FREE VOLUME TWELVE, ISSUE THREE JANUARY 30 - FEBRUARY 12, 2013
Gays Against Quinn 04 Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s Beat 17 Will DOMA Be Decided? 09 No Picnic 16
Page 6 © GAY CITY NEWS 2013 • NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
January 30, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
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The Laramie Project
The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later
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Written by Moisés Kaufman, Leigh Fondakowski, Greg Pierotti, Andy Paris, and Stephen Belber
Directed by Moisés Kaufman and Leigh Fondakowski
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| January 30, 2013
Illustration by Michael Shirey
Joining the journey, the president leads
Gay party promoter claims NYPD brutality
Transcendent "RecYou" Solid 'Roof," knockout Cat
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Leadership on immigration reform 22
24 & 27
January 30, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Two Gay Men Explain their Beef with Quinn Louis Flores, Donny Moss charge City Council speaker has sold out her progressive roots BY DUNCAN OSBORNE
GAY CITY NEWS
ity Council Speaker Christine Quinn is facing opposition from a surprising quarter as she seeks the mayor’s office — gay men who charge the out lesbian has abandoned her progressive roots for political deal-making that advances her career and harms New York City. “She has turned her back on everything she stood for,” said Louis Flores, who blogs on christine-quinn-soldout.blogspot.com and has joined protests at Quinn fundraisers and appearances. Quinn, who represents Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, and the West Village, was first elected to the Council in 1999 and was elected speaker in 2006. Prior to joining the Council, Quinn was the executive director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP) and chief of staff for Thomas Duane, an openly gay man who represented the same Council district for two terms.
Louis Flores and Donny Moss use the Internet and street protests to challenge Christine Quinn.
At AVP and in her earlier work as a housing activist, Quinn was more aggressive, more devoted to a single cause, and less likely to compromise to achieve success. As speaker, Quinn has heralded the annual city budgets she has brokered
with Mayor Michael Bloomberg. She has supported the police department and made deals with real estate interests. But where Quinn sees reasonable compromises that maintain city services, create jobs, or keep taxpayers safe, others see betrayal of core principles. “It’s her consistent record of violating the public trust,” said Donny Moss, who runs votequinnout.com and the “Defeat Christine Quinn” Facebook page. “She doesn’t listen to her constituents.” Moss points to Quinn’s support for the expansion of Chelsea Market and New York University, the conversion of St. Vincent’s Hospital to condos, and the creation of a large Department of Sanitation waste transfer facility in the West Village as examples of Quinn running roughshod over her district. Quinn has riled other gay activists by supporting ID scanners for city nightclubs and bars and backing a police department regulation that requires a permit for assemblies of 50 people or more. Housing Works, an AIDS group, locked horns with Quinn over a city bill that would have given people with HIV, even those without an AIDS diagnosis, access to city housing benefits. Quinn’s 2008 support for altering the city term limits law to allow the mayor, City Council members, and other elected officials to serve three four -year terms instead of two had queer politicos who usually praise the speaker chastising her. The scope of any anti-Quinn feelings among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender voters today is unknown. Moss and Flores may be the tip of an iceberg. In a surprisingly weak per -
formance in her 2009 Democratic primary, Quinn faced Yetta Kurland, a lesbian, and Maria Passannante-Derr. Quinn’s opponents combined to win 47 percent of the vote. The two gay men could also be a “fringe” element, as Quinn surrogates have called them in press reports. Moss, who has “several hundred” people on an email list and nearly 1,100 likes on his Facebook page, does voter outreach at subway stops and Quinn events about three times a week and Flores sometimes attends. They get a “mixed reaction” fr om the public. They have been insulted or called “homophobes,” and they have been thanked by passersby. They attribute the negative reactions to voters not knowing Quinn’s record. “That’s why we’re getting that mixed reaction because some of those voters are not informed,” Flores said. Some gay voters are more inter ested in solidarity and making “judgments based on [Quinn’s] identity,” Moss said. He also hears from voters who cannot or do not wish to publicly oppose Quinn. “One of the challenges we face is that people who are most affected by her are afraid to speak out,” Moss said. Both men have been roughed up by police during their Quinn protests and put videos of that on YouTube. “That’s why we have to ask which side is Christine Quinn on?” Flores said during a joint interview. Moss quickly added, “The police are on her side... She should be supporting free speech.” Flores contrasted Quinn’s time at AVP to her time as speaker. Queer youth of color are among those who endure stop and frisk, a tactic that the police say aids in keeping crime down. Quinn has said she backs the continued use of the tactic, but with changes and more supervision. Proposals to codify such changes have not yet received Council action. “If Christine Quinn was the head of AVP today, she would be fighting that,” Flores said. In his view, Quinn has become what the city’s reform movement once fought. “Her strategy is to reward the district leaders and the county leaders all around this city,” Flores said. “She has become a political boss, which violates everything progressives stand for... We’re trying to fight for something better, a better government.” The Quinn campaign declined to comment.
| January 30, 2013
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January 30, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
BY PAUL SCHINDLER
resident Barack Obama made gay history in his second inaugural address on January 21. “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law,” the president said, marking the first time the LGBT community was ever mentioned in an inaugural address, the most ceremonial moment in American political life. For queer Americans, Obama’s most stirring words, however, came several moments earlier when he said, “We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths — that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall.” America’s first black president had placed the gay community’s defining act of political assertiveness into the mainstream of the nation’s fight for equality, alongside the women’s movement and the 1960s AfricanAmerican civil rights struggle. In the setting of his inauguration, those words were profound, even revolutionary. But was the formulation itself new for the president? And how were his words — particularly the pairing of Selma, site of a “Bloody Sunday” police attack on civil rights marchers in 1965, and Stonewall — recieved by African-American voters, who are the president’s most loyal supporters? Obama’s posture at the inauguration inevitably raises questions about how his leadership has influenced the conversation about LGBT rights in America — and his ability to move public opinion in his core demographic is a particularly telling measure of that. Discussions of how the AfricanAmerican and the LGBT communities get along and view each other have always been fraught — particularly since 2008, when exit polls showed that black voters supported Proposition 8 by a 70-30 percent margin, versus the overall 52-48 edge the initiative achieved. Neither the obvious
North Carolina’s Mandy Carter and Brooklyn’s Terrance Knox both spoke enthusiastically about the impact of President Barack Obama’s leadership on LGBT equality within the black community.
fact that many voters are members of both communities simultaneously nor follow-up research suggesting that black support for Prop 8 was more in the range of 57-59 percent has eliminated the volatile feelings surrounding this issue. But even as black attitudes toward gays continue to arouse wide inter est, LGBT support for goals sought by African Americans is less frequently discussed. Here, too, the role of queer leaders who are also black is a significant factor, though there is no denying that the LGBT community writ large continues to have a predominately white, and often male, face. True coalition politics, it would seem, remains a lofty aspiration as opposed to an everyday reality. Gay City News spoke to five African-American gay and lesbian leaders and academics here in New York and nationwide and also looked to the conclusions of one black straight ally — Tulane University political scientist Melissa Harris-Perry, who hosts a weekend news forum on MSNBC — to probe the impact of Obama’s support for LGBT rights among black Americans and how, in turn, his leader ship might influence the way the gay rights movement goes forward.
Those half-dozen voices offered different perspectives on how new the president’s words were as well as on the nature of attitudes among African Americans into which his statements enter the mix. All agreed, however, that Obama is moving opinion and that the embrace of mutual interests between the African-American and LGBT communities holds bright political promise. Harris-Perry, in an article in the Nation magazine, saw Obama’s inaugural words as profoundly important. “When the president name-checked the watershed moments of the women’s rights, civil rights, and LGBT equality movements, he of fered a powerful moment of official recognition,” she wrote. She acknowledged that symbolic recognition only means something if it leads to equal treatment, but went on to argue, “Fair recognition and just distribution are not alternatives; they are companions in political struggle.” Mandy Carter, a longtime lesbian activist who lives in North Carolina, used the word “wonderful” over and over again in assessing the impact of the president’s words. Asked if his statements represented a new articulation of his support for the LGBT
community, she responded, “Absolutely.” Carter is currently coordinating the National Black Justice Coalition’s Bayard Rustin 2013 Commemoration Project, which honors the lead role the late gay black civil rights leader played in organizing the 1963 March o n Wa s h i n g t o n a t w h i c h M a r t i n Luther King, Jr., delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. One of five LGBT co-chairs — of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds — of the president’s 2008 campaign, she believes his inaugural remarks and his endorsement of gay marriage last May represent attitudes he’s long held. “I thought Obama got it about the marriage equality issue from the start and he was not willing to go there yet politically,” she said. E. Patrick Johnson, a professor of Performance Studies and African American Studies at Northwestern University, echoed that view. “He used the language that he evolved on the issue of gay marriage,” he said. “I don’t think that that’s true. For expediency reasons, he did not disclose his views until it was a time when the country was ready.” Coming from a multicultural family, Johnson said, the president is instinctively “more accepting of differences” and “gets the connection on civil rights between all sorts of communities.” Prior to his entry into politics, while he was a community organizer in Chicago, Johnson said, Obama “had lots of LGBT people in his circles.” The harsh conservative pushback the president has gotten since becoming president, he said, has shown him how much rightwingers “really despise people who are dif ferent,” an experience that likely deepened his empathy for LGBT Americans. Terrance Knox, a former president of Brooklyn’s Lambda Independent Democrats, an LGBT club, talked about the impact of the president’s words on those he grew up around. For people in Kansas, African-American and otherwise, he said, news coverage of the inaugural address likely provided “an ‘aha’ moment.” Others were less inclined to see the January 21 comments as a significant departure. Juan Battle teaches sociology, public health, and urban education and runs the Africana Studies Certificate Program at the CUNY Graduate Center in Manhattan. Obama’s words, he said, “were definitely not a new formulation. It was a higher platform and a larger audience at the inauguration. But, he’s made these links between civil rights and gay rights many times before.” Laura Martin, an activist in Nevada
FROM SELMA TO STONEWALL, continued on p.7
| January 30, 2013 FROM SELMA TO STONEWALL, from p.6
who works for a statewide social justice organization, shares Battle’s view, saying of the inaugural remarks, “I think it’s been what he’s been saying for a while.” Recalling stump speeches during the 2008 primaries where he included “refrains about abolitionists, suffragettes, civil rights, and gay rights,” Martin said, “He’s always been tuned in to how his presidency ties into all the social movements.” The only thing that surprised Martin about Obama’s recent remarks was realizing “this was the first time these kinds of comments were made at an inauguration.” The fact that Martin doesn’t see his recent formulation as new doesn’t mean she views the president’s posture as any less powerful in shaping attitudes among black Americans. “He’s definitely seen as a leader of the community,” she said. “And my community often takes its cues from people seen as our leaders.” Others who spoke to Gay City News agreed with that assessment, but also challenged prevailing narratives about an African-American community beset by homophobia. Carter was not alone in pointing to the “scandal” of “white gays [who] blamed blacks for Prop 8.” Political scientists Kenneth Sherrill of CUNY and Patrick J. Egan of NYU used precinct-level data to peg African-American support for the California anti-gay marriage initiative at less than 60 percent as opposed to the 70 percent level found in exit polls. Polling data from this past November indicated increased support among black voters for marriage equality. An estimated 46 percent of
African-American Marylanders supported the narrow victory of gay marriage in that state, and nationwide, 52 percent of black respondents said they are in favor of equal rights for same-sex couples. Under the leadership of Ben Jealous — who has often spoken about his transgender brother who lives in San Francisco — the NAACP endorsed marriage equality last spring just days after the president spoke out. Carter did not dismiss the reality of homophobia in the black community and among African-American church leaders. At the same time, she pointed to leadership the Reverend Dr. William J. Barber, president of the NAACP chapter of North Carolina, brought to the fight against Amendment One, a ban on gay mar riage, in that state last spring. No exit polling was done on the North Carolina marriage vote, and Carter complained that black hostility toward LGBT aspirations nonetheless quickly became part of the narrative that emerged from that losing fight. Northwestern’s Johnson also brought up mobilization by some AfricanAmerican religious leaders to fight Amendment One in North Carolina, and Carter noted similar efforts in the District of Columbia when its mar riage equality law was hotly debated in 2009. Despite the preponderance of whites in leadership posts in the LGBT community, Johnson and Carter both argued that blacks have played critical roles every step of the way, dating back to Stonewall. The civil rights movement, Carter said, has its LGBT heroes, as well. More than half a century ago, Rustin’s visibility as an out gay man drew resis-
tance among some fellow civil rights activists — and made him an easy target for segregationists like South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond — but, significantly, Martin Luther King did not walk away from him in the face of such pressure. In Brooklyn, Knox sees shifting black attitudes toward the LGBT community fr om a dif fer ent per spective. Serving on the community board in his Fort Greene/ Clinton Hill neighborhood, he said he has worked on HIV/ AIDS issues for years. “In talking in some places about AIDS,” he recalled, “I used to hear, ‘Oh, that’s not our issue.’ I don’t hear that as much now.” Cultural differences, he indicated, fade in the face of a common health threat. Martin and Battle, meanwhile, suggested that discussion of blackgay tensions is overblown. Martin said she hasn’t seen homosexuality become a divisive issue in Nevada’s black congregations. Battle said he hopes African Americans “would be more worried about issues of poverty, immigration, the military-prison complex.” “Most people don’t give a shit,” he said of controversies over gay rights. Like Martin, others agr eed the president’s outspokenness on LGBT equality has been influential with blacks. For Johnson, it has meant the end to a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” climate toward homosexuality. “It is no longer not something you talk about publicly,” he said of conversations popping up more often at the water cooler and in barbershops and beauty parlors. Carter said Obama’s comments in his inaugural might have been ignored if made by a white politician,
but are “transformative” coming from him. “I think a lot of African Americans knew he was right but needed permission to say so,” she asserted. Those who spoke to Gay City News agreed, however, that direct analogies between the civil rights struggle and the LGBT movement can be grating for some African Americans. Martin and Carter emphasized that context is key, and said some easy comparisons even put them off. “When I’ve heard people say, ‘This is our Rosa Parks moment’ or ‘This is our lunch counter moment,’ I say, ‘No, it’s not. There was only one of those, and you should be happy we’re not there.’” Johnson suggested that because “people feel and experience their race at a very early time, earlier than sexual orientation,” some African Americans have a difficult time seeing the challenges facing blacks and gays as comparable. That difficulty is often generational, with younger black Americans more willing to agree that “civil rights is civil rights is civil rights,” in Carter’s words. What Carter and others remain concerned about is how much investment the LGBT movement is willing to put into other social and economic justice causes important to blacks a n d o t h e r c o m m u n i t i e s o f c o l o r. Asked whether queer leadership was sufficiently attentive to coalition politics, she was emphatic in responding, “No!” Martin noted that the earliest mainstream gay outreach to communities of color she witnessed was institutional — discussions with the NAACP and the National Council of La Raza, for example, groups that in
FROM SELMA TO STONEWALL, continued on p.22
AFTER BENEDICTION DUST-UP, HIGH LGBT VISIBILITY AT INAGURATION For the first time in a presidential inaugural address, Barack Obama, in beginning his second term in office, talked specifically about the LGBT community. And in a speech that clocked in at just under 20 minutes, the mention was more than merely incidental. “We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths — that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall,” the president said, tying the historic 1969 uprising against police harassment in the West Village to iconic moments in the women’s and African-American civil rights struggles. And just two sentences later, Obama added, “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.” That declaration of equality under the law
President Barack Obama takes the oath of office on January 21 from Chief Justice John Roberts outside the US Capitol.
came less than nine months after the president voiced support for the right of same-sex couples to marry in an interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts. A week and a half before the swearing-in,
the president’s inaugural plans hit a gay rights speed bump when ThinkProgress.org reported that the Reverend Louie Giglio, chosen to offer the benediction, had given a stridently anti-gay
speech in the mid-1990s, in which he asserted, “Homosexuality is not an alternate lifestyle… homosexuality is not just a sexual preference, homosexuality is not gay, but homosexuality is sin.” Giglio said Christians “must lovingly but firmly respond to the aggressive agenda” that aims to bring the nation “to the point where the homosexual lifestyle becomes accepted as a norm in our society.” On January 10, one day after the Giglio story surfaced and created a firestorm of criticism, the Atlanta-based minister and founder of the Passion Conferences aimed at college students, withdrew from the Capitol ceremony. Several hours before Obama took the oath of office, the Presidential Inauguration Committee announced that the Reverend Dr. Nancy Wilson, the international leader of the Metropolitan Community Churches, the LGBT denomination founded 45 years ago, would read a passage from Scripture at the January 22 Interfaith Prayer Service at the National Cathedral. — Paul Schindler
January 30, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Prop 8, DOMA Defenders Rely on Federalism Charles Cooper, Paul Clement argue marriage fundamentally about protecting children
BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
n January 22, attorneys defending California’s Proposition 8 and those defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) against constitutional challenges filed briefs on the merits with the United States Supreme Court. Given what they were defending, the two briefs struck me as extremely well written and well argued, and though the two cases have significant differences, similar arguments dominated both. In the Prop 8 case, the Official Proponents of the 2008 voter initiative are appealing a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that it violated the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause by withdrawing from same-sex couples, without any rational basis, a right to marry previously recognized by the California Supreme Court. The Official Proponents have, to date, been allowed to intervene in defense of Prop 8 in the absence of either the California governor or the state attorney general doing so. Charles Cooper, a leading conservative appellate advocate who served in the Reagan administration, filed the brief on their behalf. In the DOMA case, a majority of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) of the House of Representatives — which includes the three most senior Republicans and the top two Democrats, split along party lines in their view of the case — argues that Congress did not violate the equal protection requirements of the Fifth Amendment in 1996 when it adopted the statute’s Section 3, which bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages. Paul Clement, the US solicitor general under President George W. Bush, is BLAG’s outside counsel. Prop 8’s Official Proponents lost at the district court level, when Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that same-sex couples have a federal constitutional right to marry. The Ninth Circuit affirmed Walker, but on the narrower ground that California’s voters had no rational basis to rescind the right to marry. Beyond the merits of the case, a secondary issue before the high court is whether the Official Proponents have constitutional standing to bring the appeal, since the governor, attorney general, and other state officials were the named defendants in the case and have declined to appeal the Ninth Circuit ruling. Attorney Cooper’s January 22 brief tackles both questions. The Ninth Circuit earlier considered the question of the Official Proponents’ standing, and asked the California Supreme Court for an advisory opinion on whether state law authorizes initiative proponents to represent the state’s interest in defending against a federal court challenge. That court found proponents have such authority, and the Ninth Circuit subsequently ruled the Official Proponents could pursue their appeal of Walker’s ruling. Cooper’s brief points out that the Supreme Court has in the past recognized the right of a state to determine who, apart from state officials, is authorized to represent the state’s interest when the state does not step up. Still, the California Supreme Court’s advisory opinion dealt with state law only, so it is likely that the American Foundation for Equal Rights, representing the two plaintiff couples challenging Prop 8, will make strong counter-arguments
Paul Clement, outside counsel to the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, who filed a brief last week arguing that DOMA is constitutional.
when they file their brief in February. Cooper’s brief on behalf of the Official Proponents casts the case as one about federalism — the division of authority between the state governments and the federal government. The question of who could marry has traditionally been a matter of state law and, as the brief argues, is a policy question typically determined through the legislative process. The California Constitution allows voters to legislate directly by initiative, and it was an earlier referendum banning same-sex marriage that the State Supreme Court overturned in its 2008 marriage equality decision. Prop 8 voided that ruling by a constitutional amendment. This process, Cooper’s brief argues, illustrates the democratic process at work, one the federal courts should not interfere with. The Official Proponents’ brief doesn’t rest solely on the federalism argument. As they did before the Ninth Circuit, they also argue that California has a rational basis for treating same-sex and opposite-sex couples differently. Using the same argument that BLAG employs in defending DOMA, Cooper’s brief argues that since different-sex couples have direct procreative capacities same-sex couples lack, the two classes are not “similarly situated.” The brief cites prior Supreme Court rulings to assert that this is an essential element in any equal protection claim based on differential treatment. Regardless of whether the high court finds an equal protection claim at stake, the Cooper brief argues it would be rational for California to distinguish between different-sex and same-sex couples, since the fundamental purpose of marriage is to “channel procreation” by different-sex couples into a stable family institution — an argument that earlier proved decisive when the highest courts of New York, Maryland, and Washington State denied state constitutional claims by same-sex couples for the right to marry. The subsequent adoption of gay marriage rights through a legislative or initiative process in all three states are examples the Official Proponents would cite of the political process at work without the need for court intervention.
Those examples are certainly cited by Clement in his DOMA brief on behalf of BLAG. As in the Prop 8 case, the 1996 federal law’s defenders have adopted federalism as their main argument. They contend that DOMA was a rational response by Congress to an unfolding situation in the mid-1990s after the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled same-sex couples might have a right to marry under the State Constitution. Faced with the prospect that gay and lesbian couples nationwide could marry in Hawaii and demand recognition from their home states and the federal government, members of Congress and presidential contenders, looking to the November election that year, rushed to take positions against same-sex marriage. Clement’s brief was a rational, tempered response, which argues that DOMA was enacted to allow states to retain control over the definition of marriage and the federal government to maintain national uniformity in applying federal law by adopting the traditional definition of marriage then in effect everywhere. The brief asserts that the Constitution is silent on the definition of marriage, leaving states and the federal government free to define it for purposes of their respective laws. Though the US government has customarily treated anyone married under the laws of their home state as married under federal law, the brief argues there is no constitutional requirement for this. Congress, it asserts, has at times adopted a particular definition of marriage, most notably for certain tax code purposes. Putting the traditional definition of marriage into federal law, Clement contends, was consistent with Congress’ role in enacting hundreds of different statutes that take marital status into account. He also asserts that Congress could rationally have anticipated that if some states adopted same-sex marriage, the lack of a uniform federal definition might lead to administrative confusion, inequities, and uncertainties — as well as significant costs from creating overnight a new class of claimants for federal benefits. The BLAG brief also directly takes on the Second Circuit’s ruling, in the claim brought by New York widow Edie Windsor, that DOMA should be subjected to “heightened scrutiny,” which places a higher burden on the government in justifying the law. Here, Clement makes essentially the same argument Cooper does in the Prop 8 brief about same-sex and different-sex couples not being similarly situated. Though same-sex couples are adversely affected by DOMA, he argues, the law does not directly discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, since other factors distinguish the two situations. Clement also asserts that gay people lack other characteristics that would subject DOMA to a heightened scrutiny standard. He argues that recent history shows gay people are not politically powerless. “Gays and lesbians are one of the most influential, best-connected, best-funded, and best-organized interest groups in modern politics, and have attained more legislative victories, political power, and popular favor in less time than virtually any other group in American history,” Clement writes, in arguing that the community does not need the assistance of heightened scrutiny by the courts to protect their interests. He also disputes that there is a long history of discrimination against gay people by the federal govern-
Cooper & Clement, continued on p.9
| January 30, 2013
Will Supreme Court Rule on DOMA? At justices’ invitation, Harvard Law Professor Vicki Jackson raises strong doubts BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
hen the Supreme Court accepted the petition by the US solicitor general that it take up Edie Windsor’s lawsuit against the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), it posed two questions that could derail any quick resolution about the 1996 law’s constitutionality. First, the solicitor general must address whether the federal government’s “agreement” with the Second Circuit ruling that DOMA is unconstitutional deprives the Supreme Court of “jurisdiction to decide this case.” The high court also asked whether the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the US House of Representatives (BLAG) — which includes the three most senior Republicans and the top two Democrats, split along party lines in their view of the case, and intervened at the trial court to defend DOMA when the Obama administration declined to do so — has legal standing to participate in the case. Since the court assumed neither Windsor, the government, nor BLAG would argue to the high court that it lacks jurisdiction, the justices appointed Harvard Law School Professor Vicki Jackson as a “friend of the Court” to make that argument. Her brief, written with attorneys from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, was filed on January 24. Though complex, the jurisdictional questions raise a serious possibility the court will not actually decide whether DOMA is unconstitutional in the Windsor case. The Supreme Court has interpreted the Constitution’s provision that “judicial
Cooper & Clement, from p.8
ment, citing gay historians to the effect that most overt discrimination dates back to the early 20th century, since the concept of homosexuality itself emerged only in the mid-19th century. Clement’s assertion conveniently overlooks the capital punishment that traditional English law prescribed for “sodomites,” whether or not they were called homosexuals. Like Cooper in his Prop 8 brief, Clement adopts the view that the government’s “legitimate” interest in distinguishing between same-sex and different-sex couples is based on the need to channel heterosexual procreation. What is striking about both the Prop 8 and DOMA briefs is what is missing. Neither goes in for gay-bashing, asserts that prohibitions on same-sex marriage can
BLAG argues that since New York State did not adopt a marriage equality law until 2011, Windsor’s marriage would not have been recognized by the state had a case gone to its highest bench. Without state recognition, BLAG asserts, Windsor cannot argue the federal government must recognize her marriage. Lower courts, however, concluded otherwise, pointing to intermediate appellate courts in New York and state
officials who agreed such a marriage would be recognized even absent a gay marriage law. BLAG continues to hold to its argument that Windsor has no valid claim, though the assertion is made only in a footnote in its January 22 brief to the Supreme Court. The real jurisdictional issue facing the high court relates to the roles the government and BLAG have played in the case. Prior to Windsor’s lawsuit going to court, President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder reconsidered their position on whether the ban on federal recognition of same-sex marriages in DOMA’s Section 3 was constitutional. When they concluded it was not, Holder informed Republican House Speaker John Boehner the administration would not defend DOMA in court, at which time BLAG intervened, while the Senate, under Democratic control, expressed no interest in doing so. Paul Clement, solicitor general under President George W. Bush who represents BLAG as outside counsel, opposed Windsor’s motion for summary judgment, the Justice Department argued in favor of it, and the district court granted it. Despite the administration’s support for Windsor’s suit, the Justice Department, having doubts about BLAG’s standing to appeal, filed an appeal of its own to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to ensure the issue would continue making its way through the courts. Though the Justice Department argued before the Second Circuit that it should
affirm Windsor’s district court victory, even before the appeals court ruled, both the solicitor general and Windsor filed petitions asking the Supreme Court to review the case. Even though the district court had ruled in their favor, they argued the DOMA question needed a definitive answer from the highest court. After the Second Circuit affirmed the district court, the solicitor general filed an additional statement with the Supreme Court, arguing that this case, rather a ruling from the First Circuit that had earlier struck down DOMA’s Section 3, would make the best vehicle for ruling on its constitutionality. On December 7, the high court granted the solicitor general’s petition — but not Windsor’s — adding the questions about jurisdiction. Professor Jackson’s brief argues the solicitor general’s petition does not present the court with a real “controversy” because the government does not disagree with the rulings from the Second Circuit and the district court. In effect, the government is simply asking the Supreme Court to affirm the lower court rulings. If there is an adversary party, there is a real controversy to decide, and that’s where BLAG comes in. But does it have standing to argue for reversal of the Second Circuit decision? A party has standing if they have a personal stake in the outcome of the matter that is distinct from the general interest any citizen has in the correct interpretation of the law. Windsor has a $363,053 stake in the matter, since she had to fork over the money. The government always has a stake in the question of whether a statute is constitutional,
be justified by moral disapproval, or contends that gay couples are inadequate as parents. Both briefs are carefully written to project a matter-of-fact tone about rational decision-making. What they also leave out is any reference to love and affection having anything to do with marriage. Both briefs essentially argue that marriage is about children, not about the spouses, and that the great “danger” of “redefining” marriage to be “genderless” is in putting the prime focus on the marital partners instead of the family. Neither brief acknowledges the substantial percentage of same-sex couples raising children and the ways in which their exclusion from a marital home may be harmful to them. Instead, Cooper and Clement harp on studies showing the disadvantages suffered by children raised by single mothers whose fathers have abandoned them.
Both briefs, for the most part, ignore the huge structure of legal rights and responsibilities attached to modern marriage in America, paring the institution down to its rudimentary essentials in the pre-modern state. In other words, they are appealing to the “originalists” on the high court, as Cooper makes clear when he expresses incredulity that anyone would contend that the generation that enacted the 14th Amendment in 1868 intended to confer the right to marry on gay and lesbian couples. Those on the high court who regard the 14th Amendment as establishing general concepts of fairness and equality rather than a specific image based on mid-19th century life will, one hopes, reject this view. There is a reasonable prospect that Justice Anthony Kennedy, the swing vote on the court, may be among that
group. In the conclusion of his opinion in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas sodomy case, he wrote, “Had those who drew and ratified the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth Amendment  or the Fourteenth Amendment  known the components of liberty in its manifold possibilities, they might have been more specific. They did not presume to have this insight. They knew that times can blind us to certain truths and later generations can see that laws once thought necessary and proper in fact serve only to oppress. As the Constitution endures, persons in every generation can invoke its principles in their own search for greater freedom.” A month from now, those challenging Prop 8 and DOMA will file their briefs, and Cooper and Clement will receive their responses. The cases will be argued on March 26 and 27.
power” extends to “cases” and “controversies” as a limitation on the jurisdiction of federal courts — they are barred from issuing “advisory opinions,” but instead can only rule on issues disputed between parties who have something personally at stake. Windsor, a widow who lives in New York, had to pay $363,053 in federal estate taxes that would not have been owed had the government recognized her Canadian same-sex marriage to Thea Spyer, who died in 2009. She clearly has a stake in this lawsuit, so it presented a real “controversy” to the US District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan.
The brief argues the solicitor general’s petition doesn’t present a real “controversy” because the government doesn’t disagree with rulings from the Second Circuit and the district court.
JAckson, continued on p.11
January 30, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
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| January 30, 2013
NYC Funds Only 40 Percent of Meningitis Vaccine Need With more new cases, city scrambled to find CDC dollars, purchased 4,000 doses BY DUNCAN OSBORNE
h i l e t h e N e w Yo r k City’s health department said publicly that it wanted to vaccinate 10,000 gay and bisexual men to stop an outbreak of invasive meningitis, it purchased just 4,000 vaccine doses, according to health department documents obtained by Gay City News. “The estimate of 10,000 was based on HIV-infected men who live in New York City and met the ‘high risk’ criteria included in our announcement,” a health department spokesperson wrote in an email. “HIV-infected men in New York City have access to HIV primary care, and primary care providers can be reimbursed for meningococcal vaccination. The Department’s vaccination purchase was meant to support non-Department facilities that needed a small supply of vaccine while they ordered their own vaccine and to supply Department-operated clinics for sexually transmitted diseases and immunizations.” The health department first noted the meningitis outbreak on September 27 of last year in a media alert that reported four cases of “invasive meningococcal disease” among gay and bisexual men in the prior four weeks. A separate alert that was sent to healthcare providers that day reported on 12 cases occurring since 2010. Four of those men had died. One case occurred in 2010, three occurred in
JACKSON, from p.9
so nobody is questioning the solicitor general’s standing. But BLAG does not represent the government. Jackson points out that when it sought to intervene in the case, BLAG did not even officially represent the House of Representatives, much less Congress as a whole, as there was no resolution authorizing its action. BLAG’s interest in the case is not particularized in the way Windsor’s interest is. None of the five members of BLAG has any individual stake in the outcome. Members of Congress may have a generalized interest in whether a statute they passed is constitutional, but not an individual, particularized interest. After distinguishing, in detail, the DOMA case from one in
2011, and eight in 2012. Eight of the men were HIV-positive. The department recommended that any HIVpositive man who had had recent sex with another man get vaccinated. At an October 16 presentation at the Physicians’ Research Network, an educational group, Dr. Marcelle Layton, the assistant commissioner at the agency’s Bureau of Communicable Disease, told attendees, “The estimate is about 10,000 that we’re aiming to vaccinate,” according to a video posted on the network’s website. On September 27, the agency ordered 1,000 meningitis vaccine doses, according to documents obtained through a state Freedom of Information request. A federal program that funds vaccination efforts paid $68,000 for the doses. On October 2, the department ordered 3,000 doses, spending $204,000 in city tax levy funds for the vaccine. The records released to Gay City News suggest the agency was struggling to pay for the vaccine, which was purchased under a contract the department has with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that allows it to buy medication at a reduced cost. In emails exchanged between the department and the CDC, there was discussion about whether federal funds could be used to pay for the vaccine. “[W]e have an increase in meningococcal cases and are considering conducting a vaccine clinic,” wrote Dr. Jane Zucker, the assistant commissioner at the department’s Bureau of Immunization, in a September 26 email to three CDC staffers. “We
no longer use 317 $ for purchase of meningococcal vaccine for adults, and as you appreciate with the recent cut in 317 funding, do not have extra money for this... We are looking into available City money.” “317” is a reference to the section of the federal law that authorizes the vaccination funding program. The discussion about using 317 dollars continued via email among three senior CDC staffers on September 26 and into the next day. In a September 27 email to John M. Flynn, a project officer in the CDC’s Immunization Services Division, Igor Bulim, a staffer in CDC’s Vaccine Supply and Assurance Branch, wrote, “Since it appears 317 funding is off the table the only other funding source would be State/ Local funds.” Flynn responded, “Is 317 off the table? Jane is stating that the data is complicated but they could make an argument for use of 317 funds that are in accordance with the new policy.” In a later email, Flynn wrote, “Jane mentioned that they definitely don’t have access to state; she is asking for city funds. She’s wondering how fast she could get vaccine if she ordered today and if it would be possible to have it delivered for tomorrow?” By October 6, the department had 4,000 doses and distributed all but 1,765 doses to a network of 34 healthcare providers across the city by November 8. As of January 28, the department estimated that 4,022 people had received a first dose of the two-dose vaccine. “This is likely an under -estimate,
because providers are not required by law to report adult vaccinations to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; we rely on voluntary reports from many, but not all, large volume outpatient clinics,” the spokesperson wrote. On January 28, the department reported two new cases, bringing the total to 18, with two occurring since November 29 when the case total was at 16, with 11 occurring in the prior 12 months. On November 29, the agency recommended that all gay and bisexual men, regardless of HIV status, who had recent sex with another man get vaccinated. Toronto and Chicago had smaller meningitis outbreaks among gay and bisexual men and responded faster with vaccine campaigns. Toronto’s campaign was comparable to New York City’s at 3,850 vaccinations that were done in 25 days. Chicago distributed 14,267 vaccinations in eight days. Both cities reported no new cases after their campaigns. A m o n g i n f e c t i o n s i n N e w Yo r k City’s current outbreak that were analyzed, the health department, in its September 27 alert, noted that “6 of 7 infections are related to a strain of N. meningitidis that was responsible for the 2006 outbreak in New York City.” That earlier outbreak was among injecting drug users in Central Brooklyn, with 23 reported cases and seven deaths. Between June 28 and September 30 of that year, DOHMH vaccinated 2,763 people. An additional three cases were seen after the campaign.
which the high court concluded Congress did have standing to intervene, Jackson concludes that the institutional prerogatives of Congress are not directly at stake in the question whether Section 3 of DOMA violates the Fifth Amendment’s equal protection requirements. Members of Congress might make their views known to the court through an amicus brief, but neither Congress as a whole, a single house of Congress, nor a small committee of members such as BLAG would have “standing” under the court’s precedents, she writes. If BLAG does not have standing as a party, then there is no one properly before the high court seeking to reverse the Second Circuit’s decision, so there is no true “case” or “controversy,” which means “the judicial
power” of the United States no longer extends to this case, Jackson strongly argues in her brief. What if the court agrees with her? At the very least, the solicitor gener al’s petition for review would be dismissed. What would that mean for the Second Circuit’s ruling? Jackson suggests the Second Cir cuit might still have had jurisdiction to hear the appeal, based on various grounds, but it’s also possible that its jurisdiction would be found lacking as well. In that case, its ruling would be vacated, meaning that only the district court decision, rendered in response to Windsor’s valid claim challenging DOMA, would stand. If Jackson’s analysis is embraced by the court, the practical result would be that for the remainder of the Obama
administration, the only way a constitutional challenge to DOMA could get to the Supreme Court would be for a federal court of appeals to rule that it is constitutional, meaning the plaintiff would have standing to petition for a reversal. Meanwhile, litigation could continue in lower courts and, Jackson suggests, if all the circuit courts of appeal come to agree that it is unconstitutional, a consensus could be reached without the Supreme Court’s participation and the Executive Branch could stop enforcing the statute. But that might take many years. The parties in the case will file briefs responding to Jackson’s arguments late in February, and the high court hears arguments during the last week of March, with a decision expected by the end of June.
January 30, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Gay Crown Heights Party Promoter Charges Police Brutality Jabbar Campbell said late night gathering broken up by cops who beat him, yelled anti-gay slurs BY DUNCAN OSBORNE
Marchers on January 21 protested the police’s actions in Crown Heights.
door and inside his apartment did not capture his arrest or the altercation with police, but the front door camera showed a sergeant reaching up and turning it toward the wall before Campbell answered the door the second time. A camera inside the apartment shows police moving the guests out and then searching the apartment. “At least five or six cops clear out the apartment and then stay and continue to search,” said Herb Subin, a partner at Subin Associates, the law firm representing Campbell in a suit against the city. “What I think happened is that there were a lot transgenders, transsexuals on the sidewalk and that freaked the
cops out, and they were going to come bust it up,” Subin said. A friend of Campbell’s who was at the party told Gay City News that during the search officers repeatedly asked him if Campbell was hosting a “sex orgy” in the apartment. Campbell was charged with thirddegree assault, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and possessing marijuana and ecstasy. He has pleaded not guilty. In an email, the police department press office wrote that Campbell has “hosted parties there with a $10 charge per person to enter, then a cash bar on top on that. IAB [the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau] is investigating his complaints against the officers.” The police department did not respond to a request for any 911 calls concerning Campbell’s address. The city’s 311 system shows 22 complaints about loud music or a party associated with Campbell’s address since September of last year. Precinct commanders receive regular reports about 311 complaints, so it is
GAY CITY NEWS
GAY CITY NEWS
oughly 50 people marched on Brooklyn’s 77th Precinct to protest the arrest of Jabbar Campbell, a party promoter who says police assaulted him during an event at his Crown Heights home. The group characterized the January 13 police action against Campbell as an anti-gay attack. “We have to fight back against police brutality,” said Campbell, 32, during the January 21 protest. “I was an innocent man, and I was brutalized by police from the 77th Precinct.” Campbell, who has produced at least 10 parties in recent months in his Sterling Place home, was “hosting a party for some gay friends of mine” on January 13. He said about 80 people were there. Two police officers arrived shortly before 3 a.m. Campbell spoke to them on the sidewalk outside his home and they instructed him to shut the party down. The officers continued to wait outside and, within five to 10 minutes, additional officers from the 77th Precinct arrived, joined by officers from the Patrol Borough Brooklyn North. Campbell said officers in that second wave attacked him when he opened his front door. “They beat me into a daze,” he said. “”They cursed at me and called me all sorts of anti-gay slurs.” Video cameras at Campbell’s front
Jabbar Campbell said the NYPD’s efforts to shut down his party turned into a homophobic assault.
possible Campbell’s parties were known to the 77th Precinct and considered a problem. Police responded to at least three of those earlier complaints and either could not gain entry to the apartment or they “observed no violation,” according to the 311 website. The protest, organized by the ANSWER Coalition, began at Campbell’s Sterling Place home, traveled a few blocks to the 77th Precinct on Utica Avenue, then back to his home after some speeches. Joining the march were representatives from the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP), Harlem Pride, the Brooklyn Community Pride Center, and Make the Road New York, a social justice organization. Those groups and others held a January 26 press conference and rally on the Eastern Parkway pedestrian mall at Utica Avenue, after which they conducted neighborhood outreach “to raise awareness about rights and safety for LGBTQ community members and all in our communities affected by this violence.”
| January 30, 2013
Solid ‘Roof’ Operatic love triangle among Maggie, Brick, and Skipper just as tragic as ever BY DAVID kENNERLEY
at on a Hot T in Roof” is one of the most frequently staged plays on Broadway. While no one disputes that Tennessee Williams’ 1955 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about familial infighting on a gracious Mississippi Delta estate is a masterwork, more than a few eyebrows were raised when yet another revival emerged, the third in less than a decade.
CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF
Questions swirled around the new production. Would director Rob Ashford inject some unusual twist that might uncover fresh dimensions while staying true to the original? What could Scarlett Johansson possibly bring to Maggie the Cat beyond what we’ve already seen with Anika Noni Rose, Ashley Judd, or Kathleen Turner? Can Benjamin Walker’s bourbon-soaked Brick stand his ground against Maggie and Big Daddy while wearing an ankle cast? Would the true nature of Brick and Skipper’s bond be brought more vividly out of the closet? For those of you looking for a big, juicy exposé, you’ll be disappointed. This is not the train wreck some wags were forecasting, nor is it a definitive revelation, either. What we simply have here is a solid, affecting version that should satisfy purists and tourists alike. Unlike the 2008 experimental revival, which assembled an AfricanAmerican cast and had the audience guffawing when the defeated Brick was writhing on the floor begging for his crutch, Ashford has wisely stuck fairly close to the original. But it was not always that way. The inventive director, best known for his musical work (“Evita,” “Promises, Pr omises”), originally toyed with inserting Skipper’s ghost to haunt the proceedings, perhaps stressing the homoerotic nature of his relationship with Brick. In an interview with Playbill.com, Ashford said it was “very important to give the image of Skipper as not effete but as another Brick.” But the device just wasn’t working. Perhaps bowing to howls of protest from critics in the blogosphere, the ghost was banished.
Richard Rodgers Theatre 226 W. 46th St. Through Mar. 30; Tue. at 7 p.m. Wed.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat. at 2 p.m., Sun at 3 p.m. $75.75-$152.25 at ticketmaster.com Benjamin Walker and Scarlett Johansson in Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” directed by Rob Ashford.
Johansson, who won a Tony Award for her first outing on Broadway, “A View From the Bridge,” is a worthy, cat-like Maggie. She does indeed sound like she’s been “running upstairs to warn somebody that the house was on fire!,” as Brick observes. During her impressive tirades that dominate Act 1, her voice shows signs of hoarseness beyond her hunger for the sexual attentions that Brick, pickled in liquor, will not or cannot provide. What’s more, she’s a knockout in that form-fitting silk slip. “Oh, I might some time cheat on you with someone, since you're so insultingly eager to have me do it!,” she hisses. “Well, I’m taking no chances. No, I’d rather stay on this hot tin roof.” Not that Maggie is the only character with the claws out. Firstborn son Gooper (Michael Park) and wife Mae (Emily Bergl), a “good breeder” with five children, are scratching to wrest the estate from Big Daddy, who’s dying of cancer but doesn’t yet know it (they lied and said it was just a spastic colon). As played by Irish actor Ciaran Hinds (known stateside for HBO’s “Game of Thrones”), Big Daddy registers as a vindictive devil bent on making others’ lives hell while he makes plans for pleasure. Hinds’ Big Daddy, a self-made tycoon lording over 28,000 acres of cotton, is plenty full of “hawk” and “spit” and viciously insults poor Big Mama (Debra Monk), but lacks the vulnerability required to make us truly empathize with him. For the most part, the plucked and buff
Benjamin Walker (“Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson”) looks like he stepped out of a Dolce & Gabbana ad. Clad in a white
towel or a wife-beater and silk pajama bottoms, his Brick is as hard and cold as the ice he plunks into his highball glass. It’s not until his epic showdown with his father in Act II, revealing the dirty truth behind Skipper’s death, when Brick comes to life. He claims he is disgusted with “mendacity” and people wishing Big Daddy a happy 65th birthday and many happy returns when they know there won’t be any. But it’s also disgust with himself for not facing the truth about Skipper’s love. Appropriately, Ashford sees this tragedy as an opera and amps up the mood with a whale of a thunderstorm, fireworks, and a chorus singing spirituals. One minor misstep is in the casting of those “no-neck monsters” that Maggie complains about repeatedly during the first act, bitter because she has failed to produce a child. The kiddies’ rickety dance number, a “present” for Big Daddy that’s meant to be insufferable, comes off as charming. These kids are flat-out adorable. They are not fat brats — they all possess visibly slender necks.
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January 30, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Lost and Found on a Sea of Time Eckert+SorensenJolink’s impressive debut evening-length dance he sanctuary of Judson Church stands in for the ocean where collaborating dancers and choreographers Eckert+SorensenJolink found themselves adrift in “RescYou,” performed January 17-19. The subtitle, “Stranded on a life raft in a vast ocean beyond time,” is unnecessary, imposing a narrative specificity that the movement imagery of the 50-minute abstract duet transcends. The audience rings the sanctuary, watching from every angle, and our spatial distance, close or far, from any given passage determines what it “means” at that moment. As Judson artists in residence, John Sorensen-Jolink (who, full disclosure, was a student of mine a decade ago at NYU/ T isch) and Carlye Eckert, a Juilliard School graduate, both Portland, Oregon, natives, produce curated evenings at the church of choreography and food — “STUFFED: Dinner and Dance at Bailout Theater.” Eckert has performed with numerous contemporary choreographers, including Jonah Bokaer and Larry Keigwin. Sorensen-Jolink has performed in “Sleep No More,” toured with Twyla Tharp’s “Movin’ Out,” and is currently in the new iteration of the Wilson-Glass-Child opera “Einstein on the Beach.” “RescYou” — the first evening-length dance by the pair — is a personal essay, revealing the kinetic individualities and artistic compatibilities of its creators. It avoids many of the pitfalls young dance makers encounter in their initial attempts to maintain audience interest
BY GUS SOLOMONS JR
John Sorensen-Jolink and Carlye Eckert.
for nearly an hour. They manage to keep redundancy to a minimum and maintain forward momentum. It’s hard to discer n the division of labor, though the solos by each presumably represent their own personal choices. At six-feet-plus, red-haired Sorensen-Jolink is the more visually compelling figure when they’re moving together. But Eckert, on her own, has a quiet power that rivals his. They make refreshingly personal movement choices, and both perform with disarming sincerity and lack of affectation. They begin, standing on the altar, looking out at the horizon, shifting their gazes. Slowly, they lean on each other and begin to shuffle forward, work their way down off the high altar
onto the main floor, and surge forward. Close up, Sorensen-Jolink’s piercing eyes and half smile seem almost diabolical, while Eckert’s face is like a porcelain mask of serenity. Their relationship is filial, not romantic. The two tussle briefly and then speed-walk the circumference in opposite directions, sometimes passing in adjacent paths and occasionally crashing into each other. They burst into a sprint with an alarming pace, grazing the audience’s legs, and shortly the lights go out and their race continues in blackness. A huge crashing sound stops the running and heightens suspense. Still in total darkness, the noise grows into a long, rumbling explosion, and when the light finally returns, it shines like the
sun on a big, yellow, inflatable life raft, where the couple has taken refuge. Here, they touch each other reassuringly, as if comforting a compatriot in a crisis. The two alternate in moving within the confines of the raft’s 10-foot circle, slicing limbs through the shifting spaces around each other’s bodies. They also hurl themselves out of the raft and, pedaling with their legs, slide it with their backs from side to side within the large space. During each one’s extended solo, the other sprawls on the rim of the raft. The dance fills the big space fully without strain. Sorensen-Jolink dances with controlled recklessness that gives his headlong falling runs and spinning descents with helicopter arms an exciting danger. His comparatively diminutive partner Eckert encompasses less amplitude spatially but radiates physical power with angelic serenity. In the last duet, they evince their mutual trust as they support and lift each other in startling, seamless weight exchanges. The raft slowly deflates beneath them until it becomes a flat tarpaulin, in which the partners curl up and settle down to rest, as the spotlight shrinks to darkness. Miriam Crowe’s lighting shapes the space skillfully with Judson’s few, simple instruments. Clothing by Jennifer and Charlotte Sims hover not altogether comfortably between costume and street wear. And David Fishel’s sound design creates a provocative aural scape that evokes shipwreck, stormy sea, reflection, and contemplation, and incorporates music by the Rachels, Four Tet, Loscil, and Klimek.
When the Lover-Villains Play It for Lesbloitation Soderbergh’s “Side Effects” recalls bad old days of “Basic Instinct,” “Silence of the Lambs,” “Cruising”
BY GARY M. KRAMER
t’s a bit of a spoiler to reveal that Steven Soderbergh’s film “Side Effects” contains a surprise queer twist in which a lesbian couple tries to outwit the law. The reveal, though, is really so “Deathtrap” — and has a more damaging side effect than the film’s underlying “Will they or won’t they get away with it?” suspense. The lesbians are venal, their relationship more about its financial benefits than any hint of actual love. When one character guesses that
another woman “likes girls,” she uses that information to her advantage, seducing the closeted gal and embroiling her in multiple crimes. She never
SIDE EFFECTS Directed by Steven Soderbergh Open Road Films Opens citywide Feb. 8
acknowledges being queer herself — she uses sexuality to lure a co-conspirator to serve her greedy ends. Soderbergh’s and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns’ equation of
the women’s lesbianism with villainy is simply irresponsible. All the more so because their sex scenes end up generating unintentional laughs. A flashback shows one of the women posing seductively, while other scenes feature teasing near-lip-locks that come across as ludicrous. When the women final do embrace and start to undress, their impending coitus is interrupted — but not before a few kisses and clinches are shown. The scene reeks of exploitation, not any true exploration of the characters. The relationship between the women is both
unconvincing and unnecessary. Their crimes have nothing to do with their passion. Rooney Mara, who plays one of the two characters, received considerable recognition and an Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of bisexual Lisbeth Salander in the American version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” There, Mara played a morally challenged character, but Lisbeth’s violent behavior — which included exacting a nasty revenge on her rapist — was gratifying
SIDE EFFECTs, continued on p.21
| January 30, 2013
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January 30, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Sex and Longing BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE
irector Sam Gold is not big on giving his actors a lot of room — literally, in terms of playing area. In his recent production of “Look Back in Anger” for Roundabout, he created a narrow space way downstage with a solid wall behind the actors. This was supposed to express the claustrophobia of the characters’ lives in lower class London. In reality, it created a clumsy awkwardness in the performance that suffocated the play with a pretentious concept.
PICNIC Roundabout Theatre Company at The American Airlines Theater 227 W. 42nd St. Tue.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. $42-$137; roundabouttheatre.org Or 212-719-1300
In his mounting of the William Inge chestnut “Picnic,” also for Roundabout, Gold’s done the same thing, dropping a wall of what looks like corrugated metal behind the realistic middle-class houses and backyards of 1950s Kansas, this time in an otherwise nicely detailed set by Andrew Lieberman. This feint of expressionism in a play steeped in realism makes the architecture of the Owens home, the
centerpiece of the set and the action, impossible — severing a good third of it from behind — even as it forces the actors into a confined playing space. Presumably, these close quarters are meant to ratchet up the heat of suppressed loneliness and sexuality at the heart of the story, and the wall is supposed to represent an intractable society imprisoning these quietly desperate people. As before, this facile conceit constricts the world of the play without illuminating it. Unfortunately, that’s only part of what plagues this production, which, for the most part, is as enervating as a heat wave on the Plains. The play unfolds in the backyard shared by Flo Owens, a single mother with a gorgeous 18-year-old daughter Madge and a smart but homely younger daughter Millie, and Helen Potts, a single woman of a certain age who cares for her mother. At the opening of the play, Hal Carter appears, doing chores for Helen. Hal is a prototypical character from the ‘50s, a man/ boy who has gotten through life on charm, athletic ability, and sex appeal, but as he becomes a man his essential fecklessness has caught up with him and he’s unprepared for the mantle of adulthood. He is reduced to doing odd jobs or working for food. Madge, who is working at the dime store and feels trapped in Kansas, is dating Alan Seymour, a rich college boy home for the summer who can’t believe
When they’re missing, “Picnic” becomes a washout
It’s hard to believe, but Sebastian Stan and romantic co-star Maggie Grace will leave audiences cold in “Picnic.”
Madge would give him the time of day. Also on the scene is the Owens’ boarder Rosemary Sydney, a teacher who is bent on marrying her reluctant gentleman friend Howard Bevans. As the play is written, Hal’s arrival
upsets this prairie home-cum-stasis. The instant sparks between Hal and Madge are supposed to be suffused with youthful carnality and — played out in full view of the neighborhood — serve as a catalyst for the older women to focus on their lives and loneliness. Hal, it turns out, is a former fraternity brother of Alan’s, but flunked out of school, tried Hollywood, and is now rootless. Still, Hal and Madge find in each another the balm for their troubled souls and their insecurity that physical beauty is all they have. (The Woody Allen quip “We were together because our neuroses meshed perfectly” comes to mind.) When Madge and Hal have an illicit tryst rather than attend the town picnic, the consequences are devastating. Alan essentially runs Hal out of town, and, against the advice of the older, wiser, but frustrated women, Madge must follow, whether to her salvation or her destruction. “Are we loveable?,” Inge’s characters ask, a theme that makes the play relevant today, even with its dated language. And if we are not loved, are we fully alive? Ironically, this production sinks because it lacks the very sexual spark it tries so hard to sell. Sebastian Stan as Hal has an impressive physique, but he lacks the darkness at the center of Hal’s character, the anger and frustration
PICNIC, continued on p.17
Brutus Among the Brutish Taviani brothers, old but very modern, return to US screen with probe of art’s redemptive value BY STEVE ERICKSON
he T aviani br others ar e two of the last living links to the glory days of Italian neo-realism. Back in 1954, they worked as screenwriters on a film with Cesare Zavattini, the grand theorist of that movement. They wouldn’t be able to direct films themselves until the ‘60s, and their work didn’t come to international attention until their 1977 “Padre Padrone” won the top prize at Cannes. They’re still best known for that and “The Night of the Shooting Stars,” made in 1982. Since then, their films gradually slid out of American distribution. Last year, though, “Caesar Must Die,” a semi-documentary look at a prison
production of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar,” took the top prize at last year’s Berlin Film Festival. While the directors are now in their 80s, their work suddenly
CAESAR MUST DIE Directed by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani Adopt Films In Italian with English subtitles Opens Feb. 6 Film Forum, 209 W. Houston St. Filmforum.org Lincoln Plaza Cinemas 1886 Broadway at 63rd St. lincolnplazacinema.com
seems relevant again — “Caesar Must Die” combines documentary, theater, and fiction in ways that could hardly be more au courant.
The T avianis spent six months shooting rehearsals for “Julius Caesar” in Rome’s Rebibbia penitentiary. The stage production was directed by Fabio Cavalli, who encouraged the prisoners to use their local dialects and accents. The Tavianis seemingly had free reign to shoot all over the prison. “Caesar Must Die” opens with the suicide of Brutus, filmed during a public performance of “Julius Caesar,” but it then goes back to the auditions of prisoners at the production’s outset. There’s nothing slapdash about “Caesar Must Die.” Its lighting and cinematography — and use of color, in a few scenes — are carefully worked out. Much of it seems to be shot with the prison’s natural light, but when stylized lighting is utilized, it creates
a chiaroscuro effect. Elsewhere, the images are full of inky black tones and gray backgrounds. The scenes of the play being performed in front of an audience are shot in color. I can only speculate about the directors’ motives for this switch, but I’d guess it had something to do with a desire to capture what this public performance of the play meant to the prisoners. “Caesar Must Die” brings to mind another film that played last fall’s New York Film Festival, Alain Resnais’ “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet.” Both films, derived from plays, use real people — in Resnais’ case, a cast of famous French actors playing themselves — in scenarios that grow increasingly
CAESAR MUST DIE, continued on p.17
| January 30, 2013
A Dissenter’s Dissenter Christopher Felver’s telling of Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s life captures spirit, rhythm of the Beats
BY GARY M. KRAMER
FIRST RUN FEATURES
hristopher Felver’s affectionate 2009 documentary “Ferlinghetti: A Rebirth of Wonder” may be reaching cinemas years late — and after both “Howl,” the 2010 film about Allen Ginsberg, and the recent adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” — but this profile of arguably the most important Beat poet, painter, and publisher is worth the wait.
FERLINGHETTI: A REBIRTH OF WONDER Directed by Christopher Felver First Run Features Opens Feb. 8; Quad Cinema 34 W. 13th St.; quadcinema.com
Yonkers-born Lawrence Ferlinghetti is justly famous for his bestselling poetry collection “A Coney Island of the Mind.” Snippets of several remarkable poems from that volume, including “I am Waiting,” “Autobiography,” and “Dog” — that last being read with a terrific black and white video of the title animal cavorting about on screen — are employed to demonstrate not just the author’s wonderful, accessible prose, but also his fierce political-
CAESAR MUST DIE, from p.16
fictionalized. Resnais obviously had a much bigger budget than the Taviani brothers — there’s no CGI or greenscreen to enhance the “sets” of “Caesar Must Die.” The Tavianis worked with the spaces they found. “Caesar Must Die” shows its cast slipping back and forth between their lives and their roles in Shakespeare’s play. Learning their lines (imperfectly, one must admit) becomes part of their daily routine. When the actors forgot a line, the directors didn’t cut. These slip-ups become an integral part of the film, if not the play. The language has been modernized, and then altered by being translated from Italian into English via subtitles — I don’t think Shakespeare wrote about “taking the piss” out of someone. The actors also muse on the similarities between their lives as criminals and the power plays and violence described by Shakespeare centuries earlier. At 76 minutes — with a lengthy end credits sequence — “Caesar Must Die” barely qualifies as a feature, yet there
Lawrence Ferlinghetti in front of his San Francisco bookstore and publishing house, City Lights.
mindedness. The film explains that one of his untitled poems from that collection — about the crucifixion of Jesus — angered the American Legion and the Catholic Church. It was not Ferlinghetti’s first time in trouble for creating material deemed offensive. In 1957, as publisher of Ginsberg’s “Howl” and owner of City Lights Books, where it was sold, he faced obscenity charges and possible prison time. He ultimately won a landmark decision for First Amendment rights. Footage of Ferlinghetti recently being
are a few places where it seems to have been deliberately elongated. It repeats footage of the end of the “Julius Caesar” performance, and there’s a lengthy scene of prospective actors auditioning that doesn’t add much to the film. Were it 65 minutes, it might have been a stronger film, but it also might have been impossible to distribute for commercial release in cinemas. No critic seems capable of reviewing “Caesar Must Die” without mentioning its final line, in which one prisoner returns to his cell after the performance and says, “Since I got to know art, this cell has become a prison.” It’s easy to jump to the conclusion that the Tavianis are critiquing the idea of redemption or transcendence via art for these prisoners, some of whom are murderers. Yet that’s not the true finale of “Caesar Must Die.” The film goes on to scroll through photos of the actors in “Julius Caesar.” One has been paroled and is now acting in theater and film. Two others have written books. For some, at least, art offered them something other than a momentary distraction.
honored for his work on the steps of City Lights underscores the undiminished importance of that half-century-old civil liberties victory. The documentary does not indicate the dates of many of the videos, interviews, and photographs presented, which is a drawback for viewers trying to understand the specific narrative chronology, but this oversight does not detract from the film’s major themes. The most important through-line in Ferlinghetti’s life and career was his commitment to speaking out against
PICNIC, from p.16
that drive him, and his resentment toward Alan and the world he feels has wronged him. Instead, Stan’s Hal bounces around like a puppy with all the sexuality of a member of a boy band, seemingly happy to tag along to the town picnic with Millie rather than Madge. Adorable? Yes, though largely antiseptic. Dangerous and sexy? Not even close. Worse yet, Stan and Maggie Grace as Madge generate absolutely no heat. Their clinches are at best mechanical. Grace, too, gives a shallow performance that often borders on the affectless, never exploring what drives Madge and why fireworks erupt when Hal enters her life. The actors in supporting roles fare better. By far, the evening’s highlight is Elizabeth Marvel as Rosemary. As with everything she does, Marvel delves deeply into Rosemary’s fears and frustrations, creating an integrated, believable character. Her third act scene with Reed Birney as Howard — who gives a detailed performance as a
injustice. Footage of the poet with the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and testimony from friends and fellow artists such as Dennis Hopper, Michael McClure, Amiri Baraka, and Anne Waldman, in different ways, underscore this point. In one telling sequence, Erik Bauersfeld, a radio dramatist, describes Ferlinghetti’s insistence that he is a lyric poet, not a political poet, because “politics are passing.” The writer tries to find “timeless subjects with crucial political ideas,” we learn. Ferlinghetti is seen posting savvy political messages — about making oil a public utility or about gun control — in the windows of his City Lights shop. He calls these screeds his “blog.” Ferlinghetti’s wit is another recurring theme in the film; we see him addressing the special bond between San Francisco poets and visual artists in Los Angeles and riffing about the “role of the artist” while driving around San Francisco. He is full of charm and clever wordplay when talking about hot cross buns and croissants, joking around on Ellis Island, and smiling on Via Ferlinghetti, the San Francisco street named for him. There are some curious gaps in the film’s account of Ferlinghetti’s
Ferlinghetti, continued on p.18
man feeling forced into choices he’s not prepared for in marrying Rosemary — is the best thing in the show, really the only time we feel her unvarnished need and the sadness she’s subdued thus far. Together, Marvel and Birney, with their heart-wrenching honesty, nearly change the focus of the play to the older characters’ tribulations. Ellen Burstyn as Helen Potts gives a touching portrait of a woman deserted years before by love and beauty, but not by her longing. Madeleine Martin is strong as Millie, the younger sister who knows she will never be a beauty and sets her sights on a larger, if passionless, life. Mare Winningham as Flo is solid and appropriately maternal. The humanity found in the supporting roles is what is missing from the central performances, and the production cannot overcome this shortfall, even by moving the whole operation downstage to force it on the audience. Mechanical tricks never compensate for absent characters; cold devices fail when what’s called for is heat. This is one “Picnic” I’d gladly have missed.
January 30, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
IN THE NOH
Rossum’s Romance An actress turned singer, a singing actress, and Joni xquisite Emmy Rossum, whom you’ll know from the film of “The Phantom of the Opera” and TV’s “Shameless,” among other things, is debuting her new CD “Sentimental Journey” (Warner Bros.). It’s a lushly produced compendium of iridescent standards, including “The Object of My Affection,” “Summer Wind,” “All I Do Is Dream of You,” and “Keep Young and Beautiful”. “This is the music I grew up listening to and singing around the house,” Rossum told me. “My Mom would play Judy Garland, Sam Cooke, and sing me the Andrews Sisters’ ‘Apple Blossom Time’ as a bedtime lullaby. So this is a journey back to the music I love, which fits my voice very well. I feel very comfortable in it and am happy that I made this record. “I took total control of the situation, made the record by myself with my own money, and then partnered with Warner’s to release it. I really wanted to have creative control over the production and A&R, pick the songs myself, and not have anyone giving me their idea of what I should sing. “We did it in LA, where I’m based right now. The songs were picked over a two-month period and we went into a studio here called the Village and recorded it in about three days. Pretty quick, just about all I could afford. I took an old-school approach to the recording of it and recorded all the musicians in one room while I was in the vocal booth. I wanted to mimic the way old records were made and mastered, to give it that old patina. My total fantasy of singing, like Eartha Kitt at the Café Carlyle. “These songs are so beautiful and yet so simple, simple storytelling with lyrics that are very personal, which only makes them more universal and so picturesque. I love that whole era. “‘These Foolish Things’ is one of my favorites. It’s the one I’ve been doing on talk shows, and I love singing it. I love the Bessie Smith song ‘Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out,’ just a plaintive, awesome song, a little different than the rest on the record. ‘Apple Blossom Time’ I obviously love, and ‘Autumn Leaves,’ which is half in French, because I took some French in school and thought I’d put it to good use.” Rossum began her career in the Children’s Chorus at the Metropolitan Opera: “An amazing
Ferlinghetti, from p.17
life. We learn about his decades-long friendship with George Whitman, the owner of the Shakespeare & Company bookstore in Paris — the two attended the Sorbonne together and once talked about swapping stores for a year. But, major elements of Ferlinghetti’s personal life — his marriage and kids — are barely acknowledged. It is something of a shock when his son, Lorenzo, appears on screen to celebrate his 45th birthday. There is a fascinating and nicely
BY DAVID NOH
Emily Rossum, whose new CD is “Sentimental Journey,” a collection of standards.
experience at seven to be onstage with horses and donkeys and Placido Domingo. I had no idea that this was out of the ordinary, and it opened my eyes to the theater and how escapist and amazing it can be. “I loved dressing up in the wigs and costumes and thought I would do that for the rest of my life, but then I got too tall for the children’s costumes and they were kind of like, ‘Take a hike and come back when you want to be in the adult chorus.’ What am I supposed to do, sit around for eight years? So I got an agent and they started sending me out for TV, film, and Broadway, and TV and film was where I immediately hit and everything took off.” Now Rossum gets to attend the Met Opera
detailed segment early in “Ferlinghetti” in which Giada Diano, the writer’s biographer, recounts the unusual story of his childhood. A judiciously edited assemblage of photographs shows an orphaned Ferlinghetti growing up among the Bislands, a wealthy Bronxville family who adopted him when his aunt left him in their care. Serving in the Navy during World War II, he witnessed the D-Day carnage from the safety of a ship, and his visit to Nagasaki after the bombing turned him into a pacifist, a significant turn in his political
opening night galas and such, as a glammedup celebrity guest on the red carpet: “It’s really fun and a nice way to come back when you watch everyone else work hard on stage and then drink champagne!” “The Phantom of the Opera” was terra nova for Rossum “because I had no concept of what being on a big movie and then promoting one was like. Joel Schumacher is an amazing director and art and set designer, so into the costumes and everything. I’m lucky to be one of his stable of discoveries [Julia Roberts, Demi Moore, Matthew McConaughey, and Colin Farrell, also among them]. “The audition process was extensive. I did a couple, which all went very quickly. I almost didn’t have enough time to think about what was really going on, which was a good thing for me because I could have been very overwhelmed and stage fright might have kicked in. I was brought in toward the end of the process — almost didn’t go to the audition because I had a family reunion in Vegas and I figured there would be more auditions. My agent was like, ‘You are NOT going to that family reunion!’ ” Rossum loves working on her TV show, “Shameless”: “All the actors do such a good job of bringing their characters to life. This season, we’re going to see a very funny gay storyline with Bradley Whitford, from ‘West Wing,’ as a gay advocate who enlists William H. Macy’s help. Really funny, in the way that only ‘Shameless’ can offend every possible person in every religion, race, walk of life. “People ask me what my reaction to reading my first ‘Shameless’ script was and assume that I was appalled by the material. I just thought it was laughout-loud funny and think a lot of other actresses who auditioned didn’t get the humor of it and played it as a straight drama. I’m clearly a little messed up to think that this messed up family was funny, so I think that’s where I got my leg up on everyone. I love my character, her strength and vulnerability and everything that she’s dealing with in this family, with one brother who is so smart but doesn’t want to go to school, another who wants to blow up everything he sees, and one who’s in the closet in the ghetto. “Macy is very creative and fun. He isn’t very Method, so he’s very fast, in and out of this drunken
awakening. The film’s evocation of Ferlinghetti’s bohemian spirit is what makes it an invaluable portrait. A TV clip shows Ginsberg and him discussing o v e r p o p u l a t i o n . G i n s b e rg w a x e s prophetic about threats to adequate water supplies and to the ozone, and we later see Ferlinghetti in a park reading a poem entitled “The Breeding Blues.” In another scene, Ferlinghetti is eloquent while reading a poem about Ginsberg, who is dying. The pain in his voice about losing his confidante and
IN THE NOH, continued on p.19
co-conspirator is affecting, especially as beautiful black-and-white images of Ginsberg fill the screen. “Ferlinghetti” may hopscotch through its subject’s life to create its portrait, but Felver’s approach — jazzy and spontaneous, not unlike the poetry and music of the Beats — is appropriate. The resulting mosaic portrait emphasizes that Ferlinghetti unfailingly used his life, his poetry, and the works of other poets he published as opportunities to be a dissenter, a subversive, and an agent for change.
| January 30, 2013 IN THE NOH, from p.18
The weather on January 24 was frigid, but 54 Below
was the warmest, most magical cave of musical delights. Broadway diva Marin Mazzie filled in for an ailing Linda Eder and delighted everyone with a show that evoked her youthful song influences, from “Begin the Beguine,” first heard on her parents’ console stereo in their suburban living room, to radio hits of the 1960s and ‘70s. The Davids — Jones and Cassidy — were adolescent obsessions and she honored them with unashamed renditions of “I’m a Believer” and “I Think I Love You,” which suffused the room in Boomer nostalgia. Things really kicked into high gear with Mazzie’s ‘70s evocations, like a dulcet “Midnight at the Oasis,” a moving “That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard It should Be,” and a hilarious “Evergreen,” which the Barbraobsessed young Mazzie sang in Catholic school as part of a ceremony to — of all things — bless the class
Marin Mazzie was a pleasant surprise as substitute for Linda Eder at 54 Below on January 24.
rings. Tune into PBS on February 15 when Live from Lincoln Center presents Mazzie with husband Jason Danieley, Joel Grey, and Chita Rivera in “Ring Them Bells! Rob Fisher Celebrates Kander & Ebb.”
Cheering Mazzie on was Broadway producer Ke v i n M c C o l l u m ( “ R e n t , ”
Drowsy Chaperone,” “In the Heights,” “Avenue Q”), who, like me, is from Hawaii and went to Punahou School. We exchanged reminiscences and he described his upcoming show, “Motown the Musical,” which is seriously one of the few things I am really looking forward to, especially as, he said, “It’s been cast entirely with fresh unknowns.” That encounter helped extend the glow of my just-concluded Hawaii vacation, as did the show immediately following Mazzie’s at 54 that night. While back home, I found a CD of Joni Mitchell’s greatest hits and it stayed in the player of my rental car the entire time. How wonderfully coincidental, then, was “Tales of Joni,” a tribute to that unsurpassable singer-songwriter with the talented likes of Lisa Asher, Annie Golden, Heather MacRae, Julie Reyburn, Nicholas Rodriguez, and Gabrielle Stravelli. The inspired brainstor m of ace cabaret producer Phil Bond, it had us all a-tingle from the redolent opening chords of so many beloved tunes. I especially enjoyed Golden’s “For Free,” done in her agelessly cherishable, funky-gamine way, Stravelli’s spot-on, intense “Cactus Tree,” and Reyburn’s spirited r endition of everybody’s favorite party/ driving song, “Carey.” There are two more shows on January 30 and 31 at 9:30 p.m. Gogogo. (254 W. 54th St.; $25-$35, with a $25 minimum, at 54below.com.) Contact David Noh at Inthenoh@aol. com and check out his blog at http:// nohway.wordpress.com/.
AVAILABLE AT ANY OF OUR SIX LOCATIONS Radio City 6th Ave & 51st Empire State Building 34th & 5th Midtown West 41st st at 8th HB Burger 43rd st & B’way Times Square 43rd and B’way Union Square W at 17th st www.heartlandbrewery.com Employee Owned
Tough as nails. Funny as hell.
PHOTO BY PLATON
thing he does. It’s amazing to watch, as I usually have to go to a place emotionally and stay there for the duration of a take, but he’ll wander in and out of it and when they call cut, he’ll be cracking jokes.” “Mystic River” was an early big break: “I was going to Columbia trying to get an education and when I got the call for ‘Mystic,’ it was right before my French final and I was like, ‘Okay, I’ll take this final and then peace, I’m out, I’m gonna go to work,’ and I never went back to school. “It was my first studio movie and I didn’t meet anyone until I walked on to the set. The first day I woke up four hours before I was needed, so nervous, and went to the bathroom to make sure I didn’t have any zits, just staring at my pores. “Clint Eastwood as a director was very quiet, very reserved and respectful of the actors, not at all a big in-your-face presence. It’s very much what you bring to the table, which kind of puts the pressure on, but it’s a good thing. I’m a malleable person so I can work with anybody’s approach. “Sean Penn was very intense, very kind and funny. I had a total panic attack when we were down in the morgue filming that scene. He was very funny and helpful to me. I was not pleased at all to be in a morgue. Not into it. “I just worked with Hilary Swank on a movie coming out this year, and she obviously had the same experience with him. The movie is ‘You’re Not You,’ based on a book and she plays a woman who is ALS, and I’m her livein caretaker and Josh Duhamel is her husband. Should be an interesting one.”
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January 30, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
January’s Classical Vocal Scene Verdi, Puccini at the Met, along with recitals at the Morgan, Zankel, and a Boston Symphony “Requiem”
he George London Foundation’s duo recitals at the Morgan Library are always worthwhile events; all credit to the Morgan for providing such an aptly intimate space. January 13’s recital featured a welcome local appearance by Anthony Dean Griffey, a superb communicator with phenomenal diction. His tenor sounded warm and expressive in Dowland, Barber (“Sleep Now” a particular highlight), and Schubert. He gave a strong, stirring performance of Jimmy’s soliloquy from “Mahagonny.” Why does New York hear so little of this distinctive theatrical and vocal talent? The room’s tricky acoustics were less flattering to Emalie Savoy, a highly gifted if still uneven Juillardtrained soprano on the Met roster. Savoy’s middle voice is rich and handsome, and her musical instincts are good. Poulenc’s “Sanglots” showed her best, though the quicker songs by him challenged her ability to articulate Apollinaire’s lyrics meaningfully. Mozart and Gluck selections showed inequalities at register extremes, the top sometimes glaring and harsh. Large voices take time to smooth out. Still, Griffey has a sizeable top voice and his sterling example showed that suiting vocal heft to a small room is possible. Ken Noda was the superbly flexible pianist, a full collaborative participant.
Carnegie’s Zankel Hall
hosts some of the city’s best vocal r ecitals. On January 23, a knowing crowd greeted Dorothea Roeschmann’s rare local appearance with the proficient, occasionally overfussy pianist Malcolm Martineau. The soprano stayed in her native German, concentrating on songs to Goethe texts by Schubert, Liszt, and Wolf — and adding on a few by other poets, including a whole set by Richard Strauss. F r o m t h e s t a r t o f h e r c a r e e r, Roeschmann’s singing has engendered a tension between her fine technical abilities and her seeming interpretive desire to perform outside their limits. If her still very attractive sound is not quite pristine, she phrases beautifully and with consistent, straightforwardly committed artistry. One almost wished she had warmed up with Wolf’s less melodic output and
fits right in to the legacy of Juan Lloveras and Franco Bonanome — undistinguished if latinate sound, a few stray good notes, much braying, slithery pitch at soft dynamics, and nearly no stage artistry whatsoever. Surely, no one expected more of Berti. Why has the Met shunned Fabio Ar miliato, a more than adequate spinto? Met audiences rightly expect lots of Stephanie Blythe, a house favorite with a magnificent lowlying mezzo. Alas, she was clearly in vocal distress throughout, furiously recomposing music downwards and often barrel-housing her lines out an octave — or two! — down. Azucena certainly lies well within her interpretive powers, but Blythe — a s a v v y pr o f e s s i o n a l —s h o u l d have been home resting, for her own sake as well as Verdi’s.
left the stunning Schubert settings until her voice was flowing freely. Death and loss hovered over many texts — particularly the Liszt group, for me the evening’s highlight — but to hear a gifted, individual-timbred artist perform so feelingly proved very salutary.
Puccini’s “La rondine” returned to the Met January
14 as a debut vehicle for a beautiful Latvian soprano enjoying much acclaim in Europe, Kristine Opolais. Her looks, detailed acting, and smallbore lyric voice make her a natural for DVD and HD. Apparently she sounded great over the Met’s radio hookup, too. In the house, one noted the limited vocal impact, though she opened up more in Act Three’s passion and fear. Opolais portrayed Magda gracefully and intelligently, but there seemed no personal timbre to remember. Increasingly, that once absolutely necessary quality for operatic stardom — not sounding like anybody else — seems relegated to the rare emergence of a Bryan Hymel or a Karen Cargill. I look forwar d to seeing Opolais’ considerable art again, but to me the sound per se didn’t raise the temperature. Giuseppe Filianoti is a thoughtful, d i s t inctive vocal ar tist, and like Opolais he looked ideal in his part. But the tenor approached his upper register very gingerly, indeed. After one near crack early on, he took most exposed notes down an octave, rather spoiling the usually fail-safe Act II quartet. I hope the valuable Filianoti finds his way back to vocal security. Anna Christy (Lisette) gave a generic soubrette per for mance, hands on hips, but her chirp was pretty. As in 2008, the outstanding contribution came from Marius Brenciu, all charm and dexterity as the poet Prunier — the Chandler Bing figure. Ion Marin’s 1992/ 1993 Met outings seemed totally unjustified by anything other than his recording contract; good that he’s matured into a competent conductor.
D a n i e l e C a l l e g a r i ’s p r o p u l s i v e Ve r d i a n conducting made “Il trovatore”
two night later highly enjoyable on an orchestral and choral level, despite some very uneven singing. Three principals were well worth hearing. Indeed, Christophoros Stamboglis’
KEN HOWARD/ METROPOLITAN OPERA
BY DAVID SHENGOLD
Marius Brenciu as Prunier in Puccini's "La Rondine."
clear, resonant bass, triplets firmly in place, made him among the finest recent Met Ferrandos. Angela Meade demonstrated progress with both verbal clarity and ease of movement onstage. Much of her singing was technically impressive; the sound is clear and unspoiled and her voice certainly can move. Meade’s work was admirable without being particularly memorable — deep engagement with the soul remains lacking. That may come — or not. Alexey Markov (Count di Luna) sang with handsome finish and tone that sounded imposing in solo moments, but occasionally dried up and tended to vanish in ensembles. The dark marbled sound goes up only so far; he audibly switches placement for high notes and fell into some typically Russian squeezed legato for “Il balen.” I wish Markov would give up parts like Scarpia and find coaches to help fulfill his considerable Verdian potential. There the goodish news ends. There have always been mediocre, place-holding Manricos between the Carusos and Bergonzis; Marco Berti
R e a l Ve r d i a n g l o r y flowed from the phenomenally
precise, imposing Tanglewood Festival Chorus at the Boston Symphony’s “Requiem” under Daniele Gatti on January 19. The orchestral playing — the brass positioned a l l a r o u n d t h e f r o n t o f g o rg e o u s Symphony Hall — was also of high quality, and the great work proved satisfying, despite a certain lack of coordination. The solo singing was B/ B+ level, and each of Gatti’s international soloists had assets and flaws. Fiorenza Cedolins’ flame-tipped veristic soprano offered “italianita” and some beautiful Renata Scottostyle piano singing but imprecise louder attacks and fluttery hollowness down below. Ekaterina Gubanova maintained consistency, but her vibrato-throbbed Slavic mezzo sounded of f home ground. Stuart Neill, subbing for Fabio Sartori, sang without score and combined attractive floated passages with some very sharp tuning and an unfortunate breath lapse in the “Ingemisco”; there was not much poetry in the presentation. The deepest expression and the steadiest singing — save for one muffled phrase — came from Carlo Colombara, his bass in much better shape than at his last Met outing. David Shengold (shengold@yahoo. com) writes about opera for many venues.
| January 30, 2013
A Queerly Engaging Novel Drawing out the dynamics of gender-defying relationships BY SAM SPOKONY
hile I want to believe what “Star Trek” taught me, I think space might not really be the final frontier. Sure, there’s this unfathomable depth of infinity to be investigated outside us, but what might be even more complex is the stuff inside — the farthest reaches of our own human identity and all the psychological twists that go along with deciphering that.
RYE By Sam Rosenthal Projekt Books $12.95; 268 pages
Or at least this is how I feel after reading my first genderqueer erotic novel. “R ye” is probing — in every sense of the word — in both its critical exploration of gender identity and its display of those personal tensions within real-life relationships. And although it lacks exceptional prose, Sam Rosenthal’s second book raises
actual depictions of the world of hetero “values”). And the reader — alongside the fictional lovers — is asked to further dissect traditional notions such as marriage, monogamy and its related
SIDE EFFECTs, from p.14
because the punishment she meted out fit the crime. Her sexuality was part of what informed her view of what she suffered as well as how she reacted; it was not simply dropped into the plot as a device to sensationalize the story. There is no reason gay and lesbian characters, of course, cannot or should not be evil on screen. In fact, some of the best queer films feature villains. The lesbian classic “Bound,” directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski — Lana then still living as Larry — had lesbian lovers outwitting the mob, and it was sexy, stylish, and satisfying as hell. New Queer Cinema also offered great killer gay couples. Gregg Araki’s “The Living End” featured two angry HIV-positive lovers on the lam who go on a murderous crime spree to act up and lash out in an anarchic “fuck you” to the world. Tom Kalin’s “Swoon” was a vivid reimagining of the Leopold and Loeb “thrill-kill” case (also portrayed in “Compulsion” and loosely, as well, in “Rope”), where the lovers bond over their murder of a young boy only to have the crime undo them. And as recently as 2009, there was the fabulous screwball conman comedy “I Love You Phillip Morris” that chronicled the great — albeit illegal — lengths a gay man (Jim Carrey) would go to be with the man he loves (Ewan McGregor). For some queer villains — like the gay couple in the muy caliente Argentine drama “Burnt Money” — the best way to show how much you love your partner is to break the law. But love is not the issue in “Side Effects,” which will remind many viewers of the brouhaha 20 years
OPEN ROAD FILMS
plenty of provocative questions about sexuality and polyamory, while telling a pretty good story (and, I guess, helping you get off, depending on your inclinations). We f o l l o w M a t t , a 4 0 - y e a r - o l d divorced father, who’s romantically involved with R ye, a 31-year -old biological female who identifies as male — and whom Rosenthal respectfully refers to with male pronouns throughout the novel. Their relationship is equal parts passionate and tumultuous, as both struggle to understand their own needs and desires, from both physical and emotional perspectives. But the most complicated thing about the interactions between Matt and Rye might be the battles with binary oppositions — clashes and ironies seemingly more associated with the heteronormative world — that surface throughout their seemingly “free” gender-neutral lives. Both are forced to confront questions about their personal quests for hedonistic happiness in a world that largely ignores or simply doesn’t understand them (although Rosenthal himself largely ignores
Rooney Mara in Steven Soderbergh’s “Side Effects.”
ago when Paul Verhoeven’s “Basic Instinct” portrayed bisexual Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) as a murderous sociopath. The principle is the same with Soderbergh’s film. The LGBT community should be asking, “Why are the villainous characters lesbian?” In 2010, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s “Biutiful” featured gay Asian characters trafficking in humans. The villains’ sexuality was not developed beyond being a symbol of their bad behavior, yet that issue went largely undiscussed. “Side Effects” might well similarly skate by without the scrutiny it deserves on this point. When protests do happen — as when gay groups
intimacy issues, and the masculine/ feminine power dynamics within sexually unpredictable relationships. On top of all that, we later find Matt engaged in a simultaneous relationship with Rain, a queer 23-year -old hermaphrodite who tends to switch between male and female pronouns — and whose distinctly dif ferent personality and sexual attitude force Matt to further struggle to understand his feelings for Rye. It’s difficult for me to describe all the gritty details in a G-rated manner, so I’ll just say that you’re going to be very, very close to all three of these characters by the end of the novel. So, yes, there’s a lot of sex in this book. A lot. And for some readers, the underlying themes might seem too cryptically embedded within nonstop images of sheer kinkiness. But I think there are theories worth digging for in Rosenthal’s jumble of words and bodies — ideas that will probably mean different things to different people, and will likely also leave most readers with some previously hidden sense of curiosity, a new insight into the diversity of queer life, or at least a more intellectual way to get off.
responded to Buffalo Bill, the serial killer in “Silence of the Lambs” — they can be effective in raising awareness of how queer characters are too often treated in film. William Friedkin’s “Cruising” also drew harsh criticism for the way the gay leather scene was portrayed. Even queer filmmakers can find themselves on the receiving end of a backlash. Todd Verow’s daring and provocative 1995 adaptation of Dennis Cooper’s “Frisk” provoked controversy, protest, and, at a queer festival in San Francisco, a near riot — which is perhaps what a queer film about killing should do. But the outrage was directed more at the film’s realistic, fetishized sexual violence, not its same-sex nature per se. And remember, Charlize Theron won an Oscar for playing lesbian serial killer Aileen Wuornos in “Monster,” proving there can be great portrayals, done with artistic integrity, of bad queers. Hollywood has long featured queer villains. Hitchcock had plenty of gay killers (often played by gay actors) in films ranging from “North By Northwest” and “Psycho” to “Strangers on a Train” and “Rope.” And like the memorable queer villain George Macready played in “Gilda,” the sexuality of these characters was evident, but not determinative. It may have informed or enhanced their sinister nature, but it was not the reason for their bad behavior. The same could be said about one of the more noteworthy queer villains in recent film, Javier Bardem’s fey, gay Bond bad guy, Silva, in “Skyfall.” If only “Side Effects” had developed its femme fatales better, maybe viewers would root for them, rather than boo them.
January 30, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Leadership on Immigration Reform
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President Barack Obama, on January 29, did what a bipartisan group of US s e n a t o r s failed to do the day before. He included equality for same-sex couples in the immigration reform framework he released. In a 2,200-wordplus “fact sheet” released by the White House in tandem with a major address the pr esident deliver ed in Las Ve g a s , t h e s e c t i o n t i t l e d “Keeping Families Together” states that Obama’s proposal “treats same-sex families as families by giving US citizens and lawful permanent residents the ability to seek a visa on the basis of a permanent relationship with a same-sex partner.” On January 28, a memorandum from the eight senators, including New York’s Chuck Schumer, mentions families several times — in emphasizing the need to “strengthen” them and not “force [them] to live apart” — but there is no word of ending the disparate treatment of
same-sex binational couples as compared to married different-sex couples. Under current law, including the Defense of Marriage Act, even those gay and lesbian couples who legally marry in one of the 10 jurisdictions in the US where it is allowed cannot win permanent residency for the immigrant spouse. The Senate memorandum was a critical moment in the unfolding immigration debate on Capitol Hill, signaling a bipartisan commitment — that included Republicans such as Arizona’s John McCain and Marco Rubio of Florida — in finally tackling a critical if thor ny challenge involving an estimated 11.5 million undocumented residents of the US. With Democrats in control of the Senate, unlike the House, it is unfortunate that Schumer and his fellow Democrats in the immigration working group — New Jersey’s Robert Menendez, his party’s Senate point man on the issue, Illinois’ Dick Durban, and Colorado’s Michael Bennet — did not hang tough for the important principle of LGBT equality in hammering out their bipartisan framework.
Given the Republicans’ abysmal per for mance with Latino voters this past fall, their party desperately needs to show willingness on the immigration issue. The moment for Democrats to press their advantage was now — but these senators squandered that. The effort to incorporate relief for same-sex couples can now be portrayed as an add-on. McCain has already publicly described the issue as a “red flag.” Lindsey Graham, another Republican in the immigration working group, warned that changes in how same-sex partners are treated would kill the effort at comprehensive refor m, saying, "Why don't we just put legalized abortion in there and round it all out,” according to the Huffington Post. And Republican John Boehner’s office, responding to the administration’s fact s h e e t , s a i d , “ We h o p e t h e president is careful not to drag the debate to the left and ultimately disrupt the difficult work that is ahead in the House and Senate.” Asked to explain the omission of same-sex couples from the Senate framework, a Schumer spokesperson, in an email message, wrote, “These
are broad principles and a bipartisan breakthrough on t he way t o c o mpr e he ns iv e immigration reform, but they are not detailed legislation. Senator Schumer is a long-time and committed supporter of UAFA and will work to see it included in the emerging legislation.” UAFA, the Uniting American Families Act, is Manhattan Congressman Jerry Nadler’s standalone legislation to end discrimination against samesex couples in immigration. Last fall, Nadler told Gay City News he was confident of his “commitment” from leaders of immigration reform efforts that they would make sure UAFA found its way into any comprehensive bill. Principles announced on November 28 by the Hispanic Congressional Caucus af fir med that commitment. Why Menendez, as the Senate Democrats’ leader on the issue, did not make that point a bottom line is unknown. After often being faulted for lacking the initiative on LGBT issues demonstrated by progressive Democrats in Congress, the president is now out front — where he must remain if we are to win this fight. The route to success, however, can only go through the Democratic Senate. S c h u m e r, M e n e n d e z , Durbin, and Bennet have their work cut out for them — and we’ll be watching.
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FROM SELMA TO STONEWALL, from p.7
turn did work within their memberships. The recent successful state marriage fights, she said, showed LGBT advocates doing better at direct grassroots mobilization among black and Latino voters. Battle said he has watched AfricanAmerican activists at mainstream gay groups, such as Donna Payne at the Human Rights Campaign, “working on race and poverty literally every day.” His concern is focused on how a small number of major LGBT donors — mainly white men — will target their resources once marquee goals like marriage equality are achieved. Knox recalled a white activist from a leading gay rights group asking him “why blacks were so eager to vote for
Prop 8.” He responded, “Well, if you go in to do after-school projects, and meals on wheels, and skills training, those communities will not turn their backs on you.” The other man “didn’t sound convinced he had the time for that,” Knox added. Johnson voiced a different concern about the future of the LGBT rights movement — its increasingly heteronormative character. “I remember when it wasn’t about living in the suburbs and having kids,” he said. “It was radical and sex-positive.” Everyone Gay City News spoke to agreed that in the wake of the president’s inaugural address, the die is cast for his second term. Whether or not Vice President Joe Biden “dragged him” into his endorsement of marriage equality,
Battle said, “the fact that he supports it consistently now is where the rubber meets the road.” Johnson said that even though Obama “underestimated how constricted you are in what you can do in Washington” in his first term, “in a second term, where you have nothing to lose, even if you can’t get everything you want, you can say everything you want.” In Brooklyn, Knox saw the January 21 speech as “the opening salvo” in what he expects to be “true left-of-center progressive leadership” from the president over the next four years. “And if it doesn’t turn out that way,” he added, “it’s incumbent on us in the LGBT community to get on him and say, ‘Don’t you remember what you said?’”
| January 30, 2013
Selma, Seneca Falls, Stonewall BY kELLY JEAN COGSWELL
ll hail January. The first was not just New Ye a r ' s D a y , b u t t h e 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln s ig n i n g t h e E m a n c i p a t i o n A c t . A couple weeks later, Barack Obama, our first black president, had his second inauguration ceremony on Martin Luther King Day. I remember a lot of (white) people wer e pissed of f when a r eluctant Ronald Reagan signed MLK Day into law in 1983. Accusations of pander ing were made. It was done just to keep black people happy. What had the guy really done after all? T o be honest, I didn't know. It took me years to understand the deliberate holes in my country's history. Partly because in high school, we never did get past World War II. The teacher was a football coach, and easily distracted. I should be generous and assume that people who resist queer history and queer lives are ignorant, but educable, like me. The confluence of events — ending slavery, MLK Day — helped set the stage for Obama's inaugural speech that called on Americans to look backwards as well as forward,
understand ourselves in the light of history. For once, Obama didn't mince words. Framed by the struggle to end slavery and racism, he attacked inequality from the first. "... what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional — what makes us American — is our allegiance to an idea... that all men are created equal..." Of course, believing in equality doesn't make us exceptional at all. France, for example, has that whole liberty, equality, fraternity universalist presumption. But establishing the idea of equality as the tie that binds us was still a huge move on Obama's part. It resonated through the speech, especially when he linked Seneca Falls, Selma, and Stonewall in one breath, pulling us all into America's fold. That was the first time gay people had been mentioned in an inaugural speech. The first time Obama linked our fights unequivocally. Women, people of color, queers. It's a no-brainer if you believe equality is something a democracy should strive for. If you believe it's impor tant to emphasize the "human" part of human rights. A s Am er i cans, though, I'm not
sure how deeply that idea binds us. We usually want equality for our selves, not everybody else. In New York, we stare across the subway at each other like we're not just of different races and genders but of different species altogether, even if we all began life with the same essential equipment — a heart, brain, lungs, a skeleton, skin of some color over it. I'm not sure what does hold us together. Habit? “American Idol”? Politicians often refer to America as "this great land of ours" as if other continents found unity inevitable, and what bind us are mostly geology and the shared flag that waves over it. Ideas have nothing to do with it. In fact, we tend to mistrust them. Americans are a practical people. We per fected mass pr oduction of cars and iPhones and apps. Unions don't demonstrate for unity, but for something concrete like salaries and working conditions — weevils in the bread, insufficient circuses. You can't build movements around abstractions. That's why we ended up with identity politics and singleissue activism. Which drives everybody crazy with its contradictions. Ideally, activists keep their vision expansive and narrow at the same
time, breaking down huge problems like homophobia or racism into smaller parts, like same-sex mar riage or the overwhelming incar ceration of young black men, at the same time trying to keep in mind how it all fits in. The other conundrum is that while we have to get people to see and respect differences, we also have to make them difference-blind. Particularly when it comes to shaping culture and enforcing the law. We demand, "See me as the same and equal to any other human, but see me. Me." We o f t e n e n d u p f o c u s i n g o n the particularities, and convincing ourselves our specific fight i s s p e c i a l . We e s t a b l i s h h i e r a r chies, pit oppressions against each other. Class against gender. R a c e a g a i n s t s e x u a l i d e n t i t y . We forget that we are part of the larger struggle for equality and fr eedom that extends well beyond this country and pr etty much defines the human condition. Maybe only visionaries like King can pull it of f. He had a talent for w a l k i n g t h a t l i n e . We a v i n g i t a l l together until a fight for a black student to sit at the lunch counter next to some white guy became a symbol of the fight for human dignity, the American Dream. Maybe we should repeat this like a mantra: Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall. Three fights. Same DNA.
A Political Journey from Connecticut through Maine to Pennsylvania BY JEFFREY COLE LEFRANCOIS
or the first time in American history, gay men and women were recognized in a president’s inaugural remarks. Barack Obama did not stop at calling us America’s “brothers and sisters.” Before the world, he referred to the Stonewall Riots and joined the movement that grew out of that event to the origins of the women’s movement at Seneca Falls in 1848 and the march for AfricanAmerican civil rights that occurred in Selma during the dangerous days of 1965. Stonewall came only a few years after, but that tumultuous early morning rebellion in 1969 took 44 years for a president to recognize so publicly. For many, “Seneca Falls and
Selma and Stonewall” will be words remembered as the highlight of the president’s second inaugural address. The full “evolution” of President Obama’s views on gay rights had come to fruition. For me, his comments also reinforced my commitment — as a Democrat, an Amer ican, and a “two term” volunteer — to the president. My political engagement started before I could vote. Boisterous and cheeky, in high school I went head to head with the pro-lifers and Bush supporters. I have always known I am gay, but in rural Connecticut — and even in New York — it was easier to come out for women or a progressive tax structure than gay rights. Today, I’m thankful to be working for one of the most progressive elected of ficials in New York, State Assembly-
man Dick Gottfried. In 2009, I joined the marriage equality campaign in Maine to defeat the referendum aimed at overturning the same-sex marriage law enacted there earlier that year. But the referendum won and same-sex marriage remained illegal. It was the most devastating campaign loss I had ever experienced. In 2012, a pro-marriage refer endum was placed on the ballot. I was asked to return, “to finish the job” as my friend who was back on the trail ther e said. But I had to decline. Yo u s e e , P r e s i d e n t O b a m a declared his support for marriage equality in May of 2012. He did so while up for reelection against a candidate whose platform was steeped in bigotry and a party that uses gay issues as a bludgeon at the
ballot box. LGBT equality at the federal level is my end goal and keeping a pro-equality president in the White House was a higher priority for me than contesting a single state. This time, my political engagement was personal. I had to go to bat for the person who batted nationally for me. A dear friend whom I’d met on the Maine marriage campaign in 2009 w a s d i r e c t i n g f i e l d o rg a n i z i n g i n outer Allegheny County in western Pennsylvania. So I hit the trial. I r a n o f f i c e s a n d o rg a n i z e d f o r the president in towns that are far from sexy. In fact, they are derelict reminders of America’s great manufacturing past, where steel and coal mining helped make cities great, fostered a middle class, and propelled
LEFRANCOIS, continued on p.26
January 30, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com put to rest every question. The former mayor, who is now 88, has been hospitalized a number of times in recent months, but maintains a busy schedule of reviewing films, pushing for election reform statewide, and appearing on New York 1 News’ “Wise Guys” segment. Opens Feb. 1 at Angelika Film Center, 18 W. Houston at Mercer St. (angelikafilmcenter.com) and Lincoln Plaza Cinema, 1886 Broadway at 63rd St. (lincolnplazacinema.com).
“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 SpinCycleNYC.com or 212-352-3101, plus a $15 food & drink minimum.
February 6: Dean Spade speaks at LIU Brooklyn
BENEFIT The Year’s Sexiest Masquerade Ball
GALLERY Women Challenging Taboo
“C.U.Next Tuesday” is an exhibition that features the works of Aya Rodriguez-Izumi and Davina Hsu, multi-faceted artists who employ colorful palettes with designs and images that have the clean finish of printmaking. Rodriguez-Izumi’s work focuses on social anomalies and no subject depicted in her drawings and paintings is taboo, while Davina Hsu’s drawings and paintings search the deep annals of vulnerability, person-hood, and beauty. Both jaw-dropping and reflective, this exhibition re-opens the conversation on just what is so grotesque and beautiful about “C.U.Next Tuesday.” Michael Mut Gallery, 97 Ave. C at E. Sixth St. Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2 -6 p.m.; Feb. 2, noon-6. The artists appear in conversation on Jan. 31, 7-9 p.m. More information at michaelmutgallery.com or 917-691-8390.
THEATER Greenwich Village — 1913
“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. Through Feb. 3, Thu.-Sat. at 7 p.m., Sun. at 3 p.m. Tickets are $12 at theaterforthenewcity.net or 212-254-1109.
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 telecharge.com or 212-239-6200.
DANCE Trisha’s Curtain Call
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’s “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 bam.org.
FILM How’s He Doing Now?
“Koch,” Neil Barsky’s documentary on the former New York mayor, scorned for his early inaction on AIDS and his resolute refusal to come out, is searching in its examination of his life, but will not
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 gaycenter.org.
“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 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 telecharge.com or 212239-6200. For more information, visit thewonderfulwizardofsong.com.
ACTIVISM Dean Spade & the Urgency of Now
Transgender activist and author Dean Spade, the founder in 2002 of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project and now an assistant professor at Seattle University School of Law and a fellow in the “Engaging Tradition” project at Columbia Law School, speaks on trans politics at an event presented by Long Island University Brooklyn’s Gender Studies Program. The author of “Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law,” a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, “Spade is doing some of the most important transgender theory and activism today,” according to LIU Brooklyn English professor Michael Bennett. Spike Lee Screening Room, LLC 122, Liu Brooklyn, Dekalb & Flatbush Aves. Feb. 6, 7-8:30 p.m.
GALLERY The Eros of Italy
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 that 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 leslielohman.org.
COMMUNITY Ethics & Sex-Positivity
Join psychotherapist and “Ethical Slut” columnist Robert Levithan at his monthly, interactive live format talk show, featuring guest Tracey Jackson, author of “Between a Rock and a Hot Place: Why Fifty is Not the New Thirty” and screenwriter of “Confessions of a Shopaholic.” Levithan’s “salon” is designed for gay and gay-friendly crowds and invites the audience to ask tough questions and engage in frank and sometimes controversial dialogues on sex, sexuality, and relationships as viewed from a very sex-positive and ethically rigorous perspective. The Study at the OUT NYC, 510 W. 42nd St. Mon. Feb. 4, 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.
PERFORMANCE Distorted on Parade
PERFORMANCE Because of the Wonderful Things He Does
COMEDY Frank DeCaro Presents…
“Homo Comicus” means devilishly hot standup — and song! — from gay, lesbian, and queerfriendly comics. Frank DeCaro (SiriusXM OutQ Radio host) hosts an evening that includes with Jessica Kirson, Sherry Davey, Vidur Kapur, and Phoebe
WEd.FEB.6, continued on p.27
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January 30, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Zero Dark Thirty: The Woman’s Guide to Success Thru Torture
BY SUSIE DAY
See the Globe. More than half the seven billion people on the Globe are women. Wo m e n a r e d i f f e r e n t f r o m men. Why are women different from men? Because, according to inter national humanitarian agencies, w om e n h a v e sp e c i a l pe r c e n t a g e s that stick out. See women’s percentages: • Women make up 70 percent of the world’s poor. • Women do 66 percent of the world’s work yet receive 11 percent of the world’s income. • O f the 130,000,000 children who currently do not go to school, two-thirds are girls. • G ender -based violence kills one in three women. These are bad percentages. Why are these bad percentages? Because they reflect global sexism. What is sexism? It is the belief that women are inferior to men. How can women triumph over sexism? Who cares? Let’s watch TV!
II. The Golden Globes See the awards ceremony. The Golden Globes r ecognize artistic achievement in television and film. Look and see! This year’s ceremony is being touted as a woman’s event, where “Strong Women Dominate.” See women triumph over sexism by winning awards. See the two funny women MCs hand out prizes. See a delicate blonde woman win Best Actress in
LEFRANCOIs, from p.23
America to the top. Talk to residents of these towns and they’ll tell you how, not long ago, mills pumped out goods while endless freight trains carried steel and coal to the far reaches of the country. But now, all that is gone. In Pennsylvania, I’m the gay white New Yorker who works, lives, even breathes Manhattan West Side politics, yet who allied and bonded with people with whom I would appear to have little in common. It is our differences, the president has said, that unite us. Outer Allegheny usually has 50
a TV Drama for playing a CIA agent who fights evil Muslims. Now, see a delicate strawberry-blonde woman win Best Actress in a Film Drama for playing a CIA agent who helps tor ture evil Muslims. Win, win, win! See these two women winners combine the feminine virtues of being delicate and blonde with the masculine virtue of being on top. They have discovered that all you have to do to triumph over sexism is to (a) be a legal resident of the United States; (b) possess breathtaking Western beauty with the symmetrical cheekbones reminiscent of a female cyborg; (c) wear a low-cut, $2,000,000 gown; and (d) act the female lead in stories about how torture renders men inferior.
cutting-room footage from a “Saw” movie. She has elevated B-movie torture to the level of fine American infotainment. Here is how we are infotained:
IV. The Only Good Muslim Is an Interrogated Muslim
See the first high-tech, big-budget feature film about finding and killing Osama bin Laden. On second thought, don’t. Instead, see the film’s director. The film’s director is a woman. She may not have a Golden Globe, but she does have big balls. Why does she have big balls? An impor tant male film critic has called this woman “in a nice way, Hollywood’s ballsiest director.” Thank you, Mr. Film Critic! We women know we are doing something right when you ascribe to us “balls” that are “nice”! The director’s ballsiness has allowed her to take cinematic risks. What is one of those risks? The director has spliced a state-of-theart, you-are-there, documentarystyle film with scenes resembling
See the 3,000 human beings who t r a g i c a l l y p e r i s h e d i n t h e Wo r l d Trade Center attacks on September 11. Do NOT see the hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of human beings who tragically perished in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan due to subsequent US invasions, bombings, and drone attacks. Do NOT see flashbacks of the United States creating and supporting dictatorial regimes to facilitate oil drilling in the region. Do NOT see Western sanctions imposed on Iraq years before September 11, 2001, which killed an estimated 500,000 Iraqi children. Also do NOT see people having qualms about the wisdom of killing bin Laden in the first place or the ethics of assassinating anyone based on a president’s secret “kill list.” ONLY see the delicate, determined beauty of the pale, strawberryblonde woman. ONLY see her obsession with killing bin Laden. See the pale, strawberry-blonde woman help US agents starve Muslims, strip Muslims naked, drag M usl i m s a r ound on do g le as he s , water -board Muslims, kick and punch Muslims, scream in Muslim’s faces, hang Muslims from the ceiling, and cram Muslims into tiny
percent voter turnout during gener al elections. In 2012, the brilliant, amazing team I was part of moved 70 percent of registered voters to the polls. Personalizing politics is why we won in Pennsylvania and Ohio, in Vi r g i n i a a n d C o l o r a d o . I t i s a l s o why in Maine, voters reversed their 2009 decision and marriage equality was approved at the ballot box. The same thing happened in Maryland and Washington, and in Minnesota, an anti-gay constitutional amendment was defeated. Back in 2008, Hillary Clinton had my heart, my voice, and my vote. Clinton’s eloquent concession after
losing the primaries to Obama was a moment of catharsis for me, and my evolution on the new president concluded on the frigid morning of 2009’s inauguration. The emotional chill of witnessing history dispelled the weather’s chill, even as memories of that moment remain frozen in my mind. This inauguration, the mor ning started a little later and was not as cold. T o my left wer e thr ee eager college students from Minnesota; a crunchy family of five from Vermont stood i n fr ont of me ; t o my right were cousins from Ohio and Maryland, a happy couple from Tennessee, and enlightened high schoolers
III. Zero Dark Thirty
wooden boxes — all without losing an ounce of her femininity. These interrogations are hard to watch. Why are these interrogations hard to watch? Because they are hard on the Muslims? No, because they are hard on the CIA interrogators. See the cruel Muslims forcing the CIA interrogators to wring accurate infor mation about bin Laden out of them. Poor CIA interrogators. They must do their job, yet their interrogation work is both banal and evil. The interrogators are sad. Wait, sad interr ogators! Her e is something you can be cheerful about: Hannah Arendt is no longer alive to write about you!
V. No Justice; Blonde Peace Onwar d! The pale, strawberryblonde woman will lead her team onward! The torture-derived infor mation will lead to Osama bin Laden! And once the evil bin Laden is killed (along with a few evil nameless bystanders), the entire US Department of Defense will never be sexist again! Soon American women of all hair colors and coiffures will be allowed in front-line combat! Why, look! The Pentagon has just announced that it will allow women in front-line combat! Yay! With friends like the US military, who needs feminism? Thank you, pale, strawberryb l o n d e w o m a n ! Yo u h a v e b l a z e d our women’s trail! When we were staggering ar ound in the dark of “Dark Thirty” with bad percentages, you delivered us into the light of supreme vengeance. Which brings us to our stunning denouement: Here in the US of A — as in that for midable European “Homeland” only a few decades ago — Justice is Blonde.
from Oregon. I gasped and squealed when the president declared, “We will respond to the threat of climate change.” But I was left speechless, my eyes overflowing with tears when I heard the president say, “We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths — that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still, just as it guided our forbearers through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall…” Now that our tears have been shed, the fight goes on. And the stage has been set for national equality. See you on the campaign trail.
| January 30, 2013
COMMUNITY Dr. Marjorie Hill’s State of the African-American Community Address
WEd.FEB.6, from p.24
Kreutz. Gotham Comedy Club, 208 W. 23rd St. Feb 6, 8:30 p.m. Cover charge is $20, with a twobeverage minimum. Reservations at 212-367-9000.
The relaunch of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) Community Services Center of the Bronx, earlier scarred by financial impropriety, gets a boost from its first fundraiser, “Valentine’s Vamp.” Tym Moss, president of the new Center, which he said has completed its non-profit incorporation, provides “a chance for us to really make a difference. To create an LGBTQ community center in the Bronx where everyone — from the youth to the elderly — can come and feel accepted. Where they are told and they feel that they are perfect exactly how they are. This is so desperately needed in the Bronx right now.” For more information about the Center, visit gplus.to/BronxLGBTQcenter. “Valentine’s Vamp” takes place at Rebel NYC, 251 W. 30th St. Feb. 9, 5:30-11 p.m. Tickets are $70-$95 at http://bit.ly/valentinesvamp; $85-$115 at the door.
CABARET 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. Feb. 9 & 23, 8:30 p.m. Cover charge is $25, with a twodrink minimum. Reservations at 212-757-0788.
BENEFIT Pride Returns to the Bronx
THEATER The Laramie Project a Decade On: A Marathon Staging
The Brooklyn Academy of Music reunites the majority of the cast from the original 2000 production of “The Laramie Project,” the oral history of the aftermath of the 1998 anti-gay murder of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming created by Moisés Kaufman and members of his Tectonic Theater Project. The new production includes the original plus, plus the first fully staged New York production of “The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later.” Written by Kaufman, Leigh Fondakowski, Greg Pierotti, Andy Paris, and Stephen Belber, “Ten Years Later” is directed by Kaufman and Fondakowski. BAM Harvey Theater, 651 Fulton St. at Rockwell Pl. Feb. 12-24. The production is presented in consecutive weeknight evenings on Feb 12 &13; Feb 14 & 15; Feb 19 & 20; Feb 21 & 22, 7:30 p.m. Weekend marathons are presented on Feb. 16, 17, 23 & 24, 2:30 p.m., with a dinner break btwn. Parts 1 & 2. Tickets are $20-$80 for each part at bam.org; packages to see both shows on weeknights must be purchased for consecutive evenings.
CABARET LuPone, Musto Rave about Bridget Everett
PERFORMANCE Justin Vivian Bond & Other Valentines
Tony-nominated singer Justin Vivian Bond headlines a pre-Valentine’s evening of music, humor, romantic revelry, and even sentimentality. Bond joins the 13-piece JC Hopkins Biggish Band, led by Grammy-nominated JC Hopkins, observational humorist Kiki Valentine, musical guest Lee Chappell, and an assortment of burlesque and aerial performers. The Slipper Room, 167 Orchard St. at Stanton St. Feb. 10, 9 p.m. Tickets are $25-$45 at slipperroom.com.
No less than Patti LuPone has described Bridget Everett this way: “Now there’s a girl with great talent… She’s got guts. She’s fearless. That girl has guts.” The Village Voice’s Michael Musto described her as “Wynona Judd meets Melissa Etheridge, via the local bar floozy, on a rocket ship out of Twin Peaks.” Everett appears at Joe’s Pub, inside the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Pl. Feb. 12, Mar. 20, Apr. 24, 9:30 p.m. Admission is $20 at joespub.com, plus a $12 food & drink minimum for table seating. Call 212-967-7555 for a table reservation.
PERFORMANCE A Bawdy Valentine’s Night
The World Famous *BOB* hosts a “Filthy Gorgeous Valentine’s Spectacular,” featuring the
jazz and ragtime vaudeville duo Gelber & Manning and steamy burlesque performances by Ms Tickle, Gal Friday, Cherry Typhoon, Brewster, Gin Minsky & Dandy Wellington, Shelly the Singing Siren, and the NY City Burlesque Choir. DJ Momotaro provides the tunes. Highline Ballroom, 431 W. 16th St. Feb. 14, 8 p.m. Doors open at 6. Admission is $25-$45 at highlineballroom. com; $30-$50 at the door.
DANCE Classics from Nicholas Leichter, the Bang Group, Doug Elkins
DanceNow at Joe’s Pub presents “Dorothy, Annie, Maria,” a program featuring excerpts from three acclaimed works it commissioned over the past decade — Nicholas Leichter Dance’s “The Whiz: Emerald City,” the Bang Group’s” ShowDown,” and Doug Elkins’ “Fräulein Maria.” “The Whiz: Emerald City” (2010) reimagines New York’s underground communities through song, dance, and “Prince-esque extravaganzardry.” “ShowDown” (2009) takes songs from Irving Berlin's “Annie Get Your Gun,” strips them of their original narrative context, and sets them in a contemporary choreographic world. A Bessie Award-winning production, “Fräulein Maria” (2006) is an irreverent, kinetic twist on “The Sound of Music,” set to selections from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s score. Joe’s Pub, inside the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Pl. Feb 14-16, 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 at joes.pub.com; $20 at the door, plus a $12 food & drink minimum for table seating. Call 212-967-7555 for a table reservation. Doors open at 6 p.m. for cocktails or dinner.
MUSIC Toshi Reagon PostValentines Sade Salute
Toshi Reagon presents “Good Folk Lovers Rock: A Post-Valentine Day Sade Love Fest.” The evening of R&B, hip hop, and blues includes performances by Reagon, Ganessa James, Allison Miller, Kimberly Nichole, Alex Nolan, Morley, and Sun Singleton. Joe’s Pub, inside the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Pl. Feb. 15, 9 p.m. Admission is $20 at joespub.com, plus a $12 food & drink minimum for table seating. Call 212-967-7555 for a table reservation.
Men of All Colors Together/ New York — a multi-racial, multi-cultural organization of gay and bisexual men committed to combating racial discrimination in the LGBT community and providing a supportive environment for nonoppressive relating among gay men — welcomes Dr. Marjorie Hill, the CEO of Gay Men’s Health Crisis, who will speak about current issues in the African-American community, including the future of AIDS/HIV care and services in this community and, specifically, the unique needs of gay and bi men of color as well as of women, who are often underserved. LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St. Feb. 15, 8-10 p.m. For more information on MACTNY, visit mactny.org.
GALLERY Jonathan Ned Katz — the Artist
Groundbreaking gay historian Jonathan Ned Katz, author of “Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A.” (1976) and “The Invention of Heterosexuality” (1995), has his first solo art show, “Making History, Making Art,” which demonstrates the importance of visual art over the course of his life, including samples of the art he produced as a child (Pop Art before Pop Art), teen, and young man. The show will focus on Katz’s recent paintings of men, praised by his curator — Jonathan David Katz (no relation), director of the Visual Culture Studies doctoral program at SUNY Buffalo — for their “passion, sensuality and immediacy.” Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, 26 Wooster St., btwn. Grand & Canal Sts. Feb. 15-Mar. 31. Tue.-Sun., noon-6 p.m. On Feb. 16, 4 p.m., the two Katzes join in discussion with Steph Rogerson and Kelly McCray, curators of “Rare & Raw” — a Leslie-Lohman exhibition jointly presented with the College Art Association — and artists Nina Levitt and Ken Moffatt. On Feb. 26, 6-8 p.m., Jonathan Ned Katz reads from his memoir “Coming of Age in Greenwich Village: A Memoir with Paintings,” Susan Sherman reads her poems, and Carol Polcovar reads a memoir of growing up in the mid-20th century. For more information, visit leslielohman.org.
NIGHTLIFE Daniel Nardicio at 1,000
Gay party promoter extraordinaire Daniel Nardicio celebrates his 1000th party with a President’s Day Weekend blowout, featuring his muse and nightlife celebrity Will Wikle, of “Big Brother” fame, and Glammy-winning special guest host and drag kook Thorgy Thor. The evening includes visuals by Marco Ovando and Neddershred, DN’s signature Go Go boys, plus underwear giveaways by Undergear. Sammy Jo — the DJ for the Scissor Sisters tour — Nita Aviance, Jon Jon Battles, and Johnny Dynell spin tunes. Rebel Nightclub, 251 W. 30th St. Feb. 17, 10 p.m. Tickets are $20 at danielnardicio.com.
VM-13-18810_Gaga_Newspaper_Mechanical_GAY CITY NEWS.pdf
January 30, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Seneca Fall to Selma to Stonewall.