art, Stephan says he doesn’t want to limit the arts in
Karl Stephan PHOTO Madeliine Muhlberg either show to any particular categorization of style. “I think eventually people will start to see all art is just art,” Stephan says. “We expect to have a mix of street, studio, and community art, and W2W2 artists will again range from self-taught to those with advance degrees, including art faculty from SMFA and elsewhere. We have commitments from some of last year’s participants, including work promised all the way from Japan.” Last year’s show was mostly regional work, but submissions for W2W2 have come from “artists based in London, community art-makers from a rural island off the coast of Maine, mental health workers in Upstate New York, and a ‘trainbombing crew’ of graffiti writers in British Columbia,” Stephan says. Media includes traditional painting, drawing, printmaking, spray paint, collage, fabric art, sound art, video, and performance. “Fourth World, a global antipoverty organization, is providing us with a hand-sewn quilt from their development site in Appalachia,” Stephan adds. “I am quite honored Karl asked me to collaborate with him on the show,” Broxton says. “Karl represents everything I wish I could be as an artist. He’s one of those rare breed of artists that not only make art but are fan boys of art.” If “fan boy” means being a champion for fellow artists, then together he and Broxton have collaborated themselves into “fan duo” with W2W2, both busy preparing to engage everybody in something truly amazing once again this fall down at the Nave. [x]
SEP|OCT 2017 | 79
CULTURE Theater STORY Loren King
‘Home’ on the Road What’s next after Tony success for “Fun Home” playwright, celebrated memoirist and Iconic Cartoonist Alison Bechdel Alison Bechdel cuts a striking but hardly imposing figure. Soft spoken and polite, dressed in skinny black pants, buttondown shirt and hipster/geek eyeglasses, she doesn’t come across as someone who nearly single-handedly put butch identity in the spotlight. Bechdel already had a huge following with her celebrated comic strip “Dykes To Watch Out For,” which ran for 25 years in numerous LGBT publications including Boston’s Bay Windows. She earned literary accolades and new fans with her graphic memoirs “Fun Home” (2006) and “Are You My Mother?” (2012). Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori adapted “Fun Home” into a musical that took Broadway by storm in 2015. “Fun Home” became an unlikely cultural phenomenon. This coming-ofage/coming out story about a
butch lesbian, Alison, played at three different ages by three different actresses: her closeted gay father, Bruce, who runs a funeral home; and a mother, Helen, who prefers denial to confronting reality struck a chord with audiences and critics and won the Tony Award for best musical. The touring production heads to Boston’s Opera House October 17–29 as part of Broadway in Boston. Boston Spirit caught up with Bechdel, a Vermont resident, during her August vacation on Cape Cod where she gave a talk as part of the Wellfleet Public Library’s distinguished speaker series. Some 350 people packed the Wellfleet Congregational Church to hear her. Bechdel says it’s still “really weird” to see the intimate details of her life recreated on stage as “Fun Home” tours the country.
80 | BOSTON SPIRIT
“I saw the opening in Cleveland; I saw it in San Francisco and in Los Angeles. I mean, this whole experience has been really weird—seeing the show evolve through different casts and workshops and finally open on Broadway. Now to see this whole different cast taking it on—it changes it. I just love the touring version,” she says. “It’s somehow funnier to me. The medium Alison has a great comedic flair. The father, in this version, is a little softer. [Broadway’s Tony winner] Michael Cerveris was a harsher personality. “It’s also playing to large houses—1,000, sometimes 2,000 [seats]—and it was designed for a smaller space. But it holds up in these houses. They had to take [the show] apart and redesign it for a proscenium stage.”
Alision Bechdel. PHOTO Elena Seibert
One of the costumes in the show—the shirt worn by adult Alison—was also adjusted and the change triggered a brouhaha on social media. Some bloggers were outraged that Kate Shindle, the actress playing Alison in the touring production, now wore what they described as a blouse and camisole and not the t-shirt that lean and lithe actress Beth Malone had worn in the Broadway version. It took the show’s co-creator Lisa Kron, whose LGBT credentials are impeccable, to post an open letter online explaining that it was she who suggested the costume change and in that in no way was the move designed to “debutch” the Alison character. Wrote Kron: “I went to David Zinn, our costume designer, and said, ‘A butch woman with that build would not wear that outfit. Can we please find a new version of this costume that looks like what a butch woman with that long, tall, busty body would choose for herself?’ He agreed, and that is how the
Bechdel in the studio. PHOTO courtesy MacArthur Foundation decision was made to change the costume.” “She’s a former Miss America playing a dyke,” says Bechdel of Shindle. But the costume tweak came entirely from Kron. “It was an inside job,” notes Bechdel with typical wry humor. While it may not seem strange that audiences in San Francisco, Los Angeles or Boston are embracing a show that includes a showstopper, “Changing My Major” about the thrill of a first lesbian sexual encounter or the anthem, “Ring of Keys,” about queer identity, it’s worth noting that “Fun Home” is also playing to sell-out crowds in Dallas, Texas and Greenville, South Carolina. “Cleveland was a trip,” says Bechdel. “It was in this big, old theater with 2,000 people, all kinds of people, not just queer people but grandmothers…it was amazing; people were rapt. Something very strange is happening in our culture. I could never have envisioned this—if we don’t slide backwards. I hope it’s shifted irrevocably. It’s strange getting older and seeing the world change.” The success of “Fun Home,” both book and show, proved a double-edged sword. “I felt a lot of guilt. ‘Fun Home’ had exposed my mother. It was a painful period,” says Bechdel who was dealing with both a breakup and her mother’s cancer diagnosis. Helen Bechdel
died five months before “Fun Home” opened on Broadway. The spotlight cast by “Fun Home,” she says, “has been draining. My creative battery is drained. Only in the last few months can I hold a charge again. With memoir, life and work are connected; I’m writing about my life as I’m living it.” Bechdel describes her new project as a memoir about exercise, physical fitness, aging and mortality titled, “The Secret to Superhuman Strength.” “It sounds absurd; it’s not ‘The Alison Bechdel Workout,’” she laughs. “I’ve always exercised and loved it, but now I realize it’s not going to keep me from dying. My body is falling apart even though I’ve been doing all that stuff. It’s an interesting realization.” After “Fun Home” and “Are You My Mother?” Bechdel thought she was moving into lighter territory and away from herself. “But it hasn’t worked out to be that,” she says. “My mother died in the process of the new project which gave it another level of perspective. I’ve entered a weird, new phase of life. I’ve worked on [the book] for five years and I’m still struggling with it. It was meant to be quick and easy but it’s not. It’s turning out to be a lot about me.” [x]
CALENDAR Rise: HRC New England Gala Dinner
Worcester Pride Boston Pride may be over, but now turn your attention to New England’s second largest city. Plenty of exciting festivities are on tap for this year’s Worcester Pride, which garners thousands of attendees for its annual LGBTQ Pride Pageant, parade and festival on the common. Other events include a block party outside longstanding gay bar MB Lounge, a recovery brunch at Bull Mansion New American Bistro, and the opening night of the qFlix New England LGBTQ Film Festival at the historic Hanover Theatre. And for only the second time, Burns Bridge over Lake Quinsigamond will be alight in rainbow colors. Way to go, Woo-town. WHEN
Wednesday, September 6, to Sunday, September 10
In today’s political climate, LGBTQ rights feel once again under attack—from Trump’s recent Twitter-based threat to ban transgender people from serving in the military to a Department of Justice that is currently arguing that a major civil rights law does not protect employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation. Now, clearly, is no time to relax. So support the Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest LGBT civil advocacy organization, at this annual soiree that brings out community power players and allies to support work that will protect our existing advancements toward equality—and keep the movement well-prepared for fights still to come. WHEN
Saturday, October 7
Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center, Boston
Pride Vermont If you’re looking for an excuse to take a trip up north, in September the Green Mountain State’s biggest city, Burlington, hosts Pride Vermont. This year the official annual celebration is preceded on Saturday by a Saturday “Stride for Pride” 5K-walk along the waterfront of Lake Champlain and a Women’s Tea Dance with an outdoor dance floor. On Sunday comes the main event: a parade and festival throughout the cobblestone-lined Church Street Marketplace. The year’s theme is “Diverse Voices, One Pride,” and will feature grand marshals Brenda Churchill from the LGBTQIA Alliance of Vermont and DJ-musician Craig Mitchell. WHEN
Saturday, September 9, and Sunday, September 10
Hartford Capital City Pride Expect to be charmed by the third time Connecticut’s capital tosses its now-annual Pride event. The week-long celebration hits up venues throughout the city for events that will include a fundraiser at Flying Monkey Grill & Bar, a bar crawl that begins at trendy M Lounge, a day-long festival that takes over Pratt Street downtown and even an after-party brunch at NIXS bar. Connecticut calls itself the Constitution State, and we the people are thrilled to see it host an exciting lineup that is part of Pride’s long legacy of making a more perfect Union for all.
RuPaul’s Drag Race ‘Werq the World’ Tour With its recent network shift from Logo to VH1, this star-making reality show—recently nominated for eight Emmy Awards—is poised to become an even bigger phenomenon. That’s saying a lot, since its weekly lip sync battles have already become Super Bowl-style events at many gay bars. Here’s your chance to see some of its reigning drag queens in the flash. “Drag Race” judge Michelle Visage will host a city-hopping tour that brings to Boston some of your favorite stiletto-stomping personalities: season-six winner Violet Chachki, recent season-nine runner-up Peppermint and standouts Valentina, Latrice Royale, Shangela and Kim Chi. This combo of these queens is the furthest thing from a drag. WHEN
Friday, October 27
The Wilbur Theatre, Boston
Wednesday, September 6, to Sunday, September 10
Spookybear 2017 Hairy but not-so-scary times await at this annual Provincetown gathering spearheaded by the Northeast Ursamen, an organization for the region’s bear community. Spookybear, held the weekend before Halloween, is a fun, frisky and festive lineup of events that includes club nights, like a medieval-themed costume party at Paramount, bear dune tours and a boisterous farewell brunch. And even if you don’t typically count yourself among the Ursamen, Spookybear generally attracts a pack of cubs, otters and other admirers of the hot and hirsute swarming P’town’s party scene one last time before autumn ends. The only terrifying story would be to miss it. WHEN
Friday, October 27– Sunday, October 29
Gay Bowl VXII If you can’t be an athlete, be an athletic supporter. Now in its 17th year, the Gay Bowl—the national LGBT flag football tournament—will be held in Boston. That means LGBT jocks from around the country will be descending on our city for exciting matches and, of course, some fun extracurricular activities too. Registration is still open for teams that want to take to the field at Progin Park, a state-of-the-art outdoor facility west of Boston. Or just gather up some fellow sports fans to spectate—and maybe find a date for one of the bowl’s post-game evening events. WHEN
Thursday–Sunday, October 5–8
Progin Park, Lancaster, Massachusetts
The Menopausal Mermaid Many in Boston’s gay community know Boston’s Michael Gaucher from his drink slinging behind the bar at spots like Club Café and the Boatslip Resort. Others, however, remember him as the playwright who spent years in the drag cabaret comedy troupe Fresh Fruit, staging uproarious revues with smart, satirical sensibilities until the group took its final curtain call in 2013. Now Gaucher is ripe for a return, bringing a parody of the “Little Mermaid” that will see a surly Ariel—now a slightly older oceanic diva—spilling the bitter tea on Eric, the prince love of her past, and Ursula, her sea hag arch nemesis. Expect hilarious spoofs of songs you know, cabaret-style table service for the dinner-anda-show crowd and some hunky, dancing mermen to boot. We want to be part of this world. WHEN
Thursday, September 7, to Sunday, September 24
Club Café, Boston
Ani DiFranco Singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco has been popular with LGBT audiences since she first strummed her way onto the music scene in the ‘90s. Not only is she an out bisexual musician, but she’s seamlessly integrated her passions—from personal relationships to cultural philosophies—into her work, from songs like “In or Out,” an anthem for refuting the easy categorization of sexuality, to her new album, the politically charged “Binary.” Check out the latest from the feminist folk rock legend and longtime champion of social justice causes when she brings the album’s supporting tour to Boston. WHEN
Thursday, October 5
Somerville Theater, Somerville
GLAD Spirit of Justice Award Dinner It’s impossible to overstate the importance of the Boston legal organization Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders—especially during these turbulent political times. With rights for LGBT people under greater threat, this vital nonprofit will be called upon to defend them—so let’s make sure their coffers are well equipped. This annual fundraiser, a festive night of dinner and dancing, will also honor a special guest: Eric H. Holder Jr., 82nd attorney general of the United States, for his leadership to advance LGBTQ rights WHEN
Friday, October 27
Marriott Copley Place, Boston
   
  
Emcee Susan Wornick Marilyn MacLeod, Lee Design, and Edwina Drummond Boose, Edwina Drummond Interiors Interior Designer Leslie Fine Jessie Hughes, Lauren Carter, Ashleigh Sanicola and Courtney Mussell of LDa Architecture & Interiors Tony Fusco of Fusco & Four, Murat Oztermiyeci, New England Architectural Finishing, and Deb Matook, New England Architectural Finishing. Julia Vandal and Julie Bangert of Hutker Architects Judy Giordan and Al Legueux Performers from the Boston Circus Guild
SCENE Benefit PHOTOS Jonathan Johnson
‘Take a Seat’ Gala
Royale Nightclub | Boston | June 1, 2017
A Cirque du Soleil theme wowed the crowd at New England Chapter of the International Furnishings and Design Association’s third annual “Take a Seat” gala and charity auction. Guests were treated to live performances by members of the Boston Circus Guild. The event features up-cycled, one of a kind chairs designed by local architects, builders, craftsmen and students in the furnishing and design industry. This year’s 23 participating chairs were put on display and auctioned off at the well-attended event, which was emceed by former WCVB anchor Susan Wornick. Participants raised over $22,000 at the auction, which benefitted three local charities: Friends of the Children-Boston, The Lyceum Fellowship and The Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development.
SEP|OCT 2017 | 85
SCENE Benefit PHOTOS Cristina Eduardo
Summer Sunset Cruise Boston Harbor | Boston | June 14, 2017
Hundreds of happy cruisers set sail aboard the Provincetown II for Fenway Health and Boston Spirit magazine’s Summer Sunset Cruise. A benefit for Fenway Health, the cruise is a yearly tradition that brings our vibrant community together to close out Pride Week, celebrate the start of summer and support the lifesaving work of Fenway Health. A special shout out to Bay State Cruise Company, DJ Mocha, Jules Catering and the Sister of Perpetual Indulgence for all their help and support!
86 | BOSTON SPIRIT
SEP|OCT 2017 | 87
88 | BOSTON SPIRIT
SCENE Pride PHOTOS Steve Lord
Holiday Inn | Brookline | June 4, 2017
Senior revelers and friends packed the ballroom again at this encore event for the annual Pride Tea Dance sponsored by the LGBT Senior Pride Coalition. The Silver Party is a festive dinner dance for LGBT seniors and their friends, featuring great food, music by DJ Shelly, plenty of dancing and much more. This year, there was also be a contest for the most creative use of silver in a party outfit—congratulations, Tiffany Favors and Norman Pelletier! The annual Jim Campbell Award for LGBT Advocacy was presented, posthumously, to Dick Bourbeau.
SEP|OCT 2017 | 89
SCENE Benefit PHOTOS Susan Symonds/Infinity Portrait Design
GLAD Summer Party Pilgrim Monument | Provincetown | July 29, 2017
With its gorgeous views of Provincetown Harbor from the beautiful grounds of the Pilgrim Monument, the 36th annual Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders’ (GLAD) annual summer bash was one fabulous place to be. Celebrity auctioneer Kate Clinton gaveled the auction. Special honorees this year included Jeanne Leszczynski and Diane DiCarlo for their dedication and work on behalf of LGBTQ justice.
90 | BOSTON SPIRIT
SCENE Fundraiser PHOTOS Katy Parker
CRI Summer Party Provincetown | Red Inn | July 22, 2017
More than 200 people gathered to raise critical funds for the Community Research Initiative of New England’s (CRI) lifesaving research and services. The place to be was The Red Inn, where CRI also honored two notable HIV activists with the Dr. Cal Cohen Founder’s Award for their tireless work helping to improve the lives of people living with HIV and AIDS: Dr. Jean McGuire and Jack Mackenroth. Hunky crooner Steve Grand entertained.
SEP|OCT 2017 | 91
SCENE Pride PHOTOS Courtesy of North Shore Pride
North Shore Pride Parade and Festival Salem Common | Salem | June 24, 2017
Rainy skies couldn’t stop the outpouring of love at the sixth annual North Shore Pride Parade and Festival this year. Kicking off in front of the Post Office on Margin Street, marchers and onlookers filled the parade route. All along the way, everyone cheered on Grand Marshall and Pulse Orlando survivor Christopher Hanse. The parade wound up at Salem Common for more festivities, which included vendors’ tables, food trucks and show-stopping live performances and speakers. The fun culminated with an official after party at Murhphy’s with live music by DJ Andrea Stamas and guest DJ George Pappas.
92 | BOSTON SPIRIT
SCENE Pride PHOTOS Jack Hartwein-Sanchez
Rhode Island PrideFest River Waterfront | Providence | June 17, 2017
An estimated 75,000 turned out for the 41st annual PrideFest and Illuminated Parade in support of Rhode Island’s LGBT community. This year’s theme, “When We Rise,” was inspired by the ABC miniseries of the same name. The series focused on the true story of the personal and political struggles and triumphs of our community from the Stonewall uprising in 1969, through the AIDS epidemic, and right up to the present day. “Rise” also stands for Rhode Islands Standing for Equality.
SEP|OCT 2017 | 93
SCENE Pride PHOTOS Courtesy State Street
State Street Pride Celebration State Street Financial Center | Boston | June 8, 2017
Gathering in State Street’s scenic Harborview Room, more than 200 guests from State Street and other area companies attended State Street’s Global Pride and Friends Pride Month Celebration. The primary speaker was GLAD Executive Director Janson Wu, and the theme of the event was “Be Fearless.”
Janson Wu and event co-chairs Alison Shea and Richard Tardiff.
SCENE Benefit PHOTOS Steve Lord and Joy Mosenfelder 1
Drive for Victory Blue Hill Country Club | Canton | June 26, 2016 94 | BOSTON SPIRIT
Another year, another beautiful day of golfing for good at Victory Programs’ fifth annual Drive for Victory charity golf tournament. Setting a new record, this year’s fun-filled fundraiser brought in more than $57,000 for health, housing and prevention services for the 2,300 individuals Victory serves each year through its 19 programs in Boston, Cambridge and Topsfield. The winning line up: Most Accurate—Ted Hickey; Closet to the
SCENE Business PHOTOS Jensen Sutta
Desert Ridge Resort | Phoenix, AZ | May 30–June 1, 2017
Bay State company Globoforce, based in Framingham, honored Chaz Bono for his commitment to social justice and diversity. Bono led the Globoforce’s third annual conference as keynote speaker. “We admire Chaz for honoring his identity and being his authentic self,” said Eric Mosley, CEO of Globoforce. “He is an inspiration to promote human potential, put people first and promote work cultures that celebrate diversity, inclusion and belonging.” Named one of the Best Workplaces by the Great Place To Work Institute, Globoforce is a leading provider of social recognition business solutions to increase worker engagement, retention and productivity.
    
Drive for Victory Champions Bill Crane, Dean Nelson, Nick Ratti and Matt Romines. Eastern Bank Team including Bill Feingold, VPI Board Chair Pam Feingold and Howard Feingol. Wendell Chestnut, Michael Fleisher and David Zimmerman. Bill Signori, Jim Pettinelli, Alison Merrill and Brian Link. Russel Kaiser with son Avery and Jason Lange.
Pin—Joe Turner; Most Honest: Tony Bertoldi, Kevin O’Neil, Joe Orfant and Rob Serio; First Place—Bill Crane, Dean Nelson, Nick Ratti and Matt Romines; Second Place—Jason Canaday, Dave Couglin, Rich Hurwitz and Joe Turner; Third Place—Steve Banester, Bruce Bouchard, Bob Burch and Steve Dwyer.
SEP|OCT 2017 | 95
CODA Cabaret STORY Scott Kearnan
For the Love of the Local Girls Dusty Moorehead mixes it up with big‑time celebrities and home-town talent “RuPaul’s Drag Race” has done wonders for raising drag’s profile as an art form. But if there’s any downside to the trend-setting show, it’s that the national name recognition of its reality TV stars can eclipse the LGBT community’s more experienced queens working hard on a local level. At heart, drag is still about subversion—and queens shouldn’t need a stamp of approval from VH1 just to get good-paying gigs and some appreciation. Boston-based queen Dusty Moorehead, an edgy performer with glittery glam-rock style, found the perfect way to leverage drag’s increased popularity while offering a bigger platform for regional acts. “Get Dusted,” Moorehead’s new live series, takes over Boston’s swanky Whisky Saigon nightclub on the fourth Thursday of every month. At each installment, Moorehead hosts a nationally recognized celebrity headliner alongside several established, toptier local talents. Each show also offers a slot to one promising new queen working to gain exposure. Lady Bunny headlined the August 24 kickoff of “Get Dusted,” joined by local gals Mizery, Severity Stone and Lucille. September 28 brings Jackie Beat to town, and “Drag Race” season nine alum Charlie Hides, a Boston nativegone-international, tops the bill on October 26. We caught up with Moorehead, a 24-year veteran of the drag biz and headliner at November’s Austin International Drag Festival, to chat about the impetus for her night and the impact of “Drag Race.”
[SPIRIT] How did you get started in drag? [DUSTY] I started when I was 17 in P’town. My family had a home in Dennis, so I’d spend summers on the Cape. I was working in restaurants. I’d get out at 10 p.m., change, and drive to P’town. I’d put on my makeup in the car. I was alone, just winging it. I remember looking up to Charlie Hides; she was so nice and took me under her wing. I remember studying how Joanna James would lip sync, how perfect she was with her breathing. I performed with Lypsinka, a total legend. I loved being on stage and I loved being someone different than my shy self—someone people wanted to talk to and take a photo with. [SPIRIT] What has been the impact of “Drag Race”? [DUSTY] I love “Drag Race,” don’t get me wrong. I think it’s great, there are some very talented people and it’s made some wonderful careers. But the generation coming up now, the 18-year-olds, their only vision of drag is “Drag Race.” If you don’t look like Alaska Thunderfuck, you’re not doing it right. They can reference every episode. It’s all “Yass! Henny! Kween!” I love it, it’s fun. But the history of drag is kinda lost. It’s sad. Let’s go back to these queens who paved the way. [SPIRIT] And give some love to the local girls too? [DUSTY] Right. I’m always big about the local girls. I come from a community in
California where everyone supported each other. People took me under their wing. “Get Dusted” has one spot each month dedicated to an up-and-coming drag performer. They get a real stage in a phenomenal venue, alongside local legends and a celebrity. I remember what it was like starting out and trying to get gigs. So I want to take some people under my wing. [SPIRIT] Drag always felt radical. As it goes mainstream, has it become too PC? [DUSTY] I’m not gonna say much, but I think everything has gotten too PC. My rule has always been, never mix politics and drag. I do provocative things on stage; that’s not going anywhere. Still, the world has changed. I’ve had to alter for certain venues what music I’ll do, what I’ll say, what jokes I use. I’m not censoring myself, but you have to be able to work the crowd. In 1996 in a gay bar in San Francisco, it was 90-percent gay people. In a Boston drag show in 2017, it’s a very straight crowd. Are they there for a freak
show or because they like the art form? I don’t know. But you’ve got to ebb and flow. [SPIRIT] Would you want to do “Drag Race” yourself? [DUSTY] People ask me that all the time. I don’t think so. I would like to do whatever’s after “Drag Race.” Whatever is next. Drag queen movies? A drag queen talk show host? That would be fun. Drag on the radio? [SPIRIT] What are you like when the wig comes off? [DUSTY] You wouldn’t recognize me if you saw me on the street. I have sleeve tattoos and a tattooed chest. Right now I’m wearing cutoff sweatpants, baby food on my t-shirt [from my child] and Birkenstocks, watering my wildflowers. When I’m not on stage I love kicking back with my husband at our home in a quiet town on the North Shore. It’s wonderful to work in the city and come home to this: low-key, no drama.
Doors for “Get Dusted” open at 10:30 PM; shows at midnight. $10 cover; $20 includes meet-and-greet.
Join us for DANA-FARBER
CANCER PRESENTED BY
Saturday, October 21, 2017 M A N DA R I N OR I EN TA L , BO ST ON
Experience a magnificent art deco style evening to benefit Dana-Farber Cancer Institute featuring live entertainment, dinner by the bite, and fabulous cocktails To purchase tickets, please visit UnMaskCancer.org THE COMMITTEE Co-Chairs
Marissa & Scott Carmel Mark Scribner Jessica & Sam Slater Meredith & Jamie Tedford
Anthony Caro Leah Culver Jessica Janiak Chhenlee Ly
Michele Nadeem-Baker Janika Salazar Alam Shah Lexi Valhouli
Nicolas Gennetti Courtney Goldwasser Ty Kuppig Nicole Martin Lauren Musto John Resnick Brian Reyelt Chris Sinclair
Menaka Thillaiampalam Richard Walsh Viki & Richie Woodworth Sarah Wroblewski Grace & Josh Zakim David Zimmerman
Harley Bilzerian Jessica Callahan Tim Curry Carlos DeAndrade Bryan Derrick Kelly Downing Tom Eberhardt Sara Flight
FALL 2017 COLLECTION
THE COMFORT CLUB Our new loyalty program offers 20% savings every day and exclusive access to special offers & services. Visit a signature store or mgbwhome.com for details.
BOSTON | NATICK | BURLINGTON | MGBWHOME.COM FEATURING: MAJOR ARM CHAIR, DAX ROUND PULL-UP TABLE, POWER SHAG RUG
Sep | Oct 2017 issue of Boston Spirit magazine