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Is There a Supreme Court Marriage Majority? 12 Yossi is Back 18 Urvashi Vaid’s Challenge 16 Why “Dead Accounts” was DOA 22

Has Bloomberg Cooled on




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January 16, 2013 |

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IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION What is the most important information I should know about STRIBILD? STRIBILD can cause serious side effects: t Build-up of an acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious medical emergency. Symptoms of lactic acidosis include feeling very weak or tired, unusual (not normal) muscle pain, trouble breathing, stomach pain with nausea or vomiting, feeling cold especially in your arms and legs, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and/or a fast or irregular heartbeat. t Serious liver problems. The liver may become large (hepatomegaly) and fatty (steatosis). Symptoms of liver problems include your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow (jaundice), dark “tea-colored” urine, light-colored bowel movements (stools), loss of appetite for several days or longer, nausea, and/or stomach pain. t You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or serious liver problems if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking STRIBILD for a long time. In some cases, these serious conditions have led to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any symptoms of these conditions.

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| January 16, 2013

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January 16, 2013 |

Has Bloomberg Cooled on Quinn? What the mayor’s political flirtations really mean BY PAUL SCHINDLER



he prevailing City Hall narrative in New York — from early 2006 through late 2012 — pictured a happy, stable, and mutually advantageous political marriage between Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. A frequent critic of Bloomberg in her previous role as former Speaker Gifford Miller’s number two, Quinn proved quickly — in the wake of her election to lead the Council in January 2006 — that she could play nice with the mayor. Even as her opponents, including some former allies, charged she was carrying water for Bloomberg, Quinn cast their relationship as a partnership that serves the citizens of New York. In 2007, just 18 months into her t e n u r e a s s p e a k e r, s h e t o l d G a y City News, “He’s the mayor. I’m the speaker of the City Council. We have an obligation to get as much done as we can to help New Yorkers, right? Nobody wants to hear from us in 2009 that, ‘Oh, he was dif ficult,” and ‘She was a bitch.’” The partnership was cemented in the fall of 2008, when the speaker led the Council in approving a waiver on term limits, allowing Bloomberg to run for a third term. Quinn endured intense criticism for her role in that — with anger in her district helping to fuel a stronger than expected primary challenge for her own seat — but the four -year extension allowed her to put space between embarrassing revelations in early 2008 about an appropriations slush fund managed for years out of the speaker’s office and her own eventual run for mayor. The political world assumed that after granting Bloomberg the right to a third term, Quinn would enjoy

Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

the mayor’s support — in one form or another — in her race to succeed him.

Bloomberg may be experiencing something of a seven-year itch. About a year ago, the mayor reached out to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, encouraging her to enter the race, the newspaper reported, citing the accounts of three people told of those discussions. To be sure, only Barack Obama has managed to prove he will not stand for being second choice after Hillary Clinton, so there may be no shame for Quinn in having the mayor dream his successor could be just

“There is not a real formula that explains what Bloomberg does. If this were someone in mainstream politics, you could predict the moves, but not here.” Three stories published in the New York T imes over the past six w e e k s , h o w e v e r, s t r o n g l y h i n t

that famous. The other names the T imes has linked to Bloomberg’s calculations are Senator Chuck Schumer, the only other political pr o in the bullpen, Mort Zucker man, the billionaire owner of the D a i l y N e w s , E d S k y l e r, t h e m a y or’s former top deputy, and Ed Rendell. As in the former mayor of Philadelphia and for mer gover nor of Pennsylvania. That would seem a good bit of casting about for alternatives from a man long expected to help Quinn’s career along. It’s far from clear what concrete steps, if any, Bloomberg took to encourage any of these names to step up. The approach to Rendell, for example, was made by Bradley Tusk, who, though he ran the mayor’s 2009 campaign, told the T imes the conversations came at the behest of “a few people in the business community.” Tusk, it should be noted, has acknowledged he offers periodic “informal” advice to Quinn. Still, it seems clear, at the very least, that the mayor has been indiscreet in letting it be known he isn’t yet in a place where he can comfortably imagine any one person occupying the seat he’s held for nearly a dozen years. What’s that all about? While some pundits have concluded Quinn has been played by the mayor, half a dozen people Gay City News spoke to, from the LGBT leadership, political consulting, and academic worlds, are not convinced it means what it would appear to — and not, in fact, the exact opposite. “It helps her, obviously, to get some distance from the mayor,” said George Arzt, a former journalist and press secretary to Mayor Ed Koch who has run his own communications and government relations firm since 1995. At the same time, Quinn continues “getting his institutional support,” emphasized Arzt, citing Tusk’s engagement with the speaker’s campaign as well as the more formal role played by Josh Isay, a managing director at the communications consulting firm of SKDKnickerbocker who also worked on Bloomberg’s 2009 reelection effort. Pointing to the dissatisfaction Quinn often hears fr om pr ogr essive constituencies about her closeness to the mayor, Arzt said, “If she can say, ‘Have you been reading the newspapers?’ while clearing getting his support, she can bake the cake and eat it, too.” Arzt, however, did not argue that stories like those in the Times mean nothing, nor did he make the case

COOLED ON QUINN, continued on p.9


| January 16, 2013 COOLED ON QUINN, from p.8

that it was all a feint on the mayor’s part to give Quinn politically helpful room to maneuver. “It leads to a lot of head scratching,” he acknowledged, before suggesting the stories say a lot more about Bloomberg than they do about Quinn. Noting that the day after the Times story about the Clinton over ture appeared in early December Bloomberg made a point of publicly praising the speaker, Arzt said, “The mayor is not really a political person. His instincts shift from day to day. There is not a real formula that explains what Bloomberg does. If this were someone in mainstream politics, you could predict the moves, but not here. He’s a person who makes the rules, he doesn’t follows them.” Ken Sherrill, an out gay professor emeritus of political science at Hunter College, agreed that Bloomberg’s wandering eye need not hurt Quinn — at least in her face-of f against other Democrats — and that the spate of recent stories are interesting mostly for the insights they provide about the mayor himself. “I don’t think that being supported by the mayor helps any candidate among likely voters in a Democratic mayoral primary,” he said, before adding, about Bloomberg’s public ruminating, “I don’t think it’s lack of confidence in Chris. Rather, it involves Bloomberg’s self-image as a superstar, superhero. And he thinks that the city needs someone like himself, not someone who has made a career in New York City politics. If it has to be a career New York City politician, he prefers Chris to the others.” The mayor’s thinking, in Sherrill’s view, is not all based in preening self-regard. “One of Bloomberg’s strengths, relative to any recent mayor, is that he has really thought about the city in long-term ways,” Sherrill argued, noting his ef forts on the budget, public health, and environmental issues. “Twenty-five to 50 years from now, that’s what his mayor alty may be most remembered for. His ideal mayor is someone who’s going to think about the city 50 or 100 years fr om now, not today. I think that’s why you see him looking for people who aren’t New York City politicians.” In flirting with other names, then, the mayor is r ejecting the entir e political class. “He can barely contain his disdain,” Sherrill said. “With friends, he can no longer keep back his feeling that the city deserves something

much better than what the New York political system can produce.” Others see more coordinated choreography behind the recent Times stories. “I can only speculate on what Mayor Bloomberg might be thinking,” Matt McMorrow, a co-president of Brooklyn’s Lambda Independent Democrats, wrote in an email mes-

of things like this,” he said. “It almost looks like this is orchestrated.” Referring to Bloomberg’s deputy mayor, Fleishman said, “Look at Howard Wolfson, the king of spin. He keeps the mayor’s name out there. And it kind of helps Chris. Everywhere she goes in the progressive community, they tell her they don’t like the mayor. I wish


City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

sage. “But I wouldn’t be surprised if it is a deliberate attempt to distance himself from Christine Quinn, probably to her benefit.” McMorrow suspects the speaker’s moves may soon mirror Bloomberg’s.

I wasn’t so cynical, but I am sure t h a t J o s h I s a y a n d Wo l f s o n t a l k every day.” Asked whether he or others in the Quinn campaign team had spoken to the mayor’s inner circle about the Times stories, Isay said, “I’m not going to comment on per sonal conversations.” Asked if the stories worried him, he would say only, “No.” Melissa Sklarz, president of the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, took the occasion of being asked about the mayor’s deliberations to take a few pokes at him — in the process, pointing up the baggage Quinn could being trying to shed. “It appears that Mayor Bloomberg is uncomfortable with all New Yorkers having an equal say as to who our political leader should be,” she said, in an email message. “He has shown little patience for the political process nor much respect for those that practice it as a career. I am sure he has asked all of his other billionaire, media friends,

“I wish I wasn’t so cynical, but I am sure that Josh Isay and Wolfson talk every day.”

“As the primary season picks up and she tries to court r egister ed Democrats, I think you will see Quinn drawing greater distinctions b e t w e e n h e r s e l f a n d t h e m a y o r, which I think is a smart strategy,” he wrote. Another longtime Lambda memb e r, A l a n F l e i s h m a n , a f o r m e r Democratic district leader in Park Slope, takes what he acknowledged is a more “cynical” view of what’s going on. “I’m just naturally very suspicious

and perhaps he is down to his millionaire friends.” Even if everyone agrees that there are political benefits to Quinn staking out a more independent profile from the mayor, Arzt argued that recent speculation about Bloomberg’s loyalty has not come without costs. “Where it hurts Quinn is with the establishment, who might have said, ‘If the mayor supports her, I will,’” he said. “Those people are now free to go with someone else.” Asked whether he saw the speaker’s resistance to a paid sick leave bill that would cover most private sector employers as a bid for that crowd's affections, Arzt said, “She has to solidify her position with the establishment. She’s on a tight rope. She has to protect herself on the left, but must show bona fides with the establishment.” S h e r r i l l , h o w e v e r, f e l t B l o o m berg has little to offer Quinn politically. Newspaper editorial boards, he said, will prefer her to other Democrats, such as Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former Comptroller William C. Thompson, who have tacked to the left of Quinn. Since she is participating in the city’s generous campaign finance program, the speaker also does not need the mayor’s help in raising money. (Quinn has pulled in $6.2 million, to date, versus $3.5 million for de Blasio, her nearest rival, though the public advocate did out-raise her by nearly $300,000 in the six months that ended last week.) Despite her lead in early fundraising and opinion polls, Arzt is not convinced Quinn is a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination. He said either de Blasio or Thompson, who he said is the only candidate with a built-in base — the 25 percent or so of primary voters who are AfricanAmerican — could win, as well. And with the recent signs Joe Lhota — who ran the Metropolitan T ransportation Authority for the past year and served former Mayor Rudy Giuliani as a top deputy — will wage a campaign on the Republican side, Arzt added that the general election may “not be a walk in the park.” “Lhota is a very strong candidate who the establishment feels can run the city,” he said. Then again, Lhota’s standing with the mayor was certainly hurt when the MTA chair publicly called him “an idiot” for his predictions of when the Midtown Tunnel would open in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Should the fall campaign pit Quinn against Lhota, that might be the moment when where the mayor stands becomes truly pivotal.


January 16, 2013 |


Jeanne Manford, Mother of P-FLAG, Dead at 92 Having lost one son, she turned love for his brother Morty into worldwide parent support group BY ANDY HUMM


eanne Manford, who died January 8 at the age of 92, is being hailed around the world for the simple but radical concept she put into action in the early 1970s — parents of LGBT people helping each other to accept their children and get over their own upset about their kids’ sexual orientation. Her co-founding of what was then called Parents of Gays grew out of her fierce devotion to her gay activist son, Morty Manford. And the intensity of that devotion — it has now come to light — was likely due to the fate of her other son, Charles, who died before she and Morty became activists. What has also been missing from most of the tributes to Jeanne Manford is the key role her son’s pioneering gr oup, the Gay Activists Alliance, played in the founding of Parents of Gays (POG, but now the Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays or P-FLAG). Ethan Geto, 69, himself a legendary gay activist and one of the city’s leading political consultants, was very close to the Manfords, and Morty came to live with him in Manhattan after he left the family’s home in Queens in the early 1970s . In 1966, Morty’s older br other Charles “committed suicide,” Geto said, “and it was pretty apparent from my closeness to Morty and Jeanne that he did it because he couldn’t cope with his increasing recognition that he was gay. It is an important factor that is never mentioned. When Morty came out to his parents, Jules and Jeanne, their reaction was, ‘I am not going to lose another son because this society is so prejudiced against gay people. I want my son to thrive.’ She was instantly supportive. Jules came around — and quickly.” Shortly after Charles’ suicide, Morty — himself depressed at 15 — asked his parents if he could see a therapist. The second therapist he saw told the Manfords, to Morty’s dismay, that their son was homosexual. Geto said, “Her first reaction was to get him the help that he needed — not to change him, but to make sure he was okay. She wanted to do something. Her attitude was, ‘I cannot let happen to Morty what happened to Charles — I have to do everything I can in my own little way to change society.’ It turned out to

be in a big way.” Morty soon became a pre-Stonewall activist, involved with the for mation of the gay group at Columbia University in 1968. He participated in the Stonewall Rebellion in 1969 and soon became a leader of the Gay Activists Alliance. Steve Ashkinazy, a fellow member of GAA, remembers the Manfords as so supportive of their son that when Morty was living at home with them, “he could bring tricks home and Jeanne would serve them breakfast in the morning.” Geto said that “Jeanne was a kind of first den mother for many of those who had been kicked out of their homes — with parents like Amy Ashworth ‘honorary moms’ for gay activists on the front lines.” Allen Roskoff, a GAA pioneer whose own parents shut him out when he told them he was gay, said that when Jim Owles, the group’s first president, ran for City Council in 1974, “one of the things Jim had neglected due to his movement activities and finances was to provide proper care to his teeth. Jeanne Manford's husband was a dentist and had an office in their Flushing, Queens home. At Jeanne's insistence, Jim and I would trek out to their home on Saturdays and Jim had his teeth cared for in time for campaign photos.” Many early activists depended on Jules for no- or low-cost dental care. (Roskoff, a coauthor of the nation’s first gay rights b i l l i n N e w Yo r k i n 1 9 7 1 , i s n o w president of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club.) It was Jeanne’s motherly affection for her son and Morty’s comrades that led her to go public in 1972, when Morty was physically attacked while engaged in a GAA zap aimed at the Inner Circle press dinner that attracts the city’s political establishment annually. Morty was kicked and stomped there by Michael Maye, head of the firefighter’s union and one of the leading opponents of the city’s gay rights bill. Following press coverage, Jeanne wrote a letter published in the New York Post defending her son and attacking the police for standing by and not doing anything about it. In the 1972 Christopher Street Liberation Day march commemorating the third anniversary of Stonewall, Jeanne marched with her son and daughter, Suzanne, carrying a sign that read: “Parents of Gays Unite in Support for Our Children.”

Jeanne Manford holds a photo of her son Morty, shortly after his 1992 death from AIDS.

In a famous photo of that bit of history, Dr. Benjamin Spock, author of the best-selling books on caring for newbor ns, can be seen behind Morty, and the Manfords thought the intense cheering they heard from the sidelines was for him. But as it has been every since, it was a mother and sister stepping up to march for their son and brother who were receiving the heartfelt thanks from a community where so many have suffered family rejection. Even before they conceived of a formal group for parents, Geto said, Jeanne Manford and Amy Ashworth “were reaching out to a handful of parents on the phone at the instigation of their sons, Morty and Tucker. They would tell them, ‘We went through the same thing’ and would say, ‘You don’t have to lose your child, you can still have a relationship with them.’” In late 1972, Geto was part of a meeting with the Manfords, Dick and Amy Ashworth, their son Tucker, and Bob and Elaine Benov at the Metropolitan Community Church, which then met at the MetropolitanDuane Methodist Church on Seventh Avenue at 13th Street. “They said, ‘We’ve got to form an organization. We need to reach other parents,’” Geto recalled. “They turned to me as a PR maven. Jeanne was a very, very driving force there. From her came this whole spirit of ‘we have to do more.’ There were all these peo-

ple with troubled relationships with their families. Parents were suffer ing and the kids were. From that day forward, she worked hard and organized. Would call parents cold when she learned they had a problem. ‘We don’t want to intrude,’ she’d say, ‘but we can help.’” Parents of Gays met in early 1973 as a self-help support group and blossomed into what it is today, an international organization with hundreds of local chapters. Ashkinazy felt that Jeanne became the activist she did because Morty wanted her to. “POG was Morty’s idea, a new grassroots approach to activism involving allies and parents,” he said. Indeed, GAA spawned many other movement groups, including the Gay and Lesbian Independent Democrats, founded by Owles, and the Chelsea Gay Association that in turn led to the for mation of the Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project. Willy Jump, 77, active in the parents group for more than two decades, said Jeanne “was an incredible woman. She started it all.” Her son, Frank Jump, 52, said, “I remember marching every year in the parade with Morty and Jeanne and Jules and my Mom. They always got the warmest welcome from the crowd. People would run up to her and fall to their feet and cry. She was an icon for a lot of young gay people back then. Jeanne never had a problem with Morty.” J e a n n e w a s a l s o t h e f o u n d e r, in 1993, of the Queens chapter of P-FLAG with gay activist Daniel Dromm, now a City Council memb e r, “ b e c a u s e a s s h e g r e w o l d e r she wanted to be able to continue her gay activism closer to home in Flushing, New York where we both lived,” Dromm said in a release. “Her activism over the last 40 years and the founding of P-FLAG have changed the way that parents and their LGBT children relate.” The Queens chapter presents the Morty Manford Award to a worthy activist each year. In 1991, Jeanne was grand mar shal of the LGBT Pride Parade in Manhattan and, in 1993, grand marshal of the first such parade in Queens. At the 30th anniversary dinner of P-FLAG in 2003, Jeanne, Amy Ashworth, Elaine Benov, and Edie Ogolsky were presented with the “Fearless Pioneers Award” by the

MOTHER OF P-FLAG, continued on p.34


| January 16, 2013

When the Gay Movement Had a Genius to It Jeanne Manford’s death awakens memories of the special gifts her son Morty gave us all BY PERRY BRASS


hen I opened up the New York Times last week and read David Dunlap’s obituary for Jeanne Manford, who died at the age of 92, I recalled that she was the founder of P-FLAG, but most importantly that she was Morty Manford’s mother. I remember Morty so well. Who wouldn’t? It was hard to forget him. The piece in the Times was glowing and wonderful — Jeanne was a miraculous presence in those early days of what is now called the LGBT movement— but it didn’t mention that Morty was at one point president of the Gay Activists Alliance, one of the two original radical political organizations founded in New York directly after the June 1969 Stonewall Rebellion. The first was the Gay Liberation Front, of which I was a member, and from it, a few months later, sprung GAA, the less radical, more mainstreamed group of the two. I ran into Morty a lot, talked with him, socialized with him, danced near him at the outrageous Satur day night dances at the GAA Firehouse on Wooster Street, but always encountered him slightly from a distance. Unlike others in the GAA I was closer to — Arthur Bell, Arthur Evans, Marc Ruben, Pete Fisher, and Bruce Voeller, all of them now dead — Morty always seemed more set off by himself. He was tall, thin, cleanshaven (unusual for those days of mustachioed guys), and quiet. Bell, a more lively presence whom you would immediately feel when he was near you and always one to coin a term, called him “Refrigerated Morty.” But the truth was Morty had the density and quiet of someone bearing stone-cut courage. He had come out while still living in his Jewish family home in Queens at the age of about 16. In 1968, preStonewall, he joined a handful of other young gay activists to form Gay People at Columbia University, an event that made the front page of the New York Times. He was smart and younger than I was by several years, which would have made him barely bar-age by the time of Stonewall. But he’d already internalized the most important notion of what liberation is — if you don’t stand up for your self, no one else will. But if you do, others will join you. Sometimes you may have to grab them, or shame them — but they will.

Morty Manford with his mother, Jeanne, in the 1972 Christopher Street Liberation Day march.

I’m sure this came from Morty’s own brand of secularized, New York Judaism, which at its core contains a very important spiritual and political message — authenticity and truth are everything, and you must fight for them. I had met lots of Jews in New York when, as a Southerner, I first came to the city, and they all felt the same way. Their attitudes had given birth to New York’s liberal Jewish tradition, something not as strong today as it was then. It was from families of this tradition that many found their way into the Gay Liberation Front and then into GAA. I remember Morty speaking at meetings and rallies, and recall meeting his parents many times. They always seemed like complete riddles to me and most of my friends in the movement — none of us could imagine our parents doing what Morty’s did: marching with him, being out there openly with him. His mother was a dynamic schoolteacher from Queens; his father a tall, quiet dentist who reminded me of the actor Ralph Bellamy. In 1972, after Morty was beaten up by Michael Maye, the president of the New York City Uniformed Firefighters Association — who was roughly twice Morty’s size and age — outside a Hilton Hotel ballroom where GAA pulled a zap to bring attention to the lack of press coverage on gay issues, Jeanne wrote a letter to the New York Post, then a liberal “family” newspaper, talking about what had happened to her gay son. She made no bones that she had one. When brought to trial, Maye, in a then-commonplace show

of bigotry, was acquitted by a judge of any wrongdoing. But publicity from the case again br ought to light violence against

gays, as well as the fact that Morty had a family standing behind him. Yo u ’ d s e e J e a n n e , h e r h u s b a n d Jules, and Morty together openly at gay demonstrations and events. Soon enough, many other people in the same boat, of having a gay or lesbian child or children, joined them — and Jeanne became the founder of the first large “straight ally” organization in the world. Before I learned of Jeanne’s death, I hadn’t thought about Morty in a long time. Like a lot of the GAA guys, he liked to wear leather, and I remember him in jeans, a dark GAA T -shirt, and a leather jacket while we demonstrated for gay rights or against the Viet Nam War. Back in this explosive “liberation” period of the gay and lesbian movement, there were what I called “fissionable” moments happening all the time. We had been people no one would talk about, and now the reality of who we were — people violent-prone goons like Michael Maye would try to kill

MORTY, continued on p.34

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January 16, 2013 |


What If No Majorities Emerge on DOMA, Prop 8? Jurisdictional questions posed by Supreme Court could play havoc BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD



oth the Defense of Marriage Act and the Proposition 8 cases set for argument before the US Supreme Court in late March present questions of equal protection and — at the high court’s direction — of federal jurisdiction, as well. Most of the speculation I’ve seen assumes the court will produce a majority decision in the DOMA and Prop 8 litigation, but I’ve been thinking that the addition of the jurisdictional questions sets up the possibility there will be no one opinion representing the views of the court in one or both. For example, in the Prop 8 litigation, it is possible that several members of the court — but not a majority — will agree that the amendment’s Of ficial Proponents, who have defended it in the absence of California’s governor or attorney general doing so, lack standing to appeal the district court’s decision. Let’s assume that three or four members of the court take this view and that the remaining five or six are split between those who would affirm either the Ninth Circuit or the district court striking down Prop 8 on the merits and those who would reverse one or both on the merits. That would mean no majority opinion. In that case, I would argue, Prop 8 is dead and same-sex couples could once again marry in California. No national precedent would be set in such a scenario, even for situations in which more or less the exact same fact pattern — mar riage rights being taken away after they have already existed — were to recur. DOMA and the jurisdictional questions the high court posed ther e may make for even gr eater complication. Among a number of petitions for review of DOMA litigation, the Supreme Court accepted the one from the Solicitor General’s Of fice seeking r eview of the trial court’s ruling against DOMA in the lawsuit brought by New York widow Edie Windsor. That court found that DOMA did not survive even the most deferential level of judicial scrutiny — rational basis review. Subsequent to the solicitor general filing his petition, however, the Se con d C ir c uit C o u r t o f A ppe a l s upheld the district court’s ruling, but found that equal protection

Edie Windsor (r.), whose DOMA challenge will be heard by the Supreme Court in March, pictured with her late spouse Thea Spyer.

challenges based on sexual orientation discrimination claims must be subjected to heightened scrutiny, which imposes a stif fer bur den in defending a statute. Theoretically, the Second Circuit’s subsequent ruling is not the decision about which the high court granted the petition for review, and it might even choose to ignore it — or some members might choose to do so — to avoid the thorny question of whether sexual orientation discrimination claims merit heightened scrutiny if

Here, there’s an interesting twist. There is, in fact, a controversy: Prior to deciding that sexual orientation claims merit heightened scrutiny, the Department of Justice had argued that DOMA would be held constitutional when analyzed using a rational basis standard. Is that disagreement between the district court and DOJ sufficient to satisfy the Supreme Court that it can find the required “controversy” in this case — and if so, is the high court essentially challenging the administration to reaffirm that it still holds to its ear lier view on the rational basis for DOMA? The other jurisdictional question in the DOMA case is whether the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) of the House of Repr esentatives — which Speaker John Boehner controls on a 3-2 partyline vote — has standing to appeal the district court’s ruling. The solicitor general likely filed his petition in the case to preserve the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction, since there might be some question about BLAG’s independent standing. The House, it should be noted, took no vote to authorize intervention at the time BLAG filed its petition for review. Perhaps in response to concern over that, one of the Republican majority’s first orders

Is the high court challenging the administration to reaffirm its earlier view on the rational basis of DOMA? they can rule in Windsor’s favor by instead affirming the district court’s decision. The high court has appointed Vicki Jackson, a noted Harvard Law School professor, to argue on the several jurisdictional questions it has raised. The first is whether the solicitor general, in petitioning the court to affirm the district court’s decision, is presenting a true “case or controversy” — typically required when judicial review is sought.

of business in the new Congr ess convened earlier this month was to change House rules to designate BLAG as speaking in the name of the House. Does that retroactively take care of the standing problem in the minds of those justices who asked that this jurisdictional question be addressed? Now to the question of what happens if the court splinters on DOMA without a majority decision. Suppose three or four justices find the solicitor general has shown no case or controversy and that BLAG lacks standing, while three or four vote to reverse the ruling against DOMA on the merits and two or more are willing to affirm that the law is unconstitutional even on a rational basis analysis. There would be no major ity on the merits, but where would that leave the case? With a district court decision that wasn’t appealed and, therefore, af fir med de facto? Does Edie Windsor get her tax refund? If the district court ruling were binding on the IRS, to what extent would it be binding on anybody else? And, would the Obama administration construe that result as sufficient to justify abandoning the enforcement of DOMA’s Section 3, which bars federal recognition of marriages by same-sex couples? Recall that until now, its position has been that Section 3 is unconstitutional but will be enforced unless the Supreme Court strikes it down or Congress repeals it. If the deadlocked scenario on the high court described above comes to pass, clear -cut resolution might only come from a situation in which another DOMA challenge proceeds to a circuit court of appeals, where BLAG achieves a reversal, and then the LGBT plaintiff group files a petition for review to the Supreme Court. That would get rid of jurisdictional problems. A majority of the court, of course, could well get to the merits and rule one way or the other on either or both of these cases. If a major ity of the court disagrees with the rational basis analyses that the district courts applied in striking down DOMA and/ or Prop 8, the level of judicial review appropriate to sexual orientation discrimination claims would become the big battleground on the merits. That’s an issue the high court has evaded in the past, but the delay in taking that on may be running out of time.

| January 16, 2013



Cohabitant Benefits for Michigan State Workers Upheld Appeals panel rejects attorney general’s suit even as it decries “absurd” policy BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD

excluded married persons and close relatives,” the panel found. “The exclusion of the cited groups from the OEAI benefits policy does not clearly demonstrate that the policy is arbitrary or unrelated to the state’s interests. The policy appears to serve the negotiated, bargainedfor needs of the individuals affected, and so we conclude that the policy passes muster under rational basis scrutiny.” The panel added, “We do hope, however, that defendants will see fit and be able to strengthen the policy by eliminating the exceptions we have discussed.” Rejecting the attor ney general’s argument that the Civil Service Commission exceeded



2-1 panel of the Court of Appeals of Michigan, an intermediate-level appellate bench, has ruled that a State Civil Service Commission policy extending health insurance benefits to non-marital cohabitants of state employees does not violate Michigan’s 2004 anti-gay marriage amendment. The January 8 ruling came in response to a lawsuit from the Republican attor ney general, who also claimed the policy violated the equal protection requirements of the Michigan Constitution because of the distinctions it dr ew based on marital status and biological relationships. The Court of Appeals panel, in an unsigned opinion, upheld the policy despite finding that those distinctions are “absurd.” In an earlier case — brought in the wake of the voter -approved constitutional amendment prohibiting the state from recognizing any “agreement” other than “the union of one man and one woman in marriage” as “a marriage or similar union for any purpose” — the Michigan Supreme Court had ruled, in response to a suit from National Pride at Work, that the state could not provide domestic partnership benefits for state employees’ same-sex partners. Unions representing state workers effectively sidestepped that conclusion by negotiating an agreement with the Civil Service Commission creating benefits eligibility for cohabitants, r egar dless of gender, pr ovided the employee was not legally married and the cohabitants were not blood relatives. The beneficiary was referred to as the “other eligible adult individual” (OEAI), who would have access to the same package of benefits as the spouse of an employee. After Democratic Gover nor Jennifer Granholm was succeeded by Republican Rich Snyder in 2011, the new GOP attorney general, Bill Schuette, filed suit seeking to have the Civil Service Commission policy invalidated, based on both the marriage amendment and equal protection grounds. Schuette also argued the policy exceeded the Commission’s authority over employee compensation. The court easily concluded there was no violation of the marriage amendment. The policy, it noted, “does not depend on the employee being in a close r elationship of any particular kind with the OEAI beyond a common residence. The Marriage Amendment prohibits recognizing certain kinds of agreements as ‘mar riages or similar unions’; it does not in any way prohibit incidentally benefiting such agreements, particularly wher e it is clear that an employee here could share benefits with a wide variety of other people.” The Civil Service Commission established a program with “completely gender -neutral” provisions, the court found, and, in light of society's wide array of household arrangements, it would be “unreasonable to predict same-sex domestic partnerships to

The court easily concluded there was no violation of the 2004 anti-gay marriage amendment, but Schuette’s equal protection challenge posed a tougher issue.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette

necessarily be the most-benefitted group under this policy.” Schuette’s equal protection challenge posed a tougher issue. He argued the policy discriminated against married employees — who can only offer eligibility to their spouses and no one else — and against employees who might want to share benefits with a cohabiting parent or sibling. There was no rational basis, the attor ney general argued, for drawing the eligibility line where the Civil Service Commission had. Since neither marital status nor blood relation has been identified as a classification subject to heightened scrutiny by courts, the panel applied the deferential standard of rational basis review to the beneficiary policy. In other words, the burden fell on the attor ney general to prove that it lacked any rational basis at all — a tall order. “Quite bluntly,” wrote the majority, “we agree wholeheartedly that those restrictions strike us as absurd and unfair. The restrictions excluding married employees from sharing their benefits with persons other than their spouses and excluding employees from sharing their benefits with blood relatives strike us as ridiculous.” A state employee could sign up his frater nity brother roommate, but not his biological brother who might be rooming with him, the panel noted. But ridiculous does not equal unconstitutional, said the court. “Defendant’s policy was crafted through negotiation and bargaining with the unions, and pursuant to the negotiations the policy

its constitutional authority to set gover nment employee compensation, the court found that the benefits in question fall within the scope of its powers, absent a statutory definition of “compensation” to the contrary. In dissent, Judge Michael J. Riordan argued, “Despite the attorney general’s contention that the prof fered reasons were illogical, the trial court per for med no inquiry into whether they were supported by anything, even if debatable, in the record. Instead, the trial court simply adopted the prof fered justifications as being factual.” The conclusion, for Riordan, naturally followed: “Equal protection is not achieved through the indiscriminate imposition of inequalities. Respect for this principle explains why laws singling out a certain class of citizens for disfavored legal status, or general hardship, are rare.” The majority opinion, in pointing to the policy’s emergence out of negotiations between state employee unions and the Civil Service Commission, might, however, of fer clues as to the rationale for its adoption. In response to expansive demands from the unions, the Commission might have been amenable to a more tailored approach that would extend coverage to employees’ significant others — the group of beneficiaries of greatest interest to the unions — without creating an open-ended and potentially very expensive eligibility standard. Schuette’s of fice is not content to give the Court of Appeals the final word, telling the Detroit News the day after the ruling, “This is an important case, and we will appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court.”


January 2, 2013 |


Jodie Foster’s Confounding ‘Coming Out’ Speech Lifetime star owns up to same-sex ex-partner while accusing others of exhibitionism BY ANDY HUMM



or someone so concerned about her privacy, Jodie Foster picked a hell of time to take her biggest step so far in coming out publicly — her rambling acceptance speech at the Golden Globes as she received the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award on January 13. She first teased the audience by saying, “I have a sudden urge to say something that I’ve never been able to say in public” and warned that it would make her publicist “nervous,” only to declare “loud and proud” that “I am single!” She then said she didn’t need to do “a big coming out speech tonight because I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago in the Stone Age, in those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends and family and co-workers and then gradually, proudly to everyone who knew her, to everyone she actually met,” which is news to most of us. Instead of leaving it there and saying she was now going to be more open, she said, “But now I’m told, apparently, that every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance, and a prime-time reality show,” going on to say, “I am not Honey Boo Boo Child.” This comparison of the coming out of celebrities to some kind of marketing ploy was offensive and uncalled for. The cameras panned to out lesbian Jane Lynch, who didn’t quite know how to react. And no one can accuse Ellen DeGeneres, Elton John, Stephen Fry, Ian McKellen, David Hyde Pierce, or others who came out well into their celebrity of doing it to advance their notoriety. They faced up to the reality of who they love and decided to live without any shame about it no matter what the cost to their careers. And while none of them dropped everything and became full-time gay activists, they have all stood up for the cause — their cause — in important ways. Foster went on to acknowledge “one of the deepest loves of my life, my heroic co-parent, my ex-partner in love but righteous soul sister in life, my… most beloved BFF of 20 years, Cydney Bernard. Thank you, Cyd, I am so proud of our modern family.” This was not a completely new admission as Foster publicly thanked Cydney when they were still together

On The Dish blog, Andrew Sullivan wasn’t having it.

at a 2007 awards event. Foster was flanked throughout the Globes dinner by her close friend, the anti-gay, anti-Semitic Mel Gibson to whom she said, “You know you save me, too.” A whole column could be written dissecting that relationship. Gibson earned his pariah status on multiple occasions and while I can admire those who stand by friends in trouble, he seems to be a bridge too far. It is not as if he has done anything to redeem himself. To be fair, Foster, now 50 — though she has still never said she is a lesbian — has also never said she is not. And she is a major donor to the Trevor Project, a 24-hour hotline dedicated to preventing LGBT teen suicides. We could argue about how much more she could have done for LGBT youth if she simply showed comfort with her orientation and relationship with

of “Silence” led to attacks on her for remaining closeted as the film was protested for being anti-transgender. Also at Foster’s table were her sons, Charlie, 14, and Kit, 11. She called them “my r eason to br eathe and evolve,” and said to them that “this song, all of this, this song is for you.” Indeed, this step in Foster’s evolution may be similar to that of Ricky Mar tin, who explicitly says that he came out in order to be honest with his kids and enable them to never have to lie about him. Martin has said he doesn't want them to think there is anything shameful in being gay — that he wishes he could do his coming out all over again because it is so wonderful. Ricky has also said he gets pushback from fans who say they are okay with him being gay, but want him to just shut up about it now and get back to being a singer. But Martin under stands that sitting on the sidelines in a moral crisis — the worldwide persecution of LGBT people — is no longer an option. You would think Jodie might have figured this out with her Yale education. But she refused to acknowledge her membership in our community through the worst years of the AIDS epidemic, the anti-gay initiatives across the country, and so much more of our turbulent history. Harvey Fierstein, who has been out in show business from the get-go in the 1970s, reacted on Facebook to Foster’s speech by writing, “Trying

Foster was flanked by her close friend, the anti-gay, anti-Semitic Mel Gibson to whom she said, “You know you save me, too.” Cydney years ago. Now she’s off the radar of most young people, having been in show business since she was three years old and winning Academy Awards for “The Accused” all the way back in 1989 and for “Silence of the Lambs” in ’91. Anger over the portrayal of the monster at the heart

desperately to be fair to Jodie Foster, but what she did last night by standing in front of millions of people and being too ashamed to say the word lesbian or gay sent the message that being gay is something of which to be ashamed… I am saddened that after all of these years and all the progress we've made, her first concern was about how it was going to affect her career and publicity. Oh, my brothers and sisters, we have so much further to go until we can enjoy the sweet victory of equality.” Michael Musto wrote, “Instead of this cockamamie speech, she could have just said, ‘Yep, I’m gay.’ Twenty years ago.” Lesbian rights lawyer Kate Kendell tweeted, “Wow. Regardless of the inarticulate nature of this moment for Jodie, let me just say, you go girl! It’s about fucking time. We got your back, babe.” But Andrew Sullivan titled his blog post, “Jodie Foster Stops L ying,” called it a “narcissistic, self-loving speech,” and characterized her claim to have come out long ago as “unadulterated bullshit.” Foster is famously private and lots of people cut her slack because she was stalked by John Hinckley in the period before he shot President Ronald Reagan in 1981 — a crime he said he committed to get her attention. But Jodie continues to confuse being open about the details of one’s private life with the things about relationships that most everyone is open about, such as having a partner. Virtually every actor who gets up at an awards ceremony acknowledges their life partner (except Hillary Swank when she got her first Academy Award, thus Lena Dunham's Chad Lowe joke at the Globes that was lost on most people). We do not accuse actors who thank their partners of flaunting their private lives. It is simply expected. Foster concluded by sounding as if she was getting off the stage permanently, then said she might continue in smaller venues: “But it will be my writing on the wall. Jodie Foster was here, I still am, and I want to be seen, to be understood and to be not so very lonely.” Hey, that’s the reason most of us come out. It’s tough to connect with a lover if we insist on total privacy. But most of us also recognize our obligation to be out in solidarity with others like us so that there will come a day when no LGBT person will feel so very lonely.


| January 16, 2013

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January 16, 2013 |


A Future Beyond Formal LGBT Equality Urvashi Vaid lays out the case for a broader, more ambitious agenda BY CHUCK COLBERT



f the LGBT movement is, at its core, a progressive struggle for justice and equality, then shouldn’t the gay rights agenda include issues of economics, race, class, and gender? In other words, is there more to gay rights and liberation than simply securing passage of non-discrimination laws and gaining the right to marry? Longtime activist and LGBT community leader Urvashi Vaid certainly thinks so. For years now, she has been urging mainstream movement leaders to take up a broader economic rights and racial justice program. In a 1996 book, “Virtual Equality: The Mainstreaming of Gay and Lesbian Liberation,” Vaid argued a larger vision for the movement, with social justice as a window into the future. And now in a new book, “Irresistible Revolution: Confronting Race, Class, and the Assumptions of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Politics,” Vaid of fers pointed criticism of the movement’s shortcomings on that score. “We need a movement that is conscious of economic realities that real people are facing,” she explained recently during a wide-ranging, hour -long telephone interview. "And our movement must address and change the serious lack of representation of people of color in its leadership and racial justice priorities in its agenda.” Vaid was referring to a decade’s worth of economic demographics, da ta f r om th e Wi l l i a ms I n s t i t u t e and other think thanks, which show many LGBT people are seniors, on Medicaid, and unemployed at the same time others are struggling to support themselves and their families on fixed incomes. She spoke from her New York City office at the Columbia Law School, w h e r e Va i d c u r r e n t l y s e r v e s a s director of the Engaging T radition Project, based at the school’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Law. Her concer n is that “we are not just a movement of young, wageearning, and middle-class” people, she said, quickly adding, “which many of us are and that is a good thing.” However, “it’s not the full picture of the community,” Vaid said. What the Institute’s data and

Urvashi Vaid, a longtime community leader, presses for greater vision in the LGBT movement.

similar findings from studies and research by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality, among others, “help us to see” are “the parts of the community that are less visible,” she explained. Accordingly, “this makes a demand on the political side of our m o v e m e n t t h a t p e rh a p s w e n e e d to take a look at issues we haven’t looked at before,” Vaid said, citing recent congressional negotiations over the so-called “fiscal cliff” taking place even as “state budgets are cutting out funding for social services at a time when communities, like our community, need homeless centers, community centers, and health care programs — whatever.” “I am making the argument that those issues need to rise to prominence and that we can’t just think that passing a non-discrimination law and winning marriage is the end of the process,” she said. "LGBT people are dealing with unemployment, struggling with health crises — from HIV to cancer and much more — and dealing with sexual prejudice that is built into every institution we encounter. Broadening the agenda is imperative for the movement to make meaningful change in the lived experience of LGBT people." Vaid wrote “Irresistible Revolution,” a collection of essays on the

politics of the movement, in hopes that her “voice” will “influence activists and others interested in social justice” whether or not they like the book, she said. “I hope that the book can make it possible for people to start thinking about our work and our agenda in different ways,” Vaid explained. “None of the issues that I raise in ‘Irr esistible Revolution’ about race or class are new,” Vaid said in response to a question about whether the community has made any progress in the movement toward a broader agenda. Vaid is certainly no outsider to the world of LGBT advocacy. From leadership positions at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in the 1980s and 1990s to her work as a funder supporting LGBT issues at the Ford Foundation and the Arcus Foundation, she has played a critical role in setting the movement’s priorities. “The book has a pretty pointed critique” yet it is “collegial,” she said, r eadily acknowledging that her analysis is in fact “self-criticism because I am in that group. I don’t remove myself from that.” Vaid emphasized, “I love the LGBT community and our movement. I feel so positively about our queer variance, our queer intelligence, and our queer resistance.” She then added, “But no, I don’t think we

have done a very good job” or “have made any progress” in adding, for example, "issues of poverty,” HIV/ AIDS health disparities, and other concerns to the gay rights agenda. Among the other priorities that have gone wanting, Vaid said, are “criminal justice issues, women’s issues — violence against women, women earning less than men — or expanding the definition of family in welfare programs to enable lowincome lesbians with kids to be covered.” With the aim of mobilizing larger numbers of feminist activists, Vaid co-founded the Lesbian Political A c t i o n C o m m i t t e e ( L PA C ) , w h i c h since its founding this past July, has raised more than $750,00 from donors in 44 states, with donations ranging from $5 on up. LPAC ( is open to anyone, including bisexual and trans women and also gay men and other allies who feel women's rights are as important as LGBT equality. For all her concer ns, however, Vaid is optimistic about the movement and of fered another way to look at the have-we-made-progress question. “When I see sophisticated work that activists are doing around health care, the impressive hidden work that provides access and opportunities and changes and af fects people’s lives, then I feel more hopeful,” she said. Vaid pointed to examples of efforts that back up her optimism. “When I look at a state like Massachusetts,” she said, “where we have won for mal equality in many domains, I see how the movement continues to push to do the training, implementation, and education so that all parts of our community can exercise the rights that we have won, that makes me feel hopeful.” She was referring to the Massachusetts T ransgender Civil Rights Law that took effect last year after a six-year effort by local activists, as well as the work advocates are doing to press state lawmakers for more comprehensive anti-bullying and safe schools legislation. Other statewide priorities include cradleto-grave advocacy for LGBT youth and seniors, people living with HIV/ AIDS, and survivors of intimate partner violence. Vaid sees other indictors of the LGBT movement’s health and vibrancy, as well. “The movement is

URVASHI VAID, continued on p.17


| January 16, 2013

URVASHI VAID, from p.16

much larger than it was back then” in earlier decades, she said. “I still feel by no means has the movement peaked.” Vaid points to the T ask Force’s Creating Change conference, which each year draws together thousands of activists, as evidence of the span of the movement from moderate to conservative to much more radical grassroots groups. (Held this year in Atlanta, the 25th Creating Change gathering is scheduled for January 23-27). “The vastness of the movement and its decentralized nature make me hopeful,” she said. “The pr ocess of being involved in something where you really can change lives and make a huge dif ference, that makes the movement irresistible.” The LGBT movement’s “honesty” is another hallmark of its irresistibility, she writes in her book’s introduction. Another positive sign for LGBT rights, Vaid said, “is the extent to which [gay equality] is an issue for non-gay people,” most notably young people. She cited the 2009 March on Washington, where large numbers of heterosexuals, many of them students from college campuses nationwide, carried signs reading, "I am a heterosexual ally." “It is extraor dinary,” she said. “The expansion of the movement beyond the LGBT community” to increasing numbers of straight allies “is one of the reasons that we are winning.” Perhaps the best example of nongay allies making a difference was their key role in winning marriage referendums on Election Day, she said. “In every one of those four states [Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington], you had heterosexual leaders — major politicians, major business figures, leaders of color, faith-based leaders, saying, 'We support this,'” Vaid explained. “That’s really a different situation than four or eight years ago.” President Barack Obama’s coming out for marriage, she said, was also a game changer. “If you think about it, the supporters of the president ar e the people who support marriage equality or the expansion of LGBT rights — young people, women voters, people of color who are overwhelmingly in support of fair and equal treatment,” said Vaid. “It’s been so interesting for me to see what Jesse Jackson used to call the Rainbow Coalition actually come into being for this election.” In winning marriage equality this time around, lessons learned from

Proposition 8 were helpful. “What I took away from the 2008 Califor nia defeat was the need to do more work to engage people and involve non-gay people in our movement,” she said. “We did go back and do more public education and engagement of dif fer ent kinds of [faith-based] congregations and populations, and many, many more straight allies came out and stepped up to advocate on our behalf. Public education is a critical element of how we are winning.” None of this means the LGBT movement can offer to let down its g u a r d , Va i d e m p h a s i z e d . “ W h a t always worries me is the power of the opposition,” she said. “I am not complacent about them. They are not just going to go away or withdraw because we are winning.” The tensions between LGBT rights and religious liberty claims particularly concern Vaid. “The resistance in some ways is becoming more sophisticated, she said, noting, “The whole expansion of religious exemptions in laws that are passed. It’s really something to be worried about.” She explained, “I think the gay community has to get more sophisticated in how we think about religious liberty and exemptions to civil rights laws. It’s a complicated argument for those of us who actually believe in freedom of religion and religious liberty” and yet “are civil libertarians and believe in the Constitution.” It’s not yet clear how much other movement leaders are inclined to tackle a more inclusive LGBT agenda. But the movement has matured in one way, Vaid argued. “The LGBT community is mor e politically hardcore in how to work with friendly administrations,” she said, referring to Obama’s leveraging of the administration’s executive authority — through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the State Department, among other agencies — to chip away at discrimination and inequality. One good example is a presidential memorandum through which the president directed HHS to require all hospitals receiving Medicaid and Medicare to prohibit discrimination against LGBT people in visitation access. “Ther e’s a tr emendous amount of work going on in the federal agencies, and the agenda isn’t just about getting legislation through C o n g r e s s , ” Va i d e x p l a i n e d . “ T h e movement is more skilled in taking advantage of those kinds of opportunities than we were 20 years ago.”

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January 16, 2013 |


Desert Bloom A decade after Jagger, Yossi comes alive for real BY GARY M. KRAMER en years ago, Eytan Fox’s “Yossi and Jagger” told a heartbreaking queer love story about two soldiers in the Israeli military. Now, with “Yossi,” the openly gay Fox of fers a sequel to his 2002 classic. Familiarity with the original film is not essential for seeing the sequel; the backstory unfolds and makes sense for viewers who don’t know or don’t remember how the first film ended. STRAND RELEASING



In this new drama, Yossi (Ohad K n o l l e r, r e p r i s i n g h i s r o l e i n an excellent performance), is a cardiologist who jerks off to porn and uses old photos of himself to pick up guys on the net. When he is forced by circumstances to take a vacation, Yo s s i u n e x p e c t e d l y m e e t s T o m (Oz Zehavi), a young, handsome, and openly gay soldier. A potential romance develops. Fox admitted in a phone interview from Israel that he never thought he would make a sequel to “Yossi and Jagger,” but he is pleased that he did. “I’m so proud of this film — it’s so personal, and I feel so close to it,” he said. “Part of why I made this was an excuse to explore what happened to Yossi, which is what happened to me, to Israel, and to the gay community over the past ten years.” The Israeli army’s greater acceptance of queer soldiers, the filmmaker said, is one of the dramatic changes that took place during the decade since “Yossi and Jagger.” “When I was in the Israeli ar my in 1982,” he observed, “the idea of being openly gay was unheard of. All the people I know who were gay in the army were completely closeted. That world has changed.” “Yossi” explores the way in which the main character is stuck in the past and has a closeted mindset. When Yossi meets Tom, he slowly begins to understand there are other ways to live as a gay man. “Tom represents the idea that you

Ohad Knoller and Oz Zehavi in Eytan Fox’s “Yossi.”


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“Yossi” director Eytan Fox.

can be happy with who you are,” Fox said. “You can take your clothes off, stand there naked, and say, ‘This is who I am — love me!’” which the attractive Zehavi does in one of the film’s key scenes. That said, Tom is not out to his family, a wrinkle Fox finds interesting about contemporary queer youth in Israel. “Young hipsters and actors tell me that being gay is a non-issue,” Fox explained. “And I say, ‘OK, I get it. It’s much easier now, that’s true. T el A viv and the world ar e much more accepting.’ But they have problematic relationships with their parents. Telling their parents ‘This is who I am!’ is difficult for them.”

The relationship between the heavyset and heavyhearted Yossi and the younger, cuter Tom forms the film’s romantic second act, and, interestingly, Fox said his purpose here was “to show the older generation reaching out to the younger generation to teach them how to live better.” The filmmaker is dismayed that audiences question — as does the bewildered Yossi — why Tom is attracted to a sad, lonely older man. “I’m almost offended that a young beautiful man can’t fall for a somber, sophisticated older guy,” Fox said. “That’s the wrong way to see desire. Tom sees that Yossi can of fer him more than his fun friends can. He’s

a doctor who is smart and r eads literature and needs saving. That’s something Tom wants to do — save someone who is in distress.” Distress in a relationship is s o m e t h i n g F o x , K n o l l e r, a n d t h e film’s screenwriter, Itay Segal, all knew firsthand while making the film. Knoller, who is straight, went through a divorce between “Yossi” films, while Segal, who is gay, broke up with his boyfriend and was mourning his relationship. Similarly, Fox was having a crisis with his partner of 23 years, Gal Uchovsky. (The pair ended their professional relationship after the 2006 film “The Bubble”). The loneliness Fox faced during this period informed the film. “Living in an empty apartment, eating bad takeout food, watching a lot of porn, falling asleep in front of boring TV, and waking up to another day of loneliness wasn’t dif ficult for me to relate or connect to,” he confessed. “Ohad and I spoke a lot about the whole feeling of being alone and the fear and confusion that comes with that, and the questions of what being alone brings to your heart and mind. We shared those feelings — plus Itay and I were exposed to the new gay world of Internet dating.” One of the more interesting scenes early in the film has Yossi meeting a man online for sex, only to have the encounter go badly because of Yossi’s looks and poor self-image. Several characters in “Yossi” — from his hospital colleague Moti (Lior Ashkenazi) to Tom — suggest that Yossi would feel better if he would just get laid. It may seem a facile cure for a mostly closeted depressed man grappling with survivor’s guilt, but in finding sexual fulfillment Yossi becomes open to happiness. “I didn’t think of it that way,” Fox when asked if that was his message. “But he does need to get laid to feel better about himself and life.” The filmmaker then talked about what he intended his film to say. “I wanted to show a person stuck in a bad place who frees himself,” Fox said. “Sometimes it’s connected to moving, going in a new direction, or to new places. Changing new things in your life — the scenery, the city you live in, which for Yossi is claustrophobic — and going to the desert and meeting new people.” Will Fox make a sequel to “Yossi” in another decade? The filmmaker laughed and said, “That might be another exercise to see what happened to Tom in ten years!”


| January 16, 2013


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Steven Hauck and Mario Golden in Richard Ploetz’s “Deceit,” at Theater for the New City through January 27.

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BY DAVID KENNERLEY eceit,” a complex, joyless drama about a man cheating on his wife by having “safe, discreet play” with guys he meets online, is not simply content to consider the warped psychology behind creating a second life. It’s also about the inexplicable, self-destructive impulse to get caught.


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Playwright Richard Ploetz, inspired by a Katie Couric exposé on Internet dating, explores this rich territory — along with our fear of intimacy and capacity for both honesty and guile — with a clear-eyed intensity. Given that straight-identifying married guys craving guys is a huge phenomenon (check out Craigslist if you have any doubts), it’s refreshing to see this subject tackled unflinchingly onstage. Frank — whose online alias is Bob — is a master of duplicity. The 48-year old philanderer has been lying to his family and to himself for decades. At his investment firm, he

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gets a thrill pretending to be making shrewd deals when he’s really chatting online with guys, jacking off at his the desk. “I don’t consider myself gay. I hate the ter m,” he asserts. “I’m everything… ordinary as dirt.” Frank is not the only fraudulent character. His wife, Helen (played with flair by Glory Gallo), an editor of a trendy New York lifestyle magazine, has deceived herself into believing her marriage is solid. Ken (Joshua Zir ger) is a shady journo not completely upfront about his motives for doing an investigative story on “Bob.” When Bob meets Jef frey (Mario Golden) for a date set up online, it appears both men created fake personas. After seeing each other for three months, Jeffrey falls in love, tricking himself into thinking Bob will allow himself an honest gay relationship. Even Frank and Helen’s eight-year old son Tommy has secrets, some of which reveal themselves in nightmares. You could say that Frank actually juggles three lives — the straight life, the gay life, and the examined life. His multiple meetings with Ken are more like confessions than interviews for a feature article. Inevitably, though, the walls between his fastidiously built compartments come crashing down. Under the direction of Andreas

SECOND LIVES, continued on p.26


January 16, 2013 |


Getting Bad With Todd Verow Indie filmmaker goes intimate and romantic BY GARY M. KRAMER

GMK: Claude is older than your usual protagonists. Are you moving into a more mature direction with your work? TV: Maybe. I’m getting older myself and more mature, so I can relate to Claude. After making a series of dark films, I wanted to do something a little happier, more grounded.

o d d Ve r o w ’ s t e r r i f i c intimate drama “Bad Boy Street” opens with Claude (Yann de Monterno) literally picking up a stranger named Brad (Kévin Miranda), who is passed out on the streets in Paris. The next day, the two men get to know each other and develop a strong romantic attachment. Brad, however, has a secret — one best left for audiences to discover — that may jeopardize their relationship. STRAND RELEASING


BAD BOY STREET Directed by Todd Verow TLA Releasing DVD on sale Jan. 22

Verow, working at the height of his powers, has created a highly enjoyable film — funny, sexy, and romantic. He spoke about “Bad Boy Street” in a recent phone interview. GARY M. KRAMER: So I’m curious, have you ever literally been picked up of f the str eet, like Brad is — completely wasted and with no ID? TODD VEROW: Hasn’t everyone been picked up of f the street like that? It’s happened to me several times in my youth, which is part of my inspiration for the film. The worst time was when I was in London for a semester, and I literally woke up the next day in someone’s apartment while they were fucking me! GMK: Wow! Wasn’t expecting that answer! How much of you is reflected in this film? What would you do in Claude or Brad’s situation — finding a handsome stranger, falling in love, and then facing an obstacle? TV: When I was in Brad’s situation, it was always “Get the hell out and never come back!” I never thought it would become a relationship. But if I put myself in Claude’s position, I could see something developing. It’s an interesting way to meet someone. Whenever you meet someone and have a physical, emotional, chemical reaction, there’s always a possibility it could become something more. GMK: Do you consider yourself a romantic, or is love impractical? In other words, are you on Team Claude or Team Brad?

Yann de Monterno and Kévin Miranda in Todd Verow’s “Bad Boy Street.”

TV: I think I am a romantic, and I do believe that love is something you can’t go looking for or try to find, you have to let it happen. In the same way, you have to realize there are obstacles and either overcome them or have them stop you from finding love. I am an old softy romantic. Jadedness comes from being disappointed and seeing people’s flaws. As a romantic, you expected everyone to be perfect, and no one is so you become jaded. GMK: Let’s move from love to sex. The leads here are both irresistibly attractive, and the sex in “Bad Boy Street” is sweet, tender, and sensual, not raw or explicit like in many of your films. How or why did you tone things down? T V: I consciously wanted to — it was a challenge for me to step back fr om the usual graphic sex and do something more romantic and sexy. But sex is the nature of their relationship. Initially Brad is incapacitated — Claude takes care of him. And Brad returns the favor by servicing him in the morning. I wasn’t holding back — the sex is more what the characters would have. Brad’s probably been in this situation before and it’s always a sexual situation; it’s how he overcomes his closetedness — getting wasted, fucked up, and having sex. He takes advantage of this situation and sucks off this hot guy. GMK: Not to give too much away, but Brad is closeted for work. As such, “Bad Boy Street” may be the closest thing to your coming out film. Can you discuss this point?

TV: His closetedness isn’t his own; it’s imposed on him, but not a decision that he makes himself. His struggle is “Do I do this for my career?” or “Am I true to myself and out about sexuality to the detriment of my career and position?” GMK: There is a moral issue raised with Brad’s situation, but it’s mostly left for the audience to deter mine how they would react — if they would do what Claude does. Despite the film’s specificity, the particulars have broader implications, which is why viewers pull for the couple to be together. How did you approach this topic? TV: Their situation is unique, but a lot of gay people face this issue on different levels — being closeted at work or to your family. Gay men have so many things to overcome in relationships, where do you draw the line and say enough is enough and I’m not going to continue with it? Everybody has secrets and things they don’t want other people to know or are ashamed of, and that’s a big part of relationships — accepting other people’s flaws and problems. GMK: You have a very amusing cameo in the film. Usually, you star in your films. Did you not want to or were you not able to play either of the leads? TV: From the beginning, this was conceived for Yann to play the lead. It took us a long time to find Kévin. I knew I’d be the evil American influence. That was a lot of fun to play.

GMK: How long did it take to shoot “Bad Boy Street”? TV: Nine days. I pretty much got to Paris, spent a day talking with the actors, and started shooting the next day. No breaks. It worked in our favor, though. It could have easily fallen apart, with a lost location or a mix up. But Yann and I planned it all out. GMK: Would you ever want to make a film like this with name actors? Why do you choose to work in microbudget cinema? TV: Gee… the great thing about making this was it was three actors and me. It was intimate and special. I think I would have no pr oblem with working on bigger projects, but on my terms. I’d want a small crew and really work with the actors on a personal level. That’s why I choose to do the things I do, because that’s how I like to work. The problem with going bigger is that there are so many people involved. That stuff bores me so much. I had lots of meetings after “Frisk,” and I’ve known so many filmmakers who have gone on to bigger projects but miss their small projects. GMK: Paris practically plays a character in your film. What did you want to show with all of these urban moments? TV: I wanted it to be a combination of a tourist perspective, but also what it’s like to actually live there — the day-to-day grind of being a Parisian. From going there and being in relationship with Parisians, and Yann and Florence [d'Azemar, who plays his best friend] do as Parisians. It’s sort of like living in New York. When you live there, the day-to-day is work and oppressive; then you see a building and it’s that beautiful! GMK: Last question. Are you like Claude in that you hate birthdays TV: I love birthdays! It’s an excuse to be on your worst behavior. You can get away with anything — be in a bad mood, have sex with anyone you want. And I love cake! GMK: You are a bad boy!

| January 16, 2013



The Same Coin Bruno Dumont conjures miracles amidst man’s brutality, nature’s splendor BY STEVE ERICKSON rench director Bruno Dumont claims to be an atheist. All the same, his oeuvre testifies to the hold Christian iconography still has over the West. His first film was called “The Life of Jesus,” his latest “Hors [Outside] Satan.” His work mixes carnality and spiritual yearning; at times, he’s seemed equally influenced by pornography and the Bible. To some extent, the religious references in Dumont’s work may stem from the austere art film tradition he’s working from; he’s obviously inspired by Robert Bresson and Andrei Tarkovsky.

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The strangest thing about “Hors Satan,” however, is the way it plays out on a moment-to-moment basis. It may have lofty concerns, but for most of its running time, it could be a documentary about two people walking around rural France. The film centers on a nameless man (David Dewaele) who lives in the dunes outside a small French town. (I’ll refer to the character by the actor’s name.) He befriends an equally nameless teenage girl (Alexandra Lematre) suffering under an abusive father. Eventually, he becomes such a part of her life that he takes extreme action against her father. He also becomes part of the lives of a group of women in the town, including a hitchhiker and a mother taking care of her sick daughter. Dewaele and Lematre grow closer, spending most of their days walking around the dunes and marshes as he seems to perform miracles. The film suggests he’s the second coming of Jesus, but he’s capable of great violence. Is he instead a Satanic force, a possibility the film also leaves open? “Hors Satan” alternates between extreme long shots and close-ups. The long shots often reduce people to tiny, wiggling images in a landscape. Nature is a vivid presence in the film, and the cinematography does a terrific job of capturing its beauty. It works in counterpoint to the ugliness of most of

David Dewaele in Bruno Dumont’s “Hors Satan.”

the human behavior Dumont depicts. He likes to work with nonpr ofessional actors, though he’s made a film with Dewaele before, “Flanders,” in which the actor had a much smaller role. Dewaele’s face is gloomy and impassive. Dumont’s direction of actors seems influenced by Bresson, who emphasized gesture over more typical displays of feeling. I suspect Dumont was attracted to Dewaele because of his odd looks. The actor’s oval face resembles an image from a Picasso painting come to life. Dumont has always shied away from conventionally handsome actors as his male leads. Made in 2011 and first shown at Cannes in May of that year, “Hors Satan” was rejected by the New York Film Festival and only received its New York premiere at the Museum of the Moving Image’s “First Look” series earlier this month. Dumont’s films have never had an easy time finding an audience. His second film, “Humanité,” caused one of the biggest controversies at Cannes in the past 20 years. Many critics mocked it and wer e startled and appalled when the festival’s jury, led by David Cronenberg, gave it several prizes. However, when the film was released in the US in 2000, the critical response was generally more appreciative. I can think of one reason, however, why “Hors Satan” won’t go down easy in the US — or anywhere else. Dewaele’s character doesn’t seem to care about the line between consensual sex and rape, and in one case, his sexual assault is shown to have positive

consequences for its victim. Though the film doesn’t present him as its unambiguous her o, neither does it pass judgment on his actions. Dumont has long been attracted to images of rape — “Hors Satan”





is the third of his films in which it takes place, and it’s not likely to be a feminist favorite. There are long stretches of “Hors Satan” where one can forget about such behavior — or spirituality, for that matter — and just take in its sights. For all the ugliness of its narrative, it of fers a great deal of visual pleasure to compensate. The film is paced deliberately but carefully. In the end, the question of whether Dewaele is angelic, demonic, or something else entirely is left up to the spectator. Religious r efer ences ar e rar ely uttered by the characters; to a large degr ee, they’r e imposed on the film by its title. “Hors Satan” is a film about finding moral bearings in a world where the old rules have gone awry, but it’s also an opportunity for some vicarious tourism in seductive scenery. In addition to Bresson and Tarkovsky, Dumont recalls the avant-garde tradition of meditative landscape films. Jesus or Satan, Dewaele walks through real splendor.

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January 16, 2013 |


Which Way from Here? The failure of “Dead Accounts” prompts thinking about Broadway, the business BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE he crash and bur n of Theresa Rebeck’s “Dead Accounts” after 27 previews and 44 regular per formances, playing to houses filled to as little as a quarter of capacity and seven weeks shy of its promoted “limited engagement,” raises questions not about the fate of Broadway — so often referred to as the “fabulous invalid” — but to its current business models. Despite the recent spate of plays starring TV or movie stars that have received tepid reviews and either closed or are limping along, that approach continues to flourish. Even as Broadway raked in a record-breaking $1.14 billion in the 2011/ 2012 season, more than one-third of that went to established shows that are big hits with tourists and presumably, like “The Book of Mormon,” have not exhausted their broad New York-region audience. It’s called show “business,” so someone hopes to make money at it. In another industry, an algorithm might have been developed to quantify the appeal of a star before committing to a production. But Broadway is a business that deals in gut feelings and emotion and so, as in Hollywood, the potential to misread an audience and a venture’s viability leads to many shows that never recoup their investments. When intuition rules, there can, of course, be spectacular surprises — and that’s a big part of what gives Broadway its popular appeal — but the situation is also ripe for disaster. The only reason people keep investing is that the occasional runaway hit can make producers very rich. Broadway is more analogous to gambling than virtually any other business, except that on the Great White Way the house plays with




Katie Holmes in the ill-fated production of Theresa Rebeck’s “Dead Accounts.”

Ricky Martin in the revival of “Evita,” which closes on January 26.

its own money — something, you’ll remember, that Max Bialystock in “The Producers” always warned against. I had intended to review “Dead Accounts” before its demise, but now I’m left with the opportunity to examine the show as emblematic of the larger challenges facing Broadway in 2013. Theresa Rebeck’s work is at best facile and shallow, though it can be entertaining. “Seminar,” while not much of a play, was at least funny. The TV series “Smash” is a model of improbable characters and situations that are downright laughable to anyone with a working knowledge of theater. Still as train-wreck TV, it has its campy appeal — and it’s free. “Dead Accounts,” on the other hand, was a largely undeveloped play that asked whether or not a banker who stole $27 million should get away with

it. It wasn’t just badly written, it was a bore. Evidently, producers thought they could score a success drawing only on the one percent, the only crowd who could warm to such a character. Katie Holmes, the show’s marqueevalue star, had recently gathered some curiosity points through her divorce from Tom Cruise, but is that enough to get anyone to plop down a top ticket price of $147 to see her live rather than on a magazine cover or “TMZ”? (That, by the way, is the premise of “Chicago,” in which an acquitted murderess ends up in vaudeville to titillate the hoi polloi. That show has been a revolving door of stars — and it has the heft to pull it off.) Celebrity scandal is now so commonplace and so widely broadcast that showcasing a star at the center of it hardly seems like a viable business strategy. One certainly didn’t go see Holmes for her acting. She has come a long way from her bland performance in “All My Sons,” but Rebeck’s play makes such light demands on her as an actress that a furrowed brow and a concerned tone were all that were required of her. Surrounding her with such theatrical stalwarts as Norbert Leo Butz, Jayne Houdyshell, and Josh Hamilton helped, but under Jack O’Brien’s disengaged direction, they were left to doing familiar performances we’ve seen from each of them. The only reason to cast TV actress Judy Greer must have been to make Holmes look marginally more competent. Greer’s was a completely unanimated performance. Like many TV and film actors, she just went dead

when it wasn’t her turn to speak. Once the excitement of seeing Holmes wore off — about five minutes in — there was nothing to keep audiences engaged. A good pr oduct will attract an audience. But a good product is built from a winning array of attributes. Based on her roles in “The Help” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” Jessica Chastain is a hot film star. Does that mean that enough people want to see her in an old adaptation of a Henry James novel, “The Heiress,” to make it profitable? When the revival of “Evita,” powered by a magnetic but miscast Ricky Martin, closes on January 26, it may barely make back its investment, and if it does it will be because his star power trumped the weakness in the production. Whatever you think of them, “War Horse,” “Once.” “Annie,” “Newsies,” “Wicked,” “Spider -Man,” “The Lion King,” and “Book of Mormon” continue to play at or near capacity with no stars. A viable product finds its audience. The challenge for Broadway is marrying product and audience. The brand identity of a star is just one element in making a hit show. People buy brands again and again because they know what they’re getting and they have an emotional connection to them. It may seem callous to talk of living, breathing actors in that way, but producers must — and do — if they are serious about making money. The object lesson of not doing that is only too obvious. A weak brand and a faltering concept result in horrid product, which is why “Dead Accounts” was DOA.


| January 16, 2013


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January 16, 2013 |


Mid-Winter Escape Hawaii calls again, master of pleats, NY underground BY DAVID NOH he holiday season of the particularly difficult year that was 2012 brought a true rite of passage for me with the death of my father, Edwin Cha Son Noh. He was quite a guy, having served at Pearl Harbor in 1941, owned and operated hotels in Waikiki, opened the first real Korean restaurant in Hawaii, and created Noh Foods International, which pioneered packaged powdered food sauce mixes, which, with the addition of water, made marinades that brought Asian flavoring to humdrum chicken and meat dishes. His passing made the local news in a surprisingly big way and his funeral was beautiful, with a full military guard and a bugler playing taps in a way that movingly evoked that Hawaii-set classic “From Here to Eternity.” As sad as the occasion was, I will be forever grateful to him for his final gift to me — a midwinter escape to Paradise. The holidays are peak tourist season in the islands, accompanied by a flurry of interesting cultural events. I saw the Actors Group production of Martin McDonagh’s darkly twisted “The Pillowman.” As many reservations as I have about this play, with its theme of children’s murders — exacerbated by horrific recent events — there was no denying the merits of performances by Seth Lilley as the gruesome talespinning Katurian and, especially, Adam Lefebvre as his oh-so damaged brother. Honolulu Theatre for Youth presented “Rap’s Hawaii,” a stirring tribute to the comic genius that was Rap Reiplinger (1950-84). Reiplinger, like Barack Obama, went to Punahou School, and I remember what a delightful Og the Leprechaun he made in the senior class production of “Finian’s Rainbow.” After that, his performing and writing skills really took off, as this native Hawaiian had an unerringly humorous take on the foibles and fabulousness of all the ethnic and social groups that make up the 50th State’s precarious melting pot. His efforts peaked with his 1982 TV special, “Rap’s Hawaii,” truly one of the most side-splittingly funny comic showcases ever, in which he convulsingly offered everything from your typical, Pidgin English-spouting surfer boy to hysterical drag turns as a dim-witted hotel telephone operator. Check out his cooking show star Auntie Marialani, whose incessant imbibing of cooking sherry leads to an oven disaster ( Reiplinger was Hawaii’s own version of his




Victor Childe in Kenneth Anger’s “Scorpio Rising,” screening at the Film Forum on January 25.

“HI Fashion: The Legacy of Alfred Shaheen” at Honolulu’s Bishop Museum.

elusive glamour and ethnically inspired sophistication that was pre-1970s Hawaii, before they completely paved paradise to put up parking lots and condos — and those hordes of Japanese tourists overran everything.


In New York, you can catch another wonderful fashion exhibit, “Fortuny y

Paul American in Andy Warhol and Chuck Wein’s “My Hustler,” screening at the Film Forum on January 25.

contemporary comic nova, John Belushi — every bit as talented and every bit as fucked up, ridiculously dying of a cocaine overdose at age 33.

Another legend who adored Hawaii, Elvis Presley, was being celebrated with the 40th anniversary of his famous 1973 “Aloha from Hawaii” TV special. A special screening was held at the Neal Blaisdell Arena on January 13, with a completely remastered video projected on multiple screens in Dolby 5.1 surround sound. My Dad took the family to the show’s live taping and, frankly — being far more into Neil Young, Laura Nyro, and Joni Mitchell at the time — I remember being underwhelmed by the experience, as the King seemed more focused on the TV cameras than the audience, endlessly striking the same iconic poses in that

outlandish white, bejeweled get-up of his. Presley’s 1961 film, “Blue Hawaii,” instigated his lifelong island love affair, and the top-selling soundtrack was in seemingly every American living room of the era. On the album cover, the aloha shirt he wore bore the classic Tiare Tapa print, designed by Alfred Shaheen’s company — though the credited costume designer for the movie was Edith Head, ever notorious for not sharing billing with designers she utilized. The marvelously refurbished Bishop Museum hosted a terrific exhibit, “HI Fashion: The Legacy of Alfred Shaheen,” which focused on this Lebanese émigré who started a local fashion empire in 1948. Shaheen’s vibrantly printed aloha shirts, muumuus, hostess gowns, and swimsuits epitomize for me the

Madrazo: An Artistic Legacy,” at the elegant Queen Sofía Spanish Institute (684 Park Ave. at 68th St., through Mar. 30; Of all the iconic garments of history — the Vionnet bias-cut 1930s satin gown, Chanel suit, Yves Saint Laurent “smoking,” Halston sarong — the timeless, multipleated sheaths created by Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo (1871–1949) seem to me the most covetable of all. Marcel Proust extolled them in “Remembrance of Things Past,” and they were worn by eminent women from Eleanora Duse to Lillian Gish, Lauren Bacall, Lauren Hutton, and Tina Chow. Curated by Oscar de la Renta, this show is the most exquisite thing you’ll ever see, masterfully designed and lit, with those classic garments quietly shimmering in their iridescent, deep jewel tones.

The winter cold is perfect weather to sequester yourself in museums and overwhelm your senses, and you can give your nose a treat with a visit to the Museum of Arts and Design and its show, “The Art of Scent — 18892012” (2 Columbus Circle, through Mar. 3; Here, you literally bury your face in special wall masks, designed by Diller Scofidio +

IN THE NOH, continued on p.26


| January 16, 2013


Off with their Heads!


“Maria Stuarda” enters Met repertory, OONY takes on “Andrea Chenier”

Elza van den Heever as Elisabetta and Joyce DiDonato in the title role of Donizetti's "Maria Stuarda."

BY ELI JACOBSON onizetti’s “Maria Stuarda” (1834) had a difficult birth — the opera was banned at the dress rehearsal in Naples when the queen of Naples was horrified at the onstage royal execution. Soprano Giuseppina Ronzi de Begnis as Mary Stuart tussled for real with the rival soprano singing Elizabeth I. The next year at Milan’s La Scala, Maria Malibran sang the actual world premiere but was in wretched voice. The work, after few revivals, disappeared until 1958 when it reemerged in a corrupt edition in Bergamo. Rudolf Bing, in the late ‘60s, intended to mount a Met “Three Tudor Queens” cycle including “Stuarda” for Montserrat Caballé. He abandoned his plan when Beverly Sills, across the plaza, seized the triple crown for herself. The Metropolitan Opera finally got around to “Maria Stuarda” on New Year’s Eve 2012 and it was worth the wait. David McVicar provided a visually striking, straightforward production that let the work speak for itself. A vocally gifted cast had no weak links and performed with commitment and sensitivity. However, the Met cast a mezzosoprano as Maria Stuarda, a decision that has little musicological basis and doesn’t fit Donizetti’s musical characterization. Donizetti portrays the historical Mary Stuart as a Catholic martyr with a highlying vocal line, giving an ethereal cast to her character. It is the highest and most lyrical of the three queens. For Joyce DiDonato, the soprano line was


transposed down a half or whole tone throughout. But the vocal writing keeps pushing the brilliant American mezzo to the top of her range and keeping her there. In her opening cavatina, “O Nube che lieve,” and final prayer, “Deh, tu di un’umile preghiera,” sustained high phrases turned reedy, straight-toned with a slight beat. One missed the brilliant high C’s and D’s with which Sills and Sutherland crowned the ensembles. However, like an earlier mezzo Maria, Dame Janet Baker, DiDonato brings a fierce inner conviction and deep humanity to her roles. In Act II, her rich middle voice with its burnt umber colorations brought searing intensity to Mary’s prison confession to Talbot. Each word of the libretto spoke truth. The fleet, articulate coloratura and trills delineated inner character and emotion like a musical polygraph. Her Queen of Scots was both intensely proud and desperately fragile, struggling to stay true to herself in a hostile environment. In her final farewell, DiDonato was deeply moving. South African soprano Elza van den Heever made her Met debut as a brilliant-voiced soprano Elisabetta — her cool Germanic sound suggesting a more calculating monarch. I would have liked a stronger chest register, and her unvaried bright tone sounded rather youthful and lacked bite in declamatory passages. Matthew Polenzani as Leicester was dulcet and musical. His tone sometimes turned tight and bleaty under pressure, but he shapes the music sensitively. Matthew Rose’s warm, enveloping

OPERA, continued on p.26

26 䉴

OPERA, from p.25

bass-baritone made Talbot a refuge of sympathy and strength for the doomed Mary. Maria Zifchak’s lovely mezzo radiated kindness as Anna Kennedy, while Joshua Hopkins had the proper energetic ferocity as Cecil. Maurizio Benini’s elegant conducting seemed to be following the singers rather than pushing the drama forward. McVicar’s production in Act I seemed a conventional historical drama — a latterday John Copley with more chic, stylized scenery. McVicar’s work gained focus and power in Act II, where the time frame moves forward 20 years. John McFarlane’s sets created unforgettable images — towering walls obliquely illuminated with shafts of light and the high scaffold stairs and block lit from above.

IN THE NOH, from p.24

Renfro, which emanate such historically significant scents as Guerlain’s Jicky (1889), Chanel No. 5, L’Interdit (1957), Issey Miyake’s L’eau d’Issey (1992), Thierry Mugler’s Angel (1992), and Prada Amber (2003). Also at the same museum is “Doris Duke’s Shangri-La” (through Feb. 17), which features the creation of that madcap heiress’ fabled Islamic palace in Honolulu, just up the sands from the very gay Diamond Head beach.

The vibrant beginning of independent cinema in New York is spotlighted in Film Forum’s comprehensive “NEW YAWK NEW WAVE,” chock-full of rarely seen enticements from a variety of queer auteurs (209 W. Houston, btwn. Sixth Ave. & Varick St., through Jan. 31;

SECOND LIVES, from p.19

Robertz, “Deceit” is at its best when focusing on Frank’s struggle to maintain his multiple personalities. As the schizo Frank, Steven Hauck, who registers as equal parts NBC News anchor Brian Williams and Bryan Cranston’s meth maker on “Breaking Bad,” delivers a fierce, chilling performance. When Frank’s worlds begin to collide, his breakdown, in slow motion, is devastating. A scene wher e Frank is on the phone at home, arranging a sex date on the Frying Pan (a seedy, dilapidated lightship docked at a Chelsea pier that many New York men may or may not admit to visiting) and descends into dirty talk, is at once disturbing and scintillating. Despite potent subject matter and performances, the low-budget “Deceit” is exceedingly rough around the edges and may be too dense for its

January 16, 2013 |

martyr, who loses his head during the French Revolution. On January 6, Opera Orchestra of New York mounted “Chenier” as a concert vehicle for Roberto Alagna in a role debut. As vehicles go, this one almost drove off the road several times. The star tenor and conductor/ musical director were at fault. Alberto Veronesi conducted without a score, with a wide palette of colors but brash loud dynamics and exaggerated tempos. When Alagna began the introduction to his opening aria, “Un dì all’azzurro spazio,” the

conductor jumped a beat ahead and the tenor and orchestra parted ways. Alagna stopped Veronesi, and after some discussion they went back to the soprano’s earlier cue. Despite an obvious cold, Alagna’s handsome Mediterranean tone sounded well enough except at the very top of his voice. But it was obvious that the underprepared Alagna had little sense of how the famous aria went, approximating note values on every phrase, something that continued all afternoon. He constantly finished lines before or after the orchestral accompaniment. His face was buried in the score throughout. Later in Act II, Alagna was offstage during a crucial phrase over the ensemble — the music went on without him and he entered late with a saucy grin. By the final duet, Alagna’s high notes

began to fade. Veronesi poured on Hollywood bombast, oblivious to the tenor’s imploring looks. Alagna’s final high note cracked. The afternoon belonged to Romanian baritone George Petean, whose rich tone, stylistic authority, and ringing high notes made a vocal feast of Carlo Gérard — his third act solo, “Nemico della Patria,” stopped the show. Octogenarian mezzo Rosalind Elias as La Vecchia Madelon was the other audience favorite — a moving presence with weathered but resonant tone. Kristin Lewis as Maddalena di Coigny sang with an attractive, brightly focused big lyric soprano that only lacked control at softer dynamics and had a weak chest register. Let us hope that “I Lombardi” on April 8 is more worthy of OONY’s artistic heritage. “Dutchman” (Jan. 16-17), directed by gay lenser Anthony Harvey, is the incendiary Leroi Jones-scripted encounter between a psychotic white woman (Shirley Knight) and a mildmannered black man (Al Freeman, Jr.). K e n n e t h A n g e r, o f “ H o l l y w o o d Babylon” fame, directed “Scorpio Rising” (Jan. 25), a groundbreaking piece of gay eroticism, featuring S&M biker fantasies, set to a soundtrack of 1950s and ‘60s pop. When the film was shown in Los Angeles, the theater manager was arrested for public obscenity, and the case went to the California Supreme Court, where it was settled in Anger's favor. Andy Warhol’s “My Hustler” (Jan.25) was filmed on Fire Island and follows an older man’s quest for companionship by using a "Dial A Hustler" service — in 1965! “The Queen” (Jan. 25) is a documentary that focuses on Jack, aka Sabrina, who enters a

1967 New York national drag queen contest. Martin Scorsese’s career -making “Mean Streets” (1973) is being screened (Jan. 30-31), a film starring then-tyro talents Robert DeNiro and Harvey Keitel (at their very best). Even as early in Scorsese’s career as it was, the film was infinitely superior to many of his later, more bloated efforts. Some intriguing personal appearances will be made during the course of this festival. Carroll Baker will introduce “Something Wild” (Jan. 18-19), in which she plays a rape victim and was directed by her then-husband, Jack Gar fein, a survivor of both Auschwitz and the Actors Studio. Rita Gam, who has played everything from Herodias in “King of Kings” to a lesbian prostitute in “Klute” and a character on “The Honeymooners,” will appear with “The Thief,” a 1952 film dealing with the

nuclear threat. Director and writer Paul Morrissey will help unveil “Trash” and “Women in Revolt” (Jan. 26), two delirious Warhol-produced epics, featuring drag goddesses Holly Woodlawn, Candy Darling, and Jackie Curtis, as well as Joe Dallesandro’s impressive penis. The ineffably weird and wonderful Andr ea Feldman also appears in “Trash,” hilariously nattering on about health foods, this coming from a totally unregenerate junkie who, in 1972, invited several ex-boyfriends to her parents’ apartment to witness what she dubbed her “final starring role." Holding a Bible and a crucifix, she jumped from the 14th floor of 51 Fifth Avenue.

own good. Many scenes with Tommy are awkward. Much is made of Bob’s palindrome name but the significance is lost on me. The recurring image of Tommy crafting a ball using his father’s used dental floss is annoyingly cryptic. Plus, in a contemporary play about the wonders of hooking up with dudes via technology, they might have mentioned apps like Grindr or Scruff to keep it fresh. Ultimately, the takeaway is not how conflicted and monstrous Frank is, but how we are all compelled to manage multiple personas — online, at home, at the office, and on a date. It’s an essential part of being human. Is he really so different from the rest of us? The script, which could use some judicious cutting, offers some sharp, evocative passages. Attempting to rationalize his behavior, Frank says, “It’s so easy to flirt online — no risk — flurries of words — like snowflakes

— they melt — who gets hurt?” As anyone can guess just minutes into this engaging if uneven work, pretty much everybody.

raucous parade outside their apartments.

“Maria Stuarda” emerged as a long overdue masterwork that finally found its place in the Met’s repertory.

T h e p o e t p ro t a g o n i s t o f G i o rd a n o ’s “A n d re a C h e n i e r ” is another political

In the oddly intriguing, high-concept “Working O n a S p e c i a l D a y,” A n a G r a h a m a n d A n t o n i o Ve g a w o r k very hard with very little to create a most unusual, bittersweet tale about finding unlikely human connection. Not only do both actors serve as co-directors and co-translators (the piece is based on an Italian adaptation of the 1977 Oscar -nominated “Una Giornata Particolare” starring Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren) playing all the roles, but they are required to literally create set pieces with chalk on the expansive walls. They even provide sound effects (ringing phone, door buzzer, squawking parrot) and point a remote at a laptop to activate recordings of a

Contact David Noh at Inthenoh@aol. com and check out his blog at http://

WORKING ON A SPECIAL DAY 59E59 Theaters 59 E. 59th St. Through Feb. 10 Tue.-Thu. at 7:15 p.m. Fri.-Sat. at 8:15 p.m. Sat. at 2:15 p.m.; Sun. at 3:15 p.m. $35; Or 212-279-4200

At the start of the play, the actors proceed to strip off their street clothes and slowly pull on their circa 1938 costumes, in full view of the audience. Not an easy task, fumbling with suspenders, vests, girdles, stockings, and aprons. The wisp of a plot centers on Antonietta (Graham), mother of six, who stays home to do the chores

SECOND LIVES, continued on p.27


| January 16, 2013

Oscar Nods for “How to Survive a Plague,” Kushner Nominations for AIDS doc, “Angels in America” playwright’s “Lincoln” screenplay BY PAUL SCHINDLER ow to Survive a Plague,” David France’s documentary about AIDS treatment activism in the years prior to the mid-‘90s introduction of protease inhibitors, has been nominated for a Best Documentary Academy Award. The film follows a group of ACT UP members whose efforts to make treatments available to tens of thousands of people very sick will AIDS-related illnesses shifted fr om urgent demands for swift government action to a more collaborative approach, working with public health officials. The group of activists profiled includes those who, in 1992, founded the T reatment Action Group, an effort separate from ACT UP. The film, which relies primarily on archival footage from 31 videographers, allowing a sweeping story to be told in remarkably cogent fashion, documents not only their shift in strategy, but also their success in pressing government health officials and pharmaceutical interests to allow them a seat at the table. One of those whose story is part of the film is Spencer Cox, who died in late December from AIDS-related illnesses. “How to Survive a Plague,”

SECOND LIVES, from p.26

while her family is away enjoying the parade celebrating Hitler’s visit to Rome. It’s the height of fascism, when Mussolini has brainwashed and shackled Italy’s citizens. When her pet parrot escapes its cage and flies out the window, she follows it across the way to her neighbor, Gabriel (Vega), a confirmed bachelor suffering from severe depression. Over the course of the day, the two find uneasy solace in each other’s company. Gabriel reveals he is homosexual, perhaps doomed to persecution under Mussolini’s iron fist. “At billiards in Plaza Tuscolo,” says a distraught Gabriel, “when they find one of us, they pull your pants down and jab a cue up your ass.” Somewhat awkwardly, the pair breaks free from their oppressive, proscribed roles to find a scrap of joy. Like the pet parrot, they each are trapped



David France, the director of “How to Survive a Plague.”

was nominated along with Kirby Dick’s “The Invisible Wa r, ” a b o u t s e x u a l a s s a u l t i n the military, including abuse aimed at lesbian servicemembers; Malik Bendjelloul’s “Searching for Sugar Man,” about Detroitbased ‘70s singer and songwriter Rodriguez; “Five Broken Cameras,” Guy Davidi and Emad Burnat’s film about life in a Palestinian far m village based on the experiences of Burnat, himself a far mer; and “The Gatekeepers,” Dror Moreh’s examination of Shin

in cages and manage to escape, albeit just for a brief interlude. Both actors, who happen to be Mexican and not Italian, are adept at portraying the mismatched couple. While their spot-on depictions of Antonietta and Gabriel appear effortless, their secondary portrayals appear, well, labored. To be sure, “Working on a Special Day,” at 90 minutes with no inter mission, demands that the audience work hard as well. Some of the action and motivations are tough to figure out. It’s not completely clear how this dramatic conceit relates to the content, aside from offering jolts of novelty and comic relief. The tone — drawing goofy cartoons walls — seems bafflingly at odds with the harsh reality of their existence. What’s more, the underlying message that homosexuality is a prison that needs to be escaped is painfully dated indeed.

Bet, Israel’s secret internal security agency, based on interviews with its former leaders. Among other nominations

involving LGBT film artists, playwright and screenwriter Tony K u s h n e r, c r e a t o r o f “ A n g e l s i n America” among many honored stage productions, is one of the five contenders for Best Adapted Screenplay, for “Lincoln.” His screenplay is loosely based on historian Doris Kear ns Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.” The other Adapted Screenplay nominees are “Silver Linings Playbook” (David O. Russell), “Argo” (Chris T errio), “Life of Pi” (David Magee), and “Beasts of the Southern Wild” (Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin). Gay City News critics Steve Erickson and David Noh both selected “How to Survive a Plague” as among their top 10 for 2012, in lists that encompassed films beyond the specific focus of LGBT -themed. Erickson, who reviewed four of the five Best Documentary nominees in the newspaper, named “Searching for Sugar Man,” among his runnersup.

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January 16, 2013 |


High Court to Consider Global AIDS Funding Restrictions Conflicting rulings on requirement that agencies denounce prostitution at issue BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD


he Supreme Court has announced it will review a ruling striking down the US government’s policy of conditioning funding under the US Leadership Against HIV/ AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Act of 2003 on nonprofit recipients stating an explicit policy opposing prostitution and sex traf ficking and taking no actions inconsistent with that. On January 11, the high court accepted a petition for review of a Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision that held the policy probably violated the First Amendment rights of the plaintiffs. The suit was brought by the Alliance for an Open Society International against the US Agency for International Development. The Second Circuit panel, by a vote of 2-1, upheld a preliminary injunction that the district court issued against enforcement of the policy pending a full trial on the merits.

That ruling arguably conflicts with a DC Circuit ruling rejecting a First Amendment challenge to the policy. The circuit split on the constitutionality of a federal statute has now captured the Supreme Court’s attention. At the heart of the case is the complicated doctrine of “unconstitutional conditions� that the Supreme Court has developed through a series of cases involving restrictions placed by Congress on the recipients of federal funds. Perhaps the most notorious of these cases is the 1991 Rust v. Sullivan ruling, which rejected a constitutional challenge to the requirement that federal family planning money not be “used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.� Projects receiving federal funds were prohibited from providing abortion counseling or referrals or engaging in any activities that would encourage, promote, or advocate abortion. The Supreme Court rejected the argument that this was unconstitutionally compelled speech, pointing out that the law authorized fed-

eral funding recipients to establish separate organizations that would not receive federal money and could undertake abortion-related activities. The high court also noted that funding recipients were not required to articulate an anti-abortion message, but merely to remain silent about abortion if they wanted federal money. The court’s explanation was that Congress could dictate the content of speech that it was paying for as part of a federally funded family planning program. The majority of the Second Circuit panel, Judges Barrington Parker and Rosemary Pooler, distinguished the Rust abortion holding and similar rulings by the Supreme Court and other Second Circuit panels from the HIV restriction case, primarily because the statute challenged here goes beyond requiring silence and neutrality, instead conditioning federal money on the recipient agency articulating the government’s position as if it were its own position. Dissenting Circuit Judge Chester

Straub rejected this distinction, arguing that this case was controlled by Rust and similar rulings, and that the government was entitled to control the speech of HIV-prevention organizations that operated with federal financial assistance. When the case was pending before the district court, the government argued the plaintif fs did not have standing because they had failed to take an alternative course offered by regulations — to set up separate affiliated organizations with non-governmental funds to undertake efforts to engage prostitutes in HIV-prevention measures without being compromised in those efforts by having to articulate policy positions hostile to prostitution. The Second Circuit panel major ity pointed out that this “affiliated organization� device for avoiding the restriction did not save the statute from constitutional challenge, because it went too far in requir -


AIDS FUNDING, continued on p.34

Gay Couple’s Sex Sting Suit Revived Federal appeals court finds claim of no probable cause for park arrest “plausible� BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD


he Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has revived a lawsuit filed by a gay male couple caught up in a Michigan sex sting. A three-judge panel, on January 7, held that District Judge Gerald E. Rosen erred in dismissing claims by Randy Alman and Michael Barnes, an Indiana couple, in connection with Alman’s arrest and the impounding of Barnes’ car at Hix Park in Westland, Michigan in 2007. The panel

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found that the two men, having made a plausible argument that there was not probable cause for these law enforcement actions, deserve to have their claims heard at trial. In October 2007, Alman, sitting at a picnic table in the park after having driven Barnes’ car there, was approached by a handsome Wayne County undercover officer, Kevin Reed, who was part of a group assigned to “conduct surveillance at Hix Park to investigate complaints of lewd conduct and possible sexual activity taking place,� according to Circuit

Judge Damon Keith’s opinion. Testimony from Alman and Reed differ about the nature of the conversation, but eventually Alman got up and walked down a trail, with Reed following, and veered off to a secluded spot. Alman contends Reed was acting flirtatiously and told him he “liked to watch,� while the officer testified he told Alman he was “a little nervous� and “new to this.� The two were standing close to each other and Alman reached out and “touched the zipper area on the front of Reed’s crotch.� Alman claimed he just “brushed� his hand up against the area, while Reed claimed that Alman “grabbed� his crotch. Reed stepped back and Alman went down on one knee, facing sideways and pretending to tie his shoe. Reed pulled out his badge and told Alman he was under arrest. When Reed walked Alman back to the parking lot where other officers were waiting, he told his sergeant that Alman had “grabbed me or touched my crotch.� The sergeant had the car impounded and towed to the police department lot, and Alman was charged with Accosting and Soliciting and Fourth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, state offenses. Alman was held in a cell for two hours and released after posting a $150 bond. When Barnes came to pick up Alman and retrieve his car, he paid a $900 redemption fee and signed a


LAWSUIT, continued on p.34


| January 16, 2013

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January 16, 2013 |




CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Christopher Byrne (Theater), Susie Day, Doug Ireland (International), Brian McCormick (Dance), Dean P. Wrzeszcz

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Seth J. Bookey, Anthony M.Brown, Kelly Jean Cogswell, Andres Duque, Michael Ehrhardt, Steve Erickson, Erasmo Guerra, Frank Holliday, Andy Humm, Eli Jacobson, David Kennerley, Gary M. Kramer, Arthur S. Leonard, Michael T. Luongo, Lawrence D. Mass, Winnie McCroy, Eileen McDermott, Mick Meenan, Tim Miller, Gregory Montreuil, Christopher Murray, David Noh, Pauline Park, Nathan Riley, Chris Schmidt, Jason Victor Serinus, David Shengold, Yoav Sivan, Gus Solomons Jr., Kathleen Warnock, Benjamin Weinthal








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PUBLISHER EMERITUS JOHN W. SUTTER Gay City News, The Newspaper Serving Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender NYC, is published by NYC Community Media, LLC. Send all inquiries to: Gay City News, 515 Canal Street, Unit 1C, NYC 10013 Phone: 212.229.1890 Written permission of the publisher must be obtained before any of the contents of this paper, in part or whole, can be reproduced or redistributed. All contents (c) 2012 Gay City News.

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arijuana law reformers, trade unionists, civil libertarians, and feminists greeted Gover nor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State speech with enthusiastic applause, matching his passionate delivery. The raves came for the part of his long speech that concer ned the pr ogr essive agenda, which balanced his opening remarks focused on his fiscally conservative pledge to lower costs to business and to allow no new taxes. But the governor’s commitment to lower business costs did not extend to the minimum wage. The current $7.25 minimum yields $15,080 in annual income. Using telling graphics, Cuomo laid out the cost of car insurance, gas, electricity, and food and then ended with rent, showing that it costs $35,400 to live in this state. He proposed a 20 percent increase, raising the minimum to $8.75. 75. Rhythmically, he called out, “It's the right thing thii n g to

do, it's the fair thing to do, it's long overdue, we should have done it last year." Last y e a r, S e n a t e R e p u b l i c a n s blocked a bill for an $8.50 minimum wage indexed to inflation. Cuomo said he put in place the initial steps in his progressive agenda in his first two years with the passage of marriage equality and pr ograms for the unemployed. He drew his warmest reception by talking about a proposed Wo m e n ’ s E q u a l i t y A c t , which includes protections for reproductive freedom, and chanting thr ee times, it’s “her body, her choice.” This mammoth bill also covers areas like sexual harassment and domestic violence orders of protection — subjects of interest to LGBT families and employees. The applause was loud and sustained. While many will wonder if the governor’s plan is too ambitious, it’s best not to look a gift horse in the mouth. Cuomo’s remarks give activists and lobbyists representing progressive causes remarkable tools for putting to rest factual debates and expanding their support. Civil

libertarians, drug law reformers, and social justice advocates were thrilled with the gover nor’s remarks about marijuana law reform. Despite the fact that the Marihuana Reform Act of 1977 was predicated on the notion that criminal penalties are “inappropriate for people who possess small quantities of marijuana,” New York City made 49,800 arrests for marijuana in public view in 2011. Of those arrested, 25,746 were black and 6,123 were Hispanic, and half were under 25 years old. Those swept up by this rash of arrests, based in the NYPD’s stop and frisk practices, face criminal records at odds with the spirit of the state’s ef forts 36 years ago. Cuomo acknowledged that these arrests were made in high crime ar eas, but added dryly that it is difficult to define what is the “right number” of stops and frisks but that it’s clear that “almost 700,000 is too many.” Eighty percent of black 18- and 19-year -olds are stopped at least once. This aggressive policing leads communities to believe they are not being

on. As he pointed out, the incidence of depression among gay men is a multiple of the general population. Today, there a lot more openly gay people in the biomedical community than when TAG, ACT UP, and amfAR began. It is reasonable to assume that a lot of gay and/ or gayfriendly people will take up research and treatment issues of this sort. Maybe the model has not changed: target things, like ACT UP and TAG, toward finding ways to better the mental health of gay people.

January 12, 2013 Editor: To tthe he E dito di tor: r: Thank you, Paul. As a friend of Spencer's, I have truly been confused by his death. Your writing seemed to help me understand how to maybe move forward. In Spencer's memory, making a difference.

protected, but “occupied.” Under the governor’s plan, the old system of pressing criminal charges for marijuana in public view would be replaced by having it be simply a violation without a criminal charge or fingerprinting. The policeman would simply write a ticket. Cuomo’s focus on discrimination went beyond stop and frisk actions. He proposed protecting families from eviction resulting from domestic violence incidents and said businesses that refuse to make reasonable accommodation for pregnant employees should be penalized. And he would allow people to file for orders of protection by teleconferencing so that they are not forced to physically share a room with their abuser. The bottom line is that the governor gave the social justice forces in the Democratic Party a strong boost. Cuomo’s endorsement won’t guarantee that the bills become law, but it does demonstrate a new boldness on the part of a leading Democrat after Barack Obama’s reelection. The definition of the center is moving left.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR T OR AN ACTIVIST’S DEATH January 6, 2013 To the Editor: This is by far the best obit on Spencer yet (“Spencer Cox’s Legacy as a Treatment Activist and a Gay Man With A I D S , ” b y P a u l S c h i n d l e r, Jan. 2-15) and as a friend of Spencer's, it’s much appreciated. Scott Gorenstein

January 13, 2013 To the Editor: Spencer's concer ns with the mental and physical health of gay men are spot-

Timothy Lunceford

January 14, 2013 To the Editor: Thanks so much for this holistic view of a wonderful man.

LOG CABIN SHIFT ON HAGEL H AGEL December 31, 2012 To the Editor: This clown Clarke Cooper just endorsed Mitt Romney, who was committed to maintaining our second-class status and was capable of doing us much more damage than Chuck Hagel (“Clarke Cooper Sings New Tune as Log Cabins Blast Hagel,” by Paul Schindler, posted online Dec. 27). Clarke Cooper and the Log Cabin Republicans continue to elect our enemies to office. They are not to be trusted. Robert Considine

Glenn Mallory

Jim Deadwyler

LETTERS, continued on p.31


| January 16, 2013




was maybe 12 or 14 when some man at the hospital s a i d , " Yo u r e m i n d m e o f somebody. That actress. Yo u k n o w . W h a t ' s h e r name? Straight hair? Young? She was in that movie a couple years ago?" Which he couldn't think of, either. I was taking newspapers around to patients, volunteering with the idea I'd go to med school, become a medical missionary. Had no idea what he was talking about. I barely watched TV, much less movies, "Called little girl something..." A nurse sick of listening to him blab, finally chimed in with, "The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane — J o d i e F o s t e r. " A n d t h e g u y s a i d , "Yeah, you're creepy, just like her." G r e a t . Yo u ' r e a l l r e a d y t o g e t compared to a movie star, and you get the creepy one. I might have dismissed it, except it happened again. And again. "You remind me of whatsher name." When I finally saw her picture I remember star ing at it, wondering just what the resemblance was supposed to be beyond generic white female. Straight brownish hair. No distinguishing marks.

LETTERS, from p.30

December 28, 2012 To the Editor: Amen. You hit it right on the head on all points. Rick Garcia

December 27, 2012 To the Editor: Clarke Cooper remains politically a war-mongering, pro-genocidal Israel, corporatist pawn anal appurtenance, and his opinion ought not be given much weight by saner minds, IMO. Mickey McNulta

THE HAGEL WHAT? January 6, 2013 To the Editor: On Hagel’s arrival at the Penta-

I didn't figur e it out until ages afterward, when I watched a couple of her films, saw her move and speak. I discovered what we had in common wasn't a face or body, but a certain stern, direct gaze and a voice pitched for anything but girly giggles. And like me, she walked. She didn't swagger, sway, or prance, just put one foot in front of the other. When she tried to do dif ferent, it always seemed like a p u t - o n , m a k i n g g e n d e r, s e x , a g e all artificial. "Hey look, I'm being a grown-up female," her movements declared in “T axi Driver.” Under neath it all was a touch of something else — anger probably. Later on, I'd put a name to us both — dyke. It's as good as any, b u t s a y l e s b i a n i f y o u p r e f e r. O r queer. She didn't use any of those words when she came out Sunday night at the Golden Globes. Instead, she joked about needing to be "loud and proud" and describing how she'd already come out many times, "to everyone she'd actually met," and thanked her recently ex- partner of decades. She sounded nervous, pained, irritated at having to repeat in public what she'd already done in private as a "fragile young girl." And too many people, including

queers, responded the way they always do, sneering, "We knew all along." "That wasn't a real coming out." They wanted something more direct, more radical, the birth of an activist. And probably in the past I would have screamed, too, "Come o u t , J o d i e F o s t e r, c o m e o u t . We need all the help we can get." I'm not sure anymore. Especially after seeing the anguish behind her smiling face. Because the truth isn't always as liberating as we'd like. In her case, she's probably merely relieved to get her publicist off her back, along with the LGBTQ community. She's not an Ellen, who seemed truly freed by coming out. One difference is Ellen makes a living as herself. Even as a stand-up, her work centered on her personal life. She spoke in a version of her own voice, used her name. Shared facts. She had to contort herself to stay in the closet. Jodie Foster is in a different c a t e g o r y a s a n a c t o r. T h e y u s e their faces, their bodies as tools to be somebody else, only indirectly revealing themselves. Which she did. Especially when she was young and fearless, and less selfc o n s c i o u s . Yo u w a t c h t h o s e o l d movies and she practically bur ns. The best of her generation.

gon, he will be immediately engulfed in the new atmosphere, surrounded by openly gay military no matter where he steps (“The Hagel Flusterchuck,” by Paul Schindler, Jan. 2-15). His positions on Israel and Iran seem moderate compared to pro-Israel and anti-Iran chest-beaters. If he is on the side of those who understand the US level of military spending is a destructive path, then I say send him in.

there will be a record of your despicable treatment by the US Department of State.

William Stribling

NO STATE DEPARTMENT APOLOGY January 8, 2013 To the Editor: I was moved to tears by Sam Oglesby’s story (“Lost Down the Memory Hole, Only the Echoes of Kafka Remain,” Jan. 2-15). Thank you for having the honesty to share it, so that

Frank Daykin January 8, 2013 To the Editor: Great piece, and profound story. Thanks for sharing it.

Now, she sometimes seems lost behind the ar mour she's accumulated. It happens as you age. I'm a lesbosaurus and I've lost some of the qualities we were supposed to have shared. Talking to strangers, I often stare off to the side. I'm awar e of how I walk. I don't play with gender as much, putting on a dress one day, a tie the next. I save my courage for this. Writing. Getting the words out. So let me celebrate Jodie Foster's brave coming out when the risks are so much g r e a t e r f o r h e r, m o v i n g a c r o s s the giant screens in theaters or trapped forever in your smartphone. I hope she resists the pressure to go further, do queer fundraisers, or pr omo spots for GLAAD. What Jody Foster should be doing is acting, and in my fondest dreams she chooses daring roles like the ones that launched her. Skip the lesbian moms, and please god, no more Anna Leonowens cavorting in Siam. I need a sequel to the quirky, creepy girl who stared directly into your eyes, or a glimpse of a grown up Iris Steensma, who would be what, a junky? A born-again Christian? Let Jodie Foster abdicate Clarice and be Hannibelle Lecter. Or a fully realized Virginia Woolf who risks it all, mixing intensity and anguish with joy and rage, love, even raw foolishness.

A CLIFFORD ODETS CLASSIC’S LONGEVITY December 22, 2012 To the Editor: Thank you, David Kennerley, for the lovely and perceptive review (“Brief Boxer,” Dec. 19-Jan. 1). Walt Odets

Jay Weinstein

CHRISTINE QUINN’S FORTUNES January 11, 2013 To the Editor: While Christine may look like the frontrunner, there is opposition to her mayoral candidacy, and it's not based on being a woman or lesbian (“Lucky 13: A Baker’s Dozen Things to Watch For in the Year Ahead,” by Paul Schindler, Jan. 2-15). Mike Conway

WRITE US! Please send letters, of 250 words or less, to or to 515 Canal St., S u i t e 1 C , N e w Yo r k 1 0 0 1 3 . T h e editors reserve the right to edit letters based on length and legal considerations.



January 16, 2013 |


THEATER Greenwich Village — 1913

PERFORMANCE Distorted on Parade

“Crossing Paths in Washington Square,” written by Barbara Kahn, winner of the Torch of Hope Award for lifetime achievement in non-profit theater, and directed by Kahn and Robert Gonzales Jr., captures Greenwich Village as it was in 1913 — racially, economically, and culturally diverse, including the wealthy whose townhouses bordered the park, working class Italian immigrants, Jewish garment workers still affected by the Triangle Factory fire of 1911, and gays and lesbians beginning to build a community. Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave., btwn. Ninth & Tenth Sts. Jan. 17-Feb. 3, Thu.-Sat. at 7 p.m., Sun. at 3 p.m. Tickets are $12 at or 212-254-1109.

“Distorted Diznee” is a Las Vegas-style parody revue of some of America's most beloved animated classics, featuring drag stars Dallas DuBois, Holly Dae, Bootsie LeFaris, Pixie Aventur, and Shenea DeDranke. You may come away from the show remembering moments of Cher, Patti LuPone, Idina Menzel, and Rihanna — at no extra charge. Laurie Beechman Theater, inside the West Beth Café, 407 W. 42 St. Fridays, 10 p.m. Tickets are $15 at or 212-352-3101, plus a $15 food & drink minimum.


Because of the Wonderful Things He Does

January 27: "Broadway Bares: Winter Burlesque"


“The Wonderful Wizard Of Song” is a musical revue celebrating the compositions of Harold Arlen and featuring “Stormy Weather,” “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “Paper Moon,” “Accentuate-ThePositive,” “Lets Fall in Love,” and the tunes from “The Wizard of Oz.” The show stars the Three Crooners — George Bugatti, Marcus Goldhaber, and Joe Shepherd — who are joined by Antoinette Henry. St. Luke’s Theatre, 308 W. 46th St. Through Mar. 14; Mon., 7 p.m.; Wed., 2 p.m.; Thu., 8 p.m. Tickets are $39.50-$69.50 at or 212239-6200. For more information, visit

BENEFIT Fighting AIDS in Children Worldwide

Two-time Tony Award winning actress Christine Ebersole (“42nd Street,” “Grey Gardens”) is joined by the Yale Whiffenpoofs, the NYU N’Harmonics, and the Young People’s Chorus of New York City in a benefit for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, a global leader in the fight against the epidemic’s impact on children. The concert, “Sing Out, Raise Hope,” will include a cappella and choral renditions of American jazz classics and contemporary pop hits. The Town Hall, 123 W. 43rd St. Jan. 19, 8 p.m. Tickets are $50 - $100 at or 800-982-2787.

That’s Amore!

COMMUNITY Joining the Fight for Trans Rights

The Sylvia Rivera Law Project, a collective membership organization serving the legal needs of New York’s transgender community, hosts an orientation meeting and a film screening of “Pay No Mind.” The film profiles Marsha P. Johnson, a friend and ally of the late trans activist Rivera. Johnson was a revolutionary trans activist, Stonewall instigator, Andy Warhol model, drag queen, sex worker, and starving actress on the downtown scene from the 1960s until her death in 1992. 147 W. 24th St., fifth fl. Jan. 17. Orientation runs from 6-7 p.m., with the film following from 7-8:30. The event is free, but RSVP is recommended at, by emailing gabrielfoster@srlp. org, or by calling 212-337-8550, ext. 309.

BOOKS A Decade of Careening Kathleen Warnock kicks off the tenth year of “Drunken! Careening! Writers!” with readings by Kaylie Jones, whose most recent work is a memoir, “Lies My Mother Never Told Me”; Dael Orlandersmith, a poet, playwright, and performer, who is best known for her play “yellowman,” for which she was a Pulitzer Prize finalist; and Bob Smith, the first out gay comic to appear on “The Tonight Show” and have his own HBO special whose most recent novel, “Remembrance of Things I Forgot,” was an Amazon pick for top ten gay and lesbian books of 2011. KGB Bar, 85 E. Fourth St., btwn. Bowery & Second Ave. Jan. 17, 7 p.m. Free admission.

DANCE Swept Away Carlye Eckert and John SorensenJolink, artists in residence at Judson Memorial Church, premiere their collaboration “RescYou,” a duet that centers around the relationship of two friends before and after a disaster that leaves them stranded on an emergency life raft. The couple, lifelong friends, and natives of Portland, Oregon, have dance in two Twyla Tharp Broadway shows, the recent BAM "Einstein on the Beach," and the companies of Doug Elkins, John Jasperse, Jonah Bokaer, Tino Sehgal, and Jack Ferver. They transform the historic sanctuary into a vast ocean in which time, memories, and daily life cease to exist. Judson Memorial Church, Meeting Hall, 55 Washington Sq. So. at Thompson St. Jan. 17-19, 8 p.m.; Jan. 19, 5 p.m. also. Tickets are $20 at or 800-838-3006. Gus Solomons jr will review the performance at

GALLERY Bob Mizer’s Mid-Century Queer Legacy Billy Miller in conjunction with the Bob Mizer Foundation curates an exhibition of the work of Mizer (1922-1992), a photographer-filmmaker, independent publisher, mid-century iconoclast, and erotic auteur and lyrical chronicler of the pre-Stonewall demimonde. The work on exhibit reveals Mizer as a conscientious artist of intimacy and depth, a visionary stylist of the male-on-male gaze as it was refracted through a culture suffused with masculine iconography, yet which stymied and redirected the vectors of desire. Invisible Exports, 14A Orchard St., btwn. Hester & Canal Sts. Through Jan. 27, Wed.-Sun., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. For more information, visit

The Eros of Italy

David Parsons Premieres David Parsons and Parsons Dance present a two-week season that debuts two new works — Parsons’ “Dawn to Dusk” and “Black Flowers” by former Parsons dancer Katarzyna Skarpetowska — as well as the choreographer’s 2005 Mozart-inspired “Wolfgang,” the company’s “In the End,” with music by the Dave Matthews Band, and Parsons’ masterwork “Caught.” Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Ave. at 19th St.. Jan. 17-29, 24-26, 8 p.m.; Jan. 22 & 23, 7:30 p.m.; Jan. 19 & 26, 2 p.m.; Jan. 20 & 27, 1 & 5 p.m. Tickets are $10-$59 at or 212-242-0800. The Jan. 26 matinee is a special family program.



Emmy Award winner Sonia Blangiardo ("One Life To Live, "As the World Turns") directs a revival of Anthony J. Wilkinson’s “My Big Gay Italian Wedding,” with original music and lyrics by David James Boyd and original choreography by J. Austin Eyer. Wilkinson and Daniel Robinson (“Hairspray”) star as the grooms with recording artists Kim Sozzi ("Feel Your Love") and Judy Torres ("No Reason To Cry") alternating the role of Aunt Toniann. Groom Anthony Pinnunziato’s mother will only bestow her blessing if groom Andrew Polinski’s estranged mother does so as well — and they find a Catholic priest to perform the vows! And, of course, an ex-boyfriend shows up to blow the whole deal up. St. Luke’s Theatre, 308 W. 46th St. Through Feb. 23. Tickets are $39.50$99 at or 212-239-6200.

European-based curator Peter Weiermair, a specialist in the field of the male nude who is particularly knowledgeable of gay photographers working in Italy, has selected work by 11 such artists from different generations whose work ranges from documentary to conceptual. The exhibition he brings to the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, consisting of 60-70 photographs and one video, is titled “Diaries: An Anthology of Photography from Italy,” and he writes, “The unifying theme of the work is the male nude, its beauty, Eros, and sexuality.” 26 Wooster St., btwn. Grand & Canal Sts. Through Feb. 3. Tue.-Sun., noon-6 p.m. More details at

14 DAYS, continued on p.33


| January 16, 2013

14 DAYS, from p.32


NIGHTLIFE Dancing Warms Up Winter Women

The SAGE Women's Winter Dance welcomes women of all ages and backgrounds for a Sunday gathering at which DJ Stacy provides the dance beat with a vast collection of music for everyone's taste — from the romantic oldies to the toe-tapping current hits. LQ Club, 511 Lexington Ave. at 48th St. Jan. 20, 3:30-8:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 at, 212-741-2247, or at the SAGE Center, 305 Seventh Ave. at 27th St., 15th fl. Tickets at the door are $25, cash only.

FILM London Stud on the Loose


WRITING Learning to Craft Your Memoir

Former Village Voice columnist Donna Minkowitz, who won a Lambda Literary Award for her memoir, “Ferocious Romance,” teaches an eight-week memoir-writing class, Wed., Jan. 23-Wed., Mar. 13., 7-9 p.m. in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, accessible by R train, just past Park Slope. The fee is $300. To register, contact donna at minkowitz@


Terra Celestial In “This is Heaven to Me,” choreographer Nicole Philippidis’ 277DanceProject merges theater with contemporary dance, creating a stylized, witty, comic, and at times poignant piece exploring relationship, intangible expectations, desire, and personal myth. An absurdist landscape is filled with midnight love affairs, beauty pageants, a French café, a woman who gets everything she’s ever wanted, a couple who can’t say goodbye, and a man who worries about the end of the world. Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie St., btwn. Rivington & Delancey Sts. Jan. 24-26, 7:30 p.m.; Jan. 27, 3 p.m. Tickets are $15, $12 for students & seniors at or 212-219-0736; $18 at the door.


COMMUNITY Postage Stamps of Hope and Remembrance


COMMUNITY Come Share the Dream

Singer, songwriter, actor, and social activist Harry Belafonte delivers the keynote address at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s 27th annual tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Co-sponsored by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and CUNY’s Medgar Evers College, the event includes musical performances by the Brooklyn Interdenominational Choir and Kindred the Family Soul and livestreaming of President Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremonies in Washington. BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Ave. at Ashland Pl., Fort Greene. Jan. 21, 10:30 a.m. Free admission.

MUSIC V is For Verdi — and Wagner Chelsea Opera presents “Verdi and Wagner — Two men, Two Worlds, Two Centuries,” with selections from Wagner’s “Die Meistersinger,” “Die Fliegende Hollander,” and “Die Walküre,” and Verdi’s “Nabucco” and “Falstaff.” Steven Crawford is the pianist. Christ and St. Stephen’s Church, 120 W. 60th St. Jan. 25, 8 p.m. Admission is $20, $15 for students & seniors at or 866-811-4111; $ $25/ $20 at the door.


Center Stages presents “Strike A Pose,” a conversation between choreographers Karole Armitage and Benny Ninja. Who created vogueing? Armitage — a downtown punk ballerina who choreographed the Broadway show “Hair,” performed with Merce Cunningham, and collaborated with Jean-Paul Gaultier and Jeff Koons — also helped choreograph Madonna’s “Vogue” video, while Ninja is the father of the famed ballroom scene House of Ninja and currently a judge on "America’s Next Top Model.” LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St. Jan. 24, 7-8:30 p.m. Admission is $5, with tickets at

Cinemarosa, a monthly independent queer film program curated by Hector Canonge, presents Campbell X’s “Stud Life,” the story of JJ, a hot black lesbian stud, and her best friend Seb, a cute white twink, who run around London’s LGBT scene. JJ falls for a mysterious sexy woman and Seb is left to his own devices with online hook-ups and an overly affectionate drug dealer. The grit of the city and the betrayal of sexy lovers send Seb and JJ in different directions, where both learn how to accept the love hiding in plain sight. Queens Museum of Art, at the Unisphere in Flushing MeadowsCorona Park (# 7 train to Willets Point/ Citi Field). Jan. 20, 3-6 p.m. Suggested donation is $5, and RSVP is recommended to

Jan. 25, 5-8 p.m., with an $85 admission that gets you two raffle tickets to win one of the artworks. Sales take place Jan. 26, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Jan. 27, noon-4 p.m. Admission on Sat. & Sun. is $5. For more information, visit

Visual AIDS, which utilizes art to fight AIDS by provoking dialogue, supporting HIV-positive artists, and preserving a legacy, holds its 15th annual “Postcards from the Edge” benefit sale, an exciting and affordable way to purchase original work by established and emerging artists from around the world. Donations this year — comprising more than 1,500 postcard-sized pieces uniformly priced at $85 — include work by Ed Ruscha, Kara Walker, Joel Shapiro, John Baldessari, Ann Hamilton, William Wegman, Kiki Smith, Bill Viola, Arturo Herrera, Catherine Opie, Lawrence Weiner, Christian Marclay, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Kay Rosen, Ross Bleckner, Tony Feher, Jack Pierson, Fred Wilson, and Marilyn Minter, among many artists. All proceeds benefit the programs of Visual AIDS. Sikkema Jenkins & Co. Gallery, 530 W. 22nd St. Preview party on


CABARET Sing Out With Pride

In their new show, “Inner Space,” the out and proud singers of Youth Pride Chorus perform an electric evening of favorites by artists including Katy Perry, Pink, and Nicki Minaj. The concert is an introspective journey exploring the singers’ rehearsal process, their anti-bullying work in the public schools, and their personal stories of finding their own voices. Wes Webb is the artistic director. The Kitchen Theater, 512 W. 19th St. Jan. 26, 6 & 8 p.m. Tickets are $20-$45 at


AT THE BEACH Finding Just the Right House

The LGBT Community Center hosts the first in a series of monthly Fire Island Share-A-Thon events, where participants can find that perfect summer beach house share before it’s too late. Offerors (those interested in renting out shares) and seekers (those looking to rent shares) get a chance to meet, check out floor plans and photos, and get all the details for how to spend those summer weekends. Offerors can reserve a table for $50 and shareseekers can purchase tickets for $10 at gaycenter. org. 208 W. 13th St. Jan. 28, 6-8:30 p.m. Beverages will be served. Additional Share-A-Thon dates are Feb. 25, Mar. 18 & Apr. 17.


DANCE Trisha’s Curtain Call

Judy & Liza The Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs (MAC) named Tommy Femia and Rick Skye, the stars of "Judy and Liza Together Again” (directed by Ricky Ritzel as Mort Lindsey/ Pappy), this year’s best duo. Their dizzying hollers and whoops are not being wasted on the Loop — they’re right here in New York, at Don’t Tell Mama, 343 W. 46th St. Jan. 26, Feb. 9 & 23, 8:30 p.m. Cover charge is $25, with a two-drink minimum. Reservations at 212-757-0788.



The 2013 season of “Broadway Bares,” the unrivaled sexy striptease season that benefits Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS, kicks off with “Broadway Bares: Winter Burlesque,” a reprise of last summer’s Fire Island Pines hit, “Broadway Bares: Beach Burlesque.” More than 25 of the sexiest dancers from “Broadway Bares” offer a sizzling collection of choreographed stripteases, followed by their famous "rotation," in which they freestyle dance for donations. XL Nightclub, 512 W. 42nd St. Jan. 27, 9 & 11 p.m. Tickets are $25 for general admission; $100 for reserved seating at Tickets are already on sale for “Broadway Bares 23,” the annual spectacular, this year on Jun. 23, 9:30 p.m. & midnight, at the Roseland Ballroom, 239 W. 52nd St.. Admission is $65-$750, with a “Stripper Spectacular” package available, including a private cocktail reception with “Bares” creator Jerry Mitchell, priced at $2,500. “Broadway Bares,” to date, has raised more than $9.8 million for BC/ EFA.

Choreographer Trisha Brown announced her retirement last year, and her company presents the New York premieres of her final two works, “Les Yeux et l'âme,” with music recorded by William Christie and Les Arts Florissants, and “I’m going to toss my arms — if you catch them they’re yours,” with original music by Alvin Curran and Toss and Find. The company also presents 1983’ “Set and Reset” and 1987’s “Newark (Niweweorce).” “Homemade,” a 1966 film by Babette Mangolle, based on an original film by Robert Whitman, is also on the program. BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Ave. at Ashland Pl., Fort Greene. Jan. 30-Feb. 2, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20$50 at


BENEFIT The Year’s Sexiest Masquerade Ball

The Young Leaders of the LGBT Community Center host “Masq,” a benefit evening of elegant dress, mysterious masks, an open vodka bar, decadent drinks, and old fashioned mayhem — all of which support the Center’s services. Bowery Hotel, 335 Bowery at Great Jones St. Feb. 2, 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Tickets are $75; $125 for VIP admission to a reserved lounge with dedicated bar service and a gift bag at

34 䉴

AIDS FUNDING, from p.28

ing funding recipients to adopt an express policy position with which they may disagree. “Furthermore,” the court said, “the targeted speech, concerning prostitution in the context of the international HIV/ AIDS prevention effort, is a subject of international debate. The right to communicate freely on such

LAWSUIT, from p.28

release stating it “precludes any action in this case regarding the vehicle and constitutes a final settlement of the civil nuisance abatement case.” The assistant county prosecutor assigned to the case, Luke Skywalker — you can’t make this stuff up — filed a motion to dismiss the criminal charges against Alman because of a policy that “charges will not be pur sued by this office if the officer’s conduct was designed to make the individual believe the act was invited or consensual.” At the same time, however, a Westland police officer issued Alman a ticket for violating city disorderly conduct and battery ordinances. A state court judge dismissed the disorderly conduct charge, finding it required “some exposure of bodily parts,” but put the battery charge on the calendar for trial. When none of the police officers showed up to testify on the trial date, the court dismissed that charge as well. Alman claimed his arrest violated his Fourth and 14th Amendment rights

MOTHER OF P-FLAG, from p.10

national group. Jeanne Manford once told gay author Eric Marcus, “I'm very shy, by the way. But I wasn't going to let anybody walk over Morty." That attitude was on display shortly after Morty’s death from AIDS in 1992. I was then director of education at the HetrickMartin Institute for LGBT youth, and I joined her to discuss youth issues on Geraldo Rivera’s television show. Over our pre-show objections, Rivera inserted the psychologist Paul Cameron — whose theories

MORTY, from p.11

if they could — was right there out on the streets, in meetings, and in newspapers, with real faces and real people attached. And some of our parents along, as well. I felt at that point that our movement had a “genius” to it — an ani-

January 16, 2013 | matters of public concern lies at the heart of the First Amendment. The Policy Requirement offends that principle, mandating that Plaintiffs affirmatively espouse the government’s position on a contested public issue where the differences are both real and substantive. For example, the World Health Organization (“WHO”) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (“UNAIDS”)

have recognized advocating for the reduction of penalties for prostitution — to prevent such penalties from interfering with outreach efforts — as among the best practices for HIV/ AIDS prevention. Plaintiffs claim that being forced to declare their opposition to prostitution ‘harms their credibility and integrity.” The panel noted that the policy required of funding recipients would

likely offend “the very people, prostitutes, ‘whose trust they must earn to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS,’” in the words of the plaintiffs.” The plaintiffs are represented by the Brennan Center for Justice and attorneys at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr PC. Their lawsuit attracted amicus briefs from a large group of public health and human rights organizations.

and asserted a state malicious prosecution claim. Barnes raised a Fourth Amendment claim and a state abuse of process claim involving the impounding of his car. Both men asserted that their First Amendment rights had been violated, claiming the police activity would chill expressive activity. The district judge granted summary judgment to the defendants, who included the officers, the city and county police departments, and the city and county, finding there was probable cause for both Alman’s arrest and the seizure of the car. Judge Keith found that there were factual disputes that should have precluded summary judgment and authorized Alman and Barnes to pursue some of their claims. Specifically, since the statute under which Alman was charged with criminal sexual conduct requires elements of coercion or surprise, Keith found that that the varying descriptions of what happened did not support the arrest. “Aside from engaging in flirtatious conversation and his brief touching of Reed’s crotch, there is nothing in the

record that evinces” an intention to engage in public sexual conduct “on Alman’s part,” the judge wrote. “To the contrary, the only objective indications in the record about a state of mind relate to Reed, who stated that he was ‘new to this’ and that he ‘liked to watch.’ Under these circumstances, there was no probable cause.” On the city’s charges of indecency, Keith found, Alman was correct that it had uniformly been interpreted to require exposure of genitals. “We have uncovered no author ity indicating that a brief touching of another person’s crotch during a flirtatious conversation constitutes indecent or obscene conduct, and based on the record before us, it cannot be said that the Westland police officers had probable cause that Alman was about to expose himself,” the judge wrote. On the charge of battery, Keith noted, there was no element of “force or violence” in Alman touching Reed’s crotch to justify the arrest. Given that the law on these charges is clearly established, the police offi-

cers do not enjoy “qualified immunity” from personal liability for making these arrests, the panel found. And, if there was no probable cause for the arrest, then impounding Barnes’s car was improper as well. The appellate panel, however, found no factual basis for claims of malicious prosecution or abuse of process. Mary K. Kator of the Rainbow Law Center in Southfield, Michigan, argued the appeal for Alman and Barnes and the Triangle Foundation, a gay rights group that joined in the case. The Court of Appeals sent the case back to the district court for a trial on the claims it had revived. Alman and Barnes could yet lose at trial, but the circuit court’s decision has the salutary effect of sending a message to Michigan law enforcement authorities engaged in the age-old catand-mouse game of entrapping gay men in public places. Law enforcement is put on record that arresting people for the kind of innocuous conduct described by Alman is inappropriate and may subject police officers to liability.

linking homosexuality to child sex abuse had already been discredited by his professional peers — into the program. When Cameron began to attack Morty, saying his homosexuality caused his death, Jeanne rose up like a mother lioness and screamed at him, not allowing him to continue with his calumny. Geto said that “at the end stages of Morty’s illness, he lived at home, refusing to be hospitalized. He slept on a bed downstairs in the living room — not out of the way in a bedroom upstairs — with IVs, right ther e when you came into house with people coming and going. His

mother insisted. She wanted to take car e of him personally. She really masked her grief and horror and when I would come to visit, she was so upbeat and pleasant. It was the most difficult act any performer could per for m because her heart was melting away. He wanted to be at home and his mother wanted him at home. Her devotion was there to the last day.” Jeanne Sobelson Manford was born December 4, 1920. She graduated from Queens College in 1964 and was an elementary school math teacher at PS 32 in Queens for 26 years, retir ing in 1990 at age 70. Her husband,

Jules, died in 1982. She is survived by her daughter, Suzanne Swan, one granddaughter, and three great granddaughters. She moved Rochester, Minnesota, in 1996 to be near her family and later to Daly City, California. That is where she died of natural causes, according to Swan. Jody Huckaby, P-FLAG’s national executive director, said in a statement, “Jeanne Manford proved the power of a single person to transform the world. She paved the way for us to speak out for what is right, uniting the unique parent, family, and ally voice with the voice of LGBT people everywhere.”

mating spirit unafraid to look at the truth and create something impor tant from it. At a demonstration I asked Arthur Bell, “Do you think our movement has a genius to it?” And he said, “Look around you. What do you think? Of course!” Morty died on May 14, 1992, at his home in Queens, of complications

from AIDS. His father Jules had died ten years earlier, and Morty’s only brother, Charles, died in 1966 — what an awful lot of deaths for Jeanne to take. I remember hearing about his death and taking it hard — that this young, beautiful guy who’d become a lawyer, had died. I’m sure that I still miss his quiet presence, but now it

has been joined by Jeanne’s. The latest book by Perry Brass, author of “The Manly Art of Seduction,” is “King of Angels, A Novel About the Genesis of Identity and Belief,” set in Savannah, Georgia, in 1963, the year JFK was assassinated. For more information about him, visit


| January 16, 2013




CHAD GRIFFIN President, Human Rights Campaign

To purchase tickets call 800.494.8497 or visitямБce Please visit for more exciting news of our Entertainment and Awardees.


January 16, 2013 |

Gay City News  

The newspaper serving LGBT New Yorker's.

Gay City News  

The newspaper serving LGBT New Yorker's.