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As the days grow cooler, New England culture warms up
Healing Hate Violence recovery program faces backlash
Couples find pre-nuptial bliss in the planning
The Other Clinton Comedienne Kate talks election-year politics
Techno Cello Zoë Keating: one‑woman orchestra
by Eric Haydel N AT I C K
B O STO N
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From The Publisher If you “like” Boston Spirit on Facebook then you have seen many of the blog posts that we have published recently. It’s been an interesting collection of articles. We have covered Ted Busiek from Littleton, MA. Mr. Busiek is running for a state senate seat and, suffice to say, he is not a fan of the LGBT community. Then we had an article on former GOP National Committee representative Chanel Prunier of Shrewsbury, MA. Ms. Prunier is gathering signatures for a 2018 ballot question aimed at repealing the recently passed public accommodations bill in Massachusetts. That piece was followed by an article on the organizers of the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade. They are taking Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to court claiming that he forced them to include an LGBT veterans group. Now, I don’t want to appear to be all doom and gloom. There are, as we all know, a lot of great things happening in New England. The reason I bring all of this up is that, in certain circles, the battle rages on and your participation is vital. As President Obama said recently, “Don’t boo, vote!” Make your voice heard. It is as important today as it was 10, 20, or 30 years ago.
2 | BOSTON SPIRIT
On a lighter note, what an amazing summer! Boston Spirit’s Summer Sunset Cruise was another smash success with nearly 700 people on board. Special thanks to Bay State Cruise Co., the Barking Crab, DJ Mocha, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and all of our guests. Check out the Scene section in this issue for a great photo spread on the cruise. We had another year of incredible Pride parades throughout New England and GLAD’s Summer Party was, once again, the talk of P’town. In this issue we look ahead to all of the great arts events coming to the area this fall … and there is a lot to cover. Make sure to keep a look out for some upcoming Boston Spirit events too. If you don’t “like” us on Facebook, you should (it hurts our feelings when you don’t like us). We have some great content throughout the week as well as some event announcements and more. And remember … Don’t Boo, Vote!
David Zimmerman Publisher
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As We Go To Press “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Mary Oliver LGBT people have extraordinary imaginations. Everyone does, actually. But I think LGBTs have to engage ours more fully. Years of living with our secret desires, ones that “dare not speak their names,” make us masters at conjuring up extraordinary worlds in our minds. Given that, it’s likely no accident that LGBT artists tend to be over-represented in the creative fields. Mary Oliver, a one-time, long-term Provincetown resident who was called “far and away, this country’s best-selling poet” by the New York Times, is one of these expressive visionaries. “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” she asked in probably her most famous poem of 1992. Good question.
After all, it was theatrical wizards like Abe Rybeck and The Theater Offensive who were staging “gay weddings” in the 1980s long before there were marriage equality booths at Pride parades — indeed, back when legal marriage for same-sex couples was literally seen as a ridiculous fantasy. Rybeck’s uncompromising imaginative spirit made the gorgeous wedding feature photo spread in this issue of Boston Spirit possible. Truly. This fall, SpeakEasy Theater peaks at other possibilities beyond marriage in its Boston premiere of “Significant Other.” What are other possible futures? A world without bullying? A place of economic as well as sexual equality? This fall, we here at Boston Spirit invite you to plan, to get wild. Right here and now. This is precious.
You’re currently reading from Boston Spirit’s issue featuring our 2016-2017 arts preview. What better way to seek answers for Oliver’s compelling query than by entering the wild and precious imaginations of our artists.
4 | BOSTON SPIRIT
James Lopata Editor
A photo of Maryann Zschau on page 60 for the July/August issue for the Reagle Music Theatre’s production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie” was mislabeled as Gabrielle Carrubba. Credits for The History Project spread in the July/August issue are as follows: Larry W. Mahon, Gay Community News Collection, The History Project (page 66); Orlando Del Valle Collection, The History Project (page 67); Debbie Rich, Gay Community News Collection, The History Project (page 68); The History Project Collection (page 69); Likely by Robert Reed, Robert Reed Collection, The History Project (page 70); Debbie Rich, Gay Community News Collection, The History Project (page 72); Ray Rodriguez (page 74); and Gay Community News Collection, The History Project (page 75).
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Queen of Congeniality
Seven Deadly Picks
Add these haunting happenings to your spooky schedule for Halloween
SEP|OCT 2016 | VOLUME 12 | ISSUE 5
Planning a wedding can be a daunting experience. Allow us to propose a few ideas.
Hit List Restoration Education Queer Cheers Queen of Congeniality From the Blogs Senior Spirit
Autumnal Arts Love Story 8 10 12 14 16 20
Feature This Just in from Little Rhody Headlines from the Granite State Hate Crimes Update Local stats match national numbers showing spike in violent incidents against LGBTQ people
Things that Go Bump on the Cape
22 24 26 30
Things that Go Bump on the Cape
Culture A gay man and his dog
Young man’s fancy
Angels and Monsters
Steven Rowley’s “Lily and the Octopus” is a publishing Cinderella story Fiddlehead Theater Company brings the “Priscilla” bus to Boston Playwright Josh Harmon looks at gay single life in the age of marriage Everett Quinton directs Tennessee Williams’s “In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel” in Provincetown
Scene Boston Spirit Summer Sunset Cruise 78
GLAD Summer Party in Provincetown80 CRI Summer Party 81 Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival Gala Dinner82 Drive for Victory Charity Golf Tournament83 Kiehl’s LifeRide for amfAR Boston Event 84 Gay for Good Boston Environmental Clean Up 85 Boston Pride Parade 86 Rhode Island PrideFest & Illuminated Night Parade 88
Calendar New England Events
Coda We’re with Her
Comedy’s Clinton reminds us we’re stronger together through laughter and love
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SPOTLIGHT Trending STORY Scott Kearnan
Hit List NEWS, NOTES AND TO-DOS FOR EVERY GAY AGENDA whose abstract, angular graphic designs are inspired by neon duct tape, is donating 100% of proceeds from these sales to Equality Florida’s fund for victims of the shooting. By mid-July, Tim-Scapes had already contributed over $3,000 to the organization. More: tim-scapes.com
YouTube series, including “Irregardlessly Trish” about a dumpster-dwelling, Dunkinsloving Boston hairdresser. More: welovekatya.com
CRACK THE COVERof “Southern
KEEP YOUR EYE ONthe second
SHOW YOUR SUPPORTfor
Orlando following the June attack at LGBT nightclub Pulse, the deadliest mass shooting in American history. Through Labor Day you can still snag a special Orlandoinspired t-shirt or tank top (each $29) from Provincetownbased clothing line TimScapes. Artist Tim Convery,
season of “RuPaul’s All Stars Drag Race,” which premieres on August 25. Boston’s own Katya (AKA Brian McCook) is back to compete again for the crown after stealing hearts, earning the “Miss Congeniality” title, and emerging as a fan favorite on the hit Logo TV show’s seventh standard season. Since “Drag Race,” Katya, whose edgy show “Perestroika” ran for several years at Jacques Cabaret, has been gigging around the globe and creating several hilarious
René J. Lukas Girl,” the latest novel by Massachusetts author Renée J. Lukas. Released in August by lesbian fiction publisher Bella Books, “Southern Girl” is a 1980s-set story about the same-sex romance between two teenagers, one of whom happens to be the preacher’s daughter, in rural Tennessee. Lukas says she was inspired to write the book after working with a non-profit organization that offered support to LGBT and questioning youth. “It was a constant struggle to reconcile who they believe they are with what they think the church wants them to be,” said Lukas. More: bellabooks.com
GET READY TO RESERVE A TABLEat Cultivar, out chef
Mary Dumont’s first venture as an owner. Dumont, once deemed “Best New Chef” by “Food & Wine,” most recently earned raves for her farm-to-table New American cuisine at Harvard Square’s elegant Harvest. Cultivar, slated to open this fall inside the Financial District’s in-renovation Ames Boston Hotel, built in 1893 as Boston’s first skyscraper, will feature what Dumont calls “modern American garden cuisine” using many ingredients grown on site. Expect an “organic”feeling space that includes a spacious outdoor patio. More: facebook.com/cultivar
PUBLISHER David Zimmerman EDITOR IN CHIEF James Lopata MANAGING EDITOR Robert Phelps [email@example.com] ART DIRECTOR Dean Burchell CONTRIBUTING LIFESTYLE EDITOR Scott Kearnan [firstname.lastname@example.org] CONTRIBUTING ARTS EDITOR Loren King CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Kim Stowell CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Joel Benjamin, Javier Vasquez COVER PHOTO Francis Hills ON THE WEB [bostonspiritmagazine.com] TALK TO US [email@example.com] EDITORIAL CONTACT [firstname.lastname@example.org] PUBLISHING AND SALES CONTACT [email@example.com or 781-223-8538] THE FINE PRINT Boston Spirit magazine. A Division of Jake
SEP|OCT 2016 | VOLUME 12 | ISSUE 5
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
“Gather,” a new small batch chocolate line created by Salem, Mass. chocolatier Harbor Sweets
SUPPORT THE PEDAL POWERof Harbor to the Bay, the annual Boston-to-Provincetown bike ride that has raised over $4 million for HIV/AIDS-related organizations like AIDS Action Committee, Fenway Health, AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod, and Community Research Initiative since it was founded by the late Michael Tye in 2003. On September 17, the wheeled fundraisers will cycle from the city to the outer Cape, where supporters are always waiting to cheer them on for the last leg—and buy them a well-deserved drink at postH2B parties that pop up. You can sign up to ride or cheerlead as a crewmember too. More: harbortothebay.org SATISFY YOUR SWEET TOOTH
and support a critical environmental cause by picking up a box of “Gather,” a new small batch chocolate line created by Salem chocolatier Harbor Sweets. The eyecatching box, designed by gay South Ender Jim Hood’s Hood Design, is shaped like a
honeycomb because a portion of sales will be donated to Pollinator Partnership, a nonprofit organization supporting honeybee protection. The effort is a response to colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon describing the dramatic disappearance of honeybees worldwide: A recent USDA report cited a 44% reduction in colonization from 2015 to 2016. Scientists are increasingly alarmed by the disappearance of honeybees, vital pollinators crucial to ecosystem, the food supply chain and economy. More: harborsweets.com
SEND A HUGE CONGRATSto The Theater Offensive, Boston’s fabulously fringy queer arts organization, which recently received a whopping $100,000 grant from the Cummings Foundation. Theater Offensive was the only LGBT-specific beneficiary of the foundation’s “$100K for 100” program that awarded monies to various Massachusetts nonprofits. The grant will support Theater Offensive’s longestrunning program, True Colors, accommodating more participants and increased programming for the initiative, which fosters creative selfexpression for diverse LGBTQ youth, especially in Boston neighborhoods with otherwise limited access to the arts. More: thetheateroffensive.org [x]
8/16/16 11:46 AM
SPOTLIGHT Education STORY Scott Kearnan
Restoration Education ILLUMINATING INITIATIVE RESTORES LGBT HEROES TO HISTORY For years, Debra Fowler tried to erase an important piece of who she was. When she signed up to join the military in the pre-Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell era, she denied being a “homosexual,” as the paperwork put it, despite her same-sex attractions and experiences. But the truth always comes out. And for Fowler, it came to light through a failed lie-detector test and a thorough background check conducted to give her the top-secret security clearance her upstanding service had otherwise earned. Instead, she was discharged. Worse, she was made to feel ashamed. Then she considered the story of Baron von Steuben, a major general of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Though persecuted in his native Prussia for his relations with men, von Steuben
Founders Deborah Fowler and Miriam Morgenstern is today remembered as an indispensible figure whose military expertise turned the tide of war and helped America win her independence. He was a hero—and, by all accounts, a “homosexual” one at that. “Stories like his were important in helping me shed the shame I was made to feel,” says Fowler. Yet his story, like those of many important LGBT figures, is rarely taught
in schools. And if it is, the queer element is generally—you guessed it—erased. Enter: History UnErased (HUE), an LGBTfocused education non-profit founded by Fowler and co-executive director Miriam Morgenstern. Fowler and Morgenstern met as public school teachers in Lowell, Massachusetts, and bonded over the desire to offer a more honest, illuminating, and wellrounded education to students who don’t
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otherwise see their communities reflected in existing curriculums. Before founding HUE, Morgenstern, who is straight, was moved by Lowell’s large student population from Southeast Asian backgrounds to create the first-ever course on Cambodian history offered in an American public high school. Fowler, meanwhile, had already produced a documentary film dealing with LGBT status in schools.
youth report being bullied in school. LGBTQ youth are 30 percent more likely to drop out of school. Forty-five percent of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. The HUE founders say these are just some of the numbers that result when queer young people—and just as importantly, their peers—don’t see examples of people like them, and stories like theirs, celebrated, examined, or even discussed.
Together, these ambitious educators are now dedicated to developing multidisciplinary teaching materials and school curriculums—spanning from kindergarten to higher education—that reassert queer elements where they have otherwise been erased: whether that means acknowledging the sexual identity of a historic figure like von Steuben, explaining the role of activism in the American Psychiatric Association’s declassification of homosexuality as a mental illness, or contextualizing the U.S. government’s 1950s gay witch hunt known as the Lavender Scare.
“If I had just one lesson in my formative school experience, it could have had a profound effect on how I saw myself,” says Fowler.
“Our educational institutions do a disservice by not including these [LGBT] stories as part of our collective narrative,” says Fowler. “And it’s not just harmful—it’s killing people.” HUE points to staggering statistics to support its mission. 82 percent of LGBTQ
“We do such a disservice when we erase that part of someone,” adds Morgenstern. She is reminded of her favorite poet, Harlem Renaissance leader Countee Cullen, and the new richness and nuance she found in his work after learning about his bisexuality. “You never see that in his bio, yet it makes his work take on a different, fuller meaning.” HUE works with internationally recognized partners, including the National Park Service and Library of Congress, to develop its materials: classroom curriculums, educational videos, and professional development opportunities for educators, among other programs. Fowler and Morgenstern have also assembled a board of directors of LGBTQ activists, including a member with
background at the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the University of Southern California, the largest LGBTQ archive in the world. The still-new nonprofit has run multiday workshops with educators and parents organizations, as well as in-school trainings, to expand awareness of their mission and materials. Perhaps surprisingly, they say they’ve encountered little resistance to their ideas. They’re actively applying for grants to help expand their efforts, with hopes, for example, to develop LGBTQ youth leadership programs at area high schools. More broadly, they’re in discussions with school districts to make their “superior-quality curriculum available through multiple distribution channels,” including online platforms, says Fowler. Ultimately, HUE is about bringing colorful LGBT identity to the blank spaces where our stories have been erased. “We’re selling educators the idea that this is missing history,” says Morgenstern. “In order to create truly equitable classrooms, we need to include the history of all people—so that all young people can see themselves reflected in the narrative, and as valued parts of history.” [x]
The Art & Mystery of the Dollhouse Photography by Gavin Ashworth
Explore miniature worlds that capture life’s detail . . .
on exhibit October 14, 2016 through January 15, 2017
. . . and capture the imagination
at the Concord Museum in historic Concord, MA www.concordmuseum.org • 978.369.9763
SEP|OCT 2016 | 11
SPOTLIGHT Social STORY Scott Kearnan
5K races, like June’s “Freedom Run,” a Cambridge 5K that saw Gay Beer Club members trot through the streets dressed in Captain America costumes, and the upcoming Oktoberfest Kendall Square 5K on October 2, after which members will head to CBC for celebratory beers and brunch. Going forward, Tabulina also plans to incorporate into the Gay Beer Club calendar more fundraising opportunities for deserving local organizations.
Adriano Tabulina [CENTER, FRONT], club founder, and the Gay Beer Club on one of their monthly “field trips.”
BEER-BASED SOCIAL CLUB INSTIGATES PUB CRAWLS, ROAD RACES AND FRIENDSHIP-MAKING FUN One brick wall inside the popular Kendall Square-side beer bar Cambridge Brewing Company is dominated by a large, colorful mural. The painting depicts a motley crew of characters assembled around the CBC bar, mainly native celebs like Mindy Kaling and Matt Damon. But look closely at one corner, right between Ben Affleck and Jimmy Fallon, and you’ll spot an A-lister of a different sort: Brookline resident Adriano Tabulina, depicted with his signature darkrimmed designer eyeglasses and dramatic handlebar mustache curled to the corners of his nose. Tabulina isn’t a movie star, just one of CBC’s most regular guests. But thanks to him, and his Gay Beer Club, a growing social group he founded in 2011, CBC and other Boston-area craft beer bars have been playing host to a cast of queer suds lovers forming a network of new pals over pints. “This is my Cheers!” says Tabulina, taking a bar stool at CBC. And indeed, everyone here knows his name: from the bartender, a straight former college buddy who partly inspired Tabulina to launch his meet-ups here, to the gay friends who flock to the bar to greet their group’s malts- and hops-loving ringleader. Tabulina, raised in Rhode Island, started the Gay Beer Club because he needed “something new to focus on” after his mother passed away following a long battle with cancer. At the same time, he wanted to
12 | BOSTON SPIRIT
expand his network of gay friends. “I never really felt like I fit in at the gay bars,” says Tabulina, who’d much prefer a rich porter beer to a sweet vodka cocktail. “I wanted to meet other people like me.” And so the Gay Beer Club was formed, with Tabulina slowly building via word-ofmouth a posse that now amounts to several dozen attendees at each weekly Sunday gathering during the club’s Septemberthrough-June “season.” On first and third Sundays of the month, the Gay Beer Club descends on Cambridge Brewing Company; on second Sundays they meet at The Trophy Room in the South End; and on the fourth Sunday of each month the group takes a “field trip” to a different tap room, brewery, or area bar known for its thoughtful, curated beer list. September’s field trip will visit the just-opened Dorchester Brewing Co., while previous outings have included Allston’s Deep Ellum, Everett’s Night Shift Brewing, and Cambridge’s Lord Hobo, all locations that have received national notice for their beer programs. Though the crew is united by a shared appreciation for craft brews and opportunity to taste their way through some stellar beer lists, the club has resulted in some longstanding new friendships that extend well beyond the barroom. In particular, the Gay Beer Club is popular with a clique of runners who represent the group in various
Interestingly enough for the organizer of a social club based around beer, Tabulina’s professional career is worlds apart from the suds scene. By day he’s a Neiman Marcus personal shopper and Chanel handbag sales associate. In fact, he’s so popular in Boston’s high-end fashion retail world, he recently earned a “Boston’s Best” award from the Improper Bostonian. “Growing up, I was the kid who read fashion magazines under the covers in bed,” chuckles Tabulina, probably one of the only guys in Boston who can school you on both designer handbags and microbrews. For LGBT locals who want to discover excellent beer bars in an accessible, unintimidating way—and make some new friends while they’re at it—Tabulina is the man you want to raise a pint alongside. And he’s already accomplished two of his own major goals: expanding his network of fellow beer-loving gays, and earning himself a permanent spot at his favorite bar. “I always said, ‘I’m going to drink here until I get on the mural,’” says Tabulina, glancing at his rendering on the CBC wall. Cheers to beer-fueled ambition. [x]
For more information on the Gay Beer Club, follow facebook.com/gaybeerclub or meet up with the group at one of their September and October events: September 4 September 11 September 18 September 25 October 2 October 9 October 16 October 23
Cambridge Brewing Company (7-10 PM) The Trophy Room (7-10 PM) Cambridge Brewing Company (7-10 PM) Dorchester Brewing Company (7-10 PM) Oktoberfest 5K (Cambridge 5K series) followed by brunch at Cambridge Brewing Company (11 AM-1 PM) The Trophy Room (7-10 PM) Cambridge Brewing Company (7-10 PM) “Field Trip” TBD (7-10 PM)
SEP|OCT 2016 | 13
SPOTLIGHT Entertainment STORY Scott Kearnan
Queen of Congeniality POST RUPAUL DRAG RACE, BENDELACREME’S POSITIVE PERSONA PERSEVERES As the self-described “terminally delightful” sixth season star of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” from which she sashayed away with the “Miss Congeniality” title, performer BenDeLaCreme introduced audiences to one playfully sunny showgirl with vintage pinup style. (She’s also hostess for Seattle’s The Atomic Bombshells burlesque troupe.) But underneath the sequins and mascara, “most of my shows are about some kind of existential crisis,” chuckles Benjamin Putnam, a Connecticut native who developed his perpetually cheery drag persona in part as a coping mechanism for less-merry circumstances: bouts with depression, an adolescence marked by bullying, losing his mother to cancer as a teenager. BenDeLaCreme PHOTO Ji Ji Lee
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In “Cosmos,” her show playing through September 8 at Provincetown’s Crown & Anchor, BenDeLaCreme gets uproariously existential as only a queen can, exploring the history of space, time, and matter in queer cabaret style: evolution is explained via striptease, atomic bonding is compared to cruising at a seedy gay club. We checked in with the New England-raised artist, who is just as appealing in thoughtful, considerate boy-drag as in full camp form. [BOSTON SPIRIT] You travel the
world performing. As LGBT people become more assimilated, is there something special about performing in a gay enclave like Provincetown?
[BENDELACREME ] Absolutely. As
queer people, no matter how
honest and true to ourselves we are, we move through the world with a bit of a guard up. It’s how we navigate. But you see everyone drop that veil in Provincetown. Everyone I know packs a totally different summer wardrobe that lets them express who they are in a way that gets stares. You truly let go. You can be as swishy as you goddamn please! [SPIRIT] Do you still visit family in Connecticut? What’s it like to go back now? [ BENDELACREME ] I always make a point to visit my dad when I’m in the area. He lives with his wife in the same house where I grew up. But I do sort of have those heart palpitations every time I go. It’s such gorgeous countryside, but I have a lot of trouble seeing that because my childhood years were so insanely traumatic: going to very small school where everyone knew each other, and where I didn’t feel included in
any group. I was such a freak, so universally not understood. In a way, I can’t believe I escaped and how different my life is. Every once in a while I check in with myself and say, “If you could go back and tell that 14-year old what your life is like now, think how overjoyed he would be.” [SPIRIT] You also attended Walnut Hill School for the Arts, a boarding school in Natick, Massachusetts. What was that like? [ BENDELACREME ] That was one of the most important times in my life. At that point, my mom had died and my dad—who is wonderful—was having a tough time keeping up with a queer kid who was having a rough time. He said, “We’re pulling you out of this school and sending you someplace where you’re not alone.” It was absolutely amazing to be around other gay people my age, artists my
age. Suddenly all the things I was ostracized for were the things that made me cool. [SPIRIT] I was surprised you weren’t on the new season of “RuPaul’s All Stars Drag Race.” Did you want to return? [BENDELACREME ] I’m super excited to see it! There are so many awesome performers who all represent different aspects of drag and are all at the top of their game. I’m not really interested in going back into that workroom. I had a wonderful experience the first time. I felt good about the way I conducted myself in competition. I got so much out of it. Now I get to focus on what I really love, and do more of that. [SPIRIT] You’ve discussed how important it was for you to create BenDeLaCreme. How has the meaning of the character to you most evolved over the years? [BENDELACREME ] At one point, BenDeLaCreme was a tool for me. Now, in traveling
the world and being a recognizable name within a niche community, I get this constant feedback from people that she has become a useful tool for them. It’s incredible how people react to this character and the general demeanor she projects: that fake-it-‘til-you-make-it, lookat-the-positive perspective. There’s also a lot of humor in showing a character like this encounter things that are very difficult to look at in a positive light. In a way it’s a cultural critique, because we do now have a tendency to look the other way when horrible things are happening. There’s always a Buzzfeed list we’d rather read! [x] Through September 8, Crown & Anchor, Provincetown, onlyathecrown.com.
SEP|OCT 2016 | 15
SPOTLIGHT News COMPILED Rob Phelps
From the Blogs the lifting of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in 2011.”
DESPITE GOP’S ANTILGBT POLICY, LOG CABIN REPUBLICANS STAND WITH TRUMP
Valerie Frias, Greater Boston PFLAG’s newly appointed executive director. Photo courtesy of GBPFLAG.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
GREATER BOSTON PFLAG WELCOMES NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
BOSTON CELTICS SUPPORTS NBA PULLING OF ALLSTAR GAME FROM NORTH CAROLINA
With the appointment of Valerie Frias, Greater Boston PFLAG has a new executive director. “Much of Val’s policy work has been in healthcare and housing, two critical issues for the LGBTQ community Greater Boston PFLAG serves,” said Mettler. “Greater Boston PFLAG is thrilled to have Val lead the organization at a time when demand for our services is growing.” Most recently, Frias was associate director of the Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation (CDC), where her focus was on building publicprivate coalitions to serve the community. “Of course, Val’s hiring means we are also saying goodbye to our current executive director, Tom Bourdon,” Mettler said. “Tom has been a wonderful ambassador for our organization in his two-and-a-half years in the role, and with the support of the board, built the current staff structure and hired our terrific staff. The organization is in great shape thanks in no small part to the relationships Tom has continued to cultivate and nurture across the community and our base of supporters.”
The Boston Celtics voiced its approval today when pro basketball’s commissioner Adam Silver announced that the NBA is moving its 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, North Carolina to protest North Carolina’s anti-LGBT legislation (HB2). “We support the NBA’s decision and share the league’s values of equality and inclusion. We hope that productive dialogue continues in the effort to welcome all who love our game,” a Celtics spokesperson told Boston Spirit. According to a statement from the NBA, “Our week-long schedule of All-Star events and activities is intended to be a global celebration of basketball, our league, and the values for which we stand, and to bring together all members of the NBA community—current and former players, league and team officials, business partners, and fans. While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state, and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2.
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Defense Secretary Ash Carter. Photo by Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz/courtesy of the U.S. Department of Defense.
PENTAGON LIFTS BAN ON TRANSGENDER TROOPS A person’s qualifications should be the only thing that matters when it comes to serving in the United States military. So said Defense Secretary Ash Carter in June when he announced that transgender individuals may serve openly in any branch of the country’s armed forces. According to a June 30 New York Times report: “The decision pushes forward a transformation of the military that Mr. Carter has accelerated in the last year with the opening of all combat roles to women and the appointment of the first openly gay Army secretary. He made his feelings on ending the transgender ban clear last year, when he called it outdated and ordered officials across the military to begin examining what would need to be done to lift the prohibition. “When Mr. Carter ordered that assessment, there were already thousands of transgender people in the military. But until Thursday, most have been forced into an existence shrouded in secrets to avoid being discharged, a situation much like that faced by gay men, lesbians and bisexuals before
On Tuesday, July 12, the Log Cabin Republicans published a press release from Gregory Angelo, president of the group, stating: “There’s no way to sugar-coat this: I’m mad as hell—and I know you are, too. “Moments ago, the Republican Party passed the most antiLGBT 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. “This isn’t my GOP, and I know it’s not yours either. Heck, it’s not even Donald Trump’s! When given a chance to follow the lead of our presumptive presidential nominee and reach out to the LGBT community in the wake of the awful terrorist massacre in Orlando on the gay nightclub Pulse, the Platform Committee said ‘no’. “But … now is not the time to sit around feeling sorry for ourselves. Log Cabin Republicans has been officially credentialed for the Republican National Convention, and when it convenes in Cleveland in a mere 6 days’ time I want to be able to take a stand, but we’re going to need your support to do it.”
LAWMAKERS DISTANCE THEMSELVES FROM HOMOPHOBIC STATE SENATE CANDIDATE Borrowing a page from the Donald Trump potty-mouth playbook comes Ted Busiek
“When the community health center saved my daughter’s life, it brought new meaning to mine. I work here, too. But it’s not a job, it’s my way of saying thanks.” - Philly Laptiste Associate Director at Bowdoin Street Health Center (Gives back to the neighborhood she loves.)
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KIEHL’S MOTOCYCLE LIFERIDE FOR AMFAR ROLLS THROUGH NEW ENGLAND Racing towards a cure for AIDS, the seventh annual Kiehl’s LifeRide for amfAR made several at Kiehl’s stores in New England in early August, including Boston, Provincetown, Burlington, Massachusetts, and West Hartford, Connecticut. Ted Busiek at a Donald Trump rally in Massachusetts. PHOTO by Ted Busiek/Facebook. of Littleton, Massachusetts, a Republic running for state senate in the fifth congressional district against the Democratic incumbent. Busiek brings on comparisons of himself with the reality-show candidate as he tweets, for example, on July 2: “DONALD TRUMP. Putting self-righteous faggots in their place since 1993. How I love this fellow.” Also in early July, the Boston Globe reported that Busiek “called transgender people ‘perverts’ after Gov. Charlie Baker,
Actors Gilles Marini [LEFT] and Katee Sackhoff [CENTER] join Kiehl’s President Chris Salgardo [RIGHT]. PHOTO courtesy of Kiehl’s.
a fellow Republican, said he would sign the House version of a non-discrimination bill.” State senators, notably Republicans, according to the Globe report, are distancing themselves from Busiek. “Obviously, Mr. Busiek’s language is completely unacceptable and does not reflect the values of the Republican Party,” chairman Kirsten Hughes said. State party officials added that they do not intend to spend any time or money in Busiek’s
district, and the decision to drop out will be his to make. Stan Rosenberg, the first openly gay Senate president in Massachusetts, said that Busiek would “not be a welcome addition to the state Legislature.” The incumbent, Democrat Jamie Eldridge, has a strong record of supporting progressive causes and a professional approach that reflects respect for both the office he holds and the people he serves.
Led by Kiehl’s President Chris Salgardo and Kevin Robert Frost, CEO of The Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR), the pack includes a host of celebrities including actors, a former Marine and and designer/tattoo artist—all on Harleys and other iconic bikes. The 11-day charity motorcycle ride from New York City to Philly will trek more than 1,000 miles and raise $150,000 for amfAR’s race to a cure for AIDS. Kiehl’s will have raised some $1.6 million for amfAR, funding eight cure-related research projects, through its LifeRide’s alone, by the end of this seventh annual road trip. [x]
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SPOTLIGHT Aging STORY Bob Linscott
Senior Spirit Evolving Elders
CONFERENCE ON AGING FOCUSES ON FRESH PERSPECTIVES FOR A CHANGING WORLD The country’s largest annual conference dedicated to LGBT aging happens right here in Massachusetts. The sixth annual “LGBT Elders in an Ever Changing World” conference is a collaborative effort of the LGBT Aging Project, a program of Fenway Health; North Shore Elder Services and the Over the Rainbow LGBT Coalition; Salem State University School of Social Work; CareDimensions; and AARP Massachusetts. Substantive practice and policy topics that affect and involve the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities and allies are addressed in this open and welcoming forum as a convening of community. “LGBT Elders in an Ever
“LGBT Elders in an Ever Changing World” is the largest annual conference on aging in the United States. This year, it will be held at Salem State University, Salem Massachusetts PHOTO courtesy of LGBT Aging Project
Changing World” is intended for consumers, educators, researchers, and public policy makers as well as professionals who support and work with LGBT older adults and caregivers. CEUs are offered for social workers and nurses. Organizers are well underway preparing for the next conference, which will be held on Friday March
17, 2017 at Salem State University, Salem Massachusetts. Keynote speakers for the upcoming conference will be Kate and Linda Rohr. Kate Rohr is a practicing physician and transgender woman who waited until she was 67 to come out and had gender affirmation surgery at 70 with the support of her wife Linda. It was an operation Kate had long ago dismissed as unattainable but one Linda
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• Just 2 blocks to town, events and restaurants • Lock and turn-key living for those with multiple homes
“Generational Conversation” at the 2015 conference PHOTO courtesy of LGBT Aging Project
PHOTO courtesy of LGBT Aging Project
believed her partner of 48 years deserved to have. Their story was recently featured in The Washington Post. With increasing public attention to the lived experiences of transgender people, conference planners wanted to make sure the voices of transgender older adults were heard too. As keynote speakers, Kate and Linda will share their amazing personal journey.
topics the planners are looking for include: diversity, disability, transgender aging, health and wellness, supporting resiliency, spirituality and religion, legal and ethical issues and HIV and aging. You can request a proposal (RFP) by calling the LGBT Aging Project at 857-313-6590 or email LGBTelders2017@gmail.com. Proposals are due October 17, 2016. [x]
Every year this conference draws a large crowd from all over New England and it attracts professionals from all over the country. Last year one gerontologist
specializing in LGBT Aging traveled all the way from Mumbai, India to attend the conference. Over the years the participants and presenters have formed a wonderful network of support and collaboration as the elder care industry continues to become more inclusive of the needs of LGBT older adults and their caregivers. Conference planners are now accepting workshop proposals for the upcoming conference. Workshops are all 75 minutes in length and there is a maximum of two presenters per session. Some of the workshop
Meet our Homeowners OCCUPATION: Both John and Walt are financial industry officers
ORIGINS: Boston’s Back Bay and South End PASSIONS: Fulfilled dream of owning and operating a B&B; and now are passionate about The Residences at Seashore Point
Bob Linscott is the assistant director of the LGBT Aging Project at the Fenway Institute
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Convenience, Convenience, Convenience John Gilbride and Walt Winnowski tell their Seashore Point story.
After 25 years of living in Boston’s Back Bay and the South End, and working in the financial industry, we sold our brownstone and moved to Provincetown, fulfilling a dream many have... owning and operating a B & B for several years. After moving onto a single family home…it was then time to “downsize”. Wanting to stay in Provincetown that’s when we discovered that The Residences at Seashore Point proved to be the perfect lifestyle solution as convenience was our primary objective: • Maintenance free living • Pet-friendly with open spaces for them to run • Great mix of neighbors, socializing and events • On-site gym, dining and indoor parking • Just 2 blocks to town, events and restaurants • Lock and turn-key living for those with multiple homes
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Just 2 blocks from the heart of everything
FEATURE News STORY Kim Harris Stowell presence and surveillance of communities of color during the festival and asked that RI Pride support local grassroots organizations financially and programmatically that seek to find alternatives to the police for community safety.
New Policies Supporting Providence Trans Students The Providence School Board has passed a pioneering policy to support Mayor Jorge Elorza’s priorities for a school district that is welcoming, accessible and free of discrimination. Gov. Gina Raimondo meeting with Trans activists
This Just in from Little Rhody Transgender Transitional Services Covered for State Workers
The health insurance plan for Rhode Island state employees is now providing coverage for hormone therapy, surgery and other transition services for trans people, Governor Gina Raimondo announced at a State House news conference. The announcement came on the 15th anniversary of Rhode Island becoming the second state in the country to explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression, protecting transgender people in employment, housing, credit and public accommodations. While the state is unsure how many transgender employees will take advantage of the coverage, Raimondo says it’s a way for Rhode Island to continue leading the country in transgender equality.
In wake of Orlando Massacre, PrYSM Takes Action at RI Pride Festival This year, Rhode Island Pride named Providence Youth Student Movement (PrYSM)
“Honorary Marshals” of the annual Nighttime Pride Parade, in recognition of the group’s commitment to supporting Southeast Asian youth with programs like Queer & Trans Thursdays, a safe space for young people of color. After taking the main stage during the rally portion of the PrideFest festivities, PrYSM members delivered a strong and pointed message, rejecting both the position of Honorary Marshal and RI Pride itself. The rancor behind their statement was based on RI Pride’s meeting with Providence Police, RI State Police, Providence Emergency Management and others in order to beef up security at the festival, which took place only days after the Pulse club massacre. “Pride is a symbol of the LGBTQIA community’s survival against forces of oppression,” they asserted. “In response to a tragedy where predominantly … people of color were murdered, Rhode Island Pride chose to work with the police and other institutions that continue to perpetuate violence against LGBTQ people of color.” Among other things, the group called for decreasing police
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Under the new policy, transgender and gender-expansive students are able to select the restroom they use, including opting for private restrooms and separate changing areas. Gender identity and expression may also be considered when selecting the physical education programs in which students participate. In each school, a Transgender and Gender Expansive Student Point Team, made up of specially trained teachers, administrators, parent advocates, social workers, counselors, and health and physical education staff— will be established to provide individual support plans for students and their families.
C. Andrews Lavarre
Newport City Council Candidate Says He “Will Not Tolerate LGBT Perversion” C. Andrews Lavarre has announced his intention to run for a citywide seat on Rhode Island’s Newport City Council, saying he will fight “this pervasive and erosive culture of political correctness.”
In his campaign announcement on Friday, Lavarre said that “LGBT sexual perversion, fornication, predation, violence, globalism, socialism, and all the other leftist elite ‘isms’ are not the norm and are not acceptable in any civilized society. I shall not tolerate them.”
Sexual Health Conference for Providers & Organizers On September 16, The Brown University AIDS Program, in collaboration with the New England AIDS Education and Training Center, is hosting a Conference on Sexual Health and Equity, to highlight the ongoing work of community organizations working to promote sexual health in Rhode Island. The conference will be held at the Providence Marriott Downtown, 1 Orms Street, Providence on Friday, Sept. 16, 8:30 am–4 pm. The cost is $23.14.
RI Lesbians: A Club That Would Not Have You as a Member A vote to change the nearly century-old policy, offering full membership only to men at the Westerly Yacht Club, failed to reach a two-thirds majority in a secret ballot vote earlier this summer. 207 men voted for the change, while 171 men voted to keep it the way it is. Wives can become associate members, and can run committees and organize parties at the club, but can’t vote. Single women are prohibited, as are married lesbians, because they are not married to a man. Gay men may join, but their husbands may not become associates, a status reserved for wives. [x]
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Headlines from the Granite State The state’s Division of Personnel has until September 15 to give assistance to organizations on how to carry out the new policy.
HRC endorses Hassan
New Hampshire governor Maggie Hassan
New Hampshire Governor Bans Transgender Discrimination in the State On July 1, New Hampshire governor Maggie Hassan signed an executive order that bans discrimination against transgender personnel in the state government. “Throughout our history, it has been clear time and again that we always grow stronger when we work to ensure the full inclusion of all citizens in our democracy, our economy and our communities,” said Hassan in a June 30 official press release. “By making clear that gender identity and gender expression are protected in the State’s anti-discrimination policies, this Executive Order helps ensure that New Hampshire state government welcomes and incorporates the talents and contributions of all of our citizens.” Hassan’s order also requires the Granite State’s Justice Department and Department of Administration Services to review all contracts in light of the order and make sure protection against discrimination is provided for transgender people. Previously, New Hampshire had laws on the books that assured the rights of lesbians and gay men and other minority groups. With Hassan’s new executive order, New Hampshire now provides equal protection against discrimination for everyone in the state.
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The Human Rights Campaign is fighting for The Equality Act in both houses of the U.S. Congress and New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan is making its passage part of her bid to become a U.S. Senator this fall. The Equality Act gives all LGBT Americans a chance of living in a fair community. Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling mandating the recognition of marriage equality, many same-sex couples still face workplace discrimination, including getting fired for being gay. The act demands that no one person should be fired, evicted from their home, or denied services because of who they are or who they want to be, according to the HRC. The bill ensures that all employees only get fired, hired, or promoted based on their performances and not on who they are. For Hassan’s efforts on this bill and other support for the LGBT community, HRC has endorsed Governor Hassan in her bid to be New Hampshire’s U.S. Senator.
openly gay politician to serves as President of the Association of State Democratic Chairs and as Vice President of the Democratic National Committee. As the DNC’s national convention came to a close back in July, he told New Hampshire Public Radio that the party platform “we passed two days ago is absolutely the most pro-LGBT platform in the history of America. It’s inclusive of full equality at every level and every instance.” “We have been celebrating the successes of the Obama Administration: repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ passing hate crime legislation, and exceeding the historic number of openly LGBT citizens appointed to office,” he said. “We also discussed the frustration that we’ve not been able to pass a non-discrimination act that’s inclusive. We have a lot to do.”
Get Your Stargazing On
Democratic chair embraces “most Pro-LGBT platform in history” New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair and Delegate Ray Buckley became the first
A great time is in the stars at New Hampshire’s annual Stargaze Women’s Music Festival (September 23–25), a three-day camping event in Barrington where women from all over the country gather together to convert the woods in a magical space. Here, you can find a judgment-free zone where women can let loose and be themselves. During the festival, one can enjoy concerts and other performances, a glow party, a “silent disco,” poetry, art, workshops, workouts, and stargazing a’plenty. [x]
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FEATURE News STORY Rob Phelps
2015 2014 PERCENTAGE OF TRANS INDIVIDUALS AMONG ALL SURVIVORS OF HATE VIOLENCE IN MASSACHUSETTS 2014 2015
Hate Crimes Update Local stats match national numbers showing spike in violent incidents against LGBTQ people From the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando to countless undocumented incidents ranging from name calling to severe physical brutality, the past year has been “marked by a sense of alarm for the LGBT community,” according to The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), an organization of regional programs dedicated to reducing violence and its impacts on the LGBTQ community. The numbers are sobering. The FBI recently reported that LGBTQ people are currently twice as likely to be targets of hate crimes as African Americans and over the past 10 years violent incidents against LGBTQ people surpassed such crimes against Jewish people, previously the most targeted group, by more that 25 percent. Call it backlash. “In 2015 we celebrated historic victories and mourned alarming losses in the United States,” says this most recent NCAVP report, released on June 13, 2016. “Looking back on the wins and defeats of the LGBTQ movement, [the report] reflects the ever-present realities of violence against LGBTQ people in the United
26 | BOSTON SPIRIT
States amidst these steps forward, and backward, for social change.” The rise in incidents may also be due to an increase in reporting, which reflects both a strengthening of the support system and increased trust among LGBTQ people that allows individuals to come forward, speak up (confidentially to the treatment programs and/or publically to law enforcement), receive support, and reclaim their lives as survivors. Cara Presley, manager of the Bostonbased Fenway Health Violence Recovery Program (VRP)—which contributes regional data to the NCAVP report and provides counseling and treatment to hate crime survivors—finds the trend continuing throughout 2016. “Just in the last couple of months, we’ve seen an increase in incidents,” she says. “Whether it’s due to backlash or people just coming forward and talking about it more, we have seen an increase in bullying and harassment and assault that is hate based.” Over the past few months, Massachusetts and Vermont joined Connecticut and Rhode Island in enacting trans equal rights legislation. In New Hampshire, Governor Maggie Hasson issued an
Source: National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
RACE AND ETHNICITY OF HATE CRIME SURVIVORS IN MASSACHUSETTS (2015) People of Color White
Same percentages as in entire United States. Source: National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
SEXUAL ORIENTATION OF HATE CRIME SURVIVORS IN MASSACHUSETTS (2015) Gay Lesbian Queer Bisexual Heterosexual Self-Identified Other Questioning/Unsure
33% 24% 14% 12% 7% 7% 2%
Source: National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
executive order achieving similar goals (see related story on page 24). Meanwhile, President Obama has issued several executive orders aimed at protecting the whole country from gender identity discrimination when North Carolina passed its anti-LGBT bill, aimed primarily at the trans community, stirring national debate and enflaming emotions. Consequently, it would seem, the national report shows a serious increase on attacks against transgender people— specifically transgender women of color—and local numbers reflect the same situation here in New England. Locally, violent incidents against people of color make up 64 percent of hate crimes and incidents against transgender people have risen from 15 to 39 percent in the last year alone.
Changing Times, Changing Crimes Back in the 1980s, the VRP (then called the Victim Recovery Program), opened its doors “in response to so many ‘gay bashing’ incidents where mostly gay
white men were being targeted for being gay and assaulted,” says Presley. “When they tried to reach out to law enforcement they found they were getting harassed or ignored. They found a lot of bias against them through the criminal justice system as well. So that’s why VRP began. That kind of anti-gay bias continued into the nineties. Thankfully, we have less of a focus on police misconduct although it still exists. Over time, [incidents of hate crimes] shifted to all kinds of LGBT discrimination.” “Today, trans women of color are beyond a doubt much more targeted and at risk for hate-based violence than any other group,” Presley says, stressing that prevention and treatment for this group of survivors has become a priority at VRP. That said, hate violence against LGBTQ and HIV-affected communities is complex and continues to take on many different forms. The report’s findings show continued attacks on LGBTQ youth, HIVaffected communities, undocumented LGBTQ people (many refugees from war-torn regions or countries where being gay is considered a crime, in some cases
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punishable by death), gay men, lesbians, and the bisexual, questioning, and otherwise gender nonconforming of all ages and ethnic groups—in short, against all LGBTQ people. One of the first incidents in 2015 was the murder of Coast Guardsman Lisa Trubnikova, 31, a white cisgender woman, in Bourne, Massachusetts. According to the NCAVP report, she and her wife Anna Trubnikova, “along with a responding male police officer, were shot by Adrian Loya, a Coast Guard member with whom Lisa had previously been stationed in Kodiak, Alaska. Lisa died at the scene, while Anna and the officer survived. It was reported that Loya had romantic feelings for Lisa which were not reciprocated, and that he stalked her and carefully planned her murder.” Loya is currently in prison awaiting an appeal. The remains of Elisha Walker, 20, a black transgender woman, were found in Smithfield, North Carolina, on August 14, 2015. Her mother reported her missing in November 2013. Angel Arias, 23, was arrested and charged with murder and motor vehicle theft. “Elisha’s mother,”
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states the report, “described her as a ‘free spirit,’ and that she was ‘always doing something to make someone laugh.’ Elisha had recently graduated from high school and was planning on moving in with a friend before she went missing.” Randy J. Bent, 62, a white cisgender man, was found stabbed and burned to death in his apartment, in Watertown, New York, on March 8, 2015. Kyle A. Box confessed to the murder and was charged with seconddegree murder. States the report: “Local police did not confirm how the two men knew one another. According to Randy’s obituary, he was a veteran of the U.S. Navy, a publications clerk at Fort Drum, and an active member of the American Legion Post #61 of Watertown.”
What Survivors Do While the stats show that most incidents do not result in murder, surviving a hate crime can be tough, to say the least. That’s where programs like VRP come in. “Every person’s specific response to a traumatic event is going to be unique but there are some universal factors that we
find across the board regardless of the type of violence that people experience or who they are,” says Presley. “These include an increase of fearfulness and hypervigilance that can get in the way of people being able to sleep, concentrate, get in the way of normal functioning. Avoidance of people and places that bring up reminders of their experience of violence.” “Especially when you think about the lives of transgender people and trans women,” she says. “Because they live with not only at a higher risk of acute incidents of violence, like being explicitly targeted for assault, but they also experience daily discrimination—racism, sexism, and transphobia all at once.” The Violence Recovery Program is open to everyone regardless of their relationship to Fenway. The program’s services are free. “We are grant funded so we don’t go through insurance or charge a fee for our counseling or advocacy services,” Presley says. Survivors should call the VRP’s intake line. “We absolutely will not require anyone to report their experience of violence to law enforcement,” stresses Presley,
though they will connect survivors with police at the survivor’s request and even facilitate a report. The intake line is not a hotline. Callers leave a message and receive a call back usually within the same day. Then the VRP team assesses the situation, makes sure it fits under their scope of care, and invites the survivor to come in for an intake, usually within a week. “We usually meet with folks for a little under an hour to see what they’re looking for, explain our program, find out about their experience of violence, as much as they’re comfortable sharing,” says Presley. Each survivor is then assigned to a counselor or an advocate or both. The VPR also helps arrange for additional health care needs and social services. “Our clients are so resilient,” says Presley. “It’s an honor to not only bear witness to that healing process but to help it along.” [x] Violence Recovery Program at Fenway Health
Intake line: 617-927-6250 fenwayhealth.org/care/behavioral-health/vrp/ avp.org
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FEATURE Book Excerpt STORY Sam Baltrusis
Things that Go Bump on the Cape Editor’s Note: Part travelogue, part spine-tingler, Sam Baltrusis’s new book “Paranormal Provincetown” (Schiffer Publishing) was inspired by the interviews the author conducted a few years back for a Boston Spirit article. In keeping with the spooky season, we give you his Introduction: On All Hallow’s Eve, Provincetown’s Commercial Street was abuzz with both the living ... and the dead. I was on a walking tour with ghost host Jeffrey Doucette, a former colleague at Haunted Boston and co-founder of Haunted Ptown, a tour I helped produce. As Doucette and I crept through the dark alleys of the town, revelers paraded up and down the main drag. “The weather has been a horror show,” said Doucette, a veteran tour guide known for his over-the-top theatrics and spinetingling delivery. He was dressed in a tuxedo, holding a lantern and sporting a skull face-paint job. “Look at ‘em,” he said with a smile. “The freaks are out tonight.” He
pointed at the crews of scantily clad trickor-treaters showing off their costumes. Compared to Salem on Halloween, Provincetown’s fearsome phantoms constructed the most elaborate and creative costumes I’ve ever seen. A vampiric-looking man was standing in front of Whaler’s Wharf with pointy ears and fangs, showing off his “Cape Cod Casket Co.” coffin. He looked like an adult version of Eddie Munster. He playfully hissed and posed for a picture. A flock of fractured fairy-tale fairies were wearing green tutus and granting make-believe wishes with magic wands. There was one figure sitting on a bench dressed like a “bat boy.” He was hiding in the shadows as passersby admired his expertly crafted costume. Looking closely, his eyes were red and the fur covering his face looked extremely authentic. I was genuinely creeped out. “You’ve seen the movie Jeepers Creepers, right?” mused Doucette. “Well,
Provincetown has its own boogie man. He’s known as the Black Flash.” According to legend, a grim reaper type beast was known to snatch children away. The cryptid made national headlines. When the phantom of Provincetown was first reported in the 1930s, some locals were suspicious that the creature had arrived around Halloween. Surely it was just a prank, right? Not according to reports. Dressed in a black cape, the monster appeared to have bat wings and was known to suddenly drop into a visitor’s
path from a tree or rooftop. “He was all black with eyes like balls of flame,” claimed one man in a 1930s-era newspaper account. “And he was big, maybe eight feet tall. He made a sound, a loud buzzing sound, like a June bug on a hot day, only louder.” One boy claimed that “it jumped out” at him from nowhere “and spit blue flames” in his face. Alleged sightings of the Black Flash continued for a decade. One townie, who found his dog barking at the demon, claimed he shot it. However, he said that the Flash dodged his bullets and continued to laugh maniacally. The creature then leaped over the man’s backyard fence. The Black Flash made its last appearance in the mid-1940s when it supposedly chased a family home. As they gathered inside, one of the school-aged children doused the creature with a bucket of water—similar to what Dorothy did to the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz. It’s not been seen since. Or has it? “He’s known to come out on Halloween,” continued Doucette. “But I think it’s just
an old legend to keep the kiddies from staying out too late.” After the Haunted Ptown tour, I returned to the bench where I spotted the furry cryptid earlier. He was gone. What was odd about the costume is that its head was way too small compared to the rest of its body. And his perfectly crafted bat wings. Man, they were so authentic. And, like in Doucette’s story, his eyes were red, “like balls of flame.” I walked up and down Commercial Street looking for the Mothman Prophecies lookalike. No luck. Like the legend, he was gone in a flash. As the witching hour approached, I headed to Provincetown’s cemetery. Over the years, I’ve spent afternoons at the Winthrop Street graveyard looking at the historic headstones. At the time, I was working on an investigative piece for a magazine about the infamous unsolved murder of the Lady of the Dunes. For some reason, I couldn’t find her grave marker at the nearby St. Peter’s Cemetery. The cold case I was writing about has haunted Provincetown for more than four decades. The Lady of the Dunes was
found in a deserted service road hidden in the Race Point Dunes. On July 26, 1976, a teenage girl who was walking her dog discovered the naked decomposing body of a woman in her 20s or early 30s. The woman was lying face down with a pair of jeans placed under her head. A green towel was also found at the scene. She had long auburn or reddish hair in a ponytail and she was approximately 5-foot-6 inches tall. She had an athletic build. The Lady of the Dunes, as she has been nicknamed, had extensive dental work on her teeth, worth thousands of dollars. The killer had removed several of those teeth— a practice that James “Whitey” Bulger and his cronies were known for. Her hands had also been removed and she was nearly decapitated and had received massive trauma to the side of her skull. Police believe she was also sexually assaulted. Her body has been exhumed twice, in 1980 and 2000, so forensic testing could be performed. No luck. However, a new lead suggested the Lady of the Dunes was tied to notorious Winter Hill Gang leader, James “Whitey” Bulger. In fact, Bulger (who had a past as a gay-for-pay male hustler) was a regular at the popular gay hangout, The Crown & Anchor, and had recently been linked to a woman with a similar description as the Lady of the Dunes. There was also a size 10 shoe imprint found at the scene, the same shoe size as Whitey Bulger, and a green towel or blanket believed to be from the Crown & Anchor. Did Whitey do it? Evidence suggested he should have been a person of interest. As we’ve seen with this notorious cold case, beautiful places aren’t immune to brutal crimes. Armed with a flashlight, I found the Lady of the Dunes’ grave marker. The headstone in Provincetown’s St. Peter’s Cemetery is merely labeled “unidentified female.” As I approached, I heard the sound of scampering feet and spotted a tiny figure dart by as I gasped for air. I was terrified.
32 | BOSTON SPIRIT
At first, I thought it was a cat. And then, based on my past experiences with the paranormal, I assumed it was a cemeterybound spirit. Or, as I joked to myself based on experiences with my third book Ghosts of Salem: Haunts of the Witch City, it could have been a ghost cat. I lifted my flashlight and saw two eyes peering back at me. It was a red fox. We both looked at each other as I shivered in the beauty and the madness of the moment. If you believe in Native American shamanism, the fox is a spirit animal and an omen of sorts. According to Native superstition, it’s a warning of “dark magic” involved in an upcoming project. I quickly darted out of the cemetery and headed back to my hotel. Of course, it’s no surprise that I was put into the one room at the Provincetown Inn that is allegedly haunted. I have stayed in this The Shining-esque hotel with killer views of the harbor many times since I moved back to Boston in 2007. I never scored the so-called haunted room, which is No. 23, until Halloween. It was after midnight and, of course, I couldn’t sleep a wink.
The wing I was staying in was usually off limits, unless the place is at max capacity or it’s during the winter. My room was facing the harbor and I spent most of the evening transfixed by the view of the Pilgrim Monument and the water. Unfortunately, I had no ghostly encounters at the Provincetown Inn that night. However, I have seen what appeared to be an inexplicable shadow glide down the hallway one New Year’s Eve night a few years ago. I’ve also stayed at most of the allegedly haunted hotels scattered throughout Provincetown. My first face-to-face haunted encounter in Provincetown was at Revere Guest House on Court Street. Staying in Room 8 on the top level, I watched in awe as the door knob turned and I saw what looked like a 19th-century fisherman pass through the small hallway from neighboring Room 7. During a second visit, I heard what sounded like a single marble roll down the hall. According to the owner, Gary Palochko, a sea captain named Jackson Rogers from the Azores owned the house in the 1860s and, during renovations in 2004, the B&B owner uncovered a 19th-century map. When I mentioned my spirited encounter, Palochko shrugged and said ghosts “scare customers away.” However, he said that inexplicable noises heard by previous guests in Room 8 stopped once he found the map and other hidden treasures from the 1860s. Based on historical research, there were three kids—Jennie, Manuel and Joseph—in the Rogers family, as well as the fisherman’s wife, Mary. Based on my experience and other reports, the paranormal activity sounded like a residual haunting or a non-intelligent, videotaped replay of past events. What about the weird sound I heard in the hall? The Revere Guest House owner sheepishly told me that he also uncovered an antique marble buried within the walls.
Also, in 2007, I spent the night at what turned out to be Provincetown’s murder house. I was on assignment for a magazine and had booked a weekend at the Victoria House on Standish Street. I was put into Room 4 and spent the night under my covers because I heard what sounded like muted cries or a whimper coming from a boarded-up closet. The following morning, I asked to be moved out of the spooky room. I intuitively knew “Old Whistle House, Cape Cod” PHOTO Frank G. Grace something horrible had hapCosta met his pened there. victims there before luring them to his Years later I found out that the Victo“secret garden” of marijuana and murderria House had a dark secret. Back in the ing and mutilating them in Truro. 1960s, the B&B was a guest house and was According to the July 25, 1969 article in home to serial killer Tony “Chop Chop” Life magazine penned by SlaughterhouseCosta. He was convicted in 1970 of two of Five author Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Costa’s the four murders of the young women he room at the Standish Street haunt was allegedly slaughtered including Patricia H. significant. “In his closet in the rooming Walsh and Mary Ann Wysocki. For a brief house where he helped Patricia Walsh and period, the house was pointed out to tourMary Ann Wysocki with their luggage, ists as the site where the murderer lived.
police found a coil of stained rope,” Vonnegut wrote. After a topsy-turvy Halloween night at the Provincetown Inn, I called a cab the following morning. The driver, who looked to be in her early 30s and who drove a blackand-white checkerboard car, asked why I was visiting. “Research,” I said. “I write historical-based ghost books.” She nodded and talked about her one close encounter with what she described as a shadow figure. “It was plain as day,” recalled the cab driver. “I saw a black figure. It looked like a shadow and it passed right by me in the kitchen. My mom passed one month later. I will never forget that night.” “Were you scared?” I asked. She shook her head. “I don’t believe in ghosts,” she said with a laugh. The cabbie dropped me off at the bus station as I slowly gathered my belongings. “But I do think Ptown is haunted,” she added as I slammed the door shut. [x]
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FEATURE Happenings STORY Sam Baltrusis
Seven Deadly Picks Add these haunting happenings to your spooky schedule for Halloween
3. Hammond Castle in Gloucester
With Halloween, also known as “gay Christmas,” creeping around the corner, we’ve assembled a motley crew of LGBT-friendly events scattered throughout the Bay State. Yes, it’s time to whip out those Rocky Horror fishnets and indulge in the candy corn sugar high of the season. With our seven deadly picks for Halloween, we promise plenty of tricks and treats throughout October.
For 29 years, this Gloucester haunt transforms into one of the most spooktacular haunted houses in New England. Unfortunately, the museum announced that 2016 is the last year they will host their must-see haunted nights event. Inventor John Hays Hammond, Jr. built this breathtaking medieval-style castle in the late 1920s. Marrying late in life, the eccentric gentleman used the mansion as a laboratory and private residence until his death in 1956. In fact, he’s buried in a crypt tucked away on the property and is rumored to be among the several wayward spirits who haunt the house. 7-11 p.m. Fridays & Saturdays, Oct. 14–Oct. 29. Hammond Castle, 80 Hespurus Ave. in Gloucester, hammondcastle.org.
1. Spooky Bear Weekend in Provincetown
2. Old School Game Show in Cambridge
Spooky Bear Weekend punctuates a growing Halloween mob scene in Provincetown. In fact, the LGBTfriendly tip of Cape Cod attracts almost as many makeup-wearing freaks than Haunted Happenings in Salem. Of course, revelers in Provincetown slay the Witch City with their elaborate and fabulously over-thetop costumes. Yes, you haven’t truly experienced a wicked gay Halloween until you parade up and down Commercial Street in drag. Northeast Ursamen present Spooky Bear Weekend. Friday, Oct. 28–Sunday, Oct. 30, ne-ursamen.org/spookybear.
Michael D’Angelo, host of the devilishly camp Old School Game Show, serves 1970s-era short shorts with a homoerotic, slasher-flick sensibility. In this killer live theater/game show cacophony, D’Angelo’s hypersexual Teen Wolf enthuiasm is nicely balanced by his cast of Friday the 13th rejects which includes Boston’s burlesque queen Ginny Nightshade. Based on D’Angelo and Nightshade’s previous Halloween creations, Old School Game Show deserves two Freddy Krueger-style thumbs up. 7 p.m. Saturday, October 15. Oberon, 2 Arrow St. Harvard Square, Cambridge, oldschoolgameshow.com.
4. Seven Deadly Sins in Salem The Witch City has become synonymous with Halloween thanks to a month-long Haunted Happenings celebration. A Salem tradition for a quarter of a century, the annual Hawthorne Halloween ball has attracted guys and ghouls from all over the world since 1991. As the hotel transforms into an unrivaled see-andbe-seen spectacle of Hocus Pocusstyle shenanigans, close to a thousand people attend the costume creep show that takes place across three floors. This year’s theme is seven deadly sins. 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29. Hawthorne Hotel, 18 Washington Square, Salem, hawthornehotel.com/Halloween.
5. Peirce Farm At Witch Hill in Topsfield This Victorian-themed ghost story event showcases Peirce Farm at Witch Hill, a historic property that earned its witchy moniker because of its ties to Salem Witch Trials victim Mary Eastey. In fact, Witch Hill is
where Rebecca Nurse’s sister hid in fear before being carted off to the gallows in 1692. Victorian-era garb is encourages and organizers at Essex Heritage are planning an exclusive Edgar Allan Poe-style bash in the property’s barn.
6. Rock And Shock in Worcester Blood bros Skeet Ulrich and Matthew Lillard celebrate the 20th anniversary of the seminal ghost-face slasher flick Scream at the three-day Rock and Shock convention at the haunted Palladium in Worcester. Courtney Gains and John Franklin, both Children of the Corn alums, round out this macabre music fest featuring monsters, music and mayhem. Who knew “the Woo” could be so damn cool? Friday, Oct. 14–Sunday, Oct. 16. Worcester Palladium, 261 Main St. in Worcester, rockandshock.com.
7. Dead Silence in Provincetown Produced by legendary haunters from David Flower Productions, this immersive haunted theatrical attraction benefits the Friends & Supporters of the Provincetown Public Library. In case producer David Mazochi doesn’t ring a bell, his group was responsible for “Ghost Town,” the wickedly sinister Ptown attraction that scared revelers for five years in a row. Expect a creepy crew of ghost children and a wayward priest and nun. 6:30 p.m. Thursday–Sunday nights & Monday, Oct. 31. The Art House, 214 Commercial St in Provincetown, deadsilence-terror.com. [x] Sam Baltrusis, author of the recently released Paranormal Provincetown and Haunted Boston Harbor books, leads the Myths & Misconceptions historical tour (Noon & 2 p.m. weekends) at Salem’s Visitor Center, 2 New Liberty St. and produces the Boston Haunts ghost tour (7 p.m. Friday & Saturday nights). Visit BostonHaunts.com for details.
SEASONAL Guide STORY Scott Kearnan
The bad news: summer is over, and those swim trunks can go back in the bottom drawer. The good news: Boston’s vibrant art institutions are leaping back into action with a fall season of spectacular live shows and exhibitions. But how to start planning?
Fret not: We’ve scoured arts calendars for organizations around the city and plucked a handful of the best happenings in September, October, November, December, and beyond. Consider these our must-see picks, but for a full list of fall season calendars, just follow the handy links to the various organizations on our gay-dar.
OUT In Your Neighborhood: Latinx Queer Film Series Ever-evolving LGBTQ arts company The Theater Offensive has partnered with community development organization Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción (IBA) to present this month-long series highlighting the diverse lives of queer Latinx, a term increasingly used (in place of Latino and Latina) to be more inclusive of gender nonconforming and gender fluid identities. Among the series highlights are “Mala Mala,” a Tribeca Film Festival award-winning documentary exploring relationships between trans-identifying Puerto Ricans, and “Viva,” a Cuban film about an aspiring drag performer.
Villa Victoria Center for the Arts | 85 W Newton Street, Boston | thetheateroffensive.org
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“Significant Other” Here’s a scenario many gay men will find relatable: You’re getting older, your best girlfriends are starting to get hitched, and there you sit, still single and alone. So it is with Jordan, the gay twenty-something at the heart of this comedy from Joshua Harmon, author of the hit play “Bad Jews.” As his devoted hags find true love and bachelorette parties, Jordan’s existential crisis results in a search to find his own happily-ever-after.
SEP 9–OCT 8
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA | 527 Tremont Street, Boston | speakeasystage.com
“The Clock” Tick tock. Hurry over to the MFA, because you’ll only have a few months to experience Christian Marclay’s “The Clock,” perhaps one of the art world’s most well known video installations. Both a commentary on the cultural construction of time and a functioning clock itself, the installation incorporates 24 hours of real-time video patched together from footage of famous landmarks (like Big Ben) and iconic movies: from “Night of the Living Dead” to “The Accused.” It’s a hypnotic experience, and the countdown is on—so discover it before you-knowwhat runs out.
SEP 17–JAN 29
Museum of Fine Arts Boston | 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston | mfa.org “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” Shimmy into a showgirl outfit and strap on your most sequined headdress. Fiddlehead Theatre Company will revive this Tony-winning musical adaptation of the 1994 film about a trio of fabulous performers traversing the Australian outback—and encountering plenty of misadventures—en route to work a drag show at a remote resort. The show is filled with pop and disco anthems originally made famous by huge gay icons— from Madonna’s “Material Girl” to Cyndi’s “True Colors” and Donna’s “MacArthur Park.” Good luck resisting the urge to hum along—or tap those sequined stiletto heels, hot stuff.
SEP 30–OCT 9
Shubert Theatre | 265 Tremont Street, Boston | citicenter.org
Beyond Words: Italian Renaissance Books at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum PHOTO Wellesley College, Margaret Clapp Library, Special Collections. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Fowle Durant before 1935
Beyond Words: Italian Renaissance Books
“Cheers Live On Stage” Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name—but you can always stop by Club Café later. First, check out this live stage version of “Cheers,” the iconic, Emmy-sweeping sitcom set at Boston’s own famous bar. The live show is adapted from first season scripts, so you’ll find all your old friends—Sam, Diane, Coach, Norm, Carla and Cliff—reunited for some laughs and loving nostalgia. Plus, the show has partnered with the original Cheers on Beacon Hill for a prix fixe dinner package that includes a trolley ride to and from the theater, so you can live out your fantasy of hosting a pint there before or after the production.
Who knows, maybe in a few hundred years your Kindle or Nook will be displayed in a museum. (Though frankly, we wouldn’t bet on it.) For now, though, check out the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s fairly awe-inspiring collection of Renaissance-era manuscripts and printed books, oneof-a-kind antiquities originally made for popes and kings, their pages filled with remarkable paintings. Among the highlights: a first edition of Dante’s “Divine Comedy” illustrated by Botticelli. The Gardner is one of three Boston organizations, alongside Harvard’s Houghton Library and Boston SEP 9–18 College’s McMullen Museum, simultaneously participating in “Beyond Words: Illuminated Shubert Theatre | 265 Tremont Street, Boston | citicenter.org Manuscripts in Boston Collections,” the largest ever exhibition of medieval and Boston Symphony Orchestra Renaissance books in North America.
SEP 22–JAN 16
featuring Renée Fleming
There’s never a wrong time to take in the Boston Symphony Orchestra—but there are few better times than when Eight by Tenn: Short Plays the acclaimed organization is joined by Renée Fleming, one of the world’s most by Tennessee Williams acclaimed sopranos and the bearer of This month Provincetown will host the pretty diverse distinctions: The Grammyannual Tennessee Williams Theater Festival winner has received the National Medal from Sep 22-25. But if you can’t make it to of Arts from President Obama and the outer Cape, Zeitgeist Stage has pulled been the first opera singer to perform together a show that features eight one-acts “The Star-Spangled Banner” at a Super by the legendary gay playwright, including Bowl, if that gives any indication of her “Portrait of a Madonna,” “Something crossover appeal. With the BSO, though, Unspoken,” “The Unsatisfactory Supper” and Fleming will be featured in Strauss’ “This Property is Condemned.” Williams may “Der Rosenkavalier,” a subtly comic yet be best known for longer works “A Streetcar bittersweet opera. Named Desire,” but these brilliant short plays SEP 29 & OCT 1 prove that size isn’t everything.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum | 25 Evans Way, Boston | gardnermuseum.org
SEP 2–OCT 9
Boston Center for the Arts | 539 Tremont Street, Boston | zeitgeiststage.com
Boston Symphony Hall | 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston | bso.org
SEP|OCT 2016 | 37
“Carmen” The Boston Lyric Opera sure looks foxy at 40. As the organization celebrates a milestone year, it brings the Hub a reinvigorated look at a classic four-act opera. Calixto Bieito’s raw, sensual spin on “Carmen” updates the setting to Spanish North Africa in the 1970s, the final days of Franco dictatorship. Unchanged is the torrid tale of wild, obsessive passion, which stills pack the same scandalous, emotional wallop as when composer Georges Bizet first introduced us to “Carmen” nearly 150 years ago.
SEP 23–OCT 2
Boston Opera House | 539 Tremont Street, Boston | blo.org Machine de Cirque
UH-OH: Frances Stark 1991-2015 Los Angeles-based writer and artist Frances Stark has been called the “visual poet laureate of the Internet Age,” and it’s not hard to see why. After all, this is someone who came out with a series called “Cat Videos” years before YouTube was even founded. This 100-work survey of the artist’s output is organized by recurring autobiographical themes—like Stark’s reflections on culture, self and sex, seen in works like “My Best Thing,” a video based on experiences of naughty cyber-chat. From carbon copy drawings to video installations, the mediums are many but the important, distinctive voice is unified—and unmistakably Stark.
SEP 16–JAN 29
Museum of Fine Arts Boston | 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston | mfa.org
If you’ve ever doubted that the circus arts are, indeed, an art form—well, shame on you. Because it’s impossible to view the freewheeling bodies of the five handsome blokes in Machine de Cirque, a newly formed Quebec City-based circus company, and not see artistry in every boundless, gravity-defying expression. The irreverent performers use spare part-like props—from teeterboards to carefully-placed bath towels—to flip and fly in evocative, avantgarde ways that show the art in acrobatics.
“Regular Singing” Playwright Richard Nelson received critical acclaim for his Apple Family cycle of plays, a four-part series about a typical family in the New York suburbs, each installment set on a different historic date or anniversary. “Regular Singing” is the fourth and final part of the cycle, and takes place on the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. Against that backdrop, the Apples are in the midst of losing their own sick relative, and convene for a gathering that explores the nature of family dynamics in a way with which all audiences can relate.
SEP 21–OCT 2
The Paramount Center | 559 Washington Street, Boston | artsemerson.org Machine de Cirque
38 | BOSTON SPIRIT
Charles Mosesian Theater at Arsenal Center at Arsenal Center for the Arts | 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown | newrepo.org
“Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again.” With America about to elect either its first woman president or a crybaby misogynist, feminist discourse has never seemed so mainstream, especially when powered by the social media generation, with its ability to share, debate, and organize in ways that were impossible even a handful of years ago. Out of that zeitgeist emerges “Revolt,” 29-year old playwright Alice Birch’s buzzy new show that links together powerful vignettes—sly, incensed, inspired—that explore the political, economic, sexual and cultural experiences of women in the world, right here, right now. We’re with her.
OCT 21–NOV 19
Boston Center for the Arts | 539 Tremont Street, Boston | companyone.org Playwright Alice Birch
Fiddlehead Theatre Company presents
Sept 30-Oct 9 • Shubert Theatre
Directed by Stacey Stephens
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SEP|OCT 2016 | 39
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Scottsboro Boys PHOTO Glenn Perry
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“The Scottsboro Boys”
With the #BlackLivesMatter movement drawing renewed attention to the role of racism in America’s policing and criminal justice system, “The Scottsboro Boys” seems like a timely choice for SpeakEasy Stage Company. In its Boston premiere, the show revisits the real story of nine black teenagers falsely accused of raping two white women in 1931. From the lynch mob mentality that guided the proceedings to the legal fallout, it all seems so familiar, and serves as a harrowing reminder that we have much to learn from the past in order to build a more equitable future.
OCT 21–NOV 19
Boston Center for the Arts | 539 Tremont Street, Boston | speakeasystage.com “Good” You’ve seen them on Facebook, you’ve spoken to them around the water cooler: Friends, family members and coworkers—smart ones, decent ones—showing a slow, strange drift toward considering a vote for a fascist, demagogic spray-tan in a cheap, expensive suit (someone they would have found abhorrent just six months ago). “How could it happen?” you ask. “Good” attempts to answer. Set in prewar Germany, the play follows a liberal professor with a Jewish best friend as he baby-steps toward rationalizing Nazism. This is a story of how good people can do very, very bad things.
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Charles Mosesian Theater at Arsenal Center at Arsenal Center for the Arts | 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown | newrepo.org Vertigo Dance Company
Vertigo Dance Company Yes, you may find yourself dizzy—not to mention, giddy— after taking in this powerful Israeli modern dance company, here making its Boston debut. The evocative troupe combines contemporary movement with elements of classic ballet, and is committed to social justice: The company has even founded the Vertigo Eco Art Village in rural Ellah Valley as a center for artists to develop new works and real, actionable ideas about clean energy and sustainable living. Their minds may run green, but on stage their passion runs red.
Shubert Theatre | 265 Tremont Street, Boston | celebrityseries.org
Immerse yourself in the landscapes and seascapes that fueled the artist’s love affair with Appledore Island off the coast of Maine and New Hampshire.
THROUGH NOVEMBER 6, 2016
Just five stops from Boston’s North Station!
The Peabody Essex Museum dedicates its presentation of this exhibition to the memory of Carolyn A. Lynch (1946–2015), visionary supporter of education, art and culture and dedicated PEM trustee and patron. The Peabody Essex Museum and the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, co-organized American Impressionist: Childe Hassam and the Isles of Shoals, in cooperation with the Shoals Marine Laboratory. Carolyn and Peter S. Lynch and The Lynch Foundation provided generous support. The East India Marine Associates of the Peabody Essex Museum also provided support.
161 Essex St. | Salem, MA | pem.org
CHILDE HASSAM PARK, BOSTON
Childe Hassam, Isles of Shoals, Broad Cove (detail), 1911. Courtesy of Honolulu Museum of Art. Purchase, Museum funds and gift of Mrs. Robert P. Griffing Jr. and Renee Halbedl, 1964, 3194.1.
BalletX PHOTO Alexander Iziliaev
BalletX They’re so on pointe. Founded in Philadelphia only a decade ago, BalletX performs contemporary ballet unlike anything you’ve seen before. Bold and modern, the troupe emphasizes athleticism and storytelling over slavish devotion to technique—though they certainly have that in spades. So if ballet has never before been your bag, BalletX may have that variable, that magical x-factor, that finally gets your jaw on the floor and your heart racing.
Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston | 25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston | worldmusic.org
“An American in Paris” Come see what all the ooh-la-las were about. “An American in Paris” went down as 2015’s most awarded new musical, for good reason. Inspired by 1951’s Oscar-winning film starring Gene Kelly, and filled with rousing songs by George and Ira Gershwin, this live show captures all the Technicolor wonder and vibrant romance you remember from the MGM classic about American friends struggling to find work under the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, who fall for the same woman in the world capital of love.
“The Young Orphan”, William Merritt Chase, National Academy Museum, New York COURTESY Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
OCT 25–NOV 6
“Tiger Style!” Its name is inspired by Amy Chua’s book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” a headlinegrabbing, somewhat controversial tome about the supposed sternness and strictness that characterizes parenting in Chinese culture. That’s the kind of rearing playwright Mike Lew says he received, and it inspired the creation of “Tiger Style!” a funny look at life, race and the nature of success that follows two siblings—former star students, now underachieving adults—as they navigate the space between the expectations of their parents and their expectations for themselves.
OCT 14–NOV 13
Boston Center for the Arts | 539 Tremont Street, Boston | huntingtontheatre.org
Wang Theatre | 270 Tremont Street, Boston | citicenter.org “Tiger Style!” photo Greg Mooney
William Merritt Chase One of the great, if too often overlooked, American Impressionist painters, William Merritt Chase rendered portraits (particularly of women) and landscapes with striking sophistication and nobility, drawing clever observations with every stroke of his vibrantly colored brush. This first complete examination of Chase in more than three decades, the MFA exhibition brings together 80 works in oil and pastel, and examines a fin de siècle art world leader whose contributions still reverberate today.
OCT 9–JAN 16
Museum of Fine Arts Boston | 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston | mfa.org
42 | BOSTON SPIRIT
An American In Paris PHOTO Orig. Broadway Cast, Matthew Murphy
With election season upon us, here’s a show that examines how the political game is played. What’s more, it comes courtesy of playwright Kenneth Lin, also a writer on the hit show “Game of Cards.” “Warrior Class” follows the story of congressional candidate Julius Lee, a charismatic young Chinese-American politician and former marine who is being touted by his party as the “Republican Obama.” But when Lee’s transgressions with a college girlfriend come tumbling like a skeleton out of the closet, threatening to derail his ambitions, “Warrior Class” investigates how far you can and should go to keep the audacity of political hopes alive.
It’s made of cheese. It controls the tides. It makes werewolves out of men. Getting there was “one giant leap for mankind.” There are many cultural associations with the moon—both folklore and facts—and this cosmic exhibition at the Peabody Essex Museum explores how Earth’s closest celestial neighbor has baited our imagination and sparked our creativity over hundreds of years. The “Lunar Attraction” exhibition, which unites moon-inspired works by myriad artists, also features an opening day festival on Oct 15 with live storytelling, a series of moon-related short films, an astronaut food tasting, and even an amateur astronomer-led observation of the moon from Salem Willows Park.
OCT 15–SEP 4, 2017
Peabody Essex Museum | 161 Essex Street, Salem | pem.org
OCT 21–NOV 13
The Lyric Stage Company of Boston | 140 Clarendon Street, Boston | lyricstage.com
SEP|OCT 2016 | 43
“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder” The 2014 Tony Award winner for “Best Musical,” “A Gentleman’s Guide,” now on its first national tour, stops in Boston for a comedic night of—well, it’s all in the title. Set in Edwardian-era London, it’s about a destitute clerk who learns he is heir to a family fortune—that is, if he can eliminate the eight relatives ahead of him in line. Add a little romance and a stellar songbook, and you have a show that simply slays.
Shubert Theatre | 265 Tremont Street, Boston | citicenter.org
“Le Corsaire” “Le Corsaire” premiered in Paris in 1856. But it took the Boston Ballet to finally premiere it in North America in 2016. The three-act ballet, loosely based on a poem by Lord Byron, is about a swashbuckling pirate who travels to rescue his enslaved love from a Turkish royal. But let’s be real: It’s actually about watching Boston Ballet’s amazing dancers use their lithe and lovely bodies to convey lust and longing, fiery passion and somber melancholy, with always-spectacular artistry.
OCT 27–NOV 6
Boston Opera House | 539 Tremont Street, Boston | bostonballet.org
NOVEMBER “Every 28 Hours”
What can you say in 60 seconds? “Black Lives Matter,” for one. This free, one-night only event, born in Ferguson, Missouri but presented here in Boston by Company One, brought together 40-plus playwrights to create 80 plays, each just one-minute long. Each vignette addresses the disturbing reality that, every 28 hours in America, a black man, woman or child is killed by a vigilante, security guard or police officer. The rapid whiplash of 80 small stories, flying by in rapid succession, seems a perfect formatting metaphor for the urgency of the issue.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston | 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston | companyone.org
“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder” PHOTO Joan Marcus.jpg 44 | BOSTON SPIRIT
“JON SARKIN FISH,” JSARKIN.COM, FISH CITY RUG COLLECTION
“Big: The Musical” Just in case Provincetown Carnival’s “Back to the ‘80s” theme didn’t quite bring you back to the Me Decade, here is a chance to relive a quirky fantasy flick live on stage. “Big: The Musical” is based on the 1988 Tom Hanks-starring hit about a 12-year old boy who suddenly finds himself transformed into a 30-year old man. Wacky hijinks, and romantic misadventures, ensue. The original Broadway run was a flop, despite earning five Tony nominations—and if there’s one thing gay audiences appreciate, it’s an underpraised camp classic.
The Footlight Club | 7A Eliot Street, Jamaica Plain | footlight.org Glowberon: Joey Arias NYC-based performance artist Joey Arias is a legend to anyone who followed the Big Apple’s edgy, underground gay art scene in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but he’s certainly stayed active ever since, even heading to Vegas to spend six years with Cirque du Soleil’s “Zumanity.” Tonight he comes to Cambridge as part of Glowberon, a fringe-focused cabaret series created by Harvard Square’s Oberon and Provincetown’s Afterglow Festival (founded by John Cameron Mitchell and Quinn Cox). Expect nothing but an A-plus show from Arias.
Oberon | 12 Arrow Street, Cambridge | cluboberon.com Joey Arias
Go ahead: Indulge your Oedipus complex. “Greek” takes Sophocles’ famed Athenian tragedy “Oedipus the King”—you know, the one about the guy who marries his mom and gouges his own eyes out?—and sets it in London’s East End in the 1980s. Much as we’d love to hear that concept coupled with some Pet Shop Boys, we’ll gladly settle for the contemporized opera of “Greek,” which features four performers inhabiting 11 different characters. Sounds like a royally good night out.
Boston Ballet’s annual staging of the classic holiday show is a tradition for a reason. It never ceases to amaze, from the alwaysresplendent costumes to the complex choreography. Times change and so do traditions, but when it comes to getting in the holiday spirit, there’s still nothing that comes close to this.
The Paramount Center | 559 Washington Street, Boston | blo.org
NOV 25–DEC 31
Boston Opera House | 539 Washington St., Boston | bostonballet.org
RUGS AND CARPETING
“Shoes: Pleasure and Pain” at the Peabody Essex Museum
“West Side Story” “West” fans, go North—to Beverly’s North Shore Music Theatre, hosting the iconic musical that updates William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” to the rough and tumble NYC of the 1950s, where warring street gangs threaten to tear two starcrossed lovers apart. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll find your own new romance on Nov 10, when the theatre hosts its latest installment of “Night Out on the North Shore,” a special evening for LGBT audiences that includes a post-show reception where you can mix and mingle with other queer culture vultures.
North Shore Music Theatre | 62 Dunham Road, Beverly | nsmt.org
Shoes: Pleasure and Pain
Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s “Dracula”
If Imelda Marcos curated a museum exhibition, it might look a lot like this. “Shoes: Pleasure and Pain” brings together more than 200 pairs of footwear—sneakers to stilettos, vintage designs to contemporary fashions—in a wideranging look at how these fashion statements have also been cultural statements. You’ll see historic relics, works by contemporary designers, and plenty of unique, dramatic pieces that speak to the heart and sole.
There’s the Bram Stoker version, the Bela Lugosi version—even the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” version. But trust us: You’ve never seen Dracula like this. Canadian company Royal Winnipeg Ballet sinks its fangs into one of literature and pop culture’s most infamous villains, the charismatic and erotic (but ultimately deadly) Dracula. This gothic ballet tells the tory through dramatic dance, bringing sultry suspense to the familiar story. Halloween may be over, but this ballet will still get your blood pumping.
NOV 19–MAR 12
Peabody Essex Museum | 161 Essex Street, Salem | pem.org “Kinky Boots” Strap on “Kinky Boots,” the multiple Tonywinning musical that made Cyndi Lauper the first woman to score the award solo in the Best Score category. (Harvey Fierstein penned the show’s uproarious book.) “Kinky Boots” follows the unlikely camaraderie between Charlie, the hapless inheritor of his father’s English shoe factory, and Lola, a towering drag queen whose knack for designing high-heeled sequined boots might be the key to saving the business. Along the way, Charlie and Lola must contend with a few workplace hazards—like some homophobic townies that staff the factory. But ultimately, “Kinky Boots” is a rousing, kicky affair that leaves audiences inspired. If the shoe fits, strut in it.
NOV 30–DEC 4
The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts | 2 Southbridge Street, Worcester | thehanovertheatre.org
46 | BOSTON SPIRIT
The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts | 2 Southbridge Street, Worcester | thehanovertheatre.org “Kinky Boots”
Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s “Dracula”
Zoë Keating If you like classical music with a punk aesthetic, Keating may be your kind of girl. She’s a one-woman cello orchestra, using her own instrument alongside a foot pedal-controlled device that allows her to record herself and play back layers and loops that create a swelling, symphonic experience. The San Francisco-based artist receives critical raves for her music and her DIY approach to running her career—which started with her playing cello in alternative rock bands. Take a bow, Keating.
“Murder For Two”
With a name like that, you might think this stage show is about your summer house-share in Provincetown. But “Bedroom Farce” is actually a 1975 British play about four very different married couples spending an overnight together, and all the conversation, comedy, and philandering that results. (Okay, maybe it does sounds like a Commercial Street soap opera, after all.) If you like sophisticated British humor with a hint of the racy and ribald, this farce should be a fantastic fit.
Here’s a whodunit with a very different kind of twist: “Murder for Two” stars just two actors, one of whom plays the detective—and the other plays all the suspects. It’s a manic and, in the best sense, schizophrenic conceit. And with both stars punctuating the proceedings with cabaret-like piano performances, there’s just enough raucous music to balance out all the comedic mayhem.
NOV 25–DEC 24
The Lyric Stage Company of Boston | 140 Clarendon Street, Boston | lyricstage.com
NOV 11–DEC 11
Avenue of the Arts / BU Theatre | 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston | huntingtontheatre.org
First Parish Unitarian | 1446 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge | worldmusic.org
Start a team Join a team Alzheimer’s is an epidemic devastating our families, our ﬁnances and our future. The disease is all around us — but the power to stop it is within us. Join us for the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s® and be inspired by all the footsteps that fall into place behind yours. Together, we can end Alzheimer’s.
Register today at alzwalkMANH.org
ALIMONY The Massachusetts alimony statute specifically provides that: “…the court may increase the length of the marriage if there is evidence that the parties’ economic marital partnership began during their cohabitation period prior to the marriage.” In June of this year, the Supreme Judicial Court issued its decision in the case of Duff-Kareores v. Kareores. It concluded that a judge may increase the length of a marriage for alimony purposes where the parties shared a “common household” and were engaged in an “economic marital partnership” prior to the marriage.
HOW LONG, EXACTLY,
HAVE WE BEEN
BY: SUSAN E. STENGER AND LISA M. CUKIER It was a champagne-popping occasion last year when the United States Supreme Court issued its landmark decision recognizing marriage as a constitutional right for same-sex couples.
factor is the length of the marriage. The Massachusetts alimony statute increases the length of time alimony will be paid depending on whether the couple has been married 5, 10, 15, 20 or over-20 years.
Although Massachusetts led the way by legalizing it in 2003, same-sex marriage is still “new” to the legal system and many questions remain unanswered.
Like most things, this gets complicated. Same-sex marriage has only been legal for a few years. What if the parties had a commitment ceremony or lived together as a couple for many years? Often, these couples would have married many years earlier if only they could have.
One such situation arises when a marriage ends. Unlike the plotline of many movies, couples do not automatically split things 50/50. The court determines alimony and division of assets based on a number of factors. One important
A recent decision from Massachusetts’s highest court makes it clear that certain pre-marriage cohabitation should be considered in determining alimony. Other law makes it clear that the court should also consider this when dividing marital assets.
The facts in the Duff-Kareores case were unusual. A heterosexual couple married in 1995 and had two children. Things did not work out and they divorced in 2004. In 2007 they began living together again, before marrying a second time in 2012. They filed for divorce for a second time in 2013. The question before the Appeals Court was, “What portions of those 18 years should be counted in determining the length of the marriage?” It concluded that, even though the second marriage lasted only six months, the length of the marriage for determining alimony and dividing assets would be the combined length of the two marriages plus the period of cohabitation prior to the second marriage. They did not include the several years between the first divorce and the later cohabitation. COMMON HOUSEHOLDS AND ECONOMIC MARITAL PARTNERSHIPS What does it mean to share a common household or to engage in an economic marital partnership? A judge must consider some or all of the following: • Oral or written statements or representations the parties made to other people regarding their relationship.
This communication provides general information and does not constitute legal advice. Attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. © 2016 Burns & Levinson LLP. All rights reserved.
• The parties’ economic interdependence or the economic dependence of one on the other. • The parties’ engaging in conduct and collaborative roles in furtherance of their life together. • The benefits to either or both of the parties from their life together. • The community reputation of the parties as a couple. • Other relevant and material factors. An example of a common household would be an unmarried couple that lived together and referred to each other as spouses, presented to the community as a family, raised children together, vacationed together, and made joint economic efforts together. Joint economic efforts might include: • Purchasing an asset together. • Owning a business together. • One supporting the other’s business. • One paying the other’s debts. DIVISION OF ASSETS A judge dividing the assets of a married couple may consider the circumstances of the parties prior to the marriage. This includes the parties’ respective contributions during a period of cohabitation. The word “may” is important here, as it means the judge has the discretion to consider those factors. She is not required to. In one instance, a divorce judge exercised her discretion in considering a same-sex couple’s premarital cohabitation period. The parties were married in 2004, shortly after the Goodridge decision legalized samesex marriage in Massachusetts, but they had actually lived together for about seven years prior to that. The judge viewed the parties as “effectively married” on the date that they exchanged vows of commitment, a year after they started living together. The Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed, ruling that the divorce judge acted within her discretion. Although now a judge “may” consider the pre-marriage circumstances in dividing assets, and is not required to do so, we may one day see a decision from the Appeals Court stating that
a judge “must” consider these premarriage circumstances.
MEET THE AUTHORS
Some unique circumstances that same-sex couples may bring to the analysis include previously having: • Legally entered into a civil union in another state. • Performed a commitment ceremony. • Been married pre-Goodridge in a country where same-sex marriage was allowed. • Lived together since the Goodridge decision, but in a state that did not allow samesex marriage, and only recently moved to Massachusetts and now seeking a divorce. • Deliberately delayed marriage so they could adopt internationally from a country that refuses to permit gay couples to adopt. • Deliberately delayed marriage due to a temporary job-related relocation by one fiancé to a state that, at the time of the relocation, prohibited same-sex marriage, or that would discriminate and jeopardize the safety of the relocating partner if the same-sex marriage was identified in the anti-equality state. Same-sex couples historically often developed for themselves a life that best approximated marriage. One could argue that they would have married sooner had it been allowed. In same-sex marriages, it is especially appropriate to consider all of these circumstances when determining the length of the marriage for purposes of financial calculations upon divorce. Maybe you are considering marriage or are considering divorce. If you have questions about these issues, it is a good idea to sit down and discuss them with a divorce lawyer. A lawyer can help you fully understand the law’s impact on your particular situation, and can assist in planning the next steps in your life.
For information on general divorce-related topics, visit divorcelawmonitor.com.
This communication This communication provides general provides information general information and does not and constitute does notlegal constitute advice.legal Attorney advice. advertising. Attorney advertising. Prior resultsPrior do not results guarantee do not aguarantee similar outcome. a similar©outcome. 2016 Burns © 2016 & Levinson Burns & LLP. Levinson All rights LLP. reserved. All rights reserved.
Susan E. Stenger is an appellate attorney at Burns & Levinson LLP in Boston. She has successfully handled many federal and state appeals including family law cases. Susan also handles cases in the trial courts involving trust and estate disputes, and business and entertainment litigation.
Lisa M. Cukier is a partner at Burns and Levinson specializing in custody/parentage and divorce, guardianship/conservatorship, estate & trust litigation, undue influence and financial exploitation matters, family asset disputes, and planning/litigation for same-sex couples. Special thanks to: Jordan Bowne, Esq. for his contributions to this article.
MEET THE FIRM Burns & Levinson is a Bostonbased law firm with more than 125 attorneys. We work with entrepreneurs, emerging businesses, private and public companies and individuals in sophisticated business transactions, litigation and private client services. Our LGBT Group: Lisa Cukier Scott Moskol Deborah Peckham Laura Studen Donald Vaughan Ellen Zucker
“Trans Scripts” —ianca Leigh as Tatiana PHOTO Colin Hattersley
DECEMBER & BEYOND “Citizen: An American Lyric”
Poet Claudia Rankine has adapted for the stage her lauded 2014 book that explored with searing honesty the state of race relations in America. From Hurricane Katrina to Serena Williams, the cultural touchstones are many but the poet’s voice is singular, distilling experiences with racism into vignettes that allow each actor to explore the pain, trauma, anger and mournfulness provoked by prejudice. This show isn’t just timely: it’s vital.
“Peerless” The college admissions process is murder. High grades, countless extracurricular activities, sky-high SATs: It takes a lot. And in “Peerless,” two Type A, A-plus high school sisters will do anything to get into the college of their dreams—even if that means taking down the competition. Inspired in part by Shakespeare’s “MacBeth,” and part of the Boston Public Library’s “All the World’s a Stage” series commemorating the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death, “Peerless” is a dark comedy about having the drive to succeed at all costs.
APR 27–MAY 28
Rabb Hall, Boston Public Library | 700 Boylston Street, Boston | companyone.org
“Trans Scripts, Part I: The Women” Throughout January, American Repertory Theater will host The I.D. Festival, a programming series focused on the experiences of the trans community and exploring notions of gender identity. Among the highlights will be some onenight-only events like “They, Themself and Schmerm,” transactivist performer Becca Blackwell’s tragi-comic solo show, and an evening with indie singer Rae Spoon, who will explore trans identity with a live performance and screening of the biographical documentary film “My Prairie Home.” The festival’s centerpiece, though, is “Trans Scripts,” an awardwinning new piece that highlights the diverse trans experience through a cast of seven women who draw upon dozens of interviews conducted with many more around the world.
JAN 19–FEB 5
Loeb Drama Center | 64 Brattle Street, Cambridge | americanrepertorytheater.org
The Paramount Center | 559 Washington Street, Boston | artsemerson.org
“Peerless” playwright Jiehae Park
Glowberon: Johnny Blazes and Brian King If you’ve ever dated a younger (or older) queer, you’ve probably been exposed to the Great Gay Age Gap. In a relatively short amount of time, our political and pop cultural spheres having changed drastically with regard to LGBT issues—so you can imagine that folks born even a decade apart might have completely different experiences in how they process their identity. This installment of Glowberon, a fringe-focused cabaret series created by Harvard Square’s Oberon and Provincetown’s Afterglow Festival (founded by John Cameron Mitchell and Quinn Cox), brings together Blazes and King, born exactly 10 years apart yet “twin queens of song and glitter,” in a night of story and song that explores the difference between their generationally-cultivated queer visions.
Oberon | 12 Arrow Street, Cambridge | cluboberon.com “Thurgood” In an election year, especially, we can’t take for granted the power of the Supreme Court to wield tremendous influence on both law and culture. And in case you needed a reminder, New Rep Theatre presents “Thurgood,” a one-man play about the life of Thurgood Marshall, the Supreme Court’s first African-American justice. Marshall made history before he even sat on the bench, arguing Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark case that desegregated public schools, and his name is frequently invoked as shorthand for social justice champions. (Barney Frank once referred to GLAD attorney Mary Bonauto as “our Thurgood Marshall.”) Discover the man, and the legacy.
JAN 7–FEB 5
Black Box Theater at Arsenal Center at Arsenal Center for the Arts | 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown | newrep.org
Johnny Blazes and Brian King
p a c k u p t h a t p e r f e c t s u m m e r…
w e ’r e r e a d y f o r
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“Cabaret” Step into the Kit Kat Klub, the sexy, seedy home to performers like Sally Bowles, who—oh, hell. You already know the plot of this iconic show, one in which everyone from Alan Cumming to Liza Minnelli has had a crack at the characters. But “Cabaret” never loses its allure, and its metaphoric take on the rise of fascism in pre-war Germany seems salient in our current climes. So come, hear the music play! Life is a cabaret, old chum.
JAN 31–FEB 12
Boston Opera House | 539 Washington St., Boston | boston.broadway.com “Rent” A potential Clinton presidency isn’t the only ‘90s revival grabbing our attention right now. Score tickets for the 20th Anniversary Tour of “Rent,” the revolutionary rock opera that brought LGBT characters and issues to the homogenous Great White Way through its modernized retelling of Puccini’s “La Boheme” set in the queer East Village during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. “Rent” kicked off its first tour in Boston back in 1996, when its Shubert staging broke the Hub’s all-time box office record for a weeklong musical engagement. Expect a similarly passionate response for the anniversary go-round, so get your seats secured.
Shubert Theatre | 265 Tremont Street, Boston | citicenter.org “Rent” at the Shubert Theater in Boston in April 52 | BOSTON SPIRIT
Kodo “Dadan 2017”
“Topdog/Underdog” No, this isn’t new Grindr parlance; get your minds out of the gutter. “Topdog/Underdog” is a play by Suzan-Lori Parks, once that helped her make history as the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It focuses on two brothers—one a black Abraham Lincoln impersonator, the other a card shark—as they deal with poverty, racism, and women in their own respective ways. The question at hand: Who’ll wind up on top?
MAR 10–APR 9
Avenue of the Arts/BU Theatre | 264 Huntington Avenue | huntingtontheatre.org 2017 James and Audrey Foster Prize Exhibition Every year, Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art awards its Foster Prize to a handful of select Hub-area artists who have received acclaim on the national and international level yet experienced only limited exposure at home. This year’s recipients—which include experimental filmmaker Lucien Castaing-Taylor and medium-hopping artist Jennifer Bornstein—are no exception to the exceptional history of prize recipients, and discovering their work is a wonderful way to stay on the cutting edge of the art world.
FEB 15–JUL 9
Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston | 25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston | icaboston.org
KODO “Dadan 2017” “Kodo” is Japanese for “heartbeat.” And you’ll feel yours race when watching this thrilling taiko drumming troupe, which for more than thirty years has toured the world and shared its art form with countless global audiences. The performers’ artistry is matched only by their physicality, as they unleash pure passion with every pulse-like beat.
Symphony Hall | 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston | celebrityseries.org Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Nari Ward: Sun Splashed
It’s impossible to overstate the contributions of Alvin Ailey. He helped to popularize modern dance, revolutionized the participation of AfricanAmericans in the discipline, and has gone down in history as one of the LGBT community’s most influential cultural contributors. Though Ailey passed from AIDS in 1989, the theater that still bears his name continues to visit Boston annually through the Celebrity Series, and this year is no exception. If you haven’t yet had the Ailey experience, move now.
Jamaica-born, NYC-based artist Nari Ward first gained notice in the ‘90s for his works that incorporate found objects—from shoelaces to shopping carts—into works that comment on the black urban experience, poverty and consumer culture. ICA will open “Sun Splashed,” which represents the largest survey of Ward’s work to date, and should be a thrilling, visceral, and—no sun pun intended—enlightening experience that illuminates the work of a powerful contemporary artist.
APR 26–SEP 4
Wang Theatre | 270 Tremont Street, Boston | celebrityseries.org
Institute of Contemporary Art/ Boston | 25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston | icaboston.org Nari Ward’s Homeland Sweet Homeland on exhibit at Boston’s ICA
Love Story SEASONAL Weddings ART DIRECTION AND PHOTOGRAPHY Joel Benjamin STORY Scott Kearnan
Planning a wedding can be a daunting experience. But if you simply take it step by step, and link up with some LGBT-friendly businesses along the way, you’ll soon be walking down the aisle in love and style.
Wondering where to start? Allow us to propose a few ideas.
Planning a wedding can be a daunting experience. Allow us to propose a few ideas.
Long’s Jewelers Every step in the marriage process is laden with meaning, and one of the most meaningful traditions comes at the beginning: the exchange of rings. About 53% of same-sex engagements begin with one partner formally proposing to the other, according to a 2016 report compiled by Community Marketing, Inc., a leading national firm on LGBT consumer trends, and The Gay Wedding Institute, a project of Boston-founded LGBT wedding planning firm 14 Stories. Although some lovebirds won’t use engagement rings, in 64% of couples one or (more typically) both partners will wear them. And when it comes to the actual ceremony, 70% of couples will exchange wedding bands. That’s all well and good. But—where to find them? Keep it simple, and visit Long’s Jewelers, an LGBT-friendly business and one of the region’s most long-standing, reputable jewelers. With locations in Boston, Braintree, Burlington, and Peabody, plus a Nashua, New Hampshire outpost scheduled to open this fall, Long’s prides itself on having the largest selection of wedding rings in New England. Whether you’re looking for something tastefully traditional or sophisticated and modern, you’ll be guided toward something with a perfect fit. Long’s also recently launched a new wedding ring designer, Everband, available in 14K, 18K, or platinum. Each wedding ring starts with one gorgeous diamond; every year, couples send in their band to have an additional, smaller diamond added to the outside or (if you like to keep your diamonds discreet) inside of the band. Some couples also choose to add other jewels to signify major milestones: say, a sapphire to commemorate buying a home, or a ruby to mark the arrival of a child. longsjewelers.com
Dan Norman Matt Magrath and David Castillo, Ruby Masterson and Ashley Soong. All represented by Maggie Inc. [HAIR AND MAKEUP] Glammed to Go, Yojanse Jimenez, founder; 617‑794‑6700; glammedtogo.com Long’s Jewelers Shot at Financial District location: 100 Summer St., Boston; 617‑426‑8500; longsjewelers.com Lombardo’s Shot on location at 6 Billings St., Randolph; 781‑986‑5000; lombardos.com Above and Beyond Catering 42 Plympton St. Boston, 617‑426‑5999; aboveabc.com Thanks to: Mark Haley, Alison Wilensky, Caili La Rocca, Eric Morris. Linens, chairs, China and glasses provided by Be Our Guest Inc. [PHOTO ASSISTANT] [MODELS]
Bloom Couture Floral Studio Shot on location at 769 Tremont St., Boston; 857‑263‑8062; bloomcouturestudio.com Saks Fifth Avenue Shot on location at 800 Boylston St., Boston; 617‑262‑8500; saksfifthavenue.com [STYLED] by Topher Yandell The W Hotel Boston Shot on location in the Extreme WOW suite at 100 Stuart St., Boston; 617‑261‑8700; wboston.com
Lombardo’s Finding the right venue is vital. 28% will host their wedding reception in a private function facility (and 22% will also have the actual ceremony in that space). Other popular choices for same-sex wedding receptions include a restaurant (16%), a private home (12%), and a hotel (11%). When it comes to a function space, an excellent option is Lombardo’s, a family-run Randolph facility that is dedicated to weddings and special events. (It’s also home to New England’s largest crystal chandelier, measuring 18- by 23-feet. Now that’s glamour.) Choosing a gay-friendly dedicated events venue is often the easiest way to go; there’s already an established network of vendors to help, and often plug-and-play packages (like Lombardo’s “Classic,” “Grande,” and “Exquisite”) are ways to fold in elements like invitations, linens, and lighting in a way that doesn’t force you to deal with dozens of vendors. Working with a full-service facility like Lombardo’s streamlines the process while remaining customizable. lombardos.com
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58 | BOSTON SPIRIT
LATIN INSPIRED DINING ART GALLERY COCKTAIL LOUNGE
Above and Beyond Catering Depending on the facility you choose, you may be working with an in-house caterer or have the option to bring in a service of your choice. For festivities full of flavor, we recommend the team at gay-owned Above and Beyond Catering, founded by Mark Haley and celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Above and Beyond is a fixture at some of the Boston areaâ€™s most popular events, including LGBT affairs like the GLAD Summer Party in Provincetown, which Haley and his tastemakers have catered since 2008. From reception dinners to ancillary events like post-wedding brunches, their creativity and dedication to excellence is easily evident, and Above and Beyond can concoct menus that suit any palateâ€”from New American cuisine to dishes culling far-flung inspiration from the Far East. Visit their South End tasting room to sample some of the noshes spotlighted here, like spicy Bloody Mary gazpacho with shrimp cocktail shooters and chocolate cake with edible flowers, or discuss global ideas like hand-pulled noodle salad with Szechuan peppercorn and lemon-ginger scones with cardamom ice cream. aboveabc.com
TUES-SAT, 5-10PM 100 STUART ST BOSTON wboston.com/ the-gallery
Bloom Couture Floral Studio It’s not just a matter of “keeping money in the family” that leads engaged couples to seek LGBT-owned businesses: it’s a matter of comfort. According to those statistics compiled by Community Marketing, Inc. and The Gay Wedding Institute, more than half of engaged, same-sex couples have a fear of being rejected by a wedding vendor due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Nip that problem right in the bud. When it comes floral arrangements, pay a visit to the South End’s Bloom Couture Floral Studio, owned by gay designer Suphoj Chancheaw. Chancheaw, a native of Thailand, studied architecture and spent a decade as an interior designer in Boston. So it’s probably not surprising that, after turning his attention to floral design and launching Bloom in 2014, his work wound up leaning toward exciting, sculptural arrangements: think fabulous topiaries and truly unique creations made with forever-favorites like peonies and orchids. He can also guide you to trends that will contemporize your special day— but won’t look dated when the photo albums are excavated in a decades’ time: for instance, implementing succulents for a glorious green-filled festivity, or moving minimalist with branch- and moss-based centerpieces for a “rustic sophistication” that is very hot right now. “We always work with our clients to achieve their vision,” says Chancheaw. “And I’m also happy to help them get a little wild and creative!” bloomcouturestudio.com
Glammed to Go Before your wedding photographer shouts “lights, camera, action” (and before you shout “I do!”), you’ll want to get your hair, makeup, and styling in order. And for that, drop a line to gay stylist Yojanse Jimenez, founder of Glammed to Go, a “mobile beauty service” that is perfect for weddings—because this prettifying posse can come to you literally anywhere: from a honeymoon suite to a secluded beach. (Their kits can be batteryoperated, so they can get your hair and makeup ready even if your ceremony is somewhere off the grid.) Plus Jimenez has been tapped for work everywhere from New York Fashion Week to “America’s Next Top Model,” so you know you’re dealing with a true pro. “I grew up in the business,” says Jimenez, who was born in the Dominican Republic but raised just north of Boston. His mother was a hairstylist, and her son practically grew up in the salon. “I was the kid in the salon always helping her out. They’d say ‘go out and play!’ And I’d say, ‘I just want to press your rollers,’” he laughs. After years working in Newbury Street salons, Jimenez realized there was a need for service that could meet clients anywhere— at home, or say, at the site of their nuptials. Thus was born Glammed to Go, with its team of hair stylists and makeup artists. They can get you wedding pictureperfect—and on-trend. (Right now, loose waves are in for women, and pompadours for men, says Jimenez.) Most importantly, you’ll like—well, you. You’ll just be in especially fabulous form. “I like to incorporate how people normally like to look, and dress it up some more,” says Jimenez. “On your wedding day, the most important thing is that you feel totally comfortable.” glammedtogo.com
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Saks Fifth Avenue Sure, you could make the rounds of formalwear stores and bridal boutiques, hunting down different tuxedos and frilly dresses for your big day. But one of the many great things about same-sex weddings is: we’re not bound by tradition. (And besides, do you really have any business wearing white? Just saying!) We say: visit the style mavens at Saks Fifth Avenue and find some excellent, well-appointed ensembles that are both chic and comfortable. Tap a personal shopper who can guide you through the selections (we worked with stylist Topher Yandell), from more conventional tuxes and gowns to funky and modern suits, sophisticated and sensual eveningwear, and pantsuits that would make Hillary say, “hell yes!” Plus, think about tailoring your attire to the nature of the occasion. If you’re tying the knot on the beach, there’s no reason to be in black and white penguin suits when Nantucket reds and clam diggers are far more appropriate. It’s your day, no one else’s. Make sure it’s a perfect fit. saksfifthavenue.com
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The W Hotel Boston While function facilities can be popular wedding locations, many couples, especially those looking to tie the knot in a downtown destination, opt for hotels. And in Boston, it’s hard to compete with the W Hotel right in heart of the Theater District. The W brand has a reputation for LGBT-inclusiveness. Besides being a supporter of annual Pride extravaganzas, the W created a program called “Turn It Up For Change,” a series of monthly parties (at W properties across the country) that donate 20% of proceeds to the Human Rights Campaign. Because, as the series slogan says, “Love Has No Limit.” Boston’s W has over 5,000-square feet of flexible event space, so from cocktail receptions to full start-to-finish ceremonies, you’ll be able to find a format that works for you. And the hotel has also recently renovated all its suites based on a new design narrative inspired by the theme of rebellion—a perfect fit for Massachusetts, home of the American Revolution, after all. (Not to mention the state’s status as the birthplace of legal same-sex marriage in America.) So check out the fantastic suites that are available for your honeymoon or simply morning-after romance. Options range, and go all the way up to the truly awe-inspiring Extreme WOW Suite, a 1,600-square foot urban palace with striking skyline views, outfitted with everything from a fully stocked wet bar to Bose surround system. wboston.com
CULTURE Reads STORY Loren King
A gay man and his dog Steven Rowley’s “Lily and the Octopus” is a publishing Cinderella story When Simon and Schuster agreed to buy Steven Rowley’s debut novel “Lily and the Octopus,” his editor asked if there was anything he would be unwilling to change if they published it. “They wanted to know if I had any deal breakers,” said Rowley, a Portland, Maine native and 1994 Emerson College graduate. “ I said, ‘I won’t de-gay the book. I won’t make it a straight love story instead of a gay love story.’ “My editor actually cried. She said, ‘I can’t believe it would even occur to you that we would do that.’” Indeed, the incidental but vital gay-ness in “Lily and the Octopus” is a large part of its originality and charm. Ted Flask is an Los Angeles writer who’s depressed over a recent breakup with his boyfriend. While he goes on the occasional uninspiring date, his primary relationship is with his 12-year-old dachshund, Lily. When he notices a growth on the dog’s head, Ted decides it’s an octopus and that the creature will not claim his beloved dog. What
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unfolds is a funny, fanciful and touching story as Ted does valiant battle with the invading octopus, a metaphor for his own fear and grief. “I can’t deny that the book is autobiographical even though it’s a novel,” says Rowley from Los Angeles where he’s lived since he left Boston after college. “I did have a dog named Lily and the dog in book is very much the dog I had—it’s a tribute to her. I was feeling grief over the loss of the friendship I had with this dog, so I started writing. I never imagined it being published and certainly never published in a major way. I initially wrote it to help myself heal.” One of most original and engaging parts of the book are Ted’s exchanges with Lily. “Writing is a solitary occupation, so I’d spend a lot of time alone with my dog,” he says. “When you are alone with a dog, it’s only a matter of time before you start talking and, maybe it’s just me, but then it’s
only a matter of time before the dog starts speaking back. “Lily speaks in two ways in the book: in all capital letters with an exclamation point after each word which was my attempt to translate actual barking. She also talks in normal way, with punctuation marks. For people who say, ‘I wouldn’t read a book about a talking dog,’ well, it’s not really about a talking dog,” says Rowley. “Ted is going though grief and depression and he’s carrying both sides of the conversation. Once I’d figured that out, [the story] came pretty naturally.” For Rowley, writing was “a very cathartic, healing experience”. Still, as a writer, he sought a wider audience—but after a year of trying to land an agent or find a publisher, Rowley decided to self-publish his novel and sell it on Amazon. “I hired an editor to get it into shape. Then, a couple of months later, she emailed me and asked if she could send the book to a friend at Simon and
Schuster. I thought, ‘well, it can’t hurt.’ But I honestly didn’t think anything would come of it,” Rowley recalls. “That was a Friday; and Simon and Schuster called me Monday morning. It happened that fast.” A movie may be in the future—animated flights of fancy like “Anomalisa” spring to mind. But although Rowley’s written and rewritten scripts (none of them produced) over his career as a screenwriter, he’s not sure he’s the best choice to adapt his book. What’s required is to “rip it apart,” he says. “And so much of my heart is in it.” He’s now writing his second novel and although it isn’t about a dog, it is certainly gay. One of the other human characters in the novel is Ted’s best friend, Trent. Rowley says he’s a composite character, but Trent is the name of Rowley’s best friend since they first met at Emerson. Boston was important to him in other ways. “It’s where I came out my first year there, where I went to gay clubs like Club Cafe, Avalon and Man Ray,” he says. “I have such happy memories of that time; I was young
“ Ted is going though grief and depression and he’s carrying both sides of the conversation. Once I’d figured that out, [the story] came pretty naturally. ” Steven Rowley PHOTO Malina Saval and away from home for the first time and free to be myself. So I’m forever grateful to Boston.”
“Lily and the Octopus” isn’t just about a dog or a gay dog owner. But Rowley has no qualms about having the gay label on his work. “I would choose [to be gay] any day of the week and twice on Sundays. One, it’s fucking fun. Two: my humor, my pop cultural references, my politics, my world view, is all informed by my experience as a gay man,” he says. “There are a lot of ‘a man and his dog’ stories; it’s a whole genre of publishing. Many gay people have close relationships with their dogs, even more so than straights because our dogs can be surrogate children. So I’m proud to add a gay entry into the ‘man and his dog’ stories.” A year after Lily died, Rowley and his boyfriend adopted another dog, a rescued terrier that they named Tilda Swinton. “For a gay man in LA, particularly—I refer in the book to LA as a sort of never never land of never having to grow up—for me, having a dog took me out of my own little world and sense of self,” he says. “That was incredibly healthy and important to me.” [x]
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CULTURE Stage STORY Loren King
“Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” costume designer and director Stacey Stephens. Courtesy of Fiddlehead Theater Company.
Yaaaassss, Queen! Fiddlehead Theater Company brings the “Priscilla” bus to Boston When Fiddlehead Theatre Company decided it would open its fall season with the Boston premiere of the musical “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” the Orlando massacre had not happened and Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy was still a joke. But now the story of two drag queens and a defiant, middle-aged transgender woman named Bernadette touring on a bus through the Australian outback, all set to classic disco tunes, has taken on a whole new level of meaning. “This show has been on our docket for months, long before [Trump]. It’s mindboggling that in 2016 we’re dealing with [homophobia and transphobia] as if we’ve turned back the clock. … but the show has a wonderful message about finding yourself and embracing who you are,” says
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director and costumer designer Stacey Stephens. “When we start putting our season together, we look at what speaks to as a company, what’s the temperature in the political and social world, and what’s available to us. ‘Priscilla’ just became available for regional rights; there was a tour that didn’t come to Boston, so we’d be able to premiere it, which is very exiting for us.” Produced by Fiddlehead’s founder and artistic director Meg Fofonoff, “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” runs from September 30-October 9 at the Citi Performing Arts Center Shubert Theatre. The musical, which ran on Broadway in 2012, is based on the popular 1994 Australian film, “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” written and directed by Stephen Elliott. British actor Terence
Stamp earned universal acclaim for his portrayal of tough-and-tender Bernadette and the creative, outlandish costumes earned the movie the Oscar for best costume design. The musical, Stephens says, closely follows the the movie, from the setting in the Australian outback to the battered bus named Priscilla. Yes, Fiddlehead’s production will feature a bus onstage, says Stephens. “We had a showboat, now we have a bus. We’re going for modes of transportation,” he laughs. But what most distinguishes the show, he says, is its “lovely and topical” mix of entertainment and poignancy. “Bernadette is a transgender woman of a certain age who’s lived through real struggles. The three leads represent almost three generations of different experiences of [being LGBT],” says Stephens. Arthur Cuadros, familiar to Fiddlehead audiences for his roles in several shows and for assisting with the choreography
on its recent productions of “West Side Story” and “Showboat,” has the challenge of creating fresh dance moves for such iconic gay anthems as “I Will Survive,” “It’s Raining Men,” “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” and many more. Although this is the first show he’s choreographing for Fiddlehead, Cuadros has extensive stage experience on the west coast. “It is difficult not to do the traditional disco from the era, but I want to keep it fresh, to put my own twist on it,” Cuadros says. “It will be more like [a combination of ] music video style and musical theater.” Besides disco, he says there’s a Busby Berkeley-style number and a cowboy number. The 24-member ensemble will be “dancing their butts off,” he promises, including dances for the three leads and many group routines. “There will be quick costume changes; it’s going to be insane,” he says. It’s Stephens himself who’s designing those elaborate costumes and building “over-the-top” headdresses for the drag queen numbers. It is unusual for the director of such an ambitious show at an
established company to also be responsible for the costumes — there are some 250 to 300 outfits in “Priscilla” — but designing is in Stephens’s blood. Besides his dual roles with Fiddlehead, Stephens designed the costumes for numerous shows in Boston (winning several IRNE awards) and he worked in wardrobe for the original Broadway productions of “Les Miserables,” “Miss Saigon” and “Five Guys Named Moe.” He also toured extensively as wardrobe supervisor for the national tours of “The Lion King,” “Wicked,” “Les Miz” and “Memphis.” “When I look at a show, I visualize it as a whole long before I get into the meat of it. So the clothes are always my go-to. It’s the thing I feel most comfortable with,” he says. “What’s interesting is the style of drag in Priscilla: it’s over the top, crazy things, like the iconic flip-flop dress. We give a nod to that style, but I don’t like to copy someone else’s work, so I’ll bring my own flair, with feathers and sparkles and big head pieces,” says Stephens, adding that for inspiration, he’s studying the work of avant-garde
fashion designers such as Alexander McQueen and Jean Paul Gaultier. “Priscilla” comes on the heels of Fiddlehead’s much-heralded production in July of the Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein II classic “Showboat.” Stephens directed that show too, and designed the 300 period costumes that spanned the years 1827 to 1927. “‘Showboat was a monumental step for the company. We were proud of it. The most rewarding thing, for me, was the fact that we took a 90-year-old musical and made it feel fresh and alive and the audience really responded.” “Showboat” famously deals with bigotry and racism, which made the musical “surprisingly current,” says Stephens. Now Fiddlehead is ready to showcase its version of “Priscilla,” with its timely themes of LGBT identity and empowerment. “I like to say we’re going from the sublime of ‘Showboat’ to the ridiculous,” says Stephens. “But ‘Priscilla’ is so pertinent, and you add great disco songs, and it’s an evening of fun and joy.” [x]
Being yourself is just being human. Everywhere. Every day. We’re with you. We Bank Human and celebrate the LGBT community. TM
CULTURE Theater STORY Loren King
“ Why are people wearing white dresses? Why are we all gathering around to watch two people slice a cake? What is the actual point of that? Does it mean anything? Joshua Harmon
Other, wedding culture, his first play, and even Donald Trump. [BOSTON SPIRIT] You say Significant Other
isn’t autobiographical. So where did the idea come from? Do you know people like the characters you’ve created in the play?
Actor Gred Maraio in “Significant Other”
Young man’s fancy Playwright Josh Harmon looks at gay single life in the age of marriage Playwright Joshua Harmon’s latest, Significant Other, about a young gay man looking for love in New York City as each of his three best girlfriends gets married, is headed to Broadway in early 2017. But Boston’s own SpeakEasy Stage was an early fan of Harmon’s incisive, witty and timely snapshots of modern family life with its November, 2014 production of Harmon’s Bad Jews. SpeakEasy will open
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its new season this fall with Significant Other, which runs to Oct. 8, under the direction of Paul Daigneault. It stars Greg Maraio, an East Boston native and costume designer who earned a Norton nomination for his role as Jonathan/ Miranda in SpeakEasy’s Casa Valentina last year. Boston Spirit had the following interview via email with New York City-based Harmon, 33, about Significant
[JOSHUA HARMON] Look, the play isn’t about the Tudors or King Tut or something, you know? I didn’t have to do any research to write this play. But part of the beauty of writing is that no one gets to know what’s true and what’s fiction except for me. That said, the process of writing and rewriting and rewriting is such that even if something began from a truthful or even autobiographical place, the play itself makes demands on what it can hold, what it needs, what needs to be cut, and so over time, as the play takes shape, you end up with a work of fiction. Whatever remains of the personal is often illusive and weird. [SPIRIT] How long did it take you to write the play? Did you have a pretty good idea of its direction at the start or did the play evolve over time? [JH] I started working on the play 5 years ago. I was at a workshop at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Annie Baker was running the workshop, and she asked us to write 9 short scenes which could be performed in any order. I wrote nine little scenes of Jordan Berman talking to his therapist about Will, a co-worker he wanted to take out on a date to see a documentary about the Franco-Prussian War. Those
short scenes got me excited about writing something longer. Initially I thought I’d write an epic play about unrequited love through the ages, from Laura and Petrarch to Jordan and Will. In the year that followed, I wrote the first draft. It was epically long, but it morphed from being just a look at unrequited love to examining Jordan’s friendships, and then his relationship with his Grandmother. That first draft was kind of insane—it had a live band, and all these Emily Dickinson poems. But over the next three years, I kept working on the play, in readings and workshops and on my own, until it found itself. It is definitely still a play about unrequited love and friendship, but in many ways it is an examination of loneliness, and what it feels like when your world seems to come apart and you are powerless in the face of change. I always knew where the play started and where it ended, that never changed. What changed was how I got there. [SPIRIT] What is it that makes modern wedding culture so ripe for a biting comedy? What do you think about LGBT couples seeming
to crave their own traditional weddings and taking on trappings, like two women in bride attire, that seem pretty absurd? [JH] What has changed so rapidly about wedding culture is the way it’s become divorced from religion. I know very, very few people who have had religious weddings. Almost every wedding I’ve been to-- and certainly I don’t represent all people, but in my own experience, most weddings I attend today are not officiated by a person of faith. It’s a friend of the couple’s, or a family member. There are often strict instructions that the word “God” not be mentioned. And yet, as people move away from religion, they seem to cling to all the other trappings, which is curious-- Jordan refers to this in the play as the “religion of cliche.” I’ve been to more weddings with fatherdaughter dances than with religious ceremonies, and it’s unclear to me why people would want to break free from the perceived constraints of religion but retain these Hallmarky traditions that have no historical basis in anything. Why are people wearing white dresses? Why are we all gathering around to watch two people slice a cake? What is
the actual point of that? Does it mean anything? Or is it just so deeply embedded in all of our psyches from having seen too many movies and tv shows about weddings that we think these are essential somehow. I’m not advocating for religion, but it’s just really weird to me that people ultimately prioritized matching bridesmaid dresses over God. [SPIRIT] Congratulations on heading to Broadway next year, with the same director and (I think) cast. Can you tell me how your relationship with Trip Cullman began and what’s made it a successful collaboration? [JH] I knew Trip’s work as a director before I ever knew him, and I was a fan. My agent sent him the play, he connected with the material, we met, and decided to work together. It’s always a great leap of faith when you sign on to work with someone new, because you are making what is ultimately a very intimate decision without sufficient knowledge. A writer and director collaborating on a new play are deeply connected in a way that is hard to explain. It’s the kind of relationship where you will meet at ten for rehearsal, finish at five, then go
S.ORG APPENING HAUNTEDH
out and talk for four hours, then take the subway home and call each other again, then stay up all night writing emails to each other, then lie awake thinking of all the other things you have to say to each other the next day. So you want to make sure you’re working with someone you can trust and respect and believe in. Trip understood from the very beginning that the comedy in this play would take care of itself, and that his job was to make sure the undertow of pain, the examination of loneliness was ever-present. He never lost sight of that as we moved through rehearsals, which was something I really appreciated. We also wound up having a lot of fun together and being insane perfectionists and having (lovely) 40 minute fights about three-second-long sound cues. We are both obsessive (meticulous is a kinder word, no?), we are meticulous in the same way. It’s a pleasure to meet a fellow traveler on that path.
[SPIRIT] Were you a “theater geek” a a kid? What or who influenced your interest in theater? Did you always want to write plays or did you (or do you now) ever work in other forms? [JH] I have always loved theatre. I grew
up in New York and got to see a lot of productions when I was too young to know what I was seeing, but so what? My Nana took me to Medea on Broadway when I was 10. I saw Janet McTeer in A Doll’s House when I was 14. I had never heard of Ibsen, so the revival was, for me, a world premiere, and watching Nora leave her family at the end of the play was shocking and shattering. In high school, I wrote fiction and poetry and secretly wrote short plays. I think I was ultimately more interested in people than I was in describing where people were, and I also felt like I wasn’t smart enough to write fiction. I worried I didn’t know enough words or something, whereas with characters, you just have to worry about the words they speak aloud. [SPIRIT] The “New York Spring Spectacular,” a show you wrote for the Rockettes, included Donald Trump on video. Was that a comic
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interlude? Did you have any interaction with him? What did you think of his participation then, which was of course prior to his becoming a candidate? [JH] It’s so, so weird to look back on that. Yes, about a year and a half ago, when I was working on the Rockettes show, we had all these celebrity video segments, and one was with Donald Trump. I had to write lines for him, joking about his hair and saying, “You’re fired.” What’s even weirder is that in his video segment, he was speaking to a character named Bernie, who was fighting for his job, so there is all this video footage of Donald Trump saying, “Go Bernie Go! Go Bernie Go!” I was not at the filming of his segment, but he definitely came to opening night at Radio City with his family, and he stayed for a while at the party afterwards, and I remember being relieved because I thought that meant he hadn’t been upset about how he came off in the show. It is shocking, to say the least, to think that the guy we asked to make a Rockette cameo could be (I hope not I hope not I hope not) our next President. [x]
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CULTURE Festival STORY Loren King
Angels and Monsters Everett Quinton directs Tennessee Williams’s “In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel” in Provincetown
(258 Commercial St.) It stars Regina Bartkoff and Charlie Schick, who produced and performed the play to acclaim in a tiny East Village theater in 2012. They invited TWF curator David Kaplan to see the show. Kaplan said since both actors are painters, and the play is about a painter, he was curious. He was so impressed when he saw their production that he invited the couple (married, to each other) to perform the play in Provincetown, under Quinton’s direction. It was at the TWF in 2011 that Quinton first met Bartkoff and Schick. All three were featured in “Now the Cats with Jewelled Claws,” a rarelyproduced one-act by Williams that co-starred Mink Stole, a veteran of John Waters’s films. “We loved Everett from the first time we saw him act. His direction has added a great new element [to “In the Bar of
One of the highlights of this When Ludlam died in 1987, year’s Provincetown TennesQuinton took over as artistic see Williams Festival, running director and kept the RTC Sept. 22-25, is certain to be “In going until 1997, staging works the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel,” one that routinely explored queer of the playwright’s later works, themes, cross-gender casting directed by Everett Quinton, a and an avant-garde ethic but major figure with the seminal that was always faithful to the Ridiculous Theatrical Comtext. pany, founded by the iconic It’s that quality that Quinton gay creative genius Charles brings to “In the Bar of a Tokyo Ludlum. Hotel,” a complex one-act that Quinton was Ludlam’s will, appropriately, be staged collaborator and life-parter. at the12/11/12 intimate2:15 Velvet Gardner12-10-12R2_Gardnr_Dec2012R2 PMLounge Page 1
a Tokyo Hotel”] and took what we did to another level,” says Schick. The four-character play focuses on Mark (Schick), a successful American painter, who has holed up in his Tokyo hotel room where he’s feverishly painting new, increasingly incomprehensible work. Mark’s wife, Miriam (Bartkoff ), worried about her husband’s professional reputation and her own financial stake in it, has summoned Mark’s New York agent to intervene. “Miriam is a challenge. She’s one of [Williams’s] great female characters, right up there with Blanche,” says Bartkoff. Williams examined similar themes of duality, art and commerce a decade earlier in “The Day on Which a Man Dies” (performed at the TWF in 2009 and 2015). There’s a key difference: a dramatic moment
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The Parade, on the beach at the Tennessee Williams Festival in 2015 PHOTO Josh Andrus
took place offstage in that play while it is vividly depicted in “In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel.” Williams wrote the play in 1969 at the height of the Vietnam war. “He was commenting on the world at the time,” says Quinton. “It’s a comment on Vietnam and American imperialism.” Williams did this not just with the play’s characters and themes but through its
truncated language. For a poetic writer like Williams, the decision to write in a staccato style of abrupt and unfinished sentences was obviously an artistic decision. “He no longer trusts a smooth narrative,” says Kaplan. “The punctuation in this play is as important as the words. Williams was deliberate about every comma, dash and period. … The actors can’t do it alone.
Quinton will pay attention; he respects the text and will make it sing.” “What I love about Williams’s later plays is how he’s influenced by the avant-garde poets of his time,” adds Quinton. “No one knows more than he does about language; he was totally open to [new ideas]. The play’s characters are angels and monsters at the same time.”
Quinton says Williams, openly gay at a time when few celebrities were, suffered for trying to write overt queer characters into his plays. “I think ‘Vieux Carré’ one of his best plays but he was slammed for it because it was queer. If one dared to put a gay character in a positive light, you got creamed for it. I was young when I saw that play and I was blown away. I read a review that panned it because Williams dared to give the queer the upper hand,” says Quinton. That directly ties to the mission of the TWF because it offers rediscovery and the opportunity for the depth and scope of Williams’s many works to be seen anew. “He’s not limited to the famous plays,” says Quinton. “He’s still absolutely relevant. He is the master of the universal.” [x]
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SCENE Benefit PHOTOS Javier Vasquez
Boston Spirit Summer Sunset Cruise
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Boston Harbor | Boston | June 15, 2016
Nearly 700 friends cruised around Boston Harbor on Bay State Cruise Company’s Provincetown II when Boston Spirit hosted its 10th annual Summer Sunset Cruise, one of the largest and most popular events of the summer. With a live, panaramic backdrop of a gorgeous sunset over the water, guests dined on delicacies from The Barking Crab and danced to the amazing sounds of DJ Mocha. One hundred percent of the proceeds raised went directly to Fenway Health.
SEP|OCT 2016 | 79
   
David Jackson_Timothy Richmond, and Sharon Jackson Tracy Davis, Anderson Clark, Rikki Bates, and Jennifer Levi Julie Smith and Polly Fanchot GLAD party auctioneer Kate Clinton
SCENE Benefit PHOTOS Infinity Portrait Design
GLAD Summer Party in Provincetown
Pilgrim Monument & Provincetown Museum | Provincetown | July 30, 2016
Honoring the Boston Chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence at its annual Summer Party in Provincetown, GLAD (GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders) raised more than $170,000. Since 2010 the Boston Sisters have supported GLAD at its annual Summer Party, volunteering to act as hosts and greeters, assist celebrity auctioneer Kate Clinton, and pose endlessly for photos. The Boston Sisters spend an average of 20–60 hours per month helping raise money for organizations within the LGBTQ community.
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Sister Eunice X and GLAD executive director Janson Wu Elyse Cherry George Hastie and GLAD attorney and AIDS Law Project Director Ben Klein
SCENE Benefit PHOTOS Courtesy of CRI
CRI Summer Party Red Inn | Provincetown | July 24, 2016
Great food, great drinks, great friends. A perfection combination in a gorgeous setting to raise more than $60,000. Critial funds to help Community Research Initiative of Boston further its lifesaving HIV clinical research.
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SCENE Gala PHOTOS Patricia D’Auria
Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival Gala Dinner
Provincetown Town Hall | Provincetown | June 4, 2016
Gala-goers got a chance to meet and mingle with actor Brian Dennehy at the annual benefit gala dinner for the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival. The theme for the 11th annual festival (Sept 22–25) celebrating playwright Williams will be “Eugene O’Neill and Tennessee Williams: Beyond Success.” 2016 marks the centenary of the year O’Neill began writing ground-breaking plays in Provincetown. Both playwrights thrived in Provincetown’s atmosphere of artistic freedom.       
Mike Mosbrooker, Lisa Viola_Gabby Hanna, Marcy Feller, and Jerry Stacy Bill Gannon and David Weidner Brian Dennehy and David Kaplan, festival curator and co-founder Berta Walker Brian Dennehy and David Kaplan Patrick Falco and Brian Carlson, Provincetown Theater board president Tom Boland, Jim Farley, and Roberto Caldera Lora Papetsas and Jack Brent
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SCENE Benefit PHOTOS Steve Lord and Victory Programs staff 1
Drive for Victory Charity Golf Tournament
Oakley Country Club | Watertown | June 20, 2016
Enjoying blue skies and gorgeous views of the Boston skyline, 112 golfers made Victory Programs’ fourth annual Drive for Victory charity golf tournament a huge success. The golfers raised nearly $53,000, setting a new fundraising record for the event for the second year in a row. The event also featured a pre-tournament lunch, an awards dinner, a silent auction, and prizes. First place honors went to Jason Canaday, David Coughlin, John Gunderson, and Joseph Turner. In second, came Elizabeth Dugan, Jack Moran, Peter Moran, and David Wagner. Coming in third were Michael Adamson, Joseph Ciampa, Robert Dunn, and Michael Rich. Awarded Most Honest Team were Tony Bertoldi, Eli Kahan, Vincent Monaco, and James Sheehy. The longest drives were delivered by Yano Amara and Lorraine Carli, and Khaled Khalil was awarded the Closest to the Pin prize.
First-place winning golfers Joseph Turner, John Gunderson, Jason Canaday, and David Coughlin Yano Amara, Samantha Davis, Erin O’Sullivan, and Stephen Ross
Elizabeth Dugan, David Wagner, and Peter Moran Dave Pashayan, David Zimmerman, Wendell Chestnut, and Michael Fleisher
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SCENE Benefit PHOTOS Melissa Ostrow
Kiehl’s LifeRide for amfAR Boston Event Kiehl’s Newbury Street | Boston | August 10, 2016
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh proclaimed August 10, 2016 “Kiehl’s LifeRide for amfAR Day” when Kiehl’s President Chris Salgardo and amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost, along with a crew of celebrity riders, biked into Boston for a special event at the Kiehl’s store on Newbury Street as part of the seventh annual ride. Rallying at 10 store stops along their route from New York City to Philadelphia including five spots in New England (see related story on page 18), Kiehl’s is donating a total of $150,000 over the course of the ride.
[FRONT ROW, FROM LEFT] YouTube star Amanda Ensing, actor Gilles Marini, and HGTV host Anthony Carrino; [MIDDLE ROW, FROM LEFT] Kiehl’s Store Manager Arli Vargas, Kiehl’s USA
President Chris Salgardo, amfAR CEO Kevin Frost, AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts Executive Director Carl Sciortino, reality TV star and model Carmen Carrera, TV host Grant Reynolds, World Cup rugby champion Ben Cohen; and [BACK ROW, FROM LEFT] celebrity tattoo artist Luke Wessman and Alden & Harlow and Waypoint chef/owner Michael Scelfo.
[FRONT ROW, FROM LEFT] actor Gilles Marini and amFAR CEO Kevin Frost; and [BACK ROW, FROM LEFT] Alden & Harlow and Waypoint chef/owner Michael Scelfo, celebrity
Kiehl’s USA President Chris Salgardo and AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts Executive Director Carl Sciortino.
tattoo artist Luke Wessman, HGTV host Anthony Carrino, YouTube star Amanda Ensing, TV host Grant Reynolds, Kiehl’s USA President Chris Salgardo, AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts Executive Director Carl Sciortino, and World Cup rugby champion Ben Cohen.
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Anna Vann on Thompson Island.
Paul M Vanecko, Anna Vann, Gary Fortin, Costas Rodopoulos, Darren R. Gallant, Eli Segev, Jinx Addams, and Milton Omar Perez-Mercado on the banks of the Charles River in Newton.
SCENE Environment PHOTOS Courtesy of Gay for Good Boston
Gay for Good Boston Environmental Clean Up Boston Harbor; Charles River | Boston | July 16 and 23, 2016
Each month, Gay for Good Boston selects different non-profit and local community groups, projects, and organizations to donate their time for community service projects. In July, volunteers gathered on the banks and in the marshes of the Boston Harbor Islands and the Charles River. On July 16, they traveled to Thompson Island to help National Park Service rangers weed out invasive plants to help restore the ecosystem. And on July 23, they removed over 150 baskets of invasive water chestnut from the Charles River in an effort to help promote growth of native plants and animals in the ecosystem. To join in upcoming activities, go to www.gayforgood.org/boston_ma. Art Nava on Thompson Island.
Anna Vann, Jinx Addams, Cliff Smith, and Donald Schultz with a National Park Service ranger on Thompson Island.
Art Nava and Cliff Smith en route to Thompson Island.
Gay for Good Boston volunteers at Boating in Boston on the banks of the Charles River in Newton.
Gay for Good Boston volunteers on the banks of the Charles.
Heading onto Thompson Island.
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SCENE Parade PHOTOS Courtesy Boston Pride
Boston Pride Parade All over town | Boston | June 11, 2016
More than 500,000 spectators turned out to celebrate a record-breaking number of marchers, floats, sponsors, and fellow revelers at Boston’s 2016 Pride Parade, which spilled over into parties, festivals, and enough good will to spread throughout the year. Festivities started at noon, with marchers moving through the South End, into Back Bay, down Tremont Street, past the Boston Common, and arriving at Government Center. All told, there were 258 groups of marchers, 28 floats, and more than 80 vehicles.
Mayor Marty Walsh and Congressman Joe Kennedy III
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Boston Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Sandra Musique and Gloria LeLuia with David Stanford
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SCENE Category PHOTOS GeoProf26
Rhode Island PrideFest & Illuminated Night Parade South Water Street | Providence | June 18, 2016
Rhode Island celebrated its 40th annual PrideFest and Illuminated Night Parde with a great line-up of entertainers, 150 display booths including nonprofits, Pride swag, food, spiritual and religious vendors, healthcare screenings, beer/wine/cocktail garden, stuff for kids, and its signature Illuminated Night Parade, which kicked off in downtown Providence at sunset.
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CALENDAR The Art and Mystery of the Dollhouse 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, including an annual LGBTQ Pride Pageant, parade and festival on the common (which last year garnered 15,000 attendees), block party outside longstanding gay bar MB Lounge, Youth Pride dance, and much more. For the first time this year, Burns Bridge over Lake Quinsigamond will be alight in rainbow colors, and a celebratory reception for the occasion will be held at Lock 50 restaurant (which will also host the firstever, post-festival “recovery brunch”). Way to go, Woo-town. WHEN
Still smarting from when your parents told you not to play with dolls? Get revenge—and get inspired—by visiting “The Art and Mystery of the Dollhouse,” a cool and curious new exhibition at the Concord Museum that brings together historic and otherwise noteworthy miniaturized creations to celebrate their artistry and craftsmanship, and explore how dollhouses reflect their respective eras and engage the imagination in unique ways. From a well-preserved 1695 dollhouse to an extensive array of 18th century versions—outfitted with real silver and meticulously made furnishings—the exhibition gathers together quite a collection. And though you still can’t play with those on display, don’t worry: hands-on room-building workshops are among some of the special programs offered over the course of the show. WHEN
October 14 – January 15
Concord Museum, 53 Cambridge Turnpike, Concord, MA
Sleaze Here’s your next excuse to sweat up a storm on a sexy dance floor: Sleaze, a new monthly (third Saturdays) party from DJ Brian Derrick. The vibe is “underground light,” says Derrick, who plans to spin sets brimming with dark, deep, grimy house and tribal music, from Rauhofer remixes to soulful diva vocals with a sensual after-hours sensibility. Imagine a mirrorball in a bathhouse, and you’ve got the idea. Creative looks are encouraged (that includes skivvies, gents) and each month will have a unique theme developed in partnership with local artists and photographers. It’s never been so wonderfully easy to get a little sleazy. WHEN
Saturday, September 17 and Saturday, October 15
The Alley, 14 Pi Alley, Boston
The B-52s “Roam” your way over to one of the New England stops from The B-52s, the kooky, campy party band with a strong queer following. After all, three of the band’s four remaining original members—Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson, and Keith Strickland—are LGBT. (Founding member Ricky Wilson was also gay, and passed from AIDS in 1985.) The venerable alt-rock act still tours actively, playing hits like “Rock Lobster,” “Private Idaho,” and “Love Shack.” The local dates include an appearance at Tanglewood, where the quirky crew will take an orchestral track alongside the Boston Pops. It’s bound to be the bomb. WHEN
Sept. 2 (Tanglewood); Sept.3 (Boarding House); Sept. 4 (Foxwoods) WHERE
Tanglewood Music Center, Lenox, MA; Boarding House Park, Lowell, MA; Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket, CT HOW
Shura If you haven’t yet heard of UK-based synthpop singer Shura, get familiar. The lesbian artist recently released her first full-length album, “Nothing’s Real,” and it is chockfull of ear candy: groovy yet soothing ’80s-inflected tunes that recall Robyn in their hooky melodies, yet manage to convey a bit more melancholy through lyrics that focus on nostalgia, loss, and unrequited love. LGBT longing has also featured into her music videos for songs like “Touch” and, most recently, “What’s It Gonna Be?” a sweet high school-set clip about young same-sex love. Fresh off the festival circuit, Shura swings by Boston for a refreshingly intimate club show. WHEN
Tuesday, September 6
Great Scott, 1222 Commonwealth Avenue, Allston, MA
Throwing Shade Imagine Will and Grace with a bit more bite to their banter, and you’ve got Bryan Safi and Erin Gibson, the sassy besties behind comedy podcast “Throwing Shade.” Each week, the duo promises to dissect current events in politics and pop culture that are “important to ladies and gays.” And now they’ve taken their repartee on the road for a national tour, serving shade from city to city. Expect pontificating on LGBT and women’s rights issues, some personal over-sharing, and good-natured sparring—with gut-busting results. WHEN
Monday, September 5
Brighton Music Hall, 158 Brighton Avenue, Allston, MA
GLAD Spirit Of Justice Award Dinner It’s impossible to overstate the importance of the Boston legal organization Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders. Support GLAD by attending its annual fundraising dinner, this year honoring Phill Wilson, founder and president of the Black AIDS Institute, a national think tank addressing the disease as it relates to communities of color. Wilson’s activism around HIV/AIDS issues actually stretches back to the early ’80s (he’s the former AIDS coordinator for the city of Los Angeles), and during his storied career Wilson has also co-founded the National Black Lesbian and Gay Leadership Forum and the National Task Force on AIDS Prevention. Raise a toast to a strong community leader—and help raise monies for a vital community organization. WHEN
Friday, October 28
Boston Marriott Copley Place, 110 Huntington Avenue
Pride Vermont If you’re looking for an excuse to take a trip up north, in September the Green Mountain State’s biggest city hosts Pride Vermont, an annual celebration that is accompanied by additional Pride-related events throughout the month. In the past they’ve included a drag-filled High Heel Race down cobblestone Church Street and Women’s Tea Dance. Keep an eye here for updates, or plan to visit for the main event, a parade and festival throughout the cobblestone-lined Church Street Marketplace. The year’s theme, “Solidarity Through Pride,” will feature live entertainment, games, and more. WHEN
Sunday, September 11
Bianca Del Rio She’s biting, she’s boisterous, and combines the comedic timing of Joan Rivers with the makeup style of Bozo and the fashion sense of the Chiquita Banana mascot. She’s Bianca Del Rio, she’s the winner of the sixth season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” and she’s bringing her trademark insult comedy to Boston while on her “Not Today Satan” tour. Del Rio is known for politically incorrect humor that takes no prisoners and makes no apologies, so brace yourself for a rollicking ride with one fiery funny “lady.” WHEN
Tuesday, October 18
Royale Nightclub, 279 Tremont Street, Boston
Cameron Esposito Lesbian comedian Cameron Esposito recently premiered her new digital series, “Take My Wife,” on NBC’s Seeso streaming service. The humorous show co-stars Esposito’s wife Rhea Butcher, and is a semi-autobiographical take on their relationship and experiences navigating the standup comedy world as out performers. But Esposito, who also recently released a full-length comedy album, “Marriage Material,” will be flying solo when she takes the stage on the New England stops of her latest tour. Expect plenty of LGBTQ-themed humor from Esposito, who also has some local ties: she graduated from Boston College. WHEN
October 14 (Paramount); October Crown & Anchor, Provincetown; Pearl 18 (Pearl Street Nightclub); Street Nightclub, Northampton, MA; cameronesposito.com October 19 (Middle East); Middle East, Cambridge, MA; Music October 20 (Music Hall Loft) Hall Loft, Portsmouth, NH.
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Invest in a future without cancer Include Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund in your estate plans to reach your financial goals and help fight cancer. 800-535-5577 Dana-Farber.org/spirit
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www.carpediemguesthouse.com SEP|OCT 2016 | 95
CODA Comedy STORY Scott Kearnan aren’t voting the way you’d like them to vote, we need to stop and talk with them. [SPIRIT] How do you talk to a Trump supporter?
We’re with Her Comedy’s Clinton reminds us we’re stronger together through laughter and love Hillary’s not the only Clinton creating waves in Provincetown. The presidential candidate already made her most recent swing through P’town (an August fundraiser with gay icon Cher), but Kate Clinton is continuing her comedic campaign to stoke political passion. “Wake Up Call,” her latest standup show filled with salient humor on LGBT issues and the state of the union, continues on stage at Crown & Anchor through October 15. The out comedian has a bon mot-dropping silver tongue, and her acts always find ways to cover hot button issues — especially this year, as Donald Trump spews one hate-filled diatribe after another. Love, however, is very much on Clinton’s mind. In fact, on October 15 she’ll serve as officiant at Bride Pride, a mass lesbian wedding at Roux Provincetown Bed & Breakfast that is poised to enter
the Guinness Book of World Records as history’s largest all-girl wedding. (Couples looking to renew their vows are invited too.) The event coincides with the height of Women’s Week, turning all Provincetown into one ribald reception. We checked in with Clinton to learn more about her show—and the celebration. [SPIRIT] You’re always using comedy to make salient political points, but I imagine this campaign season has even more fodder than usual! [KC] It’s so true. During the
conventions I was going on stage every night with my lists of things to talk about. But it’s funny to do something in a vacation town because everyone is at the beach all day, so when they come in and I tell them things, it’s like giving the daily news. They’re like, “What?!” Of
course, now you really can get your information anywhere—even at the beach. Which isn’t always a great thing. We need to have some offline, mental health days too—especially this season. Right? I think we should start something in Provincetown called Analogue Week where you have to turn all your devices in beforehand. We’ll put up a border between here and North Truro, and we’ll make them pay for it, of course! [SPIRIT] What do you most want audiences to take away from your show? [KC] This is a wake-up call. Although after seeing things like the shootings in Orlando and the racism with Donald Trump, it’s like “how much more awake do you have to be?” I’m encouraging people to stay involved, to not become cynical or mute. I quote [political theorist] Hannah Arendt, who said that totalitarianism makes people mute. And we can’t let that happen. If we have an encounter with friends who
[KC] One of the most constructive things I’ve heard came from my sister, who lives in working-class Baltimore where they’re Trump crazy. She’s feisty, but she said what’s been most effective for her is to begin a conversation by saying “How are you going to vote?” Don’t be afraid to do that. And if they say Trump, she just says, “Say more. Say more.” Sometimes we quickly go into conversations with an attitude of “I already know what you’re thinking.” But this is a way to learn, and then you can say, “I disagree with you on these specific things, and I really want you to think about them.” [SPIRIT] You’re about to officiate a record-breaking lesbian mass wedding, Bride Pride. And you and [LGBT rights activist] Urvashi Vaid have been a couple for nearly 30 years! What’s your advice on keeping a relationship happy and healthy? [KC] Two bathroom sinks!
[laughs] I reall think it’s about talking, about communication. It’s sort of like what I said about Trump: you can’t become mute. I had such good fortune to find Urvashi. We’re a perfect marriage of comedy and tragedy—but I’m not telling you which is which! I think she has definitely helped my routines to have more substance and helped me to have more courage to talk about politics. And I think in a way my humor has helped her work. Sometimes I hear her on a phone meeting, roaring with laughter. I think we bring out the best in each other. [x]
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