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April 02, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com
Chair of Aging Committee Lays Out a Senior Agenda City Councilwoman Margaret Chin aims to curb elder abuse, broaden housing opportunities BY SAM SPOKONY
OFFICE OF COUNCILWOMAN MARGARET CHIN
aving served on the City Council’s Committee on Aging during her first term, Councilwoman Margaret Chin was more than happy to take over the committee when starting her second ter m in January. “And I think the senior advocates were happy, too,” she said, smiling, during a recent interview in her Council office at 250 Broadway. Chin, 60, represents the First Council District, which covers Lower Manhattan north to Greenwich Village. As Aging Committee chair, she hopes to bring attention and resources to the fast-growing senior population. According to a February report by the Council of Senior Centers and Services of NYC, by 2030, those aged 60 and older are projected to reach 1.84 million people — or around 20 percent of the city’s total population. “On any issue that we talk about, whether it’s housing, transportation, health, or anything else, seniors need to be at the table,” said Chin. “The effect on seniors has to be heard.” And she’s hit the ground running, already introducing new legislation and resolutions aimed at protecting elderly tenants from bullying landlords and curbing elder abuse. Chin’s new bill, introduced on March 12, would double the maximum fine for tenant harassment — refusing to make necessary repairs or accept rent payment, shutting off services like heat and hot water, or threatening force — by increasing the penalties from the current range of $1,000 to $5,000 up to $5,000 to $10,000 per dwelling unit. The legislation would also create a
Councilwoman Margaret Chin at the Independence Plaza North Senior Center in Tribeca.
“blacklist” for offending landlords, by requiring the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development to post information about the violations — including the building address and owner’s name — whenever properties are found to breach city laws against tenant harassment. “We want to send a strong message that these practices are unacceptable,” said Chin. “We want to protect the residents who helped build up these communities, because they’re the pioneers, the ones who were there 30 or 40 years ago when the market wasn’t that great in certain areas. They’re the ones who invested the time and energy to build up those neighborhoods.” Chin’s two new Council resolutions, which she also introduced on March 12, would call on the State Legislature to pass laws aimed at stopping finan-
cial exploitation and physical abuse of seniors. One focuses on a bill already introduced in the State Assembly and Senate that would allow banks to refuse payment from an account when there is reason to believe the account holder is being exploited through a scam, forgery, or identity theft. Financial abuse against seniors can be difficult to investigate, Chin stressed, since victims are often unaware of the exploitation, reluctant to come forward, or incapable of giving proper consent to those controlling their finances. In addition, 64 percent of reported perpetrators of financial exploitation of a senior are actually family members, spouses, or significant others, according to a 2013 study by the New York State Bureau of Adult Services. Her other new resolution calls on the State Legislature to require certain professionals to report suspected elder
CHELSEA SENIORS URGED TO ATTEND APRIL 21 QUALITY OF LIFE FORUM An April 21 forum on quality of life will allow Chelsea residents to hear from community leaders and elected officials and discuss neighborhood issues of burning concern. The forum is hosted by the Senior Advisory Council of the Hudson Guild, a social services organization that has been helping Chelsea residents for more than 100 years, and the Neighborhood Advisory Committee. Seniors, in particular, are encouraged to attend and share their concerns about Chelsea’s transforming landscape and their thoughts on what the de Blasio administration should focus on for the future. Topics of discussion will include health, housing, safety, traffic, transportation, biking, and noise. A panel of officials including Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Brad Hoylman, Assemblyman
Richard Gottfried, and City Councilman Corey Johnson will open the forum with introductory comments on quality of life, after which they will open up discussion to attendees. “New York City changes every day,” Johnson said. “Those changes can affect your quality of life and it is important to know what services are available to you. The Neighborhood Advisory Committee and Hudson Guild are excellent community resources and I thank them for helping to make sure New Yorkers can make well informed decisions about their lives.” The forum will take place in Hudson Guild’s Elliott Center, located at 441 West 26th Street, between Ninth and Tenth Avenues, at 7 p.m. on April 21. — Sam Spokony
abuse — physical, psychological, sexual, or financial — to authorities. Those falling under that mandate, according to Chin, should include healthcare and social service workers, law enforcement officials including investigators at district attorneys’ offices, attorneys, and financial professionals. New York is one of only four states in the nation that do not have such a mandatory reporting law when it comes to suspected elder abuse. According to a 2011 report by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, 120,000 seniors in New York City have experienced abuse — but only one out of every 25 cases was officially reported. With work on the city’s fiscal year 2015 budget well underway — the final Council vote on the budget will take place in June — Chin is also pushing for increased funding for the city’s Department for the Aging (DFTA), which is recovering from heavy budget cuts that took place under ex-Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration. Bloomberg had reduced DFTA’s budget by $57 million — a whopping 20 percent of its previous total — over the past seven years. Mayor Bill de Blasio drew cheers from Chin and senior advocates in February, when he pledged to provide $20 million in baseline funding to DFTA as part of his preliminary budget proposal for FY 2015. Many of those advocates were also pleased that, before appointing Donna Corrado his new DFTA commissioner, de Blasio named the department’s previous commissioner, Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, to be his deputy mayor for health and human services. Barrios-Paoli has been critical of Bloomberg’s cuts, and Chin said she believes that having an ex-DFTA boss so close to the mayor will help bring senior-related issues to the forefront. Chin is particularly interested in winning additional funding for DFTA’s case management program, which provides direct support to homebound seniors. Currently, each social worker within that program carries a caseload of around 80 seniors, according to the city. “That’s really a large number, when it comes to effectively doing one-on-one assessments and periodically checking in on the seniors,” said Chin. An additional $3.5 to 5 million for the case management program would, she said, cut the social workers’ caseload down to around 60 or 65 seniors each. Another key concern for Chin is increasing funding for education and counseling aimed at preventing elder abuse. The Council has historically set aside around $800,000 each year for
SENIOR HEALTH, continued on p.5
| April 02, 2014
AIDS Groups Pleased By First Sit-Down With New Health Commissioner BY DUNCAN OSBORNE
ollowing their first meeting with New York City’s new h e a l t h c o m m i s s i o n e r, AIDS groups say they are seeing a shift in the city’s willingness to talk to them and to invite their input. “In part, it was significant because it represented open doors between the [city health department] and the community,” said Sean Barry, the executive director of VOCAL-NY, an AIDS advocacy group. “If nothing else, that’s a big step forward.” Roughly 15 advocates representing at least eight leading AIDS and social services groups met with Dr. Mary Bassett, the city’s health commissioner, on April 1. That follows earlier meetings with Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, the deputy mayor for health and human services, and Steven Banks, the commissioner of the city’s Human Resources Administration (HRA). The HIV/ AIDS Services Administration, which serves people with AIDS, is an HRA unit. Daniel Tietz, executive director of ACRIA, an AIDS services group, said he saw a “tonal shift” in these meetings. “They’re willing to get to yes as opposed to no,” Tietz said. “There’s a clear shift that they’re looking to work together. That’s really valuable.” Dr. Thomas Frieden, who ran the city health department from 2002 to 2009, had vocal supporters and detractors. Some of Frieden’s most committed opponents were among the groups that met with Bassett. Dr. Thomas Farley, who replaced Frieden, inspired no particularly strong reactions, though in January, AIDS groups publicly asked
SENIOR HEALTH, from p.4
that purpose, Chin noted. “But is that enough money to get that program going as effectively as we want it to? No,” she said. Chin said she is eager to learn how much of a focus de Blasio will put on senior housing needs when he details his closely guarded plan to build or preserve 200,000 units citywide, which he will unveil on May 1. The Council of Senior Centers and Services of NYC (CSCS), a major advocacy group, recently put forth a suggestion for what half of those units could look like. In February, it called on the mayor to develop or preserve 100,000 units of affordable housing specifically targeted for seniors, a significant por-
Mayor Bill de Blasio to replace him. After 12 years of feeling shut out, the meeting was a welcome beginning. “It felt more like an orientation for one another and, in diplomatic speak, a confidence-building session,” Tietz said of the 90-minute meeting with Bassett. A central matter for AIDS groups is a plan to end AIDS that has been endorsed by more than 30 organizations. The plan is an ambitious mix of longstanding demands and some new ones that the groups believe will cut new HIV infections substantially by 2020. After six months of negotiating, the plan was endorsed by Dr. Nirav Shah, the state health commissioner, on January 9. The groups were not expecting Bassett to back the plan on April 1, though much of the meeting was taken up with discussing the plan’s major components. “She didn’t use ‘I’m all in on the end of AIDS’ though we would have loved that,” Tietz said. “We heard no pushback.” An element of the plan — capping rent payments at 30 percent of income for people with AIDS who live in supportive housing — was enacted in the state budget this year, with the mayor actively supporting the initiative that involves both city and state money. Other plan components include getting more HIV-positive people into treatment, which improves their long term health and makes them less infectious, and more widely using pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), or giving uninfected people anti-HIV drugs to prevent infection, and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), or giving anti-HIV drugs to someone who has recently been exposed to the virus to
tion of which could be preserved by reforming the state’s Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) program, which prevents seniors in rent-stabilized apartments from having to pay periodic increases in their rent. In the state budget just announced, the eligibility limit for SCRIE was raised from $29,000 in annual income to $50,000. Chin said she is a strong supporter of strengthening the SCRIE program. And SCSC, in turn, offered a strong seal of approval to Chin in her new post. “Having been around for the past 25 years, I think Margaret’s going to be a great chair,” said Bobbie Sackman, the CSCS director of public policy. “I feel like she has good energy and is very committed to help seniors take on issues like housing and DFTA funding.”
GAY CITY NEWS
Goal of ending AIDS by 2020 a meeting focus, but no commitment yet on plan from Dr. Mary Bassett
Dr. Mary Bassett, the city health commissioner.
stop infection from taking hold. The biomedical interventions, as treatment as prevention, PrEP, and PEP are called, will require price reductions for anti-HIV drugs. Some media reports have indicated that the state Medicaid
program has won such cuts from Gilead Sciences, the drug company that sells an estimated 40 to 50 percent of the anti-HIV drugs in New York and is the only one currently licensed to sell a PrEP drug in the US. As Gay City News went to press, however, Gilead, the state health department, and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s press office had not responded to emails seeking confirmation that such a deal had been closed. The city health department will begin a modest program to promote PrEP to medical providers in May. “They talked about their existing plans for PrEP rollout,” Barry said. While PrEP, PEP, and treatment as prevention have proven efficacy, the issue with these biomedical interventions has been getting people to take the drugs in the first place and to use them consistently once they begin. PrEP, in particular, has shown adherence problems. “She did talk about concerns for healthy people to take a daily pill,” Barry said “To the extent that she has concerns around PrEP scalability, they’re around adherence.”
April 02, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com
City Must Pay For Transgender Youth’s Transition Surgery NYS judge finds Administration for Children’s Services “arbitrary and capricious” in denying application BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
New York State Supreme Court justice in Manhattan has ordered the city’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) to pay for gender reassignment procedures, including surgery, for a 20-year-old transgender woman still in the foster care system. Justice Peter H. Moulton’s March 21 order — first reported in the New York Law Journal on March 31 — came in response to an ACS deputy commissioner’s 2013 denial of an application for such treatment made by D.F., as the young woman is identified in court papers. The medical procedures are not covered under New York State’s Medicaid program and so would have to be paid for out of the ACS budget, and the tenor of Moulton’s opinion suggests a suspicion that the agency was hoping to avoid paying the estimated $46,000 in expenses while the date when D.F. reaches 21 and ages out of the foster care system approaches. D.F., recorded as male on her birth
certificate, has identified as female for many years and was diagnosed with gender dysphoria, an assessment ACS does not dispute. D.F. and her sister entered foster care in 2009, after ACS filed a petition of neglect against her parents. According to that petition, D.F. suffered criticism from her parents over their views of her sexual orientation and gender expression and was physically abused by her father, who was a drinker. The Family Court placed D.F. in LGBTQ youth housing facilities run by Green Chimneys and later by SCO Family of Services. As she grew older, however, D.F. was absent from these facilities for extended periods while she stayed with friends, including in a Queens house she asserted is being considered for certification as a foster home. Doctors from Green Chimneys and the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center who have treated D.F. agreed she needs gender transition treatments, including hormones, which she began taking a few years ago, and, now, surgery. Based on their recommendations and her strong desire for these treatments, D.F. submit-
ted her application to ACS. ACS’ procedure for handling such applications is to have its Health Review Committee make a recommendation to the deputy commissioner — in this case, Benita Miller — who has final responsibility for a decision. The agency’s policies specify that decisions about transgender treatment are to be made in accordance with the standards of care established by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, usually referred to as the Harry Benjamin standards. Though the Health Review Committee endorsed the recommendations of D.F.’s doctors, Miller rejected the petition last July 11, basing her decision on D.F.’s frequent absences from her foster placement and her record of having missed some healthcare appointments. When D.F. tried to appeal this ruling, she was told the deputy commissioner’s decision was final. Miller had also faulted D.F.’s application, in part, because it failed to formally include all the surgical procedures she was requesting, so the young woman submitted a second, more inclusive application on July 18, The new applica-
tion supplemented her doctors’ earlier statements with newer ones specifically stating that her hormone treatment was “insufficient to her ultimate goals” and that the procedures she was requesting “would serve a therapeutic purpose and improve her well-being.” The doctors noted that D.F. understood the risks of gender surgery and was able to provide informed consent. Departing from its own rules, ACS did not submit this second application to the Health Review Commission, but instead consulted an “independent specialist,” Dr. John Steever, an assistant professor of pediatrics and adolescent medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center who has expertise in LGBT youth healthcare issues. Declining to meet with D.F., Steever decided, based on the paper record, that her “poor adherence to ACS recommendations and program” suggested she would not be compliant with postoperative procedures, which could result in “infections, unnecessary scarring, urinary problems, and sexual sensation problems.” He did not dispute the gen-
SURGERY, continued on p.7
Firing Too Steep a Penalty for Lesbian Classroom Sex New York appellate panel reverses arbitration ruling regarding evening incident between two teachers BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
state appeals panel has ruled that the city’s Department of Education should not have fired two female teachers alleged to have engaged in sexual activity in a darkened, otherwise empty classroom one evening while a musical program was taking place elsewhere in the school. In a pair of decisions issued on March 24, however, the New York Appellate Division’s First Department found that the teachers had engaged in conduct meriting punishment and sent the case back to the DOE for imposition of “a lesser penalty.” The court’s opinion made nothing of the gender of the teachers. The DOE responded with anger to the rulings. “We have zero tolerance for this kind of behavior from our professionals and in our schools,” the Daily News quoted Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña saying. “So we are pursuing all options
going forward and if we have a legal basis for this we will certainly appeal.” Such an appeal would go to the state’s highest bench, the Court of Appeals. Alini Brito was a Spanish teacher and Cindy Mauro was a French teacher, both assigned to Brooklyn’s James Madison High School in Brooklyn. On November 20, 2009, they joined other colleagues for dinner before returning to the school to watch a music competition in the auditorium. Brito and Mauro slipped out during the performance and were later observed by a school employee in an upstairs classroom allegedly “partially undressed and engaging in what appeared to be sexually inappropriate behavior” with each other. The women contended they were not engaged in sex, saying the observer misconstrued what he saw. The DOE, however, claimed that conduct “caused widespread negative publicity, ridicule and notoriety” to the school when somebody talked to the press, leading to widespread media reports about the incident. When the department sought to fire both teachers, their union pursued grievances on
their behalf to an arbitration hearing, where their dismissals were upheld. The teachers appealed their firings to State Supreme Court. The two trial court judges who heard the appeals came to differing conclusions. In Brito’s case, Justice Alice Schlesinger vacated the termination and the finding of misconduct, sending the case back to arbitration for a new hearing. In Mauro’s case, Justice Robert Torres enforced the arbitrator’s decision, upholding the discharge. Both decisions were appealed, and an appeals panel considered both cases together. The panel found that Justice Schlesinger should not have ignored the hearing officer’s finding about what the evidence showed. “Here, Supreme Court erred in substituting its judgment for that of the hearing officer,” the panel wrote. “The hearing officer’s findings of misconduct… are supported by adequate evidence. Multiple witnesses gave interlocking and closely corroborating testimony... There is no basis for disturbing the hearing officer’s credibility determinations.”
The panel also confirmed Justice Torres’ conclusion in Mauro’s case that the teachers had engaged in misconduct. But, said the court, “the penalty of termination of employment is shockingly disproportionate to petitioner’s misconduct.” The teachers were present at the school as audience members, not in their official capacity as teachers, the panel noted, and the the incident “involved a consenting adult colleague and was not observed by any student.” Both teachers enjoyed academic tenure and had unblemished disciplinary records. Brito’s supervisor described her as “one of the best teachers she had ever worked with,” and the court noted that Mauro had “consistently satisfactory teaching ratings.” In identical paragraphs in the two opinions, the court explained, “While petitioner’s behavior demonstrated a lapse in judgment, there is no evidence that the incident was anything but a one-time mistake. Of critical significance is that, unlike matters involv-
EMPLOYMENT, continued on p.7
| April 02, 2014
SURGERY, from p.6
der dysphoria diagnosis, but stated there was no emergency that required immediate surgery and the procedures could be deferred until D.F. showed an ability to comply with follow-up care requirements. Moulton noted the difficulties D.F. would have in getting the treatment she needs once she is out of the foster care system, writing that Steever “does not address how a transgender young adult, aging out of foster care with no family support and few apparent prospects for employment, might pay for these procedures.” Finding little reason to credit Steever’s recommendation, Moulton concluded that Miller’s denial of D.F.’s second application, on October 15, 2013, which relied explicitly on that recommendation, was “arbitrary and capricious for several reasons” and a violation of D.F.’s rights. Moulton agreed there was no dispute about D.F.’s need for follow-up care after the surgical procedures, but found no basis in the record for Miller’s conclusion that D.F.’s absences from her group homes and occasionally missing medical appointments “are indicators that she will not participate in necessary postoperative care.” D.F. had a consistent record of following her hormone treatment protocols, “repeatedly and consistently tested negative for STDs and HIV,” had no drug or alcohol abuse history, and enjoyed the support of her doctors. Moulton also criticized ACS’ failure to follow its own procedures, bypassing its Health Review Committee with D.F.’s second application and instead referring it a pediatrician, rather than a mental health professional. The agency’s standards require that it be a “qualified mental health professional” who makes the assessment of a request for gender transition surgery. The judge also pointed
EMPLOYMENT, from p.6
ing some sort of romantic involvement or other inappropriate conduct with a student, petitioner’s engaging in consensual sexual conduct with an adult colleague is not in and of itself either criminal or otherwise improper. Indeed, lesser penalties have been imposed where a teacher had an ongoing relationship with or engaged in inappropriate behavior with a student. Nor is there any indication in the record that petitioner’s conduct will affect her ability to teach or that she intended to inflict any damage on any student. While it is unfortunate that the incident garnered so much attention and was exploited in the media, that in and of itself does not warrant the penalty of termination.” This opinion is an extraordinary example of how drastically things have changed over the last several decades. There was a time when the mere hint that a teacher was lesbian or gay would
out that it is “a deviation” from the Harry Benjamin standards of care for ACS to rely on the recommendation of an expert who had not met with the petitioner. Given the standards adopted by the agency and the role it gives to the Health Review Committee, Moulton found, it was also “arbitrary and capricious” for the agency to give its deputy commissioner authority to deny treatment for reasons not mentioned in its criteria and then not subject that decision to appeal. Moulton, however, came back to the issue that apparently concerned him most. “ACS’ denial of the requested surgeries and procedures ‘at this time’ thus completely ignores another factor: petitioner’s almost certain inability to pay for these surgeries and procedures,” he wrote. “Once she ages out of foster care, petitioner’s chances of raising the money necessary to pay for these procedures appear to be nil,” especially given that she has not yet completed her GED. “The inability to pay for gender affirming surgeries and procedures after foster care is not a factor that should trump clinical factors,” Moulton continued, “but it certainly should not be absent from ACS’ decision making. Payment by ACS for necessary medical procedures may be a transgender youth’s only chance to achieve congruence between her gender identity and her physical appearance.” D.F. was represented by Courtney Camp and Judith Stern, attorneys with the Legal Aid Society. Tamara Steckler, the attorney in charge of Legal Aid’s juvenile rights practice, told the Law Journal that requests for such surgery had occasionally been granted by ACS in the past, but that “this area is not well fleshed out.” The city, Steckler argued, should take this opportunity to review its procedures and “better support our clients aging out of foster care.”
result in a discharge, back when all gay sex was condemned as criminal. What could have been seen as criminal and scandalous decades ago became the object of ridicule by some in the media in 2009 — and, indeed, at the time of these latest decisions! Now, a state appellate court says that the teachers deserve some punishment for this lapse in judgment — having taken place in an unlocked classroom while the school was hosting an evening event — but not discharge. The teachers were both represented by Michael Valentine and Aaron Altman of the firm Altman Schochet. Valentine told the New York Law Journal that the teachers, who have spent almost five years seeking vindication, may be entitled to back pay. The judges on the unanimous appellate panel, which issued unsigned opinions, were Angela Mazzarelli, Richard Andrias, Leland DeGrasse, Helen Freedman, and Judith Gische.
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April 02, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com
BY PAUL SCHINDLER
n September 20, 2011, Rob Smith, then 29, was among the crowd at the Stonewall Inn that joined the advocacy group Servicemembers Legal Defense Network in celebrating the official end date for the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.
CLOSETS, COMBAT + COMING OUT Coming of Age as a Gay Man in the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” Army
“It feels amazing,” the former infantryman told Gay City News that day. “I feel relieved. This is a signal to see we can fight and we can win.” Two and a half years later, Smith comes forward with his memoir of his time in the military. “Closets, Combat + Coming Out: Coming of Age as a Gay Man in the ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ Army” is a mouthful of a title. That is, perhaps, because Smith’s ambitious book is about a lot of things. It is not primarily a story about the military’s former anti-gay policy, though we do learn about the everyday terror and soul-sapping despair it caused in soldiers — especially against the backdrop of brutal homophobic crimes the policy, on occasion, enabled. Nor is Smith’s memoir first and foremost a coming out story — though he entered the army at 17 sexually naïve and secretive, having “messed around” with two guys but never kissed one, and returned to civilian life four years later knowing he was gay and that he couldn’t pretend otherwise, even if he wanted to. “Closets, Combat + Coming Out” can best be described as a coming of age story. But not just for a closeted soldier in a military that was officially homophobic. Also for a young African-American man who was a straight-A student in high school but lacked the financial wherewithal to get to college and so was waiting tables part-time at Denny’s before the Army held out a lifeline. And for an overweight, out of shape kid who chose the infantry because that’s “where the real men go… where they do the real shooting.” And, finally, for an ambitious would-be journalist who judged military service his best route to an education and became embroiled in a post-9/11 foreign misadventure where he wouldn’t be the only soldier to say, “I wasn’t sure what we were doing here.” In telling that coming of age story, Smith sheds light on the lack of opportunity facing too many talented young people in America today, how economic disparities largely determine who it is that defends this country and who has chances to do other more lucrative, less dangerous things, how racism continues to infect a military that was desegregated 60 years before it allowed open gay and lesbian service, and how the brutality and chaos of war make it possible — perhaps at some point, inevitable — to look at a “lifeless body and feel nothing.” Many successful memoirs involve an heroic triumph over harrowing odds — often odds created by the narrator’s own character flaws, such as drug addiction or
BLUE BEACON BOOKS/REGAL CREST
By Rob Smith Blue Beacon Books/ Regal Crest $15.95; 208 pages
criminal acts, or by the dire hand dealt them, whether poverty or family dysfunction. It is to Smith’s considerable credit that he avoids the pitfalls of sensationalizing his story. In the process, he has created a highly relatable account of a young man overcoming considerable odds and coming out whole on the other side. Rob Smith drew up in a predominately black section of Akron, Ohio, “a dirty, dingy place” where “all the failed hopes and ambitions of its citizens were somehow released into the air and absorbed into everything around it, draining the sky of its color and the sun of its brightness.” His parents split up when he was very young, and he endured years living with a physically abusive stepfather, until the man disappeared and his mother largely left him in the care of his maternal grandmother. Smith “didn’t get along” with his grandmother, voices considerable anger at his mother for her preoccupation with a series of failed marriages that kept his growing up well in the background, and reports that his relationship with his father was distant. Still, aside from his stepfather, Smith never faced outright rejection, and both his mother and father, each in their own way, seem to have instinctive insight into their son. On at least one occasion, Smith is pleasantly surprised by what he gets back. Though Akron is a majority white city, the neighborhood where Smith grew up is a part of America that apparently remains segregated half a century after the peak of the Civil Rights Movement. “I didn't have much contact with white people,” he writes. “They were people on the shows that I watched, people reporting the news, but not people I'd had any interaction with whatsoever in my daily life.” Basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia proved a
shock in that regard. In a 124-person company, Smith was one of only three black soldiers. Throughout his time in the infantry, he took note of the “casual racism” — in the nickname borrowed from a popular film that attached itself to him, in the resentment from a fellow basic training recruit who accused him of being a “showoff” when Smith finally began to master some of the Army’s physical demands, and in the anger of a fellow Iraq War fighter who told him, "You're supposed to be here because you love your fucking country not because you want money for fuckin' college." If his race marked him as an outsider to some of his fellow soldiers, Smith was unable to turn it to his advantage. In the book’s chilling opening scene, when moments after first reporting for duty, a drill sergeant is all over him, screaming, “What are you, a fucking faggot?,” Smith fantasizes about using his black skin against his tormentor. “Maybe I could get his old white ass to think I was some thug from the projects of Detroit instead of a solidly lower-middle class geek from Ohio,” he writes, but already on page 11 we know this is not who we are reading about. Smith was an unlikely Army recruit. Shortly after his day one hazing by the drill sergeant, he is on his first run, his breath “short and staggered,” feeling as if he would hyperventilate. After being humiliated as a “fucking faggot” moments before, Smith could feel his stock falling further in the eyes of his fellow recruits: “The emotions ranged from pity to anger to disgust. I could see their opinions of me forming in their eyes. It looked like I was to be here what I was in high school — a loser, the fat kid.” Smith makes no bones about why he joined. “I had come to Fort Benning, and the Army on a whim,” hoping to earn a college degree “on the Army’s dime.” It didn’t hurt that the recruiter first sent to his Akron home was a blonde, blue-eyed “Adonis.” Smith writes, “I knew that I just wanted to be with him.” The most remarkable part of Smith’s story is the turnaround he achieves during his six months in basic training. It must certainly have been painful for him to write about the daily failures he suffered in his early days — in the field and in the catcalls from his fellow soldiers. “The words were all the same, some unimaginative version of ‘weak,’ ‘faggot,’ and ‘pussy’ strung together by ‘fuck,’ ‘shit,’ and ‘punk,’” he writes. “The usual. The situation was taking its toll on me, and I started to feel like a different person. Before, I never felt the way they described me, but now I couldn't remove the words from my head when I thought of myself, or looked at myself in the mirror.” He would spend long stretches of time alone, writing over and over in a journal, “I hate it here.” But just as another soldier’s crisis seems to bring his own situation to a head, Smith realizes, “I don't have anywhere else to go.” And in that recognition, his “crushing fear… was replaced by a desire to do better.” He survives basic training, and in some tasks even excels. Surmounting his physical demons — the abs he develops even win praise from his drill sergeant nemesis — doesn’t mean, by any stretch, that his being gay is no longer an issue. On the way to his post-basic training assignment at Fort Carson, Colorado, he reads about the Fort Campbell, Kentucky murder of Private
SOLDIER, continued on p.11
| April 02, 2014
A Loving Farewell to Doug Ireland
Gay pioneers, veterans of New York’s old New Left remember “Dougie”
Ethan Geto, Malachy McCourt, and Valerie Goodman were among old friends who paid tribute to Doug Ireland on March 27.
BY ANDY HUMM
ioneering out journalist, radical, and selfdescribed “recovering political hack” Doug Ireland, a stalwart contributor to Gay City News, died at age 67 on October 26 (tinyurl.com/ lp7r6u8). On March 27, his old and older friends got together to celebrate his rich and storied life. The public tribute to Doug was worth the wait. On the way in to the CUNY Graduate Center, the first sign said, “Doug Ireland memorial straight ahead” and the next “turn right” — “straight” and “right” being two words I would not normally associate with gay leftist Doug, though he was an extremely straight shooter and he was right about most things. Veteran gay activist Steve-Shlomo Ashkinazy was on hand, recalling his comrade from their Gay Activists Alliance days. “We celebrated his 30th birthday and it came as a shock,” he said. “I had thought he was about 50. He always gave off that kind of air. And he was the original anti-health person” when it came to smoking, drinking, eating, and recreational drugs. Projected above the stage was a big, smiling, young picture of Doug with his trademark big glasses, floppy hair, and bow tie, simply titled “Dougie” as he was known to close friends. Another slide read: “Doug Ireland: An American Original” and he was certainly that. The gathering was presided over by Doug’s old friend and attorney Norman Levy, who said, “No one could make me laugh like Doug Ireland.” Levy read a
“God, Dougie had a big heart, but his brain was bigger,” said Nick Pileggi. note from one of Doug’s fellow writers, Nick Pileggi, who wrote the screenplay for “Goodfellas”: “God, Dougie had a big heart, but his brain was bigger.” Ethan Eldon, an environmentalist and now real estate executive, met Doug in the Democratic reform and Dump Johnson movements of the late 1960s. “He was 20 or 21, but it was hard to believe because he knew so much,” he said. “Dougie had a passion for politics, and I started introducing him around and in no time at all he was introducing me around.” Eldon talked about the halting, provisional way Doug came out in those early movement days, “until the third time he came out to me when he defeated his demons and came soaring out, mobilizing gays politically. He always stayed true to his principles.” Levy quoted some of Doug’s choicest skewerings of the politicians he covered for the Soho News, New York magazine, the Village Voice, and later Gay City News. “Mario Cuomo is the only politician who hides behind his own candor,” Doug said of the former governor. “Ed Koch is a closet gay,” Doug said of the late mayor. “Actually he’s a closet human being” — a line that got a big laugh from the assembled. Former City Councilwoman Ronnie
Eldridge, a liberal lion of New York and host of CUNY-TV’s “Eldridge & Co.,” provided some female balance to the male writers and hard drinkers Doug consorted with at the Lion’s Head in the Village and the gay men he worked with at GAA. She met Doug in 1967 through the Dump Johnson movement, which was led by the late Allard Lowenstein. She confided how that campaign succeeded with smoke and mirrors consisting of a few people who were made to seem more formidable — with Doug as the labor person, a correspondent from Wisconsin flown in to give the group “national” credentials, a young Harold Ickes, Jr., son of FDR’s Interior secretary, providing New Deal glow, and Bella Abzug bringing in the anti-war movement. “Dougie became the center of their dinners,” Eldridge said. “Seemed as if he was at least 40 at 21.” Political consultant Ethan Geto, an insider like Doug who played a big role in the early gay rights movement, shared that Levy “effectively supported Doug” through many lean years as he pursued his crusading journalism. He talked about going to the movie of “The Boys in the Band” with Doug in 1970 and how Doug was horrified at the self-hating characters, saying, “Oh my God! I knew this is what I was getting into! Gay life is
not so gay!” But Geto convinced him that these gay characters “were more like gays in the 1950s.” “I said, ‘We’re gay and we don’t behave like that,’” Geto recalled. And the two men each went on to make immense contributions to the LGBT movement. Geto also told a hilarious story about how Doug resisted going to Studio 54 in its exclusive early days for fear of being rejected by the keeper of the velvet rope (as even Sinatra and Woody Allen had been at times), but Geto went and found out the doorman was a young guy named Mark Benecke who said, “Don’t you recognize me? I was Doug Ireland’s assistant in the Abzug campaign! Doug was my hero!” They were all comped in from that time on. Allen Roskoff, a GAA veteran and now president of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, talked about Doug and him confronting the infamous and closeted Roy Cohn in a gay restaurant, Uncle Charlie’s: “Cohn, sitting with a hot young man, said, ‘This is a gay restaurant!?’ We later found out Cohn owned the restaurant. When Doug asked Cohn if he supported the city’s gay rights bill, Cohn said, ‘No. Gays shouldn’t be allowed to be teachers!’ I said to him, ‘I know a gay lawyer who shouldn’t be allowed to be a lawyer,’” a dig at Cohn, who was eventually disbarred for real corruption before he died of AIDS. Much was made of Doug’s love of marijuana, smoked freely everywhere from the opening of Woody Allen’s “Stardust Memories,” in which he had a cameo, to the Shiva for Levy’s mother.
DOUGIE, continued on p.28
April 02, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com
Classical Music Exec Aims to Put Instruments in School Kids’ Hands WQXR’s Graham Parker teams up with Department of Education, Sam Ash stores to spur donations from your attic hen Graham Parker was 13, he was already juggling piano lessons, which he had started as a small boy, and instruction on the flute, which he had picked up two years earlier, when he also took on the daunting task of preparing for his Bar Mitzvah. Something had to give. To his later regret, the suburban London teenager dropped the piano. Years later, after Parker, who is 43, moved to the US in the mid-1990s, he found that his lack of lifelong piano training stood in the way of his pursuing a career in classical music conducting. In the meanwhile, he had come to recognize that the flute “was really not my instrument.” Not that proficiency on the flute has been for naught. On March 30, Parker appeared on stage with flute superstar Sir James Galway and his wife, Lady Jeanne Galway, who is also an internationally renowned flute player. Parker, who is general manager of WQXR (105.9 FM), New York’s classical music station, joined the Galways to help promote a cause the three of them care a lot about — getting musical instruments into the hands of New York public school students. Music, Parker explained, is “very personal. It’s a space, something you love. Music is complicated and well written, and it challenges you emotionally. For kids, it’s discovering something about themselves through music and then making something with a friend. That’s important to a young person, and music is a magnificent representation for that.” Beginning on March 28 and running through April 7, WQXR is partnering with the city Department of Education, Sam Ash Music Stores, and the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation — a group named for the 1995 motion picture that donates used instruments to schools across the nation — to collect at least 1,000 instruments for aspiring young musicians in the New York City public schools. The effort includes 14 drop-off locations (wqxr. org/#!/kids/donate/), nine of them Sam Ash stores in the city, Long Island, Westchester, and New Jersey. The drive, which was put together over a two-year period, has a budget of roughly $200,000, the lion’s share of that going to refurbishing donated instruments, work that Sam Ash is doing at a steep discount. Cost is a barrier to city youth participating in music. Entry-level student instruments typically run north of $300, with some specialized instruments like cellos and bassoons difficult to purchase even at that price. And as students become more serious about playing, they often need to step up to better instruments that can run well over $1,000. “If you stay at it, you are going to max out on the instrument you start out on,” Parker explained. The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, which was launched in 1996, offered helpful guidance on matters not obvious to someone putting together an instrument donation effort for the first time. Parker recalled the foundation asking whether new instrument cases would be provided, a question that caught him off guard. He now understands how important a detail
BY PAUL SCHINDLER
WQXR general manager Graham Parker.
that can be. “For these city kids, a lot of their friends aren’t involved in music and even their parents might be asking them, ‘Why aren’t you playing basketball or video games?,’” he pointed out. “If a kid is taking on something new and different and then shows up with an old battered case, they can lose credibility with their friends. We sometimes don’t remember how vulnerable kids can be.” It was data from the foundation that showed Parker how involvement in music is correlated with better academic performance by youth. WQXR enjoyed high profile support in two promotional events publicizing the instrument drive. On March 28, Parker, station on-air hosts Jeff Spurgeon and Terrance McKnight, and New York Public Radio president Laura Walker were joined by Alan Gilbert, the music director of the New York Philharmonic, Nathalie Joachim and Allison Loggins-Hull, who make up the flute duo Flutronix, and music students from the Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School for a concert at Lincoln Center’s David Rubinstein Atrium. Two days later, Parker and the Galways performed at the Sam Ash store on West 34th Street. If seeing James and Jeanne Galway were not lure enough, the afternoon also offered flute players in attendance the chance to join them on stage for a group performance. The event “is really firing up the flute community,” Parker said a few days beforehand. Parker’s interest in giving New York school kids a chance to play music is not simply an avocation he came to working as an adult in New York’s classical musical world. It grew out of his own experience as a young musician, where the opportunity to play and learn “affected me so profoundly,” he recalled. In a five-minute video he put together in late 2010 for the It Gets Better Project (tinyurl.com/p3oqtop), Parker spoke at length about what classical music meant to him during the years when he struggled to understand his feelings of being an outsider.
“I guess I always knew that I was a little different from my other friends,” he said. “I don’t think I knew then that different meant I was gay, but something didn’t feel quite right at the time. It took quite a bit of time to figure it out. I wasn’t good at sports. I wasn’t into all the things that all the other boys at my school were often into. I often felt left out and alone.” The opportunity to explore music offered Parker a way to find self-acceptance and a community where he belonged. “Where I felt comfort was in classical music,” he said. “Classical music became my beacon of hope. It became my beacon of hope during all those years when all I was looking for was a place I felt safe. Where being accepted was all I was looking for. Where awkward questions weren’t asked. Where I didn’t feel, for once, alone. Playing the flute, singing in choir, acting in musicals were all my escapes from feeling different. Classical music showed me how to express myself in a full, normal, and deeply personal way.” While studying hotel and restaurant management at Oxford Brookes University, Parker continued singing in choir and performing in musical theater, but also began pursuing his interest in conducting. For a year after graduating, he stayed on at the university leading its orchestra. Then, after spending several years running a start-up specialty foods business, Parker decided to leave the UK and come to America, where he was determined to build a career in music. It was in New York that he recognized that not having stayed with the piano at 13 would hobble his hopes of advancing further in the field of conducting. Instead, he found a marketing position with the New York Philharmonic and later had similar responsibilities with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. From there, he became general manager of the Brooklyn Philharmonic and, for the eight years prior to joining WQXR in 2010, he was executive director of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. In 2009, the League of American Orchestras recognized Parker’s potential for significant national and international musical leadership with its annual Helen M. Thompson Award. Even as Parker advances his professional life, he remains active as a performer. It was in the choir at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, Manhattan’s LGBT congregation, that he met his future husband, with whom he is raising two young children in Washington Heights. For several years, he was also a part-time cantor with the congregation. At WQXR, Parker works “to engage” youth in classical music, both through its programming and its website at wqxr.org. “Kids need to hear great performances of Beethoven’s 9th,” he said, emphasizing the station’s commitment to presenting the finest recordings of major works. “There’s a reason they’re the classics.” Through next Monday, though, Parker is focused not just on having youth experience classical music but also on helping them to perform it on their own. For all the planning the radio station and its partners have put into the instrument drive, he recognizes that convincing the public to join the effort is the whole ballgame. “The only way it works is if people donate,” Parker said. “They really need to get the ladder down, go into the attic, and grab those instruments that have just been sitting there.”
| April 02, 2014
$1.6 Million Tribeca Employment Discrimination Award Upheld In lesbian’s claims against restaurant owner, Manhattan appeals court finds jury determination not excessive BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
state appeals court in Manhattan has upheld a jury verdict of $1.6 million in damages in a discrimination case brought by a lesbian chef under the New York City Human Rights Law against a Tribeca Mexican restaurant. In a March 20 ruling, the New York Appellate Division found the award to Mirella Salemi, who worked at Mary Ann’s Mexican Restaurant from 2002 to 2007, was not excessive. Salemi filed her discrimination suit against Gloria’s Tribeca, Inc., d/b/a Mary Ann’s, and its owner Edward Globokar. According to an employee who answered the phone at Mary Ann’s, Globokar is no longer the owner of that restaurant. Salemi, who worked as a chef and manager at Mary Ann’s, charged the employer with discrimination based on religion and sexual orientation. At the 2012 trial, she presented evidence that the restaurant held weekly
“Additional evidence demonstrated that as a result of Globokar’s improper conduct, plaintiff was retaliated against for objecting to his offensive comments, choosing not to attend workplace prayer meetings, and refusing to fire another employee because
SOLDIER, from p.8
First Class Barry Winchell, targeted as a “faggot” for dating a local transgender woman. It was apparently only then that he realized the full meaning of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. “I ended the day very afraid,” he recalls. An ugly incident on his 18th birthday reinforces Smith’s instinctive caution, but this time, unlike his preceding six months of hurt in basic training, he uses his time alone to find out about himself and what the world holds for him. When Smith entered the army, “No one was expecting any wars anytime soon.” That all changed, of course, on 9/11, and by the time he left for Iraq, he seems to be a new man. He’s rightly suspicious of the mission and honest and self-confident enough to talk to a straight Army buddy about being gay — and also about being afraid to go to war. He is clear-eyed in seeing the insanity of his squad sergeant’s behavior and, in a climactic scene of warfare, confronts him head on. And then suddenly — like so much of the random chaos that surrounds him — his time is up and he goes home, having survived Iraq with his body and humanity intact. Smith is no longer the naïve 17-year-old he was but only part of the way down the road to being the man he is today. Seven years later, as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal appears perilously close to failing in the US Senate in late 2010,
of his sexual orientation, and was constructively discharged” herself, the court wrote. Constructive discharge is conduct by a business that leaves an employee with no choice but to leave. The court rejected Globokar’s argument that the trial judge, Justice Carol E. Huff, should have instructed the jury, in considering Salemi’s claim of a hostile workplace environment,
Salemi alleged she was generally subjected to “an incessant barrage of offensive homosexual invective,” including frequent use of the word “faggot.” to determine whether the conduct alleged was “severe and pervasive.” The appeals court also rejected the argument that Huff erred in not drawing the jury’s attention to that portion of the Human Rights Law forbidding religious discrimination. The panel found
that section was intended to protect “victims of employment discrimination, not perpetrators of discrimination.” Huff had instructed the jury that Globokar had “a right to express his religious beliefs and practice his religion, provided that he does not discriminate against his employees based on religion or sexual orientation.” The court found the amount of damages to be within the range of what has been awarded in similar cases and that the punitive damage portion of the award — $1.2 million – was not excessive. The balance of the award, $400,000, was compensatory damages for the constructive discharge and accompanying emotional distress. Salemi is represented by Derek T. Smith Law Group, William G. Kaupp of counsel. The Appellate Division panel was made up of Justices Rolando T. Acosta, Dianne T. Renwick, Karla Moskowitz, Helen E. Freedman, and Paul G. Feinman. Globokar’s attorney of record, Steve S. Efron, did not return a Gay City News request for comment.
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prayer meetings viewed as mandatory for staff, and that Globokar and the pastor leading the prayers repeatedly stated that homosexuality is “a sin” and that “gay people” were “going to hell.” Salemi, who was raised Catholic, alleged she was generally subjected to “an incessant barrage of offensive antihomosexual invective,” according to the court’s opinion, including frequent use of the word “faggot.”
Author and Iraq War veteran Rob Smith.
he is among 13 activists who chain themselves to the White House gate to demand action. He has become a gay activist. The greatest strength of “Closets, Combat + Coming Out” comes from Smith’s confidence in the power of his story. There is no hyperbole but nor is there any prettying up of the painful ridicule, doubt, and self-loathing he went through just as he was coming of age. This is the story of a decent, even inspiring young man, and its lessons will resonate with many for whom the specifics of life may be very different.
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April 02, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com
In Michigan Marriage Ruling, Bogus Study of Same-Sex Parenting Demolished Sociologist Mark Regnerus’ testimony “entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration,” federal judge finds BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
DEBOER ROWSE ADOPTION LEGAL FUND
he March 21 federal court ruling that struck down Michigan’s ban on marriage by samesex couples also dealt a lethal blow to a controversial 2012 study that purported to show that parenting by same-sex couples leads to inferior outcomes for children. In a case brought by April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse — who initially set out to challenge only the state’s ban on adoption by unmarried couples — Senior District Judge Bernard A. Friedman found that the Michigan Marriage Amendment violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment, and he ordered the state to stop enforcing it. Since his opinion was issued after the close of business on a Friday, county clerk offices around the state were already closed for the weekend, but the following day a number of counties held special Saturday hours to issue licenses. According to USA Today, Glenna DeJong, 53, and Marsha Caspar, 52, of Lansing, became the first couple legally married in Michigan. Published reports indicate that more than 300 couples married before the Sixth Circuit, on March 22, issued a stay through March 26 to consider a longer stay requested by Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette as he prepares an appeal of Friedman’s ruling. That extended stay was ordered on March 25 (see sidebar). The Sixth Circuit already faces appeals of pro-marriage equality rulings in Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Friedman’s Michigan ruling is the first federal marriage equality ruling since last June’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) decision by the Supreme Court to be based on a trial record rather than summary judgment reached through constitutional findings. The judge rejected the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, finding that the State of Michigan should be allowed to present evidence on the question of whether the ban was rationally related to any legitimate governmental purpose. Insisting on creating a trial record proved critical in establishing the profound implications of Friedman’s ruling. The judge ruled that there was no rational relationship between the marriage ban and a legitimate government purpose — and in doing so, he demolished the expert testimony presented by University of Texas Professor Mark Regnerus, based on his 2012 study of the impact of “family structures” on chil-
April DeBoer, left, Jayne Rowse, and their children.
dren’s outcomes. Regnerus’ testimony, Friedman found, was “unbelievable.” Michigan advanced what it termed four “legitimate state interests” in support of its marriage ban — providing an optimal environment for child rearing, moving cautiously in altering the traditional definition of marriage, upholding tradition and morality, and affirming that the definition of marriage is “within the exclusive purview of the state’s police power.” The trial turned almost completely on the issue of child rearing. Friedman credited the testimony pre-
sented by the plaintiffs’ experts — psychologist David Brodzinsky, sociologist Michael Rosenfeld, law professor Vivek Sankaran, historian Nancy Cott, and demographer Gary Gates. These experts showed that same-sex couples are competent parents whose children experience outcomes essentially the same as those achieved by children of married different-sex couples. They also demonstrated that, historically, marriage licenses have not been withheld from couples who are unable or unwilling to procreate, that no limitations on the ability to marry have ever
been imposed on a particular class of prospective parents based on evidence about their children’s outcomes, and that thousands of same-sex couples in Michigan were raising children who were being disadvantaged by the denial of marriage to their parents. Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown, who supported the plaintiffs’ claims, testified about Michigan’s minimal requirements for obtaining a marriage license, which do not include any proof of ability or intention to procreate and do not generally disqualify people because of characteristics — such as a criminal record — which might suggest problems in their ability to raise children. In contrast to his reaction to testimony by the plaintiffs’ experts, Friedman emphatically rejected that offered by the state’s experts. Regnerus, the lead expert witness for the state, based his testimony on his 2012 paper, “New Family Structures Study,” published in Social Science Research. “The Court finds Regnerus’s testimony entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration,” wrote Friedman. “The evidence adduced at trial demonstrated that his 2012 ‘study’ was hastily concocted at the behest of a third-party funder, which found it ‘essential that the necessary data be gathered to settle the question in the forum of public debate about what kinds of family arrangement are best for soci-
MICHIGAN, continued on p.13
MARRIAGE STAY TO REMAIN IN EFFECT THROUGH APPEALS PROCESS Ruling on March 25, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has extended the stay on the previous week’s marriage equality ruling in Michigan to allow the state to bring its appeal before the circuit. In an order that ran to just over three pages, the panel’s majority — which included Circuit Court Judge John Rogers and District Court Judge Karen Caldwell — laid out the four factors courts consider in determining whether or not a ruling should be stayed pending appeal, and then noted that those factors would “balance no differently” than they had when the State of Utah won a stay from the Supreme Court after a district court in December ordered that same-sex couples be allowed to marry in that state. Pointing to the parallels between the two cases, the majority found, “There is no apparent basis to distinguish this case or to balance the equities any differently than the Supreme Court did” in the Utah case. The court also noted that other recent district court rulings in favor of marriage equality have been stayed at the request of state government defendants — though, in fact, a marriage recognition order in Tennessee has not, at this point, been stayed.
District Court Judge Bernard A. Friedman’s March 21 ruling was in effect for less than 24 hours, during which time more than 300 couples married, according to local media. Late in the day on March 22, the Sixth Circuit imposed a temporary stay until both sides could file arguments due on March 25. Several hours after the deadline for those filings, the three-judge panel issued its ruling, halting marriages in Michigan until at least the time the Sixth Circuit rules on the merits of the state’s appeal. In dissent, Circuit Court Judge Helene White noted that though the Supreme Court stayed the Utah decision, “it did so without a statement of reasons, and therefore the order provides little guidance.” White looked to “the traditional four-factor test” — the prospect that Michigan would prevail on appeal; whether the plaintiff couple would suffer “irreparable harm” if the district court proceedings are stayed; whether a stay would “substantially injure” other parties; and where “the public interest lies.” The state would have to “demonstrate at least serious questions” about Friedman’s conclusions on the merits, she found. “Michigan has not made the requisite showing,” White concluded. — Paul Schindler
| April 02, 2014
MICHIGAN, from p.12
ety’ and which ‘was confident that the traditional understanding of marriage will be vindicated by this study.’ In the funder’s view, ‘the future of the institution of marriage at this moment is very uncertain’ and ‘proper research’ was needed to counter the many studies showing no differences in child outcomes. The funder also stated that ‘this is a project where time is of the essence.’” Friedman knew well why time was of the essence — the impending consideration of the DOMA lawsuit and the challenge to Proposition 8 were, the judge wrote, “threatening the funder’s concept of ‘the institution of marriage.’” Friedman found Regnerus’ claim that the study’s “funding source did not affect his impartiality as a researcher… unbelievable. The funder clearly wanted a certain result, and Regnerus obliged.” Regnerus’ study is also, the judge concluded, “flawed on its face, as it purported to study ‘a large, random sample of American young adults (ages 18-39) who were raised in different types of family arrangements,’ but in fact it did not study this at all, as Regnerus equated being raised by a same-sex couple with having ever lived with a parent who had a ‘romantic relationship with someone of the same sex’ for any length of time. Whatever Regnerus may have found in this ‘study,’ he certainly cannot purport to have undertaken a scholarly research effort to compare the outcomes of children raised by same-sex couples with those of children raised by heterosexual couples. It is no wonder that the NFSS has been widely and severely criticized by other scholars, and that Regnerus’s own sociology department at the University of Texas has distanced itself from the NFSS in particular and Dr. Regnerus’s views in general.” Indeed, the UT sociology department reaffirmed the conclusion by the American Psychological Association that there is essentially no difference in outcomes between children raised by comparable same-sex and different-sex couples. Friedman was similarly dismissive of the state’s other experts, finding that “They, along with Regnerus, clearly represent a fringe viewpoint that is rejected by the vast majority of their colleagues across a variety of social science fields. The most that can be said of these witness’s testimony is that the ‘no differences’ consensus has not been proven with scientific certainty, not that there is any credible evidence showing that children raised by same-sex couples fare worse than those raised by heterosexual couples.” Friedman concluded that the trial testimony disproved the “premise” that “heterosexual married couples provide the optimal environment for raising children.” The state’s minimal marriage requirements belie “the optimal child-
rearing justification” for Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage in any event, he found. In fact, denying marriage to gay and lesbian couples raising a family “fosters the potential for childhood destabilization” by placing parent-child relationships at risk if one parent dies or becomes incapacitated and the child is not legally related to the other parent. In a memorable but telling bit of hyperbole, Friedman said that if Michigan were truly committed to providing the “optimal” environment for children’s academic and social outcomes, marriage would be limited to “rich, educated, suburban-dwelling, married Asians.” The judge also noted that — marriage rights or not — gay and lesbian couples are raising children and “prohibiting same-sex marriage [does not] increase the number of heterosexual marriages or the number of children raised by heterosexual parents.” On the parenting question, Friedman concluded, “There is, in short, no logical connection between banning same-sex marriage and providing children with an ‘optimal environment’ or ‘achieving ‘opti-
“The funder clearly wanted a certain result, and Regnerus obliged.” mal outcomes.’” Friedman made quick work of the state’s other justifications for banning same-sex marriage, finding that tradition and morality have repeatedly been rejected by federal courts as the basis for restricting constitutional rights and that nothing in the state’s claims to sovereign powers allows it to curb such rights either. Like other recent marriage equality rulings, Friedman’s opinion included heavy doses of eloquence: “In attempting to define this case as a challenge to ‘the will of the people,’ state defendants lost sight of what this case is truly about: people. No court record of this proceeding could ever fully convey the personal sacrifice of these two plaintiffs who seek to ensure that the state may no longer impair the rights of their children and the thousands of others now being raised by same-sex couples.” His decision, Friedman asserted, “affirms the enduring principle that regardless of whoever finds favor in the eyes of the most recent majority, the guarantee of equal protection must prevail.” Friedman was appointed to the court by President Ronald Reagan in 1988.
NO STAY OF TENNESSEE MARRIAGE RULING In a gutsy move, US District Judge Aleta A. Trauger has rejected a request by Tennessee Republican Governor Bill Haslam to stay her order that the state recognize the out-of-state same-sex marriages of three Tennessee couples while Haslam pursues an appeal. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals — which already has an appeal pending from a promarriage equality decision in Ohio and will soon be getting appeals regarding wins in Kentucky and Michigan — would hear Tennessee’s appeal. Trauger issued a short opinion on March 20 explaining her decision to deny a stay. On March 14, Trauger ruled that the three plaintiff couples had shown they were likely to succeed on the merits of their claim that the state’s refusal to recognize their marriages violates the US Constitution’s 14th Amendment. Without engaging in any extended constitutional analysis in her more recent opinion, Trauger pointed out that since Edie Windsor’s victory in her challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act last June, federal “courts have uniformly found that bans on the consummation and/ or recognition of same-sex marriages are unconstitutional,” even under the most lenient standard of judicial review, and that she saw no reason why Tennessee’s refusal to recognize valid out-of-state marriages would “merit different treatment under the United States Constitution.” Trauger also sharply disputed Haslam’s contention that staying the decision would not cause irreparable harm to the plaintiffs, and
she emphasized the narrow scope of her preliminary injunction, which orders the state to recognize only the same-sex marriages of three couples. Any harm to the state by complying with her order while its appeal goes forward “would not be substantial,” she wrote, “and that harm is unlikely to occur in the first place, because the plaintiffs are likely to succeed.” She also wasn’t convinced by the argument that the “affront” to the “sovereignty” of Tennessee from her order outweighs harm to the plaintiffs, especially the couple expecting a newborn child and a second couple who are raising two children together. Trauger noted that district court marriage equality rulings in other states all involve statewide relief, which in Utah led to more than 1,000 marriages before the US Supreme Court stayed the lower court order several weeks later. Haslam, she found, failed to show that anybody else would be injured by enforcement of her order. She asserted that “preserving the status quo” pending appeal was not a good enough argument where a plaintiff’s constitutional rights are at stake. How the Sixth Circuit or the Supreme Court might view the distinction Trauger made between the narrowness of her ruling and the Utah decision that the high court stayed is the most immediate question on the table. On March 25, a three-judge panel in the Sixth Circuit stayed a March 21 Michigan ruling that was a more sweeping marriage equality order (see accompanying sidebar on page 12). — Arthur S. Leonard
OREGON DECLINES TO DEFEND BAN, SO WHERE’S CASE HEADED? A same-sex marriage drama is playing out in Oregon as a result of a brief that Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum filed on March 18 with US District Judge Michael McShane, who is presiding over litigation there. The attorney general’s brief argues that the ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and says the state is ready to start issuing marriage licenses if the court rules that way after it hears the plaintiffs’ arguments for summary judgment on April 23. Neither Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber nor the other named defendants in that case have indicated any interest in appealing such a ruling, and so far no one has petitioned the court to intervene to defend the marriage ban. The Oregonian newspaper reported on March 19 that some county clerks have discussed intervening as defendants, but so far none has taken that step. McShane, an out gay man appointed to the bench by President Barack Obama last year, would have to approve any intervenors in the case. McShane is faced with an interesting set of choices. He could rule promptly after the April 23 hearing, rendering a decision similar to the nine
consecutive pro-same-sex marriage decisions issued by federal district courts since last year’s Supreme Court ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act and make it effective immediately. A key question then would be whether any party would be situated to appeal. Or, he could rule on the merits for the plaintiffs, but stay his order pending the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in the Nevada marriage equality case. If he wished to be even more cautious — if, for example, his status as an out gay man and a relatively new judge on the federal bench predisposes him out of political considerations to avoid stepping out front on the question — he could hear arguments on April 23 and then wait until the Ninth Circuit rules before finalizing his opinion. The Ninth Circuit, which originally scheduled oral arguments in the Nevada case for April 9 but then canceled the date given the deluge of amicus briefs filed on both sides of the question, has not rescheduled. It seems likely, though, that it won’t be long until the circuit takes up Nevada, as other circuits are moving expeditiously on gay marriage appeals, especially regarding Virginia, Utah, and Oklahoma. — Arthur S. Leonard
April 02, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com
Who is the new voice in morning radio that everyone is talking about?
The LGBT Writers Tribe Reconvenes Rainbow Book Fair shows strength of market niche, community sustaining it
Author Edmund White (center) sitting next to Raphael Kadushin of the University of Wisconsin Press.
BY MICHAEL LUONGO
he sixth annual Rainbow Book Fair, billed as the country’s largest gay book event, was held this past Saturday, March 29, at the Holiday Inn Midtown near Columbus Circle. It’s the fair’s third home, according to Sarah Chinn, a Hunter College professor and the event’s co-organizer. Past locations included the CUNY Graduate Center on Fifth Avenue and the LGBT Community Center on West 13th Street. The renovations underway at the Center occasioned the move to the Holiday Inn, though Chinn acknowledged that the event’s growth was also a factor. “ We n e e d e d m o r e s p a c e t h a n the Center can provide,” she said, explaining that even using most of its spaces, “we were spilling out.” More than 75 tables were sold for this year’s event to more than 110 vendors, Chinn said. Estimates of attendance in past years were as high as 1,500, though, she said, “it’s hard to tell how many people came, but we had a steady crowd from the moment we opened.” With the move from the Center to the Holiday Inn, costs increased significantly, with space rental rising to $6,000 from about $1,200. A suggested entry fee of $3 was used to defray that spike.
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R. Erica Doyle reads from “Proxy.”
The annual fair, Chinn explained, “brings together publishers, writers, readers under one roof and lets people talk to each other.” In addition to vendor tables, the six-hour event had readings from dozens of writers, including Edmund White (“Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris”), Donna Minkowitz (“Growing Up Golem”), T im Teeman (“In Bed with Gore Vidal: Hustlers, Hollywood and the Private World of an American Master”), Cindy Rizzo (“Exception to the
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| April 02, 2014 RAINBOW, from p.14
Rule”), and Sean Strub (“Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS, and Survival”). (Full disclosure: this writer read from the Bruno Gmünder book “Sensual Travels: Gay Erotic Stories,” which he edited.) A series of in-depth panel discussions explored topics including queer boyhood, the early 20th century gay ex-pat novelist Glenway Wescott, and the poet descendants of Sappho and Walt Whitman. Writers participating on the panels included R. Erika Doyle (“Proxy”), Perry Brass (“King of Angels”), Eleanor Lerman (“Strange Life”), and Charles Rice-Gonzalez (“Chulito”). Publishing houses on hand for the fair ranged from the niche house Trangress Press, which focuses on transgender issues, to Penguin Random House, whose tables were piled with dozens of books of LGBT interest. William Johnson, editor of the Lambda Literary Foundation’s website, pointed out the way the fair demonstrates the connections within the queer literary scene. “It really shows you the sense of community that the LGBT writers have since the Internet, since everything is electronic now,” he said. “It is great to be in the actual presence of people in the writers’ community.” The staying power of gay publishing in spite a sluggish economy for the past half-dozen years and the decline of brick and mortar LGBT bookstores was on the mind of Don Weise, the publisher of Magnus Books. A veteran of more than 21 years in gay publishing, he said the Rainbow Book Fair is “the one time of the year when you can meet gay publishers all in one room.” Acknowledging that gay publishing is a small niche, Weise said of Magnus, “For us personally, the books I’ve worked on matter and there is an audience for these.” Singling out Dr. Gerald Perlman’s “What Every Gay Man Needs to Know about Prostate Cancer: The Essential Guide to Diagnosis, Treatment, and Recovery,” he said, “There is no other book on it, so you become the book that they come to.” One gay man with prostate cancer gifted a copy of the book to his doctor, who seemed uncomfortable with gay patients. “These are not books being done by mainstream presses,” Weise said. Richard Schneider, editor of the Gay and Lesbian Review, came from Boston to attend the fair. “This is the one expo in the US where we sell subscriptions to the magazine because it is such a concentration of GLBT readers and writers,” he said. It is more fertile ground for him than either the National Lesbian and Gay Jour nalists Association’s annual convention or the LGBT Business Expo held each spring at the Javits Center.
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Magnus Books publisher Don Weise.
Michele Karlsberg, a marketing and management consultant, 25-year LGBT publishing industry veteran, and the publisher of ByWater Books, said she, like Schneider, has been to every fair. “I was definitely here the first year and it is growing,” she said. “There has been a steady flow in traffic.” Karlsberg said she was particularly struck by the quantity of self-published writers at author tables. Among them was Tom Baker, who flew in from California. One of his books is “Full Frontal,” a collection of short stories that he published through iUniverse. Baker described the fair as “a great place to be and to meet with other writers.” Acknowledging that he won’t directly recoup his travel costs, which are entirely out of pocket, he said, “It is hard to put a value on it. It’s an investment.” Larry Closs attended last year’s fair, purchasing an author table to promote his Beat poets-inspired novel “Beatitude,” published by Rebel Satori Press. This year, he represented the publisher at a table with a group of its other writers. Closs said he likes coming to the fair “because so many gay bookstores have closed. I look around and this has taken the place of gay bookstores. There are few places to go where you can see books by LGBT presses.” Several bookstores, however, held up their banner to prove that queer book spaces have not completely disappeared. Two Lower East Side shops — the feminist and activistspirited Bluestockings and the Bureau of General Services-Queer Division, which exhibits queer art in addition to selling books — were on hand.
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April 02, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com
A Family Reconfigured A new Terrence McNally play finds Andre’s mother still frosty but starting to thaw BY DAVID KENNERLEY
MOTHERS AND SONS Golden Theatre 252 W. 45th St. Tue.-Thu. at 7 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed, Sat. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. $59-$137; mothersandsonsbroadway.com Or 212-239-6200 90 min., with no intermission
errence McNally has been lauded as the godfather of contemporary queer theater and with good reason. Radical works like “The Ritz,” “The Lisbon Traviata,” “Lips Together, Teeth Apart,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “Love! Valour! Compassion!,” “Corpus Christi,” and “Some Men” — many finding their way to Broadway — boldly portrayed gay men not as comic foils or swishy stereotypes but as threedimensional, flawed human beings. You know, just like everybody else. Inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame, McNally is esteemed by critics and audiences alike.
Bobby Steggert, Frederick Weller, Grayson Taylor, and Tyne Daly in Terrence McNally’s “Mothers and Sons.”
Not that it was always the case. In 1964, his first major play, “And Things That Go Bump in the Night,” lasted a mere 16 performances on Broadway. Apparently, theatergoers were repulsed by the “dirty” gay subject matter. And now, a half-century later, the
quadruple-Tony winner is still at it with “Mothers and Sons,” his 20th Broadway production, currently on the boards at the Golden Theatre. The drama had a brief out-of-town tryout last year at the renowned Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, Pennsylvania.
The new work is actually a sequel of sorts to “Andre’s Mother,” his groundbreaking 1988 playlet made into a PBS film starring Sada Thompson and Richard Thomas. That story centered on a distraught mother at her son Andre’s memorial service in Manhattan, in denial about losing him to AIDS. She is unable to accept Andre’s sexuality or his loving partner, Cal. “Mothers and Sons” finds Katharine (the formidable Tyne Daly) some 20 years later, confronting Cal (Frederick Weller) for the first time since the memorial. Cal now has a cute, younger husband, Will (the highly capable Bobby Steggert, most recently seen in “Big Fish”), and a spunky six-year old son, Bud (an adorable Grayson Taylor). The play is billed as the first on Broadway to feature a legally married gay couple, never mind that a few OffBroadway plays got there first. The 75-year-old McNally, it should be noted, married his partner Tom Kirdahy (one of the play’s producers) a few years ago.
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Always at the Gay Bar A musical short’s lethal take on online cruising GRIND
CHEMICALLY ALTERED PRODUCTIONS
Directed by Zachary Halley Chemically Altered Productions grindshortfilm.com
Anthony Rapp and Pasha Pellosie in Zachary Halley’s “Grind.”
BY MICHAEL SHIREY
f someone left a little slip of paper on a table that said, ‘I’m 78 feet away, I’m looking at you right now, and I would like to fuck you.’ That’s creepy! But on an iPhone it’s okay?!” This is the premise of “Grind,” a new original musical short by Chemically Altered Productions that stars Anthony Rapp (“Rent”) and Pasha Pellosie
(“Project Runway”). The film takes a critical look at the popularity of online dating and hook-up applications like Grindr, as well as their impact on gay culture. Vincent and Thane are roommates and frequent users of the infamous cell phone app. Thane (model-turnedactor Pellosie) is an air-headed pretty boy model who thinks he is not smart enough to be taken seriously. Tired of meaningless hook-ups, he is searching
for a real connection. Vincent (Rapp) is a witty, pretty-enough guy who feels lost and unappreciated in a sea of headless torsos. Yet, he has darker motives in mind, preying on the app’s seemingly endless supply of naive and desperate users. After one too many failed encounters, Thane — who happens to be one of those headless torsos — enlists Vincent to flirt for him so that he can finally be noticed by someone with a brain. In return, Vincent starts using Thane’s pictures to pick up guys that normally wouldn’t give him the time of day. The two quickly become addicted to the new supply of men at their fingertips. Thane, however, is not as dumb as he initially seems to be. It is not lost on him that the two roommates represent each other’s ideal. Writer and director Zachary Halley
does an excellent job immersing audiences in this cruising-obsessed digital gay culture. He asks all the hard questions about trust, safety, and anonymity, but prefers to let viewers come to their own conclusions. He also alludes to the wider impact online interactions have on society, not exclusive to gay culture. “This is better than meeting someone in a bar or a coffee shop?” one of Vincent’s friends asks him, referring to the multitude of guys cruising on the app. “Now, we’re always at a gay bar,” he replies with a smirk. Lyricist Selda Sahin and composer Der ek Gregor pr ovide a series of catchy, pop-infused dance songs. “Stay the Night,” the musical’s opening number, could just as easily be found in any club as in a contemporary musical. “But We Do It Anyway,” one of their most powerful songs, probes the nature of cruising and points to its
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| April 02, 2014
FAMILY, from p.16
This is no gay-marriage issue play, however. Rather, it’s an absorbing meditation on the seismic cultural shift in attitudes toward gay people in just two short decades. If the focus remains on Katharine’s grief and loss, which is still immense (she recently lost her husband), it also examines the tender devotion between Cal and Will and their son. It tries to define a new normal, populated by alternative family members yet anchored by traditional family values of love, commitment, and mutual respect. Under the thoughtful direction of Sheryl Kaller (“Next Fall”), “Mothers and Sons” is a poignant character study that relies on a complex backstory but virtually no plot, a rarity for Broadway. Katharine has come all the way from Dallas to drop in on Cal unannounced, under the pretense of returning Andre’s diary. Turns out she couldn’t bear to read it and neither could Cal. She stands awkwardly, mesmerized by the view of Central Park, fiddling with her gloves, refusing to take off her fur coat, insisting she can’t stay. Over the course of 90 minutes, we witness a delicate pas de deux driven by fond remembrances, awkward confessions, and — sure enough — biting recriminations. Halfway through, Will and the chirpy Bud enter the scene, complicating the dynamic even further. Although America has changed, Katharine clearly has not. No doubt, the queer-tinged, borderline-pretentious references to Shakespeare, Mozart, Bach, and “Turandot” grate heavily on her already-frayed nerves. “Andre wasn’t gay when he came to New York,” she insists, eliciting one of many bursts of uneasy laughter from the audience. The tearjerker of a climax, elegant in its simplicity, is well earned and highly satisfying. If the roles fit Daly and Steggert like a
GRIND, from p.16
constant presence down through gay history. This song and “We Came Here Together,” sung while Vincent ensnares his latest catch, showcase considerably less sunny hues in Sahin and Gregor’s collaboration. Broadway veteran Rapp, currently starring in “If/ Then” on Broadway, gives a haunting performance as the mysterious and dangerous Vincent. He delivers a powerful, rock-fueled performance reminiscent of his days playing Mark Cohen in “Rent.” Newcomer Pellosie holds his own against the veteran actor. He tackles the film’s more pop-influenced songs, “Stay the Night” and “Easier Not to Care,” with apparent ease. “Grind” is a fun, sexy musical thriller that works mainly due to its frank
glove, that’s because McNally wrote the play with them in mind. As the grieving, emotionally frozen Katharine, Daly delivers an understated, bravura turn. Andre’s mother truly is a despicable bigot who years ago couldn’t even bring herself to attend her son’s lead debut in “Hamlet,” yet Daly shades her with glimmers of sympathetic vulnerability. Steggert is spot-on as the husband struggling to conceal his exasperation over competing with Andre’s ghost and his spite for the icy woman who is still wielding homophobia as a weapon against Cal. Weller’s Cal is brilliantly ill at ease as he tries to walk the line between respect for Katharine and his disgust at her bitterness. That said, there are minor weaknesses. The skimpy plot tends to hamper the forward momentum, and there are stretches where the action stalls. Several stale patches of dialogue seem lifted from earlier plays (the dilemma of same-sex labels — boyfriend versus partner versus lover; the debate over homosexuality as a choice). And now we know that gay couples obsessing and gushing over their children are just as tiresome as hetero couples obsessing and gushing over their children. The production is lifted immensely by John Lee Beatty’s exquisite rendering of a cavernous Upper West Side apartment featuring original moldings, glazed transoms, and a working gas fireplace, and carefully appointed with furnishings and personal objects that help define the characters. Katharine is awestruck by the abode and so are we. Thanks to impeccable performances, the intricate, unnerving “Mothers and Sons” is a simmering stew of a drama. Not only does it examine the changing nature of family and the scars of homophobia, it’s also an impassioned testament to those, gay and straight, who lost loved ones during the AIDS crisis and have quietly soldiered on.
approach to its subject. Reminiscent of classics “Sweeney Todd,” “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” and the recent cult classic “Repo: The Genetic Opera,” the movie wisely turns down the camp factor and stays focused in its short but packed half-hour running time. “Grind” was funded through multiple successful IndieGoGo campaigns, a crowd-sourced fundraising site similar to Kickstarter. The film made its US premier as part of the Duo Multicultural Arts Center’s 10th NYC Downtown Short Film Festival’s Audience Choice Screenings on March 24. The next screening will be at the Boston LGBT Film Festival on April 12. For more upcoming screenings, visit grindshortfilm.com. For future DMAC screenings and festival updates, visit duotheater.org.
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April 02, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com
IN THE NOH
Laura and Mimi Showbiz survivors — one magic vet, one getting there, gloriously BY DAVID NOH
fter some very high profile television work, Laura Benanti is returning to the musical stage as waitress Rosabella in the Encores! revival of “The Most Happy Fella” (New York City Center, 131 W. 55th St., through Apr. 6; nycitycenter. org). As exquisitely pretty and earthy real as ever, she took some time off from her whirlwind rehearsals to chat. “My manager and I put together a list of shows I want to do,” she said, “because I want to come back to Broadway. This was second after my ‘My Fair Lady,’ and then it so happened they were doing it at Encores!, so it worked out perfectly. In this, I get to use my more soprano voice. I hate to use the word operatic because there’s a misconception that it’s an opera. It’s not — it’s just a sung-through musicals. I like using my fuller soprano because I spend so much time fake belting that it’s nice to do what my instrument naturally wants. “It’s a complicated piece, very grown up, and it’s easy to play her as a victim because she’s constantly being put on the defensive. She works in this crappy place where this guy’s hitting on her and then she gets a love letter from Tony, someone who sends her a picture. So she thinks he’s one person, moves her life to Napa Valley, and realizes she’s been duped. But Tony is in a horrible accident and she feels like she can’t leave, so she marries him and makes the best of it. But then another set of circumstances kicks her, which is life. The trick of her is not letting her be a victim because in fact she’s very strong, like iron. “The music is so beautiful! That’s why I look like a crazy maniac — I’ve been sobbing hysterically all morning. We only have a week to do a Broadway show — it’s crazy — but my favorite song to sing is ‘Warm All Over,’ and my favorite song to listen to is probably ‘My Heart is So Full of You.’ When the entire company sings it at the end, it makes you feel warm all over.” The show’s casting director, Jay Binder, gave Benanti her first job when she auditioned for him at 17 for “The Sound of Music,” and, in full circle fashion, she recently did the TV movie, playing Baroness Elsa Schrader. I told Benanti that I have encouraged all my friends to call that version “The Baroness” in honor of her elegant, scene-stealing work, and she said, “You
Laura Benanti appears in “The Most Happy Fella” at City Center Encores! through April. 6.
do?! My favorite hashtag that night was ‘Gays for Elsa — winner!,’ actually my favorite thing that’s ever happened to me! I feel such an affinity for the gay community. My Uncle Bob was my favorite uncle and he had a partner. I remember my grandma, who was born in the 1920s, said to my sister at age four, ‘Go upstairs and get Uncle Bob and his friend.’ My sister said, “They’re not friends, they wuv each other,’ and my grandmother said, ‘You’re right. They do love each other.’ That was so beautiful and honest. He was one of the founding members of the Washington, DC, gay men’s chorus, with whom I sing a lot [with an engagement coming up May 18; gmcw.org]. I played Maria and he played Mother Abbess the last time, and he died a few months later. “So when we started the TV movie, I sort of knew who I was performing for and it made my character come together. I thought, ‘I’m not performing for Middle America, I’m playing this part for the gays. “That was a triumph and really good for my career. I don’t mean to sound like a weird hippie but I feel like the universe has been bringing me back to my roots, with ‘Sound’ and now, after two other Encores! appearances, here I am again. I feel this year the universe has been saying to me it’s time to regroup and get back to where you started. Forty-four million people watched it, and what I’m proud about is people now recognize me for that, also my four lines from ‘Law and Order!’” Her 2011 TV series, “The Playboy Club,” was unfortunately cancelled after only three episodes: “That was
so good but the feminists got in the way, and Million Moms Marching, and whatever. Because of the title, they were disparaging it before they ever saw it and that’s a shame. I wish it had been called something else, like ‘The Club,’ and if, instead of Bunny outfits, we were in something else — it would still be going. Hilarious, so ‘Glee’ is allowed to have a girl basically raping a guy in a wheelchair and I can’t be dressed like a Bunny? ‘Dancing with the Stars’ has more risqué content than our show.” I’m particularly interested to see what dramatic depth Benanti brings to “Fella,” in light of certain serious life experiences she’s had since we first met, at the time she was doing her Tonywinning turn in “Gypsy”: “Yeah, it’s not my favorite thing that I’ve been divorced twice before I’m 35. But it informs you, and Alan Cumming said something really interesting to me, because I said, ‘I feel like a failure.’ He said, ‘No. You keep trying. You’re brave that you keep handing your heart to another human being, like ‘“You can hang on to this for a while,” and it’s not up to you what they do with it.’ I thought that was very beautiful and generous and it helps me because there is an embarrassment to it and a sense of sadness and failure. Like if I just read on paper ‘divorced twice,’ I’d say, ‘Well, that girl’s a mess!’ But I know that I’m not. It’s really unfortunate circumstances, and I’ve learned a lot about myself and the person I want to be and what I need. Benanti recently released her first CD: “It was my act, recorded live at 54 Below complete with patter, and I’m really proud of it. I changed the
title from ‘Let Me Entertain You,’ to ‘In Constant Search of the Right Kind of Attention’ because this is an atypical cabaret show, not me draped across a piano singing sultry, but basically stand-up comedy and singing. I know that Broadway records are a niche market but if you love live music there’s nothing like hearing it, no auto tune like everybody on the radio sounding like robots. You can get it on iTunes and Amazon. “I make jokes about Studio 54, like ‘Everything in the room is entirely made of cocaine, and in that corner Liza Minnelli gave birth to a baby entirely made of glitter.’”
On March 26, the 50th anniversary of the night “Funny
Girl” opened on Broadway, Phil Bond presented a fantastic tribute concert to it with a special guest star, Mimi Hines, who very successfully took over the role after Barbra Streisand. At 80, Hines simply ruled over everyone, with her comic chops still very much in place on “Private Schwartz,” and her voice an uncanny, melting caress for “The Music That Makes Me Dance,” which she prefaced with a magical evocation of that particular moment in the show. This show biz survivor has had the most colorful, famous friend-knowing, Johnny Carson/ Ed Sullivan-appearing, Vegas heyday roller coaster of a life. “This anniversary is actually 49 years and one week for me, which was when I took over from Barbra,” she recalled. “My favorite songs in the show are all the ones that aren’t in the movie, and I’m proud to keep the spirit of Jule Styne and Fanny Brice alive. “Jule had told me and Phil [Ford, her comedian husband and stage partner] about the show two years before, when he came to see us in the Catskills, saying I’d be perfect for it. Then Barbra came along and she was absolutely perfect because visually she had a resemblance to Fanny, with a lovely success already in ‘I Can Get it for You Wholesale,’ a hit record, so it went right to her, of course. I never dreamed it would be such a success. “I met Barbra years before when she worked with Liberace, but she doesn’t remember that. That’s okay. I used to see her pop in and get ready for the matinee, stand in the wings for a few seconds, and then she’d disappear. When I opened in the show, she left me a giant blue marble egg, quite lovely.”
IN THE NOH, continued on p.24
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April 02, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com
Vintage Cool Jim Jarmusch explores the hip romanticism of vampires in Detroit BY STEVE ERICKSON
ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE Directed by Jim Jarmusch Sony Pictures Classics Opens Apr. 11 Film Society of Lincoln Center Walter Reade Theater & Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center 144 & 165 W. 65th St. filmlinc.com Landmark Sunshine Cinema 143 E. Houston St., btwn. First & Second Aves. landmarktheatres.com
All these interests come together in “Only Lovers Left Alive,” which attempts to reclaim the notion of hip back from hipsters. Jarmusch’s vampire
SONY PICTURES CLASSICS
or 30 years, Jim Jarmusch has remained one of the cool kids. His 1984 breakthrough “Stranger Than Paradise” epitomized the East Village post-punk sensibility at a time when it was still genuinely edgy. While Jarmusch has continued to refer to rock music — he’s often used electric guitar-driven drone/ noise scores and does so again in his latest film, “Only Lovers Left Alive” — he’s also shown off his literacy, paying homage to William Blake in his Western “Dead Man.”
Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston in Jim Jarmusch’s “Only Lovers Left Alive.”
characters dress in vintage clothing (they’re old enough that it was new when they bought it), play vinyl singles, and record music on analog tape. If your life was changed by punk rock — before Green Day sent it into the mainstream — this is a movie for you. If not, you’re likely to find the film’s vampires more annoying than romantic. “Only Lovers Left Alive” begins with Adam (Tom Hiddleston) buying several antique guitars from Ian (Anton Yelchin). As it turns out, Adam is a vampire. He
never leaves his house in a decaying Detroit neighborhood, preferring to record music in his home studio and let Ian act as a middleman between himself and the world. Adam is married to Eve (Tilda Swinton), who lives in Tangier and hangs out with Christopher Marlowe (John Hurt). Marlowe, of course, claims to have really written all of Shakespeare’s plays. Eve returns to Detroit to be with Adam. Things go well until her wild sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska) turns up around the film’s halfway point.
If Jarmusch’s vampires love listening to and playing rock’n’roll, they have no use for sex, alcohol, or drugs. Blood seems to take the place of intercourse and intoxicants in their lives. “Only Lovers Left Alive” includes a montage of Adam, Eve, and Marlowe each taking a shot of blood and falling back in ecstasy. Vampirism has a long history as a metaphor for addiction, but that’s not really what Jarmusch is getting at here. Adam and Eve mention the dangers of contaminated human blood, seemingly referring to HIV without calling it out by name. With hospitalpure blood provided by a friendly doctor, their habit seems as harmless as a daily cup of coffee in the morning. Jarmusch hits a peak of visual poetry in his nocturnal vistas of Detroit. He manages to capture why this crumbling city would attract someone with a romantic sensibility like Adam — all its glories seem to lie in the past. He takes Eve to sites that offer nostalgia rather than a hint of the city’s future, like a huge amphitheater now serving as a parking lot. Nevertheless, the sights are seductive to the characters and spectator alike. “Only Lovers Left Alive” gets a needed jolt of energy when Ava enters the
VINTAGE, continued on p.21
Love in All Its Unlikelihood Passion between a middle-aged gay schlub and a teenage girl has them on the run BY STEVE ERICKSON
THE KING OF ESCAPE
ometimes filmmakers suddenly burst into the spotlight after years of neglect. In America, 2014 is turning out to be Alain Guiraudie’s year. His latest film, “Stranger by the Lake,” has been a modest commercial success and a major critical hit. I expect it to rank in the Top 10 in the Village Voice and indieWIRE year-end critics’ polls. The release of “Stranger by the Lake” was accompanied by the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s retrospective of Guiraudie’s entire oeuvre of work, none of which has been distributed in the US until now. In the wake of “Stranger by the Lake,” Anthology Film Archives is giving his 2009 film “The King of Escape” a weeklong run. Ironically, “Stranger by the Lake” is the weakest of the four Guiraudie films I’ve seen, and “The King of Escape” the
Directed by Alain Guiraudie Institut Français In French with English subtitles Opens Apr. 11 Anthology Film Archives 32 Second Ave. at Second St. anthologyfilmarchives.org
Hafsia Herzi and Ludovic Berthillot in Alain Guiraudie’s “The King of Escape.”
best. I suspect the fact that “Stranger by the Lake” is a thriller that contains unsimulated gay sex accounts for much of its success. But the odd thing about its near-universal acclaim is that it’s not too far from queer controversy magnets like “Cruising” and “Basic Instinct” in its equation of gay sex and death. Indeed, critic David Ehrenstein has suggested that it’s essentially “Cruising” as made by a gay man. “Stranger by the Lake” tackles sexual taboos from a
ESCAPE, continued on p.24
| April 02, 2014
A Long Ago Riddle Hidden, Even Now Documentary about a dysfunctional paradise tosses the needle into a haystack BY GARY M. KRAMER
THE GALAPAGOS AFFAIR: SATAN CAME TO EDEN Directed by Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine Zeitgeist Films Opens April 4 Lincoln Plaza Cinemas 1886 Broadway at 63rd St. lincolnplazacinema.com
This strange but true story opens in 1929. Friedrich Ritter (voiced by Thomas Kretschmann), decides to turn his back on civilization and live with his mistress Dore Strauch (voiced by Cate Blanchett) at the “world’s end,” in the Galapagos Islands. Ritter didn’t quite fit into conventional Berlin society; he was a “genius with a dark side.” When “intruders” come to Floreana after he and his wife have settled there, we see just how little he was able to get along with others. The film sets up that conflict with the
VINTAGE, from p.20
picture. Although at least a century old, she still seems girlish, even bratty. Wasikowska plays her like a cousin to the rebellious young women of Vera Chytilova’s “Daisies.” She’s impulsive and guided by her libido. For a vampire, that means she hasn’t learned the selfcontrol that keeps Adam and Eve reliant on pre-packaged blood and away from attacks on humans. Adam and Eve treat her more like their wayward daughter than Eve’s sister. Her visit disrupts their daily life and points up the complacency underlying their romanticism. All the same, she’s gracelessly ejected both from
he pre-credit sequence of “The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden” promises a “strange and sinister drama” and uses dramatic headlines to sensationalize the fact that it contains “one mystery on top of another.” It’s true there are some intriguing moments, but this overlong documentary, by Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine, moves as slowly as the giant tortoises that inhabit the island paradise of Floreana, where much of the action unfolds. And, viewers unfamiliar with the source material (“Satan Came to Eden” by Dore Strauch, one of the documentary’s key players) will need a scorecard to keep track of the many extraneous characters. Baroness Eloise von Wagner with her two lovers, Robert Philippson and Rudolf Lorenz.
arrival of Heinz (voiced by Sebastian Koch) and Margret (voiced by Diane Kruger) Wittmer. The new arrivals adapt well to island life, while vegetarians Friedrich and Dore (who has multiple sclerosis) struggle and find their new home is no place to rest. The tense situation is further complicated by the arrival of Baroness Eloise von Wagner Bosquet (voiced by Connie Nielsen), who is accompanied by Robert Philippson and Rudolf Lorenz, her two lovers. She hopes to realize her dream of building a grand hotel on the island. Suf fice it to say, the baroness’ arrival manages to disrupt both of the other couples. When she receives gifts from visitors, it sparks jealousy. And she generates headlines — and, who knows, they might have been true — about being surrounded by a court of 12 noblemen and having a terror
their lives and the film. In the past, Jarmusch has made multiculturalism look easy and fun. He’s one of the few white filmmakers ever to do so. However, apart from one amazing performance by Lebanese singer Yasmin, Tangier is mostly used here as an exotic backdrop, with Adam and Eve having little engagement with Moroccans. “Only Lovers Left Alive” is as cool as it sets out to be, but by the halfway point, a certain smugness sets in. Adam and Eve refer to humans as “zombies.” I can’t help but suspect that this is also the film’s attitude toward people who don’t own turntables or shop at thrift stores for vintage finds.
regiment at her command. In one of the film’s best vignettes, a pirate film the Baroness made, entitled “The Empress of Floreana,” is shown, and features seduction, betrayal, and even some cross-dressing. Midway through the short, it is revealed that the Baroness may not be who she says she is. This is an interesting, though not wholly unexpected wrinkle in a story full of twists. “The Galapagos Affair” raises far more questions than it gets close to answering. Was there jealousy among the women? Did the baroness have an affair with Ritter? And when the baroness and Philippson disappear, were they murdered? Lorenz’s insistence on selling his lover’s things makes for dramatic moments, and the filmmakers suggest that two of the baroness’ prized possessions — a copy
of “The Picture of Dorian Gray” and a tablecloth — turning up after she is “gone” point to her being murdered. Geller and Goldfine play up the idea that “everyone has a motive” for killing the baroness, but most of what we learn is speculative. “The Galapagos Affair” espouses theories that play out without payoff. When Ritter dies, there are two stories — one from Dore and one from Margret — that “explain” his demise. Audiences are asked to choose the one they think is appropriate. It is an unsatisfying approach to the mystery. The film includes interviews with living descendants of Floreana families, who talk about growing up on the island as a wonderful experience but also suggest evidence the island might be haunted. We also learn about a history of inbreeding, when Carmen Angermeyer explains how it is that her father -in-law was also her brother in-law — an amusing story, but one irrelevant to the film’s central mysteries. We see Ritter’s childhood home and a scene from the family gravesite, and also learn how scarred he was by World War I. That may or may not explain his need to drop out of society — unfortunately the infor mation just hangs there. The filmmakers’ showcasing of the Galapagos’ flora and fauna provides viewers with narrative downtime to absorb all the dense infor mation presented, but it is also a reminder of much more efficiently they could have told their story. That said, the use of photographs, film clips, and voiceovers of letters and other published writing left from those years is very well done. The unsolved mystery of the baroness’ disappearance could make for an interesting film. It’s unfortunate that in a film packed with detail, “The Galapagos Affair’ buried that lede.
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Knock-Outs Three shows, three engaging evenings of theater BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE
CYLLA VON TIEDEMANN
hen a show comes fr om Disney, you can count on it to have its inimitable brand of magic. If that magic comes at the expense of an emotional connection with the char acters, that’s a small price to pay for the dazzling spectacle that no one can do better. From sheer energy to gaspinducing technological wizardry, Disney shows are in a class by themselves.
Happily, “Aladdin” is right up there with the best of the Disney movies translated to the stage. This is an overwhelming crowd-pleaser of a show with a hilarious new book by Chad Beguelin that stresses the comedy of Aladdin, the Genie, and their pals over the love story with Princess Jasmine. Still, the princess’ efforts to upend Agrabah’s patriarchal structure with her message of girl power do resonate, and while defeating the evil Jafar with the help of the Genie from his lamp, Aladdin learns to be true to himself and gets the girl in the end. Even if you know the 1992 movie — a fine musical in its own right — backwards and forwards, the surprises and pleasures abound. Yes, it’s a little sluggish at the beginning when director Casey Nicholaw tries to recreate the rooftop chase scene from the film, but the show quickly hits its stride and the rest of it is a fantastic ride that sweeps everyone along in its exuberance. Adam Jacobs is a fine Aladdin, with a great voice and a nimble physicality needed for swinging from rooftops and escaping guards. Courtney Reed is charming as Jasmine. Jonathan Freeman, who voiced Jafar in the movie, is cartoonishly evil, in the best possible way. And his henchman Iago, a parrot in the movie, has been reimagined as a long-suffering assistant, played by Don Darryl Rivera. But the comic heavy lifting falls to James Monroe Iglehart as the Genie. He gives a no-holds-barred performance in two show-stopping numbers that are nothing short of awe-inspiring. Robin Williams, of course, made an indelible
James Monroe Iglehart as the Genie in “Aladdin.”
Amid stage machines and multi-million dollar capitalizations, there’s still room MATTHEW MURPHY
New Amsterdam Theatre 214 W. 42nd St. Tue. at 7 p.m.; Wed.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. $49.50-$115.50; ticketmaster.com Or 866-870-2717 2 hrs., 35 min., with intermission
But it’s the performances that really makes this show so powerful. Andy Karl as Rocky is consistently sympathetic and engaging. His powerful baritone, exceptional movement, and focused characterization balance passion with humor. Margo Seibert as Adrian is every bit his match. She has an incredible voice and an inherent fragility perfect for the role. Terence Archie as Apollo Creed is outsized and outlandish, the perfect foil for the more humble Rocky. The movement, particularly the final boxing match, with choreography by Steven Hoggett and Kelly Devine, is an essential element of this show and it’s gripping. The audience was on its feet cheering during the final fight scene, which, even at close quarters, looked remarkably real. But this ultimately is not a story about boxing. It’s about staying the course and going the distance. No matter what life throws at you, a friend recently mentioned to me, “a champion always finds a way to succeed.” That could easily be said about Rocky, but also about everyone involved in this wonderful show.
Andy Karl in the title role of “Rocky.”
mark on this role in the film, but Iglehart has made it his own, with sly references to other Disney movies and cultural touchstones including Oprah Winfrey. It’s a tour-de-force of ultimate cosmic theatrical power, to appropriate one of the Genie’s descriptions of himself. Problems with the opening aside, Nicholaw’s direction shows flair, humor, and a madcap energy that’s completely enchanting. Add to that Bob Crowley’s amazing sets, Gregg Barnes’ costumes with enough bling to light up the sky, and a truly magical magic carpet, and you have an “Aladdin” that is a blaze of entertainment to delight any audience.
Just as everyone in Rocky Balboa’s life has low
expectations of him, I was pretty skeptical about how the classic movie was going to be turned into a musical. I’m happy to report I was proven so wrong. “Rocky” is certainly one of the
in the theater for a simple story well told. That’s what you’ll find in “No Parole,” the one-man show from Carlo D’Amore, head of the Live IN Theater. The company is known for its immersive, audience participation shows, but here D’Amore takes a different route and tells the story of growing up with a con-artist mother.
Winter Garden Theatre 1634 Broadway at 50th St. Tue. at 7 p.m.; Wed.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. $79-$143; telecharge.com Or 212-239-6200 2 hr., 30 min., with intermission
Hartley House 413 W. 46th St. Through May 3; Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. $26; noparole.liveintheater.com Or 347-422-7562 90 min., with no intermission
most exciting, edge-of-the seat shows to come along in a while — a knock-out on every level. Thomas Meehan and Sylvester Stallone have adapted the screenplay to fit the stage, and the music and lyrics by the team of Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens perfectly capture the characters’ lack of sophistication while making them warm, relatable, and, most importantly, believable. Christopher Barreca’s sets and the projections by Dan Scully and Pablo N. Molina create the world of the show with some of the most amazing stagecraft to be seen yet.
Performing on a bare stage, D’Amore conjures an entire cast of characters and a crazy world. Though it’s doubtful anyone in the audience has endured such a complex and unusual upbringing, anyone can relate to the mixed emotions of love, frustration, anger, and forgiveness endemic to relationships with one’s parents — and D’Amore harnesses the universality of those feelings to make an engaging show. When your mother is an internationally known con artist with a dizzying list of aliases, your story is not one that need rely on a magic carpet or a boxing ring to pack a punch.
| April 02, 2014
Singing Psychotics from Vienna Carnegie Hall features in concert “Salome,” “Wozzeck,” also revived at Met BY ELI JACOBSON
grotesquerie. Except for the fiercely committed Herlitzius, theatricality was lacking in this musically refined reading.
On March 6, Goer ne replaced the ailing Thomas Hampson as Wozzeck at the
MARTY SOHL/ METROPOLITAN OPERA
s part of Carnegie Hall’s t h r e e - w e e k “ Vi e n n a : City of Dreams” festival, the Vienna State Opera performed in concert two 20th century operas dealing with abnormal psychology. Richard Strauss’ “Salome” (1905) and Alban Berg’s “Wozzeck” (1925) were composed during the same period as Sigmund Freud’s pioneering studies of psychoanalysis, though their literary sources — Wilde and Büchner — predated Freud. Only a few days later, the Metropolitan Opera revived “Wozzeck” fully staged with several surprising role debuts. On March 1, “Salome” was given an exciting reading by the newly appointed music director of the Boston Symphony — rising podium star Andris Nelsons. Though his Met appearances have failed to impress me, Nelsons kept the Vienna Philharmonic at a constant boil — the silken string section surging over churning brass and slicing woodwinds. The two main antagonists were sung by interesting newcomers. GunBrit Barkmin in the title role was dramatically volatile, energetic, and imperious. Barkmin has a lean tensile medium weight soprano with a pithy middle voice and expansive upper register. Not a voice for the ages but accurate, effective and expressive. Done up as a silent movie vamp with jeweled headband, Louise Brooks bob, and brocade kimono, she played Salome as a knowing, willful seductress. Though I prefer the polymorphous perverse, corrupted innocent approach, Barkmin’s vivid delivery of the text and confident manner gave her Judean princess vibrant theatricality even in a concert setting.
Matthias Goerne in the title role of Berg's "Wozzeck” at the Metropolitan Opera.
As Jochanaan, Tomas Koniezcny stepped in for Falk Struckmann, displaying a juicy youthful baritone full of energy and volume. Subtlety and authority are yet to come. G e rh a r d S i e g e l ’ s s t u r d y - t o n e d Herod was amusingly high-strung and garrulous. Jane Henschel as Herodias exuded gleeful venom capped by still puissant high notes.
The previous evening, Franz Welser-Möst led the
Vienna Philharmonic in “Wozzeck.” Welser -Möst and the or chestra’s shining, burnished strings made Berg’s twelve-tone score sound like a late Mahler symphony. Aiming for broad, sweeping musical arcs, Welser-Möst’s symphonic approach smoothed over the score’s astringent atonal edges, bringing Berg’s opera more in line with late Strauss and Franz Schreker.
Matthias Goerne and Evelyn Herlitzius made rare US operatic appearances as the doomed Wozzeck and Marie. Goerne sang with handsome resonance and lieder-like attention to text but seemed dramatically recessive, Wozzeck’s incr easing mania and desperation failing to register. Herlitzius proved a force of nature — her petite frame unleashing surprisingly powerful waves of steely sound. She delivered Isolde-like power at the high climaxes The tone itself is metallic, lacking richness but was surprisingly steady and wobble-free on this occasion. Herlitzius’ face and body exuded total immersion in the music and drama even before she emitted a sound. Herbert Lippert’s light refined tenor was badly miscast as the Drum Major while Herwig Pecoraro and Wolfgang Bankl as the Captain and Doctor sang musically but without the requisite
season premiere of the Metropolitan, Opera revival on less than 48 hours’ notice. After only a few brief rehearsals and having performed “Die schöne Müllerin” at Carnegie Hall the prior evening, Goerne took complete possession of the role. In James Levine‘s interpretation of one of his signature works, musical refinement and theatrical expression go hand in hand. Levine understands each nuance of the score, relishing both the spiky ugliness and the fleeting, shattering moments of beauty. Deborah Voigt in a role debut created a warm, fallible, but movingly human Marie — a poor, struggling woman desperate for any kind of simple joy in her downtrodden existence. Voigt had a wonderful rapport with Anthony Reznikovsky as her child — alternately impatiently neglectful and then playfully af fectionate or war mly mater nal. Her patchwork of a soprano suited the character and the vocal writing. Powerful metallic tops ignited exciting confrontation scenes and the worn, sour-tone lower down suggested Marie’s soul weariness in sung speech passages. This is likely Voigt’s last Met appearance in a major operatic role — she can be proud of this achievement. Simon O’Neill’s bright, ringing tones suggested the Drum Major’s vulgarity without coarse vocalism. Peter Hoare was a fiercely manic Captain, while bass Clive Bayley debuted as a fascinatingly sinister and effete Doctor. Tamara
VIENNA, continued on p.28
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24 Hines literally slayed her audience back then— one man laughed so hard during “Private Schwartz,” he had a heart attack and died. Having done the show in three different theaters — the Winter Garden, the Majestic, and the Broadway — she recalled, “I asked Ethel Merman, which of the three she preferred and she said, ‘They’re all toilets, honey! But if I gotta like one, it’s the Broadway!’ “My Nicky Arnstein was Johnny Desmond, a hotheaded Italian, who would yell at me through some of the love scenes and you’d think, ‘What the hell kind of delivery is that?’ Next time, he’d have a caressing version because it all depended on what went on with the phones in his dressing room. He was opening a club and I don’t think the powers that be, better known as the boys, were giving him any help, so you could hear him yelling, a lovely but very volatile man. “In the seduction scene he was screaming and bit me on the ear. Blood was trickling onto my beautiful periwinkle chiffon Irene Sharaff dress and in the blackout I said, ‘I don’t ever want you to scream at me like that again on the stage.’ He picked me up and kind of tossed me away into the arms of my hairdresser, Jimmy Nova. Jimmy lifted me into the air and I’m screaming and kicking and punching the air like an out of control cat. We go past Phil, who was playing Eddie, and somebody said to him, ‘Why didn’t you do something about it?’ Phil said, ‘What am I supposed to do, walk up to Johnny and say, “Who are you to let my wife hit you?”’ Oh yeah, I forgot, I whacked Johnny during the blackout!” Life on the boards back then certainly seems more
out, got knocked out again, and then started growing sideways and I looked like Mortimer Snerd, so in 2004, I got permanent front implants. “We tried unsuccessfully to recreate the overbite — Phil used to say I didn’t have protruding teeth, I had a receding jaw. They were a God-given piece of my talent, not awful buck-buck-buck, but very pleasant. Jack Paar used to call me the sexy chipmunk and everybody including me thought they were cute. Kaye Ballard now laughs when I call her up and say, ‘Kaye, I miss my teeth!’”
IN THE NOH, from p.18
ESCAPE, from p.20
conservative perspective, reviving dated stereotypes about oversexed and amoral gay men at a point when the “new normal” among young gay men exerts pressure to settle down in monogamous couples and get married (where possible), not engage in public cruising. “The King of Escape” also addresses taboo subjects — conventional beauty standards among gay men, sexual fluidity, and intergenerational relationships — but without the hand of doom hanging over its characters to the same degree. Armand (Ludovic Berthillot) is a 43-year -old, overweight gay tractor salesman. One night, he rescues a teenage girl, Curly (Hafsia Herzi), from a gang rape by paying off the attackers. She becomes attracted to him. Undergoing a midlife crisis and wanting to experiment with heterosexuality, Armand embarks
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April 02, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com
Mimi Hines was the standout at 54 Below’s 50th anniversary tribute to “Funny Girl.”
rough and tumble than now, and Hines’ personal life was also full of bumps. When I told her she had the most disarming overbite since Gene Tierney, she said, “Oh, I loved Gene Tierney! I got my overbite fixed 10 years after Phil and I divorced when I married a Chilean playboy in 1984. He hit me — several hundred times — after having my teeth carefully wired in place after I knocked myself out onstage with a pratfall. The original tooth that got knocked
on a relationship with Curly. This leads to his arrest because of her age. Although nothing much has happened — at this point, the couple have done nothing more than kiss — he’s forced to wear a sex offender’s wrist bracelet. The couple decide to go on the run through the local forest. I’m not sure if Guiraudie works with nonprofessional actors, but, with the exception of Herzi, who appeared in Abdellatif Kechiche’s “The Secret of the Grain,” I don’t see familiar faces in his films. He’s a genuine regionalist, shooting far away from Paris and other French cities. Without emphasizing it, “The King of Escape” offers great vistas of the beautiful French countryside. Yet its characters don’t have time to stop and enjoy them, as Armand and Curly are being chased through it. Like “Stranger by the Lake,” “The King of Escape” depicts public cruising, but this film’s take on it is far more affirmative. Showing overweight men with beautiful women isn’t
super elegant, super worthy affair. Eight flourishing seniors were honored by the program “Eight over Eighty,” including marvelous lesbian trailblazer Edie Windsor. The organization showed a film depicting its plans for an impressive, new, green residence opening in 2018, and is making a strong outreach to the LGBT community, with its mission to provide a safe space where elders can live openly and proudly. That couldn’t be more timely: a 2011 National Senior Citizens Law Center survey revealed that fewer than 25 percent of seniors from our community felt they could be open about their identity with the staff of their long-term care facilities. Another honoree, beloved actor Dominic Chianese, proved himself the hippest guy in the room with some tasty guitar selections.
Contact David Noh at Inthenoh@aol.com, follow him on Twitter @in_the_noh, and check out his blog at http://nohway.wordpress.com.
exactly breaking a taboo, as anyone who’s seen a Judd Apatow film can testify. But Apatow never depicted a completely nude Seth Rogen, with his belly exposed, having explicit sex with Katherine Heigl. Guiraudie doesn’t cater to the vanity of his characters — or his actors. James Gandolfini was a minor sex symbol in some corners of the gay community, but Berthillot doesn’t have the late actor’s charisma. He’s completely convincing as an everyday schlub — there’s nothing larger than life about his performance. Gay men can be just as inflexible about weight and looks as our heterosexual counterparts; “The King of Escape” dares to show men over 40, who obviously don’t spend much time at the gym, in sexual situations. Some of Guiraudie’s films, like his 2005 “Time Has Come,” show a pronounced sense of whimsy, evident in wordplay. The closest “The King of Escape” comes to such a sensibility is its invention of a drug called “dooroot.” It’s an aphrodisiac that seems to combine the effects of Viagra and amphetamines, although it looks like a small potato. “The King of Escape” does show a deadpan sense of humor throughout, even if it’s rarely laugh-out-loud funny. At times, it aims for maximum incongruity, as when the police round up cruisers and try to convince them to join the search for Armand and Curly. In “Stranger by the Lake,” Guiraudie has a straight cop deliver something approximating the film’s message, but in “The King of Escape,” the police are comic menaces. Guiraudie’s a major filmmaker, and it’s a shame that it’s taken the US so long to catch on to his work. For all my problems with “Stranger by the Lake,” it’s opened doors for him that have allowed us to see more of his earlier, stronger films. I hope those doors don’t close again if Guiraudie’s next film is closer to the warm humor of “The King of Escape” than the dark moralism and hardcore sex of “Stranger by the Lake.”
| April 02, 2014
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Sponsor a child. Help fight global poverty. The images are heart-rending. The cost of helping not great. Who isn’t moved by the opportunity to fight the tragedies that afflict youngsters in poverty-stricken and war -affected parts of the world? Yet, when World Vision — a non-profit charitable organization with revenues of just over a billion dollars that does global relief and development work and has close ties to major evangelical denominations — announced it would hire employees who are in legal same-sex marriages, the outcry was overwhelming. As David Badash reported on thenewcivilrightsmovement. com, Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, charged the group had “walked away from one of the greatest legacies in Christian ministry, trading a vision to reach the world for the world’s vision of marriage.” Franklin Graham, Billy’s son, termed the decision “offensive, as if supporting sin and sinful behavior can unite the church.” And there were widespread reports of World Vision supporters calling the group to withdraw their money pledges to the children they sponsored.
On March 26, less than two days after its initial policy statement, the group reversed itself. This is an easy one to condemn. How could anyone moved by the plight of starving children withdraw their support over the question of gay marriage? For our community, it’s hard to imagine how World Vision can be so weak-kneed and craven in the face of such callous hatred for gay people. But condemning World Vision and its supporters is not my main interest here. What I want to know is how a Washington State-based employer is able to discriminate in this fashion. For that matter, how did the issue of the group hiring employees in legal same-sex marriages even come up? World Vision, it seems, has federal court approval for the discriminatory way it hires its employees. In 2007, three former employees who worked among its Seattle headquar ters staff of 1,200 (a small fraction of its worldwide workforce) sued over the requirement that they sign a statement of faith as a term of employment. The three argued that the organization’s main activities were not religious in nature, but rather involved secular relief and development efforts. “There’s no ‘Christian’ way of moving furniture or performing secretarial duties,” their attorney told the Seattle Times. Unfortunately, the courts didn’t see matters that way.
In 2010, the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that found World Vision is a “religious corporation” and therefore exempt from federal and state bans on religious discrimination. That ruling came despite the fact that nearly 18 percent of the group’s revenues come from federal government sources. That’s right, US taxpayers subsidize World Vision to carry out secular economic activity — worthy though it certainly is — all the while exacting a religious test on its employees and now explicitly refusing to hire some who are legally married in the State of Washington. Everybody understands that religious groups can rightfully apply religious tests to their religious activities. A Catholic priest cannot be required to marry a Jewish couple and he can also assert a religious objection to marrying a gay couple, even if they go to Mass every week. The general understanding most of us have, though, is that religious tests do not apply to religiously affiliated organizations engaged in non-religious activities. The specific ways in which that principle plays out, however, are constantly facing court review. The Supreme Court is even considering a challenge brought by a private business to the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that contraception coverage be included in employer healthcare plans. The
right wing has gotten considerable mileage out of a New Mexico Supreme Court ruling that a wedding photographer could not deny services to a lesbian couple planning a commitment ceremony. In two high profile situations from recent years, Catholic Charities in Massachusetts and Illinois withdrew from the adoption business rather than consider gay and lesbian individuals and couples as potential parents. In each of these cases, state funding for the adoption services was a critical factor in dooming Catholic Charities’ goal of staying in the adoption business while continuing to discriminate. It is not certain that without government funding, the services would have been deemed public accommodations subject to anti-discrimination law. All of this is important to bear in mind as we look to the future of the long-stalled federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act. As we have reported in a series of articles, as proposed now, the bill has a religious exemption broader than that found in most state anti-discrimination laws. One of its primary advocates admitted that it could allow Catholic Charities to deny employment to a gay janitor. This exemption language is included in what the US Senate passed last year and what the Human Rights Campaign is pushing in the House now. Unless we are content to merely tsk-tsk those who discriminate — rather than taking them to court — it’s time to listen to major legal advocacy groups in the community and amend ENDA. Before it’s too late.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR ENDING AIDS
March 26, 2014
To the Editor: Let’s be clear: there is no “END OF AIDS” until there’s a CURE FOR AIDS (“Do We Already Have the Tools to End AIDS?,” by Duncan Osborne, Mar. 19). Your article begins, “Leading AIDS groups are pressing an ambitious plan…” Really?! Not if they’ve got anyone on their boards who has one foot in reality. This isn’t science. It is irresponsible statistical sleight-of-hand. If they don’t know it, they need to stop talking to each other and start talking to those newly diagnosed.
It’s very disappointing to see and hear these “experts” talk about HIV/ AIDS with such a disconnect to the populations most at-risk. Maybe they really don’t know any better and should have taken that one elective in marketing that would have taught them that branding a lie has dangerous consequences. So far, those consequences include: a state budget that currently does not appropriate the $10 million sought for PrEP ($1.5 million), for PEP ($1.5 million), HighImpact Prevention/ Surveillance ($3 million), linkage to retention in care ($2 million), expanded partner services ($1 mil-
lion), and evaluation and monitoring ($1 million). The governor has not declared the “End of AIDS” as many advocates thought he would on World AIDS Day or in his State of the State Address, we have BOTH houses of the State Legislature largely ambivalent to those with HIV/ AIDS, and the message from New York City’s health commissioner is that HIV/ AIDS is over and we should all go home. Sure, if everybody just gets tested early and often, takes their ARVs, keeps their viral loads undetectable, and one might
LETTERS, continued on p.27
| April 02, 2014
Regretting the Gay Future: Gloom, Despair, and Agony on Me BY KELLY COGSWELL
o I went to the Rainbow Book Fair this weekend, and cooed over all the new presses, the courage of self-publishers, writers of sci-fi, porn, roman noir, and the wan, smoldering poets. At the same time, I tried to quell a growing and uncomfortable awareness at how much has changed in our community, wondering if it had to do with books themselves. You don’t see them all that much anymore. On the subway it’s all tablets all the time — and Angry Candy, Crushed Birds, or whatever. Our bookstores have gone, too. And not just the queer ones. They had these wonderful wooden planks called shelves, and on the shelves little bundles of paper printed with a bunch of words that stayed right where you put them. No swapping out for another story. Just one that you could actually touch and thumb through. Smell the pages. I’m aroused just thinking of it. Though there were obvious limits like the weight. You could only pack
LETTERS, from p.26
as well add “uses a condom,” doesn’t inject drugs, and never ever trusts anyone else’s test results... and never visits Russia or Uganda or anyplace that preaches “AIDS=HIV=gay=deserving of God’s wrath” (which could be the South Bronx), THEN we won’t have “that many statistical AIDS cases in a certain geographic area.” William Cooke New York City March 20, 2014 To the Editor: It is disappointing that this article focused only on the biomedical inter ventions. While these are critical, there are other key factors that have led us to believe that this is the time to call for a real effort to end AIDS as an epidemic in our state. The first is that the Affordable Care Act gives us the opportunity to get health insurance coverage for people most at risk of HIV, which means we can seize the moment to get people into culturally appropriate primary care, where issues like routine HIV testing and education about PEP and PrEP as well as access to early treatment become the norm. The second is Medicaid Redesign,
a few on vacation. There was also that business with covers. A drawing of a guy in leather and chains might seem discordant next to the worn New Testament a woman mutters over on the F train. Not an issue on your Kindle. Queer bookstores were practically churches. At Judith’s Room, a mostly dyke place I found when I first came to New York, they had a bulletin board where you could advertise for roommates or sell your lesbian couch. And you knew that if somebody saw the ad, you had to at least have a few things in common. Probably cats. And all the books and magazines jostled up against one another. The anti-porn rag, Off Our Backs, was next to On Our Backs, the pro sex thing. Together, they had a little conversation that you miss now if you stick to the narrow recommendations generated only by your previous browsing history at Amazon, where you’d never mistakenly grab Octavia for Judith Butler. It often seems the insides of our books are changing, too, getting more and more segregated, smaller and benign, just like our community seems to be. Except for
which has freed up funds that can support housing, care coordination, and other services that are vital to treatment adherence. Finally, we have both a governor and a mayor who have appointed leadership that is committed to this agenda. The first test of this was the inclusion of the 30 percent rent cap for people in New York City receiving HIV/ AIDS rental assistance in the state budget. This came about because Mayor de Blasio was willing to pick up the city share. A second test was the state’s successful negotiation, announced yesterday by New York State Health Commissioner Shah, with Gilead to further discount ARV prices so that the state can aggressively press for more people on treatment. To end the AIDS epidemic, we will need many nonbiomedical steps going forward. Some, like rental assistance for everyone who is homeless and HIV-positive, will be costly; others, such as a ban on condoms as evidence and decriminalization of syringes, will be controversial. But a meaningful commitment to end AIDS as an epidemic is what will propel these critical agenda items forward. Charles King New York City T h e w r i t e r i s p re s i d e n t o f H o u s i n g Works, an AIDS services group.
events like the Rainbow Book Fair, when do we ever combustibly rub shoulders? The L meeting the G meeting the T meeting the B, not to mention the ethnic mix in a brutally ghettoized city? If we were split before, what would you call it now when the physically isolating Internet is paired with a growing acceptance that no longer forces us into each other’s reluctant arms? In the age of mass media, mass terror, multinational globalization, is the LBBT community actually going to succumb to an excess of niche marketing? Oh, woe is me. If I’m not careful, I’ll turn this into one giant, whiny lament, the perverse tendency among those of us who came up as activists and remember the sense of community forged in groups like ACTUP, Queer Nation, and the Avengers, somehow magically forgetting all the infighting and misery, the times we wanted to kill each other, yeah, not to mention what spurred us into the streets to begin with. All the violence and loss, invisibility, even the actual dead. We find ourselves regretting the onset of marriage and baby strollers, the poli-
HEPATITIS C IS A GAY ISSUE March 4, 2014 To the Editor: I have been battling for 15 years to make testing for hepatitis C for sexually active gay men more accessible and more routine. (“City Council Bill Seeks Annual Health Department Report on Hepatitis B and C,” by Sam Spokony, posted online Feb. 28). Resistance to this remains strong. I reviewed the situation most recently on the Huffington Post at tinyurl.com/qjgfl5m. The ongoing coverage of this issue by Gay City News has been excellent and warranted. Dr. Lawrence D. Mass Manhattan
RESPONDING TO AFRICAN HATE LAWS
ticians who can spell l-e-s-b-i-a-n, even the drug cocktails fighting AIDS (no, not that). We rip down the institutions that we helped build and denounce them for becoming, well, institutionalized and institutionalizing. And when we are done bemoaning them, let us continue to stare grimly at the young who stare back grimly at us for our failures in confronting bigotry in our own community and leaving them with equality, rather than liberty, and the old refrain, “This Used to Be.” Yes, let us all gnash our teeth, rend our clothes — as fashionably as possible — and wallow in ashes and despair. Because nothing else good will ever emerge again. Nothing as radical or chic. Funny coming from me, I know, a de facto historian with a memoir mostly about the Lesbian Avengers. But my intentions weren’t to recreate the past, just re-graft a missing episode where it belonged and see what grew next on the vine. Maybe nothing. Maybe some extraordinary thing I couldn’t begin to imagine. I swear, in the new gay year, I’m going to try to do that more. Instead of talking about the good old days, I’ll begin to imagine the future starting from where we are right now. I’m not even sure what I want. Do you? Kelly Cogswell is the author of Eating Fire: My Life As a Lesbian Avenger (tinyurl.com/nbp7usx). Demand it in your local library.
edged leaders of both the USA and countries around the world. Homo-hatred is being used as a tactic to maintain power. Though I’m not advocating using violence such as directed at us, our doormat days should be declared over and done with. Closeted gays need to stay out of our way. In expanding their African power in the Anglican Church, African bishops also work in tandem with their countries’ presidents and politicians, promoting a Christian nationalism. Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria set the stage for other countries to follow suit. Denouncing homosexuality is one of the ways these African countries decry perceived neo-colonialism, Western imperialism, and cultural annihilation. And it’s used as a way of telling the West — US and England, in particular — to mind their own business. James Nimmo
March 8, 2014 To the Editor: We gay people have been too acquiescent in our own oppression for far too long in this century (“New Yorkers Join Global Protests Against Nigerian, Ugandan AntiGay Laws, by Duncan Osborne, Mar. 5). There is nothing inherently bad about our orientation. but look at the tactics and violence used against us by acknowl-
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.
28 “I would be crying if I wasn’t doing this,” Ireland explained to Levy. Ireland’s close friend Valerie Goodman, an East Side gallery owner, spoke of Doug’s Paris days where “Doug had his two great lovers,” including the late Hervé Couergou. John Berendt, author of “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” who was editor of New York magazine when he met Doug on staff, talked about Doug’s great cover story on a gaybashing in Central Park that had Olympic skater Dick Button as one of its victims — “including an interview with sexologist John Money who said in 30 years of doing research, in every case the perpetrators [of these attacks] were
RAINBOW, from p.15
Among the youngest attendees was Faith Brown, 17, a junior at the Hetrick-Martin Institute. The Brooklyn native gave the day’s last reading, a poem she penned on the subway ride into Manhattan. Brown said, “It’s very interesting to be here, with the parties, the talks, the books. People focusing on the art of expression.” Originally, a group of Hetrick-Martin students was to read, but Brown was the only one who turned out on the
closeted homosexuals.” Berendt also talked about pressure he got from real estate mogul Jerry Finkelstein to bar Doug from having anything to do with a story on the Manhattan borough president’s field that included his son, Andy Stein, since Doug was close to another candidate, Bobby Wagner. And Berendt talked about Doug’s last 10 years, suffering from a range of maladies that kept him mostly homebound while still enormously productive as a writer and always working the phones. In the long blackout downtown after Superstorm Sandy, Berendt convinced Doug to come stay in his townhouse on the Upper West Side. “It was the week of the election of 2012,” Berendt said, “and he was call-
John Berendt at the March 27 tribute.
ing operatives around the country saying, ‘Terrible news from Michigan!’ He was an avowed pessimist. Thrived on bad news. But he still had his laugh.” A musical interlude was provided by award-winning composer David Amram and we were sent on our way by the great Malachy McCourt leading us in “Wild Mountain Thyme.” McCourt said, “My friend Doug was opinionated, generous, outrageous, blasphemous, and oddly kind even to conservatives. He felt they needed education.” Dougie educated us all through 50 years of activism and journalism. And his friends gave us a great night to remember him and consider how to bring ourselves up to his high standards.
rainy day. “I plan to come next year,” she said. T iming and other details for the Seventh Annual Rainbow Book Fair will be announced on rainbowbookfair.org. The next major LGBT literary events in New York are the Publishing Triangle Awards on Thursday, April 24 at the Auditorium at the New School (66 West 12th Street; publishingtriangle.org) and the Lambda Literary Awards on Monday, June 2 at the Great Hall at Cooper Union (7 East Seventh Street; lambdaliterary.org).
DOUGIE, from p.9
April 02, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com
Mitch Kellaway, the Transgress Press publisher (right), with his brother Owen.
VIENNA, from p.23
Mumford was an earthily sensual Margret, and Russell Thomas a lyrically robust Andres. The Mark Lamos production, indebted to German Expressionist cinema of the 1920s and ‘30s remains effective, if hardly cutting edge. Goerne and Hampson (seen March 17) provided strikingly contrasting interpretations. Goerne cut a very proletarian figure with bulging eyes, stocky frame, and oddly asymmetrical features in a round peasant face. His soldier suffered from mental illness from the very beginning — alienated from his brutal surroundings and lost in his own paranoid universe. He physically degenerated before our eyes — increasingly disheveled and shambling in his gait. Goerne’s
singing mixed the verbal subtlety of a lieder singer with striking moments of power and occasional roughness — all appropriate. The tall, distinguished, intellectual Hampson played effectively against type — stooping his shoulders, graying his hair, and speaking in halting accents with the sad eyes of a beaten dog. His Wozzeck was driven to madness and murder by societal and personal pressures — a tragic figure fighting external demons rather than those within. Traces of lingering bronchitis likely account for Hampson’s gray, barking tone and hollow shouted high notes. I felt that Hampson was working from the brain while Goerne lived Wozzeck from deep within his heart, soul, and mind. A revival that looked questionable on paper proved one of the season’s best offerings.
ANTONIO LOPEZ/ LESLIE-LOHMAN MUSEUM OF GAY AND LESBIAN ART
| April 02, 2014
APRIL 4: Steven Reineke directs “A Night in Hollywood.”
GALLERY The Hidden Stroke of Midnight
NIGHTLIFE 35 Years on the Ballroom Scene
The House of Ultra Omni, celebrating its 35th anniversary in New York’s ballroom scene, concludes a weeklong International Ballroom Convention, which includes panel discussions, lectures, film screenings, exhibitions, and live performances. With a message of overcoming adversity with selfempowerment, the convention honors the extraordinary African-American ballroom history, culture, and traditions and features seven Ballroom HallOf-Famers. Highlights of the convention include: Apr. 3, 6 p.m., a discussion of the economics facing ballroom producers and artists (free); Apr. 4, 7 p.m., Andre Mizrahi and Derrick Penda'vis Xtravaganza present a live performance and discussion of the evolution of voguing (free); Apr. 5, 10 p.m.- 3 a.m., House Ultra Omni 35th Anniversary Ball ($30; Lincoln Center Sq., 250 W. 65th St. at Amsterdam Ave.). All other events at Chashama Gallery, 461 W. 126th St., near Amsterdam Ave. For complete information and advance tickets, visit tinyurl.com/ mz57xlj. Proceeds from the convention benefit the Kevin Omni Burrus Burial Fund (IconKevinOmni. com), which supports the respectful burial of ballroom artists who have passed away.
PERFORMANCE Mike Albo, Dan Hoyle Unearth American Secrets Writer, performer, and comedian Mike Albo performs “The Junket,” fresh from a run at Dixon Place, at Culture Project, in repertory with Dan Hoyle’s “The Real Americans.” “The Junket” is a hilariously scandalous show based on scandalous actual events. Penning a column for the nation’s most influential newspaper, Albo, finally able to live the luxury loft dream, goes over-the-top on a press junket that lands him on the city’s snarkiest blog, where he is the object of vicious gossip. “The Real Americans” is Hoyle’s account of 100 days on the road meeting Reaganite Appalachian coal miners, closeted cre-
ationists in Texas, Dominican culture commentators in Ohio, and iPhone-addicted San Francisco hipsters. Lynn Redgrave Theater, 45 Bleecker St. at Lafayette St. Through Apr. 20. Schedule, link to tickets, at $25-$55, at cultureproject.org.
BENEFIT The Center Heads to Wall Street
At its annual awards dinner, the LGBT Community Center honors the Calamus Foundation, which supports LGBT organizations and was a key contributor to capital campaigns benefiting the Center, including the one funding the West 13th Street building’s renovations. PepsiCo, which has a 100 percent rating from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index and is a major supporter of Cycle for the Cause, the annual Northeast AIDS Ride from Boston to New York that provides millions of dollars for the Center’s HIV/ AIDS programs, will also be honored. Cipriani Wall Street, 55 Wall St. near William St. Apr. 3, 6:30 p.m. cocktails; 7:30 dinner & awards. Tickets begin at $500 at gaycenter.org/centerdinner.
MUSIC Because of the Wonderful Things They Do
“Lights, Camera, Action: A Night in Hollywood” is the New York Pops’ trip through Tinseltown history with music that transformed certain film moments into unforgettable icons of passion, fear, love, and hope for generations. The program includes a celebration of the 75th anniversary of “The Wizard of Oz,” a tribute to the movie music of Marvin Hamlisch, selections from “Ben-Hur” by Miklós Rózsa, and selections from “The Mission” by Ennio Morricone. The Pops Orchestra, led by music director Steven Reineke is joined by Judith Clurman’s Essential Voices USA. Carnegie Hall, 881 Seventh Ave. at 57th St. Apr. 4, 8 p.m. Tickets are $17-$120 at carnegiehall.org or 212247-7800.
“Stroke: From Under the Mattress to the Museum Wall” is an historical retrospective of sexy and erotic illustrations by artists who made work for gay male magazines from the 1950s to the 1990s. Curated by New York-based illustrator Robert W. Richards, “Stroke” features 80 original illustrations by 25 artists. This exhibition of a forgotten body of work explores the male form and examines gay male private life as experienced through magazines available on nearly every street corner in America – but often kept under
their mattresses for fear of being discovered. The exhibition features some original illustrations that appeared in the magazines, along with other works of art that have never been seen publically. The exhibition includes work by Neel Bate (aka Blade), Michael Breyette, Michael Broderick, Harry Bush, Jim French (Colt), Oliver Frey, Kevin King (Beau), Michael Kirwan, Touko Laaksonen (Tom of Finland), Antonio Lopez (Antonio), David Martin, Jim McMullin, Donald Merrick (Domino), Kent Neffendorf (Kent), Olaf Odegaard (Olaf), Mel Odom, Dominic Orejudos (Etienne), Benôit Prévot, George Quaintance, George Stravrinos, Rex, Robert W. Richards, Richard Rosenfeld, William Schmelling (Hun), and Frank Webber (Bastille). Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, 26 Wooster St., btwn. Grand & Canal Sts. Through May 25: Tue.Wed., Fri-Sun., noon-6 p.m.; Thu., noon-8 p.m. Admission is free. More information at leslielohman.org.
BOOKS Queer Comic Quorum
Coinciding with the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art’s (MoCCA) Arts Fest (69th Regiment Armory, 68 Lexington Ave., btwn. 25th & 26th Sts., Apr. 5-6; societyillustrators.org), Northwest Press and the Bureau of General ServicesQueer Division host an LGBT comics event for everyone. Meet other readers and artists, enjoy a beverage, and maybe win a door prize. BGSQD at Cage, 83A Hester St., btwn. Orchard & Allen Sts. Apr. 5, 7 p.m. For more information, email email@example.com.
SAT.APR.5, continued on p.30
MUSIC Poetry With Jazz
Jazz vocalist Rome Neal and his Quartet are joined by guest poet Richard William in a celebration of Jazz & Poetry Month. Performance is followed by an open mic/ jazz jam and complimentary banana puddin'. Nuyorican Poets Café, 236 E. Third St., btwn. Aves. B & C. Apr. 5, 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 at nuyorican.org or 718-288-8048.
MUSIC Klezbos, from Brooklyn to the East Village
Isle of Klezbos, the soulful and swinging all-women’s klezmer sextet, releases its second album, “Live from Brooklyn,” recorded last year at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts, with a concert at Joe’s Pub, inside the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Pl. Apr. 6, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $14 at joespub.com or 212-967-7555, with a $12 food & drink minimum.
BOOKS A Woman’s POV on Queer Men
Ann Herendeen (“Reognition,” “Pride/ Prejudice” “Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander”) talks about writing as a woman who likes men who have sex with men and reads selections from her work. Bureau of General Services-Queer Division at Cage, 83A Hester St., btwn. Orchard & Allen Sts. Apr. 6, 3 p.m. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
YOUTH LGBTQ Points of Light
The Point Foundation, which provides scholarship support to promising LGBTQ college students, hosts its annual New York Awards. “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” star Mariska Hargitay will present an award to Dr. Neal Baer, television producer of such shows as “SVU” and “ER.” Andrew Rannells, who starred in “The New Normal,” presents an award to his “Girls” costar Lena Dunham, the HBO hit’s creator and
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writer. Other celebrities on hand include Tyne Daly, Anthony Edwards, Billy Porter, B.D. Wong, and Judith Light. The New York Public Library, Fifth Ave. at 42nd St. Apr. 7, 6:30 p.m. reception, 7:30 dinner & awards. For information about tickets, visit pointfoundation.org/NYHonors or email email@example.com.
GALLERY Blue Jackie KO
Isaac Hayes, Agnes Moorehead, and a blue Jacqueline Kennedy are some of the personalities featured in an exhibit of the works of East Village glass artist Joseph Cavalieri. These graphic portraits use hand lettered and silk-screened processes on stained glass, a technique that dates back to Medieval times. The collection of more than a dozen works show off Cavalieri’s sense
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Welcome to the world of self-made women. a new play by
Reed Birney John Cullum Gabriel Ebert Lisa Emery Tom McGowan Patrick Page Larry Pine Nick Westrate Mare Winningham
Limited Broadway Engagement • Now in Previews S a m u e l J. Fr i e d m a n T h e a t r e , 2 61 W. 47 t h S t .
Telecharge.com or 212.239.6200
Lead support for Casa Valentina is provided by MTC’s Producing Fund Partner, Andrew Martin-Weber. Casa Valentina is a recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award.
April 02, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com
| April 02, 2014
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of humor and mastery of the craft. Better Being 940, 537 Ninth Ave. at 40th St. Through Jul. 12, Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch & dinner daily. More information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-925-2377.
DANCE Reconstructions from Trisha Brown
In a week-long residency, Trisha Brown Dance Company performs a reconstruction of “Son of Gone Fishin’” (1981), Brown’s first musical collaboration, featuring original music from Robert Ashley’s opera “Atalanta”; “Opal Loop/ Cloud Installation #72503”(1980), her collaboration with Japanese fog artist Fujiko Nakaya; “Solo Olos,” a newly reconstructed section of Brown’s “Line Up” (1976); and “Rogues,” a duet for two men that explores unison movement and aberration. New York Live Arts’ Theater, 219 W. 19th St. Apr. 8-12 ,7:30 p.m., Apr. 13, 3 p.m. Tickets are $40 at newyorklivearts.org or 212-9240-0077.
Petronio Dance at 30
Stephen Petronio Company celebrates its 30th anniversary with new work and a look back. Petronio was the Joyce’s first Artist-in-Residence, and this week he continues his tradition of adventurous collaboration with two premieres: “Stripped,” a solo choreographed to music by Philip Glass and performed by Petronio, and “Locomotor,” a new company work to a commissioned score by electronic/ hip hop innovator Michael Volpe (aka Clams Casino). Exploring extreme locomotive states, these works plunge the company through space in a high-octane remix of past, present, and future. The program also includes a reconstruction of “Strange Attractors (Part I)” from 1999, with original music by Michael Nyman. The Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Ave. at 19th St. Apr. 8-9, 7:30 p.m.; Apr. 10-12, 8 p.m.; Apr. 13, 2 & 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35-$59 at joyce.org; $10 at 212-242-0800.
BOOKS Coming Clean on Coming Out
J James reads from his debut book, “Denial Deceit Discovery,” a Brit’s story of coming out. Bureau of General Services-Queer Division at Cage, 83A Hester St., btwn. Orchard & Allen Sts. Apr. 8, 7 p.m. For more information, email email@example.com.
BOOKS The Legacy & Genius of David Wojnarowicz
Join Visual AIDS — which works to fight the epidemic by provoking discussion, supporting HIV-positive artists, and preserving the legacy of those who are gone — for a robust conversation about C. Carr’s “Fire in the Belly: The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz.” Bureau of General Services-Queer Division at Cage, 83A Hester St., btwn. Orchard & Allen Sts. Apr. 9, 7 p.m. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
PERFORMANCE Justin Vivian Does Tennessee
In “The Drift,” Justin Vivian Bond creates a free associative collage of spoken word and song inspired by Tennessee Williams’ novella “The Roman Spring of Karen Stone” about a retired actress who drifts from one space to another through couture, bed, or her own mind. Joe’s Pub, inside the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Pl. Apr. 10, 9:30 p.m.; Apr. 11, 9 p.m. Tickets are $25 at joespub.com or 212-967-7555.
BOOKS Queer Division Poetry
Poets Charlie Bondhus (“All the Heat We Could Carry”), Steven Cordova (“Long Distance”), Walter Holland (“Circuit”), and Jee Leong Koh (“Equal to the Earth”) read their work and sign books. Bureau of General Services-Queer Division at Cage, 83A Hester St., btwn. Orchard & Allen Sts. Apr. 10, 7 p.m. For more information, email email@example.com.
Charles O. Anderson, photo by Sandy Carson
Baldwin Through Dance
BOOKS Tom Cho, Sarah Schulman & Sassafras Lowrey
Tom Cho reads from “Look Who’s Morphing,” his new collection of stories about a character shape-shifting through figures drawn from film, television, music, books, porn films, and comics, while Sarah Schulman appears to introduce the 25th anniversary edition of her “After Delores,” the story of a no-nonsense, Lower East Side coffee shop waitress nursing a broken heart. The two are joined by Sassafras Lowrey, who reads from hir novel “Roving Pack,” set in the underground world of homeless queer teens. Bureau of General Services-Queer Division at Cage, 83A Hester St., btwn. Orchard & Allen Sts. Apr. 13, 7 p.m. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dianne McIntyre, photo by Larry Coleman
Apr 26 & 27
Box Office 219 W 19th Street, New York 212. 924. 0077 newyorklivearts.org/liveideas
Part of a five-day festival exploring the enduring significance of the novelist, essayist, playwright, and activist, James Baldwin.
Tickets on sale now!
WEST 23RD BETWEEN 7TH & 8TH
EVERY THURSDAY at 7:00 PM HOSTED BY HEDDA LETTUCE SATURDAY APRIL 12TH 10:00 PM ADM. $10 interactive! with
DANCE Joyce Hosts Ballet Hispanico
Recognized as the nation's leading Latino dance organization since 1970, Ballet Hispanico returns to the Joyce Theater for 15 performances in four different programs. Curated by artistic director Eduardo Vilaro, the company presents “El Beso,” a world premiere by Spanish native Gustavo Ramírez Sansano with original costumes by fashion designer Angel Sanchez and three Joyce premieres — “Sombrerísimo,” Belgo-Colombian Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's athletic tour de force for six male dancers; “Umbral,” Edgar Zendejas's seductive interpretation of the beloved Mexican celebration “Día de los Muertos”; and Eduardo Vilaro's “Hogar,” a meditation on immigrant identity and the meaning of home set to live music by Russian composer Ljova. 175 Eighth Ave. at 19th St. Apr. 15-16, 22-23, 7:30 p.m.; Apr. 17-18, 24-25, 8 p.m.; Apr. 19 & 26, 2 & 8 p.m.; Apr. 20 & 27, 2 & 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $19-$59 at joyce.org; $10 at 212-242-0800.
APR 17TH APR 10TH
lounge THURSDAY NIGHT SPECIAL 157 W 24th St. One free drink with your Chelsea Classics ticket stub.
April 02, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com
+ EMERGENCY MEDICAL CARE
APRIL 2, 2014, GAY CITY NEWS