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FREE voLUME Twelve, ISSUE SIXTEEN AUGUST 7 - 20, 2013

Francis In-Flight 07 MoMA’s South Korean Peeks 20

Linda Lovelace Finally Naked 18

Starting a Gay Bookstore 25

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August 7, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com

COVER STORY

NEW VOICES ON THE CITY COUNCIL

THEATER

PERSPECTIVE Bradley Manning and the state of our republic

28 Ten gay gems at FringeNYC

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Cover Illustration by Michael Shirey

The scramble for September 10

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INTERNATIONAL

Mel Wymore’s outsider authenticity

WEBSERIES

08-09 Corey Johnson aims for Quinn seat

Protests against anti-gay crackdown focus on vodka, Olympics

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| August 7, 2013

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August 7, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com

INTERNATIONAL

With Russia as Target, Stoli is the Symbol

Protests against anti-gay crackdown at Consulate and Splash focus on imported vodka, 2014 Olympics BY PAUL SCHINDLER

GAY CITY NEWS

A

s a crowd of more than 100 demonstrators massed across the street from the Russian Consulate on Manhattan’s East 91st Street to protest new anti-gay legislation in that country, Bob Fluet, one of the owners of Boxers NYC in Chelsea and Boxers HK in Hells Kitchen, and two of his bartenders poured bottle after bottle of Stolichnaya Vodka into the gutter. “We know that we cannot cripple the Russian government,” Fluet said. “We can bring attention to the issue, and it’s working. It’s just one piece of the puzzle.” Stoli, he said, had been Boxers’ second-best selling vodka until the bars took it off the shelf the week before. The Boxers crew appeared at a July 31 rally organized by RUSA LGBT (the Russian-Speaking American LGBTQ Association) and Queer Nation, a direct action organization recently reconstituted from its 1990s roots. The action came in response to the Russian government’s escalating campaign of anti-gay repression. The evening before, members of ACT UP had disrupted a Stoli event at Chelsea’s Splash bar. In June, that nation’s parliament unanimously adopted a law barring “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations,” with penalties including fines that become particularly harsh if such “propaganda” is distributed online or in the mass media. Any outreach or assistance to LGBT minors is banned under the legislation. Visitors to Russia charged under this law can be arrested, held for 15 days, fined, and deported — something that has already happened to a group of Dutch tourists working on a documentary about the new law. “It’s not illegal to be gay in Russia,” Queer Nation activist Ann Northrop said at the protest. “They did away with that years ago. It’s now illegal to be open about being gay.” The new law, she said, “gives permission to thugs to entrap gays,” which has led to an escalation of anti-LGBT violence and even some deaths. The Russian crackdown, widely seen as an effort by President Vladimir Putin to scapegoat both gays and foreigners for domestic political consumption, follows on years of brutal repression of LGBT rights demonstrations in Russia’s major cities. The nation’s political leaders are now discussing a push to remove children being raised by gay and lesbian couples and single parents from their homes. Among the demands the groups have

Boxers NYC bartenders dump Stolichnaya Vodka outside the Russian Consulate as owner Bob Fluet looks on.

voiced are the repeal of the new antigay legislation, a boycott of all Russian imports as well as of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, and the withdrawal of leading corporate sponsors of the Games — including Coca-Cola, Omega Watches, VISA, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Procter & Gamble, Samsung, and Panasonic. NBC, which has broadcast rights to the Games, has also come under criticism. Nina Long, a Russian immigrant who came to the US in 2002 and is co-president of RUSA LGBT, said that “international pressure is helpful” to the cause of gay rights in her native country. Saying her group will not support the Olympics going forward in Russia unless the new measures are repealed, said she finds recent assurances from the International Olympic Committee and the US Olympic Committee that athletes, spectators, and media in attendance will be safe “offensive.” She expects Russia to offer the world a benign face on human rights during the Games without altering its ongoing crackdown on its LGBT citizens. Long conceded that activists on the ground in Russia have not developed a consensus position on an Olympic boycott. Nikolai Alexeyev, a prominent activist who has spearheaded numerous Gay Pride celebrations in Moscow and St.

Petersburg and challenged government efforts to ban them in the European Court of Human Rights, proposes that the Olympics be used as an opportunity to show LGBT defiance and illustrate the Russian state’s denial of basic rights. In contrast, a group of more than 20 LGBT activists in Russia signed on to a letter supporting a boycott, which they recently forwarded to Queer Nation. “A diversity of actions will hopefully get us where we want to be,” Long said of the disagreements between activists in Russia. The SPI Group, which owns Stolichnaya, has tried to distance the vodka brand from Russia, noting it is bottled in Latvia and that SPI is headquartered in Luxembourg. SPI ‘s CEO Val Mendeleev also stated that Yuri Scheffler, the Russian billionaire who controls SPI, is on the outs with Putin. In an interview with SiriusXM Radio’s Mike Signorile, however, Mendeleev acknowledged that the company maintains a distillery in Russia and employs several hundred workers in that country. Regarding SPI’s public relations efforts, Boxers’ Fluet said, “They need to move on from trying to convince us they’re not a Russian vodka and have a real conversation. They have the ability to pick up the phone and talk to Russian officials and we don’t.”

Roman Mamonov, a television and radio journalist who fled Russia last October after receiving death threats for being gay, emphasized, “I love my country,” but said it is vital that the international community “pressure the Russian government” over its anti-gay politics. Threats against him, he explained, began after he tried to file a complaint against a nationalist group that was promoting anti-gay violence. Authorities discouraged his complaint and when he reported that his apartment door had been sprayed with the words “Die Faggot,” police also declined to take any action. The protest the previous evening at Splash certainly didn’t have the makings of a fair fight, as a group of less than a dozen members of ACT UP/ NY faced off against a crowd of roughly 150 who had been primed with free rounds of Stoli. But when the activists disrupted the opening of the Most Original Stoli Guy New York competition with signs that read, “Russia Kills Gays” and “Dump Stoli,” the crowd watched in bewildered silence. Only the event’s hosts on stage took up the cause of the evening’s liquor sponsor. “This is what happens when you drink Absolut,” one said, warning the crowd to stick with the Russian import. As Splash security personnel rushed the demonstrators, ripping up their signs and shoving them away from the stage, the other added, “Look at those assholes being taken out of the bar.” Then with noticeably more anger in her voice, she continued, “This is America, not Russia.” Mark Milano, one of the organizers of the ACT UP action, said afterward, “It think t was great. They were totally taken off guard. There were Stoli executives in the room who saw their event crashed.” Bacilio Mendez, another of the demonstrators, said that prior to the demonstration he saw some “really uncomfortable suits” at the club “on their Blackberries texting, ‘Oh, yes, there are a lot of people here.’” Brandon Cuicchi, an ACT UP member, stated that, at Splash, “Stoli was doing an event they could not do in Russia. You’re not LGBT-friendly marketing to gay people while saying nothing in your home country.” The ACT UP demonstrators voiced specific concern that under the new Russian legislation, dissemination of safe sex education, condoms, and AIDS treatment drugs will be targeted as “homosexual propaganda,” something that could cripple effective prevention efforts. The group is calling on UN AIDS to condemn the new Russian law.


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| August 7, 2013

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August 7, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com

LEGAL

Court Says Lesbian Spouse Eligible Under US-Regulated Benefit Plan

COURTESY: JENNIFER TOBITS/ NATIONAL CENTER FOR LESBIAN RIGHTS

Ruling applies to couple residing in Illinois, a civil union state

Sarah Ellyn Farley and Jennifer J. Tobits on their wedding day in 2006.

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US district court has ruled that a private sector employee benefit plan gover ned by the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) should be construed to recognize a same-sex marriage when the couple reside in a state that recognizes the validity of their marriage. Significantly, the ruling — which comes in the wake of the Supreme Court striking down the Defense of Marriage Act’s (DOMA) ban on federal recognition of same-sex marriages — involves a couple who married in Canada but lived in Illinois, which has a civil union statute but not full marriage equality. The July 29 ruling by Judge C. Darnell Jones of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania means that Jennifer J. Tobits is entitled to a survivor’s benefit under the profit sharing plan maintained by Cozen O’Connor PC, a Philadelphia-based law firm, which had employed her late wife, Sarah Ellyn Farley, in its Chicago office. Farley was diagnosed with cancer shortly after the women married in 2006, and she passed away in September 2010. Shortly after her death, Far-

ley’s parents, who did not approve of her relationship with Tobits, presented Cozen O’Connor with a form dated the day before their daughter’s death, which they said was her designation of them as her beneficiaries under the profit sharing plan for an amount totaling roughly $49,000. Tobits also submitted a claim for the benefits, based on being Farley’s surviving spouse. Under the Cozen O’Connor plan, if a participant dies

The issue at the heart of this case, however, was not the meaning of “marriage” but rather the meaning of “spouse.” prior to retirement, the benefit goes to their surviving spouse unless the spouse approved the participant’s designation of a different beneficiary. Tobits never did that, and she disputed the validity of the form Farley’s parents provided. Cozen O’Connor, caught in the middle of clashing claims and mind-

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DEATH BENEFIT, continued on p.12


| August 7, 2013

RELIGION

Francis In-Flight: Second Coming or Papal Bull?

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The pope signals a new tone on homosexuality, but has anything of substance changed? BY ANDY HUMM

trouble.” On his flight back from Brazil, Francis made some trouble of his own during an unprecedented 80-minute give and take with journalists, addressing gay issues multiple times, including saying of gay priests, “If a person is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge him?” Francis told reporters, “The catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well. It says they [gay people] should not be marginalized because of this [orientation] but that they should be integrated into society. The problem is not having this orientation. We must be brothers.” In tone, it was a notable departure from the anti-gay pronouncements of his predecessors, especially Benedict XVI, who as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 1986 moved the Church further to the right on homosexuality by declaring it “intrinsically disordered” and, astonishingly, blaming anti-gay violence on those who push for protections “to which no one has any conceivable right.” To be sure, in the same press conference, the pope reiterated Church condemnations of gay sexuality and women’s ordination. Still, he sent some long-time critics of the Church into heights of praise even as others are cautioning that on substance, nothing has changed. On CNN, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, an out lesbian and a Catholic, said Francis “deserves so much credit for making those statements. There’s more we want — changes we want in the Church. It’s not everything. But that is a step forward.” Mark Segal, the publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News whose activism goes back to the early 1970s, said, “Pope Francis may be the savior of the Roman Catholic Church.” In a breathless column, he called Francis “a breath of fresh air” and said his “startling announcement so startled that it may end the truly ugly and hateful battle the Church has waged against the LGBT community.” If that’s true, the message came too late for Ken Bencomo, a beloved teacher at St. Lucy’s Priory, a Catholic high school in Glendora, California for 17 years — and out as gay for 10 — who was fired earlier in July after pictures of him and his husband at their wedding appeared in the local paper. School authorities called the news a “public display of behavior contrary to Church teaching.” In fact, what school administrations did was perfectly in line with Francis’ much-heralded Pronouncements on the Plane. Asked in flight if the Church would change its opposition to abortion or same-sex marriage, he said, “You know perfectly the position of the Church.” In response to a question about a report leaked months ago of a “gay lobby” in the Vatican, Francis — apparently trying to be humorous — said, “The problem is lobbying for this orientation or lobbies of greedy people, political lobbies, Masonic lobbies, so many lobbies. This is the worse problem.” Continuing in a tone simultaneously light-hearted and dismissive, he

L'OSSERVATORE ROMANO/ VATICAN.VA

P

ope Francis hit the beach in Rio late last month, telling millions of the faithful to get the Church “closer to the people” and “get rid of clericalism.” “Don’t forget,” he concluded. “Make

After Pope Francis suggested a new tone for the LGBT community, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, New York’s archbishop, made the rounds of the media to discount any practical significance to his boss’ statements.

added, “You see a lot written about the gay lobby. I still have not seen anyone in the Vatican with an identity card saying that they are gay.” Despite polls of American Catholics, for example, that show strong support for gay marriage and women’s ordination, Francis ain’t budging. On women’s ordination, he told the papal press, “The door is closed.” Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of Dignity USA, the LGBT Catholic group, said in a statement that the pope’s comments on gay issues “represent a very welcome change in tone from what we’ve heard from the last two popes. For gay people to hear a pope speak of us as people of faith and goodwill who should not be marginalized in society, rather than as threats to civilization, is a great shift. The overwhelming response to these statements has shown just how hungry lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Catholics are for any kind of pastoral care from Church officials, and how much damage has been done to our community over the past two and a half decades.” Duddy-Burke said she hoped “Francis’ tone will be echoed by bishops and cardinals around the globe,” but New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan quickly dashed any such expectations. The head of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Dolan, asked by Charlie Rose on CBS what it would take “to change its attitude about homosexuality being a sin,” said, “That’s probably not possible.” He quickly clarified by saying, “Homosexuality is not a sin. Homosexual acts are. Just like heterosexuality is not a sin, although heterosexual acts outside of marriage — life-loving, life-giving faith between a man and a woman — that would be sinful.” Heterosexuals, of course, can marry, while the Church is one of the most vigorous opponents of samesex marriage worldwide, including in Argentina where Francis, as archbishop of Buenos Aires, vigorously opposed it — though late in the debate he unsuccessfully urged his fellow bishops to support civil unions to forestall full marriage rights for same-sex couples. Just last month, the US bishops issued an attack on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in a letter to the Senate Committee weighing the issue. Francis may say he’s in no position to judge, but apparently employ-

ers across the nation are free to do so with discriminatory intent in the Church’s thinking. The seeming contradiction between Francis’ “tone” and these facts puts Dignity in a tough spot. DuddyBurke said of Francis, “Perhaps this will be an opening that encourages more Church officials to enter into the kind of transformative dialogue that has propelled the Church forward.” At the same time, she acknowledged that Dolan has not responded to her group’s repeated requests to open up a dialogue. “I was very struck by Cardinal Dolan’s immediate round of the morning news shows, doing his best to say that what the pope said was insignificant, and the number of US bishops issuing statements saying the pope was just rearticulating existing teaching,” Duddy-Burke told Gay City News. “To me, that was a clear attempt to deflect attention from the people who found the pope’s word choices and approach to be ‘revolutionary,’ ‘ground-breaking,’ and a source of great hope.” Father Bernárd Lynch, an out gay priest and author who has worked in the Dignity movement since the 1970s, argued that what Francis said was “the least offensive statement that’s come out of the Vatican in recent history. The Vatican didn’t recognize ‘gayness.’” Lynch noted, “The official teaching of the Magisterium is that we are disordered and that’s still true — sexuality expressed is bad.” What Francis really needs to do, he said, is “apologize on behalf of the Catholic Church for the terrible hurt, harm, and damage done to LGBT people — spiritually and psycho-sexually over the years.” The Church, Lynch said, can’t change “until they believe we are equals and our sexuality is on a par with heterosexuals.” And, he said, “Until the church treats its women as equals, it will never treat gay people as equals.” UK gay rights activist Peter Tatchell called Francis “a master of PR and spin. Perhaps this announcement is just an attempt to repair the Vatican’s negative, homophobic image, which has brought it into disrepute and contributed to large numbers of Catholics deserting the Church.” Tatchell added, “The pope’s pronouncements will be pretty meaningless unless it is followed up by the Vatican dropping its opposition to LGBT equal rights and loving same-sex relationships.” Still, Tatchell admitted, “The change in tone is welcome. It puts the hard-line Church homophobes on the back foot, which is a good thing.” Lynch, who attended Dignity’s national convention in Minneapolis in early July, pointed out that the group has created a community of faith despite the lack of affirmation by the Church hierarchy. “There was no mention of Pope Francis or Vatican teaching,” he wrote in an email. “Dignity it seems to me has found its own way as Roman Catholic and LGBTQ people of God. ‘We Are Church’ seemed to echo in everything the leadership and participants said and did. Nonetheless, as LGBTQ Catholics, we are and insist in being in union with Rome as long and as much as Rome is in union with us — our struggle for equality and justice and our unquestioning devotion and dedication to Jesus Christ and his Gospel of Love for all. Christ is our First Love. When Rome echoes him, as it would seem Pope Francis is sincerely trying to do — WE ARE ALL ON BOARD.”


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NEW VOICES ON THE CITY COUNCIL

August 7, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com

NEW VOICES ON THE CITY COUNCIL

Mel Wymore: Activist and Trans Man Looking for Authentic Solutions t would hardly be surprising if, borr owing a page fr om many gay and lesbian political candidates before him, Mel Wymore, who is running for an open City Council seat on the Upper West Side, insisted that he is not the transgender candidate in the September 10 Democratic primary, but rather the candidate who happens to be transgender. After all, he has served on Community Board 7 continuously since 1996, two years as chair, a leadership role that enabled him to help craft an agreement with a developer that delivered 600 units of affordable housing, a new school, and nearly $20 million for parks. Since 1998, he’s been a board member, and for a time the chair, of the PTA at the prestigious Ethical Culture Fieldston School on Central Park West. And he’s helped found a variety of neighborhood civic organizations — including ones delivering food to residents of a single-room-occupancy hotel, creating accessibility solutions for people living with disabilities, and minimizing the carbon footprint of institutions in that part of Manhattan. In other words, Wymore’s been at the center of a broad range of progressive community efforts that at first blush have little relationship to his transgender identity. But, in a recent interview with Gay City News, Mel Wymore did not make the argument that he is a candidate who just happens to be transgender. “I’m running because I believe it is possible to build vibrant, inclusive, sustainable community. That is informed by my story and my experience,” explained the 51-year -old, who has enjoyed a successful career as a systems engineer and entrepreneur. Wymore’s personal story is a complicated one — which has involved, in his words, moments of “life-shattering” change — made all the more compelling because so much of the upheaval he’s navigated came during his years of community activism. When he first joined CB 7, Wymore was living as a married woman. Two years later, with a four -year -old son and a daughter who was 18 months old, Melanie Wymore came out as a lesbian. The “glass platform” on which Wymore had built a life, a thriving career, and a loving family was suddenly “shattered.”

COURTESY: MELWYMORE.COM

I

BY PAUL SCHINDLER

After 17 years as a community activist, Mel Wymore aims to bring his leadership skills to the City Council.

“I had my life plan,” said Wymore, who grew up in Arizona, the daughter of an engineer father who did pioneering working in the design of complex systems and an activist mother. “I was very focused on success, on performing life according to the metrics given me… I was so good at performing — my smile, my laugh.” There were, though, cracks that would in time lead to the undoing of that status quo. “What I didn’t have was the happiness I felt as a child,” Wymore recalled. “But I thought I could just tweak the performance.” Other hints were more apparent to others in Wymore’s life. Between age 16 and 26, he was involved in 10 auto accidents. “Everyone knew that about me,” he recalled. He figured maybe he needed driving lessons or perhaps an eye test. But he had gay and lesbian friends in his life since his adolescence and some of them suggested there might be deeper issues that had gone unexplored too long. “I was very much not into that,” Wymore said of the earliest of such conversations. In time, though, he came to recognize that “I wasn’t the person I wanted to be.” He explained, “I became driven to fig-

ure it out. Maybe I wasn’t in the right relationship. Once I had my first kiss, I knew.” Honesty was his first priority. “I knew I had to separate,” Wymore said of a process that was “very deliberate” and involved a lot of psychotherapy. Many, especially his parents, urged him to stay in his marriage for the sake of the couple’s two young children. Wymore agreed that the youngsters’ welfare was paramount — “I needed to protect my children” — but also knew that he could not be a good parent if he did not teach them “the freedom to be who they are.” “My spouse and I committed to coparent the kids,” he said with evident pride. “We have been very successful at that. And we have maintained that.” Almost a decade after coming out as a lesbian, Wymore took another major step in his personal journey, beginning the process of examining his gender identity and expression that led to him today identifying as a man named Mel. On his first night publicly chairing CB 7 in 2009, told his 49 fellow board members about his transition. Until 1998, Wymore had “performed” his life according to a methodical “plan” aimed at “success” — something that perhaps a systems engineer is unusually well qualified to pull off. How, in the 15 years since, he has been able

to scrap several plans in turn, all the while daring to continue performing in highly visible public roles offers a key to understanding Wymore’s vision of social change and leadership. “Why do I have to do this publicly?,” he said, rephrasing Gay City News’ question. “I feel there are millions who do not live the life they want. It’s not so easy to relate my story to my community work. But it’s about being a full participant — in the human race or on your block. We want to have authentic conversations.” As someone who had previously achieved results by diligently staying on his path, Wymore explained, “I had to redefine success. I walked away from my earlier standards of success. I stopped climbing that hill.” As he now explains his view of the world and his place in it, he articulates something of a marriage between his inner journey and his instincts as a systems engineer. “Authenticity empowers all people — a value bigger than me — and allows them to let go of judgments of themselves,” Wymore said. “It leads to a more integrated, accepting society — in which people are looking system-wide.” That’s clearly big thinking, but

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NEW VOICES, continued on p.30


| August 7, 2013

9

NEW VOICES

ON THE CITY COUNCIL

BY DUNCAN OSBORNE

T

here is something about Corey Johnson that is carefully crafted. Or perhaps it’s everything. The 31-year -old is vying with Yetta Kurland, a civil rights attorney, for the City Council seat that Speaker Christine Quinn has held for 14 years. For an interview with Gay City News, he arrived with his hair freshly cut, his light beard artfully trimmed, and his suit neatly pressed. Johnson’s presentation was practiced, which is not surprising since he has been campaigning for months. He was well versed in the intricacies of city laws on housing and development. That is also not surprising because he has served on Community Board 4, which covers Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen in Manhattan, since 2005 and has wrestled with some controversial development projects. “You do not spend eight years on a community board because it’s sexy,” Johnson said. But some people do spend eight years on a community board because it can be a stepping stone to elected office. Johnson believes he is prepared to hold the seat representing the roughly 180,000 New Yorkers who live in a district that runs from 55th Street to Canal Street and from Fifth Avenue to the Hudson River. “I’ve never worked for an elected official,” he said. “I didn’t come out of a Democratic club.” He will be a “councilmember who is community minded,” Johnson said, adding that he wants to be part of “progressive change” in the city. A significant issue is how the city approves real estate development plans. For the past 12 years, the Bloomberg administration has favored large-scale projects, with some taxpayers objecting that they obliterate neighborhoods and favor market-rate housing at the expense of affordable housing. The city’s approval process — the uniform land use review procedure, or ULURP, as it is known — favors developers, opponents say. Community Board 4 approved the expansion of Chelsea Market, a 300,000-square foot project that occupies an entire block between Ninth and 10th Avenues and West 15th and 16th Streets. Johnson opposed the expansion. Just as controversial was the Hudson Yards development, a 17 million square yard project on 26 acres that includes 20,000 apartments over the rail yards in the West 30s. “We won some things and we didn’t

get everything we wanted,” Johnson said, adding that he increased affordable housing units in that project from 20 percent to 26 or 27 percent. In her campaign for Manhattan Borough President, however, Julie Menin, a former Community Board 1 chair, pegs that number as low as 16 or 17 percent. Ostensibly, ULURP begins at a community board then gets approval from a borough president and is then approved by the City Planning Commission and the City Council. The community board and borough president opinions are advisory. Critics say that developers meet with the commission and City Council members first and begin the ULURP procedure only after getting informal approval. The process is “in need of major reform,” Johnson said. But it is defined in the city’s charter so that reform would have to be approved by the voters, he said. When discussing his hopes for the City Council, Johnson emphasized plans to build more affordable housing, reduce class size in city schools, increase parks in the district, and bring a hospital to lower Manhattan to replace the now-closed St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center. At least some of those plans do not square with his recent employment. Johnson previously worked for GFI Development, a real estate developer that built two luxury hotels in Manhattan and an office building in Brooklyn. He did not mention that job publicly or on his campaign website until it was disclosed by citycouncilwatch.net, a website. “I put none of my work history on my website,” Johnson said, noting that campaign experts told him that was not what the public wanted to read on such sites. According to citycouncilwatch. net, Johnson boasted at a campaign event that 20 percent of the units in the Brooklyn building were affordable housing units. Those units have not been built. The project is not completed, Johnson said, but a “restrictive declaration” requires GFI to build those units. “Whenever the project is built, they must abide by it,” he said. “My role was to make sure that whatever was done, it was done in a community-minded way.” Johnson first entered public life when he came out to his teammates on the Masconomet High School football team in Massachusetts in 1999. The next year, his story went national with a 2,000-word profile in the New York Times and appearances on major

GAY CITY NEWS

Corey Johnson: Practice Complete for Ex-Footballer Seeking Quinn Seat

Corey Johnson with Congressman Jerrold Nadler, a supporter, in the June LGBT Pride March.

TV shows. After high school, Johnson spent a year traveling across the country — 130,000 miles, he said — speaking at schools, meetings, and to the media about his experience. Following that year, Johnson held a series of jobs at gay groups and on political campaigns, with some keeping him in the public eye. His campaign for City Council began in 2012 and he quickly raised roughly $168,000 from over 600 people, achieving the maximum he is allowed to spend in the September 10 Democratic primary. Like any politician, he has put together a campaign that relies on a particular image He is an advocate for affordable housing so his GFI job and his current part-time work at the Sydell Group, a real estate development firm founded by former GFI senior staff, were omitted from his campaign material until citycouncilwatch.net reported them. His image management, as a transplanted Massachusetts native who fell in love with the Big Apple, also ignores the year he spent living in San Francisco. He praised that city, just as he praises New York City now, in a 2001 profile in San Francisco magazine. None of this is unusual for a politician, but Johnson can go to extremes. When Gay City News requested a copy of his campaign schedule, he refused to turn it over saying he feared Kurland would disrupt his events. He then made repeated promises to release his schedule, but never did. Most politicians routinely release their schedules. Gay City News had a chance encounter with Johnson at a West Village

diner where he described the difficult relationship he has had with Quinn. Moments later he disclosed personal details about his life that he said were “off the record,” so he understood he was talking to a reporter. Days later, he bristled, saying he was “disappointed,” when Gay City News said it might use the comments about Quinn in this story. In an obviously choreographed story in May in the Times, Johnson said that he was HIV-positive and had known his status for over eight years. It is not clear if the piece was meant to minimize the disclosure or maximize attention to it, but it received little play in the press. Other than having Community Board 4 call for increases in AIDS funding in the city budget, Johnson has no record on HIV matters. Asked what were his notable achievements on AIDS issues, Johnson said, “I actually think me being honest and telling my friends and me being a role model.” Some of the paranoid tinge within the Johnson and Kurland campaigns may arise from the particularly aggressive nature of the race. The campaigns and their surrogates have charged each other with violating city campaign finance laws, using physical violence against volunteers, and other bad acts. Allegedly, it is the Kurland campaign that is whispering to voters that Johnson has no college degree. “My life experience has been a rich one,” Johnson said, referring to his decision to end his formal education after high school. “I’m proud of my life experience.”


10

BY PAUL SCHINDLER

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ess than five weeks out from the September 10 Democratic mayoral primary, no candidate appears poised to reach the 40 percent threshold allowing them to avoid an October 1 runoff — an inconvenience that could divert valuable energy and money from the general election contest against the Republican nominee. With the exception of several weeks in which former Congressman Anthony Weiner was riding high, the frontrunner position has been owned, since polling began in earnest, by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who, if elected on November 5, would be New York’s first woman and first out lesbian or gay mayor. But finishing first in a primary is no guarantee of victory if a runoff is required, as then-Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer learned in 2001, nor, as 20 years of Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg have shown, does claiming the Democratic nomination carry with it the keys to Gracie Mansion. One proxy for Quinn’s ability to build on her longstanding advantage in the race after September 10 is the depth of her support in her natural base in Lower Manhattan and in the LGBT community citywide. On both fronts, her opponents have been unwilling to cede her that turf. Each of the five most prominent candidates in the primary contest — former Comptroller Bill Thompson, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Comptroller John Liu, Quinn, and Weiner (all of whom, except Weiner, have sat down with Gay City News, NYC Community Media’s publisher, and the editors of the company’s other publications) — has convincingly demonstrated fidelity to gay community goals over the course of their career. No doubt that reflects a political fact of life here in New York City — that the time is long past when LGBT Democrats were on

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August 7, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com

the margins of their party. That is not to argue that Quinn does not maintain clear advantages — a career, dating back nearly a quarter of a century, in the thick of LGBT politics; her ability as Council speaker, which her opponents lack, to produce identifiable deliverables to meet community needs; and, leaving nothing to chance, her decision, alone among contenders in the field, to make new policy proposals during the campaign to address unresolved challenges for LGBT New Yorkers. Many gay voters, of course, will look to a broader palette of issues in choosing their candidate, and in a community that, at least in New York, has a strong tradition of progressive politics, the central charge dogging Quinn in this year’s race — that she has strayed from that tradition — is not insignificant. In candidate forums over the past eight months, her opponents have rarely missed opportunities to hit her on that score — on issues from Bloomberg’s third term to real estate development, the demise of St. Vincent’s Hospital, retaining Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, and social justice legislation like paid sick leave. The attacks on Quinn are tied to specific decisions she has made about how to work with the mayor as well as powerful interests outside of government, but they also reflect the reality of her position within the city’s power structure. As Council speaker, she is undeniably a City Hall insider in a way that a comptroller, a public advocate, or a member of Congress doing their work in Washington never could be. Perhaps Quinn’s chief virtue as a politician is that she is an unapologetic insider. In response to hostile volleys from opposing candidates and to aggressive questions from reporters, she has consistently displayed a muscular defense of her eight years as speaker. If her arguments have not always held sway with audiences, she has never left doubt about her command of key policy issues facing the city. Not that any of the other Democrat-

John Liu and Christine Quinn at a March debate sponsored by the city’s LGBT Democratic clubs.

ic contenders have shown themselves to be slouches on policy details. At a March debate sponsored by five LGBT Democratic clubs, every participant displayed conversance with a broad array of issues the gay community cares about. They were all aware that the Bloomberg administration has shifted dollars away from HIV prevention toward testing and earlier treatment, even as new infections among gay and bisexual men continue to inch up. They supported baselining budget dollars for homeless youth housing, capping rents for people with AIDS who require government assistance, ending the use of condoms as evidence in prostitution arrests, and easing procedures for transgender people born in the city who wish to change the gender designation on their birth certificate. The four candidates opposing Quinn did not suddenly come to their knowledge about LGBT issues on the eve of a debate. As New York has cleared a number of hurdles in recent years — enactment of a state gay rights law, a city transgender rights ordinance, a school anti-bullying program out of Albany, and marriage equality — each of the Democratic contenders was an ally. As an aide to Mayor David Dinkins, de Blasio was on the task force that developed the mayor’s executive order regarding domestic partnership for city workers. Half a dozen years later, the Brooklyn community school board he sat on was among the first in the city to ban the Boy Scouts from meeting in schools due to their discriminatory policies. On the City Council, he chaired the General Welfare Committee that oversees the city’s efforts in meeting the housing and social service needs of people living with AIDS. As comptroller, both Liu and Thompson, leveraging the massive pension funds they controlled, continued their office’s leadership role in the nationwide shareholder movement to demand nondiscrimination and workplace equity for

LGBT employees of publicly traded corporations. In 2007, Weiner was one of only seven House Democrats who voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act because the version that made it to the floor that year lacked job protections for transgender workers. Quinn’s LGBT portfolio, of course, is considerably deeper. As chief of staff to Tom Duane when he served on the City Council, she was a leading player in the pushback against Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s efforts, initially, to eliminate and, later, weaken what is now called the HIV/ AIDS Services Administration; she worked with Duane on the city’s first domestic partnership legislation, which Giuliani eventually rewrote and claimed credit for; and she was a public face in the fight against the Reverend Ruben Diaz Sr., an implacable foe of the LGBT community, holding a seat on the Civilian Complaint Review Board, an NYPD watchdog body. After leaving Duane’s office, Quinn ran the New York City Gay and Lesbian AntiViolence Project for several years before winning his seat in early 1999 when he moved on to the State Senate. Prior to becoming speaker, Quinn was often an antagonist of Bloomberg’s, advancing legislation the mayor later vetoed — and was overridden on — to require contractors doing business with the city to provide non-discrimination protections and to implement anti-bullying programs in the public schools. When the Council lost its legal challenge to the mayor’s refusal to implement the contractor law at the state’s highest court during her first days as speaker, Quinn’s counsel advised her that taking Bloomberg to court for similarly refusing to put the bullying program in place was futile. Quinn clearly adopted a more accommodating posture toward the mayor

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Bill de Blasio and Bill Thompson at this spring’s LGBT debate.

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after assuming the speakership, but has at times sparred with him on LGBT questions. As his budget has repeatedly cut funding for homeless youth shelter — an approach Andrew Cuomo has followed since becoming governor — she has backed General Welfare Chair Lew Fidler’s push to get the money back into the budget. Quinn has publicly argued with Bloomberg’s health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley, over who has the greater responsibility for reductions in HIV prevention efforts. And she has challenged the mayor over his opposition in Albany to rent cap legislation for people with AIDS and criticized the police department for its wave of false arrests several years ago of gay men in adult video stores. But last year, she and Kelly, the police commissioner, announced major changes in procedures spelled out in the department’s Patrol Guide for interacting with arrestees who are transgender, reforms hailed by advocates. Quinn has also butted heads with activists at times, including an ongoing battle several years ago with AIDS advocates, led by Housing Works, who demanded that the city entitlement to housing support be expanded from those living with AIDS to anyone who is HIVpositive, an idea the speaker rejected as “radical.” But in this year’s campaign, Quinn is the only candidate to have announced new LGBT-specific policy pledges — to roughly double city spending on homeless youth beds in order to eliminate a nightly waiting list of about 350 and to use money from the capital budget to fund construction of a senior housing facility tailored to meet the needs of LGBT elders. Not surprisingly, the speaker remains the favorite among LGBT institutional leaders, winning endorse-

ments from the Stonewall Democrats, the Gay and Lesbian Independent Democrats, and Brooklyn’s Lambda Independent Democrats, as well as the Empire State Pride Agenda and the Human Rights Campaign. Her opponents, however, have made inroads. Thompson won the nod from the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club. Liu, who had strong LGBT support in his 2009 election as comptroller, was endorsed by the Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens, his home borough but, more significantly, the home club of Daniel Dromm, one of Quinn’s three out gay and lesbian colleagues on the Council. Liu also snagged surprise victories in three downtown Democratic clubs, including the Village Independent Democrats, centered in the heart of the speaker’s district. De Blasio, who was also an LGBT favorite in his 2009 race for public advocate, has gained endorsements from a variety of well-known gay and lesbian arts and cultural figures, including Cynthia Nixon, Alan Cumming, Charles Busch, Stephen Spinella, and Michael Musto. At a May 12 LGBT campaign event for de Blasio at the Cutting Room, the loudest complaints about Quinn focused on her decision in 2008 to allow a Council vote on changing the city’s term limit law so that the mayor — and the speaker — could seek another four years in office and about her ties to the real estate industry. These are both standard talking points from de Blasio himself, who has distinguished himself as Quinn’s toughest critic in the race. When de Blasio spoke to NYC Community Media editors about the closing of St. Vincent’s Hospital, he faulted the mayor for “turning his back” on the problem, noting “he did not feel accountable to anyone… He had his third term.” Quinn, the Council member rep-

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LEGAL

Victories for Two Gay Asylum Seekers

Appeals court allows Philippine man to stay in US; Ukrainian given a new hearing BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD

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wo federal appeals circuits handed victories in July to gay men seeking asylum in the US based on the danger of persecution they faced in their home countries — the Philippines in one case; Ukraine in the other. On July 24, a unanimous panel of the San Francisco-based Ninth Cir cuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) should not have reversed a ruling by an immigration judge (IJ) that Dennis Vitug, a gay man from the Philippines, was entitled to remain in the US based on the protection federal law provides immigrants subjected to persecution in their home countries. The appeals court backed up the IJ’s conclusion that Vitug demonstrated he had been persecuted and that the US government failed to show that conditions in the Philippines had changed sufficiently to overcome the presumption that the man would suffer further persecution if sent back there. Writing for the panel, Judge Harry Pregerson pointed to the IJ's finding that Vitug credibly established he had been beaten and robbed five times in Manila “after being targeted as a homosexual,” had been harassed by police officers based on his “perceived sexual orientation,” and was unable to find a job “on account of his sexual orientation.”

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ful of DOMA’s then existing definition of “spouse” under federal law, filed a suit in Philadelphia’s US District Court seeking determination of who was entitled to the benefit. The Farleys relied on DOMA to argue that their daughter died without leaving a legally recognized spouse for a federally regulated survivor benefit. Tobits, represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, argued she was the surviving legally-recognized spouse and had never consented to waive her rights in favor of her wife’s parents. Judge Jones heard pre-trial arguments last year but then put the case on his “suspense calendar” pending the Supreme Court’s ruling on DOMA’s constitutionality. After that decision came down in late June, Jones ruled in Tobits’ favor. Noting that the court’s ruling in Edie Windsor’s challenge found that DOMA “wrote inequality into the entire

“The police will not do anything to help gay men who report abuse but will rather ridicule them and tell them they deserve it,” the IJ wrote. “The government has failed or refused to protect gay men from persecution.” The IJ also concluded that Vitug might be subjected to torture if deported to the Philippines. As a result, the man was eligible for protection under the Convention Against Torture, an international treaty to which the US is a party, which requires the nation to

level of past persecution” and that an attack against him by a man he met in a bar was merely a “crime of opportunity.” Noting that Vitug had actually returned to the Philippines after his first US visitor visa expired, the BIA also found that “the record does not support the conclusion that the [Philippine] government would be unable or unwilling to protect him.” The board also found a lack of evidence Vitug would face torture if he were to return to the Philippines.

“The police will not do anything to help gay men who report abuse but will rather ridicule them.” give such a person refuge. In a 2007 administrative review, the BIA, a Justice Department unit that is part of the Executive Branch not the judiciary, took the unusual step of reversing the IJ’s finding, in a decision fairly representative of the antigay bias it exhibited during the Bush administration. “The BIA did not expressly find any of the IJ’s factual findings to be clearly erroneous,” according to Preger son. Instead, the appeals board concluded that what Vitug showed failed to prove his treatment “rose to the

After the BIA rejected Vitug’s motion for reconsideration, the case went to the federal judiciary. The Ninth Circuit found that the BIA overstepped its role, pointing out it is barred from “engaging in de novo review of findings of fact determined by an immigration judge.” The court concluded the BIA did exactly that, in what it found to be an abuse of discretion. Typically, the Ninth Circuit would have sent this case back to the BIA with direction to apply the correct standard, but did not do so here because “substantial evidence does not sup-

United States Code,” Jones found that the “written inequality” extended to ERISA’s definition of spouse, which must now include same-sex spouses in “otherwise valid marriages.” The issue, then, became whether the Farley-Tobits marriage was an “otherwise valid marriage” for purposes of the Cozen O’Connor Plan, whose terms are defined by their meaning under ERISA. The court fell back on the normal practice of asking whether the parties are in a marriage recognized by the state where they live. Jones rejected the idea that Pennsylvania law should govern, even though Cozen O’Connor is headquartered there since Tobits was never employed its Philadelphia office. Instead, the issue was settled under Illinois law, where the Farley-Tobits marriage is recognized as a civil union. The issue at the heart of this case, however, was not the meaning of “marriage” but rather the meaning of “spouse,” the term Cozen O’Connor uses in describ-

ing the principal beneficiary. Illinois’ civil union law, Jones noted, provides “persons entering into a civil union with the obligations, responsibilities, protections, and benefits afforded or recognized by the law of Illinois to spouses.” That proved sufficient for Jones. “There can be no doubt that Ms. Tobits is Ms. Farley’s ‘surviving Spouse’ under the Cozen O’Connor plan in light of the Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling,” Jones found, noting that Illinois recognized the couple’s Canadian marriage, “albeit under the nominal title of ‘civil union.’” He concluded, “Post-Windsor, where a state recognizes a party as a ‘Surviving Spouse,’ the federal government must do the same with respect to ERISA benefits — at least pursuant to the express language of the ERISAqualified Plan at issue here.” The judge, who was appointed to the federal bench by President George W. Bush, noted that Tobits

port” the board’s decision to deny Vitug “withholding of removal,” a status allowing him to stay in the US. Once Vitug established that he is a victim of past persecution based on a protected ground — in this case, sexual orientation — the government can only prevail only if it can “show by a preponderance of the evidence that there has been a fundamental change in circumstances such that the petitioner’s life or freedom would not be threatened or that the petitioner could relocate internally within his home country to avoid persecution.” On that score, the government failed. “No reasonable factfinder could conclude that the harm Vitug suffered did not rise to the level of persecution,” wrote Pregerson. Evidence of some gay activism in the Philippines and one municipal nondiscrimination ordinance “does not indicate that there is any less violence against gay men or that police have become more responsive to reports of anti-gay hate crime,” the appeals panel found. While the Ninth Circuit agreed with the BIA that the IJ’s conclusion regarding Vitug’s risk of torture was not supported by the facts, it concluded that the evidence supported his grant of “withholding of removal.” It is not without irony that this ruling is based on factual findings about the Philippines made in 2007. The huge backlog of asylum and related

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had obtained an order from the Cook County Circuit Court designating her as Farley’s sole heir as her surviving civil union partner. It was fortuitous that Farley and Tobits lived in a state that provides legal recognition as spouses to samesex couple residents who marry elsewhere. This decision doesn’t answer — because it didn’t need to — the looming question of whether the result would have been the same had Farley worked in Cozen O’Connor’s Philadelphia office, since Pennsylvania has a state DOMA amendment and does not afford any recognition to same-sex couples married elsewhere. As a federal statute, ERISA broadly preempts state laws regarding employee benefits plans, but it does look to state law to identify the marital status of employees who are covered. The implications of this ruling, therefore, seem limited, at least for now, to states that recognize “spouses” who are in same-sex mar riages and perhaps even civil unions.


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appeals means that these cases are often decided without any reference to possible gay rights advances in immigrants’ home countries in the years — six in the example of Vitug — it takes claims to be litigated. There are, of course, plenty of other ways in which the surreal environment of American immigration law works to the detriment of asylum seekers.

In the other recent appellate ruling involving a

gay asylum seeker, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta ruled July 8 that Oleksiy Okhremenko, a gay man from Ukraine, is entitled to have his asylum petition reconsidered. In this case, the court criticized the immigration judge’s conclusions about the petitioner’s credibility. The IJ discounted Okhremenko’s testimony that he was severely beaten by anti-gay skinheads outside a bar. Vacating the BIA decision upholding the IJ’s ruling, the appeals panel ordered that Okhremenko’s credibility be reevaluated “in light of this opinion.” Okhremenko came to the US on a summer student visa in 2006 and 2007 and, after earning his university degree in 2008, returned here on a J-1 visa allowing him to participate in

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a student-exchange or work program. He then applied for asylum, contending he had been persecuted in Ukraine for being gay and feared future persecution if he returned. At his asylum hearing, Okhremenko testified that he and a boyfriend he met while in school in Kherson frequently went to a bar called Beau Monde, which was known to be gay-friendly. Though he had heard stories that Beau Monde’s customers sometimes became targets of violence, he discounted them because he didn’t know anyone who personally experienced that and “did not want to spend his whole life in his apartment.” But, in March 2008, he testified, he and his boyfriend were attacked by anti-gay skinheads when leaving Beau Monde. “The attackers hit them with baseball bats and yelled insults and threats related to their sexual orientation,” wrote the court, summarizing the asylum hearing record. “After physically assaulting Okhremenko and Pereschlyuha [his boyfriend], the skinheads stole the men’s wallets, cell phones, and jewelry. Both Okhremenko and Pereschlyuha were seriously injured. Okhremenko had a fractured right hand, two broken ribs, and head trauma. He was hospitalized for three weeks. When Okhremenko reported the attack to the police, an officer told him that if he did not want to be beaten

again, he should not present himself in public as a homosexual.” Okhremenko provided hospital records and three years of US State Department reports documenting the hostility toward gay people by Ukrainian officials and the population generally. He also submitted letters from friends and family members corroborating that he is gay, as well as newspaper articles describing the government’s anti-gay hostility. In rejecting Okhremenko’s petition, the IJ found his testimony not credible because the hospital records were not sufficiently detailed and he failed to provide confirmation from his now ex-boyfriend regarding his account of the attack. The IJ also cited “inconsistencies” between Okhremenko’s written petition and his testimony at the hearing. But the court of appeals found that the IJ’s opinion contained blatant mischaracterizations of the evidence, including his conclusion that Okhremenko’s testimony about the anti-gay threats the skinheads shouted lacked credibility since he had not earlier provided these details in writing. The IJ also found an inconsistency in Okhremenko’s testifying he did not personally know anybody who had suffered violence at Beau Monde while also claiming his boyfriend was beaten outside his apartment by somebody who recognized him as a Beau Monde

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customer. The appeals court found this was another case of the IJ mischaracterizing the asylum petitioner’s testimony, writing, “Read in context, Okhremenko’s testimony was not that he did not personally know anybody who had been attacked anywhere; it was that he did not personally know anybody who had been attacked at Beau Monde.” The IJ, the appeals panel concluded, failed to provide “a specific, cogent reason” to reject Okhremenko’s credibility. It also rejected the IJ’s conclusion that the skinhead attack was a robbery and not an anti-gay assault. Though it concluded that the IJ’s findings were often “sheer speculation,” the appeals panel did not come right out and say the immigration judge had a bias against Okhremenko. In its ruling, the 11th Circuit panel did not express any opinion about whether the Ukrainian’s testimony should be found credible or if he is entitled to asylum, but it did order the IJ and the BIA to provide a “specific, cogent” reason if they were to reject the petition. Okhremenko must now show he was subject to persecution in Ukraine because he is gay and that he would face further persecution if returned there. The court of appeals’ summary of the record of his earlier hearing suggests his prospects for success are good.

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THEATER Shakespeare Americana

THU.AUG.8 LESLIE-LOHMAN MUSEUM OF GAY AND LESBIAN ART

GALLERY Growing the Queer Archives

The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art presents an exhibition of more than 50 works from over 30 artists acquired over the past two years. Works shown include ones by JoeyTerrill, Catherine Opie, Patrick Webb, George Stavrinos, David Wojnarowicz, Doug Blanchard, Duane Michaels, George Towne, Delmas Howe, Sara Swaty, Bernard Perlin, Greg Gorman, and Josef Kozak. 26 Wooster St., btwn. Grand & Canal Sts. Aug. 8-Sep. 8; Tue.-Sun., noon-6 p.m. Opening reception on Aug. 8, 6-8 p.m. More information at leslielohman.org.

CABARET Some Helluva’n Enchanting Evening

AUGUST 16: Mal Blum brings Indie Brooklyn to the Lower East Side.

Paulo Szot, the out gay dashing operatic baritone who scored a Tony for his turn in “South Pacific,” presents a program of songs from the American Songbook as well as Brazilian and jazz favorites. 54 Below, 254 W. 54th St. Aug T:9.75” 8 & 11, 7 p.m.; Aug. 9-10, 8 p.m. Cover charge is $40-$70 at 54below.com, with a $25-$30 food & drink minimum.

“Under the Greenwood Tree” is a musical re-imagining of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” using original text and an indie-Americana score. Rosalind, Orlando, and the rest of the Bard's timeless cast of characters wander throughout the Forest of Arden with instruments in tow. Tyler Phillips and Carly Howard direct this Phillstock Entertainment production. Flea Theater, 41 White St. btwn. Church St. & Broadway. Aug. 8-10, 13-17, 7 p.m.; Aug. 10-11 & 17-18, 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 at theflea.org; $20 at the door.

Bette Davis Comes to Dinner, Stays a Month

On May 28, 1985, star-struck Elizabeth Fuller’s dream came true Bette Davis came to dinner at her dilapidated New England cottage. Four weeks later, as a hotel strike in New York raged on, she was still there. “Me and Jezebel,” Fuller’s candidly funny day-to-day account of trying to please the irascible queen of Hollywood, it getting its 20th anniversary Off-Broadway revival. The Snapple Theater Center, 210 W. 50th St. Wed.-Thu., 8 p.m.; Sat., 5 p.m., through Oct. 26. Mark S. Graham directs. Tickets are $73.75 at tickemaster.com.

Parking Lot Kings

To commemorate the bones of Richard III being found in an English parking lot, the Drilling Company presents Shakespeare's tragedy of the crook-back king. The company interprets the play as a reflection of the political conflict sweeping government institutions today. "The current climate is as acrimonious as the War of the Roses," explained artistic director Hamilton Clancy. Municipal Parking Lot, Broome St. at Ludlow St. Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m., through Aug. 17. Admission is free. More information at shakespeareintheparkinglot.com or 212-873-9050.

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August 7, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com

THEATER

Fringe Finds Unearthing 10 gay gems among the multitudes at FringeNYC BY DAVID KENNERLEY

B

ewildering.” “Embarrassingly inept.” “Self-indulgent.” “Loathsome.” These are just a few of the barbs cranky New Yorkers like to throw at the New York International Fringe Festival come August every year. Perhaps they are onto something. Or maybe it’s just the summer heat.

Granted, the majority of offerings served up by “the largest multiarts festival in North America” are unpolished and some crash and burn, yet an argument can be made that the plucky, let’s-put-on-a-show grittiness is part of the appeal. And don’t forget that quite a few shows have gone on to lead impressive lives beyond the Fringe, like “Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche” from last year, “Silence!: The Musical,” “Dog Sees God,” “Matt and Ben,” and the legendary Broadway hit “Urinetown.” “After seeing a show, often people say it was either fabulous or forgettable,” observed Ron Lasko, who has been with FringeNYC from the start. “There’s no middle ground of indifference. That’s the bold spirit of the Fringe.” Lasko believes the intrepid fest offers something you can’t always get from traditional theater — witnessing the process of emerging artists taking chances, moving out of their comfort zone, and finding their own voice. “It’s important to have a place for people to fail,” said Lasko. “You can’t grow as an artist unless you make mistakes.” According to Lasko, most theatergoers are oblivious to the painstaking process of mounting a show on or off Broadway, what with the countless readings, workshops, and rewrites. And occasionally, what you see when a show opens on Broadway bears little resemblance to the first preview. “Audiences paid more than $100 to see early previews of ‘Spiderman,’ which looks nothing like what’s onstage now,” Lasko said. “We’re only charging $15.” Run almost entirely by volunteers, FringeNYC has managed to keep costs low for artists by raising 90 percent of its operating costs from ticket sales.

The cast of “Gertrude Stein Saints!”

TIM AUMILLER

Various downtown venues Aug. 9-25 Schedule and tickets at fringeny.org Or FringeCentral 27 Second Ave., btwn. First & Second Sts. Or 866-468-7619 $15 to $18

JORDAN HARRISON

FRINGENYC

Colin William Key, Adam Budron, and Sean Hankinson in “Luke Nicholas.”

This is in sharp contrast to other theater fests, which crush participants with hefty fees. Still, over nearly two decades, FringeNYC has been able to keep ticket prices at $15 ($18 at the door). Talk about your cheap thrills. You may be surprised by the myriad hurdles each troupe must face. Limited to only five or six performances on an erratic schedule, they have precious little time in their designated theater, which is shared with other shows. They have just 20 minutes prep time before curtain, and another 20 minutes to strike the set to make room for the next show. Sound and lighting systems tend to get tampered with between performances. The 17th incarnation of FringeNYC is bursting with 185 offerings from artists hailing from more than a dozen countries. And contrary to what you might have heard, the festival does have tough standards, adjudicating over 1,000 entries. As always, you’ll find a mindboggling

array of subject and tastes, including a healthy chunk of LGBT -themed offerings. This year you’ll find meddlesome strippers, feuding BFFs, a bully basher, jockstrap-clad bedbugs, wisecracking earthquake survivors, an opera inspired by Gertrude Stein, and a Tennessee Williams impersonator. Plus more nudity than ever. Produced by the Present Company, FringeNYC runs August 9 through 25. Truth be told, there’s an inherent thrill of trying to choose the winners among the multitude of offerings. Check out our picks of the 10 most promising gay-interest shows at FringeNYC: GERTRUDE STEIN SAINTS! A talented ensemble from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh has adapted the unconventional “Saints” librettos by Gertrude Stein, written in the 1920s, into a celebration of American music and dance that explores gender and identity. In this experimental

opera, the jubilant performers present a mélange of rap, rock n' roll, gospel, New Orleans parades, sermons, bluegrass, folk, Shaker, and jazz, working toward an ecstatic climax. Under the direction of Michelle Sutherland, there’s no plot, characters, conflict, or dramatic arc. Still, the work promises to deliver a mind-blowing experience. The Ellen Stewart Theatre at La MaMa, 66-68 E. Fourth St. btwn. Bowery & Second Ave.; Aug. 9 at 10:15 p.m.; Aug. 10 at 4:45 p.m.; Aug. 12 at 7:30 p.m.; Aug. 13 at 7:30 p.m.; Aug. 14 at 4:45 p.m. LUKE NICHOLAS Billed as “a sexy gay exploration of the politics of modern connections,” this frisky comedy centers on Thomas (Colin William Key), who’s having a pre-midlife crisis at age 40. On a trip to Montreal with his longtime boyfriend (Sean Hankinson, from “Days of Our Lives” and the Emmy-nominated web series “Prom Queen”), he’s smitten by Luke, a hot young stripper who threatens to destroy the couple’s relationship. An object lesson about the dangers of taking things for granted, the play also features Adam Budron (“Gossip Girl”). Presented by the award-winning No Hope Productions, the piece is written and directed by Tim Aumiller. Teatro Circulo, 64 E. Fourth St. btwn. Bowery & Second Ave.; Aug. 9 at 5 p.m.; Aug. 10 at 9:15 p.m.; Aug. 13 at 2:45 p.m.; Aug. 14 at 7:30 p.m.; Aug. 17 at 1:45 p.m. BULLY In the sixth grade, when Lee J. Kaplan was relentlessly bullied, his only true friend was his diary, where he tearfully recorded the daily horrors of taunts, pummelings, and death threats. Now, the defiant — and amazingly ripped — Kaplan has created a sweaty, intensely physical solo show based on those journal entries, where he takes on his former tormentors in a boxing ring. It’s astonishing how even decades later, the damage done by bullies is palpable. Directed by Padraic Lillis, the powerfully cathartic, multi-character piece has been hailed as “required viewing for all school kids,” although I suspect it will resonate with anyone who has ever felt shunned for not fitting in. The Steve & Marie Sgouros Theatre, 115 MacDougal St. at Minetta Ln.; Aug. 10 at 7:30 p.m.; Aug. 11 at 6 p.m.; Aug. 14 at 6 p.m.; Aug. 16 at 2:30 p.m.; Aug. 18 at 1:45 p.m.; Aug. 21 at 9:15 p.m.

c

FRINGENYC, continued on p.33


| August 7, 2013

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August 7, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com

FILM

Linda Lovelace Finally Naked Gay filmmakers look at celebrity whose private life was often hard to swallow

August 10, 8 pm RADIUS TWC

Celebrate the release of their book and dance the night away with these disco divas: Martha Wash, Pamala Stanley, Linda Clifford, & Claudja Barry. The event is hosted by

Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, directors of “Lovelace,” which opens August 9.

BY GARY M. KRAMER

Deney Terrio of TV’s Dance Fever fame! Books are $30, with limited quantities available at the show.

G

ay filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s compelling biopic “Lovelace” is as much about the adult film actress Linda Lovelace’s (Amanda Seyfried) abuse at the hands of her husband, Chuck Traynor (Peter Sarsgaard), as it is about her meteoric rise to fame. The film chronicles teenage Linda being seduced by Traynor, a Svengali who teaches her how to perform the oral sex act that becomes her claim to fame. After chronicling how she made the wildly successful “Deep Throat,” the filmmakers shift gears and retell Linda’s story from her perspective, revealing the impact of her husband’s mental and physical cruelty. “Lovelace” makes Linda a sympathetic victim, and Seyfried captures the title character’s fragility well. Sarsgaard effectively capture the mixture of charm

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LOVELACE Directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman Radius TWC Opens Aug. 9 Angelika Film Center 18 W. Houston St. at Mercer St. angelikafilmcenter.com Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center Lincoln Center 144 W. 65th St. filmlinc.com AMC Empire 25 234 W. 42nd St. amctheatres.com

and menace in Chuck’s personality, and Sharon Stone gives a terrific performance as Linda’s stern mother. In a recent phone interview, Epstein and Friedman spoke with Gay City News about making “Lovelace.” GARY M. KRAMER: What intrigued or surprised you about Linda’s story? JEFFREY FRIEDMAN: I think it was her pivotal place in the history of our sexual culture that intrigued me the most. She’s the Zelig of the 1960s and 1970s — from the birth of the porn explosion to the beginnings of feminism. I was vaguely aware that she was alienated from the porn industry, but I didn’t know the details, so all the details of her story were surprising to me. The other thing that interested me in that regard is that the way I came to know who she was — or who I think she was — changed radically over the years. My first impression of her was a public presentation that I naïvely accepted at face value. But there is that great gap between how we receive media and news about people and the reality of those people — that whole dynamic interested me. GMK: Many of your films, both fiction and documentary, address social, cultural, and political attitudes toward sex and sexuality. What is your interest in sex? JF; Who isn’t interested in sex?! Sexuality has a special place in the gay

c

LOVELACE, continued on p.27


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| August 7, 2013

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August 7, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com

FILM

South Korean Filmmakers Getting First US Shot MoMA hosts weeklong look at directors nurtured by a vital scene back home

I

BY STEVE ERICKSON

n most respects, the South Korean film industry is a success story. Thanks to a quota system, it’s one of the few national cinemas that’s managed to resist Hollywood and hang on to the majority of its own market. As of April, six of this year’s top 10 highestgrossing films in South Korea were made there.

If American cinema hasn’t stolen the hearts of Korean moviegoers, however, it’s poached some of the industry’s top directors. Kim Jee-woon and Park Chanwook’s Hollywood debuts were released earlier this year, with Bong Joon-ho’s “Snowpiercer” to follow. I haven’t seen Kim’s Schwarzenegger vehicle “The Last Stand,” but Park’s “Stoker” was the kind of fascinating misfire that suggested the director learned about American life solely from watching Alfred Hitchcock’s “Shadow of a Doubt,” David L ynch’s “Blue Velvet,” and Tim Burton’s “Edward Scissorhands.” Two of South Korea’s most prolific and prominent directors, Kim Ki-duk and Hong Sang-soo, seem unlikely to come to America (although Hong has made a film in France.) Kim’s “Pieta” won the top prize at the Venice Film Festival last year, which pissed off Cinema Scope magazine so much it ran 11 negative reviews of the film on its website. At the time, I thought it was an unfair dogpile, but after seeing “Pieta,” I understood why this amateurishly directed, rape-obsessed film drew such anger. Hong continues to make strong work (including two films so far this year), but he remains commercially marginal. Last year, three of his films opened in New York, and all closed in a week. A series like MOMA’s “Focus on South Korea” is helpful for giving us an opportunity to see the nation’s directors who haven’t yet become festival darlings or attracted American distribution but might get there one day. 

If the great Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu were

still alive, he might be making films like Jang Kun-jae’s “Sleepless Night” (Aug. 10, 7:30 p.m.; Aug. 11, 2 p.m.).

Lee Yi-kyung in Lee Songhe-il’s “White Knight,” which screens August 10 at 4 p.m.

MUSEUM OF MODERN ART

All films in Korean with English subtitles Museum of Modern Art 11 W. 53rd St. Aug. 5-11 moma.org

MUSEUM OF MODERN ART

FOCUS ON SOUTH KOREA

Park Won-sang in Chung Ji-young’s “National Security,” which screens August 7 at 7 p.m., August 8 and 9 at 4 p.m., and August 10 at 1:30 p.m.

Jang’s film is deceptively simple, but packs a powerful punch. A married couple (Kim Su-hyun and Kim Jooyoung) go through their daily routines, contemplate parenthood, and argue about whether he tried to get one of their friends drunk. There’s little overt action, apart from a scene where she discovers that her bike has been stolen. However, Jang’s style brings a documentary-like authenticity to the film. He rarely moves the camera, which is positioned at a variety of angles. The scenes are often cut in surprising places. The Ozu connection comes from Jang’s plainspoken style, the prominence food plays in his images, and his fascination with everyday life. Behind it all is the social pressure to become parents. It’s no surprise to learn that the film is autobiographical; it was even shot in the director’s own apartment. To the attentive viewer,

“Sleepless Night” offers plenty of drama, even if it stays close to the minimalism of Asian “festival cinema.”

Lee Songhe-il’s “White Night” (Aug. 10, 4 p.m.) isn’t exactly

a revenge fantasy, but MOMA’s program notes make it sound like one. After a gay-bashing that traumatizes him so much he leaves Korea for two years, flight attendant Won-gyu (Won Tae-hee) returns to Seoul for a night. He hooks up with Tae-joon (Lee Yi-kyung), a motorbike courier in a James Dean-style red jacket, and spends the night wandering around with him. The cinematography is bright, despite the nighttime setting, and the colors saturated. However, the film feels coy where it tries to be enigmatic and mysterious. Won-gyu’s noctur nal excursion recalls Jon Shear’s now-forgotten US gay indie “Urbania,” but Lee keeps

his cast down to two characters and centers on a protagonist who’s mostly silent and frankly comes off as a bit of a jerk. He’s the kind of man who won’t reveal his name to his date. The way the characters’ emotional interactions run the gamut from love to hate and back again feels contrived; they might benefit from having other people as sounding boards. Still, “White Night” reveals something about the essential isolation of Korea’s gay community, even in the age of cell phone hook-ups, and the mental and physical scars of hate crimes.

C h u n g J i - y o u n g ’s “National Security,” which

MOMA is honoring with a week-long run (Aug. 7, 7 p.m.; Aug. 8 & 9, 4 p.m.; Aug. 10, 1:30 p.m.), does for torture what one-dimensional anti-drug films like “Christiane F.” and “Requiem For a Dream” did for heroin. It’s undeniably powerful, but so bleak and heavyhanded that it’s almost unwatchable. It should be required watching for anyone who thinks torture is politically useful and ethically justifiable, but the rest of us can safely skip it. If you already think torture is bad, it has no new insights. (Perhaps “Azooma” (Aug. 9, 7 p.m.) director Lee Ji-seung should catch it, judging from the dental torture that closes his ugly revenge drama.) Based on an autobiographical essay by student activist-turned-politician Kim Geun-tae, “National Security” tells the story of a brutal 22-day stretch in jail suffered by a young man (Park Won-sang.) He experiences a wide variety of torture methods, although his captors try not to leave marks. The ‘Scope frame is usually filled with closeups or medium shots, and the sets are claustrophobic. The cinematography is bleached of bright colors. Everything seems designed to be as blunt as possible, but that doesn’t prevent the film from occasionally slipping into tasteless sadomasochistic fantasy, as in a scene where Kim is treated like a dog. “National Security” takes place in 1985, a few years before South Korea became a democracy, and for Koreans, this reminder of their country’s brutal past may be cathartic. Torture has become a part of American history, but the film’s context is too specific to really speak to our country’s experiences in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. The 1999 Argentine film “Garage Olimpo” is a much better model for making a film about torture that brings home its horror without feeling like a pointless wallow in misery.


21

| August 7, 2013

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August 7, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com

THEATER

Matters of Life and Death Philosophy, reality, and murder gone wrong in two new musicals

T

BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE

alk about low-hanging fruit — satirizing reality TV. It’s obvious and easy, and perhaps because of that it could go terribly wrong as engaging theater. Yet Itamar Moses has managed to make a thoroughly entertaining evening out of it in the new musical “Nobody Loves You,” now at Second Stage. He brings intelligence, good humor, and wit to what, despite its often frivolous antics, also makes a sober commentary on our culture, the drive for fame, and the incessant need for attention that characterizes our time — whether in the tabloids, on talks shows, or in Twitter feeds that sometimes have barely a dozen followers.

NOBODY LOVES YOU

Jeff is a graduate student in philosophy who has no patience for the titular reality show beloved by his girlfriend Tanya. When she leaves him to go audition for the show, he auditions too as a way to win her back. Because Jeff disdains the show openly, the producers think he’s ratings gold, and so on he goes. Tanya isn’t chosen. The rest of the plot concerns the doings of the contestants as they’re eliminated after, you guessed it, America has voted that nobody loves them. Jeff soon finds himself sucked into the competition, learning that even he is not immune to the lure of fame. He also finds himself in an off-camera romance with Jenny, an assistant producer. When complications ensue, the audience is left to ponder what reality is and whether it is anything more than a philosophical construct, whether — that is — reality is simply what we make it. This may seem heady for such a bright and charming musical, but that’s exactly the point. Moses’ philosophical exploration gives a context to the stock characters that populate the show and makes them both interesting and sympathetic. Gaby Alter’s music and lyrics are slick, of the moment, and completely appropriate for the piece. A knowing superficiality, with integration of concepts like hashtags, complements Moses’ book. The cast is uniformly good, particularly Bryan Fenkart as Jeff who plays it too clever by half but also reveals a vulnerable heart. Fenkart has a surprising and versatile voice and will be someone to watch. Lauren Molina plays sex-addled contestant Megan with complete abandon, showing another side to her usual impressive soprano. Leslie Kritzer in multiple roles, including Tanya, shines in all of them, particularly as the soulless producer. Heath Calvert is hilarious as the show host who knows only what is said into his ear, and Aleque Reid is terrific as Jenny, the “real” girl Jeff ultimately falls for. Rory O’Malley is hilarious in a variety of roles, particularly Evan, the loyal, always-tweeting fan of the show who happens to be Jenny’s roommate. Director Michelle Tattenbaum has deftly balanced

JOAN MARCUS

Second Stage Theater 305 W. 43rd St. Through Aug. 11 Tue. at 7 p.m.; Wed.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. $69-$84; 2st.com Or 212-246-4422

Bryan Fenkart and Heath Calvert in Itamar Moses’ “Nobody Loves You,” at Second Stage through August 11.

the heartfelt and the absurd, and Mandy Moore — no stranger to the form from her choreography on “So You Think You Can Dance” — has created bright, energetic, and totally contemporary choreography.

In the 16th century, Shakespeare

strove to hold a mirror up to nature in a theater that held a few hundred. In the 21st, that mirror is more likely a camera, and millions tune in. The result is the same. As humans, we seem programmed to ponder the nature of reality and the meaning of existence. That seems timeless and if rather than a meditation at Yorick’s grave you get a sexy number in a hot tub along with your ontology, is that necessarily a bad thing?

MURDER FOR TWO McGinn/ Cazale Theatre 2162 Broadway at 76th St. Through Aug. 25 Mon.-Sat. at 7:30 p.m.; Sat. at 2 p.m. $54; 2st.com Or 212-246-4422

That depends. Were it not for the technical proficiency of the gifted two-member cast, the new musical “Murder for Two” at Second Stage Uptown would be completely intolerable. Instead, this clumsy, unoriginal, and thoroughly bush-league would-be murder mystery/ comedy/ vaudeville act is a crashing bore happily relieved by some top-notch piano playing. There is absolutely nothing in the book by Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair that we haven’t seen before. The premise is that there’s been a murder in some mansion and a detective is dispatched to solve the crime. In this case, the works get gummed up because

the gumshoe, played by Brett Ryback, is really just a beat cop pretending to be a detective in hopes of getting a promotion. All the suspects are played by one actor, Jeff Blumenkrantz. That’s the gimmick, and as fast on his feet as Blumenkrantz is, the characters are all stereotypes — the dotty matron, the smart but ditzy ingénue, the aging ballerina, the shrill married couple. And so on. It all seems like a lesser episode of “Murder, She Wrote.” Blumenkrantz can only give the most general indications of characters because that’s all one can do with this type of manic material, but it quickly becomes merely mechanical and, of course, there is the “hilarious” prospect that the two men might kiss when Blumenkrantz is playing one of the women. (Harvey Korman and Tim Conway used this shtick, too, on “The Carol Burnett Show.” Ask your parents.) Kinosian’s music isn’t particularly memorable outside of being heavily influenced by Cy Coleman (“Sweet Charity,” “City of Angels”). One could crib from worse, but Blair’s lyrics aren’t much, so the score ends up being undistinguished. As to Blumenkrantz and Ryback, however, they are the reason you should struggle to resist bolting. The two play well off each other, and while Blumenkrantz does most of the heavy lifting — such as tap dancing on his knees when he’s a tough, but loveable street kid and otherwise flailing and flopping about — Ryback plays the straight man. The two switch off at the keyboard with great dexterity and sometimes to comic effect, and when they play together, the show rouses itself from its derivative and sophomoric concept and becomes entertaining. The extended piece the two men play together at the end of the show is the highlight of the evening. Too bad it comes so long after rigor mortis has set in.


| August 7, 2013

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August 7, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com

WEBSERIES

Whatever It Is, Watch It “Outs” creator returns with new series about the reality of making it in New York BY MICHAEL SHIREY

S

Whateverthisis.com

till not over "The Outs?" Well now you don't have to be. Adam Goldman and Rascal Department, the creative team behind the critically acclaimed web series, are back. "Whatever This Is," their new web series about getting it together — professionally speaking — asks the hard question that every New Yorker has faced at one time or another: How long do you have to hate what you do before you get to do what you love?

WHATEVER THIS IS EPISODE 1: “REALITY” Directed by Adam Goldman Rascal Department whateverthisis.com

Fans of "The Outs" will no doubt recognize a few familiar faces. Sasha Winters, Hunter Canning, and Tommy Heleringer (Oona, Jack, and Scruffy in

Dylan Marron, Madeline Wise, and Hunter Canning in "Whatever This Is."

that earlier series, respectively) return, alongside newcomers Dylan Marron, Madeline Wise, and Ross Hamman. The show will also feature other guest

DeAr guys who like guys And GALS who like gAls, life, liberty And the pursuit of hAppiness begAn with Me.

P.S. Get your history strAight And your nightlife gAy.

appearances, including the return of Alan Cumming, who played a metaversion of himself in "The Outs." The pilot episode of "Whatever This Is," titled “Reality,” begins with a production crew, Sam (Canning), Ari (Marron), Tobi (Heleringer), Dana (Winters), and Oscar (Hamman), filming a reality-TV pilot, “Housewives of the Upper East Side.” The show's star, drunk housewife Donna (an over the top Lusia Strus), babbles on as the crew feeds her lines about an unruly dog. The scene wraps with the director and would-be star throwing a slew of insults at the crew, leaving them — and anyone in the audience who has ever had a sucky entry-level job — to question their employment. Jump to Lisa (Wise), an unemployed teacher and Sam's girlfriend, struggling to pay for her groceries with help from a good Samaritan. Groceries acquired, Lisa, along with roommates Sam and

Ari, enjoy their poor man's meal, all the while looking despairingly at their rent jar, which is of course short. Sam remains hopeful — they should make enough money off the next day's shoot to pay rent and even go see a movie. "Whatever This Is'" wastes no time as it delves into the harsh truth that is survival in New York. At one point, Oscar, who leads the production crew, asks Sam if he knows just how many other hopefuls there are waiting for the chance to take his place. You don't have to work in film to be able to relate to that daunting fact of life. In another scene, Lisa embarrassingly is reduced to searching for change in order to tip a barista at a café. Just like on "The Outs," good writing clearly counts for something here. In fact, it counts for everything. "Whatever This Is" lays out plenty of groundwork and well-rounded characters. A hungover Donna shocks Ari (and viewers) when she bribes him into a moment of honesty. The show also drops plenty of hints for future story lines to keep viewers hooked (and get last minute Kickstarter pledges). All this in an uninterrupted 30-minute episode. In other words, definitely worth watching. To fund "Whatever This Is," Goldman returned to Kickstarter, asking for a seemingly steep $165,000. But Goldman justified the high goal, saying that, unlike "The Outs," he wanted to actually pay the actors and crew for their work. Ya know, like a real job. Goldman's Kickstarter was successfully funded hours before closing, with a total of over $170,000 from more than 2,000 backers. The first episode premiered July 30 at a sold-out event at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, a mere five days before the Kickstarter deadline. The episode went live on the show's website the following day.

GET ON TO GET OFF OFF. TRY FOR FREE!

646-507-5585 More local numbers: 1.800.777.8000 / Ahora en Español / 18+

The fastest growing social network for men who like men


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| August 7, 2013

IN THE NOH

How to Start a Gay Bookstore

Essential Bureau, new musicals, stoked by Stokes, funniest summer movie BY David Noh

CD BABY

RUSS ROWLAND

G

reg Newton and his lover, Donnie Jochum, were walking through Chelsea one night two years ago and passed by the spot where the queer bookstore Different Light once stood. Newton recalled for me, “I asked, ‘When did it close? And the Oscar Wilde Bookshop? Is there no longer a gay bookstore in New York?’ We both immediately said, ‘We should do it. With a bar!’” And do it they did, with their Bureau of General Services: Queer Division, which opened in November 2012 at 27 Orchard Street in the now uber -hip Lower East Side. It’s a wondrous queer haven of literature and art curated with matchless discernment and farreaching taste. They won’t be there for long, though, as their agreement with the space they occupy, Strange Loop Gallery, terminates at the end of the month. To facilitate their dream of opening a new place, they launched a fundraising website and are hosting a benefit on August 7 at the Pyramid Club (101 Ave. A at E. Seventh St.), where Justin Sayre will emcee a fabulous lineup of talent (bgsqd.tumblr.com/) I recently had a ball introducing two films — “You Are Not Alone” and “Riptide” — at the Bureau and wanted to hear more about their story. Newton, who’s had quite a life, coming from a strict Baptist upbringing in Connecticut which helped bring on suicidal depression in his formative years, has found his mission, and said, “This all was pretty much a pipe dream. We met originally online in June 2011, and thinking about a gay bookstore, we’d be on our roof, smoking, wondering how could such a place survive? We launched the idea in June 2012 with 16 volunteers, collecting email addresses, handing out tote bags and info with our website, and a survey to get feedback from people. “In September, we did the New York Art Book Fair and were selling for the first time. Right after that, a friend told me about these two women, Claire Fleury and Alesia Exum, who owned this gallery, Strange Loop, one of whom went to his yoga studio. He’d chatted about my project and they seemed interested. I went there and thought immediately, ‘Oh, yes, please!’ “Over dinner a few days later, they said, ‘Let’s do it,’ so easy. A marriage of two dykes and two fags! We opened November 15 and were only supposed to be there until the end of January, but

Brian Stokes Mitchell from the cover of his new CD, “Simply Broadway.”

we kept getting extended and, finally, we agreed to just keep it going and figure it out as we went along, checking in each month. We are definitely out of there August 31, however. We want to expand to have a café, and they want their space back to go more in a direction of photography and fashion — Claire is a designer — but with it still being a very different kind of gallery, which is cool.” Newton really learned the business from the ground up, starting with not over-ordering books. “It’s like I grew up in the Depression, always afraid of running out,” he said. The ef fort’s basic philosophy is gleaned from AA Bronson of the General Idea art collective — “to say yes more than you say no, which has been very good, especially in terms of the art we show.” The Bureau’s clientele has been steadily growing, although Newton admitted, “We are somewhat off the beaten path, although this area is getting more attention with its galleries and restaurants. I wish a gay bar would open here.” Bestsellers at the Bureau include “Against Equality,” “Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?,” and “Wild Animals I Have Known: Polk Street Diaries and After.” “There’s been a big revival of David Wojnarowicz, with the book ‘Fire in the Belly,’” Newton said. The Bureau is also the one place where you can get a full range of ‘zines, which I was happy to find are very much alive and well, with “Butt,” ”Spank,” “Headmaster,” ”Pinups,” “Homocats,”

“Original Plumbing,” ”Anal” from Mexico, and others on vividly subversive display. “And there’s ‘Bad Grammar,’ which plays with the negative stereotypes of African Americans not speaking proper English,” Newton added. With an academic background in art history, Newton always wanted to show art as well as have readings and screenings: “I never wanted to have the word ‘bookstore’ in our name and saw a bigger project than that. We called it a queer cultural center from the beginning, with a synergy with what’s happening to bring people in because they have different interests and not everyone is a big reader, although they should be.” As for that singular name: “I love institutional critique, artists who took on the airs and monikers of institutions and played with them. Like General Idea, Art in General, Work Material, and Marcel Breuer in the 1960s with his I Am a Museum. It’s not just about rich people getting together and starting a museum, it’s about taking it in your own hands, claiming authority. Now that we are being accepted by authority, this is a good moment to be talking about it. Are we really looking to be recognized by some authority that has historically despised us and say ‘thank you’? Do we want to join the military? No! “You want to get married? Okay, I guess, but it’s not on my agenda. I get it, and with the military, I understand there are class issues where it seems like the only way out, but a sad one, I think, not only for themselves, but for what the military is doing to others

Jared Loftin in “Gary Goldfarb: Master Escapist.”

around the world. “I know it’s an oversimplification, but what happened to queer liberation? What happened to envisioning a totally different society that’s loving and compassionate and free? I’m not naïve but also feel that people who become so pragmatic lose their souls, so the Bureau is playfully engaging the idea of what bureaucracy do we want to be part of or create. “I feel so lucky that people have embraced this project, despite snarky comments I shouldn’t read on the Internet about gay people not reading anymore and objections to my use of the word ‘queer,’ which I fully embrace. People have really come to us, and it could have just died but it was just the opposite, in spite of all you hear about bookstores dying. “People say, ‘We don’t need our own spaces anymore,’ and I don’t know how to respond to that. It’s not about ghettoizing. Yes, things are different now, but we still live in a very hateful society, and not just toward gay people. The word ‘queer’ to me is all-embracing and about making alliances with others who are marginalized and criminalized.” “Donnie and I are two gay men starting this, and it’s obviously easier for us to connect socially to other gay men and they feel drawn to us, but, going forward, we want to get everyone involved — women, trans, intersex, the whole spectrum of anyone who is outside the world of heterosexual strict gender binarism. And that’s a lot of people.”

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IN THE NOH, continued on p.27


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OPERA

Pardon My French

Will Crutchfield revives Verdi’s grand opera intensions in Vêpres,” “Don Carlos” at Caramoor n the 19th century, every Italian composer wanted to write a grand opera for the Paris Opéra. A triumph in cosmopolitan Paris meant fame on an international scale. Giuseppe Verdi cautiously took up the challenge, adapting his early “I Lombardi” into the more finished “Jérusalem” (1847). In 1855, he undertook his first original five-act grand opera to a French text — “Les Vêpres Siciliennes.” A decade later, he revised his Italian “Macbeth” (1847) for Paris, creating what is now the standard performing edition. Verdi’s last and most ambitious attempt at grand opera was the 1867 “Don Carlos.” Both “Vêpres” and “Don Carlos” have usually been performed internationally in Italian translation — the Metropolitan Opera has performed both works exclusively that way. Verdi worked on the Italian translation of “Vêpres” and found it a dispiriting experience. “I now know what it means to translate and I feel sympathy for all the bad translations that are around because it is impossible to make a good one,” he confided to Tito Ricordi. Not only were the texts purged of political, libertarian, and religious references but the octosyllabic meter of French verse was altered to conform to Italian forms. Add this to the very different accents and syllabic stresses of French versus Italian and the composer’s careful prosody and musical phrase structure are ruined. Will Crutchfield did all lovers of Verdi and opera a service by performing “Les Vêpres Siciliennes” and “Don Carlos” in the original language as part of his “Verdi in Paris” program at the Caramoor Festival. Both presentations were revelatory. “Les Vêpres Siciliennes” has been considered a gateway work to Verdi’s mature masterpieces like “Forza del Destino” and “Aïda,” but its grandeur, quality, and scope were fully realized in the July 6 Caramoor presentation. One could hear how the faulty standard Italian translation distorted the work. In the original French, the choruses of the French occupying army have a jaunty breezy elegance in stark contrast to the darker, brooding, shorter phrases of the oppressed Sicilian populace. In Italian, the French officers sound like a bouncy opera buffa chorus with the angry Sicilians providing a rollicking obbligato. Crutchfield performed the score complete, including the “Four

GABE PALACIO

I

BY ELI JACOBSON

James Valenti and Jennifer Check in the Caramoor performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Don Carlos.”

Seasons” ballet. Angela Meade has sometimes seemed a vocally gifted but interpretively remote singer — not so here. Meade’s successful recent debut in Vienna in “Vespri” has enhanced her vocal and dramatic authority. Done up in full diva regalia — long velvet gown with sheer cape, diamond tiara in her chignon, and a proud defiant mien — she confidently handled the nearly three-octave range of Duchesse Hélène’s music. She shifted seamlessly from dramatic declamation to floating high cantilena to florid virtuosity. During her brilliant last-act “Boléro,” Meade tossed the flowers of her wedding bouquet to the audience. The tenor role of Sicilian rebel Henri is equally high and demanding but the bel canto tenor John Osborn has recently conquered the heroic role of Arnold in Rossini’s “Guillaume Tell.” His tenor is narrow and bright — sturdy rather than beautiful and his high notes hardened under pressure. Osborn’s technical security did not keep him from tiring by Act IV but he recovered nicely for his lyrical serenade in Act V. “Vêpres” is dramatically out of character for Verdi in that the French tyrant gover nor Guy de Montfort becomes increasingly sympathetic as

he bends his inflexible authority to win the love of Henri, his illegitimate son. Marco Nisticò traded his customary buffo manner for Gallic elegance as Montfort, his dry, rather light baritone communicating severity and humanity convincingly. Burak Bilgili fielded a huge blunt black bass instrument as the implacable Italian patriot Procida, whose nationalist agenda lent itself to terrorism with no concern for collateral damage. His raw elemental power provided a vivid dramatic contrast to his colleagues. Crutchfield conducting the Orchestra of St. Lukes provided a brilliant mix of epic scope and intimate detail.

When Verdi reworked his massive five-act “Don Carlos” into a more streamlined,

four-act version in 1884, he enlisted one of the original librettists, Camille du Locle, to provide the new texts. This revision premiered at La Scala in a decent but flawed Italian translation. When Crutchfield’s presented the dramatically symmetrical 1884 revision (no Fontainebleau act) en francais on July 20, it was immediately apparent how much better suited the French text is, including a more appropriate match of word to phrase. In Princesse

Eboli’s aria “O don fatale,” the second phrase ends in a stabbing upward note. In French, the words are “heaven in its anger,” whereas in the Italian version the stabbing upward note is on the word “cielo” or “heaven.” The Caramoor cast was game and gifted but not comparable to past greats (singing in Italian). The biggest name was veteran lyric mezzo Jennifer Larmore, stretching her resources as Eboli. Larmore’s sound is now leaner and drier in the middle, with the tone opening more at the top of the range. She easily soared into the soprano climaxes of this falcon role. If one could put aside aural echoes of the powerhouse Italianate dramatic mezzos of yesteryear, Larmore’s brighter nervier sound more easily suggested a sensual temperamental young coquette driven to desperation. Larmore’s flamboyant impersonation almost overstepped the boundaries of concert opera and her “O don fatale” brought down the house. In recent years, the roles of Élisabeth de Valois and Rodrigue have been cast too often with overparted Mimis and Count Almavivas. Crutchfield tapped two inexplicably neglected large-voiced American singers — Jennifer Check and Stephen Powell. Both have only sung comprimario roles at the Met. Check was the Celestial Voice in last season’s Met “Don Carlo,” and here she easily outsang her erstwhile Met Elisabetta, revealing a warm, gleaming soprano of easy expansion. A rim of steel on a few high phrases suggests a voice more suited to Wagner and Strauss. Powell’s oaken baritone outshone almost all of the baritones the Met has recently presented in Verdi — the tone rock solid and rich throughout the range. Christophoros Stamboglis’ rumbling basso profondo did not suggest the icy haughtiness of Philippe II but plumbed the monarch’s sorrow in Act III. Mikhail Svetlov’s woolly bass was more impressive for size than tonal steadiness or French style. The fly in the ointment was matinee idol tenor James Valenti as the tortured title character. Valenti’s throttled sound was constantly pushed, and the high notes were unsteady. His dramatic interpretation featured a generalized dopey hysteria that did not connect convincingly with his stage partners or vary with the action. Crutchfield’s conducting was less persuasive than in “Vêpres.” Some of the tempos were too slow, and the big choral scenes failed to coalesce excitingly.


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LOVELACE, from p.18

story, and it very viscerally made the private public. So maybe that’s part of it. Sex tells us so much about who we are, and the way we deal with sex is how we are in the world. GMK: When did you first see “Deep Throat,” and what was your reaction to it? JF: When I started working on this movie. GMK: Did you like it? JF: No, it’s terrible! The worst movie! In some ways it’s kind of wonderful in a 1960s Warhol way. The opening sequence is a five-minute sequence of her driving and nothing happens. The humor is kind of burlesque humor, which is odd to see in a porn film. The actual blowjobs are just blowjobs. They are impressive. But as a cultural phenomenon I find it fascinating… delightfully weird. ROB EPSTEIN: I saw it in college in a midnight show, which I swear was a double feature with “Pink Flamingos.” But John Waters said that was not possible. I remember thinking “Deep Throat” was like a cartoon. Not so much a porn film, but a trashy campy film like “Pink Flamingos,” which is a much better film. GMK: What is the appeal of Linda’s story to you as gay men?

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R E : S e v e r a l t h i n g s . We w e r e interested in the character of Linda L o v el ace — w ho w a s b or n L i nd a Boreman — who had to do her own kind of coming out. First, as a sexual being — a reaction to her oppressive family background. Then as an international porn star. And then, the whole other iteration of her life when she denounced her past. As gay men, we can understand her soul-sear ching, even though it’s a different experience. We were fascinated by that, and all the issues around the sexual revolution and what she embodied. People think the sex revolution benefited everyone, but originally it was straight men, then women, then gay men. Also, as filmmakers, one commonality we’re attracted to is art on the fringes that makes its way into the mainstream. GMK: Can you discuss why your films are very much about the personal being political? JF: I can’t say it’s a conscious decision. Those are the stories that we find inspiring, and are interested in — people who set out to make a difference and really do change the world. GMK: Why did you approach Linda’s story as both a public and a private version? RE: We’re used to constructing

IN THE NOH, from p.25

The New York Musical Theatre Festival, which attracted very healthy, enthusiastic

crowds to a variety of venues, just wrapped and I was able to catch a few of the many shows. I was struck by the level of commitment and detail that went into all the productions I saw, some with nearly full stagings with costumes and sets. On the plus side was “Gary Goldfarb: Master Escapist,” which, although it could use some cutting, benefited from catchy music and lyrics and, especially, the wonderfully talented Jared Loftin — a kid with amazingly more colors in his voice than a rainbow — in the title role. “Crossing Swords” was a moving take on the classic “Cyrano de Bergerac” set in a Canadian school. “Bend in the Road” was yet one more musical adaptation of the beloved “Anne of Green Gables,” which, though not earthshaking, was effective in its own right and blessed with a nice performance by Martin Vidnovic. “Castle Walk” had an interesting concept, about the making of the 1939 Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musical “The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle.” This real life pair was renowned for their terpsichorean skills, but the dances they performed, while effective in their day, don’t exactly scream excitement now, and the choreography, though authentic, was too demure and repetitive to sustain my interest. “Icarus,” though colorfully produced and vividly performed, was a somewhat tortured retelling of the Greek myth, set in a freak show carny with unappetizing and repetitive music and lyrics. And definitely on the minus side was “Boys Will Be Boys.”

stories and reconstructing stories. So much of our documentaries are made in editing. When we were first immersing ourselves in the story to figure out an approach, the question was, “Who is the real Linda Lovelace/ Boreman?” She had a complicated, layered life. We wanted to tell the story that mirrored her psychology that looks back on her life through a different lens — how she presented to the world and then told it a few years later. GMK: Why did you decide to recreate the porno scenes rather than use clips? RE: We wanted to do our own take on the film, so we did all of our own recreations rather than use any of the [original] film. We had a great time with that. JF: It was more fun to recreate it. You couldn’t have all the stuff behind the camera if you were using the real footage. GMK: You present surprisingly little nudity and sex on screen. Was that deliberate? JF: It was never our goal to show as much sex as possible. But when the story calls for it, we tried to make it sexy. There’s some real intimacy. There’s nothing shocking in what we show. It’s a story of a woman’s sexuality as it evolves, so we wanted to show Linda becoming free in her body and claiming her body.

I just felt bad for the hard-working actors, and the title alone — if not the festival brochure — should have warned me away from this beyond-tired and irritatingly obvious show dealing with Gay Attention Deficit Disorder. What amazes me is that anyone is even still doing cornball, unfunny revue stuff like this — as if it were 1972 and we were still inventing the gay entertainment wheel.

Sheer musical pleasure was happily vouchsafed by Brian Stokes Mitchell’s Town Hall

appearance on July 8. It was titled “Simply Broadway,” as is his new CD, and it was all that, casting this truly beloved baritone in some of the most iconic theater roles singing repertoire warhorses. Memories of childhood came flooding back as, thanks to my musical-loving Aunt Gretchen who’d buy soundtrack records, I was exposed to most of these songs at an early age and — God forbid! — sometimes preferred the movie versions to original cast albums, case in point being “Camelot.” Mitchell did two numbers from that show, proving that he would have made a stellar King Arthur or Lancelot. He also did two numbers from his personally beloved “Man of La Mancha,” and he is really the only person in the world I ever care to hear sing those songs, as he does them so magnificently. He showed off his versatility, embodying two characters he will probably never play — Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof” and Fagin in “Oliver!” Most renditions of “Soliloquy” from “Carousel” are groaninducing and beyond the musical-dramatic chops of those who attempt them (see Nathan Gunn), but Mitchell carried it off with thrilling ease and power.

GMK: What can you say about exploring the line between passion and pain? RE: Whoa! That’s deep! GMK: Well, it is “Deep Throat!” RE: [Laughs.] That has a lot to do with what defines us and how empathetic we are to other people’s experience. How we relate to sexuality defines who we are. Empathy or lack of it is expressed through sex. GMK: Linda comes across as very naïve, then very sympathetic. Why did you present her character in this way? RE: She was very young in that relationship with Chuck. By the nature of those kinds of relationships where there’s passion and pain and you’re as young as she is, I imagine that it was difficult for her to get out of that cycle. GMK: So do you see “Lovelace” as a cautionary tale? JF: I hope people look at public stories of real people more skeptically or think about them more critically. Or be inspired by her story, a woman overcoming adversity. RE: We thought of Linda as the first reality superstar. She was an average working-class girl who suddenly became inter nationally famous. There are advantages and disadvantages to being in that spotlight. She was of a different time and era and spent the rest of her life having to overcome it.

If you want to really laugh, by all means catch “The To Do List” in general release right now. It’s a deliciously raunchy female version of “American Pie’ and funnier than that entire franchise, about an over-achieving high school girl (Aubrey Plaza, fearless), who wants to do every sexual act all her less gradeconscious peers have long been enjoying before she goes to college. Outrageous and outrageously funny, but with heart and some nicely unstressed messages, it’s the perfect summer movie. Contact David Noh at Inthenoh@aol.com, follow him on Twitter @in_the_noh, and check out his blog at http://nohway.wordpress.com/.

R.K. Gupta · Attorney at Law · Immigration, Bankruptcy, Divorces, Real Estate, Criminal, & General Legal Matters 44 Court Street #911 Brooklyn, NY 11201 718-643-1500 // 718-237-1902 rkguptark1@yahoo.com M-F: 10-5 // Sat: 12-3


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PERSPECTIVE

Russian Queers Under Attack

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U

nless we get involved, US athletes will participate in the 2014 Olympics in Russia, where naked authoritarian rule has returned after a trial in democracy that only lasted long enough for the Eastern Orthodox Church to regain and consolidate its power and for a vicious free market capitalism to create a few obscenely wealthy oligarchs. The rest of the population is comprised of a handful of prodemocracy resisters, like the feminist punk rockers Pussy Riot, a lumpish and alienated majority, and a sizeable minority increasingly nostalgic for the bad old days when sacrificial victims might have disappeared (we won't speak of them), but at least there was order. Part of that returning, Sovietera order is the oppression of queers. The Church had done it before, but the Communist secular state got in the business when it turned out that faggots didn't disappear along with the filthy upper classes. Like in Cuba, this state-sponsored homophobia became particularly virulent after a few years in the authoritarian swamp when it crossbred puritanical Christian morality with the macho, authoritarian cult of the Commies' New Man. Queers, of course, are its natural enemy, dykes subvert-

ing the idea that things must be the way they are — with women submitting to their sharply bearded men, citizens bowing to the power of the state, and journalists regularly eating their words or having convenient and fatal accidents. Two men are just as bad because either you have a male abdicating his God-given supremacy or a pair of them asserting the chaotic power of erotic democracy. The worst Russian laws came in 1960 when queers were punished not just for having sex, but banned from working any job that had to do with kids or playing any role in public. Plenty of gay men ended up in prison or worse. Dykes were more routinely sent to the nuthouse to have their queerness electroshocked out of them. That famous anti-gay article 121.1 of the 1960 Soviet Criminal Code was only repealed two decades ago in 1993, less as a sign of a newfound commitment to civil equality than a little early pinkwashing to help Russia court the European Union. Up until late in '92, hundreds of gay men were still being convicted and imprisoned every year, while dyke activists like Alla Pitcherskaia not only risked repeated arrest, but threats of permanent imprisonment and electrodes. When I was co-editing the Gully online magazine from 2000 to 2006, the Russian queers we worked with were reluctant to use their names.

As it turned out, they had good reason. Like Putin's authoritarian government, unapologetic homophobes have re-emerged mouthing both nationalistic and religious arguments in their attempts to recriminalize homosexuality. They've been increasingly effective, shutting down some Pride Parades, and in June, as lesbians and gay men in the US won federal recognition of their marriages, the Russian parliament voted almost unanimously to ban "pro-gay" propaganda. This incredibly broad law not only prohibits any positive portrayals of LGBT people but also criminalizes even straight people who dare acknowledge our existence in public or speak the word gay. For all intents and purposes, it officially outlaws queers and attempts to erase us. They're not stopping there. A new law bans gay couples from adopting, and another makes it legal to toss tourists into jail for a couple weeks if they're gay. Four Dutch tourists were recently arrested for "promoting homosexuality to children." More laws are in the works to remove children from lesbian and gay parents. Forget marriage. Ultranationalists, acting with the state's approval, if not their funds, don’t just want to erase us socially and legally, but also erase us from the face of the earth. As new stadiums are built and Olympic platitudes mouthed, the most popular

sport in Russia is forming lynch mobs to attack queers in the street. Other far-right psychos are using social media to lure young gay teens into private spaces where they humiliate and torture them, then proudly post videos of their horrifying acts of patriotism on the Internet. According to an online poll, since this anti-gay crackdown intensified, 15 percent of LGBT folks in Russia have been physically attacked for being gay or transgender. There have been grisly murders. Russian queers are in real danger without major outside pressure or a civil earthquake. Because homophobia's only half the problem. Cultures can be changed, eventually. But there’s little they can do without the tools of civil society and democracy — persuasion and protest and speech. As outsiders, we can only vote with our money and by withholding the prestige Russia longs for. Unlike in the US, where we can also vote at the ballot box and agitate, at least for now. Although we're heading in a better direction on LGBT rights, we're moving in tandem with Russia when it comes to destroying the tools of social change like free speech and a vibrant media. In the long run, it may be less significant to have a gay-friendly president than one more deter mined than George W. Bush to attack the press and make examples of whistle-blowers like Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning, rightly disgusted by their government's abuse of power to erode our precious democracy. Putin must be really amused to have Snowden as a houseguest.

Rivendell Media / 212.242.6863

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JWSutter@communitymediallc.com Gay City News, The Newspaper Serving Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender NYC, is published by NYC Community Media, LLC. Send all inquiries to: Gay City News, 515 Canal Street, Unit 1C, NYC 10013 Phone: 212.229.1890 Written permission of the publisher must be obtained before any of the contents of this paper, in part or whole, can be reproduced or redistributed. All contents (c) 2012 Gay City News.

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Bradley Manning and the State of Our Republic BY NATHAN RILEY

B

radley Manning is an American hero who against great odds and without regard to his personal safety defied US secrecy laws. In recent months, his

actions have increasingly been viewed in a more favor able light. By the end of July, in a sudden change of direction, Congress investigated the National Security Agency (NSA). Members of Congress who had received classified information about this agency’s spying on American citi-

zens held hearings and were allowed to discuss these controversial activities with the public. Prior to the leaks by Manning and his successor, Edward Snowden, legislators on Capitol Hill did not have the freedom to publicly air the specifics of their grave misgivings about the recent drastic

changes in the way America carries out surveillance activities. The domestic spying activities undertaken since 9/11 were classified, something that forced Congress into the shadows in any public debate about them. Instead of hints that the NSA was watching us all the time, there is now public confirmation, and to no one’s surprise many members of Congress and their constit-

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RILEY, continued on p.31


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| August 7, 2013

PERSPECTIVE

Will Sochi Haunt the Olympic Movement? BY EMMANUELLE SCHICK

A

few years ago, red flags were raised when a Russian judge ruled that Pride House, a non-profit organization supporting LGBT athletes, would be banned from the Sochi Olympics. It was the first time such an organization had been blocked by Russian officials. The judge went a step further and labelled Pride House, which was present at the 2010 Vancouver Games, an “extremist” association that could provoke “socialreligious hatred.” Since then, Russia has slowly stripped gays and lesbians of their liberties and freedoms, while allowing them to be the target of violence with little police protection. The passage of the law banning “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” essentially became a state-sponsored green light for homophobes across the country to harass and in some cases murder LGBT Russians. The law fines and imprisons citizens (foreign or domestic) and media organizations that provide information about the LGBT community to minors; it bans gay pride events and forbids anyone from speaking in defense of gay rights. Just stating that your lesbian sister deserves the same rights as heterosexuals like yourself could see you spending 15 days in a Russian prison. The law basically paints the LGBT community as sexual predators who are looking to brainwash Russian children into joining their lifestyle. Call this law ignorant, misguided, or just a fantastic way to create a fantasy enemy, but it passed without one vote of opposition. Last year a commercial aired in Russia that showed a 61-year-old man luring “virgins” to the voting booths because he would offer a great “first time.” Sounds a little creepy? Bizarrely, Russian lawmakers didn’t feel Russian children needed to be protected from this clip. Gays are blamed for many of Russia’s problems, starting with the low birth rate (strangely alcoholism was not fingered as a culprit). Russian lawmakers also state “that gays should be barred from government jobs, undergo forced medical treatment, or be exiled.” Sound familiar? In 1933, German Jews were removed from the civil service and gypsies and prostitutes were forced to undergo medical treatments. In 2013, a Russian government television executive stated on national television that “gays should not donate blood,

Emmanuelle Schick during her days as a competitive swimmer.

sperm, or organs, and their hearts should be burned or buried after their deaths.” In 1933, Jews were banned from public swimming pools for fear of “contamination” and from riding German horses because they might “soil” them. The most significant impact of the law banning “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations,” however, has been in dehumanizing homosexuals, much in the same way that discriminatory laws and inaccurate portrayals of Jews helped strip them of their humanity in 1933. Despite the fact that Jews were being made invisible in Germany — banned from public places, kicked out of universities, removed from jobs as doctors and lawyers, stripped of their citizenship, prevented from having intercourse with “non-Jews” — and that the Sinti and Roma were being sent to the Marzahn concentration camp two weeks before the Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee chose to look the other way. Now it’s 2013 and we find ourselves at a similar crossroads. Do we, as fans of the Olympic movement, have the responsibility to turn off our television sets for the duration of the Olympics? Should we boycott Russian products and avoid visiting the country? Should we boycott the sponsors of the Sochi games? My short answer is yes. Some say that politics and sports shouldn’t mix, especially at the Olympics. But the Olympics has been an arena for political expression for more than 50 years — think of the gold medalist Tommie Smith and bronze medalist John Carlos giving the Black Power salute against racism in 1968, the boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics, Cathy Freeman celebrating her victory by carrying the aboriginal flag in 2000. Even the IOC brought politics into the event when they arranged

for the two Koreas to walk together at the opening ceremonies in Sydney. Some may say that these were positive or necessary political actions. But at the time, they weren’t always seen in that light. Taking a stand against racism didn’t make life easy for Tommie Smith or John Carlos. But in hindsight, we view these moments as powerful acts of courage; they embodied and upheld the Olympic ideals of inclusion and equality. Should the horrific violence that is growing in Russia against homosexuals, the internment of political opponents, the persecution of journalists, and the harassment of non-governmental organizations engaged in health and social services weigh more heavily on an athlete’s conscience than missing two weeks of competition? Should they take a stand and speak out during the competition? What will the repercussions be? Some athletes, like the gay skater Johnny Weir, feel boycotting the Sochi Olympics would be devastating for the athletes who have worked years for the chance to compete. As an athlete who competed in international competitions and as a former captain of the UCLA swim team, I understand this dilemma. The problem is, can you participate in a global sporting event that the Russian government is using to legitimize its reputation? Can you accept an invitation from a host that will jail you for saying, “I’m gay and that’s okay?” The IOC tells us that it “has received assurances from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games.” The German government also made assurances to the IOC back in 1933, 1934, 1935, and 1936. They put the harassment of Jews on “pause” for the duration of the Games. While athletes competed and tourists cheered, Jews

were mostly left alone, “No Jew” signs were temporarily taken down, and the circulation of anti-Semitic newspapers was minimized. Are these the types of actions the IOC hopes will take place in Sochi? Are we to close our eyes to what happens before and after the “pause”? Vitaly Valentinovich Milonov, the coauthor of the pernicious Russian legislation, states that the law “has been approved by the federal legislature and signed by the president, and that the government has no right to suspend it.” In other words, censorship and repression will be in full effect. Seventy-seven years ago, Dr. Karl Ritter von Halt, the president of the Committee for the Organization of the 1936 Winter Games, defended Germany’s despicable laws by stating, “Events in Germany are solely to do with domestic politics. In individual cases sportsmen have been affected. If a certain anti-German press feels called upon to deliver these domestic German matters on to the Olympic stage, then this is extraordinarily regrettable and shows their unfriendly attitude toward Germany in the worst possible light. ” Russian officials believe the matter is a domestic issue that is of no concern to foreigners or the IOC. The problem is, by inviting and soliciting the Olympics to be held in Russia, the government embraced Olympism in its entirety. By making discrimination lawful, Russia violates its promises to the IOC. Does this mean that the Olympics should change venues or that the Russian Olympic Committee be sanctioned? Adolf Hitler could have been alone in his new Olympic stadium in 1936. It might have made for a more appropriate image of the regime than the photos of adulation and goodwill that the Berlin Olympic Games eventually provided him with. The IOC could have taken the steps to make that happen. But it chose not to. And its inaction haunts us to this day. Alexander Zhukov, president of the Russian Olympic Committee, declared, “The effect of the Sochi games will be manifold; for instance, it will provide an opportunity for the world to see Russia in a better light.” Maybe what the world really needs is greater light shed on the Russian citizens who are courageously speaking out against the escalating discrimination in their country. And what better way to honor the Olympic spirit than by standing in solidarity with them while we let Putin enter an empty stadium in Sochi. Emmanuelle Schick is a Spanish-Canadian film director who currently lives in Paris. She is a former Spanish Junior Swimming Champion and record-holder. Her op-ed articles about marriage equality were published in the Huffington Post, Rue 89, and Slate in France.


30 c

FACE OFF, from p.11

resenting the district where St. Vincent’s was, he said, “wasn’t willing to challenge that.” Criticizing what he described as the failures of the mayor’s affordable housing record, de Blasio said, “When the legacy of Bloomberg is written, it will be that there was extraordinary lenience toward the real estate industry. That a huge amount of public value was transferred” to private interests. He added, “When it comes to development, the Bloomberg world and the Quinn world are one unit. Quinn has never substantially separated from Bloomberg on development.” The speaker pulls no punches in responding to charges like these about her ties to real estate and her role in the St. Vincent’s closing. “I have a very long record that I am proud of working with communities and with my colleagues to support responsible development,” she said. “With all due respect to the public advocate, for him to take the entire record of the City Council and cast it in the shadow of Mike Bloomberg is disrespectful of the 51 members.” She noted that de Blasio spent eight years on the Council, “four of them in the leadership.” On St. Vincent’s, she laid the blame squarely on the hospital’s board of directors, whose fatal error, she said, was in terminating an intern and residency program that provided significant Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements and could have made it an attractive asset for Mt. Sinai Hospital to take over. With that decision, the hospital “slit its own throat and let itself bleed out.” Charging the hospital’s leadership was not upfront about the financial hole it was in, Quinn said, “It could have been saved if they

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NEW VOICES, from p.8

Wymore explained how to apply it to the prosaic business of community decision-making and advocacy. “I bring everyone together and I spend a lot of time defining the problems,” he said of his work on CB 7. “And then, we focus on what values do we want the solution to have. That common consciousness means that people start taking responsibility for the common good.” His proudest achievement dur ing his years as the board’s chair was working alongside District 6 Councilwoman Gale Brewer, whom he hopes to succeed, in negotiating a community benefits agreement with Extell Development when it sought approval for its plans for a parcel at the south end of the dozen blocks of condominiums Donald Trump developed along the Henry Hudson Parkway. “Prior to that on the Upper West Side, there had not been one negotiated plan for schools and affordable

August 7, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com didn’t lie.” On term limits, Quinn is more cir cumspect, adopting the posture typically taken by the mayor. Voters were given a choice in 2009 and decided to keep the mayor for another four years. She does not mention that when the term limit question came up in late 2008, a recent scandal over a slush fund run out of the speaker’s office made her own mayoral prospects the following year unpromising. With Weiner’s recent tumble in the polls, de Blasio is showing strength he has not evidenced previously in the race. His campaign took a major hit earlier this year when Quinn reversed her longstanding resistance to paid sick leave legislation and grabbed away one of his major issues. Her opponents piled on her in the LGBT debate in March — shortly before she changed course — demanding that she stop blocking a floor vote on a measure that enjoyed a veto-proof majority. When she announced her support for a modified sick leave bill, de Blasio immediately faulted her for delivering too little, too late, but the optics of the moment didn’t favor him. In front of City Hall, she was surrounded by labor leaders and other social justice advocates. Several hours later, the public advocate stood alone in the same spot to deliver his critique. Another major issue that creates fireworks for Quinn when she appears before progressive audiences is her repeated statements she would happily retain Kelly as police commissioner if she were mayor, a position her opponents all repudiate. The speaker has walked a very fine line in the controversy over policecommunity relations and the widespread use of stop and frisk tactics in

communities of color. Last summer, she was among the LGBT leaders who threw in their lot with a Father’s Day march against stop and frisk in Upper Manhattan, even as she was exchanging collegial letters with Kelly about internal reforms of police procedures. This year, she endorsed a package of police reform legislation, including the establishment of an inspector general bitterly opposed by Bloomberg and Kelly. At the same time, she declined to support one bill in that package that would allow lawsuits over allegations of profiling based on categories including race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity. In the wake of Bloomberg’s veto of the entire package, however, Quinn said she would allow an override vote to go forward on all of the bills, including the profiling measure. On numerous occasions, the speaker has spoken out strongly against levels of NYPD stops and frisks that in recent years approached 700,000. Asked why her statements do not disqualify Kelly from consideration as commissioner, she lauded his crime fighting record and said, “He has implemented, I believe, the plan as his boss has told him to do it.” As her commissioner, she said, he would implement a different policy. “There’s a fundamental challenge to how some folks view government,” Quinn said. “People seem to think you have to agree all the time to work together. That’s not life.” None of her opponents share her faith that Kelly would carry out their mission if they were mayor, but beyond that there is little that unites the Democratic field on a specific approach to reform. Liu and de Blasio are the most ardent NYPD critics. The stop and frisk record under Bloomberg, the comptroller

charged, reflects a police culture built on “production measures,” or as he termed them “quotas” and “targets.” Liu would scrub the current leadership of the NYPD, but sees no value in installing an inspector general. De Blasio is similarly critical of the NYPD’s stop and frisk record but supports the full package of reforms currently awaiting a Council override vote. The public advocate frequently names Kelly as someone in need of replacement to underscore Quinn’s support for him. The toughest candidate to pin down on police-community relations, however, is Thompson. Early in the campaign, he offered a nuanced critique of the NYPD on stop and frisk. He said the tool had been excessively used but relied on his authority as the only African American in the race to point out that communities of color, many of them struggling economically, are in greatest need of good policing. He sounded reluctant to risk tying the NYPD’s hands. As many black and Latino Council members pressed to move the police-community relations legislation forward, Thompson declined to offer his support. Yet, in a recent appearance before a black congregation, the former comptroller, pointing to the killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida and George Zimmerman’s acquittal on murder charges in that case, amped up his critique of the NYPD. Meeting with NYC Community Media editors the following day, he used terms Liu has often applied — “targets” and “quotas” — in describing the abuses of stop and frisk. Then, taking direct aim at Kelly, he said, “The reason it has gone wild is that the mayor has deferred to his police commissioner.

housing for 20 years,” Wymore said. “I brought together a wide of array of people. We can ask them to cut off the top of their buildings, but we want to solve school overcrowding and get affordable housing and open space, and we are losing small businesses. The community created a vision statement and established a priority list. We then talked to the developer and reached a significantly changed plan.” He said the results included 600 units of permanent affordable housing, a new school, and a developer contribution of nearly $20 million in parks improvements. Perhaps, most importantly, Wymore said, “Everybody can say, ‘I was heard.’” As a leader in the process, he said, “You have to not be attached to the end result.” This experience, he said, is what qualifies him in his current campaign, where he faces five opponents, including a Democratic district leader, a member of the party’s State Committee, and another former CB 7 chair. His endorse-

ments in the race include support from former State Senator Tom Duane, out gay Queens Councilman Daniel Dromm, the Stonewall Democrats of New York City, the Gay and Lesbian Independent Democrats, and the Washington-based Gay & Lesbian Victory, which works to elect out LGBT candidates nationwide. (The Empire State Pride Agenda has not yet issued its Council endorsements.) “I’m a natural leader,” he said. “Chairing community boards, neighborhood boards, non-profits — the kind of work the City Council does is exactly this work.” To be sure, Wymore is never unmindful of being an outsider. “I don’t think anyone thinks about or gets the transgender community,” he said, even as he argued that “almost everyone has something that means they don’t belong.” And some in society who don’t belong “are nearly invisible,” Wymore argued, acknowledging, for example, that though he always understood the

importance of people with disabilities having equal access in society, “I thought very little of that community in my first 10 years in public life.” Seniors, the mentally challenged, and immigrants are also among those New Yorkers too easily overlooked, he said. However, in embracing his own outsider status, Wymore said, he found a way to reverse the usual dynamic. “For six years I’ve been talking about this,” he said. “I have been out. People have been very polite. People are afraid to say the wrong thing. They’ve worried about the use of pronouns. I’ve been inviting conversation rather than being the outsider.” If anything could be said to be at the core of Wymore’s pitch to the voters, it would be that ability, that instinct to convene the conversations he feels this city needs to be having. “I want to make sure the world works for everyone,” he said. “It sounds pie in the sky, but I really believe we can make it work.”


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| August 7, 2013

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RILEY, from p.28

uents do not like this being a nation where innocent citizens are tracked by the government. As the public learns more, we should credit Manning’s gumption. Being five-foot, two-inches tall and identifying as gay and gender-nonconforming in high school and then on the frontlines in Iraq had to be a daunting challenge. As he entered boot camp, “The army… threw me in the forests of Missouri for 10 weeks with 50 twanging people hailing from places like Texas, Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi … joy,” he emailed a friend adding, “What the hell did I put myself through?” But this was nothing compared to the isolation he endured after his arrest. For nearly a year, he spent 23 hours a day alone in a cell with a guard watching and the lights always on. The public support that popped up immediately for Snowden — something Russia surely factored into its decision to grant him asylum — came in response to the harsh treatment imposed on Manning. The military industrial complex showed its fangs, and people all over the world were repulsed. The notion that governments lie is news only to the uneducated, but the government’s response in the Obama years has been to threaten the truthseekers with sentences reserved for murderers and traitors. This is a risky approach that could well backfire. Chilling free debate can produce brain-lock and stupid decisions. It prevents alternative strategies from being honestly explored. Consider this folly. Bin Laden spent $250,000 or so to topple the World T rade Center and kill thousands. To retaliate, the US spent trillions — whether one or three trillion is debated — and about 8,000 troops in our allied coalition were killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. Thousands more endure crippling disabilities, and the hundreds of thousands of deaths of Iraqis and Afghanis increased the carnage. It is no wonder that many consider our response to 9/11 ill advised and believe we need whistleblowers to reveal the truth. In a healthy democracy, many members of the public refuse to accept that lies are inevitable. They insist there is a moral universe that requires we scorn liars. And we expect the media, activists, academics, and — yes — public officials to help us uncover the truth. The aggressive prosecution of Manning disrupts this normal political discourse. Supporting him is good for America, while harsh penalties for disclosing secrets is bad policy that will chill the pursuit of answers needed to inform our decision-making. Public attitudes toward the surveil-

lance state have changed dramatically in the 11 years since the Trade Center attack. A coalition of Republicans and Democrats in the House nearly succeeded in defunding NSA surveillance in a recent vote. Manning and Snowden touched an instinct that many of their fellow citizens share, and revealing that truth is a good thing. The harsh charges leveled at Manning smack of extremism and raise legitimate and fundamental questions about whether our liberties are at risk. Yochai Benkler, a Harvard Law professor, reached this conclusion after reviewing documents prepared by the military in 2008. In a position paper developed that year, the Department of Defense argued, “The identification, exposure, termination of employment, criminal prosecution, legal action against current or former insiders, leakers, or whistleblowers could potentially damage or destroy this center of gravity and deter others considering similar actions from using the Wikileaks.org Web site.” Here is DoD declaring war on “former insiders, leakers and whistle blowers,” the people who bring bad policy to the public’s attention. This is clear evidence that the Pentagon uses law enforcement and other powers to intimidate its critics. Benkler brought this 2008 memorandum to the attention of the public, and he testified on behalf of Manning. He believes Manning’s abusive treatment was consistent with the government’s core tactic, to undermine WikiLeaks and to increase the fears of and the constraints on potential leakers. The prosecutor in the Manning case, he pointed out, said the military would bring the same charges against the New York Times in similar circumstances. T h a t w a r n i n g a l a r m s B e n k l e r, who noted, “Freedom of the press is anchored in our Constitution because it reflects our fundamental belief that no institution can be its own watchdog.” The military’s position, he argued, “makes the Manning prosecution a clear and present danger to journalism in the national security arena.” The most serious charge against Manning, after all, carried the death penalty — though on that score, he was recently acquitted. Republics are supposed to govern “lightly” in contrast to the harshness of absolute monarchs. There is nothing light about the penalties that have hung over Manning these past three years. His courage deserves support, as does Snowden’s. This nation has a dire need to open up public discussion of how we conduct surveillance and security activities. Draconian penalties cannot be allowed to cow the public into silence.


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August 7, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com

THEATER

Family Reconfigured Gay spouses, estranged relations struggle to keep it together in a post-DOMA world BY DAVID KENNERLEY

O

ne of the best benefits of being gay, aside from the really great taste in window treatments, is that kids aren’t expected to be part of the equation. When did that change?,” asks an exasperated gay man during a riotous tirade about entitled mothers and their precious brats.

HARBOR

That’s just one of the nagging questions put forth in “Harbor,” Chad Beguelin’s domestic drama about a married couple, the seemingly happily hyphenated Ted (the exasperated one) and Kevin Adams-Weller. They are

Hot ’n horny hookups.

CAROL ROSEGG

59E59 Theaters 59 East 59th St. Through Sep. 8 Tue.-Thu. at 7 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Sat. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. $70; 59E59.org Or 212-279-4200

Randy Harrison, Paul Anthony Stewart, and Erin Cummings in Chad Beguelin’s “Harbor,” directed by Mark Lamos.

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forced to re-examine their too-comfy lives when Kevin’s estranged downand-out sister, Donna, along with her precocious 15-year old daughter, Lottie, come for a surprise extended visit. The wickedly insightful piece, courtesy of Primary Stages at 59E59 Theaters, offers a piercing look at nontraditional family dynamics and the rapidly evolving roles of gays in America. And while the title refers to Sag Harbor, the impossibly quaint village on the South Fork of Long Island where the pair resides in a stately, obsessively restored house (handsomely articulated by set designer Andrew Jackness), it also suggests the safe refuge the couple offers Donna and Lottie. It’s not a stretch to say it also refers to the bitter resentments the characters harbor toward one another. Which, naturally, find their angry way to the surface. The four-person ensemble, directed with flair by Mark Lamos, is somewhat uneven. Fans of “Queer as Folk” will recognize Randy Harrison as Kevin, an aspiring writer who, at first, is happy to let his husband call the shots. The blond Harrison, who has impressively shed his “ultimate twink” persona — and gained a few pounds of muscle — is perfectly cast as the partner who discovers he has the power to escape the deeply etched rut he’s somehow

fallen into. Harrison, 35, has moved beyond his background as a television actor, honing his skills on a variety of shows on and off Broadway, including “Wicked,” “Silence!: The Musical,” and “The Singing Forest.” Paul Anthony Stewart, perhaps best known for his Emmy-nominated turn in “Guiding Light,” is no stranger to the stage, appearing in shows like “The People in the Picture” and “Fiddler on the Roof.” His self-assured Ted, whose once bustling architecture firm is now on shaky ground, manages to be alternately appealing and galling. When the cocktails flow and he unleashes his anti-kid rant, his gradual inebriation is so convincing it’s hard to believe there’s not real vodka in his martini glass. As the foul-mouthed sister, Erin Cummings has a tough time balancing Donna’s crassness, cleverness, and sensitivity. During intermission, I checked the program and was not surprised to learn that her television credits (“Spartacus: Blood and Sand,” “Nip/ Tuck,” “Mad Men”) far outweigh her theatrical work. “Harbor” marks her New York stage debut. To be fair, Cummings is occasionally required to deliver lines ill-suited to Donna’s white-trash personality (she uses the word “vicariously” and says smoking weed is good for anxious writers because it “calms the inner critic.”) What’s more, despite the intended chasm between Donna and Kevin, I did not completely believe they were siblings. The play’s most impressive turn is delivered by Alexis Molnar. She nails Lottie’s frustration at having to swap mother-daughter roles with the childish Donna. Lottie’s wise-beyond-her-years insights and zingers feel totally natural. Despite being “van-schooled” (they move around too much for Lottie to attend a real school), she is far brighter than the adults onstage. Molnar makes it completely believable that Lottie is reading — and digesting — Edith Wharton’s “House of Mirth.” Beguelin’s script is at its best when observing defining comic quirks of gay men, which are often deliciously overthe-top. After inviting Donna and Lottie to spend the night, Kevin cautions they need to avoid a “Blanche DuBois situation.” The husbands promise fruit tarts for breakfast. The bathrooms are stocked with “guest loofahs.” To be sure, the supremely entertaining “Harbor” largely feels like a frothy television sitcom, yet there’s just enough meat on its bones to satisfy the serious theatergoer.


33

| August 7, 2013

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RUBBLE Okay, this play — about a desperate, aging comedy writer who gets trapped with a network exec under a pile of debris following an LA earthquake — may not have overt gay content. But what it does have is openly gay Emmy-winner Bruce Vilanch leading a crackerjack cast including Broadway and TV veteran Jerry Adler of “The Sopranos” fame and Jason Jacoby of “Avenue Q” Off-Broadway, a razor sharp script by Mike Reiss, writer of “The Simpsons” for 23 years, and some of the best buzz out of FringeNYC this year. The Players Theatre, 115 MacDougal St. at Minetta Ln.; Aug. 10 at 2:15 p.m.; Aug. 14 at 7 p.m.; Aug. 22 at 9:15 p.m.; Aug. 24 at 10:15 p.m.; Aug. 25 at 2:30 p.m. ADAM & STEVE AND THE EMPTY SEA Fresh from a sold-out run in Salt Lake City, Plan-B Theatre presents a richly sophisticated coming-out drama with some serious issues on its mind. Written by Matthew Greene, it’s a two-hander about best buds who grow apart and desperately try to find common ground. Adam is openly Mormon and troubled. The athletic Steve is openly gay and self-assured. Set against the politically charged backdrop of the passage of Prop 8, these childhood friends wrestle with religion, sexuality, and politics that threaten to ruin their bond forever. CSV Kabayitos Theatre, 107 Suffolk St. btwn. Rivington & Delancey Sts.; Aug. 9 at 5 p.m.; Aug. 10 at 7 p.m.; Aug. 11 at noon; Aug. 13 at 7:45 p.m.; Aug. 14 at 4:45 p.m.; Aug. 15 at 9:15 p.m. EN AVANT! AN EVENING WITH TENNESSEE WILLIAMS To say that William Shuman is enamored with Tennessee Williams would be an understatement. Obsessed with all things Williams, he has created “En Avant!” (French for “move forward”), an illuminating solo show where he embodies the lonely, supremely poetic playwright in all his glory. Between copious sips of gin, you'll hear about his loves, his demons, and the peculiar family dynamic that helped shape his work. Plus, you’ll learn about how he swiped the title “Cat On a Hot Tin Roof.” Directed by Ruis Woertendyke. CSV Kabayitos Theatre, 107 Suffolk St. btwn. Rivington & Delancey Sts.; Aug. 9 at 9:30 p.m.; Aug. 16 at 3 p.m.; Aug. 17 at 9:45 p.m.; Aug. 20 at 4:45 p.m.; Aug. 23 at 7:15 p.m.; Aug. 24 at 2 p.m. SAVE THE DATE: A WEDDING ROAD TRIP MUSICAL Commitment-challenged Emily and her gay BFF Alex were inseparable back in school. But now that they’re in their late 20s and all their friends are getting

hitched, they’re forced to re-examine their lonely, lackluster existence. During a madcap, musical jour ney to the wedding of Emily’s ex, their friendship is put to the test. Gregory JacobsRoseman wrote the book, music, and lyrics. Directed by Nikki Rothenberg. Theatre 80, 80 St. Marks Pl. btwn. First and Second Aves.; Aug. 15 at 10:15 p.m.; Aug. 16 at 9:45 p.m.; Aug. 20 at 2 p.m.; Aug. 22 at 5:30 p.m.; Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. TALK TO ME ABOUT SHAME Solo per for mance artist Julian Goldhagen conceived this piece after the well-publicized string of LGBTQ teen suicides several years back. Realizing the destructive power that suppressed shame can have on the human psyche, he felt compelled to share his insights with others. In this transformative multimedia work, directed by Kevin Hourigan, Goldhagen deconstructs the experience of shame through movement, storytelling, and — watch out! — audience participation techniques. The result? Isolation is replaced by empowerment, community building, and healing. Oh yeah, and he performs buck naked. CSV Kabayitos Theatre, 107 Suffolk St. btwn. Rivington & Delancey Sts.; Aug. 10 at 5:15 p.m.; Aug. 11 at 4:30 p.m.; Aug. 14 at 7 p.m.; Aug. 16 at 7:30 p.m.; Aug. 17 at noon; Aug. 18 at 7 p.m. LIKE POETRY In Kristian O'Hare’s woozy comic drama, an anxiety-ridden young man named Stagger (Robert Crozier), in a drug-induced haze, is lured by Walt Whitman into an sketchy sexual underworld where he meets a jockstrap-clad bug and other disturbing characters in what turns out to be an effort to come to terms with his sexuality. Portraying Whitman is Pat Dwyer, creator of the recent breakout gay documentary “Married and Counting.” The Ellen Stewart Theatre at La MaMa, 66-68 E. Fourth St. btwn. Bowery & Second Ave.; Aug. 10 at 7 p.m.; Aug. 11 at 1:30 p.m.; Aug. 12 at 4:45 p.m.; Aug. 13 at 4:45 p.m.; Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. PENINSULA Nathan Wright’s suspenseful drama centers on T iago (Josué Gutierrez Guerra), who has fled from the povertystricken favelas of Rio de Janeiro to a seemingly placid summer town in Northern Michigan’s wine country. But are his new surroundings any less sinister? Directed by Nadia Foskolou, the piece promises heavy doses of poetry, athleticism, and sensuality. Also features Marc Sinoway, best known for “Hunting Season” on Logo. Robert Moss Theater at 440 Studios, 440 Lafayette St. btwn. Astor Pl. & E. Fourth St., third fl; Aug. 14 at 4:15 p.m.; Aug. 16 at 8:45 p.m.; Aug. 17 at 5:15 p.m.; Aug. 19 at 9 p.m.; Aug. 22 at 2:30 p.m.


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August 7, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com

Happily Married for 10 years and counting!

MON.AUG.12

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NIGHTLIFE Voss Is Up?

FRI.AUG.9

CABARET Billy Porter Makes a Splash at XL

MATTHEW MURPHY

Gay nightlife impresario Brandon Voss recently departed his role as a managing partner at XL Nightclub to pursue new endeavors. Tonight, he roles out SnapShot Fridays, an intimate evening co-hosted by transsexual icon Amanda Lepore and international photographer Marco Ovando. Each week, expect loads of visual stimulation from weekly creative vignettes and outlandish performance art to appeal to the photographic yearnings of any smartphone owner. EVR, 54 W. 29th St. Complimentary bar from 10-11 p.m. Reservations at info@vossnyc.com.

GALLERY Males in Pictures

Kelly Donovan (left) and Margarita (Mo) Macaluso took their vows in Vermont in 2003 and just celebrated their wedding anniversary this past May. The couple first met at Bartone School of Radiology and, today, Mo continues to work as an X-ray Technician. They live in Brooklyn with their two dachshunds, Q-Tip and Quincy.

Your 2013

guide to resources in

downtown Manhattan

Gateway to Downtown Distributed in all NYC Community Media indoor locations below 34th Street in Manhattan, as well as select community resource locations. Available on allNYC Community Media websites ChelseaNow.com, GayCityNews.com, DowntownExpress.com, TheVillager.com, & EastVillagerNews.com Sent to 29,000+ of our eNewsletter subscribers  iBook version available for iPads

DeaDline: a ugust 9, 2013 • available: august 2013 ContaCt FranCesCo regini FranCesCo@Downtownexpress.Com • 646 452 2496

“Boy! Oh, Boy!” is an arrestingly beautiful collection of male photographic portraiture by 12 of the most influential contemporary artists working in this specialized genre. The exhibition features works by Kevin Amato, David Armstrong, Doug Ischar, Paul Jasmin, Christopher Makos, Josh McNey, Slava Mogutin, Jack Pierson, Walter Pfeiffer, Richard Renaldi, Paul Solberg, and Arthur Tress. Casa De Costa, 11 Stone St., sixth fl., btwn. Broad & Whitehall St. in the Financial District. Through Aug. 15; Tue.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. More information at casadecosta.com.

SAT.AUG.10

PERFORMANCE Outdoors, Loud & Proud

Director/ actor John Cameron Mitchell (“Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” “Shortbus”) and cabaret goddess Mx. Justin Vivian Bond headline the third annual “Out in the Woods,” the LGBT music festival at Easton Mountain Retreat Center upstate. Reverend Yolanda, the alleged lovechild of Tammy Faye Baker Messsner and John Waters, emcees nine hours of fun that also include performances by John Kelly, Namoli Brennett, Rachael Sage, Freddy Freeman, Gary Wayne Ferris, Sister Funk, Jorge Avila, Nhojj, Martin Swinger, Sean Kagalis, Jay Saturn with Nikkita, Brett Avery, and Justin Vahala. 31 Herrington Hill Road, btwn. Intervale & Waters Rds., Greenwich, New York, about 30 miles north of Albany via I-787. Aug. 10, noon-9 p.m. Admission is $30, $20 for those under 25 at outinthewoodsmusicfestival.org, where you can find complete information. All proceeds benefit Easton Mountain’s residential summer camps for more than 100 LGBT young people from Greater New York City and Boston.

THEATER Are You Keanu?

Jaime Keeling’s parody of the 1991 Keanu Reeves/ Patrick Swayze extreme action blockbuster movie “Point Break” delivers the extreme ‘90s sports thrills, senseless action, and the unintentionally hilarious dialogue of the original to various venues styled as punk-theater settings. FBI agent Johnny Utah is abused by the bureau, hazed by the LA surf community, and bromanced by one truly radical sonofabitch — wave-catching guru Bodhisattva. And in a twist, the role of Utah is performed by an audience member selected in an impromptu “Are U Keanu?” contest. Webster Hall, 125 E. 11th St. Aug. 10, 8 p.m. (you must be 19 or older). Tickets begin at $26 at ticketweb.com.

With the closing of the iconic West 17th Street bar that made go-go boys in the shower famous, “Musical Mondays” moves to XL Nightclub. Tonight’s debut stars “Kinky Boots” Tony-winner Billy Porter. 512 W. 42nd St. Aug. 12, 6 p.m.-midnight. For reservations and the evening’s line-up, contact info@xlnightclub.com

TUE.AUG.13

BOOKS Awarding-Winning Sensualist Michael Luongo

Gay City News contributor Michael Luongo , who was just named the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association 2013 Journalist of the Year hosts a reading of a new book of fiction he edited, “Sensual Travels: The Best of Gay Travel Erotica.” Contributors include Felice Picano, Lawrence Schimel, Trebor Healey, Simon Sheppard, Sebastian V, and Jesse Archer. Luongo is joined this evening by contributors Michael Mele and Dominic Ambrose. Bureau of General Services, Queer Division bookstore, 27 Orchard St. btwn. Hester & Canal Sts. Aug. 13, 7-8:30 p.m. For information on the book, visit the Bruno Gmünde site at tinyurl.com/nu9nruq.

WED.AUG.14

NIGHTLIFE Some Fierce Bingo

In a benefit for FIERCE!, the LGBTQ youth of color organization, Will Clark’s “P*rno Bingo” presents guest host Witti Repartee who welcomes man-meat singer Matt Ryanz and newly minted Cockyboys stud Go Go Harder. Uncle Charlie’s, 139 E. 45th St. Aug. 14, 9-11 p.m. For information on FIERCE!, visit fiercenyc.org.

PRIDE Celebrating LGBT People of Color

NYC Black Pride celebrates its 16th year with a five-day cultural festival. Events begin with the Black Pride Heritage Awards presented by Gay Men of African Descent and Brooklyn Men (K)onnect (BMK). Schomburg Center, 515 Lenox Ave. at 135th St. Aug. 14, 6-9 p.m. (free). The evening honors Broadway star André DeShields,

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fashion industry entrepreneur Audrey Smaltz and her wife Olympic basketball medalist Gail Marquis, and Stormé DeLarverie, a 93-year-old LGBT rights pioneer who fought back at Stonewall and was the only drag king in the famed Jewel Box Revue of the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s, America’s first racially integrated female impersonation show. An afterparty follows at Billie’s Black, 271 W. 271 W. 119th St. at Frederick Douglas Blvd. Aug. 14, 10 p.m.-1 a.m. (free). A Salute to Seniors takes place at the SAGE Center, 305 Seventh Ave. btwn. 27th & 28th Sts. Aug. 15, 2-4 p.m. (free). BMK, Circle of Voices, and the Brooklyn Community Pride Center present “Read This Not That: The Literary Event” at the Actors Fund Arts Center, 160 Schermerhorn St. at Hoyt St., Brooklyn. Aug. 15, 6-10 p.m. (free). The Black Pride Weekend Kickoff takes place at Escuelita, 301 W. 39th St. Aug. 15, 11 p.m.-4 a.m. (admission to some late night events vary by venue). The fourth annual Black Pride Festival, presented by Harlem United, takes place at the Helen Mills Theatre, 139 W. 26th St. Aug. 16, 6-11 p.m. (free). A Mile in My Shoes presents “The Annointed: The Black Church & Sexuality” at Rivers @ Rehobeth, 263 W. 86th St. Aug. 16, 7-11 p.m. (free). “Bring It! The Women’s Ball,” presented by Aisha Iman and Shady Prada, takes place at Secret Lounge, 525 W. 29th St. Aug. 16, 6-11 p.m. ($15). The Pride Party Celebration follows at the same venue, 11 p.m.-4 a.m. Information is Powerful Medicine presents the Black Pride Health & Culture Expo at Hotel Pennsylvania, 401 Seventh Ave. at 33rd St. Aug. 17, noon-6 p.m. ($10). Gay Men’s Health Crisis hosts “The Latex Ball: Controversy Over Time” at Terminal 5, 610 W. 56th St. Aug. 17, 8 p.m.-4 a.m. ($20). Lovergirl NYC and Dreamgyrls presents “The All Black Affair,” a women’s party, at Drom, 85 Ave. A btwn. Fifth & Sixth Sts. Aug. 17, 11 p.m.-4 a.m. Ren & Mike host “The Mission Party,” for men, at Remix, 27 Park Pl. at Church St. Aug. 17, 11 p.m.-4 a.m. Church services will be held at Rivers @ Rehobeth, 263 W. 86th St. Aug. 18, 2 p.m. A Sunday brunch take place at Harlem Food Bar, 2100 Frederick Douglas Blvd. at 114th St. Aug. 18, noon-3 p.m. GLBT Summer Affairs presents a family day in the park at Cadman Plaza Park, Tillary & High Sts. near Brooklyn Borough Hall. Aug. 18, 3-7 p.m. NYC Black Pride concludes with “The Latex Ball Aftermath” at Escuelita, 301 W. 39th St. Aug. 18, 11 p.m.-4 a.m. For complete information on the weekend, visit nycblackpride. com or Facebook.com/ nycblackpride.

FRI.AUG.16 Trying to have

MUSIC Indie Brooklyn on the Lower East Side

a baby? We CAN SAT.AUG.17 HeLP!

Brooklyn-based indie folk singer/ songwriter Mal Blum, who has toured with Melissa Ferrick, Amanda Palmer, and Kimya Dawson, performs at the Living Room, 154 Ludlow St. at Stanton St. Aug. 16, 9 p.m. Free.

CABARET The Inimitable Chita, at the Beach

Chita Rivera, the Broadway legend who has received nine Tony nominations, winning for “The Rink” (1984) and “Kiss of the Spider Woman” (1993), appears in an intimate evening of music, “My Broadway.” Other shows Rivera sings from include “West Side Story,” “Sweet Charity,” and “Chicago.” The Ice Palace, Cherry Grove, Fire Island. Aug. 17, 8 p.m. Tickets are $76-$89 at dworld.us.

Get Happy with Judy & Liza

Rick Skye and Tommy Femia, named Best Duo in 2012 by the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs, bring “Judy and Liza Together Again,” an evening of the mother-daughter duo’s most memorable songs, parodies, laughs, and general holler-and-whooping. A song list that includes “Maybe This Time,” “New York, New York,” and “Over the Rainbow” climaxes with a finale medley of “Get Happy” and “Happy Days Are Here Again.” Musical director Ricky Ritzel appears as Mort/ Pappy. Don't Tell Mama's, 343 W. 46th St. Aug. 17 & 31, 8 p.m. The cover charge is $25, with a two-drink minimum. For reservations, visit dontellmamanyc.com or call 212-757-0788.

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SUN.AUG.18

COMEDY LIC’s Laughs

THU.AUG.15

GALLERY Eden Counter-Commutes to Chelsea

Scottish artist Darren Jones is aware of the irony of reversing the standard city-to-country summertime escape by bringing his latest works, created in the Fire Island Pines, to the heart of Chelsea in late August. “Eden’s Remains” is a material, conceptualized essay on the disparate fortunes undergone by gay men living over the past five decades in the Fire Island Pines. “A place of near-pilgrimage for many gay men, particularly since the holocaust of the AIDS crisis, the Pines retains an atmosphere of haunting remembrance for the freedom it has long represented, for the trauma it has withstood, and for the persevering spirit it has shown,” Jones wrote. “Many men were, and remain, deeply connected to this place. Amid the surface sheen of aqua pools and tea dances, there still emerges a palpable sense of history's march; a potent feeling of connection to those who went before; and a profound spiritual presence.” Illuminated Metropolis Gallery, 547 W. 27th St., suite 529. Through Aug. 31; Fri., 1-5 p.m.; Sat., noon-6 p.m., or by appointment at 212-946-1685. Opening reception is Aug. 15, 6-8 p.m.

“The Queens of Queens” presents a hot summer night edition of this Long Island City-based LGBT laugh-a-thon. NeilThornton hosts, with guests including Jami Smith comedian/ Michelle Obama-wannabe Tarik Daniels, and natural blonde Robb Coles. Laughing Devil Comedy Club, 4738 Vernon Blvd. (#7 to Vernon-Jackson). Aug. 18, 8 p.m. Admission is $10, with a two-drink minimum.

THEATER Premiere After Premiere After Premiere

Theater for the New City, under Crystal Field’s artistic directorship, presents its fourth "Dream Up Festival," three weeks of adventurous theater featuring new works from across the nation and around the globe. Among the 24 plays — 23 of them world premieres, the other an American premiere — is Kevin P. Joyce’s “Wilde Tales, adapted from the wit, whimsy, and wisdom of Oscar Wilde (Aug. 19 & 30, Sep. 2, 9 p.m.; Aug. 31, 5 p.m.; Sep. 1, 8 p.m.). All performances are at TNC, 155 First Ave. at 10th St. Aug. 18-Sep. 8. Tickets are $12-$18 at dreamupfestival.org.

Farmer Jon Founder

Kelly Taylor Brewmaster

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August 7, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com

August 7, 2013 Gay City News  

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