FREE VOLUME TWELVE, ISSUE NINE APRIL 24 - MAY 7, 2013
GENDA Push Heats Up 05 Bette’s Divine Dish 14 Petronio’s Rite of Spring 17 Don’t Closet LGBT Immigrants 31
Gay life partners take an authentic look inside
Page 22 © GAY CITY NEWS 2013 • NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
April 24, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
| April 24, 2013
Cover Illustration by Michael Shirey
Gay life partners take an authentic look inside 22
Public Advocate candidates mostly agree on LBGT issues 11
FILM Stuck in the basement with you 16
Tribeca's got your type 27
EDITORIAL A scurrilous feint by the Boy Scouts 30
32 - 33
April 24, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
As Pride Agenda Heads to Albany, GENDA Push Accelerates Transgender civil rights measure’s sponsor sees “different level of engagement” and “a different Senate” BY PAUL SCHINDLER
NEW YORK STATE SENATE
s the Empire State Pride Agenda (ESPA) prepares to lead roughly 700 LGBT advocates to the State Capitol in Albany for the group’s annual Equality and Justice Day lobbying effort on April 30, supporters of a decade-old transgender civil rights measure are stepping up the push to secure Senate passage this year. “The bill is on path to pass the Assembly again, which is great,” Senator Daniel Squadron, a Democrat who represents portions of Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, said of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) on which he is the lead sponsor. “And I am hopeful we can get a vote in the Senate this year. We have a different Senate, so we have a chance of putting people on the line to either stand with a basic civil rights issue or not.” That “different Senate” is one where the Republicans, who to date have declined to allow a vote, are holding on to leadership of the chamber only with the participation of four members elected as Democrats — the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) — who have all endorsed GENDA. Diane Savino, an IDC member who represents portions of Staten Island and Brooklyn, has been a leading advocate for the bill, just as she was with the successful Marriage Equality Act several years ago. ESPA has met with IDC members including its leader, Jeffrey Klein, whose district includes parts of the Bronx and Westchester County. Advocates agree that the IDC could play the pivotal role in getting GENDA to the Senate floor for a vote. “IDC is the essential element of the GENDA formula,” said Melissa Sklarz, a transgender activist who is president of the Stonewall Democrats of New York City. “We think it’s great that all four members of the IDC have been co-sponsors of GENDA now or in the past,” said Carmelita Cruz, the state director of advocacy and organizing for Housing Works, an AIDS group. “We would like them to be our power brokers to get a vote on the floor.” Senate floor votes are controlled by the majority, which is why advocates look to Klein, Savino, and the other two IDC members, who give the Republicans the ability to lead the Senate despite holding only 30 of 63 seats. The closest GENDA ever got to being given a vote came in 2010, when the Democrats controlled the Senate and the bill was taken up by the Judiciary
Senator Daniel Squadron (center) and Assemblyman Dick Gottfried (left) join Housing Works and other GENDA advocates at an April 23 press conference in Albany.
A sample print ad from ESPA’s new GENDA media campaign.
legislators in Albany as well as key target districts around the state. Transgender New Yorkers who have written about their life experiences through ESPA’s Trans Scribe program will take part in an Internet video project to translate their written work for viewing. Housing Works has launched an online story project similar to Trans Scribe dubbed I Am GENDA. “This is a different level of engagement, of making GENDA a priority than we’ve seen in the past,” Squadron said, in a sentiment echoed by Sklarz. “I think there’s been a wonderful concerted effort,” she said. “Mass media. Enlarging the transgender rights coalition. Getting everyone on the same page with the talking points.” Looking forward to the Albany lobbying effort, Sklarz added, “Next week should be very successful.” One significant new element in the GENDA push is the participation of leading law enforcement officials, who are pushing back against emotional warnings that transgender rights protections could somehow imperil the public safety of women in places like restrooms and locker rooms. At a GENDA forum hosted by Squadron and Assembly sponsor Dick Gottfried, a Manhattan Democrat, last fall, James Sheppard, the chief of police in Rochester, and Steven Krokoff, his counterpart in Albany, testified that local protections there have enhanced public safety and law enforcement. Squadron said that faced with such
evidence, GENDA opponents can only continue pressing public safety alarms by being “willfully ignorant.” Sklarz had difficulty masking the fact that she is vexed about having to address unfounded and inflammatory charges about an issue of straight-up civil rights protection, but acknowledged that the willingness of those in law enforcement to stand with GENDA advocates could prove helpful. Asked to predict the bill’s road going forward, Squadron — after noting that 60 percent of senators represent districts where local transgender rights ordinances are in place and 80 per cent of New Yorkers support GENDA — offered two rules of thumb: “the sooner the better” and “everything usually gets done at the end of session” in June. Housing Works is demanding a GENDA vote in this session, win or lose. When the Pride Agenda made a similar push for a gay marriage vote in 2009, the effort fell short 38-24 and garnered some good amount of criticism. Just 18 months later, however, marriage equality was law in New York State. According to Schaefer, ESPA also aims to lobby both houses of the Legislature next week on funding for homeless and runaway LGBT youth and for other health and social service needs and to end the state’s ban on gestational surrogacy contracts and ease the procedures for second-parent adoption. For more information on Equality & Justice Day, visit prideagenda.org.
Committee. Despite what advocates characterized as a deal to allow the measure to move forward, the committee’s Republicans unanimously joined with Bronx Democrat Ruben Diaz, Sr., a longtime antagonist of the LGBT community, to table the measure. Despite the traditional resistance from Republicans on LGBT issues, three of the most important advances in New York — on marriage equality, the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act, and a gay-inclusive hate crimes law — all happened while the GOP controlled the Senate. For that reason, advocates are certainly not ignoring the Senate’s Republican leadership. ESPA’s executive director, Nathan Schaefer, emphasized that one of the lobbying meetings scheduled for next week is with Majority Leader Dean Skelos, a Nassau County Republican. Skelos presided over his conference when it agreed to a vote on gay marriage in June 2011. Legislative meetings in Albany are only part of the push to get GENDA over the finish line — an effort in which ESPA, Housing Works, and the New York Civil Liberties Union play prime roles among a broad coalition of labor, faith, women’s, business, and law enforcement leaders. Working with SKDKnickerbocker, a strategic communications firm that was in the thick of the gay marriage campaign, the Pride Agenda has launched a $250,000 media drive that includes print, radio, and Internet ads focused on
| April 24, 2013
City Law Department Says Mayor’s Office Ordered Porn Busts Bloomberg’s special enforcement unit directed an arrest be made on day of Robert Pinter’s false prostitution charge BY DUNCAN OSBORNE
COURTESY: ROBERT PINTER
aterial unearthed in a federal lawsuit brought by a gay man who charges he was falsely arrested for prostitution in a Manhattan porn shop in 2008 suggests the Bloomberg administration was actively involved in directing such prostitution arrests at that time. Police arrested at least 30 men for prostitution in at least six Manhattan porn shops in 2008. The arrests, widely seen as false arrests in the queer community, were used in nuisance abatement lawsuits brought by the police department or the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement that were intended to shut the porn shops 4 24 GFiat April Sell-Off 4C GCN 4/19/13 11:56 AM Page 1 down. Robert Pinter, 57, was among 12 men arrested in Blue Door Video, an East Village porn shop. He sued the city in 2009. With discovery in Pinter’s case “largely completed,” his lawyer said in court on April 18, he learned that a
Robert Pinter with his attorneys Jeffrey A. Rothman and James I. Meyerson outside the US District Court on Pearl Street in Manhattan.
still unidentified staffer in the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement called police on the day of his arrest and instructed officers in the Manhattan South Vice Enforcement Squad to go
to Blue Door and arrest someone. “Her office called the commanding officer of Manhattan South and asked to go to the Blue Door and asked them to get an arrest,” said James I. Mey-
erson, Pinter’s attorney, referring to Shari C. Hyman, then the director of the office. “There is no question that they would not have gone to the Blue Door, but for that call.” Dara Olds, an attorney in the city’s Law Department who is defending the city, said in court that the call was made. “That phone call, we don’t contest, was made from the mayor’s office,” Olds said. In 2009, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the police department was in charge of the effort. The police pointed to taxpayer complaints about prostitution in the porn shops as the impetus for the arrests. Activists who have followed the controversy suspect that the arrests were a pretext and the goal was to produce arrests that could be used in the nuisance abatement lawsuits. Starting in the Giuliani administration, City Hall has had an ongoing effort to eradicate porn shops in Manhattan. The circumstances of the arrests
PINTER, continued on p.7
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April 24, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Two May Memorials for Slain Queens Gay Activist Lou Rispoli to be celebrated in Mozart and in words BY ANDY HUMM
h e b r u t a l a n d mysterious mur der of Queens gay community leader Lou Rispoli, 62, on October 20 of last year has yet to be solved. But his friends and loved ones will remember him on two occasions in May, with a concert and a memorial service in his honor. On Friday, May 3 at 8 p.m., a Mozart Celebration for Lou takes place at Manhattan’s Gr eenwich House Music School at 46 Barrow Street, where he was “a backstage mom who made sure everything ran perfectly,” said pianist Sara Davis Buechner, an organizer of the event. She will perform along with pianist Danyal Lawson, Rispoli’s husband, and violinist Stephanie Chase. The concert will be followed by a candlelight vigil at 9:45, at which all are welcome, including those who cannot attend the concert. T ickets for the concert are $20, payable in cash at the door, and will benefit the German Diaz Piano Scholarship Fund, named for the longtime piano teacher at Greenwich House who will be on hand. Reservations are encouraged but not required by calling 646-325-8039 or emailing rainie@ creagercole.com A memorial service is also planned for Saturday, May 11 at 2 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 160 Central Park West at 75th Street. Those who would like to attend are asked to RSVP to LouRispoliFriends@ gmail.com. Buechner, who went to Juilliard with Lawson, said Rispoli and his widower “were one of the first committed couples I knew. They were brave pioneers.” She said, “It’s so shocking and upsetting.” The neighborhood where Rispoli was killed “was their home for decades. I don’t want it to go coldcase. I’m a trans person and acutely aware of the dangers from the haters out there. I understand the threat of violence.” The killing has yet to be classified as a hate crime nor has any rationale for the murder been uncovered. Lawson is looking forward to the concert. “I love playing Mozart,” he said, explaining he plans “a slow movement from a sonata.” Buechner said, “Making music is such a positive thing. I said to Danny, let’s make something beautiful out of
Lou Rispoli, murdered in Sunnyside last October, and a police sketch of two suspects in the crime.
something so dark. Mozart represents hope and purity and spirit.” The lack of progress in the investigation is frustrating to Lawson. “I’m sad and a little bit angry,” he said. “For me, it is not about vengeance, but closure. The part that is sad is having this question mark hanging over me for my whole life. He was an amazing human being. You only had to meet Lou for a few minutes in order for it to last a lifetime.” Lawson said people are coming in for the concert “from Brazil, Amsterdam, Singapore, Germany, England, California, Pittsburgh, and Washington — all over the world. He touched a lot of people’s lives. It keeps me going to know all the love and incredible support that is out there.” Lawson spoke about the difficulty of his loss. “We were together for 32 years — a lifetime,” he said. “I am surviving, but it is really hard. At concerts, he was always there for me and it will be hard to go on without him. He gave me strength. He was a man of many passions — not one thing. But I was the most important thing in his life. His purpose in life was to care for others. When he was there, you felt everything was taken care of. He left a big hole in a lot of people’s hearts.” Police released sketches of two suspects in the murder in January, and a $22,000 reward has been of fered for infor mation leading to their arrest and conviction. One sus-
pect is described as a white male in his 20s, the other as a Latino male in his 30s. Witnesses to the late night attack outside of 41-00 43rd Avenue in Sunnyside reported that the two suspects approached Rispoli, briefly spoke with him, and then delivered a fatal blow to his head using a blunt object. In the immediate aftermath of Rispoli’s death, out gay City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, a friend of the victim who represents Sunnyside, organized a candlelight vigil, and fliers with the suspects’ sketches have been widely disseminated. However, according to Van Bramer, “We do not have any new or different news to report on the investigation. I speak weekly with the commanding officer of the 108th precinct, Donald Powers. When police released the sketches, Danyal and I and his friends distributed fliers and there were a couple of leads — but ultimately nothing has yet produced meaningful progress in the investigation. Van Bramer voiced determination to see the investigation through to a successful end, but also exasperation. “It is incredibly frustrating that such a brutal murder could take place and no suspects have emerged,” he said. “I will keep it in the forefront of the NYPD’s minds, and Inspector Powers knows how important it is to pursue the suspects in this murder. They know I will not let this go by the wayside. I believe him when he says
that detectives are on this aggressively. I hope that the memorial services will keep it in forefront of people’s minds.” The councilman reiterated criticism of the NYPD’s immediate response to the murder. “The investigation and initial response to the 911 call was not handled correctly,” he said. “The call was reported after 2 a.m. on that Friday night into Saturday morning and the police responded quickly, but they loaded Lou into an ambulance without ID and he was admitted as a John Doe and they left him after an hour. The evidence collection van only showed up Saturday at 6 p.m. Clearly in an attempted murder that became a murder when he died, protocol should have called for collection of evidence immediately.” Powers, Van Bramer said, has been responsive to his criticism. “The inspector shared my concern and said he would do an inter nal investigation on response to the crime scene,” the councilman said. “I have not to date received an update on whether that investigation has been completed.” Van Bramer added, “I loved Lou very much. He was a very dear friend as is Danyal, and we’re never going to stop fighting for Lou Rispoli.” Anyone with information that might help solve the case is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-8477 or report it online at nypdcrimestoppers.com.
| April 24, 2013
Officer Says Cruiser Extraordinarily Aggressive in 2010 Newark Killing Edward Esposito’s statement three days later asserted he feared for his life after DeFarra Gaymon’s threat of sexual assault BY DUNCAN OSBORNE
he Essex County sheriff’s officer who shot and killed an unarmed DeFarra Gaymon during a 2010 public sex sting in a Newark park described the 48-year -old Gaymon as aggressive and repeatedly threatening him in a statement that was written three days after the July 16 shooting. “Gaymon walked within on [sic] of me while he was masturbating his exposed penis with his right hand,” wrote Edward Esposito, who was 29 in 2010. Esposito was on an undercover detail in Newark’s Branch Brook Park and had just made a public sex arrest of another man that turned violent. After placing that man in a police car at roughly 5:20 in the evening, Esposito went back into the park to find a set of handcuffs he lost. It was then that he encountered Gaymon. Esposito wrote that he “initially blocked” Gaymon, but the older man “became aggressive” and pushed him, causing Esposito to trip and fall. “Gaymon was now standing over me and with his penis still exposed he stated ‘I am gonna fuck you,’” Esposito wrote. “At this time I was still on the ground and I identified myself by word of mouth and display of badge.” Gaymon “became visibly panicked and appeared to be enraged,” Esposito wrote, and a foot chase through the park began. At 6:03, Esposito called his partner to tell him he was pursu-
PINTER, from p.5
added further fuel to activists’ suspicions. Most of the men were in their 30s, 40s, or 50s, unlikely ages for prostitutes. They were approached by young men, who turned out to be undercover vice cops, who aggressively flirted with them. After the men agreed to consensual sex, the undercover cops said they would pay for the sex. The men were then arrested for prostitution. Eight of the 12 men arrested in Blue Door were between 42 and 54. Some of the arrests appeared ridiculous. Four of the men arrested in Blue Door were from out of state, from as far away as California and Virginia. Two men were a couple, 37 and 44, who traveled to New York City from Europe and were staying in the Astor on the Park Hotel on Central Park
ing a man in the park, according to records disclosed by the Essex County prosecutor’s office in 2011 after a grand jury declined to indict Esposito. The chase took them more than a quarter mile from the location of the initial meeting. At one moment, Esposito wrote, Gaymon said, “Get back, I’ll kill you.” The sheriff’s officer took his gun out. “I became in fear for my life due to his aggressive and desperate behavior where he was provoking me and threatening my life,” he wrote. “Since he was becoming increasingly desperate and threatening, I retrieved my service weapon because I was in fear for my life.” Esposito kept his weapon out as he continued to chase Gaymon. The pursuit ended when Gaymon was trapped with a pond in front of him and Esposito standing behind him. Esposito wrote that Gaymon would not obey his orders to show his hands, though the older man did get down on his knees. “He began yelling at me ‘Fuck you, I’ll kill you’ in a very aggressive and desperate manner which further put me in fear for my life,” Esposito wrote. “I then made several attempts to push Gaymon off balance with my foot in an attempt to get him on the ground so I could safely handcuff him.” Esposito’s statement, which has not previously been made public, was filed on April 12 in a federal lawsuit the Gaymon family brought against Esposito, the sherif f’s of fice, and Essex County. In court records, the
family asserted that Esposito repeatedly kicked Gaymon while he was on his knees. In addition to the arrest just prior to the Gaymon killing, Esposito is known to have been involved in three 2009 public sex arrests that also turned violent. Esposito wrote that Gaymon would not obey commands to show his hands. The older man “suddenly
turned to his left and towards me and attempted to stand” and lunged for Esposito’s gun with his left hand while “pulling an object out of his pocket with his right hand,” according to the officer’s statement. Esposito pulled the trigger on his gun twice, but heard only one shot. The bullet struck Gaymon in the torso. At 6:04, Esposito used his cell phone to call the sheriff’s office central dispatch to request medical assistance and report that he had been involved in a shooting. In his statement, Esposito wrote that Gaymon still would not show his hands after being shot, but he eventually handcuffed him. Esposito found no weapons on Gaymon. Esposito’s description of Gaymon’s behavior departs fr om the usual behavior of public sex devotees, who tend to be discreet. If Gaymon was cruising for sex, he had good reasons to take care to avoid an arrest. He was married with four children and he was the chief executive of an Atlanta credit union. He was in Newark to attend a high school reunion. William Dobbs, an attor ney and longtime gay activist who has followed the shooting closely, did not find Esposito’s statement credible. “The statement Of ficer Esposito gave is just stomach-churning,” Dobbs said. “An unarmed man allegedly looking for a hook-up in the park ends up shot and killed. The killing still makes no sense, and there is something very odd and strange about Esposito’s account.”
West. Allegedly, they agreed to accept $20 each for anal sex. Other facts in the Blue Door nuisance abatement lawsuit suggest that the special enforcement office was directing the work of police. The shop was temporarily closed in June 2008 after police made 10 prostitution arrests there. To reopen, the owner agreed to pay hefty fines and to bar “lewdness, assignation, or prostitution” in the shop, according to an agreement he signed with the city. Assignation could be two men meeting in the shop and agreeing to have sex elsewhere, an entirely legal activity. In August of that year, an under cover officer reported looking through a glory hole in a buddy booth in the shop and seeing two men engaging in oral sex. He did not make an arrest. When that same officer later solicited
one of those two men, the man said, “No, I don’t want your money, only your body.” The activities observed by the officer violated the agreement Blue Door inked with the city, so the undercover’s report of those occurrences suggest that officers were instructed by the special enforcement office to look for and document such violations. In 2011, a federal appeals panel eliminated some of the defendants named in Pinter’s lawsuit and some of his claims. He is now pursuing multiple claims, including excessive force resulting from his being handcuffed for three hours following his arrest and malicious prosecution stemming from the phone call that led to his arrest. The city’s position in court was that Blue Door’s owner could complain that the phone call led to harm because the act was directed against
the shop, but that Pinter could not because the instruction was not to arrest him specifically. “I don’t think there is any evidence of malicious prosecution with respect to his client,” Olds said. The mayor’s press office referred calls to the city’s Law Department. A spokesperson there, in an email message, said, “The city's position on this issue remains consistent. The fact is, there was a pattern of community complaints about illegal activity at the store, and the city has responded to it appropriately.” Pinter is one of five men who were arrested who sued in federal court. A sixth man sued in state court. The city has designated Pinter’s case a “no pay” case and is refusing to settle. The state court case is also unresolved. The other plaintiffs negotiated settlements.
DeFarra Gaymon was shot to death in Newark’s Branch Brook Park on July 16, 2010.
April 24, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
HIV-Positive Wellness Can Be a Cooperative Push The New York Buyers’ Club plays unique role in supplementing anti-retroviral treatment
BY JOSEPH EHRMAN-DUPRE
t was a very adventurous time,” explained Jared Becker, co-founder of the New York Buyers’ Club. There was only a moment’s pause before George Carter, another co-founder added, “It was a desperate time.” The challenging period in question was the rise of the HIV/AIDS epidemic from the mid-1980s into the early ‘90s. During those years of crisis, a series of drugs became available — after many demands and protests from groups like ACT UP — including AZT, what Carter described as “a nasty, shitty drug that might’ve brought you back from the brink” but ultimately did a great deal to damage HIV-infected bodies. “HIV meds stop the collapse of the immune system,” said Becker, “but there are lots of inflammatory problems still there.” The pitfalls and dangers of the earliest HIV treatments inspired the creation of Direct Access Alternative Information Resources, a pioneering predecessor to the buyers’ clubs that later sprang up around the country. Founded in the ‘90s by Fred Bingham, who survived on vitamin and other nutritional supplements for years before turning to anti-retroviral treatment, DAAIR was one of the first organizations to bring protease inhibitors, already approved in other countries, into the US almost two decades ago. After DAAIR was disbanded, Becker and Carter transitioned into a new venture, the New York Buyers’ Club (NYBC). Founded in 2004 with the support of Carola Burroughs, Mark Hannay, and Sean-Michael Fleming and gaining official nonprofit status in 2006, this collaborative effort has two missions — education and sales. “Basically what we are trying to do is to understand how to use dietary supplements in the management of HIV disease and anti-retroviral side effects,” Carter said. Although the organization recognizes and flags the negative effects of certain HIV medications, it encourages its members to take supplements and anti-retroviral drugs in tandem, helping to both reduce viral load and improve overall health. It is a unique method of care that many have scoffed at over the years.
“Our business model isn't really about how many pills we can sell.” “Younger people” in particular “don’t have an awareness of supplements,” Carter noted. But the benefits of taking charge of one’s own health care and formulating an individualized supplement plan, NYBC asserts, should make them — and everyone else — take notice. “Our goal is to help teach people how to use [supplements], teach them what benefit they might have, if there’s any side effects or drug interactions that they might have, what to be alert for, and how to measure whether what they’re using is working for them,” said Carter. The organization’s work is based on the recognition
that each person is different and as such requires different treatment. Supplements are an inexact science, however, and the co-founders do not shy away from admitting as much. A good portion of what is known about supplements and other alternative medical treatments comes from meta-analysis of prior studies. “We just completed one on cannabis and neuropathy,” Carter mentioned with a chuckle, referring to a study that another organization he started in 2001, the Foundation for Integrative AIDS Research (FIAR), completed in a partnership with Mount Sinai Hospital. “We’d love to be the first medical marijuana buyers’ club in New York if it becomes legal.” While meta-analysis does not necessarily yield 100 percent accurate results, the procedures utilized by the Buyers’ Club hew as closely to the scientific method as possible, Carter and Becker said. The membership-based cooperative encourages people from around the country, and even organizations from abroad, to buy health supplements at the reduced prices NYCB can offer. “One of the things that we do to try to control cost for people is we developed an off-theshelf close equivalent to K-PAX,” among other scientifically-researched, FDA-approved supplement packs. Coverage of supplements and certain HIV medications by state Medicaid and AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP) is minimal, so NYBC works hard to make cheaper options available to its membership. The problem, as described by Carter, is that many poor people do not attend to — or even learn of — their HIV infection until symptoms of illness appear, at which point very little help can be provided by supplements. “We help people who have little or no income figure out how to get access to things,” Carter said, whether through Medicaid, ADAP, or discounted products found on NYBC’s shelves.
And those shelves are stocked. The Buyers’ Club offers more than 200 different supplements to its membership, who pay anywhere from “$5 for people on disability to $100 for a lifetime membership.” After joining, members can purchase the supplements at a sliding-scale cost. “Our business model isn’t really about how many pills we can sell,” noted Carter, again chuckling, apparently at his organization’s ability to survive. “We don’t really give a shit about that.” Though NYBC’s efforts seem focused largely on the New York metropolitan area, with a third of its clientele within a couple of hours’ driving distance of Manhattan, the group has visibility internationally. Working with the Blue Diamond Society, a Nepalese LGBT-focused organization, NYBC periodically ships donated supplements to that Himalayan nation. FIAR has also assisted Blue Diamond, providing the group with condoms and lubricant for an education initiative. Just across the pond, the Buyers’ Club has worked closely — as a supplement supplier and consultative partner — with London’s Helios Center, which describes itself as a “specialist holistic health charity... which grew over 20 years in response to the AIDS crisis.” NYBC also has its sights set on the millions of people living with HIV/ AIDS in Africa and other less-developed countries around the world. The club recently finished a meta-analysis on multi-vitamins, which “in the context of Africa” could cost a meager “$8 to $40 a year per patient.” Such an intervention, the Buyers’ Club asserts, has been proven to slow “disease progression by 39 percent.” Even as the group’s international ambitions grow, its historical roots as a supplement co-op continue to thrive. “We have a steady influx of new members all the time,” said Becker, pinpointing specific pockets of buyers in San Francisco, Florida, and Massachusetts. Carter estimated that the organization helps about 1,000 members attain supplements annually. And, he added, “People do get older every year.” The side effects of aging accompanied by those that arise from treating the virus, Carter pointed out, require a greater use of supplements. By 2015, the CDC estimates, 50 percent of Americans living with HIV will be over the age of 50. The aging of those already infected is only part of that equation. New infections among that age groups also play a role. With all the activities the New York Buyers’ Club has taken on, its vibrancy masks an unsettling reality: With the shuttering last year of the Houston Buyers’ Club, it survives as the only effort of its kind in the US. Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS has stepped up with small grants and the club hosts its own member fundraisers, but Carter acknowledged that more such efforts are needed. Still, he and Becker voiced confidence in the state and strength of their organization. The key to this small non-profit’s success, they said, is “the continuity of the people working on it.” Many of the activists involved in the Buyers’ Club are also engaged with FIAR and were earlier a part of the DAAIR effort. The two men clearly trust that this is the sort of commitment that will sustain NYBC in the city that remains the epicenter of the ongoing AIDS battle in the US.
| April 24, 2013
Teacher, Accused of Webcasting Sex Tape, Can Sue New Jersey school must rebut claim forced resignation was based on anti-gay bias BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
unanimous appeals panel of the New Jersey Superior Court has ruled that an out gay teacher forced to resign from a private boarding school is entitled to a trial on his claim that the school violated his rights under the New Jersey law barring anti-gay discrimination. The case involves what the teacher, Ronald Savoie, says was private sexual conduct in a house — which he shares with his civil union partner — provided by the Lawrenceville School, a coeducational high school. The April 13 ruling reversed a decision by the trial court that granted summary judgment in favor of the school. Savoie was a teacher at Lawrenceville since 1982, and his partner, Richard Bierman, began living with him at the campus home in 1991. Savoie apparently had a good relationship with the headmaster, Michael Cary, who promoted him, placed him in important administrative positions, and wrote letters of thanks to him. Bierman, however, claims he experienced discrimination at the school, including a remark by the faculty dean, Catherine Boczkowski, that she did “not approve of your lifestyle.” In 2002, a maintenance crew entered the couple’s home when they were absent to address a water main leak. While in the basement, the crew saw chains hanging from the ceiling, a tripod, KY lubricant, and “overstuffed” leather furniture. There is a factual disagreement over whether they also saw computers and a video camera in the basement. No report was made at that time to the school’s administration about what the maintenance workers saw. A year later, however, when a crew needed to return to the house for other maintenance work, the workers told the new director of building and grounds, Gary Skirzinski, they were “uncomfortable” doing so. Skirzinski told Boczkowski , the dean, that the crew reported that “there were shackles hanging from the center of the room around some sort of table that had newspaper directly under it and there were five work stations set up along [with] a tripod, video equipment, a TV, a bed with mirrors, a café table with some chairs, very dark or black draperies surround[ing] the room and the ceiling painted black as well as some lighting that might have suggested theater lighting.” According to Skirzinski, they also said they saw latex gloves and diapers in an open closet and videocassettes around the TV. Later in depositions, the main-
tenance employees differed on some of these details. Concerned that Savoie and Bierman were making sex videos, Boczkowski took the matter to Cary, the headmaster, who concluded that the basement was set up for fisting activities, that group sex might be occurring there, and that these activities were “not private.” When he consulted with some members of the board of trustees, they cautioned him to “be very careful” and to “avoid being overly intrusive” into Savoie’s “private life,” but said he should investigate whether students or other employees were involved in Savoie’s activities. It didn’t matter whether Savoie was gay or straight, they said; the school should “apply the same standard” and determine “whether the conduct went beyond the bounds of private conduct in the basement or whether it went out either onto the Internet or in a more public forum.” Cary says the trustees told him Savoie’s conduct posed a “risk to the name and reputation of the school” and that he should be discharged if he had put sexual images on the Internet. Though Cary consulted the school physician and its counselor, who had nothing negative to say about Savoie, and asked Boczkowski to have Skirzinski confirm the maintenance workers’ accounts, there is no indication that anybody inspected Savoie’s basement before Cary and Boczkowski confronted him the following day. Accounts from that meeting differ. Based on “notes” he made during the meeting, Cary asserts that Savoie admitted that “images” had been transmitted “via the Internet,” while Savoie says he made no such admission. What is not disputed is that Cary had prepared a letter of resignation for Savoie to sign before the meeting took place, and that without further investigation, he told Savoie that if he did not resign immediately he would be discharged. Savoie signed the letter, but attempted to withdraw his resignation the next day. Boczkowski responded in writing, rejecting Savoie’s change of heart and asserting he had admitted “that you videotaped sex acts in the basement of your housing at Lawrenceville and sent pictures of these acts over the Internet.” She demanded he preserve all the apparatus in the basement and give the school access to his computers. Subsequent forensic analysis of the computers yielded some sexual images, which the court characterized as too indistinct to identify who was participating. During discovery for the lawsuit, the school sought “plaintiff’s financial records, including bank statements,
credit card information and income tax returns; electronic data stored on plaintiff and Bierman’s personal computer; and communications between plaintiff and Bierman.” Savoie later complained that the trial court failed to honor his civil union partner’s spousal privilege against offering testimony against him, but the appellate court found no indication that was true. Still, its decision specifically noted that spousal privilege is available to civil union partners under New Jersey law. Savoie’s own discovery requests were also extensive, bringing to light numerous instances of misconduct, sexual and otherwise, by other faculty members who did not suffer discipline or forced resignations. In one case, Boczkowski failed to report her knowledge that a faculty member had resumed an adulterous heterosexual affair after being warned he could be terminated if he did so. The trial judge found that although Savoie had alleged facts sufficient to state a “prima facie case” of discrimination, the school adequately rebutted the case by showing that Cary believed in good faith that Savoie had engaged in
conduct that put the school’s reputation at risk. Since Cary promoted and praised Savoie for years after Bierman moved in with him, the judge evidently believed Savoie was forced to resign not because of his sexual orientation or private conduct, but rather due to Cary’s conclusion that Savoie was distributing sex tapes he made on the Internet to the detriment of the school’s reputation. Savoie, however, successfully argued to the appeals panel that he had alleged sufficient facts to raise questions about whether the school’s stated rationale was merely a pretext for anti-gay discrimination. He emphasized Boczowski’s attitude about the couple’s “lifestyle” and claimed that she and Cary acted on stereotypes about gay men and sex. Savoie also pointed to other staff members whose misconduct did not trigger sanctions. The court of appeals agreed that Savoie’s case deserved to be resolved only after fact-finding in a trial. Given that the case has dragged on for nearly a decade and that Savoie’s remedy if he wins could be an escalating amount of back pay, the appellate finding could lead Lawrenceville to settle the case.
April 24, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
US Court Okays National Class Action Suit Against DOMA Los Angeles district judge acts in case brought by immigrant same-sex spouse BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
federal district judge in Los Angeles has certified a nationwide class action lawsuit a t t a c k i n g t h e constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act’s Section 3 in the context of the immigration rights of same-sex spouses. Section 3, currently under review by the US Supreme Court in Edie Windsor’s challenge to DOMA, bars the federal government from recognizing legal same-sex marriages. On April 19, Judge Consuelo B. Marshall first denied a motion to dismiss the case from the Justice Department and the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House of Representatives (BLAG), controlled by the GOP House leadership. She then ruled that plaintiff Jane DeLeon and the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law may sue on behalf of “all members of lawful same-sex marriages who have been denied or will be denied lawful status or related benefits” under federal immigration law “solely” due to DOMA. US law extends special status regarding residency and citizenship application to foreign nationals lawfully married to US citizens, but the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) cites DOMA in refusing to allow legal same-sex immigrant spouses that protection. The Supreme Court’s ruling in the Windsor case is expected by June, and a Fifth Amendment victory there could resolve DeLeon’s challenge. A narrower finding for Windsor, though less likely, could mean that DOMA returns to the high court as an immigration case. DeLeon, a citizen of the Philippines, came to the US on a visitor visa
late in 1989 and stayed. Three years later, she met Irma Rodriguez and in August 2008, as residents of California, they married. For a variety of reasons, efforts DeLeon made to obtain legal status in the US prior to her marriage — based first on an application from her employer and later as the daughter of an elderly father who is a US citizen and would face hardship if she were forced to leave — were denied. In 2011, she filed a new application, citing Rodriguez as the person who would suf fer hardship in her absence. DHS denied that application as well, citing DOMA. DeLeon’s lawsuit claims a violation of her Fifth Amendment rights, citing both equal protection and due process of law, and also asserts she is the victim of sex discrimination. Marshall ruled that both her wife and a son she had from a relationship with a man in the Philippines lacked “standing” to join the suit as co-plaintiffs, but found that DeLeon’s complaint stated a claim for an equal protection violation.
nothing other than impermissible animus toward gays and lesbians. Representing DHS, the Justice Department raised technical defenses that succeeded in the removal of DeLeon’s co-plaintiffs and the narrowing of her claims. BLAG, in contrast, made much the same sweeping defense of DOMA that it mounted in the Windsor case, with arguments about traditional marriage and its advantages for rearing children that the Obama administration no longer credits. Marshall observed that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in the Proposition 8 case, among others, had already rejected most of BLAG’s arguments. Since the Ninth Circuit has not yet weighed in on DOMA, however, one of BLAG’s arguments has not yet been considered there — that the federal government has an administrative interest in a uniform national definition of marriage and for that can rely on the practice in an over whelming majority of the states. Marshall rejected that last argument as well, since DOMA “does not ‘ensure that similarly situated couples will be eligible for the same federal marital status regardless of the state in which they live.’” Legally married samesex and opposite-sex couples are “similarly situated,” but only opposite-sex marriages are recognized by the federal government. “The Court further finds that Plaintiffs have stated a claim that DOMA Section 3 violates their equal protection rights,” Marshall wrote. At the same time, Marshall reject-
A narrower finding for Windsor, though less likely, could mean that DOMA returns to the high court as an immigration case. Relying on precedents of the Ninth Circuit where the Los Angeles district court is located, Marshall found that DOMA will be subject in DeLeon’s suit to a rational basis standard, under which the law is considered presumptively constitutional unless those challenging it can show it is motivated by
ed DeLeon’s due process claim, since DOMA does not involve the imposition of any criminal or civil penalties on DeLeon “based on her homosexuality.” The court’s decision to certify this case as a nationwide class action is particularly significant, rejecting the gover nment’s contention that ultimately every immigration petition turns on its own individual facts. Since DOMA is the threshold issue prior to any ruling in individual cases, Marshall concluded it was appropriate for it to be decided in one proceeding — and that DeLeon and her attorneys were qualified to represent the interests of a broadly-defined national class of plaintiffs — even though some in that class might be disqualified from staying in the US, working here, or becoming a citizen for other reasons. In yet a third ruling, Marshall rejected DeLeon’s motion for preliminary injunctive relief — barring DHS from relying on DOMA — pending trial. Even though the court found several of the factors required for granting such relief were present — including the likelihood of DeLeon prevailing on the merits — Marshall concluded she would not suffer “irreparable injury.” She accepted the Obama administration’s argument that DHS is not actively seeking to remove same-sex spouses of US citizens while waiting for a ruling in the Windsor case. The government submitted a DHS memorandum related to existing practices regarding “prosecutorial discretion” in deportation cases, including an amendment issued last October specifically dealing with same-sex family relationships. DeLeon’s attorneys at the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law are Peter A. Schey and Carlos R. Holguin.
GOP REAFFIRMS ANTI-GAY MARRIAGE STANCE AT SPRING MEETING At its annual spring gathering on April 12, the Republican National Committee unanimously reaffirmed its stance on gay marriage and the legal challenges surrounding it currently being reviewed by the Supreme Court. Despite the fact that the meeting took place at a hotel near West Hollywood, the committee’s decisions were strikingly anti-gay. According to the Washington Post, one resolution defines “marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and as the optimum environment in which to raise healthy children for the future of America.”
A second resolution “implores the US Supreme Court to uphold the sanctity of marriage in its rulings on California’s Proposition 8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act.” ABC News reports that “11 influential socialconservative groups aired their grievances in a letter addressed to [RNC Chairman Reince] Priebus timed to coincide with the start of the RNC’s meeting.” The letter read: “We respectfully warn GOP leadership that an abandonment of its principles will necessarily result in the abandonment of our constituents to their support.”
Social conservatives may be feeling the heat now that an ABC News-Washington Post poll shows that the percentage of Republicans supporting the right of same-sex couples to marry has more than doubled since 2004, from 16 percent to 34 percent. That same poll found that among all Americans, support for marriage equality stands at 58 percent. The recent announcement that GOP Senators Rob Portman of Ohio and Mark Kirk of Illinois now support the freedom to marry — coupled with the array of Republican bold-faced names who signed on to a brief urging the high court to strike
down Prop 8 — probably also propelled social conservatives to strike back. The sponsor of the RNC resolutions was Dave Agema, the chair of the Michigan Republican Party. Voicing relief that he had accomplished his goals in the wake of the committee’s unanimous votes, Agema said, “We have won the battle, and I will have nothing more to say on this matter.” He had earlier caused a firestorm by referring, in a Facebook post, to gays as “filthy” people whose behavior cuts decades off their lifespan. — Joseph Ehrman-Dupre
| April 24, 2013
Public Advocate Candidates Mostly Agree on LGBT Issues Acknowledging office’s limits, four Democrats explain ideas to leverage bully pulpit BY DUNCAN OSBORNE
City Councilwoman Letitia James.
supporter of queer community causes. He said his 2011 vote for same-sex marriage was the “most powerful, most meaningful vote” he has cast. “It’s personal because I sponsor GENDA,” Squadron said, referring to the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, state legislation that would add gender identity and expression to New York’s anti-discrimination law. James is also a longtime community ally who has worked with and funded small non-profit groups. “I am an ally,” she said “I am a supporter. I’ve been there, I’ve done it, I am your next public advocate.” Saujani and Guerriero, who lack that same sort of history with the LGBT community, tended to discuss their plans for the office. Saujani was a deputy public advocate under Bill de Blasio, the current public advocate and a candidate for mayor. She pointed to her experience there and to a non-profit she founded, Girls Who Code, which aims to improve teenagers’ prospects for careers in science
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Educator Cathy Guerriero.
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State Senator Daniel Squadron.
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arly in a debate among four candidates for the Democratic nomination for city public advocate, the contenders had to concede that the office has little power beyond its voice. “As a public advocate, you’re unlikely to pass legislation and you have no money,” said Reshma Saujani during the April 17 event that was held at Pace University near City Hall. The public advocate is on the board of trustees that oversees the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, so the city unions care about the officeholder. She or he also sits on other boards and appoints members to some governing bodies, such as the City Planning Commission, so other groups have an interest in who occupies the office as well. But with a current annual budget of roughly $2 million and a staff of about 40, the office has little power. Meant to be an ombudsman for New Yorkers, the public advocate cannot subpoena records from city agencies. The position can propose legislation to the City Council, but legislation there advances only with the approval of the speaker, who may not wish to make the public advocate look good to voters. If the public advocate can be said to have any power, it lies in the bully pulpit the office provides, but in a city filled with press-hungry voices, getting heard can be a struggle. The candidates said they would maximize the use of that bully pulpit. “A reporter recently said that the job of the public advocate was to annoy the hell out of the mayor,” said Letitia James, a City Council member who represents a Brooklyn district. “I’ve done that for the past 12 years.” Cathy Guerriero, a “mom, an educator, a small business owner, and a planner,” said she would be the city’s “premier bully” once elected to the office. All the candidates agreed that the City Charter should be altered to increase the public advocate’s power, including subpoena power, but that is unlikely to happen. Other than the public advocate, no elected official — and no mayor in particular — would approve a plan to create a permanent thorn in City Hall’s side. Generally, the candidates agreed on issues that are important to the queer community. They said that the city health department policy of requiring transgender people to present evidence of surgery and hormone treatment to get an accurate birth certificate was wrong. They supported a plan to make an annual $12 million appropriation for homeless and runaway youth a permanent part of the city budget and to add $1.5 million to that amount every year until homelessness in that population was eradicated. James and Guerriero opposed the Bloomberg administration’s policy of barring religious services in city schools while Saujani and State Senator Daniel Squadron, whose district includes neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan, said they thought City Hall was right. Beyond that disagreement, the four candidates distinguished themselves on the records they had built on LGBT issues and on their plans for the public advocate’s office. “This one is personal,” said Squadron about the evening’s significance for him. Squadron is a longtime
Reshma Sujauni, a former deputy public advocate.
and technology, as examples of the public-private projects that the public advocate could promote. “I think to be a successful public advocate, you have to be innovative,” she said. Guerriero would create the Office of the Public Advocate Think Tank to recruit volunteer academics and other experts to assist the city and the office. She was the only panel member who was not above taking a poke or two at the other candidates. “If I believed half of what I heard… I’d believe you were going to be saving planet earth,” Guerriero said after the other three finished explaining their vision for the office. The debate was sponsored by the Gay & Lesbian Independent Democrats, the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, the Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn, the Lesbian & Gay Democratic Club of Queens, and the Stonewall Democrats of New York City. Gay City News was also a sponsor and the newspaper’s editor, Paul Schindler, moderated the debate.
April 24, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Allen Ginsberg’s Many Contradictions
Signature counterculture poet’s work could be trivial; man with vast friendship web lacked intimate love
BY DOUG IRELAND
“Howl” was noted for its overt and explicit celebrations of homosexuality, at a time when sodomy laws made same-sex love illegal and psychiatry declared it a form of mental illness. And there was also “Kaddish,” another epic, early Ginsberg poem that the culture welcomed into the literary canon. But much of Ginsberg’s later work is either unreadable or trivial. To take just one example, the poem he wrote in 1994 to the tune of “Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush”:
ou may think you know who Allen Ginsberg was. His name alone conjures up what Thomas Pynchon called the “anarcho-psychedelic” era, a counterculture of which Ginsberg was both the media symbol and the progenitor. But a r ecent critical biography published in London by Reaktion Books paints a picture that explodes myths about the poet and agitator — some of them engendered by Ginsberg himself.
I got old and shit in my pants Shit in my pants Shit in my pants I got old and shit in my pants Shit in my pants again.
Take Ginsberg’s relationship with Peter Orlovsky. When Gay Sunshine Press, in 1980, published “Straight Heart’s Delight: Love Poems and Selected Letters” by Ginsberg and Orlovsky, it was intended as “a celebration of their 25 years together as lovers.” But, Steve Finbow’s new “Allen Ginsberg” tells us, “Allen maintained the pretence that they were a couple: in reality, the relationship was fake, poisonous, and detrimental to the mental health (and happiness) of both men.” Orlovsky’s profound mental illness and manicdepressive outbursts and physical violence toward Ginsberg — including assaults with a machete and an iron bar — were so recurrent and severe that at one point, after many Orlovsky sojourns in the mental wards at Bellevue, Ginsberg went to court and took out a restraining order against him. In fact, Ginsberg maintained the myths about his relationship with Orlovsky to mask — to others and to himself — his inability to form a loving sexual relationship with another man. And this was born in part out of the deep guilt Ginsberg felt at having consented to a lobotomy for his mentally ill mother back in the days before this sur gical intervention was discredited as a “cure” for illnesses of the mind. Ginsberg was, in fact, as Finbow — a friend of Ginsberg who teaches at South Africa’s NorthWest University — tells us, a masochist who had many temporary boyfriends but who almost always chose as his love objects “straight” men, dooming their relationships to failure even when he managed to seduce them. By the time of his death in 1997, Ginsberg was firmly ensconced as part of America’s liter ary establishment — a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a winner of the National Book Award (for his collection of poems “The Fall of America”), a recipient of the National Arts Club’s Gold Medal, and a tenured professor at Brooklyn College. And Ginsberg’s final years were made more comfortable when Stanford University paid him $1 million for his archive of photos, artifacts, manuscripts, and even laundry lists, filling boxes that stretched 1,000 feet.
By Steve Finbow Reaktion Books $16.95; 235 pages reaktionbooks.co.uk
Was Ginsberg a great poet? Certainly he wrote a number of great poems. When fellow poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights Books in San Francisco published “Howl,” his epic poem of alienation from America, in 1956, it catapulted Ginsberg into national celebrity, with the book tried for obscenity by a San Francisco prosecutor. (The court rejected the prosecutor’s charge.) These events were captured in the excellent 2010 experimental film “Howl” by Academy Award winners Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, which
As Finbow writes, “For Ginsberg, language speaks only of him, the poet Allen Ginsberg. His poems are autobiographical confessions in which ‘Allen’ performs, their form driven by self-referential content. Ginsberg’s poetics comprise the liberation and revelation of the author in the very act of living.“ There have been other full-length biographies of Ginsberg, notably those by Barry Miles, Michael Schumacher, Ed Sanders, and Bill Morgan. But one of the merits of Finbow’s more spare critical study — filled with details of Ginsberg’s friendships, travels, and activism — is that it reminds us of what a workaholic Ginsberg was, despite the multiple illnesses that plagued him and against the advice of his doctors. In addition to the 24 books that bear his signature, Ginsberg was a master networker with thousands of friends across the world. He was a constant force who shepherded the writings of his friends to publication. Thus, without the constant editorial collaboration and promotion by Ginsberg, drug-addled William Burroughs’ chef d’oeuvre “Naked Lunch” would never have seen the light of day, nor would Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” or Gregory Cor so’s poetry. Ginsberg set up the Committee on Poetry as a non-profit project to encourage avantgarde poetry and political activism, and pour ed all the money he made from his lecture tours and poetry readings into it. His protests and politics and civil disobedience, as well as his “obscene” poetry, made him the most arrested poet of the 20th century. Ginsberg dreamed of becoming a rock star, and toured and recorded with John Lennon, Bob Dylan, the Clash’s Joe Strummer, and Philip Glass, among others, and made numerous albums of his poetry. He spent years tracking and researching the CIA’s involvement in drug smuggling, and in 1971 lunched with New York Times columnist and edi-
Ginsberg maintained the myths about his relationship with Orlovsky to mask — to others and to himself — his inability to form a loving sexual relationship with another man. starred the intelligent actor and writer James Franco in a sharp and sensitive performance as Ginsberg. As the poet Michael McClure wrote, the publication of “Howl” heralded “that a barrier had been broken, that a human voice and body had been hurled against the harsh wall of America and its supporting armies and navies and academies and institutions and ownership systems and power support bases." I well remember how, at the age of 12, I pur chased a copy of “Howl” with money I’d collected from the deposits on soda bottles. It was for me a transgressive act.
ginsberg, continued on p.13
| April 24, 2013
How Gay Kevin Got to Riverdale Archie writers talk about their new story arc that sells out the shelf BY MICHAEL SHIREY
athered among the 18 miles of books at the Strand Book Store on Lower Broadway, comic book geeks turned out for Archie Comics’ unveiling of “Kevin,” a new young adult novel set in the Riverdale Universe. The book, released in tandem with Grosset & Dunlap, features the early adventures of the critically acclaimed Archie gay character, Kevin Keller.
Readers will find out about Kevin’s pre-Riverdale days as an army brat before the novel tackles every awkward coming-of-age situation that middle school has to of fer — first love, prom, and, true to the Archie canon, a love triangle, all with a gay twist. The April 18 event featured Archie Comics’ Paul Kupperberg and Dan Parent. Kupperberg is the author of “Kevin” and a for mer editor at DC Comics. Parent is the creative writer and illustrator behind Kevin. The two said the decision to write an “origin” story was a natural. Since the char acter’s introduction in issue #202 of “Veronica,” he has gone on to star in his own series, as well as making regular appearances in the other Archie titles. As for the character’s growing success, the creators claim it is quite simple — Kevin is not just a gay character, but rather a char acter who happens to be gay. The
GINSBERG, from p.12
torialist C.L. Sulzberger to make his case, which Sulzberger dismissed as mere “paranoia.” When reports sur faced in the press seven years later confir ming his findings, Ginsberg was rewarded with a note of apology from Sulzberger. Ginsberg was tireless in lending his presence to benefits for an endless list of causes and friends, from Bangladesh’s starving masses to the defense of Timothy Leary to poetry projects and publications. He was also involved
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By Paul Kupperberg Grosset & Dunlap $9.99; 160 pages
Paul Kupperberg reads from his new YA novel “Kevin” at the Strand Book Store.
rest stems from following the Archie for mula. That explanation under states the Kevin phenom. The only Archie comics that have ever sold out belong to the Kevin storyline — the first being his freshman issue in the “Veronica” series and the second his wedding special in 2012, part of the “Life of Archie” story arc, a sub universe that focuses on the adult lives of Riverdale’s heroes. It is fair to ask: Is this the result of superior writing? Or is does it represent Archie’s resoundingly successful attempt to stay relevant? The reception for Kevin has not all been positive. Upon the release of the wedding issue, One Million Moms, an organization with rightwing af filiations that attempts to bring in a br oom to sweep media clean on behalf of childr en, pr otested the exposure of young minds
to gay marriage. Kupperberg and Parent aren’t concerned. They joked the group is actually a handful of moms making good use of a fax machine. If anything, the outcry again Kevin only caused an increase in sales. In contrast, fans at the Strand event claimed that Archie has not gone far enough, insisting the comic push the envelope more. In particular, they said Kevin’s first kiss, one of the teased plots for an upcoming issue, should have already happened, especially as there was a wedding issue. But Kupperberg and Parent stood their ground, claiming that part of what has made Kevin such a good character is that he’s been developed gradually, like other iconic Archie characters before him. The reading ended with a Q&A, which mainly focused on future sto-
rylines and the r oad ahead. Patrick Yacco from Geeks Out, however, changed the subject, asking about DC Comics’ recent decision to hire the unabashedly anti-gay Orson Scott Card to write the latest Superman arc. Not missing a beat, Kupperberg said that DC was likely unaware of Card’s extreme views and that ideally his work would be published and simply not sell. Parent added, “Ditto.” So — the Superman flap addressed — what’s next for Riverdale’s new popular character? Kupperberg and Par ent clearly believe the sky’s the limit. They riffed about the possibility of Kevin becoming the first gay president and “starring in” a live-action Archie movie. As for “Kevin,” the fun, light-hearted novel is available wherever books and Archie Comics are sold.
in the struggles against America’s war in Vietnam and its support for the contras in Nicaragua, and he was always available to fight against censorship whenever it raised its ugly head. For Ginsberg, “court appear ances became the new performance poetry,” Finbow writes. Ginsberg won numerous battles against the Federal Communications Commission’s censorious strictures, helping create more liberty on our airwaves. I ha d onl y a nod d i ng acq ua i ntance with Ginsberg, whom I confess was never really my cup of tea — his
adventures in Buddhism, a religion that promotes the abnegation of the self, seemed to me hypocritical given his capacious, not to say domineer ing, egotism, and as a deep-dyed atheist I’ve always been turned off by the mystical. Moreover, his endless search for the “perfect high” from a myriad of hallucinogenic drugs struck me as largely a waste of time. But Finbow’s meticulously documented study reminded me of Ginsberg’s admirable courage and his devotion to helping others, and it can be read with profit by all of us. He
was an outsized international figure who consciously built his outrageous image, and we can still learn much from his life, which was studded with a truly astonishing range of friendships with some of the last century’s most celebrated writers, artists, and poets. We shall not see Ginsberg’s like again. An extensive compilation of Ginsberg’s writings, recordings, photographs, and more can be found online at the Allen Ginsberg Project (allenginsberg.org).
April 24, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Divine Dish Bette Midler channels Sue Mengers, the hardnosed Hollywood superagent BY DAVID KENNERLEY
hen I first heard that Bette Midler was returning to Broadway, after a 30-year absence, to take on a new solo play portraying notorious Hollywood agent Sue Mengers, I was both thrilled and concerned. Would the Divine Miss M, with her distinct, outsized personality, be able to disappear into another character?
Booth Theatre 222 W. 45th St. Through Jun. 30 Mon.-Tue. at 7 p.m. Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat. at 2 p.m. Sun. at 3 p.m. $82-$142; telecharge.com
After all, when it comes to live performance, the legendary diva is at her best playing only one role — herself. Yet after seeing the disarming “I’ll Eat
I’LL EAT YOU LAST: A CHAT WITH SUE MENGERS
Bette Midler in John Logan’s “I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers,” directed by Joe Mantello.
You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers,” helmed by the highly capable Joe Mantello (“The Pride,” “Take Me Out”), I realized the question is beside the point. Indeed, she is convincing as the feisty, trash-talking agent, who died in 2011, yet she allows
DeAr guys who like guys And GALS who like gAls, life, liberty And the pursuit of hAppiness begAn with Me.
P.S. Get your history strAight And your nightlife gAy.
plenty of the brassy Bette we adore to shine through. This snappy, savvy homage is one delicious theatrical treat. And let’s face it — the two personalities share the same DNA. Like Bette (or, at least, Bette’s public persona), Mengers, renowned for escaping a modest background and inventing the job of glamorous “superagent,” was loud, opinionated, witty, and at times shamelessly vulgar. With an unsavory start crooning to gay men in white towels at the Continental Baths in the early 1970s, the former “Bathhouse Betty” knows a thing or two about fighting her way to glory. The piece opens with Mengers l oungi ng on a comfy s o fa in he r Hollywood mansion (aka, Chez Sue) that, she gleefully boasts, was formerly owned by Zsa Zsa Gabor. The year is 1981, when the impresario, who once had all of Tinseltown in the palm of her hand, was starting to lose her grip. A pit bull of a dealmaker, her motto was “All showbiz, all the time.” For his part, Mantello faced an especially dicey directing challenge. Much like the creators of the recent Broadway flop “Hands on a Hardbody,” who had to stage a lively musical while the actors kept one hand planted on a Nissan pickup, Mantello also had his hands tied. It seems that the overweight Sue suffered from health problems and had trouble walking, rarely venturing out of the house. The dilemma: How to engage an audience for 90 minutes when the sole character is glued to the sofa. Bette certainly bears a resemblance to Mengers, with her trademark bleachblonde hair, oversize wire-rimmed glasses, and turquoise kaftan with
silvery accents. If her body language — brandishing a cigarette or a joint (at one point, both at the same time), flipping back her hair, or picking up the phone — is meticulously choreographed, it feels completely organic. A volunteer plucked from the audience is ordered to fetch her a joint and a drink, which breaks up any monotony and intensifies the intimacy between superstar and fans. It doesn’t hurt that playwright John Logan (“Red”) has packed “I’ll Eat You Last” with plenty of juicy, meaty tidbits for Bette to sink her teeth into. Sue bombards the audience with childhood memories (she was a “fat Ger man Jewess” who escaped the Holocaust and learned English from Hollywood B-movies), war stories from the peak of her career in the 1970s, bawdy jokes, and of course loads of dirt, allowing her to drop one boldface name after another. Baby boomers especially will delight in hearing about clients — or former clients — such as Julie Harris, Ali MacGraw, Gene Hackman, Candice Bergen, Michael Caine, Cybill Shepherd, Faye Dunaway, Jane Fonda, and Diana Ross, just to name a few. Famous for holding exclusive dinner parties for the dog-eat-dog Hollywood elite, Sue once joked, “My own mother wouldn’t have gotten in if she were standing outside in the rain.” One of her favorite guests was Elton John because “he eats everything but pussy.” The dynamo’s choicest morsels involve her dear friend Barbra Streisand. Sue claims she discovered the aspiring singer in a gay bar in Greenwich Village. “She was me if I had any talent,” she quips, later dismissing “Yentl” as a “crossdressing Jew movie.” A wisp of a plot finds Sue relaxing before one of her big soirees and waiting for a phone call from the illustrious Babs. Scott Pask has designed a visually enticing set of a luxurious living room with its vast network of shelves heaving with books, knick-knacks, framed photos, and other memorabilia from her grand career. Fresh flowers are strategically placed around the room. Just outside are palm trees and a pool, evidenced only by reflected patches of light dancing on the ceiling. But “I’ll Eat You Last” isn’t all witty barbs and giggles. An occasional wave of melancholy overtakes the room, like when Sue describes losing fickle clients to the rival talent agency CAA. The lighting, designed by Hugh Vanstone, dims as night approaches and she winds down her chat, much as her own star has begun to fade.
| April 24, 2013
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April 24, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Stuck in the Basement With You Michael Urie and Jonathan Tollins talk about “Buyer & Cellar” BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE
he first thing you need to know about “Buyer & Cellar” is that it’s a hilarious and heartfelt comedy, one of the most delightful evenings to be had on the New York stage right now. Jonathan Tollins’ new one-man show was inspired by a home design book written by Barbara Streisand. In it, she writes about building her Malibu dream house and installing
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater Mon., Wed. & Thu. at 7 p.m. Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Sat.-Sun. at 3 p.m. $10-$55; ovationtix.com Or 866-811-4111
a mall in the basement, fitted out with shops to showcase her seemingly limitless collections of stuff. “I saw the news about the mall in her basement,” Tollins said in describing the genesis of the piece, “and I made a little joke: How would you like to be the guy who works there? I wrote the diary of the guy who works there in a mall with only one very famous customer. I submitted it to the New Yorker, and they demurred. However, I had a friend in LA who is a
BUYER & CELLAR
Michael Urie in Jonathan Tollins’ one-man show “Buyer & Cellar.”
talent manager, and he said, ‘You should write it as a one-man show.’ I started doing my research about Barbra, and it became an exercise to make it as real as I could possibly make it. And see if I could believe that I was that guy who worked there. The sheer silliness of the premise went a long way to write funny.” In the play’s debut at the Rattlestick, Michael Urie plays Alex, the young gay actor who gets the job minding the store, so to speak. Urie gives a virtuoso
comedic performance, playing, in fact, all the parts — including Barbra, Alex’s jaded boyfriend, and various others. The 32-year-old gay actor emphasized that his turn as Barbra is not intended as an impersonation. Though his mother was a big Streisand fan, he recalls only becoming aware of her at 16 or 17. Urie later “became obsessed” with the movie “Hello Dolly” and saw Streisand at the Hollywood Bowl. In preparation for “Buyer & Cellar,” he read books
about her and checked out some of her performances on YouTube Still, he said, “I never had a vivid memory of her.” That may come as a surprise to audiences given the clarity of Urie’s performance. The image of Streisand that Alex encounters is, indeed, vivid. “Michael delineates so clearly, we didn’t need the narration, such as ‘then she said…,’” Tollins said. One of the keys to “Buyer & Cellar,” the playwright said, is that every member of the audience will bring their own idea of Barbra — even their own relationship to her — into the theater. Barbra comes alive in each viewer’s mind, allowing for a very sympathetic portrayal of the star. Tollins and Urie sing each other’s praises in talking about how the show got on its feet. Another actor was set to play the role, Tollins said, and when he couldn’t, Urie immediately came to mind. The actor happened to be available just as Rattlestick had a hole open in its season. Kismet, indeed. Over an accelerated rehearsal period, they worked to fine tune the piece into the delightful and heartfelt show it’s become. Urie, fresh off “Partners” on ABC, a stint as Bud Frump in “How To Succeed in Business…,” and a string of hit Off-Broadway shows, didn’t
BUYER & CELLAR, continued on p.23
Final Cut BY DAVID KENNERLEY
lifford Odets, the pioneering playwright acclaimed in the 1930s and beyond for his gritty realism, is enjoying a mini-resur gence on Broadway. Earlier this season, Lincoln Center Theater staged a gut-wrenching revival of “Golden Boy,” about a conflicted, self-loathing young
THE BIG KNIFE Roundabout Theatre Company American Airlines Theatre 227 W. 42ndSt. Tue.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat.-Sun. at 2 p.m. $42-127; roundabouttheatre.org Or 212-719-1300
man forced to choose between art and fame. Now the Roundabout Theatre Company is getting in on the act, with its lavish production of “The Big Knife” about, well, a conflicted, self-loathing, slightly older man forced to choose between art and fame. The key difference, besides the man’s age and the locale (“Knife” is set in Hollywood, not New York), is that this noirish, somewhat restrained drama focuses on the paralysis that sets in from the delay in making that choice. It’s no wonder both plays tackle similar themes, given that Odets’ works were deeply autobiographical. According to John Lahr, the troubled playwright was “buffeted in the slipstream between high art and high life,” torn between staying in New York to craft thoughtful plays or going to Hollywood to churn out screenplays for middling movies. Writing for the theater was
Another throbbing Odets drama about trading art for artifice
Bobby Cannavale is a Hollywood star torn between the allures of celebrity and his yearning to be a serious actor.
therapeutic for Odets — “the only way I explain and interpret myself to myself.” This is the first Broadway revival of “The Big Knife” since the 1949 premiere, which was directed by Lee Strasberg and starred John Garfield. Upon seeing this intriguing production starring Bobby Cannavale (“Glengarry Glen Ross”), my first response was, what took so long? As the curtain rises, we see John Lee Beatty’s impressive set of a stylish living room — a variation on the cavernous abode he designed for “Other Desert Cities” — awash in a sea of beiges and browns. Here, a floating staircase and a large bar (later put to good use) dominate the space, and there are doors leading to an outdoor patio and a pool. Immediately, we sense this is the home of someone well heeled and living the high life.
THE BIG KNIFE, continued on p.25
| April 24, 2013
Lilacs Out of the Dead Land BY BRIAN McCORMICK
ike the annual migration of the monarch butterflies or the gray whales, the similarly spectacular and mighty Stephen Petronio Company returns to the Joyce Theater to give birth to a new creation. The new dance, “Like Lazarus Did (LLD 4.30),” is inspired by the mythology of resurrection and ideas about transcendence, elevation, and regeneration. The evening-length work features Petronio’s company of 10 dancers, along with composer Son Lux (the stage name of Ryan Lott), the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, visual artist Janine Antoni, costume designer H. Petal, and lighting designer Ken Tabachnick.
STEPHEN PETRONIO COMPANY “Like Lazarus Did (LLD 4.30)” The Joyce Theater 175 Eighth Ave. at 19th St. Apr. 30-May 1 at 7:30 p.m. May 2-4 at 8 p.m. May 5 at 2 & 7:30 p.m. $10-$99; joyce.org. Or 212-242-0800
“LLD (4.30)” features an original electroacoustic score by Lux that draws from a range of spiritual music and texts, from early American slave songs to the meditative drones of Eastern mysticism. Lux and an ensemble, plus 30 members of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, will perform the score live. “The title,” Petronio told Gay City News, “is taken from a song, which is the inspiration for the whole piece. Ryan brought a songbook of slave songs from the mid-1800s, songs that had previously been passed down through oral traditions. What you hear in them is blind faith. These are the most oppressed people singing the most ebullient songs.” The choreographer continued, “Angry or lyrical or melancholy or whatever it is that year, it’s all about getting into trance state through form and motion, and bringing bliss to the audience. Reaching for that aesthetic orgasm. This piece is spiritually geared, but in the same mode we’re working to achieve that suspended state that only movement can take us to. Death to rebirth. Hallelujah to lullaby.” “Like Lazarus Did” is conceived as
Stephen Petronio Company, a New York rite of spring
Stephen Petronio Company’s Gino Grenek and Joshua Green in “Like Lazarus Did (4.30),” presented at the Joyce Theater April 30 – May 5.
an ongoing performance event that takes specific and unique form for each space it inhabits. The first version was presented in June 2012 at the Ukrainian
National Home Ballroom in the East Village. “LLD (4.30)” was created for the Joyce Theater as the first proscenium performance of the material. “For these performances, Antoni will be suspended over the audience for the whole piece,” Petronio explained. “She will form the base of a living sculpture that looms 15 feet above, a constellation of colorful porcelain Milagros, reproducing her entire body — skin, skeleton, organs.” Her suspended state of meditation will serve as both a visceral contrast and visual anchor in Petronio’s continually shifting world. “She is one of the most exciting collaborators I’ve ever worked with,” he beamed. “Her body in my work. It helps me loosen my grip.” Petronio is artist-in-residence at the Joyce, and that also has him thinking about how to use the space to the max. “The audience is her playground,” he said of Antoni. And if all that’s not enough, the piece will start outside, with the chorus marching down 19th Street singing as they enter the theater.
Pre-Concert Cocktail Reception Special Appearance by Patti LaBelle
Saturday, May 11, 2013 – 4:30PM Tickets: $350 (for both the reception and the concert), $250 (reception only) and $100 (concert only)
April 24, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
| April 24, 2013
for me COMPLERA.
A complete HIV treatment in only 1 pill a day. COMPLERA is for adults who have never taken HIV-1 medicines before and have no more than 100,000 copies/mL of virus in their blood.
Ask your healthcare provider if it’s the one for you.
Patient model. Pill shown is not actual size.
What is COMPLERA? COMPLERA is a prescription HIV medicine that is used as a complete regimen to treat HIV-1 in adults who have never taken HIV medicines before and who have an amount of HIV in their blood (this is called “viral load”) that is no more than 100,000 copies/mL. COMPLERA contains 3 medicines – rilpivirine, emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. It is not known if COMPLERA is safe and effective in children under the age of 18 years. ®
COMPLERA® does not cure HIV-1 infection or AIDS. To control HIV-1 infection and decrease HIV-related illnesses you must keep taking COMPLERA. Avoid doing things that can spread HIV-1 to others: always practice safer sex and use condoms to lower the chance of sexual contact with body fluids; never reuse or share needles or other items that have body fluids on them, do not share personal items that may contain bodily fluids. Ask your healthcare provider if you have questions about how to reduce the risk of passing HIV-1 to others.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION What is the most important information you should know about COMPLERA? COMPLERA® can cause serious side effects: • Build-up of an acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious medical emergency. Symptoms of lactic acidosis include feeling very weak or tired, unusual (not normal) muscle pain, trouble breathing, stomach pain with nausea or vomiting, feeling cold, especially in your arms and legs, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and/or a fast or irregular heartbeat. • Serious liver problems. The liver may become large (hepatomegaly) and fatty (steatosis). Symptoms of liver problems include your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow (jaundice), dark “tea-colored” urine, light-colored bowel movements (stools), loss of appetite for several days or longer, nausea, and/or stomach pain. • You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or serious liver problems if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking COMPLERA for a long time. In some cases, these serious conditions have led to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any symptoms of these conditions. • Worsening of hepatitis B (HBV) infection. If you also have HBV and stop taking COMPLERA, your hepatitis may suddenly get worse. Do not stop taking COMPLERA without first talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to monitor your health. COMPLERA is not approved for the treatment of HBV.
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Who should not take COMPLERA? Do not take COMPLERA if you have ever taken other anti-HIV medicines. COMPLERA may change the effect of other medicines and may cause serious side effects. Your healthcare provider may change your other medicines or change their doses. Do not take COMPLERA if you also take these medicines: • anti-seizure medicines: carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Equetro, Tegretol, Tegretol-XR, Teril, Epitol); oxcarbazepine (Trileptal), phenobarbital (Luminal), phenytoin (Dilantin, Dilantin-125, Phenytek) • anti-tuberculosis medicines: rifabutin (Mycobutin), rifampin (Rifater, Rifamate, Rimactane, Rifadin) and rifapentine (Priftin) • proton pump inhibitors for stomach or intestinal problems: esomeprazole (Nexium, Vimovo), lansoprazole (Prevacid), dexlansoprazole (Dexilant), omeprazole (Prilosec), pantoprazole sodium (Protonix), rabeprazole (Aciphex) • more than 1 dose of the steroid medicine dexamethasone or dexamethasone sodium phosphate • St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) If you are taking COMPLERA you should not take other HIV medicines or other medicines containing tenofovir (Viread, Truvada, Stribild or Atripla); other medicines containing emtricitabine or lamivudine (Emtriva, Combivir, Epivir, Epivir-HBV, Epzicom, Trizivir, Atripla, Stribild or Truvada); rilpivirine (Edurant) or adefovir (Hepsera). In addition, tell your healthcare provider if you are taking the following medications because they may interfere with how COMPLERA works and may cause side effects: • certain antacid medicines containing aluminum, magnesium hydroxide, or calcium carbonate (examples: Rolaids, TUMS). These medicines must be taken at least 2 hours before or 4 hours after COMPLERA. • medicines to block stomach acid including cimetidine (Tagamet), famotidine (Pepcid), nizatidine (Axid), or ranitidine HCL (Zantac). These medicines must be taken at least 12 hours before or 4 hours after COMPLERA. • any of these medicines: clarithromycin (Biaxin); erythromycin (E-Mycin, Eryc, Ery-Tab, PCE, Pediazole, Ilosone), fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), ketoconazole (Nizoral) methadone (Dolophine); posaconazole (Noxifil), telithromycin (Ketek) or voriconazole (Vfend). • medicines that are eliminated by the kidneys like acyclovir (Zovirax), cidofovir (Vistide), ganciclovir (Cytovene IV, Vitrasert), valacyclovir (Valtrex) and valganciclovir (Valcyte).
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Gay City News
These are not all the medicines that may cause problems if you take COMPLERA. Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements you are taking or plan to take.
The most common side effects reported with COMPLERA are trouble sleeping (insomnia), abnormal dreams, headache, dizziness, diarrhea, nausea, rash, tiredness, and depression. Some side effects also reported include vomiting, stomach pain or discomfort, skin discoloration (small spots or freckles) and pain.
Before taking COMPLERA, tell your healthcare provider if you: liver problems, including hepatitis B or C virus infection, or have abnormal liver tests • Have kidney problems • Have ever had a mental health problem • Have bone problems • Are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. It is not known if COMPLERA can harm your unborn child • Are breastfeeding: Women with HIV should not breastfeed because they can pass HIV through their milk to the baby. Also, COMPLERA may pass through breast milk and could cause harm to the baby
This is not a complete list of side effects. Tell your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you notice any side effects while taking COMPLERA, and call your healthcare provider for medical advice about side effects.
COMPLERA can cause additional serious side effects: • New or worsening kidney problems, including kidney failure. If you have had kidney problems, or take other medicines that may cause kidney problems, your healthcare provider may need to do regular blood tests. • Depression or mood changes. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms: feeling sad or hopeless, feeling anxious or restless, have thoughts of hurting yourself (suicide) or have tried to hurt yourself. • Changes in liver enzymes: People who have had hepatitis B or C, or who have had changes in their liver function tests in the past may have an increased risk for liver problems while taking COMPLERA. Some people without prior liver disease may also be at risk. Your healthcare provider may need to check your liver enzymes before and during treatment with COMPLERA. • Bone problems can happen in some people who take COMPLERA. Bone problems include bone pain, softening or thinning (which may lead to fractures). Your healthcare provider may need to do additional tests to check your bones. • Changes in body fat can happen in people taking HIV medicine. • Changes in your immune system. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections that have been hidden in your body for a long time. Tell your healthcare provider if you start having new symptoms after starting COMPLERA.
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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit http://www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088. Additional Information about taking COMPLERA:
• Always take COMPLERA exactly as your healthcare provider tells you to take it. • Take COMPLERA with a meal. Taking COMPLERA with a meal is important to help
get the right amount of medicine in your body. (A protein drink does not replace a meal).
Stay under the care of your healthcare provider during treatment with COMPLERA and see your healthcare provider regularly. Please see Brief Summary of full Prescribing Information with important warnings on the following pages.
Learn more at www.COMPLERA.com
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April 24, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Brief Summary of full Prescribing Information
COMPLERA® (kom-PLEH-rah) (emtricitabine, rilpivirine, tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) tablets Brief summary of full Prescribing Information. For more information, please see the full Prescribing Information including Patient Information. What is COMPLERA? •
COMPLERA is a prescription HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) medicine that is used to treat HIV-1 in adults – who have never taken HIV medicines before, and – who have an amount of HIV in their blood (this is called ‘viral load’) that is no more than 100,000 copies/mL. Your healthcare provider will measure your viral load.
(HIV is the virus that causes AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome)). •
COMPLERA contains 3 medicines – rilpivirine, emtricitabine, tenofovir disoproxil fumarate – combined in one tablet. It is a complete regimen to treat HIV-1 infection and should not be used with other HIV medicines.
It is not known if COMPLERA is safe and effective in children under the age of 18 years old.
COMPLERA does not cure HIV infection or AIDS. You must stay on continuous therapy to control HIV infection and decrease HIV-related illnesses.
Ask your healthcare provider if you have any questions about how to prevent passing HIV to other people. Do not share or re-use needles or other injection equipment, and do not share personal items that can have blood or body fluids on them, like toothbrushes and razor blades. Always practice safer sex by using a latex or polyurethane condom to lower the chance of sexual contact with semen, vaginal fluids or blood.
Who should not take COMPLERA? Do not take COMPLERA if: • your HIV infection has been previously treated with HIV medicines. •
you are taking any of the following medicines: – anti-seizure medicines: carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Equetro, Tegretol, Tegretol-XR, Teril, Epitol); oxcarbazepine (Trileptal); phenobarbital (Luminal); phenytoin (Dilantin, Dilantin-125, Phenytek) – anti-tuberculosis (anti-TB) medicines: rifabutin (Mycobutin); rifampin (Rifater, Rifamate, Rimactane, Rifadin); rifapentine (Priftin) – proton pump inhibitor (PPI) medicine for certain stomach or intestinal problems: esomeprazole (Nexium, Vimovo); lansoprazole (Prevacid); dexlansoprazole (Dexilant); omeprazole (Prilosec, Zegerid); pantoprazole sodium (Protonix); rabeprazole (Aciphex) – more than 1 dose of the steroid medicine dexamethasone or dexamethasone sodium phosphate – St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum)
If you take COMPLERA, you should not take: – Other medicines that contain tenofovir (Atripla, Stribild, Truvada, Viread)
What is the most important information I should know about COMPLERA? COMPLERA can cause serious side effects, including: • Build-up of lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis). Lactic acidosis can happen in some people who take COMPLERA or similar (nucleoside analogs) medicines. Lactic acidosis is a serious medical emergency that can lead to death. Lactic acidosis can be hard to identify early, because the symptoms could seem like symptoms of other health problems. Call your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following symptoms which could be signs of lactic acidosis: – feel very weak or tired – have unusual (not normal) muscle pain – have trouble breathing – have stomach pain with nausea (feeling sick to your stomach) or vomiting – feel cold, especially in your arms and legs
– Other medicines that contain emtricitabine or lamivudine (Combivir, Emtriva, Epivir or Epivir-HBV, Epzicom, Trizivir, Atripla, Truvada, Stribild) – rilpivirine (Edurant) – adefovir (Hepsera) What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking COMPLERA? Before you take COMPLERA, tell your healthcare provider if you: • have or had liver problems, including hepatitis B or C virus infection, kidney problems, mental health problem or bone problems •
– feel dizzy or lightheaded Severe liver problems. Severe liver problems can happen in people who take COMPLERA. In some cases, these liver problems can lead to death. Your liver may become large (hepatomegaly) and you may develop fat in your liver (steatosis). Call your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following symptoms of liver problems:
– your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow (jaundice) – dark “tea-colored” urine – light-colored bowel movements (stools)
are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed. You should not breastfeed if you have HIV because of the risk of passing HIV to your baby. Do not breastfeed if you are taking COMPLERA. At least two of the medicines contained in COMPLERA can be passed to your baby in your breast milk. We do not know whether this could harm your baby. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best way to feed your baby.
– loss of appetite for several days or longer
Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
– stomach pain •
are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if COMPLERA can harm your unborn child. Pregnancy Registry. There is a pregnancy registry for women who take antiviral medicines during pregnancy. The purpose of this registry is to collect information about the health of you and your baby. Talk to your healthcare provider about how you can take part in this registry.
– have a fast or irregular heartbeat •
Worsening of Hepatitis B infection. If you have hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and take COMPLERA, your HBV may get worse (flare-up) if you stop taking COMPLERA. A “flare-up” is when your HBV infection suddenly returns in a worse way than before. COMPLERA is not approved for the treatment of HBV, so you must discuss your HBV with your healthcare provider. – Do not let your COMPLERA run out. Refill your prescription or talk to your healthcare provider before your COMPLERA is all gone. – Do not stop taking COMPLERA without first talking to your healthcare provider. – If you stop taking COMPLERA, your healthcare provider will need to check your health often and do blood tests regularly to check your HBV infection. Tell your healthcare provider about any new or unusual symptoms you may have after you stop taking COMPLERA.
You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or severe liver problems if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking COMPLERA for a long time.
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COMPLERA may affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may affect how COMPLERA works, and may cause serious side effects. If you take certain medicines with COMPLERA, the amount of COMPLERA in your body may be too low and it may not work to help control your HIV infection. The HIV virus in your body may become resistant to COMPLERA or other HIV medicines that are like it.
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Gay City News
| April 24, 2013
Especially tell your healthcare provider if you take: • an antacid medicine that contains aluminum, magnesium hydroxide, or calcium carbonate. If you take an antacid during treatment with COMPLERA, take the antacid at least 2 hours before or at least 4 hours after you take COMPLERA. •
a medicine to block the acid in your stomach, including cimetidine (Tagamet), famotidine (Pepcid), nizatidine (Axid), or ranitidine hydrochloride (Zantac). If you take one of these medicines during treatment with COMPLERA, take the acid blocker at least 12 hours before or at least 4 hours after you take COMPLERA. any of these medicines (if taken by mouth or injection): – clarithromycin (Biaxin) – erythromycin (E-Mycin, Eryc, Ery-Tab, PCE, Pediazole, Ilosone) – fluconazole (Diflucan)
trouble sleeping (insomnia)
Additional common side effects include: •
– itraconazole (Sporanox)
– ketoconazole (Nizoral)
stomach pain or discomfort
– methadone (Dolophine)
skin discoloration (small spots or freckles)
– posaconazole (Noxafil)
Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
– telithromycin (Ketek) – voriconazole (Vfend) •
The most common side effects of COMPLERA include:
medicines that are eliminated by the kidney, including acyclovir (Zovirax), cidofovir (Vistide), ganciclovir (Cytovene IV, Vitrasert), valacyclovir (Valtrex), and valganciclovir (Valcyte)
These are not all the possible side effects of COMPLERA. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088).
What are the possible side effects of COMPLERA?
How should I take COMPLERA?
COMPLERA can cause serious side effects, including: • See “What is the most important information I should know about COMPLERA?”
Stay under the care of your healthcare provider during treatment with COMPLERA.
Take COMPLERA exactly as your healthcare provider tells you to take it.
Always take COMPLERA with a meal. Taking COMPLERA with a meal is important to help get the right amount of medicine in your body. A protein drink does not replace a meal.
Do not change your dose or stop taking COMPLERA without first talking with your healthcare provider. See your healthcare provider regularly while taking COMPLERA.
If you miss a dose of COMPLERA within 12 hours of the time you usually take it, take your dose of COMPLERA with a meal as soon as possible. Then, take your next dose of COMPLERA at the regularly scheduled time. If you miss a dose of COMPLERA by more than 12 hours of the time you usually take it, wait and then take the next dose of COMPLERA at the regularly scheduled time.
Do not take more than your prescribed dose to make up for a missed dose.
New or worse kidney problems, including kidney failure, can happen in some people who take COMPLERA. Your healthcare provider should do blood tests to check your kidneys before starting treatment with COMPLERA. If you have had kidney problems in the past or need to take another medicine that can cause kidney problems, your healthcare provider may need to do blood tests to check your kidneys during your treatment with COMPLERA. Depression or mood changes. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms: – feeling sad or hopeless – feeling anxious or restless – have thoughts of hurting yourself (suicide) or have tried to hurt yourself
Change in liver enzymes. People with a history of hepatitis B or C virus infection or who have certain liver enzyme changes may have an increased risk of developing new or worsening liver problems during treatment with COMPLERA. Liver problems can also happen during treatment with COMPLERA in people without a history of liver disease. Your healthcare provider may need to do tests to check your liver enzymes before and during treatment with COMPLERA.
Bone problems can happen in some people who take COMPLERA. Bone problems include bone pain, softening or thinning (which may lead to fractures). Your healthcare provider may need to do additional tests to check your bones.
Changes in body fat can happen in people taking HIV medicine. These changes may include increased amount of fat in the upper back and neck (“buffalo hump”), breast, and around the main part of your body (trunk). Loss of fat from the legs, arms and face may also happen. The cause and long term health effect of these conditions are not known.
Changes in your immune system (Immune Reconstitution Syndrome) can happen when you start taking HIV medicines. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections that have been hidden in your body for a long time. Tell your healthcare provider if you start having new symptoms after starting your HIV medicine.
BS page 2
This Brief Summary summarizes the most important information about COMPLERA. If you would like more information, talk with your healthcare provider. You can also ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for information about COMPLERA that is written for health professionals, or call 1-800-445-3235 or go to www.COMPLERA.com Issued: January 2013
COMPLERA, the COMPLERA Logo, EMTRIVA, GILEAD, the GILEAD Logo, GSI, HEPSERA, STRIBILD, TRUVADA, VIREAD, and VISTIDE are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies. ATRIPLA is a trademark of Bristol-Myers Squibb & Gilead Sciences, LLC. All other marks referenced herein are the property of their respective owners. ©2013 Gilead Sciences, Inc. All rights reserved. CPAC0022 03/13
Gay City News
April 24, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Gay life partners take an authentic look inside BY GARY M. KRAMER
urtle Hill, Brooklyn,” a film that addr esses issues of trust and fidelity between two partners, is an outstanding example of what independent queer cinema can be. Smart and savvy, it introduces twodozen-plus characters that viewers will come to know — and care about — as the film unfolds over the course of a single day. The creation of real-life partners Ricardo Valdez and Brian W. Seibert,
TURTLE HILL, BROOKLYN Directed by Ryan Gielen Quadflix and the Orchard Opens May 3 Quad Cinema 34 W. 13th St. quadcinema.com
the film was shot in eight days in the apartment they have shared for the past three years. It tells the story of Will’s (Seibert) 30th birthday party. His partner, Mateo (Valdez), invites their friends over to celebrate, but surprise guests,
Ricardo Valdez and Brian W. Seibert in “Turtle Bay, Brooklyn,” directed by Ryan Gielen and opening May 3 at the Quad.
including Will’s sister, arrive and tensions ensue. In a recent interview in their Brooklyn home, Seibert and Valdez talked about “Turtle Hill, Brooklyn.” The couple have been together for more than six years and in addition to starring in the film, they also wrote and produced it. Valdez explained they made it “out of necessity. We’ve been so frustrated with the acting business and the rejection level. We had seen enough gay films that were stereotypical. This was a good opportunity to do something that is pertinent to us. It’s a slice of life of a couple that has a conflict.” Seibert said that the film developed organically, but it is not autobiographical. “A lot of what happens in the film did happen, but more of the stuff is created for dramatic purposes,” he explained. “The issues Will and Mateo have are not issues that Ricardo and I have ever had.” Valdez added, “A lot of the characters are a combination of our own imagination, but also other friends. One character represents three friends of ours.” What makes “Turtle Hill, Brooklyn” so absorbing is that the characters all come alive in relatable ways. Even folks who get just a few lines of dialogue leave impressions as fully fleshed-out individuals. A woman who married a gay man so he can get a green card remains faithful to him, even though he lives in San Francisco. A gay Republican character defends his political beliefs, arguing he is more than just his sexuality. Other characters reveal they are able to stay in New York because they won political asylum in the US. “This is our reality,” said Seibert, who like his partner is in his 30s. “We wrote this film because we wanted to reflect our experience of being gay and living in New York, being political and activisty, and being these ages. We wanted to write about that. The film is representa-
tive of our gay life, which includes other gay people, but not only gay people.” The film’s story follows from their time together in Brooklyn. “I think hard to talk about life or write a movie without including any and/ or all of these topics,” Seibert said. “They affect everyone's lives. I am obsessed with them, which is why they pop up in most if not every conversation my friends and I have. They are completely interrelated to our lives.” Valdez concurred, explaining that their life — and the film that captures its essence, if not its particulars — represents a specific sort of New York story. “We are picky about our friends,” he said. “They have to be smart, cultured, and challenge us. We’re always talking about books. ‘I just read this book. You need to read it…’ We wanted to give a little bit of what someone in the ideology of our socioeconomic level in New York — Brooklyn — what they talk about.” The couple’s “pickiness,” Valdez argued, does not get in the way of a rich diversity in their lives. “One of the beautiful things about living in New York is the awareness of the racial and political cultures — it’s such a clash of cultures,” he said. “When I came here from Mexico, I came to understand those differences and eventually accept them and form my own opinion about them. We tried to put that in the movie.” The film also provides an excellent showcase for the two men’s friends, many of whom are actors and appear in “Turtle Hill, Brooklyn.” To be sure, shoehorning a couple of dozen people into the couple’s four-room apartment was tricky —it measures less than 1,000 square feet — but their home looks inviting on the big screen. The bedroom windows overlook the street, and lights were placed outside to shoot day for night and
TURTLE HILL, continued on p.23
| April 24, 2013
TURTLE HILL, from p.22
sun for rain. The hallway of their apartment now has a candy-shaped piñata Valdez is making for his goddaughter’s birthday (she plays Will’s niece in the film). He also made a piñata for “Turtle Hill, Brooklyn” that is the centerpiece of a fun sequence in the story. Valdez and Seibert’s patio and back garden, where much of the film’s action — including the piñata-bashing — occurs, still has Christmas lights strung on the walls, a gnome with a rainbow flag, and a street sign, all of which were incorporated into the set. Sitting amidst the set’s remnants, the couple — who fight in the film — insisted they didn’t do too much of that while making “Turtle Hill, Brooklyn.” “We worked really well together,” Seibert said. “We went to bed together every night. We got up together and made breakfast for the crew and the actors.” Valdez interjected, “We were producers, and it was our home. There was no time to [fight]. We had to be in this together because if we failed, the film would fail as well, and that would not serve our purpose.” Still, relaxing in their domestic surroundings, the men acknowledged that disputes do come up between them — whether about their cat Emilio (who appears as himself in the film) sitting on the kitchen table or decorating their apartment when they first moved in together. Their fights, to hear them tell it, last about as long at it took for Valdez to clean up a floor sticky from Seibert’s recent impromptu cocktail party. “I am not a maid!” Valdez reminded his partner, with equal parts jest and seriousness at the recollection of that spat.
BUYER & CELLAR, from p.16
start out to be an actor. He was, he said, a highly imaginative child who loved to play with his toys and create scenes for them, never thinking he was training for acting and directing. His intention had been to teach theater, but he also participated in speech and debate competitions. During one, he discovered he had a talent for making people laugh. Urie makes no claim to having been an exemplary student, but on a school trip to New York a teacher suggested he audition for Juilliard. He did and got in, and so began his career. His role on “Ugly Betty” shot him to stardom, but his well-crafted and focused theater work has established him as a star on stage as well. As a dir ector, Urie’s first film, “ T h a n k Yo u F o r J u d g i n g , ” a documentary about high school speech and debate, has played in a
But on screen, the issues are considerably weightier, with the couple’s future hinging on questions of commitment, trust, and communication. “That was the idea,” Valdez explained. “Why do you do what you do to hurt the other person — accidentally or purposely? It’s out of need of something that you’re missing in your relationship. Mateo is frustrated and unsatisfied. He has this relationship he values, but he’s so conflicted with himself he creates all these problems.” “Turtle Hill, Brooklyn” responds to those issues artfully, but one question remains: What’s the film’s title all about? Seibert couldn’t suppress a big grin when asked. “So the neighborhood is technically Green-Wood Heights, which is named after Green-Wood Cemetery, which is a block away,” he explained. “No one knows it as that. They call it either South Slope or Sunset Park. It’s sort of somewhere in the middle of both of those. People will argue about what this area is. Real Brooklynites will say that’s Sunset Park, not South Slope.” But Seibert and Valdez had a story to tell and they needed a title. “So one night, we were having a party in the garden, and we were all very happy,” Seibert continued. “And so we decided to come up with the name Turtle Hill. Six of us coined the term. But we’ve limited Turtle Hill to just our house and the house next door. If you don’t know Brooklyn, you wouldn’t know it’s a made-up place.” “We were hoping it would catch on,” Ricardo said optimistically. The couple would certainly settle for their film catching on with audiences instead. It should. It’s a very impressive debut of two bright talents.
variety of festivals and is available on Chill.com. His upcoming film “He’s Way More Famous Than You” is a comedy about the drive for fame. Fame and proximity to it — and our cultural fascination with that — are at the heart of Urie’s performances in “Buyer & Cellar.” He talked feelingly about the way his character Alex responds to the validation that comes from being around someone as famous and powerful as Streisand. In Urie’s sensitively pitched performance, though, Alex ultimately discovers something more universal about how we all need and seek validation. Being in the thrall of our drive for acceptance carries risks, and we never fully become ourselves until we release that need — even if it means we’ll never have a mall in our own basements. “Buyer & Cellar” is a lovely, poetic, and thoughtful play that happens to be both completely hilarious and irresistible. It’s a treat not to be missed.
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April 24, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
IN THE NOH
Total Recall Patricia Morison shares her incredible life; John Irving and Jane Clementi, both parents of gays n the ninth floor of a high rise in one of the cushiest areas of Los Angeles, there resides an honest to God show business legend. At 99, Patricia Morison is amazingly alive and vibrant, with pristine recall of her storied past. And what a past: understudying Helen Hayes in “Victoria Regina” at the age of 20, signed to a Paramount contract in 1939, and subsequently appearing in films opposite Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, William Powell, Myrna Loy, John Garfield, and Deanna Durbin. In 1948, she starred in the original production of Cole Porter’s greatest show, “Kiss Me, Kate”, and followed that up with “The King and I” opposite Yul Brynner. I thought of Morison when I heard that “Song of Norway,” one of Morison’s favorite shows, will be done at Carnegie Hall by the Collegiate Chorale on April 30 (collegiatechorale.org). “I first did it in Auckland, New Zealand, back when that country was not very well known,” she told me. “In order to get there, the plane had to make so many stops! It was a wonderful experience and I loved playing the prima donna who accompanies [Edvard] Grieg to Italy. A lot of fun. I had a wonderful song, ‘Now, now, not tomorrow but now.” I wonder who’s going to play the prima donna?” (The answer to Morison’s question is Judy Kaye.) Although one of the great beauties of her time — with long raven tresses, huge limpid eyes, and the kind of luscious natural mouth that makes thin-lipped unfortunates scream for collagen — Hollywood never knew quite what to do with her. She was inevitably cast as a slinky villainess, the epitome of Sondheim’s “sloe-eyed vamp.” Her big break could have been in the classic film noir “Kiss of Death” (1947), but it was unfortunately stymied. Years before, she had been replaced by Susan Hayward in “Beau Geste,” and then by Veronica Lake in “The Glass Key” “because I was too tall for Alan Ladd.” “Honey,” she said — using this preface with the perfect been-around-the-block, wised-up inflection that calls up whole histories of Tinseltown and Broadway — “I was supposed to be the wife of Victor Mature. He’s sent up the river and I have a baby and it was one of the few roles where I was not glamorous. Just an Italian girl with a baby, and we shot it on location in Little Italy. He gets a henchman to look after me and the guy rapes me, and afterwards I’m so ashamed that I shut the kitchen
BY DAVID NOH
Patricia, amazingly alive and vibrant at 99, was a great beauty in her days in Hollywood.
David Noh with Jane Clementi and Steven Guy, executive director of the Tyler Clementi Foundation, which aims to foster discussions about the respect and dignity due everyone in society.
windows and turn on the oven and commit suicide. I still have the telegram from [producer Darryl] Zanuck saying, ‘Pat, this could be an Academy Award.’ “But the censors would not allow a rape or a suicide to be shown, so the entire thing was cut out. I eventually got over it, but I enjoyed doing it because it was so entirely different for me as an actress. They shot me carrying the baby, going into the Italian grocery to buy cheese, all done at night. It was a lot of fun.” Morison said working for Zanuck was fine, although he would have liked to have gotten her into bed “because he did that with most of his actresses.” In the course of our long conversation this became a leitmotif, with the actress tossing off the spurned advances of Rudy Vallee, John Garfield, and more, with a chuckling “That’s par for the course. When you’ve been around as long as I have, you get used to that.” Zsa Zsa Garbor was always trying to set her up with men and, finally, in frustration, told a mutual friend, “You know vat’s wrong with Pat? She has no initiative!” Morison never married, but said, “I came close. Not that I haven’t had love in my life, nobody well known. But I chose my own romances and was very fortunate with my relationships with lovely, interesting people.” “I Hate Men,” of course, was Morison’s big song in “Kiss Me Kate”: “My agent, Wynn Roccamora, said, ‘I’m taking you out to Cole Porter’s house in Brentwood. It’s not for anything, I just want you to get used to singing for people. Cole had two pianos in his living room because he liked to play classical music with friends,
and I sang for him. He handed me the score of ‘Kiss Me Kate’ and said, ‘I want you to learn this and come back and sing it for me.’ “He was having a hard time raising money because all his friends thought a musical of Shakespeare would flop. I had just signed to do one of the first TV series, “The Cases of Eddie Drake,” but I went to New York and sang for the producers at the Century Theater. They didn’t want me because they had an opera star, Jarmila Novotna, in mind, but [writer] Bella Spewack loved me, so they called me back from the coast. “When we were rehearsing ‘I Hate Men,’ the director [John C. Wilson] said, ‘You gotta get Cole to take that number out because it’s gonna make you look so bad.’ I went to Cole and he said, ‘Honey, there’s an operetta by Victor Herbert in which a guy sings “I want what I want when I want it!” and bangs a tankard on the table.’ ‘You just use that tankard,’ and, of course, on opening night in Philadelphia, we didn’t know what we had. We thought if we got good personal reviews, we were lucky. When I went out to do that song, I was scared to death, and it stopped the show! See how lucky I’ve been?” Early on, during “The King and I,” Morison was having lunch with Richard Rodgers when a friend came up and asked, “So how did your audition go?” Rodgers said, “Miss Morison does not audition.” “Wasn’t that wonderful? Honey, I had heard all the rumors about Yul Brynner, that he had a telephone in his dressing room and would call Joan Crawford in Hollywood and sometimes after the last
show on Saturday night would fly out to Hollywood and come back just to do the Monday performance. Joan, Marlene, honey, a lot! “I was rehearsing when he came back from vacation, and the day before I went in the show, he shows up dressed in black leather and started doing all these acrobatic things. He said, ‘We’re going to start working on Monday, so I’d like to take you to dinner.’ I said, ‘No thank you.’ ‘Then would you stop by my dressing room on your way out?’ So I knocked on the door, he said, ‘Come in,’ and he was sitting in front of his mirror, completely nude. I didn’t take my eyes off his face and said, ‘You wish to speak to me, Mr. Brynner?’ He got embarrassed and said, ‘You know, I have to stay in my body.’ ‘I understand Mr. Brynner.’ “It started that way but we ended the best of friends because he was such a true professional. You’re doing seven performances a week of this strenuous show all over the country for years, and sometimes he’d be naughty and come off the stage with a sort of guilty look on his face and I’d go, ‘Uh huh.” “[Costume designer] Irene Sharaff was a stickler for authenticity. For hoopskirts, they usually used plastic hoops that don’t weigh anything and are always wrong onstage because they don’t stay still. She made mine out of bamboo with all kinds of weights on them so they would stay still and move with you. My skirt was too big for the dressing room doors so we had a makeshift bunch of flats with a platform. They’d lay the gown
IN THE NOH, continued on p.35
| April 24, 2013
Little Girls “Matilda” is pure Broadway magic on every level BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE
reading. Matilda’s mother is a vacuous ballroom dance competitor and her father is a corrupt car salesman trying to foist off clunkers on some Russian businessmen. Her brother is nondescript and dull, besotted with television. Matilda, though, is no wimp; she gets back at her family by playing nasty practical jokes. Like any real child, she’s not perfect. When Matilda is sent to Crunchem Hall (clearly a nod to Dickens’ Dotheboys Hall from “Nicholas Nickleby”), she ultimately becomes a hero, using her gifts and intelligence to prevail over the villainous headmistress Agatha Trunchbull, as well as everyone and everything else that holds her back. In adapting this story for the stage, book writer Dennis Kelly and composer and lyricist Tim Minchin have created nothing less than a
m a s t e r p i e c e o f m u s i c a l t h e a t e r. Combining the sensibilities of a British pantomime with delightfully garish music hall moments and oddly affecting characters, the piece is rich and sophisticated — a children’s tale for thinking adults. At the same time, there’s plenty to delight any child over age 8, making this a bona fide family show. Minchin’s score is varied and highly musical, marrying different styles to fit the dark situations of Matilda’s rebellion, particularly in “Naughty,” and in the ironically lyrical “When I Grow Up,” which opens the second act. Minchin has written lyrics sensitive to how kids express themselves — which is a rare talent. The company is uniformly excellent. Gabriel Ebert as the nefarious Mr. Wormwood is hilarious throughout, and he has one of the best songs
in the show, “Telly,” an indictment of the brain-dead consumption of entertainment. As his wife, Leslie Margherita is somewhere between Carmen Miranda and Lucy the Slut from “Avenue Q.” Bertie Carvel is brilliant as Agatha T runchbull, Crunchem Hall’s evil and vindictive headmistress who is a former hammer throw champion. Each performance is informed by the fact that we’re looking at them through Matilda’s eyes, and their grotesque Grand Guignol style is exactly at the pitch that an overly imaginative child would take them in. All three are brilliant. Four young actresses rotate as Matilda. I saw Oona Laurence, and it would be hard to imagine anyone more perfect in the role. Whether nasty or heroic, it’s impressive to see a child hold a Broadway audience in the palm of her diminutive hand. Lauren Ward is a sublime Miss Honey, and if she sometimes seems just too, too sweet, well, she serves as the counterpoint — or antidote — to the venal adults in Matilda’s mind. Peter Darling’s choreography is inspired, at times hip hop-infused and consistently bold and original. Rob Howell’s Scrabble-tile sets and insanely imaginative costumes are great in every way. Matthew Warchus has directed this with a keen sense of the piece’s pantomime and music hall elements, balancing the abstract and magical elements of the tale with the story of a little girl’s wounded heart seeking a safe haven. The original production of “Annie” inspired a generation of girls to pursue their theatrical dreams. “Matilda” is very likely to have the same affect on the current crop of little girls. At the very least it will be wowing audiences on Broadway for a long time to come.
Bubbling below the sur face is a pulpy subplot about a cover -up involving a child mysteriously killed on Christmas Eve by a hit-and-run driver. Charlie’s pal Buddy (Joey Slotnick) took the rap for that one, even doing jail time. If the first two acts feel a little too expository and flat, the final act pulsates with drama, erupting in a tragic climax. For his part, Cannavale, onstage nearly every minute of the two-andone-half-hour play, is spot-on as the charming megastar having a crisis of conscience, deftly alternating between sensitive and cynical, fed up with being a cog in the soulless studio system. He delivers Odets’ colorful, albeit dated,
dialogue with aplomb. “I’m in the movie business, darling,” Charlie says tartly. “I can’t afford these acute attacks of integrity.” Cannavale teases out the handsome playboy’s curiously soft side. Charlie says he’s afraid of coming off as “too fruity,” “arty,” and “girlish,” though he’s in the habit of calling his agent (Chip Zien) “darling.” As Marion, Marin Ireland coolly underplays the role of the weary wife trying to salvage her marriage, reserving any firepower for the explosive final act. Under the efficient direction of Doug Hughes (“Doubt”), the supporting cast is generally excellent. Brenda Wehle, as the ruthless columnist in the mold of
Hedda Hopper, and Rachel Brosnahan, as the sexpot who threatens to blow the lid off of Charlie’s scam, are especially compelling. Richard Kind, as the hardnosed studio boss, is also terrific. As it turns out, “The Big Knife” is more than a scathing indictment of Hollywood. Much like “Golden Boy,” the drama is a meditation on idealism and the sorry consequences of “living against your own nature.” Think of it as an exquisite allegory about the dark underbelly of the American Dream. While not up to the level of “Golden Boy,” this fascinating, enduring piece of theater reminds us why Odets belongs in the pantheon of great American playwrights.
MATILDA: THE MUSICAL Shubert Theatre 225 W. 44th St. Tue., Thu. at 7 p.m. Wed., Fri., Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. $32-$147; telecharge.com Or 800-432-7250
Of all of these, “Matilda” is perhaps Dahl’s most searing critique of selfinvolved adults whose values are askew and inimical to the growth and education of children. Written at the end of Dahl’s career, it offers all his trademark humor and whimsy but his indictment of mainstream culture is more pointed and angry than in his earlier works. Matilda is a freak in the Wormwood home. Her parents barely acknowledge her, and when they do it’s to belittle her native intelligence and curiosity and her devotion to — gasp! —
THE BIG KNIFE, from p.16
Not that it’s a happy life. The mansion’s owners, actor Charlie Castle and his lovely, pill-popping wife, Marion, are currently separated and miserable. The screen idol considers renewing his movie studio contract for another 14 years, but Marion thinks he should ditch the grind and return to a more modest and fulfilling existence working in the New York theater. Odets, it should be noted, bounced between these two worlds throughout his life. Charlie and Marion refer longingly to Waverly Place; Odets lived on nearby University Place when his theater career was taking off.
significant measure of Roald Dahl’s genius was his ability to understand the darkness inherent in childhood from a child’s perspective. His 15 novels are beloved by young readers for what they per ceive as his honesty — expressed in abstract comedy and absurd situations — about what they experience in the world. His characters — Charlie Bucket from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” James Henry Trotter from “James and the Giant Peach,” and Matilda Wormwood from “Matilda” — are his best-known characters from these quintessentially Jungian fables. Each must overcome disconnected, selfish, and chaotic adults to survive and grow.
Bertie Carvel and Lauren Ward represent the worst and best of life, respectively, for the title character in Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin’s musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s “Matilda.”
April 24, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Haunted by Old Demons Ballet Hispanico’s brilliant dancers hobbled by their material BY GUS SOLOMONS JR
n the first of three different programs in its twoweek season at the Joyce Theater, Ballet Hispanico danced three works by Spanish dance makers — a 1983 work by Nacho Duato, a new duet by Cayetano Soto, and a 2012 theatrical concoction by Meritxell Barberá and Inma Garcia.
Joyce Theater 175 Eighth Ave. at 19th St. Apr. 25-27 at 8 p.m. Apr. 24 at 7:30 p.m. Apr. 27-28 at 2 p.m. $10-$69; joyce.org Or 212-242-0800
BH, founded in 1970 by Tina Ramirez and now led by Eduardo Vilaro, has historically been a company of excellent dancers hamstrung by uneven repertory. Its mission is to promote Hispanic choreographers and dancers — a laudable goal. And the company serves the Hispanic community with school shows and its dance school. But what’s sadder than a professional company of skilled performers without good choreography to showcase their gifts? Opening night couldn’t transcend the company’s traditional choreographic Achilles heel. The program opened with Duato’s “Jardi Tancat” for three couples wearing peasant costumes in warm, earth tones by the choreographer. A dozen fence posts of varying heights ring the stage,
Lauren Alzamora and Rashann Callender in Cayetano Soto’s “Sortijas,” set to a song by singer/ songwriter Lhasa de Sela.
surrounding the close-knit group as they act out prayers for rain, evoking toil, frustration, and endurance in a compositionally predictable framework. There are interesting physical connections, especially in duets, but the support structure of the dance consists mostly of canons, like a dance version of “Row, row, row your boat.” The 30-yearold piece creaks with age. The closing work, “A Vueltas Con Los Ochenta” (“Back to the Eighties”), looks like choreography by committee. In this case, it’s a two-person committee, Barberá and Garcia, and sadly, neither of them appears to have been in charge of actually creating movement. The piece is “meant to evoke the sights and sounds of Madrid’s 1980s cultural revolution, known as ‘La Movida.’” It’s meant to be theatrical rather than kinetic, but it remains static, a kind of nostalgic collage stalled by its own self-
consciousness. Plus, it’s an odd choice to end the show. When we want all-out dancing, these scenes build neither dynamic nor kinetic tension. But Diana Ruettiger’s costumes rock! The five men and five women wear sleek, gold-trimmed black outfits. Leather pants, vests, and miniskirts, metallic belts, patterned hose that look like spider webs or tattoos, and sheer mesh shirts all have an intriguing, retro, urban edginess. In the opening passage of calculated chaos, everybody’s wearing headphones and rocking out to their own individual beats. For the remainder of the ballet, angular tableaus alternate with jazzy, generic classroom routines, driven by the pulsing house beat of music by David Barberá — perhaps a relative of the choreographer — and Josh Preston’s animated, disco-influenced lighting. Lights move up and down on battens,
shine in our eyes, sometimes saturate the dancers with color, and even flash strobe, all drenched in stage smoke. It looks like a Goth club scene from a movie. The program’s most impressive dance is a brief pas de deux by Soto, “Sortijas” (“Rings”), set to a song by Americanborn singer/ songwriter Lhasa de Sela. Munich-based Spaniard Soto — who also conceived the too-dim lighting, punctuated by blackouts cued by the lyrics — shows his Euro-contemporary ballet sensibility but it’s, happily, less vehement than most other practitioners of the style. And again, the costumes — in this case, by Munich-based designer Talbot Runhof — rule. Lauren Alzamora, wearing a flashy, silver spangled tunic and black briefs and socks, and Rashann Callender, bare-chested and in tight tuxedo pants and socks, are a gorgeous pair who bring enormous physical commitment and refinement to Soto’s movement. As the legendary dance educator and mentor Bessie Schoenberg used to say, “A blackout is a cop-out,” and Soto’s seemingly arbitrary blackouts merely interrupt the flow he’s otherwise establishing. It’s a device borrowed from William Forsythe, whose influence on contemporary ballet is ubiquitous. But Forsythe knows how to use it effectively; not everyone does. No matter how enthusiastically this opening night program was received by the BH fans who filled the audience, the evening was choreographically disappointing. Such terrific dancers deserve more substantial repertory to showcase their technical and expressive skills. Let’s hope there’s sturdier stuff on the season’s other programs.
A Variety of Verdi
Impending bicentennial prompts ““Un Giorno di Regno,” “I Lombardi,” “Rigoletto” from Sarasota to Manhattan BY ELI JACOBSON
iuseppe Verdi’s bicentennial is coming up in October 2013 but opera houses in New York and worldwide have been celebrating early. Sarasota Opera’s Winter Festival is close to completing a traversal of his entire canon. Ve r d i ’ s s e c o n d o p e r a a n d f i r s t comedy, “Un Giorno di Regno” or “A King for a Day” (1840), was composed during a tragic period of the composer’s life after he lost his wife and two
children. It was booed at the La Scala opening night and the remainder of the run was canceled. Verdi didn’t attempt another opera buffa until 53 years later with his last opera “Falstaff.” “King for a Day,” however, has a vivacious score with a steady flow of pleasing melody and rhythmic verve in the comic Rossini-Donizetti style. It is clearly the work of a major new talent. Felice Romani’s recycled libretto sets up familiar mistaken identity situations but fails to develop them cleverly; the second acts runs out of ideas and then abruptly resolves the
plot in an unconvincing manner. The Sarasota Opera puts on solid traditional productions with good musical values and promising young voices. This was the premiere of the new critical edition of the score edited by Dr. Francesco Izzo. Artistic director Victor DeRenzi led the score with precise control, rhythmic variety, and brio. Martha Collins’ production used lightweight painted scenery and kept the action moving briskly. As the fake King Stanislaw (really Count Belfiore), baritone Corey Crider was a touch heavy-footed,
singing with too much vocal weight and too little textual inflection. Mezzo Jennifer Feinstein turned the Marchesa del Poggio into a delightful screwball heroine, alternating guile with bewilderment and singing with a nice mix of fruity warmth and bright flexibility. Hak Soo Kim as the tenor juvenile had a bright upper register, while soprano Danielle Walker as the mezzo ingénue Giulietta looked winsome and sounded lush. Milanese buffo
OPERA, continued on p.28
| April 24, 2013
Tribeca’s Got Your Type Films that defy categorization, categorized for your convenience!
ike a thumbprint or a snowflake or a beautifully crafted excuse to miss work on a warm spring day, each piece of work in this year’s Tribeca Film Festival is a unique creation. That said, even the most unconventional effort can, for marketing and viewer choice purposes, be lumped into a handful of descriptive categories. There’s a name for that, and it’s not “laziness” or “convenience.” It’s… genre.
The robust list of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender -themed films starts off with a bang — or, more accurately, a pair of B’s: “Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton” (Apr. 24, 11:30 p.m.; Apr. 27, noon) is a documentary — or, as its creators describe it, a “celebratory portrait” — of the post-World War II, San Franciscobased poet and filmmaker. Home movies, historic photographs and interviews with contemporary admirers — as well as quotations from Broughton’s writings and clips from his movies — are used to put all of his artistic endeavors into context, with special concentration on his creative writing and filmmaking. Linda Bloodworth-Thomason (who long ago secured her gay cult cred by creating “Designing Women”) brings the world premiere of her “Bridegroom” (Apr. 25, 6 p.m.; Apr. 26, 10:30 p.m.; Apr. 28, noon) to the festival. The documentary looks at the ongoing debate over the legal rights of same-sex couples by zeroing in on one of them — Shane and Tom, who, six years into their relationship, experience a tragic accident that leaves one of them fighting “to be recognized as his soulmate’s legitimate counterpart.” Fifteen years after “Heathers” and nine years after “Mean Girls,” clique culture remains every bit as cutthroat as it was when Winona Ryder and Lindsay Lohan roamed the high school hallways — and they turned out just fine, didn’t they? “G.B.F.” (Apr. 26, 10 p.m.; Apr. 28, 4 p.m.) has three popular girls fighting for supremacy by becoming the first Gay Best Friend of Tanner, their school’s only out gay student.
Close friendship has darker, more erotic consequences in “Floating Skyscrapers” (Apr. 26, 8:30 p.m.; Apr. 27, 2:30 p.m.). Polish writer and director Tomasz Wasilewski’s second feature takes off when Kuba, at an art opening with his girlfriend of two years, bumps into Mikal. Sparks fly, and Kuba soon finds himself losing interest in girls… and sports! Soon, he’s spending less time in the swimming pool, and more time “drowning in the destruction of his desires.” TRIBECAFILM.COM
BY SCOTT STIFFLER
NEW YORK STORIES
Well aware that we’re living in the world’s biggest, best, open-air backlot, the festival has always had a soft spot for films set amongst the streets, bridges, and iconic landmarks of the five boroughs. In “Almost Christmas” (Apr. 28, 9 p.m.), two iconic Pauls play French Canadian ne’er-do-wells determined to make a quick fortune selling Christmas trees in Gotham. Sally Hawkins co-stars as the wife of misanthropic ex-con Dennis (Paul Giamatti). She’s being romanced by the charming Rene (Paul Rudd). Phil Morrison (“Junebug”), equally adept at quirky charm and genuine emotion — often in the same scene — directs. Based on a true story, “Stand Clear of the Closing Doors” (Apr. 25, 1 p.m.; Apr. 27, 7 & 8:30 p.m.) is set in Far Rockaway, in the days leading up to Hurricane Sandy. Its parallel story follows two people making connections and finding community — with the mother of autistic teen Ricky combs the streets, while her son rides the subway. Several short films also make good use of the city. Five minutes is all it takes to tell the story of “Two Islands” (Apr. 26, 6:30 p.m.; Apr. 28, noon) — a pair of enormous waste dumps that put the city’s rejected surplus into perspective. In “Zzzzzz” (Apr. 25, 5:30 p.m.; Apr. 28, 7:30 p.m.), sleepwalkers Henry and Lucy take the audience along on a tour of nocturnal sights and sounds. Saved from the trash heap and taken to a repair shop in the Flatiron Building, a seemingly obsolescent Royal American typewriter is used to write letters, answered by, among others, Bill Clinton.
Tomasz Wasilewski’s “Floating Skyscrapers” follows a man “drowning in the destruction of his desires.”
Nearly two decades after he cut his teeth on “Interview with the Vampire,” Neil Jordan’s “Byzantium” (Apr. 25, 9:30 p.m.; Apr. 26, 4 p.m.; Apr. 27, 8:30 p.m.) tells another story of two centuries-old, nomadic bloodsuckers — this time, in the form of “sisters” Eleanor and Clara, who take up residence in a small seaside town, at the titular hotel. “V/H/S/2” (Apr. 24, 10 p.m.; Apr. 26, 9 p.m.) — a sequel to the 2012 outing — puts two investigators in an abandoned house, as they attempt to solve the disappearance of a student. Their decision to view a series of VHS cassette tapes containing paranormal, apocalyptic, and alien invader scenarios proves very unwise — and potentially fatal. This film pays its massive debt to the “found footage” technique by having “The Blair Witch Project” creators Gregg Hale and Eduardo Sanchez contribute a segment that puts their own spin on gut-hungry zombie flicks. The work of six other directors is represented, in the form of tapes viewed by the investigators. Found footage isn’t the only horror
trope on the brains of Tribeca Film Festival programmers. Those who hunger for Frankenstein-meets-military weapon fare have a midnight film choice in UK writer/ director Caradog James’ “The Machine” (Apr. 27, 11:59 p.m.). During a second Cold War, Britain’s Ministry of Defense sees potential in the work of programmer Vincent McCarthy — whose human cyborg prototype avoids the draft by decimating his lab and generally going bonkers. Things go downhill from there, when McCarthy continues his obsessive work — underground and off the books.
If past years are any indication — and they almost always are — foreign language films will account for the festival’s strongest entries in virtually every category — acting, cinematography, art direction, and of course subtitles. The 2013 roster includes entries from Australia (“Red Obsession”), Belgium (“Broken Circle Breakdown”), Brazil (“Reaching for the Moon”), Canada (“Whitewash ), Denmark (“Northwest”), India ( “Powerless”), Iran (“Taboor”), Israel (“Big Bad Wolves”), Italy (“Ali Blue Eyes”), Japan (“Odayaka”), New Zealand (“Fresh Meat”), Saudi Arabia/ Germany (“Wajdja”), and Turkey (“Jin”). A trusted friend’s recent, unexpectedly persuasive case as to why the French hold Jerry Lewis films in such high regard inspired my curiosity about two efforts from that heretofore impenetrable country. In “Cycling with Molière” (Apr. 25, noon; Apr. 28, 4 p.m.), a once-great actor finds himself twisting in the wind, cycling through France’s Île de Ré, when an old friend temps him to return to the stage, in Molière’s “The Misanthrope.” A chef toiling in obscurity is chosen to whip up classic French dishes for her nation’s president, in “Haute Cuisine” (Apr. 25, 6 p.m.; Apr. 27, 1 p.m.). It’s based on the real-life story of the personal chef to former French President François Mitterrand.
April 24, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Farm Futures Ramin Bahrani casts Hollywood and stumbles BY STEVE ERICKSON
or his first three films, director Ramin Bahrani painted on a small canvas. He worked exclusively with non-professional actors and tended to use handheld digital video. It’s now been five years since his last film, “Goodbye Solo,” and it’s not surprising he would want to move up to bigger budgets.
In order to secure those budgets, for “At Any Price,” he’s had to work with Hollywood stars — Zac Efron and Dennis Quaid — for the first time. An IranianAmerican who grew up in North Carolina, Bahrani’s earlier work suggested he
OPERA, from p.26
specialist Stefano de Peppo provided native Italian and a rich bass-baritone as the King’s dyspeptic host Baron di Kelbar. His witty facial expressions were worthy of a Molière comedy. Bass Kevin Short blustered amusingly as La Rocca. In March 2014, Sarasota will present Verdi’s “Jérusalem,” a French-language reworking of “I Lombardi alla prima crociata.”
Eve Queler returned to the podium at Opera Orchestra of New York
on April 8 for a concert performance of Verdi’s fourth opera, “I Lombardi” (1843). She has conducted this opera twice before, and here relished Verdi’s fanfares and marches (brasses were positioned up in boxes) as well as the stirring choruses. Headlined by two rising young stars and Academy of Vocal Arts alumni, soprano Angela Meade and tenor Michael Fabiano, this turned out to be a vocal feast loudly acclaimed by an enthusiastic connoisseur audience. Everyone was in great voice, holding on to high notes for days while the octogenarian maestra marshaled her forces with brio. Meade is the object of some
Zac Efron, Dennis Quaid, and Kim Dickens in Ramin Bahrani’s “At Any Price.”
saw Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami as a role model; “Goodbye Solo” was a partial remake of Kiarostami’s “Taste of Cherry.” When Kiarostami worked with Juliette Binoche in “Certified Copy,” the
controversy as to whether she is truly the successor to Sutherland and Caballé (she lacks the dramatic conviction and visual charisma of a Callas). Becomingly gowned, her vocal pedigree here was beyond doubt. She floated lush arcs of tone, deftly launched cadenzas and trills, and in the broader melodies opened up her tone with billowing spinto warmth. Meade is more of a cavatina than cabaletta singer, lacking bite in the more dramatic, fast tempo passages. Giselda’s politically charged Act II, scene 3 outburst “Non giusta causa... Dio non vuole,” where she lambasts the crusaders for being more interested in Arab gold than Christian values or patriotic ideals, was cut in half. A shame, since this is one Verdi heroine I’d like to see take on George W. Bush and Dick Cheney — though admittedly Lady Macbeth is perhaps a better candidate. Fabiano, not yet 30, revealed a muscular lyric tenor with a dark sinewy middle register and an emotionally outspoken delivery that point toward lirico-spinto roles like Turiddu and Puccini’s Des Grieux. His upper register needs less tension and a little more liquid float. But Fabiano’s personal charisma, gorgeous Italian diction, and generous, giving performance style excited the audience.
result was a triumph for both, but Bahrani’s direction of Quaid, if not Efron, is particularly clumsy. In the opening scene of “At Any Price,” Henry Whipple (Quaid) approaches a
ROD MILLINGTON/ SARASOTA OPERA
Directed by Ramin Bahrani Sony Pictures Classics Opens Apr. 24 Angelika Film Center 18 W. Houston at Mercer St. angelikafilmcenter.com Lincoln Center Plaza 1886 Broadway at 63rd St. lincolnplazacinema.com
SONY PICTURES CLASSICS
AT ANY PRICE
Stefano de Peppo King’s facial expressions in “A King for a Day” were worthy of a Molière comedy.
Kevin Short’s blustering loud and louder style worked better as the buffoonish La Rocca in Sarasota than it did as the villain Pagano. Tenor Noah Baetge capped off Arvino’s Act III duet with the bass with a ringing high C worthy of a Manrico.
Vittorio Grigolo a l s o p ro v i d e d t e n o r i a l excitement as the Duke in the
second cast of the Met’s new Las Vegas “Rigoletto.” Grigolo’s bobby-soxer pretty boy looks and pop crooner inflected style were cast to type as the Sinatra-type idol of Michael Mayer’s
man at a funeral and offers to buy his land. The man is appropriately outraged, but nevertheless sells it to Henry. However, Henry’s once-booming Iowa agricultural business is hitting hard times. Farmers are switching to genetically modified (GMO) seeds, and Henry has illegally been reusing seeds culled from GMO plants and is in danger of being discovered by his supplier. Meanwhile, his son Dean (Efron) dreams of becoming a NASCAR driver rather than inheriting the family farm. Dean’s brother, never seen in the film, has escaped Iowa altogether. He sends postcards from Argentina, where he climbs mountains. As played by Quaid, Henry is the ultimate salesman. He pours on the charm, even in situations where it’s not appropriate — or believable. Henry seems on the verge of a caffeine overdose — his happiness has a sharp edge to it. The second half of “At Any Price” calls for a more complex emotional range, which Quaid finally delivers, but even at his best, his work seems two-dimensional. Henry’s supposed to be an everyman, but Quaid plays him like a larger-thanAT ANY PRICE, continued on p.35
concept production. Grigolo’s vocal style is brash and somewhat mannered — trumpeted high notes alternate with crooned soft singing, leaving little in between. But the tone is full of juice and energy, and he is a committed, charismatic stage animal who connects with his stage partners and the audience. George Gagnidze’s more extroverted personality and resemblance to Rodney Dangerfield made a more convincing insult comic Rigoletto than did Zeljko Lucic. Lisette Or opesa’s delicate bir dlike timbr e embodied girlish innocence as Gilda and she is visually convincing as a teenager. The climactic high staccati of “Caro Nome” were attacked gingerly, and more outspoken passages in the later acts taxed her slender tone. But this is already a lovely portrayal with great promise for the future. Nancy Fabiola Herrera’s Maddalena had a clearer tone than her predecessor, while bass newcomer Enrico Giuseppe Iori was a solidly menacing Sparafucile. Marco Armiliato was the solid but unenlightening conductor. Mayer’s highly theatrical production isn’t profound or deeply insightful but creates an atmosphere of omnipresent danger and corruption that works in the story’s favor.
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April 24, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
A Scurrilous Feint by the Boy Scouts
PUBLISHER JENNIFER GOODSTEIN
Jennifer@communitymediallc.com ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER & CO-FOUNDER TROY MASTERS
email@example.com EDITOR IN-CHIEF & CO-FOUNDER PAUL SCHINDLER
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Perhaps after years of their heels dug in deeply amidst mounting PR problems, the Boy Scouts of America thought they could garner some favorable press with the announcement last week that gay members would no longer be barred from their ranks. In late May, the 1,400 members of Scouting’s National Council will vote on a motion put forward by the group’s leadership stating, “No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.” The outcry from the right wing about the proposed change may have heartened national Scouting leaders eager to push a narrative that the BSA is moving forward in a positive direction. Some frenzied critics, noting that a sizeable chunk of Scouting groups are sponsored by Catholic and Mormon congregations, warned of a catastrophe awaiting the organization. But whether or not a troop here or there loses its sponsor, it’s doubtful that a large number of Americans are troubled by the idea that gay kids will no longer be ostracized by the Scouts. There are no doubt many, many parents who continue to harbor anxiety, even
dismay about the prospect of their son being gay — and some portion of that crowd might even be squeamish about a son with gay friends — but the constituency for stigmatizing any youth is decidedly limited. However significant it is that gay youth will no longer be burdened by the social disapproval the Scouts to date have foisted on them, the larger issue regarding gays and the BSA remains unresolved. And the message there may be more damaging to the psyches of gay youth than the policy being swept away. Openly gay men will continue to be barred from leadership positions in the Scouts. The implication couldn’t be clearer or uglier. The BSA is telling the parents of Scouts, “Your sons will be alright if there are gay fellow Scouts among them. But don’t worry, we’ll protect them from gay adults.” And that is exactly what they are saying as well to every gay boy who wants to join the Scouts. BSA officials, in fact, are making little effort to hide that motivation. Deron Smith, the group’s spokesman, said the question of the role of gays in the Scouts is “among the most complex and challenging issues facing the BSA and society today.” Other Scouting officials around the country,
however, pointed to surveys the BSA has conducted showing widespread unease about opening up the leadership ranks to gay men, suggesting the decision to continue the current policy on that question was an easy one. The New York Times reported that Smith is being more circumspect, declining to elaborate on why the BSA was distinguishing between gay youth members and adult leaders who are gay. But we don’t need his explanation, we can simply look at the proposed May motion itself. In explaining the “softened” position on gay youth joining the Scouts, the motion reads: “youth are still developing, learning about themselves and who they are, developing their sense of right and wrong, and understanding their duty to God to live a moral life.” Teenagers are, unquestionably, only beginning to “learn… who they are,” but making the point that they “are still developing” as an antecedent to declaring that gay youth can now join the Scouts is troubling. What’s more disturbing is the lead-up to the motion’s restatement that the BSA bars adult leaders “who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.” A critical role
played by Scout leaders, the motion explains, is in “teaching young people to make better choices over their lifetimes.” The motion also boasts that in recruiting leadership, “the programs protecting Scouts today, which include effective screening, education and training, and clear policies to protect youth and provide for their privacy, are among the best in the youth-serving community.” So, as with so many others who are in the wrong, the Scouts are telling on themselves — it’s all there in the motion that supposedly reflects progress in BSA thinking on gays. The “better choice” for youth is heterosexuality. Youth must be protected from those who would invade their “privacy,” and the potential violators of that sacred trust are men “who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.” This is standard issue Anita Bryant “Save Our Children” homophobia, circa 1977. The dark fear the BSA is cravenly catering to no doubt imagines a 30-, 40-, or 50-something Scout leader and a 13-year-old youth. The utter banality of the underlying blood libel, however, becomes crystal clear when considering the example of Lucien and Pascal Tessier of Kensington, Maryland, brothers who are both Scouts and are both gay. Before the BSA made its announcement last week, Lucien, a 20-year-old Eagle Scout, was fighting to change Scouting’s policy after being told that Pascal, his 16-year-old brother, would not be allowed to become an Eagle Scout if he said publicly that he, too, is gay. “I’m thrilled that under the proposed resolution, after years of service and dedication to the Boy Scouts, my brother would be eligible to earn his Eagle award,” said Lucien, whose initial effort to reform Scouting involved a petition drive on Change.org. “But what I cannot understand is why the Boy Scouts of America believes that I’m not fit to lead my brother’s troop, even though I received the Boy Scouts’ highest honor just a few years ago. If a Scout has what it takes to earn his Eagle award, surely he has what it takes to serve as an adult leader.”
| April 24, 2013
Don’t Put LGBTQ Immigrants Back in the Closet BY DANIEL DROMM
AND ANA MARÍA ARCHILA
n recent weeks, two issues have dominated the news: samesex marriage and immigration reform. Too often, the media and politicians present these topics as separate human rights struggles. In truth, they are intimately linked to one another, and the fight for comprehensive immigration reform offers a critical opportunity for advancing LGBTQ equality by including same-sex couples. Take the story of Pablo and Santiago, a couple who participated in a recent LGBTQ Immigration Forum organized by Make the Road New York and Immigration Equality. Santiago, a US citizen, fell deeply in love with Pablo while visiting Venezuela in the 1980s. Santiago asked Pablo to come with him to New York City, and 26 years later they are still together. Two years ago, Pablo and Santiago got married, but Pablo is still undocumented, because our current immigration laws do not recognize his same-sex marriage. Simply because Santiago is a man, he cannot sponsor his loving husband to become a US citizen. This story is tragic, but it is also fixable if Congress includes same-sex couples in comprehensive immigration reform. This simple legislative fix could improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ people. According to a recent study pub-
Make the Road New York’s Ana María Archila and Queens City Councilman Daniel Dromm.
lished by the Center for American Progress and the Williams Institute, 267, 000 of the 11 million undocumented people living in this country identify as LGBTQ. And more than 32,000 immigrants share their lives with US citizens who cannot sponsor them because their marriage or union is not recognized by the federal government. This is also an increasingly important issue for the Latino community and its growing electorate. Among undocumented LGBTQ immigrants, 71 percent are Latino. Latinos turned out to vote in huge numbers in 2012 because they want to see comprehensive immigration reform happen this year. While many people assume that Latinos oppose
same-sex marriage, a recent poll of Latino voters conducted by Immigration Equality shows that 60 percent of them support inclusion of same-sex families in comprehensive immigration reform. In short, this is an issue that resonates with Latinos and immigrants, and members of Congress should heed the voices of LGBTQ immigrants and their allies as they seek to reform our broken immigration system. In order to have a fully LGBTQ inclusive and comprehensive immigration reform, we need legislation that: includes a path to full citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country; preserves and prioritizes fam-
The Boston Attacks: Learning to Regret BY KELLY JEAN COGSWELL
e looked just like a young Bob Dylan, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev — handsome as sin and a little lost, with the same dark angelic ringlets, same soulful eyes. All the networks kept showing the photo Friday, right next to one of a boat parked in a suburban yard. Then, they'd show the scene around it, at night now, the darkness broken up with flashing lights, a gazillion trucks, and men with body armor and machine guns. And beyond them, an angry
nation also prepared, maybe eager, to kill. They'd tracked him down because the owner of the house and boat had noticed blood somewhere, on the side of the shed or on the boat which had a ripped tarp. So we also knew he was wounded. And while the thing played out, and the whole sleepless night afterward, I kept wondering what that 19-year-old baby was thinking as he lay inside, bleeding and cornered, his brother already dead. Probably just, "What the fuck. What the fuck." Whatever he'd imagined, toting his backpack to the race, it couldn't have been that.
"What the fuck. What the fuck." Maybe none of it had even seemed real until then. Just a game he was playing with his older brother. There are so many reality shows after all, which are all halfway rigged. And how many of us — let's be honest — when we're older, look back at what we've done in our teens and 20s and wonder ourselves, “What the fuck was I thinking? How did I dare?” Sometimes what we did was monstrous. Sometimes insanely, dangerously good. And in either case, we're lucky we survived because it wasn't our final trajectory. To understand and try to imag-
ily unity for all, including same-sex couples; protects low-wage workers; ensures humane enforcement of immigration laws, including due process rights and reforms to immigration detention; lifts the one-year filing deadline for asylum; and no longer makes low-level offenses, such as prostitution-related charges, an obstacle to a path to citizenship. Up until now, too many of our congressional leaders — even those who have publicly supported same-sex marriage — have been silent about including same-sex couples when discussing immigration reform. To these elected officials, immigration and marriage equality are separate issues. But, for the myriad LGBTQ immigrants who cannot normalize their immigration status because of their sexual orientation, the failure to see how our broken immigration system disparately affects LGBTQ people has grave consequences. For LGBTQ immigrants, a path to citizenship and recognition of their families would mean no longer having to live in the shadows — and instead being able to live alongside their loved ones. We need congressional leadership to include LGBTQ immigrants in any comprehensive immigration reform bill. Immigration reform is an LGBTQ issue, a racial justice issue, and an economic rights issue. The demand from LGBTQ immigrants and their allies to Congress is simple: do not push our communities back in the closet. Instead, pass a fully inclusive comprehensive immigration reform bill. City Councilman Daniel Dromm represents New York City’s 25th District in Queens. Ana María Archila is the co-executive director of Make the Road New York, a grassroots immigrants’ and LGBTQ rights organization.
ine justice, we have to remember that almost all of us are capable of evil, without it being particularly pure. We have a strong desire to wound and maim. We exonerate ourselves. When I read the David Remnick piece in the New Yorker identifying "the toxic combination of high-minded zealotry and the curdled disappointments of young men," I thought you could substitute plenty of other things for "young men." All those straights in France furiously queer-bashing because they're losing their exclusive right to marriage. Those men in the US and India justifying rape as masculine power erodes. For a while in Cuba, women who had been cur dling for ages got their kicks denouncing their nieces and nephews and kids to the cops who were rooting out queers. It's how Reinaldo Arenas ended
COGSWELL, continued on p.34
April 24, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
CABARET Drag Queens Discolor the Great White Way
Supreme Court DOMA plaintiff Edie Windsor, rocker Melissa Etheridge, and Broadway producer Daryl Roth will present the awards at the 2013 Family Equality Council’s Night at the Pier. The honorees are gay dad and husband Dan Bucatinsky, an actor, writer, and producer who currently stars in ABC’s “Scandal” and Showtime’s “Web Therapy,” Windsor’s attorney Roberta Kaplan, and Jennifer Chrisler, who recently left her post as the Family Equality Council’s founding executive director. The evening’s performers include the cast of Cyndi Lauper and Harvey Fierstein’s Broadway hit “Kinky Boots.” Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers, 11th Ave. at 21st St. Apr. 29, 6-10 p.m. Tickets are $350 at familyequality.org.
In “Distorted Broadway,” Dallas DuBois and her merry band of drag stars — whose “Distorted Diznee” has developed a cult following — put a bawdy twist on your favorite show tunes and theater classics. DuBois is joined by Holly Dae, Bootsie LeFaris, Pixie Aventura, and Tina Burner. Laurie Beechman Theatre, West Beth Café, 407 W. 42nd St. Apr. 26, May 10, 10 p.m. The cover charge is $15, with a $15 food & drink minimum. For reservations, visit SpinCycleNYC.com.
PERFORMANCE Boy, Oh Boylesque!
COMMUNITY Listening to HIV-Positive Voices
The Visiting Nurse Service of New York CHOICE SelectHealth hosts “Voices of Change: Hearing the Real Call to Action for New Yorkers Living with HIV/ AIDS,” a health seminar that aims to focus on real people, real obstacles, and real solutions. Individuals living with the virus will discuss their own personal stories, specialists including Dr. Jeffrey Fishberger and Dr. Tony Urbina will give insight into the medical response to HIV/ AIDS, and participants will take part in a Q&A workshop. The end goal is to develop strategic recommendations that accurately reflect the challenges and needs of local communities and organizations grappling with the ongoing epidemic. The event is co-sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman and the hospital’s Center for Comprehensive Care. St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center, 1000 Tenth Ave. at 59th St., conference room B. Apr. 25, 6-7:30p.m.
PERFORMANCE Whitman Lets Loose at BAM
The National’s twin rockers, Bryce and Aaron Dessner, curate “The Crossing Brooklyn Ferry Music and Film Festival,” the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s second annual celebration of music, film, and art. Headliners at this year’s festival include the National, pop R&B songstress Solange, and the Roots, a hiphop neo-soul group. Bands, songwriters, improvisers, composers, new music ensembles, and filmmakers from all walks of the New York arts scene perform and exhibit their work at all of BAM's facilities, including BAMcafé, the Howard Gilman Opera House, and BAM Rose Cinemas. With a title taken from Walt Whitman's seminal poem, the festival aims to channel the creative expansiveness of this Brooklyn literary icon. BAM venues (centered
on 30 Lafayette Ave. at Ashland Pl.) Apr. 25-27, various times after 5p.m. Tickets are $50 per event; $120 for a three-day festival pass. Complete performance information at CrossingBrooklynFerry.com.
GALLERY Andrew Cornell Robinson, Doron Langberg & Kyle Coniglio Anna Kustera Gallery presents an exhibition of new ceramics by Andrew Cornell Robinson, whose unique, theatrical approach beguiles the audience and thwarts expectations; paintings by Doron Langberg, whose color-saturated oil on linen works create worlds that hover somewhere between sexual ecstasy and profound despair; and paintings by Kyle Coniglio, takes his self-portraits to tragic and always self-deprecating places. In “Young Bacchus,” young men at a nightclub take time from their party to gather around the central artist figure who is exposing his stomach as a disco ball, one that emits its own light from within. 520 W. 21st St. Through May 4; Tue.Sat., 6-8 p.m. More information at annakustera.com.
The Early Work of Paul Thek
The Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art opens a groundbreaking new exhibition: “Paul Thek and His Circle in the 1950s,” which for the first time examines the iconic American artist as a young man, placing him within a group of friends and lovers that provided an adoring audience and creative influence for his earliest works. The exhibition will cover the period of this artist’s work from 1954 to 1964, presenting a rare insight into Paul Thek’s early work, that of a precociously sensitive draftsman who captured his lover asleep naked, making work that was both openly gay and often manifestly erotic. 26 Wooster St., btwn. Grand & Canal Sts. Through Jul. 7; Tue.-Sun., noon-6 p.m. For more information, visit LeslieLohman.org.
Thirsty Girl Productions’ Jen Gapay and gay party promoter Daniel Nardicio present the second annual New York Boylesque Festival, which kicks off Friday evening in Williamsburg with nightlife icon World Famous *BOB* as emcee of a teaser party, DJ'd by boylesque historian Scott Ewalt, that features more than a dozen national and international performers, including Wrong Note Rusty. Admission is $15 in advance; $20 at the door. Public Assembly, 70 N. Sixth St., btwn. Kent &Wythe Aves. Apr. 26, 9 p.m. The following evening, the main event is hosted by Drag Mama Sweetie, with DJ Johnny Dynell spinning and more than 20 top boylesque performers — from across the globe on stage. Tickets are $25; $30 at the door. Gramercy Theater, 127 E. 23rd St. Apr. 27, 7 p.m. Advance tickets and complete information at nyboylesquefestival.com.
MUSIC The Pops at 30
PERFORMANCE White As Snow, Before She Drifted
Based on the writings of the buxom blonde herself, “Oooo!: An Homage to Mae West and the Golden Age of Hollywood” is a 90-minute romp set in a cabaret and featuring music from the period along with comedic vignettes. The cast, led by Darlene Violette, navigates West’s unlikely rise from vaudevillian jailbird to Hollywood superstar. The piece, which premiered last November 1 immediately following Hurricane Sandy, sends the message that anything is possible if you refuse to give up hope. Don’t miss this final performance of “Oooo!” because when this cast is good they are very good, but when they are bad, they’re better. Nuyorican Poets Cafe, 236 E. Third St., btwn. Aves. B & C). Apr. 28, 6 p.m. Tickets are $15 at nuyorican.com or 212-780-9386.
April 27: Wrong Note Rusty at the New York Boylesque Festival.
BENEFIT Families Valued
The New York Pops marks its 30th birthday with a gala evening honoring the musical talents of songwriters Frank Loesser and Jule Styne and the centennial of legendary entertainer Danny Kaye. The event begins with a Carnegie Hall (881 Seventh Ave. at 57th St.) concert, hosted by PBS’ Paula Zahn and under the musical direction of Steven Reineke, titled "In Concert: Celebrating Collaborations of the Past, Present, and Future.” The performance features Broadway stars Laura Benanti, Rob McClure, Donna Murphy, James Naughton, Kelli O'Hara, Laura Osnes, and Anthony Warlow. A black tie dinner and dance follows at the Plaza Hotel, 768 Fifth Ave. at Central Pk. S. Apr. 29, concert at 7 p.m.; dinner at 8:30p.m. Concert tickets are $62-$155 at carnegiehall.org or 212247-7800. Tickets for concert and dinner are $1,250 at newyorkpops.org or 212-765-7677.
COMEDY May Day Laughs
“Homo Comicus” celebrates May Day with a fabulous bouquet of hilarious gay and gay-friendly comics in riotous bloom. Featured jokesters include Michelle Buteau, Molly "Equality" Dykeman, Jessica Kirson, Justin Sayre, and Neil Thornton. Bob Montgomery hosts. Gotham Comedy Club, 208 W. 23rd St. May 1, 8:30 p.m. The cover charge is $20, with a two-drink minimum. Reservations at 212-367-9000.
14 DAYS, continued on p.33
| April 24, 2013
14 DAYS, from p.32
THEATER Macbeth All Alone
Tom Gaultieri returns in “That Play: A Solo Macbeth,” the 85-minute Shakespeare adaptation that he wrote with Heather Hill, who directs. Music is by Erin Hall. With 19 characters — including Macbeth and his infamous Lady, the three weird sisters, no fewer than four terrifying apparitions, and a slew of Scottish lords and ladies — what could be more fun than murder, mayhem, suicide, and revenge? Gay City News critic Christopher Byrne raved, “It is an insightful and moving commentary on political power, intrigue, and ambition… Gaultieri is masterful playing each part with clarity and specificity. He manages the range of outsized emotions that characterize Shakespeare’s bloody play, but remains endearing and charming as himself.” Stage Left Studio, 214 W. 30 St., sixth fl. May 2, 9, 16, 25 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 at stageleftstudio.net.
NIGHTLIFE The Bears Are Coming! The Bears Are Coming!
Tonight is the kick-off to Urban Bear Weekend in New York, with a host of fetish and leather activities around town through May 5. At 6 p.m. on May 2, Julius’ Bar & Grill, 159 W. 10th St. at Waverly Pl., hosts the Stache Bash, where you can check out all the face fur in town for the weekend. Admission is free. Later that evening, at 10 p.m., at the Eagle, 554 W. 28th St., leatherman, bears, and fetish fans pack the dress code-enforced gathering
featuring barbers, bootblacks, frisky men, and DJ Mike Grimes. Admission is free. On May 3, at 1 p.m., bears invade the Museum of Modern Art, 11 W. 53rd St. Admission is $20; $15 for seniors, $12 for students. At 6 p.m., Ty’s, 114 Christopher St., btwn. Bleecker & Bedford Sts., hosts a hairy happy hour, with no admission charge. Hirsute hilarity follows when the Bears of Comedy hit the Cutting Room, 44 E. 32nd St, 10 p.m. Host D’Bear Thornton welcomes Frank Liotti, Marc Maietta, Tim Dillon, and Jess Carpenter. Tickets are $20 at bears@ bearsofcomedy.com, and there’s a $20 food & drink minimum. Also at 10 p.m., Rockbar, 185 Christopher St. at Weehawken St., hosts the ünderBear Party, an evening of music by DJ Jerel Black and also tightey-whiteys, boxers, briefs, boxer-briefs, and pants down around your ankles. Admission is $5, with a portion of proceeds benefitting Marriage Equality USA. On May 4 at 1 p.m., the Eagle, 554 W. 28th St., hosts “The Piggy Bear BBQ & Bear Bash,” where you can ogle hungry men as they satisfy their appetites. The admission price of $15 gets you all the food you can hold. The weekend’s highlight is that night at 10 p.m., when Warehouse, 50 N. Third St., btwn. Kent & Wythe Aves., Williamsburg (L train to Bedford St.) hosts the Urban Bear Dance Party, featuring DJs DChipMint and Bill Pfeiffer in a 10,000 square-foot event space that simply has to be seen. Tickets are $10 at brownpapertickets.com/ event/361939. The Urban Bear Street Fair takes place 1-6 p.m. on May 5, on Little W. 12th St., btwn. Washington St. & 10th Ave. Featured performers include Lady Bunny, Homoerectus, The Big Dipper, and Dandy Darkly. The suggested donation is $10, with a portion of proceeds benefitting Marriage Equality USA. The big hairy weekend ends with a Double Beer blast beginning at 5 p.m., first at
RockBar,185 Christopher St. at Weehawken St., and then at the Eagle, 554 W. 28th St. For a $75 full weekend VIP pass, with admission to all events, visit brownpapertickets.com/event/356285.
CABARET Musto Does the Sarah Dash
Village Voice columnist Michael Musto, joined by glittery sidekicks Snooky and Tish, performs live with disco cover band the Elektrik Company as well as Joey Arias, Orfeh, and Sarah Dash of Labelle fame. For this special ‘70s extravaganza, 54 Below drags the mirror ball down to the cellar and pushes the tables and chairs aside to make way for a dance floor. 254 W. 54th St. May 4, 11 p.m. The cover charge is $20, with private tables beginning at $200. No food will be served. For reservations, call 646-476-3551.
MUSIC Tony Enos at Sugar Bar
Out Pop artist Tony Enos’ 2009 debut album “Did It Rite” created the most buzz about the Philly music scene since the emergence of Patti Labelle. Tonight, Enos appears at Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar, 254 W. 72nd St., May 8, 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 sugarbarnyc.com; $15 at the door.
NIGHTLIFE Bingo for the Cause
Tonight’s edition of Will Clark’s P*rno Bingo features Vito Gallo talking about his retirement from the biz and the very Reverend Yolanda Mapes offering a sneak peak at her upcoming show at the Duplex. The evening benefits Cycle for the Cause, the annual bike fundraiser for the LGBT Community Center’s HIV/ AIDS programs. Uncle Charlie’s, 139 E. 45th St. May 8, 9-11 p.m.
THE HE NO COUPONS, NO HASSLES, DISCOUNT DINING CARD. primecard.com/join
April 24, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Ericka Huggins and the Company We Keep BY SUSIE DAY
ike most of the white liberal-to-left elite, I am mesmerized by radical 1960s and ‘70s activist groups such as SDS and the Weather Underground. My autoentrancement likely stems from a deep nostalgia for the glory days when 100,000 protesters could march on the Pentagon and not a one could be linked to Al Qaeda. For years, I, with my cohorts, have watched film dramas, documentaries, and plays; attended conferences and art installations; worn retro tie-dyes and half-price items from the Gap’s “1969” clothing; pored over novels, history books, and memoirs, memoirs, memoirs — all in a vague attempt to staunch some psychic wound possibly caused by the question of violence. Some of our ‘60s nostalgia may be a yearning for a time when we could guilelessly discuss the use of “armed struggle” for social change and whether we should give up our little individual lives in order to play a part for history’s greater good. Today these questions are stifled, in fiction and nonfiction, by template portrayals of ‘60s revolutionaries as smug, angrily idealistic kids who “had everything but threw it away.” Few accounts stop to consider that these kids were able to throw everything away because they were, in the first place, white. The latest remembrance-of-us-past is “The Company You Keep,” a film directed and starred in by Robert Redford. For two hours, middle-aged yet mysteriously hip white people, passing as well-adjusted conformists, delve into
COGSWELL, from p.31
up in jail on one occasion. Like others I know. But one mother, at least, lived to regret her own role in the jailing and abuse of her daughter. Even a couple of stalwarts of the Westboro Baptist Church have seen the light. Just a couple of months ago, the smiling Megan Phelps-Roper, 27, and her sister, Grace, very publicly parted ways with their grandfather's church in Topeka, Kansas after spending their whole lives declaring, "God hates fags." And even though their efforts probably killed more people than Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, maimed
their incendiary past, while fending off media and cops seeking justice for a ‘60s rad-lib bank robbery (which never happened) that resulted in the death of a security guard (who never existed). But, for all the film’s hackneyed suspense and narcissism disguised as concern with real moral dilemmas, what Redford, Susan Sarandon, Nick Nolte, and Julie Christie manage to convey — erroneously — is that there was a large number of celebrities in the Weather Underground who have emerged victorious from la lucha with plastic surgery. Missing egregiously from this film — and from 97.9 percent of mainstream films, books, and art about this era — are black people and other people of color. What was the reality of the Black Panthers and the Young Lords who, in fact, radicalized white organizations? What did they want? Where did they go? Did they survive?
that reality in the womb. The fact of the Jim Crow South and the North’s undeclared apartheid forced thousands of young black people to see themselves “in a war,” which didn’t allow many options for discussing armed struggle versus nonviolence. In this war — and now on this panel — was Ericka Huggins. Her life, once luridly trash-compacted into forgettable tabloid headlines, is now largely ignored by popular history. In 1969, at 18, Ericka became, with her husband John, a leader of the Los Angeles chapter of the Black Panther Party. Three weeks after the birth of their daughter, John was gunned down on the UCLA campus by a member of a rival black group, the US Organization. Although a Senate investigation would later reveal this murder to have been instigated by the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program, the public at the time easily dismissed it because,
It was through restorative justice that the man who killed John Huggins could ask Ericka for forgiveness... and she was able to forgive him. Recently, at Manhattan’s Baruch College, there was yet another panel on ‘60s radicalism. But this one was different: it focused on the experience of black radicals. From the panelists, you got the idea that, unlike SDS and Weather kids, most black youth in the ‘60s didn’t wake up one day in a college dorm and realize their country was unjust — they began internalizing
as Ericka noted, “Black men are supposed to shoot black men.” After bringing John’s body to New Haven for burial, Ericka, with Bobby Seale, was charged — I can’t say “framed” here because I’m trying to be objective — with the murder of another Panther member. Her daughter was taken from her and Ericka spent two years in prison, often in solitary con-
thousands more, though less visibly, encouraging self-loathing and suicides, rampant vitriol, gay-bashings, and the ignorance and stigma that spread HIV, there they are in polite society, getting kudos instead of blows. And in case you think you're immune yourself, we Americans after September 11 became complicit in a national program of torture, turning our backs on Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, and all the black op sites. People died, or were destroyed and maimed, and we didn't do a thing. Maybe because we thought we had good reason. Everybody always does. So far, nobody seems to regret it
much. The Obama administration is as pleased as anybody to sweep torture under the rug. Maybe in the future they'll repent. Just recently, years after he added more fuel to the anti-gay fire, Bill Clinton declared that signing the Defense of Marriage Act was a big fucking mistake, not going so far as to admit he has blood on his hands, too, like the Phelps spawn. This is why I was glad we didn't kill that 19-year -old cowering in a boat after his own monstrous act, even if I was glad it was over. At least his scene. He'll have the future to think it over as the drama goes on without him, as it
finement, until a massive legal campaign forced prosecutors to drop the charges. Today, Ericka Huggins said, people ask her, “After all your suffering, why, didn’t you leave the party, leave radicalism?” Because, she answers, she couldn’t give up this fight for the fundamental humanity of people of color, for the vast — and vastly ignored — reality that every child of any color is welcome and needed on this planet. Ericka was able to survive because in prison she taught herself to meditate. “Now,” she said, “if I don’t meditate on any given day, it’s like I’ve left home without my clothes.” After prison, Ericka became a grade-school teacher; she taught yoga and mediation in prisons; she developed a volunteer program for women and children with HIV in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district. Now in her early 60s, she’s a tall, silver-haired grandmother who works in restorative justice, a practice in which the people who’ve hurt others — often criminally — can sit down with those they’ve harmed and try to find some mutual resolution. It was through restorative justice that the man who killed John Huggins could, years later, ask Ericka for forgiveness. And it was through some act of grace, which I have yet to see in any pop version of the ‘60s, that Ericka Huggins was able to forgive him. Three other radical activists appeared on this panel — Dhoruba Bin Wahad, Akinyele Umoja, and Dequi Kioni Sadiki. Each told a different life tale, equally stunning. Stories like these — unlike pre-cooked ‘60s action thrillers — will not be coming anytime soon to a theater near you. Maybe that’s okay. Unless Ericka Huggins has a yen to be played by Kerry Washington, Robert Redford should probably not know about stories like this. But we should. We must.
surely will. By the time he was caught, that eruption of violence engineered by two brothers had already been transformed by the likes of Fox News and CNN into dreadful fantasies of another Al Qaeda attack, or failing that, a kind of uprising by shadowy dark figures against the white American majority. And after accumulating more arms and BBs, black powder and pressure cookers, Tsarnaev's role will be filled by more deluded young men with names as likely to be Timothy or James as Dzhokhar. Follow Kelly Jean Cogswell on Twitter @kellyatlarge.
| April 24, 2013
IN THE NOH, from p.24
on the floor, I’d put a towel around my waist and then the Merry Widow corset, then the pantalettes. I’d step into the gown and it took two people to hold it up while another one hooked me in it. “Once in it, I was stuck and halfway through the show comes a time when you have to go to the bathr oom. Someone had given me a silver ice bucket with champagne for opening night so my dresser would pull the curtains of this fake dressing room and she would slide the bucket underneath me and no one would know. When the show closed, the only souvenir she wanted was that silver bucket!”
On April 5, I attended t h e N e w Yo r k T i m e s GLBT & Allies Network presentation at Sardi’s of John
Irving, promoting his book “In One Person,” about a young bisexual man who falls in love with an older transgender woman. Irving’s son, Everett, is gay, but the author was at pains to make clear that the book was not about him and that he had started it before knowing about Everett’s sexuality. Irving also stated that, although his books are rife with transgender characters, starting with Roberta Muldoon in “The World According to Garp,” he, himself, is not bisexual. He described his books as works of the imagination, especially the more violent episodes in them about which he said he imagined the worst thing that could happen and then wrote about it. Hearing this, I could not help but turn to my tablemate, Jane Clementi, the mother of Tyler Clementi, who tragically committed suicide after being the target of Internet bullying at Rutgers in 2010. A spitting image, facially, of her son, she came across as a dignified, sweet
AT ANY PRICE, from p.28
life figure. Bahrani was much more confident directing non-professional actors. In his first three films, Bahrani seemed to look overseas — to Italian and Iranian versions of neo-realism — for inspiration. All that has changed in “At Any Price.” This film’s cinematography is full of green corn fields, captured in luscious long shots. Bahrani has turned to classic American cinema, particularly the elegiac films of the ‘70s. Yet he seems reluctant to commit to a fully happy ending — that would mean overlooking the damage his characters do to each other — or an entirely downbeat one, which might not fly with the wider audience he’s trying to court. Instead, he settles for an ironic middle ground, where any joy is strictly temporary and provisional — in theory, at least. Douglas Sirk might have been able to pull it off, but Bahrani can’t.
and sensitive soul who has doubtlessly wrestled with her own demons, having struggled to accept her son in life due to her anti-homosexual fundamentalist Christian views, which she has since disavowed. “I was thinking that very same thing,” she said, when I mentioned how she has actually experienced — not just written about — the very worst thing that could happen to her. “You asked if it has gotten any better for me. Well, it’s really an ongoing process, and the [Tyler Clementi] Foundation [tylerclementifoundation. org] we’ve started does help keep his memory alive, as you say. It’s just not about gay bullying, however, but about creating a safe, positive environment for all people who feel they are different. “I have met with the mother of Matthew Shepard, and that was interesting. We are, of course, in two dif ferent places in regard to what happened to us. Different circumstances, as well as the time frame. For her, it’s been what? Fourteen years. And for me, just a couple.” Clementi has been raked over the coals in certain quarters for her treatment of her son, but I’m ready to believe in her sincerity, as she kept asking me about my own history of being bullied and encouraging me to speak out. I can recall a particularly anguished adolescent moment when I melodramatically mentioned suicide to my mother, who instantly cut me down with “Go ahead.” Luckily I had the strength and sense to bear that kind of “tough love,” but I know the pain of such moments for others. I can only imagine the pain felt by their parents in the wake of acts of total despair. Contact David Noh at Inthenoh@aol. com follow him on Facebook and Twitter @in_the_noh and check out his blog at http://nohway.wordpress.com/.
“At Any Price” is full of signifiers of the present. The whole plot revolves around GMO seeds. Dean is briefly seen watching YouTube videos of car crashes and repeatedly shown listening to contemporary hard rock. Still, the film describes the dilemmas of our time in a language that seems nostalgic, even if Henry’s father warns him that the good old days weren’t so great after all. Much of the time, the film has a political edge, Henry’s slogan “expand or die” resonating well beyond agriculture. Bahrani’s neo-realist influences seem replaced by themes from the theater, with sons paying the price of their fathers’ sins and capitalism sounding downright murderous. The shift does not create a coherent whole. One moment, the film comes across like a morality play. The next, it’s an exposé of Big Agriculture's corruption. The thread needed to connect these agendas remains missing.
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April 24, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com