Page 1


Theatrical Feast at the “Cabaret” 16 No Benefits for NY Employee’s Spouse 09

Mark Ruffalo passionately argues imperative of retelling Larry Kramer’s iconic AIDS story page 17

New Boss, New Flap at GMHC 03 Youth Beds in de Blasio Budget 10











The NFL welcomes its first out gay player




Charles James: America’s greatest designer






What’s Up in Uptown?






PERSPECTIVE The death of the queer community?




| May 14, 2014


Kelsey Louie, a Top Harlem United Official, Set to Helm GMHC BY DUNCAN OSBORNE


t Harlem United, Kelsey Louie is the boss in every way except his title. He was made the chief operating of ficer last year, and every function at the AIDS services agency reports to him, but he reports to Steven Bussey, the chief executive officer. With a background in management consulting and on Wall Street, Bussey chaired the agency’s board from 2007 until 2010. He was made CEO when Patrick McGovern, the longtime head, left in 2010. Louie — named this week to the top post at Gay Men’s Health Crisis — runs Harlem United’s 585 housing units, its two clinics with attached adult day care centers, all client services, and all administration, overseeing 350 people and an annual budget of $42 million. According to Harlem United’s 2011 Form 990, the most recent year that Gay City News could find, Louie was then earning just under $200,000. He declined to say what GMHC will be paying him. About five or six weeks ago, GMHC approached him to run the agency with nearly 160 employees and an annual budget of $27 million. The group’s longtime executive director, Dr. Marjorie Hill, left late last summer. Louie, who will take over at GMHC on June

16, went through a series of interviews and when he told Harlem United he was leaving, that agency countered by offering him the CEO title. He chose to move to a smaller agency that has had a rash of bad press, with reports of internal problems. “I want to build on GMHC’s rich history,” said Louie, a 39-year -old gay man. “I would like to be a part of GMHC’s sustainability and success.” GMHC saw its revenues decline from 2007 through 2011. The agency made a controversial move to its West 33rd Street headquarters in 2011 and is paying a high rent on a large space that it is not using entirely. GMHC increasingly relies on state, local, and federal government funding that is now being cut. When Christine Quinn was the City Council speaker, she handed out millions in discretionary funds to favored agencies, GMHC among them. The Council, now under Melissa MarkViverito, will have new rules that are meant to more equitably divide discretionary funds among the 51 Council members. “I’m fully aware of the challenges in front of me and I need to take action immediately,” said the Brooklyn native. “I think it’s important that GMHC succeed.” Other AIDS groups, such as Harlem United and Housing Works, long ago


Aware of AIDS agency’s problems, 39-year-old gay men steps up as state moves to “end” epidemic

Kelsey Louie, who will take the reins at Gay Men’s Health Crisis in June.

diversified their funding streams, both public and private, so their cash is a mix of Medicaid dollars, housing contracts that Louie said are “large and stable,” and private resources, such as Housing Works’ thrift shops. GMHC has two major fundraisers a year, its government contracts, and private fundraising that has become much tougher as the LGBT commu-

nity in particular has opted to support other causes, such as marriage equality, and as HIV has moved out of the spotlight though not out of the lives of gay men and transgender people. GMHC has also faced questions about its relevance as people with HIV are living long lives and not going on disability. While some people with HIV are disabled by the virus and do need help, skeptics are asking if an AIDS agency should be delivering services like hot meals and art classes to clients or helping them get jobs, as Housing Works does. “I’m aware of all the things that have been said about GMHC,” Louie said. “I feel like I’m the best person to lead GMHC into its future.” On top of all of this, Housing Works and ACRIA have taken the lead in promoting a plan to end AIDS that requires a shift in how agencies do their work. The plan aims to reduce new HIV infections to a few hundred a year in New York State, as opposed to roughly 3,400 currently, by 2020. GMHC has endorsed the plan, as have many other AIDS groups. This plan will mean that AIDS groups have to focus more on identifying HIV-positive people and getting them on treatment — and ensuring their adherence to it — so they are


LOUIE, continued on p.10

Facts in Fraud Charge Against New GMHC Chief Remain Unclear Short-lived lawsuit produced no public evidence that AIDS client confidentiality breached BY DUNCAN OSBORNE


lawsuit that supposedly accused the incoming head of Gay Men’s Health Crisis of fraud in the 2012 board election at Front Runners New York does not name him in any publicly available document and was brought against Anthony Ng, the LGBT running club’s treasurer at the time, and John Doe defendants. published a story on May 6 that charged that Kelsey Louie, GMHC’s new head, had tried “to rig a board election” at Front Runners and then lied about it. The story relied on “sources” and reported that DNA had documents filed in the lawsuit other than the two that are publicly available on the state courts website. The story asserted that Louie used his home computer to register 46 peo-

ple as Front Runners members dur ing the two weeks prior to October 31. Members registered after that date were barred from voting in the 2012 board election. The 46 registrations gave the Lower East Side address of an AIDS services group for the registrants’ contact information. Louie has not publicly denied that he registered new club members in the runup to the election. It is unclear if the registrations violated the club’s rules at that time. Reportedly, Front Runners has since changed its rules to prevent such actions. It is also unknown if the new 2012 members were registered without their permission, as the complaint alleges. David Lin, then a board candidate and now the Front Runners’ board president, sued, charging that the members were fraudulently registered. Neither the complaint, which was filed on December

3 of that year, nor the December 19 voluntary withdrawal of the lawsuit name Louie. The defendants were only Ng and the John Does. The complaint and withdrawal are the only records on the state courts website. On December 4, Lin issued a subpoena to Verizon that sought “Documents sufficient to identify the account holder of the following Internet Protocol address at the following times.” Lin signed the subpoena as an attorney, and it was not signed by any judge. The subpoena gave the IP address and a 50-minute time span on October 17 and a 28-minute time span on October 30. On December 5, Verizon wrote to Louie, the account owner of that IP address, to tell him that it had received the subpoena and would return the records to Lin by December 14 unless Louie secured a motion to quash the subpoena or a protective order.

The subpoena and related documents were given to Gay City News by someone who is knowledgeable about the controversy, but was not a party to it, and asked to not be named. Gay City News has not seen any documents that may have been returned to Lin in response to the subpoena. It was five days after Verizon’s notice to Louie that Lin voluntarily withdrew his suit. In various places in the story, the reporter, Mathew Katz, claims that “court documents” or the lawsuit accuse Louie of committing the fraud because he wanted to maintain a relationship between the club and Harlem United that in the past had raised thousands of dollars for the AIDS organization. That assertion is not supported by any public document or by the subpoena.


FRAUD, continued on p.10


May 14, 2014 |


State Judge Knocks Down Arkansas Marriage Ban Weddings begin as court cites federal and state questions of “epic constitutional dimensions” BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD



state judge in Little Rock, Arkansas, relying on both that state’s constitution and the US Constitution, has struck down the ban on same-sex marriage there. In a May 9 ruling, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Christopher Charles Piazza ruled the ban violates the 14th Amendment of the federal constitution as well as the Arkansas Constitution’s Declaration of Rights. Piazza did not issue a stay — which would allow the state time to appeal — when releasing his original order, nor has he done so in response to a motion from Arkansas’ Democratic attorney general, Dustin McDaniel, who says he supports marriage equality but sees it as his duty to defend the existing policy. McDaniel, whose office plans an appeal of Piazza’s ruling to the State Supreme Court, also filed a motion for a stay with that bench. In making his ruling on a Friday, Piazza did wait until after county clerk offices had closed for the day to release it. The Pulaski County Clerk’s office immediately announced it was prepared to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples at the start of business on Monday morning, but some couples set their sights on the handful of counties whose offices are open on Saturday. According to the Associated Press, some of those clerks said they had not formally been notified of the ruling and would not issue licenses to same-sex couples, but licenses were issued in the Ozarks resort town of Eureka Springs in Carroll County, with Kristin Seaton, 27, and Jennifer Rambo, 26, being the first couple to wed. With no stay issued on May 12, clerks elsewhere, including in Little Rock’s Pulaski County, the state’s largest, began issuing licenses to same-sex couple, even as other counties continued to resist. In the recent spate of marriage equality rulings, trial judges seem to be striving to out-do each other in their eloquence, and Piazza was no exception. He ended his opinion by referring to the US Supreme Court’s famous 1967 ruling in the Loving v. Virginia interracial marriage case, writing, “It has been over 40 years since Mildred Loving was given the right to marry the person of her choice. The hatred and fears have long since vanished and she and her husband lived full lives together; so it will be for the same-sex couples. It is time to let that beacon of freedom shine brighter on all our brothers and sisters. We will be stronger for it.”

Kristin Seaton and Jennifer Rambo were the first couple to wed in Arkansas.

Although the courts in two states— New Jersey and New Mexico — have produced marriage equality decisions since the Supreme Court last summer struck down the Defense of Marriage Act’s ban on federal recognition of legal gay marriages, Piazza’s decision was the first to do so on both federal and state grounds in a state with an anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment. The amendment was enacted in 2004 as part of Karl Rove’s campaign strategy to re-elect George W. Bush by drawing conservative voters to the polls with anti-gay marriage initiatives. That strategy was fueled by reaction to the ruling out of Massachusetts in November 2003 allowing same-sex couples to marry there and by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s short-lived drive in early 2004 to allow such marriages there, which set off copy-cat actions in some localities in New York, New Mexico, and Oregon. The Arkansas amendment, which put into the State Constitution a ban enacted by statute a decade before, won the support of three-quarters of the voters, and that overwhelming margin was cited as the centerpiece of the state’s defense of its ban in arguments before Piazza. The judge, however, concluded that the 2004 vote was “an unconstitutional attempt to narrow the definition of equality. The exclusion of a minority for no rational reason is a dangerous precedent. Furthermore, the fact that Amendment 83 was popular with voters does not protect it from constitutional scrutiny as to federal rights.” Then, citing the US Supreme Court’s 1943 ruling that Congress could not

enact a law to compel religious objectors to salute the flag, Piazza wrote, “The Constitution guarantees that all citizens have certain fundamental rights. These rights vest in every person over whom the Constitution has authority and, because they are so important, an individual’s fundamental rights ‘may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.’” The US Supreme Court, Piazza found, has repeatedly characterized the right to marry as a fundamental right and therefore any discriminatory law limiting that right must be subjected to a “heightened level” of judicial scrutiny. As with other recent judges ruling on marriage equality claims, however, he found that Arkansas’ ban could not survive even the most deferential standard of review. “Regardless of the level of review required,” he wrote, “Arkansas’ marriage laws discriminate against same-sex couples in violation of the Equal Protection Clause because they do not advance any conceivable legitimate state interest.” Piazza relied heavily on the Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling last year as well as the 1967 Loving ruling, and also quoted from recent marriage equality rulings from federal district courts. All of the cases cited by the state, he noted, predated last year’s DOMA decision. “The issues presented in the case at bar are of epic constitutional dimensions,” he wrote, saying his responsibility was to “reconcile the ancient view of marriage as between one man and one woman, held by most citizens of this and many other states, against a small, politically unpopular group of same-sex cou-

ples who seek to be afforded that same right to marry.” It is difficult, he wrote, “to find a legal label for what transpired” in the high court’s DOMA ruling, but, quoting from the recent federal district court ruling striking down Oklahoma’s gay marriage ban, he stated, “This court knows a rhetorical shift when it sees one.” Acknowledging the likelihood that his ruling might not be popular among Arkansas voters, Piazza wrote, “The court is not unmindful of the criticism that judges should not be super legislators. However, the issue at hand is the fundamental right to marry being denied to an unpopular minority. Our judiciary has failed such groups in the past.” The judge also cited recent decisions by the Arkansas Supreme Court in favor of gay rights, bolstering his conclusion that the State Constitution’s equal protection clause also justifies his ruling. In 2002, that court declared the state’s sodomy law unconstitutional and, in 2011, struck down a state policy prohibiting unmarried opposite-sex and same-sex couples from adopting children, finding that there was no rational basis for it. “The exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage for no rational basis violates the fundamental right to privacy and equal protection described in” those earlier State Supreme Court rulings, Piazza found, adding, “The difference between opposite-sex and same-sex families is within the privacy of their homes.” The 20 same-sex couples who comprise the plaintiffs in this case include 12 who wish to marry and eight who are seeking to have their out-of-state marriages recognized. Piazza’s ruling focused almost entirely on the right to marry, providing no separate analysis on the recognition issue. But his emphasis on the state’s impermissible discrimination against same-sex couples logically applies to both situations. Arkansas Assistant Attorney General Colin R. Jorgensen’s motion for a stay pointed to the US Supreme Court’s action in January that halted marriages in Utah while the appellate process plays out there. Quoting from a different Supreme Court ruling, he wrote that the high court grants a stay if there is “a fair prospect that a majority of the Court will vote to reverse the judgment below.” Given the court’s action on Utah, then, he concluded that “the Supreme Court has already indicated the likelihood” that Arkansas’ marriage ban will be upheld. Whether that conclusion on Jorgensen’s part is warranted — and whether it will be persuasive on the question of a stay with either Piazza or the Arkansas Supreme Court — remains to be seen.


| May 14, 2014


US Judge Finds New York Employers Can Deny Same-Sex Spousal Benefits In case involving a Catholic hospital, court finds federal law, not state nondiscrimination protection, governs BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD


Manhattan judge has ruled that a woman denied employer-provided health insurance coverage for the same-sex spouse she legally married cannot sue under federal employment benefits law. The May 1 decision from US District Judge Nelson S. Roman granted a motion to dismiss the case brought by Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield and St. Joseph’s Medical Center, a Catholic health system. The plaintiff, identified in court papers as “Jane Roe,” has been employed at the St. Vincent’s division of St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Westchester County since 2007. After marrying her same-sex partner, she attempted to enroll her wife as a dependent, but was told by the St. Joseph’s human resources department that the plan does not cover “same-sex spouses.” In response to grievance letters filed with both St. Joseph’s and the insurer, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, Empire responded that “under [the Plan], samesex spouse and domestic partner is an EXCLUSION under the benefit.” “Roe” then filed suit in federal court, alleging violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), a federal statute regulating employee benefit plans of non-governmental employers. Her main argument was that because of last year’s Supreme Court ruling nixing the Defense of Marriage Act’s ban on federal recognition of legal same-sex marriages, ERISA’s non-discrimination provision mandates cover-

age for same-sex couples in compliance with New York law. The hospital system and Empire, in response, argued that New York law is preempted by ERISA, and thus is inapplicable in this case. ERISA has a broad preemption provision, which holds that the federal law “shall supersede any and all state laws insofar as they may now or hereafter relate to any employee benefit plan.” Judge Roman rejected the idea that ERISA would preempt New York’s marriage law, but he also asserted that issue is “irrelevant” in resolving the case. “The question presented by Plaintiff’s Complaint is not whether ERISA or New York State law applies on the issue of marriage, but whether a private plan violates a provision of ERISA by excluding same-sex couples from beneficiary status,” he wrote. Roman concluded that the exclusion of coverage for same-sex couples does not violate what is typically viewed as ERISA’s non-discrimination provision, a finding in line with the narrow interpretation of its requirements binding on federal judges in New York under Second Circuit Court of Appeals precedent. The nondiscrimination provision “Roe” relied on is titled “Interference with protected rights,” and states it is unlawful to “discriminate against a participant or beneficiary for exercising any right to which he is entitled under the provisions of an employee benefit plan or for the purpose of interfering with the attainment of any right to which such participant may become entitled under the plan.” The typical complaint this provision

would cover is a situation where an employer fires somebody in order to prevent them from qualifying for benefits. The Second Circuit has said this section was “designed primarily to prevent ‘unscrupulous employers from discharging or harassing their employees in order to keep them from obtaining vested pension rights.” Trial courts in the Second Circuit have therefore given a narrow reading to this provision. Courts in some circuits outside the Second have taken a broader view, but Roman was bound by the Second Circuit precedent. Under ERISA, he wrote, employers are “generally free” to “adopt, modify, or terminate welfare plans” such as health insurance plans. The federal law does not regulate the “substantive content of welfare-benefit plans,” he found. Consequently, unless another federal statute — as opposed to a state enactment — would ban such an exclusion as discriminatory, a federal court would not have jurisdiction over the discrimination claim. The New York Human Rights Act forbids sexual orientation discrimination in employment and, since 2008, has been interpreted by the state courts to require public employers to allow legally recognized same-sex spouses of their employees to participate in their insurance plans. ERISA, however, preempts the application of that law to a private employer, such as St. Joseph’s. This gap in protections for same-sex couples could potentially be corrected if a federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) were enacted, though there is considerable debate among advocates about whether religious exemption lan-

guage in the bill approved by the Senate last year would still give St. Joseph’s an out. Before DOMA’s ban on federal recognition of gay marriages was struck down, ENDA incorporated that measure by reference and specifically stated it would not require employers to provide benefits to same-sex partners of employees. The current version of the bill has dropped that provision but it does broadly exempt corporations deemed to be “religious employers” under the 1964 Civil Rights Act. If St. Joseph’s Catholic affiliation allowed it to assert status as a “religious employer,” it could claim an exemption. Legal advocacy groups have criticized this religious employer exemption as being broader than required by the First Amendment, but sponsors of the bill, including the Human Rights Campaign, argue it is necessary to secure passage of the measure, which has languished in Congress for more than two decades. Interestingly, Roman noted that, under a different set of circumstances, ERISA might require recognition of a same-sex marriage. Last year, a federal court in Philadelphia ruled that when an employee benefit plan uses the term “spouse” without a specific definition of that term, an ERISA requirement that surviving spouses are automatic beneficiaries of a pension plan would include legally married same-sex spouses, so long as, at the time of their spouse’s death, they live in a state that recognizes their marriage. “Jane Roe” is represented by Debra Sue Cohen, Jeffrey Michael Norton, and Randolph M. McLaughlin of the New York City law firm Newman Ferrara LLP.


As With Utah, Oklahoma, Appeals Court Seems Split in Virginia Marriage Case With Ted Olson, the ACLU, and Alliance Defending Freedom all in the mix, one judge played the swing vote BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD


three-judge appellate hearing in the Virginia marriage equality cases arrayed Ted Olson, the renowned litigator brought into the successful fight against California’s Proposition 8, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the state’s solicitor general against two county clerks, one of them represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, a rightwing group that battles gay marriage and

other LGBT rights advances in courts across the nation. The May 13 oral arguments made clear that this considerable legal firepower had a sharply divided panel of the Richmond-based Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals as its audience and arbiter. Olson, a former US solicitor general who served under President George W. Bush, appeared on behalf of two client couples — Timothy Bostic and Tony London, who seek the right to marry, and Carol Schall and Mary Townley, who are asking that Virginia recognize

their out-of-state marriage. In February, those plaintiffs prevailed in a ruling from Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen of the Eastern District of Virginia. Since Virginia’s new Democratic governor, Terry McAuliffe, and attorney general, Mark Herring, also a Democrat, have declined to defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, Wright Allen’s decision was appealed by two county clerks, represented before the Fourth Circuit panel by Austin Nimocks, an Alliance Defending Freedom attorney, and David B. Oakley, a private attorney.

The appeals panel allowed the two plaintiff couples challenging the Virginia marriage ban in the state’s other federal district court, which has not ruled, to intervene, so those couples — Joanne Harris and Jessica Duff, and Christy Berghoff and Victoria Kidd — were represented in the oral arguments by James Esseks, who heads up the ACLU’s LGBT Rights Project. McAuliffe and Herring, who have concluded that same-sex couples have a


VIRGINIA, continued on p.30


May 14, 2014 |


De Blasio Budget Commits to Add 100 Beds for Homeless Youth Mayor proposes to increase spending by more than $3 million, formalizes earlier pledge to cap AIDS housing rents BY PAUL SCHINDLER


ith the May 8 release of his final executive budget proposal for fiscal year 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio is making good on his commitment fr om last year’s campaign to step up city support for homeless youth shelter space by 100 beds each year. In a budget totaling $73.9 billion, the mayor is proposing to spend $15 . 9 6 m illion i n t h e R u n a wa y / Homeless Youth (RHY) category, which provides city funding for shelter beds, for the fiscal year beginning July 1. That contrasts with spending of $12.34 million for the year that began July 1, 2012. According to Carl Siciliano, the founding executive director of the Ali Forney Center, which provides housing and social services to homeless LGBT youth in the city, the current count of beds funded by the city stands at roughly 250, so the de Blasio commitment represents an increase of roughly 40 percent in the stock of available shelter space. “This is unprecedented,” Siciliano said of the administration’s spending proposal. “The city has never stepped up with this sort of commitment. The fact sheet issued by the administration in tandem with the mayor’s budget presentation highlighted the fact that of the 100 new beds, 24 will be targeted to serve LGBT youth, a population often at risk in general population homeless shelter settings. Several years ago, Ali Forney, other


LOUIE, from p.3

less infectious. Groups will also have to promote pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), the use of anti-HIV drugs by HIV-negative people to prevent them from becoming infected, and postexposure prophylaxis (PEP), the use of anti-HIV drugs in the immediate after-


FRAUD, from p.3

Louie is currently the chief operating officer at Harlem United and has worked there since 2006. He was a longtime Front Runners member, but left the club in 2012 following the controversy. He begins at GMHC on June 16. Katz has written a series of unflattering stories about GMHC that inevitably rely on “sources” and readers are never

non-profit groups serving homeless youth, and an array of LGBT organizations from the Empire State Pride Agenda to Congregation Beit Simchat Torah launched the Campaign for Youth Shelter, which called on the city and state to grow the supply of beds serving this population by 100 each year until waiting lists for available space disappear. The advocacy focused on that measure of growth rather than a target total number of beds, Siciliano explained, because it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what supply is needed to meet the needs of kids sleeping on the street or engaging in high-risk survival sex to get a roof over their heads. A widely cited census of youth homelessness in New York City, car ried out by the Empire State Coalition in 2007, estimated that on an average night 3,800 people 24 and younger find themselves on the street, with as many as 40 percent of that total identifying as LGBT or questioning. But homelessness can be episodic, so the total number of youth engaged in street life over the course of a year could total considerably higher than the 3,800. According to Siciliano, the average bed can serve up to 10 youth dur ing any given year, so 100 new beds could provide shelter for up to 1,000 youth without a place to sleep — and the increased stock of 350 beds, correspondingly, could serve a total of 3,500 youth. How far the incremental increase in available beds goes in eliminating or reducing waiting lists at facilities serving youth will likely become clear only

after the stock is up and running. The de Blasio administration, then, could find itself revisiting its campaign commitment a year from now as it develops its 2016 budget. The mayor’s willingness to lead on the homeless youth issue contrasts sharply with an annual budget dance that took place during Michael Bloomberg’s years in office. His executive budgets repeatedly cut RHY funding, and it was left to City Council Youth Services Committee chair Lew Fidler and out lesbian Speaker Christine Quinn to battle to restore the baseline and grow it modestly. And since Governor Andrew Cuomo took office in 2010, the state’s share of funding for beds in the city has also declined. Even with those hurdles, advocates succeeded over the past half dozen years in winning an increase in the stock of beds from about 170 to the current 250. During a March 2013 mayoral debate sponsored by the city’s LGBT political clubs at Baruch College, each of the Democratic candidates endorsed the Campaign for Youth Shelter’s proposal for growing city support for homeless beds. Siciliano said he was particularly impressed, at the time, by the responses he heard from Quinn and from de Blasio, who, he recalled, said the homelessness crisis facing queer youth was “the LGBT symbol of a tale of two cities.” Late last month, Ali Forney and the National Coalition for the Homeless announced the launch of a National Campaign for Youth Shelter. That campaign, which will focus

first on building grassroots support for putting the issue of youth homelessness on the nation’s political agenda in advance of the 2016 elections, has a long-term goal of adding 22,000 new beds across the US. The two groups estimate that, at present, there are only about 4,000 available beds to serve a population of as many as half a million young people who experience homelessness each year. The campaign has the support of roughly three-dozen groups nationwide, including those working in LGBT advocacy as well as others fighting homelessness and poverty. The campaign plans a 6 p.m. rally on June 2 in New York’s Washington Square Park. The mayor’s final executive budget reiterated the commitment made in his preliminary proposal issued February 12 to spend more than $17 million to cover two thirds of the cost of a program to cap the rents of New Yorkers living with AIDS and recieving housing assistance at 30 percent of their income. The state will cover the remaining cost of that cap, which has long been sought by advocates and will put AIDS housing assistance on par with rental assistance programs helping other eligible populations in New York. Opposition to the rental cap by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg was the key hurdle that blocked past efforts in Albany to enact such relief, with cost sharing by the state and city, under New York law. The mayor and the City Council have until June 30 to complete work on a final budget agreement.

math of exposure to the virus to prevent infection from taking hold. This plan will certainly mean changes in what government funders will pay for. PEP and PrEP remain little known among people who are at risk for HIV infection. “I don’t know that AIDS service providers have done a great job as a

whole,” Louie said referring to educating people about PEP and PrEP. GMHC is applying for state licenses that will allow it to provide the mental health and drug treatment services that are very much a part of helping HIV-positive people stay on their HIV medications and could contribute to helping gay men on PrEP adhere to

that drug regimen, which is critical to its effectiveness. Louie said that GMHC offers a vital place to begin. “I don’t necessarily see it as a step down,” he said, referring to his move from Harlem United. “GMHC being the first and oldest AIDS organization offers a larger platform.”

told how those sources know what they claim to know or why they are commenting. These are standard journalistic conventions. In an email, Lin refused to comment. Megan Coryat, the club’s president in 2012, did not respond to a call seeking comment. Ng did not respond to an email seeking comment that was sent via Facebook. As the defendant in the lawsuit, Ng would have been entitled to see

the subpoena and any records that were returned in response. Sharon Duke, the executive director at ASCNYC, the group at the address for the new registrations, said she did not believe that the confidentiality of client records at the AIDS agency had been breached, though she was concerned about the use of her agency’s address in the registrations. “My concern was that those new mem-

bers listed my organization’s address,” said Duke, who is a Front Runners member. “I didn’t want it to be construed that those names were my clients.” In early 2012, ASCNYC paid for memberships in Front Runners for clients who wanted to participate in a June 2012 fun run. “I’d like to say let’s give Kelsey a chance,” Duke said. “Let’s not eat our own.”


| May 14, 2014


Alan Van Capelle’s New Mission on the Lower East Side

Former Pride Agenda leader finds a new home in the quest for social justice

n a sense, Alan van Capelle’s first mid-life crisis came at the age of 34. It was then, in January 2010, that he stepped down from his post as executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, less than two months after the New York State Senate had decisively rejected marriage equality in its first floor vote on the issue. Van Capelle’s seven-year tenure – which had come after his years as a union leader — made him the longest-serving leader of the Pride Agenda, but he was still a young man. “I worried, after I left the Pride Agenda, that I would never again find something that was so personally significant or meaningful to me,” he told Gay City News in an interview last month. “And that definitely would’ve been a better experience to have in my 50s than in my 30s, because I was just nervous that trying to replicate something that meaningful would be impossible.” After departing the Pride Agenda, van Capelle became deputy comptroller for public affairs under then-New York City Comptroller John Liu. About a year -and-a-half later, he switched course again to become president and CEO of Bend the Arc, a Jewish faithbased social justice advocacy group. This year, van Capelle, now 39, took the next leap in his career, becoming president and CEO of the Educational Alliance, a 124-year-old nonprofit social service organization based on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. And for van Capelle, that decision certainly wasn’t just about staying close to his LES home, where he’s lived with his husband and their two young sons for the past three years. “After all those worries I had [in 2010], I don’t think they’re going to be a problem anymore,” he said. “In my short time so far at the Educational Alliance, I think I’ve been more personally and professionally fulfilled than anything since my time at the Pride Agenda.” That’s because he plans to bring new life to the advocacy efforts of the organization, which opened its groundbreaking Manny Cantor Center, on East Broadway near Canal Street, in February. The center is being promoted as a vibrant new source of equal opportunities within a community that includes both ultra-wealthy residents and those living below the poverty line in public housing developments. Along with numerous other services, it features




Alan van Capelle, who led the Empire State Pride Agenda from 2003-2010, now heads up the Educational Alliance.

“I hope the mayor will have a cabinet meeting at the Manny Cantor Center someday,” he mused. an early-childhood education program that serves both students who come from higher socioeconomic backgrounds and those from low-income families receiving federal Head Start subsidies, as well as a fitness center that offers sliding scale membership fees to include low-income residents alongside their wealthier neighbors. “It’s really an experiment, because there isn’t another facility in this city that is situated at the intersection of several different communities and which is designed to be for everybody across the economic strata,” said van Capelle. “It just doesn’t exist anywhere else in the city, and my hope is that this is a model that can be replicated.” He explained that establishing the influence of the Manny Cantor Center — and expanding the impact of the Educational Alliance as a whole — will involve a shift in the organization’s approach to communicating with the greater public.


VAN CAPELLE, continued on p.13


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May 14, 2014 |


US Report Finds Flaws in Government Job Protections Independent federal body says 1998 Clinton executive order, agency practice leave LGBT workers vulnerable



n a report to Congress and the White House, an independent agency that guards the employment rights of federal workers said that current protections for LGBT federal employees are inadequate and called for legislation to remedy that. “Any ambiguity in the longstanding policy prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination in the Federal workplace would be resolved by legislation making that prohibition explicit,” the authors at the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) wrote in a May 7 letter that accompanied the report. “Such legislation could grant Federal employees who allege they are victims of sexual orientation discrimination access to the same remedies as those who allege discrimination on other bases.” The federal government employs over two million civilian workers and the US Postal Service has another half million. The report is a surprisingly blunt look at how the government has moved from outright hostility toward LGBT employees dating from the mid-20th century to a warmer embrace of those workers today, but is still falling short. Up until 1975, the federal government considered sexual orientation in hiring and retention decisions, with LGBT people inevitably losing in these calculations. At times, the government attacked LGBT people. While the ‘50s are associated in popular culture and the mainstream press with communist

witch hunts, that era was in fact a purge of LGBT federal employees, with an estimated 7,000 to 10,000 such workers losing their jobs. In 1978, the MSPB replaced the US Civil Service Commission and adopted a series of prohibited personnel practices, among them a bar on considering “conduct which does not adversely affect the performance of the employee or applicant or the performance of others.” Two years later, this was interpreted to mean that sexual orientation was off limits in personnel matters. In 1998, then President Bill Clinton signed an executive order that barred discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in federal employment. That order did not “establish enforceable rights or remedies for employees who believed they had been discriminated against, such as the ability to proceed before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Those rights can only be granted through legislation,” the report said. Underscoring the point, Clinton issued another executive order in 2000 that said the earlier order did not create any rights that were “enforceable in law or equity against the United States or its representatives.” The consequence of this is that gay federal employees could complain to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) if they believed they had experienced discrimination, but the ambiguity of that solution became apparent in 2004 when Scott Bloch, the head of the OSC during the administration of Presi-

dent George W. Bush, announced that he did not view sexual orientation as a protected class. Bloch’s announcement caused an uproar, and the White House put out a statement saying it opposed discrimination based on sexual orientation. Some federal agencies have developed parallel equal employment opportunity mechanisms that employees can use when they believe that they have been discriminated against based on their sexual orientation, the report said. Citing surveys from 2005, 2007, and 2010, the MSPB estimated that roughly one percent of federal employees report-

The federal government employs over two million workers and the US Postal Service has another half million. ed “being personally denied a job or job benefit (or otherwise being discriminated against) due to their sexual orientation.” In 2008, when Gay City News last looked at non-discrimination policies in the federal workplace, the informal data comparing the number of reported discrimination cases to the number of complaints made suggested that federal agencies were generally not telling employees that sexual orientation dis-

crimination was barred. That is less true today. In a 2010 study, 81 percent of federal supervisors and 68 percent of nonsupervisors agreed with the statement “My organization has made it clear that it prohibits discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation.” The responses varied by federal agency, ranging from a low of 58 percent among both supervisory and non-supervisory employees to a high of 82 percent. The MSPB does not have data to compare this result to federal personnel’s knowledge of other prohibited grounds for discrimination, such as race or sex. “If, however, survey results showed that about one-fifth of Federal supervisors (and over one-third of some agency workforces) did not agree that their organizations have made it clear that they prohibit discrimination on any other basis (sex, religion, or disability, for example), it would rightly raise concern,” the latest report said. The authors noted that recent nominees to head the OSC and the federal Office of Personnel Management were asked during their confirmation hearings if they considered sexual orientation discrimination as a prohibited practice. That pointed out the obvious flaw in policy that can only be corrected with legislation. “This practice illustrates the fundamental limitation of current policy — the existence and enforcement of protections against sexual orientation discrimination in Federal employment depend on interpretation,” they wrote.


US Judge Orders Indiana to Recognize Dying Woman’s Same-Sex Marriage Temporary injunction imposed as case is decided on merits; state appeals BY ARTHUR LEONARD


federal judge has ordered Indiana officials to recognize the marriage of a lesbian couple, in which one spouse is battling ovarian cancer, until their lawsuit can be decided on the merits. The May 8 preliminary injunction from US District Judge Richard L. Young extended an earlier restraining order requiring the recognition of the Massachusetts marriage of Nikole Quasney and Amy Sandler, Indiana residents who wed last year after a 2011 civil union in Illinois. The office of Indiana Attorney General

Greg Zoeller, a Republican, responded to Young’s injunction by announcing it will appeal to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Quasney and Sandler have been partners for more than 13 years and are raising two young children together. Quasney was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009 and given a five-year survival prognosis. Although she has been in remission off and on during that period as a result of chemotherapy, her cancer is no longer treatable since its most recent recurrence last month. The couple joined several other samesex couples in suing Indiana for its denial of same-sex marriage rights and its refusal to recognize out-of-state marriag-

es. All of the couples filed a motion for preliminary injunction, but at this point only Quasney and Sandler’s motion was before the court, given the likelihood of Quasney’s death in the near future. Applying Seventh Circuit precedents to his analysis, Young found that the couple has demonstrated some likelihood of success on the merits, the irreparable harm they would suffer without the injunction, and the lack of other legal remedies to repair that harm. The task before Young was to determine whether the couple’s need for relief outweighed the state’s interest in preserving the status quo until the case can be decided. In assessing the couple’s prospects for victory on the merits, Young noted

the long string of favorable federal district court decisions since last June’s Supreme Court ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act’s ban on federal recognition of legal same-sex marriage. He also found that the Supreme Court’s decision in January to stay the Utah marriage decision and the subsequent stays issued by federal judges who ruled in favor of marriage equality did not necessarily mean he could not issue a preliminary injunction to take effect immediately. His ruling provides relief to just one couple, he pointed out, in a state with a population of 6.5 million, so it did not present the same issues as a


INDIANA, continued on p.13


| May 14, 2014



an opportunity if they fit the qualifications and can do it,” Hagel said. Advocacy groups, including the Service Members, Partners, Allies for Respect and Tolerance For All, wasted no time in responding to Hagel’s comments with cautious optimism. “We appreciate that Secretary Hagel recognizes that these medical regulations are over 30 years old, are inconsistent with current medical practice, and negatively impact military readiness,” said retired Army Captain Allyson Robinson, SPART*A’s policy director, in a statement. "We look forward to a prompt and comprehensive medical review of these regulations, which is long overdue." The National Center for Transgender Equality also responded to Hagel’s comments. “If the secretary were able to meet and talk with the trans service members I’ve met, he’d understand the answer is self-evident,” NCTE executive director Mara Keisling said in a statement. “These are amazing people who serve even though they must hide a basic part of who they are.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

Hagel “Open” to Reviewing Transgender Military Ban

In comments May 11 to ABC News, the Pentagon’s chief signaled his openness to reviewing the longstanding ban on transgender military service members. “I do think it continually should be reviewed,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told Martha Raddatz on “This Week.” The ban on service by transgender personnel, based on what the military describes as “medical” considerations, continued even after the ban on gay, lesbian, and bisexual Americans was lifted in September 2011. But, a March report from the Palm Center, a think tank at the University of California at Santa Barbara that focuses on issues affecting sexual minorities in the military, concluded that there is “no compelling rationale for banning transgender military service.” The report also an estimated there are 15,450 transgender service members currently serving in active and reserve military units, including the National Guard. Hagel said the ban on transgender personnel focuses on the medical needs of those individuals and is “a bit more complicated.” He said his biggest concern is providing medical support to transgender individuals in “austere locations.” But, he said, he is “open to those assessments” that suggest transgender service members can be accommodated. “I go back to the bottom line — every qualified American who wants to serve our country should have


INDIANA, from p.12

broad order requiring marriage equality rights across the board. He therefore concluded that the state’s argument the injunction would cause confusion about whether state law still barred same-sex marriage lacked merit. Young found that the couple is suffering irreparable harm in Quasney’s need


to leave the state to get care in a hospital where her marriage is recognized and from the loss of dignity they are enduring. Young dismissed Indiana’s claim it has “a valid interest in upholding... a law that violates these constitutional guarantees [of equal protection and due process].” While acknowledging that a broadly applicable injunction would “cause confusion with the administra-

VAN CAPELLE, from p.11

“What I see often in service organizations is that we do a great job of providing services and we do less of a good job of actually telling the stories of the people we’re serving,” he said. “If we tell those stories and we let clients tell their stories, I think we become better advocates. And I think that one of the changes that needs to take place within service organizations is to begin having the conversation not just about feeding people who are poor, but actually discussing why they’re poor in the first place.” Van Capelle, who remains well connected in the political sphere, also hopes to bring his organization more directly in touch with City Hall — perhaps by bringing City Hall to him. “I hope the mayor will have a cabinet meeting at

NYPD to Curb Seizing Sex Workers’ Condoms

New York City police will significantly limit the seizure of condoms as evidence during prostitution arrests, Commissioner Bill Bratton announced in a May 12 release. The former policy was criticized by advocacy groups and health officials for undermining the efforts to protect prostitutes and their clients from HIV and other STD transmission. “A policy that actually inhibits people from safe sex is a mistake and is dangerous,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in response to a reporter’s question about the change in NYPD practice. “I have absolute faith in Commissioner Bratton and his team, and they felt that this was not the right way to go, that the previous policy was not the right way to go, and that they could be effective in gathering evidence without it.” Past police practice also caused concern for those walking around with condoms who are not prostitutes. Advocates said enforcement specifically targeted the transgender community as well as LGBT youth. Several years ago Johanna Vaquez, who is transgender, was stopped as she walked along Roosevelt Avenue in Queens. Despite pleading innocence, the possession of a condom landed her in jail for one year, she said. The new policy will provide for the confiscation of condoms during arrest processing and then their return to the individuals once they are released from police custody. Condoms confiscated during arrests for promoting prostitution and sex trafficking will continue to be invoiced as evidence. “This is a reasonable approach to targeting the most at-risk community as it relates to safer sex practices and continuing to build strong cases against the vast criminal enterprise associated with prostitution,” Bratton said in his statement. Although the new policy won praise from groups including the Gay Men's Health Crisis, it doesn’t go far enough for Andrea Ritchie, a coordinator at Streetwise and Safe, a New York City-based group that has long opposed the department's previous policy. Her group charged “it creates a loophole big enough to drive a truck through.” "We will be monitoring the NYPD carefully to see how they implement this policy," Ritchie told Gay City News.

tion of Indiana’s marriage laws and to the public in general, that concern does not apply here.” Young ordered that if Quasney dies while the injunction is in effect, the state department of health must “issue a death certificate that records her marital status as ‘married’ and lists Plaintiff Amy Sandler as the ‘surviving spouse.’” In a statement responding to the attor-

the Manny Cantor Center someday,” he mused, adding that, several days after his interview with Gay City News, he would be meeting with Lilliam BarriosPaoli, deputy mayor for health and human services, who led the city’s Department for the Aging under Mayor Michael Bloomberg before being called up by his successor Bill de Blasio. And after several years of swapping leadership posts, does van Capelle see himself committing to this new goal for the long haul? “Yes,” he said. “I want to wake up every day, like I did at the Pride Agenda, and feel like I’m making a difference. And I feel like every single day that I’ve gone to work so far at the Educational Alliance, I can actually say that the lives of people in my neighborhood have been improved. To me, that’s what’s really important.”

ney general’s appeal of Young’s injunction, Camilla Taylor, the marriage project director at Lambda Legal, said, “This is a shameful display of cruelty towards a loving couple with two children whose marriage is vital as they battle an aggressive cancer and fight to be together. This is one family in all of Indiana. Their marriage doesn’t harm anyone in Indiana, it simply protects them and their children.”


May 14, 2014 |


What’s Up in Uptown?

A garden-level, two-bedroom duplex at 32 Mount Morris Park West offered by Corcoran.



f the hum of street life, ample parks, and an eclectic array of artistic offerings, restaurants, and small shops make for a compelling urban neighborhood, Harlem certainly fits the bill. With everevolving notions of chic and dramatic visuals in its century-old blocks, the neighborhood north of 110th Street from river to river — though the boundaries often have some elasticity depending on whom you speak to — has always been about renaissance. And buyers and renters today have plenty to draw them to Greater Harlem. The housing stock is chock-a-block with upgraded mid-rise buildings, spiffed-up tenements, restored brownstones with ornate Victorian details and backyards, converted family-sized prewars — and plenty of new developments. In the popular imagination, of course, historic enclaves still reign supreme — particularly Sugar Hill, Strivers' Row, and Astor Row’s collection of 28 houses with front porches and gardens. Halstead Property has a listing for a 20-foot wide, 3,900-square-foot townhouse with a private garage along Strivers’ Row at 221 West 138th Street. Known as the Will Marion Cook House — named for the famous African-American composer, violinist, and Broadway impresario who lived there — it was built in 1891. Its interiors have been handsomely preserved, including the four rare stained glass windows designed by Frank J. Dillon, the large oak stairwell that rises a few steps up to a platform under a Palladian-style window, chev-

ron-detailed oak floors, overhanging cornices, and six wood-burning fireplaces with carved mantels. Zoned for multiple uses, this National Historic Landmark is perfect for a singlefamily residence, a multi-unit, incomeproducing investment, or perhaps an art gallery. Other features include a 2,000-square-foot gated garden, Delivered empty, it’s priced at $2.445 million. ( harlem/221-west-138th-street/townhouse/9947775) For buyers seeking something a bit



Greater Harlem offers historic architecture, visual flair, and ever-expanding choices

A triplex condo at 380 Lenox Avenue offered by Stribling.

more modern along the same stretch, why not consider One Strivers’ Row? Located at 2605 Frederick Douglas Blvd at 139th Street, this condominium was first built as a five-story building in 1894 and then redeveloped in 2007, now with seven floors. Finishes and fixtures include wide-plank American white oak stain floors, 10-foot-high ceilings, large windows, imported Italian faucets, recessed lighting, a walk-in closet, and a Miele washer and dryer. The open kitchen offers appliances by SubZero and Bosch, and the American walnut

cabinetry has CaeserStone countertops. Bathrooms are outfitted with Kohler and Toto fixtures. There’s a wonderful rooftop deck for residents and a state-of-theart cyber doorman system. Douglas Elliman is selling this 700-square-foot, one-bedroom unit for just $450,000, with low monthly common charges and taxes and a 25-year 421a tax abatement. (


HARLEM, continued on p.15

PARKS ENDOWED WITH HISTORY AND INGENUITY Harlem is home to four famed historic parks, plus a spectacular Hudson River park that made lemonade of the lemon of a water treatment plant. Marcus Garvey Park runs from East 120th to 124th Streets at Madison Avenue. Considered central to life in Harlem for more than 150 years, the 20-acre oasis includes playgrounds, a ball field, basketball courts, a dog run, an outdoor pool, and a 1,600-seat amphitheater with enough room for a 75-person orchestra — a gift from American composer Richard Rogers, who grew up across the street. Its recreation center offers computer, kickboxing, karate, and yoga classes and a highly regarded after-school program. Between Bradhurst and Edgecombe Avenues, from 145th to 155th Street, the historic Jackie Robinson Park comes in at nearly 13 acres. Originally built as a neighborhood playground and one of the 10 original parks to receive a pool from New York City, the park opened in 1936. Today, its recreation offerings include a fitness center,

a library, a computer resource center, and an arts and crafts room. There are playground, baseball diamonds, basketball courts, and volleyball courts. Concerts abound during the summer season. Running from 110th to 123rd Streets, the historic 30-acre Morningside Park sits on a steep incline surrounded by magnificent landscaping. Highlights include winding paths, a cascading waterfall, and wonderful scenic viewing spots. Multiple playgrounds, tennis courts, and a recreation center are supplemented by after-school programs, summer concerts, a Halloween festival, and a farmers’ market on Saturdays. On Saturday, May 17, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., NYC Parks and Bike New York will offer free Learn to Ride classes for kids (five years old and up). Pre-registration is required, so visit for more information. Harlem’s fourth historic park is the 23-acre St. Nicholas Park on St. Nicholas Avenue between

128th and 141st Street. Open since 1906, the park sits on historic land that played a critical role in the Revolutionary War. At the Point of Rocks near the present-day park’s south edge, General George Washington positioned himself during the Battle of Harlem Heights in 1776. The park is also home to the Alexander Hamilton National Memorial. The park has plenty of ball courts, playgrounds, spray showers, and barbequing areas. Riverbank State Park is an ingeniously created 28-acre, multi-level facility set 69 feet above the Hudson River near 143rd Street — atop a water treatment facility. Facing a spectacular backdrop, the park includes a riverside promenade, picnic areas, a carousel, swimming pools, a gym, an 800-seat cultural theater, an athletic center, a softball field, tennis and basketball courts, a 400meter, eight-lane running track, a football/ soccer field, docking facilities, a covered roller/ ice skating rink, and a large restaurant. Currently under renovation, the park is due to reopen by late summer. — Lauren Price


| May 14, 2014

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HARLEM, from p.14

fquivpa) Only blocks from Astor Row, a threebedroom triplex penthouse condominium is for sale at 380 Lenox Avenue at West 129th Street. Coming in at about 2,100 square feet, with spectacular city views from nearly every room, the home offers a large rooftop terrace. The triplex features 11-foot-high ceilings, a washer and dryer, custom closets, a gas-igniting wood-burning fireplace, and an open kitchen with solid cherry cabinets and granite countertops and floors. Communal amenities include a rooftop deck, a 24/ 7 gym, on-site parking, and fulltime doormen services. It’s priced at $1.7 million, with a 25-year 421a tax abatement, low common charges, and no sponsor closing cost. ( properties/3350823#details)

A garden-level, two-bedroom duplex facing the park at 32 Mount Morris Park West at 123rd Street is for rent. Newly renovated, this 1,100-square-foot unit has a private entrance and its original details include high ceilings, exposed brick, hardwood floors, moldings, and a marble-mantled ethanol-burning fireplace. The well-equipped kitchen opens onto the living room and the master bedroom has an en suite marble bathroom with teak cabinetry, a whirlpool tub, and a separate shower stall. The second bedroom can easily convert to a media room, and there is an equipped laundry room. Other features include a lighting system, keyless entry, and a video intercom. The monthly rent is $3,600. ( display/3241841)


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HARLEM, continued on p.34



A view north from Riverbank State Park at West 143rd Street.



May 14, 2014 |


Ravishing Revivals Three show hit Broadway and create a theatrical feast BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE


he cliché is that time heals, but sometimes that healing involves changed perspective. For me, that’s the case with the re-revival of Roundabout’s “Cabaret,” now at Studio 54. When first mounted in 1998, this production left me emotionally cold, even if appreciative of the talent onstage. In the intervening years, I’ve changed and the world has changed, as well. Politics that are ever more poisonous, economic collapse, and growing evidence of income equality all inform our appreciation for Sam Mendes’ production about a world on the brink. The new staging has a chilling clarity and depth which either wasn’t there before or I simply didn’t perceive.

Cort Theatre 138 W. 48th St. Tue., Thu. at 7 p.m. Wed., Fri., Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. $27-$142; Or 212-239-6200 Two hrs., 15 min., with intermission



Michelle Williams and Alan Cumming in the Roundabout revival of “Cabaret.”


In the Kit Kat Club, a louche enclave in 1929 Berlin, the narrator asks that we leave our troubles outside even as he demonstrates how those troubles are accumulating both for the characters we come to know and for the wider culture. Mendes and co-director Rob Marshall steadily amp up the tale’s tension, making this one of the most engaging tragedies you’re likely to encounter. At the center of the story is Sally Bowles, an English singer transplanted to Berlin in the hopes of making it — even though there’s never a moment of doubt that the Kit Kat Club is on the fringes of Berlin’ rollicking night scene or that Sally’s talent is third rate. She is a lost soul seeking a safe harbor, and when American Cliff Bradshaw shows up, she thinks she may have found it. But, the cautious, traditional life he offers lacks the thrill she’s finds in cocaine and sex. By the end, she is lost in a haze of drugs and denial. As brilliantly played by Michelle Williams, Sally is a glorious mess of bravado, fear, desperation, longing, and youthful obliviousness. Williams is a fearless performer who puts her remarkable stamp on this role and production, right down to her singing, which manages to take us deep into Sally’s psyche. Alan Cumming reprises his turn as


Studio 54 254 W. 54th St. Tue.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Sat.-Sun. at 2 p.m. $47-$162; Or 212-719-1300 Two hrs., 30 min., with intermission

Pat Shortt and Daniel Radcliffe in Martin McDonagh’s “The Cripple of Inishmaan.”

the Emcee, the role that made him a star. His performance is darker and more pointed than I recall, and there is a subversive anger pulsing through it that offers gripping counterpoint to Williams’ Sally. Cumming remains the consummate entertainer, however, and the Emcee’s adorable creepiness is galvanizing down to the last shattering moments of the show. The supporting cast is equally proficient. Linda Emond as Fräulein Schneider, the landlady of the boarding house where all the characters intersect, is the picture of stoic survival, and her songs “So What” and “What Would You Do?” are extraordinary. Danny Burstein as Herr Schultz, the Jew who loves Fräulein Schneider, is exceptional as a man who gets his heart caught in a changing world. Gayle Rankin as Fräulein Kost, the prostitute who entertains sailors to survive, is darkly comic. Bill Heck as Cliff seeks adventure

like Sally but has the worldview she lacks, allowing him to save himself just in time. The principals are supported by an outstanding ensemble and a terrific band that makes the world of this “Cabaret” irresistible.

No detail of small town life in the remote village of Innishmaan

is too small for Johnnypateenmike, who spends his days spreading “news” about the town, whether it’s a wandering farm animal or word of a Hollywood film company looking for real Irish people to perform. The town thrives on a stew of gossip, envy, judgment, vitriol, and love that comes vibrantly alive in “The Cripple of Inishmaan,” Martin McDonagh’s 1996 play now getting a splendid production on Broadway. The plot is secondary to the characters, but it centers on what happens when Billy, the cripple of the

title, dares to dream he can escape the town and go to Hollywood. He gets there, but stardom eludes him and he seeks to mend his broken life, even as he can’t mend his broken body. The play is at once hilariously funny and achingly sad. The store in town where many of the scenes take place is run by two sisters, Eileen and Kate, who have an uncanny resemblance to my Irish great aunts for whom bickering and idiosyncrasy were the norm. In fact, what makes this play work is the detail McDonagh give his characters and the exploration of drama — either real or imagined — in the minutiae of these people’s lives. Daniel Radcliffe gives a fine performance as the title character. Billy, called “Cripple Billy” by everyone, desperately wants to transcend the circumstances of his life. In fact, he’s the only one in town with the backbone to try. His failure to become a star is irrelevant because he emerges as a man who ultimately earns the respect of Innishmaan that had previously eluded him. Despite Radcliffe’s stardom, this is a true ensemble performance, and all the actors are outstanding. Sarah Greene as Helen, Billy’s love interest and tormentor, is a standout, as are Gillian Hanna and Ingrid Craigie as the sisters, Pat Shortt as Johnnypateenmike, and Pádric Delaney as Bobbybabby, Billy’s nemesis. Michael Grandage’s clear -eyed, affectionate direction brings Inishmaan and the characters to life and makes this world both poignant and painful — kind of like life.

There is no better singing on Broadway right now than in the

Roundabout revival of “Violet,” the musical by Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley. Set in the mid-1960s, this story of a girl who was disfigured in an accident and travels halfway across the South by bus in hopes of being healed by a televangelist is small in scope but large in heart. Tesori’s score is an infectious gospel, blues, rock, and country mix that never


REVIVALS, continued on p.25


| May 14, 2014

Mark Ruffalo as Ned Weeks raising money to battle “gay cancer” on Fire Island.



t’s hard to believe it has been over a decade since HBO broke new ground with “Angels in America,” a revelatory adaptation of Tony Kushner’s Broadway epic about AIDS. The lavish miniseries, boasting a blue-ribbon cast including Al Pacino and Meryl Streep, won a ton of awards and cemented the cable giant’s rep for daring, if not subversive programming.

THE NORMAL HEART HBO Films Directed by Ryan Murphy Debuts May 25 at 9 p.m. For other dates, visit 2 hrs., 15 min.

And now the Emmy-minded network is at it again, this time reinventing “The Normal Heart,” Larry Kramer’s 1985 semi-autobiographical play that was revived on Broadway in 2011 to thunderous acclaim. While both works focus on the AIDS scourge, wrecked lives, and bureaucratic idiocy, the similarity pretty much ends there. In contrast to the poetic “gay fantasia” that was “Angels,” Kramer’s screenplay is an unblinking, trenchant blend of heart-stopping historical drama and fierce polemic. Directed by Ryan Murphy, mastermind behind shows like “Glee” and “American Horror Story,” the four-hankie “Normal Heart” is as real and raw as it gets.

Murphy has assembled a cast every bit as fine as “Angels.” It’s led by the exquisite Mark Ruffalo (who also co-produced) as Ned Weeks, the alter ego of firebrand Kramer, the driving force behind creating the Gay Men’s Health Crisis when the mysterious “gay cancer” was all but ignored by homophobic officials. The model-gorgeous Matt Bomer plays Ned’s lover Felix and Alfred Molina is his unhelpful attorney brother. Julia Roberts portrays Dr. Emma Brookner, who fights to treat the first AIDS patients. Joe Mantello, who played Ned on Broadway, is Mickey, a key GMHC member. Jim Parsons reprises his Broadway role as Tommy, a sassy AIDS activist. Sadly, Jonathan Groff has precious screen time as a Pines party boy, one of the first victims to die from the disease. Also on hand are Taylor Kitsch, Denis O’Hare, Stephen Spinella, BD Wong — the list goes on. Most of these supporting cast members, it should be noted, are openly gay (some married to their partners) and enjoy thriving acting careers, something virtually unthinkable three decades ago. Fresh off the plane from a film shoot in London, the down-to-earth Ruffalo took time from his frantic schedule to call Gay City News as he was rushing to a press event, with his three kids in tow. The agile, 46-year-old actor, who has tackled everything from the aimless drifter in “You Can Count On Me” to the Hulk in “The Avengers” blockbuster, is something of an activist himself, taking up the antifracking cause in upstate New York.



Mark Ruffalo passionately argues imperative of retelling Larry Kramer’s iconic AIDS story

Matt Bomer and Mark Ruffalo in Larry Kramer’s “The Normal Heart.”

Our chat started out calmly enough, but before long Ruffalo became animated, if not downright fervent. Clearly Larry Kramer has seeped into his soul. DAVID KENNERLEY: The film was so incredibly moving I was trembling. And your performance was the perfect mix of rage and sensitivity. M A R K R U F FA L O : T h a n k s , I appreciate that, because I think it’s a good reflection of who Larry is. It’s important for people to see not only the anger but also the caring. DK: What drew you to the role? MR: It’s such an important time that few know much about, and I was honored to be part of that. It’s just such a great role. I’ve always loved the play and was excited to work with Ryan and expand it using the medium of film. I found myself afraid of the role and that usually means it’s worth doing. DK: What were you afraid of? MR: First off, I’m not used to handling that much language. Coming from a play, it’s very stylized, which is very different from most films. [Ned Weeks] is probably one of the most beloved characters in modern theatrical history and in modern gay history. And I’m straight. He has a deep center and I was worried that I wouldn’t get there, that I’d let a lot of people down. DK: How would you characterize Ned Weeks?

MR: He is an incredibly intelligent, caring, righteous man with an incredible sense of self worth, unusual in a gay culture filled with shame. He was ahead of his time because he identified with other things besides his sexuality. He sees this outrageous injustice, becomes obsessed, and is not afraid of a battle. Ultimately, he’s looking for a connection to people in a profound way. DK: I recently heard someone suggest that a 30-year-old story about a bunch of hysterical gay men in New York City might be irrelevant. What would you say to that? MR: [Laughs incredulously.] That person has some ideological bent that keeps them from being wholly human. They are missing the point. Think of movies like “Full Metal Jacket” and “Born on the Fourth of July.” It takes a couple of decades for a culture to be reflective about a specific time in its history. [The AIDS crisis] is probably one of the most tragic chapters of the 20th century, completely swept under the rug. The nation went into posttraumatic shock after witnessing it. We lost a better part of a generation, and we saw incredible cruelty, bigotry, and hatred — everything our nation prides itself on being against. And we haven’t gone back and talked about it. Millions of people throughout the world still become infected each year and millions are still dying.


HEART, continued on p.22


May 14, 2014 |


America’s Greatest Fashion Designer The Met inaugurates its Anna Wintour wing with a celebration of Charles James


mong the mob at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s press preview for “Charles James: Beyond Fashion,” I spotted Stephen Jones, undoubtedly the greatest living milliner, so it was a no-brainer to seek out his view of James, whom many deem America’s greatest fashion designer ever. “He was undoubtedly the greatest,” Jones said, “and the person who got me into fashion. In 1975 there was an exhibition in London called ‘Fashion: 1900-39,’ and his quilted satin jacket was there. When I saw it, I thought, ‘Wow, I’d love to be a fashion designer,’ and that was it. Coming here today is certainly like I’ve died and gone to Heaven! “Yes, he was an artist, but, for me, it was the incredible forms that he created, that incredible shape and, in fact, if he were not a milliner originally, he would not have become the dress designer he became because I can see all millinery techniques in the clothes. Other people like Vionnet worked on the dresses with the same hands-on approach, but his are specifically millinery techniques.” That 1937 jacket, whose white satin padded contours are at once sublimely chic and presciently evocative of the ubiquitous butch nylon bomber jackets so beloved by gay men in the 1970s and ‘80s, occupies pride of place in the newly dubbed Anna Wintour Costume Center at the Met. The jacket wrung high praise from Fashion Institute of Technology’s Valerie Steele. She told me, “James was amazing, a genius, and almost certainly the greatest designer in American history. A very troubled personality but a true genius, and this show looks absolutely amazing! I never met him but other people at FIT used to see him come around from the Chelsea Hotel. This jacket is the single most forward piece he ever did, but, of course, in all of his clothes, the way he manipulated fabric and created abstract biomorphic shapes is totally instrumental. Also, his color sensibility was really fabulous, the combinations of colors. I remember his last show at the Brooklyn Museum had a ball gown which was dark tobacco brown and navy blue combined. Extraordinary!” James (1906-78) was born in England to a British father and an American mother from Chicago. He attended the prestigious private Harrow School, along with Evelyn Waugh and, significantly, Cecil Beaton, with whom he became lifelong friends and who consistently championed his design eminence. Expelled from Harrow for a gay sexual “escapade,” he threw himself into design, which first focused itself on hatmaking. Mostly self-taught, in 1926, he opened a hat shop in Chicago, using the name Charles Boucheron. A few years later, he came to New York where he opened a shop and began to design dresses. From there, he moved back to London and based himself in fashionable Mayfair, where his designs really began drawing attention. He showed his dresses in Paris in 1947, and from the 1950s on spent most of his time in New York, where socialites and celebrities as diverse as Mrs. William Randolph Hearst, Millicent Rogers, Doris Duke, Jennifer Jones, Lily Pons, and Gypsy Rose Lee became his private clients. He married a wealthy Kansas girl, Nancy Lee Gregory, with whom he had a son, Charles, Jr., and

Socialite Babe Paley in a Charles James ball gown, 1950.




Charles James’ 1953 “Four Leaf Clover” dress, with white silk satin, white silk faille, and black silk-rayon velvet.

a daughter, Louise. He was divorced in 1961 and lived and worked for the rest of his life in the Chelsea Hotel. He died of bronchial pneumonia there at age 72. This definitive Met show occupies another gallery besides the Anna Wintour wing. There, dramatically lit and standing apart from one another, presented as pure sculptures, are the famous ball gowns upon which James’ reputation is largely based. Opulent, elegant, and architecturally daunting, these surpass mere dresses, being more akin to mobile habitations for their wearers. Intricately draped, padded, and cut, as with all James designs, the line takes precedence over any

consideration of hue or trimming. This is never more apparent than in his masterpiece, the “Four Leaf Clover” gown, whose skirt extends itself into a quartet of free-standing ridges, the mind-boggling painstaking construction of which is shown in an accompanying screen that digitally animates its formation. This high tech visual accompaniment is prevalent throughout the exhibit and, indeed, has become by now an inextricable, state of the art part of the Met’s presentation of fashion design. It’s impressive, to say the least, but the overall effect of the gallery is a bit on the glacial side. Yes, one can see the determined effort to make the case for fashion as high art here, but I rather miss the glamorous élan of the shows during Diana Vreeland’s heyday as Costume Institute directress. That doyenne of clothing might well have seen fit to house these gowns in a more lushly inviting, fin-de-siecle type of setting, reminiscent of the Beaton ads of the 1950s, which utilized them to advertise a feminine hygiene product, no less (“Modess, because…”). There is no denying the impact of the ball gowns, but I was also struck by how, well, ugly a few of them were. A huge flounced ruffle at the bottom of one of them looked downright tacky, and then there were all those fairly overt suggestions of female genitalia, which James, ever one for the eroticism of clothing, was fond of projecting. For any necessarily well-heeled client of his, the idea of the dress wearing you had to be a serious question to consider, for there were — and are — few women who could flaunt such look-at-me! concoctions with the Boldini flair of a Gypsy Rose Lee, so practiced in the art of physical plastique. Many of these gowns have been prominently featured in other fashion retrospectives, for James is, of course, an absolute go-to when considering the couture greats. I found the Wintour gallery, with its collection of his innovative daywear, far more interesting. There, one can see the “Taxi” dress, from 1932, a stark wrap dress of black wool knit with three simple enclosures any woman could easily remove or don in a moving cab, which timelessly presages those easy frocks on which Diane von Fursternberg has built her present empire. That dress could easily be worn today, as is the case with so many others. Along with their sleek, classic lines, most of these garments share the subdued palette James favored — black, brown, deep gray — which modern color-shunning fashionistas have clung to for the last 30 years. James was perhaps the most notoriously difficult man in the business, his own worst enemy when it came to running a viable business. He was beyond temperamental and inordinately possessive of his work; a client could commission a gown and wait an eternity while he endlessly tweaked it into his idea of final perfection. His later years, marked by a brief collaboration with Halston, which blew up into egotistical acrimony, were bitter and more than a tad raffish, but a light came into them in the form of the great illustrator Antonio Lopez, who gave him something of a renaissance in the 1970s. Lopez intoxicatingly brought models, photographers (including an enslaved-by-talent young Bill Cunningham), eager students, and, most importantly, new life into James’ Chelsea Hotel digs, and electrifying all-night drawing sessions took place, with James center stage as everyone’s acknowledged guru. (Often these


FASHION, continued on p.22

| May 14, 2014



May 14, 2014 |



At Home in Chinatown Romain Duris resurfaces as Xavier Rousseau, this time in America

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Cécile de France, Romain Duris, Kelly Reilly, and Audrey Tautou in Cédric Klapisch’s “Chinese Puzzle.”



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hinese Puzzle” is director Cédric Klapisch’s third film — after “L’auberge Espagnole” and “Russian Dolls” — starring Romain Duris as Xavier Rousseau. This entry is set mostly in New York City, where Xavier moves to be near his two kids, Mia (Margaux Mansart) and Tom (Pablo Mugnier-Jacob), who are living with his ex-wife, Wendy (Kelly Reilly). He rents a room in Chinatown owned by Ju (Sandrine Holt), the lesbian lover of Xavier’s best friend Isabelle (Cécile de France). Xavier helped the couple have a baby by donating his sperm to them. Xavier’s life in New York is complicated by a quickie marriage to Nancy (Li Jun Li), which comes under investigation by immigration officials, as well as the arrival of his former girlfriend, Martine (Audrey Tautou), who wants to rekindle their relationship. There are other distractions as well, such as Isabelle having an affair with another woman named Isabelle (Flore Bonaventura), which Xavier must keep secret. “Chinese Puzzle” is a messy, fragmented film about Xavier’s messy, fragmented life, but that is what makes it so appealing. Exploring the choices one makes or is forced into, the film speaks to issues of love, parenting,

CHINESE PUZZLE Directed by Cédric Klapisch In French, with English subtitles Cohen Media Group Opens May 16 Angelika Film Center 18 Houston St. at Mercer St. Lincoln Plaza Cinemas 1886 Broadway at 62nd St.

happiness, and the meaning of home. The film’s engaging plot lines are well served by its large international cast. Gay City News spoke with Duris via Skype about the making of his film. GARY M. KRAMER: You alternate between comedy and drama and do both well in “Chinese Puzzle.” I love the charming scenes of you teasing Mia with the frogs and you pulling faces taking photos. But I also admire how angry you get when you try talking to your ex-wife about school uniforms. What genre do you prefer to make? ROMAIN DURIS: I love to play in both. It’s good to be in several projects, and as an actor it’s about creating someone and thinking about the character and playing with that and the film’s tone. If it’s a comedy or a drama, it’s the same work.


PUZZLE, continued on p.21

| May 14, 2014



One Grows Old, One Grows Up Nicolas Mercier’s French comedy probes the trials of the straight prodigal son



n the pre-credit sequence of “Grand Départ,” Romain (Pio Marmaï) explains that while he is hard working in his career, his personal life is a mess. He feels he is way behind his friends in meeting the right girl and starting a family, and he and his gay older brother, Luc (Jérémie Elkaïm), have never understood each other. When we see Romain bored listening to Wagner while Luc swoons, it may be a formulaic way to emphasize that the older brother is gay but it does confirm their odd-couple differences.

Directed by Nicolas Mercier In French, with English subtitles Rialto Premieres Opens May 23 Village East 189 Second Ave. at 12th St.

This small but touching film depicts how the brothers cope when their father, Georges (Eddy Mitchell), de v elop s Le w y bo dy de m e n t i a , a disorder not unlike Alzheimer’s. In “Grand Départ,” it is the straight brother who, though financially successful, is uncomfortable with himself — screwing up at work, in his romantic encounters, with his friends, and with his family — and needs to grow up and find himself. Luc, in contrast, has a boyfriend, Adrian (Willy Cartier), a job as a screenwriter, and a big group of friends and is his father’s favorite. That it is Romain who feels persecuted by life is a nice twist the film




Pio Marmaï and Jérémie Elkaïm in Nicolas Mercier’s “Grand Départ.”

mines for comedy. Though anxious to make a good impression at work, he falls asleep at his desk. As godfather to a friend’s baby, Romain embarrasses himself at the baptism vomiting on a child, and he is no more adept at handling the trouble that ensues when his father attacks another resident in his nursing home. After meeting the striking Séréna (Zoé Félix) at one of Luc’s parties, Romain is warned off by his brother, who insists she is out of his league. Still, after an erotic dream about her, Romain launches a fumbling effort to court her. Through a series of personal and

PUZZLE, from p.20

GMK: This is your third film as Xavier Rousseau. How has he changed over the 11 years since you first played him? RD: Cédric and I didn’t want Xavier to be now as he was 11 years ago. He was so naïve and immature then — discovering the world inside of him, like a baby. We couldn’t do that with him at 40 because it would have been stupid. So I played it more seriously and more mature. I was afraid to be the same man I was 11 years ago. But he would be funny with the situations in this film, which are funnier than in the other films. GMK: Xavier is a father in “Chinese Puzzle.” He has tender scenes with his own father and with his kids. What can you say about working with kids? RD: I think it’s easy because you understand how

professional crises, we see how an uptight Romain falls apart and, in time, finds himself. Surrounded by people who are happier than he is, Romain suffers, but it’s impossible to escape the conclusion that he would be more sympathetic if he were not such a boob. Except with women, Romain carries himself with a superior air, and his sense of entitlement gets him into trouble. Only by being humbled can he get ahead. In Romain’s eyes, Luc is a threat, and disagreement over how to medicate their father divides the brothers. When during a family lunch a forgetful Georges asks Luc about his love life,

to get something from them. When you play with children, you have to listen to them a lot because they are surprising. They say the lines when they want to. When you work with kids, it is easier to get the scene. GMK: I love the line Xavier has about empty moments like just walking with his kids being the most important and meaningful times in his life. What is a meaningful moment to you? RD: When I’m alone, I try to paint. Before all this shit, I used to be a painter and artist. When I have time now, I go to my studio and try to paint. I paint nudes — humoristic, pornographic scenes, like Robert Crumb. It’s a realistic nude, but with humor. GMK: Xavier searches for happiness, as do all the characters. Where do you find happiness? RD: My private life with my kids and friends and travel and nature — all the basic stuff. But I find my happiness inside my work and when you do a scene

Romain is all too happy to corner his older brother into having to come out again, willing to do what he must to become the favorite son. On that score, however, Romaine gets a reality check when he takes Georges out to a McDonald’s and gets an earful he does not expect. It may be the film’s most affecting moment. It is the stress of multiple pressures that has Romain coming unglued. At a costume party, he is acting inappropriately until a distress call from Luc, who needs fast cash, interrupts his silly antics. In helping out Luc, Romain learns something unsavory about his golden boy older brother, something also true about his father. That Georges confided his sins only to Luc irks Romain, but he eagerly seizes the moral high ground. He also begins to see that people are more complicated that he thought. Even if Romain is not Georges’ favorite, the younger son’s attention to his father — taking him out for nightly walks to keep him out of trouble at his nursing home — offers some sensitive moments between the two. Even if the film glosses over some of the most important issues in their relationship, we do see them bond. The handsome Marmaï is alternately af fable and smug as Romain and manages to make his transformation over the course of the film credible. Elkaïm, who may be most famous to queer viewers from his role as the gay teen in Sébastien Lifshitz’s 2000 “Come Undone,” has less to do as Luc, but creates a winning character who is likable even when he misbehaves. “Grand Départ” may feel a bit madefor-TV, but its heart is in the right place.

and have a magical thing happen. I’m happy when I feel that magic. GMK: Xavier donates sperm to help his lesbian best friend have a baby. Is that something you would do for your closest friend? RD: [Laughs.] For closest friends — very close friends — maybe. GMK: Xavier says he has trouble with point B when going from point A to B. How have you imagined your career and life trajectory? RD: I don’t have any arc or plans. I read scripts and try to do the more honest ones. When I choose a story or read a good book, something is happening inside me. There are no words, just a sensation, a feeling you want to take the character and go for it. It’s not that I’ve done three comedies so I must do a drama. It’s really a question of falling in love with the part and the character. I try to be very pure.

22 c

May 14, 2014 | were the ghosts of hundreds and thousands of people who lost their lives to AIDS. I don’t think a day went by without someone breaking down emotionally. The reality of that time kind of hits you like a frickin’ sledgehammer. When we filmed the wedding scene in the hospital when Felix is dying, everyone started sobbing. We just couldn’t stop.

HEART, from p.17


DK: So the film is as much about today as yesterday? MR: Absolutely. That group had a hand in all modern activism. They took the civil rights movement and refined it. Without the tragedy of AIDS galvanizing a community, I don’t think gay marriage would be as widely accepted today. Until that point, gay men were relatively fine living in the shadows, having sex with who they wanted. What Larry said was, “No, we have to be proud of who we are and show the world we are no different than anyone else.” That message led to acceptance of gays on many levels. DK: Did you see the Broadway production? MR: I wish I had, although I probably would have stolen copiously from my dear friend and mentor Joe Mantello. I was part of a generation that worked on that play every semester in acting school. It was the go-to drama. It had all the juicy parts — powerful monologues and sexy, tough scenes. I was immersed in it and loved tearing it apart and looking inside the mechanics of it.

Mark Ruffalo in Larry Kramer’s “The Normal Heart.”

his point of view. He is a survivor, still embattled but more reflective. One of the first things he said was, “Have you read ‘Faggots?’ You can’t play this part until you read that.” DK: So did you read it? MR: Oh yeah. I went out and got it immediately. “Faggots” is one of the greatest unsung pieces of modern American literature. It became my primer to gay life before the crisis.

DK: Larry did an impressive job adapting the screenplay. MR: Larry largely reimagined that story — he personalized and deepened it. The aim of the play was agitprop to motivate people. For the movie, he took it out of the polemic and made it more humanizing. Larry cracked himself open in ways he did not even do with the play. We see a more vulnerable version of him.

DK: It was gutsy for Ned Weeks to serve neglected AIDS patients meals without protective garb and to continue to be intimate with Felix, whose body was riddled with Karposi sarcoma lesions. MR: Yes, that shows how pure his love is. Sometimes we don’t know what we are made of until we are faced with something so profound. The gift that those guys had — and their grace — was the ability to love when the world

DK: Did Larry visit the set? MR: Yes, though sometimes it was obviously difficult. Who I saw was a sensitive, loving, deeply committed guy, and I got to hear the stories from



Charles James’ 1932 “Taxi” dress, in black wool ribbed knit.

FASHION, from p.18

ended with excursions to Studio 54, with Lopez’s entourage clad in James’ designs, which would be returned rather the worse from disco wear.) Longtime New York publicist and writer R. Couri Hay, who has some fabulous original James sketches in the show, reminisced, “Charles made clothes for both my mother and grandmother. When I first came to New York, my auntie arranged a letter of introduction to Diana Vreeland, who never got along with Charles. I was sent to Halston, who became my lover for a couple of years. Halston sent me down to meet Charles and I was junior chairman of the Electric Circus show that Halston did with Charles in 1969. “That began a long relationship with Charles — about 10 or 12 years — and during that period we made a 20-hour

was saying no to them. DK: There was a wonderful chemistry between you and Matt Bomer. Did Ryan conduct any bonding exercises? MR: He didn’t need to. When I first met Matt he was very approachable — a kind, sweet man, and I thought this will be easy. Not to mention he’s one of the handsomest men in the entertainment industry. DK: Is it true that production was suspended to allow Matt to lose 40 pounds? MR: Yes, we shut down for three months and he went off to lose weight. Then we came back and finished it. It was wild — I’ve never done that before. DK: What was it like filming the sex scenes, especially when so much was at stake for the characters? MR: The whole thing had this charge on it — a beauty and rawness. There

documentary about him with Anton Perich about his life and philosophy of design. I would buy a drawing every month or two from Charles in order for him to have money to buy fabric and eat and buy food for Sputnik, his dog. When he died, I provided the money to [James’ assistant] Homer Layne, who didn’t have enough to buy the dresses back from the William Doyle Gallery, which was auctioning them. I then bought more drawings but, like an idiot, I didn’t realize that maybe I should have bought those dresses, which certainly became incredibly valuable. But the important thing is that Homer gave them all to the Met, and my collection of over 100 drawings I will also give to the Met. I’m so proud to have a group of them in the show. And yes, Anton still has that documentary and we are going to be showing it back on cable, where it started origi-

DK: I have to confess, I found the film relentlessly heartbreaking. Were you ever concerned there is little levity to offer relief? MR: There’s also affection, camaraderie, and joy. The whole movie is more of a meditation on love and dedication rather than on travesty or injustice. These heroes triumphed. I find that incredibly uplifting. DK: I love the opening scene when you get off the Fire Island Pines ferry and open your shirt, take one look at the hot guys, and then self-consciously button it up again. MR: It’s so good, right? That was Ryan’s idea. DK: I’m sure thousands of men have gotten off that ferry and done that same thing. MR: I can see why. It was my first visit to the Pines. Just being there was like, “Oh my God! Man, the straight world has got a lot of work to do.” D K : We’ve been mostly talking about painful stuff. Do you have any lighthearted anecdotes about filming? MR: As heavy as it was, it was a blast to shoot. Julia and I did a lot of ribbing with each other. Before we shot the scene where she has to touch my feet, she asked me if I was going to get a pedicure. This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

nally, in June.” The faithful Layne lovingly held on to his mentor’s memorabilia, which is on exhibit and, from this, we are able to glean ideas about the personal as well as professional side to James through the many sketches, photo layouts, mannequins, and videos on view. The item I found most touching and revealing was a typewritten wish list of clients James made, which includes his reasons, such as Garbo (“need I say?”), Virginia Woolf (“A rarely sensitive beauty who contributed a new style in fine writing”), legendary opera singer Claudia Muzio (“beautiful innovator of singing throughout the world. Has influenced 3 generations of singers”), Gertrude Stein (“Massive elegance; great style”), Lana Turner (“Beautiful and far greater actress than recognized”) and, most tellingly, Mick Jagger (“Sexy bastard; can wear and/or make everything and everybody”).


| May 14, 2014


Spring’s New Ring


Opera in New York and Houston


Over 5,000 Games. Minutes Away!

Ryan McKinny, Melody Moore, and Chad Shelton in the Houston Grand Opera’s production of “Das Rheingold.”



highlight of most vocal music seasons is Manhattan School of Music’s annual Senior Opera Theater production. Director Dona Vaughn and conductor Jorge Parodi work miracles with the talented but largely inexperienced undergrad singers, and the chosen repertory often fascinates. Francesco Cavalli’s 1645 “La Doriclea” (March 26) was a wise choice in terms of vocal demands and size of cast. Besides three acts of military plottings and amatory confusion in ancient Asia Minor, there’s an allegorical prologue plus some divine messings-around with the action. Parodi had imparted at least the basics of 17th century style to his pit band and singers — and the score, largely recit and arioso, proved lovely. One could see three of the singers swiftly moving into Young Artist Programs. As Doriclea, Bryn Holdsworth disclosed a striking dark timbre and instinctively musical, communicative phrasing — a Penelope in the making. Caroline Dunigan captured the moods of the princess who falls for Doriclea in male drag, singing with remarkably pure and intriguing light soprano. As Doriclea’s royal husband Tigrane, Gina Perregrino showed an attractive mezzo, performing with complete conviction.

Most impressive among the secondary leads were baritone Justin Austin, mellow-voiced and impassioned as the servant who forgets himself with love for his queen and then betrays her, and rich-voiced mezzo Lisa Angela Barone as the sensible maid Melloe. Other particularly noteworthy voices in small roles included Molly Boggess (Ambition), Sarah Michal Shiovitz (Discord) and Kyle Gee (Clitodoro).

April 10 marked the yearly return of Barbara Frittoli to the

Met, as this season’s fourth Mimi in “La Bohème.” The Italian soprano, always a responsible artist, kept her voice very reined in; when she let it out at climaxes one heard why. High notes brought on tension, wow and flutter, and downright flatness. Where she could turn her weakness to advantage as the dying seamstress, Frittoli did, but her whole performance seemed under standably preoccupied with skirting disaster. She did, just — though the unimpressive Stefano Ranzani gave little help in the pit. Jennifer Rowley’s Musetta, audible even amidst throngs, was more accurately and vibrantly sung than most; if she went for brash vulgarity in Franco Zeffirelli’s circus-style Act II, it’s hard to blame her. Act IV’s prayer


OPERA, continued on p.24

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May 14, 2014 |


Burning Down the House Revival of early Jon Robin Baitz play is ablaze with vitality BY DAVID KENNERLEY


hen it first premiered Off Broadway in 1991, “The Substance of Fire” was a critical hit and put playwright Jon Robin Baitz firmly on the theatrical map. The volatile story of a despicable patriarch and his squabbling adult children (one played by Sarah Jessica Parker) vying for control of the family publishing house dealt with complex issues of loyalty, pride, and virtue.

Second Stage Theatre 305 W. 43rd St. Tue. at 7 p.m.; Wed.–Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. $75; Or 212-242-4422 Two hrs., five min., with intermission

And now the Second Stage Theatre has revived the fraught drama, and under the assured direction of Trip Cullman (“Some Men,” “Choir Boy”), it has lost little of its potency. Which is saying a lot, considering the world of publishing today would be unrecognizable to the characters in this play. In an increasingly splintered industry, where Amazon and e-readers dominate and buying a hardcover book



THE SUBSTANCE OF FIRE John Noble, Halley Feiffer, Daniel Eric Gold, and Carter Hudson in Jon Robin Baitz’s The Substance of Fire.”

in a store seems almost quaint, the work feels dated, but not overly so. At the play’s center is Isaac Geldhart (John Noble), a Holocaust survivor who has always been proud of his firm’s meticulously rendered highbrow titles like “Water on Fire: An Oral History of the Children of Hiroshima.” The year is 1987, just before the stock crash, and Isaac is meeting in his cozy book-lined offices (nicely evoked by Anna Louizos) to discuss the future of the company, which is on the brink of bankruptcy. This is clearly a fractured

OPERA, from p.23

augured well for more substantial assignments. Vittorio Grigolo, handsome and childishly hyperactive, alternated attractive moments with punched out lines and words, “underlining” almost everything, playing havoc with note values and rhythm. He could be a valuable artist if he’d find more musical discipline. Otherwise, only Patrick Carfizzi’s plucky Schaunard belonged onstage.

Houston Grand Opera has impressively launched the “Ring” Cycle it will share with Valencia and Florence. The performance collective La Fura dels Baus — a Catalan high-tech, video-enhanced Cirque du Soleil-like outfit — guaranteed a visually stunning spectacle (if occasionally overbusy; the Furans never deploy props or scenery when 30 writhing mimes are available), which suited the fairy tale aspects of “Das Rheingold” (April 13) very well. How the production copes with the more complex human emotions and interactions “Die Walküre” brings forth remains to be seen, but this first installment renewed one’s interest in the work so trivialized and hemmed-in by the Met’s depressing “Machine.” HGO’s orchestra, while no match for the Met’s, played extremely well for Patrick Summers — with the exception of the prominently slurry brass, something it takes more years playing Wagner to allay. Summers lived up to his reputation

family — he often addr esses his children, also influential shareholders, as “you people.” Since his wife died a couple of years before, Isaac has become more pigheaded and less sensitive to the financial realities of being a boutique publisher in New York. His perturbed son Aaron (Carter Hudson), in charge of the business side of things, insists they sign on a racy, commercially viable novel in the vein of Jay McInerney or Tama Janowitz rather than the usual “ossified old academic frauds” to help turn things

as a singer’s conductor with an almost uniformly strong cast. Scottish bass Iain Paterson wanted a bit more majesty and presence as Wotan but has the idiom mastered and displayed a warm, wide-ranging voice with pleasing legato. HGO regular import Christopher Purves showed his substantial singing-actor virtues from the first (more than usually wet) scene with the valiant Rhinemaidens. Vocally, the afternoon’s prize went to Jamie Barton’s plushly phrased Fricka. Locally developed Chad Shelton and Ryan McKinny — a next generation Wotan, one imagines — proved unusually impressive as Froh and Donner, as did Melody Moore as a welcome nonshrill Freia. Meredith Arwady’s incisive Erda showed increased artistry and verbal point. Stefan Margita’s Loge entered to chuckles on a Segway; despite some interpretive finesse he wore out his welcome through self-indulgent mugging and a rather decadent-timbred tenor. (Margita and Purves both cackled loudly too often.) The only real demerit was Andrea Silvestrelli’s nearly unlistenable Fafner. This wavery, sepulchral bass divides reaction like anchovies. By contrast, Kristinn Sigmundsson’s craggy bass supplied a terrific Fasolt. H G O ’ s “ Wa l k ü r e ” ( A p r i l 1 8 - M a y 3 , 2 0 1 5 ) pr omises — besides Paterson and Barton — Christine Goerke’s Brünnhilde and Karita Mattila’s Sieglinde. Plan travel now.

around. Isaac goes ballistic. Sarah (Halley Feiffer), who escaped to LA to become an actor on a children’s educational TV show, still seeks her father’s approval even while claiming she hates to read. Isaac calls her a “clown for hire.” Perhaps the most damaged is eldest son Martin (Daniel Eric Gold), a fretful, alcoholic professor of landscape design at Vassar. Isaac calls him a gardener. Watching them grapple for control of the company — and with their familial demons — is harrowing indeed. Act II finds an exiled Isaac three years later, in the Gramercy Park apartment where the children were raised, strapped for cash and showing signs of dementia. When a psychiatric social worker (a vibrant Charlayne Woodard) comes to check on him, the story careens into a strange new direction. It feels like an entirely different play and many of the meaty conflicts from the first act are awkwardly abandoned. While all the per for mances are accomplished, it’s Noble’s portrayal that’s truly striking. At first his Isaac is a monster — advancing age has made him bitter and superior, underscored by a clipped, guttural middle European accent. Yet as the play progresses, he softens, allowing us to see glimmers of humor and


FIRE, continued on p.27

Back at the Met, two bel canto works held sway. “I puritani” (April 17) remains among the company’s dullest, most idea-free stagings — static dioramas out of an ancient “Victor Book of the Opera.” Only great singing can ignite it. Lawrence Brownlee’s Arturo, though slightly indisposed, alone really went the distance — commendable diction and phrasing, spectacular ease on C sharp and D (the high F at least put in an appearance), and a consistently engaging timbre: quite amazing. Debuting soprano Olga Peretyatko made little impact emotionally — she knew what her words meant but did not own them sufficiently and, though very lovely physically, offered a routinely picturesque, twirling/ drooping kind of performance. With some real direction in other venues, she’s done fine work, and the voice — while not enormous or perfect — is extremely beautiful, at least up to D. Staccati and messe di voce — rather than trills, flawless descending scales, or long legato arches — seem to be her strongest suits technically. Not a game-changing acquisition, she’s very talented; one hopes the Met offers her Constanze. Mariusz Kwiecien being ill, the plummy baritone part went to Belarus’ provincial-sounding Maksim Aniskin, who soldiered on professionally to little avail. Though lacking imposing bottom notes, Michele c

OPERA, continued on p.25



| May 14, 2014

Joshua Henry, Sutton Foster, and Colin Donnell in Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley’s “Violet.”


REVIVALS, from p.16

fails to raise the rafters and illuminate the characters. Leigh Silver man’s production began at “Encores,” and its simple staging underscores the wonder ful music and consistently brilliant performances. The character of Violet is deceptively complex. She is at once a credulous girl who believes a TV preacher can heal her and a savvy woman whose father has helped her prepare for the harshness of the world — in part, by making her proficient at poker. Hardboiled and naïve, she becomes an object of fascination — and desire — for the two soldiers she meets on the bus and their triangular relationship becomes the center of the plot. By the end, Violet has found the healing she craves, though it comes in an unexpected form. Sutton Foster in the title role is magnificent. She embodies Violet with an unerring precision that illuminates the character’s depth and complexities, and our hearts go out to her for the misplaced belief and singularly focused determination she exhibits. Foster is at the top of her game vocally, as well, maturing beyond the roles in “Thoroughly Moder n Millie,” “The


OPERA, from p.24

Pertusi (Giorgio) provided classy legato and native Italian. Elizabeth Bishop provided a more substantial-sounding Enrichetta than usual. Michele Mariotti led with very welcome alertness and style.

Fabio Luisi in April 25’s “Cenerentola” proved more but-

toned down, but led a very fine performance musically in spite of Eric Einhorn’s grotesquely overdone “Lucy Show” outtakes-style direction. The evening’s emotional content derived entirely

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Drowsy Chaperone,” and “Anything Goes” that made her a star. Playing the soldiers Violet falls in with, Colin Donnell is great as the cavalier and sexually eager Monty, while Joshua Henry is spectacular as Flick, an African American smitten with Violet on a deeper level. Henry stopped the show at the performance I saw with his rousing number “Let It Sing.” Alexander Gemignani is equally impressive as Violet’s father, a smaller but no less pivotal role. The terrific ensemble, indispensible in creating the world of the South half a century ago, conjures choral magic that will take your breath away. Music director Michael Rafter deserves particular credit here. If you love a simple story beautifully told and appreciate wonderful music brilliantly performed, don’t miss this bus.

from Joyce diDonato’s splendidly vocalized, enchantingly acted heroine, full of subtle dynamic and verbal touches despite the circus swirling around her. Luca Pisaroni’s Alidoro and Pietro Spagnoli’s Dandini both rewarded acquaintance. An affable Prince, Javier Camarena showed a lovely voice with wonderful high notes, proving a firstclass Bellini/ Donizetti singer coping manfully with Rossinian agility via aspiration. David Shengold (shengold@yahoo. com) writes about opera for many venues.

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As Grounded as It Gets; Five’s the Charm for O’Hara? With “Bridges,” Kelli wins another Tony Tony; proud Malcolm encores “Irma La Douce” hat with the late breaking openings of “Raisin in the Sun,” “Cripple of Inishmaan,” “Of Mice and Men,” the delightful “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” and the small and affecting, even if somewhat annoying “Violet,” this has turned out to be the best Broadway season in recent memory. Even the dreaded “Rocky” wasn’t all that bad. However, a lot of the Great White Way is still consumed by shows that practice that bad old art of what I like to call “Broadway Bullying” — relentlessly assaulting you with desperate noise, flash, and a total lack of subtlety or taste, begging you to love-love-LOVE them. “Bullets Over Broadway” and “Aladdin” immediately spring to mind. In such a climate, “The Bridges of Madison County,” with its varied, flavorful, and often powerful score by Jason Robert Brown, telling a simple, small-scale but extremely human story, seemed a genuine, but very welcome anomaly. Sadly, too good for the average man (and Times Square tourist), it is closing on May 18. However, the cast album is out on CD and it will be filmed live for Lincoln Center Library so, decades from now, people will be able to get some sense of what a very lovely thing it was. I interviewed its Tony-nominated star, Kelli O’Hara, in her cozy dressing room between her Wednesday matinee and evening performances and she told me, “It feels like people come in the door not knowing what to expect and somewhere along the way they get really quiet and by end they’re really surprised they’re so moved. [Director] Bart [Sher] was trying to keep our spirits up, saying, ‘We made a piece of theater for theatergoers, not necessarily for tourists.’ When I see the deep emotional response and weeping in the audience, sometimes I think, ‘What are you working out there?’ It scares people who may not want to face their demons, or it could be someone you know, or recognize your mother in me, or whatever. I love that.” O’Hara is from Oklahoma, “So even though I play an Italian woman kind of standing on the outside, looking in, at the same time I’m the girl from Oklahoma who moved away. So it’s a little bit like looking back into my world and is very emotional for me and cathartic. I didn’t realize why I felt so good doing it but it feels like I do a therapy session every show. People ask, ‘How do you cry or be so emotional all the time?,’ but a lot of it is waves of gratitude.” As Francesca, a farm wife who suddenly finds adulterous ecstasy and fulfillment in the arms of a hunky photographer (Steven Pasquale), O’Hara reveals a deep sensuality, never more so than in a nude bathtub scene that is both tasteful and subtly sexy. She laughed, “Yeah, you know we talked about it and I’ve done it before when I was younger. But this time it meant so much. It wasn’t this vulnerable girl who was being the victim of something else and taking off her clothes. This woman is making a choice, looking at her self in the mirror and saying, ‘Could this be valuable to somebody?’ I wanted to do it in a way that evokes that emotion and not for display or shock value, but, emotionally, where is she right now? Imagine how many years has it been since she’s felt looked at or seen, not being this naked wet person but this




Kelli O’Hara in “The Bridges of Madison County.”

powerful wet woman.” This is O’Hara’s fifth and, hopefully, finally successful Tony nomination: “We did the Tony press conference this morning. I feel different about it this year and had a real good time. I wasn’t nervous and saw all these friends. You feel like we’re all here doing the same thing and not to put too much weight on it. That’s not good, but it is also not good not to enjoy it and allow yourself to feel relieved and grateful. I’m just going to embrace it, and all the girls in my category got together — we’ve all come up together. I’ve become really good friends with Jessie [Mueller]. It doesn’t feel like elementary school where there’s somebody waiting to stab you in the back. We’re all grateful to be where we are. “I saw ‘Beautiful’ and Jessie was wonderful. If I didn’t want to win so bad, any other year she should win, that’s a performance for the ages. I haven’t seen the others, but Sutton [Foster in ‘Violet’] just knocks me over — I love her — and I haven’t seen Idina [Menzel in ‘If/ Then’], but I know she’s rocking in that show.” Last year, O’Hara also created a new musical role of another unhappy period housewife in “Far from Heaven,” again with Pasquale: “Jason came around first with ‘Bridges,’ but then Scott Frankel showed up at my door with this music and a beautiful part. These two parts came up at the same time and sometimes the workshops would conflict and it was crazy. They waited for me to do ‘Far’ last summer, and I got pregnant but still did it. “I guess we got lucky that I could do both, but if ‘Far’ had done better and moved to Broadway, we would have had a problem. I don’t know what it would have come down to because I dearly love both. Francesca was just a further step away from me and I felt really compelled to do it. These stories are hard to get through, but we as actors need to have variation. I can’t

always sing ‘I’m in Love with a Wonderful Guy,’ which I do in my concerts because I love it, but I’ve got to pair that with other things.” O’Hara to me is like a modern Mary Martin (who famously turned down “My Fair Lady”), with writers and composers fighting to write material just for her: “It feels good to be that girl, and you can get a big head about it, but oh God, in the larger scheme of things! Anybody can get way too involved with what a big shot they are, but something like this Tony thing this morning will put you right back in your place: ‘Kelly, could you please stand aside? Bryan Cranston’s going in,’ or ‘Idina Menzel’s here! Let’s take her now!’ You just have to be really happy with what you’re doing.” O’Hara is also looking forward to making her Metropolitan Opera debut on New Year’s Eve as Valenciennes in “The Merry Widow,” with Renee Fleming and Nathan Gunn, directed by Susan Strohman. In the meantime, she will be happy to spend more time with her two little children: “My husband has been taking care of them, as have three girls, all aspiring actresses. I called my college three years ago and asked for some girls who want jobs but can be flexible so they can do their auditions and callbacks, because I want that for them. “Sometimes we have master classes and I work with them, but they are beautiful women and love taking care of my kids and call each other, if they have an audition, to take over. They come down here and the kids get to be around the theater, so it’s a win-win!”

Malcolm Gets just appeared in the Encores! revival of “Irma La Douce,”

and, as always, it was a total pleasure to chat with this super intelligent, super nice utter charmer during rehearsals for the show: “I haven’t seen the movie, but I love [its director and star, respectively] Billy Wilder and Jack Lemmon. I play Bob the bartender and participate in five or six songs. It’s definitely an ensemble piece, and my third show with [director] John Doyle. When they called and asked if I wanted to do a show with John, I said, ‘Yes, the role doesn’t matter.’ That’s how I feel about him. It’s very much a French piece, not written by Americans, and I think it’s a wonderful, different color for Encores!, with 12 instrumentalists instead of a full orchestra.” Gets thoroughly enjoyed doing the HBO film “Grey Gardens,” although, in the year before shooting it, he faced extraordinary hostility at every dinner party from people wondering why they were doing it, who were they kidding and how Drew Barrymore could pull it off. “I was trying to deflect all that stuff but when I saw the premiere, I was blown away,” he recalled. “The bulk of my work was with Jessica Lange, an extraordinary actress I became smitten with. I thought Drew was spectacular and also saw another side of her, the producer, putting herself out so far in that part, and then to come in on her days off. I saw what a really smart producer she is. “I absolutely researched my role of Harold Gould, talking to people who knew him, and even wore a watch fob that belonged to him. What I instantly liked about our director Michael Sucsy was him saying, ‘Everybody says Gould was gay,’ but he thought it more interesting if he and Edith had a genuine sexual relationship, even if he was still attracted to men. He lived with her but


IN THE NOH, continued on p.27


| May 14, 2014 IN THE NOH, from p.26

did have male friends in New York, and eventually went to Paris and lived with a man. He came back to Easthampton and spent the last days of his life there in penury. A very conflicted man but we tried to get as much as we could of that in because we didn’t want it to seem like Edith was just hanging out with some gay guy who was using her.” Gets himself was never officially in the closet, and publicly talked to the press about his sexuality back in the 1990s. “I had never hidden my life and was always open in the community,” he said. “I have never ever regretted making the decision to talk to the press as my feelings as a humanitarian are as strong as my desire to act, especially in the 50-something years I’ve been alive and seeing all the discrimination.” Gets’ parents are British and came to the US in 1952, living on the South Side of Chicago, “the only white couple for miles around. My mother was always very liberal and for years I’d call her, furious about something going down, and she would talk me down, saying, ‘You can’t see how things are changing but this is what it was like in the 1960s.’ So much has happened in the last two years, I, as an actor, can only think how terrible it is to be who you are but to feel you are not going to get jobs for being who you are. “I teach now at NYU, and a few years ago some of the younger people in the drama division asked if they could have a symposium about this, and I put together some workshops where I got other openly gay actors and actresses to come speak to them. We always say to them, ‘It’s your choice.’ I have such admiration for Matt Bomer, who came out. He’s having his moment as an actor and from what I understand a large majority of the public still wanted him to play the lead in ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’ He didn’t get it, but the public spoke and they don’t care who he’s spending his life with. “I know how much I wrestled with so many demons of my own because there


FIRE, from p.24

begin to understand how the horrors of losing his family during the Nazi invasion have made him cling so fiercely to his personal “fire,” the virtually lost art of publishing fine books. “The Substance of Fire” does indeed take on a host of substantive ideas, though perhaps not as fully formed as those presented in Baitz’s other familyfeud drama, the critically acclaimed 2011 “Other Desert Cities.” Foremost is Isaac’s fear of the young, collapsing traditional values, and art’s corruption by commerce. There is even a subtle nod to the AIDS crisis. Aaron, once married, is now

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Malcolm Gets in the Encores! production of “Irma La Douce.”

was no one to help me though it. Now I want younger people to have people who are leading somewhat healthy lives to look at. Ellen Degeneres had such an effect on me when she came out. I thought she seems to be a healthy, happy person in a long-term relationship. I think that’s one of the strongest things we can do. I’ve been in my relationship for 15 years — we’re an old married couple and have the support of our families. Dominic is a fantastic person, with a furniture company and real estate holdings. Not in show business!” Contact David Noh at Inthenoh@aol. com, follow him on Twitter @in_the_noh, and check out his blog at http://nohway.

dating men and Isaac, in a rare moment of warmth, hopes he is being “safe.” It may be Martin, though, who is in real trouble, stricken with a pneumatic cough that could prove more dangerous than any toxic insult hurled by his father. “That’s the American seduction, isn’t it?” Isaac observes. “Not a thing matters here, it’s all disposable. Forget your history, forget what you believed in, forget your fire.” In this top-notch revival, we witness this survivor’s “fire” slowly being extinguished, no matter how hard he fights it. It is perhaps even more painful to watch now than when the drama pr emier ed mor e than two decades ago.


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May 14, 2014 |


The Death of the Queer Community?



Christopher Byrne (Theater), Susie Day (Perspective), Doug Ireland (International), Brian McCormick (Dance)

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Seth J. Bookey, Anthony M.Brown, Kelly Jean Cogswell, Andres Duque, Michael Ehrhardt, Steve Erickson, Andy Humm, Eli Jacobson, David Kennerley, Gary M. Kramer, Arthur S. Leonard, Michael T. Luongo, Lawrence D. Mass, Winnie McCroy, Eileen McDermott, Mick Meenan, Tim Miller, Gregory Montreuil, Christopher Murray, David Noh, Nathan Riley, David Shengold, Yoav Sivan, Gus Solomons Jr., Tim Teeman, Kathleen Warnock, B enjamin Weinthal, Dean P. Wrzeszcz









very now and then, I howl in grief at the demise of queer activism, the closing of queer bars and bookstores, the erasure of LGBT history, and the industrialization of our movement. Like others, I wonder if approaching legal equality and social acceptance spell the end of the LGBT community. Not that I want social change to stop, but there’s nothing like adversity to forge bonds and inspire everything from activists to artists to raucous sex. If we endure, it’s because there’s more to our community than sexual and gender identity and a history of survival. In June, as the whole city starts shitting rainbows, we get a hint at how deep the connections go when people who spend the rest of the year comfortably or painfully isolated turn up at Pride parades waving the flag. I attend by habit, and am surprised at my relief, maybe even my joy, at seeing a gazillion other identifiable queers. The mix of races, ethnicities, class. That’s community at its most basic, most mysterious. That feeling of instant recognition, of kinship that strikes me


whenever I end up at a gathering of LGBT people whether it’s in Louisville, Philly, DC, or Paris. It happens even when I glance across a subway car and see another dyke. With just a look, something powerful crosses the distance with mere eye contact — and it’s not about sex. The only question is what shape our community will take in the future, and if we aspire to be alive and vibrant or only to satisfy a minor longing, like we have sometimes for chocolate ice cream. The community won’t stay the same. Our LGBT lives are in flux. And my generation may well be the last in the United States to grapple with extreme, state-sponsored hate. In the ‘90s, whole anti-gay movements swept the country, often followed by violence. President Bill Clinton signed national legislation defining marriage as the legal union of a man and woman, burdening the subsequent generation with the fight for same-sex marriage. On a personal level, coming out often had dire results, and even mixed responses meant we spent years avoiding the guilt-tripping and loathing of our genetic kin. A big part of our queer experience was creating alternative families. Finding new ways to cel-

FOOTBALL, from p.7

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Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin. But not all the feedback has been positive. After ESPN televised Sam’s draft and subsequent reaction — which included not one but three kisses with his boyfriend, former University of Missouri swimmer Vito Cammisano — Miami Dolphins safety Don Jones vented on social media, referring to the draft pick and the resulting attention as “horrible.” The Dolphins have since fined and suspended Jones. Former University of Texas quarterback Case McCoy took to Twitter to express his complaints about ESPN’s coverage of Sam, writing, immediately after the kisses were aired, “ESPN… You serious right now?”

ebrate Thanksgiving, creating our own bittersweet traditions, hosting a kind of Passover that celebrated our survival. That’s less and less in question for young queers. Do we remind them what the fight cost us? If we don’t, what are we standing on? Culture and community both need roots to grow. Nevertheless, Americans are not good with history. We resent its weight and believe that anybody who speaks of it is ready for the grave. The closer we get to legal equality, the more distance we put between ourselves and those drag queens, rent boys, and big ole dykes who launched our movement. We assert we are just like everybody else, are afraid to acknowledge our shared experience of being pointed east while everybody went west, even if orientation and identity must have some effect on how we perceive things, no matter that this difference is becoming a more neutral experience. I look often to the black community to get a sense of our future. Parallels end abruptly when it comes to transmitting culture and history. Before Martin Luther King’s face started turning up on the TV in February, most black kids already knew there was a Civil Rights Movement.

Rams head coach Jeff Fisher is confident Sam is the right fit for the team, saying, “We're in an age of diversity. Players understand that, they know that.” Prior to his pick by the Rams, Sam, in an ad for Visa, was essentially endorsed by the credit card company. The ad, released just days prior to the start of the draft, had the collegiate star daring people to “judge me.” While no mention of his sexuality is made, it is clear that Sam intends the message as a challenge that he be accepted for his athletic abilities and not his sexual orientation. Since being drafted, Sam has received several additional endorsement offers — which is unprecedented for a player drafted so late. reported that, according to the NFL, Sam’s new Rams jer-

Maybe their parents or grandparents were involved in the struggle. Or at least told them stories of their own struggles with racism. Even in total silence, they could see things play out. I didn’t even have a name for myself, but learned a little about a few famous dykes from my first girlfriends and went around for years with a postcard of Gertrude Stein. When I got to New York, I heard Dorothy Allison read at Judith’s Room. I got my real education as a young activist. If I heard about the Stonewall Riots, it was because I was involved in Lesbian Avengers and we planned demos and marches around the time of its anniversary. Even now, we are still born among straights and the cisgender and come of age among people who know nothing of furtive encounters, coming out, the baths, the clubs, drag shows, the art scene, our long activist history, womyn’s music festivals, the phenomenon of lesbian potlucks. The challenge is to be open to the future, but find some way to transmit the history that is taking us there in a new millennium with few bars or bookstores, clubs or activists. Without us, all our kids can do is go online where they’ll find things at random and have to build community from scratch every time. Kelly Cogswell is the author of “Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger,” published by the University of Minnesota Press.

sey is the second highest selling among the 2014 draftees after the Browns’ new quarterback pick Johnny Manziel, who was number two overall in the draft. Sam’s pick is not the first time that the Rams have made historic strides for the NFL. In 1946, the team, then located in Los Angeles, signed Kenny Washington as the first African-American football player with a contract in the league. So what does this mean for all the rumored gay athletes currently playing in the NFL? Being drafted doesn’t guarantee Michael Sam a spot on the roster. Less than half of seventh round draft picks make the roster in their rookie year. It will be a labored battle; here’s to hoping he is up to the challenge. In the meantime, go Rams!


| May 14, 2014


The White Supremacist’s Guide to Social Inclusion



re you anti-Semitic? Hate black people? Detest queers? Do you feel there are too many “mongrels” in today’s society? Dread the time when your race will no longer be in the majority? When inferior, sub-human hordes desecrate the genteel values of Western Civilization and force you into the swamp to dig cinder-block bunkers? Does your pain deepen each time you recollect how your own US president is genetically incapable of feeling your pain? Chances are you are what is called a white supremacist. Cheer up, supreme white person. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, more and more of you are taking militant stands since President Obama was elected. Yes, it’s important to defend your culture — but the funny thing is, you don’t really need to! If you just look around, you’ll see that the same enlightened mentality that created this country in the image of landgrabbing, slave-owning, girl-jumping, genocidal Jesusjunkies is still there. White supremacy never left; it just became more… tasteful. Here are some tips on how to come in from the margins.

Volunteerism Is Out – Privatize! Cross burning, bullwhipping, and putting up “Whites Only” signs is so yesterday — especially when you’re taking your own personal downtime to do it. Why not earn big bucks, like the hippies and communists, by infiltrating “The System”? Get a job! Of course, this means dressing for success. A huge fashion no-no here is the pointy-headed Klan frock that allows liberal media photogs to smear pictures of you all over major news media, looking like Zippy the Pinhead. So trade in those long white sheets for some long black robes! As a bona fide judge, you can knock back affir-

mative action laws, give black kids virtual life sentences in adult prisons, and let fag-bashers and rapists walk — all while amassing a secure government pension. Other job opportunities abound: Join a university board of admissions; become a landlord; wangle an invitation to be on your state’s parole board. Or, if you’re artistically inclined, consider becoming a Hollywood casting director and select white people for all the meaty roles. If actors of color get whiny, just cast one or two as a judge — they look important, but they hardly get any lines! Ha ha! If all else fails, become a cop. Your stand-yourground behavior would be standard operating procedure on almost any police force. And no worries about shooting people of an inferior race — just say they were resisting arrest!

Ride that First Amendment Like a Rodeo Steer Even if you insist on marching to the beat of your own militia, it’s your right to express yourself openly in print, on TV, radio, websites. Take Cliven Bundy, a humble Nevada cattle rancher. Mr. Bundy doesn’t “recognize the United States government as even existing.” Yet the First Amendment is honored to protect him, as he proclaims in mainstream media that African Americans “abort their young children,” and wonders if blacks were “better off as slaves.” Mr. Bundy heroically practices the right to assemble — another guarantee of the First Amendment! Since 1993, Mr. Bundy has grazed his cattle on federal land, racking up millions of dollars in fees that he refuses to pay. Recently, appearing whitely in his white cowboy hat, he and a posse of armed Caucasoids faced off with the Bureau of Land Management and forced US agents to retreat without firing a shot. Take THAT, big government! Compare Mr. Bundy’s noble stand to the misguid-

ed Native American takeover of Wounded Knee in 1973. Or to the Republic of New Afrika, established in the South by spiteful, non-supremacist 1960s black revolutionaries. Both takeovers were righteously crushed by the US government. Then there’s the recent case of Tarek Mehanna, a 32-year-old Muslim American who, for such First Amendment violations as translating and posting “jihadist” messages on the Internet, is now serving a 17 ½-year sentence in a federal Communication Management Unit. All this proves that only people of color can be terrorists. So go ahead, blanco bros, say it with firebombs.

Don’t Be An Anachronism! Above all, do not embarrass your fellow white people, like Frazier Glenn Miller Cross did. Glenn Miller (as he is commonly known) ran for the US Senate with a mortifying campaign statement crudely calling on “white men” to “unite and “take our country back” because “white men have … allowed the Jews to take over our government” and “mud people to invade our country, steal our jobs, and our women.” Glenn Miller forgot the basic rule of Dead White Male Euro-Lit 101. Never call your inferiors “mud people.” Instead, when writing belles lettres, recipes, campaign speeches, ransom notes, whatever, simply hold fast to an unquestioned subliminal image of the prototypical human being as white. No matter how genocidal you’re feeling, it’s not a good idea to hunt down only one group. That hurts the feelings of other lowlifes, who’ll feel they haven’t done a good enough job threatening you with their affirmative action programs. Instead, opt for spraying bullets randomly so everyone can feel equally “oppressed.” If you must target one group, please remember to check ID’s before shooting. Recently, Glenn Miller ignored this advice and went gunning specifically for Jewish people. He ended up shooting to death three non-Jewish people in Overland Park, Kansas. This calls to mind Mark Twain’s tragic observation: “Jews are like everyone else, only more so.” [Italics ours.] Of course, Mark Twain’s real name was Samuel Clemens. History tells us this was shortened from the original Clemenstein when the family invaded this country in the 1800s. But that’s another story.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR THE MARRIAGE SPRING April 30, 2014 To the Editor: Excellent analysis of Jo Becker’s book, Duncan (“A Contested Account of the Marriage Spring,” by Duncan Osborne, Apr. 30). Matt Foreman San Francisco


the 1980s, even as AIDS spread. Actually, AIDS helped some of these magazines for a while, as men found their “relationships” with fantasy (OK, we call that jerking off) a lot safer than in-theraw encounters. Additional comments about this great show can be seen in my piece on Huffington Post at q8uym74. I think both pieces tell a lot of the story of this fabulous show. Perry Brass The Bronx

May 2, 2014 To the Editor: Thanks for this wonderful piece, David Noh — I like your writing a lot (“The Beauty of Men,” Apr. 30). I loved Robert Richard's commentary about the show — there was actually a lot of glamour in that period of queer life and art, centered on the 1970s and certainly through

THE TREASURE NAMED CHARLES LUDLAM April 18, 2014 To the Editor: “Irma Vep” will live forever, but for those of us who saw Charles Ludlam in his prime nothing beats “Camille: A Tear-

jerker” (“Genre Bender,” by David Kennerley, posted online April 18). I saw it twice, nearly expiring from laughter both times. We lost a giant when Ludlam died. David Ehrenstein Los Angeles

REMEMBERING DOUGIE April 7, 2014 To the Editor: RIP, Dougie. I loved knowing you (“A Loving Farewell to Doug Ireland,” by Andy Humm, Apr. 2). Tracy Young

CLASSCIAL MUSIC IN THE HANDS OF CHILDREN May 2, 2014 To the Editor: This was a great story (“Classical Music Exec Works to Put Instruments in School Kids' Hands,” by Paul Schindler, Apr. 2). And thanks for taking the time to post the video of Graham Parker’s It Gets Better Message. I found so many interesting things in it. John Ketar

WRITE US! Please send letters to the editor, of 250 words or less, to: Or mail them to 515 Canal Street, Suite 1C, New York, NY 10013 Gay City News reserves the right to edit letters for space or legal considerations.

30 VIRGINIA, from p.9

constitutional right to marry, were represented by Virginia Solicitor General Stuart A. Raphael, who urged the panel to affirm Wright Allen’s February ruling. The panel of judges had a mix of political pedigrees appropriate to the breadth of the advocates before them. The most senior of the three is Paul V. Niemeyer, appointed to the court by President George H.W. Bush. The circuit’s first African-American judge, Roger L. Gregory, originally took his seat on the court as the result of a recess appointment by Bill Clinton late in his second term — a move that temporarily sidestepped the need for Senate confirmation — but was re-nominated by George W. Bush as part of a deal to break the deadlock on the new president’s early judicial appointments. Judge Henry F. Floyd was appointed to the circuit court by President Barack Obama, but was first named to the federal bench by George W. Bush. Prior to that appointment, Floyd was a Democratic state legislator. Despite Niemeyer’s insistence that counsel and spectators should not make assumptions based on his questions, it seems clear he is very resistant to the idea that the Constitution compels Virginia to allow same-sex couples to marry. Last year’s ruling in the Defense of Marriage Act, in his view, was guided by principles of federalism in finding the US government could not refuse to recognize a marriage a state had authorized. Though Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion for the court devoted several pages to discussing the traditional role states have in deciding who can marry, he also stated explicitly that the case was decided by Fifth Amendment due process and equal protection requirements. Oakley and Nimocks repeatedly pressed the view suggested by Niemeyer — that DOMA was really a federalism case. Hammering this point home, Nimocks quoted the last paragraph of Kennedy’s opinion: “The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection

and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment. This opinion and its holding are confined to those lawful marriages.” In other words, Nimocks argued, the DOMA case was specifically about the right of the states to decide who could marry and which marriages to recognize, and the court’s decision rejected the authority of the federal government to decree that it would not recognize certain marriages recognized by the state. That ruling was, in his formulation, essentially irrelevant to the question of whether the 14th Amendment requires states to allow or recognize same-sex marriages. Arguing on behalf of the plaintiff couples, Olson, Esseks, and Raphael emphasized how constitutional doctrine has developed over the course of Supreme Court decisions to the point where Wright Allen’s ruling was inescapable, or in Raphael’s words, “ineluctable.” Olson’s time devolved into a rapid back-and-forth with Niemeyer, who was particularly combative in rejecting the idea that the union of a same-sex couple could be seen as “the same” as that of a different-sex couple. He insisted that the word “marriage” should not be used for the former, because samesex couples have a “different relationship.” He conceded that the state might want to confer the rights and benefits long associated with marriage on same-sex couples, but stated that this was a decision for the state to make. In challenging the district court ruling, Oakley focused on the significance of Virginia voters having supported the marriage amendment by a clear majority, but Niemeyer didn’t seem to place particular weight on that. Instead, he insisted it was not “particularly useful” to compare the “new relationship” of same-sex unions with heterosexual marriages. The other judge on the panel who gave rather clear signals of his sympathies was Gregory, who hammered Nimocks during his rebuttal argument, continuing his questions well past the point the red light began flashing on the podium. In good humor, Niemeyer said they could keep going as long as Gregory had questions. Nimocks returned repeatedly to an

BREAKING NEWS: As Gay City News went to press, a US district judge struck down Idaho’s ban on gay marriage, giving the state until May 16 to comply. Republican Governor Butch Otter promised an appeal. Visit for full details.



May 14, 2014 |

US District Judge Arenda L, Wright Allen.

argument that Virginia had an interest in ensuring that children benefited from the “diverse parenting” a father and a mother offer, stating that a right to what he termed “genderless” mar riage merited no due process protection because it had no deep historical roots. Mindful no doubt of the many instances in which the Supreme Court has identified the “right to marry,” he seemed intent on referring instead to the “right to enter into the union of a husband and a wife.” Characterizing Nimocks’ purported concern for the welfare of children as “disingenuous,” Gregory pressed him for how he views the needs of children raised by same-sex couples. The swing vote, then, will come from Floyd, and he was relatively silent compared to his two colleagues. During Oakley’s opening argument in opposition to Wright Allen’s marriage equality decision, however, Floyd made a point of asking whether the right to marry is about an individual’s right to choose their marital partner as opposed to a right of a couple to marry. He also focused, during Nimocks’ argument against the district court ruling, on what justification Virginia has to refuse recognition to out-of-state same-sex marriages, especially when children are involved. The ACLU’s Esseks emphasized the question of what level of judicial scrutiny should be used to evaluate Virginia’s marriage ban, arguing that some form of heightened scrutiny, which would require the state to affirmatively justify a discriminatory policy, should apply. Here, Niemeyer pushed back,

pointing out that the Supreme Court has never specifically held that sexual orientation discrimination merits heightened scrutiny. The DOMA ruling, he said, is a “difficult opinion to read,” circling back to his opening depiction of it as a federalism case. Esseks responded with a description of the “triggers” that in past cases have moved the high court to apply heightened scrutiny, and argued that several of them are evident in Virginia’s marriage ban. Perhaps tipping his hand on where his thinking is, here Floyd asked about the approach taken by the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston in one of the DOMA cases, where it applied “careful review” as opposed to “heightened scrutiny.” Esseks was careful to argue, however, that even if the most lenient standard of judicial review were applied, Virginia’s policy would fall since excluding same-sex couples from marriage didn’t advance any of the policy goals identified by its defenders. Raphael, the solicitor general, argued, as had Olson, that the marriage ban discriminated not only on the basis of sexual orientation but also on the basis of gender, on which ground it would clearly merit heightened scrutiny. “This is an explicit gender classification,” he said, citing a prior Niemeyer opinion to argue that laws using gender classifications should be subjected to heightened scrutiny for which Virginia must demonstrate that a policy under challenge substantially advances an important state interest. The state might have an interest in seeing that heterosexual couples raise their children in a stable environment, but there is no evidence that banning same-sex marriage makes it more likely that different-sex couples will marry in order to create that environment. While acknowledging that the DOMA ruling devoted substantial attention to the traditional role states have played in defining marriage, Raphael pointed out that states remain bound by federal constitutional requirements. The bottom line? As with last month’s 10th Circuit arguments in the Utah and Oklahoma cases, it appears that at least one panel member is predisposed to reverse the district court’s marriage equality ruling, one member seems clearly inclined to affirm it, and the last is harder to read. As out west, however, it also appears possible, if not likely, that the swing vote will swing in favor of marriage equality in Virginia. Still, as Niemeyer said early on in the hearing, the Fourth Circuit is just a “way station” on the road to the Supreme Court. And that is a call that will probably be made in 2015, after a year of heated argument in appeals courts across the nation.



| May 14, 2014

July 18 - 24, 2013



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May 14, 2014 |


MAY 28: Katie Finneran, seen here in “Promises, Promises,” appears at 54 Below..


CABARET Kate Baldwin in Solo Concert

Kate Baldwin’s Broadway breakout came alongside Cheyenne Jackson in the 2009 revival of “Finian’s Rainbow.” She has also appeared in “Big Fish” on Broadway and Off Broadway in “Giant.” This weekend, she serves up her first solo concert program in New York in three years in “Sing Pretty, Don’t Sit Down.” 54 Below, 254 W. 54th St. May 15, 7 p.m.; May 16-17, 8:30 p.m. Cover charge is $45-$55 at

THEATER Armenian History & Erotic Dance

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

BOOKS Tall Women, Two Kevins

The monthly “Drunken! Careening! Writers!” series, curated by playwright Kathleen Warnock, presents "Two Tall Women & Two Guys Named Kevin,"

featuring Kevin Clouther, author of the short story collection “We Were Flying to Chicago” (Black Balloon); Kevin Holohan, author of the novel “The Brothers' Lot” (Akashic Books) now at work on his second novel, a wide-ranging, mildly dystopicboy-meets-statue, boy-and-statue-end-up-running-small-country-into-theground-for-worldwide-reality-show tale; Honor Molloy, a playwright and novelist who wrote “Smarty Girl Dublin Savage” (Gemma Media), an autobiographical novel set in 1960s Ireland; and Staci Swedeen, a playwright whose play "The Goldman Project" was presented OffBroadway at the Abingdon Theatre. KGB Bar, 85 E. Fourth St., btwn. Bowery & Second Ave. May 15, 7 p.m. Admission is free.


CABARET Wake Up with Gregory Nalbone

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


With “Evripidis and his Tragedies,” Evripidis Sabatis intertwines acoustic music, writing, and drawing to picture a world of love, lust, and loss.

“Stroke: From Under the Mattress to the Museum Wall” is an historical retrospective of sexy and erotic illustrations by artists who made work for the gay male magazines from the 1950s to the 1990s. Curated by New York-based illustrator Robert W. Richards, “Stroke,” described by Gay City News’ David Noh as “very beautiful and very sexy,” features 80 original illustrations by 25 artists. This exhibition of a forgotten body of work explores the male form and examines gay male private life as experienced through magazines available on nearly every street corner in America – but often kept under their mattresses for fear of being discovered. The exhibition features some original illustrations that appeared in the magazines, along with other works of art that have never been seen publically. Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, 26 Wooster St., btwn. Grand & Canal Sts. Through May 25: Tue.-Wed., Fri-Sun., noon-6 p.m.; Thu., noon-8 p.m. Admission is free. More information at

GALLERY The Colors of the Written Word

“Split + Growing: Synesthesia and Queer Thought” is a new, highly personal exhibit of work from transfeminist painter and illustrator Ketch Wehr that Gay City News’ Michael Shirey described as “a beautiful expression of color that gives viewers an intimate glimpse into the artist’s world.” Primarily illustrative gouache paintings, Wehr’s show explores his personal understanding of his gender and queerness from an early age through the lens of synesthesia, in which the stimuli for one sense are taken in through other senses as well. In his case, synesthesia lends colors and flavors to all letters and words he perceives. “Split + Growing” is a visual display of an evolving queer selfhood through the colors Wehr knew to be part of his identity before he had the words to describe it. Bureau of General Services — Queer Division at Cage, 83A Hester St., btwn. Orchard & Allen Sts. The exhibition runs through May 25. For more information,


ACTIVISM Celebrating Grassroots Marriage Activism

In its annual gala, Marriage Equality USA honors Mayor Bill de Blasio, longtime activist Cathy Marino-Thomas, and the Imperial Court of New York in an evening of cocktails, dinner, entertainment, and celebrity appearances including fashion designer Randy Fenoli, host of TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress,” actor Christian Campbell (“Trick”), and Rosie Pierri of “Real Housewives of New Jersey.” Copacabana, 268 W. 47th St. May 19, 6 p.m. VIP reception, 7 reception, 7:45 dinner & awards. Tickets begin at $195 at

LuPone at the Cradle One Night Only

DANCE Boogie Down in the Bronx

“The Boogie Down Dance Series” is an annual spring offering of the Bronx Academy of Art & Dance (BAAD!). Highlights include: Toni Renee Johnson's Maverick Dance Experience, BAAD!’s artists in residence for the past year (May 17, 8 p.m.; $20); Merián Soto's Branch Dances presents an outdoor dance, featuring Soto, Arthur Aviles, and 10 Bronxbased dancers, responding to the natural primeval forest that was once the Bronx (May 18, 1:30 p.m.; free); Lehman College Dance Program presents short works (May 23, 8 p.m.; free); Angela's Pulse and Urban Bush Women present “Dancing While Black: Collective(s) Action,” featuring choreographer and



GALLERY The Hidden Stroke of Midnight

dancer Paloma McGregor, Rashida Bumbray/ Dance Diaspora Collective , Ebony Noelle Golden/ The Body Ecology Performance Ensemble, and Adia Whitaker/ Ase Dance Theater Collective (May 30-21, 8 p.m.; $20). BAAD!, 2474 Westchester Ave. at Blondell Ave., Westchester Sq. May 3-31. For complete information & tickets, visit


He is joined by musicians Dane Terry and Dalin. Bureau of General Services — Queer Division at Cage, 83A Hester St., btwn. Orchard & Allen Sts. May 16, 7 p.m. For more information,

Patti LuPone steps back into the role that led to her Olivier Award in “The Cradle Will Rock.” She appears for one night only in a concert version of Marc Blitzstein’s iconic work — which LuPone described as “part Gilbert and Sullivan, part Brecht, part Weil” — to benefit the Acting Company, which she founded with Kevin Kline, John Houseman, and Margot Harley. Lonny Price directs, with musical direction by Michael Barrett. Bernard Jacobs Theatre, 242 W. 45th St. May 19, 7 p.m. Ticket are $52 at or 212-239-6200. For infor-


MON.MAY.19, continued on p.33


| May 14, 2014 written or made famous by Lena Horne, Henry Mancini, Phyllis Human, and George Benson. 54 Below, 254 W. 54th St. May 20, 7 p.m.; May 27, 9:30 p.m. The cover charge is $35-$45 at, and there’s a $25 food & drink minimum.

MON.MAY.19, from p.32

mation about benefit ticket to a dinner with LuPone and the cast, call 212-258-3111.

BOOKS The Trailblazing Career of Shirley Chisholm


Barbara Winslow reads from her new book, “Shirley Chisholm: Catalyst for Change,” a Brooklyn Democrat who was the first African-American woman elected to Congress and made history with her 1972 bid for the presidency. Bluestockings, 172 Allen St., btwn. Stanton & Rivington Sts. May 19, 7 p.m. More information at

BOOKS Remembering Michael Callen & Essex Hemphill

“Hold Tight Gently: Michael Callen, Essex Hemphill, and the Battlefield of AIDS” is historian Martin Duberman’s poignant dual biography of two men central to early activism against the epidemic. Hemphill, an African-American poet and performance artist, died in 1995, the same year that life-saving protease inhibitors first made their appearance. Callen, a singer, songwriter, and treatment activist originally from the Midwest, succumbed two years earlier. Duberman reads from “Hold Tight Gently” at Bureau of General Services — Queer Division at Cage, 83A Hester St., btwn. Orchard & Allen Sts. May 21, 7 p.m. For more information, contact@

TELEVISION What American Evangelicals Did to Uganda

Filmmaker Roger Ross’ “God Loves Uganda” explores the role of the American evangelical movement in Uganda, where missionaries have been credited both with creating schools and hospitals and with promoting dangerous religious bigotry. The film, which follows evangelical leaders in the US and Uganda along with politicians and missionaries as they attempt to eliminate what they deem "sexual sin" and convert Ugandans to fundamentalist Christianity and eliminate “sexual sin” through the enactment of the new AntiHomosexuality Act, debuts on PBS’ Independent Lens on Channel 13, May 19, 10 p.m.; May 22, 4 a.m.; Channel 21 on May 21, 7:30 p.m.; May 22, 12:30 a.m.


THEATER Nuns, War, and a Princess


BOOKS Illuminating the Lives of LGBT Youth

In an evening that promises raw authenticity, Nora Olsen, Elliott DeLine, and Jeremy Jordan King appear to read from their queer teen lit novels. May 20, 7 pm May 20, 7 p.m. More information at

CABARET Tamara Tunie & the Music of Pittsburgh

Tamara Tunie, who co-starred with Denzel Washington in “Flight,” appeared on Broadway in “Julius Caesar” and “Dreamgirls,” and is well known for her role on “Law and Order: SVU,” celebrates the music of her hometown — Pittsburgh — with selections

Written in iambic pentameter and full of Shakespearean tropes and double entendres, Duncan Pflaster’s “The Tragedy of Dandelion” tells the story of a heroic princess in a mythical world at war. To escape a law forcing her to marry a greedy opportunist who raped her, the pregnant Princess Dandelion dresses as a man and seeks shelter with her royal counterparts in a rival land, where she wins the affections of both a prince and princess and the tentative respect of a shrewd, but unsuspecting queen. Stumbling into wild adventures involving nuns, soldiers, and rogues, she fights her enemies with dignity until her pregnancy complicates all. Ego Actus founder Joan Kane directs. Urban Stages, 259 W. 30th St. May 22-24 & 28-31, Jun. 4-7, 8 p.m.; May 24-25 & 31, Jun. 1, 7 & 8, 3 p.m. Tickets are $18 at or 800-838-3006.



FILM A Final Word from Gore Vidal

“Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia,” directed by Nicholas Wrathall (“Abandoned: The Betrayal of America's Immigrants”), features the final on-camera interview with the iconic American gay novelist, essayist, and intellectual, as well as interviews with his half-sister Nina Straight, her son Burr Steers, Christopher Hitchens, Tim Robbins, Mikhail Gorbachev, Sting, David Mamet, William F. Buckley, Jay Parini, Norman Mailer, and Dick Cavett. This IFC Films productions opens May 23, IFC Center, 323 W. Third St. at W. Third St. (; Lincoln Plaza Cinema, 1886 Broadway at 62nd St. (




Lauren Molina (“Marry Me a Little,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Rock of Ages”) and Nick Cearley (“All Shook Up”) became YouTube sensations when they burst on the nightlife scene as an undie-rock, comedy-pop duo. They don't just strip down their musical arrangements, they literally strip down to their underwear to perform their distinctive mashups and eccentric originals for cello and ukulele, with touches of glockenspiel, melodica, and a surprising array of under-used instruments. 54 Below, 254 W. 54th St. May 23-24, Jun. 20, Jul. 26, 11 p.m.; Jun. 4, Jul. 1, 9:30 p.m. Actually, there is a cover — charge is $30-$40 at — and there’s a $25 food & drink minimum.

The Stories We Tell

Drae Campbell hosts “Tell,” an ongoing series of storytelling evenings from the mouths and minds of New York City queers. Tonight’s edition, “Winning,” features Gabriella Belfiglio, Varin Ayala, and Zil Goldstein. Bureau of General Services — Queer Division at Cage, 83A Hester St., btwn. Orchard & Allen Sts. May 23, 7-10 p.m. For more information,


AT THE BEACH Dina Martina, on Fire, on Ice

Dina Martina, a tragic singer, horrible dancer, and surreal raconteur, returns to Fire Island after her 2013 debut with “Soft Palate, Fallen Arches,” the first in Daniel Nardicio’s summer Icon Series. The Ice Palace, 1 Main Walk, Cherry Grove, May 24, 9 p.m. Tickets are $32-$42 at brownpapertickets. com/event/607649.


POETRY Women’s Words, Trans Jam

Vittoria Repetto, the self-proclaimed hardest working guinea butch dyke poet on the Lower East Side, hosts a women’s and trans’ poetry jam & open mike. Drop in and deliver up to eight minutes of your poetry, prose, songs, and spoken word. Bluestockings, 172 Allen St., btwn. Stanton & Rivington

Sts. May 27, 7 p.m. For more information about the jam, visit


DANCE The Latest from John Jasperse

In “Within between,” John Jasperse’s newest evening length worth, the choreographer aims to both embrace and resist the habits of his own history, creating a cross-pollination or catalytic mating of sensibilities. “Within between” includes an original commissioned score by composer Jonathan Bepler, which will be performed live by musicians Mick Barr, Megan Schubert, and Jonathan Bepler. Featured dancers include Maggie Cloud, Simon Courchel, Burr Johnson. and Stuart Singer. New York Live Arts, 219 W. 19th St. May 28-31, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15-$30 at or 212-924-0077. On May 28, 6:30 p.m., Jasperse engages in a pre-performance with the piece’s dramaturg Ariel Osterweis. On May 29, there is a post-performance discussion moderated by Tere O’Connor.

CABARET The Promises, Promises of Having It All

Two-time Tony-winner Katie Finneran (“Promises, Promises,” “Noises Off”), who has also appeared on TV in NBC’s “The Michael J. Fox Show,” makes her nightclub debut with “It Might Be You — A Funny Lady’s Search for Home,” a peek into the life of a performer juggling Hollywood, Broadway, and starting a family. 54 Below, 254 W. 54th St. May 28-29, 7 p.m.; May 30, 8:30 p.m.; May 31, 8:30 & 11 p.m. The cover charge ranges from $35-$55 at, and there’s a $25 food & drink minimum.


BOOKS A Feminist Twist on Hillbilly Noir

Ozarks author Nancy Allen reads from her debut novel, “The Code of the Hills,” a courtroom drama set in the Missouri Ozarks and featuring an ambitious young prosecutor who battles for justice in a high-profile incest case. Bluestockings, 172 Allen St., btwn. Stanton & Rivington Sts. May 29, 7 p.m. More information at

34 Not quite new — developed eight years ago — the Walden at 69 East 139th Street has a south-facing, fourroom apartment (currently, the second bedroom is a den) on the market. Offering about 850 square feet, it has maple floors and oversized windows — and the kitchen is outfitted with walnut cabinetry, granite countertops, and appliances by Frigidaire. Common extras include a lounge with a kitchen, a no-cost laundry room, a spa, basement-level storage closets — as well as part-time doormen and a video intercom system. Priced at $487,500, with a 421a tax abatement through 2031. ( east-harlem/69-east-130th-street/ condo/9960582) “Until now, East Harlem housing has been viewed as a rental market, but as this neighborhood enjoys a new evolution of well-known retail establishments, property values will rise, but in most cases, remain below the values seen in Central Harlem, south of 125th Street,” said Jeff Krantz, a managing director at Halstead Property Development Marketing. “Buyers will now begin seeing at least a dozen new developments come to market, but they will be more boutique-style projects with an average of 20 units each.” The 83-unit Adeline at 23 West 116th Street is now 70 percent sold, but units are still available in all categories, which range from one- to four -bedrooms (1,046 to 1,912 square feet). Completion is set for late fall. Units feature wideplank oak floors with hand-laid herringbone tiles, large windows, and washers and dryers. Kitchens come with custom matte lacquer cabinetry, CaesarStone countertops, and appliances by KitchenAid and Bosch. Master baths sport smoked walnut vanities (some have dual sinks) and custom soaking tubs with Grohe showerheads and handheld shower wands. Topping the list of common amenities is a fitness room, a playroom, a lounge with a workspace, a screening room and kitchenette, a

courtyard garden, a roof deck — and round-the-clock doormen. Priced from $1.125 million, with a 25-year 421a tax abatement. ( Across from Riverside Park, 710 Riverside Drive at West 148th Street is selling renovated apartments that run from one- to three-bedrooms (687 to 1,319 square feet) with washers and dryers. Luxury finishes include solid oak flooring and high ceilings with intricate crown moldings. Kitchens are outfitted with white thermofoil cabinetry, white celador countertops, and appliances by LG. Bathrooms feature d'oriente palmira tile, Carrera marble, and Kohler soaking tubs. E x c l u s i v e l y m a r k e t e d b y Wa r burg Marketing Group, prices start at $425,940. ( 2280 Eighth Avenue is a rental development between 122nd and 123rd Street, and a two-bedroom apartment is for rent there. It boasts wide-plank oak floors, floor-to-ceiling windows, fullsized Miele washers and dryers, and a living room balcony. The open kitchen is fitted with Aster Cucine cabinetry, CaesarStone worktops, and appliances from the Electrolux Icon series. The custom-tiled master bathroom has a Neptune Air Jet soaking tub and a multi-spray, thermostatically controlled rain shower stall. Common amenities include a roof deck with an outdoor fireplace and round-the-clock doorman/

concierge services. The monthly rent is $4,000. ( display/3181536) One Morningside Park at 321 West 110th Street is selling one- to threebedroom condominiums, including a penthouse (1,265 to 1,410 square feet). All feature brushed oak hardwood floors and extra large windows, and most have outdoor space. Open kitchens come with custom cabinetry, natural stone countertops, and appliances by SubZero, KitchenAid, and/ or Miele. Most bathrooms are windowed and feature floor-to-ceiling porcelain tiles of varying textures, soaking tubs, and marbletopped vanities. Amenities include a rooftop terrace with an outdoor kitchen, a fitness center, and round-the-clock doormen. Marketed by Brown Harris Stevens Select, prices start from $2.125 million, with a 20-year 421a tax abatement. ( Uptown 58 at 58 W. 129th St. is selling mostly one- and two-bedroom condominiums, though a few studios are available. The 19-unit building will feature a roof deck, a fitness center, and a state-of-the-art virtual doorman system. Coming to market this summer, occupancy is expected during the first quarter of 2015. Marketed by Halstead Property Development Marketing, prices for one-bedroom apartments will start at $500,000, with a 15-year 421a tax abatement. (

Amy Ruth’s: Soul food 113 West 116th Street; 212-280-8779 The Cecil: Afro/ Asian/ American Brasserie 210 West 118th Street; 212-866-1262 Chez Lucienne: French 308 Lenox Avenue at 125th Street; 212-289-5555 El Paso Taqueria: Mexican 237 East 116th Street 212-860-4875 Hudson River Café: Seafood, steak with Latin flair 697 West 133rd Street; 212-491-9111 Jimmy’s Uptown: French, Latin & soul food 2207 Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard at 130th Street 212-491-4000 Joe’s Crab Shack 301 West 125th Street; 212-222-0445 Kitchenette Uptown: Southern home-style 1272 Amsterdam Avenue at 123rd Street 212-531-7600 Melba’s: American comfort food 300 West 114th Street; 212-864-7777 Rao’s: Italian 455 East 114th Street; 212-722-6709

The 83-unit Adeline at 23 West 116th Street offered by Halstead.


For Resolute Food Hounds

The face of retail uptown changed forever when Harlem USA came to 125th Street in 2000. Today, Marshall’s, Old Navy, Modell’s, Nine West, the New York Sports Club, Hue-Man Bookstore & Café — the largest AfricanAmerican-owned bookstore in the nation — and the Magic Johnson movie theaters can all be found there. Designer Shoe Warehouse, Equinox’s lowerpriced Blink Brand, Joe’s Crab Shack, and Party City are now part of a new retail development at 125th Street off Frederick Douglass Boulevard. And, believe it or not, it’s been more than 15 years since Fairway set up a megamarket at 131st Street right off the Henry Hudson Parkway. On the East Side, shoppers can head over to the East River Plaza at 117th Street off the FDR Drive, a complex that includes New York’s first Target store, as well as Costco, Marshalls, PetSmart, Bob’s Discount Furniture, Old Navy, and Best Buy.

Whole Foods has recently confirmed a 2015 opening of an enormous outpost at 125th Street and Lenox Avenue, and a new Burlington Coat Factory will occupy the building’s top three floors.

Green Is Good

Wondering what the deal is with those neon-green taxis picking up and dropping off passengers in Harlem? The Taxi & Limousine Commission introduced a fleet of metered and credit card-equipped green taxis as a way to standardize easier street hails in Upper Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. Dubbed Boro Taxis, they can pick up passengers north of West 110th Street and of East 96th Street. Currently, with the exception of the airports, the greens can take you anywhere a standard yellow cab would, but they cannot pick up fares in Lower Manhattan as they make their way back uptown or to the boroughs. — Lauren Price


HARLEM, from p.15



May 14, 2014 |

The Red Rooster at Lenox Avenue and 126th Street, a home to American comfort food.

Red Rooster: American comfort food 310 Lenox Avenue at 126th Street,; 212-792-9001 Ricardo Steak House 2145 Second Avenue at 110th Street; 212-289-5895 Zoma: Ethiopian 2084 Frederick Douglass Boulevard at 113th Street; 212-662-0620


| May 14, 2014


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