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Stinging North Carolina Defeat 20 Sexy, Silly, Smart Shakespeare 23 Viva Hollande! 13 Did the Gay Right Invent Gay Marriage? 16

VOLUME ELEVEN, ISSUE TEN MAY 9-22, 2012

© GAY CITY NEWS 2012 • COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


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May 9, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

Turning the Corner on Transgender Rights? While Albany stalls on nondiscrimination, Minneapolis shows just how ugly and tragic antitrans violence can be. STORIES, 8 & 9; EDITORIAL, 12

Did Biden Make News on Marriage Equality? 18

Illustration by Christina Entcheva

CRIME

A Closeted King Among JFK-Era Columnists 22

The Smear that Won’t Die 11

PAGES 36, 38, & 39

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POLITICS

TRANSGENDER Rights Turn the Corner? Pride Agenda leads hundreds to Albany, but GOP leadership’s willingness to move GENDA in doubt BY PAUL SCHINDLER

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week after the New York State Assembly’s passage of a transgender civil rights law — for the fifth time — roughly 550 LGBT community advocates descended on Albany on May 8 for the Empire State Pride Agenda’s (ESPA) annual Equality & Justice lobbying day. not advance to the floor unless the GOP majority caucus gives its okay. The Republicans’ deliberations on taking that step on gay marriage last June occasioned weeks of drama in Albany. According to ESPA, participants held lobbying meetings in the offices of 176 legislators, though the group did not immediately have a breakout of how many of those were among the 62 senators or their staffs. Ari More, a transgender woman from Buffalo, has been to Equality & Justice Day every May since 2003. Feeling comfortable with the commitment of her state senator, Democrat Tim Kennedy, to helping pass GENDA, she spent much of the day coordinating other participants as they shuttled from meeting to meeting. Education remains a major component of the lobbying effort, she said. Some legislators and their staff voice confusion about why transgender civil rights protections are not protected under the 2002 Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) — even though that bill was purposely written to not incorporate gender identity and expression into its lan-

NY STATE SENATE

A key goal was to push the Republican State Senate majority –– which last June allowed a vote on marriage equality and provided four supporters critical to its success –– to break the logjam that has stalled the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act for nearly a decade. “GENDA is our number one priority,” said Lynn Faria, ESPA’s interim executive director. Faria declined to name or speculate on specific GOP targets who could be enlisted, in turn, to press their party to bring the bill up for a floor vote, but said, “We are looking at a broader educational effort. We are continuing to engage the Senate majority to make sure that the voices of the 78 percent of New Yorkers who support the bill are heard and to bring the stories of discrimination against transgender people to the senators.” GENDA, sponsored by Senator Daniel Squadron, a Lower Manhattan/ Brownstone Brooklyn Democrat who this year assumed leadership on the bill from out gay Chelsea Democrat Tom Duane, is currently in the Rules Committee, which is chaired by Majority Leader Dean Skelos, a Nassau County Republican. The measure will

“After I Do,” a post-marriage equality community meeting called by Senator Daniel Squadron late last summer, generated a lot of discussion about the need to enact GENDA.

guage out of political considerations. Still, More noted, Albany is now more welcoming of education on transgender issues than she has ever before witnessed. A member of both Stonewall Democrats of Western New York and Spectrum of Western New York, a transgender support group, More said she and other trans activists across the state have been “steadfast” in supporting gay and lesbian goals over the past decade. She spoke at one of last year’s rallies in the weeks just prior to State Senate passage of the marriage equality bill. With gender protections excluded from SONDA and then nine years passing with no state action on transgender rights –– only to see gay marriage leapfrog over that — More said, “Of course I have frustrations about that… I am demanding that my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters continue to stand with us.” So far, she said, she sees the activist commitment by the community still alive. She added, “Thank God we got DASA,” the Dignity for All Students Act, which created antibullying protections based on sexual orientation and gender expression, among other categories. “At least the trans kids can be safe.” GENDA’s passage in the Assembly on April 30, led by Chelsea Democrat Dick Gottfried, was a routine affair, with two Republicans and one Independent joining 78 Democrats in an 81-59 victory. Those voting no included 46 Republicans and 13 Democrats. The margin of victory in the Assembly likely understates the support for the measure there –– among the eight members who did not vote were seven Democrats, six of them from New York City. The archives of the Pride Agenda’s website contain a 2009 scorecard based on public statements by those then serving in the Senate, which showed 34 votes in support of GENDA, two more than necessary for passage. That list included nearly all of the Democrats as well as seven Republicans who are still

Melissa Sklarz noted that well over a dozen GOP senators –– including the 11 from Long Island and New York City –– represent communities with gender identity and expression anti-bias laws.

in office. Separate from that list, two other Republicans — Stephen Saland and Mark Grisanti — voted for marriage equality in 2011 and are likely targets in this year’s GENDA push. Despite the upbeat 2009 handicapping, GENDA suffered a crippling setback in June 2010, when it failed to clear the Senate Judiciary Committee despite the fact that Democrats were then the majority party. With Bronx Democrat Ruben Diaz, an implacable foe of LGBT rights, on the committee, Majority Leader John Sampson of Brooklyn, who chaired Judiciary, relied on commitments from several Republicans that they would support the measure. When not a single GOP senator did so –– among Republican committee members, several were listed as yes votes in the previous year’s scorecard –– the bill was dead for the year. A particularly disquieting aspect of that defeat was the way a Democratic committee staffer answered a GOP senator’s concerns about “men in dresses” entering women’s rooms. That staffer responded by asking the Republicans to consider what might happen to those “men in dresses” if they were required to use men’s rooms instead — accepting a misinformed framing of the gender identity and expression issue that has dogged transgender civil rights efforts in a number of legislatures around the nation. Asked whether his colleagues in the Democratic caucus were up to speed in defending

GENDA on its merits and countering the opposition’s scare tactics, Squadron said, “Everyone that I’m talking to is clear that this bill is about basic protections in housing, employment, and public accommodations for gender identity and expression, just like for so many other categories in the law.” Squadron took a pass on talking about specific senators’ positions on GENDA, but rather said, “Look, the key is to get a vote, to force people to cast a vote on civil rights. My view is that if you force folks to take a vote on civil rights that a majority of the Senate will do the right thing. That is my belief and my hope.” Several times, however, he emphasized that he did not have a list of yes votes in his pocket. “I am not saying that I could assure you today that we have the votes,” Squadron said. “We have work to do to make sure we can get this done.” Melissa Sklarz, a longtime transgender activist who is president of the Stonewall Democratic Club of NYC, noted that well over a dozen Republican senators –– including the 11 from Long Island and New York City –– represent communities that provide local nondiscrimination protections based on gender identity and expression. However, Gay City News calls to seven Republican senators –– including Skelos, last year’s four marriage equality supporters, and several from Long Island and New York City –– seeking

TRANSGENDER, continued on p.9


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CRIME

Manslaughter Plea in Victim Stabbing of Assailant’s Companion

plea hearing. On his Facebook page, Spade described McDonald’s appearance that day: “Horrifying to watch her forced to recount the events of her attack on the stand, to watch the judge speak to her condescendingly about how pulling scissors out of her purse as her attacker chased her down the street unlawfully endangered her attacker. This system is so disgusting.” Mara Keisling, who as executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality is the trans community’s leading advocate in Washington, released a statement saying, “I’m really torn up about this case. Here we have a justice system that’s criminalized CeCe for surviving… And this is a painful truth for so many other transgender women of color who’ve been victimized by hate and fear.” Freeman has a different view of the case’s conclusion. His team of prosecutors, he said, had the elements of a manslaughter conviction “locked up tight” –– in front of Moreno, McDonald acknowledged she held the scissors that went into Schmitz’s heart, that she handled them in a way that caused “unreasonable” risk to him, that he was unarmed, and that she understood her legal duty

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Minneapolis trans woman faces two more years in jail, avoids murder rap BY PAUL SCHINDLER

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t began as an ugly hate crime, when a group of white men and women outside a South Minneapolis biker bar on a June night in 2011 shouted racial and homophobic slurs at several African Americans walking by, including Chrishaun “CeCe” McDonald, a 23-yearold transgender woman –– described by friends as “slight” –– who was studying fashion at a local college. One of the whites, whom Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman described to Gay City News as a “biker woman,” smashed a glass against McDonald’s face, causing a gash that required 11 stitches. At that point, a fight ensued, and one of McDonald’s harassers, Dean Schmitz, 47, who had a criminal record and a swastika tattoo on his body, ended up dead, stabbed by fabric scissors McDonald pulled from her purse. Freeman’s office charged McDonald

TRANSGENDER, from p.8

information on their positions on GENDA were not returned. The posture of the Log Cabin Republicans toward moving GENDA this year may of fer insight into how the GOP majority is cur rently looking at the issue. Asked his view of whether the measure stands, Gregory T. Angelo, chair of the New York State Log Cabin Republicans, wr ote in an email, “We’re following the bill, but our priority this year is supporting the GOP Senators who made marriage a reality for all New Yorkers and making sure Republicans retain the majority in the Senate Chamber in November.” Squadron argued that the key obstacle is intransigence on the GOP majority’s part to allowing a vote. “Senator Skelos has worked to block Democratic bills in the Rules Committee,” he said. “He has not allowed a vote on 311 Democratic bills. GENDA has not seen the light of day.” Parliamentary procedures that would allow members to move a bill to the floor without committee approval, he said, have been “flouted.”

with second-degree murder, which the county attorney said would have landed her in jail for 15 years upon a conviction. On May 2, in Judge Daniel C. Moreno’s courtroom, McDonald pled guilty to second-degree manslaughter and will be sentenced on June 4 to 41 months in prison. With six months taken off that for time served and one third of the remaining sentence eliminated for good behavior, the young woman would spend two more years in jail. The murder charge sparked considerable outrage among McDonald’s companions that night and other friends, within the Twin Cities’ sizeable LGBT community, and on the part of transgender advocates there and nationwide. Dean Spade, who in 2002 founded New York’s Sylvia Rivera Law Project, which provides free legal services to transgender, intersex, and other gender-nonconforming clients, and now teaches at Seattle University, attended some of McDonald’s pre-trial proceedings, including the May 2

In one sign that the GOP may at least be listening, however, a Pride Agenda spokesman, George True Simpson, noted that several of the group’s board members had a face-to-face sitdown Tuesday with Senator Tom Libous, the deputy majority leader. Terri Smith-Caronia, who is responsible for public policy at Housing Works, the AIDS services group that has been a major player in the effort to enact GENDA, said that Skelos’ decision to send the measure to Rules rather than the Judiciary Committee “signals” his intention not to move it this year. A successful vote would be easier to achieve in Judiciary than in Rules, she said, given the committees’ membership. Smith-Caronia said her group counts 31 yes votes, with 17 undecided and 13 opposed (she, too, would not discuss specific names). Though that tally puts the number of additional supporters needed to ensure passage at just one, she said that Governor Andrew Cuomo, long on record in favor of GENDA, would like to see four more senators come around before advocates press for a floor vote. The bill, she said, is “not one of the governor’s priorities” this year.

More, the Buffalo activist, said her understanding was that the governor would make GENDA an early priority in 2013, after this year’s elections are behind the Senate Senate. Cuomo’s office did not respond to a request for comment. Sklarz questioned why Skelos has any reason to fear a backlash from conservatives over allowing a GENDA floor vote. “He allowed a vote on marriage and now he has a Senate map that counts cows more than people,” she said, referring to a redistricting plan widely thought to advantage upstate Republicans in holding on to their narrow 32-29 majority in November. Squadron responded by saying “right” when asked about the GOP’s view that redistricting represented a win for them, but said that has not translated into any less resistance to letting Democratic bills move forward. “Welcome to Albany,” he said. “There is a real discomfort with bipartisanship in Albany.” Squadron, when asked about the prospects for the ESPA lobbying day advancing the issue, said most voters underestimate their ability to effect change in the Legislature.

CeCe McDonald will likely be in jail until at least mid-2014.

to handle a weapon so that nobody is harmed. Those statements on the defendant’s part, the county prosecutor said, were sufficient for the judge to accept the manslaughter plea, under which McDonald waived her right to make any future

“Again and again, people’s engagement with an issue and explaining the way it affects people’s lives, especially constituents’ lives, make a difference to senators,” he said. Beyond its shoe of grassroots support on May 8, ESPA is relying on the same advisors –– Faria termed them the Dream Team –– employed in last year’s marriage push: lobbyists Mike Avella, a Republican, of Meara Avella Dickinson and Democrat Emily Giske from Bolton-St. John’s as well as communications consultant Jennifer Cunningham from SKDKnickerbocker. Despite the work of ESPA, its professional advisors, Housing Works, the Human Rights Campaign, and activists traveling to Albany, Sklarz is wary about whether the effort is equal to the task. “Legislators don’t seem to have the political will to act,” she said, while noting that “in the absence of any clear sign from the Legislature… the courts are starting to step in” –– both in New York and nationwide –– in decisions that interpret bias based on gender identity and expression as “sex discrimination.” Last month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency with

MCDONALD, continued on p.10

authority for interpreting the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s ban on sex discrimination, ruled that a “complaint of discrimination based on gender identity, change of sex, and/ or transgender status” can be pursued in federal courts on sex discrimination grounds. The lack of any significant outcry against rulings like this, Sklarz argued, shows that frenzied responses in state legislatures to transgender civil rights measures are simply “political talking points.” More said she senses that Albany legislators are beginning to understand that “nonsense” about bathrooms has been “a smokescreen, a distraction from talking about basic rights.” According to Faria, those lobbying in Albany also pressed for continued funding for LGBT health and human services needs — including mor e money for homeless queer youth –– and “thanked” legislators and Governor Cuomo for enacting marriage equality last year. She noted the gover nor’s longstanding support for GENDA. “He is publicly supportive of the bill, and we are incredibly grateful,” she said.


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May 9, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

POLITICS

AIDS, Homeless Youth Hit in Bloomberg Budget BY DUNCAN OSBORNE

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hen Mayor Michael Bloomberg released his proposed budget for New York City’s 2013 fiscal year, he said it was “an on-time balanced budget that reflects our values and our priorities.” Guess who isn’t a priority? “The budget we’re submitting won’t impose any new taxes on New Yorkers,” the mayor said on May 3. “It maintains the strength of the NYPD and also increases support for our public schools.” The $68.7 billion budget continues cuts to services for people with AIDS and for HIV prevention efforts at a time when the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) is reporting increases in new HIV infections among young gay men, with young African-American men impacted most severely. The proposed budget for the 2013 fiscal year, which begins on July 1, eliminates $27.6 million from the DOHMH disease control and epidemiology programs. Specific HIV prevention cuts include eliminating six positions in the DOHMH sexually transmitted disease unit, ten positions in its “comprehensive HIV prevention programs,” and nine jobs in its “enhanced comprehensive HIV prevention planning” unit. All of the proposed job cuts are full-time positions. “This is troubling indeed, especially in light of spikes in new infections for other [sexually transmitted infections], syphilis, in particular,” Tokes Osubu, executive director of Gay Men of African Descent (GMAD), wrote in an email. Sexually transmitted diseases make HIV easier to transmit or acquire. DOHMH advocates for widespread HIV testing and getting those who test

MCDONALD, from p.9

self-defense claim. The specific details of how McDonald’s scissors ended up in Schmitz’s heart, however, will never be determined beyond a reasonable doubt because the prosecutor’s original murder case will not go before a jury. According to her supporters, who established a website to track the criminal case against her, she told Moreno that after fighting off both the woman who attacked her and Schmitz, she tried to leave the scene to get medical attention. At that point, Schmitz pursued her, she became fearful and pulled out her scissors, and as he pulled her toward

positive for the AIDS virus into treatment as the best response to AIDS. The theory, which is supported by some evidence, is that people who test positive will alter their behavior to not infect others and that those in treatment are less infectious, so even if they have unsafe sex, they are less likely to infect others. In the proposed budget, DOHMH is cutting a half million dollars from its HIV testing efforts and eliminating two positions in a program that links HIV positive people to treatment. “As a result of citywide budget reductions, the health department reduced funding efforts by six percent for FY13,” the DOHMH said in a statement. “Federal grant dollars have offset reductions in some programs, including HIV, and by streamlining and eliminating duplication; we continue to prioritize activities with the potential to reach the greatest number of affected and high-risk individuals and populations.” The Bloomberg administration said that it has been responsibly handling large budget gaps in recent years and expected gaps ranging from $3 billion to $3.7 billion in the three fiscal years after 2013. The proposed cuts were not new, but were made in the middle of the current fiscal year and carried over to 2013, City Hall said in a statement. The city’s HIV/ AIDS Services Administration (HASA), which helps people with AIDS obtain housing, Medicaid, and other benefits, had at least $8.5 million in combined cuts to its services and a housing program. An email circulated among advocates by Jaron Benjamin, a staffer at Voices of Community Activists & Leaders (VOCAL), put the HASA cuts at $12.5 million. “Funded at more than $400 million, an increase of 40 percent since Mayor Bloomberg took office, our proposed cuts to HASA amount to two percent of its total budget with no adverse impact on

our clients,” HASA said in a statement. “[The agency] is proud that its HASA program provides greater care and support to its 32,000 clients with clinical symptomatic HIV or AIDS than any other program in any other city in the country.” One issue confronting gay and AIDS groups is that the member items from City Council members were zeroed out by the Bloomberg administration. Those groups have come to rely on member items to replace funds eliminated by the mayor. “The biggest challenge Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 2013 budget faces criticism from AIDS, homeless for the HIV community youth advocates. is that none of the City Council restorations are included in the mayor’s budget,” said Community Development (DYCD) funds Matthew Lesieur, the director of public some beds at the Ali Forney Center, a policy at VillageCare. “Once the Council shelter provider for homeless lesbian, takes a leadership role in the process... gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. it is forever in their pocketbook. My con- Some of that cash was provided by $18.3 million in Council funds, allocated to cern is is that sustainable?” As a funding source, the Council is a number of programs. Lew Fidler, a not necessarily reliable because there is Brooklyn councilman who is vying for competition among constituents for that a vacant State Senate seat, has been a cash and when members leave the Coun- fierce advocate for Ali Forney, which currently operates 47 emergency beds and cil, groups may lose a friend there. This past December, nine AIDS 30 transitional beds. Should he leave the groups, the Council, and the DOHMH Council, it’s unclear who would take up fought over cuts to HIV prevention con- that advocacy role. “It sounds to me like the mayor’s budtracts. During the dispute, Thomas Farley, the city’s health commissioner, told get gets rid of all the City Council money one AIDS group in a letter that HIV pre- from last year and has additional cuts to vention funds were cut by $19 million their base line,” said Carl Siciliano, Ali in the prior five years, with his depart- Forney’s executive director. “As it stands ment eliminating $8 million and the City right now, we would lose all of our Council money and that would mean we would Council cutting $11 million. The city’s Department of Youth & lose 26 beds.

him, they entered his chest. Freeman said he had not yet received the plea hearing’s written transcript, so could not say what specific assertions McDonald made, but termed her account “hard to believe,” stating that she has alternately claimed that she stabbed Schmitz in self-defense and that the stabbing resulted from him pulling her toward him, and, at another point, said her original story to police was meant to cover for someone else who did the stabbing. (McDonald’s attorney, Hersch Izek, did not respond to a call seeking comment.) Some witnesses on the scene told police they saw Schmitz pull McDonald off a brawl with her attacker and that,

right after that, they heard him say, “You stabbed me,” to which she responded, “Yes, I did,” before leaving the scene. Without going into the specifics of a case that will never be tried, Freeman made clear that the account from these witnesses formed the basis of his approach to prosecuting McDonald. He also emphasized that the county attorney and the judge, having accepted McDonald’s acknowledgement of the key elements required for a manslaughter conviction, including having acted “unreasonably,” could still move forward in accepting the plea arrangement despite her account in court last week of the moment the scissors entered Schmitz’s body.

The county attorney conceded that there was courtroom debate about expert testimony regarding the transgender community. In the end, a University of Minnesota professor would be allowed to testify, but only, according to the Twin Cities Daily Planet, about the definition of the word “transgender,” not about the findings of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects that of all LGBTQ hate murder victims, about half are transgender women. The prosecutor insisted that, despicable as the conduct of the crowd outside the biker bar was, the case was not about crime statistics,

MCDONALD, continued on p.11

GAY CITY NEWS

Advocates criticize prevention cuts, elimination of Council make-ups on beds for LGBT kids


| May 9, 2012

CRIME

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The Smear that Won’t Die IDing new suspect, FBI, NYPD, media again raise alarms in six-year-old Etan Patz’s ‘79 disappearance

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n December of 1982, police were looking for a missing New Jersey boy and they raided a Massachusetts home. They arrested three members of the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) and seized hundreds of photos. One picture resembled Etan Patz, a boy who disappeared on his way to school from his Soho home in May of 1979. At a December 17 meeting, FBI agents from New York and New Jersey, federal and New Jersey prosecutors, and representatives from the New York City Police Department and the US Postal Service drafted search warrants for the New York City apartments of two NAMBLA members. They were executed days later. In the accompanying media blitz, law enforcement officials, typically speaking anonymously, charged NAMBLA with the Patz disappearance and other, frankly preposterous, crimes. “There are reports of a phone number you can call and get a child to order,” an anonymous investigator told the Daily News. “You pay thousands of dollars and put in an order for a sevenyear-old child with red hair –– the next day he arrives at your door.” NAMBLA responded in a very uncriminal-like way –– they held a press conference and said that the photo was taken in 1968, several years before the six-year-old Patz was born. “The media have functioned as an adjunct of the police, rather than as an independent newsgathering and investigative institution,” one NAMBLA mem-

MCDONALD, from p.10

criminal records, or Nazi tattoos, but rather what happened in a few short minutes during which McDonald pulled scissors out of her purse. To McDonald’s supporters, her actions represented selfdefense during an incident in which she had already sustained severe injury. Many have complained that the prosecutor

ber said in a statement then. The next day, police conceded NAMBLA’s point in an Associated Press story and admitted that Nassau County police had seen the photo in mid-1981 and taken no action. This would not be not the last time that police and the press were wrong about the Patz disappearance. Most recently, Othniel Miller, a now 75-year -old Brooklyn man who once worked near the Patz home, was all but convicted by much of the press of killing the boy. Miller made an ambiguous statement to police during an interview, saying, “What if the body was moved?” During his 1986 divorce, his ex-wife accused him of sexually assaulting a young female relative. Miller has not been charged with any crime related to the Patz case or the relative. His attorney, Michael C. Farkas, said his client had long cooperated with police. But the FBI and the NYPD proceeded to dig up the basement at 127 Prince St., where Miller worked and just a few doors from where Stanley and Julie Patz, Etan’s parents, still live. A handful of press reports said that the “Leslie/ Lohman Gay Art Foundation,” as the New York Times put it, uses the basement for storage. The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art is nearby on Wooster Street and was founded 11 years after Patz disappeared, but in the minds of a few reporters, the museum was somehow implicated. That speaks to the power of such cases. “The culture wants a resolution,” said Paula S. Fass, a history professor at the University of California at Berkeley and

the author of “Kidnapped: Child Abduction in America,” a 1997 book that explored how such kidnappings were understood and represented in the 19th and 20th centuries. “I think that’s what’s going on here. We can’t stand not having answer.” Illustrating another element of the modern understanding of child disappearances, the Times –– just before its mention of Leslie-Lohman –– noted the basement “was also a known meeting place for sexual liaisons at the time”. “My sense of the Patz case is that it really turned a corner,” Fass said. “The case, coming when it did, seemed to precipitate a whole new perspective that very young people were being taken for sexual pur poses.” Abductions in which a stranger kidnaps a child are rare, but they get a lot of attention from the mainstream press. Typically, a family member, a friend, or someone known to the family is responsible and in nearly 100 percent of the cases, the child is returned alive in less than 24 hours. For Bill Dobbs, a gay civil libertarian, the Patz case shows the danger of the community appealing to law enforcement. “When there’s organizing around a crime, it’s possible to put so much pressure on that you destroy somebody,” he said. “There’s lots of things that can make the playing field cockeyed.” Dobbs has been very critical of gay groups that sought harsh charges against Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, the two Wyoming men who killed Matthew Shepard in 1998.

More recently, Dobbs and a number of gay commentators have opposed the charges brought against Dharun Ravi, a Rutgers student who was convicted of spying on his gay roommate, Tyler Clementi, and destroying evidence and witness tampering in the case. Clementi committed suicide within days of the spying. “This goes right to the heart of anti-violence organizing,” Dobbs said. “They’re not concerned with the problems of the criminal justice system or what happens when one of us is accused of a crime.” In the Patz case, as in any crime against a child, it is impossible to rouse sympathy for someone who is accused. In 2001, Etan’s parents had him declared legally dead. They then sued Jose Ramos, a now 68-year-old man who is nearing the end of a prison sentence in Pennsylvania for sexually assaulting two boys. Ramos knew the Patz family housekeeper. Ramos did not have a lawyer,

refused to answer some questions in the two depositions he gave in the suit, and could not defend himself against a New York civil suit while in a Pennsylvania prison. He defaulted. The family won a $2 million judgment that is symbolic since Ramos has no money. Robert M. Morgenthau, who was the Manhattan district attorney from 1975 until 2009, did not find the evidence in the civil suit sufficient to present to a grand jury, much to the frustration of the Patz family. With a new district attorney, Cy Vance, the case was reopened, though any prosecution could be complicated by police now identifying yet another suspect –– Miller. The Prince Street basement search, however, apparently produced no evidence. A 2009 quote in the Daily News from Stan Patz about Ramos probably best captures the case. “We’re hoping to get a bunch of New Yorkers up in arms saying, ‘Hang the bastard,’” Patz said. “Get the pitchforks out.”

overcharged the case, ensuring that any plea deal would result in some jail time for her. In a post on bilerico.com, Dr. Jillian Weiss, a professor of law and society at Ramapo College of New Jersey, wrote, “There was no media coverage, discussing how she bravely stood her ground.” Anticipating that sort of critique, Freeman argued that Minnesota, unlike Florida, offers “a

fairly limited self-defense and castle defense.” Outside the home, potential victims have an obligation to retreat if possible and use only as much force as is proportional to the threat. McDonald exceeded that limitation, he said. The “initial skirmish” that June evening, the prosecutor said, was “clearly homophobic and perhaps racist, but clearly homophobic.” Though Hennepin County has transferred jurisdiction over

the investigation of the woman alleged to have attacked McDonald to a nearby county –– citing the inherent conflict in prosecuting both her and her attacker — Freeman was confident that a first-degree assault charge is imminent in that case. He could not speak to whether it would be prosecuted as a hate crime. Expect those who rallied to McDonald’s defense to follow that prosecution carefully, just

as they have vowed to turn out in big numbers for her June 4 sentencing. In a press release issued the day of the plea deal, Freeman said, “This outcome is an example of the criminal justice system responding proportionately to a tragic situation.” He is under no illusions, however, that McDonald’s many supporters and sympathizers will accept any but the last two words of that sentiment.

Q. SAKAMAKI

BY DUNCAN OSBORNE

The FBI and the NYPD removing materials from the basement at 127 Prince Street last month.


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May 9, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

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In December of this year, it will have been a decade since New York State adopted its gay rights law –– the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA). Coming 31 years after LGBT New Yo r k e r s f i r s t marched in Albany demanding basic civil rights protections, that was woefully tardy for a state ever thumping its chest about its progressive tradition. The political expediency of that moment, however, was freighted with an unhappy bargain –– language that would have protected transgender and other gender -nonconforming New Yorkers was not a part of the bill. As with the state’s hate crimes law adopted two years earlier, the trans community was advised to be patient –– their time would come. Since SONDA was passed, LGBT New Yorkers, under the leadership of the Empire State Pride Agenda (ESPA), have achieved two of three leading legislative goals –– enactment of marriage equality and passage of anti-bullying legislation for public school students. Though the bullying law includes protections based on gender identity and expression, a transgender civil rights bill has never received a vote in the State Senate. It is long past time to enact the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act. If a primary function of government is to afford dignity, opportunity, and safety to

everyone –– especially the most economically and socially marginalized among us –– GENDA is a moral imperative. All of us in the LGBT community know well the risk we face from harassment and bias violence, even if the Stonewall Rebellion is more than four decades behind us. Little known, I would bet, are statistics from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs that show that year in and year out about half of the hate-motivated murders we suffer target transgender women. The transgender community also experiences pervasive employment discrimination and inadequate or no access to health care appropriate to their needs. The underground market for some health services often exploits them, and the recourse to sex work on the part of trans women unable to find other employment makes them prey to violence and the vagaries of the criminal justice system. Those incarcerated after running afoul of the law often face punishing violence and rape. Even as the US Justice Department finalizes regulations on combating the dangers of prison rape, there are indications that the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees US immigration detention centers, may prove resistant to implementing humane changes in their practices. The scope of the challenges facing the trans community, of course, are larger than what a state civil rights law can reasonably be expected to cure. But it is also true that in a civilized society, one that is the richest in

human history, the life choices thrust on transgender citizens are simply unacceptable. In New York and across the nation, we have waited too long to address this injustice. As transgender activist Melissa Sklarz notes, in comments reported in our cover story, the political system has so failed the transgender community that the courts –– even a federal judiciary disproportionately filled with Republican appointees –– have been moved increasingly to step in. In a growing body of case law, bias based on gender identity and expression is being judged as impermissible sex discrimination –– certainly a welcome advance. That does not take away the responsibility of the Legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo to get their job done. ESPA led 550 activists up to Albany this week to press for action on GENDA, but its focus on also “thanking” legislators for doing the right thing on marriage last year was an implicit acknowledgement that Albany continues to view action on our behalf as political risky. The Log Cabin Republicans told Gay City News that –– their commitment to GENDA notwithstanding –– their priority this year is the reelection of the four GOP senators who were with us on marriage. Clearly, there is worry about the implications of any of those four being turned out of office –– and Log Cabin is probably not the only group watching that situation with bated breath. Meanwhile, the new Democratic sponsor of GENDA, Senator Daniel Squadron, voices confidence that our side would

prevail if a floor vote were called, but argues that Republican majority leadership is the obstacle. And, he also concedes that he could not today name the 32 votes he needs to put the measure over the top. The governor exercised extraordinary leadership last year in making marriage equality a reality, yet it is also true that the executive cannot provide high profile, high stakes initiative on every agenda item in Albany. As with marriage, success will depend on the Republican Senate’s willingness to negotiate, even bargain. Even after the advocates’ impressive turnout in the Capitol this week, there are no clear signs that those discussions are primed to happen in the seven weeks prior to the end of the regular legislative year. Sklarz also makes another telling observation –– Major ity Leader Dean Skelos risked alienating his most conservative members by allowing the marriage bill to move, but also delivered to them a redistricting map likely to protect their majority in November. Without speculating about whether those two outcomes were directly related, it is fair to ask the Republican Senate why they are skittish. And if their caution, or indifference, or hostility prevents them from acting this year, what possible impediment could a Republican Senate in 2013 cite to justify continued inaction on transgender rights? Waiting that long is not right. The bill has languished for years, and there is no reason not to finish the job now. But should Albany stall, as it has so long done, and SONDA’s decade anniversary pass with no action on GENDA, we will be calling on the governor to step up the pace of his advocacy on transgender rights and demand that New York again live up to its proud history as a social justice champion.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR BUTTERFLIES ARE FREE May 5, 2012 To the Editor: Kudos to you (“Lending a Hand to Peru, Returning to the Closet,” by Tymon Manning, Apr. 25-May 8). I grew up and came out in the USA and returned to Colombia to live. At that time –– the mid 1970s

–– being closeted was the norm. Of course, Bogotá, as Lima, being the capital offers gays a better environment in which to flourish. However, even now, homophobia is still rampant, as it is nearly everywhere. Your Peace Corps experience is making you a better person; you are helping those who need; your sexuality need not interfere with that “higher calling.”

Bless you. Francisco M. Urrego V. May 2, 2012 To the Editor: Brilliant writing, first off. My heart goes out to you. A couple of years ago, as I was facing my own hard battle, someone dear explained to me the difference between courage and valor. Cour-

age is being brave in face of known danger. Valor is being brave in the face of unknown danger. You are one of the few who face the world with an honest and sincere intention; believe in that and people will accept and love you. My hope, and my prayer for you, is that these people will know

LETTERS, continued on p.13


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| May 9, 2012

Viva Hollande! BY KELLY JEAN COGSWELL

S

unday, I squeezed into a Mexican Irish bar in the Village with a bunch of French Socialists to watch their presidential election results. It was a little weird, since the day before was Cinco de Mayo, when the Mexican army topped their French colonizers in the 1862 battle of Puebla. But, whatever. Things change. We’re all friends now. Waiting around, they drank lime margaritas and coffee and beer, and when the official reports came on that Socialist candidate François Hollande squeaked past incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy, they erupted in cheers. Even I joined in when Hollande said, in his acceptance speech, that he would judge every issue in terms of justice and “jeunesse,” or youth. It was time to end all the ruptures and wounds, award everyone the same rights and responsibilities, refuse to abandon or discriminate against anybody. Including queers. Hardly anybody got a specific mention in his speech, but during his campaign

LETTERS, from p.12

and understand you, love you and accept you. Often it doesn’t have to be shouted from the rooftops, who we are. Those who are paying attention understand and accept. Cindy DeGroft April 29, 2012 To the Editor: Well written, brother! We miss you and love you tons! Keep doing all the amazing things you are doing and keep your head up, and I am always here for you to vent! Dylan Manning

TIM SWEENEY’S LEGACY AT GMHC April 26, 2012 To the Editor: Thanks for this well-done piece ––Tim Sweeney deserves this honor multiple times (“Tim Sweeney, in Return NYC Visit, Feted by GMHC,” by Paul Schindler, Apr. 25-May 8). I was moved to tears thinking about the 1980s

Hollande promised marriage equality, so we have that to look forward to unless the Socialists blow the upcoming parliamentary elections. Which is a real possibility because a fair amount of people only voted for Hollande because they suffer from such an extreme form of Sarkophobia, their only treatment was to vote for his ouster. Even if they’d habitually vote to the right. Still, Hollande joyously claimed his victory, and I was clapping with everybody until he started making a big deal of the fact that it was the first time in a generation that the presidency would go to the Left –– and only the second time since World War Two. And I remembered a little bitterly that he and his minions were part of the reason the Socialists had such a long drought. In 2007, their candidate was Ségolène Royale, who was then Hollande’s longtime partner. Unlike Hollande, she was incredibly charismatic, but she had a similar platform. Pro-Europe, pro-Green, anti-discrimination. She wanted reasonable immigration policies and expressed support for same-

and how scared we all were... and how little there was to lean on except one another back then. Tim is an extraordinary leader who was there over and over again. Thanks. Susan Horowitz May 1, 2012 To the Editor: To the Editor: It’s lovely to have such a hero in our midst here in Colorado! Thanks for all you do. Ruth Pederson

HILARY AND ANN April 8, 2012 To the Editor: While I appreciate what Hilary Rosen has revealed to us in this panel discussion, I still have to believe she was wrong about Mrs. Romney’s not having to ever work a day in her life (“Hilary Rosen Talks Families –– Ours,” by Winnie McCroy, April 25-May 8). My mother gave birth to and raised 11 children by the same husband, of whom I was the youngest, and

sex marriage. The rank and file loved her. She packed stadiums with devoted young voters, people of color, and immigrants, even dykes who had been skeptical of her stiletto shoes, four kids, and Catholic upbringing. Then as now, Nicolas Sarkozy courted the extreme right, blabbing about traditional French values, and fanning fears about illegal immigrants and new EU members that would snatch French jobs. He also used his powerful position as interior minister in the Chirac government to send out goons to grab presumed undocumented immigrants, no matter if they were eight years old or 80. Or had left the proper papers at home in a drawer. The only real dif ference between 2012 and 2007 is that the Socialist candidate then was a woman, and her party, run by Hollande, was so full of macho assholes that they gave her very little support, even though the presidency was on the line. Former Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, a Socialist bigwig and homophobe, actually went on the record saying he’d vote for anybody but “La candidate,” the female candidate. I guess I should let it go. Grudges don’t accomplish much in politics –– or anywhere else. Look at how well the French and Mexicans get along these days.

And no matter what happened before, Hollande’s saying the right things now. We can always hold him accountable, pretend his promises aren’t just cynical manipulation to get queer, lefty votes. Let’s face it. Politicians are not good people. Every time they open their mouths, a lie falls out. But their psychosis is not that simple. They often seem to believe their own speeches, at least while they’re giving them. What we have to do is encourage their delusions. In that flush of victory, Hollande no doubt did believe he was going to champion all of France, unite everybody with the valued ideas that the French are all supposed to share –– liberty, equality, and fraternity. For a moment, in that cheering crowd, I believed, too, and felt like I belonged, at least as a former citizen of Paris, where I lived for years, participating in civic life. In 2007, I even handed out flyers for Ségolène despite my fear somebody would hear my accent and attack, “Who do you think you are? Go back where you came from.” The phrase seems to be a standard for bigoted idiots across the globe. And for immigrant pranksters. The day before the French election, on Cinco de Mayo itself, I got stuck at a crosswalk behind two drunk, sombreroed

I can attest to the fact that she worked at keeping house just as hard as my father did as an outdoor rough finish carpenter. The only difference being that mama was her own boss. Perley J. Thibodeau

memorial but I am saddened that it had to come to fruition because of the demise of St. Vincent’s Hospital (“AIDS Memorial Planning Kicks Off April 25,” by Nathan Riley, April 25-May 8). It still will not be enough to honor my many friends who died. While very ill, they worked tirelessly to stop the spread of the disease. A more fitting memorial would be for members of our community to stop giving and receiving the virus. Carol Demech

April 25, 2012 To the Editor: The statement “the Mormon custom of adopting kids to grow their church” is unsubstantiated. I know a lot of Mormon families and “growing the church” has not motivated any of them. What I generally see are infertile couples wanting children or slightly older couples able to provide for more children. If Mormons believe in one thing, it is the importance of family. Geoff Brown

AIDS MEMORIAL WON, ST. VINCENT’S LOST April 27, 2012 To the Editor: I support the idea of an AIDS

UNDER THE BUS ON EXECUTIVE ORDER April 25, 2012 To the Editor: Under the bus again (“Trans Leader Urges Restraint in Executive Order Response,” by Paul Schindler, Apr. 25-May 8). For a few, the priority is the election of the bigot who torpedoed marriage equality with “Gawd’s in the mix” in 2008. The priority of GLBT communities is equality, not the election or a grotesque “lesser evil.”

MATTHIEU RIEGLER/ WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

PERSPECTIVE

François Hollande, the Socialist candidate who won the French presidency on May 6.

white girls on 20th Street. And this guy in a compact car saw the hats and shouted out the window, “Go back where you came from, you Mexicans.” Which puzzled them, but I thought was pretty hilarious because he had a round brown face and Mexican accent. He howled with laughter as he peeled away. Claiming his own space, his own city, as we all should, no matter what the voters or politicians say. Support the Lesbian Avenger Documentary Project at facebook.com/pages/Lesbian-Avenger-DocumentaryProject/136220206423912.

Signing the Executive Order should have been an easy thing for Obama. Coming out for marriage equality has no big risks. Very large majorities of voters favor ENDA and an end to job discrimination. A majority favors marriage equality. So why did Obama go out of his way to refuse to sign the ENDA EO or endorse marriage equality in places like Maine and New York? Was he trying to distance himself from us the way he did in 2008 so he could get bigot votes? That’s exactly what happened. Vote left, write in Brad Manning, or just stay home on November 6. It doesn’t matter which bigot wins, our job is to fight the bigot who does. Bill Perdue WRITE US! Please address letters to the editor of 250 words or less to Editor@ GayCityNews.com or 515 Canal St., Suite 1C, NYC 10013. We reserve the right to edit any letter for space or legal considerations.


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May 9, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

Talent Unleashed by Love Rodger Streitmatter explores how “outlaw marriages” changed the world brought them recognition and celebrity and contributed mightily to our country’s y old friend György cultural fabric. It is the great merit of “Outlaw Marriag(George) Konrád, the distinguished Hungar- es: The Hidden Histories of Fifteen Extraorian novelist and essay- dinary Same-Sex Couples,” a new book by ist who was the literary Rodger Streitmatter published this week godfather of the Hungarian dissident by Beacon Press, that the enormous conmovement seeing liberation from Com- tributions of the beloved companions of munist dictatorship, once remarked to these and other celebrated figures –– invisme, “In order to write well, one must have ible to the public during their lifetimes and even after their deaths in most cases –– are at least the possibility of being happy.” I think this is true of almost any cre- now brought into clear, sharp focus. Coming just days after ative endeavor, and for most of us that means the OUTLAW MARRIAGES: Vice President Joe Biden The Hidden Histories of Fifteen and Secretary of Educapossibility of loving and Extraordinary Same-Sex Couples tion Arne Duncan both being loved in return. By Rodger Streitmatter unexpectedly endorsed While the homosexuBeacon Press same-sex marriage in the ality of such prominent $26.95; 224 pages teeth of the Republican American cultural figures as Walt Whitman, James Baldwin, right’s election-year renewal of its maliAudre Lorde, Aaron Copland, and Ten- cious calumnies about such unions, the nessee Williams is well-known, little or publication of these 15 same-sex love stono attention has been paid to the ways in ries –– which span more than a century at which the presence in their lives of loving a time when homosexual love was viewed partners enabled, enriched, and made as a crime and as a sickness –– could not possible their best work, the work that be more timely. BY DOUG IRELAND

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Edward Perry Warren and John Marshall, photographed in 1895, were buyers of high-quality antiquities, which they place on display at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Take James Baldwin, whose searing, eloquent 1963 essay on race, “The Fire Next Time,” turned the successful novelist into a nationally recognized spokesman for African Americans, became an overnight Number One bestseller, landed him on the cover of Time magazine, and made him a much-sought after guest on television at the height of the civil rights movement. Baldwin insisted, in terms that made white people squirm, on the centrality of racial repression to America’s history and identity. “The price of the liberation of the white people,” he wrote, “is the liberation of the blacks — the total liberation, in the cities, in the towns, before the law, and in the mind.” But how many people, black or white, know that neither this book nor, indeed, any of the major works that made his reputation, might ever have seen the light of day without the nurturing support and happiness he received from the love of his life, a white Swiss painter named Lucien Happersberger? Baldwin was 25 and living, oh so frugally, in Paris on a literary fellowship he’d wangled on the strength of one book review and one essay when, one night in 1947 in a cheap and seedy bar, he met the 17-year-old Happersberger, who’d fled his middle class Swiss family the year before to join the legions of aspiring but penniless young painters eking out a meager living by selling their works on the Paris streets. The short and painfully

skinny Baldwin was immediately smitten by the tall, blonde, athletic young artist. Both young men enjoyed carousing and fun, and after pit stops at several more bars the pair spent the night in Baldwin’s bed. As Streitmatter writes, “Their connection clearly wasn’t intellectual, as neither of them knew enough of the other’s native language to converse in full sentences, [but] they immediately became a couple,” and forged a bond that would last until Baldwin’s premature death from stomach cancer in 1987, with Happersberger at his bedside. “Shortly after the two men became a couple, Happersberger expressed concern that Baldwin’s jittery nervousness meant he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown,” so the younger man took Baldwin to the quiet, tiny Swiss village of Loeche-les-Bains, where his family had a chalet and where they stayed for the next three years, with Happersberger painting while Baldwin wrote. Emotionally fulfilled for the first time in his life, it was there that Baldwin was finally able to finish the first novel he’d been struggling to make publishable for a decade. “Go Tell It On the Mountain,” the semiautobiographical story of a young poor boy in 1930s Harlem struggling to gain the love of a distant stepfather, was published by Knopf to critical acclaim. (Streitmatter doesn’t mention it, but a young Gore Vidal had unsuccessfully champi-

OUTLAW, continued on p.31


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| May 9, 2012

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May 9, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

Did the Gay Right Invent Gay Marriage? BY DUNCAN OSBORNE

W

hile chastising the Romney campaign for its refusal to defend Richard Grenell, an openly gay spokesman who resigned his position, from right-wing attacks, blogger Andrew Sullivan argued that if gay marriage supporters, such as Grenell, were barred from serving in Republican campaigns, that meant that all gay conservatives wer e ef fectively shut out of such campaigns. Sullivan then asserted that it was gay Republicans and gay conservatives who launched the movement for same-sex marriage. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Marriage equality started out as a conservative revolt within the gay community,â&#x20AC;? Sullivan wr ote in a May 2 post on his Daily Beast blog. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Gay conservatives and Republicans helped pioneer gay marriage as an issue to some serious pushback from the gay left at the start.â&#x20AC;? That would be news to the rough-

ly 100 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people who gathered in Chicago in 1972 for the first and only meeting of the National Coalition of Gay Organizations (NCGO). Representing 85 groups from 18 states, attendance was dominated by members of the Gay Activists Alliance and the Gay Liberation Front, two far -left groups. Among the NCGO demands were the right to marry, though they opposed restrictions on the number of people who could enter into one marriage, and an end to discrimination based on sexual orientation in military service. Sullivan has long claimed to be the founder of the gay marriage movement, along with Evan Wolfson, the president of Freedom to Marry, and he repeated that view in an email to Gay City News. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The campaign for marriage was always there, but it was always a minor issue so long as the new left dominated gay politics, as it had since Stonewall,â&#x20AC;? he wrote. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In 1989, I laid out the conserva-

tive case for marriage equality, and p o r t e d t h a t s u i t . T h a t a d v o c a c y argued that military service should was led by the left. Founded in 1968, the member join it as the top two goals of the gay rights movement. The left, from churches of the Metropolitan Comthe grassroots to HRC to NGL TF, munity Churches have been mar strongly opposed this set of priori- rying gay and lesbian couples since ties. It was derided as heterosexist, patriar chal, r eactionary and ä&#x2030;´ SULLIVAN, continued on p.17 oppressive.â&#x20AC;? The community has a long history of pressing for marriage, though it was not at the forefront of the agenda until three same-sex couples sued in Hawaii state court in 1991 to win the right to marry there. Lambda Legal, the LGBT rights law firm, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Blogger Andrew Sullivan made an argument about the gay rightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s role in the marriage equality eventually sup- battle while critiquing the Romney campaignâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s handling of Richard Grenell.

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Richard Grenell, Mittâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Romneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s recentlynamed gay foreign policy spokesman, was forced out of the former Massachusetts governorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s presidential campaign after pressure from anti-gay Republicans, a conservative columnist at the Washington Post first reported on May 1. Jennifer Rubin, the Right Turn blogger at washingtonpost.com, wrote, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Grenell decided to resign after being kept under wraps during a time when national security issues, including the presidentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ad concerning Osama bin Laden, had emerged front and center in the campaign.â&#x20AC;? Grenell, who served President George W. Bush as communications director for the US representative at the United Nations, was appointed to his campaign post on April 19. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have decided to resign from the Romney campaign as the Foreign Policy and National Security Spokesman,â&#x20AC;? Grenell said in a written statement. â&#x20AC;&#x153;While I welcomed the challenge to confront President Obamaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s foreign policy failures and weak leadership on the world stage, my ability to speak clearly and forcefully on the issues has been greatly diminished by the hyper-partisan discussion of personal issues that sometimes comes from a presidential campaign. I want to thank Governor Romney for his belief in me and my abilities and his clear

message to me that being openly gay was a non-issue for him and his team.â&#x20AC;? Rubin, however, pointed to articles in two prominent conservative publications â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the National Review and DailyCaller.com â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C; that raised questions about the fitness of an openly gay adviser to serve the Romney campaign. She quoted Matthew J. Franck writing in the National Review, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Suppose Barack Obama comes out â&#x20AC;&#x201D; as Grenell wishes he would â&#x20AC;&#x201D; in favor of same-sex marriage in his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. How fast and how publicly will Richard Grenell decamp from Romney to Obama?â&#x20AC;? DailyCaller.com, meanwhile, challenged New Jersey Governor Chris Christieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s suitability as Romneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s running mate, citing his appointment of Bruce Harris, an openly gay Republican, to the State Supreme Court. Matt K. Lewis, writing on the conservative website, faulted Harris, who is African-American, for â&#x20AC;&#x153;comparing opposition to gay marriage with segregationâ&#x20AC;? in a letter to legislators. Rubin wrote that Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades responded to Grenellâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s depar-

ä&#x2030;´

ROMNEY, continued on p.17

TREY RATCLIFF/ WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Andrew Sullivan, going after Romneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cave on Grenell, says it was conservative revolt


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| May 9, 2012

ä&#x2030;´SULLIVAN, from p.16 then. The first court case brought by a gay couple seeking to marry came in 1971 in Minnesota. In 1979, a binational gay couple pointed to their 1975 Colorado marriage, which had been invalidated by that stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s attorney general, when unsuccessfully applying for permanent immigrant status for one partner. In the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s capital in 1975, a city councilman introduced legislation to streamline marriage and divorce proceedings there. The bill defined marriage as between â&#x20AC;&#x153;two persons,â&#x20AC;? and gay activists seized on this language, saying it allowed same-sex couples to wed. Gay activists testified in favor of the bill. â&#x20AC;&#x153;That came out of left field,â&#x20AC;? said Richard Maulsby, president of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, a gay political group, in a 1978 Washington Post article about the DC legislation. â&#x20AC;&#x153;No one expected it. No one had been pushing for it.â&#x20AC;? The Unitarian Universalist Association, a denomination often associated with liberal causes, â&#x20AC;&#x153;became the first major denomination to affirm religious celebrations of the union of gay or lesbian couples,â&#x20AC;? the denomination said in a press statement in 1984. In 1986, the ACLU adopted a policy to overturn â&#x20AC;&#x153;all laws that make homosexual and lesbian marriages

ä&#x2030;´

illegal,â&#x20AC;? according to a 1986 United Press International story. T h e n e x t y e a r, a p p r o x i m a t e l y 2,000 same-sex couples married in a mass wedding on the steps of the Internal Revenue Service in Washington, DC. The ceremony was meant to show the tax benefits for married people that are denied to lesbian and gay couples. In March of 1989, the Associated Press reported that the Bar Association of San Francisco proposed model legal language that defined marriage as a â&#x20AC;&#x153;personal relation arising out of a civil contract between two people.â&#x20AC;? The language was seen as allowing gay and lesbian couples to wed. Sullivan published his article, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Here Comes the Groom: A Conser vative Case for Gay Marriage,â&#x20AC;? in the New Republic in August of 1989. In Sullivanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s recounting, community support for marriage followed his article. â&#x20AC;&#x153;HRC wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t even use the m-word until the new millennium,â&#x20AC;? he wrote. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Clinton administration hated it. As did the gay press. The issue took of f after Hawaii in 1993. But even then it was a struggle to be heard above those on the left arguing for employment pr otection, hate crimes, and economic â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;justiceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; as core priorities... Without the emergence of the gay right, I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think we would have come as far as we have.â&#x20AC;?

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ROMNEY, from p.17

ture by saying, â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are disappointed that Ric decided to resign from the campaign for his own personal reasons. We wanted him to stay because he had superior qualifications for the position he was hired to fill.â&#x20AC;? Conservativesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; mistrust of Grenell is curious given the ex-spokesmanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s willingness to take on prominent LGBT progressives. In a tweet earlier this year, he went after the woman who is television newsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; best-known lesbian. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Rachel Maddow needs to take a breath and put on a necklace,â&#x20AC;? his Twitter account, @ RichardGrenell, read on January 26. Still, the Log Cabin Republicans, in a release by executive director R. Clarke Cooper, insisted Grenell â&#x20AC;&#x153;was essentially hounded by the far right and far left.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Ric made the choice that he feels is best for the Romney campaign, and I respect his decision,â&#x20AC;? Cooperâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s statement said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is unfortunate that while the Romney campaign made it clear that Grenell being an openly gay man was a non-issue for the governor and his team, the hyper-partisan discussion of issues unrelated to Ricâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s national security qualifications threatened to compromise his effectiveness on the campaign trail.â&#x20AC;? But it was the right wing that was showing off its hyper-partisanship the day after Grenellâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s departure. Bryan Fischer, the director of issue analysis at the anti-gay American Family Association,

Richard Grenell, appointed to the Romney campaign on April 19, resigned on May 1.

took to his radio show to crow about having achieved a â&#x20AC;&#x153;huge winâ&#x20AC;? against the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. He said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Mitt Romney has been forced to say, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Look, I overstepped my bounds here. I went outside the parameters here. I went off the reservation with this hire. The pro-family community has called me back to the table here. Called me back inside the borders of the reservation.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;Ś I will flat out guarantee you he is not going to make this mistake again. There is no way in the world that Mitt Romney is going to put a homosexual activist in any position of importance in his campaign.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Paul Schindler

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18

May 9, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

Did Biden Make News on Marriage Equality? BY PAUL SCHINDLER

C

omments made by Vice President Joe Biden on “Meet the Press” this morning –– that “what people are finding out what all marriages at their root are about… is who do you love and will you be loyal to the person you love?” –– have set off a storm of chatter in gay and political circles, but do his words signal a fundamental change in Obama administration policy or, at least, in the number two office in the land? Clarifications coming from the vice president’s office and from President Barack Obama’s reelection team insist that the answer is no. “What VP said –– that all married couples should have exactly the same legal rights –– is precisely POTUS’s position,” tweeted David Axelrod, communications director for the reelection campaign, just moments after Biden’s comments were aired.

POTUS is a Washington-speak acronym for President of the United States. A subsequent statement from Biden’s office said, “The vice president was saying what the president has said previously –– that committed and loving same-sex couples deserve the same rights and protections enjoyed by all Americans, and that we oppose any effort to roll back those rights. That’s why we stopped defending the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in legal challenges and support legislation to repeal it.” In early 2011, the Justice Department, in a finding endorsed by the president, concluded that the federal government’s failure to recognize valid marriages by same-sex couples violates their equal protection rights guaranteed by the US Constitution. The vice president, his office insisted following his “Meet the Press” appearance, “is

evolving on the issue,” a word Obama has used over and over to express his attitude toward marriage equality. The buzz emerged from answers Biden gave when “Meet the Press” host David Gregory, after noting that he and Obama “are opposed” to marriage equality,” asked, “Have your views evolved?” The vice president responded, “The good news is that as more and more Americans come to understand what this is all about is a simple proposition. Who do you love? Who do you love and will you be loyal to the person you love? And that’s what people are finding out is what all marriages at their root are about. Whether they’re marriages of lesbians or gay men or heterosexuals.” Appar ently interpr eting that answer as a new position, Gregory asked, “Is that what you believe now?,” to which Biden responded, “That’s what I believe.”

PETE SOUZA/ THE WHITE HOUSE

Comments on “Meet the Press” open up debate over whether he went beyond Obama’s position

The president and vice president at the White House in the summer of 2011.

Gregory pushed further, asking, “You’re comfortable with same-sex marriage now?” At that point, Biden made clear he is not the administration official authorized to articu-

late a change in posture on such a high-profile issue. “Look, I am vice president of the United States of America,”

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| May 9, 2012

19


20

May 9, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

New Yorker Joins Fray, But Ballot Push Falls Well Short Jacob Combs, 23, headed to Raleigh to fight anti-gay Amendment One BY PAUL SCHINDLER

O

n the final weekend before the North Carolina primary, with polls showing a constitutional amendment ballot question barring marriage by same-sex couples enjoying a comfortable lead –– but also most voters still unaware how far-reaching the measure was –– the LGBT community continued to press on. With its allies, many on the state’s college campuses, others from faith communities and other progressive causes, queer activists mobilized to educate voters and pull out the “no” side. Among those on the ground was a 23-year-old man who has lived in Chelsea since last fall. In the end, the effort fell well short. As Gay City News went to press, with half the precincts reporting, the antigay amendment had a better than 60-40 edge. The effort to defeat the anti-gay measure, Amendment One, was led by the Coalition to Protect North Carolina Families, a broad array of organizations whose steering committee included Equality

North Carolina, the state’s LGBT rights group, the Human Rights Campaign, and the American Civil Liberties UnionNC. The Coalition had the support of the state Democratic Party and the North Carolina chapters of the NAACP, NARAL Pro-Choice, and the National Organization for Women. Among organizations from around the country that jumped into the effort to beat back Amendment One was the Courage Campaign, a netroots-based progressive advocacy group out of California that has played a critical public education role in the ongoing fight against Proposition 8 and in monitoring the efforts of anti-marriage equality forces nationwide. Combs, who juggles a full-time job at a CGI animation studio in Connecticut with a part-time online writing position with the Courage Campaign, was one of a dozen activists from the group in North Carolina in the campaign’s final days to pitch in on the get-out-the-vote (GOTV) push. In a phone interview with Gay City News from Raleigh, Combs explained that his work with Courage and, especially, his trip to North Carolina are moti-

NEAR R ALL THEATE THEATERS THEA ATERS

Jacob Combs in Raleigh this past weekend.

vated by his unwillingness to miss out on key opportunities to make a difference. The Los Angeles-area native said he learned the hard way about finding himself away from where the action is. In the fall of 2008, when his home state voted on Prop 8, he was a 19-year-old sophomore at Brown University –– in Providence, Rhode Island. “I felt frustrated that I wasn’t able to be part of the ground operations to fight that amendment,” he said, explaining the Prop 8 campaign coincided with his own coming out as a gay man. After graduating from Brown in the spring of 2011, but before his move to New York, Combs devoted his summer to teaching high-achieving, lowincome youth in San Francisco. During his time back in California, New York, which would soon be his home, enacted marriage equality after weeks of drama –– and attendant grassroots activism –– about whether the Republican State Senate would allow a vote on the question. “I thought, oh my God, I’m in the wrong place again,” he said.

Within months of arriving in Manhattan, Combs made sure he would be part of the marriage movement going forward. He first learned about the Courage Campaign, he said, from reading the group’s Prop 8 Trial Tracker, a blog that initially focused on the courtroom drama of the American Foundation for Equal Rights’ federal lawsuit challenging the amendment’s constitutionality. Over the past three years, the blog has expanded its mission considerably, now documenting the efforts of anti-gay forces determined to block or roll back marriage equality and other partnership advances. Today, Combs writes for the Trial Tracker, often translating legal arguments and rulings into language nonlawyer readers of the blog can appreciate. An English and music major at Brown, he has no legal training, but said his work teaching over the years has given him a facility for communicating complicated concepts in ways that make them accessible to a general

JACOB, continued on p.21


21

| May 9, 2012

JACOB, from p.20

audience. Combs said he spent much of Saturday at Raleigh’s annual LGBT Pride celebration recruiting volunteers willing to work on the GOTV effort in the 72 hours through the end of voting at 7:30 Tuesday evening. He found a lot of enthusiasm –– his team, he said, filled their quota halfway through the afternoon and had to dash back to the office and retrieve more volunteer forms –– but also encountered lingering confusion about the precise effect the amendment would have. In fact, voter uncertainty about the specific terms of Amendment One was a key hurdle facing those who worked to defeat it. The language of the ballot question reads, “Constitutional amendment to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.” A poll published May 6 by Public Policy Polling found a 55-39 edge in favor of the amendment. The same poll, however, found that only 46 percent of those surveyed understood that the amendment would bar any sort of legal recognition for gay and lesbian couples. That portion of voters opposed the measure by a 61-37 percent spread. When those surveyed were told that it would ban both gay marriage and civil unions, support fell to 39 percent, while opposition grew to 44 percent. The Coalition to Protect North Carolina Families emphasized the threats the amendment poses not only to gay and lesbian couples but also to unmarried different-sex couples and widowed senior citizens. Domestic violence protections for unmarried women living with a male partner, for example, could be withdrawn under the terms of the amendment. While in Raleigh, Combs held out hope that the “no” side was making progress

in educating North Carolina residents about the full implications of Amendment One. He noted that in friendly districts, early voting, which ended at 1 p.m. on May 5, had matched or exceeded levels seen in the 2008 election, when the Obama candidacy generated unprecedented enthusiasm there. As well, the other side’s intention of pulling out conservative voters by scheduling the ballot question the same day as the Republican presidential primary was thwarted by Mitt Romney’s success in vanquishing his challengers, while Democratic Governor Bev Perdue’s announcement earlier this year that he will not seek reelection led to a primary contest in that party. Along with the dozen Courage Campaign staffers and volunteers on the ground in North Carolina, the group fielded another 350 volunteers who phone-banked from elsewhere in the nation, lending muscle to the efforts of the Coalition to Protect North Carolina Families. A particularly powerful phone-banker –– of sorts –– in the final weekend was former President Bill Clinton, who recorded a message opposing the amendment used in robocalls across the state. Despite that influential assist, Combs well understood that the “no” on Amendment One fight faced long odds. “An upset on Amendment One tomorrow would, of course, be a thrilling victory,” he wrote on Trial Tracker the morning of May 7. “No matter what happens, though, the Coalition has run a historic campaign, and the vote will likely be much closer tomorrow than conventional wisdom has predicted.” If the final retur ns sustain the 20-point margin that held during the first half of the evening’s vote count, however, the hopes of Combs and other pro-LGBT forces that they could make even a marginal dent in educating North Carolina voters about Amendment One’s dangers will have been cruelly dashed.

It’s a rare New York street that’s named for an activist as radical as Harry Wieder, killed by a car in April 2010 crossing the Lower East Side street after a meeting of the community board on which he served. His dedication to LGBT and disability rights, ACT UP, and neighborhood activism was honored by the co-naming of a stretch of Forsyth Street at Rivington “Harry Wieder Way” on May 6, an honor sponsored by City Councilmembers Rosie Mendez and Margaret Chin. State Senator Tom Duane had Wieder as his driver during his 1989 and ’91 runs for City Council, and said, “He always would ask for a kiss.” Council Speaker Christine Quinn recalled Wieder’s tenacity, “standing right in front of you until he got what he wanted.” Disability rights activist Marvin Wasserman said of his very shortstatured friend, “He was so much larger than life.” When it was time to pull the covering off the new street sign, only two letters (ha!) appeared before the cord broke. Wieder’s comrade Mike Schweinsburg, a

GAY CITY NEWS

HARRY WIEDER HONORED ON LES

Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Councilwoman Rosie Mendez at the street-naming ceremony.

vice president of the 504 Democrats, who focus on disability rights, clambered 20 feet up the pole and managed to tear off the cover, proclaiming Wieder’s place in city history for all time. — Andy Humm


22

May 9, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

THEATER

Writer Blocked BY DAVID KENNERLEY

ridiculous and intensely vital,” he says, establishing motivahe year is 1957. The tion for his life’s work. The place, a luxurious piece also chronicles how he hotel room in Mos- fell from power — plummeting cow. Enter Joseph so far and so fast his name is Alsop, arguably the now likely to evoke blank stares most influential political col- among today’s media movers umnist of the mid-20th cen- and shakers. We also get a glimpse into the tury and master of foreign affairs as well as DC machi- way some journalists — real, nations. He plops into bed, rigorous, erudite newsmen — calling to an unseen intimate operated back then, before the once-venerable news media who’s in the bathroom. fractured into The figure that so many bits emerges turns THE COLUMNIST of unchecked out to be a strapSamuel J. Friedman Theatre blowhards ping youth in Manhattan Theatre Club 261 W. 47th St. and bloggers boxers named Through Jun. 24 and tweeters. Andrei (Brian Tue.-Wed. at 7 p.m.; Thu.-Sat. at The bespecJ. Smith), who 8 p.m. tacled, bowinsists his inter Wed., Sat.-Sun at 2 p.m. $57-$121; telecharge.com tied Alsop est in bedding prided himthe middle-aged patrician was a need for com- self on backing up the argupanionship, though his story ments in his op-ed pieces with sounds fishy. This was the actual reporting — he didn’t McCarthy era, mind you, and just spout opinions. Syndicatpublic exposure of Alsop’s ed in hundreds of newspapers homosexuality would have across America, his informed diatribes shaped public opinion meant career suicide. No doubt this is one foreign and policy. Sound a little too esoteric and affair that will come back to dry for Broadway? Perhaps. haunt the highbrow journalist. And that’s just the first of In fact, playwright Auburn is many engrossing, finely etched more successful at character scenes in “The Columnist,” study than sustained dramatic David Auburn’s portrait of an tension. And let’s face it, the entire opinionated man who won himself a seat at John F. Kennedy’s enterprise would be a snooze roundtable during the Camelot were it not for the strong cast years. A trusted confidante of led by John Lithgow, a twothe young president, Alsop’s time Tony winner who gives a dinner parties were the talk of virtuoso turn as the complicated, polarizing figure, delivering Georgetown. “Politics is human inter - Alsop’s caustic witticisms with course at its most sublimely charm and finesse.

T

“I’ve never had a communist before,” Lithgow’s Alsop deadpans, with just the right note of bemusement, to his male companion. “The Columnist” serves up an at times fascinating mix of actual and imagined events. We see a giddy Alsop at home on the night of JFK’s inauguration, trading barbs with his journalist brother Stewart (four-time Tony winner Boyd Gaines, in fine form) and Susan Mary (Margaret Colin), a vivacious social whiz who organized the parties and later became his wife — and beard. He invites her teenage daughter, Abigail (Grace Gummer), to join him in a glass of champagne. “Brains and balls, finally, in one package,” he says of the new president. Cut to a dive bar in Saigon years later, where Stewart locks horns with David Halberstam (a terrific Stephen Kunken), the crackerjack New York Times reporter covering the Vietnam War, over the Alsop brothers’ ideology. Meanwhile in DC, there are growing tensions with Susan Mary, who always knew about his sexual proclivities and figured it wouldn’t be an issue. She was mistaken. It’s not long into the story before blackmail threatens to derail the columnist — it seems his Soviet companion was a KGB agent and compromising pictures were snapped. “The Columnist” reunites the creative team responsible for the Tony-winning “Proof” back

JOAN MARCUS

A closeted king among columnists who reigned during Ike, JFK, and LBJ

John Lithgow and Brian J.Smith in David Auburn’s “The Columnist,” directed by Daniel Sullivan.

in 2001. In addition to Auburn (who won the Pulitzer), on board are director Daniel Sullivan, John Lee Beatty (set design), Jess Goldstein (costumes), and John Gromada (original music and sound design). Indeed, although not living up to its predecessor, this Manhattan Theatre Club production is first-rate. Especially artful are the scene transitions, punctuated by projected typewritten excerpts from Alsop’s pieces, clackety-clacking across a supertitle screen. Toward the end, the type is garbled, just like his reputation. A key catalyst in Alsop’s downfall was his stubbor n refusal to admit that the Vietnam escalation was a tragic mistake, preferring to listen to cronies in high places instead of those down in the trenches. His nemesis Halberstam (who would later author “The Best

and the Brightest,” the definitive indictment of American folly in Southeast Asia) dismisses his prose as “just piss and venom.” As this bio-drama vividly shows, Alsop came to embody The Establishment, a label nobody wanted in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. He becomes an out-of-touch, conspiracy-theorist curmudgeon who fails to appreciate the influence of pop culture (he scoffs at the Beatles). An unfortunate scene late in the play features an unlikely reunion, which, in its haste to tie up loose ends, feels awkward. As the deposed king of columns fights to restore his stature, he says, “Don’t expertise and authority mean anything anymore?” I suspect that lament continues to echo down the halls of newsrooms everywhere.

A ‘Caretaker’ of Rare Pryce At BAM, the play that made Pinter… Pinter BY ANDY HUMM erhaps only Har old Pinter could enthrall $100-aticket patrons for two-and-a-half hours watching a depressive, a manic, and a psychotic homeless man inter act in a shabby West London flat, but that’s what’s

P

happening at BAM’s Har - Pinter’s breakthrough 1960 vey Theater through June play that is helmed by Chris1 7 . B o u l e v a r d c o m e d y topher Morahan, whose own directing “The Caretaker” goes back ain’t, though it THE CARETAKER to that revprovokes rueBAM’s Harvey Theater olutionary ful laughter in 651 Fulton St. at Ashland Pl. decade and abundance. Through Jun. 17 Tue.-Sat. at 7:30 p.m. includes This is an exquiSat. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. work for sitely mounted $25 - $100; bam.org the Royal and performed Or 718-636-4100 S h a k e production of

speare Company and the Royal Court Theatre and a stint as associate director of the National Theatre under Sir Peter Hall. Jonathan Pryce has been per fecting the role of the homeless Davies since 2009, when this version was created by Theatre Royal Bath Productions/ Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse.

For his tour of the colonies –– Australia and America –– this year and his debut at BAM, Pryce is joined by Alan Cox as the laconic Aston, who invites Davies to share his room, and Alex Hassell as Aston’s tempestuous brother Mick, who owns the flat and pops in, out, and off.

PINTER, continued on p.25


23

| May 9, 2012

THEATER

NEW HOPE CELEBRATES

Sexy, Silly, and Smart Shakespearean ‘Dream’ CSC’s “Midsummer” makes things go bump in the night BY ANDY HUMM

now,” it is the intense reimagining of every line by Speciale and comf you think you’ve seen enough pany that makes this “Midsummer” “Midsummer Night’s Dream”s so compelling. I have never seen to last a lifetime and even if that last scene performed with such you are not usually drawn to hilarity, elegy, and creativity. BotShakespeare, there’s one at the tom’s (Steven Skybell) shake, rattle, Classic Stage Company that should and roll as Pyramus (which he promore than satisfy you and Shake- nounces like a Jersey city) is worth the price of admission, complementspeare purists alike. The draw is the star -studded cast ed by Greenspan’s camp but tender led by Bebe Neuwirth (Hippolyta/ Flute as Thisbe. What ends in love and mirth T itania), Christina Ricci (Hermia), Anthony Heald (Theseus /Oberon), b e g i n s i n t e n s i o n a n d t r a g e d y . Leather -clad Hippolyta and East Village per (a sensual portrayal by formance artist TayA MIDSUMMER Neuwirth with provocalor Mac (Egeus/ Puck) NIGHT’S DREAM tive costumes by Andrea — not to mention Classic Stage Company Lauer) is angry with her the king of character 136 E. 13th St. intended, Theseus (a actors, David GreenThrough May 20 stately Heald). Egeus span, as a Fairy and Tue. at 7 p.m.; Wed.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Sat.-Sun. at 3 p.m. (uptight Mac, who will as Flute who plays $75-80; classicstage.org get to explode as Puck) Thisbe. Or 212-352-3101 is forbidding his daughBut the deep pleater, Her mia, to marry sur e of this staging is the way director Tony Speciale L ysander (Nick Gehlfuss), demand(just Drama Desk-nominated for ing instead that she wed Demetrius his splendid “Unnatural Acts” about (Jordan Dean), who is pined after the anti-gay Harvard “secret court” by the ever -irritating Helena (Halley of 1920) and his collaborators have Wegryn Gross). We see it all through a glass darkly –– created moments and whole scenes of this familiar play as you have literally, as a playing area (designed by never seen them before, resulting Mark Wendland) of black grass reflected in cascading surprises that delight, by a massive rear mirror pitched forward at a 45-degree angle over its entiretickle, and touch. This is the Classic Stage Company, ty, providing multiple ways to view the but the take is modern without sacrific- chaotic goings on. A show often enjoyed under the stars in outdoor theaters is ing any of Shakespeare’s plot or poetry. W h i l e t h e l o c a l y o k e l s – – w h o here given an intimacy in the CSC’s perform at play’s end for the court black box. of Athens as the swells prepare to marry –– are described as having 䉴 MIDSUMMER, continued on p.25 “never labor’d in their minds until

I

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Anthony Heald as Oberon and Taylor Mac as Puck in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

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24

May 9, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

THEATER

Loss of Faith BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE

ted such forceful and charismatic actors as Blair Underad director Emily wood, Nicole Ari Parker, and Mann bothered to Daphne Rubin-Vega to play the delve into the com- lead roles. The story of how Stelplexities of T en- la and Stanley Kowalski (here nessee Williams’ with the surname removed) “A Streetcar Named Desire,” respond to the arrival of Stella’s she might have given us a new sister, Blanche DuBois, and perspective on the play and her descent into madness and the characters. Instead, she’s tragedy is an archetypal story content to use non-traditional of illusion collapsing in the face of reality’s casting (aka a mixed-race A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE g r i n d i n g Broadhurst Theatre intrusion. cast) more as 235 W. 44th St. (For a a gimmick Tue., Thu. at 7 p.m.; Wed., Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. glimpse of to attract a Wed., Sat. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. how these broader audi$49.50-$131.50; telecharge.com Or 212-239-6200 themes ence democan be graphic than as a springboard for illuminat- played, go see the extraordinary revival of “Death of a Salesman” ing a classic American play. T h e P u b l i c T h e a t e r h a s at the Barrymore.) As Blanche, Parker has all been using race-blind casting for years to great effect, the mannerisms that go with s o t o a n y t h e a t e r g o e r t h e the character but none of the casting is non-news. To any- depth, none of the adamant one new to one of the great denial that has been her surAmerican plays of the 20th vival mechanism, rendering century, the workmanlike the performance shallow and recitation of the text and the undeveloped. Dressed in Paul largely unimaginative stag- Tazewell’s costumes, she looks i n g o n l y g i v e s t h e b a r e s t beautiful to be sure, but with all this new finery, no wonder glimpse of its riches. More is the pity when one Stanley wonders where the famconsiders that Mann has enlis ily money went.

H

Underwood is powerful but with none of the underlying vulnerability that drives Stanley. His final act rape of Blanche is angry enough, but it lacks its ultimate truth –– that brutality is his only way of exerting power over a woman who worked to emasculate him from the moment she walked through the door. When Stanley shouts up to Stella in the upstairs neighbors’ apartment –– his greatest moment of need –– he’s upstage with his back to the audience. A moment that makes him sympathetic even in the face of his brutishness is obscured and the production is severely undermined. Rubin-Vega does the best she can with Stella, but we never really understand emotionally what it is about Blanche that has made her sister so protective of her –– even though it’s all in the script. Parker and Underwood’s limited performances give her little to play off, and she often seems alone in the midst of everything. Finally, Wood Harris as Mitch, Blanche’s would-be love interest, is miscast. He’s a handsome man, and Mitch is not. The point of the scenes where Blanche tells him he’s “strapping” is that Mitch is not, that he almost falls into her trap about her romantic and exotic life that ultimately he can’t square with a past filled with sexual and financial desperation. The real tragedy of this production are the squandered talent and the fact that audiences may never know what a remarkable play this is. You needn’t worry about missing this “Streetcar.”

JOAN MARCUS

Everything you need to know

Nicole Ari Parker as Blanche with Blair Underwwod as Stanley in “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

about why “Leap of Faith” is a million-dollar misfire happens in one exchange in the first 15 minutes. Marla, the town sheriff of Sweetwater, confronts itinerant preacher Jonas Nightingale, who has planned a revival in the town, insisting that her wheelchair-bound son Jake, is not “crippled,” but rather “disabled.” Then she makes a Helen Keller joke. Janus Cercone and War ren Leight have written a disjointed and derivative book that

JOAN MARCUS

New “Streetcar,” “Leap of Faith” try the souls of theater-lovers

Raúl Esparza tackles his role as a phony revival preacher with his characteristic zeal, but it’s not enough to create “A Leap of Faith.”

achieves the almost unthinkable enough about to care for. “Leap of Faith” is all the more feat of making a high-octane, gospel-infused story a soporific disappointing because Raúl disaster. Eschewing character Esparza plays Jonas with his development for cheap short- characteristic zeal. His perforhand emotional point-scoring, mance may not be big enough for the show liberally lifts its out- a revival preacher, even a phony of-town-charlatan-gets-upright- one, but he’s sure working hard. girl plot from “The Music Man” Jessica Phillips as Marla has a and “110 in the Shade,” without sensational voice, but her relationship with Jonas goes from any of their heart or humanity. Add to this Alan Menken’s “I hate you” to “I love you” with overly simplified power ballads no intermittent stops. Plus, as and pastiche gospel songs and a character who sings that love Glenn Slater’s unsophisticat- “isn’t in the cards” anymore, she ed lyrics (“If you’re on the bus, spends the second act in a proget on the bus.”), what could vocative sheriff outfit suggesting potentially have the power to she expects love on every corner. rouse even the most commit- Coherence and logic absent, boredom ted skeptics rushes in. out of their LEAP OF FAITH The rest seats instead St. James Theatre 246 W. 44th St. of the cast inspires them Tue., Thu. at 7 p.m.; Wed., Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. is actually to slump Wed., Sat. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. very good, down, cover $47-$137.50; telecharge.com with the their face Or 212-239-6200 exception with the program, and hope, as one lyric of Leslie Odom, Jr., whose reedy unoriginally proclaims, that voice and self-effacing performance –– and he’s the bad guy! “this too shall pass.” In a good musical, the songs –– keep this would-be preachtake us deeper into the char- er’s light stashed well under the acters. Here, we get two songs proverbial bushel. Dull as it is, where Jonas and Marla simply Odom’s performance is really trade barbs –– “Fox in the Hen- the fault of director Christopher house” and “I Can Read You.” Ashley, who presumably was This is a device borrowed from hampered by the book, since his “Annie Get Your Gun,” but in work on “Memphis” showed he that show “Anything You Can certainly knows how to find real Do I Can Do Better” sets up the people even in the artificiality of competition between Annie and a musical. There’s a lot of God on BroadFrank that becomes the show’s driving conflict, revealing their way right now. Sad to say, with essential character. Not here. the exception of “The Book of This is a reality show slap down Mormon,” there isn’t any of it between people we don’t know that isn’t god-awful.


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| May 9, 2012

JOAN MARCUS

Bebe Neuwirth as Titania in the Classic Stage Company production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

PINTER, from p.22

I’m generally not crazy about plays about crazy people. Willy Loman would have been more compelling to me as an average middle class striver beaten down by the system than he is as a guy who hears voices and pathologically treats those around him like shit. Arthur Miller dresses up “Death of a Salesman” with sentiment and Big Themes. A little over a decade later, Pinter achieved commercial success with “Caretaker”’s clear -eyed stage ren-

dering of Davies and Aston, who have been defeated before the play begins, and young Mick, who is functioning but running on fumes of delusion. Mick, in a sexy scary turn by Hassell reminiscent of the young Rufus Sewell, also adds more than a touch of Pinterian menace that injects drama even — and perhaps especially — to the scenes he is not in. His recitation of how he’d like to fix up the place is a tour de force. By not compromising this story of broken people with any uplift or Larger Meaning, Pinter is more successful in making us squir m over

The show really heats up in the forest where the Fairies live and the young would-be lovers flee. As a Mad Maxy Oberon and out-of-control Puck cast and miscast their love spells, this show becomes a sexy farce as the young mortals lose their minds and clothes trying to sort out their affections, both true and drug-induced. The image of their spent, near-naked (sexier than nude) bodies scattered around the stage is an erotic triumph. Even the coupling of Titania and the ass-headed Bottom is sexier than ever, shrouded by a sheet reflecting every hee and haw.

There is atmospheric and integral music here (Christian Frederickson and R yan Rumery) enhancing the action, with gender -fuck by Mac as Puck and Erin Hill as a harp-playing Fairy. Rob Yang is a sweet Quince, Chad Lindsey as Snout a wonder ful Wall, and James Patrick Nelson a touching Snug shrinking from the role of the ferocious Lion. One more thing. There is a copious and stunning use of rose petals here that reminded me of the movie “American Beauty.” And this production puts to rest the canard that Americans cannot do Shakespeare and do so beautifully.

the ways these characters and their predicaments are reflected in our own lives. It was called Theatre of the Absurd when it came out, but the absurdity it makes us think about is in ourselves, not the play. The achievement of Morahan and his players is in making these outthere characters real, not “theatrical” in the pejorative sense. Pryce’s ability to stay inside the skin of mad and maddening Davies in his seemingly hopeless quest to survive with some dignity is a wonder. Cox, memorable as the rejected suitor in the film of “Mrs. Dal-

loway,” takes stillness and silence to a whole new level. But when he describes at length his defining encounter with the medical establishment as a boy, we’re riveted. A caveat. The show worked better from the fifth row where there were unoccupied seats my eagle-eyed friend Jed and I were able to move to after intermission than from the 11th. Pryce’s uncompromising lower class accent is more intelligible when you’re almost in the room with him. The theater skills of all hands, however, read right to the back of the house.

MIDSUMMER, from p.23

. . . K L A W I

AIDS WALK

NEW YORK MAY 20, 2012

Jonathan Pryce in Harold Pinter’s “The Caretaker” at BAM through June 17.

aidswalk.net 212.807.WALK

© MZA Events, 2012

RICHARD TERMINE

Presented by


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May 9, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

FILM

A French Return to Thrillers BY GARY M. KRAMER hile Gallic crime films have often involved existential gangster themes — think Melville’s “Le Samoraï” or Truffaut’s “Shoot the Piano Player” — the success of recent films like “Tell No One” and “Point Blank” suggest France is again the home of the policier, an earlier popular genre. Though the style is one Americans would often call noir, the term generally used by French cineastes is polar, which encompasses both police and detective genres. Two excellent new imports, “Nobody Else But You” and “Sleepless Night,” play with genre conventions in different ways.

W

NOBODY ELSE BUT YOU Directed by Gérald Hustache-Mathieu First Run Features Opens May 11 Cinema Village 22 E. 12th St. cinemavillage.com

This week’s other p o l i c i e r, “ S l e e p l e s s

FIRST RUN FEATURES

Sexy, witty, and full of clever cinematic in-jokes, “Nobody Else But You” is a deliriously delicious mystery. Blocked crime novelist David (JeanPaul Rouve) sees the frozen corpse of Candice (Sophie Quinton) — a local model, who believed herself the reincar nation of Marilyn Monroe — being removed from the snow where her body was found. He is oddly bewitched and comes to suspect her suicide was actually murder. Bruno (Guillaume Gouix), a hunky, perhaps queer, local

to film mirrors other contemporary artistic trends. “If I try to explain more about the way I approached making tropes ‘fresh and new,’ I could talk about ‘remixing’ and ‘sampling,’” he wrote. “It’s not very interesting to ‘copy’ or to use too directly ‘tropes and staples.’ But it’s very productive to try to remix them… Like in the Hip Hop music. Why not apply this to cinema? It’s not about ‘homage’ but about robbery! I use a part of something to make it a new composition. Like ‘collage’ in painting, too. ‘Recycling’ is a good thing to use to find a new freedom in the work. But I’m not the first one — ask Quentin [Tarantino].”

cop, warns him not to investigate. Then diaries — and suspects — start piling up and things get really mysterious. Is David falling in love with the deceased? Did the fragile Candice, so beloved by fans, have a real enemy? Will David become the next victim? And why is Bruno inviting David to clandestine meetings at the sauna on nudist Thursdays? The whodunit may be the least interesting aspect of this dazzling film — and yet the story packs a bit of a surprise. “ N o b o d y E l s e B u t Yo u ” brilliantly explores issues of reality, identity, celebrity, and reinvention. The film is less about generating thrills and more about keeping the characters — and viewers — of f kilter. Everyone has something to hide, and as David slowly strips away the façades, this multilayered masterpiece becomes even more intriguing. In an email exchange, director Gérald Hustache-Mathieu explained why he wanted to tackle the noir genre. “The thriller aspect is just a backdrop to this film,” he wrote. “Genres are interesting because they give me what I need –– one structure, with codes. Genres contain myths and are a part of cinema history. It’s fantastic for me to feed my own story with that. The New Wave era filmmakers wer e playing with the codes, too. Genre reflects back the image you want to find.” Hustache-Mathieu talked about the way his approach

Jean-Paul Rouve (top) and Guillaume Gioux in Gérald Hustache-Mathieu’s “Nobody Else But You.”

Night,” is a pure adrenaline rush. Vincent (Tomer Sisley) is a cop involved in a dirty caper gone awry. During a drug heist, he got the bag of cocaine but also a nasty stab wound. When Vincent’s son is kidnapped by drug lords, he must think and act fast to return the drugs — which have gone missing — and recover the boy. Set almost entirely in a vast nightclub, “Sleepless Night” features clever plot turns and fast-paced action sequences. And heartthrob Sisley will keep viewers’ hearts racing during the few moments when the action antihero stops to catch his breath. In a recent interview with Gay City News, Sisley, an award-winning comedian who does his own stunts, discussed “Sleepless Night.” “I’m not sure they are popular again,” he said when asked how he felt about the renewed appeal of French thrillers. “They don’t do as well as comedies in France.” The actor was modest about his unique skill set, which involves crackerjack timing for both comedy and action. “Action heroes make poor comedians,” Sisley said, explaining his character in “Sleepless Night” was not meant to be a wiseass like

TRIBECA FILMS

Two new films recall earliest noir tradition

Tomer Sisley and Lizzie Brocheré in Frédéric Jardin’s “Sleepless Night.”

Bruce Willis. “What I was interested in was not trying to be cool,” he said about his character.

SLEEPLESS NIGHT Directed by Frédéric Jardin Tribeca Films Opens May 11 Village East Cinema 189 Second Ave. at E. 12th St. villageeastcinema.com

“I was not playing a cop or a thief, but a mediocre father. Everything comes from that. There’s no coolness in him, no one-liners, which I love. He’s someone who made a bad decision at some point in his career and pays for it now. That’s how it becomes a dark, noir movie — because there’s nothing cool in that. The guy doesn’t run faster than average. When he runs, he sweats. He falls when he runs too fast down stairs. He makes wrong decisions, hiding the gun where he does. He gets his ass kicked the same way you would get your ass kicked. He’s driven by this energy of this emergency of the situation. That’s what I like about the character, that’s what makes him strong.” Still, the wiry actor is also physically strong. There is brutality in his strong-arming of a female Internal Affairs officer (Lizzie Brocheré). “That was the most difficult scene I had to shoot,” Sisley said. “She was the last per son on set I wanted to hurt. It looks real because we went

for it. I did twist her arm — not enough to break it, but enough to hurt her.” Sisley reluctantly agreed when pressed for demonstration, but quickly got physical. “I have to grab you and instead of going like this,” he said, pressing his forear m hard against my throat, “I go here,” just below my chin. “You cannot pretend. If you pretend, it looks shitty. You have to be physical.” In fact, Sisley is all about being physical and keeping in good shape. He practices Jujitsu, Krav Maga, and other self-defense techniques. “I go skydiving, I go car racing, I do all these martial arts, scuba, I love all that shit,” he acknowledged. “I’m a helicopter pilot. I do wind tunnel flying, parasailing. I like all this action. I feel very comfortable with it.” That shows. The actor choreographed the film’s intense fight scene in the nightclub’s kitchen. “The big challenge there was to get my co-star to feel comfortable enough to really push me and understand he has to do it — it doesn’t look real otherwise,” he said. In “Sleepless Night,” Sisley is simply poetry in motion. Well, except for one scene, where he dances his way across the crowded nightclub to escape from some killers. “I think I’m a very bad dancer,” he said with a laugh. “That’s one thing that I would love to learn.”


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| May 9, 2012

FILM

Sex and Peace in Lebanon Nadine Labaki’s hopeful plea for her homeland may expect too much from women

L

tions, but conflict has made their lives difficult. Initially, the film plays these skirmishes for laughs,

as when someone replaces the holy water in the Christian church — which lies side by side with the mosque –– with

chicken blood. As the film progresses, they become increas-

LEBANON, continued on p.30

RUDY BOU CHEBEL/ SONY PICTURES CLASSICS

Canadian director Denis Villeneuve’s “Incendies,” which is e b a n e s e d i r e c - also set in an unnamed, cont o r N a d i n e L a b a - flict-ravaged country resemki showed a light bling Lebanon. For both filmt o u c h , s k i l l a t makers, such an approach directing a female might be an attempt to get ensemble, and some comic beyond cant and cliché and gifts in her debut film, “Cara- make a work of art rather than mel.” Those touches remain in a news broadcast. In any case, no one would her follow-up, “Where Do We WHERE DO WE GO NOW? m i s t a k e t h e Directed by Nadine Labaki highly stylized Go Now?,” but Sony Pictures Classics “Where Do We they’re mixed In Arabic and Russian with English Go Now?” for a with sobering subtitles documentary. reminders of Opens May 11 Angelika Film Center The film sectarian con18 W. Houston St. at Mercer St. begins with a flicts in the angelikafilmcenter.com funeral procesMiddle East. Lincoln Plaza Cinema sion of women The word 1886 Broadway at 63rd St. lincolnplazacinema.com dressed in “Lebanon” is black, carrying never mentioned in the film. One place photos of their late husbands name is cited, but I assume it’s and sons. In the village where made up. Although Labaki is “Where Do We Go Now?” takes Middle Eastern herself, she’s place, Christians and Muslims adopted the same strategy as have lived together for generaBY STEVE ERICKSON

The women of “Where Do We Go Now?” go to great –– and sometimes comic –– lengths to hold the peace.

VIVID and FASCINATING, with a VIRTUOSO turn by JOHN LITHGOW.”

Gay City News

A BRILLIANT PORTRAYAL by JOHN LITHGOW.”

Through June 24th Only! Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, 261 W. 47th St. Telecharge.com or 212-239-6200 · ManhattanTheatreClub.com Lead support for The Columnist is provided by MTC’s Producing Fund Partner, ANDREW MARTIN-WEBER. Additional support is provided by THE BLANCHE AND IRVING LAURIE FOUNDATION and the NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS. The Columnist is a recipient of an EDGERTON FOUNDATION New American Plays Award. Special thanks to THE HAROLD AND MIMI STEINBERG CHARITABLE TRUST for supporting Manhattan Theatre Club.

PHOTO BY ANDREW ECCLES

The New Yorker


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May 9, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

IN THE NOH

Shirley, Rachael & Diane A great actress, a great singer, and a great big movie star BY DAVID NOH

RICHARD TERMINE

T

Shirley Knight appears in Tennessee Williams’ “In Masks Outrageous and Austere” at the Culture Project through May 25.

Sheba,’ and, honestly, it was tired. It didn’t resonate, and I was so surprised when they revived it recently. Tennessee came to see it, and we went out afterward. He’d had a couple, and he said, ‘Oh, honey, it’s probably good that Bill [Inge, the playwright] is gone. He’d have realized that this one should have been left on the shelf. “One opening night, he sent me these very beautiful ceramic roses, and he wrote, ‘A rose is a rose is a rose. When I think joyfully of theater, it will always be of you as well. Tenn.’ What can you say? He wrote ‘A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur’ for me, and two other actresses, actually, Barbara Baxley and Maureen Stapleton. The three of us read the play, and he was beside himself to think we were going to do it. But Barbara got another job and couldn’t, and he asked Maureen at the reading, ‘Are you gonna do it, honey?’ And she said, ‘No, because Shirley has all the cookies!’ And in a way, it was true: I had the lead, and she was the secondary part. “It was a very sweet play, but it was basically a one-act, and I begged Tennessee and [producer David] Merrick to let me do ‘Suddenly, Last Summer’ with it. That way they’d see Shirley in all her sweetness, the angelic Shirley Knight, and also in ‘Suddenly.’ But, no, they didn’t want

to, and if they’d listened to me, it would have gone to Broadway.” Of John Guare’s wonderful “Landscape of the Body,” Knight said, “I was so good in that part! I’m sorry, that was another part I was born to play. We were so successful in Chicago and did it at the Public, and knew we were going to move to Broadway. But all the critics got together that week and said ‘Let’s kill John Guare.’ So extraordinary, because, to me, that’s his best play, better than ‘Six Degrees of Separation.’ “It caught what was going on in the Village then. We lived on Washington Street, around the corner from Ramrod Bar, and a car went through our window. My children went to the Little Red Schoolhouse, and they walked on Christopher Street every day. One day, my daughter Caitlin came home from the seventh grade, slammed her books down, and threw her self on the sofa. She said, ‘You know, Mom, I can stand leather and chains for breakfast. I can stand leather and chains for lunch. But leather and chains for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is simply too much!’”

vating woman during inter mission. I’m the kind of per son that if I get an idea, I just have to write it down immediately. I quickly wrote it, and the great thing about a pop song is you’re able to expand your imagination. I did see her again and told her about it, and she heard the song and was thrilled. For Sage, an OUTMusic Award-winner, queer identity is something she has felt comfortable with since coming out in college. “Luckily, my family was really accepting and supportive. Early on, when I met with some big record labels, they were excited about that and all about positioning me as this ‘queer artist,’ which I just found kind of gross. So I decided to go my own way and start producing myself, as well as other new artists, and this is my tenth CD.” “Judy Collins heard my music and invited me to open for her, which was such an honor as she has always been an idol of mine. It’s so great to hear her at the Café Carlyle, where it’s really intimate and she’s totally comfortable, singing and telling these great stories. I have to admit I did not know who Eric Burdon was when he called me about playing with him. My bassist was so disgusted with me, and said, ‘He was the lead singer of the Animals!’ I said, ‘Oh I know them!’ and immediately went to Tower Records –– when it was open –– and bought everything of his I could. He’s

IN THE NOH, continued on p.30

Tasty is the best description I have for Rachael Sage’s new CD, “Haunted By You.” It’s a magnificently arranged song cycle, dealing with love in all its myriad forms, featuring lush melodies, reso-

RICHARD TERMINE

here a re ser ious actors, a nd t hen t here is Shirley K n ig ht, cur rent ly app e a r i n g i n t he world premiere of Tennessee Williams’ fascinating final play, “In Masks Outrageous and Austere. ” I met her in her cozy Upper West Side apartment, where she told me, “I love doing this play, but it’s a huge part. I’m not an actress who just learns the lines, decides how she’s going to say them, and blah blah blah. If that’s what you want, okay, fine, but you don’t hire me. Tennessee once said something about me and my relentless pursuit of the truth. I’m like a bear and can’t bear not to have every aspect of the mosaic. “When I did ‘Kennedy’s Children’ for five months on Broadway and went on tour, it was in San Francisco, our second to last stop, that I came off stage and said, ‘Okay, I got her. I can stop doing her now,’ which is why I did ‘Streetcar’ twice. I needed to do my work on it. I don’t give performances; I get to have another rehearsal.” Of her character in this new play (at the Culture Project, 45 Bleecker St. at Lafayette St., through May 25; cultureproject. org), Knight said, “She’s unbelievably angry. She’s been controlled her whole life. We don’t hear anything about her mother, but I think she was somehow drowned. It’s something I made up, but it’s useful to me. I think what Tennessee was trying to convey is the trap of being privileged and having money and what that does to this imperious woman who tries very hard to be the person in charge. And she never is, for all the status and money.” Although Knight has rarely spoken of it, she was very close to Williams: “I first met him briefly when I did the film of ‘Sweet Bird of Youth,’ and then my husband at the time produced two of his plays in San Francisco and I got to know him quite well. We were very simpatico, and he came to see me perform a lot. “I did ‘Come Back, Little

nant lyrics, and Sage’s beautifully versatile, womanly voice pulling it all together. She showed up at Gemma restaurant for our interview, the very image of the hyper-chic, funkily thrown-together New York artiste, and said, “I really wanted to write a song cycle about passion from all different angles. Obviously, music is perceived as the manifestation of passion, and I wanted to approach the concept from a romantic point of view, as well as others. “The first track, ‘Invisible Light’ I wrote after the break up of a four-year relationship. I was in that place where I was so liberated on one front, but also stuck. I had lost that ability to be creative because I had gotten so used to somebody else’s presence in my life and space. So that was a love song to the creative muse that enables you to sit down and make a painting or poem, to really listen to what your own voice is telling you. “It told me to pick up the guitar, which is not my instrument, but which had been lying around in a case collecting dust. I picked it up, refreshed my memory on a handful of chords, took a couple of lessons, and composed this song on the guitar. “The second track, “Abby Would You Wait,’ is about somebody I met at a house concert in Texas. The wonderful thing is you’re literally in someone’s home, performing for their friends who’ve come because they love indie music. I met this very capti-

Rachael Sage’s new CD, “Haunted By You,” is a magnificently arranged song cycle, dealing with love in all its myriad forms.


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OPERA

April Opera: Manhattan Report Two rarities and a repertory pillar BY DAVID SHENGOLD he Manhattan School of Music Opera Theater continues to add spice and repertory interest to New York’s operatic mix. On April 1, in the black-box Taub Ades Performance Space, undergraduates, many in their first onstage production, made a strong, pleasing effort in Schubert’s posthumously premiered “Die Verschworenen” (“The Forsworn”). Director Dona D. Vaughn –– a mistress of concise and pointed action –– and conductor Jorge Parodi, employing monitors, have become very clever in utilizing this space, which basically offers a raised platform next to which the orchestra sits. A few orchestral chords went south and the brass players strayed too often, but otherwise the musical foundation was firm and the lovely, melodic score proved quite enchanting. Certainly the piece’s choral writing is excellent, and though the “L ysistrata”-derived book could use some tweaking, this surely counts among Schubert’s more stageworthy vehicles for a festival venue. Double-cast, “Die Verschworenen” furnished opportunities for a score of solo singers plus several more in the sonorous chorus. The English speaking portions suited the student milieu, but only the highly promising Mozart tenor Jonathan Tay (Astolf) made much impact in the sung German. Opposite him, Kasondra Kazanjian (Helen) offered the most fully ready-for-professional-work performance, with a dark lyric soprano, stage charm, and the musicianship to ace a wonderful clarinet-underpinned aria. Heidi Zimdahl and baritone Salim Abed showed big personalities and fine but still developing voices as the Colo-

T

nel and his Lady, the pivots of the plot. Amanda Bollag (the Ur-soubrette maid Isella) showed spirit working with attractive-voiced mezzo Yajie Chen, here in travesti as the Colonel’s page Udolin, who (disguised) witnesses the women’s strategic conference without undue Bacchic consequences. The whole ensemble displayed talent and commitment in a pleasing afternoon.

N e a l G o r e n ’s s m a r t , well-heeled Gotham Chamber Opera celebrated ten seasons by reviving the production that put it on the map –– Christopher Alden’s American premiere staging of “Il sogno di Scipione.” Heard April 17 in the Gerald Lynch Theater –– where Alden’s virtually joyless NYCO “Cosi” held smirky court on a park bench a few weeks back –– the 16-year-old Mozart’s weird, dream-based Metastasian tribute piece proved largely an inspired delight and a seasonal highlight. Alden treated Scipio’s struggle to choose between Constancy and Fate as a post-threesome rom-dramedy for urban yuppies, and by and large it worked, often very well. Mozart’s arias here are all virtuosic, nearly endless A/ B/ A structures requiring great agility and ease above the stave. In at least two cases –– Fortuna’s second aria as a nasty exercise in serving poisoned martinis and Emilio’s paternal advice issuing from an oddly boyish wheelchair-bound paraplegic who coughed and spit –– one wished the directorial gambits over as soon as they began. The rest showed Alden’s diverting and insightful side. Lighting (Allen Hahn) at times was brilliant, though I imagine I

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OPERA, continued on p.30

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RICHARD TERMINE

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Arthur Espiritu as Publio in Christopher Alden’s American premiere staging of “Il sogno di Scipione” by the Gotham Chamber Opera.


30 䉴

IN THE NOH, from p.28

so amazing, at his age, still full of energy and enthusiasm and a love of being onstage. I agree with you that he’s completely underrated in the business, such a survivor who tours all the time.” Sage, who was born in Port Chester, New York, is a true Renaissance woman. Her performance skills were honed early on, when she trained in ballet but did not continue, as her parents, sticklers for education, put the kibosh on thoughts of a career in that field for her. “It was hard to accept at first,” she said, “but then I got the acting bug, which was another way of expression.” Before switching to music, she studied drama at Stanford and still keeps her hand in acting, with a recent Lincoln Center appearance. “After this, my tenth CD,” she said, “I feel like I’ve said everything I want to for a while and would love to

OPERA, from p.29

speak for many in feeling I never need to see another lamplight pointed in my eyes or an onstage static-channeling TV. Six young singers stepped up to the plate for Mozart’s marathon duties. I expect we’ll hear more of all three very talented, attractive sopranos. Susannah Biller, sporting a series of stunning looks by Fabio Toblini, smoldered as badgirl Fortuna, dispatching staccati with flair and soaring into the stratosphere. Rounder of tone, Marie-Eve Munger’s Costanza proved equally agile and fearless, always bestowing the pleasures of line. The immense good spirits and joyin-singing asked of Rachel Willis-Sørensen’s impressively vocalized Licenza, who all but ends the show, nearly redeemed the borderline misogyny with which Alden had presented Fortuna.

LEBANON, from p.27

ingly serious. While the men threaten to take up arms against each other, the women try to keep them from fighting. The mayor’s wife (Yvonne Maalouf) fakes a miracle from the Virgin Mary. When a flyer from a strip club turns up by chance, they decide to hire a troupe of Russian strippers to entertain the men. The town’s sole television is destroyed, so no one will be able to watch the news. However, the largest threat to peace comes when a young boy (Kevin Abboud) is hit by crossfire while driving his motorbike to get food. “Where Do We Go Now?” makes no attempt to beautify rural Lebanon, which looks rather drab and rundown. Some of the landscapes, cap-

May 9, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com speaker, completely comfortable with herself and the audience. She not only read from her blazingly intelligent, honest book, but showed film compilations of her career as well as home movies of her two adopted kids and beloved mother –– the inspiration for her memoir –– in her moving transformation from “perfect” California homemaker to Alzheimer’s victim. Keaton was full of juicy revelations, naming Jack Nicholson as her best onscreen kisser (though Sam Shepard really blew her hair back and Keanu Reeve, while too young, wasn’t bad, either). Everyone was given a copy of her book, and damned if she didn’t sit down afterwards and sign every single one of them. She remembered that I helped her with her book “Still Life” years ago, when I was working at Movie Star News for Paula Klaw (legendary for having tied up Bettie Page and photographing her). On a blustery day, Keaton walked into the shop, threw her leather satchel bag on

the floor, which opened wide, revealing its entire chaotic contents, and asked to see every color still from the 1950s60s we had. (“It’s Annie Hawwll!,” Paula screamed, before demanding an autographed picture.) This was at the height of her Warren Beatty affair –– I could only imagine what her nights were like –– and there was never anyone as funkily glamorous as she was then. Even with major sniffles into a ratty Kleenex, she was as seductive as shit, as we’d hang, shoulder to shoulder, bopping agreeably to the WBLS disco on the radio (D Train’s “You’re the One For Me” really got her rocking) and sifting through ancient manila folders filled with the cheesiest shots imaginable of the cheesiest stars –– Ronnie Reagan, Jane Wyman, Virginia Mayo, Doris Day, et al. Her eye, then as now, was lightning quick; her judgment, sure, impeccable, and fascinating.

Three tenors appeared too. As the conflicted Scipione, Nicholas Simpson jumped in with almost no notice for the rising Michele Angelini (about whom reports were strong). In music with nearly impossible Mitridate-like leaps and runs, Simpson showed a fine voice and commendable diction. Pitch sometimes wavered, but his was a fine save under very trying circumstances. Arthur Espiritu as the hero’s veteran ancestor Publio sang his fiendishly challenging numbers, strikingly staged, amazingly well –– a real find. Chad A. Johnson’s Emilio, hampered by the staging, proved not bad but at a lower level, sounding tight of production and glottally pressured. Goren hired skilled players and kept things lively, but I had some quibbles. Alden is among our foremost providers of Adding Extra-Musical Noises to the Score

–– screams, cackles, grunts, isolated shouted recit words. Here, he –– clevercleverly, but tiresomely in the long haul –– had singers supply such noises also as bridge cadenzas before the repeats of A sections. One or two such moments would have worked, but...

that director Lepage has made –– under what kind of duress who knows –– changes to the production since January. The famed Machine is quieter, and some silly touches have been played down –– the statues of the gods still look ridiculous in the final scene, but their crumbling no longer makes laughter-inducing noises. Swedish diva Katarina Dalayman gave a very appealing and moving per for mance as Brünnhilde, with

beautiful sound in the middle range if more than occasional occluded notes on top. As her sister Waltraute, the debuting Karen Cargill showed an intriguing, quite lovely mezzo with fine dynamic control and interesting coloration –– she also acted very intelligently. Definitely a positive addition to the roster! Tenor Stephen Gould lacks Jay Hunter Morris’ telegenic looks but actually has the stamina for the older Siegfried. There was not much nuance or color in his tone, but he tried his best, especially in the killing scene by the Rhine. Eric Owens was again terrific as Alberich, even in the distracted way Lepage has blocked his one scene. The brass section was messing up as if it were the Bing era, but the rest of the playing was high caliber.

tured in long shot, are attractive, but when the priest complains his church is falling apart, his point is evident. The whole village shows the effects of neglect and relative poverty. Labaki is purposefully ambiguous about the time frame, an effect enhanced by the fact that no individual owns a TV, much less a computer. The film changes moods frequently. Labaki doesn’t always seem in full control of her tone, as when she follows a silly stripper scene with one involving a character’s death. The effect is jarring. Even so, “Where Do We Go Now?” is a musical, featuring performances of three songs. The final song is upbeat and cheerful, but the first two, while sung in Arabic, seem like pastiches of mediocre French pop. “Where Do We Go Now?” breaks

down one stereotype about the Middle East, expressing a view of drugs one might associate more with Amster dam than a rural village in Lebanon. The women sing a song in praise of hashish, while baking cakes laced with hash and sedatives, which are later served to the village’s men. A major plot point turns around the cakes, which put the men in a pleasant daze that allows the women to sneak away and take actions behind their backs. Ultimately, the view of human nature expressed in “Where Do We Go Now?” is rather one-dimensional. While it’s true that men are gener ally more aggressive than women, the track records of female politicians like Margaret Thatcher and the vitriol from extreme right-wing pundits

like Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter suggest that simply keeping men away from guns isn’t a surefire path to world peace and enlightenment. To be fair, there’s some novelty value in a film that patronizes men like they’ve long patronized women. The film suggests strippers remain (un)dressed for work all the time, but I doubt they all bare their midriffs and legs while doing something no more salacious than riding a bus. Certainly, Labaki makes her points about the nature of men and women without intending them all to be taken literally, but on some level, the film really means what it says, fantasy or not. “Where Do We Go Now?” comes across equally hopeful and naive about the possibilities of peace in the Middle East.

explore acting possibilities more.” She’s also a visual artist, which is evident from the exquisite packaging of “Haunted By You,” which evokes Pre-Raphaelite artists as well as John Singer Sargent, and her work is being shown at Think Coffee (1 Bleecker St. at Bowery) through June 3. Most importantly, you can see her perform at Joe’s Pub on May 19 at her CD release party (9:30 p.m., 425 Lafayette St., btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Pl.; joespub.com). Diane Keaton, resplendent in white Ralph Lauren satin tux, walked out to tumultuous applause at the 92nd Street Y on May 1, to promote her memoir, “Then Again.” The crowd was packed with the kind of Manhattan women d’un age certain, who you just knew have long held Keaton as their own highly relatable muse. The star, who years ago would seem a nervous basket case on talk shows, has now evolved into a highly confident public

The Met’s “Götterdaemmerrung” on April 24 showed

Contact David Noh at Inthenoh@aol.com.


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| May 9, 2012

OUTLAW, from p.14

Kraft was the one man in Copland’s life who returned his affections and found a small cottage in rural New Jersey far from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, where they shared a small loft apartment. “When we went there, I told very few people where I was going, with the idea of having more uninterrupted composing time,” Copland said. It was only after embracing his relationship with Kraft, who taught him to have fun and take pleasure in the simple things in life, that Copland began creating the popular music that made him famous, from “Fan-

oned an earlier version of the novel during Vidal’s brief stint as an editor at Dutton,) Happersberger’s love for Baldwin was deep, but the two men wanted different things in their relationship. The bisexual Happersberger made it clear from the beginning that he wanted the freedom to have relationships with other men and women. But as Happersberger told an interviewer three years after Baldwin’s death, “Jimmy was very romantic, he dreamed of settling down” and wanted a monogamous fidelity that would last forever. When Happersberger began inviting a former girlfriend named Suzy to spend weekends at the chalet, Baldwin found himself sleeping alone while Happersberger and the woman slept in the bedroom next door. When Suzy became pregnant, “Baldwin’s initial reaction was anger, but that feeling was soon tempered by his memories of how unhappy his own early years had been because his biological father hadn’t been part of his life, and so he urged his lover to marry Suzy and help her raise the child, which Happersberger did.” The child was a boy they named Luc James, after Baldwin, who became the boy’s godfather. Baldwin returned to New York alone, and despite fare for the Common Man” to “Appalachian Spring” to the success of his first novel fell into a deep depres- the ballet “Billy the Kid” and the scores for films like sion without the possibility of happiness with the “Our Town” and “The Red Pony” –– each of them stayoung painter. He found himself unable to get going ples of orchestral repertoire today that brought Copland on a new novel until late in 1954, when Happers- celebrity and money. Their outlaw marriage, however, berger came to New York to rejoin him and the two changed dramatically in the 1950s, when “Copland’s established a life together in Greenwich Village. With fame meant he had no trouble finding lovers who were happiness a renewed possibility, Baldwin threw him- twenty or thirty years his junior,” while Kraft “no longer self into his writing and produced “Giovanni’s Room,” fit the profile.” Kraft initially responded to Copland’s serial infidelia gay love story that became a classic milestone in ties by trying to make him jealous, first sleeping with queer culture. As one Baldwin biographer put it, “For four decades, Leonard Bernstein and then with a marriage to a Happersberger had played a role in each significant woman that lasted only a couple of months. By the 1960s, “Kraft was showing signs of emotional act in Baldwin’s life,” with the two frequently reuniting under the same roof, either in New York or in the little instability… The once handsome man let his hair grow farmhouse Baldwin eventually bought in the south of long and scraggy and no longer paid attention to how he France. With the help of Happersberger’s presence, he dressed. Kraft drifted into the counterculture, routinely wrote “Another Country,” which became a Number One smoking marijuana and occasionally using LSD” –– as well as throwing tantrums, fits, and crying jags while bestseller. When “The Fire Next Time” propelled Baldwin into the he was with Copland. Friends urged the composer, who front rank of civil rights activism, “Happersberger sup- continued his sexual relationship with Kraft, to cut him ported Baldwin’s activism in concrete ways. When the out of his life, but “Copland wouldn’t hear of it, saying, author was inundated with speaking invitations, the art- ‘Many years ago, he introduced me to a way of life that ist put his painting aside and served as Baldwin’s busi- inspired my best music. How could I possibly abandon ness manager,” deciding which requests to accept, mak- him now?’” In 1976, Kraft died almost instantly of cardiac arrest. ing his travel arrangements, and accompanying him on many of his speaking trips. “Sometimes they lived togeth- “Although his stature as an American icon meant that he could have continued having sexual relationships er, but at others lived apart,” Streitmatter notes. Baldwin blamed himself for the fact that his long rela- with much younger men, Copland ceased that indultionship with Happersberger was successful only for gence after Kraft died,” Streitmatter writes. “He made limited lengths of time. “How could anyone feel content- this decision, biographers believe, because of his feelment in the arms of a tornado?” he asked his brother David. Streitmatter writes, “In other words, Baldwin concluded that Happersberger had repeatedly been frightened by the intensity of the writer’s need for emoEvery Tuesday 7:30-10:00 PM in Chelsea tional security.” Contrary to the stereotypes, it is not always the younger person whose infidelities cause a relationship There will be NO TUESDAY to founder. Aaron Copland was an ephebeophile who, NIGHT GROUP after falling in love with several very young men who May 22ND or May 29TH. did not return his affections, found the possibility of We will meet happiness with a handsome 17-year-old violin prodigy FRI, MAY 18TH and Juilliard student named Victor Kraft, whom the & WED, MAY 30TH composer met when he was 32. instead. “Copland’s friends and family members initially didn’t take his relationship with Kraft seriously, seeing Contact Adam Reserve a Spot the fifteen year age difference as too dramatic for the adam@ men to overcome,” the author writes. “The skepticism heart-centeredtouch.com faded when Kraft became a central figure in Copland’s Call for private bodywork & acupuncture appointments every day personal and professional life.”

“For four decades, Happersberger had played a role in each significant act in Baldwin’s life,” with the two frequently reuniting under the same roof.

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ings of guilt that his earlier affairs had contributed to the emotional demons that had troubled Kraft during the final decades of his life.” Streitmatter devotes half of “Outlaw Marriages” to lesbian couples. His account of Greta Garbo’s 30-year relationship with Mercedes Hernandez de Acosta, a cultured playwright and screenwriter from a wealthy Cuban family, shows us how de Acosta taught Garbo –– the daughter of a street-cleaner and a housemaid –– how to speak, walk, dress, choose the best film scripts, and shape how she played them. The relationship ultimately foundered when the secretive Garbo felt threatened by the strong-willed de Acosta’s refusal to live her lesbian life in the closet. If Janet Flanner became one of America’s most admired journalists during her half-century as the New Yorker’s Paris correspondent, it was because her unique voice and style that helped to define the magazine was created in partnership with her lover of 56 years, Solita Solano, drama editor for the New York Tribune. The crucial role played by Alice B. Toklas in winning Gertrude Stein recognition and wide publication is portrayed here with more accuracy than in most accounts, which assign a completely subordinate relationship to Toklas. And the story of Jane Addams, the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, found enduring support for her groundbreaking social work and peace activism from her wealthy partner of four decades, Mary Rozet Smith, is especially inspiring Streitmatter, a professor in the School of Communications at American University and the author of seven previous books, writes a clean and easily accessible prose, and the economical and bite-size chapters are perfect for those children of the Internet age with truncated attention spans, while remaining rich in piquant and often quite moving detail. Most of the material in the book has already appeared elsewhere, with the exception of the account of the seminal role white psychology professor Frances Clayton played in enabling the iconic African-American poet, essayist, and activist Audre Lorde’s talents to be fully realized. Much of that detail, chronicling the sacrifices Clayton made on behalf of their relationship, comes from Streitmatter’s interviews with Lorde’s daughter. Though Streitmatter draws on existing accounts of the relationships he writes about, “Outlaw Marriages” is carefully researched and documented, and his command of the material is impressive. Queers of any age looking for role models, but especially younger ones, would do well to add the book to their libraries. Someone should certainly make Barack Obama read it –– perhaps he’d then stop “evolving” and dithering and do the right thing by declaring, at long last, his support for marriage equality.


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May 9, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

HEALTH

ACT UP Pushes Dedicated Tax to Fight AIDS

I

ACT UP, continued on p.33

GAY CITY NEWS

t was old home week on Wall Street as the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) — joined by Occupy Wall Street (OWS) and other groups — staged a massive protest April 25, just as it had a quarter century ago there for its first major demonstration. But while veterans of that early action and of ACT UP — including founder Larry Kramer — were indeed having a reunion and remembering fallen comrades, the troops were infused with new blood, many of them leaders and clients of the social service agencies serving people with AIDS. And their stated purpose was a demand that the United States institute a small tax on financial transactions dedicated to ending AIDS here and abroad and to universal health care for Americans. “It’s nice to feel the energy again and see the kids on the street,” said Kramer. “I feel 100 years old, but I feel great.” He will turn 77 in June. The action dawned at 11 a.m. outside City Hall — not, as in 1987, at 8 a.m. — to give time for busloads of protestors to arrive from Philadelphia, Boston, Rhode Island, and Maryland. The

crowd swelled to more than a thousand as it marched d o w n t o w n t o t h e Wa t e r Street of fices of the City’s Human Resources Administration, which — along with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn — is resisting extension of the housing benefits available through the HIV/ AIDS Services Administration (HASA) to asymptomatic people with HIV. The demonstration ended up where ACT UP’s history as a formidable public force began, outside Trinity Church at the foot of Wall Street. The financial industry — and the US gover nment, for that matter — are deeply, resistant to a Financial Speculation Tax (FST) of 0.05 percent that would not only slow down casino capitalism and help prevent the next economic meltdown, but provide funding for human needs, particularly ending the AIDS pandemic. Earlier in the morning, nine activists chained themselves to each other to block Wall Street and were arrested. Ten more from Housing Wo r k s w e r e a r r e s t e d o u t side City Hall trying to set up a house, but there was no large civil disobedience action. Marchers were herd-

The April 25 Wall Street demonstration by ACT UP drew long-time activists Larry Kramer (speaking to the crowd), Kate Barnhart, and Eric Sawyer.

GAY CITY NEWS

BY ANDY HUMM

GAY CITY NEWS

On 25th anniversary, veteran and new activists go back to Wall Street


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| May 9, 2012

GAY CITY NEWS

AIDS, was “here 25 years ago” and has been to all the “reunion” ACT UP actions. “A lot of people — including gay people — have forgotten about AIDS and think ACT UP has folded,” he said. “The FST is really impor tant and could change the course of the AIDS epidemic.” Wa h n o n w a s t h e r e n o t j u s t a s an activist, “but in memory of my friends and my brother who died of AIDS” — as well a late boyfriend, Ron Buono. Leslie Cagan, a leader of the US anti-war movement and who was there as a “queer individual,” said, “What we do in New York is impor tant and sends a message to the rest of the country and the world that we need to address the AIDS epidemic.” She added, “Too many people don’t understand that they can fight for their rights or what their rights could be. That’s why we need ACT UP and OWS — to remind them.” Andy Velez, one of the organizers

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ACT UP, from p.32

ed onto sidewalks for the trip downtown and rallied on part of the sidewalk on Broadway outside Trinity. Mark Milano, 56, is a longtime veteran of ACT UP and Health GAP (Global Access Project) and has been living with HIV for 30 years. “Today I’ve got extreme peripheral neuropathy making every step extremely painful, but I will march as long as I can,” he said. To those who say this dedicated tax won’t happen, Milano responded that the same thing was said about ACT UP’s demands for r efor ming the Food and Drug Administration and putting activists on “every NIH panel,” the National Institute of Health units that review therapeutic and clinical research. He said, “This will be an enormous fight.” Veteran AIDS activist Eric Sawyer spoke to the crowd, saying, “Let’s do a new chant: ‘T ax Wall Street! End AIDS!’” He cited grim world statistics, including 15 million people with AIDS in need of drugs. “Does that sound like the AIDS crisis is over?” Wanda Hernandez, board chair of VOCAL NY, stressed that AIDS is a disease hitting poor women of color. “HIV is driven by social injustice,” she said, chiding Bloomberg “for trying to take away our rights and safety net.” The mayor is calling for cuts of $7.5 million to services for homeless and runaway youth alone.

Kate Bar nhart, 36 and an AIDS activist since she was 15, is director of New Alternatives for Homeless LGBT Youth. She said, “This feels like a reunion we shouldn’t have to have. It feels like after 25 years, we should have ended the AIDS crisis and not be fighting for the resources that people need to stay alive.” Bar nhart said 20 percent of the young people 16-24 she serves have HIV. Significantly, she said they are becoming infected not from anonymous sex, where they are more likely to use protection, but from longterm relationships in which they let their guards down. Gordon Beeferman, 35, a composer and pianist, said it was his first ACT UP demonstration though he has participated in OWS actions. “I owe a lot to ACT UP activists,” he said, including being able to avoid HIV. Benjamin Shepard said he teache s h i s s t u d e n t s a t t h e N e w Yo r k City College of Technology, many of whom accompanied him to the action, “the lessons of ACT UP — using actions to break down stigma and to accomplish goals.” He said many of his students are Haitian and “half know someone who has died of AIDS.” “It’s always people over profits,” S h e p a r d s a i d . “ We h a v e t o s t o p privatizing gains and socializing losses.” He thinks the “Robin Hood” tax goal is achievable, citing past ACT UP accomplishments, such as cutting the price of AIDS drugs. Shep Wahnon, 60 and living with

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of the action, said he was there 25 years ago not knowing anyone and scared of being arrested. He was responding to the “land of the dead” that the Village, where he lived, had become, and he became one of the ACT UP stalwarts. Veteran gay and AIDS activist Bill Dobbs said, “This was a great street demo, but there’s more to AIDS activism. It’s thinking and strategizing about AIDS that’s needed. ACT UP fought fiercely and got a lot of changes. But it has not led for years. These days it follows.” David Falcone, 52 and living with AIDS, said, “I hope Wall Street listens. Wall Street has a bad reputation. They can do so much with this tax.” In his remarks to the crowd, Larry Kramer retur ned to the theme he used to galvanize ACT UP 25 years ago. “Anger is healthy,” he said. “It’s the healthiest tool we have. Be angry!”

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May 9, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

LEGAL

Connecticut Employer Liable for Anti-Gay Workplace State Supreme Court finds companies must “take reasonable steps” to curb hostility BY ARTHUR LEONARD

T

he Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled that the state law banning sexual orientation discrimination “imposes liability on employers for failing to take reasonable steps to prevent their employees from being subjected to hostile work environments based on their sexual orientation.” Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers wrote the opinion, to be published May 15, for the unanimous court in Patino v. Birken Manufacturing Company. Luis Patino began working for Birken as a machinist in 1977 and continued there until he was discharged in 2004. His claim of hostile work environment discrimination is based on incidents that began in 1991, when he “became the subject of name-calling on the shop floor,” according to the opinion. This included “derogatory slurs for homosexuals in Spanish, such as ‘pato’ and ‘maricon,’ and in Italian and English, such as ‘pira,’ ‘faggot,’ and ‘homo.’” Patino testified he

heard these slurs “very often” –– on occasion, two or three times a day –– usually spoken behind his back but loud enough for him to hear. He testified he was “overwhelmed by anger and by frustration and the humiliation” that resulted. He was sometimes so upset his body would shake, his work suffered, and he lost sleep. Patino does not claim he was fired for being gay. In a separate lawsuit now pending before a federal agency, he alleges he was fired for whistle-blowing activities, not specified in the Connecticut ruling. Though he began keeping a diary recording every incident of harassment, Patino held off on complaining for about five years, seeking to avoid a workplace confrontation. Eventually, he told a supervisor, who called a group meeting to warn such language would have to stop. After a few weeks, Patino testified, it resumed. The court’s opinion details a series of complaints Patino made over the years, but the company never took effective action

BIDEN, from p.18

he said. “The president sets the policy. I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men marrying women are entitled to the same exact rights. All the civil rights, all the civil liberties. And quite frankly I don’t see much of a distinction beyond that.” Gregory next asked whether the Obama administration, should it win a second term, would “come out behind same-sex marriage, the institution of marriage.” “I can’t speak to that,” Biden responded. “I don’t know the answer to that.” The host was unwilling to leave the issue there. “It sounds like you’d like to see it happen,” Gregory said. “Well, the president continues to fight –– whether it’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell or whether it’s making sure across the board that you cannot discriminate,” Biden responded, before spelling out the steps the administration took to ensure that same-sex couples have the right to visit their spouses or partners in hospitals.

against his harassers. In 1996, he also began filing complaints with the state’s Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. Patino filed his hostile workplace complaint in 2004, and a jury awarded him $94,500 in “noneconomic damages.” When the judge refused Birken’s motion to set aside the verdict or reduce the damages, the company appealed. It argued that because the gay rights law does not specifically mention “hostile environment” liability, Patino had no legal claim since Birken took no action against him based on his sexual orientation. After federal courts first began recognizing hostile work environment claims related to sexual harassment and discrimination, Connecticut amended its civil rights law to recognize such a claim in the context of sexual discrimination. As a result, unlike most states and the federal government, Connecticut law explicitly authorizes a hostile workplace claim in cases of sexbased discrimination. Because

“This is evolving,” the vice president concluded. In an Obama campaign press call on May 7, Axelrod argued that the administration’s position in opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act and in favor of the Respect for Marriage Act made clear the president supports federal recognition of gay marriages from states where they are legal. In announcing Obama’s support for the Respect for Marriage Act in July 2011, White House press secretary Jay Carney said, “This legislation would uphold the principle that the federal government should not deny gay and lesbian couples the same rights and legal protections as straight couples.” Hours after Axelrod made his argument to the media, Carney found himself under the gun in his Monday daily press briefing. In a 45-minute exchange with reporters, more than a dozen of them pressed him to explain how the vice president’s comments did not break new ground and when the president would clarify his own thinking. In a press release immediately after Biden’s Sunday appearance, Freedom to Marry, a nationwide marriage equality group, offered the strongest possible

the gay rights law subsequently passed did not mention such claims, Birken argued Patino had no case. Rejecting that argument, the chief justice pointed out that federal rulings under the 1964 Civil Rights Act can be used under Connecticut statute to interpret analogous provisions of state civil rights law. Federal courts have adopted the view that a hostile workplace environment claim may be brought under any of the categories protected by the 1964 Civil Rights Act, not just sex. The US Supreme Court’s standard has been that the harassment must be so severe or pervasive as to have changed the “terms and conditions of employment.” The Connecticut Supreme Court has now adopted the same analysis for the ban on sexual orientation discrimination. Given that a jury ruled in Patino’s favor, the court rejected Birken’s argument that the plaintiff failed to show the harassment was severe or pervasive. The Supreme Court would not second-guess the

interpretation of the vice president’s comments on “Meet the Press,” saying they did represent a significant shift. “Biden told host David Gregory that he is ‘absolutely comfortable’ with gay couples having the freedom to marry,” the group said in a written release. Freedom to Marry’s president, Evan Wolfson, said, “The personal and thoughtful way he has spoken about his coming to support the freedom to marry reflects the same journey that a majority of Americans have now made as they’ve gotten to know gay families, opened their hearts, and changed their minds. President Obama should join the vice president, former Presidents Clinton and Carter, former Vice Presidents Gore and Cheney, Laura Bush, and so many others in forthright support for the freedom to marry.” Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, was more measured in his written response. “We are encouraged by Vice President Biden’s comments, who rightly articulated that loving and committed gay and lesbian couples should be treated equally,” he said. “Now is the time for President Obama to speak out for full marriage equality for same-sex couples.”

trial judge’s decision refusing to set aside the jury verdict. Patino’s diary turned out to be an important factor in the case, because it provided detailed evidence showing a pattern of harassment stretching back over many years and added credibility to his testimony in court. Chief Justice Rogers, faced with Birken’s claim that the word “pato” might not have been intended as a slur, since it literally means a male duck in Spanish, noted that other courts have rejected similar arguments about the use of English wor ds like “fag” and “faggot.” Concluding “there are presumably few occasions on which employees would discuss male ducks on the shop floor of an industrial plant,” Rogers, quoting from an Illinois case on this point, wrote that to accept such an argument “serves only to further tax the gullibility of the credulous and require this court to espouse a naïveté unwarranted under the cir cumstances.”

However, in an interview with Metro Weekly, an LGBT newspaper in Washington, DC, Chad Griffin, HRC’s incoming president, pushed back at administration efforts to walk back the implications of the vice president’s comments. “Is there even a question?,” he said, about Biden’s “belief in mar riage equality... Only in Washington and in politics could someone attempt to parse the words of what the vice president” said. The president has, on occasion, also voiced comfort with marriage equality advances across the nation and spoken up against efforts, such as Proposition 8 in California, to repeal gains already won. As Metro Weekly reported last June, Obama, in a press conference just days after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the gay marriage law here, said, “What I’ve seen happening over the last several years, and what happened in New York last week, I think, was a good thing. Because what you saw was the people of New York having a debate, talking through these issues. It was contentious, it was emotional, but ultimately they made a decision to recognize civil marriages, and I think that’s exactly how things should work.”


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| May 9, 2012

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May 9, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com festival information, visit BronxAcademyofArtsandDance.org.

PERFORMANCE Father of Threepenny

MAYASHOOTS.COM

“The Beggar’s Opera,” the original source of “The Threepenny Opera,” written in 1728 by English composer John Gay, is considered the best example of the entire satirical opera genre. Obie-award winner Barbara Vann directs and also play Mrs. Traipse. Medicine Show Theatre, 549 W. 52nd St., third fl. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Wed., Sun., 7 p.m., through May 19. Tickets are $18; $14.00 for students & seniors at Smarttix.com or 212-868-4444.

May 17. David W. Ross; Fighting For Love Globally

THU.MAY.10

BENEFIT PEFORMANCE Youth Are Fierce

FIERCE — established in 2000 to respond to the urgent needs of LGBTQ youth in New York by engaging them in community organizing, collective action, leadership development, and base-building –– hosts a night of impassioned performances celebrating queer youth of color and allied communities. The evening’s lineup includes spoken word artist Kay Barrett, dancers, singers, and songwriters Manchild and Monstah BLACK aka the Blakz, singer, songwriter and spoken word artist ButtaFlySouL, dancer and voguer Wendell Cooper, singer and songwriter Shelley Nicole’s blakbüshe, spoken word artists Climbing Poetree (Alixa & Naima), and burlesque artist Essence Revealed. Sullivan Hall, 214 Sullivan St., btwn. Third & Bleecker Sts. May 10, 8 p.m. Tickets are $25-$110, on a sliding scale, at fierceconcert2012.eventbrite.com. Admission to the afterparty is $15 at the door, with an online ticket to both events priced at $30.

ACTIVISM Recognizing Transgender Heroes Founded in 2011, the Chloes Awards celebrates people whose work embodies the spirit of transgender revolutionaries Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Chloe Dzubilo. This year’s awards will honor the filmmakers and supporters of the documentary film “Pay it No Mind: Marsha P. Johnson”; the transgender activists of the Occupy Movement; Elizabeth Rivera and Make the Road NY for their work connecting queer, transgender, and immigrant rights with HIV/AIDS prevention; and the We Can End AIDS Campaign, for its work to continue the legacy of direct action during

the 25th anniversary year of ACT UP. Rosario Dawson emcees, Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons (named after Marsha P. Johnson) sings, and artist Viva Ruiz opens the ceremony. Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Sq. So. at Thompson St. May 10, 7-9 p.m. For more information, visit indiegogo.com/ TheChloes.

DANCE Springtime in the Bronx The Bronx Academy of Art & Dance (BAAD!) hosts its annual spring “Boogie Down Dance Series,” a powerful mix of home-grown Bronx work and dance from around the city. Highlights include: On May 10, 8 p.m., “Dancing Hombres” offers up provocative work by male choreographers, including Arthur Aviles, Amin Jai, Mad Boots, and Rayvawn Johnson ($20). On May 11, 8 p.m., Toni Renee Johnson’s Maverick Dance Experience, based in the Bronx, presents four repertory pieces, including “If You Knew Me...You Would Know...,” an avant-garde social commentary on voyeurism ($20). On May 17, 8 p.m., “Dancing While Black: Voices From The Bush” features current and former dancers from Urban Bush Women presenting their own brazen dance works ($20). On May 18, 8 p.m., “Soul to Sole” includes rich storytelling from Ni’Ja Whitson, Malinda Allen, and the four women of Tamara LaDonna’s Moving Spirits ($20). On May 19, “Housed!” celebrates the power of dance and the human body with house dance, poppin’ and lockin’, voguin’, soul, and freestyle. ($20). On May 24, 8 p.m., in “NoBo Dance Mix,” the rising star dance students at Lehman College in the Northwest Bronx (NoBo) take over BAAD!’s stage with an evening of new works that go from salsa to hip hop to contemporary dance (free). 841 Barretto St., btwn. Garrison & Lafayette Aves., Hunts Point (#6 train to Hunts Point Ave.). For tickets and complete

FRI.MAY.11

THEATER Don’t Even Ask

“Gay Bomb: The Musical!” is a satirical romp inspired by the real-life plans of the US military a couple of decades back to build a bomb that turns enemy armies gay (honest!). President-elect Felching has been swept into office on his promise to defend the United States from the homosexual and Mooslem threats. Still, when faced with a new Middle Eastern conflict and his military stretched thin, Felching wrestles with moral objections before embracing the controversial chemical weapon. And then, of course, nothing goes according to plan. Michael Martin directs the romp, with music by Frank Spitznagel, book and lyrics by Chris Friden and Steve Whyte, and choreography by Anna Farkas. The Magnet Theater, 254 W. 29th St. May 11, 18, 21 & 25; Jun. 11, 15, 18, 22 & 29, 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 at brownpapertickets.com/event/243612.

CABARET Hume. Henry. Tonight. Only. After a year-long absence from the cabaret stage following their 2011 hit “John Hume’s The Joy of Gay Sex,” Hume and his music director and pianist Mila Henry are back together tonight performing songs from some of the world’s greatest songwriters, including Stephen Sondheim, Rodgers & Hammerstein, and Andrew Lloyd Webber. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Gay Men’s Health Crisis. The Duplex, 61 Christopher St. at Seventh Ave. So., Sheridan Sq. May 11, 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 at theduplex.com or $15 at the door.

SAT.MAY.12

COMMUNITY Spring Brunch Followed by Zach Wahls

The Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center will be the beneficiary of two events today in High Falls, NY. A spring brunch takes place at Depuy Canal House, 1315 Route 213, btwn. Old Route 213 & Second St. May 12, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The brunch cost is $35, with reservations required at 845-687-7700 or ChefJohnNovi@gmail.com. Following the brunch, at 2 p.m., “My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength and What Makes a Family” author Zach Wahls — whose testimony last year before the Iowa State Legislature at age 19

May 12. Spring Brunch Followed by Zach Wahls

defending the marriage of his two mothers as well as all other same-sex married couples in that state became a monster YouTube hit ––makes a book-signing appearance at Spruce Design & Décor, 1209 Route 213. Twenty percent of the stores sales during the event will be donated to the Community Center (lgbtqcenter. org).

THEATER Travails of Youth “Up to You” is a professionally produced off-Broadway musical performed for kids and by kids and dealing with topics relevant to kids and their experiences. The story takes place in 1977 during high school student council elections and examines issues still relevant –– peer acceptance, verbal bullying, stereotyping based on activities you take part in, and the desire to be popular. Narrator Eric is bullied because of rumors about his sexuality and because he won’t go along with the “in” crowd. TADA! Youth Theater, 15 W. 28th St., second fl. Sat.-Sun., 2 p.m. & 4 p.m., through May 20, except for May 13. Also, May 18, 7 p.m. Tickets are $15-$25; $8-$15 at tadatheater.com.

GALLERY A Pair of Heels & Dripping Condescension Pittsburgh-based artist Dani Lamorte’s answer to the alienation and confusion many people feel in response to contemporary art involves a pair of heels and a voice dripping with sarcastic condescension. “Art Tours, by Maria Denolt” is a performance project aimed at bringing the institution of the museum and its efforts to educate the public into question. Using the aesthetic of traditional drag, Lamorte creates alter ego Maria Denolt, a self-declared art critic, lecturer, and “lofty person” who will guide Metropolitan Museum of Art visitors through sections of the contemporary art collection. The tours are laced with art history and critique as artificial as Maria herself, underlining the absurdity of the museum’s social position while encouraging visitors to be proactive and form independent, honest opinions about the work displayed. The first two of Lamorte’s performances –– which will extend through the summer months –– are May 12, 6 p.m., & May 13, 2 p.m. 1000 Fifth Ave. at 82nd St. Admission is $25; $17 for seniors; $12 for students. More information at metmuseum. org and at facebook.com/maria.denolt.

SAT.MAY.12, continued on p.38


| May 9, 2012

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May 9, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com among them rarely seen sketchbooks, journals, exhibition flyers, posters, subway drawings, and documentary photographs. Brooklyn Museum of Art, 200 Eastern Pkwy (2, 3 to Eastern Parkway) near Grand Army Plaza. Through Jul. 8, Wed., Fri.-Sun., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Thu., 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; first Sat., 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

SAT.MAY.12, from p.36

NYC’s Social Activist Tradition “Activist New York” is a Museum of the City of New York exhibition that examines how New Yorkers have advocated, agitated,

SUN.MAY.13

MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK

GALLERY POLITICS Jim Owles Kicks Off Gay Pride Season

May 12. NYC’s Social Activist Tradition

and exercised their power to shape the city’s –– and the nation’s –– future. Among the installations examining 14 different movements over the past 350 years is “‘Gay Is Good’: Civil Rights for Gays and Lesbians, 1969-2012,” which draws on artifacts from groups ranging from ACT UP and Radicalesbians to the Human Rights Campaign and the Gay Men’s Health Crisis and borrows from collections at the New York Public Library and the Fales Library at NYU. The exhibition also focuses on the 17th century push for religious tolerance in Dutch New Netherland, the fight against slavery and for women’s suffrage, the labor activism of early 20th century women working in the garment trades, the civil rights movement, and the efforts for historic preservation and to revive the South Bronx. 1220 Fifth Ave. at 103rd St. Daily, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. The exhibition has an open run. Admission is $10; $6 for students & seniors. For more information, visit mcny.org.

When the Piers Were Still the Piers Jonathan Weinberg and Darren Jones curate “The Piers: Art and Sex along the New York Waterfront,” the first museum exhibition to focus exclusively on the uses of the Hudson River docks by artists and a newly emerging gay subculture. The exhibition presents more than 70 works of art that demonstrate how the gay liberation movement –– spurred by the 1969 Stonewall riots –– transformed the city’s cultural and social landscape. Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, 26 Wooster St. at Grand St. Through Jul.7, Tue.-Sat., noon-6 p.m.

The Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club opens up LGBT Pride season with an awards ceremony honoring Paul Kelterborn and Christopher Tepper, founders of AIDSMemorialPark.org, which is working to create a remembrance of the West Village’s role in responding to the epidemic in a park being created at the former St. Vincent’s Hospital site. Other honorees include former Mayor David Dinkins and Tony Award winner Bebe Neuwirth. Elmo Restaurant, 156 Seventh Ave. at 19th St. May 13, 8-11 p.m. Tickets begin at $75; make checks payable to Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, c/o Allen Roskoff, 450 W. 17th St., #2405, New York 10011. For more information, email aroskoff@ mac.com or call 212-741-3677.

Lucid Dreams Come Alive Installation artists Sheila Pepe and Diana Punter present “Lucid Dream Lounge,” which includes live performances through May. Participant Inc, 253 E. Houston St., btwn. Aves. A & B. On May 13, 7-10 p.m., Nathan Long reads erotic haiku and Kevin Sport and Mark Katsaounis perform on percussion. On May 19, 7-10 p.m., Sara East Johnson and Nancy Brooks Brody present a dance and acrobatics performance, while Jessica Segall of the Younger Sister country music band also appears. On May 25, 7-10 p.m., Jennifer Minitti offers a fashion presentation, with go-go dancers Ryan Harman and Coco Johnson and DJ Scott Ewalt. On May 31, 7-10 p.m., Walter Dundervill dances and the soul/ punk band Sister Anne performs. Gallery hours are Wed.-Sun., noon-7 p.m. Installation runs through Jun. 3. More information at participantinc.org.

COMEDY Loekle Grown “Electroshock Therapy Comedy Hour” host Brad Loekle welcomes back comedians who

MON.MAY.14

BENEFIT AIDS & Visibility

Visual AIDS –– a contemporary arts organization that produces art projects that foster HIV prevention and AIDS awareness and assists artists living with the virus –– holds its third annual “VAVA Boom Spring Benefit.” The group honors Wendy Olsoff and Penny Pilkington, founders in 1983 of P.P.O.W. Gallery, that supported the work of artists whose work had social and political content, including Hunter Reynolds, Martin Wong, and David Wojnarowicz; Frank Jump, a photographer, writer, founding member of ACT UP, and a long-term HIV survivor, who just published “Fading Ads of New York City,” a book that explores outdated outdoor ads that he views as metaphors for survival; and Sean Strub, the POZ magazine founder who is an activist, writer, and currently the executive director of the SERO Project and a co-founder of the Positive Justice Project, which both focus on combating HIV criminalization. Actor and comedian John Fugelsang hosts an evening that includes performances by Joey Arias and Daniel Isengart. The Angel Orensanz Foundation, 172 Norfolk St., btwn. Houston & Stanton Sts. May 14, 6 p.m. Tickets begin at $275 ($500 for two) at asadao@visualaids.org or 212-627-9855. For more information, visit visualaids.org.

THEATER One Singularly Sensational Year The 12th season of “Broadway by the Years” continues with “The Broadway Musicals of 1975,” created, written, and hosted by Scott Siegel. Among that year’s leading shows were “The Wiz,” “Chicago,” “A Chorus Line,” and “Shenandoah,” which will be brought to life by a cast including three-time Grammy winner Lari White (“Ring of Fire”), two-time Tony nominee Bob Stillman (“Grey Gardens,” “Dirty Blonde”), Ashley Brown (“Mary Poppins”), Maya Days (“Aida”), and Scott Coulter (“The Stephen Schwartz Show”). The Town Hall, 123 W. 43rd St. May 14, 8 p.m. Tickets are $45-$55 at ticketmaster.com or 800-982-2787.

TUE.MAY.15

PERFORMANCE Bawdy Women

Early Haring in West Village, Brooklyn “Keith Haring: 1978-1982” is the first largescale exhibition to explore the early career of the legendary pop artist, who died of AIDS in 1990. The exhibit traces the development of the artist’s extraordinary visual vocabulary, including 155 works on paper, seven experimental videos, and more than 150 archival objects,

started out at Therapy Bar before going on to host their own shows around town. His guests are Jessimae (the host and producer of “Comedy Punch” and “The Home Grown Comedy Tour”), H. Alan Scott (Metropolitan Room), and Rachel Parenta (the “Killing It” comedy show). 348 W. 52nd St. May 13, 10 p.m. There is no cover charge and cosmos are $7 all night long.

Jessimae

First performed at the 2009 Philadelphia Fringe Festival followed by a run in Washington in 2010, Gigi Naglak and Meghann Williams’ “Chlamydia dell’arte: A Sex-Ed Burlesque” is a traditional re-interpretation of a classic burlesque show. Sex education, viewed from a female skew, is explored through comedy, satire, dance, and songs. In one skit, Naglak and Williams satirically transform Shakespeare’s famous balcony scene from “Romeo and Juliet” into a scene about masturbation. In another

scene, the pair humorously performs a sexy striptease… about STDs. The Washington Post wrote, “Naglak and Williams are so exuberant and unaffectedly positive about sex that in their hands, none of the material seems dirty.” Los Kabayitos Theater, Clemente Soto Velez Educational Center, 107 Suffolk St. at Rivington St., second fl. May 14-16, 8 p.m.; May 17-19, 8 & 10 p.m.; May 20, 4 p.m. Tickets are $26.87 at brownpapertickets.com/ event/234445.

WED.MAY.16

MUSIC Glee Through History

“Glee! A Celebration Of The Collegiate Choral Tradition” is the Empire City Men’s Chorus’ spring concert, tracing its roots in 17th century English part songs set for men’s voices known as glees and exploring, as well, alma maters, fight songs, the a cappella tradition, and compositions by notable college choral directors. The Chorus is joined by Voices of Gotham, an internationally known barbershop ensemble. On May 16, 8 p.m., the concert is presented at the Church of St. Joseph’s, 371 Sixth Ave., btwn. Washington & Waverly Pls. In Brooklyn, on May 20, 5 p.m., the concert is reprised at the Church of St. Ann and the Holy Trinity, 157 Montague St. at Clinton St. Tickets are $25; $15 for students & seniors at empirecitymenschorus.org or 212-545-4110; $30 and $20 at the door.

OUTDOORS Ride of Silence Fast and Fabulous, New York’s GLBT Cycling Club, holds a silent memorial ride honoring those lost in traffic crashes. Participants will gather at Pier 45 in Hudson River Park at W. Tenth St. at 6:45 p.m., for a roughly ten-mile ride that will move at a stately pace appropriate to funeral procession. Make sure to wear a helmet and bring front and rear lights for evening riding. If you wish to honor a friend or family member lost to traffic mayhem, don a black armband or other suitable mourning attire. For more information, visit fastnfab.org or email fastnfab@yahoo.com.

THU.MAY.17

BENEFIT Fighting For Love Globally

Immigration Equality and its Action Fund, which fight on behalf of binational LGBT couples, LGBT and HIV-positive asylum seekers, and their families, host their annual Safe Haven Awards, this year honoring five law firms that provide assistance to their efforts –– Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Jones Day, Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman, Kirkland & Ellis, and McDermott Will & Emery. The evening’s guests include Jamie-Lynn Sigler (“The Sopranos”) and David W. Ross (“Quinceañera”), who will preview a clip of a film, written by Ross, in which they co-star about a gay British man, living in New York and “fighting for love, family, and a green card.” AXA Equitable Center, 747 Seventh Ave., btwn. 51st & 52nd Sts. Cocktails at 6:30 p.m.; award ceremony at 8. Tickets are $279 at tinyurl.com/cf5phq2.

14 DAYS, continued on p.39


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| May 9, 2012

CABARET Rodríguez & Rodríguez

14 DAYS, from p.38

Singer German Rodríguez and harpist José Luis Rodríguez are not related –– German is from Mexico; José Luis, from Puerto Rico –– except by their wonderful harmonies. A few times each season, the two friends come together for a duo show. Tonight, they perform an evening of music from Broadway, American Standards, and some Spanish favorites, including songs from great composers like Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael, and Stephen Sondheim. Don’t Tell Mama, 343 W. 46th St. May 18, 7:30 p.m. The cover charge is $15, with a twodrink minimum, cash only. For reservations, visit donttellmamnyc.com or call 212-757-0788.

FRI.MAY.18

PERFORMANCE Pulp Punk Opera

Marie Incontrera’s “At the Other Side of the Earth” is a modern day lesbian pulp fiction punk opera about coming out in an oppressive society. Aurora is forced to face her true self when she meets Layla, an out and proud lesbian with a bold and brazen demeanor. When the women’s love clashes with an oppressive society, their struggle against Orwellian law

SAT.MAY.19

MUSIC The Woes of a Half Fairy

RIOT GIRL OPERA

The New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players concludes its 37th season with “Iolanthe,” in which the title character, a fairy reveler, is banished for 25 years after marrying a mortal. When she returns to Fairyland with a grown son, Strephon, he is blocked by stodgy aristocrats from marrying beautiful mortal Phyllis because he is himself half a fairy. Iolanthe puts her life on the line by revealing the identity of Strephon’s powerful father. Peter Norton Symphony Space, 2535 Broadway at 95th St. May 19-20, 3 p.m.; May 19, 8 p.m. Tickets are $67-$87, with an $8 discount for seniors and half-price for children 12 and under at nygasp.org or 212-864-5400.

May 18 . Pulp Punk Opera

enforcement proves both terrifying and hilariously futile. LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St. May 18, 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 at bit. ly/ATOSOTE.

BENEFIT HIV Has No Borders Cielo Latino, which supports the work of the Latino Commission on AIDS, is the nation’s largest fundraiser in support of the Hispanic community’s fight against HIV. The evening, which includes cocktails, dinner, entertainment, and dancing, honors Dr. Donna Futterman, director of the Adolescent AIDS Program at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, and Jesus Aguais, the founder and executive director of AID For AIDS International, which works on HIV issues in the developing world and in immigrant communities in the US. Among those appearing are actors Rosie Mendez and Lupe Ontiveros, and Dayana Mendoza, who was Miss Universe 2008. Cipriani Wall Street. 55 Wall St. at William St. May 18, 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $600 at latinoaids.org/cielo. Paraiso de Cielo, the afterparty, also at Cipriani’s, runs from 9:30 p.m.-midnight. Tickets are $100 in advance or $125 at the event. Salsa star José Alberto, “El Canario,” appears, along with Bachata sensation J’Martin.

SUN.MAY.20

BENEFIT AIDS Walk New York

The 27th annual AIDS Walk New York, benefitting Gay Men’s Health Crisis and 41 other local HIV services organizations, gathers at Sheep Meadow in Central Park, just above the 65th Street Transverse, at 9 a.m., for an opening ceremony, followed by the kickoff of the 6.2 mile walk at 10. Among those appearing at either the opening or closing ceremonies, both at the Sheep Meadow stage, are TV’s Wendy Williams, Nick Jonas (“How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”), Grammy-winner Keri Hilson , Tony and Emmy Award-winner David Hyde Pierce, Tony-winner Audra McDonald, Michael Urie (“Ugly Betty”), and designer Jason Wu. For information about registering for AIDS Walk or making a contribution, visit aidswalk.net/newyork or call 212807-WALK.

Chicken Mosely. George’s parents, Arthur and Louise, are torn asunder by George’s astonishing new ability to sing and dance. Tony Award-winner Roger Rees (“Nicholas Nickleby,” “Peter And The Starcatcher”) directs, with choreography by Darren Lee, music direction by Dan Lipton, and costumes by William Ivey Long. Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie St., btwn. Rivington & Delancey Sts. May 21-22, 7 p.m. Tickets for this benefit performance begin at $50 at dixonplace.org or 212-219-0736.

THU.MAY.24

POLITICS Here Are the Women

At a recent congressional hearing on contraception, House Republicans invited an all-male panel, leading New York Democratic Representative to ask, “Where are the Women?” The Stonewall Democratic Club of NYC answers that question in its 26th annual fundraiser cocktail party, which honors Gay Men’s CEO Dr. Marjorie Hill, the CEO of Gay Men’s Health Crisis, City Councilwoman Annabel Palma, and Planned Parenthood NYC –– along with former club president Joe Hagelmann, who is, at least, a feminist. Woolworth Tower Kitchen, 9 Barclay St. at W. Broadway, ground fl. May 24, 6 p.m. Tickets are $100 at tinyurl.com/c6728nc.

CABARET Don’t Sleep In the Subways, Darlin’ Last year, cabaret singer Jennifer Sheehan sold out the Metropolitan Room with her show “You Made Me Love You— Celebrating 100 Years of the Great American Songbook,” which the Times’ Stephen Holden wrote was “smart and far-reaching… Ms. Sheehan gives you hope.” In her new show, “I Know a Place,” Sheehan and a trio of musicians explore the soundtrack of the ‘60s, with tunes written by Burt Bacharach, the Beatles, and Antonio Carlos Jobim and made famous by Barbra Streisand, Petula Clark, and Carole King. Feinstein’s At Loews Regency, 540 Park Ave. at 61st St. May 23-25, 29-31, 8 p.m.; Jun. 1-2, 8 & 10:30 p.m. The cover charge is $30-$75, with a $25 food & drink minimum (with the exception of a small number of $30 seats). For reservations, visit Feinsteinsatloewsregency.com or call 212339-4095.

Good & Fruity All Out Arts’ Fresh Fruit Festival, which every summer presents multidisciplinary LGBT arts and performances emerging from the community’s grassroots, holds its annual Fresh Fruit Awards of Distinction, or Fruities. Paul Nagle, who has a large body of work as a playwright and producer of LGBT-themed theater, will be honored with the Harry Weider Community Service Award, named for the late gay and disability rights activist. Alexi Handwerker, the founder of the Coalition for Queer Youth and the Hear Me Roar Project, will receive the Passion Fruit Award. And Dee Johnson’s work on behalf of the lesbian community and art will be honored with the Honeyberry Award, given to leaders whose names may not be well known but whose work and heart give support and spirit to artists within the LGBT community. The Helen Mills Theater, 139 W. 26th St. May 21, 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 at freshfruitfestival.com; $30 at the door. VIP seating, with admission to a 7 p.m. reception, begins at $50. This year’s Fresh Fruit Festival takes place Jul. 13-19 at Wild Project, 195 E. Third St., btwn. Aves. A & B.

SAT.MAY.26

SPORTS Renewed Hope

MON.MAY.21

PERFORMANCE BD the Vaudevillian

BD Wong, best known for his Tony Awardwinning performance in “M. Butterfly” but also recognized by TV viewers for his roles in NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU” and HBO’s “Oz,” appears in Tom Cone’s “Herringbone,” a one-man musical in which he plays 11 characters and sings 14 songs. Set in Alabama during the Depression, eight-year-old George Nookin is possessed by the vengeful spirit of Lou, a jaded hoofer who was murdered by Lou’s Vaudeville partner,

GMHC

May 24. Here Are The Women

Fast and Fabulous, New York’s GLBT Cycling Club, honors the memory of John Chapman, who died last year on what the group used to call the New Hope Ride when a weaving hit-and-run driver –– never apprehended –– struck him. The 90-mile (each way) ride, May 26-28, travels from Newark’s Penn Station to the Weisel Hostel in Nockamixon State Park, Quakertown, Pennsylvania, about 30 miles northwest of New Hope. A pickup vehicle will take care of riders who run out of steam. On May 27, there will be a brief ride in Chapman’s memory through nearby Doylestown. The following day, May 28, the group will cycle back to Newark via a different route. (NJ Transit does not allow bikes on a Monday holiday, so taking the train back to the city is not an option, but the pickup vehicle will be available.) The club will meet at the World Trade Center PATH station at 7:30 a.m. on May 26 for the trip to Newark’s Penn Station. To reserve a spot and two nights at the hostel, send a $100 check, nonrefundable after May 15, payable to Bob Nelson at 165 Seaman Ave., Apt. 3H, New York 10034-1989. For more information, email fastnfab@yahoo.com, visit fastnfab.org, or call 212-567-7160.


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May 9, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

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