The Paper of Record for East and West Villages, Lower East Side, Soho, Noho, Little Italy and Chinatown
June 25, 2015 • FREE Volume 5 • Number 9
Another landmark moment for Stonewall as famed site is designated by commission BY ANDY HUMM
he Landmarks Preservation Commission heard testimony on Tues., June 23, on whether to designate the adjoining sites of the original Stonewall Inn, which launched the rebellion that sparked the modern L.G.B.T. rights movement, as
an official city landmark. The commissioners then took the unprecedented step of immediately moving to make a decision. The commission’s unanimous vote represented the first time a site had been landmarked specifically for its role in L.G.B.T. history and came just in time for STONEWALL continued on p. 6
BY JOSH ROGERS
tudents won’t have to play hooky next year to celebrate Lunar New Year. The mayor and chancellor announced on Tuesday that they are adding the holiday to the coming school year. “We pledged to families we would keep working un-
til we made Lunar New Year an official school holiday, and today we are keeping that promise,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement on June 23. “We are proud to be the largest school district in the nation to recognize the heritage of our Asian-American community by recogNEW YEAR continued on p. 8
Gay Prid e
PHOTO BY MILO HESS
It wasn’t asking the moon; De Blasio, D.O.E. decree Lunar New Year a holiday
Talk about a costume that really “grabs” you! A campy crab was among the revelers at Saturday’s slightly rain-dampened Mermaid Parade on Coney Island.
Plan to rebuild Beth Israel Hospital one block to north BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
Villager subscriber tipped the newspaper off this week that big changes are afoot at Beth Israel Hospital. Basically, doctors affiliated with the hospital, at E. 16th St. and First Ave., are saying that all kinds of rumors are flying around regarding plans to rebuild the hospital, ideally nearby or, failing that, at the current site. One doctor told the reader that “Mount Sinai Hospital is planning to sell the prop-
erty Beth Israel is on and relocate the hospital.” Providing further details, another doctor informed him that, “At a recent meeting of the Beth Israel medical staff, the C.E.O. told them that the plan is to build a state-of-the-art new hospital one block north of the present hospital. Apple, Google and other high-technology firms are to be involved. The plan is to keep the present hospital open until the new hospital is completed and then sell the
property. If they cannot get the necessary governmental approvals or secure the new land needed, they will renovate the present hospital.” The Villager reader spoke on condition of anonymity and declined to identify the two doctors, saying he feared causing a problem for the doctors and jeopardizing his relationship with them. Asked exactly what the plan is for the venerable HOSPITAL, continued on p. 26
Ranger Rob rescues red-tail hawk.................page 4 Village ‘lesbian gang attack’ revisited..........page 21 East Side Tigers are b’ball champs!..............page 30 A special Villager supplement....page 13 | May 14, 2014
Pages 15 to 22
RAY’S ‘NEW HEART’: He’s been a virtual iron man, toiling on the overnight shift, while dispensing hot dogs and wry wit, at his Ray’s Candy Store on Avenue A for decades. But earlier this week, Ray Alvarez, 82, went to the hospital with chest pains and labored breathing, and on Tuesday, he had heart-valve replacement surgery at Beth Israel. “He had felt weak for sometime,” said Matt Rosen, who has been a big help to the East Village egg cream maestro in recent years. It was a great relief, he said, to hear that the surgery went O.K. for Ray, real name Asghar Ghahraman. “The procedure was a success,” Rosen said. “His upstairs neighbor saw him in recovery. His doctor was very pleased. Ray should be in the hospital for a few days, and then he faces a several months-long recovery. A number of us are working on getting his apartment outfitted for his recuperation. He was in good spirits all weekend leading up to the surgery. He was excited about his ‘new heart.’ I told him with a new heart, he can stick around another 82 years. He still has a long slog ahead, but this was an important step.” Once he has recuperated, will Ray be back behind the counter and keep pulling those gruelling hours? “Not sure about the night shift for the time being,” Rosen said. “We all thought about it, but it took a backseat to the more pressing issue of the surgery and his immediate recovery. He has some people at the shop taking care of things, but his health is obviously the most important thing.” Needless to say, it would be more than hard for Ray to give up working at his beloved Belgian fries and beignets mecca, where he famously churned out “Obama fries” after Barack Obama’s first election. “The store is his world, yes, so we’ll see,” Rosen said. “One day at a time for now.”
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June 25, 2015
CITI SCOOPY: We finally rode one of the new Citi Bikes the other day, and the new model has definitely got some differences from the older one. The handlebar grips are thinner, the gears shift a bit slower (at least on the bike we were on), the seat has a cutout in the middle and there is only one rear red light on the fender (as opposed to the kindof-cool ones that did a staggered right-left blink on the rear struts). It seemed slightly lighter to us, too. We actually think we prefer the older model, which feels more solid to us. Anyway, we asked Dani Simons of Motivate, the company now running Citi Bike, to explain the changes. “The new bike has been redesigned by a team lead by Olympic bike designer Ben Serotta, and the lead mechanics from across the 10 systems that Motivate (the parent company behind Citi Bike) operates,” she e-mailed us. “The goal of the redesign was to ensure that the bikes work better, and spend more time on the street and less time in the shop. The main differences include a new shifter (which in geekier terms means we’ve replaced the rear hub with one that will be more durable and easier to repair if it does need repair). The gears cover a
GARDEN PARTY: The Dias y Flores feud seems to be, well...over. Everett Hill, who had been the garden’s main man and the leader of the faction that tried to keep the wild parties under control, has moved to North Carolina with his girlfriend, we hear. A few other neighbors who had also complained about the festivities at the E. 13th St. oasis have “gone to Vermont,” we’re told by a source who lives on the block. “No one cares anymore!” she said. So this means Jeff Wright’s parties can...party on! We hear there may be one coming up soon.
ES & MORE SINCE 1982 I P ! CO
*V O T E D **
V I L LE S T A B A RGE
Ray in a happier moment.
slightly wider range now, which means it will be easier for riders to pedal on the flats of Manhattan avenues and up the approaches to bridges. We’ve also made improvements to the headset (basically like the steering column of the bike), which was another part that we were seeing needed repair more frequently than we would have liked. And as you noted, the seats have a cutout both for comfort and for faster drainage of water.” The seat cutout is definitely a good idea. Dismounting a Citi Bike in winter or after a heavy rain, only to find one’s butt sopping wet was never fun. (This was especially a problem when the foam seats cracked open from wear and tear, allowing water to seep inside them, which was then squeezed out by the pressure of the rider’s rear — causing Citi Wet Butt.) And yes, Simons confirmed, the new bikes are a bit lighter, 4 pounds lighter to be exact — so, umm, only 41 pounds compared to 45. Still, it’s an amazing bargain for a one-year membership, and it beats walking (in many cases), cramming into a sweaty subway sardine can, taking a snail’s-pace bus or sitting in traffic behind the wheel and giving or getting road rage. ... Just our opinion, of course.
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PHOTOS BY BOB KRASNER
A weekend triple shot The 10th annual New York Bubble Battle in Union Square really blew. The super-soapy event was organized by Newmindspace, which also is behind International Pillow Fight Day. (By the way, state Senator Brad Hoylman has called for the latter to be banned from Washington Square Park, charging that the revelers have damaged its lawns and foliage at past events.) Meanwhile, at the Cooper Square Committee’s Second Ave. Festival a man was smoking up a storm, slow-cooking some savory meat. And down on the Lower East Side, well, it wasn’t your grandfather’s Orchard St., as PWR BTTM, blasted out their brand of glam rock / queer core at the DayLife summer kickoff street party.
June 25, 2015
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June 25, 2015
The young red-tail hawk flew up from the sidewalk onto the building’s awning.
Ranger Rob rescues red-tail hawk
n Tuesday, East Villager Dennis Edge documented a rescue of one of the three young redtail hawks that recently fledged (flew) from a nest on Ageloff Towers, on Avenue A between E. Third and Fourth Sts. “One chick was rescued, while the other two are strong fliers and under their parents’ care,” Edge said. “In my opinion, this chick didn’t have to be rescued. But it was on the sidewalk for a while, then flew up on an awning, where it remained for a while. “Parks Department Ranger Rob netted the bird and took it to Tompkins Square Park for release. The nest is on the top floor — the 12th floor — on an air conditioner on Ageloff Towers. The chicks will not go back to it.” Once the young hawks fledge, the parents know where they are. They will feed them and teach them hunting skills. Ranger Rob netted the bird and took it to Tompkins Square Park. EastVillagerNews.com
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City designates Stonewall an individual landmark STONEWALL continued from p. 1
June 25, 2015
PHOTOS BY GAY CITY NEWS
the 46th anniversary of the rebellion, which will be commemorated by the Pride March on Sun., June 28, the actual anniversary. Preservationists, political leaders and activists –– including some rebellion participants –– turned out to testify in favor of the designation. Even the Real Estate Board of New York, an industry trade association, spoke for it. “We don’t come here often,” the group’s spokesperson said to some laughter. Stonewall Rebellion participant Jim Fouratt also supported the designation, despite his contempt for the bar itself. He stressed that the “outside, not the inside” of the place should be landmarked. “It was an awful place,” Fouratt said. Others, including Tommy Lanigan-Schmidt, who was not at the hearing, remember it as a dive, but at least one where men could touch while dancing. That, Lanigan-Schmidt said, was “revolutionary.” Michael Devonshire, one of the L.P.C. commisssioners, aknowledged, “It’s not a pretty building. To quote from ‘The Boys in the Band,’ ‘Who is she? Who was she? What does she hope to be?’ ” But historically, he said, it is a “fantastic spot” recalling “a period of struggle for dignity for the L.G.B.T. community.” Veteran gay activist Rick Landman, a former chairperson of the Landmarks Committee of Community Board 1, noted that there was precedent of the commission having designated a Village building for other than its architectural merit. “The commission landmarked the building where the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire occurred for its historical nature and not the architectural significance of the building,” he noted. “We commemorate the birth of the garment union and labor and safety laws at that location each year. So the L.P.C. has already granted an individual designation for a building’s historical significance.” Anita Isola, a lifelong Village resident who said her parents had their wedding reception at the old Stonewall Inn, wanted it landmarked because it was there that “a global movement started right in our neighborhood.” Many who spoke at the hearing cited the immediate militant L.G.B.T. organizing that sprung up following the rebellion’s several nights, as well as the commemorative marches that began in cities from New York to
The Stonewall Inn and the adjoining storefront to its right now enjoy landmark status protecting the integrity of their facades.
Los Angeles and San Francisco the following year. Pride marches now number in the thousands around the world, including in places where they are prohibited by law, such as Russia. Historian David Carter, whose 2004 book “Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution” is widely considered the definitive account of the rebellion, said that the organizing that grew out of Stonewall “transformed the very small pre-existing homophile movement into a mass movement.” It is the history that took place in June 1969 that won the designation. During the raid on the bar, “the community stood up to police oppression and discrimination,” said openly lesbian Councilmember Rosie Mendez. She also cited the role that Stonewall has played as a gathering point for L.G.B.T. demonstrations ever since, most recently for marriage equality campaigns lost and won. It is where the community will gather the evening of the fast-approaching U.S. Supreme Court decision day on marriage equality. Stonewall participant Martin Boyce, 67, who was there the first night of the rebellion, said everyone is a beneficiary of that revolutionary moment. “In some ways or other, we are all Stonewall veterans,” he said. “Please do this.” In general, the commission has been reluctant to landmark sites of purely cultural or historical significance, focusing more on preserving the city’s architectural heritage. The sites of the original Stonewall
Inn — 51 Christopher Street (today a nail salon) and No. 53 next door (a newer bar also called the Stonewall) — were originally built as stables in the 1840s. They were combined into a commercial space in 1930, opening as the Stonewall Inn restaurant in 1934 and as a gay bar in 1967 using the same name. Much credit for this push is being given to Jay Shockley, who started advocating for the site’s designation as a commission staffer in 2009, and has since retired after 35 years at the agency. He is working with the newly formed New York City L.G.B.T. Historic Sites Project to push for more official recognition of locations of historical and cultural rather than architectural interest. In an increasingly gentrified West Village, Shockley worried that Stonewall’s intact facade — which will now be protected by the city — could have yielded to someone like retailer “Marc Jacobs putting in a glass storefront.” The city designation protects the facade for the first time –– something that none of the property’s other historic designations, on both the National and the New York State Register of Historic Places –– accomplished. The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation under its director, Andrew Berman, picked up the cause in earnest over a year ago, hoping that a new mayor, Bill de Blasio, and a new commission chairperson, Meenakshi Srinivasan, would take a fresh look at the issue. Srinivasan credited her research staff and the many advocates they heard from. She lauded the Stonewall Rebellion for “liberating mil-
lions of L.G.B.T. people all over the nation,” and said she hoped “everyone will celebrate” the designation. A Village resident herself, Srinivasan said that she is open to designating other such cultural and historical landmarks for all communities. There was a push at this hearing for future consideration of Julius’ bar on W. 10th St., the L.G.B.T. Community Center on W. 13th St., and 99 Wooster St., where a converted firehouse was employed by the Gay Activists Alliance and other groups for political organizing and social life for several years after Stonewall, until it was destroyed by arsonists. A parade of political leaders and their aides spoke out for the designation, including Public Advocate Letitia James and openly gay Councilmember Corey Johnson, whose district includes Stonewall. “We must preserve the building not just for the L.G.B.T. community but for every community,” James said. “Every community needs to understand the story of the rebellion and of standing up for individual rights.” Johnson spoke of his first trip to New York City at age 17 and recalled heading to the Stonewall right off the bus. “The sense of wonder I had as a young person,” he said, was something he wants future generations to be able to experience. Members from leading preservation groups also spoke up for the designation, including the National Trust for Historic Preservation — which is considering the Stonewall as a possible National Treasure — the Historic Districts Council, which is made up of community groups from across the city, and Andrew Scott Dolkart, director of the historic preservation program at Columbia University. Dolkart was the lead author in the effort to get the Stonewall designated as the first L.G.B.T. site ever listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999, and then as a National Historic Landmark. “This hearing has been a long time coming,” he said. Preservation consultant Ken Lustbader wrote his Columbia thesis — “Landscape of Liberation: Preserving Gay and Lesbian History in Greenwich Village” — more than two decades ago. “The facade is a vernacular architectural expression of L.G.B.T. history in New York City,” he said. Referring to gay bars’ history before the rebellion, he said, the building’s exterior, with its unique windows, embodies “the story of police hostility and mafia control.” EastVillagerNews.com
POLICE BLOTTER Anti-Asian assaulter dead A man who was targeting Asian women in a series of bias assaults throughout Manhattan has committed suicide. Tyrelle Shaw, 25, was found dead in a building at E. 66th St. and Madison Ave. on Monday, police said. The first attack occurred Wed., June 10, at 4:15 p.m. near 155 Grand St., according to police. When the man tried to speak with a 35-yearold Asian woman, she ignored him. He left but then returned with a white plastic bag containing a hard object and struck the woman in the face. She was taken to a Lower Manhattan Hospital and then released. This pattern was repeated in at least three attacks on other Asian women — on the Upper East Side, in Chinatown and in Kips Bay. Before Shaw’s suicide, Councilmember Margaret Chin issued a call for information that could help the police capture him. “As an Asian woman, I am personally disgusted by these racially targeted attacks,” Chin said in a June 17 statement. “These are clearly acts of hate and ignorance.” In a blog post, Shaw described the attacks as “a game” and said he “couldn’t understand why Asian women didn’t find me attractive,” several outlets reported.
The suspect allegedly used this ax to attack the second victim.
Con Ed ax attack A man’s Manhattan stabbing and hacking spree ended at the Con Edison building on Mon., June 22, but not before he had injured three people. Police said that on that day around 2:25 p.m., officers responded to a call of an assault at 135 E. 64th St. Upon arrival, they found a woman, 35, in the building’s vestibule bleeding from multiple stab wounds to her stomach and back. She stated a man EastVillagerNews.com
had approached her, pushed her into the vestibule and stabbed her multiple times. She was taken to New York Presbyterian Hospital in serious but stable condition. Around 2:40 p.m., allegedly the same suspect entered 4 Irving Plaza and went up to the 10th floor, where he encountered a man, 49. Police said the suspect then brandished an ax, striking this second victim in the face. Another man, 40, tried to come to the victim’s aid, but the attacker struck him in the arm with a pointed-tip hammer. Police said the suspect then fled down the stairs and into Con Ed’s parking lot, where police officers placed him under arrest without incident. EMS responded and transported both victims, as well as the suspect, to Bellevue Hospital where they were all listed in stable condition. Trevial Terry, 40, of 580 St. Nicholas Ave., Apt. 4E, in Upper Manhattan, was arrested and charged with three counts of attempted murder, six counts of assault and four counts of criminal possession of a weapon. According to news reports, the man was a Con Ed employee, and the woman he stabbed was his child’s mother.
Not his ticket to ride An inebriated Manhattan man was a little too cavalier after officers observed him drinking from an open container on the corner of University Place and E. 12th St., on Sat., June 20, around 6 p.m. According to police, a search of 31-year-old Robert V. Rosales’s person yielded a switchblade knife and reduced-fare MetroCard inside his front blazer pocket. The transit card, which is exclusively for disabled riders, featured a photo ID of an unknown individual. He was arrested for misdemeanor criminal possession of a weapon.
told officers that he had “found them on W. Fourth St.” He was arrested and charged with felony criminal possession of stolen property.
A surveillance camera image of the alleged bank robber.
Post-game foul A Manhattan man had to play a little defense after accidentally dropping his wallet on the ground at the corner of Hudson and Horatio Sts. after playing basketball in a nearby park. Lijuan Hartfield, 19, of Manhattan was reportedly observed picking up the wallet around 10 p.m. on Thurs., June 18. The wallet’s owner told police he tried approaching Hartfield for his property, but the suspect attempted to flee the scene. The victim, 23, rebounded by physically detaining him until police arrived. Hartfield was arrested and charged with grand larceny, a felony.
‘Oh...this crack pipe?’ Officers on patrol said they observed a homeless man outside 248 W.14th St. drinking from an open beer container around 7:35 p.m. on Thurs., June 18. Police said John Gray, 49, was reportedly in possession of a pipe with crack residue and a New York State ID card that matched a bank debit card belonging to a 51-year-old Queens man. Referring to the crack pipe and ID card, Gray
A Manhattan driver with a forearm dragon tattoo traveling westbound on W. Third St. near Mercer St. caught the eye of officers after he ran a red light and failed to yield to a pedestrian, police said. Police stopped Lazaro Martinez, 23, on Fri., June 19, around 4:45 p.m. and allegedly found him in possession of a forged New Jersey registration and license plate. The temporary registration expired in April of this year. However, after scanning its barcode, police learned the altered registration had actually expired last June. Martinez reportedly told police he purchased the vehicle in Queens despite the issued Garden State plates, which were also found to be invalid. He was arrested and charged with felony forgery.
Pizzeria punch A 30-year-old employee of 2 Bros. Pizza at 319 Sixth Ave., near W. Third St., was assaulted at 12:30 a.m. on Sun., June 21, according to police. Officers were called to the pizzeria after James E. Smallwood, 30, of Brooklyn allegedly hit the victim in the left eye, causing substantial swelling and bruising. The police report said the victim did not know the patron, but it provided no details of what may have sparked the incident. Smallwood was arrested for misdemeanor assault.
Chriss Williams, Dusica Sue Malesevic and Lincoln Anderson
Armed bank robber An armed robber knocked off the Amalgamated Bank, at 10 E. 14th St., on Wed., June 17, at 3:55 p.m., police said. After entering the bank, the suspect brandished a gun and demanded money. The teller complied. However, a dye pack was inserted along with the cash. As the man fled with an undetermined amount of cash, the dye pack exploded. The suspect is described as white, 5-foot-7 and weighing 150 pounds.
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City declares Lunar New Year a school holiday NEW YEAR continued from p. 1
nizing Lunar New Year.” The announcement during the last week of school appeared to come as a surprise since advocates pressing for inclusion of the Chinese New Year had not appeared optimistic that the holiday would be added to the 201516 year. Many were disappointed earlier this year when the mayor did not include Lunar New Year when he announced the addition of two Muslim holidays to the school year, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. There will be no school on Mon., Feb. 8, 2016, to celebrate the holiday. The city was able to maintain the mandated 180-day schedule by consolidating two half-days for administrative work into one day. Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña called the addition of Lunar New Year “a welcome teachable moment in the classroom for our students to learn about the contributions of various cultures.” The Department of Education’s press release included statements from politicians from all over the city praising the decision, including several who represent at least part of
Lunar New Year lions will be roaring even louder next year, now that the day is an official school holiday.
Manhattan’s Chinatown: Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, state Senator
Daniel Squadron and City Councilmember Margaret Chin. Chin was
a sponsor of the bill that supported the designation. Some schools in the neighborhood reported absence rates of greater than 80 percent on Lunar New Year. In a statement, Chin said 15 percent of public school students across the city observe the holiday and that the announcement “gives Lunar New Year the respect and recognition it has long deserved.” Squadron was among the politicians who joined the mayor at P.S. 20 in Flushing, Queens, to announce the day’s inclusion as a school holiday. “I’m thrilled our hard work to include Lunar New Year as a school holiday led to Mayor de Blasio’s announcement today — and in time to ring in the Year of the Monkey,” Squadron said. “For years, we pushed so that those who celebrate Lunar New Year are no longer forced to choose between class and their most important cultural holiday. “The mayor’s pledge and today’s addition of Lunar New Year to the school calendar send a strong and meaningful message that as the city changes, the school calendar must change with it. It’s been a long push, and today our voices are heard.”
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June 25, 2015
“My employees are healthier, and so is my business.”
NYC WORKS BETTER
PAID SICK LEAVE
Contact 311 or visit nyc.gov/PaidSickLeave for information. Employers can get the required Notice of Employee Rights and an information sheet in multiple languages, Frequently Asked Questions, Sick Leave Timekeeping Tools, Event Calendar, and training presentations.
Join the #PaidSickLeave conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. EastVillagerNews.com
June 25, 2015
PHOTO BY HONEY MILLMAN
A homeless person slept on the sidewalk recently next to the East Village explosion site at Second Ave. and E. Seventh St. It wasn’t known if the small house at right was his or not.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Clayton keeping it real To The Editor: Re “Reform of 7th Community Council is long overdue” (talking point, by Clayton Patterson, June 4): It’s a shame the L.E.S. has devolved into some manner of roving frat party. Great work by Clayton showing that the new New York is not always the “Sex in the City” wonderland that it is made out to be. Simon John Heath
Who’s feeding rats?! To The Editor: Re “E.V. rat reservoir seems bottomless, they say” (news article, April 23): Gerard Flynn’s survey of the East Village rat population was graphic and chilling. My dog frequently comes across diurnal Tompkins Park rodents even mid-afternoon. However, Mr. Flynn is decidedly wrong in quoting Department of Health accusations of “crazies…who feed the pigeons.” Sorry, those few who throw bits of bread are rewarded by
avian consumption of their largesse immediately. Rodent reality comes from the well-meaning missionary trucks that distribute food. Their recipients leave plates, cups and boxes of food on the sidewalk, under and on the benches, on the grass itself. Everywhere except in the garbage cans. Harry Rolnick
Backroom dealers To The Editor: Re “It’s a race!” (Scoopy’s Notebook, June 4): I’m always dismayed, and amused, when so-called progressive activists work behind the scenes to try and influence others not to run for elected office. Whether they are worthwhile candidates or not, or your candidate of choice or not, it is patently undemocratic. It’s a gross and hypocritical display of the very political backroom dealing being criticized. Then, to talk about it openly, is the height of political vanity. Talk about the downside of being entrenched. Patrick Shields
Enough with ‘same old’
Trump trumps the rest of the G.O.P. candidates in Facebook views. 10
June 25, 2015
To The Editor: Re “Hope or hype? Battle of the small business bills” (talking point, by Sharon Woolums, June 4): LETTERS continued on p. 12 EastVillagerNews.com
Father’s Day: Not afraid to say my Dad was bad NOTEBOOK BY DOTTIE WILSON
ather’s Day is a yearly reminder of the reprehensible and shameful character flaw I have in the eyes of others: i.e., you are a horrible person if you don’t like said sacred figurehead. (I understand there’s even a religious commandment about such devotion.) Forever branded by my honest yet unpopular opinion of a universally worshipped and overrated household icon, the day is a special occasion for me to feel stigmatized and marginalized. Whenever you hear about a “dad gone bad,” it’s usually a Little League coach or a celebrity. Regardless, any time a woman comes out and admits she hates her father, she is looked down upon by all of society. You are damaged goods. There’s something wrong with you. It may be the age of “Lean In” and HBO “Girls,” yet this opprobrium is still a frustrating reality. For decades, I’ve hung onto a Dear Abby column, entitled “No Dad’s Better Than Abusive One,” and this illuminating and defensive scrap of paper is the only ammunition I’ve ever had to justify my belief when attempt to “sell it.” Celebrated nonetheless, the man who hit my mother when she was pregnant with me was a frightening, dangerous menace. When I was eight years old getting ready for bed, he called me to come into his room. Wearing pastel yellow flannel pajamas and drinking a beer, he wanted to show off his gun. A pistol,
The writer as a young girl.
it was way heavier than the toys my brother and I used to play with. He said it wasn’t loaded, and I could shoot it. But thanks to massive consumption of unintentionally instructive film and television programming, I opened the chamber and found a bullet. (I hadn’t trusted him, even then; there were earlier awful memories.) Flabbergasted, he said, “Don’t tell your Mother.” Yet I’m the demon child who’s frowned upon? Of course it could have been worse. We kids occasionally got spanked with a triangular ruler (he was an engineer), but were never severely beaten or sexually abused. We went to day camp and college, had a nice yard and pool. Unfortunately, we had to endure furious and violent condemnations and rants at all
hours (including school nights). It was petrifying! Crazy electrical and construction accidents, along with deafening symphonies and maniacal “big band” jazz music (followed by visits from the police), were recurrent events. He was an angry mad scientist with an Ivy League degree, consuming massive amounts of alcohol on top of powerful painkillers. The drug and liquor stores both made regular deliveries to our house, which was constantly lit up like a nightclub. He drank and drove all the time with us in the car, and there had to be at least one case of beer in it at all times. It was an embarrassing and scary environment of insanity, fear and chaos. As an adult, my “dream dad” almost came true. “It” had died (that’s what we called him, seriously), and my mother met a wonderful widower named Howard (which just so happened to be her dreadful middle name). Throughout their charming and proper engagement, she looked 10 years younger, full of life. I was so happy. But I thought I’d die when this dear sweet man suffered a fatal heart attack just weeks before the wedding. Devastated, I met his darling adult children, who were amazed he’d let my mother drive his car (it just wasn’t done), or that her Italian greyhound was allowed to jump up on him. They were astonished he took care of her dog when she went away for a week. My father would have killed the animal, like he did with our fish (dumped an entire container of food in the tank, along with the container, and suffocated them). When left to take care of his own elderly mother, who had an “accident” after dinner, he pushed her outside in the backyard on a cold No-
vember night, made her strip naked and used a garden hose on her like an animal. My poor Grandma. My poor Mother. (Forget about the neighbors. The stories they could tell... .) No way did I go to my father’s funeral. Yet I immediately got on a plane to Savannah, Georgia, when Howard passed away. After my mother showed me the pretty wedding reception cocktail napkins (silver script on pastel pink) for the sorrowfully cancelled occasion, I felt like Scarlett O’Hara’s emotionally drained and disturbed father in “Gone With The Wind,” when he was fiddling around with his beloved dead wife’s fancy earrings. Before the wake, my mother and I exchanged her bridal outfit (a beautiful, sensible, light coral-colored suit with subtle ruffles on the collar and hem) for a subdued black dress with sparse splashes of dark red and orange roses. The people at the church service pronounced the word “amen” with a long vowel, while my mother and I used a schwa. He was buried at Bonaventure Cemetery, not far from the lovely gravesite in the movie “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” As for my father, I remember everything. No one “planted” anything in my head (like what the Woody Allen people said about his daughter Dylan when she shared her early childhood thoughts about a despicable dad). The revelation that a woman hates her father can damage one’s core reputation, hurt your feelings and/or possible relationships. Women who’ve been deprived of having a decent father need to be careful with their confessions to others, and society shouldn’t view them as misfits. So Dylan, let’s do lunch. Because “I’m O.K., you’re O.K.”
Word from the street: Stonewall’s true message TALKING POINT BY JIM FOURATT
istory was change that Saturday night in June beginning at 10:30 p.m. in front of 53 Christopher St, when a police officer took a mannish-looking woman out of the Stonewall Inn and placed her in his police vehicle and then went back inside. A small crowd had gathered. EastVillagerNews.com
She managed to free herself, to cheers, and in that moment the modern lesbian and gay movement was born. We who were actually there that first night and the three that followed know what really happened and why. I was present all four nights. Stonewall was not a riot. It was a spontaneous rebellion against oppression ignited on Christopher St. in front of a mafia bar. The Stonewall Inn, to me, is a symbol of oppression and exploitation by organized crime with the complicity of the New York Police Department. Every bar in 1969 in the Village that served homosexuals or lesbians operated under this same relationship.
The Stonewall Rebellion ignited the repressed desire for freedom and visibility that is buried deep within every lesbian and gay person: a desire to integrate our erotic desire with physical expression and the integration of our full humanity and personhood in an expression of love. I welcome the landmarking of not the Stonewall, but the street in front of 53 Christopher St. What changed history was not what happened inside the bar but what happened outside on the street. There is no need to landmark a building that has been a bar, a bagel shop, again a bar, and who knows what private business in the future? Much of what happened that night
has been distorted to read like a ’60s political watershed moment. It was and it wasn’t. It was gay, it was queer, and that is a significant difference in how people behaved. Police and hospital records do not support calling it riot. It was a spontaneous rebellion that first night, and over the next three nights was quietly directed by a small group of gay men — who unlike most of the other lesbian and gay participants — had been involved in the anti-Vietnam War and draft movement and were experienced at street politics. Please teach history not as myth but as reality. Landmark the street location where history was made, not a bar that served and exploited us. June 25, 2015
Will the new Apple Watch stand the test of time? RHYMES WITH CRAZY BY LENORE SKENAZY
s you fantasize about getting yourself the very coolest, hippest, newest gadget on the block — an Apple Watch, that is — pause for a moment to consider the perspective of the stunned and shaken Bradley Johnson. Johnson is a director at Advertising Age magazine, the bible of the marketing business (and a place I worked eons ago), who recently set himself a kind of crazy task. He would look through 85 years of issues to search for “The beginning of everything” — everything being technological that changed the way we communicate. The idea was to create a special issue of the magazine, which he did. It was so fascinating, I called him up to hear more. What did the technologies look like as they emerged? Who saw the promise? Who changed with the times? And what can Apple learn from Zenith? Oh, please, dear reader. You’ve never heard of Zenith? That’s like never having heard of MySpace! MySpace. It was like Facebook, except — well, never mind.
Zenith began as a radio company in the 1920s. It introduced the first portable radio in 1924. In the ’50s, it started making television, and in the ’60s, it made color TVs. To own a Zenith was to own the classiest gadget around. It gave you bragging rights. Meantime, RCA — as in Radio Corporation of America — was right there, too. “Both those brands made the jump from radio to television,” says Johnson. He spent days reading old articles about their incredible foresight and brilliant marketing. “Yet fast-forward and Zenith is technically now owned by LG. And RCA is...,” he paused. “I don’t know if it’s even a factor in the consumer electronics market. The kings today are Samsung, LG and to a lesser extent, Sony.” Somewhere along the way, the early giants lost their mojo. And how about IBM? Sure, it is still a huge company and I loved watching
Watson kill on “Jeopardy!” but IBM isn’t the juggernaut it was in ’60s. Johnson looked over the old ads from that era. “The most beautiful tech advertising that I came across was for the IBM electric typewriter,” he says. “The hot product at the time was the Selectric — the typewriter with the ball element in it, the pinnacle of typewriters. If you’re an executive and you have that sitting on your secretary’s desk in the ’60s, that’s a sign of success.” The machines were so sleek and iconic, IBM’s print ads for them were simple: Show the object, light it well, and wait for the orders to flood in. In fact, they reminded Johnson of ads for Apple. Unstoppable, unbeatable Apple. These days you can still sometimes find a Selectric at a garage sale. Hmm. If the companies were caught flat-footed over and over, was there anyone who truly understood where technology was taking us? Turns out there was: An ad exec named E.B. Weiss, who wrote a column in Ad Age in the ’50s and ’60s. Weiss read those old issues of the magazine. “I was not familiar with Weiss,” says Johnson. “I was stunned by his prescience.” In his 1960s column, Weiss actually wrote that someday, “It will be possible to communicate with anyone, anywhere, at any time, by voice, sight or
written message — instantaneously. All information will be instantly recorded — instantly retrievable.” Johnson’s jaw dropped as he read more Weiss: “Ultimately, individuals equipped with miniature television transmitter-receivers will communicate directly with one another worldwide, using personal channels similar to today’s personal telephone — and just as simply.” Weiss also told the Mad Men of the hippie era that TV, books and magazines would be “converted into identical bits of energy for transmission over any distance,” and a “home console” would allow people to perform “functions that previously could be performed only in the business office.” Weiss was in his sixties in the ’60s, and saw almost exactly where we were going. Zenith, RCA — and let’s not forget Kodak — did not. Oh, they had a good run. The kind Apple — and Facebook and Uber, etc., etc. — are enjoying now. But someday, maybe around 2115, some curious historian may paw through dusty posts from the days when folks read blogs (how quaint!) and have to Google (or whatever they’ll be doing by then) to find out: “What’s Apple?” So don’t feel too bad if you can’t afford one of those watches. Skenazy is a keynote speaker and founder and writer of the book and blog “Free-Range Kids”
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR LETTERS continued from p. 10
The bottom line is we as a city are in a crisis! Either we solve this urgent matter costing us jobs at more than 8,000 per month, and destroying the fabric of every community in New York City on all of our main streets, in all five boroughs, or we do nothing — like Brewer’s 30-year-old “landlord bill.” Or we can save small businesses before they become extinct in New York City by actually putting some fairness and rights on the tenant’s side for once and make the lease-renewal process work justly for all parties. This would end the illegal extortion of tenants, and give a good-standing tenant a right to a renewal for a new ten-year lease at a rational rate instead of 200, 300 or 1,000 percent increases! The time for the same old political delays, like the Brewer bill, are over, and the time for real leadership to pass this important, long-overdue legislation to save small businesses has come! The Small Business Jobs Survival Act — the S.B.J.S.A. — is the solution, and will end this crisis, saving many tens of thousands of jobs each year! Let’s put people, jobs and community first for a change with basic rights and fairness. Get
June 25, 2015
involved NYC! For more information, go to www. saveNYCjobs.org . Steven Barrison
Puma packed a punch To The Editor: Re “The ‘Kiss Punch’ poetry collider” (arts article, June 11): What a great concept. Half the poets are half-comedians anyway. Thanks for the coverage of this unique scene, Puma. And Taylor Mali is great! You were in good company there, for sure. Jeff Wright E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to email@example.com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 1 Metrotech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Anonymous letters will not be published.
SOUND OFF! Write a letter to the editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Gay Prid e A sp
Pages 13 to 20
June 25, 2015
Westbeth writer ‘comes out as single’ in memoir BY HAIG CHAHINIAN
hen Kate Walter’s girlfriend of 26 years left her, Walter was bereft, not sure what she’d do. Since her New York City domestic partnership certificate carried no legal value, she wasn’t entitled to the nest egg she’d helped her partner build. She was nearly destitute, as well as brokenhearted. Walter, a 66-year-old Greenwich Village journalist, embarked on finding a new princess charming. She recounts the adventure in her just-released, poignant, soulful debut memoir, “Looking for a Kiss: A Chronicle of Downtown Heartbreak and Healing” (Heliotrope Books). After mourning the loss of “Slim,” her lover — a knockout with black hair, brown eyes and beautiful complexion — no route to romance was off-limits. Walter consulted New Age gurus, tarot readers, astrologists, speed dated. She even went “speed shrinking” to find a therapist who might help her attract a mate. During the one-hour lightning round, she consulted eight psychologists, who offered a renewed sense of hope. But venturing online to find dates left her feeling hopeless.
“You don’t know anything about a person except their profile,” the bespectacled author said recently at a cafe on E. Eighth St., pushing her short brown hair behind her ear. “I know people who’ve met the love of their life this way, but it’s a crapshoot.” Walter felt out of practice. “Let’s put it this way. The last time I was dating, Jimmy Carter was president,” she confided. The author was born in Paterson, N.J. “Hometown of Allen Ginsberg,” she beamed. “I used to go to readings at the Paterson Public Library where Ginsberg was reading. It made me feel really cool. This famous beatnik poet who lived in the Village was from Paterson!” Walter’s mother was a homemaker active in their Irish Catholic church, and her father taught in the urban school system. Walter came out at 21 in her parents’ living room. Hearing the news, her father compared homosexuals to rapists and murderers. She hightailed it to the Oscar Wilde Bookstore and picked up “Now That You Know,” a parent’s guide to accepting a queer child. But she felt exhausted from her big proclamation. She never gave the tome to her dad, closing the conversation. Books had always given solace to
Dick Gottfried wishes you a
Assembly Member Same Sex Marriage
DICK GOTTFRIED Introduced first bill you a in NYSwishes Assembly
GENDA Same Sex Marriage
Introduced first bill (Transgender Rights) in NYS Assembly IntroducerGENDA and lead [Transgender sponsor in NYSRights] Assembly Introducer and lead sponsor in NYS Assembly
Dick Gottfried’s Gottfried’s Community Office: Dick Community Office: 242 West 27th Street, Ground Floor 242 West 27th Street, ground floor Phone: 212.807.7900 Email: GottfriedR@nysa.us Ph: 212-807-7900, E-mail: GottfriedR@nysa.us
CALL TO SUBSCRIBE 646-452-2475
June 25, 2015
Walter, who early on aspired to be a writer. After graduating from college, she followed in Ginsberg’s footsteps. “When I moved to St. Mark’s Place, I used to see Allen running around in the neighborhood,” she said. “I really wanted to go up and say, ‘Hi, I’m from Paterson, too. You really inspired me when I was 18.’ But I didn’t want to annoy him. And then he died. So I wish I had.” Her early career included writing rock music reviews for the Aquarian Weekly, then branching out to The New York Times and the Daily News, as well as becoming a popular teacher at N.Y.U. and CUNY. At a gathering for gay and lesbian educators, she met Slim. They clicked immediately. Soon they were living together, and one year as a couple led to 25 more. At turns funny and sad, the memoir relates the dynamics of Walter’s same-sex relationship. Yet the author is clear about the tale’s broad appeal. “It’s not just for gay people,” she said. “My story has a universal message for anyone who’s gone through a horrible breakup. Straight women have read it and said, ‘This is exactly what happened in my marriage. I can relate to what you went through.’ ” Does that mean the story isn’t about gay pride? “No, it’s about pride, too,” she said. “I’m a proud gay woman. But that’s not the whole thrust of the book. It’s about how to get over heartache and heal your life. How to get to a better place.” Walter’s pages overflow with fa-
miliar Village haunts. She attends programs at the LGBT Community Center, exercises at Integral Yoga on W. 13th St., and turns Cafe Condesa into her perpetual first-date hangout. Her life remains focused below 14th St. She’s submitted columns frequently over the years for The Villager. She met her East Village indie publisher Naomi Rosenblatt through her Downtown writing workshop. But finally realizing the dream of publishing a book has given her nightmares, perhaps resurrecting her clan’s Catholic guilt. “I’ve been scared what people will think,” she said. “I asked my mother not to read it. She said, ‘Of course.’ The bad dreams stopped, but started up again. I realized I feared being punished for telling the truth about my life.” She was afraid of being honest about dating within the lesbian community. “It’s tight-knit. People know each other,” she said. “I run into women who dated Slim, and come up to me to talk about it. If you were straight, chances are you wouldn’t see your ex on a date with another person. The closeness makes things harder sometimes.” The book is dedicated to “women who’ve been dumped after twenty-five years.” Reflecting on her experience, Walter shares advice. “Don’t expect to feel good for a long time. I would not suggest dating for a while,” she said. “You need to process it. It’s a mistake to jump quickly into another relationship. Obviously, some people have met someone else or break up for that reason. But if you’re single and alone, take it slow. Use this as a sacred time to mend.” Walter is better off today, with a full-time teaching gig at a Downtown community college after working as an adjunct professor for decades. She’s in great physical shape, and has upgraded to a bigger apartment in the Westbeth Artists Housing complex, too. She credits her good fortune to yoga and to belonging to the East Village’s Middle Collegiate Church, a “hip” house of worship that celebrates the arts. At the moment she’s not Matching, swiping right on Tinder, or saying OK Cupid. She isn’t even really looking too hard for a kiss. Though if Ms. Right came along, she wouldn’t mind a different happy ending. Walter will be reading Tues., June 30, at 7 p.m., at St. Mark’s Bookshop, 136 E. Third St. For more about her and her work, visit www.KateWalter.com . Chahinian is an executive coach who has written for the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and Salon EastVillagerNews.com
46 years after the Stonewall riots, New York University joins Greenwich Village in celebrating a turning point in LGBT civil rights.
We salute the LGBT leaders, friends, and allies, then and now, whose tireless advocacy continues to further equality, inclusion, and support for individuals from every community â€”
in New York City and beyond.
Learn about NYUâ€™s public programs and community partnerships
facebook.com/NYUinNYC June 25, 2015
Christopher St. Pier is still peerless as a INTERVIEWS AND PHOTOS BY ALICIA GREEN
or more than half a century, Christopher St. has been the stomping ground for New York’s LGBT community. In 1969, the Stonewall Riots, at the Stonewall Inn, brought attention to the street and helped start the gay rights movement in the U.S. The 1990 film “Paris is Burning” — a documentary about the ball culture in New York City and the many members of the L.G.B.T. community involved in it — featured the Christopher St. Pier. Christopher St. is a second home to those seeking acceptance and refuge from their neighborhoods. At its western end, the Christopher St. Pier, also known as Pier 45, has been a safe haven over the years for gay youth, especially the homeless and those of color. Members of the gay community, of various ages, shared with The Villager why they come to the pier, why it’s such an important place for them and how it’s changed over the years.
I like to just sit down with friends and ki. “Ki” is like just get together, talk, just enjoy the time that we have, eat. It’s just amazing. Vil: Have you met new friends out here? I met friends of friends. It’s a great way to network with friends in the gay community since it is so small. You either come here and see people that you have vibed with before, or people you have negative pasts with; but you know you respect the place and you just chill here.
maybe about once or twice a week. Vil: What is a typical day like at the pier for you? Just walking around, either lying down on the grass, sitting on a bench or standing over here looking at the water. And again, looking at eye candy because there are a lot of guys jogging out here that have abs. Vil: Do you think the pier has changed your life in any type of way? Do you think it’s made you more comfortable being gay?
stranger. Sometimes, some strangers will even join along.
Jamel, 21, from Brooklyn
Vil: Why do you like coming to the pier? Is it an important place for you? It’s not really important to me, but I come out here to kiki with the girls. Vil: Do you feel comfortable being yourself in your neighborhood? For the most part, but I’m still cautious. There are more people around here, like more gay people, more open people, more people in my community that I can come here and express myself, and not be judged. Vil: How often do you come to the pier? I used to come very, very often. Now, I come like once in a blue moon. Vil: Do you have some good memories here? A couple years ago, I met my home girl. But I didn’t meet her here, I met her at The Door [the youth-development center at 555 Broome St.]. I had never got her name or number. Then a couple days later, I pumped over here and we ki’d the whole day when I saw her. It was just so fun.
Josh, left, with his boyfriend, Ricky.
Josh, 18, from the Bronx
Luis Soto, 18, from the Bronx
Vil: Why do you like coming to the Christopher St. Pier? I was just introduced to the pier like last month. I feel like when I come here, I’m just welcomed by everyone. It feels welcoming like this is home. My second home basically. Vil: Do you feel comfortable being yourself in your neighborhood? In my neighborhood, I feel like, “OK, I’m dressed up. Now, I need to leave.” Over here, it’s like, “Yes. I get to put on a show.” It’s like all eyes are on me in my neighborhood in a negative way. Over here, it’s like you’re just welcomed. Vil: What do you like to do while you’re here at the pier?
June 25, 2015
Vil: Why do you like coming to the Christopher St. Pier? It’s a great view. It’s a great feel. You get to see the whole city, but also it has some green. There are a lot of hot guys around here that are shirtless, so some good eye candy.
Definitely. A lot of my friends, we just come here and chill. We can just be us. We can listen to music out here. Talk about any kind of stuff we want to talk about, different guys we like. We’re not going to get judged by a
Patrik-Ian Polk, 41, originally from Mississippi
Vil: Do you feel comfortable in your neighborhood being gay, or more comfortable when you come here? More here. It’s a just a place where… you could just be yourself, not really be worried. Up in the Bronx, or at least where I am at, it’s more Latino-based. Homosexuality isn’t as common over there. Over here, at least, I can be here… with other people like me. Vil: How often do you come to the pier? As often as I can. During the summer, a lot more frequent. A couple times a week. During the school year, I’d say
Vil: Why did you come to New York? Work. Vil: How long have you been coming to the pier? Since college. Vil: Why do you like coming to the pier? Is it an important place for you? As far as public parks go, it’s nice. It’s on the water. It’s a space that everyone can enjoy. Jamel.
THE PIER continued on p. 17 EastVillagerNews.com
place to meet, mingle and just be yourself THE PIER continued from p. 16
Vil: Do you feel comfortable being gay here in contrast to your neighborhood? Yeah, I feel comfortable here. I think, even with the sort of changes, there still seems to be a pretty heavy gay presence here. Vil: Have you noticed any differences from when you started coming here versus now? They’ve completely redone it. When I was coming here two decades ago, it was very different. They’ve cleaned it up, and switched it up quite a bit. Now, they have curfews. It used to be pretty much open all the time. But the whole neighborhood has been going through a sort of gentrification process over the last how many ever years. Christopher St., for example. You’ve seen the bars slowly disappearing. Certainly, the bars that cater to gay people of color are mostly gone, with the exception of the Hangar, which is still there. In that regard, it’s very, very different. It used to be really gay down to where there was — right at the corner of Christopher St. — a big black gay bar. Not to mention, numerous places up and down the street. In that way, it’s kind of changed. But the gay community, certainly the gay community of color, is still regarding this place as obviously a place of interest. They still come and congregate here.
Vil: Have you ever had any problems with locals here? No.
Alberto Villa, 50, from Queens (originally from Brazil)
Vil: Why did you come to America? College.
Vil: Is the Christopher St. Pier an important place for you? Yeah, because it is one of the few existing places where gay people can be themselves. Not just me, but I think people from all ethnicities. Twenty to 30 years ago, I used to come here because there were a lot of blacks and Latinos. People were doing everything you could imagine. Dance — they were doing vogue and a lot of stuff. The piers were actually run-down. They were all wood, broken. There was a lot of crime, prostitution, drugs. This is really, really wonderful to see the changes, how the pier has become. Vil: What do you think about some residents pushing for an earlier curfew to get the gay youth off of the pier earlier? No. Definitely no. This was taken by gay people first. Then it became a hot spot. Now, we have all of these people who own these buildings and they want us out. We need a space, and this is one of them. We have to reclaim it back. Vil: Have you ever had a problem with the locals here? No. Never. I’m lucky.
Vil: How would you say the pier changed your life? Because I think it is the safest place to come. Before it used to be after a certain hour you had to leave because you were afraid. But now…I like to come here any time of day.
Ashanti, in his 60’s, originally from Philadelphia Vil: How long have you been coming to the pier? Since the late ’70s. I’ve been living here for 35 years.
Vil: How has it changed since you’ve been coming here? The demographics changed. These piers weren’t what they are today. They were raggedy, and horrible. Vil: What was a typical day at the pier like for you then versus now? The crowds were much more fun. More openness. Just enjoying their lives. Now, it’s a little bit more gentrified. Vil: How often do you come to the pier? I’d say about three times a week maybe.
Alberto Villa. EastVillagerNews.com
Vil: What is one of your favorite memories or a good experience that you’ve had here? The old clubs and bars they used to have. They’re all gone. The memories
are still lingering on, but the clubs are gone. I would say this too — gays aren’t given enough recognition for their innovation. One of the innovative things they started here was the Halloween celebration or festival. Now, it’s been taken over commercially and they do it on Sixth Ave. Originally, it was the gays who first started it on Christopher St. I don’t know how many people know that. Vil: How has coming to the Christopher St. Pier changed your life? Just meeting all the different types of people here and expanding my mind, and not being so closed-minded to certain things and certain people’s ways of life, especially when it comes to transgenders. I had to become more accepting of them. They have their life to live, too. I may not understand it. I understand it a little more bit better today, but back then it was a learning lesson. Vil: Did you make friends during the time that you frequently visited here? Oh yeah. I had a friend who was from England, and he was a famous hairstylist. He lived here right on 11th St. off of Greenwich. He was internationally known. He was one of the most famous hairstylists in the business. He did all the major magazines, the front covers of Vogue. He was in all the major magazines. I met him down here. June 25, 2015
Riots at the Stonewall and magic at Caffe Cino; BY ROBERT HEIDE
he evening of June 28, 1969, is the starting point of the gay revolution at what was once seen as a notorious mafia-run gay hustler bar by some uptight Villagers — and in particular by the New York Police Department — the Stonewall Inn, at 51 Christopher St. The place was originally a horse stable, almost 200 years old in 1930 when it was converted into a rental hall for business banquets, birthday and wedding parties. In the ’60s it opened as a gay bar and attracted a mix of wild drag queens and young gay men. Drags and transvestites were often excluded from the more exclusive gay men’s Village spots, like Julius’ and Lenny’s Hideaway, both on W. 10th St., and the Old Colony and Mary’s, on Eighth St. The cellar dive that was known as Lenny’s is now Smalls Jazz Club. I myself hit the Stonewall a few times back in the early days with a brownette, pointy-toothed Candy Darling. This was before he/she was given a makeover by the flamboyant Off Off Broadway theater director Ron Link, who taught Candy how to do her makeup in 1930s movie-star style. The newly glamorized Candy was presented in a show written by Jackie Curtis at Bastiano’s Cellar Studio Theater in the Village called “Glamour, Glory and Gold,” which featured in his first stage role a young actor named Robert De Niro. For the Candy transformation, Link got out a white henna powder concoction that, when mixed with peroxide and pure ammonia and applied to dark hair, turned it platinum-white blonde, thus changing a drab Candy into a Kim Novak/ Jean Harlow blonde bombshell. Eventually, Candy went on to become a Warhol Superstar: for the final makeover touch Warhol paid to have Candy’s teeth capped pearly white. At about the same time, drag performers Jackie Curtis and Holly Woodlawn also jumped into the Warhol superstar film scene at the Factory. There are many stories and myths about the rebellion at the Stonewall and the riots that followed and one of them has a Stonewall regular, a black drag named Marsha, hitting a cop over the head with a high-heeled shoe on the first night of the famous police raid. Some of the Black Marsha myth may have been concocted or exaggerated by the three-day protest crowd. It is known that at one point the police were actually locked (along with Howard Smith, the Village Voice “Scenes” columnist) inside the place by the angry drags and queens and their sympathizers fed up with the constant raids and continuous harassment.
June 25, 2015
John Gilman, left, as Christopher — the upstairs neighbor who just moved in with his boyfriend, Joe — with Robert Frink, right, as Sam the hippie, in Robert Heide’s play “Moon” at the Caffe Cino in 1968.
My partner, John Gilman, and I watched some of the big happenings from Christopher Park, not realizing at that time the full importance these events would ultimately have on gay history, gay identity, the gay revolution and the gay liberation that followed. Now, same-sex marriage is O.K. and, in the summer of 2015 with Olympian Bruce Jenner becoming Caitlyn Jenner, sex change has become the new “normal” in America, leading us to a completely different way of looking at the world of transgenders, transsexuals and transvestites. Another important gay scene that was taking place in the Village, even before the Stonewall opened its doors as a gay hotspot, was the Caffe Cino storefront coffeehouse theater, now known as the first Off Off Broadway theater, which had a 10-year span from 1958 to 1968. The Cino, at 31 Cornelia St., run by Joe Cino, has become legendary for the plays that first presented “out” gay relationships. It was at the Cino that Joe, sometimes wearing an American flag cape, ordered the gay male writers on the premises to write plays for men that expressed their own gay lifestyle, suggesting to them, “It’s magic time — do your own thing, and do what you have to do.” These commandments from Joe, a motivational leader and mentor who inspired writers and actors alike to do whatever they so wanted in the place, became iconic Sixties jargon. Cino himself and his lover, Jon Torrey, the lighting designer who wired the Caffe’s electricity to a Cornelia St. lamppost and later accidentally electrocuted himself (no, they never paid a bill to Con Edison), along with resident artist Kenny Burgess, resident lighting designer Johnny Dodd and his companion Michael Smith,
an influential Village Voice critic and playwright, and others attracted not just gay writers and actors, but “straight” writers and actors, and gay and straight audiences, as well. Also not to be forgotten would be the provolone and pimento sandwiches and the best cup of cappuccino and Italian puff pastries in the Village. (Dodd and Smith lived down the block at 5 Cornelia St. where the legendary Judson Church dancer and Warhol film star Fredie Herko did a ballet leap out the window of the fifthfloor apartment window high on LSD, landing on the pavement below.) Some of the characters and talented personalities frequently on the scene at the Caffe Cino included Angelo Lovullo, Joe’s childhood friend from Buffalo; the brilliant actor Charles Stanley; director Robert Dahdah, who produced and directed “Dames at Sea,” as well as dozens of other plays at the tiny theater; actor and director Magie Dominic; set designer and director Donald L. Brooks; the Hedy Lamar lookalike Lady Hope Stansbury; the mercurial Eddie Barton; the notorious Cornelia Street Art Gallery owner Frank Thompson; famous drop-ins, like the existential writer and author of “The Outsider,” Colin Wilson; Broadway theatrical producer Richard Barr, playwright exemplar Edward Albee; director Tom O’Horgan; Andy Warhol; Bob Dylan, and the legions of actors, many of whom later became famous: Bernadette Peters, Fred Forest, Shirley Stoler, Neil Flanagan, Helen “The Queen of Off Off Broadway” Hanft, blonde Mari Clare Charba, Larry Burns, the entire Harris family — including George Sr., George Jr. (a.ka. Hibiscus), Fred, mother Ann (“Honeymoon Killers”), Walter Michael (“Hair”), Eloise, Jayne Anne and Mary Lou — The Scream-
ing Violets, John Gilman, Victor LiPari, Al Pacino, Harvey Keitel, Paxton Whitehead, Ondine, Jane Lowry, Lise Beth Talbot and more. Playwrights included H. M. Koutoukas, Lanford Wilson (15 of this Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright’s first plays were done at the Cino); William M. Hoffman (“As Is”); John Guare (“Six Degrees of Separation”); Paul Foster (“Balls”); Sam Shepard; Doric Wilson (“West Street Gang”); Tom Eyen (“Dreamgirls”); Oliver Hailey, myself and many, many others. It should be noted here that Michael Smith ran the Cino for a time with harpsichord manufacturer Wolfgang Zuckerman, and that Charles Stanley — who famously played in drag at the Cino but wearing a beard in the H. M. Koutoukas camp chamber play “Medea in the Laundromat” — also gave it a whirl after Joe’s hara-kiri with knife in a dance-death suicide ritual on hallucinogenic drugs one night in the Caffe. Joe died from his wounds on April 2, 1967, at St. Vincent’s Hospital. Sadly, with the passing of “The Saint of Little Theater,” the spirit of the sacred magical space went with him. Difficulties with the law and licensing had always plagued the Cino. But Joe, an Italian, seemed at home handling the police and mob interests, and the new managers were not able to cope with the explosive pressure-cooker chaos. Doric Wilson was the first gay playwright to turn up at the Cino — in 1961 — and his plays, including “And He Made a Her,” “Babel Babel Little Tower,” “Pretty People” and “Now She Dances,” were modeled after and inspired by his hero Noel Coward. Doric in his leather phase went on to write S & M plays for The Eagle, a leather bar on West St., and finally for Tosos Theater Group, “The West Street Gang.” In 1962, Alan Lysander James wrote and performed “The World of Oscar Wilde” at the Cino almost in the same sense that Hal Holbrook took on the persona of Mark Twain, a monologue that was first performed at Jan Wallman’s cabaret, Upstairs at the Duplex, on Grove St. One “Cino-ite” actor felt that Alan James actually thought that he had been reincarnated as “the new” Oscar Wilde. David Starkweather came up with a play called “So Who’s Afraid of Edward Albee?” in 1963. After seeing this play at the Cino, Albee shrugged his shoulders, said nothing, and staring straight ahead, walked out of the theater in a huff. Lanford Wilson, also a standing member of the Cino gay entourage, opened his one-act masterpiece “The Madness of Lady Bright” on May 14, CAFFE CINO continued on p. 19 EastVillagerNews.com
Gay revolution in Greenwich Village in the ’60s CAFFE CINO continued from p. 18
1964, starring the brilliant Neil Flanagan as the aging, tormented queen. Fred Forest, who later went on to movie stardom, appeared in this opus as a wide-eyed, innocent young man. At the Cino, “gay” was simply everyday reality and not regarded as anything special or strange. My own play “The Bed” opened in June 1965, and by popular demand returned in July and September of that year. (Runs at the Cino were usually three weeks, Thursday through Sunday, with performances twice a night; sometimes on Friday and Saturday, a third latenight performance was added). Starring James Jennings and Larry Burns, “The Bed” found two young men on booze and drugs stuck in a time warp and unable to get out of bed. One of them thinks of committing suicide but instead decides simply to go out to buy cigarettes and a bottle of Coke.
“The Bed” was filmed by Andy Warhol and it is now being digitized by the Warhol Museum, a Whitney and MoMA film project. In 1966 Robert Dahdah, who had directed “The Bed,” brought “Dames at Sea or Golddiggers Afloat” to the Cino where it had a long, extended run. Dahdah discovered a 16-year-old girl named Bernadette Peters and cast her in the lead role. The camp-style 1930s Busby Berkeley musical film spoof, by George Haimsohn and Robin Miller, made theater history and turned Bernadette herself into a star. Note that a revival of “Dames at Sea” opens on Broadway at the Helen Hayes Theater this fall. It has been put forward that H. M. “Harry” Koutoukas was the quintessential Cino playwright. He won an Obie award “for his outrageous assault on the theater” for his imaginative poetic “chamber plays” at the Caffe, featuring titles like “With Creatures
Make My Way,” “Cobra Invocations,” “Tidy Passions or Kill,” “Kaleidoscope,” “Kill” and “Only A Countess May Dance When She’s Crazy.” In 2006 there was a celebration of the Caffe Cino on Cornelia St., with a site-specific theater work, “Fragments,” featuring 1960s plays of Off Off Broadway. The incredible show (which included my own play “The Bed,” with the two actors in a giant bed being dragged up Seventh Ave. South) was produced by the innovative Peculiar Works Project, which won a 2007 Obie Award for their efforts. At one end of the blocked-off one-block-long Cornelia St., Kristen Lewis and Joel Newman tap danced numbers choreographed by Jillian Harrison from “Dames at Sea,” while in front of the Caffe (now the Po restaurant), Steven Hauck, Lars Preece and Gretchen M. Michelfeld, directed by Gabriel Shanks, enacted Lanford Wilson’s “The Madness
of Lady Bright” and Evan Enderle, choreographed by Jillian Harrison, performed a memorial dance for Jonathan Torrey. At the end of the block in front of 5 Cornelia Street on the spot where dancer Fred Herko died, British actor Michael Tomlinson, portraying Herko, performed “Freddie’s Monologue” from Diane di Prima’s “Monuments,” which was the last play done at the Caffe before it closed its doors forever in March 1968. A plaque with an image of Joe Cino affixed to the Po restaurant reads: “Joe Cino 1931-1967 – On this site in the Caffe Cino – 1958-1968 – artists brought theatre into the modern era creating Off Off Broadway and forever altering the performing arts worldwide.” Yes, there are many ghosts on Cornelia St. and so much happened there, including possibly the birth of gay plays, and all of that has been assimilated on Broadway, in the movies, and on television.
Making history with the Disability Pride Parade BY MICHAEL SCHWEINSBURG
s we come together to celebrate the achievements of the L.G.B.T. community this month, get ready to witness the pride of the disability community. Disability Pride NYC (DPNYC) is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is working with the Mayor’s Office of People With Disabilities to present the First Annual Disability Pride Parade, marching down Broadway, on Sun., July 12. Our day will start at Madison Square Park, where entertainers and speakers will pump up the excitement before we step off at noon from Fifth Ave. and 26th St. to join former U.S. Senator Tom Harkin in front of the famed Flatiron Building. From there we will proceed down Broadway to Union Square’s northend plaza. The parade will culminate with a three-hour extravaganza on the big stage, featuring luminaries and exciting performances from musicians, dancers, comedians and other stars of TV, stage and screen, as well as appearances by prominent elected officials. A three-block festival will continue along the park’s western perimeter. It has been acknowledged that the disability community comprises the largest minority group, yet we are rarely afforded our due respect and recognition. As pleased as we are that presidential campaigns so frequently mention their allegiance with the L.G.B.T. community, we are EastVillagerNews.com
From right, Michael Schweinsburg, director of Disability Pride NYC; Luis Motalvan and his service dog, Tuesday; and Edith Prentiss, president of 504 Democratic Club and a DPNYC committee member, at a protest on Montalvan’s behalf. A decorated Iraq War veteran, Montalvan was reportedly physically assaulted — with a garbage can lid — by a McDonald’s employee after entering one of the chain’s restaurants with Tuesday.
dismayed that so few make reference to the inequities faced by people with disabilities. Over the next few years, we intend to change that and propel disability rights issues to the forefront. Already, we have achieved not only recognition but the full cooperation and partnership of the current administration here in New York City through the Mayor’s Office of People With Disabilities and our outstanding commissioner, Victor Calise. This year, together with M.O.P.D., we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans With
Disabilities Act, which is the codification of our civil rights. Senator Harkin was the author of the final bill that became the A.D.A. law and will serve as a grand marshal. Our parade will be a centerpiece of a month-long series of events, being organized through M.O.P.D. to celebrate this important anniversary. There will be museum exhibits, lectures, sports and recreational activities, the bus from the cross-country A.D.A. Legacy Tour, and performances and other activities throughout the five boroughs. Visit www.nyc.gov/ada25nyc for more details on all the events. The parades’ goals are to instill or reinforce pride among all members of the disability community, including caregivers, family, friends, supporters and allies; to change the public perception of people with disabilities; and to tear down the silos that segment our community. DPNYC was founded nearly four years ago by Mike LeDonne, an accomplished jazz musician who has a daughter with multiple disabilities. While walking her to school four years ago, when she was a first grader, he rightfully became increasingly annoyed that other parents would allow their children to turn around and point and gawk at young Mary. He wondered how those parents could display such a blatant form of discrimination. He had never really engaged with the broader disability community. Indeed, he wasn’t aware we were so strong in number. He remembers thinking that so many heritage
groups enjoyed parades and celebrations of their culture, but that the disability community had not achieved that status. So he set about to change that. He worked at it for years, and last year a committee was formed, and together we began to make remarkable progress. Mike worked for months to organize a benefit concert for the parade and wound up creating what has been referred to as “The Woodstock of Jazz.” This Jan. 8, in the acoustically perfect E. 15th St. meeting hall of the Religious Society of Friends, 16 jazz greats came together for the “Jazz Legends for Disability Pride” event. The all-star roster included Ron Carter, Benny Golson, Brad Mehldau, Jimmy Cobb, Harold Mabern, George Coleman, Bill Charlap, Buster Williams, Russell Malone, Eric Alexander, Peter Bernstein, Renee Rosnes, Joe Farnsworth, Kenny Washington, John Webber and, of course, Mike himself. To ensure that this milestone event truly reflects our community’s diversity, we have been convening outreach and planning meetings citywide since January. So, come join us on July 12, and be a part of history. On full display will be the beauty and dignity of difference, a celebration of diversity and a grand statement of pride. To get involved, please visit our Web site, www.disabilitypridenyc. com , to register to march, to volunteer or to learn more. Or write to me at Director@DisabilityPrideNYC.com . June 25, 2015
June 25, 2015
Attacked in a safe haven, they fought back Learn the real story of the ‘lesbian wolf pack’
BY WINNIE McCROY
PHOTO BY LYRIC CABRAL
or LGBT youth who come from across the boroughs and New Jersey to hang out in the West Village, this historically gay neighborhood is a place where they are able to be out and proud. For some, it is the only place where they can truly be themselves — but in August 2006, a group of young African-American lesbians who fought back after being harassed and attacked were vilified by the media, and charged by the criminal justice system. Director/producer blair dorosh-walther tells their story in the documentary “Out in the Night,” which is streaming on pbs.org through July 23. “My friends and my lives were in danger, so there was need to defend ourselves,” Terrain Dandridge told this publication. “If we hadn’t, someone would not be here today.” Another noted that they were afraid for their lives, and that their families didn’t even know they were locked up for 24 hours. The documentary opens with the sound of a police emergency call, street footage of the scene, and salacious headlines like “Attack of the Killer Lesbians” and “Lesbian Wolf Pack” touting the “gang beating” of a 28-year-old man just for “complimenting” a group of young women. For the young women who experienced the harassment, the situation could have easily turned deadly, as in the similar case of Sakia Gunn, the lesbian killed at a Newark bus stop. The four girls — Terrain Dandridge, Renata Hill, Patreese Johnson and Venice Brown — lived in New Jersey, and were used to tough streets. But they viewed the Village as “a safe haven,” a place to “hit on a few chicks, get a few numbers and go home.” When they passed a man sit-
L to R: Of the seven women arrested, Venice Brown, Terrain Dandridge, Patreese Johnson and Renata Hill served jail time after refusing to plead guilty.
ting on a fire hydrant outside the IFC Film Center (Sixth Ave. at W. Third St.), that’s when trouble started. According to testimony read by an actor, the man thought, “One was slightly pretty, so I said hi to her.” “He said, ‘Lemme get some a that,’ and pointed to my crotch,” asserts Johnson in the film. But when she told him she was gay, Johnson said the man began calling them names, and threatening to rape them. As the man approached the women, he spit and threw a lit cigarette at them. “No means no; just take no,” said one woman as the situation unfolded. But when the man swung, they fought
back. He choked one of the women and pulled a handful of another’s hair out. In response, one stabbed him with a penknife. When the police arrived, arresting officer Christopher O’Hare said the girls were high-fiving each other. He arrested seven women, who were taken to Rikers Island, where some were kept for nine months. Hill’s lawyer, Susan Tipograph, said prosecutors insisted on keeping the women locked up while they pursued “Draconian sentences.” They were told they faced 25 years in prison if they fought charges. Three pled guilty. The others claimed self-defense.
“They said in order for me to take the deal I need to plead guilty, but I’m not going to say that I’m guilty. I felt so confident I’m not pleading guilty, because I’m not guilty. I defended myself. Let the people judge it,” said Johnson in the film. But the people were led by the media, which twisted the story. As dorosh-walther noted, “The headline ran, ‘Man is stabbed after admiring a stranger.’ An admirer? I really could not believe it. A man does not ‘admire’ teenage girls on the street at midnight. That is harassment.” NIGHT continued on p. 22 June 25, 2015
Doc charts cost of women failed by the system NIGHT continued from p. 21
PHOTO BY LYRIC CABRAL
“It angered me that they accused us of hating men,” says Terrain Dandridge of media portrayals.
room,” says dorosh-walther. Some of the most redeeming evidence was never exhibited, like footage of the man attacking the women, and the police radio transcripts that described it as only a minor incident with a penknife — not a gangland stabbing. “It surprised me how crass and cynical the judge is — both through the transcripts and in an interview (off camera),” added dorosh-walther. “I didn’t have too much faith in our criminal legal system before I began this project, but I was shocked at just how egregious it is day in and day out. The appellate court has often cited this judge for misinstruction to the jury and frequently lessens his sentences. But nothing happens to [him]. Where is the oversight? Why is this judge still on the bench?” Video footage from the IFC Center shows that the women were walking by when the man accosted them. After an initial skirmish, a group of men jumped in to protect the girls from the attack. But prosecutors never heard
PHOTO BY LYRIC CABRAL
The New York Post’s Laura Italiano was among the journalists who stoked the flames. The prosecutor painted a picture that had an innocent man saying hello to a group of angry lesbians, who attacked him unprovoked. It wasn’t until later, when she read the litany of anti-gay comments on the man’s website, that she had to reexamine the case. “I was stunned and felt as though the media betrayed us,” said Hill in an email to this publication. “The fact that the articles were written before even trying to get our side of the story really disturbed me. ‘Innocent bystander’ was nowhere near what this guy was. It angered me more that they accused us of hating men. I have a son, three brothers and a male best friend.” “This case is an example of the mainstream news media’s lack of understanding of intersectional identities. This was the perfect storm of these Black, lesbian, women, gender non-conforming, poor youth. Each of these identities played a role,” added dorosh-walther — who originally became involved as an activist, believing that, “too often white filmmakers tell people of color’s stories, specifically African Americans and often stories about poor or incarcerated African Americans. This is prevalent in the documentary world as well and I did not want to add to it.” So she worked on the women’s cases for two years. When their appeals approached and she was the only one still “passionate and outraged by it,” she didn’t want the story swept under the rug, and “began a long interview process. I wasn’t going to make this film if they were not comfortable with me.” Between media depictions and the stereotypes that jurors were fed, the women “didn’t have a chance the moment they walked into that court-
Patreese Johnson opted for a trial, but found the system was not “giving us a fair chance to ﬁght for our freedom.”
from them. “The system wasn’t built to be on my side, being black, young and a lesbian,” said Johnson. “I went to trial because I believed in the system. Watching ‘Out in the Night,’ I realized how much evidence could have helped out our defense. It was clear the system was not
really seeking justice or giving us a fair chance to fight for our freedom.” The women were found guilty of varied Assault and Gang Assault offenses, and sentenced to between 3.5–11 years in prison. All were sent to Albion Correctional Facility, near the Canadian border. “They didn’t tell how my daughter was attacked, and choked. It’s called gay-bashing, but they won’t call it that,” said Hill’s mother Mollie. “My daughter is in jail for eight years for defending herself.” The “New Jersey 4” eventually appealed their case, and got some of their sentences lessened, but not after most had served two years for defending themselves in a fistfight. Johnson remained in prison until 2013. Elements of homophobia, sexism, classism and racism are clear-cut in this case. Watching the powerful documentary will sicken some, and challenge most New Yorkers to question whether there is any justice at all in our criminal justice system. “None. Not at all. Not even a little bit,” answers dorosh-walther to that question. “I think that without the activist organization FIERCE, these women wouldn’t have had much support at all. I think this happens every day.” Most of the women involved say they wouldn’t do anything different, and are grateful to dorosh-walther for telling the world about the injustice that was done to them. “I would like for everyone who are angry…to fight with us for #BLACKLIVESDOMATTER…and get the word out about ‘Out in the Night’ and similar cases,” said Johnson. “No longer should anyone stand by and let the system continue to take advantage of our youth and their lives.” “Out in the Night” streams through July 23 at pbs.org/pov. For more info, visit outinthenight.com and facebook. com/OutInTheNight.
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June 25, 2015
Wartime’s lethal homophobia Museum exhibit examines Nazi assault on the gay community BY KELSY CHAUVIN
PHOTOS BY KELSY CHAUVIN
oinciding with LGBT Pride Month, the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City has a new exhibit about the plight of gays during the Holocaust. “Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945,” which opened on May 29, examines the history of gay men and lesbians during Adolph Hitler’s regime as well as the German criminal statute that led to their systemic oppression. “The exhibition explores why homosexual behavior was identified as a danger to Nazi society and how the Nazi regime attempted to eliminate it,” said exhibition curator Edward Phillips. “The Nazis believed it was possible to ‘cure’ homosexual behavior through labor and ‘re-education.’ Their efforts to eradicate homosexuality left gay men subject to imprisonment, castration, institutionalization, and deportation to concentration camps.” The traveling exhibit is on display in Lower Manhattan through October 2. It was produced by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (ushmm.org) in Washington, and consists of a series of panels organized according to phases in the persecution of gays over the 12 years of Nazi rule. The panels cover topics beginning with the ascendancy of liberalism in Germany during the Weimar Era, from 1919 to 1933. As explained in the exhibit, those years brought to big cities like Berlin “rapid growth, social diversity, and a permissive atmosphere” that saw flourishing artists’ communities, as well as cafés, bars, and dance halls that allowed same-sex “friendship leagues” to form. But that tolerant heyday vanished with the 1933 appointment of Hitler as chancellor. Armed with the 1871 German Criminal Code provision known as Paragraph 175, which criminalized homosexual acts between men, Hitler seized the opportunity to persecute those labeled as degenerates, alleging that they threatened the country’s “disciplined masculinity.” The law did not apply to lesbians, and in general women were targeted less than gay men. The exhibit touches only glancingly on
Through Oct. 2, Battery Park City’s Museum of Jewish Heritage presents an exhibition (produced by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC) that examines the Nazi regime’s persecution of Germany’s gay community.
The museum’s director, Dr. David G. Marwell, said, “Many people don’t know the full extent of the Nazi campaign to eradicate homosexuality.”
the treatment of lesbians, but notes that women were prized as wives and mothers for a nation that faced a declining birth rate. The lesbians who were persecuted were typically deemed “asocials,” a Nazi catchall term for non-conformity. Their stories are not well-documented, and thus are an obvious missing element of this exhibit. In all, about 100,000 men were arrested for violating Nazi Germany’s anti-homosexuality statutes, and of these, approximately 50,000 were sentenced to prison. Somewhere
between 5,000 and 15,000 men were sent to concentration camps on similar charges, where an unknown number of them died. Other groups that suffered similar fates included the Roma (Gypsies), those with disabilities, Soviet prisoners of war, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. While the exhibit is educational and sorrowful, it manages to convey both the big picture of homosexual victimization and individual stories that offer elements of uplift, resistance, and even limited triumph. One of those is the story of Willem
Arondeus and Frieda Belinfante, two out queer Dutch artists who joined the anti-Nazi resistance and eventually led a group that in 1943 destroyed a Nazi records office in Amsterdam. Belinfante managed to escape by disguising herself in male drag, hiding in Switzerland and eventually emigrating to the United States in 1947. Arondeus, however, was captured and executed. His last message proudly stated, “Let it be known that homosexuals are not cowards.” Individual stories like these are a key part of the mission at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, which calls itself “a living memorial to the Holocaust.” “The mission of our museum has always been to tell the story of the Holocaust not from the point of view of the perpetrators, but from the perspective of the victims,” said the museum’s director, Dr. David G. Marwell. “This exhibition tells the story of lesser-known victims of Nazi persecution and is an important contribution to our understanding of the period.” Part of that living legacy will unfold throughout June with several special events. Sundays in June at noon, the museum hosts “Yellow Stars, Pink Triangles,” a new tour of its core exhibition with a focus on the Nazi persecution of gays. The tours will be conducted on a walkin basis. In addition to the space devoted to LGBT exhibit itself, the Jewish Museum also provides reading and conversation areas with related books to further explore the suffering the LGBT community endured under the Nazi regime. “Many people don’t know the full extent of the Nazi campaign to eradicate homosexuality,” said Marwell. “We look forward to shedding light on this important subject.” “Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945” is on display at the Museum of Jewish Heritage (36 Battery Pl., at First Pl.) though Oct. 2. Open Sun.–Tues. & Thurs., 10 a.m.–5:45 p.m.; Wed. 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; and Fri. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tickets are $12, $10 for seniors, $7 for students, and free for children under 12 (and Wed. 4-8 p.m). For tickets, visit mjhnyc.org or call 646437-4202. For more information, visit mjhnyc.org/npoh. June 25, 2015
Oh, the queer shows you’ll go to
Festival productions that are a little, well, ‘festive’ BY SCOTT STIFFLER
PHOTO BY JENN KIDWELL
nown the world over for their sophistication, it comes as no shock to New York City audiences that our vibrant Broadway community has its share of those who identify as something other than strictly heterosexual. This may seem like a recent trend — but scholars believe it can be traced all the way back to Neanderthal times, when long winter nights were enlivened by dramatic interpretations of the last successful hunt. A free thinker in the group (first to accessorize the ubiquitous fur pullover) suggested adding a musical number augmented by something he called “chor-eoog-raphy.” His longtime traveling companion found a new use for the popular opposable thumb, by coming up with what we know today as “jazz hands.” Their two female besties (besties themselves) constructed the sets, and theater was born. The show (“Mammoth Follies of 50,000 BC”) proved so popular, it was moved to a bigger cave. Audiences were delighted — although there were grumblings from those in the front row, who were required to pay three stones (at the time, an exorbitant amount) for premium seating. Flash forward to modern times, and we see this publication contributing its own innovation to the presence of LGBTs in theater — an introductory paragraph, largely unrelated to the topic, used to help reach the required word count. As the bi-curious caveman said to his good buddy upon their court-ordered acceptance into a hetero-only hot springs steambath, “They’re throwing us a bone!”
Do your best Judy or Cher, when Jennifer Nikki Kidwell (as Stanley Epps) hosts the Queerly Festival’s “Lipsynk Karaoke.”
THE QUEERLY FESTIVAL
June 25, 2015
PHOTO BY GIANCARLO OSABEN
On June 25, Horse Trade Theater Group premieres the Queerly Festival — a new Pride month tradition that hands its East Village stages (The Kraine Theater and UNDER St. Marks) over to comedians, storytellers, poets and playwrights, who inject queer identity into an already specific worldview (readhead, Southerner, sports fan, misfit). Day 1 Queerly shows include “Lipsynk Karaoke,” in which sometimes drag king Stanley Epps (aka full-time performance artist Jennifer Nikki Kidwell) presides over the lipsynch-style elevation or slaughter of gay anthems by Cher, Barbra, Judy, Grace Jones and, yes, even Clay Aik-
Your drag mother’s favorite weeper gets the musical spoof treatment, when the loonies from UNAUTHORIZED! present “Steel Petunias!” at the QueerCom Festival.
en. Sign up at 7 p.m. — the trouble starts in another 30 minutes. At 8 p.m., “Queerly Canadian” stars our
trailblazing neighbors to the north. Host Jillian Thomas and her cast of comics and burlesque performers de-
liver the highly advanced entertainment you’d expect from a country that enacted anti-discrimination laws in 1998, legalized same sex marriage in 2005 and has allowed gay adoption for decades. At 9 p.m., NYC drag leeeeeegend Flotilla “not on Facebook, bitches!” Debarge holds court with a cabaret show featuring old standards and new material. Another modern classic, Molly “Equality” Dykeman, is among the June 26 festival highlights. Her 8 p.m. “Queerly Misfits” show has the foulmouthed, pill-popping, girl-loving gal using sketch and song to praise outcasts of all persuasions. The guest performers are Melissa Gordon, Paul Hutcheson, Cara Kilduff, Alan Warnock and our favorite ukulele-playing, nun-marrying bi (lingual and otherwise) gal, D’yan Forest. On June 28 & 29 at 8 p.m., The BTK Band, which debuted in 2007 in the upstairs lounge at The Stonewall Inn, brings their “hard-drinking improvised storytelling” to Queerly, with a formidable contingent of go-go dancers in tow. Take note, programmers of those dreadful Hallmark Movie Channel hetero rom-coms! Subcultures clash and hearts collide, when July 1’s “With You!” has a women’s rugby team struggling to save “the only sport and safe space on campus for queer athletes.” East Village native Una Aya Osato plays all of the parts. Same date, at 9 p.m., the Pride show from Horse Trade’s monthly “TenFoot Rat Cabaret” goes all lavender, with their operatic, glam-punk celebration of Otherness. The “Trans Variety Show” at 7 p.m. on July 2 is a showcase curated, written, directed and performed by NYC-based trans dancers, comedians, actors and performance artists. “Queerly Southern,” 8 p.m. on July 3, celebrates the Great Gay South with storytelling from David Crabb and Lucas Womack. The Queerly Festival happens June 25–July 3 at The Kraine Theater (85 E. Fourth St. btw. Second Ave. & Bowery) and UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place btw. First Ave. & Ave. A). For tickets ($8-$15), visit horsetrade.info.
LGBT just won’t cut it. You’ll need to deploy every color of the queer abbreviation rainbow and then some if you want to equal the types of comQUEER SHOWS continued on p.25 EastVillagerNews.com
Mega gay for little pay: queer theater bargains QUEER SHOWS continued from p. 24
Molly “Equality” Dykeman and an all-star stable of misfits perform on June 26, as part of the Queerly Festival.
compatible with their notions of religion, sexuality, and DL existence. QueerCom happens June 26–28 at The PIT (Peoples Improv Theater), 123 E. 24th St. (btw. Park & Lexington). For tickets ($10), call 212-563-7488 or visit thepit-nyc.com.
THE PLANET CONNECTIONS THEATRE FESTIVITY
A mere handful of overtly queer shows populate this festival, but audiences of every persuasion can feel good about getting on board with its mission: to inspire social change by “showing meaningful work done in as environmentally responsible a way possible.” What’s more, each production selects a nonprofit to benefit with their work. God’s Love We Deliver and Gay Men’s Health Crisis are among this year’s recipients. Playing five performances from June 26–July 7, “Taking Flight: Songs of Hope” is Unitarian Universalist musician and social activist Sarah Jebian’s combo of popular music and personal songs addressing gender equality, reproductive justice and LGBT equality. “Blanche on a Winter’s Eve,” playing four performances through July 11, is writer/ performer J.P. Makowski’s one-man show about a woman who receives a heavenly vision the night before Christmas, then sets off on a romantic quest that takes her through the
snowy city and into a den of hipsters. Elsewhere in the festival, you’re invited to eavesdrop on a typical Chelsea gathering: The slut! The perv! The threesome-friendly couple who treat pets as if they were biological children! The uptight celibate who keeps everyone else in check! These gay friends may be straight out of central casting, but the secrets they reveal when the drinks start to flow have more to do with basic human drives than their go-to gossip topics (like Grindr, Truvada, and which first lady was the best mom). That’s the biggest surprise, and the greatest strength, of “Women & Children” — which begins with increasingly isolated group leader Marcus favoring sober pursuits, such as handcrafting “non-snow” snow domes whose little people drown after the user shakes
COURTESY ANTHONY GRASSO PHOTOGRAPHY
PHOTO BY MAX RUBY
edy at this three-day Pride-themed festival hosted by the Peoples Improv Theater (PIT). QueerCom serves up a flaming hot menu of improv, stand-up, sketch, drag, storytelling, solo shows, musical acts, screenings, panels and full-length musicals. Take that, LGBTQIAA! Among the highlights: the ladies of hard-hitting improv troupe Punch! share their June 26, 9:30 p.m. opening night bill with fellow female PIT regulars Buzz Off, Lucille — who deploy fake moustaches for “Buzz Off, Lucas,” a sketch show exploring gender and sexuality. At 11 p.m., color-queer hosts Bowen Yang and Joel Kim Booster’s “Ethnic Realness” show pours water on the homo-racial hellscape with the help of handpicked comedians, musical acts and drag royalty. Day #2 (June 27) ringers include a 2 p.m. “Straight People in Comedy” panel, whose professional LGBT comics, writers and actors ponder the role of gays as more than punchlines in a world of comedy that, like the world at large, is largely shaped by its heterosexual majority. A 5 p.m. event serves as the launch party for “Spooners.” Directed by Bryan Horch, this web series is based on his short film of the same name. Walter Replogle and Ben Lerman star as two likable goofballs in love, whose lives are frequently interrupted by intrusive visits from the incomparable Frank DeCaro, as meddling mom Goldie. The first two episodes will screen, along with stand-up by DeCaro, sketches from Murderfest (Replogle’s troupe) and funny songs by Lerman. Try not to hog the complimentary light hors d’oeuvres at the aftershow celebration, in PIT’s Love Bar. These boys are brilliant, on a budget! At 8 p.m., hip-hop troupe North Coast improvises an epic “Hip-Hopera” heavy on beat-boxing and comedy. On June 28, drag your sunburned, post-Pride March mess to The PIT and get a second wind, with 7 p.m.’s double bill — featuring Molly Horan’s sketches about lesbian and bisexual women, along with the debut of Matt Smith’s sassy, self-deprecating tales of empowerment earned by escaping his small town and drawing on the wisdom of Golden Girl Dorothy Zbornak. At 8 p.m., “Street Behavior” screens its epic Season 2 finale. The web series soap opera focuses on urban gay characters who struggle to define themselves in a world that isn’t always
Veteran NYC gays reexamine their lives in Planet Connections Theatre Festivity’s “Women & Children” (through July 9).
up a doomed Titanic. Playwright Michael Boothroyd, playing Marcus, infuses him with just enough potential to outgrow the bitter shell he’s been wearing since surviving the plague years. “Without the struggle,” he wonders, “what do I do?” Other characters in this well-acted one-act are in hot pursuit of that question, as it applies to life beyond the next quickie, what constitutes cheating, and how to fill the void when designer dogs are the only gay adoption option. “Women & Children” plays July 7 at 4 p.m. and July 9 at 6 p.m. All Planet Connections Theatre Festivity shows are at The Paradise Factory (64 E. Fourth St. btw. Bowery & Second Ave.). For tickets ($18), call 866-811-4111 or visit planetconnections.org. “Women & Children” info: facebook.com/MostPoliteProductions.
June 25, 2015
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Gramercy healthcare hub, a Mount Sinai spokesperson told The Villager, in a statement, “Mount Sinai is committed to serving the community and offering the highest level of patient care. Our vision is to create a state-ofthe-art hospital at Mount Sinai Beth Israel with exceptional inpatient and outpatient care, as well as essential emergency facilities. Leadership is currently discussing various options to accomplish these goals. No decisions have been made.” Asked if he could speak on the telephone in greater detail about the possible scenarios being considered, the spokesperson declined, saying, “We’re going to let our statement stand for now.” How soon the rebuilding effort would begin wasn’t immediately clear. Mount Sinai merged with Continuum Health Partners nearly two years ago. The group — which is New York City’s largest hospital network — also includes Roosevelt Hospital in Hell’s Kitchen, St. Luke’s Hospital in Morningside Heights and the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary in the East Village. Today located between Stuyvesant Town and Stuyvesant Square, Beth Israel was initially incorporated in 1890 by a group of Orthodox Jews on the Lower East Side to serve the city’s Jewish immigrants. In 1929, Beth Israel moved to a 13-story building at Stuyvesant Square, and in 1964 it
bought the neighboring Manhattan General Hospital on First Ave. After the merger with Mount Sinai in 2013, it officially became known as Mount Sinai Beth Israel. Aron Kay, the “Yippie Pie Man,” 65, has been going to Beth Israel every couple of weeks for the past four of five years to have his chronic leg wounds cleaned out. It’s a medical condition linked to circulation problems, he said. Told by The Villager about the rumored rebuilding plan, he said it was the first he had heard of it. Asked his thoughts on Beth Israel, he said they are “mixed.” “I’ve had some good experiences and some bad experiences,” he said. “At least they let me keep my legs. The treatment is good. The bad part of it is when you’re in a hospital room with three people. Sardine healthcare doesn’t cut it with me. There’s a lack of privacy and people are contagious and who knows what you could come down with?” Kay said he hoped that if the hospital rebuilds, the rooms will be designed to hold fewer patients. Asked if he was aware of the Mount Sinai Beth Israel plan, a spokesperson for North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, which runs the HealthPlex at the former St. Vincent’s Hospital site in the West Village, said he had not. The HealthPlex, which opened last year, has a 24-hour emergency department, though is not a full-service hospital. EastVillagerNews.com
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June 25, 2015
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June 25, 2015
‘We shocked the world’: Tight-knit East Side team SPORTS BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
June 25, 2015
PHOTOS BY DAMIEN ACEVEDO
ith nicknames like “Speedy” and “Timo,” a coach with a shaggy goodluck beard and a “We Are Family” attitude reminiscent of the ’79 champion Pittsburgh Pirates, the East Side Community High School boys baseball recently rocked PSAL AA by winning the citywide championship. On June 3, on the diamond at Yankee Stadium, the scrappy squad from E. 12th St. faced off against the Bronx’s High School of American Studies at Lehman College. East Side had entered the playoffs seeded No. 12 while Lehman was No. 3. Yet the Tigers left no doubt on the field, blanking the Senators, 7-0. His usual fiery self on the mound, Timothy “Timo” Lopez pitched all seven innings in the shutout. On their march to the championship, the Tigers had to win five straight games. That included beating the playoffs’ No. 1 seed, the far larger Lincoln High School, in convincing fashion, 10-3. On the way, they also knocked off a tough Bushwick Campus team, 2-1. Making their feat that much more impressive, East Side is a very small school, relatively speaking, with just 340 students in its high school grades. After having successfully made it into the playoffs in recent years, for this season the team was moved up from Public Schools Athletic League Division A to PSAL AA — the league’s middle division. Speaking after the Tigers’ big win, Mark Federman, the school’s principal, said this team was special in a lot of ways, and that their drive for the championship helped build a positive spirit that spread throughout East Side, which also includes a middle school with grades six to eight. Before they left for the game at Yankee Stadium, the team paraded through the school wearing special “PSAL AA Baseball Championship” T-shirts and getting high-fives from students and teachers. “A lot these kids have been playing together since sixth grade and playing together in the neighborhood,” Federman said. Not only are they a small school, but, he also noted, “We don’t even have a field.” So they have to scramble for playing time in East River Park or take the train and a shuttle bus to the fields on Randall’s Island. “Another story is that this team has really become like a family,” Federman said. “These guys really believe
As was their custom, before the championship game, the East Side players knelt in left field for a moment of focus and team togetherness.
in each other, have each others’ backs. We’re a small school, and the teachers and community offer their support, helping these guys keep their eyes on the prize. “Some kids are pulled in the wrong direction,” he noted. “There’s a lot of hanging out that’s being done — caring more about friends than school.” But this team was focused like a laser on a single goal: winning the championship. After almost going undefeated in last year’s regular season, they were ousted from the playoffs after losing a close game, which only helped to motivate them this season. “They lost in the playoffs last year and were moved up a level. That made them stronger,” the principal said of last year’s heartbreaking playoff loss. Even the faculty were swept up in the excitement, with many of them attending the playoffs. Federman personally went to four of the five games. More than 300 of the school’s students and about 60 faculty members watched the final game at the stadium. “The pitching was incredibly solid,” Federman said of the Tigers. “They can field every position. There’s not a weak link in the lineup — just solid batting and smart choices at the plate. They had so many two-out rallies. They’ve got grit.” Federman couldn’t say enough about the team’s coach, Danny Lora. “For the students who have a dad, he’s like a second father figure,” he said. “For those who don’t, he’s like a father figure. And they just know he loves and cares for them, on and off the field.”
After the huddle, they all put their hands in and got ready to hit the field as Head Coach Danny Lora, sporting his trademark hipster baseball beard, looked on, at left.
Lora has been the school’s baseball coach for the past five years, after returning from a two-year sabbatical in the Dominican Republic, before which he was East Side’s baseball coach for three years. Tom Mullen, now an assistant principal at the school, founded its baseball team in 2002 when he was still a math teacher. “There was no team, and there were a bunch of kids who were really enthusiastic about baseball — and this is the Lower East Side,” Mullen recalled. “That first year, we were 1-18.” He stopped coaching after he became an A.P. around 2007. By then,
the team’s winning percentage had climbed to .500. “Danny is an incredible coach, and he really inspires the kids,” he said. Winning the PSAL AA championship shows just how far the once-fledgling program has come, Mullen said. “We’re a small school,” he said. “We’ve got less than 100 students per grade. Lincoln’s got — what? — 3,000 kids? But our kids just love baseball. And baseball is a motivation for the kids — both for the team and the school. The overall positive feeling about the team rolls over into the CHAMPS continued on p. 31 EastVillagerNews.com
wins PSAL AA championship at Yankee Stadium CHAMPS continued from p. 30
PHOTOS BY KERISA JONES
classroom.” Lora — who also teaches history and lives in the neighborhood — said this core group of players is really special, and he’s seen them grow. “This season was really three, four years in the making,” he said. “The nucleus of the team is my juniors. We really became a team in these last three or four years. We learned mental toughness, we gained experience. Over the years, we learned to bounce back from physical errors. We carried each other.” In addition to Lopez, the team’s other key hurlers included Isaiah Perez, who threw nine innings of one-run ball against Bushwick; Jose Vazquez, who beat Lincoln and also made “an incredible, diving catch” in center field in the championship game, according to Federman; and closer Jacob “Jake” Pena, who, Lora said, also came up with “big hit after big hit,” including the walk-off winner against Bushwick. Shortstop Joshua “Speedy” Almonte “played impeccable defense every game and was a madman on the bases that drove pitchers crazy,” Lora said. Catcher Marcos Martinez “is as tough as nails, calls a great game with our pitchers,” he added. Left fielder Mario Williams, the team’s only freshman, went on a batting tear in the playoffs. Anchoring the infield at first and third base were heavy-hitting twins Hussene and Hassane Azar, who, Lora said, “were clutch with their bats in big situations in what seemed like every playoff game.” “And as everyone saw,” he added, “Timothy Lopez wore his heart on his sleeve and got big hits in every playoff game, and not only threw seven innings of shutout baseball at Yankee Stadium, but got the win in our first two playoff games. “In short, this was a total team effort,” he said. “Every one of our players pulled together to make this happen.” Also part of the winning formula was Steve Sell, who co-coached the team for the past four years, but this year moved out of state. Federman has been the school’s principal for 14 years. For every year that school report cards have been issued, East Side has gotten “A” ’s for both its high school and middle school. In the end, producing academic “allstars” remains the school’s goal. Federman said the baseball Tigers are like role models for the rest of the school. “From a principal’s point of view, these are just good kids,” he said. Some of the players have already had to overcome a lot in their own lives, though Federman and Lora said
Pitcher Timothy Lopez delivered to the plate on his way to a complete-game, seven-inning shutout as East Side won the title.
Infielders gathered on the mound with pitcher Timothy Lopez, second from right, at the start of their frame of the first inning against Lehman at Yankee Stadium.
they didn’t want to get into specifics. “These are all Lower East Side kids, man,” Lora said. “They all have a unique story. I admire every one of them for different reasons.” Winning a baseball championship is now one story that they all share.
“At the end of the day, we’ve all cried together, we’ve fought, we’ve come together, like a family,” Lora said. “I think the lessons we’ve learned on the baseball field are going to help them in life — how to deal with failure, how to have each other’s back.”
With the mission accomplished, Lora said he can now finally razor off his good-luck facial hair. “I always grow my crazy beard for the baseball season,” he said. “I still have it! I’m gonna cut it soon.” Players shared their feelings about finally winning it all. “We shocked the world,” said pitcher/infielder Isaiah Perez. “Such a small school has such a big heart and passion for a lovely game. This team is special and we have a wonderful coach. One Team One Dream.” Third baseman Hussene Azar said, “A lot of teams looked at us as the team that always won the division every year, but always lost in the first round, but that was answered this spring. We passed a lot of known teams on the map in AA and won the championship. This was four years in the making. Yankee Stadium was the best venue, and it couldn’t get any better than with playing with guys I played with on travel teams. It just all came together to win it in my senior year.” Shortstop Joshua Almonte said, “The season was such a great experience of brotherhood and hard work. As a junior, it’s so hard to maintain our grades and play baseball, but that’s the life of student athlete. If it wasn’t for our coach, God knows what position we would be in growing up as young student athletes. Every day he would tell us, ‘It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it,’ and this year we did it.” June 25, 2015
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