FREE VOLUME THIRTEEN, ISSUE THREE FEBRUARY 5 - 18, 2014
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February 5, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com
Patient model. Pill shown is not actual size.
What is COMPLERA? COMPLERA® is a prescription HIV medicine that is used as a complete regimen to treat HIV-1 in adults who have never taken HIV medicines before and who have an amount of HIV in their blood (this is called “viral load”) that is no more than 100,000 copies/mL. COMPLERA contains 3 medicines – rilpivirine, emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. It is not known if COMPLERA is safe and effective in children under the age of 18 years. COMPLERA® does not cure HIV-1 infection or AIDS. To control HIV-1 infection and decrease HIV-related illnesses you must keep taking COMPLERA. Avoid doing things that can spread HIV-1 to others: always practice safer sex and use condoms to lower the chance of sexual contact with body fluids; never reuse or share needles or other items that have body fluids on them, do not share personal items that may contain bodily fluids. Ask your healthcare provider if you have questions about how to reduce the risk of passing HIV-1 to others.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION What is the most important information you should know about COMPLERA? COMPLERA® can cause serious side effects: • Build-up of an acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious medical emergency. Symptoms of lactic acidosis include feeling very weak or tired, unusual (not normal) muscle pain, trouble breathing, stomach pain with nausea or vomiting, feeling cold, especially in your arms and legs, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and/or a fast or irregular heartbeat. • Serious liver problems. The liver may become large (hepatomegaly) and fatty (steatosis). Symptoms of liver problems include your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow (jaundice), dark “tea-colored” urine, light-colored bowel movements (stools), loss of appetite for several days or longer, nausea, and/or stomach pain. • You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or serious liver problems if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking COMPLERA for a long time. In some cases, these serious conditions have led to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any symptoms of these conditions. • Worsening of hepatitis B (HBV) infection. If you also have HBV and stop taking COMPLERA, your hepatitis may suddenly get worse. Do not stop taking COMPLERA without first talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to monitor your health. COMPLERA is not approved for the treatment of HBV.
Who should not take COMPLERA? Do not take COMPLERA if you have ever taken other anti-HIV medicines. COMPLERA may change the effect of other medicines and may cause serious side effects. Your healthcare provider may change your other medicines or change their doses. Do not take COMPLERA if you also take these medicines: • anti-seizure medicines: carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Equetro, Tegretol, Tegretol-XR, Teril, Epitol); oxcarbazepine (Trileptal), phenobarbital (Luminal), phenytoin (Dilantin, Dilantin-125, Phenytek) • anti-tuberculosis medicines: rifabutin (Mycobutin), rifampin (Rifater, Rifamate, Rimactane, Rifadin) and rifapentine (Priftin) • proton pump inhibitors for stomach or intestinal problems: esomeprazole (Nexium, Vimovo), lansoprazole (Prevacid), dexlansoprazole (Dexilant), omeprazole (Prilosec), pantoprazole sodium (Protonix), rabeprazole (Aciphex) • more than 1 dose of the steroid medicine dexamethasone or dexamethasone sodium phosphate • St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) If you are taking COMPLERA you should not take other HIV medicines or other medicines containing tenofovir (Viread, Truvada, Stribild or Atripla); other medicines containing emtricitabine or lamivudine (Emtriva, Combivir, Epivir, Epivir-HBV, Epzicom, Trizivir, Atripla, Stribild or Truvada); rilpivirine (Edurant) or adefovir (Hepsera). In addition, tell your healthcare provider if you are taking the following medications because they may interfere with how COMPLERA works and may cause side effects: • certain antacid medicines containing aluminum, magnesium hydroxide, or calcium carbonate (examples: Rolaids, TUMS). These medicines must be taken at least 2 hours before or 4 hours after COMPLERA. • medicines to block stomach acid including cimetidine (Tagamet), famotidine (Pepcid), nizatidine (Axid), or ranitidine HCL (Zantac). These medicines must be taken at least 12 hours before or 4 hours after COMPLERA. • any of these medicines: clarithromycin (Biaxin); erythromycin (E-Mycin, Eryc, Ery-Tab, PCE, Pediazole, Ilosone), fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), ketoconazole (Nizoral) methadone (Dolophine); posaconazole (Noxafil), telithromycin (Ketek) or voriconazole (Vfend). • medicines that are eliminated by the kidneys like acyclovir (Zovirax), cidofovir (Vistide), ganciclovir (Cytovene IV, Vitrasert), valacyclovir (Valtrex) and valganciclovir (Valcyte).
PALIO Date: 10.4.13 • Client: Gilead • Product: Complera • File Name: 9731_pgitvd_standard_updtd_ant_GayCityNews.indd
| February 5, 2014
A complete HIV treatment in only 1 pill a day. COMPLERA is for adults who have never taken HIV-1 medicines before and have no more than 100,000 copies/mL of virus in their blood.
Ask your healthcare provider if it’s the one for you.
These are not all the medicines that may cause problems if you take COMPLERA. Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements you are taking or plan to take.
The most common side effects reported with COMPLERA are trouble sleeping (insomnia), abnormal dreams, headache, dizziness, diarrhea, nausea, rash, tiredness, and depression. Some side effects also reported include vomiting, stomach pain or discomfort, skin discoloration (small spots or freckles) and pain.
Before taking COMPLERA, tell your healthcare provider if you: liver problems, including hepatitis B or C virus infection, or have abnormal liver tests • Have kidney problems • Have ever had a mental health problem • Have bone problems • Are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. It is not known if COMPLERA can harm your unborn child • Are breastfeeding: Women with HIV should not breastfeed because they can pass HIV through their milk to the baby. Also, COMPLERA may pass through breast milk and could cause harm to the baby
This is not a complete list of side effects. Tell your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you notice any side effects while taking COMPLERA, and call your healthcare provider for medical advice about side effects.
COMPLERA can cause additional serious side effects: • New or worsening kidney problems, including kidney failure. If you have had kidney problems, or take other medicines that may cause kidney problems, your healthcare provider may need to do regular blood tests. • Depression or mood changes. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms: feeling sad or hopeless, feeling anxious or restless, have thoughts of hurting yourself (suicide) or have tried to hurt yourself. • Changes in liver enzymes: People who have had hepatitis B or C, or who have had changes in their liver function tests in the past may have an increased risk for liver problems while taking COMPLERA. Some people without prior liver disease may also be at risk. Your healthcare provider may need to check your liver enzymes before and during treatment with COMPLERA. • Bone problems can happen in some people who take COMPLERA. Bone problems include bone pain, softening or thinning (which may lead to fractures). Your healthcare provider may need to do additional tests to check your bones. • Changes in body fat can happen in people taking HIV medicine. • Changes in your immune system. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections that have been hidden in your body for a long time. Tell your healthcare provider if you start having new symptoms after starting COMPLERA.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit http://www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088. Additional Information about taking COMPLERA:
• Always take COMPLERA exactly as your healthcare provider tells you to take it.
• Take COMPLERA with food. Taking COMPLERA with food is important to help get the
right amount of medicine in your body. (A protein drink does not replace food. If your healthcare provider stops COMPLERA, make certain you understand how to take your new medicine and whether you need to take your new medicine with a meal.)
Stay under the care of your healthcare provider during treatment with COMPLERA and see your healthcare provider regularly. Please see Brief Summary of full Prescribing Information with important warnings on the following pages.
Learn more at www.COMPLERA.com
PALIO Date: 10.4.13 • Client: Gilead • Product: Complera • File Name: 9731_pgitvd_standard_updtd_ant_GayCityNews.indd
February 5, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com
• Worsening Especially tell y Worsening of Hepatitis B infection. of Hepatitis If you have B infection. hepatitis BIfvirus you have (HBV)hepatitis B virus (HBV) • an antacid me infection and take COMPLERA, infection and your take HBV COMPLERA, may get worse your (fl HBV are-up) may if get you worse stop (fl are-up) if you stop COMPLERA (kom-PLEH-rah) COMPLERA (kom-PLEH-rah) calcium carbon taking COMPLERA. 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Refi or lltalk yourto prescription your or talk to your (Tagamet), fam healthcare provider before healthcare your COMPLERA provider before is all your gone. COMPLERA is all gone. What is COMPLERA? What is COMPLERA? (Zantac). 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(HIV is the virus that causes (HIV is the AIDSvirus (Acquired that causes Immunodefi AIDS (Acquired ciency Syndrome)). Immunodeficiency Syndrome)). – itraconazole Do not take COMPLERA Doif: not take COMPLERA if: • COMPLERA contains•3COMPLERA medicines contains – rilpivirine, 3 medicines emtricitabine, – rilpivirine, tenofovir emtricitabine, •tenofovir • your your HIV infection has beenHIV previously infectiontreated has been withpreviously HIV medicines. treated with HIV medicines. – ketoconazole disoproxil fumarate – disoproxil combinedfumarate in one tablet. – combined It is a complete in one tablet. regimen It istoa complete regimen to • you are taking any of• the you following are takingmedicines: any of the following medicines: treat HIV-1 infection and treatshould HIV-1 not infection be used andwith should othernot HIVbemedicines. used with other HIV medicines. – methadone ( – anti-seizure – anti-seizure carbamazepine medicines: (Carbatrol, carbamazepine Equetro, Tegretol, (Carbatrol, Equetro, Tegretol, • It is not known if COMPLERA • It is notisknown safe and if COMPLERA effective inis children safe andunder effective the age in children under the age medicines: – posaconazol Tegretol-XR, Teril, Epitol); Tegretol-XR, oxcarbazepine Teril, Epitol); (Trileptal); oxcarbazepine phenobarbital (Trileptal); phenobarbital of 18 years old. of 18 years old. – telithromycin (Luminal); phenytoin (Dilantin, (Luminal);Dilantin-125, phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek) Dilantin-125, Phenytek) • COMPLERA does not• cure COMPLERA HIV infection does not orcure AIDS.HIV Youinfection must stayoron AIDS. continuous You must stay on continuous – voriconazole – anti-tuberculosis (anti-TB) – anti-tuberculosis medicines: (anti-TB) rifabutin (Mycobutin); medicines: rifabutin rifampin(Mycobutin); rifampin therapy to control HIV therapy infectiontoand control decrease HIV infection HIV-related and illnesses. decrease HIV-related illnesses. (Rifater, Rifamate, Rimactane, (Rifater, Rifamate, Rifadin); rifapentine Rimactane,(Priftin) Rifadin); rifapentine (Priftin) • medicines that • Ask your healthcare• provider Ask your ifhealthcare you have any provider questions if youabout have how any questions to about how to cidofovir (Visti – – proton pump inhibitor proton (PPI) pump medicine inhibitor for certain (PPI) stomach medicine or for intestinal certain stomach or intestinal prevent passing HIV to prevent other passing people. Do HIVnot to share other or people. re-useDoneedles not share or other or re-use needles or other and valgancicl problems: esomeprazole problems: (Nexium, esomeprazole Vimovo); lansoprazole (Nexium, Vimovo); (Prevacid); lansoprazole (Prevacid); injection equipment, and injection do notequipment, share personal and do items not share that can personal have blood itemsorthat can have blood or dexlansoprazole (Dexilant); dexlansoprazole omeprazole (Dexilant); (Prilosec, omeprazole Zegerid); pantoprazole (Prilosec, Zegerid); pantoprazole body fluids on them, like bodytoothbrushes fluids on them, andlike razor toothbrushes blades. Always andpractice razor blades. safer Always practice safer What are the po sodium (Protonix); (Aciphex) rabeprazole (Aciphex) sex by using a latex orsex polyurethane by using a condom latex or polyurethane to lower the chance condomoftosexual lower the chance sodium of sexual(Protonix); rabeprazole contact with semen, vaginal contactflwith uids semen, or blood.vaginal fluids or blood. – more than 1 dose of–the more steroid thanmedicine 1 dose ofdexamethasone the steroid medicine or dexamethasone dexamethasone or dexamethasone COMPLERA can • See “What is t sodium phosphate sodium phosphate What is the most important What isinformation the most important I should information know about COMPLERA? I should know about COMPLERA? COMPLERA?” – St. John’s wort (Hypericum – St. John’s perforatum) wort (Hypericum perforatum) • New or worse COMPLERA can causeCOMPLERA serious side caneffects, cause serious including: side effects, including: • If you take COMPLERA, • If you you take should COMPLERA, not take: you should not take: • Build-up of an acid •inBuild-up your blood of an (lactic acid acidosis). in your blood Lactic (lactic acidosis acidosis). can Lactic acidosis can some people w happen in some people happen who take in some COMPLERA people or who similar take COMPLERA (nucleosideoranalogs) similar (nucleoside analogs) – Other – Other tests to check medicines that contain medicines tenofovirthat (Atripla, contain Stribild, tenofovir Truvada, (Atripla, Viread) Stribild, Truvada, Viread) medicines. Lactic acidosis medicines. is a serious Lacticmedical acidosisemergency is a seriousthat medical can lead emergency to that–can lead to have had kidne – Other Other medicines that contain medicines emtricitabine that contain or lamivudine emtricitabine (Combivir, or lamivudine (Combivir, death. Lactic acidosisdeath. can beLactic hard to acidosis identifycan early, be hard because to identify the symptoms early, because the symptoms can cause kidn Emtriva, Epivir or Epivir-HBV, Emtriva,Epzicom, Epivir or Trizivir, Epivir-HBV, Atripla, Epzicom, Truvada, Trizivir, Stribild) Atripla, Truvada, Stribild) could seem like symptoms couldofseem otherlike health symptoms problems. of other Call health your healthcare problems. Call your healthcare tests to check rilpivirine provider right away ifprovider you get right any ofaway the following if you getsymptoms any of the which following could symptoms–which could(Edurant)– rilpivirine (Edurant) • Depression or be signs of lactic acidosis: be signs of lactic acidosis: – adefovir (Hepsera) – adefovir (Hepsera) you have any o – feel very weak or tired – feel very weak or tired – feeling sad o What should I tell myWhat healthcare shouldprovider I tell my before healthcare taking provider COMPLERA? before taking COMPLERA? – have unusual (not normal) – have unusual muscle pain (not normal) muscle pain – feeling anxio Before you take COMPLERA, Before you tell take your COMPLERA, healthcare provider tell your ifhealthcare you: provider if you: – have trouble breathing – have trouble breathing • have or had liver problems, • have or including had liverhepatitis problems,B including or C virus hepatitis infection,Bkidney or C virus infection, kidney – have though problems, mental health problems, problemmental or bone health problems problem or bone problems – have stomach pain –with have nausea stomach (feeling pain sick withtonausea your stomach) (feeling sick or vomiting to your stomach) or vomiting • Change in live • • are pregnant or plan to arebecome pregnant pregnant. or plan Ittoisbecome not known pregnant. if COMPLERA It is notcan known if COMPLERA can – feel cold, especially–infeel infection or wh yourcold, armsespecially and legsin your arms and legs harm your unborn child. harm your unborn child. risk of develop – feel dizzy or lightheaded – feel dizzy or lightheaded with COMPLER Pregnancy Registry. There Pregnancy is a pregnancy Registry. registry There isfor a pregnancy women who registry take for women who take – have a fast or irregular – have heartbeat a fast or irregular heartbeat antiviral medicines during antiviral pregnancy. medicines Theduring purpose pregnancy. of this registry The purpose is to collect of this registry is to collect COMPLERA in provider may n information about theinformation health of you about and the yourhealth baby. of Talk youtoand youryour healthcare baby. Talk to your healthcare • Severe liver problems. • Severe Severeliver liverproblems. problems Severe can happen liver problems in people can whohappen take in people who take treatment with provider provider can take about parthow in this youregistry. can take part in this registry. COMPLERA. In some cases, COMPLERA. these liver In some problems cases,can these lead liver to problems death. Your can lead to death. Yourabout how you liver may become large liver (hepatomegaly) may become large and you (hepatomegaly) may develop fat andinyou your may liver develop•fat your liver areinbreast-feeding or• are planbreast-feeding to breast-feed.orYou planshould to breast-feed. not breastfeed You should if younot breastfeed if you • Bone problem (steatosis). Call your (steatosis). healthcare Call provider your right healthcare away ifprovider you get right any ofaway the if you get any of the have HIV because of have the risk HIVofbecause passingofHIV thetorisk yourofbaby. passing Do not HIVbreastfeed to your baby. Do not breastfeed problems inclu following symptoms of following liver problems: symptoms of liver problems: fractures). You if you are taking COMPLERA. if you are At taking least two COMPLERA. of the medicines At least contained two of the in medicines contained in your bones. COMPLERA can be passed COMPLERA to your can baby be in passed your breast to your milk. baby We in do your not breast know milk. We do not know – your skin or the white – your part skin of your or the eyeswhite turnspart yellow of your (jaundice) eyes turns yellow (jaundice) whether this could harm whether your baby. this could Talk to harm youryour healthcare baby. Talk provider to yourabout healthcare the provider about the • Changes in bo – dark “tea-colored” urine – dark “tea-colored” urine best way to feed your best baby.way to feed your baby. changes may i – light-colored bowel –movements light-colored (stools) bowel movements (stools) (“buffalo hump Tell your healthcare provider Tell your about healthcare all theprovider medicines about youalltake, the including medicines you take, including – loss of appetite for several – loss ofdays prescription and nonprescription prescriptionmedicines, and nonprescription vitamins, and medicines, herbal supplements. vitamins, and herbal supplements. Loss of fat from appetite or longer for several days or longer long term heal • COMPLERA may affect • COMPLERA the way other may affect medicines the way work, other andmedicines other medicines work, and other medicines – nausea – nausea • Changes in yo may affect how COMPLERA may affect works, how and COMPLERA may cause works, serious andside mayeffects. cause serious If side effects. If – stomach pain – stomach pain you take certain medicines you take withcertain COMPLERA, medicines the amount with COMPLERA, of COMPLERA the amount in your of COMPLERA in your happen when y • You may be more likely • Youtomay stronger and b get be lactic more acidosis likely toorget severe lacticliver acidosis problems or severe if liverbody problems if too low and may be bodyit may may be nottoo work lowtoand helpit control may notyour workHIV to infection. help control your HIV infection. a long time. Te you are female, very you overweight are female, (obese), very or overweight have been(obese), taking COMPLERA or have been taking TheCOMPLERA HIV virus in your body The HIV mayvirus become in your resistant body may to COMPLERA become resistant or othertoHIV COMPLERA or other HIV after starting y for a long time. for a long time. medicines that are likemedicines it. that are like it.
Brief Summary of fullBrief Prescribing Summary Information of full Prescribing Information ®
PALIO Date: 10.4.13 • Client: Gilead • Product: Complera • File Name: 9731_pgitvd_standard_updtd_ant_GayCityNews.indd
us (HBV) up) if you stop ddenly returns treatment of der.
talk to your
The most common sideThe effects most of common COMPLERA side effects include:of COMPLERA include: Especially tell your healthcare Especially provider tell your ifhealthcare you take: provider if you take: an antacid medicine• that an antacid contains medicine aluminum, thatmagnesium contains aluminum, hydroxide,magnesium or hydroxide, or • trouble sleeping (insomnia) • trouble sleeping (insomnia) calcium carbonate. If calcium you takecarbonate. an antacidIfduring you take treatment an antacid withduring COMPLERA, treatment with COMPLERA, abnormal take the antacid at least take2the hours antacid before at least or at 2least hours 4 hours beforeafter or atyou least 4 hours• after you dreams • abnormal dreams take COMPLERA. take COMPLERA. • headache • headache
eed to check HBV infection. toms you may
• any any of these medicines (ifoftaken thesebymedicines mouth or injection): (if taken by mouth or injection):
• depression • depression – erythromycin (E-Mycin, – erythromycin Eryc, Ery-Tab, (E-Mycin, PCE, Pediazole, Eryc, Ery-Tab, Ilosone) PCE, Pediazole, Ilosone) Additional common side Additional effects include: common side effects include:
, Tegretol, rbital
r intestinal vacid); antoprazole
a medicine to block •the a medicine acid in your to block stomach, the acid including in yourcimetidine stomach, including cimetidine • dizziness (Tagamet), famotidine(Tagamet), (Pepcid), nizatidine famotidine(Axid), (Pepcid), or ranitidine nizatidinehydrochloride (Axid), or ranitidine hydrochloride • diarrhea (Zantac). If you take one (Zantac). of these If you medicines take oneduring of these treatment medicines withduring treatment with COMPLERA, take the acid COMPLERA, blocker at take least the12 acid hours blocker before at least or at12 least hours 4 hours before or•atnausea least 4 hours after you take COMPLERA. after you take COMPLERA. • rash – clarithromycin (Biaxin) – clarithromycin (Biaxin)
| February 5, 2014
– fluconazole (Diflucan) – fluconazole (Diflucan)
– itraconazole (Sporanox) – itraconazole (Sporanox)
• stomach pain or discomfort stomach pain or discomfort
– ketoconazole (Nizoral) – ketoconazole (Nizoral)
• skinspots skin discoloration (small discoloration or freckles) (small spots or freckles)
– methadone (Dolophine) – methadone (Dolophine)
– posaconazole (Noxafi–l)posaconazole (Noxafil) – telithromycin (Ketek)– telithromycin (Ketek)
Tell your healthcare provider Tell yourif healthcare you have any provider side effect if youthat havebothers any side youeffect or that that bothers you or that does not go away. does not go away.
These are not all the possible These areside noteffects all the of possible COMPLERA. side effects For more of information, COMPLERA. For more information, ask your healthcare provider ask yourorhealthcare pharmacist. provider or pharmacist. • medicines that are eliminated • medicines bythat the are kidney, eliminated including by acyclovir the kidney, (Zovirax), including acyclovir (Zovirax), Call your doctor for medical Call your advice doctor about for medical side effects. advice Youabout may side reporteffects. side You may report side cidofovir (Vistide), ganciclovir cidofovir (Cytovene (Vistide), ganciclovir IV, Vitrasert), (Cytovene valacyclovir IV, Vitrasert), (Valtrex), valacyclovir (Valtrex), effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 effects to FDA (1-800-332-1088). at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088). and valganciclovir (Valcyte) and valganciclovir (Valcyte) – voriconazole (Vfend)– voriconazole (Vfend)
What are the possibleWhat sideare effects the possible of COMPLERA? side effects of COMPLERA?
How should I take COMPLERA? How should I take COMPLERA?
• Stay under the care• of Stay your under healthcare the careprovider of your during healthcare treatment provider withduring treatment with serious side caneffects, cause serious including: side effects, including: dexamethasone COMPLERA can causeCOMPLERA COMPLERA. COMPLERA. • See “What is the most • See important “What isinformation the most important I should information know about I should know about • Take COMPLERA exactly • Take asCOMPLERA your healthcare exactlyprovider as your tells healthcare you to take provider it. tells you to take it. COMPLERA?” COMPLERA?”
• Always • Always • New with take food.COMPLERA Taking COMPLERA with food. with Taking food is COMPLERA importantwith food is important New or worse kidney problems, or worse including kidney kidney problems, failure, including can happen kidneyinfailure, can happentake in COMPLERA to help the right amount to help of getmedicine the rightinamount your body. of medicine A proteinindrink yourisbody. not A protein drink is not some people who takesome COMPLERA. people who Yourtake healthcare COMPLERA. provider Yourshould healthcare do blood provider should do get blood a substitute your healthcare for food. provider If yourdecides healthcare to stop provider COMPLERA decides to stop COMPLERA tests to check your kidneys tests to before checkstarting your kidneys treatment before with starting COMPLERA. treatment If youwith COMPLERA. If youfor food. aIf substitute ada, Viread) and you are to new youmedicines are switched to treat to new HIVmedicines that includes to treat rilpivirine HIV that includes rilpivirine have had kidney problems have in had thekidney past or problems need to in take theanother past or medicine need to take thatanother medicine thatswitched and ombivir, the rilpivirinetablets, tablets should the rilpivirine be taken tablets only with should a meal. be taken only with a meal. can cause kidney problems, can cause yourkidney healthcare problems, provider yourmay healthcare need to do provider blood may needtablets, to do blood da, Stribild) tests to check your kidneys tests to during checkyour yourtreatment kidneys during with COMPLERA. your treatment with COMPLERA. • Do not change your dose • Do not or stop change taking yourCOMPLERA dose or stop without takingfirst COMPLERA talking with without first talking with your healthcare provider. your See healthcare your healthcare provider. provider See your regularly healthcare while provider taking regularly while taking • Depression or mood• changes. Depression Telloryour mood healthcare changes. provider Tell your right healthcare away ifprovider right away if COMPLERA. COMPLERA. you have any of the following you havesymptoms: any of the following symptoms: • If you miss a dose of• COMPLERA If you miss within a dose12 of COMPLERA hours of thewithin time you 12 hours usuallyoftake the time you usually take – – feeling sad or hopeless feeling sad or hopeless PLERA? it, take your dose of COMPLERA it, take your with dose food of COMPLERA as soon as possible. with foodThen, as soon takeasyour possible. Then, take your – feeling anxious or restless – feeling anxious or restless ou: next dose of COMPLERA next atdose the regularly of COMPLERA scheduled at thetime. regularly If youscheduled miss a dose time. If you miss a dose ection, kidney of COMPLERA COMPLERA 12 hoursbyofmore the time thanyou 12 hours usuallyoftake the time it, wait youand usually take it, wait and – have thoughts of hurting – haveyourself thoughts (suicide) of hurting or have yourself tried(suicide) to hurt yourself or have tried to hurt yourself by moreofthan then take the next dose then of COMPLERA take the next atdose the regularly of COMPLERA scheduled at thetime. regularly scheduled time. • Change in liver enzymes. • Change People in liver withenzymes. a history People of hepatitis with aB history or C virus of hepatitis B or C virus • Do MPLERA can take more than your notprescribed take more dose than to your make prescribed up for adose missed to make dose. up for a missed dose. infection or who haveinfection certain liver or who enzyme havechanges certain liver may enzyme have anchanges increased may have• Do an not increased risk of developing newrisk or worsening of developing livernew problems or worsening duringliver treatment problems during treatment This Brief Summary summarizes This Brief Summary the mostsummarizes important information the most important about information about with COMPLERA. Liverwith problems COMPLERA. can also Liver happen problems during cantreatment also happen withduring treatment with If you would who take COMPLERA. COMPLERA. like moreIfinformation, you would like talkmore withinformation, your healthcare talk with your healthcare without a history in people of liver without disease. a history Your of healthcare liver disease. 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February 5, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com
PLAY DINE UNWIND
St. Luke’s Project Rekindles Debate on Drop-In Center Fierce neighborhood critics of
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LGBT youth facility revive anxieties from two decades ago BY SAM SPOKONY
ar ning of the risk of repeating the 1990s rise in crime they attribute to an LGBT youth dropin center on Christopher Street, some West Village residents are opposing a local church’s plan to construct a new mission building that could be used as a similar drop-in center. The proposal by the Church of St. Luke in the Fields to build the new mission center — which would be located at the corner of Christopher and Hudson Streets — is still in an extremely early stage and does not yet even have a set timeline for construction. That’s because funding for the project will rely on the church getting approval to build a 15-story residential tower on the corner of Greenwich and Barrow Streets, which still has to get the green light from the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission before it can move forward. But regardless of the timing, some residents’ negative comments about the idea for a new 24/ 7 LGBT youth center — even though church representatives maintain that will not be the only use of the new building — began when the overall development was first presented to Community Board 2’s Landmarks Committee on January 14. Several attendees that night spoke about their past problems with the Neutral Zone, a Christopher Street drop-in center that operated between 1991 and 1995. Committee co-chair Sean Sweeney later told this reporter that he “found an irony” in the church’s suggestions that its plans
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would help the Village community in part because of its mission center proposal. One of the most vocal opponents of the possibility for a new LGBT drop-in facility is David Poster, who in 1990 helped found, and still runs, the Christopher Street Patrol, a neighborhood watch group. “We’ve learned from history that this is something that would hurt the community,” said Poster. “I’m sure the church has good intentions, but the fact is that we need to learn from our mistakes. We want to move forwards, not backwards.” He was referring to many instances of assault, drug dealing, and prostitution that he said took place in the West Village after the Neutral Zone opened its doors — a problem from which Poster and his supporters believe the neighborhood has only just now recovered. Poster further stated that numer ous residents of his Christopher Street building, as well as others in the community, have approached him in hopes of starting a petition against any new drop-in center in the area. Reverend Caroline Stacey, rector of St. Luke’s, called those concerns “premature and alarmist,” stating that there are a number of different uses currently being considered for the church’s proposed mission center, including services like providing meals for the elderly and creating a healthrelated clinic. “Plans for uses of the center are still in the exploratory phase,” she said, “and one of the objectives of our pro-
YOUTH, continued on p.32
| February 5, 2014
In Catch-22, Married Lesbian Cannot Adopt Child Born to Spouse Brooklyn judge says marriage equality makes it unnecessary and unavailable, but out-of-state concerns persist BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
laiming that a married lesbian had no need to adopt the child born to her same-sex spouse, a Surrogate Court judge in Brooklyn has refused to entertain her adoption petition. In a January 6 opinion, Surrogate Court Judge Margarita López Torres reasoned that under New York’s Marriage Equality Law, in same-sex marriages, as in different-sex marriages, a child born to a married woman is presumed to be the legal child of that woman’s spouse, and both names are placed on the birth certificate as a matter of course. An adoption decree to document the spouse’s parental status, López Torres said, was “neither necessary nor available.” That decision flies in the face of advice LGBT lawyers routinely give to women in this situation. The couple here, identified in the court’s opinion as A.C. and M.M., married in Connecticut in 2011 and their marriage was legally recognized in New York, even before the law changed here, due to court decisions dating back to 2008. Their son’s birth certificate records both their names as parents, as well. But the women live in a country with a patchwork of marriage recognition laws and where more than 30 states ban recognition of same-sex marriages — even if several are battling court rulings to the contrary. On the other hand,
it is well established in law that a judicial adoption decree will be given full faith and credit by the courts of other states, even if those states would not themselves allow same-sex second-parent adoptions. For that reason, legal advocates counsel an adoption proceeding to minimize the risk of complications when same-sex married couples with children travel or relocate across state lines. Quoting a Manhattan ruling in a 2009 case with a very different set of facts, López Torres wrote that the purpose of an adoption was “to create a new legal relationship where one did not previously exist… Adoption is not utilized for, nor is it available to reaffirm, an already existing parent/ child relationship.” She said that prior to New York recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages and then allowing them here she would have approved this adoption petition “without any hesitation whatsoever”. However, she continued, “today no such action is warranted or permitted by this court to affirm an existing, recognized, and protected parent-child relationship between the petitioner and her son. Indeed, were this court to entertain the instant petition, such action would imply that, notwithstanding the existing and lawful marital relationship between the petitioner and her spouse, true marriage equality remains yet to be attained, and that, although legally recognized in this state, a same-sex marriage remains somehow insufficient to establish a par-
ent-child relationship between one particular parent and any child born within that marriage, thereby raising equal protection concerns.” As a practical matter, however, such true equality exists, as it were, in a bubble consisting of the states in which same-sex marriages are recognized. The US today is a highly mobile society in which movement in and out of that bub-
The decision flies in the face of advice LGBT lawyers routinely give to women in this situation. ble is predictable. On that point, López Torres noted a recent Ohio federal court decision — now under appeal to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals — ordering Ohio to recognize, on equal protection grounds, an out-of-state same-sex marriage (for purposes of listing marital status on a dead certificate) as proof of the “tectonic shifts occurring in the geography of our culture’s definition of ‘family,’ particularly with respect to the
increasing recognition of the right to marriage equality and adoption by samesex families, as well as the ethical complexities arising from assisted reproductive technology.” López Torres is not unaware of the problems that could arise for couples moving to states that don’t recognize their marriage, but predicted that such a state would be “equally likely to deny full faith and credit to decrees of adoption issued to same-sex couples by a New York Surrogate’s Court.” But that assertion doesn’t square with the fact that non-marriage recognition states have so far lived up to their constitutional obligations to honor adoption decrees. That’s precisely why LGBT attorneys recommend the second-parent adoption route to their married clients. The New York Law Journal reported that López Torres told the couple’s attorney, Michael DiMauro, that she had previously granted adoption petitions where the same-sex spouse’s name was not on the child’s birth certificate, but that the situation was different for his clients. DiMauro told the Law Journal the ruling was “a great advancement for the gay and lesbian community” in affirming that adoption was not necessary for the samesex spouse of a birth mother to be recognized as a parent as well, but said the women were “uneasy” about prospects for future travel or relocation out of state. López Torres’ decision could be appealed to the Appellate Division.
Ninth Circuit Denies Further Review of California “Conversion Therapy” Law Last August’s appellate decision affirming statute stands; Supreme Court may be next stop BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
he US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has rebuffed a petition calling on it to reconsider its decision last August rejecting a constitutional challenge to a California law that prohibits licensed mental health professionals from engaging in “sexual orientation change efforts” (SOCE) — sometimes called “conversion therapy” — with patients under 18. The January 29 decision by the San Francisco-based appellate circuit came in response to a petition from plaintiffs — including SOCE practitioners and
parents wishing to get such treatment for their children — requesting that either the three-judge panel that ruled in August reconsider its decision or the circuit grant an en banc hearing by 11 judges. All two-dozen judges on the circulate received the petition, but only three voted to grant en banc review. The appellate panel ruling last summer came after consolidation of separate cases in which two district judges had issued conflicting decisions on the constitutionality of the Califor nia law. The panel affirmed the judge who upheld the measure, finding that the law “as a regulation of professional conduct, does not violate the free speech rights of SOCE practitioners
or minor patients, is neither vague nor overbroad, and does not violate the parents’ fundamental rights.” As the full circuit rejected the petition for rehearing, Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain, writing for himself and Judges Carlos T. Bea and Sandra S. Ikuta, released a substantial dissenting opinion, challenging the court’s conclusion that First Amendment problems with the ban could be avoided by characterizing it as a regulation of “conduct” or “medical practice” rather than a limitation on speech. He asserted that the panel decision “contravenes recent Supreme Court precedent, ignores established free speech doctrine, misreads our cases, and thus
insulates from First Amendment scrutiny California’s prohibition — in the guise of a professional regulation — of politically unpopular expression.” O’Scannlain pointed to a 2010 Supreme Court ruling in a lawsuit challenging a federal statute forbidding “material support” to terrorist organizations. The challengers there argued the law was unconstitutional as applied to purely verbal communication. “The Court rejected the government’s argument that the statute only punished ‘conduct’; for, in this situation, the ‘conduct triggering coverage under the statute consists of communicating
CONVERSION THERAPY, continued on p.32
February 5, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com
BY PAUL SCHINDLER
s of January 1, 2013 — nine years after Massachusetts legalized marriage equality — only nine states and the District of Columbia had approved the right of same-sex couples to wed. But in the 12 months that followed, another eight followed suit, with a ninth, Utah, under a federal court order to end its ban on gay marriage, a ruling the state is appealing. In the first two weeks of 2014, yet another state, Oklahoma, faced a federal court ruling, which, like Utah, it is appealing. So why is the effort by marriage equality advocates in Oregon to put a measure on this November’s ballot to legalize same-sex marriage a big deal? Actually, there are a bunch of reasons. In fact, it’s no exaggeration to say that Oregon is the crucible in the 2014 push for marriage equality. First of all, advocates there have a good shot at victory. Public polling in Oregon has yielded numbers similar to what were seen in Maine, Maryland, and Washington State in the year leading up to marriage equality’s 2012 success at the ballot box in those states. A survey conducted by Public Policy Polling in December of that year showed that 54 percent of Oregon voters supported same-sex couples’ right to marry, while only 40 percent opposed. A poll carried out four months later, in April 2013, by Davis, Hibbitts & Midghall, Inc., showed a more modest margin in favor of the issue — 49-42 percent. By comparison, polling in neighboring Washington had support for gay marriage at 50 to 51 percent through much of 2012, though that figure was up from 46 percent a year before. Only in the final pre-election poll did the issue perform as well as 54 percent, which is just about where things ended up at the ballot box. The two major 2012 polls in Maryland showed marriage equality garnering between 51 and 54 percent support, with the final election day margin 52.447.6 percent. Three Public Policy Polling surveys in Maine that year showed gay marriage winning between 52 and 54 percent support, and the final margin of victory there was 53-47 percent. The narrow seven-point spread in the more recent of the two Oregon polls — with support not quite at 50 percent —
Trystan Reese, an organizer with Oregon United for Marriage, trains volunteers to collect petition signatures.
might give advocates pause. It’s significant, though, that this poll gets directly at the heart of the question, asking not simply whether voters support gay marriage, but whether they are willing to “change the Oregon constitution” to make it a reality. In 2004, voters there approved a constitutional ban on gay marriage in a 57-43 percent vote. The virtue of last April’s poll, then, was that it accounted for the hard reality that gay advocates are asking the state’s voters to once again change their constitution. In a recent visit to New York, Mike Marshall, the campaign manager for Oregon United for Marriage, a broad coalition of pro-equality groups pushing for the referendum, acknowledged that good polling in February doesn’t necessarily translate into victory in November. In fact, recognizing that opponents may be able to focus all their firepower on Oregon — with Indiana Republicans showing signs of backing off an effort for an anti-gay constitutional referendum there in November — he estimated that advocates may need to raise as much as $12 million. While visiting here and Washington, DC, as part of the effort to drum up that money, however, he emphasized that the Oregon marriage push is about far more than the opportunity to win in a state home to 3.9 million people. In discussing the broader implications of the drive, Marshall pointed out that, given recent federal court victories
in Utah and Oklahoma, where the states are fighting back through appeals — and the litigation underway in many other states — the question of marriage equality is likely headed back to the Supreme Court, perhaps as early as next year. “It’s important for the court to see that the people are behind this,” he said. Last year, the high court found that the federal government could not discriminate against legal same-sex marriages approved by the states, gutting the key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act. Given the chance to take on the broader question of a federal constitutional right of same-sex couples to marry in the Proposition 8 case, however, the justices sidestepped the issue, letting stand a district court ruling without considering its underlying merits. Marshall is certainly not alone in seeing success in places like Oregon as critical to the Supreme Court’s considerations. Asked about the referendum push there, Michael Cole-Schwartz, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, said, “Of course, the court will look at the legal arguments, and we’re confident we have the right ones. But they have to see the context, as well. At the Supreme Court, it’s imperative that we show that the nation really is ready, whether in actions by state legislatures, in overturning anti-gay amendments, or in public opinion.” The posture taken by Cole-Schwartz
and Marshall echoed views expressed in November by Marc Solomon, national campaign director at Freedom to Marry. That group’s goal is to see nationwide public support for gay marriage above 60 percent and more than half of the country’s population living in marriage equality states by 2016. Currently, just over 38 percent of Americans live in states where gay and lesbian couples can marry, and Freedom to Marry points to a Washington Post poll from last March — the most optimistic to date — that put national support for the issue at 58 percent. The group clearly has its eye on the Supreme Court as it lays out its nearterm goals. Solomon pointed to two major Supreme Court shifts — on interracial marriage and on sodomy — in talking about how the court might approach marriage equality. In the 19 years between the California Supreme Court striking down that state’s miscegenation law and the US Supreme Court doing so nationwide in 1967, he noted, almost half of the other states with laws similar to California’s jettisoned theirs, as well. The high court upheld Georgia’s sodomy statute in 1986, when 24 states still had the same kinds of laws. By the time the Georgia ruling was reversed in the 2003 Texas sodomy case in 2003, Solomon pointed out, 10 states and the District of Columbia had gotten rid of the prohibitions they still had in place in 1986. Solomon made another point relevant in considering Oregon’s significance this year. “We have reached a gap where we’re out of the phase of winning one state every few weeks,” he said. In a busy year for marriage gains, he might have spoken too soon. Within weeks, favorable court rulings resulted in New Mexico, Utah, and Oklahoma. That doesn’t minimize the salience of the point he made. Nearly all the states without constitutional prohibitions on gay marriage have now legalized it, which means there are virtually no opportunities left for enacting it legislatively. Voter referendums and federal court challenges are now the primary vehicles available for making progress. While a large number of lawsuits are underway — and Utah and Oklahoma demonstrate how federal constitutional protections work in both red states and blue states — the litigation in the courts
OREGON, continued on p.9
| February 5, 2014
Critics Worry Marriage Fight Diverting Community Energy Advocates for AIDS, transgender rights, and fundamental social change question what the opportunity cost has been
OREGON, from p.8
will likely be inconclusive until the matter goes before the Supreme Court. Solomon and other advocates have noted they might also be in a good position to go to the voters on rolling back constitutional bans in other states — Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, Michigan, and Ohio, among them. Advocates in none of those states, however, are prepared to move this year, which means that 2016 would be the next opportunity. So, for now, Oregon is the model — and should the high court either not take up marriage in the next several years or rule that there is no federal constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry, it might be the model that many other
Transgender rights advocate Mara Keisling, who described herself as “a big believer in marriage equality,” voiced concern about whether community members would “keep their eye on the ball once we win marriage.”
parental leave on January 31, referred questions about that article to AVP. “It sparks an interesting conversation,” Shelby Chestnut, AVP’s co-director of community organizing and public advocacy, said of the Al Jazeera article. “It sort of points to the fact that we have made great progress with regard to marriage... But we haven’t made a lot of national progress with regard to insuring equality for a lot of folks.” Stapel’s comments were “taken out of context” in the article and AVP’s mission is “inclusive of marriage,” Chestnut said. Essig told Gay City News that the marriage fight was “an opportunity cost” that was diverting resources from other important issues to win a right for a subset of the community. “A social movement by definition is about changing the structure of a system,” Essig said. “An individual rights movement is about getting your rights within the structure... [Marriage] is an individual rights movement
states will have to emulate, perhaps for years to come. Oregon is, unfortunately, a test case in one other respect. Even as advocates gear up for a very expensive fight, the opposition has come up with a way to muddy the waters. In a separate referendum drive, opponents of marriage equality, working under the name Friends of Religious Freedom, are pushing their own amendment — one that would allow businesses to decline to work with same-sex weddings and other commitment ceremonies based on their religious objections. The effort would create an unprecedented exception to the customary public accommodations requirements of law, under which organizations like businesses that deal with the general public must abide
that primarily benefits the most privileged among us.” LGBT groups slowly joined the marriage fight, which dates to the early 1970s but began in earnest in the early ‘90s. The groups plunged in when they found there was a constituency that would fight for and fund such a battle. While the broader community has never debated whether marriage should be its primary goal, there have been voices that have consistently challenged the pursuit of marriage. Some AIDS activists have criticized LGBT groups for abandoning the fight against HIV to chase marriage. This is more poignant as activists believe that using newer approaches to prevention, including preexposure prophylaxis, post-exposure prophylaxis, and treatment as prevention, along with condoms and other longer-standing tools could have a significant impact on the epidemic. Some AIDS activists are talking about ending the epidemic with these tools. At a forum held at Gay Men’s Health Crisis, an AIDS group, last July, Thomas Krever, the executive director at the Hetrick-Martin Institute, a group that serves LGBT youth, described a White House meeting he attended with other LGBT organizations. There were boos and groans from the audience when Krever said the first topic discussed at that meeting was marriage. Marriage does not solve all problems. It does not protect LGBT spouses in the 29 states that still allow discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations. The movement to enact such anti-discrimination laws has largely stalled, though not entirely. Another concern is whether, once marriage is won, there will be adequate resources or even interest in pursuing any unfinished business. New York enacted marriage in 2011. Since then there has been no real traction in Albany to add gender identity, a category that would protect transgender people, to the state’s antidiscrimination law. “We know that in a lot of states, once marriage is won or lost, the LGBT infrastructure withers,” Keisling said. “When the fight’s over, or even temporarily lost, everybody pulls out... I just hope people keep their eye on the ball once we win marriage. There’s still a lot to do.”
by existing nondiscrimination laws. For Oregon United For Marriage’s Marshall, the rival referendum creates potential headaches, in figuring out how much contesting both issues might cost and in determining whether one campaign message can address both ballot questions or if two separate public relations approaches have to be developed. “We are polling now as to whether we need one message or two,” he explained. The new anti-gay thrust, in fact, threatens to throw marriage advocates off a successful messaging stride they’ve built on dating back to the legislative push in New York in 2011. In the early years of the marriage movement, advo-
OREGON, continued on p.17
s Massachusetts appr oaches 10 years of legal same-sex marriage, licenses filed with that state’s health department suggest that most gay and lesbian residents there have not taken advantage of the freedom to marry in that state. Male couples entered into 9,157 marriages from mid2004 through the end of 2013, and 15,079 female couples married in Massachusetts in that time. Assuming — as a recent Gallup poll in that state suggested — that 4.4 percent, or 230,099, of the 5.25 million adults in the Bay State are gay or lesbian, then 48,472, or just 21 percent, of them are married. This is a very rough calculation — that likely includes some people who live in other states, but married in Massachusetts. The state data also shows that same-sex marriages hit a high in 2004, with 2,176 male couples and 3,945 female couples marrying in the first seven months that such unions were legal. In each of the following years, marriages among same-sex couples never again hit those levels and typically equaled roughly a third of the 2004 totals, though the numbers fluctuated. As LGBT groups appear to be escalating in the fight to win marriage, only a few in leadership positions are questioning the pursuit of this goal or asking if other community issues are being ignored. “I’ve always thought that it was unfortunate and shortsighted that marriage became such a disproportionate focus of the movement,” said Mara Keisling, executive director at the National Center for Transgender Equality, an advocacy group. “Certainly, there has always been other stuff going on, but the movement was retooled sometime over the past decade to become largely a marriage movement.” Keisling, a “big believer in marriage equality,” is not alone. In a January 22 story on Al Jazeera America’s web site, Sharon Stapel, the executive director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP), and Laurie Essig, a professor of sociology and gender studies at Vermont’s Middlebury College, discussed the negative impact that marriage has had on other issues. Stapel, who is married and began a three-month
NATIONAL CENTER FOR TRANSGENDER EQUALITY
BY DUNCAN OSBORNE
Oregon United for Marriage volunteer Cameron Whitten picks up his petition package to gather signatures for a November referendum.
February 5, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com
LGBTQ Leaders, Allies to Mayor: Ban Uniformed City Personnel in Discriminatory St. Pat’s Parade Dear Mayor de Blasio: More than twenty years ago, the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization sought to march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Fifth Avenue and was excluded. In 1993, parade organizers used a court case to declare it a private, religious procession whose antigay message would be controverted by the presence of an identifiable Irish LGBTQ group — even though LGBTQ groups are welcome in St. Patrick’s Day parades all over Ireland. From then on, City leaders supportive of LGBTQ rights and dignity have boycotted the parade. But the Police Commissioner and thousands of uniformed police, organized by their precincts, have marched every year in this explicitly anti-gay parade. Firefighters Organizations • African Services Committee — • • • • • • • • • •
• • • • • •
Amanda Lugg, Director of Advocacy Brooklyn Community Pride Center – Erin Drinkwater, Executive Director The Center for HIV Law and Policy — Catherine Hanssens, Executive Director Gay City News Gay USA TV program — Ann Northrop, Co—host GRIOT Circle — Katherine Acey, Executive Director The International Action Center — Teresa Gutierrez, Co—Director Irish Queers — Gaby Cryan, Emmaia Gelman & John Francis Mulligan Jay's House — Jay Toole, Executive Director and Founder Jews for Racial and Economic Justice — Marjorie Dove Kent, Executive Director Jews for Racial and Economic Justice Campaign for Police Accountability — Marla Erlien, Claude Heffron, Maya Orli, Daniel Rosza Lang/Levitsky J im Owles Liberal Democratic Club — Allen Roskoff, President Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn — Michael Czaczkes, President Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens (LGDCQ) — Michael Mallon, President Lesbian Herstory Archives Metropolitan Community Church of NY — Rev. Pat Bumgardner New Alternatives for LGBT Homeless Youth — Kate Barnhart, Director
• New York Association for Gender
and other City personnel also march every year in their official capacity. The organizers of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade have established a constitutional right to their exclusionary religious procession, but the participation of police and firefighters is a clear violation of the City’s Human Rights Law. The presence of uniformed police and firefighters in such a procession sends a clear signal to LGBTQ New Yorkers that these personnel, who are charged with serving and protecting all New Yorkers, do not respect the lives or safety of LGBT people. It confirms the practice of the NYPD and FDNY at times of targeting cer tain communities for discrimination. What’s more, it betrays the current work of high level government agencies and human rights advocates
Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA) — Stephanie Hsu, Secretary • North Star Fund — Hugh Hogan, Executive Director • Out—FM on WBAI—NY – John Riley and Naomi Brussell • Peoples Power Assembly — Imani Keith Henry, Organizer • Queens Pride House — Pauline Park, President & Acting Executive Director • QUEEROCRACY • Queers Against Israeli Apartheid—NYC — Brad Taylor • Stonewall Democrats of New York City — Melissa Sklarz, President • VOCAL—NY • WNYACT (Western New Yorkers Against Conversion Therapy)
City Officials and former City Officials • Hon. Letitia James, Public Advocate of the City of New York • Hon. Mark Green, former Public Advocate of the City of New York • Hon. Betsy Gotbaum, former Public Advocate of the City of New York • Hon. Brad Hoylman, New York State Senator, 27th District, Manhattan • Hon. Corey Johnson, New York City Council, Manhattan • Hon. Mark Levine, New York City Council, Manhattan • Hon. Rosie Mendez, New York City Council, Manhattan • Hon. Helen Rosenthal, New York City Council, Manhattan • Hon. Ronnie Eldridge, former member, New York City Council • Hon. Richard Gottfried, New York State Assembly, Manhattan • Hon. Andy Humm, former New York City
working internationally against the current wave of extreme anti-LGBTQ legislation and discriminatory practices occurring in countries such as Nigeria, Uganda, and Russia. Indeed, legal precedent on this matter, in Pappas v. Giuliani, 290 F.3d 143 (2d Cir. 2002), says: “The effectiveness of a city’s police department depends importantly on the respect and trust of the community and on the perception in the community that it enforces the law fairly, even-handedly, and without bias. If the police department treats a segment of the population of any race, religion, gender, national origin, or sexual preference, etc., with contempt, so that the particular minority comes to regard the police as oppressor rather than protector, respect for law enforcement is eroded and the ability of the
Human Rights Commissioner •H on. Dr. Joyce Hunter, former New York City Human Rights Commissioner •H on. James B. Levin, former New York City Human Rights Commissioner
Individuals (affiliations for identification purposes only) •D onna Aceto, activist and freelance photographer •S ammer Aboelela, Muslim community activist •N adia Awad •M ary C. Bakel, MSW, social activist •S ean Barry, Executive Director, VOCAL—NY •M ary E. Bartholomew, Esq., IPEC (Irish Parades Emergency Committee) •H on. Marle Becker, NY County Democratic Committee •J amie Bauer •M ark Black, veteran gay activist •C hristopher Herman Brandt •D wayne Brown, Executive Director, Jamaican Anti— homophobia Stand •R eginald T. Brown, M.Ed., Unity Fellowship of Christ Movement •M artha Burgess •D ennis Byrnes, Cranston, RI •L eslie Cagan, peace and justice organizer •G eorge Carter, Foundation for Integrative AIDS Research •P eter Cramer •M ichael Cunningham •K ara Davis, Queer activist •B ill Dobbs, gay civil libertarian •C helsea Dreher •J ack Drescher, MD, Clinical Professor, New York Medical College •L isa Duggan, Professor, Department of Social & Cultural Analysis, NYU
police to do its work in that community is impaired.” We are asking you to direct all City departments not to organize marchers for or allow personnel to participate in this anti-LGBTQ procession either in uniform or with any banner that identifies them with the City. The 2014 St. Patrick’s Day parade is approaching. We ask that you act immediately on this matter. We would be pleased to meet for further discussion on a timeline that addresses this year’s march.
Sincerely, [Signatures are listed as of 2/3/14. List in for mation. Updates will be posted at http://irishqueers.blogspot. com/2014/02/deblasio-letter.html]
•H azel Dukes •B rendan Fay, St. Pat’s for All, Founder and Co—Chair •L ouis Flores, blogger •J ennifer Flynn, Managing Director, Health GAP •R obert Gangi, PROP (Police Reform Organizing Project) •C arl George •K t Good •R yan Green •Y vonne M. Harrison, Restoration Temple Ministries •A nthony Heilbut, author •J enny Heinz •G eoffrey Hendricks, Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University and former President of the Board of Visual AIDS •T ony Hoffmann, President, Village Independent Democrats •D ouglas Jennings •B ishop Zachary Jones, Unity Fellowship of Christ Church •J ay Kallio, veteran LGBT activist •M elanie Kaye/Kantrowitz, retired Professor of Jewish Studies and Comparative Literature, Queens College •E sther Kaplan •R abbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah •S L Korn, Queer activist •M ark Landis, Democratic District Leader, 67th Assembly District, Part C •B ob Lederer, member of WBAI Local Station Board; contributing producer, Out—FM on WBAI radio •G len Leiner, veteran gay activist • Scott Long, human rights activist •H arris Lirtzman, veteran gay activist •A lan Timothy Lunceford, End AIDS Now •R evd. Dr. Bernárd J. Lynch, Chair of Camden London
LGBTQ Forum, England •R onald Madson and Richard Dietz, plaintiffs in suit that won domestic partner benefits for all City employees in Lesbian and Gay Teachers Association vs. The NYC Board of Education •A nne Maguire •M alachy McCourt, Irish Pagan and author •D avid McReynolds, Socialist Workers Party •M ark Milano, ACT UP/NY •P atrick Moffitt Megan Mulholland, Co—Director, QUEEROCRACY •E ileen Myles, poet •B ernard O’Brien •E dward Pass •R obert Pinter, Campaign to Stop the False Arrests •J essica Rechtschaffer •C harles Rice—Gonzalez, author and co—founder of BAAD! The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance •N elson Santos, Executive Director, Visual AIDS •E lizabeth Savicz, teacher •P aul Schindler, editor—in—chief of Gay City News, and Bert Vaccari •S arah Schulman, Distinguished Professor of the Humanities, City University of New York— College of Staten Island •A rthur Schwartz, Greenwich Village District Leader •T rish Spoto •A rmanda Squadrilli •J essica Stern, Director, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) •C olm Tóibín, author •M ichael Tikili, co—founder and
signatures continued on p.11
| February 5, 2014
BARELY TAKING A BREATH, DE BLASIO SAYS “NYET” Less than 24 hours after LGBT activists and their allies called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to bar uniformed city personnel from marching in the Fifth Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade, they received a pretty firm no. Asked by reporters on February 4 for his response to the activists' letter (see opposite page), the mayor said, “I believe that uniformed city workers have a right to participate if they choose to, and I respect that right.” In response to a follow-up question, the mayor dug in, saying, “I've said what I think, I respect the right of our city workers to march in uniform, period.” Then, replying to a question about his own intentions regarding the parade, which has for more than two decades barred participation by openly gay and lesbian groups, de Blasio said, “I am not planning on marching in the parade, I haven't in the past, in my capacity as an elected official… I simply disagree with the organizers of that parade in their exclusion of some individuals in this city.” Activists responsible for putting together the sign-on letter were harshly critical of de Blasio’s quick dismissal of their request. “The mayor has ducked and punted, saying only that he won't march himself,” read a release from the Ad Hoc Coalition Against Participation in Discriminatory Parades. “This isn't much to be celebrated: no truly progressive
politician has marched since the parade banned the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization from marching with its banner in 1991 and Mayor Dinkins stood alongside ILGO only to be pelted with beer cans.” At least one leading LGBT community group had a very different reaction, celebrating the stance taken by the mayor. “We commend Mayor de Blasio’s public refusal to march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on the grounds that the organizers are prohibiting participants from any outward displays of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) pride,” Empire State Pride Agenda executive director Nathan Schaefer said in a written statement. “As New York’s LGBT advocacy organization, we’re proud to stand behind a mayor who holds inclusivity and diversity as pillars of his leadership. Mayor de Blasio’s statement today sends a strong message to New York City and beyond that it’s not OK to exclude any one group just because of who they are, and that no entity, religious or otherwise, should discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.” According to Emmaia Gelman, an activist involved in the Ad Hoc Coalition, that group intends to call a community meeting in the near future to plan next steps. — Paul Schindler
Find the Relationship oF a liFetime
New York’s executive GaY MatchMakiNG FirM c • • • •
• • • • • •
signatures continued from p.10
board member QUEEROCRACY Urvashi Vaid Andy Velez Thomas S. Verni (Ret. Detective), NYPD Community Affairs, Citywide LGBT Community Liaison Shep Wahnon, veteran gay activist Dr. George Weinberg, psychotherapist, author of Society and the Healthy Homosexual (1972) identifying homophobia as social ill Seth Weissman, Victory Fund Campaign Board Member Edmund White, writer Sherry Wolf, associate editor, International Socialist Review Maxine Wolfe, Professor Emerita, City University Graduate School and Coordinator Lesbian Herstory Archive Ellen Zaltzberg, retired City worker Joanie Hieger Fritz Zosike, THAW, and under DADAnewyork
Legal (affiliations for identification purposes only) • Susan Abraham, Professor of Law, New York Law School • Beena Ahmad, Civil Rights Attorney • Bina Ahmad, Criminal Defense Attorney and National Vice President of the National Lawyers Guild • Afua Atta—Mensah, Attorney • Lee F. Bantle, Civil Rights Attorney • Melynda Barnhart, Associate Professor of Law, New York Law School • Fran Bress, Professor of Law, New York Law School • Ellen P. Chapnick, Dean for Social Justice Initiatives, Columbia Law School • Elena L. Cohen, President, National Lawyers Guild—New York City Chapter • Kathleen Conkey, Attorney • Pamela Edwards, Professor of Law, CUNY School of Law • J. Todd Fernandez, Human Rights Attorney • Joan P. Gibbs, Esq., Civil Rights Attorney • Mercer Givhan, Associate Professor of Law, New York Law School
• Julie Goldscheid, Professor of Law, CUNY School of Law • Larry Grosberg, Professor of Law, New York Law School • Abdeen Jabara, former President, American Arab Antidiscrimination Committee • Ken Kimerling, Civil Rights Attorney • Alan Levine, Civil Rights Attorney • Arthur Leonard, Professor of Law, New York Law School • Richard A. Levy, Union and Civil Rights Attorney • Foster Maer, Civil Rights Attorney • Holly Maguigan, Professor of Law, NYU Law School • Carlin Meyer, Professor of Law, New York Law School • Benjamin Meyers, Attorney • James Meyerson, Civil Rights Attorney • Stephen A. Newman, Professor of Law, New York Law School • Gideon Oliver, Civil Rights Attorney • Edward Purcell, Distinguished Professor of Law, New York Law School • David Rankin, Civil Rights Attorney • Michael Ratner, President Emeritus, Center for Constitutional Rights • Andrea Ritchie, Civil Rights Attorney • Allie Robbins, CUNY School of Law • Franklin Siegel, Civil Rights Attorney • Jane Marcia Spinak, Clinical Professor of Law, Columbia law School • Michael Steven Smith, Esq., Member, Board of Directors, Center for Constitutional Rights • Martin R. Stolar, Civil Rights Attorney • Richard Storrow, Professor of Law, CUNY School of Law • Peter Strauss, Distinguished Adjunct Professor, New York Law School • Nadine Strossen, Professor of Law, New York Law School and former President of the ACLU • Mark Taylor, Civil Rights Attorney • Bela August Walker, Associate Professor of Law, Roger Williams School of Law • Daniel Warshawsky, Associate Professor of Law, New York Law School • Rose M. Weber, Civil Rights Attorney • Melvin L. Wulf, former Legal Director, ACLU
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Facing Second Brain Surgery, Randy Gender Disputes Account of His Assault Gay journalist has impaired memory, but says charge he kicked woman linked to his alleged attacker is not who he is n his first public statement since his beating several weeks ago, Randy Gener said that though he cannot yet remember the incident, allegations that he kicked a woman in the chest prior to being punched to the ground are at odds with anything he has ever before done. Those allegations appeared in the criminal complaint presented when the suspect arrested for assaulting Gener, 24-year-old Leighton Jennings of Jamaica, Queens, was arraigned on January 29. Jennings was charged with two misdemeanor third-degree assault charges, even though on the same day a police department spokesman, in an email message, told Gay City News that Jennings was facing felony assault charges. The attack on Gener, on Seventh Avenue near 54th Street — less than a block from his apartment — in the early morning hours of January 17, has left the 46-year-old gay arts journalist in the hospital, recovering from head trauma that required surgery to relief pressure on his brain. Gener’s husband, Stephen Nisbet, and sister, Jessica BlairDriessler, said that Gener was likely to face a long convalescence. Gener is scheduled for his second brain surgery on February 5. The January 29 criminal complaint includes a witness’ allegation that Gener was physically aggressive in a confron-
BY PAUL SCHINDLER
Stephen Nisbet, Randy Gener’s husband, his sister Jessica Blair-Driessler, friend Kevin Nadal, and another January 26 vigil attendee.
tation that led up to the assault. It cites a woman who says she bumped into Gener and “as she walked forward the guy [Gener] bumped her back… the informant threw her clutch purse at the guy’s head and missed.” At that point, according to the woman, Gener kicked her in the chest and Jennings got out of his car. The woman told police, “the guy kicked the defendant [Jennings] in the stomach… the defendant punched the guy one time in the face and… the guy fell back to the concrete.” According to published press reports based on police sources, the woman was a companion of Jennings. The complaint mentions a second wit-
ness who said only that he saw “a man punch another man in the face with a fist which caused the male who was hit to fall to the ground and strike his head on the sidewalk.” That witness told police that Gener remained on the ground until they arrived. According to DNAinfo.com, a taxi driver was responsible for giving police the license plate number of a suspect that was released publicly one day before Jennings’ arrest. DNA also cited police sources who said Jennings was accompanied by two women and another man. The complaint said that, according to Officer Fredrick Crump of the Midtown North Precinct, Gener was “conscious but
disoriented” at the time police arrived on the scene. It makes no reference to any statements Gener may have made to police about the incident. Nisbet and Blair -Driessler were unaware that Jennings had been charged with misdemeanor rather than felony assault or of the contents of the criminal complaint when contacted on January 31, two days after Jennings’ arraignment. “We are baffled by the reduction of charges against Randy’s assailant,” Nisbet said. On February 3, in an email message, Nisbet said that his husband disputed the picture of himself painted by the criminal complaint. “Randy read your Article today,” Nesbit said of a January 31 story posted at gaycitynews.com. “The first info he has read. While he still cannot remember the incident he does deny that he has EVER been aggressive or violent against women. Same story both I and his sister gave police.” The complaint also casts a different light on the attack on Gener than had been suggested by police and the media in the days immediately after it happened. Because the assault did not involve robbery and resulted in injuries that have kept Gener in the hospital for more than two weeks, there was speculation that it may have been a hate crime motivated by his sexual orientation or the fact that he is Filipino-American. In fact, the complaint
GENER, continued on p.13
Islan Nettles’ Mother Says Original Suspect Has Vanished Nearly six mothers after case DA sees as “homicide,” no progress on bringing assailant to justice
he mother of Islan Nettles, a transgender woman who was killed in Harlem last year, was told, in a recent meeting with the Manhattan district attorney’s office, that law enforcement has lost track of the only man who was charged in the case. “They don’t even have the correct address for this person, Paris Wilson,” Delores Nettles said at a January 30 protest outside police headquarters in lower Manhattan. Nettles said she met with the assistant district attorney who is handling the case three weeks ago. The district attorney views the case as a homicide.
“The only thing they would tell me is that there is no statute of limitations on this case,” Nettles said. “It’s terrible, but I have to wait.” Islan was attacked in the early morning hours on August 17 at Eighth Avenue and 147th Street. The criminal complaint filed by police when Wilson was arrested suggests police have at least one witness to the assault though that witness was not identified in that document. “I am informed by ___, of an address known to the District Attor ney’s Office, that she observed the defendant strike ___ about the head with a closed fist, causing ___to fall to the ground,” the complaint reads. “Once on the ground, the defendant continued to strike ___ in the face. I am informed by Police Officer Joseph Car-
rasquillo shield #18327, of the PSA 6 Precinct that he observed ___unconscious on the ground with a swollen shut eye and blood on her face.” Nettles remained in a coma following the assault and was taken off life support on August 22. Wilson, who was 20 at the time of the attack, was charged with three counts of misdemeanor assault. The charges against him were eventually dropped after a second man confessed to the attack, allegedly at the urging of Wilson’s mother. That second man eventually recanted. At a November 19 court appearance, Nicholas Viorst, an assistant district attorney, said that homicide charges could still be brought against “Mr. Wil-
NETTLES, continued on p.13
GAY CITY NEWS
BY DUNCAN OSBORNE
Delores Nettles in front of 1 Police Plaza on January 30.
GIL SEO/ FACEBOOK.COM
Randy Gener, a gay arts journalist badly beaten on January 17, remains in intensive care.
GENER, from p.12
indicates that the case was handled by the department’s Bias Incident Investigations Unit, and Blair-Driessler told Gay City News that a member of the NYPD’s Community Affairs Bureau LGBT liaison team attended a January 26 vigil for Gener and spoke to her there. Since Jennings’ arrest on January 28, however, neither the police nor the DA
they chanted “Trans people matter” and has talked about the crime as a potential c NETTLES, from p.12 “Not one more.” hate crime. Carl Siciliano, the executive director Jennings, who was released withson or someone else.” out bail on his own recognizance, is The apparent bungling of the inves- of the Ali Forney Center, a services pronext scheduled to appear in court on tigation fueled the anger at the Janu- vider for homeless queer youth, talked March 11. ary 30 demonstration. The view, which about the half dozen unsolved homiGener’s assault led to two large comis supported by a number of cases, is cides of transgender women that he was munity gatherings aimed at showing that crimes against transgender people aware of. “We have to demand that transgender him support. About 70 people turned are seen as less important by police and people be considered equal in this city,” out at the January 26 vigil, held at the prosecutors. crime scene. The following evening, the “It is important that trans women and he said. The demonstration was organized Filipino-American Press Club and other men and their lives are taken as serigroups held a prayer vigil and press ously as every other New Yorker,” said by the Transgender/ Cisgender Coaliconference at the Consulate General of Melissa Sklarz, president of the Stone- t i o n , A C T U P / N Y, L u z ’ s D a u g h the Philippines on Fifth Avenue in Midwall Democrats of New York City, an ter Cares, TWOCC: T rans Women town. The consul-general of the PhilipLGBT political club. “More than once, the of Color Collective of Greater NY, pines in New York, Ambassador Mario wants and needs of transgender women STARR: Strategic Trans Alliance for Radical Reform, and LGBT Faith Leadde Leon, praised Gener’s contributions and men fall between the cracks.” to the city’s Filipino-American commuRoughly 100 people spent an hour ers of African Descent. The Manhattan district attorney did nity and read a statement from José L. demonstrating outside police headquarCuisia Jr., the Filipino ambassador to ters in the bitter cold. Holding signs, not respond to a request for comment. the United States. Gener’s family will hold a fundraiser on February 23 at 11 a.m. at the Filipino restaurant the Purple Yam Filipino (purpleyamnyc.com) on Cortelyou Road in Brooklyn, with more details to follow. The family also set up a charity link to raise funds for his care at youcaring. com/medical-fundraiser/for-randy-gener/130589. Anyone with additional information about the crime can report it anonymously to the police department at 1-800-577-TIPS. — Additional reportingT:9.381” A crowd of about 100 turned out at NYPD headquarters to protest lack of progress on the Islan Nettles murder by Michael Luongo
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GAY CITY NEWS
| February 5, 2014
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February 5, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com
Vanishing From a Neighborhood They Helped Define
Business departures are another indicator of Chelsea’s decline as a global gay mecca
After two decades on Eighth Ave., Rainbows & Triangles will soon sell its last “Chelsea 10011” refrigerator magnet.
BY SCOTT STIFFLER
ost leases, rent increases, a shifting residential dynamic, and the influx of tourist and tech dollars are all playing their part in recasting the role of Eighth Avenue between 14th and 23rd Streets — the commercial spine of Chelsea. But this is not simply a story about the ever-gentrification of Manhattan, it’s also another telling indicator of the decline of the neighborhood’s status dating back two decades as New York’s gayest neighborhood. This past August, it was one last shower-drenched dance for the iconic go-go boys of Splash. When the club arrived on West 17th Street in 1991, it sparked a great gay migration and gave rise to dozens of nearby establishments catering to the Chelsea Boy life. Today, remaining gay-focused businesses on Eighth Avenue include three porn emporiums (Rainbow Station, the Blue DVD, and the Blue Store) and a handful of menswear shops (including the Starting Line and EFOR). Once thriving and now gone: the Service Station spa and the Big Cup coffee shop, as well as Food Bar and Viceroy restaurants. Rawhide and View are no more, making Gym the Avenue’s only gay bar. Other telling indicators that his patch of Chelsea has surrendered the pull that made it a worldwide queer
destination in the 1990s are the recent shuttering of the men’s clothing store Camouflage and the imminent departure of that mecca of gay tchotchke taste, Rainbows & Triangles, and of Arcadia Spa & Home. These days, new arrivals on the boulevard — be they foot traffic or businesses — are more likely to sport corporate logos than Pride stickers. Of the 115 ground level properties from 14th to 23rd Streets, nearly a third are chain stores, franchises or banks. Starbucks has three locations, and Subway, GNC, and Chase two. In a long period of transition occasioned by the increasing residential unaffordability of the neighborhood — leading to gay flight first to Hell’s Kitchen and then to a variety of neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens — it was last August’s unexpected closing of Splash that may have dealt a fatal blow to Eighth Avenues’s reputation as a shop, schmooze, and cruise destination.
Rainbow & Triangles
“In terms of loss,” said Rainbows & Triangles co-owner Steven Spiro, “Splash was more of a psychological departure. It represented a big anchor for the neighborhood. Now there’s less foot traffic, in general.” The shift, he noted, has been a decade in the making. “The whole dynamic has changed, all the way from Sixth Avenue to the
West Side Highway,” Spiro said. People are older, he said of his regulars — 60 percent of them from the neighborhood — “and their spending habits are different.” The decision to close stems from the new building owner’s refusal to offer a new lease, said Spiro, who added that he and his business partner, Fernan Royo, won’t retreat into cyberspace or look for another brick and mortar location. “I have no regrets,” said the soonto-turn-50 Spiro, “but I’m not sure the small business model works in today’s environment.” He’s proud to claim a few notable markers in the cultural ebb and flow of Chelsea. “We sold dance way before Virgin was in the US,” Spiro said, recalling when the store’s music collection made it “a gay destination, along with Splash and Roxy.” Spiro and Royo also established a loyal customer base with their unapologetic stocking of poppers, leather, and lube — first in the US to carry Eros! — alongside Pride merchandise, refrigerator magnets, greeting cards, and coffee table books. Customer Jimmy Lam, a 50-year old immigrant from the Dominican Republic, who overheard Spiro speaking with this reporter, chimed in, “This is my favorite store, since I arrived in the states 23 years ago. It’s the place where I come to buy my gay identity paraphernalia.” Although the store has no official closing date, it will likely remain open for another month or two, at the most. “We’re running a closing sale,” Spiro said. “There will be a point where so much merchandise is gone that it won’t be worth it to open the door. That’s when we’ll be done. But we had a great run, with fantastic customers, friends, and stories. We went through the worst years of the AIDS crisis to the years of crystal addiction to seeing people enter into recovery.” Affordability weighs heavily on Spiro’s mind. “I see lots of empty places,” he said of casualties that couldn’t make the two- or three-fold rent increase — and although he acknowledged that access to free adult video online and changes in the music business have added to his margin pressures, Spiro said the deciding factor for many small businesses is the combined burden of real estate taxes, rent, and insurance. “At the end of the day,” he noted, “you’re working for the landlord and the city.”
Arcadia Spa & Home
With an expected closing date of March 25, owner Jay Gurewitsch, a 20-year Chelsea resident, said Arcadia has “suffered in the same way as Camouflage and Rainbows & Triangles, from the one/ two punch of the Great Recession and the changes that have hit Chelsea over the last ten years.” In 2011, Gurewitsch moved his store to 249 West 23rd Street, after six years on West 19th and five years in the former home of The Big Cup (now NY Lovely Nails & Spa). The expansion into the Big Cup space was intended, Gurewitsch said, “to serve a community that disappeared during the recession. But they never came back.” During his years on Eighth Avenue, Gurewitsch learned firsthand “the real reason why independent retailers close up all the time, either once their lease is up or abruptly in the middle of their lease.” Gurewitsch’s lease obligated him to pay 50 percent of any increase in taxes over the base rate. With residential non-stabilized rents in the area greatly increasing “as more tech people moved in and more apartments were de-stabilized every year,” he explained, “the assessment on the building we were in skyrocketed. But the landlord had no interest in appealing it, because she doesn’t pay her tax bill.” He acknowledged that “every apartment and retail space pays its fair share of the total real estate tax bill for the building, so the store’s share was a miniscule few hundred dollars per year, and my lease specifically includes a maximum cap in the increase in real estate taxes the building can pass along to me.” But insulation from “insane tax bills” weren’t enough to shield him from dynamics at work within his client base. First, there was the loss of core customers who, “while not rich, were ready to spend significant money — $100-500 — on a fairly regular basis for gifts for friends and family and for decorating their own homes.” The newer tenants that have moved in over the past five years or so are also “far less tied to Chelsea as a distinct neighborhood and community.” Overwhelmingly young, these newer residents, he said, eye Chelsea more for the area’s central location in Manhattan than its gay identity or proximity to the galleries — and they’re more inclined to shop online. Unlike those who arrived decades ago, who
CHELSEA, continued on p.15
| February 5, 2014
CHELSEA, from p.14
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bought into the housing market when it was cheap, new arrivals employed by Google and, soon, newly announced West 17th Street tenant Twitter, “fall into two very different and opposite categories: one, barely able to pay rent and keep food on their tables so all they can do is buy greeting cards —which don’t exactly pay Manhattan retail rent — or two, making so much money that, I kid you not, Arcadia is just not expensive enough for them. I have heard it repeatedly, especially in the last few years: ‘Your prices are too low.’” After his brick and mortar days end in March, Gurewitsch plans to revamp his website (arcadianyc.com), eliminate shipping charges for some items, increase social media outreach, and “focus more tightly on those products Arcadia has that no one else sells.”
On Sunday, January 26, workers were wheeling out empty display cases and other final remnants from the store Norm Usiak founded with his business partner, Gene Chase, who died of AIDS in 1996. When Camouflage made its 1976 debut on the corner of Eighth Avenue and 17th Street, Usiak recalled, “What was so wonderful about Chelsea and the West Village was that it didn’t matter who you were. You were accepted. The whole area was an idea factory. It used to draw innovative young people who came to New York to start their careers. You had so many actors, writers, production designers, and theater people. Everybody was friendly, as long as you abided by the law and didn’t hurt anybody. In the ’70s, it [Eighth Avenue] was predominantly straight. I’m straight, Gene was gay, and we were best friends. We always said that Camouflage was a clothing store for men. We didn’t care what they were.” Still, Usiak credited the influx of gay men into Chelsea with enhancing the store’s popularity, so much so that in 1987, a second store, Camouflage Downtown, was opened two doors down, meant to “represent a new look, of what everyone south of 23rd Street was wearing — a bit more tight-fitting, tailored shirts, no pleats. Back then, jeans were becoming acceptable to wear with the sports jacket.” In August of 2013, Camouflage Downtown closed. On January 26, so did the original. “I gave that [Downtown] up for the same reasons I am giving up this one up, which is rent increases,” said Usiak, who noted the monthly asking price for the corner store went from $7,000 to $24,000 — a decision made by the building’s new co-op board. “They really never gave me an explanation,” he said. “From what I’m told,
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Rainbows & Triangles co-owner Steven Spiro said, “We just tried to make a nice, affordable neighborhood shop.” For the past 20 years, they did.
the building needed more income and the only way they could get the income was increasing the retail rents or increasing their maintenance. I never had real estate taxes, but with the new lease, I would.” The influx of tourists into Chelsea was among the key factors Usiak cited in talking about the upward pressure on rents. “The High Line had a lot to do with that,” he argued. “When you bring in five to seven million tourists, the commercial landlords understand that means more people walking by their property. They calculate that as a reason why they’re raising the rent to these levels.” Usiak, who turns 65 this year, said that rather than open at another location — at an estimated cost exceeding half a million dollars — he’d like to do some consulting work and maybe “teach young people about retail and how to stay alive for 38 years, which is very difficult when you don’t own your property. I’m disappointed that I’m leaving Chelsea, but to start a new business with the type of product I have, it’s just too expensive. My store is not the type you can put between a block. These [corner] windows have been my source of advertising.” Right up to its final days, Usiak said, Camouflage remained a destination for “those who want to feel the fabric, and see the quality,” and would spend the necessary amount for a product that has stylistic staying power. “I wouldn’t sell clothes that you can’t wear five years from now,” he said, noting it wasn’t uncommon to hear from customers “who came here in the late ‘70s, who bought a beautiful Perry Ellis coat they still own.” He added, “The Twitter and Google people, they buy online.”
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Beth Israel LGBT Health Services 10 Nathan D Perlman Pl. in New York, (212) 420–2000, www.wehealny.org/services/ LGBT_Health_Services/index.html Beth Israel Medical Center LGBT Health Services provides an array of health, referral and educational services, promotes LGBT health equity and access to care, and develops effective partnerships with LGBT organizations, agencies and allies.
Chelsea Face and Body 270 W 19th St. in New York, (212) 647–8825, chelseafab.com Chelsea Face and Body offers the largest variety of state-of-the-art aesthetic services. It prides itself in its ability to keep you looking renewed, refreshed, and rejuvenated for a more youthful appearance.
1214 E. Boston Post Rd. in Westchester, (914) 381–7173, www.stetsonrealestate.com Stetson Real Estate is an independent firm located in Mamaroneck, Westchester County, New York. The firm has thr guiding philosophy that if it focuses on serving the client best — as opposed to the agent’s self-interest — the business will prosper.
Multiple locations, www.warburgrealty.com Warburg Realty is one of the city’s best trained and hardest working agents, and by choosing them to represent you and your property, you also get the benefit of Warburg’s leadership strategies every step of the way. Warburg Realty has distinguished itself in the vanguard of tech-savvy real estate companies.
RECEPTION HALLS & CATERERS Allegria Hotel
430 W. 24th St. in New York, (646) 325–3378, www.groomedgrooms.com Groomed Grooms provides men’s hair and makeup for weddings and other major events. Its slogan: You have the legal right to look your best.
80 W Broadway IN Nassau, (516) 889–1300, www.allegriahotel.com Allegria Horel, is a chic and sophisticated wedding venue in Long Beach with breathtaking ocean views. It is great for rooftop or beachfront weddings.
7905 5th Ave. in Brooklyn, (646) 712–4084, Fastworldmall@yahoo.com, www.bridaldreamsmall.com Bridal Dreams’ mission is simple: to provide the best products and service to its customers at the lowest prices possible. It takes great pride in its company, commitment to customer service, and products.
In Touch NYC
The Edison Ballroom
126 W 96th St. in New York, (212) 865–9290, www.mindovermatternyc.com Mind Over Matter Health & Fitness is a Manhattan based in-home personal training service providing fitness professionals to you in your home.
BRIDAL APPARAL Bridal Dreams
New York God’s Love We Deliver
166 6th Ave. in New York, (212) 294–8100, www.glwd.org God’s Love We Deliver is the tri-state area’s leading provider of nutritious, individually-tailored meals to people that are too sick to shop or cook for themselves. God’s Love provides all services by employing a small but dedicated professional staff and with the critical assistance of nearly 8,000 volunteers annually.
ENTERTAINMENT Erik Robert Jacobson, Classical Cellist
(212) 584–7500, www.jacobseneric.com, email@example.com Mr. Jacobsen is a cellist and conductor residing in Brooklyn, New York. He has performed with Renee Fleming on David Letterman and at the inaugural concert at Zankel Hall at Carnegie.
M B Sound Productions Entertainment
3034 Merrick Rd., (516) 322–1745 in Long Island or 3034 Merrick Rd., (888) 517–2789 in Nassau, www.mbsoundproductions.com MB Sound Productions & Entertainment is a professional, high tech, well equipped, and mobile DJ entertainment company servicing the tri-state area. It has over 15 years of experience, and can accommodate all types of events.
FERTILITY Genesis Fertility & Reproductive Medicine (718) 283–8600, www.genesisfertility.com Genesis Fertility & Reproductive Medicine is a nationally recognized center for the treatment of infertility. It is known for its excellent success rates. Most major insurers accepted.
FLORISTS & CENTERPEICES Angelica Flowers and Events
436 Hudson St. in New York, (212) 229–0272, angelicaflowersandevents.com New York City’s premiere custom floral designer for events, corporate accounts, and same day delivery.
Ariston Flowers & Boutique
110 W 17th St. in New York, (212) 929–4226, www.aristonflorist.com Ariston Flowers is an award-winning and familyowned business that has been in operation since 1977. It stocks an array of fresh flowers directly imported from France, Holland, Hawaii, and from other parts of the world. It also has accessories such as vases, pottery, and baskets.
(718) 535–7909, www.EdibleArrangements.com
242 E 77th St. in New York, (646) 234–4840, intouchnyc.com InTouch NYC is a New York City-based healing sanctuary providing acupuncture, Chinese herbs, nutritional counseling, bodywork, and pilates.
Mind Over Matter
INVITATIONS Print Icon
240 W 47th St. in New York, (212) 201–7650, edisonballroom.com, firstname.lastname@example.org The Edison Ballroom was originally opened in the 1930’s and was constructed in the classic art deco design. The venue can be rented for all kinds of events, including a wedding.
Multiple locations, www.fairwaymarket.com Fairway offers seasonal, signature catering packages with the highest-quality, happy-making eats with zero work. Have Fairway cater your engagement, bachelor, or bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner or wedding.
Grand Oaks Country Club
125 W 21st St. in New York, (212) 255–0844, www.printicon.com Print icon New York offers modern and heritage printing, including laser engraving, indigo press, letterpress, thermography and debossing accompanied by custom design services.
200 Huguenot Ave. in Staten Island, (718) 356–2771, www.grandoaksnyc.com Formerly the South Shore Country Club, this new and improved Staten Island venue can provide the perfect elegant backdrop for your reception with prime dates still available.
Hornblower Cruises & Events
Greenwich Jewelers 64 Trinity Pl. in New York, (212) 964–7592, www.greenwichjewelers.com In search of something classic, contemporary, or completely eclectic? Greenwich Jewelers is your source for exquisite adornments that are designed to last — and make your life brilliant.
Little King Jewelry 177 Lafayette St. in New York, (212) 260–6140, www.littlekingjewelry.com Little King Jewelry is a contemporary jewelry boutique in Soho that offers an eclectic mix of jewelry such as classic 21st century heirlooms, indie, rock and roll, to one-of-kind couture jewelry for all occasions.
LIMOUSINES M & V Limousine Ltd. 1117 Jericho Tpke. In Suffolk, (800) 498–5778, www.mvlimo.com M & V has the largest selection of antique and exotic limousines in the world. Its main focus is providing you with an elegant and stress-free experience on your wedding day.
REAL ESTATE SERVICES Brooklyn Accurate Building 1860 Bath Ave. in Brooklyn, (718) 265–8191, www.accuratebuilding.com email@example.com Inspectors Accurate Building Inspectors is a full service home and building inspection firm servicing New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and the nation since 1961. It provides inspections, consulting, assistance, and testing services for homeowners It has and will continue to serve and support the LGBT community.
Modern Spaces Multiple locations, modernspacesnyc.com Modern Spaces is a real estate firm that manages
40 N. River Piers in New York, (212) 206–7522, / www.hornblower.com/home/ny Hornblower New York specializes in New York dinner cruises, harbor cruises, yacht charters, sightseeing, events, birthday parties, and weddings. It has exceeded guest expectations for over 30 years by maintaining impeccable comfort and safety standards with a large fleet of private yachts in California and New York.
365 Park Avenue South in New York, (212) 685–7700, www.hotelgiraffe.com Hotel Giraffe would be honored to host your rehearsal dinner, special day, or to arrange guest accommodations. Its experienced staff will ensure that all of your expectations and special requests are surpassed.
401 Seventh Ave. in New York, (212) 736–5000, www.hotelpenn.com The conveniently located Hotel Pennsylvania has all the ingredients for a perfect reception. It has flexible ballrooms that provide an elegant, functional Manhattan setting for weddings of all sizes.
Millennium Broadway Hotel
145 W. 44th St. in New York, (212) 768–4400, www.millenniumhotelnyc.com The Millennium Broadway Hotel’s fully functioning Hudson Theatre has recently received a 3.5 milliondollar renovation. It offers flexible and moveable seating as well as Broadway-quality lighting and sound, making it the most extravagant wedding and reception facility in New York City.
Museum of Jewish Heritage
36 Battery Pl. in New York, (646) 437–4202, www.mjhnyc.org The Museum of Jewish Heritage’s unique facilities are perfect for galas, receptions, conferences, weddings, other life cycle events, and more.
The Picnic House in Prospect Park
95 Prospect Park West in Brooklyn, (646) 393–9031, www.prospectpark.org/visit/places/picnic The Picnic House in Prospect Park is a 4,000 square foot brick-and-glass enclosed pavilion with a terracotta tile roof. Built in 1927, it has been praised for its light and sweeping views. The natural setting makes it a perfect choice for a wedding and the French doors gracing the rear balcony create a charming focal point for the exchange of vows.
Hotel Plaza Athenee
37 E. 64th St. in New York, (212) 734–9100, www.plaza-athenee.com/weddings-en.html The Upper East Side’s Hotel Plaza Athenee is a stunning European-style venue with antique furnishings in the lobby, a beautiful marble entranceway, and Italian tapestries on the walls. It is the perfect backdrop for your wedding photographs. It has an elegant ceremony space and the hotel’s dazzling, gold-domed Arabelle restaurant provides a great reception site.
The Provincetown Business Guild
3 Freeman St. in Provincetown, (508) 487–2313, ptown.org In 2004 — when Massachusetts became the first state to extend full marriage benefits for same-sex couples — Provincetown quickly became the number one destination for LGBT unions. The inclusive, gay-friendly spirit provides the perfect place for all couples to host a wedding, commitment ceremony, or spend their honeymoon. In addition to the charming seaside splendor that Provincetown provides, there are a plethora of party planners, caterers, venues, and other helpful businesses that make it easy and comfortable for future newlyweds to plan their special day. Contact the Provincetown Business Guild for additional help!
reBar Brooklyn Gastropub
147 Front St. in Brooklyn, (718) 766–9110, rebarnyc.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Located on the mezzanine of an 19th century tea factory, this hip, Brooklyn gastropub’s seasonal New American menu, 120 bottled beers, sustainable and organic wine list, and its extensive scotch selection.
Queens Russo’s on the Bay
162-45 Cross Bay Blvd. in Queens, (718) 843–5055, russosonthebay.com A beautiful, waterfront wedding at Russo’s On The Bay is a truly royal experience. It offers unwavering commitment to detail that you can sleep easy knowing that the valet will provide excellent service at the door, the food will be superb, the linens will be pressed, and the venue will be running like a well-oiled machine.
168 W. Fourth St. in New York, (212) 242–9338, www.tiopepenyc.com, email@example.com At Tio Pepe you have a choice of atmosphere. The skylight dining room supplies a touch of romance while the enclosed sidewalk cafe provides a room with a view of Greenwich Village.
118-16 101st Ave. in Queens, (718) 849–0990, villarussocatering.com The Villa Russo has celebrated engagements and weddings for more than 50 years in its spacious wedding venue. The hotel invites you to experience the true radiance of this elegant Italian-style villa. The food is delicious and the certified wedding planners will assure a day you and your guests will not forget.
TRAVEL Ace World Travel
8320 13th Ave. in Brooklyn, (347) 915–4287, www.aceworldtravel.net, firstname.lastname@example.org Ace World Travel is a full-service, independent, home-based travel agency. Its goal is to help you explore the world however you desire, and make that experience as unique and memorable as possible.
WEDDING MINISTRY Celebration Ceremonies
(646) 322–6743, www.celebrationceremonies.net, FMFortunato06@aol.com Reverend Francesca Fortunato has been an ordained Interfaith minister since 2003. Rev. Francesca creates and performs beautiful, personal, meaningful ceremonies for couples of many different faiths (or none). She is proud and delighted to now perform legal marriages for members of her own LGBTQ community.
| February 5, 2014 OREGON, from p.9
cates emphasized the rights and benefits — numbering more than a thousand at the federal level alone — that same-sex couples were deprived of by not being able to marry. Polling, especially that done during and after the 2008 Proposition 8 fight in California, however, found that more headway was made in public opinion by emphasizing love, commitment, and family. Marshall, in fact, pointed with pride to the contributions that research done in Oregon in 2011 — in anticipation of a potential 2012 referendum fight that advocates chose to wait on — made in developing newer ways to talk about gay marriage. A ballot drive focused on the fine points of public accommodations law and the rights of business owners and individuals to claim religious liberty exemptions has the potential to force the pro-gay side to return to questions of rights and responsibilities that advocates believe hold less sway with voters. This may be no accident. The religious right has increasingly been focused on making religious liberty arguments to counter gay rights advances. In New Mexico, a wedding photography business last year lost a case in State Supreme Court claiming the right to refuse to provide services to a same-sex commitment ceremony. (As Gay City News recently reported, a town clerk in upstate New York continues to get by in her religiously-based refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses, even after breaking her pledge to farm out all the town’s marriage licensing to a special part-time employee — an extraordinary accommodation in itself.) The decision by the Supreme Court to hear an appeal from a family-owned business seeking a religious exemption from the Obamacare mandate on contraceptive coverage shows that the issue is part of the broader culture wars that continue to flare. Still, as James Esseks, who directs the LGBT Rights Project at the ACLU, pointed out, religious exemptions are particularly problematic in the drive for marriage equality. “This is not a sideshow issue,” he told Reuters about the rival Oregon referen-
dum. “This is going to be the issue that we fight about for the next 10 years, at least, in the LGBT rights movement.” For better or worse, Oregon United for Marriage is the advance team in taking on the anti-gay right on what the community’s opponents clearly believe is an expanded battleground. Marshall, for one, is no stranger to new challenges. In 2000, he oversaw the effort to beat back Proposition 22 in California, a voter initiative to enact a law banning marriage by same-sex couples. Then — a lifetime ago in the fight for equal marriage rights — the pro-gay side was trounced by 22 points. The situation today in Oregon, he said, couldn’t be any more different. The coalition his group has put together includes dozens of community groups and labor unions, nearly 150 religious leaders, include the state’s Episcopal Diocese, an even greater number of businesses, and both of Portland’s two professional sports franchises — the Trail Blazers and the Timbers. Nike, which is headquartered in Beaverton, has made a $100,000 donation to the fight, with its top corporate leaders kicking in an additional $180,000. Six national advocacy groups partnering with Oregon United for Marriage, Marshall said, will each pony up at least $250,000 each. Still, even as grassroots support grows — with more than 4,000 volunteers collecting petition signatures to get the referendum on the ballot and roughly 10,500 donors having contributed to the cause — money remains the top priority. With $2 million raised so far, Oregon United for Marriage will have to build significantly on the type of commitments Nike and the national advocacy partners have made. To go from $2 million to $10 or $12 million is a big step up, especially in a state with less than four million residents. Marshall and his colleagues are clearly hoping that people across the nation who care about marriage equality will adopt their view on why Oregon matters so much this year.
for 2014-2015 school year
To learn more about the efforts by Oregon United for Marriage, visit oregonunitedformarriage.org.
February 5, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com
Longing and Long Underwear
Couples strive to make a love connection under the Northern Lights BY DAVID KENNERLEY
ne of the most infamous misfires Off Broadway in recent memory was the 2006 production of “Almost, Maine” by John Cariani, which closed just one month into a commercial run at the Daryl Roth Theatre, losing its entire capitalization. The highly anticipated production, which some ridiculed as “cloying,” made Entertainment Weekly’s list of worst theater of the year.
The Transport Group The Gym At Judson 243 Thompson St. at Washington Sq. S. Tue.-Thu. at 7 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Sun. at 3 p.m.; Wed. at 2 p.m. Through Mar. 2 $49-$65; transportgroup.org Or 866-811-4111
But since then the offbeat, highconcept dramedy, comprised of several loosely linked vignettes depicting couples seeking an emotional connection in a “small town in Northern Maine that doesn’t quite
Kevin Isola and John Cariani in the “They Fell” vignette in Cariani’s “Almost, Maine.”
exist,” has exploded in popularity, racking up more than 2,000 productions across the globe. A couple of years ago it was the most produced play in North American high schools, even surpassing “Our T own” and Shakespeare standbys. And now, the risk-taking Transport
Group is staging the work, the first r evival in New York, with an eye toward erasing the painful memory of that initial flop. Did they get it right this time? I’d say it largely depends on your tolerance for sweetness. Under the guidance of Jack Cummings III,
“Almost, Maine” pulses with wit and char m as various couples — and would-be couples — test the limits of love and longing. In one scene titled “Sad and Glad,” lovelorn Jimmy is devastated to run into his ex, Sandrine, at the local watering hole. Just when he gives up hope of getting back together, he finds the promise of new love right under his nose. In “Where It Went,” after an evening of ice-skating, the bickering Marci and Phil finally come to grips with the fact that their marriage is not nearly as solid as they’d pretended. These days you can’t have a play about relationships without at least one same-sex couple. “They Fell” finds forlorn best buds, hanging out drinking brewskies in a potato field, lamenting the perils of dating women. When, against his better judgment, Chad literally falls for Randy, something astonishing happens. In a bid for equal opportunity, there is also a female version of this scene, written for a women’s theater project in 2008. This is the first production to incorporate both takes in rotating
NORTHERN LIGHTS, continued on p.33
Men Behaving Madly
Another thorny Brecht classic gets the Duncan Sheik treatment BY DAVID KENNERLEY
o one can accuse the Classic Stage Company of shirking a challenge. Last spring, the troupe mounted Bertolt Brecht’s vexing fable “The Caucasian Chalk Circle,” helmed by CSC artistic director Brian Kulick with original music by Duncan Sheik (Tony Awardwinner for “Spring Awakening”), to mixed reviews. The wildly uneven tone and the accentuation of the audience distancing effects that were Brecht’s trademark were simply too much for many viewers. A review by Andy Humm in this newspaper dismissed the production as a “circle jerk.” Undaunted, CSC and Sheik are back to reanimate another Brecht piece, “A Man’s a Man,” the complex 1926 farce set “somewhere in British Colonial India” that delves into themes of masculinity, identity, transformation, and the lunacy of war.
Translated by Gerhard Nellhaus, the flimsy plot revolves around a gullible, milquetoast porter named Galy Gay (perhaps meant as a pejorative) who gets dragooned into the British Army. He is tricked into usurping another man’s identity and “reassembled just like a car” into a lean and mean fighting machine. Not that the conflicting themes or plot make much sense. Under Kulick’s guidance, this head-scratcher of a play — a pastiche of music hall comedy, Weimar -era political allegory, love story, war drama, Chinese parable — is laced with irony and meta-theatrics. The fourth wall is broken at sporadic intervals (actors flirt with audience members and make them hold props) and the tone is all over the place. If you’re looking for an emotional arc — or any satisfying authentic emotion for that matter — you won’t find it here. Sure, Brecht is known for Ve r f r e m d u m s e f f e k t , i n t e n t i o n a l alienating conceits designed to jolt the
A MAN’S A MAN Classic Stage Company 136 E. 13th St., btwn. Third & Fourth Aves. Through Feb. 16 Tue.-Thu. at 7 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Sat.-Sun. at 3 p.m. $60; Classicstage.org Or 212-352-3101
audience out of complacency. But this daffy production appears to pile on extra layers of obfuscation. A highly accomplished ensemble works str enuously to clarify the proceedings. Gibson Frazier keenly conveys Galy Gay’s transformation from sappy, aimless dolt to bloodthirsty warrior. The excellent Stephen Spinella (“Angels in America”) imbues the tyrannical Sergeant (nicknamed “Bloody Five” for reasons that are revealed in a jarring, ghastly flashback) with generous amounts of brutality. Another standout is Steven Skybell as Jesse, a private in Galy Gay’s
machine-gun section, who delivers a moving speech about existentialism and almost makes us believe that the artificial elephant they have built out of barrels (don’t ask) is actually real. As if this weren’t head-spinning enough, gender-bending performance artist Justin Vivian Bond (“Kiki and Herb”) plays the gruffly coquettish Widow Begbick, a beer wagon proprietress who aims to seduce Galy Gay and later the Sergeant. Bond’s raspy delivery of a ballad about love and mortality at intermission is oddly mesmerizing. Sheik, known for his plaintive, haunting melodies, is hardly the first songmeister that comes to mind when scoring a farce. Yet he rises to the occasion, adding a fittingly goofy, rousing opening number with marching soldiers boasting about manliness and bemoaning the war. The number serves as a choppy
MAD MEN, continued on p.33
| February 5, 2014
One Fine Show, One Not So Much
“Beautiful” is what a jukebox musical should be, while “The Clearing” just shouldn’t
Jessie Mueller as Carol King in Douglas McGrath’s “Beautiful.”
BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE
he real conflict in the life of Carole King, at least according to the new jukebox musical “Beautiful,” is that she would have preferred to be a suburban housewife rather than a superstar. She is a reluctant pop phenomenon who had greatness thrust upon her but ultimately rose to the challenge, cast off her 1950s notion of conventional gender roles, and emerged as an integrated personality.
BEAUTIFUL Stephen Sondheim Theatre 124 W. 43rd St. Tue.-Thu. at 7 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat. at 2 p.m.; Sun at 3 p.m. $75-$162 telecharge.com or 212-239-6200
Hardly the typical showbiz story, but in the hands of book writer Douglas McGrath and even working within the constraints of bio-musicals’ episodic nature, King emerges as a likeable and relatable person who is much more than the avatar of the Laurel Canyon sound she became. In fact, the story ends with her iconic album “Tapestry,” which is a turning point for both King and the music business. We watch her rise from a 16-year -old songwriter searching for a hit so she can get a house in the suburbs, meet and marry Gerry Goffin, her lyricist, and develop a relationship with a competing songwriting team,
Cynthia Weill and Barry Mann. This last plot point is inspired, as it opens up the musical to a broader playlist and, of course, provides that musical comedy staple — the secondary, comedic couple. Producer Don Kirshner is also featured as the man who picked hits and funneled them to the groups of the late 1950s and early ‘60s. As with any musical of this nature, part of the fun is realizing that King was behind many of the huge hits of the era, such as the Shirelles’ “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “The Loco-Motion,” and “Take Good Care of My Baby.” But, even when sketchily drawn, it’s also fascinating to watch King’s emergence as an artist and savvy stylist able to move with the times and adapt her sound to what would sell — until that moment when she herself began to define what sold. Yes, the show is largely a string of familiar songs, but it’s all done with such charm and vivacity under the direction of Marc Bruni that resistance is pointless. This is a big, crowdpleasing show that’s as smart about what works as entertainment today as King was in her heyday. “Beautiful” is sweet, toe-tapping fun. What pushes this show over the top, making it completely enchanting, though, is Jessie Mueller’s performance as King. In a bravura tur n, Mueller is both a believable actor and an incomparable singer. A standout in the revivals of “On a Clear Day” and “Edwin Drood,” here she takes on the mantle of leading
BEAUTIFUL, continued on p.28
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A Formidable, Often Forbidding City Richly Embraced Edmund White once again looks back to his years of culture, sex, and love in Paris
BY TIM TEEMAN
ossip: the lighter fuel of our interactions. It can be done badly and still be fun, or — as in Edmund White’s “Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris” — with delicious waspishness and detail and turn out to be a riot. This is one of those books best enjoyed with bon-bons. Phone turned off. Other human company banished. Bills left unpaid for another day. Sit and immerse.
INSIDE A PEARL: MY YEARS IN PARIS
It isn’t White’s first memoir (“City Boy” was the most recent), or the first time White fans have been taken, via the page, to Paris. Years ago, he published “The Flâneur: A Stroll Through the Paradoxes of Paris” and then later, with illustrations by his late partner Hubert Sorin, “Our Paris: Sketches From Memory.” The title of this book comes from how White — author most famously of the autobiographical novel “A Boy’s Own Story” and a definitive biography of Jean Genet — described Paris to a fellow American: “I like it. To me it seems so calm after New York. As if I’d died and gone to heaven. It’s like living inside a pearl.” White moved to France in 1983 and stayed until 1998, and the book is both celebration and interrogation: while he built a rich intellectual and personal life there, the French and their unfamiliar ways proved intriguing and mysterious. White was the perfect, curious, adventurous émigré: faced with a puzzle, rebuff, or snobbery, he immersed himself in French culture more. The book is mostly not linear. It darts around subjects and dates, characters flit in and out of view, and it is framed by the trajectory of an intimate friendship, with White’s pal Marie-Claude de Brunhoff, affectionately abbreviated by him to “MC.” Tantalizing fragments of life are evoked. White has an apartment, “a roost,” on the Île St-Louis. There are lunches of toast and foie gras at Café Flore, even a date with a “strident” Lauren Bacall. Paris turns him from shabby to smart: when a friend smells cologne on him, he tells White, “You’ve gone completely Cage aux Folles.” He realizes the French don’t like musty old antiques, as you might expect, but rather “everything to be new and to match.” He attends Culture Club’s first Paris concert in October 1983. American friends, White says, would often bemoan the contradictions of the French — they were cheap, yet owned more second homes than any other people, for example — but for White only one generalization has stayed true for the duration of his acquaintance with the country: that “they can
By Edmund White Bloomsbury $26; 272 pages
White’s fans can be assured that he remains delightfully candid, a wide-eyed over-sharer. instantly discard a prejudice and embrace a new, better idea. Americans mostly cling to familiar ideas and repeat them year after year.” When he moved to Paris he learned the locals appreciated him praising France “unqualifiedly as the center of world culture, the beacon of freedom, the epitome of fashion.” White wrote for magazines in Paris and through Marie-Claude met intellectuals and writers, initially hampered by his poor grasp of French. “France, more than any other culture, is a tight, silver skein of names and references and half-stated allusions,” he writes; and this extends not just to the writers and artists to know, but also the places to buy the best sheets, sherbets, and ice cream. The detail in his recollections is impressive both in quantity and richness. His fans can be assured that he remains delightfully candid, a wide-eyed over -sharer. He moved to Paris, he recalls, with a lover named John Purcell, who used to love watching daytime soaps with two girlfriends “who lived on unsalted, unbuttered popcorn, and they’d sit around in Brooks Brothers shirts hugging their pretty, hairless legs and shake their curls and
munch popcorn, their eyes huge, trained on the next adultery.” After Purcell came a Swiss cinema magnate. Later, White introduces us to “Brice,” one of the most important men in his life, who when they first get together, “pulled out his large penis and whispered, ‘Au fond’ (‘Down to the bottom’).” White buys him various leather finery — a black jockstrap, zippered pouch, toy harness — to pose in. On the telephone chat lines, sex dates are arranged: “Bouffeur de cul cherche cul” (“Ass eater is looking for ass”). White has lots of sex, including with a sexy, dangerous hustler called Stam. The book is studded with stories of his relationship with Marie-Claude, whose husband leaves her for another woman, after which she ends up in a psychiatric ward. The gossip flows on. In Paris, a beautiful male model asks White who the date is the model’s been flown in to escort to a fancy event (the film director Ismail Merchant); White asks Inès de la Fressange, then a very famous model, what she does for a living. The fashion designer Azzedine Alaïa becomes a friend. Name-dropping abounds, but without clunky boastfulness. White, one of the six co-founders of Gay Men’s Health Crisis in 1981 in New York, notes the Parisians are far less “hysterical” than the Americans about AIDS. As a result, gays were not targeted hatefully in Paris, White says, but neither were they properly forewarned about the disease. Before the creation of an HIV test, he writes, “We suspected it was caused by sex, but how? It seemed too unfair to us that a single exposure could infect someone; in our guilt-ridden way we wanted the disease to be the punishment for a long life of vice.” White, diagnosed positive in 1985, afterwards felt isolated “and pulled the covers over my head for a year.” Larry Kramer attacked him for not devoting his writing to the disease, choosing instead to write a biography of Genet. He is alive today and turned out to be a “slow progressor,” he says, but the losses of his friends mounted: “Death was my constant shadow.” Even without Marie-Claude’s social arranging, White seems to know everyone. Paloma Picasso tells him being short means people try to take advantage of her, so she begins any association being cold and intimidating so they take her more seriously. There are gossipy suppers with glamorous friends like Nigella Lawson, Martin Amis, and Julian Barnes. White describes his friendships with other gay writers like Guy Hocquenghem, Doug Ireland, and Adam Mars-Jones. Michel Foucault, the literary theorist, shows White “you can be passionately aggressive about advancing your views… but in the bosom of your friends mild and even humble, certainly sweet.” White begins a friendship with James Lord, author most famously of “My Queer War,” about his experiences in the US Army in the Second World War. Lord, the biographer of Giacometti who owns a portrait by the artist of him, is alarmingly grand, telling one waiter reciting the dishes he’s put in front of Lord and White, he doesn’t need to “because, and
WHITE, continued on p.25
| February 5, 2014
Life Outside Denis Côté examines trials facing ex-con middle-aged lesbian couple in rural Quebec
Hudson Guild Theatre Company
Edward Albee’s The Death Hudson Guild Theatre Company presents of Edward Albee’s The Death of Bessie Smith Bessie Smith
Pierrette Robitaille and Romane Bohringer in Denis Côté’s “Vic + Flo Saw a Bear.”
BY STEVE ERICKSON
ith French-Canadian director Denis Côté’s seventh film, it’s best to start with the title: “Vic + Flo Saw a Bear.” If you haven’t seen it, it sounds innocuous, even flippant. Once one has seen the film and knows what it refers to, it takes on a tragic dimension. This duality is central to Côté’s aesthetic. “Vic + Flo Saw a Bear” starts off as a love story but winds up in a brutal place. Yet as nasty as it gets, it remains true to the initial romance.
VIC + FLO SAW A BEAR Directed by Denis Côté In French with English subtitles Kimstim Opens Feb. 7 Anthology Film Archives 32 Second Ave. at Second St. anthologyﬁlmarchives.org
Upon release from jail, 61-year-old Vic (Pierrette Robitaille) moves into her dying uncle’s sugar shack in rural Quebec. Her partner Flo (Romane Bohringer), who’s also an ex-con, soon joins her. They attempt to enjoy a peaceful life among the trees. However, both women are on parole and must constantly deal with gay P.O. Guillaume (Marc-André Grondin) and a nosy neighbor (Marie Brassard), whose intrusions seem increasingly sinister, especially after she goes from helping Vic with her garden to lying about Flo running up a huge tab at a local bar.
Films about lesbians made by straight men tend to be voyeuristic — the recent debate around Abdellatif Kechiche’s “Blue Is the Warmest Color” and its 10-minute lesbian sex scene would’ve been much different without that history. Refreshingly, “Vic + Flo Saw a Bear” avoids this tendency. It never shows explicit sex. Vic and Flo are middle-aged women, not “babes” in their 20s. If Lena Dunham is considered unattractive by narrow American standards of beauty, Robitaille and Bohringer would be way out of consideration for most heterosexual men's fantasy lives. Instead, the film’s homoerotic sensibility is oriented toward men, who are often shown shirtless. After seeing “Vic + Flo Saw a Bear,” I assumed Côté was gay and was surprised to learn he’s not. However, his original draft of this film’s screenplay was about a gay male couple, not two women. Côté’s style of cinema is fiercely regional. While that has undoubtedly hurt his chances of getting US distribution — I had to travel to the Toronto Film Festival to see his first few films — it’s a testament to his uncompromising nature. (His 2010 film “Curling” was sold to a US distributor who, for some reason, never bothered to actually release it.) Although he lives in Montreal and is such an urbanite he doesn’t even know how to drive, most of his films are set in rural Quebec. They avoid the usual clichés about the countryside. In “Vic + Flo Saw a Bear,” rural Quebec is heavily policed, both by the actual cops and by freelance
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VIC + FLO, continued on p.26
February 5, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com
Not as Lovely as a Tree Emma Roberts, John Cusack are starred-crossed would-be poets in Scott Coffey’s new comedy BY GARY M. KRAMER
he getting of wisdom is fraught with many attempts that result in failure. Life can grind talent down. It’s enough to cause a young, unpublished poet like Amy (Emma Roberts) to stick her head in the oven — that is until she declares it “suicidal plagiarism.” Gay filmmaker Scott Coffey’s “Adult World” is a knowing and very funny comingof-age comedy about Amy’s craving for fame and her failure.
ADULT WORLD Directed by Scott Coffey IFC Films Opens Feb. 14 IFC Center 323 Sixth Ave. at W. Third St. ifccenter.com
Amy is exhaustingly self-important, which is why she is such a terrific comic heroine. “Adult World” makes sure the insufferable Amy, played to a tee by Emma Roberts, gets every comeuppance she deserves. Roberts acts at such a perfectly high, chipper pitch that dogs might come running. Amy writes pretentious, eyerolling verse about the “screaming dirt of chaos.” She claims, rather unconvincingly, “I’m resilient!” after being humiliated by a hunky fellow poetry student. And when her father (Reed Bir ney) infor ms her he will not subsidize her poetry career, she declares, “I will suffer through this!” with a pluckiness that may induce giggles. All of Amy’s “thinking” and “feeling” are really indications of her lack of knowledge and understanding. She also has all too few coping mechanisms for life’s harsh realities, which makes her agitation so amusing. Amy reluctantly finds a job at Adult World, a sex shop where the vibrators scare her and she wonders aloud — and in front of a customer, no less — about “sticky video returns.” Her naiveté is evidenced when she believes her cute co-worker Alex’s (Evan Peters) story about a customer’s dead wife and then tested when she spies the transgender Rubia (Ar mando Riesco) through a glory hole while cleaning the bathroom.
Emma Roberts fawning over John Cusack in Scott Coffey’s “Adult World.”
And she’s drolly melodramatic when she compares riding the bus home at night in Syracuse to being “like in Mogadishu.” “Adult World” is full of such moments brilliantly puncturing Amy’s millennial privilege. The film’s central storyline has Amy trying to ingratiate herself with her favorite poet, Rat Billings (John Cusack), a local. To him, she is a manic sycophant and a first class pain in the ass. Her pushiness prompts sarcasm from Rat: “You would be the type of muse I’d get!” Of course, Amy only hears the word “muse” and delights in it. Rat’s bon mots in response to his clueless would-be protégé offer “Adult World” its best comic moments. He advises Amy Rat to “fail better,” which she does. A scene of Amy dressed up as a cheap hooker, swigging a bottle of alcohol and begging him to “pick her like an exotic flower,” is hilarious. Cusack marvelously conveys weariness and exasperation, as if channeling Bill Murray’s deadpan. Given the film’s jaundiced view of Rat’s celebrity, Amy’s desperation to ascend to his level of mediocrity is the most telling thing about her. Her blinkered view of life is underscored by how little we learn about the other characters’ lives outside of Amy’s connection to them. She does manage to bond with both Rubia, with whom she temporarily moves in, and Alex, until a romantic conflict surfaces. Their kind-heartedness toward Amy may come off as improbable, but it effectively offsets Rat’s nastiness. And seeing her with Rubia and Alex, we
ADULT WORLD, continued on p.26
| February 5, 2014
IN THE NOH
Character Actresses Golden, Simard, York, and Harris on why being a leading lady sucks BY DAVID NOH
From New Hampshire, she studied at the Boston Conservatory of Music, “but left because I started getting job opportunities. I made my Off Broadway debut in ‘Forbidden Broadway’ in 1992, and originally met Seth when he was a pianist at Marie’s Crisis. I ended a song with a high belting note, which he loved, and then I discovered we went to the same therapist! Oops, did I just out him? For the record, I’ve never met a healthier individual than Seth Rudetsky! [Laughs.] “As a kid, I taught myself to belt by listening to Streisand and Summer’s ‘Enough is Enough.’ I used to duet with Seth, when he’d do his hospital shows, on ‘Suddenly Seymour,’ and at the end I would take it up to this crazy, inappropriate high A flat. It’s not even pretty and does not resolve anything musically, but Seth likes those kinds of notes. “For our New Year’s Eve performance of ‘Disaster!,’ I sang ‘The Morning After,’ and Seth said, ‘Jennifer, do your signature high A flat.’ So now it’s my signature, I don’t know if you knew that. So inappropriate: I’m like a skater who ranks zero in artistic merit, but I’m a jumper!”
ost aspiring actress little girls dream of starring in a Broadway musical, but, really, once you get too old to be the dewy, virginal ingénue, what’s left? Recently, I was happy to hear from four formidable ladies who are quite content to lend colorful, powerful support that often lingers longer in viewer memories than the efforts of the showcased golden girl in the spotlight. Golden-throated vet Annie Golden originated the role of Shirley in “Disaster! the Musical” when it debuted in 2012 at the Triad, and is now returning to its new venue, St. Luke’s Theatre, for a short run (308 W. 46th St.; disastermusical.com). “I’m in it for three weeks before going into rehearsals for ‘Violet,’” she told me. “Seth Rudetsky, whom I have known for years, offered it to me when wonderful Mary Testa was leaving the show. She does it big and at first I did it more her way, but Seth stopped me and said, ‘We want Annie Golden,’ which was good, because I really don’t do broad character acting, that’s not my thing. “I see her as representing the same demographic in the piece as Shelley Winters in ‘The Poseidon Adventure,’ which was the last film I ever saw with my mother who died when I was 21 and never really got to see me perform professionally. I’m from Park Slope, Brooklyn, before it was chic, very blue collar and even rougher back then. I always sang in the choir, the loudest voice, but was not a musical theater kid. “I was singing in the Bowery [with the punk rock band the Shirts] when I was discovered and put into a movie [‘Hair’]. That was a really important time and fun, but when you’re in the middle of something, you don’t realize it’s important. CBGB’s owner, Hilly Kristal, told me, ‘Annie you always came back,’ which I did, performing at benefits, asking for gigs, which not everyone who became big always did afterwards. He was the proud godfather of people he’d discovered, moving on with their lives and careers.” Golden also had the honor of creating a Stephen Sondheim role when she played Squeaky Fromme in the original production of “Assassins” (1990). “He was wonderful to me, aware of my nervousness as a rock kid at suddenly being thrown in with all those musical theater heavyweights, and very caring,” she recalled. “He was kind of writing the part on me and asked me what I listened to, and I just blurted out ‘Kate Bush,’ and I’d like to think that maybe he listened to her when he was writing the wonderful song I got.” Golden, who never got the lead roles I think she deserved, has always been happy to be a character actress, and recently landed in “Orange is the New Black.” “I said to my agent, to quote Sondheim, ‘This late in my career…’,” Golden said. “Who knew I’d be doing it for so long and then hit on a series that’s so powerful for women of every demographic? And the cast is all these magnanimous women of every shape and size with different writers for every episode, who all agree on the tone of the show. “They originally auditioned me for the activist nun which Beth Fowler got, but then they gave me another
Jennifer Simard’s Sister Mary in “Disaster!” is the funniest performance in town.
role that wasn’t even there and had been under wraps. Norma is wonderful and she switches among the different prison tribes, gaining trust from them. She’s very relatable to me. She’s not lesbian — no judging — but I can’t even say that she’s not. We don’t really know that much about her — the other women are more actively blatant, others are quiet and on the down low. But Norma hasn’t had any romance, just deep friendships with women. We’ll see… “When this audition came up, the producers had impressed on the casting agent that all the women should not wear makeup. So I said, ‘Okay, you asked for ugly, you’re gonna get it.’ It was hard to be on camera with no makeup, but because I originally read for the nun that was easier to do.”
Someone who did land the nun’s part is Jennifer Simard, Golden’s co-star in
“Disaster!,” who gives the absolute funniest performance on any stage right now, playing the gambling-addicted Sister Mary. “I just love my character,” Simard said. “I told Seth Rudetsky that my favorite things about people are the things we find most unlovable about ourselves. There’s so much damage going on with Sister Mary it begs the question: What happened to her? She’s not a very good nun, mispronouncing psalms all the time, but someone has to be the worst nun in class. She tries very hard, but you find the most fodder when you look for people’s greatest Achilles’ heel.” Simar was, helpfully, raised Catholic “and I played a nun in two productions of ‘Nunsense’ and was honored to be part of ‘Sister Act’ on Broadway.”
Utterly gorgeous triple threat Rachel York is the wild card in this bunch of actresses, but she also happily considers herself a character actor. She will be starring as Belle Poitrine in the Encores! revival of the Cy Coleman/ Carolyn Leigh/ Neil Simon show, “Little Me” (131 W. 55th St., Feb. 5-9; nycitycenter.org), and said, “Christian Borle is amazingly funny and I basically play straight man to all of his crazy characters. But Belle also matures and changes as she starts out an innocent ingénue and then begins to use her assets to acquire all her goals of wealth and social position. Coleman was something of a fairy godfather to York’s career, as she made her Broadway debut in his “City of Angels”: “This is like coming full circle and I feel like, ‘Cy, did you have something to do with this?’ I keep doing his stuff, was also in the review ‘The Best is Yet to Come.’ Such a sweet man and he wrote a fantastic song for me and was so kind when I was really green at the time, and always rooting for me. York was Tony-nominated for “Victor Victoria”: “It was a dream to work with Julie Andrews, who became a sort of second Mum to me. An angel, exactly how you’d think she would be, even when she’d say, ‘Oh, f*** off, Rachel!’ [Laughs.] She was like this thoroughbred who can’t stop racing and had to be there for the show. What was unfortunate was that she needed a year off, but wasn’t able to take it because everyone was depending on her. They got somebody — Liza! — to fill in for a month, but she really needed a year. There was so much pressure on her because when she was out, there’d be five people in the audience.” The Empress of Comic Timing,
Harriet Harris is also in “Little Me,” and is such a generous character actress that she now doesn’t look so much for great parts for herself as she does the opportunity to work with people she loves and admires. This is a big reason why she took on a role
IN THE NOH, continued on p.28
February 5, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com
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| February 5, 2014
Three Tenors Russell Thomas, Piotr Beczala, and Bryan Hymel in distinguished New York appearances
enors do not need to come in threes, but recent weeks have seen three major exponents of high-voiced reper tory gracing local stages. One of these — the late-blooming Polish star Piotr Beczala — would be on anyone’s list of great operatic singers active today. The other two — Russell Thomas and Bryan Hymel — are young Americans, each with a few international successes and an increasing prominence in major theaters’ plans. Thomas, who started at the Met in tiny roles, is still making his way, but his dark-hued voice is reliable and powerful, if short on “wine and sunshine” timbre. Still, he’s made creditable attempts at Verdi leads at the Met and Covent Garden and scored strongly in “I masnadieri” at Washington Concert Opera earlier this season. He appeared January 17 alongside the capable mezzo Elizabeth Bishop in the New Jersey Symphony concert in Princeton, singing Mahler’s “Das Lied von der Erde” under music director Jacques Lacombe. Musical New Yorkers should keep an eye on the NJSO’s schedule — t h e e n s e m b l e s h o w e d i t s e l f very accomplished on this occasion, not only in Mahler’s lush sound world but in Tan Dun’s new and very smartly conceived companion piece “Earth Concerto,” getting its US première. Using his trademark blend of rhythmic daring and original sonic textures (here supplied by expert wind and percussion players), Dun’s tripartite piece plays off of the thematic chinoiserie inherent in Mahler’s three songs for his tenor soloist. It deserves wide circulation. “Das Lied” itself also came of f we ll, w it h on ly o c c a s i o n a l br a s s problems; the flutes and oboe excelled. Thomas projected his voice steadily over Mahler’s sometimes fearsome
orchestration, finding some places to lighten the timbre. He still needs to acquire the verbal acuity to make something more of the difficult, clamorous text, but the voice itself is very sound. Bishop, with her considerable Wagnerian experience (a Met Venus and DC Brangaene stand out), shaped her phrases with more point. Though her soft-grained voice tends to lack chest tone coloration, she made something beautiful and profound of the concluding “Der Abschied” — some of the best singing I’ve heard all season. Lacombe calls on Thomas again for NJSO’s Verdi “Requiem” April 3-6, in Newark, Princeton, and Morristown.
I ’ m g l a d t h e M e t is finally filming Günther Schneider Siemssen’s fairy-tale sets for Dvořák's “Rusalka,” but they’re looking a mite tired, and leading lady Renée Fleming, alas, sounds much reduced vocally in one of her best roles — victims, like Desdemona, have always suited her best. Perhaps with a body mic for the February 8 HD screening she’ll be able to project more in her diminished middle range than on opening night, January 23. Some of Fleming’s high notes still had their familiar quality, but she ran out of steam for the great, tragic finale and she kept her music s-l-o-w and her action generalized. Young and pleasingly out conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin was — as ever — widely praised, but though the orchestra was sonorous, he brought little idiomatic understanding to this wonderful score and tended to blare. Emily Magee did not shine in the tough, short role of the Foreign Princess, while Dolora Zajick continues to revel in the Jezibaba’s range extremes and bluff humor, even though her middle voice displayed a worrying hole. John Relyea, whose Met career started brilliantly in 2000, has sounded muffled of late. Even
WHITE, from p.20
I’m going to astonish you — we ordered it!” For all his eccentricities, Lord, says White, “was a very serious writer, who worked every day, no matter how hungover.” In the most moving chapters, White recalls his relationship with Sorin, from the moment they met at a Paris gym to Sorin’s awful, messy death from AIDS in Marrakesh. Sorin loved him, which White was grateful for, his ego having taken a bruising from what happened with Brice and also feeling too old for gay life. “Gratitude is my chief erotic
KEN HOWARD/ METROPOLITAN OPERA
BY DAVID SHENGOLD
Piotr Beczala as the Prince in Dvorák's "Rusalka."
after some vocal rest, his Water Sprite lacked some oomph. The evening was dominated by Beczala’s Prince, aptly sexy and — well — princely in demeanor and both sensitive and exciting to hear. If you’ve never seen this ravishing opera, go for his sake.
Hymel had the most conventional assignment:
Pinkerton, the feckless American sailor who through his cultural insensitivity causes “Madama Butterfly”’s tragedy. This important but not very long role was to have been his Met debut, and — as is often the case at the Met, such as with Magee — management didn’t seem to want to bring a rising singer in with something that would showcase their very best. Fortunately, last season Hymel had jumped in for Jonas Kaufmann in London in the murderously tough part of Énée in Berlioz’ “Les Troyens” — the kind of high-lying challenge the Cajun tenor thrives on. He did a follow-up a few months later by jumping headfirst into saving the Met’s “Troyens” and thriving, all captured
emotion,” he writes. “We had very hot sex, but I figured out he wanted to be dominated (only in bed), which wasn’t my natural role, though I hoped to bind him to me by playing it. For me a current lover has always been like whatever current book I’m writing — an obsessive project orienting all my thoughts. I have such a geisha temperament that I long to please men.” The book ends with White meeting his partner, now husband, of 18 years, Michael Carroll. In the late 1990s, the couple returns to New York, where so many of White’s friends have died. Summer holidays in Provence become holidays in Maine. MC dies of
on an HD broadcast. Only the greatest singers can manage Énée, while almost any standard issue tenor can tackle Pinkerton — as the Met seems anxious to prove in its assignments of the role for the rest of the season to three different journeymen. Hymel doesn’t command particularly golden, italianate sound in the middle voice, but on January 28 the top voice proved thrilling and his overall vocal security is welcome. He also worked hard and successfully to give nuanced touches to the naive young man’s behavior — no mere swaggering and posturing. His Butter fly was a tall South African named Amanda Echalaz, who’s been making waves in the UK in verismo repertory. Her performance was pleasing and “solid” rather than moving and accomplished, though the underlying effects of Belasco’s play and Puccini’s score carry any decent soprano pretty far. Echalaz’ middle voice is quite resplendent and capable of dynamic shading, and proved welcome after Fleming’s virtual lack of resonance in the same vocal area. Less winning were her choked lower range and an often slightly — or not so slightly — shrill top, with B flats clipped. She managed a cogent reading of Cio-Cio-San as a naive girl, adding some touches new to the visually striking if sometimes over -busy Mingella production. Elizabeth de Shong (Suzuki) sang beautifully and sympathetically, though ceding vocal dominance in the great trio to Hymel. The other satisfying, healthy sounds came from Alexey Lavrov as the frustrated suitor Yamadori. Scott Hendricks acted Sharpless soundly but the voice seemed worn and unspecial. New leads — of most potential excitement, Kristine Opolais — take over the March run. David Shengold (shengold@yahoo. com) writes about opera for many venues.
cancer; White’s eyes remain dry — he has lost so many friends, he writes, recalling her wonderful warmth (and tapenade). This is not just a book of such beautifully sketched memories and friendships, but about memory itself — its tricks and highlights, the warmth and also chill it confers on our present. It is about the nourishment White has taken from culture and the arts, from sex and his many friendships. The last line of the book provides one of its most surprising illuminations. Warm and also piercing, it crystallizes what makes White such an important, fine writer.
February 5, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com
Documentary Shorts Examine Redemption In separate Oscar nominees, Nazi thug reconciles with gay victim, murderer is offered succor at death BY GARY M. KRAMER
prompts a reconsideration of how end of life care issues are being handled for the incarcerated.
SHORTS HD/ MAGNOLIA PICTURES
wo films — one with queer content, the other by a queer filmmaker — are vying for Best Short Subject Documentary at this year’s Oscars. Gay City News spoke with the two filmmakers about their projects.
FACING FEAR Directed by Jason Cohen Running in Program A
Matthew Boger and Tim Zaal in Jason Cohen's "Facing Fear."
Directed by Edgar Barens Running in Program B
that I could forgive. But the only way to know is to be [Matthew] and go through his experiences. Forgiveness is not a cut and dry issue. We wanted to show that their personal experiences and societal factors were part of the process as they came back into each other’s lives.
Shorts HD/ Magnolia Pictures IFC Center 323 Sixth Ave. at W. Third St. ifccenter.com
“Facing Fear,” written and directed by the straight Jason Cohen, artfully chronicles the intersecting lives of Tim Zaal, a neo-Nazi, and Matthew Boger, a gay man. Twenty-six years ago, Zaal and his friends beat up Boger and left him for dead. Yet Boger survived. Working as a manager at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, Boger unexpectedly reunited with Zaal — now a former Neo-Nazi — and forgave his attacker. GARY M. KRAMER: How did you come to learn about the story of Zaal and Boger? JASON COHEN: This was part of a larger project with the Fetzer Institute, a non-profit that does work about promoting love and forgiveness. Tim and Matthew’s story jumped out at me; it was about exploring this process of forgiveness. In talking about how we address bullying and hate, it struck me as something I wanted to explore. GMK: Do you think you could have forgiven Tim if you were Matthew? JC: I had to think about how I would react in that situation, but I really don’t know. I don’t know
VIC + FLO, from p.21
criminals. It promises freedom but does not deliver on it. The cinematography captures its blue and green colors, and even the costumes seem to draw on the same shades as the landscape. As critic Melissa Anderson wrote, “Vic is terrified of losing Flo, setting in motion a push-pull between the two women that grows only more painful to witness.” Flo is bisexual,
ADULT WORLD, from p.22
never forget Amy’s narcissism. “Adult World” is a bit formulaic in suggesting that what Amy needs to do is simply embrace her inner freak and
GMK: Do you think Matthew was just in the wrong place at the wrong time? JC: I think this attack happened in 1980, so there was no such thing as a hate crime. It was a gay bashing. If it happened today, it would have been looked at differently. GMK: How has being nominated for an Oscar changed your life or work as a filmmaker? JC: I’m happy to be nominated, and we’ll see what happens. It’s a huge boost and hopefully it will continue to blossom from there. With this recognition, we get to do this on a wider scale.
Edgar Barens’ “Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall” is a somber and fascinating short documentary film that explores a unique hospice center at the Iowa State Penitentiary. Chronicling the last two weeks in the life of Jack Hall, a decorated soldier who went to prison for 21 years for murdering a drug dealer, Barens’ film
GMK: How did you come to learn about the story of Jack Hall and the Iowa State Prison Hospice? EDGAR BARENS: I didn’t seek Jack out from the get go; it was a random thing. By the time Iowa State Penitentiary approved me to visit, I stationed myself in the infirmary, as I was highlighting the hospice program. I got to know the inmate volunteers, who are also orderlies. Jack was a long-term patient. Three months into my stay, I realized he was one to focus on and got to know his story. GMK: What was your goal in making this film? EB: My first goal was to humanize the prisoner. These are people who made horrible mistakes. I wanted to know the inmate who was dying, why the inmates who helped were doing it, as well as about the doctors and nurses. My goal was to show these [hospice] programs work, that they don’t cost anything and they need to be expanded. GMK: You are a gay filmmaker. Was there a reason you chose not to tell a gay story? EB: I don’t shy away from gay issues, but none of my larger films are gay themed. My next documentary started with a queer topic. I love doing films on criminal justice. It’s become my cause. I feel that society needs to open their eyes and we can’t lock people up and throw away the key. I guess it is my calling. These people have no voice. GMK: What has been the impact of the experience of being nominated on your life and work as a filmmaker? EB: I don’t think I prepared myself for this. I’m flabbergasted by this sudden attention the film is getting. Other folks who have been nominated or won said that my life will or might change, and the way of getting funding, and people will be interested in your projects. I’m bracing myself. Nothing drastic has happened yet. It’s crazy. My friends are more flipped out than I am. But this is actually happening. When I got the cover letter from the Academy, it gave me chills.
casually flirting with the local men. When I interviewed Côté, he told me that he made Guillaume gay as a way of avoiding the possibility of an affair between him and Flo. Up to a certain point, the dangers faced by Vic and Flo seem like an external version of the pressures confronted by every couple. Socially marginal, Vic doesn’t have much to look forward to in life besides her relationship with Flo. Flo may be on the verge of her 40s herself, but, more
than two decades younger than Vic, she at least has time on her side. “Vic + Flo Saw a Bear” ’s style initially relies on naturalism, but its ending leans toward horror, if not exactly in the genre sense. These contradictions are familiar in Côté’s work. His previous film, “Bestiaire,” appeared to be a documentary about a zoo in Montreal, but the director admits he manipulated circumstances to make the zoo appear more oppressive toward animals than
it actually is and reconstructed much of its soundtrack in the studio after the shoot. His latest film, which is about to premiere at the Berlin Film Festival, also flirts with documentary but includes a few professional actors among its subjects. In the end, the genre-bending of “Vic + Flo Saw a Bear” makes way for a grim romanticism. Vic and Flo’s fate is simultaneously terrifying and achingly hopeful.
accept the sort of marginalized status that Rubia has. The porn shop is an oddly safe space for Amy, who could realize her true self if she stopped writing bad poetry long enough to pay attention to people like Alex. There’s
nothing new about these kinds of life lessons, but the message in “Adult Wo r l d ” m a n a g e s t o r e s o n a t e . I n sharply and sensitively played scenes toward the end, a slightly wiser Amy is finally, and poignantly, able to hear
what Rat has been telling her all along. Coffey succeeds in not overplaying these moments. “Adult World” finds real humor in Amy’s epic fail. Coming of age is painful, but it can also be hilarious.
| February 5, 2014
28 IN THE NOH, from p.23
she describes as having “about two lines and four outfits. I play Christian Borle’s mother, Mrs. Eggleston. I don’t know how it’s going to work out — she doesn’t have a lot of stage time but I guess a domineering mother doesn’t need a lot of time, as she looms large in a child’s mind!” Harris can make an opulent meal of whatever she’s given to do, and she certainly did that with her Tonywinning role in “Thoroughly Modern Millie”: “Such a happy circumstance and odd turn of events, and I loved my partners, Frances Jue and Ken Leung, who played Bun Foo and Ching Ho.” I told Harris that, during the intermission all these overly p.c. white folk came creeping up to me, asking if I was offended by Harris’ wild Asian racial stereotypical performance. I laughingly told them to lighten up, but, apparently such concerns are still prevalent, as a planned student production at Dalton School will be excising the fun: “I did the first workshop and told [director] Michael Greif, ‘I think it’ll be really funny if I had this really, really offensive accent.’ He looked at me and said, ‘And you’re going to talk to the fellows about this, aren’t you?’ “Oh, God, I had to! And it seemed like such a funny idea in the abstract, so supremely, grotesquely offensive! Frances and Ken first looked at me like
February 5, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com
Judy Kaye, Harriet Harris, and Rachel York appear in “Little Me” as part of City Center’s Encore! program, February 5-9.
I was dancing on the graves of their families. Then they both laughed and said, ‘That was hilarious. Yeah, you can do that ‘cause that’s really awful and if it was any better you wouldn’t be allowed to do that.’ And then, for subsequent venues, when we added Ching Ho’s and Bun Foo’s, I again had to go and ask, and always thought, ‘What if they say
BEAUTIFUL, from p.19
lady in truly awe-inspiring fashion. As Goffin, Weill, and Mann, Jake Epstein, Anika Larsen, and Jarrod Spector, respectively, are every bit Mueller’s match, top-notch Broadway performers all. The dynamic company moves effortlessly among different song styles while expertly executing Josh Prince’s insightful choreography. Derek McClane’s versatile set is outstanding, as are the costumes by Alejo Vietti and Peter Kaczarowski’s lighting. Quibbles? Sure, but why belabor them? This show has one goal — to entertain. It does so joyfully — and beautifully, too.
no, because that’s what made that part funny.’ “At ‘Millie,’ like with ‘Cinderella,’ which I am leaving this Sunday [February 2], I was amazed at the international Broadway audiences we’d get. I don’t know why, but I am, and a lot of Chinese and Japanese people would come. The Japanese people would say, ‘That’s
O n e o b v i o u s r u l e o f t h u m b in playwriting is that if one is going to create a thriller, then it should probably be thrilling. Jake Jeppson seems to have missed that in his new play, “The Clearing.” Jeppson lifts liberally from sources as diverse as “Sunset Boulevard” (the protagonist/ narrator is dead at the beginning), Sam Shepard (brothers with unresolved issues), Harold Pinter (the story is told backwards, kind of), Agatha Christie (throw in plot twists not justified by anything that went before), and others writers infinitely more talented than he, and the result is a tedious and pointless affair that has neither suspense, plausibility, nor style.
THE CLEARING St. Clement’s Theatre 423 W. 46th St. Tue.-Sat. at 8 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. $49.50; ovationtix.com or 212-561-0407
The story is about two adult brothers, Les and Chris, and a secret they’ve shared for 18 years, which they allude to incessantly. They find their place to get away, the eponymous clearing, horse around, and eat s’mores. Les, as it turns out, is gay and when he brings his new lover, Peter, into the family, Chris is jealous. Chris, by the way, is emotionally unstable and torments his mother, Ella, who obligingly suffers. Peter is a photographer, and Ella tries to assuage her
really funny and it’s so Chinese!’ and the Chinese people would say, ‘That’s so Japanese!’ [Laughs.]” The late, great costume designer Martin Pakledinaz was another source of “Millie” joy, as he was so collaborative, agreeing to Harris’ ideas to wear pants, to keep an illusion of her and the guys as one moving unit, and also having the dragon print on the back of her robe end so that her head would appear as the dragon’s head. Winning the Tony was a ridiculous/ sublime combo for her, with a fabulous Bill Blass gown and millions of dollars of borrowed diamonds but also having her limo get a flat tire. “So my sweetheart and I had to walk to the Tonys,” she recalled. “Me, this relatively obscure person — even now — approaching the red carpet. ‘Please don’t turn me away and make me go back again!’ “ I didn’t think I was going to win, but Frances said, ‘You gotta write a speech.’ And one of the dumber things I’ve ever done was, instead of doing press afterwards, I ran back to be in the audience because I knew Sutton [Foster] was going to win and wanted to be there. And that was just dumb, because by the time I got to the press room, everyone was gone by then. But, other than missing a massive opportunity, it was a delightful evening!”
troubled soul by posing naked for him because… Well, your guess is as good as mine. Meanwhile, we learn that Ella’s husband, the boys’ father, disappeared with no warning, also 18 years ago. Eventually, the secret is revealed — not that we were on the edges of our seats — Chris has a psychotic break and murders Peter, the brothers part for good, and we get some unfocused musings from Peter about what it’s like to be in the afterlife. If the story isn’t confusing enough, the play also jumps around in time, which is sometimes flagged and other times not, but one quickly stops caring and wishes they would just get on with it, wherever it’s going. Josh Hecht’s direction is undistinguished, but the game cast does what they can with it. Brian McManamon and Brian P. Murphy play the brothers, though they do not look as though they could possibly be related. They both go a long way to make the stilted dialogue actually sound like something real people would say. Gene Gallerano is quite good as Peter, with a warm, engaging presence. Allison Daugherty deserves praise for her handling the overlong nude scene. She has a level of honesty that’s quite appealing, even though the scene’s insertion into the story is awkward and the notion that Ella needs to literally be nude to become vulnerable is the hallmark of an immature playwright. Running out of steam quickly, the piece continues trying to find itself. My father used to complain that our rector’s sermons “came to three perfectly good stopping places and just kept on going.” The only thrill to be had in this trying evening is that “The Clearing” does, finally, end.
July 18 - 24, 2013
| February 5, 2014
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February 5, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR PUBLISHER JENNIFER GOODSTEIN
Jennifer@communitymediallc.com ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER & CO-FOUNDER TROY MASTERS
Long Past Time for Obama Action on Jobs Protections BY PAUL SCHINDLER
EDITOR IN-CHIEF & CO-FOUNDER PAUL SCHINDLER
firstname.lastname@example.org ASSOCIATE EDITOR Duncan Osborne
Christopher Byrne (Theater), Susie Day (Perspective), Doug Ireland (International), Brian McCormick (Dance)
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Seth J. Bookey, Anthony M.Brown, Kelly Jean Cogswell, Andres Duque, Michael Ehrhardt, Steve Erickson, Andy Humm, Eli Jacobson, David Kennerley, Gary M. Kramer, Arthur S. Leonard, Michael T. Luongo, Lawrence D. Mass, Winnie McCroy, Eileen McDermott, Mick Meenan, Tim Miller, Gregory Montreuil, Christopher Murray, David Noh, Nathan Riley, David Shengold, Yoav Sivan, Gus Solomons Jr., Tim Teeman, Kathleen Warnock, B enjamin Weinthal, Dean P. Wrzeszcz
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Faced with nearly unremitting opposition from congressional Republicans, President Barack Obama has, in the past couple of years and even more so in recent days, spoken about moving his agenda forward through the issuance of executive orders and other administrative actions. In perhaps the most dramatic example of that approach, the president used his State of the Union Address last week to underscore his commitment to get around GOP roadblocks against a minimum wage increase by issuing an order that contractors doing business with the federal government must pay their employees at least $10.10 per hour. Currently, the federal minimum wage is only $7.25. In an economy that has experienced a steady widening of the gap between society’s richest and poorest, the president’s actions represent a commendable show of leadership. But his willingness to enforce a minimum wage on federal contractors makes his continued
failure to enforce on that very same class of companies requirements that they abide by nondiscrimination practices when it comes to sexual orientation and gender identity all the more difficult to understand. On repeated occasions, the administration’s response to questions about a nondiscrimination executive order has consisted of simply pointing to Obama’s support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). In fact, in a recent exchange with the Washington Blade’s Chris Johnson, who has done exemplary work in bringing this issue up at White House briefings, press secretary Jay Carney was more than a bit petulant, saying, “Chris, you know, we’ve talked about this a lot” — “this” being something Carney insisted on dismissing as “a hypothetical executive order for LGBT non-discrimination for federal contractors.” An executive order, Carney said “was the wrong approach.” But if that’s the wrong approach, it’s hard to discern the advantages of the administration’s approach — continuing to push for ENDA, which the Republican leadership in the House has made clear it has no intention of moving on. In fact,
the Blade also reported, Speaker John Boehner recently told members of the House LGBT Equality Caucus that there was “no way” the measure, approved for the first time by the Senate — after more than 20 years — in November, would get a floor vote in the House this year. Clearly, Republican intransigence on LGBT jobs protections is at least as great as their opposition to raising the minimum wage. And the president can address both issues in precisely the same way, by enforcing a mandate on those who wish to profit by doing business with the federal government. That group is far from all companies, of course, but the breadth of businesses that are federal contractors means that such executive action can have profound influence on what the overall environment is for LGBT employees nationwide. Increasingly, in order to be competitive in the labor market, even companies that don’t do business with the federal government will see the wisdom in adopting workplace fairness guidelines. Currently, 29 states offer no private sector employment protections for LGBT workers — and lest anyone think that New York has surmounted that hurdle, it
should be remembered that the Empire State is among another six that offer protections based only on sexual orientation, not gender identity. In 2012, Tico Almeida, who as founder of Freedom to Work is among the strongest proponents of a presidential executive order, pressed the administration hard on this issue as Obama campaigned for reelection. Many gay voters, however, largely focused on the president’s embrace that May of marriage equality. Even advocates working alongside Almeida to see an executive order become a reality thought that action was more likely in a second term and so were willing to give Obama time. The time for patience is over — in fact, it was a long time ago. Wi t h D e m o c r a t s w i d e l y expected to fall short in their hopes of regaining the House this November, there is a very good chance that Obama will never have the opportunity to sign ENDA into law. But as with an executive order on the minimum wage, the president can achieve a lot with the stroke of the pen. In an interview with Bloomberg News, John Podesta, recently named a White House counselor, broke with the administration’s pattern of dodging the issue, saying a nondiscrimination executive order “is under consideration at the White House. We're looking at that." Let’s hope that on this one, it is Podesta and not Carney who speaks for the president.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR A RESET ON HEALTH
OKLAHOMA’S GETTING OK
REMEMBERING HERB COHEN
January 22, 2014 To the Editor: I’m pretty certain that Dr. Mary Bassett will be an improvement over Farley (“Conversant on AIDS, New Health Commissioner Not Known Among Advocates,” by Duncan Osborne, Jan. 22). She apparently understands concepts like “the social determinants of health,” which Farley pooh-poohed. “Just do what we, the docs, tell you” was his philosophy. It’ll be interesting to see who she appoints as the HIV/AIDS assistant commissioner.
January 20, 2014 To the Editor Living in Oklahoma I see this as a giant victory, even bigger than one would think since Oklahoma is probably the reddest state in the union (“Oklahoma Marriage Ban Thrown Out, But Ruling Stayed Pending Appeal,” by Arthur S. Leonard, posted online, Jan. 14). I hope the appeal is folded in with the Utah appeal. I encourage everyone to read Judge Kern’s decision. Though it took him over nine years to rule, he evidently has been doing his homework and studying what other judges finding in favor of marriage equality have been writing.
January 24, 2014 To the Editor: What a kind and generous friend (“Herb Cohen, Physician and Activist, Dies at 89,” by Andy Humm, Jan. 22). His legacy will endure.
George de Stefano
Larry Lincoln January 23, 2014 To the Editor: He was a wonderful person and will be missed. Susan Cowell
WRITE US! Please send letters to the editor, of 250 words or less, to: Editor@GayCityNews.com or mail them to 515 Canal Street, Suite 1C, New York, NY 10013 Gay City News reserves the right to edit letters for space or legal considerations.
| February 5, 2014
Activism in Sepia: Lost Community
BY KELLY COGSWELL
t’s Black History Month again and time to celebrate the sepiatoned accomplishments of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. Watch TV, you’ll learn it didn’t really take much work, just a lot of outrage at inequality and the overwhelming desire for liberty, justice, and a long, pain-free life. God, how this storytelling enrages me, how we cast a few chosen figures as heroes, and obscure any useful knowledge about the way movements actually work. In fact, the whole project seems over and done with, the monster of racism and white supremacy magically slain. So much for all the black men in prison. The inequalities of income. Voter disenfranchisement. The young black men killed in Florida when others Stand Their Ground. Not that The Gays are any better when it comes to popularizing our history. We celebrate Pride around the anniversary of Stonewall, as if a few nights of rioting changed the world by themselves. We ignore all the activists before and after, except for Harvey Milk. And when the Supreme Court definitively overturns all the anti-gay state mar riage laws, we’ll toss a bunch of confetti in the air, and put the lawyers on pedestals. Hip, hip, fuckin’ hurray. Though when the worst of the court-
room battles are over, we’ll discover, like African Americans, that we’re left with our own intransigent problems: LGBT youth kicked out of their homes, the baby bigots in schools who torture young queer kids into suicide, or when they get older, beat the crap out of us on the street. Gay marriage won’t protect anybody from AIDS. Transpeople will still find it tough getting jobs much less keeping them. And lesbi-
and somehow takes root — if there’s a thriving community, under siege, yes, but self-aware, with a language and identity that grows stronger day by day. That was the situation, anyway, after Stonewall. And before that, when four young black freshmen from the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University put on their Sunday best and dared demand a snack at the Woolworth’s
One by one we’ve lost the bars and bookstores, art projects and theaters. Activist organizations have been replaced by LBGT, Incorporated.
ans better look het, and knuckle-under, not just to homophobia, but to that social delight, misogyny. Only a renewed movement can save us. Which you can forget as long as our only images of that are a few speeches and marches. A demo with horrible cops and virtuous protesters. Not the late night conversations. The pamphlets, and phone trees, and endless, sometimes acrimonious meetings. The real history of change is a story of tedium and dashed hopes, too much coffee, quick affairs, so many failures that they eventually take on a critical mass that destroys the thickest walls,
lunch counter. They couldn’t have done it alone in a time and place when Southern segregation was still enforced by violence, terror, and death. Those four kids were able to fight back because they could feel the thousands and millions behind them. They were part of something bigger than themselves as students in a black college where black student groups thrived, sometimes partnering with the NAACP, sometimes emerging from black churches, sometimes in spite of them. It helped, also, that they knew of other black students who had been successful with similar protests in Kansas,
Tarek Mehanna: His Tragic Immoderation
BY SUSIE DAY
have become a card-carrying, tax-paying moderate, thanks to a study I found in Politico. com. Psychologists Kaitlin Toner and Mark Leary discovered that the more extreme politicians’ views are, the more they think they’re right. In fact, politicians’ “belief superiority” — the certainty that their own viewpoints are correct — was linked to “political extremism.” Conversely, moderates showed less belief superiority and “supported a middle-of-the-road approach to political issues.” Toner and Leary meant their study to apply to our current Congress. But
I’ve also found it life-changing for actual people. It certainly helped me throw down my bleeding-heart crutches of ultra-leftism. I was blind, but now I see: Both Sides! Unlike that strident feminist peace group Code Pink. Code Pink publicly denounces unavoidable mishaps caused by US military policies, such as innocent foreigners dying in US drone strikes. They dress up in unfashionable shocking pink and act out during prestigious occasions such as presidential press conferences, yelling things like, “Apologize to the thousands of Muslims that you have killed!” Then they get dragged off and interrogated by Secret Service agents. The fact that these activists embar-
rass me proves that I am now a mature moderate who can parse complicated moral issues. Ergo, Code Pink may have a good, “thou-shalt-not-kill” argument, but drones are people too. Before my conversion, Code Pink might have made me feel guilty — but no more, bitches! Now that I discern your insulting “belief superiority,” I can shun you as contemptible ‘60s throwbacks — while pitying the anonymous losers in Yemeni wedding parties who get themselves killed by US drone attacks. Outside the parameters of this study, however, it’s important to note that not all extremist beliefs are created equal. There is good extremism, and there is evil extremism. For example, becoming
Oklahoma, and Kentucky. Activism begets more activism when there’s a community primed and ready for it. The irony is how quickly we minorities can become victims of our own success. Growing acceptance opens doors and, especially in the case of queers, isolates us from each other. Born among straights, young queers have begun to stay there, declaring, “I’m the same as you.” The traditional community in New York is all but defunct. First dispersed from our ghettoes by gentrification and newly satisfied with the merely gay-friendly, we’ve decided virtual contact is enough. Along with maybe the quick fuck. One by one we’ve lost the bars and bookstores, art projects and theaters. Activist organizations have been replaced by LGBT, Incorporated, the mammoth lobbying groups that lead the charge only in the most conservative, and acceptable, of fights. Only a few places have survived, like Women’s One World Theater (WOW), and the LGBT Community Center. As we consolidate our politics, the identity and language that evolved in the streets and bars have also been lost. Queers come out even before high school, but don’t seem to have any sense of the collective, no matter how many Facebook groups they join or selfies they “heart” on Tumblr. A girl likes girls. So what? She can still barely say the word “lesbian” and is probably appalled by “dyke.” Either because it sounds too butch, or because she hasn’t heard it being reclaimed by a lesbian mouth. Kelly Cogswell’s “Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger” will be published by the University of Minnesota Press in March.
a moderate means that I have earned the right to be protected from terrorism. Which means that I trust my government to adhere to the twin precepts of: (a) unending war; and (b) unrelenting surveillance. So here’s a state secret: It is our government’s good-extremist belief in Terror that makes my moderate, middle-ofthe-road belief system not only possible but necessary. Want proof? Take the case of Tarek Mehanna. He makes Code Pink look like a Brownie troop of Sarah Palins. Why? It starts with his immoderate name. Tarek Mehanna was born in 1982 in Pittsburgh and grew up in Sudbury, a suburb of Boston. As a boy, Mehanna was inspired to fight for the oppressed — he wrote in his sentencing statement — by heroes like Batman, Malcolm X, and Paul Revere. Already you can feel the evil extremism festering, as all this “inspiration” did not lead him to become
SUSIE DAY, continued on p.32
February 5, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com
YOUTH, from p.6
cess right now is to take stock of community needs before deciding on that.” But in a previous interview, Stacey had seemed relatively intent on making an LGBT drop-in center the first choice for the building’s use, even while stressing it could be “repurposed” for those other uses in the future. Even as Stacey now appears to be qualifying the church’s intentions regarding a new LGBT youth center, she said she believes security fears regarding
CONVERSION THERAPY, from p.7
a message,’” wrote O’Scannlain. He drew from this the conclusion that the government’s cannot arbitrarily “transform ‘speech’ into ‘conduct’ that it may more freely regulate,” and he rebutted the panel decision’s arguments seeking to distinguish that case. He also asserted that “federal courts have never recognized a freestanding exception to the First Amendment for
SUSIE DAY, from p.31
a drone pilot. By his 20s, Mehanna was popular enough in Boston’s Muslim community to be noticed by the FBI, who asked him to become an informant. Mehanna refused — a slap in the face to the memory of Paul Revere, who, I’m sure, would have agreed to inform. So began years of government surveillance of Mehanna, as he watched “jihadi videos,” lent CDs to kids to create “like-minded youth,” and translated Internet tracts from Arabic to English — acts for which he was later charged. Meanwhile, he hid his extremism by earning a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy. But Mehanna never hid the fact that he abhorred US bombings of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and wanted to defend Muslims in such countries. Unlike the activists of Code Pink, who,
security around any new youth facility might be quelled if critics were to take a look at the services already offered by St. Luke’s. The church currently has a Saturday evening meals program for LGBT youth and HIV-positive people that takes place in its private school building and accommodates up to 80 individuals. “We’re managing it quite successfully right now,” said Stacey. “And whatever programs we do have [in the new mission center], safety and security will be paramount.” When asked for his thoughts on the
possibility for a new drop-in center in the neighborhood, out gay City Councilman Corey Johnson — who now chairs the Council’s Health Committee — seemed to be supportive of the idea, though his language was measured. “The St. Luke’s ministry is in line with our community’s long tradition of caring for and helping others regardless of who they are,” said Johnson in an emailed statement. In the same email, he also responded to community fears about the possible drop-in center, while alluding to his dis-
approval of the main component of the St Luke’s project — its revenue-boosting, 15-story residential tower. “St. Luke’s is an active member of the Greenwich Village community,” Johnson said. “It is important that when a service provider wants to reach out and help others, we do all we can to be a partner, not a divider, in their efforts to help others. I am far more concerned about the pressures of development than I am over a place [the possible drop-in center] that will offer guidance, help, and a future to so many in our city.”
state professional regulations” by using a distinction between conduct and speech. Last summer’s panel decision was released in amended form on January 29, reiterating the earlier decision’s distinction between “therapeutic speech” and “expressive speech” and emphasizing that “it is well recognized that a state enjoys considerable latitude to regulate the conduct of its licensed health care profession-
als in administering treatment.” The panel distinguished California’s SOCE ban from the federal statute regarding “material support” to terrorist organizations by noting that the latter was an attempt by Congress to regulate “political speech by ordinary citizens,” not the therapeutic practices of health professionals licensed by the state. The ferocity of O’Scannlain’s dissent underlines that this is a “culture wars” case, and the plaintiffs, ardent
proponents of so-called “conversion therapy,” are likely to seek review by the Supreme Court. The plaintiffs challenging the statute were represented in the Ninth Circuit by Dean Matt Staver of Liberty University Law School on behalf of the affiliated Liberty Counsel, and by Kevin Snider for the conservative Pacific Justice Institute. Both of those organizations have a trackrecord of opposing gay rights measures in the courts.
expressing much the same sentiment, would have been slapped in plastic handcuffs then released with a warning —Tarek Mehanna, in 2009, was charged with material support for terrorism and conspiring to kill overseas. Mehanna was held for two years without bail in 23-hour-a-day lockdown. His charges did not include any terrorist act, nor was there evidence that he had met or communicated with anyone in Al Qaeda. Mehanna also argued that he didn’t share Al Qaeda’s worldview, notably that of killing innocent civilians. Because the case against Mehanna was based on his ordinary acts of free speech, the real danger here must have been Mehanna’s belief that his views were “superior” to ours. So I totally get why a prosecutor, in his opening remarks to Mehanna’s jury, would explain, “It’s not illegal to watch something on the television. It is illegal, however, to watch something in order to
cultivate your desire, your ideology.” (Heads up, Code Pink.) In 2012, Mehanna was sentenced to 17½ years in prison, which he is now serving, in a Communications Management Unit, that severely restricts and monitors communication with the outside world. I have no problem with this draconian sentence. It doesn’t change my moderate mind to read in the New York Times that the centerpiece of the case, an article Mehanna translated, called “39 Ways to Serve and Participate in Jihad,” was not, a “manual for terrorism.” It was rather a “routine exercise of Islamic jurisprudence” on how pious Muslims can perform “self-defense,” by doing things like taking care of widows and learning first aid. Say what you will about the First Amendment — how it might apply to someone charged with terrorism who never picked up a weapon. We moder-
ates believe that the US of A knew what it was doing when it salted Mehanna away in mind-breaking prison for the prime of his life. Because, after our freedom-loving country charges a bearded, oliveskinned dude with a name like Tarek Mehanna with aiding terrorism, only a lunatic could think he’s innocent. Oh, PS: If you want to maintain your moderate standing, please AVOID vigils on the first Monday of every month, organized by the extremists at the Center for Constitutional Rights. Do NOT appear at 6 p.m. outside lower Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center, where more Muslim-Americans await trial. They’ll ask you to “bear witness to the torture and rights abuses happening there and in far too many other federal prisons and courtrooms across the country.” That comes dangerously close to aiding terrorism.
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| February 5, 2014 NORTHERN LIGHTS, from p.18
repertory. It’s worth noting that there was at least one production of “Almost, Maine” where homophobic high school of ficials tried to cut the same-sex scene. The students cried “censorship” and, with the help of the ACLU, fought to restore it and won. Set against a frigid backdrop on a dark winter’s night (snow falls lightly now and then), each vignette features a miraculous moment that transforms the fragile lovers and renews the power of the human spirit. The Northern Lights, shooting stars, and stolen smooches all figure prominently to help evoke the magic. An agile ensemble of four plays some 20 characters: Donna L ynne Champlin (“Billy Elliot”), Kevin Isola (“Brooklyn Boy”), Kelly McAndrew (“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”), and Cariani, the playwright himself. The comic timing, tonal shifts, and surr eal flourishes can be tricky to pull off, but under Cummings’ savvy direction, the performances are spot-on. Somehow, the actors manage to convincingly flesh out the personas in just a few minutes. The white box space at the Gym At Judson is well suited to this intimate endeavor. Absent a traditional stage or proscenium, there is a deeper connection with theatergoers, who must trudge through the artificial snow to get to their seats.
The residents of Almost, Maine are honest, down-to-earth, smart, and warm-hearted. Bundled up in layers to protect them from winter weather and the bitter chills that love can bring, most of these eccentrics end up wearing their hearts on their sleeves. Clichés of clueless country hicks and “Ya caint git they-ah from he-ah” accents are wisely avoided. “Almost, Maine” is more interested in the cusp of joy rather than overt joy that can come across as saccharine. The text, however, does contain a certain amount of sugary contrivances that brought the college-age women (clearly the target demographic) in front of me to tears. In the final vignette, “Seeing the Thing,” Dave gives his longtime snowmobiling companion, Rhonda, a cryptic “homemade” picture he painted using pointillist splotches of colors. In a clever bit of slapstick, Rhonda tries squinting and walking past the picture and cocking her head repeatedly to see the image, but still is stumped. It’s not until one of those mystical moments that she sees what Dave has been desperately trying to show her all along. Like Rhonda, I suspect certain fr osty theatergoers watching the earnestly engaging “Almost, Maine” will be blind to its char ms. But if they simply open themselves up to its ardent, magical spell, it will surely warm their hearts.
Diversity in the Workplace LGBT Employee Resource Groups Diversity in the Workplace is good for business – an inclusive corporate culture attracts and retains good employees, and a diverse workforce offers insights on how to reach a more diverse base of customers. Come join the Manhattan Chamber LGBT Business Committee for a panel discussion on the role in LGBT Employee Resources Groups (ERG) in promoting diversity. The panel with be moderated by Paul Schindler, Editor of Gay City News, and include panelists providing insights from the corporate and employee perspective, industry perspective and views on the progress and challenges on LGBTs in the workplace on the national level. Professional networking with wine and cheese following the panel discussion.
MAD MEN, from p.18
intr oduction to the pr oceedings, even war ning that the plot will be “incomprehensible.” The garish and clunky set by Paul Steinberg, primarily consisting of large metal drums painted bright orange positioned against a lime green background, does the production no favors. Requiring the cast to constantly lug and reassemble the heavy elements, the set gets in the way of the piece instead of supporting it. Random thoughts on masculinity abound. One moment, Galy Gay is told, “Only in battle does a man attain his full stature.” Later, a fellow soldier attempts to explain the play’s title, saying, “One man is like another. A man’s a man.” Perhaps the closing number of Act I reveals the overarching message Brecht was trying to convey: “Life on this earth is a hazardous affair.” Fair enough. This arduous revival of “A Man’s a Man” is proof positive of that.
The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce LGBT-2-B Committee & Gay City News present
February 12 | 6:30p to 8:30p Microsoft 11 Times Square | New York, NY, 10036
www.manhattancclgbt.org RICHARD TERMINE
Stephen Spinella and Justin Vivian Bond in the CSC production of Brecht’s “A Man’s a Man.”
212 473 7875 manhattancc.org/lgbt
February 5, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com ema director, the late Bill Sherwood (“Parting Glances”), in which a young boarding school scholarship student in 1969 is confronted by the challenge of whether or not to stand up for her precociously gay classmate. Carolynn Lad directs. “Made for Each Other” is a comedic drama Bauer wrote for John Fico, inspired by the new era of marriage equality and Bauer’s experience caring for a relative with Alzheimer’s. Vincent, an acerbic, witty, closeted science teacher in his mid-50s, meets Jerry, a downto-earth nurse who cares for Vincent’s mother in an Alzheimer’s ward. John FitzGibbon directs. Stage Left Studio, 214 W. 30th St., sixth fl. Fri. evenings, Feb. 7-Mar. 28, 7 p.m. (“The Year I Was Gifted”) & 9 p.m. (“Made for Each Other”). Tickets are $25, $35 for both performances at StageLeftStudio.net.
Tue.-Wed., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun., 1-5 p.m. For more information on events presented as part of this exhibition, visit nypl.org.
Threading the LGBTQ Needle
“Queer Threads: Crafting Identity & Community” presents 23 artists examining contemporary LGBTQ culture through thread-based craft techniques — including felt paintings, yarn drawings, embroidered portraits, knit sculpture, quilted tapestries, and crocheted installations, as well as video. From Nathan Vincent’s life-sized crocheted men’s locker room to Liz Collin’s oversized knit pride flag based on Gilbert Baker’s 1978 original design and L.J. Roberts’ “The Queer Houses of Brooklyn in the Three Towns of Breukelen, Boswyck, and Midwout during the 41st Year of the Stonewall Era,” works range from intimate to expansive in scale. Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, 26 Wooster St., btwn. Grand & Canal Sts. Noon-6 p.m., Tue.-Wed., FriSun.; noon-8 p.m., Thu., through Mar. 16. More information at leslielohman.org.
Getting Under Their Skin
FEBRUARY 14: Dirty Martini plays cupid at Highline Ballroom.
Israeli-born, New York-based artist Nir Ariel presents his debut exhibition of photographs, “Inframen,” consisting of 13 black and white infrared images of male dancers. The technique allows the artist to examine below the skin, to reveal the blemishes, scars, stretch marks, sun damage, and other traces of wear that lie below the surface of men who express themselves with their bodies, at once pushing their physical limits and maintaining beauty in their appearance and movements. Daniel Cooney Fine Art, 508 W. 26th St., Suite 9C. Through Mar. 8, Tue-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. More information at danielcooneyfineart.com.
CABARET An Angeleno With Broadway Credits
THEATER A Brief Haiku
“Gay Haiku,” a new play written and directed by Sam Perwin, is a hilarious and poignant exploration of the absurdities of gay life in New York. The show, which uses Joel Derfner’s deft verse as a launching point for a diverse series of vignettes, mines issues ranging from online dating and gay marriage to Grindr, AIDS, and closeted finance guys. The cast includes Jennifer Lauren Brown, Nic Cory, Trey Gerald, Josh Hemphill, Patrick McAndrew, Eric Ulloa, and JohnMichael Zeurlein. Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie St., btwn. Rivington & Delancey St. Feb. 6, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 at dixonplace.org or $15 at the door.
Talk About Sex, Talk About Love
“Sex, Relationships, And Sometimes… Love” is Joelle Arqueros’ 2003 GLAAD-nominated raw and delicate examination, in monologues, of sex and love among men and women, transgender and cisgender, gay and straight, which has played in cities across North America and Ireland for the past dozen years. Directed by Brian Remo. Snapple Theater Center in the Jerry Orbach Theater, 1627 Broadway at 50th St. , third fl. Thu. evenings, 8 p.m. Tickets are $50 at ticketmaster.com or 212-921-7862.
GALLERY Women Hunting and Gathering
The Collage Collective presents its first group show featuring an array of collage and mixed media work by seven women — Helene Berson, Lauren Blankstein, Anne Hammel, Veronique Lerebours, Deirdre MacKenzie, Bernice Rubin, and Elizabeth Velazquez. In “CollageUncontained,” the artists cut, rip, shred, glue, stitch, tape, and pin two and three-dimensional pieces. They’ve been upcycling and recycling, hunting and gathering, scavenging and hoarding alone and together since meeting in a weekly art class in Manhattan three years ago. La MaMa Galleria, 74A E. Fourth St., btwn. Bowery & Second Ave. Through Feb. 8. For more information, visit lamama.org/lagalleria/uncontained or call 212-475-7710.
THEATER Two Gifts from Monica Bauer
“The Gifted Series” is a pair of solo shows written by Monica Bauer. The playwright stars in “The Year I Was Gifted,” a love story between a future playwright (Bauer) and a future acclaimed gay cin-
Los Angeles native Micah McCain, a singer, actor, comedian, pop culture critic, and writer who grabbed attention with his New York cabaret debut “Hey Gurl” and now lives here, performs an evening of songs and stories in “Broadway Credits.” Mark Hartman is musical director. The Duplex, 61 Christopher St. at Seventh Ave. S., Sheridan Sq. Feb. 8, 7 p.m. Admission is $10 at theduplex.com, and there is a two-drink minimum.
NIGHTLIFE Carnaval on Ice
The LGBT Community Center's Young Leaders enjoy an evening of elegant dress, mysterious masks, decadent drinks, and Brazilian Carnaval festivities. DJ Whitney Day spins. Attire is sexy, with black tie optional and masks encouraged. Bowery Hotel, 335 Bowery at Grand St. Feb. 8, 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Admission is $75-$125 at gaycenter. org/masq. Proceeds benefit the Center’s programs.
GALLERY Why We Fight AIDS
The New York Public Library draws from its archive on the AIDS epidemic in “Why We Fight,” which explores four major themes from the activism of the 1980s and ‘90s — changing perceptions of people living with HIV, prevention efforts focused on safer sex and needle exchange, the strategic use of public mourning, and innovative engagement with the healthcare industry. Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Gallery, NYPL’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Ave. at 42nd St. Through Apr. 6. Mon., Thu.-Sat. , 10 a.m.-6 p.m.;
COMEDY Funny Like Frostbite
As an antidote to the frigid winter weather, Adam Sank hosts a Frosty the Ho-Man edition of his Queens of Queens comedy series. Sank’s guests include Vanessa Hollingshead, Veronica Elizabeth, Rich Kiamco, Cara Kilduff, and Adam Chisnall. Laughing Devil Comedy Club, 4738 Vernon Blvd., btwn. 47th Rd. & 48th Ave. (7 train to Vernon Jackson or E train to Court Square), Long Island City. Feb. 9, 8 p.m. Admission is $10, plus a twodrink minimum. More information at laughingdevil. com.
DANCE World Premieres from Trish Brown Alums
New York Live Arts presents the world premiere of Trisha Brown Dance Company alums Elena Demyanenko and Dai Jian’s “Blue Room,” as well as Demyanenko’s “Raw Nerves,” created in collaboration with performer Leah Morrison, and Jian’s “Deja Ve — As a Solo,” which features Jian and dancer Austin Selden. 219 W 19th St. Feb. 13-15, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15-$20 at newyorklivearts.org or 212-924-0077.
14 DAYS, continued on p.35
| February 5, 2014
14 DAYS, from p.34
Show Your Love in the Hudson Valley
VINCENT PETERS/ JULIANOVENDEN.COM
The Show Your Love Ball is Big Gay Hudson Valley’s first-ever Valentine’s Day event. The evening includes sparkling wine from Clinton Vineyards, a four-course meal with an open beer and wine bar, and a desert bar presented by Hudson Chocolates, Adirondack Creamery, Trixie’s Oven, and Sprout Creek Farm. Musical entertainment includes Ophelia Nightly and Superior Sounds. Locust Grove Estate, 2683 South Rd. (Route 9) at Beechwood Ave., Poughkeepsie. Feb. 14, 7-11 p.m. Tickets are $80 at BigGayHudsonValley.com. The evening benefits Hudson Valley Community Services, GLSEN, and the Hudson Pride Foundation.
NIGHTLIFE Feinstein, Osnes & a “Downton Abbey” Hunk
Hailed by the LA Times as “the most prominent ambassador of the Great American Songbook” (Los Angeles Times), Michael Feinstein is joined by Laura Osnes, Tony-nominated for performances in “Bonnie and Clyde” and “Cinderella,” and British stage, television, and film actor and singer Julian Ovenden, featured on this season’s “Downton Abbey.” Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium, 881 Seventh Ave. at 57th St. Feb. 14, 8 p.m. Tickets are $15-$75 at carnegiehall.org
A MoSex Weekend
For Valentine’s weekend, the Museum of Sex is transformed into a garden by artist Joel Yapching, who will be creating preserved and fresh floral arrangements for your love(s). The galleries feature four exhibitions on the subject of human sexuality, including the recently opened “The Eve of Porn: Linda Lovelace.” And you can check out Play, the museum’s new bar and den that features artist-crafted cocktails. The museum offers a variety of special packages for admission to the galleries, champagne toasts, reservations at Play, and six-course meal seatings on Friday evening. Visit mosex.com for full details and reservations. 235 Fifth Ave. at 27th St.. Feb. 14, 10 a.m.-midnight; Feb. 15, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Feb. 16, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
A Cupid Burlesque
Hostess World Famous *BOB* presides over an evening of filthy gorgeous burlesque for a Valentine’s spectacular. The line-up includes Dirty Martini, tassel-twirler Peekaboo Pointe, Rosie 151, Cassandra Rosebeetle, Lil Miss Lixx, hula hoop superstar Pinkie Special, Francine “The Lucid Dream,” and the prima ballerina of burlesque, Aurora Black. Broadway Brassy and the Brass Knuckles provide the musical accompaniment, and DJ Momotaro spins. Highline Ballroom, 431 W. 16th St. Feb. 14, 8 p.m.; doors open at 6. Tickets are $25-$50 at highlineballroom.com; $30-$60 at the door.
MUSIC A Popular Ear
The International Opera Center of America in partnership with the Central Florida Lyric Opera presents “Popera,” a free concert of selections from some of the most beloved operas and operettas, including “The Barber of Seville,” “Samson and Delilah,” “Marriage of Figaro,” “Tosca,” “La Bohéme,” “Pagliacci,” “Simon Boccanegra,” “Tales of Hoffman,” and “Merry Widow.” Christ & St. Stephen’s Church, 120 W. 69th St., btwn. Broadway & Columbus. Feb. 19, 7:30 p.m.
THEATER Edward Albee Meets Bessie Smith
“The Death of Bessie Smith,” first produced in 1959, is an early work by Edward Albee about the effects of racism and repression in 1930s America. Jim Furlong directs a cast that includes Jessica Mermelstein, Lufthansey Josa, Christopher Grazul, Juwan Stone, Theresa Kwechin, and David Vincent Brooks. Hudson Guild Theatre, 441 W. 26th St. Feb. 14-15 & 21-22, 8 p.m.; Feb. 15 & 22, 2 p.m.; Feb. 16 & 23, 3 p.m. Hudson Guild works to bring theater to underserved communities, so admission is “pay what you wish.” Reservations at 212-760-9817.
CABARET Ladies Sing the Blues & More
LezCab (lezcab.com), a cabaret series by, for, and about queer women is back, better than ever! This year, LezCab moves to the upstairs cabaret bar at the historic Stonewall Inn, 53 Christopher St., btwn. Sixth & Seventh Aves. at Gay St. On Feb. 16, 6:30 p.m., Holly Marie Dunn, Marie Eife, Emily Grosland, Jami Leigh Howard, Kristen Rose Kelly, Erin Maya, Julia Osen Averill, Corynne Peters, and Caitlin Lee Reid perform songs from beloved musicals including “Next to Normal,” “Once,” “The Sound of Music,” and “42nd Street.” Arielle Harding hosts, Rachel Kunstadt directs, and Julianne B. Merrill is musical director. Admission is $10 at tinyurl.com/ ljn46q9.
READING In Love With Words
In the latest installment of “Drunken! Careening! Writers!,” Kathleen Warnock hosts “In Love With Words,” featuring playwright Johnna Adams, whose “Gidion's Knot” won a 2013 Steinberg/ American Theatre Critics Association Citation and premiered at the Contemporary American Theatre Festival in Shepherdtown, West Virginia in 2012; writer Dan Bernitt, whose solo performances include “Phi Alpha Gamma,” “Thanks for the Scabies, Jerkface!,” and “Yelling at Bananas in Whole Foods,” which runs Feb. 21-Mar. 9 in the Kraine Theater as part of FRIGID New York (frigidnewyork.info); Robin Cloud, a New York-based comedian, actor, writer, college speaker, and advice columnist for Dapperq.
com; and Rebecca Mills, an actor and writer whose “Warning: Don't Laugh at the Natives” is a comedic memoir based on a decade of misadventures in New York, excerpts of which she has performed in a one-woman show, “Charmed,” at the Peoples Improv Theatre. KGB Bar, 85 E. Fourth St., btwn. Bowery & Second Ave. Feb. 20, 7 p.m. Admission is free.
MUSIC Reprising the People’s Opera
Seventy years ago today, New York City Opera showcased Giacomo Puccini’s “Tosca” at the historic City Center. The beloved company went on to launch the careers of luminaries including Beverly Sills, Placido Domingo, Sherrill Milnes, Maralin Niska, Shirley Verrett, and Jerry Hadley. Tonight, in celebration of 70 years of what Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia called the People’s Opera, the New York City Opera Orchestra, conducted by former music director George Manahan, presents performances by singers Lauren Flanigan, Joélle Harvey, Jennifer Rivera, Ryan MacPherson, Mark Delavan, and Sidney Outlaw. The concert features selections from “The Ballad of Baby Doe,” “Candide,” “Carmen,” “L'etoile,” “Giulio Cesare,” “Malcolm X,” “Martha,” and “Die tote Stadt.” City Center, 131 W. 55th St. Feb. 21 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25-$250 at nycitycenter.org or 212-5811212. Proceeds benefit the New York City Musicians’ Emergency Relief Fund, which provides aid to musicians in dire need.
WEST 23RD BETWEEN 7TH & 8TH
EVERY THURSDAY at 7:00 PM HOSTED BY HEDDA LETTUCE
SATURDAY FEB. 15TH 10:00 PM
FEB 13 TH
PERFORMANCE Sodomites Pay Tribute…
“The Meeting” is host Justin Sayre’s monthly gathering of the International Order of Sodomites. Sayre plans tributes to Bernadette Peters (Feb. 16, 9:30 p.m.), and the TV hit “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer” (Mar. 16, 9:30 p.m.). Joe’s Pub, inside the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Pl. Tickets are $20 at joespub.com or 212-967-7555.
NIGHTLIFE Honest Abe’s Long Underwear
“Sultan of Sleaze” is Dworld’s Presidents’ Day Weekend underwear party, featuring four nearly naked dancers and a $50 prize for the sexiest long underwear. DJ Nudedude spins. The Monster, 80 Grove St. at Sheridan Square nr. Seventh Ave. S. Feb. 16, 10 p.m. Upstairs clothing is okay; downstairs mandatory underwear only. Admission is $15.
FEB 20TH lounge THURSDAY NIGHT SPECIAL 157 W 24th St. One free drink with your Chelsea Classics ticket stub.
February 5, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com
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BIG PINE KEY & THE LOWER KEYS
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MCTKW-9152 Gay City News • January 22, 2014