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FREE VOLUME THIRTEEN, ISSUE NINE APRIL 30 - MAY 13, 2014

City Settles with Robert Pinter 05 Irma Vep is Back 19 Audra McDonald is Lady Day 25 Affordability at Home 16

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April 30, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

WeddingPrideDirectory Celebrating gay anD lesbian marriage

ATTORNIES Chou Law Luna Chou Law

401 Broadway in New York, (212) 226–2610, www.lunachoulaw.com Chou Law Luna Chou Law specializes in immigration, asylum, and applications for legal permanent resident status and naturalization, and LGBT rights. It petitions for your family members.

AUTOMOTIVE Bay Ridge Subaru

1819 Cropsey Ave. in Brooklyn, (718) 234–7960, www.brooklynsubarudeals.com Visit Bay Ridge Subaru in Brooklyn for your new or used Subaru Impreza, Legacy, Forester, Outback, and Tribeca. It also supports same-sex couples and were at the GLBT Expo at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

Habberstad BMW

945 E Jericho Tpke. In Suffolk, (631) 271–7177, www.habberstadbmw.com, JJacome@HabberstadBMW.com Proud supporters of the LGBT community!

These finely crafted fruit bouquets make the perfect addition to any wedding celebration.

properties of all types including condos, apartments, and commercial real estate.

HEALTH & BEAUTY

Stetson Real Estate

Beth Israel LGBT Health Services 10 Nathan D Perlman Pl. in New York, (212) 420–2000, www.wehealny.org/services/ LGBT_Health_Services/index.html Beth Israel Medical Center LGBT Health Services provides an array of health, referral and educational services, promotes LGBT health equity and access to care, and develops effective partnerships with LGBT organizations, agencies and allies.

Chelsea Face and Body 270 W 19th St. in New York, (212) 647–8825, chelseafab.com Chelsea Face and Body offers the largest variety of state-of-the-art aesthetic services. It prides itself in its ability to keep you looking renewed, refreshed, and rejuvenated for a more youthful appearance.

Groomed Grooms

1214 E. Boston Post Rd. in Westchester, (914) 381–7173, www.stetsonrealestate.com Stetson Real Estate is an independent firm located in Mamaroneck, Westchester County, New York. The firm has thr guiding philosophy that if it focuses on serving the client best — as opposed to the agent’s self-interest — the business will prosper.

Warburg Realty

Multiple locations, www.warburgrealty.com Warburg Realty is one of the city’s best trained and hardest working agents, and by choosing them to represent you and your property, you also get the benefit of Warburg’s leadership strategies every step of the way. Warburg Realty has distinguished itself in the vanguard of tech-savvy real estate companies.

RECEPTION HALLS & CATERERS Allegria Hotel

430 W. 24th St. in New York, (646) 325–3378, www.groomedgrooms.com Groomed Grooms provides men’s hair and makeup for weddings and other major events. Its slogan: You have the legal right to look your best.

80 W Broadway IN Nassau, (516) 889–1300, www.allegriahotel.com Allegria Horel, is a chic and sophisticated wedding venue in Long Beach with breathtaking ocean views. It is great for rooftop or beachfront weddings.

7905 5th Ave. in Brooklyn, (646) 712–4084, Fastworldmall@yahoo.com, www.bridaldreamsmall.com Bridal Dreams’ mission is simple: to provide the best products and service to its customers at the lowest prices possible. It takes great pride in its company, commitment to customer service, and products.

In Touch NYC

The Edison Ballroom

CHARITABLE GIVING

126 W 96th St. in New York, (212) 865–9290, www.mindovermatternyc.com Mind Over Matter Health & Fitness is a Manhattan based in-home personal training service providing fitness professionals to you in your home.

BRIDAL APPARAL Bridal Dreams

New York God’s Love We Deliver

166 6th Ave. in New York, (212) 294–8100, www.glwd.org God’s Love We Deliver is the tri-state area’s leading provider of nutritious, individually-tailored meals to people that are too sick to shop or cook for themselves. God’s Love provides all services by employing a small but dedicated professional staff and with the critical assistance of nearly 8,000 volunteers annually.

ENTERTAINMENT Erik Robert Jacobson, Classical Cellist

(212) 584–7500, www.jacobseneric.com, info@opus3artists.com Mr. Jacobsen is a cellist and conductor residing in Brooklyn, New York. He has performed with Renee Fleming on David Letterman and at the inaugural concert at Zankel Hall at Carnegie.

M B Sound Productions Entertainment

3034 Merrick Rd., (516) 322–1745 in Long Island or 3034 Merrick Rd., (888) 517–2789 in Nassau, www.mbsoundproductions.com MB Sound Productions & Entertainment is a professional, high tech, well equipped, and mobile DJ entertainment company servicing the tri-state area. It has over 15 years of experience, and can accommodate all types of events.

FERTILITY Genesis Fertility & Reproductive Medicine (718) 283–8600, www.genesisfertility.com Genesis Fertility & Reproductive Medicine is a nationally recognized center for the treatment of infertility. It is known for its excellent success rates. Most major insurers accepted.

FLORISTS & CENTERPEICES Angelica Flowers and Events

436 Hudson St. in New York, (212) 229–0272, angelicaflowersandevents.com New York City’s premiere custom floral designer for events, corporate accounts, and same day delivery.

Ariston Flowers & Boutique

110 W 17th St. in New York, (212) 929–4226, www.aristonflorist.com Ariston Flowers is an award-winning and familyowned business that has been in operation since 1977. It stocks an array of fresh flowers directly imported from France, Holland, Hawaii, and from other parts of the world. It also has accessories such as vases, pottery, and baskets.

Edible Arrangements

(718) 535–7909, www.EdibleArrangements.com

242 E 77th St. in New York, (646) 234–4840, intouchnyc.com InTouch NYC is a New York City-based healing sanctuary providing acupuncture, Chinese herbs, nutritional counseling, bodywork, and pilates.

Mind Over Matter

INVITATIONS Print Icon

240 W 47th St. in New York, (212) 201–7650, edisonballroom.com, info@edisonballroom.com The Edison Ballroom was originally opened in the 1930’s and was constructed in the classic art deco design. The venue can be rented for all kinds of events, including a wedding.

Fairway

Multiple locations, www.fairwaymarket.com Fairway offers seasonal, signature catering packages with the highest-quality, happy-making eats with zero work. Have Fairway cater your engagement, bachelor, or bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner or wedding.

Grand Oaks Country Club

125 W 21st St. in New York, (212) 255–0844, www.printicon.com Print icon New York offers modern and heritage printing, including laser engraving, indigo press, letterpress, thermography and debossing accompanied by custom design services.

200 Huguenot Ave. in Staten Island, (718) 356–2771, www.grandoaksnyc.com Formerly the South Shore Country Club, this new and improved Staten Island venue can provide the perfect elegant backdrop for your reception with prime dates still available.

JEWELRY

Hornblower Cruises & Events

Greenwich Jewelers 64 Trinity Pl. in New York, (212) 964–7592, www.greenwichjewelers.com In search of something classic, contemporary, or completely eclectic? Greenwich Jewelers is your source for exquisite adornments that are designed to last — and make your life brilliant.

Little King Jewelry 177 Lafayette St. in New York, (212) 260–6140, www.littlekingjewelry.com Little King Jewelry is a contemporary jewelry boutique in Soho that offers an eclectic mix of jewelry such as classic 21st century heirlooms, indie, rock and roll, to one-of-kind couture jewelry for all occasions.

LIMOUSINES M & V Limousine Ltd. 1117 Jericho Tpke. In Suffolk, (800) 498–5778, www.mvlimo.com M & V has the largest selection of antique and exotic limousines in the world. Its main focus is providing you with an elegant and stress-free experience on your wedding day.

REAL ESTATE SERVICES Brooklyn Accurate Building 1860 Bath Ave. in Brooklyn, (718) 265–8191, www.accuratebuilding.com roxy@accuratebuilding.com Inspectors Accurate Building Inspectors is a full service home and building inspection firm servicing New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and the nation since 1961. It provides inspections, consulting, assistance, and testing services for homeowners It has and will continue to serve and support the LGBT community.

Modern Spaces Multiple locations, modernspacesnyc.com Modern Spaces is a real estate firm that manages

40 N. River Piers in New York, (212) 206–7522, / www.hornblower.com/home/ny Hornblower New York specializes in New York dinner cruises, harbor cruises, yacht charters, sightseeing, events, birthday parties, and weddings. It has exceeded guest expectations for over 30 years by maintaining impeccable comfort and safety standards with a large fleet of private yachts in California and New York.

Hotel Giraffe

365 Park Avenue South in New York, (212) 685–7700, www.hotelgiraffe.com Hotel Giraffe would be honored to host your rehearsal dinner, special day, or to arrange guest accommodations. Its experienced staff will ensure that all of your expectations and special requests are surpassed.

Hotel Pennsylvania

401 Seventh Ave. in New York, (212) 736–5000, www.hotelpenn.com The conveniently located Hotel Pennsylvania has all the ingredients for a perfect reception. It has flexible ballrooms that provide an elegant, functional Manhattan setting for weddings of all sizes.

Millennium Broadway Hotel

145 W. 44th St. in New York, (212) 768–4400, www.millenniumhotelnyc.com The Millennium Broadway Hotel’s fully functioning Hudson Theatre has recently received a 3.5 milliondollar renovation. It offers flexible and moveable seating as well as Broadway-quality lighting and sound, making it the most extravagant wedding and reception facility in New York City.

Museum of Jewish Heritage

36 Battery Pl. in New York, (646) 437–4202, www.mjhnyc.org The Museum of Jewish Heritage’s unique facilities are perfect for galas, receptions, conferences, weddings, other life cycle events, and more.

The Picnic House in Prospect Park

95 Prospect Park West in Brooklyn, (646) 393–9031, www.prospectpark.org/visit/places/picnic The Picnic House in Prospect Park is a 4,000 square foot brick-and-glass enclosed pavilion with a terracotta tile roof. Built in 1927, it has been praised for its light and sweeping views. The natural setting makes it a perfect choice for a wedding and the French doors gracing the rear balcony create a charming focal point for the exchange of vows.

Hotel Plaza Athenee

37 E. 64th St. in New York, (212) 734–9100, www.plaza-athenee.com/weddings-en.html The Upper East Side’s Hotel Plaza Athenee is a stunning European-style venue with antique furnishings in the lobby, a beautiful marble entranceway, and Italian tapestries on the walls. It is the perfect backdrop for your wedding photographs. It has an elegant ceremony space and the hotel’s dazzling, gold-domed Arabelle restaurant provides a great reception site.

The Provincetown Business Guild

3 Freeman St. in Provincetown, (508) 487–2313, ptown.org In 2004 — when Massachusetts became the first state to extend full marriage benefits for same-sex couples — Provincetown quickly became the number one destination for LGBT unions. The inclusive, gay-friendly spirit provides the perfect place for all couples to host a wedding, commitment ceremony, or spend their honeymoon. In addition to the charming seaside splendor that Provincetown provides, there are a plethora of party planners, caterers, venues, and other helpful businesses that make it easy and comfortable for future newlyweds to plan their special day. Contact the Provincetown Business Guild for additional help!

reBar Brooklyn Gastropub

147 Front St. in Brooklyn, (718) 766–9110, rebarnyc.com, veronica@rebarnyc.com Located on the mezzanine of an 19th century tea factory, this hip, Brooklyn gastropub’s seasonal New American menu, 120 bottled beers, sustainable and organic wine list, and its extensive scotch selection.

Queens Russo’s on the Bay

162-45 Cross Bay Blvd. in Queens, (718) 843–5055, russosonthebay.com A beautiful, waterfront wedding at Russo’s On The Bay is a truly royal experience. It offers unwavering commitment to detail that you can sleep easy knowing that the valet will provide excellent service at the door, the food will be superb, the linens will be pressed, and the venue will be running like a well-oiled machine.

Tio Pepe

168 W. Fourth St. in New York, (212) 242–9338, www.tiopepenyc.com, info@tiopepenyc.com At Tio Pepe you have a choice of atmosphere. The skylight dining room supplies a touch of romance while the enclosed sidewalk cafe provides a room with a view of Greenwich Village.

Villa Russo

118-16 101st Ave. in Queens, (718) 849–0990, villarussocatering.com The Villa Russo has celebrated engagements and weddings for more than 50 years in its spacious wedding venue. The hotel invites you to experience the true radiance of this elegant Italian-style villa. The food is delicious and the certified wedding planners will assure a day you and your guests will not forget.

TRAVEL Ace World Travel

8320 13th Ave. in Brooklyn, (347) 915–4287, www.aceworldtravel.net, makeamemory@aceworldtravel.net Ace World Travel is a full-service, independent, home-based travel agency. Its goal is to help you explore the world however you desire, and make that experience as unique and memorable as possible.

WEDDING MINISTRY Celebration Ceremonies

(646) 322–6743, www.celebrationceremonies.net, FMFortunato06@aol.com Reverend Francesca Fortunato has been an ordained Interfaith minister since 2003. Rev. Francesca creates and performs beautiful, personal, meaningful ceremonies for couples of many different faiths (or none). She is proud and delighted to now perform legal marriages for members of her own LGBTQ community.


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| April 30, 2014

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April 30, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

HUMAN RIGHTS

A Sweeping Win for Transgender Rights in India High court ruling comes amidst hints draconian 2013 sodomy decision may be revisited n an historic decision, a twojudge bench of the Supreme Court of India, ruling on a petition brought on behalf of transgender community members by the National Legal Services Authority, has declared that among the human rights protected by the nation’s Constitution are the right to state recognition of their gender identity and sexual orientation and to freedom from official discrimination on these grounds. The April 15 ruling directly contradicted the December 11 ruling by a different panel of the court rejecting a constitutional challenge to the country’s sodomy law, and the court is now signaling the possibility of reconsidering the sodomy decision. The National Legal Services Authority and several other plaintiffs jointed in a lawsuit against the government, seeking to redress the outcast status of transgender people in India, but the court’s expansive language appeared to take in — at least to some extent — the social inequities endured by gay, lesbian, and bisexual people as well. The court mentioned in passing the recent sodomy decision, Koushal v. Naz Foundation, but said it was expressing no opinion on that issue “since we are in these cases concerned with an altogether different issue pertaining to the constitutional and other legal rights of the transgender community and their gender identity and sexual orientation.” Even before this decision was issued, a different panel of the court had evinced a willingness to examine a “curative petition” filed by the Indian government in the Naz Foundation case, so it is possible that a new opinion may be forthcoming on the sodomy question. If a new ruling were consistent with the decision in the transgender rights case, it would be a reversal of the other panel’s retrogressive December opinion, which overturned a 2009 Delhi High Court ruling that struck down the sodomy law. Each of the judges on the transgender rights panel case — Justices K. S. Radhakrishnan and A.K. Sikri — wrote an extended opinion, with Radhakrishnan’s far longer opinion setting forth historical background and a thorough review of the treatment of transgender and gender identity issues in the statutes and court rulings of other English-speaking nations. “Discrimination faced by this group in our society is rather unimaginable and their rights have to be protected, irrespective of chromosomal sex, genitals, assigned birth sex, or implied gen-

LEGALEAGLE86/ COURTESY WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

I

BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD

The Indian Supreme Court building in New Delhi.

The court’s expansive language appeared to take in —to some extent — the social inequities endured by gay people as well. der role,” Radhakrishnan wrote. “Rights of transgenders, pure and simple, like Hijras, eunuchs, etc., have also to be examined, so also their right to remain as a third gender as well as their physical and psychological integrity.” Interestingly, the court came to this conclusion — that some individuals are entitled to be recognized under the law as other than male or female, or “third sex” — shortly after Australia’s highest court came to the same conclusion and allowed an individual who identified as neither male nor female to have an official gender identity of “not specified” in official documents. That ruling apparently came too late to be included in the opinion out of India, but the panel cited a lower court ruling from New South Wales in 2013, which was endorsed by Australian high court. The Indian panel took particular note of legislation adopted in the UK, Australia, and elsewhere that created formal mechanisms for individuals who do not identify with the gender they are assigned at birth to change their status. The court also quoted at length from Australian legislation adopted last year regarding discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and intersex status. Since no legislative action has taken place in India, the panel noted with regret, it is left to the courts

to ensure transgender individuals of full legal and social equality. Radhakrishnan’s opinion is particularly fascinating in reviewing the history of gender-variant people in India, where it seems they had a rather exalted status prior to the British colonial period. The UK introduced the sex-negative baggage of its 19th century imperial jurisprudence, leaving behind the unfortunate legacy of Section 377, which outlawed oral and anal sex and has lingered in many former British colonies. Recent efforts to amend the Singapore Penal Code’s sodomy prohibition, for example, have proved unsuccessful. Even while finding that international norms of gender equality were appropriate to considering the case, the twojudge panel court also found that several Indian constitutional provisions were relevant to consider. “Article 14 of the Constitution of India states the State shall not deny to ‘any person’ equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India,” wrote Radhakrishnan. “Article 14 does not restrict the word ‘person’ and its application only to male or female. Hijras /Transgender persons who are neither male/ female fall within the expression ‘person’ and, hence, [are] entitled to legal protection of laws in all spheres of State activity, including

employment, healthcare, education as well as equal civil and citizenship rights, as enjoyed by any other citizen of this country.” Failing to recognize their identity, the judge continued, “denies them equal protection of law, thereby leaving them extremely vulnerable to harassment, violence, and sexual assault in public spaces, at home, and in jail, also by the police.” The court concluded, “Discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation or gender identity, therefore, impairs equality before law and equal protection of law.” The court also found that discrimination against transgender Indians violated Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution, which bar discrimination based on “sex.” Here, the court applied the notion of sex stereotyping as sex discrimination, first applied in the US in 1989, in a Supreme Court challenge to Price Waterhouse’s failure to promote a women to a partnership because she was insufficiently feminine. Two years ago, in response to a transgender woman’s employment discrimination complaint against the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission embraced the view that discrimination based on gender identity is sex discrimination, outlawed by the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The panel found that “values of privacy, self-identity, autonomy, and personal integrity are fundamental rights guaranteed to members of the Transgender community under… the Constitution of India and State is bound to protect and recognize those rights.” The court also drew on an Indian constitutional provision analogous to the US Due Process Clause — which protects the dignity of the individual and was critical in Edie Windsor’s victory last year in her challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act — to find additional protections for transgender rights. Radhakrishnan focused, in particular, on “third gender” individuals who do not identify as male or female, asserting the government must respect their gender identity and adopt policies and official forms to acknowledge their existence. Gender-neutral terms in the Indian Constitution such as person and citizen, he found “take within their sweep Hijras/ Transgenders and are not as such limited to male or female gender. Gender identity as already indicated forms the core of one’s personal self, based on selfidentification, not on surgical or medical

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CIVIL RIGHTS

AIDS

TM

City Settles Robert Pinter’s False Arrest Claim for $450,000 Case one of dozens

WALK

of arrests used to shutter adult video stores

NEW YORK

BY DUNCAN OSBORNE

A

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and more than 40 other tri-state area AIDS service organizations.

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VADIM SHEPEL

s Gay City News first reported exclusively online on April 26, a gay man who charged he was falsely arrested for prostitution in a Lower East Side porn shop in 2008 has settled the federal civil rights lawsuit he brought against New York City for $450,000. “Settling this case was in the best interest of all parties,” Nick Paolucci, the deputy director of communications in the city’s Law Department, wrote in an April 25 email. According to Robert Pinter, who brought the lawsuit and commented after this story was initially posted, he will receive $50,000 in the settlement, and the remaining $400,000 will compensate this attorneys, Jeffrey A. Rothman and James I. Meyerson. Pinter, 58, was one of 41 men known to have been arrested for prostitution in six Manhattan porn shops in 2008 and early 2009. Pinter, who was 52 at the time, was arrested in Blue Door Video on First Avenue by officers in the Manhattan South Vice Enforcement Squad. He first agreed to consensual sex with a much younger man, who turned out to be an undercover police officer, and as they were leaving the store, the younger man said he would pay for the sex. Pinter was arrested after he said nothing to the offer of money. Pinter initially pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and received an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal. He eventually withdrew the plea and his case was dismissed. The Manhattan district attorney also dropped prosecutions of some other gay defendants. Pinter said he was caught off guard by the undercover officer’s offer of money and quickly decided there was no possibility he would in fact have sex with him, though the two, according to Pinter, continued engaging in “playful banter” while leaving the store. Several men who were also arrested by vice cops spoke to Gay City News in 2009 and said they were also offered cash after agreeing to consensual sex. Some were arrested despite refusing the money. Others arrested said they never even agreed to the consensual sex let alone to exchanging cash for sex. Those men pleaded not guilty and their cases were dismissed. The city, which had been on a campaign to shut down porn shops since Rudolph Giuliani was mayor, cited the

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Robert Pinter at a 2009 rally protesting the arrests of gay and bisexual men at Manhattan adult video stores.

prostitution arrests in nuisance abatement lawsuits that were brought against the porn businesses in an effort to close them down. Four other men also sued the city in 2009 and settled their federal cases in 2011, with one getting $25,001 and the other three getting $45,001. The same vice cops also made prostitution arrests in spas, and another gay man, who was arrested in a spa, sued in state court and that case is ongoing. Pinter sued in 2009 and has battled the city since, with the Bloomberg administration designating his case as “no pay,” meaning there would be no settlement. Mayor Bill de Blasio has indicated an interest in ending high profile lawsuits, such as the case brought in 2002 by five men who were convicted based on false confessions in a 1990 rape of a woman in Central Park. The Pinter settlement comes in the wake of a decision by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to deny the city’s appeal of an October 2013 ruling by US District Judge Shira Scheindlin that Pinter could proceed with his lawsuit. In separate letters in recent months, the six out gay and lesbian members of the City Council and a group of prominent leaders in the LGBT community urged the Law Department to settle the case with Pinter. The letter from the Council members said Pinter’s “lawsuit involves insidious entrapment of a gay man. Such policing tactics, especially when a gay man

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PINTER, continued on p.13

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April 30, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

MARRIAGE

In Oklahoma Marriage Appeal Arguments, Side Issues Grab Center Stage

FREEDOM TO MARRY

Questioning from 10th Circuit panel keeps plaintiff couple’s attorney off the underlying merits

Oklahoma marriage plaintiffs Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin.

BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD

A

three-judge panel of the US 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, on April 17, heard arguments in the Oklahoma marriage case, just a week after considering arguments in the State of Utah’s appeal of the marriage equality ruling there. In a January decision, Senior District Judge Terence C. Kern ruled that Oklahoma’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex couples from marrying was unconstitutional, but found he didn’t have jurisdiction to decide whether the state’s ban on recognizing legal same-sex marriages from other states was constitutional, because the only defendant in the case, Tulsa County Clerk Pat Key, had no role in the recognition of out-of-state marriages. The county clerk appealed the ruling against her on the marriage ban, and the plaintiffs appealed Kern’s finding he lacked jurisdiction to rule on out-of-state recognition. Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin had been denied a marriage license in Tulsa, while Susan Barton and Gay Phillips were seeking to have their California marriage recognized by Oklahoma. Don Holladay, the plaintiffs’ attorney, might have been better off not appeal-

ing the recognition question. As a result of doing so, he got dragged into lengthy questioning on that and next about whether striking down the constitutional ban on same-sex couples marrying was sufficient since the lawsuit did not challenge Oklahoma’s statutory ban as well. Holladay never really got to argue the merits of anything. In responding on the out-of-state recognition question, he pointed out that the 10th Circuit had previously ruled that marriage equality plaintiffs erred in suing the governor and the attorney general, whose jobs did not involve administering the marriage laws, and that the correct defendant to sue was the county clerk who denied marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The circuit panel should stick to that finding, he argued, and rule that Kern did have jurisdiction to decide the question of recognizing marriages from outside Oklahoma. Holladay also noted that the recognition question was somewhat academic, since if the ban on allowing couples to marry is thrown out, it would make no sense for the state to be able to turn around and say those who married out of state would not enjoy recognition of their marriages. On the question of whether Oklahoma’s statutory ban on gay mar riage would survive if the constitutional

amendment were thrown out, Holladay, citing state court precedents, argued that when the amendment was adopted, it basically replaced the laws, so that if it falls, they are gone, too. James Campbell, an attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom, a group active in anti-gay litigation efforts nationwide, stepped in to represent the Tulsa county clerk on the appeal — and largely repeated the arguments made a week earlier by the attorney representing the State of Utah. He challenged the argument that the plaintiffs’ case is one about sex discrimination, which would have required the court to subject Oklahoma’s constitutional ban to “heightened scrutiny,” a standard most judges and legal observers agree it could not survive. Campbell also argued the district court lacks jurisdiction to rule on marriage equality at all, citing a 1972 decision by the Supreme Court not to hear — for “want of a substantial federal question” — an appeal of a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling denying a gay marriage claim. Relying on the purported precedent from 1972 is an argument that has been rejected by every district court judge ruling on marriage equality since last June’s Defense of Marriage Act decision. Campbell, when confronted with the argument that last year’s DOMA decision seems to have ignored the high court’s action in the 1972 Minnesota case, replied that DOMA presented a completely different issue than the Oklahoma challenge and asserted that the high court majority last year acknowledged the right of states to decide who can marry. Judge Carlos Lucero, the one Democratic appointee on the three-judge panel, pointed out that in 1967, when the Supreme Court, in Loving v. Virginia, struck down laws outlawing interracial marriage, it rejected the same kind of argument Campbell was making about sex discrimination — that the ban treats everyone equally. In Loving, the State of Virginia argued there was no discrimination because blacks and whites were equally prohibited from interracial marriage. Oklahoma, Campbell asserted, is equally prohibiting men and women from entering into same-sex marriages. In Loving, the high court saw through Virginia’s argument — miscegenation laws, it found, were adopted to enforce white supremacy. In Oklahoma, the ban on same-sex couples marrying is essentially a way to protect heterosexual supremacy, making the plaintiffs’ case one about sexual orientation. Under 10th Circuit precedent, sexual orientation claims are not subject to height-

ened scrutiny, but rather rational basis review, which imposes the lightest burden on Oklahoma in defending its ban — the plaintiffs must show the state has no conceivable justification not based purely on animus toward gays and lesbians. Questioning and comments from the appeals panel a week before in the Utah case suggested the majority felt the state was in a strong position if that were the standard of judicial review applied — a view at odds with the conclusions of federal district court judges in an unbroken strings of decisions since last summer’s DOMA ruling. The wave of marriage equality decisions in the past year resulted from findings that state marriage bans lack any rational basis. Campbell was not content to rest on the assumption the Oklahoma mar riage ban need merely survive rational basis review. He argued that even if the amendment were subjected to heightened scrutiny — where the burden is shifted to the state to show its policy substantially advances an important government interest — plaintiffs would still have to prove that striking down the amendment would not produce harm in the long run. There is no definite proof, he asserted, that changing the definition of marriage would not have such an effect. Here, Campbell and the State of Oklahoma seem to have gone off the rails. The state cannot exclude an entire class of people from participating in a central social and legal institution based on an unproven hypothesis there might be long-term ill effects from allowing their participation. Especially when expert opinion on the major danger warned of — the impact on children raised by same-sex couples — is so firmly arrayed in favor of the view there would be no harm. Amidst so much of the argument being far afield from the central matter at issue, little new light was shed on the inclinations of the three judges. Lucero, a Bill Clinton appointee to the court, is likely to vote to uphold the trial court’s ruling, while Judge Paul J. Kelly, Jr., appointed by President George W. Bush, seems disposed to reverse the marriage equality ruling, though he asked few questions during the Oklahoma arguments. The balance is in the hands of Judge Jerome A. Holmes, also a Bush appointee. The 10th Circuit panel faces no deadline for reaching a decision in the Utah and Oklahoma cases, but there is competition from other circuits hearing mar-

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| April 30, 2014

MARRIAGE

New York Couple Defend Their Adopted Son in Ohio

GAY CITY NEWS

Married Manhattan men win recognition order, soldier on

Find the Relationship oF a liFetime

Bespoke

Joseph Vitale and Robert Talmas in their Manhattan home, with their son Cooper, who just celebrated his first birthday.

BY PAUL SCHINDLER

I

t was only in the immediate aftermath of finalizing the adoption of their infant son, Cooper, on January 17 of this year that Joseph Vitale and Robert Talmas became aware that a significant — and unwelcome — legal hurdle lay ahead. Nine months earlier, the two men, who live in Manhattan and married in September 2011, on the 15th anniversary of becoming a couple, spent the legally required 72 hours in Ohio so they could adopt Cooper, at the time he was born, from the birth mother with whom an adoption agency had made them a match. The woman originally said she did not want to meet the adoptive parents, but when Vitale and Talmas arrived in Cincinnati for Cooper’s birth, they learned she had changed her mind. They were told to meet Cooper’s birth mother at a local Catholic hospital. “I thought, ‘We’re finished,’” Talmas recently recalled, explaining the two dads expected to encounter hostility in a Catholic institution. Instead, the hospital welcomed them, giving them a room close to Cooper’s birth mother for the three-day waiting period. “They couldn’t do enough for us,” Talmas said. The two men looked on Ohio as an attractive venue for adopting their child. In some states, Vitale noted, only one of the men could have adopted, and the other would have to do a second-parent adoption in New York. But Ohio provisionally released Cooper in their care, and the men were able to formalize the adoption in a New York City courtroom. The adoption decree granted here included a directive that a new birth cer-

tificate be issued naming Vitale and Talmas as Cooper’s parents. Much to the couple’s chagrin, they quickly learned no such certificate would be forthcoming from the State of Ohio. Their first instinct was anger — directed at their attorney and their adoption agency. Why had no one anticipated this problem or alerted them to its potential? It soon became clear, though, that the obstacle they faced was of recent political vintage — January 2011, to be specific. After Republican Governor John Kasich and Attorney General Mike DeWine took office that month, they ordered the State Department of Health to overturn existing policy that would have allowed Vitale and Talmas to obtain the birth certificate they wanted. The state’s two top officials took the position that Ohio’s ban on same-sex marriage and recognition of such marriages from out of state prevented the issuance of a birth certificate naming them as Cooper’s legal parents. The absurdity of the Republican officials’ argument was not lost on the couple. “The real hook was when they said they were not recognizing our marriage,” Talmas said. “But this wasn’t a gay marriage case. This was about recognizing a New York adoption order.” The couple’s ability to adopt Cooper in New York had nothing to do with their being married; they could have gone ahead with it even if they were still unmarried. All Ohio was being asked to recognize was the validity of an adoption granted in a New York State courtroom. But Vitale and Talmas also recognized the “political platform” Kasich and DeWine had jumped onto in order to appease their conservative GOP base. The battle to get a proper birth cer -

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OHIO, continued on p.15

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April 30, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

A Contested Account of the Marriage Spring Jo Becker’s Prop 8 chronicle chooses its heroes, co-signs narrative that needs them

PENGUIN PRESS

et me first say what Jo Becker’s book, “Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight For Marriage Equality,” is not. Its title, promotional materials, and a few bits of errant prose notwithstanding, this book is not a history of the movement to win marriage rights for same-sex couples in America. It is the story of the lawsuit brought by the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) that overturned Proposition 8, a 2008 California ballot initiative that amended the State Constitution to bar gay and lesbian couples from marrying there. Just as important, and as my Gay City News colleague Arthur S. Leonard has noted elsewhere, “Forcing the Spring” is not even history; it is journalism and the only question that confronts us is whether this book is good journalism or bad journalism. Beginning in 2009, Becker enjoyed extraordinary access to the two couples who were the plaintiffs in the case, their attorneys David Boies and Ted Olson, and Chad Griffin and other AFER staff, with the sole restriction being that she could not report what she observed until after the proceedings were done. Becker sought, but was not given, similar access to Charles Cooper, the attorney who represented the proProp 8 side, and his colleagues and clients. The result, as Becker concedes in a “note on sourcing and other matters,” is that “much of this book is told from the vantage point of the plaintiffs.” I would say that the entire book is told from the plaintiffs’ perspective and that is a significant flaw in this story. The consequence is that “Forcing the Spring” is a lot of cheerleading from start to finish. Cheerleading has been endemic in the mainstream and gay press coverage of the marriage movement for years, but the author takes it to a whole new level. As has been widely noted, Becker opens the book by comparing Griffin, now the head of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay lobby, to Rosa Parks, an African American who refused to comply with segregated seating on buses and became an important symbol in the civil rights movement. Griffin rejected that comparison in an editorial in the Advocate. There are other moments in the book where Becker evokes Martin Luther King in an effort to puff up the AFER lawsuit. This sort of rhetoric is lazy and cheap. The marriage and LGBT rights movements are not vital and important because they resemble some other social justice movement that was noble. These efforts are important because we demonstrate our courage in the face of some tough opponents. The movements show us at our best, I hope, and at our worst. The discrimination we endure is not bad because it resembles some other evil; it is bad because of the harm it does to us and the damage it does to this nation. To make her protagonists heroic, Becker renders Evan Wolfson, the founder of Freedom to Marry, a pro-marriage group, as an obstacle to progress in the marriage fight. This is ridiculous. Wolfson was among the leading voices, if not the leading voice, that got LGBT legal

The elements of the campaign that I find objectionable, Becker sees as brilliant. To her discredit, she never questions or explores what she sees.

PIOTR REDLINSKI/ PENGUIN PRESS

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BY DUNCAN OSBORNE

Author Jo Becker.

groups into the marriage business in the first place. To sustain this hero narrative, the author largely ignores the bold predictions about winning marriage in all 50 states that Olson, Boies, and the AFER team offered before the lawsuit was launched. And she is well aware of that bold talk. In a 2009 profile of Olson in the New York Times that Becker wrote, she paraphrased him saying the lawsuit “will lead to a Supreme Court decision with the potential to reshape the legal and social landscape along the lines of cases like Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade: the legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide.” In 2010, the AFER team won a decision holding that the ban — and, in general terms, any such prohibition — was unconstitutional from Judge Vaughn Walker, following a trial in federal court in San Francisco. The Ninth Circuit, which heard the appeal of that decision, limited that holding so that it would apply narrowly to the situation in California, and, as Becker acknowledges, effectively urged the US Supreme Court to not take the case. In 2013, the nation’s highest court declined to decide the case on the merits, holding instead that the defendants did not have standing to appeal. The result was that Prop 8 was overturned and that was all. Becker asks no question about this. While the worst nightmares of the LGBT legal groups that opposed the lawsuit were not realized, their assertion that this was not the time to bring a suit to the US Supreme Court was proven correct. Becker does not return to this issue, but just quotes Olson saying, “We won.” According to the standard that Olson presented in 2009 and that Becker reported, they lost. To Becker’s credit, she shows the AFER campaign in its entirety, though the elements of the campaign that I find objectionable, she sees as brilliant. To her discredit, she never questions or explores what she sees. The marriage movement is run by lawyers, public relations experts, and political consultants. The rest of us and the couples who are prominently featured in that movement are mere set pieces and pawns to be trotted out when a compelling backdrop is needed for some press event. That unfortunate fact is in full throttle in “Forcing the Spring.” Becker reports that when Griffin and Kristina Schake, his business partner, first began searching for couples to be plaintiffs, they hired an opposition researcher to dig into their backgrounds to make sure there would be no embarrassing revelations about them. The night before the trial began, the AFER team heard “reports that a man in a wedding dress had shown up at the vigil.” This was “catnip to the camera crews stationed outside but exactly the kind of visuals Chad wanted to avoid. For too long, he felt, the gay rights movement had been defined by flamboyant, off-putting imagery. Men wearing leather chaps and bare-chested women on motorcycles at gay pride parades made the news, but did not reflect the reality of modern gay life.” I am not the only person who was sickened by the notion that those of us in the “gay rights movement”

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SPRING, continued on p.33


| April 30, 2014

POLITICS

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2012 Data Suggest Gay Marriage Issue Helped Obama Stony Brook political scientist finds referendums pulled out Democrats, but president’s margin bested equality’s ith public opinion shifting over the past decade to greater support for same-sex marriage, a study published in Political Research Quarterly suggests that just as anti-same-sex marriage ballot initiatives drew conservative voters to the polls in 2004, marriage ballot initiatives pulled more liberal voters to the polls in the 2012 election. “Professor Garretson has used state of the art methods and the conclusion that he draws is not so surprising when we think about the immense sea change we have seen over these years,” said Patrick Egan, a professor of politics and public policy at New York University who was not involved in the study. “It used to be that all the energy was on the anti-marriage side, but over the course of the decade enthusiasm shifted toward those in favor of extending marriage to same-sex couples… It became an advantage.” Jeremiah Garretson, a political science professor at Stony Brook University on Long Island, used “individual- and county-level data” to show that “more recent votes on [same-sex marriage] have mobilized more pro-Obama [same-sex marriage] supporters than pro-Republican social conservatives,” according to the study. In a series of complex calculations that used voter enthusiasm, predicted turnout, and actual turnout, Garretson estimated that the four 2012 marriage ballot initiatives gave President Barack Obama an additional 42,000 votes in Maine, 49,000 votes in Maryland, 89,000 votes in Minnesota, and 108,000 votes in Washington State. The Minnesota vote was a ban on same-sex marriage that voters shot down, and voters approved same-sex marriage in the other three states. The study has implications for gay groups that are weighing marriage ballot initiatives in roughly a half dozen states this year and over the next several years. Republicans, who first used this strategy to help President George W. Bush get reelected in 2004, may now want to stop such initiatives. In fact, Republican legislators were responsible for jettisoning a proposal to put a gay marriage ban on the ballot in Indiana this November. “As [same-sex marriage] preferences continue to strengthen among liberals and potentially weaken among conservatives, [same-sex marriage] initiatives will likely continue to advantage liberals in the future with increasing effect,” Garretson wrote in the study, which was published in February and only recently brought to Gay City News’ attention. “What we're seeing here is that, with supermajority support nationwide for the freedom to marry, having marriage on the ballot is now a clear boon to Democrats,” wrote Marc Solomon, national campaign director at Freedom to Marry, a group pushing for same-sex marriage rights, in an email. “This is clear evidence that it's in the best interest of the national Republican Party to reform its platform and make the freedom to marry the person you love a fully non-partisan cause.” Though Garretson did not discuss this in the study, what is also notable about the four 2012 marriage votes is Obama’s margin of victory versus

PETE SOUZA/ WHITE HOUSE

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BY DUNCAN OSBORNE

President Barack Obama announces his support for marriage equality in a May 2012 interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts.

“What we’re seeing here is that having marriage on the ballots is now a clear boon to Democrats.” the margin of victory for the four ballot initiatives. In Minnesota, Obama won by eight points and marriage only by three points. In Washington, Obama won by 14 points and marriage won by six points. In Maine, Obama won by 15 points and marriage won by six points. Most dramatically, Obama took Maryland by 25 points and marriage won by four points. The pro-Obama, anti-marriage voters in those four states tended to be more Protestant, more evangelical, more conservative or moderate, less educated, and more African-American, according to a sample from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study of 2012 that Garretson examined for Gay City News. In the sample of 1,610 Obama voters in the four states, 33 percent of the Obama voters were Protestant, but 55 percent of the anti-marriage voters were Protestant. Fifteen percent of the Obama voters said they were “born again,” but 42 percent of the antimarriage voters who supported his reelection said they were born again. Catholics constituted 18 percent of the Obama voters in the sample, but just 21 percent of the antimarriage voters in that group were Catholic, suggesting, as polls have, that they are willing to part company with the Church hierarchy on social issues. While three out of five anti-marriage voters who supported the president’s reelection were white, African-Americans were 12 percent of the Obama voters but 34 percent of those who voted for him but against

same-sex marriage. African-Americans have consistently been part of the Democratic coalition, but a significant number still oppose same-sex marriage. Voters who said they were “strict conservative” or “conservative” constituted one and three percent, respectively, of the Obama voters and six and 12 percent of his supporters who were anti-marriage voters. Voters who described themselves as “middle of the road” politically constituted 23 percent of the Obama voters and 35 percent of the anti-marriage voters within his bloc. Voters with just a high school degree were 19 percent of the Obama voters in the sample, but among those who voted for him but against marriage equality they represented 35 percent of the total. In an email to Gay City News, Garretson said such pro-Obama, anti-marriage voters could be moved on marriage. “If they can be persuaded to view same-sex marriage through a different lens, for instance, by potentially meeting lesbians or gays, they may be persuaded to use factors other than their religious preferences in determining their position on samesex marriage,” he wrote. “They may be persuaded to view same-sex marriage through a lens of fairness and equality, a predisposition that may have also led them to support Obama, or to view the issue through the faces of the people they may be potentially discriminating against, rather than to use religious doctrines in determining their position on same-sex marriage.”


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April 30, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

FAMILY

Same-Sex Couples Win Tax Benefit Parity in Alaska

High court says marriage amendment no hindrance BY AUTHUR S. LEONARD

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he Alaska Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, has found that same-sex couples there are entitled to the same real estate tax break under state law given to married couples, despite Alaska’s marriage amendment, which provides that same-sex marriages are neither legal nor recognized there. The April 25 ruling, which held that nothing in the amendment prevents same-sex couples from receiving the tax break, was, the court said, a straightforward application of a 2005 ruling in a case brought by the Alaska Civil Liberties Union, which concluded that committed same-sex couples were entitled to the same state and local government employee benefits as married employees. The Alaska Constitution’s ban on same-sex marriage and its recognition, the court has found, was not proposed to relieve the state of its equal protection obligations to all its citizens, but only to provide that same-sex mar riages would not be legal. Crucially, the amendment, unlike marriage bans adopted in a good number of other states, does not forbid Alaska from extending rights and benefits associated with marriage to same-sex couples — only the name marriage itself. The key to both decisions, as articulated in this case by Senior Justice Robert Ladd Eastaugh, was in how the equal protection question is framed. Equal protection analysis asks first whether two similarly situated groups are being treated in a different way and, if so, whether such different treatment is justified by a legitimate state interest. When LGBT plaintiffs first started litigating equal benefits claims back in the 1970s and ‘80s, courts would dismiss them by saying that unmarried same-sex couples are similarly situated with unmarried different-sex couples. If unmarried different sex-couples were not entitled to a benefit, there was no discrimination from denying it to same-sex couples. All unmarried couples, in such an analysis, were treated the same. As the earlier ruling made clear, however, that changed when the State Constitution specifically barred same-sex marriage, thereby creating an inequality. An unmarried different-sex couple could marry in order to get a benefit denied them while unmarried. Samesex couples did not have the same

option, the court found in 2005. As a result, the state now faces the burden of showing why a benefit in question should not be afforded equally to same-sex couples and married different-sex couples. The key advantage of this perspective for same-sex couples seeking a particular benefit is that they need not prevail against the Alaska marriage amendment — which they can only do by invoking the US Constitution, since it is already part of the State Constitution — in order to win their argument. In the case decided this month, the state had the burden of showing that there was a policy justification for premising a property tax exemption available to senior citizens and disabled veterans on marital status. Alaska was unable to meet that burden.

Ironically, equal protection analysis changed for the better when the Alaska Constitution specifically barred same-sex marriage. As explained in Justice Eastaugh’s opinion, under the tax benefit program, the first $150,00 of assessed value on a residence is exempted from municipal property taxation if an owner is a senior or a disabled veteran. The full exemption, however, is not available if the qualified individual owns the property with someone who is not their spouse. Contending that the exemption program violates their rights to equal protection and equal opportunities, three Anchorage same-sex couples in committed relationships sued the State of Alaska and the City of Anchorage. In all three cases, only one of the two members of the couple qualified as a senior citizen or as a disabled veteran, and so each was allowed a tax exemption on only $75,000 of the assessed valuation. Had they been married, they would have received the full exemption, even if their spouse did

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ALASKA, continued on p.15


| April 30, 2014

COMMUNITY

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PFLAG Founders Honored on Suburban Queens Corner Councilmen Daniel Dromm, Paul Vallone led charge to honor Jeanne, Jules, and Morty Manford he news from North Flushing, Queens is that the dedication of a street corner there in memory of the founders of the Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) in 1972 — Jeanne and Jules Manford and their son, Morty — was not controversial in the least. Thirty-fifth Avenue at 171st Street, amidst tidy suburban homes and across the street from the elementary school where Jeanne taught and up the block from the old Manford home, will forever more be “Jeanne, Jules, Morty Manford PFLAG Way,” following an emotional ceremony in bright sunshine on the morning of April 26. The renaming was driven by Councilman Daniel Dromm, a veteran Queens gay activist who made Jeanne the grand marshal of the first Queens LGBT Pride Parade in 1993, not long after Morty — who, as Gay Activists Alliance president, aided his parents in starting the New York chapter of PFLAG — died of AIDS. Mrs. Manford accepted that honor on the condition that Dromm help her found a Queens chapter of PFLAG, which he did. Jeanne died in January 2013 and a month later was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal, the nation’s second highest civilian honor. Jules died in 1982. The Queens corner designated this past weekend is in the Council district represented by Paul Vallone, who shepherded the name change through his community board last October, while a candidate for City Council, passing it 30-to-1. While Vallone is one of the only members of the Council to march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Manhattan that excludes Irish gay groups — a policy he told Gay City News he thinks should and will change — he said at the ceremony, “I live right down the block and pass this house when I go to the park with my three children. The Manfords were an amazing family. I told my children, ‘Do you know who lived here?’ I explained PFLAG. Today, children can understand and be happy for everyone. The Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays: that’s all of us. Anyone who can’t understand that — that’s their loss.” Dromm said, “This would not have happened without Paul’s support.” The new Queens borough president, Melinda Katz, said, “I am a member of PFLAG.” She talked about the accepting, artistic family she grew up in (her dad led a symphony orchestra). “Now that I have two children, when

COURTESY: CITY COUNCILMAN DANIEL DROMM

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BY ANDY HUMM

Councilmen Paul Vallone (l.) and Daniel Dromm hold up the sign designating the honor for the Manfords, as family members –– including Morty’s sister, Suzanne Swan, next to Dromm; Swan’s cousin, Carol Mammato, next to her; and Carol’s mother and Jeanne’s sister, Audrey Mammato, in front of Carol –– look on.

“Homosexuality was still on the index of mental disorders when Jeanne did this,” Dromm said of PFLAG’s founding. they fall in love it is supported by family and that’s that.” she said. Behind the speakers was a blow-up of the photo of Morty marching in the 1972 LGBT Pride March with his mother carrying a sign that read “Parents of Gays Unite in Support of Our Children,” a message that brought tremendous cheers from parade watchers, a response the Manfords at first thought was for the world famous Dr. Benjamin Spock, the author of best-selling baby books who was marching near them. Countless gay and lesbian people came up to Jeanne in tears during that parade to thank her, many having been rejected by their own families. “It’s a different time from 1972,” said local State Assemblyman Ed Braunstein, who spoke of the “privilege” he had voting for the marriage equality bill in 2011. “There is not one other day that had such an impact on me” in the Assembly, he said. “There was such positive energy in the room and it spread around the country.” Dromm said that he met Morty at the GAA Firehouse headquarters in Soho back in 1971 when he was just coming

out while a student at Marist College. He said of PFLAG, “Homosexuality was still on the index of mental disorders when Jeanne did this. That was incredible.” He noted that many young gay people crashed at their house: “Jeanne was their mother and Jules was their father.” John Duane, a former Queens Assembly member, and the brother of out gay former State Senator Tom Duane, confirmed that. “Our parents were not at all supportive” of Tom’s sexual orientation at first, he said, “and we both ran away a number of times to the Manfords. We had dinner here all the time. We felt welcome and loved. That support we got led us to being activists. It gave my brother Tom — gay and HIV-positive — the strength to become the most courageous political leader of our time.” John Liu, the former city comptroller, was not part of the planned program but came by with his young son, Joey. “This is a special moment in our neighborhood — an historic moment right here on this block,” he said. “I’m just here with my son to enjoy this moment.”

Dale Bernstein of PFLAG National said, “I’m in awe of Jeanne Manford. We’ve grown to 350 chapters and 200,000 members in the US and we’re in all 50 states.” Judy Sennesh of PFLAG NYC called Jeanne “my personal hero,” comparing her “to the righteous Gentiles who hid people in the Holocaust. They would tell you they did nothing special.” Sennesh took the opportunity to express her “outrage” at the New York State Senate’s failure to vote on the longstalled Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA). “As the mother of a transgender son, it is time for Governor Cuomo to get on the stick,” she said. “Bring GENDA to the floor! We don’t care whether it is an election year.” Suzanne Swan, Morty’s sister, said, “This house was a wonderful place to grow up. There was plenty of love to spread around. We welcomed in those who were rejected. My parents were ordinary people — a school teacher and a dentist. They loved their gay son.” She also spoke of her mother being on the phone “for hours” helping parents who had trouble coping with the news that a son or daughter was gay. As for her father, Jules, she said, “He hated to see people in pain.” Audrey Mammato, Jeane’s surviving sister, made it to the ceremony in a wheelchair as did Audrey Gallagher, Dromm’s mother and a PFLAG Queens stalwart. “Jeanne was a fantastic woman,” Gallagher said. “Sometimes you could barely hear her speak but she accomplished so much. Now PFLAG is worldwide.” And Gallagher, like the Manfords, once took in a gay throwaway kid, “Danny’s friend, 15, whose parents wouldn’t let him back in their house. His father was a fireman, John Lenihan, who led the firefighters against the gay rights bill” in the early 1970s. A day of many emotional stories. Like Jeanne, Dromm was a longtime public school teacher. Emphasizing that “the teaching of LGBT history is very important to me,” he said, “I’m tired of the history books being whitewashed” and noted that kids might learn about tennis pioneer Billie Jean King, for whom a Queens stadium is named, but rarely that she is also a lesbian activist. With this name change, Dromm is bringing some of that history into the streets of a quiet corner of Queens. Now that he is chair of the Council’s Education Committee, he intends to integrate that history into school curricula throughout the city, as well.


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April 30, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

NIGHTLIFE

No Parking Departs, Washington Heights Loses Unique Venue

MICHAEL LUONGO

MICHAEL LUONGO

Expect the diverse gay, lesbian crowd to head to Castro — in Inwood, not San Francisco

No Parking’s trio of DJs — MK, Nesto, and Matt GoodBar — were all on hand for closing night.

Birthday boy Matt Curiano said there was “nowhere on earth” he’d rather be when he turned 25.

BY MICHAEL LUONGO

MICHAEL LUONGO

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amed for its location inside of a parking garage, the gay and lesbian bar No Parking opened in 2006 in Washington Heights at a time when t h e n e i g h b o rh o o d , b e g i n n i n g t o gentrify, remained largely Dominican. Location was everything, the setting giving it a decidedly Latin flavor, sprinkled with gays and lesbians of a variety of other ethnicities who were then moving into the area. Other patrons curiously ventured in from other parts of the city or from just over the Hudson River, crossing in from New Jersey over the George Washington Bridge, the exit ramps of which were just a block away. Decidedly different from venues further downtown — including in its mix of gay men and lesbians gathering together — No Parking closed its doors with a packed blowout party on April 13, Palm Sunday. Michael Hodge, the treasurer of Harlem Pride, was among those at the closing event. “I have always been here from the beginning. Manny was always very supportive of Harlem Pride,” Hodge said, referring to Manny Fierro, the bar’s manager. With his day job nearby at Columbia-Presbyterian, he added, he was “here often. Now there is nowhere to go after this place closes.” Fierro said he started working at No Parking in 2007. Helping his bartenders serve drinks while the high-tops of go-go boys shuffled across the surface of the bar, he said he will most miss “the positive attitude of all the workers. We

The go-go boys were smoking on No Parking’s farewell night.

always worked like a family together. Our customers added to that family feeling.” Fierro then looked up at the sweaty parade of dancers before him, at least eight go-go boys and one go-go girl, a fantasy in more ways than one. With his fingers in quotes, he added, “Also, looking at everything, our DL dancers. Dancers that were supposed to be straight guys. That was really celebrated here. That was why people would come here.” The dancers were highlighted at a weekly party called Cockfight. That event has already moved further uptown, to an Inwood bar called Castro,

in the former Le Boy space on Dyckman Street. Fierro and much of the No Parking staff will also be working there. “We are taking the party with us,” he said. “When we move to the Castro, we won’t have the same setup, the bar in the middle, but we will have all the good times.” Some patrons regretted not getting to know the bar better before it closed, like Alberto, who lives in East Harlem and came for the first time on the last night. “I always wanted to come, but as soon as they told me it was closing, I had to come,” Alberto said, adding, “We need more places like this uptown because it

is a truly diverse place. There’s nothing like this downtown.” He was with his friend Brandon, who lives in Brooklyn. Only there for the second time, Brandon said, “I will miss the music and the vibe.” A trio of DJs was serving that last night — DJ MK, DJ Nesto, and DJ Matt Goodbar. Scanning the crowd from the DJ pulpit, tucked into a dark corner of the bar, Goodbar said, “This is a happy-sad moment for me. Sunday is my night.” The last DJ spinning for the evening, he added, “I started here, so closing it down is an honor.” DJ MK took a forward-minded perspective on the evening, saying, “I’ve been here a year and a half. I am the only female DJ who has played here. I will miss it, but I am happy they are moving on.” Revving the crowd up from the DJ booth was Kedwin, a bartender who served as the evening’s emcee, ticking off the names of the dancers lined up for the evening. He had been scattering white leis over the DJs along with several of the bar’s customers. He described the evening as “as emotional, that’s for sure,” as he bounced through the crowded space. Other patrons brought their own festive gear, like Matt Curiano who was wearing a Mardi Gras style crown. A resident of the neighborhood, he said he was turning 25 that evening and had brought a group of friends with him. “This is my quarter -life crisis and there is nowhere else on earth I would rather be than here,” Curiano said. “I am so sad to see this place go. I will miss meeting all the eccentric people dancing to all the amazing music.”


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| April 30, 2014

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INDIA, from p.4

procedure. Gender identity, in our view, is an integral part of sex and no citizen can be discriminated on the ground of gender identity, including those who identify as third gender.” Focusing on the development of human rights principles around the globe , Justice Sikri observed, “There is thus a universal recognition that human rights are rights that ‘belong’ to every person, and do not depend on the specifics of the individual or the relationships between the right-holder and the right-grantor… If democracy is based on the recognition of the individuality and dignity of man, as a fortiori we have to recognize the right of a human being to choose his sex/ gender identity which is integral to his/ her

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PINTER, from p.5

is involved, bring up very painful memories of an oppressive time in this country when such actions were even more widespread.” The 14 prostitution arrests in Blue Door were notable because nine of the 14 men busted there were over 40. Only one of the 14 had a prior arrest and that was for grand larceny. Police department documents suggest that racial profiling in addition to the targeting of older gay and bisexual men may have played a role in the prostitution arrests. Eighteen of the 41 were Latino and 14 were African-American. Seven were white and two were Asian. Altogether, 78 percent of the men arrested were either Latino or African-American.

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OKLAHOMA, from p.6

riage equality appeals. The Fourth Circuit hears oral argument in the Virginia cases on May 13, and arguments will probably occur in June on the Sixth Circuit cases from Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, and Kentucky. In an interesting Sixth Circuit development, Roberta Kaplan, who successfully argued Edie Windsor’s DOMA case before the Supreme Court, is trying to intervene on behalf of Equality Ohio, the state’s LGBT rights organization. Kaplan was rebuffed in her effort to intervene on behalf of a new set of Utah plaintiffs in the 10th Circuit. In the Sixth Circuit, she contended —

personality and is one of the most basic aspects of self-determination, dignity, and freedom.” The two judges agreed that the government must protect transgender and third gender individuals from discrimination and take affirmative steps to improve their conditions and opportunities. Among other things, they directed the government to “provide them separate public toilets and other facilities” — an approach that would likely not find favor among transgender rights advocates in the US. Noting that the Indian government had already established a study commission on the transgender community, the panel stated its recommendations should “be examined based on the legal declaration made in this Judgment and implemented within six months.”

Men arrested in the other five shops ranged in age from their late teens to early 40s. Among the 27 men arrested in those five shops, 14 were Latino, 11 were African-American, one was white, and one was Asian. In those five porn shops, 93 percent of the men arrested were African-American or Latino. The NYPD records suggest that police were not arresting prostitutes. Among the 41 men arrested in all six shops, 15 had prior arrests with a few with extensive criminal records, but just two out of the 41 had prior arrests for prostitution. The same vice cops who made the porn shop busts also made at least 16 other prostitution arrests of men and a few women in two Manhattan spas. Those spas were also sued in nuisance abatement lawsuits.

contrary to the arguments made by the Ohio and the Michigan plaintiffs — that the cases should go directly to en banc review by the entire circuit rather than to a three-judge panel. That was the same position taken by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, a marriage equality opponent. Kaplan noted that a three-judge panel would be required to respect existing circuit precedent that a sexual orientation claim be reviewed using the lenient rational basis standard. En banc, the circuit could consider anew the question of what standard of review applies. On April 28, the Sixth Circuit rejected a petition for initial en banc review in the Michigan case.

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April 30, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

PERSPECTIVE

Dirty Words

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BY KELLY COGSWELL

S

ince my book “Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger” came out, I’ve had people getting all freaked about how often I use the word “dyke,” which in my vocabulary is almost interchangeable with lesbian. It’s not just straight people that get squeamish. There was this young — gay woman? — that apparently had only heard bigots use “dyke.” Though for the record, she could barely utter the word “lesbian” either, and just talked vaguely about girls. For a while now, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” has been attacked over language, and recently the show was persuaded to quit using a controversial “she-mail” gag. Critics are also trying to get the word “tranny” banned, condemning anybody that uses it, even somebody who considers themselves trans or has a clear drag queen identity. I’d always thought the unspoken rules for reclaiming epithets had to do with who the speaker was. If some young black kid wants to call his pals “niggahs,” who am I to judge? As a white chick, they’d laugh in my face, anyway, the same way they sneer at those members of the African-American community who go all ballistic when they hear the word. No, the generation who uses it just ignores them and goes on about its linguistic business.

Likewise, I can say the word “dyke” as much as I want, with affection or bitter rage, admitting it often sounds wrong in other mouths — even when they don’t turn it into a curse. Words bristle with their histories. I spent half an hour at a party once explaining to a gay white guy why it was a bad idea for him to use the n-word. “But they do.” “So?” “They even call me that, sometimes. Why shouldn’t I use it?” And I gave him my speech.

volumes of Judith Butler. Referring to ourselves as dykes, fags, trannies, queers actually meant something specific. More than reclaiming the bigoted slurs and embracing our pariah status, we signaled our refusal to settle for the crumbs of mere tolerance or pained acceptance. And this was a lot more than a radical pose. We were the fags from ACT UP, dykes from Queer Nation or the Lesbian Avengers, trannies like Sylvia Rivera

Code-switching, changing your vocabulary, your style is a tactic for everybody outside the hegemony of power. But lately, I’ve realized I break my own rules. For instance, I’ve often used “fag”, even though I’m not one. I’ve even occasionally said “tranny”, though under very restricted circumstances. And not lately. So either words like “dyke” and “fag” don’t function quite the same as “nigger,” or I’m a big fat hypocrite. Neither is out of the question. It helps if you know that for a while, anyway, during homo prehistory, a lot of us used those words in New York’s LGBT activist community. Yeah, those were the days when “queer” might have described a threedollar bill, tattooed dyke, or bewigged, high-heeled man, not a university program for earnest undergrads carrying around

that would emerge sometimes in groups like STAR (originally Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, until Transgender was substituted). And, yes, we sometimes used those words to refer to each other. It was a sign of recognition. An acknowledgement we had something in common, mostly that we couldn’t, wouldn’t pass in polite society. In fact, we’d burn down the whole rotten structure the first chance we got. So if you were organizing an anti-violence march, you’d make sure to issue a call to all your dyke and fag friends. (Even among us, transfolk were often marginalized). But clearly excluded were all the nice LGBT people who

were horrified at the noise we made, our unseemly low-class obnoxious behavior, the arrests we racked up, our refusal to fit in as we fought AIDS, violence, and homophobia. One difference between then and now was that our audience knew what the words meant. Like some stories that fail in the re-telling, maybe you had to be there. Code-switching, changing your vocabulary, your style is a tactic for everybody outside the hegemony of power. Sometimes, we’d use those words in our speeches and put them on banners. But not always. For public consumption, our spokespeople stuck to Standard White English, talked about lesbians and gay men. If the language of “Drag Race” offends some, maybe it’s because there’s no context, or history. You get the insider words without any of the political edge. “Tranny” seems more like a joke than an act of resistance. What troubles me is how far their critics are willing to go — forbidding even drag queens from using a word that was commonly used in their own community. And given the history of the LGBT movement, this outcry seems less like a battle against transphobia than one more attempt by the usual enforcers to keep troublesome dykes and fags and trannies in line so that one day soon, straight, white, middle class America will throw open its arms and welcome its dignified (Stepford) children home. Kelly Cogswell is the author of “Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger,” published by the University of Minnesota Press.

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A Greenwich Village resident and community leader plans to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots by creating a public exhibit along Christopher Street, which she hopes will help revitalize the many small businesses around the famous site. The “Stonewall 45” project by Susanna Aaron, a member of Manhattan’s Community Board 2, aims to line the storefronts of those businesses — including the famed Stonewall Inn itself — with 24 posters describing the historical context of the riots, which began in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969. “I feel it’s a missed opportunity that Christopher

Street doesn’t really market itself by taking advantage of its role in history,” said Aaron, who is not gay but once lived on Christopher Street and still owns property there. “Too many people still don’t know the history of Stonewall, and I feel like the street would benefit from a greater cultural presence, a greater historical anchor.” Aside from well known bars like the Stonewall Inn, Aaron added that she’s already gotten a diverse array of other businesses onboard, ranging from the Leather Man, a sex toy outlet, to Doodle Doo’s, a children’s hair salon. In addition, she said she has been working with historian David Carter — author of the book

“Stonewall: The Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution” — to ensure the accuracy of the public displays. Aaron hopes to present the “Stonewall 45” exhibit throughout the last two weeks of June, to also coincide with the city’s Pride Parade and related celebrations. “I hope it brings a new look and a new perspective to Christopher Street, by showing off our eclectic mix of businesses, while also simply promoting the idea of promoting LGBT history,” she said. “It seems like a perfect time, with marriage equality winning state after state, for us to all embrace that history.” — Sam Spokony


15

| April 30, 2014 OHIO, from p.7

tificate for Cooper would be one waged over the issue of gay marriage. But it was also about a lot more than legal arguments and political posturing. For the two Manhattan men, it was very personal, and at each step of the way it is Cooper that has been at the center of their concerns. “We wanted a document that reflects who our child’s parents are,” Vitale said. His husband added, “I appreciate the arguments about our civil rights, but it’s really about Cooper’s civil rights. The State of Ohio was not taking care of — to me — one of their children, a child who was born there.” Leaving aside the potential harm Cooper could face if only one of his dads were on his birth certificate — particularly if the family were outside New York and an emergency arose — there was the deeply emotional question of which father’s name would appear and which wouldn’t. “Later in life, we would have to have a conversation about why we’re not both on the birth certificate,” Talmas said. “Who wants to have that conversation?” For Talmas, projecting what emotions arise in a family in the context of adoption is not idle speculation. He himself is an adopted son and speaks with unabashed happiness about his life growing up — an experience that made him eager to become an adoptive father himself. Ironically, though, something he encountered as he and Vitale worked on Cooper’s adoption reminded him of how the questioning of one’s parentage can sting, even coming decades into adulthood. As part of the paperwork required in Cooper’s New York proceedings, each man needed multiple copies of their own birth certificates affixed with

c

raised official seals. Knowing he was born in Nassau County, Talmas traveled to the clerk’s office there to obtain what he needed. But he faced a bewildered county employee trying to figure out why there was no record of his birth, asking first if he had ever changed his name and only later if he was adopted — as a growing line of impatient people waited their turn behind him. Because his adoption was “closed,” the birth certificate had been forwarded from Nassau County to Albany, and in time Talmas got his hands on what he needed. But months later, when the issue of his own son’s birth certificate surfaced, he immediately told his husband, “Joe, I will never take one with just one name.” Fortunately for the two dads, their adoption agency immediately recognized the risks posed to prospective clients from Ohio’s new posture toward issuing birth certificates to same-sex parents. Vitale and Talmas learned of a lawsuit in the works challenging the policy by taking on the state’s refusal to recognize valid same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions. Late last year, US District Court Judge Timothy S. Black struck down the ban on recognizing such marriages in the narrow context of recording marital status and surviving spouses on death certificates. Vitale and Talmas joined three other couples whose challenge to the recognition ban as it applies to birth certificates was heard a few months later, by Black as well. Unlike Vitale and Talmas, the other three plaintiff couples live in Ohio and they are all women. Each is expecting a child in the next few months, conceived through donor insemination. The lesbian couples, all married outside of Ohio, want these births to be treated

ALASKA, from p.10

not qualify. The three couples all prevailed in the superior court, and the two defendants appealed. The high court ruled in favor of two of the three couples, both of which owned their homes jointly as tenants in common. The lower court, however, was found to have erred in the case of the third couple, in which only one of the partners, who was neither a senior citizen nor a disabled veteran, was the property’s sole owner. In judging whether the discriminatory treatment of the two same-sex couples who jointly owned their property could be justified, the high court acknowledged that the state and city’s reliance on administrative cost savings was a “legitimate” end, but held that the distinction the policy made “is not substantially related to those interests.” The savings sought, the court found, “alone are not sufficient government objectives under our equal protection analysis… the government can adequately protect its tax base and minimize cost without discriminating between similarly situated classes.” The defendants argued that it was costly to determine if the same-sex plaintiffs actually qualified — as committed couples “similarly situated” to married couples — but the court noted

the same way the state treats births to different-sex married couples when the wife becomes pregnant through donor insemination— with the state automatically issuing a birth certificate identifying the mother’s spouse as the child’s other legal parent. The two Manhattan men did not at first grasp why their joining the case was particularly alarming to Ohio officials. The lawsuit overall posed the issue of whether the state violated the plaintiffs’ federal constitutional rights by refusing to recognize marriages that were legal where they were celebrated — still very much an unsettled legal question. Vitale and Talmas brought an additional argument to the table — whether under the Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit Clause, Ohio could refuse to honor an adoption decree from another state. The Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit Clause is not seen as extending to the recognition of marriage, but it does generally require that court orders — which an adoption is, but a marriage is not — be honored from one state to another. In fact, when Black, on April 14, ruled in favor of the four plaintiff couples on the question of marriage recognition, he noted in a footnote that Vitale and Talmas also had an avenue of redress based on the Full Faith and Credit Clause. Black’s ruling in the birth certificate case went well beyond his decision in the death certificate matter, finding that Ohio’s refusal to recognize legal out of state marriages was unconstitutional in all instances. Two days later, the judge bowed to reality — namely, the Supreme Court’s January order that the Utah marriage equality ruling be put on hold until all appeals are exhausted — by staying his order, except as it applied to the four plaintiff couples.

that “the state allows married couples to establish eligibility for the exemption merely by making a sworn statement.” The same evidence should suffice for same-sex couples. The Supreme Court also rejected the justification that providing the exemption for married couples was intended to promote marriage, saying it could not see how denying the exemption to same-sex couples promotes that goal. “The State has not explained how denying benefits to couples who cannot marry will promote marriage in couples who can,” wrote Eastaugh, in an assessment that could well be applied to the ban on samesex marriage itself. “We assume, as the couples argue, that giving the full benefit only to married couples will not encourage same-sex domestic couples to leave their partnerships and enter into heterosexual relationships with an intention to marry.” Based on these conclusions, the court held that “the exemption program fails minimum scrutiny and violates these couples’ rights to equal protection.” The plaintiffs are represented by David Oesting and Roger Leishman of the Davis Wright Tremaine firm in Anchorage, and attorneys Thomas Stenson and Leslie Cooper appearing on behalf of the ACLU of Alaska Foundation.

For Vitale and Talmas, the pace of events suddenly shifted into high gear. Within five days, the couple had an emailed copy of Cooper’s birth certificate on their smart phones, something that clearly buoyed their spirits when it arrived just moments before they sat down with Gay City News. The form still had a space for “Mother’s Name” and had both of their names under the header “Father’s Name,” and they were not buying the state’s explanation there simply had not been time to revamp the form. They knew that Kasich and DeWine were not yet willing to wave that white flag. In the days since then, the couple has struggled over whether or not to accept a form also compromised by the fact that it is stamped with the words: Note: “Pursuant to United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio — Case No. 1:14-cv-129. Issued April 14, 2014.” As Vitale put it in an April 29 email, “Don’t want a footnoted Birth Certificate.” Regardless of whether or not they take the piece of paper the State of Ohio is now offering, the couple is in it for the long haul. If Ohio prevails in its appeal of Black’s order, it could conceivably withdraw even the footnoted document. Vitale and Talmas estimate that their adoption of Cooper cost them close to $40,000 and said that the effort to battle the denial of his birth certificate has added another 25 percent or so onto that — largely in last-minute trips to Ohio for court proceedings. “Now we’ve become activists,” Vitale said, noting that so far the expenses are manageable, but might not be for everyone faced with their dilemma. He added, “We haven’t abandoned Ohio. It’s where Cooper is from.”

GMHC NAMES NEW LEADER

HARLEM UNITED

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On April 29, as Gay City News was going to press, the Gay Men’s Health Crisis announced the hiring of Kelsey Louie as its new chief executive officer. Louie, who was the agency’s coordinator of counseling and education in 2006, has since worked at the Harlem United Community AIDS Center, where he most recently served as chief operating officer. A native New Yorker, he earned his master’s degree in social work at NYU and a master’s in business administration from Columbia University. Duncan Osborne’s interview with Louie, who replaces Dr. Marjorie Hill, who departed late last summer, will appear online this week at gaycitynews.com


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April 30, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

REAL ESTATE

Transforming Affordable From a Slogan into a Residence With the new mayor set to detail housing plan, what New Yorkers on a budget should know

O

Interior and exterior views of Gotham West on West 45th Street.

GOTHAM ORGANIZATION

ur city’s biggest challenge is the growing disparity between affordable and market-rate housing,” according to Jonathan Miller, the president and CEO of Miller Samuel Inc., a New York-based real estate appraisal and consulting firm. “Producing affordable housing helps us provide a greater diversity for labor skills needed in New York. And in the long run, affordable housing stands as an essential component for the city to continue as a thriving community.” This is the week when Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose 2013 campaign focused considerable attention on expanding affordable housing opportunities, lays out the specifics of his plan. A report released on April 23 by City Comptroller Scott Stringer (comptroller.nyc.gov/ reports/budget-reports) made clear the scope of the housing affordability challenge facing the city after 12 years in which median apartment rents grew by 75 percent, compared to an average increase nationwide of 44 percent. De Blasio’s goal of building or preserving 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next decade represents a significant step up from the 165,000-unit record from the 12 years of the Bloomberg administration. The new mayor comes to his mission with considerable housing qualifications. During the Clinton administration, he served as the regional director for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development under then-Secretary Andrew Cuomo. As a member of the City Council prior to his election as public advocate in 2009, de Blasio wrote the law that stopped landlords from discrim-

GOTHAM ORGANIZATION

BY LAUREN PRICE

inating against tenants based on their source of income. Currently, developers of rental properties can receive low-cost financing through the city’s Housing Finance Agency (HFA) when at least 20 percent of the units are designated as affordable housing. Drawing on funds raised through the sale of tax-exempt bonds, the HFA requires that qualifying apartments must be affordable and rented to households with incomes at or below 50 percent of the neighborhood Area Median Income (AMI), adjusted for family size. An alternative way for developers to qualify is to set aside 25 percent or more of a project’s units for households whose income is 60 percent or less than the local AMI, adjusted for family size. Affordability is defined as a monthly rent no greater than 30 percent of gross household income. A list of projects financed by HFA currently holding lotteries or accepting applications can be found at nyshcr.org/ topics/home/renters/opportunitiestoapplyforaffordablerentalunits.htm. New York’s is a high-density housing market short on land, but more than a few of New York’s major development companies are big players in 80/ 20 affordable housing programs. Related Companies, one of the nation’s largest developers, has a significant commitment to developing, acquiring, and preserving housing in the affordable sector. In fact, according to the company’s website, more than 60 percent of its 50,000-plus apartments under management are part of one or more affordable housing programs (related.com/our-company/businesses/9/affordable-housing).

c

AFFORDABLE, continued on p.32

THE 411 ON AFFORDABILITY New York City’s affordability housing programs come in a variety of permutations, but in general terms eligibility is based on: household income falling between a particular development’s upper and lower limits; a household’s members meeting program guidelines; credit history that meets the developer’s standards; and absence of housing, legal, or criminal obstacles. Different affordable housing developments have different income requirements. Carefully read the income guidelines for each advertised apartment. You may fall into different categories for different developments, depending on your income and household size. You may get preference for a particular development if you: have mobility, hearing, or vision impairments; currently live in the same Community Board District as the development or currently live in New York City; or work for the City of New York. For current listings, visit NYC Housing Connect at nyc.gov/housingconnect or call 311 and ask for the Affordable Housing Hotline.

The NYC Affordable Housing Resource Center is currently accepting applications. Future tenants will be selected by a lottery among all the applicants who meet the eligibility criteria for a specific development. Additional information can be found at nyc.gov/html/housinginfo/html/ apartments/apartment_hunting_tips.shtml. To participate in a lottery, you must complete an application form and mail it to the developer within the specified application period. Newspaper advertisements should provide you with information on income guidelines, who to contact, where to mail your request for an application, and where to mail your completed application. Deadlines for applications will also be noted in the ad. One week after the application deadline, the applications are retrieved and then randomly selected. Based on the relevant information from the application, a list of qualified applicants will be created — often a list totaling 20 times the number of available apartments. Interviews with applicants will be scheduled after the drawing. All applicants must meet the individual program requirements to be eli-

gible and receive the community preference. No application fee or broker fee is required. If an applicant passes the interview, the developer may require a fee to conduct a credit check. (nyc.gov/html/housinginfo/html/ faqs/faq.shtml) Owners maintain the waiting list for a particular development so that there is a ready list of potential tenants. If an apartment becomes available or the apartments are not all rented initially, the developer will offer the apartment to applicants on a waiting list. Owners have the discretion to close a waiting list. If you are on a waiting list, the developer may require you to renew your status as an interested applicant by contacting their office every six to 12 months. Your eligibility to rent one of these apartments is determined by your income at the time you are offered the apartment. If your income has increased above the allowable maximum income since you originally applied for the apartment, you are no longer eligible to receive the apartment. (nyc.gov/html/housinginfo/html/faqs/faq.shtml) — Lauren Price


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| April 30, 2014

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April 30, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

GALLERY

The Beauty of Men Leslie-Lohman’s “Stroke” legitimizes bygone era of gay erotica

STROKE: FROM UNDER THE MATTRESS TO THE MUSEUM WALLS

LESLIE-LOHMAN MUSEUM OF GAY AND LESBIAN ART

Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art 26 Wooster St., btwn Grand & Canal Sts. Through May 25 Tue.-Sun., noon - 6 p.m. Open until 8 p.m., Thu. leslielohman.org

These are the images that comprise the very beautiful and very sexy exhibit “Stroke: From Under the Mattress to the Museum Walls,” on view at the Leslie Lohman through May 25. Lovingly curated by master commercial illustrator Robert W. Richards, the vividly painted red and yellow walls of the gallery fairly burst with gorgeous testosterone by artists both well known — Antonio Lopez, Tom of Finland, George Stavrinos, and Mel Odom — and relatively obscure, if nonetheless talented, including Michael Kirwan, Benoit Prévot, Michael Broderick, and the more provocatively named Beau, Rex, Blade, Domino, and the Hun. Incredibly varied in their technique, media materials, and aesthetic approach, what they all do share is an unabashed adoration and celebration of the male form divine at its most literally ecstatic. The show is, at once, elegant, raunchy, and witty, as well as interactive, for in the center of the gallery is a counter stocked with vintage issues of the aforementioned magazines that any visitor can feel free to leaf through. “Yes, those are all from my own collection,” Richards chuckled when I met him one sunny spring afternoon for a personal tour of the exhibit. “In organizing this show, I knew that despite the sleazy reputations these magazines had there were great artists contributing to them, because, number one, they paid on the

The work of (clockwise from top left) Benoit Prévot, Antonio Lopez, Michael Kirwan, and Michael Breyette are highlights of “Stroke” at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art through May 25.

day of publication so you always got your money. That part was above board, but then the stuff would get stashed away or maybe returned to the artists. Many didn’t even bother to get their work back, but these big name artists did, and this was always at the back of my mind. Why is all this forgotten? “I decided to do it four years ago and proposed it to the board here, of which I was not then a member. They said, ‘Okay, it sounds like the old Leslie-Lohman as opposed to what we’re doing now that we’re a museum.’ ‘You have to trust me,’ I told them. ‘I’ve always done things here that were successful and tasteful [laughs].’ I started gathering stuff four years ago, and a year ago I worked on this every single day and now it’s done. “Gallery attendance has been staggering and the press has been

LESLIE-LOHMAN MUSEUM OF GAY AND LESBIAN ART

LESLIE-LOHMAN MUSEUM OF GAY AND LESBIAN ART

f you are a gay man of a certain age, magazines with titles like Honcho, Mandate, Torso, Drummer, Inches, and the gold standard — the Vogue of the genre, if you will — Blueboy will be familiar to you, maybe once stuffed under your mattress or hid away on a top closet shelf if you were a kid living at home, or nestled in a nightstand drawer if you were grown and on your own. We’re talking pre-Internet, pre-DVD, pre-VHS cassette, when one’s erotic fantasies were often generated from the printed page. Besides the glossy, everprotuberant photographic layouts, there were erotic tales — these, too, often illustrated — that made you use your imagination to visualize the friskiness.

LESLIE-LOHMAN MUSEUM OF GAY AND LESBIAN ART

I

BY DAVID NOH

unbelievable. Yesterday we received all this stuff on Russian blogs primarily because of this politically charged Michael Breyette image of two Russian men kissing in the snow. That’s all over Russia now, and all of Western Europe has been checking in. The New York Times covered us in the Sunday Styles section, a very good, spicy little piece called ‘Risqué Business.’ I wish we could run this through Gay Pride, but another show is coming in, as the museum schedule is fixed until 2017.” A contemporary of many of the artists, Richards knew a number of them and offered personal reminiscences as well as serious artistic appraisal with his unerringly impeccable eye. The logo image for the exhibit is a dead sexy portrait of an elaborately pompadoured Latino man making a kissy face, who defines the term

“papi chulo,” by the great Antonio Lopez: “This image is now all over Chelsea on lamp posts. I knew Antonio lightly, but I was really scared of him because in Paris, especially, he was always surrounded by these incredible looking people, Jessica Lange, Pat Cleveland, Jerry Hall, all these great beauties, not to mention the boys. I’d go to the famous Club Sept and be the wallflower, watching as they took over. “But I loved him and Juan Ramos, his one-time boyfriend and collaborator, who’s also gone. Juan did all the art direction and a lot of the color, so it was collaborative, but never made public. It’s hard enough to make one person famous! Paul Caranicas is executor of the estate and has it all, beautifully kept, immaculate, and to go there is kind of frightening because there’s so much, every piece, not to mention hundreds of thousands of Polaroids [of models and celebrities] which haven’t surfaced. They’re as important as Warhol, but they’re not Warhol, although Antonio is inching his way. “After him, I decided that I shouldn’t be doing fashion any more. I was drawing for Women’s Wear Daily, in that very Kenneth Paul Block school, which I loved and we were all trained in. Then Antonio came and started putting Saint Laurent dresses on black girls with big asses and tits, inventing crazy shoes, a whole new thing, and I thought, ‘Oh, man, the parade is rapidly passing us by,’ and it did. The era belonged to him and I couldn’t and wouldn’t compete.” At the Chelsea Hotel, Lopez drew and collaborated with the great fashion designer Charles James, the subject of this year’s Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute show, and I asked if Antonio was going to be included in that.

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STROKE, continued on p.30


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| April 30, 2014

THEATER

Genre Bender

PLAY DINE UNWIND

Revival of a giddy

parody pastiche where low and high culture collide

CAROL ROSEGG

Over 5,000 Games. Minutes Away!

Robert Sella and Arnie Burton in the 30th anniversary production of Charles Ludlam’s “The Mystery of Irma Vep: A Penny Dreadful,” directed by Everett Quinton.

BY DAVID KENNERLEY

M

ention the name Charles Ludlam, even to New York theater junkies, and you’re likely to be met with blank stares. When you give hints about his trademarks — cross-dressing, elaborate costumes, campy parody of noir Hollywood films, zany plot twists, double entendres — you’re likely to get, “Oh, you mean Charles Busch?”

THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP: A PENNY DREADFUL Lucille Lortel Theatre 121 Christopher St., btwn. Bleecker & Hudson Sts. Through May 11 Tue.-Wed. at 7:30 p.m.; Thu.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Sat. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. $60 at redbulltheater.com Or 212-352-3201 Two hrs., with intermission

In the 1970s and 1980s, Ludlam’s Ridiculous Theatrical Company was a flamboyant, bold force in the downtown theater scene. Tragically, the avantgarde dramatist died of complications from AIDS in 1987 at age 44 in St. Vincent’s Hospital. In Ludlam’s obituary in the New York T imes, the Public Theater’s Joe Papp said, “We lost an extraordinary artist who was just on his way to a tremendous breakthrough in

theater and opera.” And now one of his most popular plays, “The Mystery of Irma Vep: A Penny Dreadful,” is being revived by the Red Bull Theater company at the Lortel Theatre, not far from Ridiculous Theatrical’s former home in Sheridan Square (now the Axis Theatre). The clever comedy is directed by none other than Everett Quinton, who not only co-starred in the original with Ludlam but was, in the parlance of the day, his “longtime companion.” Then the main theater critic for the Times, Frank Rich, hailed “Irma Vep” among the best plays of 1984. But does the work hold up after 30 years? Well, it depends on your taste for that brand of borderline-corny comedy. If you relish a mélange of Shakespeare, Hitchcock, Victorian melodrama, gothic romance, and soap opera — like your favorite skit from “The Carol Burnett Show” — then this is the play for you. The goofy spoof is a “full-length quick-change act” where two nimble performers (Arnie Burton and Robert Sella) play all roles, male and female. The plot is everything you’d expect from a penny dreadful — those cheap, lurid stories first published in the 19th century. The action, set “between the wars,” begins in the library drawing room of Mandacrest (think Manderley

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MYSTERY, continued on p.30

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20

April 30, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

THEATER

Dressed to Thrill Two Broadway shows probe gender fluidity, but similarity ends there BY DAVID KENNERLEY

JOAN MARCUS

Neil Patrick Harris in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”

her ex-boyfriend, Tommy, who shot to stardom by ripping off her songs. As everybody knows by now, the central force behind this high-wattage revival is its gifted star, Neil Patrick Harris. His leggy Hedwig is a bundle of raw energy, threatening to explode at

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ast week two shows examining the politics of gender identity opened on Broadway, yet they are polar opposites on nearly every level. “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” is a rough-and-tumble rock musical in the vein of glam rock bands from the 1970s — think David Bowie or Iggy Pop — where androgyny, glitter, and gutsiness rule. A huge cult hit in 1998 at the Jane Street Theatre, it ran for two years and nabbed a slew of awards. The soundtrack was a bestseller, with Rolling Stone magazine crowing that “Hedwig” was “the first undeniably kickass rock musical.” For the uninitiated, the exuberant musical traces the saga of a neglected “slip of a girlyboy” from communist East Berlin who had a botched sexchange operation before escaping to America and ending up in New York, in search of true love. Hedwig suffers from a series of bad choices and dashed dreams, namely, the failure to become a mega rocker like

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Nick Westrate, John Cullum, Gabriel Ebert, and Tom McGowan in “Casa Valentina.”

any moment (and sometimes he does). His vocals are pitch-perfect; every syllable is crisp and clear, even with the Germanic accent. Not only does he bring the requisite yearning and angst to the “internationally ignored song stylist,” he adds fresh bursts of raunchy, often improvised, comic flair. “You see, ladies and gentleman, the road is my home,” Hedwig says wistfully, with a twinkle in her eye. “And when I think of all the people I have come upon in my travels, I have to think about the people who have come upon me.” Part of the dramatic tension stems from wondering if Harris can complete the 95-minute show in gold-spangled, six-inch stacked heel ankle boots without stumbling (I noticed only one unscripted slip, while he was cavorting on top of a car). Fans of his long-running “How I Met Your Mother” will be horrified or delighted or both. In a rare move, the 40-year -old, out gay actor is flying without a net on this one — there’s no understudy. If he can’t go on, the show won’t go on. He invests his performance with a sweaty physicality and spontaneity. Truly spectacular. A heady mix of rock concert and stand-up routine, this “Hedwig” is framed as a slapdash, one-off event at the Belasco Theatre, commandeering the stage when the resident show, “Hurt Locker: The Musical,” closed prematurely (go early to grab one of the leftover mock Playbills wickedly lampooning Broadway musicals written by Mike Albo and Amanda Duarte). Hedwig’s band, called the Angry Inch and led by Justin Craig, is everything a glam rock band should be. It even features Hedwig’s husband, Yitzhak (a

HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH Belasco Theatre 111 W. 44th St. Wed.-Fri. at 8 p.m. Sat. at 7 & 10 p.m. Sun. at 3 & 7 p.m. $37-$144; telecharge.com Or 212-239-6200 One hr., 35 min., no intermission

superb Lena Hall, recently of “Kinky Boots”), also a gender bender. Amazingly, this is one downtown-touptown reboot that actually retains much of its scrappy grit. That’s partly due to the edgy book by John Cameron Mitchell and timeless, fervent music and lyrics by Stephen Trask. And director Michael Mayer works the same magic that made “American Idiot” and “Spring Awakening” such rowdy yet affecting powerhouse hits. Arianne Phillips, who also designed the costumes for the 2001 “Hedwig” film, works wonders with denim, leather, mohair, fishnet, and latex. If there were a Best Wig and Make-Up Design category at the Tonys, Mike Potter would surely be a contender. Hedwig’s monologue is filled with wry one-liners punctuated by a rim-shot, and it’s also laden with symbolism. In her quest to break boundaries and find her other half to make her whole, there is much talk about the Berlin Wall crumbling. Lucky for us, the fourth wall has also disappeared, and the engaging Harris takes advantage of this interplay at every opportunity, smooching theatergoers and even leading a singalong where the audience follows the bouncing balls over supertitled lyrics. Naturally, the balls look like lopped-off testicles, presumably Hedwig’s.

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CASA VALENTINA, continued on p.29


| April 30, 2014

GALLERY

21

A Vibrant Queerness

"Instinct"

I

"Grounding I"

"Oh Sweet Jesus There He Is"

BY MICHAEL SHIREY

feel like I am on my way somewhere really exciting,” explained transfeminist painter and illustrator Ketch Wehr, whose latest exhibit, aptly titled “Split + Growing,” is on display at the Bureau of General Services — Queer Division. This new body of work explores the artist’s growth as well as the experience of coming into one’s own — literally, coming into one’s self.

Wehr met with Gay City News to discuss his latest exhibit, his artistic journey so far, and the challenges that lie ahead. “Split + Growing” features 13 pieces — which took him about three months to research and execute — of gouache paintings on a rough toothed, heavy-duty paper complete with undefined edges, tape marks, and additional paint marks added post-framing. The series comes together as a beautiful expression of color that gives viewers an intimate glimpse into the artist’s world. Compared to previous work, which relied on symbolism and allegory to tell stories about other histories not specific to him, Wehr has gone deeper and more personal with this exhibit, shedding light on experiencing life with a cognitive condition known

KETCH WEHR

KETCH WEHR “Split + Growing” Bureau of General Services — Queer Division 83 Hester St., btwn Allen & Orchard Sts. Through May 25 Wed.-Sun., 1 p.m. - 7 p.m. bgsqd.com

"Subsuming (Or: When You Have No Words)"

as synesthesia. Diagnosed at a young age with color synesthesia (also known as grapheme), he perceives letters and numbers with strong color associations. One of the pieces that best drives home the synesthesia theme is also one of the exhibit’s seemingly simpler paintings — illustrating the word “queer.” Titled “Subsuming (Or: When You Have No Words,” this powerful piece stands out in demonstrating the beauty and power of language as a tool for identifying oneself. Queer is used here to embody multiple facets of the artist and is, at once, empowering and elusive. The composition is comprised mainly of a vibrant red-orange, which Wehr has always been drawn to and can be found in multiple pieces in the exhibit. Two of the pieces Wehr is most proud of are

KETCH WEHR

KETCH WEHR

KETCH WEHR

Artist Ketch Wehr bring transfeminist perspective, unique appreciation for color to BGSQD

“Grounding I” and “Grounding II.” Though he used his partner as the model in both, the artist described their creation as part of the ongoing process of becoming more aware of himself. “You think you know where you are going to with something and it surprises you,” Wehr said of “Gounding I.” “And this surprised me in a lot of really fun ways.” Experimenting with format, the artist is pleased that the piece captured that moment of release. Wehr has a longstanding history of illustrating animals, something he said is a legacy of a childhood in which he could often be hyperactive. The depiction of animals, he explained, particularly the wolf, conveys the struggle he has waged in his life with impulse. A portrait of a wolf entitled “Instinct” is a particularly powerful homage to his past and an animal-like nature he continues to experience as authentic. Portraits of Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker from “Star Wars” and of Ian McKellen may seem a bit far afield in this exhibit. Wehr described the two as role models he had growing up that represented different interpretations of masculinity. Having always identified as somewhat of a sensitive nerd, the artist explained that the two men — especially McKellen, whom he described as bold yet endearing — challenge the concept that a man need be either strong or sensitive. Wehr draws on both strength and sensitivity in shedding his unique color on what is often perceived as the black-and-white concept of gender transitioning. “Being a trans-masculine person, there are parts of me that were always somewhat masculine, but I think

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SYNESTHESIA, continued on p.33


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April 30, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

FILM

Tribeca Mixes Up Gender, Sexuality

Iggy Malmborg and Saga Becker in Ester Martin Bergsmark’s “Something Must Break.”

BY GARY M. KRAMER

I

n a queer year at the Tribeca Film Festival, one of the highlights was the arresting Swedish film “Something Must Break,” written and directed by Ester Martin Bergsmark. Sebastian (Saga Becker) is an effeminate man whose roommate Lea (Shima Niavarani) tells him he “needs a good fuck.” He finds that and more in Andreas (Iggy Malmborg), a man who saves him from a beating in a men’s room one night. Sebastian is so smitten by Andreas he saves his hero’s bloodied tissue. By the way the two men look at each other, we can see they are falling in love. Grabbing a beer together, dancing a tango on a roof, and getting into adventures like tying up a guy and robbing him deepen their bond. When Andreas checks Sebastian for ticks, it is an extremely erotic encounter complete with rimming and splatters of cum. When Sebastian begins to spy on Andreas and follow him, Andreas asserts, “I’m not gay.” “Me either,” replies Sebastian, who now wants to be known as Ellie. When Sebastian, as Ellie, looks in a mirror, checking himself out in a dress and fixing his hair, we learn more about the man who says he must destroy himself to become his “dream sister” Ellie. These moments are powerful, as is a stunningly beautiful, even if shocking, slowmotion scene of Ellie being pissed on as Peggy Lee plays on the soundtrack. Candid, graphic eroticism elevates the romance between Ellie and Andreas, but it’s the film’s presentation of gender and sexual identity issues that truly resonates.

Another gender-bending as well as genre-bending film is “Der Samurai.” This imaginative horror film concerns Jakob, (Michel Diercks), a repressed cop in a small German village hunting a wolf on the loose. When he accepts a package — a Samurai sword — on behalf of the title character (Pit Bukowski), a man who wears a white dress, a strange and sinister pas de deux begins between these two very different men. Jakob chases Der Samurai and they wrestle and even dance together. The latter scene occurs while one

TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL

TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL

TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL

In a broad offering of queer films, fluidity of identity a recurring theme

Susan Sontag as seen in Nancy Kates’ documentary about her life and work.

Pit Bukowski in Till Kleinert’s “Der Samurai.”

of Der Samurai’s victims is gagged and hanging upside down nearby. Writer/ director Till Kleinert’s peculiar film, his debut, is a potent and sexually charged allegory, full of queer symbolism. While some of the symbolism, like an erection one of the characters sports in the film’s climax, is obvious, much of the film is open to interpretation. This is perhaps what makes it so intriguing.

on camp, photography, and feminism to her groundbreaking ideas about illness, AIDS, and 9/ 11. “Regarding Susan Sontag” also describes the writer’s relationships with famous women, including Nicole Stéphane, Lucinda Childs, and Annie Leibovitz. This is not a sentimental portrait but a vibrant examination of a woman whose life helped define late 20th century American intellectual culture. There are interesting remarks from friends and former lovers — especially Harriet Sohmers Zwerling — but the most poignant comments come from her younger sister, who had a heart to heart with Sontag as the writer was near the end of her life.

Sexual fluidity is addressed in “X/ Y,” a glossy drama about a quartet of New Yorkers in a variety of tenuous relationships. This urban romance unfolds almost as if it were a series of short films with interconnected characters. Silvia (America Ferrera) and Mark (writer/ director Ryan Piers Williams) separate in the opening scene, prompting him to move in with his buddy Jake (Jon Paul Phillips). In the course of sorting out what they want and whom they want to love, the two men share a night of passion that may lead to more for one of them. Meanwhile, Silvia and her friend Jen (Melonie Diaz) make a series of bad decisions, but ones that help them become more self-aware. “X/Y” operates in a movie universe where characters live better than they might in real life, but the emotions on display are authentic and the performances by the entire ensemble cast are ingratiating. This year’s festival featured an impressive number of non-fiction films. “Regarding Susan Sontag” was an appropriately respectful and reflective documentary about the late writer, essayist, and filmmaker, an elegant tribute that resisted the impulse to become hagiography. Featuring seamlessly woven together interview clips, photographs, and animation, as well as snippets of Sontag’s writing — read by actress Patricia Clarkson — this lovingly made film captures the truth if not the precise essence of its prickly subject. Director/ co-writer Nancy Kates chronicles Sontag from her early years of marriage and motherhood, which were upended by the independence she found living in France. The film focuses on some of her most influential writings — from her pointed observations

Tribeca also offered an excellent shorts program this year, with two queer

entries among the standouts. One priceless short was Brian Bolster’s documentary “One Year Lease.” Shot in a New York apartment, the film depicts a series of answering machine messages left by a gay couple’s distinctively voiced landlady. The film will resonate with any New Yorker who has had trouble with busybodies, as well as with leaks and other tenant maladies. Coy Middlebrook’s sensitive road movie “For Spacious Sky” chronicles the bond among three very different brothers, one of whom (played by out actor Jonah Blechman) is gay. The story, set on the eve of Obama’s election, explores themes of tolerance and acceptance.

There were at least another dozen films with queer characters or content at this year’s

festival, including “Starred Up,” a gritty prison drama about a father and son in the same jail, and “The Bachelor Weekend,” about a stag party that has the groom’s gay brother and his partner romping around naked in the woods. Gay filmmaker Tsai Ming-liang’s extraordinary “Journey to the West” was a hypnotic, hour-long experimental film that documents a monk (Lee Kangsheng) walking s-l-o-w-l-y through Marseilles. Full of breathtaking visuals and emotional power, this was arguably the best film at the Tribeca Film Festival this year.


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April 30, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

FILM

Copycat With “The Double,” Richard Ayoade looks to Terry Gilliam, David Lynch — Dostoevsky, too BY STEVE ERICKSON

M

usic critic Simon Reynolds coined the term “retromania” to describe artists whose work draws entirely on the past. Singers like Adele and the late Amy Winehouse, whose music mimics R&B from 50 years ago, are perfect examples.

THE DOUBLE

In cinema, ther e’s the endless procession of remakes of Hollywood horror and science fiction films. Even the relatively tolerable ones, like José Padilha’s “Robocop,” don’t exactly justify their existence. In Europe, a film like Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Great Beauty,” which draws heavily on Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita,” is an arthouse example of the same phenomenon. The homages to French cinema in Noah Baumbach’s “Frances Ha” are mostly pleasant, but his plagiarism of an entire scene from Leos Carax’s “Mauvais Sang” steps over the line. British director Richard Ayoade’s “The Double” exhibits retromania in pilfering heavily from the low-tech scifi of Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil,” with bits of David Lynch’s “Eraserhead” thrown in. The film gives us a future that we’ve already seen. Its greatest pleasures come from its imaginative production design, but those pleasures would be greater if they weren’t so secondhand.

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Jesse Eisenberg, twice, in Richard Ayoade’s “The Double.”

“The Double” could be a described as a steampunk adaptation of Dostoevsky’s novella of the same name. As in “Brazil,” it portrays office work as a demeaning bureaucracy; in comparison, the Clash’s “Career Opportunities” could be a temp agency recruitment song. The backgrounds are often literally filled with steam, while the color palette emphasizes dingy green and brown tones. Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg) is a geeky office clerk who toils away in a sinister government organization. At home, he watches a man commit suicide in the apartment building opposite his. His boss (Wallace Shawn) pays him little attention. Hannah (Mia Wasikowska), who works in the copy room, also pays him little attention, although he thirsts for her affection.

Simon’s job is a dead end, and it gets worse when James Simon (also played by Eisenberg) begins working there. James looks exactly like Simon, but his personality is completely different. James has a way with women, in particular, that drives Simon mad. Soon, he dominates Simon’s life to the point where he demands a key to Simon’s apartment so he can have sex there. In “The Double,” technology seems to have stopped in the ‘80s. The time frame is never stated, nor is the setting. The cast mixes American, Australian, and British actors, and Ayoade includes an eclectic range of cameos, including musician J. Mascis and Chris O’Dowd, his co-star from the TV show “The IT Crowd.” A video game looks so blocky and primitive that it could be played on the Atari 2600. Copy machines

constantly break down. The subway never seems to actually get anywhere, but just reflects light and makes a lot of noise. The cinematography and production design emphasize an air of imminent decay. “The Double” comes on the heels of Denis Villeneuve’s “Enemy,” which also tells the story of a man who meets his lookalike. Indeed, critic Tony Pipolo wrote an article comparing the two films for Artforum magazine. It’s interesting that both films suggest that doubling would lead to sexual gamesmanship, with the less confident man losing out in the bedroom. Even more than the history professor played by Jake Gyllenhaal in “Enemy,” Simon is a beta male. There’s something terribly schematic about Ayoade’s conception of Simon and James’ personalities. Simon’s nerdiness is sketched out a bit more thoroughly, but James is a cartoonish jerk who’s willing to get what he wants by bossing around women. It’s not the most imaginative dichotomy. I don’t know whether Ayoade has much firsthand experience of boring office work, beyond having starred in a sitcom about it, but almost everything in “The Double” seems to come from other films. The problem with retromania here is that it shuts out life experience in favor of searching for just the right ugly shade of green. Amy Winehouse may have drawn on 50-year-old forms to sing about the battles with addiction that eventually killed her, but at least she wrote about her own life’s struggles in her biggest hit, “Rehab.” With Dostoevsky, Gilliam, and L ynch as suffocatingly large influences, there’s not much room in “The Double” for anything that speaks about the malaise of the moment.

Closeting the Past

Pawel Pawlikowski explores the ugly truths facing Poland in the 1960s BY STEVE ERICKSON

P

olish director Pawel Pawlikowski’s “Ida” is a strangely lopsided film. The story of its title character (Agata Trzebuchowska), a young woman raised in a convent who suddenly discovers she’s Jewish, it’s a road movie depicting her relationship with her aunt (Agata Kulesza) for most of its running time. To a large extent, its

cinematography is more compelling than its characters, who are more interesting apart than together. The narrative generates suspense from the question of whether Ida will embrace her Jewish identity. Without ever referring to LGBT issues, it portrays Poland in the 1960s as a nation of closets, mostly having to do with antiSemitism and the crimes of Stalinism. I don’t want to give away the ending, but one can read it either as a positive

refusal to participate in such crimes or a decision not to engage constructively with the modern world. Eighteen-year -old Anna is on the verge of taking her vows. Having been orphaned during World War II, she’s never known a home other than the convent, and becoming a nun is her obvious destiny. However, the Mother Superior tells her to visit Aunt Wanda,

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IDA, continued on p.33

IDA Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski In Polish with English subtitles Music Box Films Opens May 2 Film Forum 209 W. Houston St. filmforum.com Lincoln Plaza Cinemas 1886 Broadway at 62nd St. lincolnplazacinema.com


| April 30, 2014

THEATER

25

Gems and Paste

Two sparkling revivals offset by one glittering fake BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE

BULLETS OVER BROADWAY

T

he engrossing revival of “A Raisin in the Sun,” now on Broadway, gains much of its power from its quiet simplicity. Lorraine Hansberry’s classic 1959 play about a black family in Chicago seeking to escape the ghetto as they struggle to find their voice and dignity in a white-dominated world takes on new resonance in 2014. Under Kenny Leon’s sharp and poetic direction, the play is embellished with a metaphoric quality I haven’t seen in other productions. Leon never downplays its charged racial themes, but, in his hands, the struggle to overcome obstacles, reach for dreams, and find an identity in a complex and indifferent world feel contemporary and universal.

St. James Theatre 246 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. $52-$147; telecharge.com Or 212-239-6200 2 hr., 35 min., with intermission

Barrymore Theatre 243 W. 47th 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. $67-$149; telecharge.com Or 212-239-6200 2 hr., 40 min., with intermission

The director of a previous revival, in 2004, as well, Leon here broadens the focus to give balanced weight to the struggles of the lead character, Walter Lee Younger, and his wife, mother, and sister. The family share a small apartment on Chicago’s South Side. When an inheritance arrives from Walter Lee’s father, he wants to use it to open a liquor store, but his mother instead spends a portion of it on a down payment on a house in the largely white Clybourne Park neighborhood. Walter Lee loses the balance of the money in a scheme, and ultimately the family must decide between remaining stuck and risking the move Walter Lee’s mother wants. Despite Denzel Washington’s nameabove-the-title billing as Walter Lee, this is truly an ensemble effort. Washington gives a performance of quiet complexity that is revelatory, juxtaposing anger, hope, and self-doubt masterfully. Sophie Okonedo as Walter Lee’s wife, Ruth, is similarly conflicted but quiet. Anika Noni Rose adds depth to the often comic role of Beneatha, Walter Lee’s sister, who is struggling to find her identity as a black woman. LaTanya Richardson Jackson brings realness to the role of Lena the matriarch, who is as flawed and anxious as the others. As in Terrence McNally’s “Mothers

EVGENIA ELISEEVA

A RAISIN IN THE SUN

Audra McDonald as Billie Holiday in Lanie Robertson’s “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill.”

and Sons,” this production highlights inter -generational stresses faced by families with understanding and compassion. So much more than simply a revival of a classic, this “Raisin in the Sun” is a telling reflection of our own unsettled and changing times as well.

Is there anything Audra McDonald can’t do? Her sub-

lime performance as Billie Holiday in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill,” is a heart-stopping, 90-minute tour-deforce that showcases both McDonald’s incisive acting and the versatility of a voice that is a national treasure. Shaped around one of Holiday’s final performances, at a club in Philadelphia — in 1959, the same year as “Raisin in the Sun” debuted — Lanie Robertson’s play, directed by Lonny Price, chronicles the struggles of an artist with a driving need to sing but also a lethal addiction to heroin.

LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR AND GRILL Circle in the Square 1633 Broadway at 50th St. Tue., Thu.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. $97-$250; telecharge.com or 212-239-6200 90 min., no intermission

Robertson’s play is unrelenting in its intensity, as it integrates a dozen or so of Holiday’s most memorable numbers into the story. McDonald thoroughly inhabits the role, doing things with her voice and physical portrayal that might seem impossible were we not watching it. Hers is a portrait of Holiday on the brink of disaster that is beautifully rendered even in its ghastliness. There isn’t a moment that isn’t fully realized, as McDonald disappears into an extraordinary portrayal not to be missed. One leaves heartbroken at H ol i d a y’s stor y and in awe o f McDonald’s immense talent in creating this coup-de theatre.

“Satire is what closes on Saturday night,” said George S.

Kaufman after his musical “Strike Up the Band” bombed out of town. The new musical “Bullets Over Broadway” is neither bold enough to be satire nor broad enough to be a rollicking comedy. Instead, it limps along in glittery blandness, periodically enlivened by some energetic hoofing, unable to overcome its poor construction and lack of focus. Woody Allen’s 1994 movie was a poisonous valentine to the amorality of show business. Set in the 1920s, the story is a twisted version of “Cyrano de

Bergerac,” mixed with “Faust,” in which a pretentious playwright, David Shayne, is taught a lesson in speaking to the common man by a gangster. To get his work produced, Shayne agrees to cast Olive, the talent-free girlfriend of a different gangster, who is fronting the money, in a lead role. Cheech, the bodyguard assigned to Olive, gets frustrated in rehearsals and starts giving notes to David. Suddenly the play is working. Meanwhile, David falls for his Norma Desmond-ish leading lady, Helen Sinclair. Complications ensue, replete with Tommy guns and tap shoes. Allen, who wrote the book, turned to Tin Pan Alley for period music, but the problem is that the tone is never consistent. The razzle dazzle and the would-be satire don’t mix, and the numbers often feel forced into the plot. Director Susan Stroman, who made a musical hit of another classic showbiz movie, “The Producers,” is clearly trying to make lighting strike twice, but the result is forced and formulaic. There are some inspired Stroman bits — a tap chorus of gangsters doing “Taint Nobody’s Business If I Do” is the standout, but, like most of the songs, it’s not organic to the story and essentially stands outside the script. Amidst this muddle, the actors do what they can. Zach Braff is largely credible as the morally challenged playwright in the Woody Allen standin role. Helene Yorke is charismatic as Olive the moll, but it’s inherently a onenote part. Marin Mazzie, who is usually divine, is miscast as the aging star Helen Sinclair. She is lost in the comedy, and her songs are set too low for her spectacular voice — a problem that plagues most of the actors. Nick Cordero walks away with the show as Cheech, the gangster with an uncanny sense of what works on stage. Cheech’s solution — bumping off people who hurt the show — might in reality have a problem in its (if you’ll pardon me) execution, but it is just the sort of clear focus that might have saved “Bullets Over Broadway” from shooting itself in the foot.


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April 30, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

IN THE NOH

Ellen and Jessica

Talent knows no age: glorious veteran, sparkling ingénue weigh in ew American actresses have been so honored or enjoyed such a lengthy and illustrious career as Ellen Burstyn, who at 81 shows no signs of slowing down. She works constantly and serves, with Al Pacino, as president of the Actor’s Studio, where she found her chops as a performer and still moderates classes when in town. BAM Rose Cinema is celebrating her with a nine-film retrospective beginning April 30 (30 Lafayette Ave. at Ashland Pl.; bam.org), and I jumped at the chance to chat with her. Asked how she feels about the retrospective, she replied, with characteristic candor, “It’s great. Not too many people get this in the world, yet at the same time it makes me feel old.” My favorite film of hers is 1971’s “The Last Picture Show,” in which, as the unhappy, adulterous mother of Cybill Shepherd, she glowingly came off like a Texan mixture of Jeanne Moreau and Anna Magnani. Telling her she also reminded me of Joan Blondell, I asked if she knew then that she was making an American classic with “Last Picture Show.” “Joan Blondell? Oh, that’s funny. I’ve never been compared to her but remember really liking her. Talk about earthiness, huh? “That was a fun character, not really fun, but I liked playing Lois, an interesting woman living an uninteresting life and how she had to bring vitality into it, which was a lesson. I remember the first day we all got together for a script reading in a Texas hotel room. We read through the script at a table and when it was finished there was a moment of silence. Then one actor, I don’t remember who, said, ‘You know, this could be a really interesting movie.’ There was that kind of surprise — wait a minute, what are we doing here? And as we went on we had more and more of a sense of how special it was. The script, the cast, the director — these were complex characters, not black and white, and I think Peter [Bogdanovich] wanted that and cast it in a way that he could realize his vision.” Burstyn won the 1974 Oscar for “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” the same year she won the Tony for “Same Time, Next Year” (the movie version of which won her a Golden Globe several years later). “I was shooting ‘The Exorcist’ and the Calley brothers who produced it, saw the dailies and called my agent, ‘We’d like to do another movie with her,’” Burstyn recalled. “They sent me all their scripts,

BROOKLYN ACADEMY OF MUSIC

F

BY DAVID NOH

Ellen Burstyn (r.) with Cybill Shepherd in “The Last Picture Show.”

and they were either the loyal wife who stays home while the husband goes out and saves the world, or a prostitute or a victim. I said I wasn’t interested as it was 1973, the beginning of the women’s movement and I wanted to make a film more about women I knew. I found the script of ‘Alice’ and John [Calley] asked if I would like to direct it. “I said I wasn’t ready to do that, but I wanted somebody new and exciting. I called Francis Ford Coppola and asked him if he knew of anyone, and he said, ‘Well, there’s this movie ‘Mean Streets,’ and I saw it and loved it, of course, and asked to meet with Marty Scorsese. He came up and I said, ‘I really like your film but can’t tell from it if you know anything about women because I want this told from a woman’s point of view. Do you?’ He said, ‘No, but I’d like to learn,’ and I thought that was absolutely the right answer. “There was a lot of input that the actors did, especially from Kris Kristofferson. We improvised and added to Robert Getchell’s fine script. I felt it needed roughing up a bit, it was kind of smooth, so all along the way we were working on it with his approval, a real community effort.” Did she have any idea that Jodie Foster would become such a showbiz powerhouse? “Not at all. She was just a little girl with long blonde hair going to school at Alliance Français, in a school uniform, very feminine and pretty. She always had an assurance about her, and when she turned up for the film she’d had her hair cut off and this tomboy emerged which we’d hardly been exposed to before, which added a very interesting element to the story.”

Burstyn’s rising fame in the early ‘70s didn’t give her any feeling that she was a golden girl who could do anything she wanted. “I was kind of surprised, as it was all unfolding. I was in rehearsal for ‘Same Time, Next Year’ on Broadway when [‘Alice’] opened. It was so well received, and I thought, ‘Oh dear, I guess I’m famous, maybe even rich.’ I wasn’t sure what it meant but I was very committed to my work, which is why I didn’t go to the Oscars [Scorsese accepted for her]. I was appearing on Broadway, and it seemed to me that I shouldn’t miss a performance and should honor the work ethic as opposed to an award show. So I was very serious [laughs] at that time about acting and keeping my sense of ethics about what was morally right and not get carried away by the clamor of it all.” I asked if she would do it that way again if she had the chance: “Well, if it was now, I could easily go to the Oscars and not feel like I had compromised integrity by missing a performance but then I was grappling with everything, trying to find what it meant to have that kind of big change in one’s life, and it seemed to me in order to stay stabilized that I had to do my work. I don’t know that I made the right choices at that time. I was interested in exploring woman as hero and not a stereotype, so I was kind of making choices on that.” One choice she did make, which is in the retrospective, is Alain Resnais’ enigmatic “Providence” (1977), with an amazing cast of John Gielgud, Dirk Bogarde, and Elaine Stritch. “Although I love the film itself, I’ve never been happy with me in it. When I

saw it I realized I had played it wrong. I should have played the Gielgud character’s idea of a woman instead of mine. I should have thought more about what his creation would be like and I did my own creation. That’s the only time I had that experience of looking at myself on screen and saying ‘Wrong!’ It’s a terrible feeling. “Gielgud was very elegant, lovely, professional, quiet, and introverted… Bogarde was a darling man and we became quite good friends, but an awfully heavy drinker so his memory was already affected and he had to have his lines written on his hand, the desk, ceiling, floor, and choreographed his looks because that’s where the words were. With heavy drinkers — and pot smokers — they lose their memory.” A point that brought up the painful subject of Philip Seymour Hoffman, who had directed Burstyn in “The Little Flower of East Orange” in 2008. When I asked her about him, it proved too difficult and she broke down in tears. “I’m sorry, I can’t,” she said. Awkward, but Fashion came to the rescue. I remembered that Yves Saint Laurent had dressed her magnificently in “Providence” and asked her about that genius. She brightened, and said, “He designed those clothes on me! He draped fabric and pinned it on me, an amazing experience.” Talking about “Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All,” her Broadway show that closed after opening night, was thankfully no problem for her: “We played it in San Diego to standing ovations every night, and the girls who were working on costumes under the stage were afraid the ceiling was gonna come through from audiences stamping their feet. Then to come to New York and get hit by a howitzer in the face that way was quite something! Heartbreaking, but I just went to the Metropolitan Museum that day and looked at the Van Goghs and remembered that he only sold one painting in his life — and that was to his brother — to comfort myself. You just do your work and it’s either accepted or not and there’s really nothing you can do about it.” ‘[Film critic] Pauline Kael didn’t like ‘Alice,’ so I didn’t like her. Well, she praised the film but didn’t like me, and said, ‘She’s not exactly pretty, as a matter of fact, she’s kind of blubber-faced.’ That stung.” Burstyn’s absolute favorite actor these days is Mark Rylance whom she described as “amazing, incredible.” Coming up for her is “The Age of Ade-

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IN THE NOH, continued on p.27


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IN THE NOH, from p.26

line,” a film with Blake Lively, “who’s a lovely girl. She’s got a lot of reality, a real human being. I did a pilot, ‘Old Soul,’ for Amy Poehler for NBC that’s awfully good, which she wrote and produced. Natasha L yonne is the lead, with myself, Rita Moreno, Richard Benjamin, and Fred Willard. I play Natasha’s aunt, a woman who’s lived a lot, with different kinds of experiences, a sophisticated world traveler. It’s very funny and well written.”

lainess Heather Chandler in the musical “Heathers,” I sat up and paid attention. Not only was she deliciously pretty and filled with stage aplomb, her lovely, womanly voice was a wonderful change from the nasal or sexy baby-voiced ingénues that irritatingly litter show biz these days. I had to ask her about her distinctive vocal pipes and she laughed, “That was always my problem getting into this business. I appeared like the girl next door ingénue and opened my mouth, and they’d say, ‘Oh! You’re very mature sounding, and wise even’ — which I thought was a little condescending. I had to wait until I got a little older so I could use it. Although I play a high school student, I kind of bring in that weight, and she’s so much fun to play. I have the best time and remember putting on the wig and costumes and thinking, ‘Oh, that’s who she is!’ It all came together, the little bitty skirts, high knee socks, and poufy blonde hair! “I only saw the film ‘Heathers’ a year before I booked this. My generation was more ‘Clueless,’ but I was surprised by how dark and twisted it was. I was on tour with ‘Les Miz,’ saw the casting breakdown, and my agent sent a video submitting me for the [lead] role of Veronica. I thought okay, but I’m not really Veronica — I don’t really play dowdy and identify with playing the villain, taking that role and making it magical and real. “I moved here from LA on January 7 and went into the long audition process, read for almost every role, including Veronica’s mom, and then they offered me Heather, a role I didn’t even read for! My heart stopped. I’d been in New York for two weeks and to have this great debut and enjoy the city and be able to pay for a drink!” Another reason for my interest in this incredibly poised and intelligent actress is, of course, her last name, and yes, her grandfather was Keenan Wynn and her great grandfather, the legendary vaudevillian Ed Wynn. “Yes,” she laughed, “I totally use it. My legal name is Jessica Armstrong, middle name is Keenan, but I decided to take Wynn because I wanted to pay homage

DAVID NOH

From the moment Jessica Keenan Wynn walked onstage, playing ultimate arch-vil-

Jessica Keenan Wynn, currently starring in “Heathers: The Musical.”

to them. My grandfather made over 86 movies, an MGM contracted actor, Ed did radio, vaudeville, TV, and film, and we segue to Frank Keenan, who was his wife’s father. He was a first generation Shakespearean and silent film actor they called a furniture actor because he was a raging alcoholic and needed to hold on to the furniture to get across the stage. “My grandfather had two sons, Ned and Tracy, with Evie Johnson, who later married Van Johnson. I use the name in auditions and it’s a great conversation piece. Keenan then married my grandmother, Charlie, at 18, and was with her until the end. I never knew Evie, but my grandfather and Van were best friends and maintained their relationship.” Indeed, it was rumored that the actors were lovers and studio intervention demanded that Johnson, the teen idol of a generation of bobbysoxers, get married. “Oh, I know, and I asked my mother, ‘Is it true?,’ Wynn said. “‘No, come on! Daddy?!’ I’m like I want it to be true so badly, so juicy! I love it, and didn’t something come up with him and Lee Marvin? My grandfather died when I was three months old but I know he’s around and probably to blame for this. I’m very lucky to have all these home movies and old classics, like that ‘Ziegfeld Follies’ bit with the telephone operator. Thank goodness my mother raised me on them — my favorite movie is ‘Meet Me in St. Louis’ — and I’m doing the same with my kids. ‘No video games! You’re gonna sit right here and watch Carol Burnett, ‘I Love Lucy,’ and ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show.’ “Even in ‘Heathers,’ after I die and come back, a little Katharine Hepburn sneaks in there, kinda in the way I talk. Someone said, ‘Jessica, are you a 1948 radio star?’ Yeah, maybe, and I’m okay with that!” Contact David Noh at Inthenoh@aol. com, follow him on Twitter @in_the_noh, and check out his blog at http://nohway. wordpress.com/.


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April 30, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

OPERA

Starless Turns, Turning Stars Met offers “La Sonnambula,” “Andrea Chénier,” “Arabella” with mixed results ertain operas — Puccini’s “La Bohème” for example — can withstand nonstar casting because the opera itself is the star. Less durable repertory items serve as vehicles for established stars with unique vocal qualities. Three star-dependent operas were revived this spring at the Metropolitan Opera. The casts were made up, with one notable exception, of familiar house singers and debuting artists. The artistic results varied widely but the box office suffered. Diana Damrau’s star turn in a revival of Bellini’s “La Sonnambula” showed how a new cast can redirect a production from within. Damrau and debutant Javier Camarena not only delivered vocal brilliance but restored pathos and emotional truth to Mary Zimmermann’s production. At the 2009 premiere, Natalie Dessay turned Amina’s dreamily ecstatic entrance aria “Come per me sereno... Sovra il sen” into a comedic skit about a ditsy, self-centered divette trying on shoes and silly wigs. Damrau recreated all of Dessay’s stage business but as a counterpoint to her rapturous expression of romantic love. Before launching into her sleepwalking solo aria, Damrau wrote “Elvino” instead of “Aria” on the blackboard, so the audience sighed rather than laughed. Damrau’s Amina is a hearty, outgoing creature with a full, womanly timbr e rather than the delicate maidenly type with a floating ethereal timbre. Occasionally, trills and cadenzas were labored rather than quicksilver. In the “Ah! non giunge” finale, Damrau was the hardest working woman in show business. She led the corps de ballet in a jaunty ländler, was lifted overhead by the male dancers, tossed off Callas’ cadenzas and Sutherland’s staccati, executed a cartwheel, and brought down the curtain with an endless high E-flat. Mexican tenor Camarena sang Elvino with a dulcet, honeyed, rich, and full-toned lyric voice that caressed Bellini’s arching vocal lines. Elvino was tender, modest, and charming but batted out high C’s and D’s in his Act II solos with divo bravura. (Handsome young American tenor Taylor Stayton

MARTY SOHL/ METROPOLITAN OPERA

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can do to a silvery full lyric voice. She has lost her piano, and a widening vibrato seemed to push her forte high notes sharp and flat simultaneously. Racette built the dramatic arc of “La Mamma Morta” with canny insight, but her tone remained too bright and shallow. The climactic high B went awry. Željko Lučić’s hollow sounding Carlo Gerard tended to sag flat on sustained notes. But his rousing rendition of “Nemico della Patria” displayed the broadly expansive vocal canvas this music thrives on. Margaret Lattimore, Dwayne Croft, and especially debutante Olesya Petrova as Madelon provided strong supporting turns. Gianandrea Noseda conducted with vivid color and energy — perhaps too much for his vocally underwhelming leads. The 1996 Nicolas Joël production is just a gilded picture frame showcase for star singers who stand and deliver. Not enough of the singing here delivered.

BY ELI JACOBSON

Javier Camarena and Diana Damrau in Bellini's "La Sonnambula."

sang Elvino on April 1 with a slender but sweetly soft-grained tone that opened up for bright high notes). Michele Pertusi’s Count Rodolfo, despite i nd i sp osi ti on, d i sp l ayed the ca nta b i l e voc al line essential to bel canto. As the malicious Lisa, Rachelle Durkin’s raw, raucous upper register sounded as unpleasant as the character she portrayed, but she settled down to bright competence by the last show. Elizabeth Bishop exuded maternal warmth as Teresa. Marco Armiliato’s uninspired conducting failed to imbue ensembles with rhythmic build and drive, so they ambled along aimlessly. In the solos, he catered to the singers who knew what they were doing.

Giordano’s “Andrea Chénier” is a Technicolor historical melodrama made for larger than life voices and personalities. The Met cast two mature lyric voices who have recently taken on heavier roles with variable success. Marcelo Álvarez sounded noticeably smoother as Chenier than as Radames or Manrico — he sang the initial phrases of his solos softly and lyrically, allowing room to build to moderately robust climaxes. Lyrical phrasing elicited his trademark honeyed tone, but when the going got tough his legato got choppy and pressurized. Patricia Racette as Maddalena showed what five years of singing Tosca, among other spinto roles,

Strauss’ “Arabella” is an uneven period piece that requires a radiant soprano star like Lisa della Casa, Kiri Te Kanawa, or Renée Fleming to attract audiences. It was risky to offer rising Swedish soprano Malin Byström as the star attraction when her only previous Met appearances were a handful of Marguerites in a third cast of “Faust.” As Arabella, Byström’s rather brittle tone lacks the creamy warmth and silvery radiance of her predecessors — the top can turn stiff and her surprisingly dark middle lacks expansion. Byström’s porcelain blonde beauty made a convincing belle of the Viennese ball, her cool, remote, and self-absorbed demeanor reminding me of Downton’s prickly Lady Mary Crawley. There was little romantic chemistry with her “Mr. Right” suitor Mandryka. (On April 24, Erin Wall sang Arabella with shining high notes and just the right mix of silver and cream. Less visually glamorous, Wall was infinitely warmer and more sympathetic, though just a touch more vivacity and volume were needed.) The other leads were making Met debuts. Veteran German baritone Michael Volle won the audience over with his energetic, going at it hammer and tongs Mandryka. His jealous fr enzy was the dramatic motor that drove the ramshackle plot contrivances of the second and third acts forward. Volle’s tone is sizeable but matur e and drysounding, with a hint of Bayreuth bark on top. Zdenka’s high agitated vocal line pushed Juliane Banse’s dark soprano into shrill edginess, marring the sisterly duets. Roberto Saccà delivered a musically and dramatically assured Matteo with a bleaty, unsympathetic tenor sound. Martin Winkler acted an amusingly louche Count Waldner, but Catherine Wyn-Rogers was a dowdy, colorless Adelaide. Audrey Luna’s coloratura Fiakermilli was all strident edge. As Count Elemer, Brian Jagde’s sunny tenor and smiling countenance lit up the stage. Philippe Auguin’s swift, no-nonsense conducting invested the many less than purple pages of Strauss’ score with animation and energy. This is one opera that resists modernization, Otto Schenk’s representational period-specific production creates a handsome but slightly grimy around the edges view of 1860s Vienna.


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CASA VALENTINA, from p.20

Harvey Fierstein’s first f or a y i n t o no n- m us ica l playwrighting in over 30 years, “Casa Valentina,” lives at the

other end of the gender-bending spectrum. The work is directed with elegant sensitivity by the masterful Joe Mantello, who has a raft of queer-themed works under his belt, including “The Pride,” “The Ritz,” “Take Me Out,” “Love! Valour! Compassion!,” and “Corpus Christi.” The story centers on a group of men,

CASA VALENTINA Manhattan Theatre Club Samuel J. Friedman Theatre 261 W. 47th St. Through Jun. 15 Tue.-Wed. at 7 p.m. Thu.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat.-Sun. at 2 p.m. $67-$125; telecharge.com Or 212-239-6200 Two hrs., 20 min., with intermission

all claiming to identify as heterosexual, who come to a tumbledown bungalow colony in the Catskills to “escape from routine” and dress and act like women. Transvestite was the accepted term of the day, at a time before cross-dressing came into popular parlance. Their behavior at that resort half a century ago, by the way, could have landed them in jail. What makes this exceptional comic drama so fascinating is the variety of men portrayed within this largely ignored corner of society, each looking to fulfill an individual need. Some dress because they feel trapped in the wrong gendered body. Some get sexual gratification. Others are reliving a pivotal moment in their childhood where women’s clothes first lodged in their psyche. All of them get a thrill by lying to their wives and tasting forbidden fruit. But the sisters in “The Sorority,” as some call it, occasionally bicker amongst themselves over issues like getting official recognition for their group and what pronouns to use. The most gregarious of the bunch is Bessie (Tom McGowan, with expert comic timing), a rotund gal who loves to quote Oscar Wilde and dispense advice to the awkward newbie Jonathon (a marvelous Gabriel Ebert), who has never worn a dress in public before. “A good friend will stab you in the front,” advises Bessie. The resort’s intrepid proprietors are George (Patrick Page), who later emerges as Valentina, and his dutiful wife, Rita (Mare Winningham), who is starting to show cracks in her armor as supporter of George’s lifestyle. This weekend they have a distinguished visitor, Charlotte (Reed Birney), a publisher and activist from LA who announces that the Sorority is now a legally recognized nonprofit organization.

Not that it’s very good news. Since the designation requires members to provide a legal name and address, the sisters balk. If “Casa Valentina” serves as a primer about a subculture that was then secret and maintains some of its stigma today (they see it as a very exclusive club, or a Shangri La), it also smashes some myths along the way. This particular group of men have little desire to be showy like lip-synching drag queens. It’s about becoming comfortable in their own skin. While wearing male attire, the men come across as stiff and stilted; in women’s attire, they seem self-possessed and at ease. “Wear what makes you happy,” says Bessie to Jonathon. “Passing undetected is our zenith.” Confidentiality, needless to say, is paramount. Although inspired by events that actually took place at the Chevalier d’Eon Resort in the Catskills in 1962, this is no history lesson. Fierstein’s trademark dialogue pulses with equal amounts of snappy wit and charm. At one point, I was reminded of George Cukor’s classic film “The Women.” “We traverse the high-wire betwixt exaltation and terror,” says Bessie, trying to put into words the impetus for their obsession. That’s not to say the play doesn’t have slow patches. A talky, protracted scene where the sisters discuss their desire to overcome the legal and social obstacles they face weighs down the proceedings. The staging is too static and the dialogue grows didactic. The dramatic throughline — who among them is responsible for the mysterious photos of men in drag pleasuring themselves? — really doesn’t take hold until midway through the second act. The parallels between the push for gay rights and the desire these men have to pursue their interest in socializing as women without stigma and potential punishment are unmistakable. “That’s the problem with you younger girls born into a world where the hard work’s been done for you,” says Charlotte of her efforts to bring transvestites out of the closet. “I’ve gone to jail so you won’t have to.” Somewhat shocking to 21st century ears is the disdain the sisters show toward “fags” and “queers,” as they like to call them. They aim to distance themselves from homosexuals entirely, banning them outright from the Sorority. “Fifty years from now,” Charlotte sniffs, “when homosexuals are still scuttling about as the back-alley vermin of society, cross dressing will be as everyday as cigarette smoking.” That prediction was way off. But who knows — perhaps with more thoughtful, warmly provocative works like “Casa Valentina,” men who like to embody women in their social lives even while otherwise hewing to gender norms may be better understood.

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30 STROKE, from p.18

“Yes, he will be in it,” Richards said. “I was at Paul’s, and the people from the museum came, although I didn’t see what they selected. Look at the fashion knowledge in this 1982 drawing [pointing to a punk portrait], nobody had gone this far. It was the beginning of the punk era and that skull-covered scarf you now see sold on every street corner! “He had such a knowledge of anatomy, too. Look at the way that ass is tilted, the distribution of weight, and the power of that arm, with almost no detail. I could look at this stuff forever. He worked like a Renaissance artist in his big studio, with his boy and girl acolytes. I found a whole collection from one morning when he was looking for boy models, which he would find on the street. Instead of taking their cards, he drew them while he interviewed them, 26 little drawings. Incredible!” I took drawing at Parsons from Professor Richard Rosenfeld, and was happy to see his intense Egon Schieleesque erotic drawings on prominent display. “Richard is still teaching at Parsons and in the process of retiring,” Richards said. “He lives on the East Side in an apartment filled with filing cabinets full of artwork. This is real drawing, highly erotic, and you can see all of his fashion experience. People ask how long did it take to do this and I say, ‘Two hours and 52 years!’” Rosenfeld’s hardcore depiction of a leather man made Richards recall that the major magazines “had restrictions. You couldn’t show one man touching another’s genitalia, no penetration of any kind, and no fluids, because they were sold on newsstands and through the mail. You could buy this on a newsstand unsealed, but there was another genre of magazines that was sold sealed and could not be sold through the mail. They were very hardcore and not my thing. None of us were very hardcore, and there’s very little hardcore in this show, a few things. “Look at this Rosenfeld sketch about fisting, how brilliantly and subtly it’s

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MYSTERY, from p.19

from “Rebecca”), an ancient estate near Hempstead Heath. Naturally, it’s a dark and stormy night. It’s been three years since Lady Hillcrest, aka Irma Vep, has tragically died, and now Lord Edgar Hillcrest (Sella) has taken a new bride, Lady Enid (Burton). Jane (Sella), the longtime maid, has trouble warming up to the new mistress of the house. Irma’s portrait hangs over the fireplace mantel, as if she’s still watching — and judging. Also on hand is Nicodemus Underwood (Burton), the leering caretaker who clomps around with a wooden leg (he was mauled by a wolf)

depicted. I found this beautiful piece right here in the gallery. We owned it and it was stuck in a drawer. We are currently trying to accession over 22,000 pieces into our collection, some in our permanent collection and some in the archive, a process that goes on for a very long time. I only care about the quality of the art but others care about the sociological aspects, so there are debates.” My personal favorite work in the show is a frat house orgy by Michael Kirwan, which is like a Paul Cadmus with the sexuality amped up about 100 degrees, and Richards agreed: “It’s a masterpiece, and he does it all without models. He drew this out of his head. Look how many people are there, and each one is an individual, with great diversity. Of all the artists, Kirwan’s models are the most diverse, not all slick beauties. It’s all done in magic marker on the cheapest paper, so you can see the entire drawing on the back. He’s one of my all-time favorites, hard to handle, but delightful. If you want the boy next door, go next door, but he’s not working enough.” Kirwan, like a number of the artists, came to the exhibit’s opening “which was so crowded, 300 people. You could barely get near the artists for all their fans. Benoit, whose beautiful, big-selling work recalls the posters of Paul Colin and J.C. Leyendecker, came with a whole cadre of French people, such beautiful boys.” Richards himself is represented by his work for Torso magazine: “Joe Namath actually wrote me a letter after he saw what I had done in the magazine. They gave me eight pages to do whatever I wanted, everything from Diana Vreeland to Ryan Idol. His letter said that this was the funniest thing in New York, and Vreeland also wrote me a letter thanking me for the ‘charming drawing’ of her. “For Torso, I invented this boy named Toby, devoting big space to him and his different adventures. I guess he was the wishful me, with this rich boyfriend, Darryl, who paid the bills. And here is Bruce Weber, whom Darryl wanted to be photographed by. Growing up in Maine, there wasn’t anything like this for me, it

was all in my head. You could buy these magazines, and I must admit I stole a few. I couldn’t buy them at our neighborhood drugstore. The guy would tell your parents.” Mel Odom’s meticulously rendered, slightly surreal imagery definitely crossed over into the mainstream and was a big part of 1970s iconography, with his dreamy, opiated-looking models. “This piece belongs to Mel, and he was reluctant to show it,” Richards explained. “It’s of his lover, who died of a heroin overdose. You see that monkey on his back but the technique is magnificent, staggering. Mel doesn’t draw anymore — it takes a day just to do one inch, it’s so intense — but he’s painting now on a big scale.” There’s not a whole lot of Tom of Finland in the show. “He’s very exposed already,” Richards said. “Jim French, in my opinion, was a better technician than Tom, but without the sociological impact. Because Tom taught gay men how they wanted to look. They had no idea — before him, when you went to a bar, you had to wear a suit. His was never my world, as he was deep into leather and all of that. This drawing belongs to the Tom of Finland Foundation. They have a big house in LA

and on the top floor is his bedroom with his Nazi uniforms and all that stuff. I once slept in that room. It was creepy.” Although a number of the artists are still alive, “some of these older guys have been through a lot and are quite bitter, and there are some real tragedies among them, like Blade. We own his estate from the 1940s on. He was one of those gay tragedies. When he was discharged from World War II, he was in San Diego and San Francisco, and word got out that he was doing this stuff and selling it privately. One day the cops burst in, beat him near to death, put all his work in the center of the room, and lit it on fire. He continued to work and later suffered from a big robbery of his stuff. I knew him quite well, a wonderful man and close friend of [photographer] George Platt Lynes, that crowd, a brilliant artist and lovely man. I have been commissioned to do a book of the exhibit which will feature many more artists I couldn’t include, and also biographies of the artists, because there isn’t such a book.” So what ended all of this?, I asked Richards. “It’s very definite,” he said. “First of all, there was VHS tape and suddenly you could have all boys in the magazines doing what you wanted them to do, once the machines became available. Then came the CD, which made it even more glamorous, and the DVD, which was more connected to digital. And then the Internet killed the magazines completely. I think there are a few stragglers left, really low end with nothing of quality in them, mostly boys off the street, pimplyassed, drugged, and sleazy.” Yes, this era has pretty much ended, but if you want to relive it — maybe revisit your own past — and get a sneaky thrill from what was once kept covertly and is now gloriously displayed and fully legitimized, get your keister down to Mercer Street, posthaste. Full confession: after our walk through the gallery, such was the undying, wicked potency of these images, I had to admit, “I’m so damned horny now!” “That’s the idea,” Richards smiled.

and has the hots for Jane. When strange events occur, like werewolf and vampire attacks, he and Lord Edgar try to solve the mystery. There’s even a ludicrous excursion to a tomb in Giza, Egypt, where the answer might be buried. It will surprise no one that the 3,000-year-old mummy comes alive or that the name Irma Vep turns out to be an anagram. But that doesn’t make the piece any less delectable. Not that the dizzying plot really matters. It’s all about the astounding performances and how swiftly the actors can shuck off their sport coats, riding pants, and boots and don an evening gown and wig in the blink of an eye. Burton honed his skills in Broadway’s

“The 39 Steps,” another quick-change Hitchcock spoof. And like “The Carol Burnett Show,” the funniest bits are when something goes awry, forcing the actors to improvise or break character, cracking an unscripted smile. Ludlam’s arch dialogue — gushing with mentions of moors and heather and howling winds — is a both a witty sendup and an homage to the gothic noir films that Hollywood churned out in the mid-20th century. Certain passages are lifted from classics like Poe’s “The Raven” and Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” Many jokes land with a groan-worthy thud, which may well be by design. “They cling to the dead a long time at

Mandacrest,” emotes Lady Enid. Jane responds balefully, “Nay, I think it’s the dead that cling to us.” John Arnone has concocted a perfectly sinister manor drawing room crammed with curios and mismatched furniture, made even creepier with Peter West’s lighting and Brandon Wolcott’s sound effects. The ridiculously brilliant “Irma Vep” was Ludlam’s 25th work and ranks as one of the most produced plays across the globe, partly due to his skill in melding high and low culture. This fine revival makes us consider what other wonders the gifted dramatist might have created if he weren’t taken from us in his prime.

DAVID NOH

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April 30, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

Robert W. Richards, who curated the “Stroke” exhibition at Leslie-Lohman.


4

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| April 30, 2014

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April 30, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

THE QUESTION:

Who is the new voice in morning radio that everyone is talking about? L + M/ COURTESY OF PERKINS EASTMAN

THE ANSWER:

JOE PISCOPO!

PHOTO BY DANNY SANCHEZ

• He’s Funny • He’s Smart • He’s Informative – and a great way to start your day!

MORNINGS: 6-9AM

The exterior of the Harlem 117, a development of 111 units of affordable housing in Central Harlem.

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AFFORDABLE, from p.16

L+M Development Partners is a builder of affordable, mixed-income, and market rate housing. From conception to completion, this developer is responsible for more than $2.5 billion in housing development, investment, and construction, having created more than 15,000 units in the tri-state area. In a partnership with Dunn Development, L + M is currently developing the mixed-use, multi-building Navy Green complex on Clermont and Vanderbilt Avenues in Fort Greene near the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Offering about 460 units when completed, the development represents a combination of rentals and condos, with more than 20 percent of the total designated as affordable, as well as nearly 100 units of supportive housing. (lmdevpartners.com) TF Cornerstone focuses on acquisition, development, construction, and management of residential, commercial, and retail properties. With an aggressive acquisition strategy and a construction division, the company’s property portfolio includes a collection of luxury residential buildings such as 4610 Center Boulevard in Long Island City and 505 West 37th Street in Manhattan. Partnering with Selfhelp, a senior citizen non-profit organization, the company is now at work on Phase 11 at Hunters Point South, which is a massive housing complex along the Long Island City riverfront. Made up of two high-rise towers with nearly 1,200 units, the development is setting aside 60 percent for affordable housing — with some 100 units reserved for seniors. The development will feature a fitness center, a rock-climbing wall, a rooftop deck, a pre-K school, and a dedicated senior recreational center with fitness classes, nutritional education, and blood pressure testing, among other services. (tfcornerstone.com/new-york-citylife/tag/affordable-housing/) Gotham West, located in a series of buildings on West 45th Street, is a

mixed-use, 1,238-unit development from the Gotham Organization. There are 250 units that fall into the 80/20 program, and the development has created another 432 units for middle-income housing. “Gotham West is currently accepting applications for the middle-income category,” said Melissa Pianko, the Gotham Organization’s executive vice president of development. “We also have another 80/ 20 project under construction at 600 Fulton Street in Brooklyn, but marketing efforts have yet to begin.” (gothamorganization.com) Back-to-back sites in Manhattan developed by L + M, one fronting 116th Street and the other fronting 117th Street, feature a pair of residential buildings with a total of 194 homes. The Adeline, on 116th Street in Central Harlem, is an 83-unit, market-rate condominium. The other, Harlem 117, houses 111 affordable rental units. Designed as a non-smoking building, it will feature a resident-only lounge, a landscaped courtyard, and rentable on-site parking. The expected completion date is mid-2014, but applications must be postmarked by May 5, 2014. (117thstreetrental.com) Another new affordable project taking shape in Harlem is a two-tower 80/ 20 development by Continuum Company at 1800 Park Avenue. When completed in about two years, these towers will be Harlem’s tallest buildings. Opposite the Metro North Station between East 124th and 125th Streets, the project will include about 120 affordable units and roughly 380 market-rate apartments. (continuumcompany.com) Glenwood Management is one of New York City’s largest owners and builders of luxury rental apartments, and over five decades has built a reputation as a leading full-service organization in property development and management. Glenwood has opened a waiting list for affordable rentals at the eightstory Hampton Court at 333 East 102nd Street (download an application from glenwoodnyc.com/assistedhousing).


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| April 30, 2014

SPRING, from p.8

cannot tell the authentic stories of our lives because that may offend the broader society. Sandy Stier, who comprised the lesbian plaintiff couple with her partner Kris Perry, had two sons from a prior marriage. When they were profiled in People magazine, Frank, the youngest, “hated

IDA, from p.24

her sole living relative. Wanda is a judge and a well-connected Communist Party insider — she can get out of a DUI arrest and have a cop apologize to her about it the next morning. Wanda tells Anna that her real name is Ida and her parents were Jews killed during the Occupation. The two women go on a road trip into the countryside, looking for her parents’ home. This journey unearths secrets that early ‘60s Poles would rather forget about — and it challenges Ida’s blind faith and Wanda’s blithe cynicism. Two cinematographers worked on “Ida.” I’m not sure if they collaborated or worked separately, but the film’s look is seamless. Shot in blackand-white, it uses every tone of that particular palette. Several scenes that consist of rich, inky slabs of darkness broken up by a few shards of light are particularly memorable. The film also gets maximum mileage from blackand-white digital video’s tendency to turn all on-screen light sources into unnaturally glowing orbs. Pawlikowski’s depiction of 1962 Poland suggests the rough-hewn New York and Cleveland settings of Jim Jarmusch’s “Stranger Than Paradise.” There’s something strangely appealing about the rawness of Polish highways, even if the setting sometimes crosses over into sheer ugliness.

c

ty-studded reception in Los Angeles; San Francisco City Hall would do just fine,” Becker writes. Ultimately, I wondered if Becker is telling an authentic story or if this book was just one more piece of the Gay Marriage: The Brand marketing campaign that was the Prop 8 trial. And so the answer to my colleague’s question is that this is bad journalism.

SYNESTHESIA, from p.21

being a kind of feminine boy, it was a little more difficult to pull apart,” he said. Gender, for Wehr, is about more than just being masculine or feminine — and the idea that he could be both played a major part in his transition. “I think that it’s a lot easier to be comfortable with the different parts of yourself when you’re grounded, when you’re centered, when you’re in a place where you feel confident and comfortable,” the artist said. “And I think transitioning, medically and

Agata Kulesza and Agata Trzebuchowska in Pawel Pawlikowski’s “Ida.”

Claude Lanzmann unearthed the depths of Polish anti-Semitism, historical and contemporary, back in 1985 with his mammoth documentary “Shoah,” and while the look of “Ida” is seductive, its first two-thirds feel overly familiar. Pawlikowski’s conception of his characters is overly schematic. Wanda refers to herself as “Red Wanda.” While

she shows no overt remorse for sending people to their execution, her alcoholism is clearly meant to stem from that. On the other hand, Trzebuchowska’s per formance errs on the side of obliqueness, allowing her character to be defined by her faith and little else. Ida says she never feels tempted by “carnal love.” From most 18-year-olds,

this would be an obvious lie, but coming from Ida, one tends to believe her. The characters in “Ida” are contemporaries of the French New Wave and Roman Polanski’s debut “Knife in the Water,” but while the cinematography of Pawlikowski’s film at points evokes the early films of JeanLuc Godard, Claude Chabrol, and Francois Truffaut, Wanda and Ida are no cinephiles. The modern world makes itself felt in their lives through another art form: jazz. A woozy cover of John Coltrane’s “Naima” is perfectly chosen as Ida heads down to a deserted dance floor for a late night rendezvous with a musician. ‘60s Poland had a rich tradition of jazz and experimental music, which is evident from soundtracks of films made in the country at the time. Pawlikowski seems to be paying homage to this, something Poles can be proud of, unlike the historical wreckage Ida and Wanda uncover. As a wave of “faith-based” films hits American theaters, “Ida” strikes me as an intriguing parallel European effort at examining organized religion. If it ends by reaffirming Christian values (at least in one interpretation), it also suggests the merits of seriously testing them. Deliberately old-fashioned — not only black-and-white but also using the boxy 1.33 aspect ratio — it transcends retro nostalgia for a real examination of the past.

socially, and just growing up in a lot of ways, like everyone does, is very comforting.” Wehr considers “Split + Growing,” on display through May 25, a success, a nice jumping off point into his work. He is currently at work on a piece for a group show that the Pop-Up Museum of Queer History will stage at the Public Library on 42nd Street. He is also hoping to produce work for additional solo shows later this year. F o r t h e l a t e s t o n We h r, v i s i t ketchwehr.blogspot.com.

KETCH WEHR

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the way that the People magazine made them all out to be some kind of modernday Brady Bunch,” Becker reports. Later, as they were waiting to learn if the US Supreme Court would hear the case, AFER made plans to hold weddings for the two couples if the court declined to grant cert. “ K r i s a nd Sa nd y ha d ni xed an AFER-hatched plan to hold a celebri-

MUSIC BOX FILMS

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"Pursuit + Instinct"


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April 30, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

BOOKS Badass Scribes

BRONX ACADEMY OF ART AND DANCE

“(dis)Assembly” is a gathering of three badass queer women — New York poets Eileen Myles and Iris Cushing and DC novelist Jennifer Natalya Fink — reading from their latest work. Bureau of General Services at Cage, 83A Hester St., btwn. Orchard & Allen Sts. May 2, 7 p.m. More information at contact@bgsqd.com.

MAY 3: Jesse Vega is among the dancers in "Boogie Down" at the Bronx Academy of Art & Dance.

THU.MAY.1

CABARET Little Edie is Back

During New Year’s Week in 1978, “Little Edie” Beal, of “Grey Gardens” fame, performed a now legendary cabaret act at Reno Sweeney Nightclub in Manhattan. In “Edie Beal: Live at Reno Sweeney,” Jeffrey Johnson recreates that act. Producer Gerald Duval, Edie’s producer for the 1978 act, has re-created the essence of those magical nights using original dialogue, songs, and text from the act. 54 Below, 254 W. 54th St. May 1, 9:30 p.m. The cover charge is $25-$35 at 54Below.com or 866468-7619, and there is a $25 food & drink minimum.

ACTIVISM Anti-Gentrification Demo & May Pole Dance

Lower East Side residents and urban gardeners gather to resist the development gentrifying the neighborhood centered on Second St. & Ave. C. Speakers include Carlina Rivera, director of programming & services at Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES); Shafaq Islam, senior staff attorney at the Urban Justice Center; Phyllissima Abe, an artist and a neighborhood tenants representative from 141 Ridge St.; Peter Cramer, an artist, co-director of Le Petit Versailles, and a member of the 245 E. Second St. Tenants Association; David Orama, a community youth counselor and a longtime

resident member of the 245 E. Second St. Tenants Association; Kembra Pfahler, an artist, musician, and member of the 245 E. Second St. Tenants Association; and a representative of the Cuchifritos Gallery and Project Space. Le Petit Versailles Garden, 346 E. Houston St. at Ave. C. May 1, 11 a.m. At noon, attendees will decorate a May Pole and celebrate May Day with a dance. More information at 917-803-0501.

COMMUNITY Contemplating the Queer Gaze

Kristiania, an international anarcho-literary collective of politically minded writers, hosts its first public event — “The Queer Gaze,” a conversation about queerness and subjectivity featuring prominent writers and thinkers Samuel R. Delany, Ana Božicevic, Saeed Jones, and Trace Peterson. Lonely Christopher moderates. Bureau of General Services at Cage, 83A Hester St., btwn. Orchard & Allen Sts. May 1, 7 p.m. More information at contact@bgsqd.com or kristiania.org.

FRI.MAY.2

PERFORMANCE A New Mapplethorpe

BAX artist in residence Max Steele has created a character named “Mapplethorpe,” who tells the

DANCE Boogie Down in the Bronx

SAT.MAY.3

“The Boogie Down Dance Series” is an annual spring offering of the Bronx Academy of Art & Dance (BAAD!). Highlights include: “Bronx Centric — Boogie Down,” featuring dancers including Jesse Vega (May 3, 8 p.m.; $20); Antonio Ramos’ “Neverland,” a poignant and whimsical piece with movement inspired by queer and homeless youth culture from the Christopher Street piers to drag ballrooms to contemporary dance. (May 9-10, 8 p.m.; $20); Bronx Dance Magazine celebrates Tina Pratt (May 10, 3:30-5:30 p.m.; free); Toni Renee Johnson's Maverick Dance Experience, BAAD!’s artists in residence for the past year (May 17, 8 p.m.; $20); Merián Soto's Branch Dances presents an outdoor dance, featuring Soto, Arthur Aviles, and 10 Bronx-based dancers, responding to the natural primeval forest that was once the Bronx (May 18, 1:30 p.m.; free); Lehman College Dance Program presents short works (May 23, 8 p.m.; free); Angela's Pulse and Urban Bush Women present “Dancing While Black: Collective(s) Action,” featuring choreographer and dancer Paloma McGregor, Rashida Bumbray/ Dance Diaspora Collective , Ebony Noelle Golden/ The Body Ecology Performance Ensemble, and Adia Whitaker/ Ase Dance Theater Collective (May 30-21, 8 p.m.; $20). BAAD!, 2474 Westchester Ave. at Blondell Ave., Westchester Sq. May 3-31. For complete information & tickets, visit www.baadbronx.org.

MON.MAY.5

GALLERY Blue Jackie KO

Isaac Hayes, Agnes Moorehead, and a blue Jacqueline Kennedy are some of the personalities featured in an exhibit of the works of East Village glass artist Joseph Cavalieri. These graphic portraits use hand lettered and silk-screened processes on stained glass, a technique that dates back to Medieval times. The collection of more than a dozen works show off Cavalieri’s sense of humor and mastery of the craft. Better Being 940, 537 Ninth Ave. at 40th St. Through Jul. 12, Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch & dinner daily. More information at cavaglass@gmail.com or 212-925-2377.

TUE.MAY.6

SPORTS How to Make Sure You Can Play

“The Reappearing Act: Coming Out as Gay on a College Basketball Team Led by Born Again Christians” is the new memoir by Kate Fagan, a former Division 1 college basketball player and currently a writer at ESPN. Fagan reads from her book and engages in conversation with Wade Davis, a former NFL play who is now executive director of You Can Play Project, which aims to increase LGBT participation in sports, and Nevin Caple, who also played Division 1 basketball and is the co-founder of Br{ache the Silence Campaign, which works to enhance LGBT voices in women’s sports. Bureau of General Services at Cage, 83A Hester St., btwn. Orchard & Allen Sts. May 6, 7 p.m. More information at contact@bgsqd.com.

HOMO COMICUS

story of his origin, explaining how he made his dream of being a singer come true, with a little help from the Sky. “Mapplethorpe” leads the audience through his journey of self-discovery and the realization that with great talent comes great responsibility, with big dreams come big nightmares. His journey from the gutter to the stage serves as both an inspiration and a cautionary tale. Brooklyn Arts Exchange, 421 Fifth Ave. at Eighth St., Park Slope. May 2-3, 8 p.m.; May 4, 6 p.m. Tickets are $15; $8 for low-income at bax.org.

COMMUNITY Honoring Excellence in Media

Pop superatar Kylie Minogue and country music sensation Kacey Musgraves headline an evening that also features Laverne Cox and her fellow cast members from the Netflix hit series “Orange Is The New Black.” GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, hosts its annual media awards, this year honoring actor George Takei. Comedian Fortune Feimster emcees. Waldorf Astoria Hotel, 301 Park Ave. at 50th St. May 3, 5:30 p.m. cocktails & silent auction; 7 p.m. dinner & awards; 10 p.m. afterparty. Tickets are $450-$1,000 at glaad.org.

WED.MAY.7

COMEDY Girls Gone Hilarious

Kate Clinton headlines an evening of women’s comedy with a gaggle of fabulous fellow comics, including Claudia Cogan, Scout Durwood, and NY Kaz. Poppy Champlin hosts this edition of “Homo Comicus.” Gotham Comedy Club, 208 W. 23rd St. May 7, 8:30 p.m. Cover charge is $20, and there’s a two-drink minimum. Reservations at 212-367-9000.

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WED.MAY.7, continued on p.35


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BOOKS Sci-Fi Queered

WED.MAY.7, from p.34

THEATER Armenian History & Erotic Dance

“Dear Armen,” an audience-immersive theater experience inspired by Armen Ohanian, an enigmatic performer and poet who survived early 20th-century anti-Armenian pogroms, integrates traditional Armenian dance, erotic performance, and spoken word in a story of young Garineh, who delves into the life and art of Ohanian in search of a role model and mentor. In the process, Garineh begins unraveling questions about her own gender, sexuality, ethnicity, family, and the role of the artist in modern life. Kame Abrahamian and Lee Williams Boudakian star. Alwan for the Arts, 16 Beaver St. at New St., btwn. Broad St. & Broadway. May 7-8, 10, 13, 15-16, 7:30 p.m. reception, show at 8. Tickets are $32; $27 for students at deararmennyc.bpt.me.

THU.MAY.8

POLITICS Amy Holmes’ Blazing Intellect

Amy Holmes, a news anchor on TheBlaze TV, a CNN political contributor, and a guest on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” appears at the “Second Thursday: Conservative Conversations” program of the Log Cabin Republicans of NYC. Women's National Republican Club, 3 W. 51st St., fourth fl. library. May 8, 7:30-9 p.m. The event is free, but RSVP to nyc@logcabin.org. The program is preceded by dinner ($12) and drinks ($8) and followed by drinks at the 2M Pub inside the WNRC.

FRI.MAY.9

BOOKS Newfangled Poetry

In a return of the “New Fangled” reading series, Robert Siek introduces poets Joey De Jesus, Ryan Doyle May, and Roberto Montes for an evening of verse. Bureau of General Services at Cage, 83A Hester St., btwn. Orchard & Allen Sts. May 9, 7 p.m. More information at contact@bgsqd.com.

SAT.MAY.10

FAMILY Understanding Your Options

The Center Families program of the LGBT Community Center hosts the second annual LGBT Family Building Expo. Hear from experts, providers, parents, and youth as they offer guidance, resources, and personal stories to help you build your family through adoption, alternative insemination, foster care, or surrogacy. 208 W. 13th St. May 10, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., with a reception following, from 5-6. Admission is free, but registration is encouraged at gaycenter.org/lgbtfamilyexpo. For more information, contact Megan P. Fisk at mfisk@ gaycenter.org or 646-556-9297.

Author Emma Caterine launches the premier of Decay, a new zine series that explores how a radical queer community interacts and survives in a time after Earth. Guests will also read excerpts from their own works that challenge the narrow bounds of what science fiction is, and thereby embody science fiction in its most essential: imagining the possibilities of the day after. Bluestockings, 172 Allen St., btwn. Stanton & Rivington Sts. May 10, 7 p.m. More information at bluestockings.com/events.

Hirsute & Poetic

Editor Ron J. Suresha hosts a reading from “Hibernation, and other poems by bear bards,” a new anthology of poetry by bears and those who love them. Suresha is joined by contributing authors Scott Hightower, Daniel Lewiston, Rocco Russo, Jordan M. Shu, Chris Vaccaro, and Emanuel Xavier. Time permitting, an open mic will follow the reading. Bureau of General Services at Cage, 83A Hester St., btwn. Orchard & Allen Sts. May 10, 7 p.m. More information at contact@bgsqd.com.

SUN.MAY.11

MUSIC A Klezmer Brunch on Mother’s Day

For the fifth consecutive year, Metropolitan Klezmer — the 20-year-old musical ensemble that draws its vibrant neo-traditional repertoire from rambunctious wedding dance to Old World trance, Yiddish swing and tango, and wide-ranging vibrant original compositions such as klezmer cumbia — presents a Mother’s Day brunch concert at City Winery, 155 Varick St. at Vandam St. May 11, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Admission is $10, with free admission for children under 13. Reservations at citywinery.com/newyork or 212-608-0555. City Winery has a full menu, with Mother’s Day drink specials, but no minimum order.

A Burlesque Brunch on Mother’s Day

In a special event produced by the New York Burlesque Festival and the School of Burlesque, the World Famous *BOB* hosts a Mother’s Day burlesque brunch, featuring an appearance by burlesque icon Jean Idelle and performances by her fellow stage veterans Kitten Natividad and Shannon Doah as well as Angie Pontani, Jo Boobs, Mr. Gorgeous, Kitten & Lou, and Gal Friday. DJ MomoTaro provides the tunes. The Highline Ballroom, 431 W. 16th St. May 11, doors open at noon; show at 1:30 p.m. Admission is $25-$60 at highlineballroom.com.

DANCE A Springtime Twist on Nijinksy

French choreographer Thierry Thieû Niang’s “A Time of Spring” combines movement and text to retell the story of the opening performance of “The Rite of Spring.” Inspired in part by Nijinsky’s choreography, with an actor reading selections from his diary, “A Time of Spring” explores the themes of “The Rite” with local professional performers and non-professional participants between the ages of 60 and 90. The Invisible Dog Art Center, 51

IFC CENTER

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Bergen St., btwn. Smith & Court Sts., Boerum Hill. May 11, 5 p.m. Reservations are required at tix@theinvisibledog.org, and a donation of $10 is suggested at the door. For more information visit theinvisibledog.org or call 347-560-3641.

MON.MAY.12

FILM Summer of Drag

Queer/ Art/ Film and the IFC Center host a monthly film series “Summer of Drag,” featuring films selected by legendary New York drag artists — Lypsinka, Barbara Herr, the queens of Brooklyn’s BUSHWIG festival, and Murray Hill — and curated by filmmakers Ira Sachs and Adam Baran. On May 12, 8 p.m., on Lypsinka’s recommendation, the series screens Richard Brenner’s “Outrageous!” (1977), the story of a hairdresser (Canadian drag superstar Craig Russell), whose schizophrenic roommate convinces him to turn his passion for imitating Hollywood starlets into a full-fledged career. Before long Russell is wowing crowds with his impressions of Judy Garland, Bette Davis, Mae West, and more. On Jun. 9, 7:30 p.m., Barbara Herr hosts Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s classic “Suddenly, Last Summer” (1959), based on Tennessee Williams’ Gothic mix of cannibalism, homosexuality, and lobotomy and starring Elizabeth Taylor, Katharine Hepburn, and Montgomery Clift. On Jul. 7, 8 p.m., the queens of BUSHWIG offer up John Cameron Mitchell’s “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” (2001), the classic tale of the East German “slip of a girlyboy” who seeks international stardom in New York — now being revived in its stage form by Neil Patrick Harris. And on Aug. 11, 8 p.m., Murray Hill presents Frank Simon’s “The Queen,” a 1968 behind the scenes documentary about a drag contest in New York. IFC Center, 323 Sixth Ave. at W. Third St. Tickets are $14, with a series pass at $50 at queerartfilm.com.

BOOKS The Poetry of Emergent Women

#GrowFierce is a poetic showcase featuring New York-based emerging women poets. These women weave moving narratives of star dust, open veins, blossoming gardens, poetic switch blades, roller skates, and prophetic tea leaves. Bluestockings, 172 Allen St., btwn. Stanton & Rivington Sts. May 12, 7 p.m. More information at bluestockings.com/events.

WED.MAY.14

CABARET Wake Up with Gregory Nalbone

In “Awakening,” soulful, sexy crooner Gregory Nalbone, whose versatility takes him from Cole Porter to Mick Jagger, returns to the Duplex with songs inspired by the passions of spring. Kenneth Gartman is musical director and Matt Scharfglass plays bass. The Duplex, 61 Christopher St. at Seventh Ave. S., in Sheridan Sq. May 14 & 16, 7 p.m. The cover charge is $20, and there’s a twodrink minimum. Reservations at theduplex.com or 212-255-5438. More information on Nalbone at GregoryNalboneMusic.com.

HEALTH Fighting the Epidemic in Latino America

“Designing A World Without AIDS” is the theme of the annual Cielo Latino Gala of the Latino Commission on AIDS. This year’s honorees are AIDS advocate Maria Mejia, Gabriela Isler, the reigning Miss Universe, and Janssen Therapeutics. José Alberto “El Canario,” a worldwide salsa sensation, performs. Cipriani Wall St., 55 Wall St., btwn. William & Hanover Sts. May 14, 6:30 p.m. cocktails & silent auction; 7:30 dinner & program; 9 dancing. Tickets are $600 at cielolatino.org.

THU.MAY.15

BOOKS Tall Women, Two Kevins

The monthly “Drunken! Careening! Writers!” series, curated by playwright Kathleen Warnock, presents "Two Tall Women & Two Guys Named Kevin," featuring Kevin Clouther, author of the short story collection “We Were Flying to Chicago” (Black Balloon); Kevin Holohan, author of the novel “The Brothers' Lot” (Akashic Books) now at work on his second novel, a wide-ranging, mildly dystopicboy-meets-statue, boy-and-statue-endup-running-small-country-into-the-ground-forworldwide-reality-show tale; Honor Molloy, a playwright and novelist who wrote “Smarty Girl Dublin Savage” (Gemma Media), an autobiographical novel set in 1960s Ireland; and Staci Swedeen, a playwright whose play "The Goldman Project" was presented Off-Broadway at the Abingdon Theatre. KGB Bar, 85 E. Fourth St., btwn. Bowery & Second Ave. May 15, 7 p.m. Admission is free.


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April 30, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.com

APRIL 30, 2014 GAY CITY NEWS  

APRIL 30, 2014 GAY CITY NEWS

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