Our Pick for Mayor 22
FREE voLUME Twelve, ISSUE SEVENTEEN AUGUST 21 - September 3, 2013
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NEW VOICES ON THE CITY COUNCIL
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| August 21, 2013
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NEW VOICES ON THE CITY COUNCIL
August 21, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
NEW VOICES ON THE CITY COUNCIL
Ritchie Torres: Building on a Progressive Moment in the Bronx BY PAUL SCHINDLER
s a young man of color, I can say that there is a crisis of young men in our society,” said Ritchie Torres, himself 25 but with nearly eight years experience doing staff work for the City Council. “There are hundreds of thousands of young men who do not work, who do not go to school, who have no access to community centers. So what do you think happens when you have young people whose only existence is life on the streets?” In the case of City Council District 15 — which runs from the Grand Concourse to the east past the Bronx River Parkway in the central portion of that borough — what happens is that, despite dramatic declines in crime citywide going back two decades, there remain “dangerous neighborhoods.” And, in Torres’ words, there are also “neighborhoods alienated from their government.” He added, “We need to reconnect our youth to civil society.” That challenge and the proximity of his own life experience to the crisis he described are what motivate his run for the open City Council seat. For an out gay man of his age running in a borough he noted has seen “a wave of social conservatism,” Torres has made impressive strides. He has earned a blizzard of union endorsements — from the Central Labor Council, healthcare workers at SEIU 1999, buildings service workers at SEIU 32BJ, transit and sanitation workers, teamsters, and the United Federation of Teachers, as well as the Working Families Party. He is also supported by State Senator Gustavo Rivera — a reformer who ousted Bronx legend Pedro Espada, recently sentenced to federal prison for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from a non-profit he controlled — and Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., the scion of another Bronx dynasty who parts ways with his infamous father on gay rights issues. Torres, a Bronx-born Puerto Rican, has raised the maximum amount he can spend in the multi-candidate September 10 Democratic primary and is one of only two in the race who qualified for matching city Campaign Finance Board funds. He acknowledged the “objective measures” by which his campaign is doing well, but said, “I am care-
Ritchie Torres (r.) campaigns with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.
ful not to call myself the frontrunner.” Still, the main hurdle facing him could well be a candidate — one who currently lives outside the district — who happens to have the same name as the outgoing 12-year incumbent, Joel Rivera. One of the primary arguments Torres is making in this race is that he should represent the district because his life story essentially represents the district. “I lived in poverty all my life,” he said. “I grew up in the projects, attended public schools that were under threat of closure. Growing up it was a struggle to put food on our table, to pay the rent. When I speak to people I can say, ‘Your story is my story.’” From Torres’ telling, the story in District 15 is a tough one. Unemployment tops 20 percent in a city where the overall rate is just above eight percent. Forty percent live below the poverty line, a figure roughly twice that for New York as a whole. In some neighborhoods in the district, up to half of the people live so close to the edge that they are more or less at constant risk for homelessness. Some residents live in “food deserts” where the only available meals nearby come from fast food franchises. The median education level falls shy of a high school degree, he said. Talking about those youth in the district “whose only existence is on the streets,” Torres said, “I am a working poor kid from the Bronx and I could
have easily been one of those young men except that I had a single mom who taught me well and I had mentors.” One of those mentors was City Councilman James Vacca, who represents the district immediately east of the one where Torres is running. Vacca previously served as a Community Board manager, and while in high school Torres had the chance to assume his duties for a day. Several years later, in 2005, Torres helped on Vacca’s first Council race and has been a staff member since. Asked whether he began working fulltime for the Council right out of high school, Torres grinned and said, “Well, I worked fulltime, but I wasn’t always paid fulltime.” He also attended NYU, though the costs made it impossible for him to finish his studies. For Vacca, he headed up housing efforts in the district. “Without a tenant organizer like me, many of the tenants have no means of improving the maintenance of their own buildings,” he said. “Predatory equity,” as Torres described it, has come into the district, with speculators trying to force tenants out of apartments that are under stabilization guidelines in order to bring them up to market rate. For organizers like Torres, however, there are tools available, especially publicly viewable data documenting housing violations. “Computerization as part of a broader
movement toward data-driven government,” he explained, has meant that housing code enforcement in New York has improved in the past decade or so. “But these tools are only as effective as the elected officials who use them,” he added. “We need the right elected official who knows how to leverage the tools.” Housing is not the only area in which Torres is able to talk in this sort of specificity. A local Bronx newspaper referred to him as a “policy wonk,” and when asked about that, he responded, “I take ideas seriously.” One of those ideas — perhaps the big idea of his campaign — is sustainability, a concept he applies in addressing a host of problems that ail the district. Like many youngsters growing up in inner city neighborhoods, Torres suffered from asthma as a kid. In his case, the constant exhaust fumes from the nearby Cross Bronx Expressway led to “never-ending trips to the emergency room.” He wrote about his experiences with asthma on his Facebook page when he earned the endorsement of StreetsPAC, a group that advocates for safer and more livable streets across New York. In the minds of many, StreetsPAC is associated with the growing popularity of bicycle commuting and the city’s embrace of bike lanes. Torres, however, emphasized he’s not a big bike rider and noted that little effort has been made to bring bike lanes to the Bronx in any event. For him, the endorsement is important because “as a matter of public policy I find it important to fit it into a broader discussion of public health and sustainability and clean air.” “Nowhere have we seen a greater failure of sustainable development than in the Bronx,” he said. “The City Council should commit itself to building a more sustainable Bronx.” Food deserts, for example, can be addressed in part by looking seriously at opportunities for urban agriculture. He also thinks government should revisit the issue of congestion pricing to ease the crush of vehicles moving in and out of the city every day. On the question of sustainability, Torres credited a public official with whom he seems to have little else in common. Noting that Michael Bloomberg can be “faulted” on a range of issues from “excessive policing” to his record on education, Torres said, “The
NEW VOICES, continued on p.12
| August 21, 2013
NEW VOICES ON THE CITY COUNCIL
August 21, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
BY DUNCAN OSBORNE
pend just 90 minutes with Ye t t a K u r l a n d a n d s h e will describe herself many dif ferent ways. She is “a community activist, a civil rights attorney,” a “tenant’s rights attorney,” a “small business owner,” a “civil litigator,” and “an educator.” These are only some of the titles that Kurland used in an interview with Gay City News and its sister newspapers. “I see myself as a reformer,” Kur land said. “I think that that’s what’s so important about my candidacy... I’m willing to stand up to powerful inter ests and I think I do so in a positive, solution-based way.” Kurland is engaged in a particularly bitter race with Corey Johnson for the City Council seat that Speaker Christine Quinn has held for the past 14 years. The district is home to roughly 180,000 New Yorkers and ranges from 55th Street to Canal Street and from Fifth Avenue to the Hudson River. This is Kurland’s second attempt to win the seat. In 2009, she challenged Quinn and won a respectable 31 percent of the vote in a threecandidate race in a very low turnout Democratic primary. “We had not expected to do as well as we did, but we had a really strong showing,” said the 45-year -old New York native. Heading into this year’s September 10 Democratic primary, which will effectively decide who wins the seat, Kurland has raised just under $140,000 in 943 separate donations. With city matching funds, her cash is very near the $168,000 maximum she can spend in the primary. Kur land’s signature issue is replacing St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center, which is being converted to luxury condos.
“Job number one in City Council is to continue to fight to restore hospital services for the community,” she said. “This adversely impacts everyone in our community.” But as much as Kurland is generous with descriptions of herself, she is stingy with specific answers as to how she will achieve any goals she articulates if she wins the City Council seat. “I’ve been agnostic about how that happens, but I’ve offered several very real, very doable solutions,” the out lesbian said of replacing St. Vincent’s. “I’m very clear that this community needs a hospital.” The proposal that allowed Rudin Management Company to develop the site requires it to partner with a Long Island hospital to build a two-and-ahalf bed emergency facility across Seventh Avenue from the condos at a cost of $139 million. For the same price, Kurland said, they could build a 200bed hospital there. “For the same or similar costs they could put four to six more floors on there and that could be a small 200bed hospital,” she said. The state health department, which would have to approve a new hospital, opposes building such a facility there. Kurland would not say how she would overcome that resistance. Rudin is already claiming that there are obstacles to building even the smaller facility. For 12 years, the Bloomberg administration has favored large-scale real estate projects. It is typical of these deals that the developers find reasons to not build the affordable housing, parks, or other benefits that were promised to the local community. That has led to growing demands that the city’s approval process for such deals — the uniform land use review procedure, or ULURP — be reformed. “When you talk about the ULURP
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Yetta Kurland: Bold in Vision, Spare on Details
Yetta Kurland at an August 14 meeting with the editors at NYC Community Media, Gay City News’ parent company.
process, it’s very amorphous and the devil is always in the details,” Kurland said. “What I would like to see is a way the exchange is more leveled, it’s more fair for the community, and it doesn’t create the types of problems we seeing in the ULURP process.” ULURP begins at a community board, then gets approval from a borough president. The views of those two entities are advisory only. The City Planning Commission and the City Council have binding opinions. Would Kurland favor making the community board opinions binding? “I’m open to that, I’m open to that as an idea,” she said. “It’s a conversation that I would like to hear from the community and I would have to think about.” Kurland did take a specific shot, one of several, at Johnson who has held staff jobs at two real estate development firms. “I think we need somebody who is not tied to real estate interests, who can be an independent voice, but can still work together with real estate with all parts of the community,” she said when discussing her candidacy. Kurland touts her roots in the community, citing work she has done with the AIDS groups Housing Works and GMHC, her efforts to successfully
enact marriage for same-sex couples in New York, and the legal cases she has brought that aided women and the LGBT community. “I think that we need a strong independent progressive voice in City Council,” she said. “I think I’ve shown over the last two-and-a-half decades that I can stand up to some of the more powerful special interests in the community.” The next City Council will have a new speaker and have to work with a new mayor, who will confront the aftermath of the gimmick Mayor Michael Bloomberg has used to balance the city’s budget — he has not negotiated new contracts with any of the city’s unions, saving billions in labor, pension, and employee health insurance costs. The next mayor will have to fund new contracts on top of the budget gaps that are expected in the coming fiscal years. Every City Council member who will want cash for projects could feel the pinch. Kurland said that increased over sight by the City Council could find funds that are being misspent and that paying city employees more could increase tax revenue. “I do think that the way we re-stimulate an economy that’s having difficulty is we pay our workers a fair wage and we make sure they have the money to
“I’ve been agnostic about how that happens, but I’ve offered several very real, very doable solutions,” the out lesbian said of replacing St. Vincent’s. buy a ticket to a Mets game or a Yankees game or the buy some food at a local restaurant,” she said. “I don’t see it as a drain of resources, I see it as a way of invigorating the economy.” Kurland gave her most detailed responses when talking about her opponent. “I think this is a difference between continuing to have a top down approach to leadership versus having somebody who is really is going to be from the community and fighting for the community,” she said. “If you want somebody who is just going to go along to get along and is just going to be part of the same trajectory we’ve seen over the last 10 or 15 years, I’m probably not you’re candidate.”
| August 21, 2013
August 21, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
What is STRIBILD? STRIBILD is a prescription medicine used to treat HIV-1 in adults who have never taken HIV-1 medicines before. It combines 4 medicines into 1 pill to be taken once a day with food. STRIBILD is a complete single-tablet regimen and should not be used with other HIV-1 medicines. STRIBILD does not cure HIV-1 infection or AIDS. To control HIV-1 infection and decrease HIV-related illnesses you must keep taking STRIBILD. Ask your healthcare provider if you have questions about how to reduce the risk of passing HIV-1 to others. Always practice safer sex and use condoms to lower the chance of sexual contact with body fluids. Never reuse or share needles or other items that have body fluids on them.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION What is the most important information I should know about STRIBILD? STRIBILD can cause serious side effects: • Build-up of an acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious medical emergency. Symptoms of lactic acidosis include feeling very weak or tired, unusual (not normal) muscle pain, trouble breathing, stomach pain with nausea or vomiting, feeling cold especially in your arms and legs, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and/or a fast or irregular heartbeat. • Serious liver problems. The liver may become large (hepatomegaly) and fatty (steatosis). Symptoms of liver problems include your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow (jaundice), dark “tea-colored” urine, light-colored bowel movements (stools), loss of appetite for several days or longer, nausea, and/or stomach pain. • You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or serious liver problems if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking STRIBILD for a long time. In some cases, these serious conditions have led to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any symptoms of these conditions.
• Worsening of hepatitis B (HBV) infection. If you also have HBV and stop taking STRIBILD, your hepatitis may suddenly get worse. Do not stop taking STRIBILD without first talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to monitor your health. STRIBILD is not approved for the treatment of HBV. Who should not take STRIBILD? Do not take STRIBILD if you: • Take a medicine that contains: alfuzosin, dihydroergotamine, ergotamine, methylergonovine, cisapride, lovastatin, simvastatin, pimozide, sildenafil when used for lung problems (Revatio®), triazolam, oral midazolam, rifampin or the herb St. John’s wort. • For a list of brand names for these medicines, please see the Brief Summary on the following pages. • Take any other medicines to treat HIV-1 infection, or the medicine adefovir (Hepsera®). What are the other possible side effects of STRIBILD? Serious side effects of STRIBILD may also include: • New or worse kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider should do regular blood and urine tests to check your kidneys before and during treatment with STRIBILD. If you develop kidney problems, your healthcare provider may tell you to stop taking STRIBILD. • Bone problems, including bone pain or bones getting soft or thin, which may lead to fractures. Your healthcare provider may do tests to check your bones. • Changes in body fat can happen in people taking HIV-1 medicines. • Changes in your immune system. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any new symptoms after you start taking STRIBILD. The most common side effects of STRIBILD include nausea and diarrhea. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that bother you or don’t go away.
What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking STRIBILD? • All your health problems. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have or had any kidney, bone, or liver problems, including hepatitis virus infection. • All the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. STRIBILD may affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may affect how STRIBILD works. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist. Do not start any new medicines while taking STRIBILD without first talking with your healthcare provider. • If you take hormone-based birth control (pills, patches, rings, shots, etc). • If you take antacids. Take antacids at least 2 hours before or after you take STRIBILD. • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if STRIBILD can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant while taking STRIBILD. • If you are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed. HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in breast milk. Also, some medicines in STRIBILD can pass into breast milk, and it is not known if this can harm the baby. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088. Please see Brief Summary of full Prescribing Information with important warnings on the following pages.
| August 21, 2013
STRIBILD is a prescription medicine used as a complete single-tablet regimen to treat HIV-1 in adults who have never taken HIV-1 medicines before. STRIBILD does not cure HIV-1 or AIDS.
I started my personal revolution Talk to your healthcare provider about starting treatment. STRIBILD is a complete HIV-1 treatment in 1 pill, once a day.
Ask if itâ€™s right for you.
2/28/13 3:27 PM
August 21, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Patient Information STRIBILDTM (STRY-bild) (elvitegravir 150 mg/cobicistat 150 mg/emtricitabine 200 mg/ tenofovir disoproxil fumarate 300 mg) tablets Brief summary of full Prescribing Information. For more information, please see the full Prescribing Information, including Patient Information. What is STRIBILD? • STRIBILD is a prescription medicine used to treat HIV-1 in adults who have never taken HIV-1 medicines before. STRIBILD is a complete regimen and should not be used with other HIV-1 medicines. • STRIBILD does not cure HIV-1 or AIDS. You must stay on continuous HIV-1 therapy to control HIV-1 infection and decrease HIV-related illnesses. • Ask your healthcare provider about how to prevent passing HIV-1 to others. Do not share or reuse needles, injection equipment, or personal items that can have blood or body fluids on them. Do not have sex without protection. Always practice safer sex by using a latex or polyurethane condom to lower the chance of sexual contact with semen, vaginal secretions, or blood.
• Do not stop taking STRIBILD without first talking to your healthcare provider • If you stop taking STRIBILD, your healthcare provider will need to check your health often and do blood tests regularly for several months to check your HBV infection. Tell your healthcare provider about any new or unusual symptoms you may have after you stop taking STRIBILD Who should not take STRIBILD? Do not take STRIBILD if you also take a medicine that contains: • adefovir (Hepsera®) • alfuzosin hydrochloride (Uroxatral®) • cisapride (Propulsid®, Propulsid Quicksolv®) • ergot-containing medicines, including: dihydroergotamine mesylate (D.H.E. 45®, Migranal®), ergotamine tartrate (Cafergot®, Migergot®, Ergostat®, Medihaler Ergotamine®, Wigraine®, Wigrettes®), and methylergonovine maleate (Ergotrate®, Methergine®) • lovastatin (Advicor®, Altoprev®, Mevacor®) • oral midazolam
What is the most important information I should know about STRIBILD?
• pimozide (Orap®)
STRIBILD can cause serious side effects, including: 1. Build-up of lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis). Lactic acidosis can happen in some people who take STRIBILD or similar (nucleoside analogs) medicines. Lactic acidosis is a serious medical emergency that can lead to death. Lactic acidosis can be hard to identify early, because the symptoms could seem like symptoms of other health problems. Call your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following symptoms which could be signs of lactic acidosis: • feel very weak or tired • have unusual (not normal) muscle pain • have trouble breathing • have stomach pain with nausea or vomiting • feel cold, especially in your arms and legs • feel dizzy or lightheaded • have a fast or irregular heartbeat 2. Severe liver problems. Severe liver problems can happen in people who take STRIBILD. In some cases, these liver problems can lead to death. Your liver may become large (hepatomegaly) and you may develop fat in your liver (steatosis). Call your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following symptoms of liver problems: • your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow (jaundice) • dark “tea-colored” urine • light-colored bowel movements (stools) • loss of appetite for several days or longer • nausea • stomach pain You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or severe liver problems if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking STRIBILD for a long time. 3. Worsening of Hepatitis B infection. If you have hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and take STRIBILD, your HBV may get worse (flare-up) if you stop taking STRIBILD. A “flare-up” is when your HBV infection suddenly returns in a worse way than before. • Do not run out of STRIBILD. Refill your prescription or talk to your healthcare provider before your STRIBILD is all gone
• sildenafil (Revatio®), when used for treating lung problems
• rifampin (Rifadin®, Rifamate®, Rifater®, Rimactane®) • simvastatin (Simcor®, Vytorin®, Zocor®) • triazolam (Halcion®) • the herb St. John’s wort Do not take STRIBILD if you also take any other HIV-1 medicines, including: • Other medicines that contain tenofovir (Atripla®, Complera®, Viread®, Truvada®) • Other medicines that contain emtricitabine, lamivudine, or ritonavir (Combivir®, Emtriva®, Epivir® or Epivir-HBV®, Epzicom®, Kaletra®, Norvir®, Trizivir®) STRIBILD is not for use in people who are less than 18 years old. What are the possible side effects of STRIBILD? STRIBILD may cause the following serious side effects: • See “What is the most important information I should know about STRIBILD?” • New or worse kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider should do blood and urine tests to check your kidneys before you start and while you are taking STRIBILD. Your healthcare provider may tell you to stop taking STRIBILD if you develop new or worse kidney problems. • Bone problems can happen in some people who take STRIBILD. Bone problems include bone pain, softening or thinning (which may lead to fractures). Your healthcare provider may need to do tests to check your bones. • Changes in body fat can happen in people who take HIV-1 medicine. These changes may include increased amount of fat in the upper back and neck (“buffalo hump”), breast, and around the middle of your body (trunk). Loss of fat from the legs, arms and face may also happen. The exact cause and long-term health effects of these conditions are not known. • Changes in your immune system (Immune Reconstitution Syndrome) can happen when you start taking HIV-1 medicines. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections that have been hidden in your body for a long time. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you start having any new symptoms after starting your HIV-1 medicine.
| August 21, 2013
The most common side effects of STRIBILD include: • Nausea • Diarrhea Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. • These are not all the possible side effects of STRIBILD. For more information, ask your healthcare provider. • Call your healthcare provider for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking STRIBILD? Tell your healthcare provider about all your medical conditions, including: • If you have or had any kidney, bone, or liver problems, including hepatitis B infection • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if STRIBILD can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant while taking STRIBILD. – There is a pregnancy registry for women who take antiviral medicines during pregnancy. The purpose of this registry is to collect information about the health of you and your baby. Talk with your healthcare provider about how you can take part in this registry. • If you are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you take STRIBILD. - You should not breastfeed if you have HIV-1 because of the risk of passing HIV-1 to your baby. - Two of the medicines in STRIBILD can pass to your baby in your breast milk. It is not known if the other medicines in STRIBILD can pass into your breast milk. - Talk with your healthcare provider about the best way to feed your baby. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements: • STRIBILD may affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may affect how STRIBILD works. • Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you take any of the following medicines: - Hormone-based birth control (pills, patches, rings, shots, etc) - Antacid medicines that contains aluminum, magnesium hydroxide, or calcium carbonate. Take antacids at least 2 hours before or after you take STRIBILD - Medicines to treat depression, organ transplant rejection, or high blood pressure - amiodarone (Cordarone®, Pacerone®) - atorvastatin (Lipitor®, Caduet®) - bepridil hydrochloric (Vascor®, Bepadin®) - bosentan (Tracleer®) - buspirone - carbamazepine (Carbatrol®, Epitol®, Equetro®, Tegreto®) - clarithromycin (Biaxin®, Prevpac®) - clonazepam (Klonopin®) - clorazepate (Gen-xene®, Tranxene®) - colchicine (Colcrys®) - medicines that contain dexamethasone - diazepam (Valium®)
- digoxin (Lanoxin®) - disopyramide (Norpace®) - estazolam - ethosuximide (Zarontin®) - flecainide (Tambocor®) - flurazepam - fluticasone (Flovent®, Flonase®, Flovent® Diskus, Flovent® HFA, Veramyst®) - itraconazole (Sporanox®) - ketoconazole (Nizoral®) - lidocaine (Xylocaine®) - mexiletine - oxcarbazepine (Trileptal®) - perphenazine - phenobarbital (Luminal®) - phenytoin (Dilantin®, Phenytek®) - propafenone (Rythmol®) - quinidine (Neudexta®) - rifabutin (Mycobutin®) - rifapentine (Priftin®) - risperidone (Risperdal®, Risperdal Consta®) - salmeterol (Serevent®) or salmeterol when taken in combination with fluticasone (Advair Diskus®, Advair HFA®) - sildenafil (Viagra®), tadalafil (Cialis®) or vardenafil (Levitra®, Staxyn®), for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED). If you get dizzy or faint (low blood pressure), have vision changes or have an erection that last longer than 4 hours, call your healthcare provider or get medical help right away. - tadalafil (Adcirca®), for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension - telithromycin (Ketek®) - thioridazine - voriconazole (Vfend®) - warfarin (Coumadin®, Jantoven®) - zolpidem (Ambien®, Edlular®, Intermezzo®, Zolpimist®) Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine. Do not start any new medicines while you are taking STRIBILD without first talking with your healthcare provider. Keep STRIBILD and all medicines out of reach of children. This Brief Summary summarizes the most important information about STRIBILD. If you would like more information, talk with your healthcare provider. You can also ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for information about STRIBILD that is written for health professionals, or call 1-800-445-3235 or go to www.STRIBILD.com. Issued: August 2012
COMPLERA, EMTRIVA, GILEAD, the GILEAD Logo, GSI, HEPSERA, STRIBILD, the STRIBILD Logo, TRUVADA, and VIREAD are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies. ATRIPLA is a trademark of Bristol-Myers Squibb & Gilead Sciences, LLC. All other marks referenced herein are the property of their respective owners. © 2013 Gilead Sciences, Inc. All rights reserved. QC14559 02/13
2/28/13 3:27 PM
August 21, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Suspect Sketches Released in Attack on Gay Couple in Chelsea NYPD circulates information on two suspects in assault allegedly involving six youths
NEW VOICES, from p.4
mayor has been a leader on sustainability. He set up a framework for creating a more sustainable New York.” Torres clearly does take ideas seriously — and is betting voters are willing to do the same. “You have elected officials who are nowhere to be found in the central Bronx,” he said, noting the spate of politicians prosecuted in the borough in recent years. “I’m running in a district that has had nothing but scandal or corruption or dynasties and has never had a progressive voice.” Pointing to the recent success of
outnumbered, the two victims said, they focused on defending themselves from serious injury. Notman said at one point, hoping to defuse the situation, he tried to pull Felenchak into one of the London Terrace entryways.
A witness, London Terrace resident Laurie Leonard, said she did not see the attack itself but heard the “screaming” and saw “two black guys, very young — they could have been kids” running from the scene.
politicians like Gustavo Rivera and the bigger role labor is now playing in the borough’s politics, he said, “I see a progressive moment taking hold in the Bronx.” And to a significant degree that starts simply with elected officials reaching out to their constituents. Explaining he’s met many in the district who in more than 40 years of living there have never met a public official, Torres said, “When I speak to voters, many of them are struck that I’ve come to their door.” Talking about ideas like participatory budgeting, in which a Council member seeks public input into their allocation of discretionary funds, and a municipal
voting bill that would allow noncitizen immigrants to cast a ballot in city elections, Torres said, “My challenge is to take these disenfranchised neighborhoods and reengage them in their own government.” The young gay candidate is not unmindful of the fact that he’s “running in the Bible Belt of New York City,” but said opposition based on his sexual orientation has not risen above the level of a “whisper campaign.” The primary, he believes, will not be decided by vitriol thrown around by the candidates, in the open or sub rosa. “In this kind of race, you win it on the ground,” he said. “And so I focus
on voter contacts.” Which means finding the 6,000 likely voters among the 60,000 who are registered in a district of 160,000 residents — a task that involves visiting the many four and fivestory walk-ups dotting the 15th. Youth probably does have some advantages on that score. In engaging voters over the long haul, Torres also understands that he must “manage expectations.” “I am not a miracle worker,” he tells those he meets. “I am a worker, and I will work my heart out.” He told this reporter, “Hard work is the highest virtue. It’s a greater virtue than intelligence.”
olice have released sketches of two men suspected of assaulting a gay couple walking through Chelsea after midnight on August 14 as they headed home from a movie. The victims said they were attacked by six youths shouting anti-gay slurs as they rounded the corner from Ninth Avenue onto 24th Street walking west, arm in arm. “What are you looking at, faggot?,” one of the assailants was said to have shouted before attacking the two men. The survivors of the attack, Michael Felenchak, 27, and Peter Notman, 53, suffered lacerations to their faces, with the younger man requiring eight stitches just below his lip. Notman, a 20-year resident of the London Ter race apartments that span the block from Ninth to 10th Avenues, underwent an MRI and said it is not yet clear if he suffered a concussion. The NYPD described the two suspects as between 16 and 20, one a black man wearing a white T -shirt; the other, a black Latino man who was shirtless and had tattoos on his chest and arms. Both were said to have black hair and brown eyes. Leafleting about the attack outside London Terrace on the morning of August 15, Notman — explaining the incident began when he was cold-cocked on the side of his head by one of six men he described as no older than 18 — said he feels as though his head “is in a vise.” Felenchak said that the force of the blows he received suggested his attacker might have been wearing brass knuckles. He said there were initially two attackers, who were soon joined by another four young men. Recognizing they were
Notman and Felenchak said the youths were a mix of races. State Senator Brad Hoylman and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, both out gay or lesbian officials, called a press conference on the evening of August 14 to decry the attacks and urge a community response. The victims were at the press event, but did not speak. Quinn, who lived on the block for 20 years and now resides several blocks away, said, “It shouldn’t happen in any neighborhood, but for this to happen in Chelsea is shocking.” She and Hoylman urged any witnesses to contact the police, anonymously if they choose, at 212-577-TIPS (8477). The 10th precinct has stepped up patrols in the area and reviewed surveillance video taken nearby in producing the sketches they circulated. Alicia Mehl, another resident of London Terrace, said she has noticed that the block of West 24thStreet where the attacks occurred has increasingly become the scene of drug deals. No less than 30 minutes before the press conference took place, she said, she witnessed one such deal go down nearby. Felenchak warned that the type of attack he and Notman suffered is unfortunately unsurprising given the “toxic environment” in which city youth grow up in today, where education about diversity and the dangers of violence is lacking. “All they know is struggle,” he said. Late in the spring, the city saw a surge in anti-gay violence, with assaults near Madison Square Garden and in the East Village and Soho. On May 18, Mark Carson, 32, was shot to death point blank in a homophobic assault in the West Village. “We need to make sure that this summer doesn’t end the way it began,” Quinn said.
Sketches released by the NYPD in connection with an August 14 attack on two gay men.
WILLIAM ALATRISTE/ NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL
BY ANDY HUMM
Peter Notman and Michael Felenchak with State Senator Brad Hoylman and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn at a Chelsea press conference on August 14.
| August 21, 2013
Anthony Weiner Pledges Feisty Posture for the Duration Former congressman wears DeAr
And GALS who like gAls,
establishment’s disdain as badge of honor BY PAUL SCHINDLER
life, liberty And the pursuit of hAppiness begAn with Me.
P.S. Get your history strAight And your nightlife gAy. GAY CITY NEWS
olitically powerful voices in New York, Anthony Weiner insisted, are not happy that he’s running for mayor — and that’s a good thing. “It’s fairly clear I make the big institutional forces of the city batty,” he told Gay City News and its sister publications at NYC Community Media in an interview that ran to just over an hour on August 9. “I’ve basically said I don’t give a shit and it makes them crazy. I mean, look how crazy the New York Times is.” The Times, he argued, has found about five different ways to press him to get out of the race. But in a city where affordable housing opportunities are scarce, hospitals are closing, public school education remains a divisive political football, and public employee union contracts are long overdue for what could prove costly renegotiation, Weiner made a virtue of the establishment’s disdain for him. “If you are going to construct a campaign based on the right ideas, good ideas, and you are unencumbered by the collection of contracts, in a political sense, you have to make in what campaigns do, you’re free to say and do the right thing,” the former six-term-plus Brooklyn-Queens Democratic congressman said. “That the very idea that I don’t have the institutions rallying to my side is the reason I’ll be able to more successfully negotiate for these things that I think everyone agrees, if they’re really honest with themselves, need to be done.” Less than a month before the Democratic mayoral primary, Weiner has little choice but to play the iconoclastic outsider. The married father of a young infant resigned his office in June 2011 after an embarrassing sexting scandal about which he initially lied. He entered this year’s race — his second run for mayor, after an unsuccessful 2005 primary bid against former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer — only in late May, at which point major endorsements from labor, elected officials, and Democratic clubs were already locked up. Though voters initially appeared willing to give Weiner a second chance — he topped several polls in June — revelations in late July that his sexting behavior continued for well over a year after his resignation caused his numbers to tumble. A poll conducted by Quinnipiac University August 7-12 put his support among likely primary voters at just 10 percent, a level less than half of that
guys who like guys
Anthony Weiner sports American and Rainbow flags, an HRC badge, and white pants in the 2013 LGBT Pride Parade in Manhattan.
enjoyed by three of his competitors. The controversy swirling around a candidate with “a funny name [who’s] done embarrassing things,” Weiner said, has allowed the media to ignore serious issues in favor of superficial fluff that reflects “lazy reporting.” The Times, he said, dogged him for the color of his pants at a candidate debate at which he arrived after attending a gay pride event. (His choice in colors for pants is an issue since picked up by the Daily News, New York magazine, the Daily Beast, and the Huffington Post.) Weiner, however, voiced no greater happiness with the coverage he’s getting on matters of greater substance. Asked about a June 12 Times story that reported that many who followed his years in Congress viewed him as “a lawmaker with little patience for making laws and a single-minded focus on generating attention so he could run for mayor of New York… whose restlessness could spill into recklessness,” Weiner charged the piece was “factually wrong,” “misunderstands Congress,” and “was driven by a basic contempt for someone who has tried to do things differently.” The newspaper, he said, either denigrated or ignored work he accomplished to expand federal government spending on DNA testing by local police, to establish Superfund status for the Newtown Creek that separates Brooklyn
WEINER, continued on p.18
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August 21, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
The Closing of an Iconic Venue
Bartender Frankie Steele seems to be enjoying his last shift on 17th Street.
For Splash Bar, August 11 was the last dance, the last call
Lady Bunny spun classics from the 1970s and 1980s and was followed by DJ Alex Rodriguez.
BY MICHAEL LUONGO
ho would build a bar here? It’s not the Village. It’s way up on 17th Street,” Harlem resident Lennie Harper, who went with friends to the opening night of Splash Bar during the summer of 1991, recalled thinking then. “We came in and we had a good time.” Flash forward 22 years. Harper was on 17th Street again on Sunday, August 11, for Splash’s final night along with hundreds of others, capping off a week of closing events. “It’s the end of an era,” he said. The 1980s migration of gays and lesbians into New York’s Chelsea neighborhood seeking cheaper rent than in rapidly gentrifying Greenwich Village, the center of New York gay life from at least the 1920s, wasn’t yet on the international radar. All that changed with Splash’s opening, an event many regard as Chelsea’s coming out as a gay neighborhood. Splash owner Brian Landeche didn’t look at locating the bar in Chelsea in response to any transformation going on there. At the time, he said, “the Village was where gay life happened to be. Seventeenth Street was the closest thing we could find to the Village with a large floor. You had to be spectacular to draw people there, and we worked our butts off to make sure that happened.” Landeche added Splash’s debut came before Sixth Avenue’s Ladies Mile renovations, when turn of the last-century department stores were converted into big box retail, marking Chelsea’s mainstream gentrification. He won’t argue Splash necessarily led to the neighbor-
Willie Fernandez celebrates his 50th birthday on the last night of Splash.
hood’s changes, saying only, “There were trends that followed. Whether we sparked them or were part of them is hard to say.” On the last night, Lady Bunny spun classics from the 1970s and 1980s, with DJ Alex Rodriguez following after her. Hundreds of men and a scattering of women came to hear them spin and to enjoy their own last dance. Landeche, wearing all white, stayed at the front bar, observing his iconic space — quiet, aloof, pensive, and perhaps a little sad. “New York City is about change and evolving,” he said. “Chelsea matured and evolved, even after being on the frontier of things. Hell’s Kitchen is evolving, and XL made Hell’s Kitchen a destination, like we did for Chelsea over 20 years ago.” (Early last year, John Blair
reopened XL, his onetime Chelsea nightclub, at the Out NYC Hotel on West 42nd Street.) Landeche voiced no regrets about Splash’s closing, calling his time with the club “a privilege” that offered a counterpoint to the difficulties gay men in New York were facing in the early 1990s. “In those days to have a place like this, when HIV was at its raging worst,” he said, “we could offer a place where guys could come and relax, a refuge where kids could come and dance. It made Splash a wonderful privilege for me.” It is his employees, Landeche said, he will miss the most. “We encouraged them to have an education, get a sideline career, open a business,” he said. “I knew for them this would not last. I wouldn’t give them off if
it was about going to a circuit party, but if it was about classes, we would work with them. I am very proud of that.” Among those who once worked there was nightlife impresario Mark Nelson, who managed Splash in the 1990s and considers Landeche a mentor. “Splash will always be the place I considered a home,” Nelson said. “Many long term friends and many, many tricks. I was lucky to have learned from Brian and subsequently have had the career thus far with those good and bad lessons.” Another long time employee, Victor Daniel, said he had good memories over his 18 years of working at Splash. Now running his own company, the dating service Elite Mate, he decided to return for the last week, donning go-go shorts with his name emblazoned across his backside. “I know a lot of people here,” he said from his perch in the downstairs bar. “It’s a little sad.” Melancholy and nostalgia were also on the mind of Patrick Cashen that night. “It’s sad to see it close. It’s like an institution for me,” he said, explaining he had lived in New York for many years, then moved elsewhere before returning. A resident of Sutton Place, Cashen added, “It opened in the early 1990s, which were my golden years. It’s amazing it lasted 22 years.” When he heard the bar was closing, he knew he had to attend, visiting with friends after a long absence. Wearing an intense smile and a brilliantly colored shirt with a small stuffed animal around his neck, Willie Ferndan-
SPALSH, continued on p.15
| August 21, 2013
The splendor of a giant disco ball and go-go boys on the bars and other platforms were staples of Splash for 22 years.
SPLASH, from p.14
dez looked at the evening as a celebratory one. “I opened this club with a birthday and I am closing it tonight on my birthday” — his 50th, he said. “I am also HIVpositive and so it is an anniversary too for me to be here so long.” Chris Olin, from the Bronx, also took a long view of Splash’s run. “This was one of my bars when I came out, so to be here on closing night is legendary for me,” he said. A regular attendee over the years, Olin said it was important for him to hear the final “last call for alcohol,” closing down the night. The evening might have been a special one, but it looked just like so many others. The giant disco ball spun from above the dance floor, reflecting diamonds of multicolored light over the revelers, go-go boys towering over them from the bar and scattered platforms. Many of the men were dancing shirtless in the summer heat, continuing the decades-long ritual gay urbanites are famous for. Among them was Ethan Bedell, a swim coach who lives in Brooklyn. He said of Splash, “It’s magical. It’s an institution like Studio 54. It’s the lifeblood of New York City, of gay New York City.” Unlike many others there that night, Bedell was too young to remember when Splash opened. He voiced optimism that life would go on for New York’s gay scene, saying, “I’m looking forward to continuing the Splash legend after tonight though, because everyone loves this, and Dougie Meyer is moving the party to XL.” Meyer, Splash’s promoter, who accepted a position at the 42nd Street club as promotional director, was due to hold his first party there the following evening. While many at Splash’s last night recalled the glitzy, golden moments it made possible, Allen Roskoff, a longtime activist who heads the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, focused on many of the struggles faced by the bar
and Landeche. “It’s an icon and an institution with an incredible history, and it’s a damn shame it’s closing,” he said. “They suffered vast amounts of harassment from the police and got no help from their City Council.” Calling Splash “the country’s most famous gay bar,” he charged that Speaker Christine Quinn, a leading mayoral hopeful, “did nothing to help something that was important to her constituencies.” Landeche himself, however, did not bring up such hurdles. “This is bittersweet,” he said, looking back over the last 22 years. “Everything has its time, though. Splash was a party and it was time to leave the party.” He did not say what would be next for him, but now that Splash is closed, Landeche did mention one thing he is looking forward to. “I’m going to get eight hours of sleep every night,” he said.
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US Judge Allows Ugandan Gays’ Claims Against Minister to Proceed Scott Lively to face crimes against humanity suit in Massachusetts federal court BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
STR SNG CMNCTNS GRP
federal district court judge in Massachusetts has refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed on behalf of Sexual Minorities Uganda, a gay rights group, against Scott Lively, described in the complaint as an attorney, author, and evangelical minister who allegedly worked to “foment” what the suit described as “an atmosphere of harsh and frightening repression against LGBTI people in Uganda.” Judge Michael A. Ponsor found the allegations suggested potential liability under the US Alien Tort Statute (ATS), which authorizes federal courts to adjudicate claims by foreign individuals or entities against American citizens for violations of the “law of nations.” According to the complaint, Lively — who heads the Abiding Truth Ministries and whose books include “Redeeming the Rainbow: A Christian Response to the ‘Gay’ Agenda” and “The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party” — has visited Uganda several times and met with private individuals and government officials there and in the US, encouraging a campaign to enact harsh criminal laws and impose severe social repression of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people in the African nation. Many of the relevant activities — including review of proposed legislation and communications regarding strategy — the suit charges, were undertaken from his home in Massachusetts. Specific individuals in Uganda — including the sponsor of a draconian legislative proposal, the AntiHomosexuality Bill — with whom Lively is alleged to have conspired are named in the suit. Though the complaint cites violations of Massachusetts law, its main focus is on the federal claims made under the ATS. Sexual Minorities Uganda, an umbrella group for various LGBTI community organizations there, is represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights, which argued a case could not be brought against Lively in Uganda due to limitations of the laws there. Moving to dismiss the suit, Lively argued that nothing he was alleged to have done violates the “law of nations,” that the ATS does not extend to actions taken overseas, that the plaintiff organization lacks standing to bring the case, that the First Amendment shields him from liability for advocacy activities, and that the state law claims lack an adequate legal foundation. Judge Ponsor, rejecting all of those
Pastor Scott Lively and his 1995 book, “The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party.”
arguments, emphasized that denying the motion to dismiss is not a ruling on the merits and that the plaintiff will have to prove its factual assertions in a trial. Significantly, the judge concluded, based on a review of international legal materials, that “widespread, systematic persecution of LGBTI people constitutes a crime against humanity that unquestionably violates international norms.” He also stated that a review of “applicable authorities” shows that “aiding and abetting in the commission of a crime against humanity is one of the limited group of international law violations for which the ATS furnishes jurisdiction.” Persecution, he found, can be considered a crime against humanity if it is “part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population.” Responding to Lively’s argument that “persecution based on sexual orientation or gender identity has not been sufficiently recognized under international law to be actionable under the ATS,” Ponsor conceded that many treaties lack specific mention of these categories but that “virtually all of these instruments” provide protection against crimes based on “other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law.” He continued, “Significantly, the boundaries of persecution are almost always defined by those carrying out the persecution against a particular group… This fact strongly argues in favor of a generous interpretation of what groups enjoy protection under international norms.” The argument
that such international norms would not today be construed to protect LGBTI people from systematic persecution was “unpersuasive” in Ponsor’s view. Lively argued that because LGBTI people are subject to persecution in many countries, there is no clear international norm against such persecution, to which Ponsor responded, “This argument is utterly specious,” noting that even Uganda’s highest court itself has ruled that gay and lesbian people are entitled to equal treatment under that country’s laws. “More importantly,” he wrote, “even a glance at the history of treatment of gays and lesbians makes it clear that the discrimination suffered by them is on a par with the treatment meted out to other groups, defined by religion, race, or some other accepted characteristic… The fact that a group continues to be vulnerable to widespread, systematic persecution in some parts of the world simply cannot shield one who commits a crime against humanity from liability.” In Lively’s case, the court found that the plaintiff’s claims, if proven, would qualify under ATS jurisdiction. “The allegations feature Defendant’s active involvement in well orchestrated initiatives by legislative and executive branch officials and powerful private parties in Uganda, including elements of the media, to intimidate LGBTI people and to deprive them of their fundamental human rights to freedom of expression, life, liberty and property,” Ponsor wrote, while referring to international
prosecutions dating back to the postWorld War II Nuremburg trials. The complaint alleges that Lively’s role was “analogous to that of an upperlevel manager or leader of a criminal enterprise,” who “participated in formulating the enterprise’s policies and strategies.” Indeed, it asserts that Lively had himself acknowledged “his efforts made him instrumental in detonating ‘a nuclear bomb against the “gay” agenda in Uganda.’” The Supreme Court has recently ruled that ATS has very limited extraterritorial application, but Ponsor found the allegations in this case met the high court’s requirements. The complaint “alleges that the tortious acts committed by Defendant took place to a substantial degree within the United States, over many years, with only infrequent actual visits to Uganda,” the court wrote. “The fact that the impact of Defendant’s conduct was felt in Uganda cannot deprive Plaintiff of a claim. Defendant’s alleged actions in planning and managing a campaign of repression in Uganda from the United States are analogous to a terrorist designing and manufacturing a bomb in this country, which he then mails to Uganda with the intent that it explode there.” Ponsor also found that the impact of Lively’s alleged actions on Sexual Minorities Uganda, its members, and the LGBTI community gave the group associational standing to bring its claims. Regarding Lively’s First Amendment argument, Ponsor wrote, “It is wellestablished that speech that constitutes criminal aiding and abetting is not protected by the First Amendment. It is equally well supported that the same logic extends to civil actions for aiding and abetting… Plaintiff contends that Defendant’s conduct has gone far beyond mere expression into the realm not only of advocacy of imminent criminal conduct, in this case advocacy of a crime against humanity, but management of actual crimes — repression of free expression through intimidation, false arrests, assaults, and criminalization of peaceful activity and even the status of being gay or lesbian.” Ponsor acknowledged “the chilling effect that can occur when potential tort liability is extended to unpopular views, but wrote that the complaint “sets out plausible claims to hold Defendant liable for his role in systematic persecution, rather than merely for opinions that Plaintiff finds abhorrent.” Ponsor, a senior district judge since 2011, was appointed to the federal bench by President Bill Clinton.
| August 21, 2013
Bill Lynch, Dinkins Deputy and Civil Rights Activist, Dies “Rumpled genius,” “indispensable man” of New York politics was committed LGBT, AIDS advocate BY ANDY HUMM
Bill Lynch with Mayor David Dinkins and Nelson Mandela, who had recently been released from a South African prison and would go on to the presidency of that nation — with Lynch’s assistance.
ing a hole through me. He was judging me. I was coming up a little short, but he’d say, ‘You’re okay. You just have to deliver.’” The former president added, “The most important thing he did was to prove politics could be a noble endeavor.” Reverend Al Sharpton said Lynch’s “integrity was rare. He would talk to us when we weren’t talking to each other,” telling advocates to “stop the pettiness. He demanded we be bigger. He forced bigness out of small people.” David Dinkins called him “one of the greatest men I have every known.” He recalled how L ynch, who suffered from a variety of long-term ailments, including diabetes, and required dialysis, “played through pain few of us can imagine.” Patrick Gaspard, Lynch’s former protégé — and there were many — and now President Barack Obama’s nominee for ambassador to South Africa, called Lynch “a beautiful mess of a man” who “knew that organizing people was more art than science.” In politics, he said, “Bill didn’t pick winners, he made winners.” Reverend Jesse Jackson called Lynch “a force of nature” and hailed his recent work organizing people to fight the stop and frisk tactics of the NYPD, which days after his death were limited by a federal judge. Len Riggio, CEO of Barnes and Noble and a close friend, said L ynch called him once about a Senate candidate. “‘I can’t hear you, Bill. What’s that siren?’ He said it was an ambulance. I said, ‘Wait until it passes.’ He said, ‘I can’t. I’m in it.’” That was Bill Lynch, working to the
end and enjoying many bonus years despite ill health because his son Billy donated a kidney to him. Few remember his days as an agitator, leading the fight to keep Harlem’s Sydenham Hospital open in 1980. He also led sit-ins at the Board of Education in the early ‘80s to demand a chancellor of color. In 1983, Anthony Alvarado, a Latino, won that post and was followed a string of other people of color. As host of a radio show called “Illuminations” in the early ‘80s, he put one of the first people with AIDS on the air — a white gay man. Lynch leaned into the guy at the top of the show and asked him, “How does it feel to be a nigger?” The anger of AIDS activists at Mayor Ed Koch boiled over in the 1989 election and despite several credible opponents, the vast majority of LGBT and AIDS activists got behind Dinkins, who won 51 percent in the primary and then beat Rudy Giuliani. As deputy mayor and political point person in the Dinkins administration, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Lynch. But the administration got behind condoms and explicit AIDS education in the schools, started a registry for domestic partners, and settled a lawsuit by giving all city employees domestic partner benefits. One of Dinkins’ finest hours was standing with the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization in 1991 in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, enduring jeers and tossed beer cans. L ynch negotiated the compromise that let ILGO march without its banner, but within Manhattan’s Division 7 of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. When the parade committee then did everything they
BILL LYNCH ASSOCIATES
ill L ynch, Jr., who died August 9 at age 72, has been celebrated as the “rumpled genius” who guided David Dinkins to New York’s mayoralty in 1989, a deputy mayor, the coordinator of the city’s welcome to Nelson Mandela in 1991 after he was released from prison, a consultant to Mandela’s first presidential campaign, and one of the savviest political consultants in the country, electing John Liu as comptroller and Cy Vance as Manhattan district attorney, among many high profile candidates. I will remember L ynch as the man who gave this reporter, a young gay activist in the late 1970s, one of my first paying jobs at the NYC Self-Help Clearinghouse and then took a chance on me again in 2003 as a consultant to his firm, Bill Lynch Associates, for seven years. As a government official and civil rights activist, he was deeply involved in some of the biggest LGBT and AIDS issues of our time in addition to movements for the poor, people of color, women, children, and others. Bill L ynch came out of the 1960s social justice movements on Long Island for migrant workers and fair representation for African Americans in government. A native of Mattituck, a black enclave on the North Fork of Long Island situated amidst miles of potato farms, L ynch would show up at meetings in those days in overalls. And forever more, one of his catch phrases in meetings was to preface his remarks by saying, “Now, I’m kind of slow and country,” when in fact he was the sharpest, quickest guy in the room. At his packed memorial service at the Riverside Church on August 15, Reverend James Forbes called him “a principled pragmatic.” Hillary Clinton credited his coordination of the 1992 Democratic Convention in New York that nominated her husband as “putting the wind at our backs” for the rest of that campaign. “He was old school” as a consultant, she said. “He was a numbers guy before computers, but he knew there were things that defied measurement,” such as the “personal connections” he made to people who sought “to live lives of value and dignity.” Clinton also said that Lynch would say to people thinking of running for office, “If you’re not trying to win, don’t call me. What do you want the job for?” Bill Clinton said, “I remember he had eyes like a vacuum cleaner, star -
Bill Lynch in September 2010 after managing Congressman Charlie Rangel’s Democratic primary victory despite the veteran Harlem lawmaker’s House censure.
could to keep ILGO out of subsequent parades, Dinkins joined the boycott of it. ILGO, however, rejected Lynch’s pressure not to sit-in in protest of its exclusion the following year, leading to the largest mass arrest of LGBT people in the New York’s history. Lynch had a terrific sense of humor. Once when I offered some advice to a client at a meeting we were at together, he played off me saying, “Don’t listen to him. He’s just trying to get you in trouble.” Bill Lynch was not a saint and made a good living, but he did so much good in his lifetime that the full house for his funeral at the massive Riverside evoked a response very few others could. When Wynton Marsalis on trumpet slowly walked up the aisle playing the most mournful and moving “Amazing Grace” I have ever heard, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. L ynch was, in the estimation of many, the indispensable man in New York politics — the guy who could get everyone in the room and make things happen for the good. When the Tea Party was outflanking progressives across the nation, he got his union allies and the NAACP to organize a mass rally in Washington in 2010. When Gay Men’s Health Crisis couldn’t get its new landlord to finalize its lease, he helped his old colleague Marjorie Hill, the LGBT liaison in the Dinkins administration, to get the deal done. Bill L ynch is survived by his wife, Mary, son William L ynch III, daughter Stacy, daughter -in-law Rashanna L ynch, and a grandson, William Lynch IV.
August 21, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Boro Prez Candidates Square Off on… and at NYU Four Democrats seek to distinguish their qualifications for an office with limited formal powers BY KAITLYN MEADE
ducation, jobs, affordable housing” was the mantra that candidates for Manhattan borough president stuck to at a recent debate on the campus of New York University. All four Democratic candidates appeared comfortable in their skins at the August 7 event, settling in for what one of them called their 538th debate in advance of the September 10 primary. Limiting development was also an underlying current throughout the debate. Upper West Side City Councilwoman Gale Brewer, who emphasized the need to combat overcrowding in public schools, also said building libraries and parks needs to be a priority. She noted the New York Times had cited her as one of the top five city officials championing parks. Councilman Robert Jackson, who represents Manhattan’s West Side north of Brewer’s district and co-chairs the Council’s Black, Latino and Asian
Caucus, focused on job creation. Noting his constituents suffer from some of the highest unemployment rates in the borough, he said he was committed to ensuring “that Manhattan stays affordable.” “What I would like to do is very simple,” Upper East Side Councilwoman Jessica Lappin said. “Fight for middle class and working people in this borough with a special emphasis on tenants and seniors.” Lappin talked about employing “bottom-up planning” to look at things 10 to 15 years down the road so that the necessary infrastructure can be built to keep up with development. Throughout the debate, former Lower Manhattan Community Board 1 chair Julie Menin came back again and again to her plan for a “comprehensive, borough-wide master plan” as a critical tool for addressing the borough’s problems. The plan, she explained, would mandate standard minimum infrastructure and funding contributions — for pubic benefits including schools and affordable housing — on all developers. “I am running for borough president because I believe we need to com-
WEINER, from p.13
and Queens, and to fortify those two boroughs against storm surge by protecting the Belt Parkway and restoring marshlands in Jamaica Bay. The story, he said, “dismisses as the job of a congressman the idea that you deliver for New York City.” Harping on the number of bills he got passed, Weiner asserted, is a misreading of the reality of gridlock in Washington. “LBJ wouldn’t be fucking LBJ today,” he said. Throughout the interview, Weiner portrayed himself as a bold independent willing to look beyond the opposing poles of conventional political debates. A supporter of a single payer health care system for New York City residents, he also believes that municipal employees
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pletely reform our land use review process,” Menin said in her opening statement, sparking the first spontaneous applause at the session. The most lively audience reaction came when the topic of the Council’s 2012 approval of NYU’s expansion came up during a question about the candidates’ views on both that and the fast-tracked proposal to develop skyscrapers in Midtown East. “We’re sitting in a neighborhood where the City Council and the mayor approved rezoning,” Dick Dadey, executive director of the government watchdog group Citizens Union and one of the evening’s moderators, noted in his question. The topic prompted a round of finger-pointing as the City Council members attempted to distance themselves from the final deal. Brewer reminded the audience that everyone on the Council but Charles Barron, a Brooklynite who often goes it alone, voted for the expansion in the end. She went on to say she did not agree with the terms set and would have taken a different posture had she been borough president at the time.
must step up to bear a portion of the burden of their current plans. Saying he is an “agnostic” on charter schools, Weiner said there are more pressing debates to be had over public education. The city, he said, lacks an “affordable housing ladder” for the middle class, and he distinguished himself from other candidates by endorsing greater density in public housing locations, so long as that focuses on greater availability for seniors. At the same time, he declared himself a “pro-development Democrat” in an environment where most recent development has been seen as shortchanging affordable housing. “I believe we need to grow the city,” he said. “I want to create jobs.” And even as he showed off his CitiBike membership key, Weiner declared of bike path advocates, “There is also this jihadist mentality that is not going to play with me.” On police-community relations, he said the city needs a new mayor and a new police commissioner but voiced opposition to the appointment of an inspector general or to City Council legislation that would give citizens a private right to bring legal action against the NYPD. “I don’t believe in creating government bureaucracies to solve a problem that elections are supposed to solve,” Weiner said. “I think we sometimes deal with problems by blurring lines of authority rather than making them sharper.” Saying that there are already checks in place against abusive police behavior, he said, “An individual right of action doesn’t make us safer… it makes us more litigious.” Weiner voiced particularly strong opposition to the city’s current policy, under court challenge, barring reli-
Jackson similarly voiced doubts about the final agreement, squarely pointing his finger at Lower Manhattan Councilwoman Margaret Chin, who acted as the lead Council negotiator. “You should know it’s not an open and transparent process because negotiations don’t take place in public, they happen in private,” he said. Lappin also turned the blame on Chin, saying, “I was not the prime negotiator. I think I would have done a better job. I would’ve handled it differently. I would have worked with the local elected officials, for example. But in the end, I voted as the current borough president suggested. I voted in favor of the plan.” Menin spoke about her efforts to lobby NYU to expand into Tower 5 of the World Trade Center site, though such a move would not have replaced the massive Bleecker Street tower. She used the expansion as an example of why land use review procedures are in need of reform through her master plan.
BOROUGH PRESIDENT, continued on p.19
gious groups from renting public school space on weekends to hold worship services. “Government,” he said, “in its desire to observe the lines between church and state, often goes beyond and becomes anti-religion. I don’t see anything wrong with empty classrooms that are rented at market value going to a religious organization.” Asked whether church-state conflicts aren’t inevitable when many congregations have used the schools in the past to preach anti-gay messages, Weiner responded, “It is beyond ridiculous to say [my] position means that I support every word that is said or every organization that then takes advantage of that.” Making determinations based on content, he warned, “would be the worst possible thing to do” — though the current policy is blanket and not based on specific content. A Bloomberg administration policy that regulated a form of circumcision used in the Orthodox Jewish community that has the mohel suck the blood from the newly circumcised penis, he said, demonstrates a similar “elitism.” According to Weiner, the implementation of that policy, which governs a practice in which 13 newborns have been infected with herpes in the city, leading to two deaths, was “entirely about dictating to a discrete minority community.” Weiner’s willingness to make his points in color ful fashion was apparent right from the start of the interview. Asking about the state of NYC Community Media’s business, which includes four Lower Manhattan neighborhood newspapers in addition to Gay City News, he described such locally focused publications as “the cockroaches” of the media world. But that, too, was a good thing. “The more neighborhoody the newspaper, the better,” he said. “The more likely they are to be successful.”
| August 21, 2013 BOROUGH PRESIDENT, from p.18
Candidates cranked up the pressure on each other a notch when given the opportunity to ask one question of a randomly selected opponent. Jackson was asked by Menin about the City Council’s vote to overturn term limits, which gave both him and Mayor Michael Bloomberg eligibility for a third term despite two voter referendums that limited tenure to eight consecutive years. Jackson pointed out that in Manhattan those referendums did not enjoy majority support. He also cited the lack of voter turnout as a factor in the mayor winning a third term, saying, “I didn’t cut the deal. The people of New York voted, 1.5 million voted out of 4 million. Those people that did not vote gave Mayor Bloomberg another term, not me.” On another issue that sparked the audience’s vocal response, Menin was asked by Lappin why she “chose to become a Republican during George W. Bush’s term.” Menin, who briefly abandoned her Democratic Party registration between 2001 and 2003, said that after 9/11, “I would do whatever I could to work for the community and make sure the community had a voice at the table,” pointing out the need to work with the Republican administration of Governor George Pataki. Noting her advocacy of the Ground Zero mosque and her good relations with the Occupy Wall Street
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Manhattan borough president candidates Gale Brewer, Robert Jackson, Jessica Lappin, and Julie Menin at an August 7 debate at NYU.
encampment, she insisted she has always been a progressive. Jackson’s query of Brewer proved less challenging, perhaps unintentionally, when he asked about her position on small businesses, a question she said she “loved” because of legislation he steered through the Council to allow her district to restrict the street frontage size of incoming banks in an effort to preserve space for mom-and-pop shops.
Brewer passed on the love to Lappin, her seatmate in the City Council and apparently also her gossip buddy, who was asked simply to elaborate on her experience outside of her eight years on the Council. Lappin, however, doubled down on her work in city government, noting she had spent the years prior to her election on the staff of her predecessor in her district, Speaker Gifford Miller.
“I made a decision when I graduated college that making money was not as important as making a difference,” she said. Menin was the only candidate to advocate “absolutely” for a City Charter revision to give both the borough president and community boards greater binding authority. Jackson and Lappin both said that a Charter Revision Commission could yield good results, though Jackson added, “But the bottom line is this is what we have. You have to follow the law, and within a certain time you have to act.” Brewer noted that a number of such commissions called by Bloomberg have yielded few results. She said the new mayor next year will have a crucial impact on the value of any Revision Commission. “The Charter change must include the way the City Council, the community boards, and the borough president and the mayor all work together,” she said. The debate was organized by Citizens Union, a government watchdog group, NYC Community Media, the parent company of Gay City News, and NYU, which hosted the event at its Center for Academic and Spiritual Life. Citizens Union’s Dadey was joined by Gay City News editor-in-chief Paul Schindler in moderating.
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| August 21, 2013
DOMA’s Dead, But Not Homophobia, Indifference
hen I was five years old, my favorite toy was my mother’s silver charm bracelet. It was a beautiful piece of jewelry; dangling from a delicately crafted chain were 20 intricate charms that included a graceful little hula dancer whose hips actually moved. I spent hours playing with this lovely bauble, fingering the charms, then putting the bracelet on my tiny wrist. I remember my father’s consternation when he saw me parading around the living room sporting something girls wore. Why wasn’t I interested in the baseball mitt he had given me for my birthday? This early manifestation of being a gay child was the beginning of a bumpy and often unhappy personal journey that I look back on now, 65 years later, with both sadness and satisfaction — and more than a small dose of resignation. Sadness because my childhood was unhappy; satisfaction because I survived decades of un-deserved mean-
of another man who is my life partner of 33 years, put two-and-two together and figured out I was gay. Suddenly, overnight it seemed, the friendly greetings of “Que pasa, amigo?” and “Wasup, Bro?” that greeted me when I first walked down my block turned to stony silence and averted glances. Time heals in the sense that now after 15 years, it doesn’t hurt so much anymore. And my thick layer of skin gets nicely thicker. Almost bullet-proof you might say. But not quite. And here’s why. One of my oldest friends is a brilliant woman who is a fine writer and an outstanding journalist of the liberal, crusading school. In her articles, she attacks injustice and aims to make the United States a better place, one that can be admired and emulated around the world. In her essays, she has railed against Abu Ghraib prison; her article on drone aircraft made me cringe with shame. So it was with considerable expectation that I waited for Brenda’s article celebrating the recent Supreme Court decision striking down DOMA. But it didn’t happen. Brenda’s silence puzzled me. I was troubled not hearing her voice on this civil rights issue that I felt was so important not only to the gay community, but to American society as a whole. So I wrote to Brenda asking her when her piece on DOMA would appear. Her reply was nothing short of Edith Bunker -esque, consisting of one short sentence: “ Oh, I didn’t think about THAT!” In a second email I asked her “WHY?” Her answer knocked the wind out of me. Assur ing me she was on the forefront of civil rights issues, having fought for gender equality since the 1970s, she said that DOMA and gay rights were not her issue, that she didn’t feel “qualified” to write about that topic. I digested this explanation and wondered how drones and Abu Ghraib had become “her issues” and areas of expertise, but not the striking down of DOMA. So now when I walk down my block every morning to catch the train to Manhattan, I almost have a warm feeling for the stoop homophobes who
I wondered how drones and Abu Ghraib had become “her issues” and areas of expertise, but not the striking down of DOMA. ness and made a success of myself professionally and socially, having excelled at my work and forged a small circle of loyal friends; resignation because I see real change in attitudes coming all too slowly, even from people I would expect to be gay-friendly. The result, in personal terms, is the survival of a person with a worldview that says “nothing surprises me.” Well, almost nothing. My thick skin continues to develop new layers of hardness even in liberal, anything-goes New York City. Not long after I moved to Mott Haven, the deceptively tony name for our innercity Bronx address, my neighbors, seeing me constantly in the company
ignore me. At least I know where they stand. There is a refreshing honesty in their narrow-mindedness. They are not “thinkers” like my brilliant, liberal journo friend Brenda. They’re just ordinary folks conditioned by what their parents told them. I know I can’t change them, but maybe their kids will think differently. So let’s celebrate the end of DOMA, all the while realizing that real grassroots social change flows like molasses and that indifference to needed reform sometimes comes from the most unexpected people. And for the time being, I will try to restrain my utter joy about my impending marriage, being careful about whom I mention the words “my husband” to. You never know about some people dressed in sheep’s clothing ! Sam Oglesby is a writer of memoirs whose recent book, “Encounters: A Memoir — Relationship Journeys from Around the World,” won runner-up in the New York Book Festival Awards.
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Christine Quinn for Mayor
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hough it’s been nearly 20 years since New York’s last Democratic mayor left office, the party’s September 10 primary and a runoff likely to follow on October 1 could well decide who leads the city over the next four years. The stakes couldn’t be higher. Over the past two decades New York has seen extraordinary reductions in crime, but the city wrestles with fundamental questions about how policing is carried out as well as critical challenges regarding affordable housing, schools, healthcare access, and public employee union contracts. In choosing a Democratic mayor who can provide the leadership their administration and the city need to succeed, voters must look beyond the campaign’s easy sound bites and simplistic assumptions about who each candidate is and is not. It is always tempting to settle on the candidate who can help us imagine a world in which the policy choices are consistently unambiguous and doing the right thing is the option right in front of us. Progressive voters, however, must not forget the overriding importance of finding a leader with whom they can do business, one who can translate lofty ambitions into workable solutions. From a field that includes several candidates who are intelligent, progressive, and impassioned about making a difference, we won’t pretend the choice is easy — but that is what elections are all about. Our choice is Christine Quinn. Throughout the campaign, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Comptroller John Liu have made the most explicit arguments for electing a mayor who of fers a sharp point of departure from the 12-year incumbent, Michael Bloomberg. Those two as well as for mer Comptroller Bill Thompson and former Con-
gressman Anthony Weiner make a related point as well — that the City Council should never have altered term limits in 2009 to allow Bloomberg to seek a third term in the first place. At forum after forum, this has been central to the case against Quinn, who as Council speaker could have halted the mayor’s third term bid dead in its tracks. But in an election likely to pr ovide the city with a marked political reset, these five Democrats share broad philosophical agreement on critical issues — including civil rights, economic justice, healthcare, education, and police-community relations. There is also consensus on issues of specific concern to LGBT voters among the five, who are all advocates for gay rights and marriage equality. Each has endorsed refocusing public health efforts on HIV prevention and sex education in the schools and providing long stalled rental assistance relief to low income New Yorkers living with AIDS. All the Democrats support eased requirements for transgender New Yorkers in changing the gender designation on their birth certificates, have spoken out against criminalizing LGBT youth and transgender women by using condom possession as evidence in prostitution arrests, and have marched in response to recent episodes of hate-motivated violence. On all these issues, the Democratic field offers clear alter natives to the worldview that Bloomberg and his predecessor, Rudy Giuliani, brought to their administrations. Four years ago, when endorsing Quinn’s reelection to the Council, we voiced disagreement with the decision to alter term limits. That said, the very best term limits are elections. We did not support Bloomberg four years ago, but the voters did. Much of the other criticism Quinn faces from her opponents is based, in one way or another, on a factor for which
she ought not be penalized — her role as the second most powerful elected official in the city, which involved responsibilities and risks far greater than those faced by any other candidate in the mix. Critics and her rivals have revived discussion about the closing three years ago of St. Vincent’s Hospital, where the state health department was the final arbiter and mismanagement and lack of transparency on the part of the hospital had fatal consequences. What’s lost in the St. Vincent’s debate is any acknowledgement that hospitals have been closing all over the city in recent years. More helpful than election year protests outside imperiled institutions would be an honest discussion about a plan to reengineer the city’s health care system. Quinn has also come under fire on two issues on which she did in fact deliver. She is faulted because the living wage law she negotiated — which sets minimum compensation levels for those employed by businesses receiving city subsidies or tax breaks — didn’t go far enough. But Stuart Appelbaum, the labor leader who sat across the table from her in hashing out the measure, recalls that those who criticize her were AWOL at the time. Similarly, Quinn catches flak for moving slowly on paid sick leave legislation, which guarantees time off with pay for employees of any business with more than 20 — and eventually 15 — employees. Critics say she wouldn’t have moved at all but for the skilled efforts of advocates who made inaction politically unpalatable. But that’s the case with any important social or economic reform. The City Council in recent budgets has been stalwart in protecting funding for LGBT homeless youth. That’s to their — and Quinn’s — credit, but no one should pretend that deter mined advocacy from outside government wasn’t the driver. Quinn’s leadership
came in working with those advocates, something she did as a Council staffer early in the Giuliani years to save AIDS services and a decade later in the effort to win nondiscrimination policies from contractors doing business with the city. In this campaign, she’s the only candidate putting forward new proposals on LGBT concerns — regarding both homeless youth and housing for seniors. On police-community relations, Quinn demonstrates calibrated finesse. A critic of the NYPD’s excessive use of stop and frisk, she lent her voice to last year’s massive protest and will likely over see the Council’s override of Bloomberg’s veto of an important package of reforms. Still, as speaker, she had day to day responsibility for working with the police, and even as she faulted Commissioner Ray Kelly on stop and frisk, the two crafted historic revisions in the department’s procedures for handling transgender suspects in NYPD custody. Many, no doubt, will characterize our endorsement as a straight-up matter of identity politics. Baloney. This newspaper has never shrunk from holding the speaker accountable. Indeed, few public of ficials have been subjected to the scrutiny we’ve applied to Quinn. That’s not to say we don’t feel a good measure of pride in endorsing a candidate who would become New York’s first woman and first openly LGBT mayor. It was Harvey Milk who led the fight 35 years ago to beat back a draconian proposal to fire all gay schoolteachers in California. It’s no accident that marriage equality won its first victory in the New York State Legislature under out gay Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell’s leadership. And, in Texas, it is a woman, Democratic State Senator Wendy Davis, who has indelibly articulated what is at risk from that state’s assault on the right to choose and to healthcare access. We gave great expectations that Quinn can bring unique and disciplined skills to the job of mayor, and we also hope all New Yorkers are prepared to hold her to that promise.
| August 21, 2013
A New Script for Law and Order? BY NATHAN RILEY
nyone following the stop and frisk story knew that Judge Shira Scheindlin would curb the practice, but the reaction among Republican mayoral hopefuls and their supporters was noteworthy. Glee is too strong a word for it, but GOP boosters clearly believe the Democrats have walked into a trap with their frequent criticism of NYPD practices. “CUFFED!” exclaimed the New York Post, echoing the battle cry of “don’t handcuff the police, let them do their job.” At least five pages were devoted to the decision, with one story explaining that mayoral candidates split along party lines, with Democrats supporting it, Republicans blasting it. Conveniently, there was also a full page ad from John Catsimatidis, the grocery billionaire candidate, pledging to hire more cops. One particularly foolish piece put stop and frisk right up there with apple pie: “Moms Bash Judge’s Stop-Frisk Ruling” quoted one woman saying, “If someone had stop-and-frisked the man who killed my grandson, maybe he would still be here.” A New York Times poll and its reporting on recent crime stats put these headlines in perspective. The newspaper reported a significant decline in homicides during the first half of the year — to 154, from 202 in 2012 — at a time when Commissioner Ray Kelly engineered a notable decrease in stops and frisks. Murders were less than one a day, the
first time in memory this happened over an extended period. The poll confirmed that the trend toward diminished fears about crime continues, but found that roughly 50 percent of the public incorrectly believes crime has either increased or stayed the same during the Bloomberg years — a large pool of voters potentially resistant to calls for relaxing police procedures. More than half of those polled have lived in the city for more than 21 years — the group most likely to vote and one that remembers the bad old days. The number of those who know that crime has continued its decline in the past dozen years stands at 44 percent, meaning that those who understand current crime data dynamics also approach a majority. As a result, the November election could test whether old fears around law and order can recreate another Republican mayoral majority. The Times poll sampled more than 1,000 registered voters and has a three-percent margin of error. Asked their opinion of stop and frisk, 50 percent approved and 47% didn’t. Crime is certainly a gay issue. The unspeakable May murder of Mark Carson walking on Sixth Avenue, the chronic assaults on transgender New Yorkers, and the recent spate of fag bashings in Chelsea, near Madison Square Garden, in Soho, and in the East Village amply demonstrate the stake we have in a tranquil city. But with memories of times when gays were routinely arrested by a hostile police force, the LGBT community has tradi-
tionally favored a tailored and proportionate response — letting the punishment fit the crime. Since Ed Koch was first elected mayor in 1977, law and order has consistently been a winning issue. Even David Dinkins, in defeating first Koch and then Rudy Giuliani in 1989, promised to hire more police. Of course, he served only one term when Giuliani came back four years later claiming he wasn’t controlling crime. That was the start of 20 years of Republican rule.
50 percent incorrectly believes crime has either increased or stayed the same under Bloomberg — voters potentially resistant to calls for relaxing police procedures. This could be the first election where candidates seriously — perhaps successfully — question lock-em-up-and-throwaway-the-key justice. The arguments against mass incarceration and racial profiling are slowly winning. The November election will show if progress has reached critical mass among the voters. In the meantime, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has thrown his weight behind fear. The communities that are most policed have shown the biggest drop in crime, but do their residents get any cred-
Lesbophobia and the NYC Mayoral Election BY KELLY JEAN COGSWELL
hate to watch sitcoms with gay male characters, like the defunct “New Nor mal” or the popular “Modern Family.” Almost inevitably they make stereotypical digs at how ugly and badly dressed dykes are. How humorless, because we don't laugh at jokes making us the butt. Nobody hates dykes as much as fags. And of course, other dykes. Transfolks aren't always major boost-
ers, either. I declare this based on my Facebook page and the few queer articles I've read on New York's mayoral primary, where lefties who once blabbed how important it was to elect Obama — "He'll be our first black president" — are all bashing Christine Quinn. "I don't care if she is a lesbian. She's in bed with the real estate developers. I'd never vote for her," they shriek. Or they cite the times she's screwed queers, but never the times she's supported us. Apparently, historic ground-
it for the improvement? Not in the media. Mayor Mike sunk to a new low last week, suggesting that people living in public housing should be subjected to fingerprint scans to gain access to their own homes on a daily basis. And, his impressive results in further cutting crime have one important offset — the rising rates of marijuana arrests resulting in good measure from stops and frisks that achieve nothing of any greater value. Bloomberg has long been an advocate of the surveillance state. In 2007, as the economy was tanking, New York State stopped fingerprinting food stamp applicants. Here in the city, the mayor insisted it be allowed to continue. November’s election comes at a critical moment in the nation’s discussion of how to balance safety and civil liberties. Edward Snowden has just sent the Washington Post an audit of the National Security Agency that r evealed it violated its own rules against intercepting conversations an average of 7.6 times a day. Califor nia Democrat Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was unaware of the audit until the Post brought it to her attention. On this crucial issue of personal freedom, checks and balances aren’t working. November’s election is a chance to move the city in a new direction. On many issues, the GOP contenders are supporting the old ways. A new era of Democratic rule in New York may not bring immediate change, but we shouldn’t let blather about Weiner’s sexting or Spitzer’s dates with working women obscure the significance of this election for the city’s future.
breaking is less important when it's the first woman, first dyke with the chance to run one of the biggest, most important cities in the world. To my dyke, female ears, their refrain sounds fishy, lesbophobic. Replay it substituting black. "I don't care if he is black, I'd never vote for him." It sounds like a version of the hate Hillary Clinton got in the presidential primaries. That same feeling of ickiness at her child-bearing thighs and strident voice, the same rabid disgust I don't see opponents direct at our current crop of
male mayoral candidates. I'm not encouraging you to vote for Christine Quinn. I'm not entirely decided myself. But if you are going to vote for one of the boys, I'd like you to ask yourself if dyke-hating is playing a role. Especially in an election like this when nobody is exactly pristine. It's New York. To survive in politics here everybody cuts corners, cuts deals, shares flea-ridden beds. Mr. de Blasio and Mr. Liu alone have consorted with far worse than Quinn's bastard developers out to screw the poor: they kissed the ass of an actual murderer. In 2002, they were among the 16 repulsive New York City Council members, all Democrats, mostly black, who either attended or sponsored a
COGSWELL, continued on p.29
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| August 21, 2013
Standing Side-By-Side for Comprehensive Reform BY KARINA CLAUDIO BETANCOURT AND NATHAN SCHAEFER
COGSWELL, from p.23
reception for Robert Mugabe at City Hall, touting him as Zimbabwe's liberation hero. That may have been briefly true, but for the last several decades, Mugabe had been running one of the ugliest dictatorships in the world. Not only strong-arming his own people, rigging elections, and manipulating the economy, but burning down the houses of the opposition — with them still inside. Starving the districts of his enemies, regularly jailing and torturing them. And, to top it all, he's screamed — and continues to scream — about how queers are worse than dogs and has sent mobs after us. He was swimming in blood. And by backslapping him at City Hall, a rare honor given only to the likes of Nelson Mandela, idiot New York Dems like de Blasio gave him a stronger grip on
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GAY CITY NEWS
o h a n n a Va s q u e z w a s stopped by the police two years ago while waiting for a cab in Queens. Transgender and undocumented, Johanna was taken to an all-male detention center for a year where she was harassed and physically assaulted. With the help of legal services, Johanna successfully fought the charges against her and was not deported. She now has a permit to work in the US. But the experience made Johanna realize that too many LGBT immigrants like her face similar situations. She joined Make the Road New York, an immigration advocacy organization, so she can fight for immigration reform for all immigrants, including at least 267,000 LGBT immigrants who face unique challenges because of their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Comprehensive, compassionate immigration reform is an urgent priority for our nation. Every day, 11 million undocumented immigrants are forced to live as second-class citizens, and 1,100 families are torn apart. Here in New York, this broken system is devastating our neighbors and friends. The Senate recently passed — by a wide 68-32 margin — a bipartisan
immigration reform bill that goes a long way in supporting these aspiring Americans. Now it’s time for the House of Representatives to act. America deserves a vote on immigration reform with a roadmap to citizenship. The LGBT community is standing side-by-side with our allies in the immigrant rights community to pass immigration reform because as a nation, we pride ourselves on keeping families united, and our immigration policies should reflect our commitment to keep families together — all families. Too many LGBT immigrants are forced into two closets, one because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and the
other because of their immigration status. It’s time for all immigrants, including at least 267,000 LGBT immigrants, to be able to come out of the shadows. The Senate’s bill includes many provisions that will particularly benefit LGBT immigrants, such as eliminating the one-year bar on applying for asylum; improving the conditions for people like Johanna who are held in detention facilities; and limiting the use of solitary confinement and prohibiting the use of this practice based solely on a detainees’ sexual orientation or gender identity. While the Senate’s bill is not perfect and includes needlessly harsh border security provisions, it’s the best
power, extended the violence and misery. But so what? Nobody cared then, and despite our occasional email sent about queers abroad, probably nobody cares now. I can already hear the excuses, "That
2008, de Blasio, hinted at ignorance. With the info available, he should have known, he pleaded: "It was a mistake." Liu, however, at the same time, told the New York Times he didn’t see what "the big deal" was. Nevertheless, Quinn's still the devil. And there are dykes still sneering, "I don't care if she is a lesbian... I'd never vote for her." They imply a dyke dumping on another dyke makes her opinion more objective, somehow praiseworthy, not infected with lesbophobia at all. Worse, they give the impression Quinn is running for mayor of Poughkeepsie, not New York City, where for the first time, a woman, a dyke, would have a global platform second only to the US president, or maybe
Sadly, it looks like Christine Quinn will only get crumbs from New York queers. was a decade ago. It doesn't count." Or, "It was in Africa. They probably didn't know." Which is almost worse. Because who wants a mayor who's got his head so far up his moronic ass that he doesn't even read front page news counting Mugabe's victims? In
chance in our generation to provide a roadmap to citizenship for the 11 million aspiring Americans. Americans overwhelmingly support comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship. Poll after poll demonstrates that regardless of party affiliation, demographics, or geography, Americans want their elected officials to fix the country’s broken immigration system. The House GOP stands between 11 million immigrants and their chance at citizenship and the American Dream. We must hold our members of Congress accountable and tell the House that now is the time to act. No more posturing, no more piecemeal provisions, no more extremist amendments that aim to undermine all the progress that both parties have made. It’s time to move beyond excuses and get to a vote in the House of Representatives to fix our broken immigration system once and for all. It’s time for the House to introduce serious legislation that reflects the will of the country — to give 11 million men, women, and children the chance to come out of the shadows and have a clear and direct path to citizenship. We will continue our work to ensure the final legislation is in the best interest of all immigrants and the LGBT community. Immigrants like Johanna should not be dehumanized and vilified because of their dual status as undocumented and LGBT members of our community. Karina Claudio Betancourt is the lead organizer at Make the Road New York. Nathan Schaefer is the executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda.
him and the secretary of State. Perhaps the same thing would happen with a fag mayoral candidate. Queers are such a weird minority. We're the first to say we're just like everybody else, no different at all. The first to stab each other in the back. I'm pretty sure when he was running for mayor, David Dinkins got the black vote. Fernando Ferrer, though he lost in the 2001 primary, got a lot of support from Latinos. Sadly, it looks like Christine Quinn will only get crumbs from New York queers, because we're so fucking determined to be honest and open-minded. So determined to reject blind support (that does lead to disasters, see Mugabe, R.) that we despise solidarity. And because we hate dykes. Maybe I'll support Quinn, after all. Cast a big dyke vote for the chance at a global voice.
August 21, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
NewFest unspools at Lincoln Center September 6-11
Corey Krueckeberg’s “Getting Go: The Go Doc Project” screens on September 8 at 9:30 p.m.
BY GARY M. KRAMER
ew York City’s annual LGBT film festival, NewFest, celebrates 25 years this September, offering dozens of queer features, shorts, and documentaries.
NEWFEST Film Society of Lincoln Center Walter Reade Theater 165 W. 65th St. Sep. 6-11 filmlinc.com/films/series/2013-newfest
This year’s program opens September 6 (7:15 p.m.) with Stacie Passon’s “Concussion,” about a suburban lesbian (Robin Weigert) re-thinking her sexual identity after being hit in the head. The festival closes September 11 (7:15 p.m.) with Chris Mason Johnson’s “Test.” Set in 1985 San Francisco, the lowbudget “Test” conveys the anxiety of the
early days of AIDS among young gay men who simultaneously grappled with fear and desire. Frankie (Scott Marlowe) is a dancer uneasy about AIDS. His concerns are contrasted with Todd (the magnetic Matthew Risch), who has a more reckless attitude toward sex and life. Much of what happens in “Test” is unsurprising, but the film makes us care about its characters. Several long dance sequences — both rehearsals and performances — are well done, yet it’s hard to escape the feeling they are intended to stretch out a rather thin narrative. NewFest’s lineup offers moviegoers a diverse array of films. One of the best is Mark Thiedeman’s evocative, impressionistic drama “Last Summer” (Sep. 10 at 5 p.m.), about two teenage boys in Arkansas. Luke (Samuel Pettit) is in summer school, while his boyfriend, Jonah (Sean Rose), is about to head off to college. Thiedeman captures moments where tactile images mirror the boys’ emotions — their sneakers rubbing together, the way they grasp hands or even eat sandwiches. These delicate
Travis Mathews and James Franco’s “Interior. Leather Bar.” screens on September 7 at 9:15 p.m.
Stephen Lacant’s “Free Fall” screens on September 8 at 1:30 p.m.
snapshots emphasize the fleeting nature of Jonah and Luke’s relationship as Jonah plans his departure and Luke struggles to hold onto his memories. Ambient sounds — birds, rain, and a train whistle — heighten the emotions between the boys, as do light, shadows, and reflections. Jonah and Luke express their sentiments about love and each other in ways that truly resonate in this extraordinary, beautifully realized film. Another film about teenagers in love is Gary Entin’s “Geography Club” (Sep. 7 at 11 a.m.), a disappointing adaptation of Brent Hartinger’s young adult novel. The film may follow the book’s characters, but it plays like a not-so-special after -school special — one in which viewers are cudgeled by a “be yourself” message. Sure, Russell Middlebrook (the appealing, if too old Cameron Deane Stewart) is adorable, especially when he is kissing quarterback Kevin (Justin Deeley) in the rain. And the film reflects an appreciation for issues of peer pressure, taunting, and sexual self-expression. But it feels inauthentic in representing the characters’ painful
struggles and awkward situations. Underdeveloped and haphazardly constructed, “Geography Club” is ultimately unsatisfying. “Getting Go: The Go Doc Project” (Sep. 8 at 9:30 p.m.) concerns Doc (Tanner Cohen), an Iowa-bound college student, who becomes fixated on an online crush, a sexy go-go dancer (Matthew Camp), appropriately named Go. Doc asks Go if he can film him, and what transpires is a study in contrasts between an insecure interviewer and the charmingly uninhibited object of his desire. Director Corey Krueckeberg creates an arty vibe, full of Warhol references, as he explores gay identity issues, employs split screen shots, and uses handheld camerawork to tell the story. The action alternates between the mundane and the highly erotic, and though Doc and Go’s relationship may be contrived, the charismatic leads make their romance affecting. The film is at its best when Go turns the tables on Doc. A hot ticket, no doubt, will be another
NEWFEST, continued on p.31
| August 21, 2013
FRINGE, from p.30
sexually explicit film, “Interior. Leather Bar.” (Sep. 7 at 9:15 p.m.), which probes the blurry lines between straight and gay, reality and fiction. For many, though, this hour-long documentary that “re-imagines 40 lost minutes from ‘Cruising’” will likely be too inconsequential to be an effective investigation of what could be an interesting conceit. Co-directors Travis Mathews and James Franco attempt to shatter conditioned, heteronormative responses to sexuality by focusing on the confusion and anxiety of Franco’s straight friend Val Lauren, who “plays” the Pacino role. Explicit gay sex notwithstanding, “Interior. Leather Bar.” proves more exasperating than illuminating. A much better film exploring sexuality and moviemaking is Doug Spearman’s “Hot Guys with Guns” (Sep. 10 at 10 p.m.), which opens with a pre-credit sequence in which drugged, naked rich guys are robbed at a Hollywood sex party. The crime is investigated by Danny Lohman (the charismatic Marc Anthony Samuel), an actor who is researching a detective role. Danny is assisted by his wealthy ex-boyfriend Pip (Brian McArdle, trying too hard). Spearman sets an appropriately arch tone for this feather -light comedy/ mystery, which does in fact deliver both hot guys and gunplay. To be sure, the comedy works better than the thriller elements, but this fun film is chockfull of stylish eye candy. Spearman also succeeds in making salient points about race, class, and sexuality in Hollywood. Two of the sexiest men on screen at NewFest are Hanno Koffler and Max Riemelt) as Marc and Kay, cops and lovers in Stephen Lacant’s “Free Fall” (Sep. 8 at 1:30 p.m.), a romantic drama from Germany. During their academy training, Marc and Kay fight each other — and are reprimanded for it — but soon they find themselves giving in to their mutual attraction. However, these hot guys must keep their hot-and-heavy relationship to themselves. Besides the homophobia in their midst, there is the added complication of Marc’s
girlfriend being pregnant. Alas, “Free Fall” adds nothing new to the familiar story of a conflicted man struggling with questions of bisexuality and coming out. It’s only a matter of time before the guys’ affair is discovered and they fess up, but at least the leads are attractive enough to make this passable time-filler go by painlessly. “Pit Stop” (Sep. 7 at 7 p.m.) is Yen Tan’s tender romantic drama about several lonely people looking for love. What makes the film so absorbing is Tan’s organic style of storytelling that allows viewers to slowly learn about the main characters — Gabe (Bill Heck) and Ernesto (the miraculous Marcus DeAnda) — and understand the parallels in their lives. “Pit Stop” is less focused on these men getting together — though audiences will root for that — than on the ways they find themselves by gaining distance from former lovers. Artfully lit and shot and filmed with long, slow scenes accompanied by thoughtful music, this fine romance chronicles the pit stop in the lives to these two modest Texans. Easily the best named film at NewFest is “Who’s Afraid of Vagina Wolf” (Sep. 9 at 7:15 p.m.). Forty-year-old Anna (director Anna Margarita Albelo) hopes to make a film, get a girlfriend, and lose 20 — no, 10 — pounds. Periodically dressing up in a vagina costume, one night Anna catches the eye of Katia (Janina Gavankar), a smart and beautiful woman. To impress Katia, she gives her a role in her all-female remake of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.” During filming, however, Anna’s best friend Penelope (Guinevere Turner, feisty as ever) competes for Katia’s affections. The romance plays out without much surprise, but the improvised black-and-white film-within-a-film scenes are great. And there is a sweet scene between Penelope and Anna, and some nice moments that Anna shares with Julia (Agnes Olech), the film’s cinematographer who has a crush on her. “Who’s Afraid of Vagina Wolf” may be slight, with one-liners serving as character development, but Albelo’s film is clearly a labor of love.
NEWFEST: THE NY LGBT FILM FESTIVAL
Chris Mason Johnson’s “Test,” the festival’s closing film, screens on September 11 at 7:15 p.m.
September 6-11, 2013 I FIlm SocIety oF lIncoln center (165 W. 65th St) NEWFEST.ORG
August 21, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
FringeNYC 2013’s Final Days BY DAVID KENNERLEY
mong the 185 offerings at this year’s FringeNYC, Gay City News was able to catch a fair number, some of them noteworthy — and a few with performances still to come.
FRINGENYC Various downtown venues Through Aug. 25 Schedule and tickets at fringeny.org Or FringeCentral 27 Second Ave., btwn. First & Second Sts. Or 866-468-7619 $15 to $18
“Goody two-shoes. Teacher’s pet. Geek. Loser. Faggot.” These were just some of the names the bullies and their minions called Lee J. Kaplan throughout middle school. What’s worse, they harassed him so doggedly that he began to believe their words were true. He even developed painful, uncontrollable facial tics. Now, decades later, the defiant
Kaplan is seeking not so much revenge as catharsis in his sweaty, intensely physical solo show, “Bully,” based on his sixth grade diary entries that recorded daily horrors of taunts, pummelings, and death threats. The brutally personal show, which outlines a lesson about how to beat bullies at their own game, handily projected onto a portable screen, is not just kid stuff. As the slightly manic, occasionally self-berating Kaplan eloquently demonstrates, the damage done by bullies is felt many years later and never heals completely. Dressed in an athletic warm-up outfit, he tapes up his hands and transforms into a weaving, jabbing boxer, finally fighting his tormentors after years of regret. On some level, Kaplan is also sparring with his inner child who still believes he’s little more than a worthless punching bag. It’s a happy coincidence that his brand of silk boxing shorts, revealed near the show’s climax, bears the prominent label “Everlast.” Make no mistake, “Bully” is one of the more polished and potent works
A bully-basher, a sci-fi sexual outlaw, shimmying saints, and a home-wrecking stripper
Lee J. Kaplan in “Bully.”
at FringeNYC, in part because Kaplan got practice at the DC Capital Fringe Festival earlier this summer. He employs his gifts of impersonation, nicely delineating characters ranging from a prim schoolteacher to Hans and Franz from “Saturday Night Live,” a Southern
California dude, and various harassers, including a clueless phys ed coach. “I will drive you into the ground with my dick,” promises a young bully he once considered a friend.
FRINGE, continued on p.33
Bar Talk On a blind date armed with every cliché, while love’s true labours are found in the park BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE
FIRST DATE Longacre Theater 220 W. 48th St. Tue., Sun. at 7 p.m. Wed.-Sat. at 8 p.m.; Sat at 2 p.m. $35-$137; telecharge.com Or 800-432-7250
ere’s a riddle to break the ice: tell me how a dud like “First Date” showed up on Broadway. Were Krysta Rodriguez any less talented or Zachary Levi any less charming, this slight, unoriginal, 90-minute musical would be more suited to Off-Broadway in the 1980s than the Great White Way in 2013. Rodriguez has an incredible Broadway belt and an attractive edge that give her a very of-the-moment star quality — with enough wattage to overcome the hideous frocks costume designer David C. Woolard puts her in. Levi is handsome and earnest with a decent voice and an appealing presence. It’s a shame they’re stuck in this stinker. And stinker this show is. Austin
Zachary Levi and Krysta Rodriguez in “First Date”: he’s charming, she sings.
Winsberg’s book is a pastiche of sitcomready dating clichés and jokes that were tired decades ago. As Casey and Aaron negotiate their blind date in a bar, an ensemble plays the voices in their heads. Yes, it’s that trite. There is the dead Jewish grandmother who plotzes when she hears Casey is a Gentile. There’s Casey’s gay friend, played in a nasty caricature by Kristoffer Cusick rendered more offensive by the fact he shows up four times. There’s Aaron’s
best friend, the one who thinks this is all about “scoring,” and his ex, a predictable, self-involved ice queen, whose sole dimension is almost realized by Kate Loprest. What Winsberg knows about character development wouldn’t fill a shot glass, so he falls back on stereotypes and always goes for the predictable gag — which he doesn’t do very well. The music and lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner aspire to the level
of boy band pop, with the exception of one pastiche number, “I’d Order Love,” that recalls lesser musicals of the 1950s. It’s sung by the waiter, a mincing Blake Hammond, as the couple dines, when… oh, who cares why. This is bland, unsophisticated music of the lowest order. Levi’s songs stay comfortably in his limited range, and Rodriguez’s mostly have belting. Still, Rodriguez and Levi do what they can with them. They mount a charm offensive at odds with the stock characters they’re saddled with. The real tragedy is that by the end when the show abandons the derivative, juvenile comedy and attempts real emotion, there’s no reason to invest in what might just be two interesting characters. It’s doubly annoying because there might have been a passable show in this idea — a song cycle, for instance, that delved into more than the pandering, obvious, and superficial. This date goes so badly, however, we’ll never know if there’s a concept that could have been the one. This show simply got stood up.
BAR TALK, continued on p.41
| August 21, 2013
FRINGE, from p.32
On several occasions the savvy survivor addr esses the audience directly, even encouraging us to sing along with a tune from his childhood, which increases the intimacy and allows the themes to resonate all the more powerfully. At times, a clearly agitated Kaplan reads passages from his actual diaries, written in cursive on one of those iconic composition notebooks with the mottled black-and-white cover. While you might assume from the play’s title — and from his buff body and impish good looks — that Kaplan is gay, there’s no such mention (he had a crush on one of the female cheerleaders). By his account, he was punished for getting straight A’s and making the mistake of not hiding his love of learning and respect for rules. “It’s like putting a big ol’ bully bull’seye on your back,” the actor says. Once he was branded a loser, it stuck and only got worse. Under the razor-sharp direction of Padraic Lillis, this piece transcends issues of bullying. It pushes us to face our fears so we can succeed and acknowledges that it’s okay to crave approval from others — and from ourselves. What makes “Bully” so affecting is not simply Kaplan’s personal struggle, but what it awakens deep within ourselves. Some will find this journey triumphant and uplifting. Others, on the other hand, may find revisiting their socially fraught schooldays to be utterly distressing indeed. The Steve & Marie Sgouros Theatre; 115 MacDougal Street, third fl., btwn. W. Third & Bleecker Sts.; Aug. 21 at 9:15 p.m.
THE 3RD GENDER
As you take your seat at “The 3rd Gender,” you’re confronted with a well-muscled young man lying on a gurney wearing only black briefs and what appears to be a glowing helmet with brain sensors. A bespectacled technician is checking his vital signs and fiddling with a smartphone-like device. The subject’s wrists are bound and, although perhaps in a coma, occasionally his body twitches. Loud, foreboding bleeps and whirrs from the monitors can be heard (thanks to Douglas Maxwell’s skillful sound design). The year is 2397, and it’s clear this man is in serious trouble. The air is fraught with creepy possibilities. Then the action starts, and, sad to say, the sci-fi drama fails to deliver on its initial promise. Written and directed by Peter Zachari (who created the wacky FringeNYC hit “Parker & Dizzy’s Fabulous Journey to the End of the Rainbow”), the complex piece is a thoughtful exploration of the politics of gender, sexuality, and
identity. In this world, heteronormative humans are illegal and have all but been eliminated. Now the planet is populated with highly evolved spiritual beings who are neither male nor female, but a third gender. They are not attracted to an “opposite” sex and have no sexual urges. When they “expire,” their soul leaves the shell of their body and lives on. There are aberrations. Manten (a fiercely handsome J.P. Serret), the guy on the gurney, somehow slipped through the system and was born heteronor mative, in other words, “straight.” He is branded an abomination in the eyes of God, and the genetic practitioner (Victoria Guthrie) and Dr. Tulkan (a devilish Marc Geller) have been trying to “cure” him. If the cure fails, he must be “eliminated.” You see where Zachari is going with this — the conditioning is akin to the reparative therapy common in the mid 20th century meant to turn homosexuals straight. Naturally, Manten is none too pleased to wake up on his 20th birthday with no memory and no family, and when he fails a test after years of curative therapy, he escapes the medical facility with another hetero freak, Cassie (Lara Clear), aided by compassionate lab assistants Grey (Joey Mirabile) and Phoenix (Jacob R. Thompson). And that’s just the first couple of scenes. The action-packed 85-minute piece, spiced up with encounters resembling softcore porn, finds Manten trying to track down his roots before the authorities catch up with him. The pocked and scattered plot, which can only be followed by Philip K. Dick geeks, demands a lot from the audience. The staging is often labored and the tone jarringly uneven — at times the drama lapses into farce. But, if FringeNYC were to hand out an award for most intensely committed turn, then I would like to nominate Serret. Sure, Zachari should have reined him in, yet you can’t help but admire the actor’s vicious, spluttering rage when Manten realizes he may never know his past or future, all because he was born “abnormal.” By any measure, Serret is one “exquisite specimen” to watch. Connelly Theater, 220 E. Fourth St. btwn. Aves. A & B; Aug. 25 at 4 p.m.
GERTRUDE STEIN SAINTS!
One of the few FringeNYC offerings that truly ear ned its exclamation mark, “Gertrude Stein Saints!” is like nothing you’ve ever seen. It’s an experimental opera bursting with singing and dazzling choreography, yet has no traditional characters, plot, or even an orchestra. The source material is “Four Saints in Three Acts” and “Saints and Singing,” rhythmical, stream-of-consciousness works that Gertrude Stein wrote in the 1920s. The self-referential libretto, packed
FRINGE, continued on p.39
August 21, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Nixon Twisting in the Wind
BY STEVE ERICKSON
ost recent topical documentaries don’t provide an entry point for spectators who disagree with them. If you think that drones provide a more efficient and humane way of waging war and that targeted assassinations are a good idea, even if they sometimes wind up killing innocent people, you’re probably not going to get much out of Rick Rowley’s polemical documentary “Dirty Wars.”
OUR NIXON Directed by Penny Lane CNN Films/ Cinedigm Opens Aug. 30 IFC Center 323 Sixth Ave. at W. Third St. ifccenter.com
At least in theory, “Our Nixon” is different. In her director’s statement, Penny Lane states, “The film asks you to sift through the fragments of history in order to reach your own conclusions.” She has also described it as “an anti-anti-Nixon film.” CNN, which aired it about a month ago, no doubt became interested because it seemed likely to appeal to both liberals and conservatives. The result doesn’t achieve some sort of post-partisan wisdom, which it seems to be aiming for. Instead, it just feels wishywashy, even hagiographic. In the end, it’s no better than Michael Moore’s smug certainties. The images of “Our Nixon” consist mostly of home movies shot by Nixon aides H. R. Haldeman, Dwight Chapin, and John Ehrlichman. This footage supplies
behind-the-scenes glimpses of life as a cog in the Nixon administration, but no real revelations. The film also incorporates Nixon speeches, news footage from his presidency, and later interviews with its three protagonists. The soundtrack, which draws heavily on Nixon’s secret recordings, tends to overwhelm the images. In part, this is due to the relative visual crudity of the Super-8 home movies and primitive news video, but the home movies are also mostly banal. Lane’s matching of sound and image often seems random, as when squirrels frolic while Nixon discusses an anti-war protest. “Our Nixon” plays with fire by rarely venturing outside the corridors of power. This is a defensible strategy, as documentaries like “The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu” have turned propaganda against itself. More recently, “The Act of Killing” exposed the arrogance of unchecked power by giving its murderous subjects a chance to speak until they indicted themselves. “Our Nixon” includes one outburst of outrageous homophobia from Nixon, but it generally presents a sanitized version of the president. It never addresses his anti-Semitism. When Chapin says that Nixon really wanted to end the Vietnam War quickly and that anti-war protesters actually made this more difficult, the limits of Lane’s perspective become glaring. Whatever one’s opinion of Nixon, there’s not much in “Our Nixon” that’s likely to challenge it. It’s essentially a collection of the president’s “greatest hits,” some of them undeniably benign (landing a man on the moon, breaking the taboo against American politicians going to China.) The film does attempt to humanize the president by giving some sense of what it was like to work with him on a daily basis. Liberals can go home happy that “Our Nixon”
CNN FILMS/ CINEDIGM
Penny Lane fails to make evenhandedness a virtue
President Richard Nixon, shot in home movie style, during his 1972 trip to Beijing.
eventually turns against the president in its final half hour, which addresses Watergate and the prison terms of Chapin, Haldeman, and Ehrlichman. Conservatives can be grateful that it’s not a hatchet job on Nixon, although the president’s brother Ed criticized the film after its CNN broadcast. As for me, I’ll take Robert Altman’s fictional vision of a paranoid Nixon ranting into his tape recorders in “Secret Honor.” It may not be literally true, but it digs much deeper into the flaws merely hinted at in “Our Nixon.”
Martial Arts Biopic at War With Itself Long gestation doesn’t help Wong Kar-wai’s latest BY STEVE ERICKSON
ong Kong director Wong Kar -wai’s “The Grandmaster” is several movies in one. Basically, it combines martial arts with historical drama. This isn’t a particularly original idea: films from Tsui Hark’s “Once Upon a Time in China” to Zhang Yimou’s “Hero” have melded the two, usually with a heaping of Chinese nationalism.
THE GRANDMASTER Directed by Wong Kar-wai In Cantonese and Mandarin with English subtitles The Weinstein Company Opens Aug. 23 Angelika Film Center 18 W. Houston St. at Mercer St. angelikafilmcenter.com
From 1991 to 2000, Wong was one of the giants of world cinema, but the spontaneity of some of his ‘90s films has exited his work. He came up with the idea of “The Grandmaster,” a biopic of kung fu legend Ip Man (Tony Leung), a decade ago. The production took three years, as the actors were trained in martial arts. I’m not even sure exactly what I’m judging, as the version of the film I saw ran approximately 110 minutes. That’s more than 10 minutes shorter than the listed running time of the American cut on the Internet Movie Database, itself seven minutes less than the version of “The Grandmaster” released in Hong Kong. The film seems structurally awkward, initially racing through World War II in five minutes, then returning for a powerful extended flashback from another character’s perspective.
Starting in Foshan, China in the mid 1930s, “The Grandmaster” begins with Ip content with his life as a family man and a master of the Wing Chun school of kung fu. He takes on challengers (male and female) in battles that have the gentlemanly aura of leisurely poker games, even if they look more violent. The film then goes into flashbacks about his childhood and the early stages of his marriage to Zhang Yongcheng (Song Hye-kyo.) After a battle with Gong Yutian (Wang Qingxiang), a kung fu master from northern China, Ip is contacted by Gong’s daughter Gong Er (Ziyi Zhang), who starts to become attracted to him. The story shifts to her point of view, as she lives through the brutal Japanese occupation of China in the late ‘30s. Meanwhile, Ip’s two daughters die of starvation, and he winds up emigrating
to Hong Kong after World War II. He and Gong Er, now a doctor, run into each there. Wong has never really made a film like “The Grandmaster” before. His 1994 “Ashes of Time,” which had a similarly elongated production history, comes closest, but it’s far artier. Wong’s style has been appropriated by commercials, music videos, and other filmmakers, so much so that when he uses a stuttering effect on the editing of “The Grandmaster,” spectators may think he’s copying Robert Rodriguez’s “Sin City,” as a friend pointed out. Like Terence Malick, Wong runs the risk of self-parody simply by being himself. His images are beautiful, but there’s something wearying about the constant need to fiddle with camera speeds and
THE GRANDMASTER, continued on p.39
| August 21, 2013
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August 21, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Your 2013 guide to resources in d owntown M anhattan
Gateway to Downtown
Swept Away Lucy Mulloy charts the stormy emotional waters confronting three young Cuban exiles
Guide to community, educational, health and recreational resources also featuring interviews with over 20 Comedians from New York City.
Distributed in all NYC Community Media indoor locations below 34th Street in Manhattan, as well as select community resource locations. Javier Núñez Florián, Dariel Arrechaga, and Anailín de la Rúa de la Torre in Lucy Mulloy’s “Una Noche.”
BY GARY M. KRAMER
Directory will be available on all NYC Community Media websites ChelseaNow.com, GayCityNews.com, DowntownExpress.com, TheVillager.com, & EastVillagerNews.com
he absorbing Cuban drama “Una Noche” tells the story of three teenagers — Lila (Anailín de la Rúa de la Torre), her gay twin brother, Elio (Javier Núñez Florián), and Raul (Dariel Arrechaga), Elio’s friend (and crush) — who employ a homemade raft to travel the 90 miles from the island nation to Miami. In a phone interview, writer and director Lucy Mulloy, who spent considerable time in Cuba, explained her reasons for making “Una Noche.”
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“I was interested in telling a story of teenagers who left on a raft at dawn one day,” she said. “The characters are based on people I kind of know and impressions I wanted to create.” Mulloy was interested in the situation of three people brought together by a common purpose who all come to really care about each other. Elio is the fulcrum of the trio. “He’s the heart of the film,” Mulloy said. “And he cares the most for both of them. They kind of fail to see that.” Early on, “Una Noche” only hints at Elio’s sexuality. In a voiceover, Lila observes that her brother has “changed,” becoming more secretive since he met Raul. Elio and Raul share a camaraderie that is brotherly, but the film does not overplay the bromance angle. When Elio
is biking with friends, he remains silent while his buddies taunt an effeminate boy, calling him “faggot.” “I wanted to show Elio as a young man, and not as a gay man who is labeled with prejudices from the beginning,” Mulloy said, when asked about the decision to make his sexuality explicit only late in the film. “It depends on the [viewer’s] level of sensitivity, as to where it’s exposed. Most people clock into it when he’s on the bike.” Presenting the homophobia in Cuban society was one of the filmmaker’s aims. When Raul, horny, unknowingly comes on to a transgender prostitute, he becomes incensed when he discovers “her” penis. Lila’s lack of sexual experiences parallels her brother’s unacknowledged gay identity. A subplot involves her spying on their father and discovering he is having an affair, something that contributes to her desire to leave Cuba. Saying, “Cuba is so sexual,” Mulloy explained, “There is a tendency to have young people really aware of their sexuality, and I wanted to have Lila on the other end of the spectrum.” The handsome Raul is emblematic of the opposite end. He uses his good looks to charm a young woman to give him the inner tubes the trio needs to cross to Miami. Another woman he flirts with provides him with a camera that he trades to get the HIV medicine he needs for his mother (Maria Adelaida Méndez Bonet), a prostitute. Mulloy maintained that bartering sex for money or favors — as Raul and his mother do — is a commonplace of Cuban life.
UNA NOCHE, continued on p.41
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Summer Loving Verdi and Mozart on the festival circuit BY David Shengold
p in Ulster County, Phoenicia’s four -day Inter national Festival of the Voice — founded in 2010 by bass-baritone Louis Otey, mezzo Maria Todaro, and baritone Kerry Henderson — takes a broad, holistic view of its mandate, taking in world music, drama, performance art, and choral singing as well as opera and other vocal concerts. Lauren Flanigan, Elizabeth Futral, and Morris Robinson have figured among many noteworthy participants. The architecturally spectacular opensided mainstage tents in this tiny (population circa 310), gorgeous, recently flood-beset, Woodstock-area mountain town two and a half hours north of Manhattan host semi-staged (costumes, choreography, lighting) per for mances. To “Falstaf f,” “Don Giovanni,” and “Butterfly,” this summer added a rewarding “Rigoletto,” gratefully received by a largely local crowd, many new to opera. Conducting and producing were in the capable professional hands of Steven White (a leading American r egional conductor also familiar at the Met and NYCO) and Beth Greenberg, a City Opera player trained by Götz Friedrich and adept at site-specific work. White obtained good, straightforward results, with a surprising degree of atmosphere and ensemble after what can’t have been extensive rehearsal. Repeats and cadenzas were kept to a minimum. Greenberg presented things cogently, her work complicated only by uneven microphone placement and feedback. One real lapse: Otey’s use of two canes for his suffering jester was visually interesting, but constant amplified thumping jarred the ear. O t e y ’ s ex p e r i e n c e a n d i n c i s i v e dramatic and verbal projection helped anchor an involving, committed performance, but his resources — though still resonant — were occasionally tried by Rigoletto’s high line; sometimes he took refuge in veristic aural grimacing. Gianni Schicchi would fit better — or maybe Don Quichotte opposite the lovely Todaro, his wife? Barry Banks tried out his English National Operabound Duke, enjoying a confident, splendid night, his voice forward and bright, with much impressive dynamic variety. His per for mance and that of Bradley Smoak’s lanky, obsidian-timbred Sparafucile were of
Miah Persson excelled in the role of Countess Almaviva in the Mostly Mozart production of “Le nozze di Figaro.”
international caliber. Nancy Allen Lundy’s girlish, decent Gilda used diminuendi as a toofrequent crutch against difficulties in passagework, and she interpolated very unwisely. Carla Dirlikov’s stunninglooking, churning-vibratoed Maddalena sounded almost as undistinguished as the Met’s recent beautiful pole-dancing cipher. The (contractually?) unbilled Monterone barked roughly — the evening’s low point. Robert Balonek’s Marullo and Shirin Eskandani as the Page and (filling in for indisposed longtime IFOV participant Cori Ellison) Giovanna performed strongly. Other offerings included a Verdi “Requiem,” Jeanne-Michèle Charbonnet, Victoria Livengood, and Alfred Walker headlining a Wagner concert, and — to offset certain Wagnerian vibes — Sephardic and cantorial concerts. In a leafy county full of tubing, hiking, B & B’s, and fine restaurants, this ambitious but likable festival adds to New York’s summer musical destinations.
Mostly Mozart presented three performances of “Le nozze di Figaro,” semi-staged
and conducted by Iván Fischer, starting August 11. This kind of imported event must make up economically
in lack of rehearsal time fees what it expends in visa and transport. Even though Mozart’s opera was in the Met’s repertory last season and is in NYCO’s next — “Nozze,” for many the greatest opera ever written, is always welcome, and the orchestral playing by Fischer’s Budapest Festival Orchestra was a pleasure throughout — cogent, fleet, and sonorous. The staging and singing proved much more a mixed bag. Working with three platforms, Fischer concentrated on the imagery of clothing, with flownin dress for the five leads hovering above the stage (and sometimes noisily lowered) and a non-stop parade of more or less appropriate frocks and jackets by Györgyi Szakács mirroring the opera’s themes of shifting identities. Sometimes it worked well, as in the “recognition” sextet, uncommonly well blocked. At other points — as in the ill-lit, poorly defined space of Act Four — it looked amateurish. The chorus served well but the eight (again, all those visas!) supernumerary actors made their pert, attention-grabbing selves unwelcome very quickly, and some of the self-r efer ential gags handed down from the William Christie and René Jacobs concert playbooks — like the endless, mirthless play with wigs — fell utterly flat.
The women fared best. Romaniantrained Laura Tatulescu — the only American-born singer in sight — made a mettlesome, flamed-tipped Susanna, he r fine high note s oc c as ionally overfreighting a line but generally masterful. In her dark yet agile vocal approach, she reminded me of Andrea Rost, whose best Met role Susanna proved. Miah Persson, lovely of person and tone as Countess Almaviva, far outshone the Met’s dismal Maija Kovalevska; her “Dove sono” capped the performance, and she showed the best command of decoration. Rachel Frenkel sounded fluid and stylish — if very feminine — as the teenaged randy guy Cherubino. In her US debut, Norma Nahoun showed charm and a fine, unusually substantial voice as Barbarina. Since, due to relentless Met Britcasting, New Yorkers have heard the hardedged-under -any-pressure-andthus-ensemble–spoiling Marcellina of erstwhile Cherubino Ann Murray 11 times already, we might have been spared her here. The leading men were both German Fischer-Dieskau students, among the many competing for the late baritone’s (equivocal) mantle. Neither gave full satisfaction. Hanno Müller-Brachmann (Figaro) has John Krasinski-like big galoot good looks and sounds duly imposing in slow music in his lower range. Legato is lacking and — at 42 — he had to struggle for his over-vibratoed high notes. The much-ballyhooed Roman Trekel’s Almaviva evoked two historic recorded predecessors: he sounded as dry as John Brownlee on the Fritz Busch set and as nasal and unitalianate as Alfred Poell did for Erich Kleiber. Intelligent musical phrasing can only get one so far in this part, one of the rare roles better served in the last 20 years than in any supposed Golden Age of singing. Andrew Shore’s juddery, Anglovoweled Bartolo was no great asset. Rodolphe Briand camped up Basilio and Curzio but certainly knew his business vocally. The relentlessly hammy Antonio, Matteo Peirone, should have been shot. Something like Rawls’ Theory of Justice pertains to Antonio: if this “lowest” character is badly done musically and dramatically, something is badly askew in the production. Despite some substantial pleasures, this “Nozze” remained a curate’s egg. David Shengold (shengold@yahoo. com) writes about opera for many venues.
| August 21, 2013
train Bruce Lee. He's also the subject of another popular series of Hong Kong films currently in production,
directed by Wilson Yip. Wo ng we nt bac k and r e -e dit e d “Ashes of Time,” whose narrative is almost incomprehensible on a single viewing, into “Ashes of Time Redux,” which got a much wider release in the US. It’s impossible to know if the cuts made to “The Grandmaster” were the director’s choice, the distributor’s (the Weinstein Company is notorious for taking the scissors to Asian films), or a combination of the two. However, it’s undeniable that the film feels lopsided. I know someone who fell asleep during the first half, and frankly, I can understand why. I’m puzzled by some of the editing choices, such as the total disappearance of Ip’s wife from the second half of the film. Whatever the rationale behind them, I miss the Wong Kar -wai who could turn out a film like “Chung King Express” or “Fallen Angels” in six months. Even at its best, “The Grandmaster” suffers from bloat. Spending years on a film doesn't bring out the director's best qualities.
with non-sequiturs and other absurdities, makes little narrative sense, and that’s the point. Sample text: “Four saints prepare for saints it makes it well well fish it makes it well fish prepare for saints.” This astounding, genre-busting masterwork, presented by Theatre Plastique, was conceived by the talented ensemble at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, not far from where Stein was born. At once rar efied and curiously accessible, “Gertrude Stein Saints!” celebrates American music and dance, playing with gender and identity. Often divided into male and female groups, the performers swap traditional gender roles with abandon. Amazingly, most of the opera is sung a cappella, with the aid of some impressive beatboxing, though a guitar and keyboard are employed from time to time. Directed with precision by Michelle Sutherland, the 13 jubilant performers (all Carnegie Mellon students), dressed in an array of white costumes, present an awesome patchwork quilt of do-wop, rock n’ roll, gospel, bluegrass, folk, Shaker, jazz, and much more. One moment you’re watching a hoedown, the next a Bob Fosse Broadway number, then a New Orleans parade, then a kind of Missy Elliott music video, then Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” then a boy band. There’s shimmying, krumping, popping, disco dancing, and Soul Train strutting. And, yep, there’s twerking. Unfortunately, the five performances of “Gertrude Stein Saints!” wer e clustered at the beginning of the festival. If the work is not part of the FringeNYC Encore series this fall — and it deserves
eventually, the affair threatens to destroy his 10-year relationship. On a deeper level, the play, which had its last performance on August 17, is a meditation on the prickly politics of contemporary gay connections. The couple has an “open relationship.” But how open is open? Apparently, casual sex with others is okay. A wild crush is okay. But love is off limits. Presented by the award-winning NO HOPE Productions, “Luke Nicholas” offers a slew of insights on the human condition: We all lead dual lives, one predictably ordinary and one where we veer off-script. We all deserve a little poetic license. Everything we do is selfish. Most people don’t like the truth. But crafty writer-director Tim Aumiller is not content to leave it at that. He’s
built an elaborate narrative structure, adding a play-within-a-play (Thomas is a playwright obsessed with “the process”) and then flipping it on its head. Turns out what we are watching are scenes in rehearsal from a play based on the ill-fated Montreal trip as directed by Thomas. But the role of Thomas is, perversely enough, being played by Jonathan. An actor named Stephen plays the role of Luke the stripper. Luke’s real name is Nicholas, hence the play’s title. Got all that? Both actors ar e not shy about weighing in on how scenes should be played. Lines are cut and scenes are rewritten. But is the trio improving the play, rehashing the reality of what transpired, or rewriting the facts to suit their own needs? So we have a commentary about the creative process of staging a play, which can be as painful and painstaking as trying to fix a broken relationship. Aumiller clearly read Pirandello. Or watched the mind-blowing, multilayered thriller “Inception.” For sure, he read the novel “Prince of Tides” and watched the movie, both of which figure prominently in the play. Is “Luke Nicholas,” as the saying goes, a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma? You bet. But under the artful Aumiller’s direction, you care enough about the characters to stick with it. And while the conceit doesn’t completely jell, you stumble out of the theater disoriented and exhilarated, as if getting off a roller coaster ride. Not one of those slick high-tech marvels, but a modest wooden one, like the Cyclone at Coney Island, that’s shaky and creaky and could use a bit of maintenance.
FRINGE, from p.33
Joey Mirabile and JP Serret (bottom) in “The 3rd Gender,”written and directed by Peter Zachari.
to be — let’s hope the troupe comes back to New York soon for a bona-fide run.
“Luke Nicholas” is the rare Fringe piece that’s playful and sexy yet has some serious issues on its mind. On the surface, it’s a wry, frisky comedy centering on a skewed love triangle among 40-year-old Thomas (an earnest Colin Key), his husband Jonathan (portrayed with quiet intensity by Sean Hankinson from “Days of Our Lives”), and a young stripper known as Luke (Jason Zeren). Thomas meets this… ahem, poledancer at a bar while on vacation with Jonathan in Montreal. With an assist from shots of Jack Daniels and swigs of Stella, Thomas becomes so smitten that,
THE GRANDMASTER, from p.34
blur the cinematography, fetishizing even the simplest shots. He also rarely allows the performers to show any real athleticism, cutting the kung fu scenes after a second or two. At its most ambitious, one could say that “The Grandmaster” tries to synthesize Tsui Hark’s martial arts opus, “The Blade,” with Hou Hsiaohsien’s exploration of Taiwanese history, “The Puppetmaster,” except t h a t Wo n g e x a m i n e s t h e p a i n o f exile for mainland Chinese émigrés on Hong Kong. Unfortunately, “The Grandmaster” is far more conventional than either T sui or Hou’s masterworks — or Wong’s own best films. It only really comes to life when it takes the spotlight away from Ip. The second half concentrates on Gong, of fering the film’s most engaging fight scene in an extended battle in the snow alongside a moving train. Her story seems to matter in a way that Ip’s doesn’t, perhaps because we know that Ip turned out alright in
THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY
Tony Leung in Wong Kar-wai’s “The Grandmaster.”
the end. After all, many spectators, especially in Asia, are going into “The Grandmaster” knowing that Ip lived to
August 21, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
IN THE NOH
Bette Davis: House Guest from Hell The diva stays (and stays), Tautou’s “Thèrése, Ollom Festival magic ette Davis — often called the greatest of film actresses (most serious rival: Katharine Hepburn) — drives me crazy. It is true that she could be brilliant (“Of Human Bondage,” “Dangerous,” “Marked Woman,” “Jezebel,” “Dark Victory,” “The Old Maid,” “The Letter,” “Now Voyager,” “All About Eve,” “Baby Jane”), but in too many movies she coasted on those familiar mannerisms of emphatic, staccato delivery, semaphore gesticulation, and sheer brass that have made her beloved by female impersonators for eons. Handled correctly, she could have made a great Blanche DuBois, Hedda Gabler, or Mary Tyrone, but, instead, did mediocre soap operas, chose weak directors she could control, and botched great opportunities like “The Little Foxes” and “The Corn is Green” because of her predictable and all-tooeasy interpretive choices. God knows I adore her, but how, in her own words, she IR-ritates me! Can you imagine having her for a houseguest? Elizabeth Fuller actually hosted her for what was supposed to be a couple of nights and turned into 32 days, which she has dramatized in her play “Me and Jezebel,” now playing at the Snapple Theater (210 W. 50th St., through Oct. 26; snappletheater.com). In it, Bette (Kelly Moore) makes Blanche DuBois look like the model lodger as she takes over Fuller’s house, driving her hostess’ husband to the point of desertion and turning her four-year-old son into an unseemly clone of herself. I met with Fuller and Moore, and Fuller recalled, “It really happened in 1985, and this started as a book in 1992. It became very popular, especially among the gay community. Now it’s an e-book and I don’t even have one copy of it! “My husband always said, ‘Nothing beats you in our living room telling dinner guests what it was like.’ I had sent the manuscript to a producer I knew and he said he would like to see it as a play. So I wrote it as a one-person show and played myself around the country. Then I saw Randy Allen do his show, ‘P.S. Bette Davis,’ and told him, ‘Why don’t you play Bette in my show?’ and rewrote it as a two-hander. “My best friend, Robin Brown, was Bette’s best friend, and asked if she could bring a friend to dinner without telling me who it was. The next day, Bette called and said there was a New York hotel strike and could she spend
BY DAVID NOH
Kelly Moore and Elizabeth Fuller in Fuller’s “Me and Jezebel,” at Snapple Theater through October 26.
the night because she really liked our very simple but quaint cottage. She stayed for 32 days, and my husband, John G. Fuller, was kind of a male Bette, except he couldn’t stand her, never a fan, and all he wanted was to get her ass out of there.” Moore said he was always a Bette fan, watching “The Million Dollar Movie” on TV while growing up on Long Island. “I came to New York at 17, auditioned, and got a part in the revival of ‘Life with Father’ in 1967, with Sandy Duncan, Leon Ames, and Dorothy Stickney, the mother in the original production written by her husband, Howard Lindsay. I learned a lot about acting from her. She did the same thing every night, identically, yet it always looked like the first time she’d ever done it!” Fuller explained, ”Kelly was doing my show in Key West, sent me a video, and I was blown away. They were casting for it in Kansas and were going to use a woman because they said the Bible Belt audiences wouldn’t accept a man in the role. After two days, I said, ‘I think you should call Kelly.’ They reluctantly flew him out and hired him, and then he did it in Australia. The show’s been running a long time in several countries — Sao Paolo, Berlin, Prague, Warsaw, Japan soon. It’s an easy two-person show and who doesn’t love Bette?” Moore said, “It took a long time to figure out how to play this. Initially I said, ‘If you want it to be like “winkwink! This is a man in drag,” forget it.’ I wanted to approach it from reality, wondering how far to take it to keep it real but also funny. Then I saw Bette’s
pilot of her unsold sitcom and suddenly knew how to do it!” Moore doesn’t emphasize Davis’ stroke because he tried to do that voice: “I bored myself to death because it was so monotone.” Jim Bailey had done the role in Key West, and Fuller found him good, “but he brought it to a camp level, which was fun, but really not the story. Kelly is playing it more of a cross between ‘Dead Ringer’ and post-stroke, but everything in there is true. “Even though Bette did hobble, after 10 minutes she had such vitality you didn’t even think stroke with her. I inherited things she left Robin in her will — her pearl and sapphire ring, which Kelly wears in the play [along with her ‘Whales of August’ earrings the actor bought at Christie’s], and the ‘All About Eve’ mink coat. I had it in my basement and the rats must have gotten to it. It’s in pieces now but I’ve made them into ear muffs, one of which I’m giving to Broadway Cares, and on Halloween we’re having a Bette lookalike contest and the winner will get a pair, as well!”
One role that Bette would h a v e b e e n b o r n f o r was
Thérèse Desqueyroux, titular heroine of François Mauriac’s brilliantly corrosive novel, which was brought to the screen by Claude Miller, his swan song (opens Aug. 23 at the Angelika, 18 W. Houston St. at Mercer St.; angelikafilmcenter. com). It’s a gripping, perfect adaptation in every way. You won’t see a better film this year, and the lead is definitively played by Audrey Tautou, an actress hitherto known more for her gamine
charm than ability to portray a stifled bourgeois wife and would-be murderess. “Yes,” the deeply thoughtful actress told me, looking miraculously no older than her 2001 title role in “Amélie.” “This is a different character from what I’ve played before — darker and more complex. Even though the book is a very popular French classic, I hadn’t read it, but Claude Miller told me to read it before I read his script to know the character. We had wanted to work together for a long time, and he’d had the chance to make this before, but he wanted the right person, so, luckily, he waited for me. “I did not read the sequel to the book because when I do a movie adapted from a novel, I really want to focus on the director’s vision and not make any compromise between that and whatever books there may be. It’s very sad that it’s his last movie. I really liked the fact that he never judges any character, only the hypocrisy of the conventions of family, the invisible violence which is the real monster of the story. “Like you, I actually find Thérèse sympathetic, because she’s a victim. It’s not her fault that she did not know herself so well and thought this bourgeois marriage would be her ideal. She didn’t have the bravery to say no, and there’s this social pressure which makes her become a criminal. “She soon realizes that she is not ready for this life, stuck in this wealth. It’s terrible to have this awareness that you are in a tunnel and if you don’t do something, you will spend rest of your life in this darkness. For me, she is not a monster and, yes, is a little like Madame Bovary, with that complete boredom but also the fascination of a crime, doing something totally with no morals. “Claude would send me texts from other writers which had an echo to this violence of the bourgeoisie, and we agreed and had the same vision about this story. With him, nothing was ever overdone in his quest to find the truth of the story and the humanity of his characters.” The costuming may also be the most perfect of the year, “very simple too. We didn’t have a big budget — no money to make clothes — so all the clothes are vintage.” When I told Tautou that she was almost unrecognizable as Thérèse, she said, “I think I’m a much more complex person than what I show when I’m doing Chanel promotions or the romantic comedies I did when I was younger.
IN THE NOH, continued on p.44
| August 21, 2013
UNA NOCHE, from p.36
“I would not identify it with the culture but as a necessity and desperation that exist,” she said. “When people are reduced to having very little, they have to be resourceful. You have your body, and circumstances have led Raul to do this. I think it’s more a product of being under those circumstances and getting by in order to survive.” Raul becomes eager to leave Havana after he injures a tourist client of his mother’s during an altercation and is hunted by the police, who, according to Mulloy, “are very vigilant — especially if a crime is associated with a tourist.” Much of what takes place in “Una Noche,” including Elio and Raul’s visit to a Santería priest, is informed by things Mulloy saw in Cuba. “I’ve been to Santeros, and it’s an interesting experience,” she said. “Folks go before they attempt to leave the country to ask if it will work out. I wanted the characters to go because it’s so visceral. I had a Santero spit in my face. I wanted to incorporate that to make the rich tapestry of this world as specific as I could, so folks could get a sense of what it’s like there. It’s important to me as a filmmaker to portray images that people don’t normally see.”
BAR TALK, from p.32
In his time, no one did popular entertainment
that caught the spirit of the times like Shakespeare. In ours, it’s turning out that few people can do it like Alex Timbers. With irreverent intelligence, mordant humor, incisive social satire, and clear affection for the source material, Timbers and songwriter Michael Friedman turned Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” a 415-year-old play, into a sparkling and irresistible contemporary musical that succeeds on every level. In adapting the play for Shakespeare in the Park (where it closed August 18), Timbers focused on both the original’s youthful comedy of passions run riot and its darker more mature ending. The King of Navarr e and thr ee compatriots — Berowne, Longaville, and Dumaine — have taken a vow to shut themselves away from the world and live an ascetic and celibate life of fasting and study for three years. Timbers imagines these Shakespearean noblemen as educated and affluent young contemporary men at a resort. Berowne, in particular, chafes at the strictures, and argues in the wonderful opening number that “young men are supposed to have sex.” Being young men and tempted by the arrival of the princess and her retinue, their resolve lasts less than 24 hours. What follows is a rollicking tale of love, mistaken identity, miscarried letters, and all the other trappings of Shakespearean
Mulloy duly captures the oppressive qualities that constrain the lives of her characters — whether from poverty, the legal system, or just the heat. The grittiness of the film, she said, reflects the realities of Cuba, though she admitted that creating that often relied on movie magic. “We were spraying the actors with sweat because we actually shot when it wasn’t so warm,” she said. “We had a makeup artist giving the characters sunburn. We wanted to convey being almost asphyxiated by the heat and sweat, when you labor through the day, because it’s so hot — which is the feeling you get in Cuba in the summer.” That feeling is manifest in the tensions faced by the characters — tensions that are both emotional and sexual — particularly when they drift toward Miami. This extended sequence, the last third of the film, is gripping, and viewers will find themselves caring deeply about the fate of the characters. Actual details of “teenagers in the middle of the ocean who are completely terrified” helped Mulloy craft the film’s ending, she said. What happens to Lila, Elio, and Raul, however, is best left for viewers to discover for themselves in this film that makes their stories come vividly to life.
hilarity. The bittersweet ending has the men back where they started from but with a new understanding of the world based in the reality of human interaction rather than an unachievable ideal. Drawing on their winning formula in “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,” Timbers and Freidman created a mix of styles, periods, and cultural references that in less capable hands would have yielded a mess. They are equally unafraid to be outrageously silly and lyrically romantic. Like Shakespeare, who was never above using any trick in his repertoire to get a laugh, Timbers and Friedman blatantly pander to the funny bone but never forget the characters’ underlying humanity, making us care about them in surprising ways T imber directed the 100-minute show with a sure hand and a great deal of style. Friedman’s songs, fresh and consistently surprising and smart, are infectious and his lyrics work consistently, even if they play fast and loose with traditional scansion and rhyme. It’s hard to imagine a better cast. The four lead men — Daniel Breaker as the King, Bryce Pinkham as Longaville, Lucas Near-Verbrugghe as Dumaine, and Colin Donnell as Berowne — are equally adept at Shakespearean language and low comedy. Patti Murin as the Princess offered an inspired performance that took her from sorority sister to queen. Caesar Samayoa was completely over-the-top as Armado in love with the barmaid, the accomplished Rebecca Naomi Jones.
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August 21, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Irish Eyes are Penetrating in London Theater
Rosaleen Linehan and Niamh McGowan in Pirandello’s “Liolà,” directed by Richard Eyre, at the Lyttelton through November 6.
BY ANDY HUMM
wo weeks of theater in London and two of the best plays were by Irishmen — a new one from Conor McPherson and a revival from Martin McDonagh with Daniel Radclif fe, who continues to evolve from film megastar to one of the shining lights of the stage. Actor Peter McDonald, who has known McPherson since their University College Dublin days in the early ‘90s, wrote that Conor often says you need to put the audience in “first class” and “get to that place where you do not even notice the writing.” It’s what McPherson does so consistently and what many playwrights — mostly playing with themselves — fail to. I got to see McPherson’s “The Night Alive” on its last day at the Donmar Warehouse, but would confidently bet it will get a New York run and a worldwide audience along with the rest of Conor’s canon. He was aided in London by the intimacy of the 250-seat Donmar, an enviable ensemble led by Ciarán Hinds and Jim Norton (just of f Broadway stints), and an able director named Conor McPherson. But this little story of desperate and literally bloodied people could fill a big house as well. This “Night” is lit up by echoes of Beckett, Pinter, “The Honeymooners,” and the Gospels, shifting from comedy to horror to tragedy on a dime and giving dignity and beauty to people many would dismiss as “losers.” No political speeches here, just very human beings. McDonagh’s “The Cripple of Inishmaan” is getting a welcome revival from director Michael Grandage as part of his new company’s season at
the Noël Coward Theatre (to Aug. 31). Starring is a splendid Radcliffe as “Cripple” Billy, but it’s really the work of a terrific ensemble perfectly hitting all the dark comic notes in this admixture of Beckett and “Saturday Night Live” in its heyday. We are a long way from the winsome stage-Irish humor of “The Quiet Man” and into something painfully funny and revealing about what my friend Bernárd Lynch calls “the first and last British colony,” started 700 years ago and still not united with Northern Ireland. The English, American, and Italian offerings in town were not too shabby either. Pirandello’s “Liolà” (no, I had never heard of it either, and the title character is a guy) is the kind of play the National excels at like no other theater — taking a forgotten 100-year-old work by a major playwright, commissioning a new version (written by Tanya Ronder), and mounting a production not with stars but with the best stage actors around. Not to mention putting the National’s former artistic director Richard Eyre at the helm. This uncharacteristic comedy for Pirandello centers on how wealth is passed through male heirs — an unshakeable tradition that gets some serious upending as a childless older landowner (a formidable James Hayes) yearns for what randy Liolà (a merry Rory Keenan) does so easily as he repopulates the town with progeny by women to whom he is not married. But it is the women who are the real interest here (notably Rosaleen Linehan as an aged aunt and Niamh McGowan as Ciuzza, the town good-time gal), using what little power they have to survive and advance. (As in some other productions I’ve seen in London, peasants of whatever ethnicity are played by Irish actors, whom I am sure are glad for the work if not the underlying
Conor McPherson and Martin McDonagh score with new productions
Daniel Radcliffe in Martin McDonagh’s “The Cripple of Inishmaan,” directed by Michael Grandage, at the Noël Coward Theatre through August 31.
casting concept.) It took several scenes for this one to come together, but when it does the results are very satisfying. (To Nov. 6 at the Lyttelton.) Nick Payne’s new “Same Deep Water as Me,” directed by John Crowley at the Donmar (to Sep. 28), is a comedy that takes on a profession that little theatrical light has been shed on — personal injury law. What starts out as a Brit-com evolves into a tense but funny courtroom drama and ends with a coda that combines violence and a hint of redemption — maybe too much. The lead law partners (Daniel Mays and Nigel Lindsay) are spot on as are the supporting players (Monica Dolan, Peter Forbes, and Joanna Griffin), who do double duty as shakedown artists and then court officers. Isabella Laughland gets a memorable star turn on the witness stand as a Tesco delivery driver falsely accused of causing an accident. Marc Wootton is riveting and frightening as Kevin, who dreams up the false claim, and Niky Wardley as his conflicted wife gives the play its heart. Sets are by the legendary Scott Pask. The National Theatre revived James Baldwin’s little-known “The Amen Corner” from 1954, which he wrote fresh off his breakthrough novel “Go Tell It on the Mountain” — and against the advice of his agent who wanted him to finally make some money writing for magazines. The play, which closed August 14, comes out of his Gospel church roots and is set in Harlem in 1953. Melodrama is redeemed by intense writing and, here, a magnificent company directed by Rufus Norris and led by Marianne Jean-Baptiste (“Secrets and Lies”) as Sister Margaret, pastor of a storefront church dominated by strong women trying
LONDON, continued on p.43
| August 21, 2013
Rory Kinnear and Adrian Lester in Shakespeare’s “Othello,” directed by Nick Hytner, at the National’s Olivier stage through October 5.
LONDON, from p.42
to hold themselves and their men to their Lord in the face of a deeply racist society. While “Corner” seems to be the kind of play that would work best in a small house that would put us with them in the church and the apartment below, this company filled the big Olivier temple and brought the audience to its feet. John Osborne gets credit for pioneering kitchen-sink realism in “Look Back in Anger,” but Baldwin was doing it two years earlier. One night after “The Amen Corner,” the Olivier stage was transfor med into a modern military base that is the setting for director Nick Hytner’s “Othello,” another meditation on race and one of Shakespeare’s most melodramatic plays — enhanced by his searing poetry and, here, another spectacular ensemble led by Adrian Lester as the Moor and Rory Kinnear as Iago. This lucid rendering of the play also packs a powerful emotional punch and gives new meaning to the term “base camp.” The basest desires for lust, jealousy, and revenge are carried to such extremes that it struck many in the audience as camp at times, setting off waves of nervous laughter. I’ve never seen the humor in people wrecking their own lives and those of others, but understand the need to relieve the tension built up by this drama. Lester and Kinnear are first-rate actors. I could do with a little less of Kinnear’s mannered rhythms, but he is a villain you can’t take your eyes off of. “These men!,” Desdemona (Olivia Vinall) says ruefully in a pivotal scene with Iago’s wife, Emilia (a very fine L yndsey Marshal), before their
unanticipated murders. This is a production that gives Shakespeare a contemporary feel — as all good ones should no matter what costumes they’re wearing. This production closes October 5, but can be seen in US movie theaters in October. (For venues, go to NTLive.com, which also includes information on September screenings of Helen Mirren as Elizabeth II in “The Audience.”) There is carnage of a different sort on the stage of the Old Vic in Marianne Elliott’s revival of “Sweet Bird of Youth,” a play like “Night Alive” that deals with life’s losers. Tennessee Williams gives them the added handicap of being deluded — fading star “The Princess Kosmonopolis” (Kim Cattrall) by vanity, her “assistant,” returning local-boy-made-bad Chance Wayne (Seth Numrich) by pipe dreams of love and stardom, and the racist citizens of the Gulf town St. Cloud, hell-bent on what amounts to an honor killing of Chance, who is repeatedly referred to as a “criminal degenerate.” Credit Williams for exposing the underside of Southern gentility and the American Dream, though this is a play that gives us no one to root for and in which — unlike “Night Alive” — love does not redeem but enslaves. Cattrall scores in the honesty of her growth from unmade bed to glamour puss. Numrich, the boy in “War Horse” on Broadway and scrappy fighter in “Golden Boy,” here is a beefed up man on the brink of passing his sexual prime. It is a mess that could stand some cutting, but an honest and firstclass rendering of a flawed play. (To Aug. 31)
LONDON, continued on p.44
Not for the Timid NOW
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44 Noël Coward’s “Private Lives” at the Gielgud is perfectly cast with Toby Stephens as Elyot and Anna Chancellor as Amanda, not to mention AnnaLouise Plowman (Sibyl) and Anthony Calf (Victor) as their hapless new spouses. (Coward also perfectly cast it with himself and Gertrude Lawrence in 1930.) It’s a tribute to the cast and director Jonathan Kent that Coward’s posh English French bedroom farce continues to entertain. (To Sep. 30) I saw Harold Pinter’s “The Hothouse” in 1995 with Pinter himself in the lead of this inmates-running-the asylum play and should have left it at that, but wanted to see what the great Simon Russell Beale, who was scary funny as Stalin in “Collaborators” last season, could bring to the role of Roote at the T rafalgar Studios. Mistake. Jamie Lloyd directs it as broad farce capturing little of the necessary menace except in the terrific performance of John Simm as Gibbs, Roote’s number 2. £65 is lot to ask for just that. And £5 for a program? If only Pinter were around to complain. “ M e r r i l y We R o l l A l o n g , ” Sondheim’s famous flop on Broadway in 1981, just finished a hit run in the West End at the Pinter Theatre after a transfer from the Menier, that incubator
LONDON, from p.43
Kim Cattrall and Seth Numrich in Tennessee Williams’ “Sweet Bird of Youth, directed by Marianne Elliott, at the Old Vic through August 31.
of hit revivals from “Sunday in the Park with George” to “La Cage aux Folles” (and has a redemptive “Color Purple,” according to critical consensus, on now, though I did not see it). This time, the Menier took a chance on a first-time director, Maria Friedman, one of the foremost UK Sondheim performers, to salutary effect.
The songs here are the attraction — standards “Our Time” and “Not a Day Goes By,” each done in both acts to moving effect as the characters get younger in this reverse chronology show. While the Broadway flop was attributed to using too-young performers, that’s not the case here. A weakness remains the George Furth
book full of show-biz stereotypes (including gay ones). “All About Eve” it ain’t, but there is all that great music and we should hope for a Broadway transfer. Also Running and Coming Up in London Theater: Lenny Henry is getting raves in August Wilson’s “Fences” at the Duchess (to Sep.14)… Almeida hit “Chimerica” with Stephen Campbell Moore at the Pinter Theatre (to Oct. 19)… Alexi Kaye Campbell’s terrific gay-themed debut play “The Pride” revived with an all-star cast led by Hayley Atwell at Trafalgar Studios (to Nov. 9)… The Old Vic has Mark Rylance directing James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave in “Much Ado About Nothing” (Sep. 7-Nov. 16)… From the Michael Grandage Company, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with Sheridan Smith and David Williams at the Noël Coward (Sep. 7-Nov.16)… The great Antony Sher in a new play about Freud, “Hysteria,” by Terry Johnson at the Hampstead Theatre (Sep. 5-Oct. 12)… A new Stuart Brayson-Tim Rice musical of “From Here to Eternity” at the Shaftesbury (Sep. 30 –Apr. 26)… Jude Law in “Henry V” also from Grandage at the Coward (Nov. 23-Feb. 15). For infor mation on tickets and performance schedules, visit uktheatretickets.co.uk.
IN THE NOH, from p.40
I loved them, but the truth is I am not only the cute girl and have something much more dark and complex. “When I auditioned for ‘The Da Vinci Code,’ Ron Howard had seen every French actress except me because I think he had a certain image of me. Then he told me he had seen me on ‘Charlie Rose’ and thought maybe he should audition me. One has to have the opportunity to stretch oneself in a different way.” Tautou enjoyed being the face of Chanel “because I had a lot of freedom in my contract and only had to do a few promotional things each year. But now my contract is up — Brad [Pitt] took my job!” “Amélie” remains iconic in her career with its cult status and Montmartre tours of the film’s locales: “I think it’s a miracle how people keep loving this movie and it goes through the years without losing its charm. It’s a real gift and, yes, my parents did name me after Audrey Hepburn. First, because they loved the name and they also loved her. I do too — she was the most elegant!”
I went for the first time to Northampton, M a s s a c h u s e t t s, f a m e d dyke capital of America, for
the Ollom Art Festival, created by dancer and choreographer John Ollom and
August 21, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Audrey Tautou in Claude Miller’s Thérèse Desqueyroux,” which opens at the Angelika on August 23.
his partner, Jim Sable, and absolutely adored it. It’s the home of all-female Smith College, a veritable paradise for lesbians and like a wonderful, alternauniverse of gorgeous, blissed out estrogen of all ages, sizes, and color — with Victorian buildings in sylvan surroundings providing the dream backdrop.
I caught a remarkable Sylvia Plath exhibit in the college library, detailing the writing of “The Bell Jar,” and marveled at the holdings in its museum, which include the greatest Cezanne I’ve ever seen (a worthy gift from the artist to Renoir). My host was retired New York City schoolteacher Roberta Pato, whose avocation is the compiling of lesbian
stories on film and TV and each night screened a new, wondrous rarity for me from her Ali Baba archive (“The Chinese Botanist’s Daughter,” “I, Worst of All,” “The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister”). The festival itself was a kaleidoscope of intense works, all using art as therapy, Ollom’s particular credo. Opening night saw his new dance piece “Prisoner of My Projection” at the gorgeous Academy of Music. With the long-tressed Ollom the center of a male love triangle, flanked by two comely, contrasting brunettes (talented Jeffrey Carr and Matthew Stone), it was a mysterious, beautifully staged, potent exposé of male sexuality and emotional conflict. Sparked by wonder fully evocative music from Yael Acher Modiano and a fabulously fulsome sexuality featuring full nudity, it’s Ollom’s best work to date. It was followed by “C’est Moi: Women in Translation,” a contrastingly lighthearted investigation of a lesbian relationship, choreographed and performed by real life partners Tory Rosen and Diana Alvarez. Serious charmers, these two not only danced but sang and left the entire house smiling with delight. Contact David Noh at Inthenoh@aol. com and check out his blog at nohway. wordpress.com.
| August 21, 2013
A KINKY SPLASH AT XL
D REW F RIEDMAN
ANDREW WERNER PHOTOGRAPHY
The evening after the last call at Splash (see page 14), where “Musical Mondays” became a weekly must for many New York cabaret fans, the show moved to XL Nightclub on West 42nd Street. And what an opening night! Billy Porter, always a fave but even more in demand since snagging the Tony for his star turn in “Kinky Boots” on Broadway, was the evening’s headliner. The song and dance man, who arrived around 10 with Victor Garber, performed in his thigh-high “Kinky” boots and invited seven audience members up on stage to judge which of them had the “fiercest” walk. An upcoming XL performance to look out for is the September 14 appearance by burlesque star Katrina Darling, who is Kate Middleton’s cousin, which makes her, I guess, second cousin to that newest of scenesters, Bonnie Prince George. — Paul Schindler
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August 21, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
GALLERY Eden Counter-Commutes to Chelsea
SEPTEMBER 8: Telly Leung returns to 54 Below.
NIGHTLIFE Pinups Is Back
After a year-long hiatus, Pinups is back with a new issue. As always, the magazine can be unbound and re-assembled to form a large poster, but as a book the issue is more complex than its predecessors. Some pages are only fragments of the poster, but others contain parts of numerous images scattered randomly across the pagination. The connections can only be imagined until the poster is assembled and the full images revealed on the poster’s flipside. Pinups No17 features performance artist Jake Dibeler clad with performance props. Bureau of General Services — Queer Division hosts a launch celebration on Aug. 23, 7-10 p.m. Strange Loop Gallery, 27 Orchard St., btwn. Hester & Canal Sts. More information at bgsqd.com.
BENEFIT Songs for the Cause
Opera singers Brigid Berger, a soprano, and Christopher Leake, a baritone, journey through the classical
NIGHTLIFE Partner Up, New York
Times Squares, New York’s LGBT western square dancing club, introduces newcomers to the game, with early evening instruction followed by dances called by Nick Martellacci. You don’t need a partner — just come, learn, and make new friends. LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St. Aug. 24, 6-9:30 p.m. More information at timessquares.org.
AT THE BEACH Tunes that Titillate
PERFORMANCE The Blondes Gentlemen Prefer
As part of Daniel Nardicio’s Icon Series, “Justin Vivian Bond and Carol Channing in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: An Intimate Conversation” pairs two performance legends. Bond performs, while Channing, who is 92, shares stories from her 70-plus years in show business. Q & A follows. Ice Palace, Cherry Grove, Fire Island. Aug. 24, 8 p.m. Tickets are $70 at dworld.us.
music cannon examining songs of longing, loss, and unrequited love — from baroque and romantic opera up to art songs and Broadway. The intimate evening offers s wide-ranging look at the tragic love song throughout Western musical history. LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St. Aug. 23, 7-9 p.m. A champagne reception follows the concert. Suggested donation is $15, with proceeds benefiting the Center and its upcoming Cycle for the Cause Northeast AIDS Ride.
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. 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. Through Sep. 8. Tickets are $12-$18 at dreamupfestival.org.
FILM James Franco Recalls River Phoenix
James Franco and River Phoenix are both actors who touched a poignant nerve with their portrayals of gay men in film. Tonight, the New American Cinema Group’s Film-Makers Coop celebrates the life of Phoenix through the cinematic visions of Franco. The program includes “My Own Private River”— which Franco created in conjunction with Gus Van Sant, who directed Phoenix in “My Own Private Idaho” — as well as “Feast of Stephan” and “Herbert White.” M.M. Serra curates. 475 Park Av. S. at 32nd St., sixth fl. Aug. 23, 7:30-10:30 p.m. The evening is a benefit for the Coop. More information at email@example.com.
In “Sex Tape,” Greg Scarnici is joined by Sabel Scities, Levonia Jenkins, and Joe Thompson for an evening of fun, filthy songs, and parodies. Cherry Grove Community House, 180 Bayview Walk at Holly Walk. Aug. 23, 10 p.m. Tickets are $30; $25 for members at artsprojectcherrygrove.org.
FILM Queering Charlton Heston
As part of “Queer Film Summer Camp,” freelance journalist Tony Phillips introduces “Ben-Hur,” William Wyler’s 1959 classic starring Charlton Heston. Bureau of General Services — Queer Division, Strange Loop Gallery, 27 Orchard St., btwn. Hester & Canal Sts. Aug. 24, 7 p.m. Suggested donation is $10. More information at bgsqd.com.
Male nude and especially gay erotic art works are often excluded or overlooked. “Capolavoro di Uomo: Masterpiece of Man,” newly released by Capolavoro Publishing, promises the best and most diverse collection of gay erotic art from around the world. A special launch event of this 370-page volume takes place at Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, 26 Wooster St., btwn. Canal & Grand Sts. Thu., Aug. 22, 6-8 p.m. Admission is free. More information at leslielohman.org.
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 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. Through Sep. 8; Tue.-Sun., noon-6 p.m. More information at leslielohman.org.
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.
BOOKS Erotic Diversity
GALLERY Growing the Queer Archives
COMEDY Return of the Hilarious Hottie
Scott Nevins, “Hilarious Hottie” from truTV’s “The World’s Dumbest,” returns to New York after an 18-month hiatus, to present a scandalous comedy
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| August 21, 2013
Hansel, in “Burly Man Sings Girly Songs: My Life as a Show Tune Queen and Sexual Outlaw,” offers audiences a journey of personal discovery through personal stories and songs — usually sung by girls. Hansel, a precocious adolescent, later found love and lust on Christopher Street, the leather clubs, the piano bars — and in the gayest of all venues, summer stock! Where Music Lives, 708 Cookman Ave. at Bond St., Asbury Park. Aug. 31, 9 p.m. Tickets are $20 at blackboxnj. org; $25 at the door.
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PERFORMANCE A “Sex in the City” Roast
“The Meeting*,” Justin Sayre’s monthly gathering of the International Order of Sodomites, returns with an evening honoring the seminal HBO hit “Sex and the City.” Tonight’s guests include Tony-winner Tonya Pinkins, iconic nightlife columnist Michael Musto, Joe Iconis of “Smash” fame, and “Rock of Ages”’s Jake Boyd. Tracy Stark is music director. 54 Below, 254 W. 54th St. Aug. 28, 9:30 p.m. Admission is $15-$25, with a $25 food & drink minimum, at 54below.com. For more information on “The Meeting,” visit InternationalOrderofSodomites.com.
Tender Bridget Everett
Led by the singing tour de force Bridget Everett, whom the Times described as “a mouthy, flesh-jiggling early Bette Midler,” the Tender Moments has won a cultlike following with their edgy, sexed-up, punk rock cabaret. Imagine if Freddy Mercury, Richard Pryor, and Sophie Tucker somehow had a baby together and you will get close. Joe’s Pub, inside the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette, btwn. W. Fourth St. & Astor Pl. Aug. 28 & Oct. 1, 9:30 p.m. Admission is $22 at joespub. com or $25 at the door.
Lisa Lampanelli on the Jersey Stage
Taking a breather from her signature insult comedy, Lisa Lampanelli is working on a new one-woman show, in partnership with co-writer Alan Zweibel and director John Rando. “Skinny Bitch,” a work-in-progress performance, reveals the woman behind the comedy, with by turns hilarious and touching looks at the struggles in her life. George Street Playhouse, 5 Livingston Ave. at George St., New Brunswick. Aug. 28-30, 8 p.m. Admission is $40-$50 at georgestreetplayhouse.org.
AUGUST 30: Berkshire Men's Retreat in the mountains of western Massachusetts.
NIGHTLIFE Bingo Ends the Summer
Will Clark’s “P*rno Bingo,” which raises money for New York LGBT non-profit service groups, wraps up its summer series tonight — prior to taking a break until Oct. 2. The evening promises four rounds of bingo and fabulous prizes. Uncle Charlie’s, 139 E. 45th St. Aug. 28, 9-11 p.m. The bar’s cabaret room in the back is open during and after bingo.
LABOR DAY WEEKEND A Berkshire Men’s Retreat
The Rowe Center Labor Day, held in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts, is one of the longest standing gatherings of gay, bisexual, and questioning men in the US. The weekend is intended to allow participants to break free from their everyday lives, open their minds, and get in touch with their spiritual sides. The retreat incorporates workshops on meditation, relationships, and body image, among other topics. According to one recent attendee, “What brings me back to the Rowe each Labor Day weekend for the last four years is the community of men who come here each year. I look forward to sharing and learning from new men as well as from the close friends I have made in past years. We are all on a similar journey of improving ourselves in body, mind, and spirit.” Rowe Camp & Conference Center, 22 Kings Highway Rd., Rowe, Massachusetts, east of North Adams and Williamstown. Aug. 30-Sep. 2. Costs for the retreat run from $335-$435, plus food & lodging beginning at $115. To register, visit rowecenter.org or call 413-339-4954.
AT THE BEACH All About Underwear
Daniel Nardicio's Underwear Party Friday is the longest running weekly party on Fire Island. Tonight, the bash welcomes back reality TV star Will Wikle and offers underwear giveaways and massages from the guys at MMX. The heated pool opens at 2 a.m. for late-night skinny dipping. Ice Palace, Cherry Grove. Aug. 30, 11 p.m. Admission is $15. Water taxis return to the Pines up until 3:30 a.m.
PERFORMANCE Beating the Surgery Blues Jackie Beat, the self-professed bastard child of "Weird" Al Yankovic and Bette Midler, premieres “These Hips Are Made for Working,” an evening of bitter, bitter stories about her surgery and recovery plus her famed song parodies. According to Beat, the show features 100 percent new material. Laurie Beechman Theater, inside West Bank Café, 407 W. 42nd St. Aug. 31 & Sep. 1, 7:30 & 10 p.m. Tickets are $22, with a $15 food &drink minimum, at SpinCycleNYC.com.
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-andwhooping. 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. 31, 8 p.m. The cover charge is $25, with a two-drink minimum. For reservations, visit dontellmamanyc.com or call 212-757-0788.
Noting that “he’s still so very young,” Gay City News’ David Noh recently wrote, “I consider Telly Leung already a Broadway veteran for all the considerable pleasure he’s given me over the years, with his soulful, honeyed tenor and dazzling energy.” Leung, known for his work in “Glee,” “Rent,” “Godspell,” and “Allegiance,” presents his new show, an eclectic evening of songs and personal anecdotes with high-octane covers of tunes from Billy Joel to Steve Wonder. Gary Adler (“Altar Boyz”) is music director. 54 Below, 254 W. 54th St. Sep. 8, 7 p.m. The cover charge is $20-$40, with a $25 food & drink minimum at 54below.com.
CABARET Going Down the Stoney End
Bistro Award-winning singer Grace Cosgrove presents her critically acclaimed tribute to Laura Nyro, “To Laura with Love.” Nyro, a Bronx-born singer and songwriter who brought a feminist sensibility to hits she wrote including “Stoned Soul Picnic,” “Wedding Bell Blues,” “And When I Die,” and “Stoney End,” died in 1997 at age 49. Cosgrove is backed by Clifford Carter on piano, Jack Cavari on guitar, Jason Di Matteo on bass, and Margaret Dorn on vocals. Metropolitan Room, 34 W. 22nd St. Sep. 9 & 18, 7 p.m.; Sep. 29, 4 p.m.; Oct. 17, 9:30 p.m. The cover charge is $20, with a twodrink minimum, at metropolitanroom.com.
Bernhard on the Hudson
Sandra Bernhard, comic and performance artist, cultural observer, satirist, actress, and author, is testing limits upstate once again. Club Helsinki Hudson, 405 Columbia St. at N. Fourth St., Hudson. Aug. 31, 9 p.m. Tickets are $55 at helsinkihudson.com or 518-828-4800. A full dinner menu is available beginning at 6 p.m.
A Christopher Street Dobie Gillis in Asbury Park
If you interested in finding out what a gay version of “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis” would be like, George Hansel might just have the answer for you. (If you wonder who Dobie Gillis is, Google has that answer.) Growing up in the 1960s and coming of age in the ‘70s,
romp. The evening promises insider Hollywood gossip, never-before-heard outrageous tales of Nevins’ favorite stars, family, dating life, and stint as a judge for the Miss Kentucky Pageant, and his infamous show-stopping celebrity vocal impressions. Metropolitan Room, 34 W. 22nd St. Aug. 26, 9 p.m. The cover charge is $20, and there’s a two-drink minimum. For reservations, visit metropolitanroom.com or call 212-206-0440.
MARK BRADLEY MILLER
CABARET Leung Power Returns
August 21, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Congratulations to Teddy, winner of the Veterinary Pet Insurance® Stars GLAAD photo contest!
y d d e T
Teddy lives with his pet parents, Damian White and Steve Lok, in New York City’s East Village.
To protect the star in your life, visit petinsurance.com/family
VPI® is a proud sponsor of the 2013 GLAAD Media Awards. Insurance plans are offered and administered by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company in California and DVM Insurance Agency in all other states. Underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (CA), Brea, CA, an A.M. Best A rated company (2012); National Casualty Company (all other states), Madison, WI, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2012). ©2013 Veterinary Pet Insurance Company. Veterinary Pet Insurance, VPI, and the VPI logo are service marks of Veterinary Pet Insurance Company. Nationwide Insurance is a service mark of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. 13ADV2434
Mayoral Endorsement of Christine Quinn. August 21, 2013 Gay City News