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GMHC Fires Marjorie Hill 11 Ain’t Just a Kiss 23 Nikolai Alexeyev’s Sad Self-Destruction 18 Suspicious Love 25

With Quinn’s exit, new gay councilmen from three boroughs, Page 8


September 18, 2013 |


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| September 18, 2013 COME CHECK US OUT AT THE NEW


HEALTH Meningitis cases in gays worldwide spark transmission study

With Quinn’s exit, new gay councilmen from three boroughs




Cover Illustration by Michael Shirey





Complex dance games from Dušan Týnak








Gay style dominates, endures







When a “frontrunner” hits the wall


42 - 43



September 18, 2013 |

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.

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• 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, or call 1-800-FDA-1088. Please see Brief Summary of full Prescribing Information with important warnings on the following pages.


| September 18, 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 it’s right for you.

2/28/13 3:27 PM


September 18, 2013 |

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

10043_pgiqdp_GayCityNews_Winston_lo1.indd 3-4

• 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.


| September 18, 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 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


September 18, 2013 |


With Quinn’s exit, new gay councilmen from three boroughs Carlos Menchaca campaigning with Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez.



n what many — though certainly not all — in the LGBT community will judge a bittersweet political moment, the first viable out gay candidate for mayor fell well short on September 10, even as three gay newcomers were elected to the City Council. Two came from boroughs never before represented by LGBT elected officials. In Brooklyn’s District 38, which includes Sunset Park, Red Hook, and Windsor Terrace, Carlos Menchaca — in a proxy for the ongoing battle between reformers and the Kings County Democratic organization — defeated Sara González, a 10-year incumbent. Menchaca, a former top aide to Borough President Marty Markowitz and later to Quinn at the Council, won almost 58 percent of the vote, a surprisingly easy win for a candidate little known just a year ago. Ritchie Torres, a 25-year-old aide to City Councilman James Vacca, prevailed in a six-person race to succeed retiring incumbent Joel Rivera in the central Bronx’s District 15, one of the city’s poorest Council districts. A reformer who won the lion’s share of labor endorsements in the race, including that of the Working Families Party, Torres was supported by State Senator Gustavo Rivera, who ousted disgraced and jailed incumbent Pedro Espada, Jr. in 2010, as well as by the Bronx’s most popular elected official, Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. (who has broken with his father on social issues like LGBT rights and marriage equality). Torres, who won 36 percent of the vote, outpaced his nearest rival — also named Joel Rivera — by 15 points.

And in Manhattan’s District 3, in a race to succeed Quinn on the Council, Corey Johnson, a 31-year-old gay activist who served for eight years on Community Board 4 in Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen, grabbed nearly 63 percent of the vote in a bitterly contested race against lesbian civil rights attorney Yetta Kurland. She had run a strong primary challenge to Quinn in 2009, winning almost a third of the vote in a threewoman race, but improved her percentage only modestly after four years in which she remained an anti-establishment critic, focusing particular attention on the closing of St. Vincent’s Hospital, for which she repeatedly faulted the speaker. Johnson, in contrast, put himself at the center of neighborhood decision-making on CB4, where he served two terms as chair. There were paradoxes in the primary night results. As the city rejected the hopes of a candidate who would be come the first woman mayor, the number of lesbian and gay members who will be sitting on the Council grew from four currently to a record six in the new year. Freshmen Menchaca, Torres, and Johnson will join incumbents Rosie Mendez, representing the Lower East Side since 2006, and Daniel Dromm and Jimmy Van Bramer, who have represented adjacent districts from Sunnyside to Jackson Heights and Astoria in Queens since 2010. To those who suggested that Quinn, long the frontrunner in the Democratic mayoral field, stumbled on the homophobia voters reflect once at the ballot box, Menchaca’s and Torres’ victories demonstrate that LGBT candidates can win in outer borough districts dominated by working class and poor people of color and without large visible gay and lesbian voting blocs.

Indeed, if primary voters as a whole gave Quinn less than half the votes early polls this year suggested she would win, she fared no better with women voters than with men and failed to match Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s showing in the LGBT community, even though she outperformed her overall showing there by a factor of more than two. The speaker finished the night with just 15.5 percent of the vote, more than 10 points behind runner-up Bill Thompson, the former comptroller, and almost 25 behind de Blasio. With women voters, her share was just 16 percent. Among self-identified gay, lesbian, and bisexual voters, she scored 34 percent, but Quinn was gobsmacked by the frontrunner, who won nearly half of all such votes. That outcome was stunning given the speaker’s long identification with the LGBT community — as the 1991 campaign manager and later chief of staff to Tom Duane, the Council’s first out gay member; as head of the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project; as a demonstrator arrested year after year in protests against the exclusion of openly gay participants in Manhattan’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade; and as a Council member who pursued a range of initiatives in support of the community, including a school anti-bullying law, a requirement that the city only do businesses with contractors with anti-discrimination policies in place, and funding for LGBT homeless youth services, senior services, and the capital needs of the LGBT Community Center. In an election that observers agree reflected the aspirations of Democratic voters to turn the page on the Bloomberg era, Quinn’s close identification with the mayor, including the leading role she played in allowing him to run for a third term in 2009, outweighed whatev-

er credit most LGBT voters gave her for leadership on issues related to their sexual orientation and gender identity. If Quinn’s defeat signaled that being LGBT, even being an identifiable leader on LGBT issues, is not enough to guarantee support among the community’s voters, it also reflected a generational turn in gay politics in the city. Of those lesbian and gay officials elected prior to the new century, only Deborah Glick, the West Village Assembly member who was the state’s first out official when elected in 1990, remains in office. Duane retired from the State Senate, where he served since 1999, last year. Margarita Lopez, elected to the Council from the Lower East Side in 1997, left office in 2005 after waging an unsuccessful run for borough president. Antonio Pagan, who preceded Lopez, and Philip Reed, elected to a Harlem Council seat in 1997, have both died since leaving office. In addition to Mendez, Dromm, and Van Bramer on the Council, a number of gay men have been elected to the State Legislature over the past decade — Assemblymen Daniel O’Donnell, who was the lead sponsor on the marriage equality law, from the Upper West Side, in 2002; Matt Titone, from Staten Island in a special election in 2007; and Harry Bronson, from the Rochester area, in 2010; and Senator Brad Hoylman, who succeeded Duane, last year. Among the city’s out gay and lesbian elected officials, only Reed and Titone showed that an LGBT candidate could win outside neighborhoods typically known to have large gay populations. Dromm’s and Van Bramer’s districts are ethnically and economically diverse — far more so than the West Village-Chelsea neighborhoods that gave birth to gay


TORCH, continued on p.9


| September 18, 2013

politics in New York — but they include Jackson Heights, Astoria, and Long Island City, areas long known as LGBT-friendly enclaves. The election of Menchaca and Torres in particular, then, symbolize the increased ability of openly gay candidates to take their place at the table in communities citywide. They certainly didn’t win because they are gay, but it would not be accurate to say that they won in spite of being gay. Instead, as young gay men — at 32, Menchaca is the oldest of the three newcomers — they found natural coalition with a host of other reform advocates challenging a political establishment they believe has advantaged development and the wealthy at the expense of working and poor New Yorkers in recent years. When Menchaca announced his run against González, who is 64, earlier this year, he was taking on the Brooklyn political machine tarnished by the sexual harassment scandal of its recently deposed head, former Assemblyman Vito Lopez. He also aimed to become the city’s first MexicanAmerican elected official. Menchaca told Gay City News he decided to make the race in the wake of Superstorm Sandy,

which hit Red Hook with devastating impact. He was active in the clean-up effort there, where blocks remained submerged under water for days and large housing projects, where residents depend on elevators, went without power. “Government was nowhere to be seen,” he said. Being “a candidate who is visible and active” became central to his campaign. In demonstrating that he is “active,” Menchaca, who grew up in public housing in El Paso, Texas, did not shy away from the mantle of being an activist. “Government has to show up,” he told voters at a house party early in the campaign. That attitude won Menchaca friends in labor — including SEIU 1199, which represents healthcare workers, 32BJ, representing building services employees, and the Hotel Trades Council, as well as the city’s Central Labor Council. He was the only candidate challenging an incumbent to win the endorsement of the Working Families Party. Support from unions is nothing new in New York politics, but Menchaca argued that labor was at the forefront of change in 2013. They were eager to embrace “candidates who are associated with


TORCH, continued on p.13

DE BLASIO SCORES BIG WIN IN PRIMARY Having achieved a big plurality in the Democratic primary, a triumphant Bill de Blasio vowed to win the mayor’s race on November 5. “What we achieved here tonight won’t just change the views inside City Hall,” de Blasio told supporters at a September 10 celebration in a Brooklyn club not far from his Park Slope home. “It will change the policies that have left so many New Yorkers outside of City Hall.” Now that former Comptroller Bill Thompson — who for days hoped that final election results would bring the frontrunner below the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff with him — has conceded, de Blasio, the city’s public advocate, can set his sights on Joe Lhota, the former deputy mayor in the Giuliani administration who easily won the Republican nomination for mayor. In his primary night remarks, de Blasio amplified on his campaign theme — a “tale of two cities.” He said a small number of wealthy New Yorkers have benefited from city policies and a far larger group of New Yorkers have been left behind. New York has become a city in which “luxury condos have replaced community hospitals” and “proactive policing has become racial profiling,” he said. The reference to luxury condos was hammered home in the campaign’s final weeks to emphasize the loss of St. Vincent’s Hospital and the redevelopment of the site by Rudin Management in City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s district. De Blasio said his campaign offered an “unapologetic progressive alternative” and that a de Blasio mayoralty would be one in which all New Yorkers would have a chance at a better life. “We are bigger, we are stronger, we are better as a city when we make sure that everybody has a shot,” de Blasio said. Dan Levitan, a de Blasio spokesman, said the campaign had set a goal of identifying 100,000 de Blasio supporters and it had exceeded that goal. The campaign had 5,000 volunteers work-


TORCH, from p.8

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio flanked by his son, Dante, his daughter, Chiara, and his wife, Chirlane McCray.

ing on September 10 to get voters to the polls. The turnout in the primary was moderate, with between 600,000 and 700,000 New Yorkers voting, and de Blasio snagged the votes of roughly 260,000. The campaign was also assisted by 1199 SEIU, a local of the Service Employees International Union. George Gresham, the president of 1199 SEIU, introduced de Blasio’s daughter, Chiara, at the celebration who then introduced her father. Lhota is presenting himself in the mold of Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg — fiscally disciplined and liberal on social issues. That has been a potent image in recent elections. Together, Giuliani and Bloomberg have occupied City Hall for the past 20 years. Giuliani and Bloomberg, in fact, used gimmicks to balance the city’s budget. Giuliani cut taxes and doubled New York City’s borrowing to make up for the lost revenue. Bloomberg has not negotiated new contracts with any city unions in four years, saving at least $7 billion. The next mayor will have to contend with those negotiations and the fiscal consequences. — Duncan Osborne

FRONTRUNNER STATUS EVAPORATED, QUINN LOSES GAY VOTE In a sharp rebuke to her eight years as City Council speaker, Christine Quinn finished a distant third in the September 10 Democratic mayoral primary. Fueled by anger over her close ties to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, her role in giving him the chance to run for a third term, and — in the Council district she has served since 1999 — controversial land use development decisions many blamed her for, she garnered just 15 percent of the vote. Perhaps most stunningly, as the city first viable out LGBT mayoral candidate, Quinn earned just 34 percent of the queer vote, according to Edison Research exit polls, versus 47 percent for Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. Appearing before supporters on primary night, Quinn, who for much of the campaign was the frontrunner, sounded an upbeat tone even as her eyes were moist with tears. “We all care deeply about this city,” the speaker said of the Democratic primary field. “We share the goal of greater opportunity for every New Yorker in every neighborhood.” Surrounded on stage by her large extended family, including her wife Kim Catullo, Quinn said, “I’m more grateful than I can say to my wife Kim. She is by far — every day and twice on Sunday — the best thing that ever happened to me.” Noting the historic significance that a victory would have had, the speaker talked about “a young girl out there” who could say, “I can do that,” and the lifeline it would have sent to “a young LGBT teen out there who’s doubting themself for who they are.” The crowd gathered at Chelsea’s Dream Hotel offered a variety of reactions ranging from anger to shock to pride. Nathan Schaefer, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, New York’s LGBT lobby, said, “ We stood with Speaker Quinn as she rose from advocacy leader to elected official and through a highly competitive primary election season this year. Our early endorsement back in January shows our commitment to her strong record of delivering on issues near and dear to LGBT New Yorkers.”

The comments from others were considerably more raw. Robert Pinter, whose 2008 false arrest on prostitution charges thrust him into activism over police treatment of the LGBT community, said he was “overwhelmed, shocked… and sort of speechless.” About critics of the speaker who eventually came together under the slogan Anybody But Quinn and spent more than a million dollars in independent expenditure advertising against her, “Even as far back as my arrest in 2008, there was organized opposition to her. I haven’t seen anything like it — a campaign just to bring someone down. It did nothing to add to our political discourse.” West Village Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, first elected in 1990, was more scathing in her assessment of the opposition Quinn faced. “There was a lot of misogyny coming out of the Anybody But Quinn movement,” she argued, adding that comments made by de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd — which were originally misquoted and published without their full context — were “definitely code language… saying that a tough woman can’t be sensitive to the needs of other women.” Women and the LGBT community voted against their interests, Glick argued. “Women don’t support women to the extent they should,” she said. “And I don’t know that the LGBT community is always strategic in their thinking.” Rachel Lavine, a longtime activist in the LGBT community and the Democratic Party, noted that none of the men in the race faced the opposition spending Quinn did. She also faulted women and LGBT New Yorkers — including actresses Cynthia Nixon and Susan Sarandon as well as McCray herself, who as a young woman identified as lesbian — who allowed themselves to be used by the de Blasio campaign to make the argument “that her being gay isn’t enough, is it?” She added, “The fact that gay people did it does not make it any less homophobic.”



Christine Quinn and her wife, Kim Catullo, arrive to meet her supporters on primary night.

Stuart Appelbaum, the president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union and Quinn’s most prominent LGBT labor supporter, said, “I obviously would have liked to have seen a different result,” but was already looking forward to the general election in November. “Any of the Democratic candidates would be better than the incumbent because we need to focus on the people who have been excluded from his priorities,” he said. Quinn’s loss to de Blasio among LGBT voters, he said, “was a move beyond identity politics” that “shows how far we’ve come.” Still, imagining the impact a Quinn victory would have had on young gay New Yorkers, Appelbaum said, “I do think it’s a lost opportunity.” — Paul Schindler


September 18, 2013 |


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ith clusters of meningitis cases appearing among gay men on two continents coupled with a significant outbreak in New York City, epidemiologists cannot explain how the bug is spreading. “The cases in Europe similarly do not have a direct link to NYC so we can’t say that they are part of that outbreak, but no, this is not really a coincidence and again indicates there is some unusual pattern of sustained transmission going on that we need to keep trying to sort out,” wrote Dr. Thomas Clark, a medical epidemiologist at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in an email. Starting in 2010, New York City saw a meningitis outbreak among gay men that eventually grew to 22 cases with seven deaths. A 23rd case occurred in a man who lived outside the city, but spent significant time here. Los Angeles had a cluster of three related cases in December 2012 and January of 2013. The bacteria that caused those cases was the same as the bacteria found in the New York cases. A fourth Los Angeles case in April of this year was caused by a bacteria that was different from the New York cases and the other Los Angeles cases. In August of this year, the Salt Lake County Health Department in Utah reported a meningitis death in a 20-yearold gay man who undertook “recent cross country travel” and was infected with a bacteria that was the same as the one found in Los Angeles and New York. In a July issue, the journal Science reported on a five-case meningitis cluster in Germany this year. France reported three cases among gay men this year, and Belgium reported one case. The same bug is causing the US and European cases. The fact that the bug is the same is unremarkable. “Most of the serogroup C isolates in the United States are pretty related anyway,” Clark told Gay City News, referring to the bacteria. “Identical is easy because it’s identical and you can say those two bacterial isolates are the same... We always say that [the DNA] doesn’t really tell us anything that the epidemiology doesn’t tell us in the first place.” Close to 100 percent of meningitis cases are individual occurrences, with no epidemiological evidence of subse-

Dr. Thomas Clark, a medical epidemiologist at the CDC.

quent secondary cases. The bacteria that cause both clusters and outbreaks (which are defined more stringently than clusters) tend to be more virulent, which explains the deaths. What remains unexplained is how the bug is moving from city to city and from one continent to another. How the bacteria is transmitted is also unknown. The explanation could be as simple as some gay men carrying the bacteria in their noses or throats and infecting others in some setting where there is close contact or during sex. At any given time, a percentage of the population is carrying the bacteria without experiencing symptoms so gay men who travel for parties, for example, may be more likely to encounter the bug. “The factors, the social factors, that kind of promote transmission are more favorable in the gay community,” Clark said. “It’s just going around in the gay community... It’s all about risk factors, it’s all about the likelihood of coming into contact and acquiring meningitis.” The suggestion that meningitis is a sexually transmitted disease has recently drawn the ire of some in the gay community, who have posted online comments saying they are offended that gay sex is once again being implicated in the spread of a disease. But the bacteria requires close contact so it is possible that it is transmitted during sex.


MENINGITIS, continued on p.12


| September 18, 2013


GMHC Ousts Marjorie Hill After Seven Years BY SAM SPOKONY


ay Men's Health Crisis, the nation’s oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the HIV/ AIDS epidemic and supporting those affected by it, announced on September 13 that its CEO for the past seven years, Dr. Marjorie Hill, will step down at the end of this month. Contrary to a press release stating that Hill's departure was a mutual decision between her and GMHC's 25-member board of directors, sources within the organization told this newspaper that Hill was, in fact, fired by the board. "Hill was completely blindsided by the firing, since she believed that she had solid core support on the board," said a source, who asked to remain anonymous due to professional concerns, via email on September 15, adding that the ouster was initially orchestrated about six months ago by board chair Myron Sulzberger Rolfe and his board colleague Manuel Rivera. Rivera is also chair of GMHC's Con-

sumer Advisory Board (CAB), a group that advocates for the organization's clients and is made up of clients, staff, volunteers, and community partners. Many of those connected to GMHC have said that Hill's relationships with staff and clients have become extremely contentious. "It's been a rough tenure, especially over the past year, and the clients just feel like [Hill] hasn't been responsive to their needs, even though she does plenty of fundraising," said Joseph Sellman, another member of the CAB. "A lot of us could tell that this was in the works." Myron Gold, a CAB member and a client for the past 20 years, said that the damaged relationship was most clearly expressed at a July 23 mayoral candidate forum held at GMHC. When can- Dr. Marjorie Hill marches in the 2013 LGBT Pride Parade in Manhattan. didate Bill Thompson said during the forum that, if elected, he would put Hill on the city's AIDS advisory board, the members were there, so it really looked during a September 16 phone interview that was closely supervised by a senior mention of her name drew loud boos bad." Rivera declined to comment on the manager at GMHC. throughout the room. However, Rolfe did acknowledge that "I'll never forget that, because the issue, instead referring the reporter to candidates were so stunned and it was Rolfe, who acts as spokesperson for the he received a letter earlier this year from just such an embarrassment," Gold board of directors. said. "On top of that, a lot of boardT:9.875” Rolfe denied that the board fired Hill c GMHC, continued on p.41


Despite release citing amicable parting, sources confirm departure was orchestrated by leaders of the board

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September 18, 2013 |


$4.5 Million Defamation Award Against Anti-Gay Official Upheld Andrew Shirvell, ex-assistant attorney general in Michigan, loses in suit brought by gay student body president



federal judge has a affirmed a $4.5 million jury verdict against a homophobic former Michigan assistant attorney general found to have committed wrongful acts against the gay student body president at the University of Michigan. District Judge Arthur J. Tarnow’s September 11 ruling came in a lawsuit brought by Christopher Armstrong, who graduated from Michigan in 2011, against Andrew Shirvell, fired by the attorney general’s office in 2010 when it was learned he used his office computer to wage a vitriolic online campaign against Armstrong upon his election as student body president. Tarnow denied Shirvell’s motions that he overturn the jury verdict as a matter of law, for a new trial, or to amend the damages judgment. Shirvell, a University of Michigan alumnus, was angered when he read about Armstrong’s election, becoming fixated on doing something to discredit him. He started a blog devoted to attacking Armstrong for his “radical homosexual agenda,” claiming, among other things, that the student engaged in sexual misconduct in public places. Shirvell, who described gay life as “filthy,” showed up on campus and outside Shirvell’s home, ostensibly to “document” inappropriate conduct and to protest against Armstrong. The student complained about Shirvell’s activities, and in addition to

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his discharge from the attorney general’s office, Shirvell was also briefly barred from the university campus. His conduct was referred to legal profession disciplinary authorities and local law enforcement agencies, as well. The local prosecutor decided not to charge him with stalking, but Tarnow found that did not preclude Armstrong from seeking civil damages. Armstrong claimed the blog attacks and stalking incidents were defamatory, an invasion of privacy, and constituted intentional infliction of emotional distress. Since Shirvell moved to Long Island after losing his job, Armstrong’s suit, based entirely on Michigan state law, was heard in federal court as a dispute between citizens of different states. Shirvell’s defense, repeated over and over but unsuccessfully at his trial and in his post-trial motions, was that his activities were protected by the First Amendment as freedom of speech. Armstrong, he argued, qualified as a public figure since he was the elected student body president who put out press releases proclaiming his status as the first out gay man in that position. As a public figure, Armstrong could only hold Shirvell liable for defamation if he could show Shirvell made defamatory statements with “actual malice,” a legal standard requiring proof he deliberately lied or spoke with deliberate indifference to whether his harmful statements were true. Shirvell also claimed that Tarnow erred by not allowing him to argue to the jury that his remarks and conduct enjoyed First Amendment protections. Tarnow found that the issue of First Amendment protection was a question of law to be decided by the judge, not by the jury, whose role was to decide questions of fact. It was up to the jury to determine whether the statements specified in Armstrong’s complaint were assertions of fact that were either true or false. Under Michigan law, however, because Armstrong was seeking damages for emotional distress, he had the burden of showing Shirvell made his statements either knowing they were untrue or with reckless disregard for whether they were true or false — the actual “malice standard” that applies in public figure cases. The jury decided the overwhelming majority of Shirvell’s statements were false, many of them made with actual malice. The jury used evidence about the emotional distress Shirvell’s actions caused to Armstrong to determine the size of the award. Given the jury’s conclusion that Armstrong met the actual malice standard required of his emotional dis-

tress claims, Shirvell would seem to have nothing to gain by continuing to insist the plaintiff be considered a public figure who must meet that very same demanding standard in making a defamation claim. And, Tarnow’s opinion shows, in any event, just how hard the public figure argument might be for Shirvell to make on appeal. The judge rejected the assertion that Armstrong’s position at the university made him into a public figure. “The mention of Plaintiff Armstrong in a limited number of mostly local news publications does not render Armstrong a ‘household word,’” he wrote. “Moreover, Plaintiff’s position as student body president did not provide Plaintiff with control or responsibility for government processes, and therefore does not qualify him as a public official. Finally, Defendant Shirvell also fails to identify a public controversy in which Plaintiff was involved, other than the attention brought on Plaintiff by Defendant’s own statements and actions.” Shirvell’s blog and protest signs stated Armstrong had engaged in various kinds of misbehavior, offensive conduct, and even some criminal acts. Armstrong presented evidence that the statements were false. In the trial, Shirvell argued his statements were either true or non-actionable statements of opinion, but the jury disagreed, and courts are loathe to set aside a jury’s factual findings, especially when the evidence stands largely uncontradicted by the defendant. Shirvell, who represented himself in the trial, only offered witnesses on the public figure issue, which Tarnow found could not be presented to the jury, and provided no direct evidence the contested statements were true. On the issue of actual malice, Shirvell rested largely on his own testimony that he believed all the statements he made about Armstrong to be true, but he provided no factual basis for those beliefs and, during the trial and in his briefs to the judge afterward, ignored many of his statements that were at issue. Tarnow noted that the post-hearing briefs made “specific reference to less than half of the statements at issue in this case.” The judge also rejected Shirvell’s arguments against the size and scope of the damage award, finding that it fell within the normal range for cases involving this type of behavior. Shirvell received volunteer legal assistance on his post-trial motions and will likely seek to appeal the court’s rulings, since he continues to maintain that all his conduct was shielded by the First Amendment.


we’d probably say that this is an incidental finding and no one is sure if this is a sufficient step in the diseasecausing process, or if it’s just a dead end for the bugs.” The Science article reported that New York City’s health department has begun a study to determine if the bacteria, typically transmitted from the nose or throat of one person to the nose and throat of another, has found a new transmission route. Meningitis remains a rare infection in the US, with an estimated 1,500 cases a year. Health authorities say that they identify more than 80 percent of the cases every year so it is highly unlikely that there is a larger outbreak occurring among gay men that has gone undetected.

MENINGITIS, from p.10

A 1981 study published in the American Journal of Public Health isolated hundreds of samples of Neisseria meningitidis, the bacteria causing the current clusters and outbreak, from the “genitourinary tract and/ or anal canal” of dozens of men who visited a New York City “clinic treating homosexuals” over a four-year period. “I think finding mening in the GU tract means it can be acquired there, probably by oral sex,” Clark wrote, adding that it is unknown whether transmission can occur in both directions. “It’s not clear if it can be transmitted from there to the throat, but seems like it could,” he wrote. “In medicine


| September 18, 2013



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Corey Johnson greets his supporters on primary night.


TORCH, from p.9

the progressive mood in this election,” he said. Indeed, he spent a lot of time in his campaign talking about participatory budgeting , an innovation introduced by Council newcomers from recent election cycles who invite constituents to help plan the allocation of member item dollars each district receives. In addition to strong support from LGBT groups and individual donors, Menchaca also drew endorsements from other progressive quarters, including StreetsPAC, a group working to improve the safety and calm of the city’s thoroughfares through improvements like slow zones, pedestrian plazas, and bike lanes. He highlighted his endorsement from the group along with his challenge to the Brooklyn machine when he joined Antonio Reynoso, a Council candidate who prevailed last week over the disgraced Lopez in another Brooklyn district, on a July bike ride through the borough. The battle against Lopez had another important component in Menchaca’s race. Last year, Lopez supported a primary challenger to Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, a leading Latina lawmaker whose district straddles Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan. González supported that failed bid, and this year Velázquez paid her back by putting her prestige behind Menchaca. “We’ve built one of the most diverse coalitions in city politics, with immigrant groups, LGBT leaders, labor unions, small businesses, and local leaders,” Menchaca said after victory was secured last week. “I’m so proud of what we’ve all achieved together. Throughout the campaign, I’ve said government needs to show up and do more. I plan to deliver visible and vocal leadership on education, job creation, affordable housing, and all the issues that matter to our community.” Torres’ victory in the Bronx may

have been even more improbable than Menchaca’s in Brooklyn. Both men grew up in public housing, but even though he has worked as a Council staffer since he was 17, Torres has not yet escaped its confines. Menchaca left El Paso to attend college in San Francisco, after which he was chosen as one of 64 Coro Fellows in Public Affairs, a distinction that brought him to New York University for graduate level professional training, leading to his jobs with Markowitz and Quinn. Torres was unable to afford completion of his undergraduate studies at NYU. His work as a housing specialist in Vacca’s Council office has kept him in day to day touch with the district’s “many tenants [who] have no means of improving the maintenance of their own buildings,” Torres told Gay City News. As a Bronx-born Puerto Rican, he said, he is also mindful that “there is a crisis of young men in our society… young people whose only existence is life on the streets.” The new Council member lives not far from that experience. “I lived in poverty all my life,” Torres 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… 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.” In his campaign, Torres talked about turning around a decades-long neglect of his community. “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.”


TORCH, continued on p.20

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September 18, 2013 |


When a “Frontrunner” Hits the Wall





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City Council Speaker Christine Quinn began this year as such a prohibitive frontrunner in the Democratic mayoral race that for months the major question asked was how likely it was that her opponents could keep her below the 40 percent threshold and force her into a runoff. Now, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio enjoys the chance to go into the general election without needing to first dispatch his runner-up. Quinn finished up on primary night with just 15.5 percent of the vote, having lost her Council district, winning the votes of just 16 percent of women voters, and finding herself bested by de Blasio among gay, lesbian, and bisexual voters by a 47-34 margin. How did that happen? In primary night comments to Gay City News, West Village Assemblywoman Deborah Glick and Rachel Lavine, a Democratic State Committee member, suggested that homophobia and misogyny were at play. According to that perspective, the independent spending by the Anybody But Quinn (ABQ) forces, which totaled more than $1 million, was unmatched by any similar effort waged against the men in the race. Women and LGBT voters, they argued, were inattentive to the importance of having one of their own at the head of the table. Meanwhile, a Times poll pointed up reactions to Quinn from some voters that included derogatory terms often aimed at women in power — including “petty,” “mean,” “bossy,” and “argumentative.” And surrogates for de Blasio, they said, most prominently the candidate’s wife, Chirlane McCray, were all too happy to play on those attitudes. It’s true that ABQ’s embrace of independent expenditure attacks on Quinn had a certain

irony. The Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in the Citizens United case that made this spending possible in a city that prides itself on its public financing system was widely and vociferously denounced by progressives. McCray’s comments about Quinn, in which she suggested the speaker does not under stand challenges facing ordinary women in New York such as taking “care of children at a young age,” have been hotly debated — in no small measure because the Times’ Maureen Dowd initially misquoted the exchange, stripping it of its full context. McCray’s statement, in Dowd’s corrected version, is less inflammatory than as originally rendered, though it does nevertheless manage to paint Quinn as something of the Other. T h e s e p o i n t s , h o w e v e r, obscure far more salient lessons from the collapse of Quinn’s campaign. The most significant is that her close ties to Mayor Michael Bloomberg — and particularly her role in allowing him to seek a third term — proved fatal among Democratic primary voters. On this point, the speaker undoubtedly lulled herself into complacency, if not outright denial due to Bloomberg’s ability to win in 2009 despite the outcry over the term limits extension and to his remarkably high approval ratings after 11 years in office. There were warning signs, however. Though he spent more than $100 million in that campaign, the mayor beat thenComptroller Bill Thompson, who waged a lackluster campaign, by less than five percent. Quinn herself, facing a primary challenge that year from two opponents fueled in large measure by the term limits flap, barely eked out a majority. The escalating controversy over the NYPD’s controversial stop and frisk policy — which has greatly aggravated tensions between the mayor and progressive Democrats — added to Quinn’s Bloomberg problem. Since the spring of 2012, at least, she has often stood with critics

of stop and frisk, most dramatically at their Father’s Day rally in Harlem 15 months ago. However, at forum after forum this year, Quinn insisted she would be happy to keep on Commissioner Ray Kelly should she become mayor. To voters, that position either masked her critique of stop and frisk or seemed like the sort of straddle they hate to see from politicians. Her allegiance to Kelly paid fewer and fewer dividends — if in fact it ever paid any — as the commissioner stepped up his criticism of Council efforts to curb police autonomy. Quinn stayed true to Kelly, but it seemed increasingly improbable he would ever consider staying on if she won. The mixed message on policecommunity relations speaks to a broader problem the Quinn campaign had in communicating its message and her record. De Blasio repeatedly hammered her on her delay in embracing paid sick leave legislation, largely affecting lower wage employees, and in watering it down when doing so. At first, the issue looked like a winner for Quinn. When she appeared with labor leaders and other progressive advocates early this year to announce agreement on moving forward, the tableau provided a sharp contrast with the public advocate standing alone hours later to quibble that it was all too little, too late. But de Blasio didn’t let the issue go — and Quinn didn’t seem all that interested in rebutting his critique. More than a few voters told me they faulted her for blocking paid sick leave — not just for a few years, but for good. They seemed unaware she had triumphantly cloaked herself with advocates for low wage New Yorkers when endorsing compromise legislation. Uppermost in their minds was de Blasio’s charge of inaction. A similar dynamic at times played out with LGBT voters. In all likelihood, Quinn lost the gay vote because many in our community believed that other, larger issues trumped the leadership she could be expected to

deliver for the community. But at least some gay New Yorkers believed she had stood in the way on key community concerns. I heard complaints that she didn’t do anything for homeless LGBT youth, when in fact the City Council year after year stepped into the breach to restore or replace funding cuts from the budgets delivered by Bloomberg and, since 2011, Governor Andrew Cuomo. Several people also told me they were upset by Quinn’s support for using condom possession as evidence in prostitution arrests, something she has criticized for a long time. In like fashion, the refusal of the city’s health department to make it easier for transgender New Yorkers born here to change the gender designation on their birth certificates stands despite longstanding criticism from the speaker. In citing these misconceptions, I am not attributing Quinn’s loss to voter ignorance. The fault, instead, lies with the campaign she ran. Even after it was clear that endorsements from the city’s three dailies were not staunching her slide and de Blasio’s surge, ads touting the New York Times’ support for her — produced in the most generic style possible — continued to flood the airwaves. In what was clearly shaping up to be a change election, the ads merely reinforced Quinn’s image as the insider, establishment candidate. What we never saw was the speaker facing the camera and talking to New Yorkers in a personal way about her vision for the city. Faced with de Blasio’s brilliant ad featuring his son Dante, humanizing Quinn was her only hope in the campaign’s final days. It may be that the die was cast the day Quinn okayed the Council’s extension of term limits in late 2008, and the contest this year was simply a protracted matter of sorting things out before Democratic voters inevitably settled on a candidate they trusted to provide a clear departure from the Bloomberg years. For me, Quinn remains a leader with essentially progressive instincts and an impressive record on a host of issues that matter. I’m sorry that I often couldn’t find that candidate in her campaign’s big picture narrative.


| September 18, 2013


Orange is Not New, and Prison is Not Our Best Color BY SUSIE DAY


wenty-five years ago, I, a hapless reporter on assignment, went to the DC Jail and met the woman who was to be my life partner. I interviewed her about her political bombing case; we fell in love; I visited her in various prisons for 11 years; she was released; we’re now spending the rest of our lives working out our relationship, which has much to do with politics and everything with what she went through in prison. Whatta story, right? I haven’t written much about this because I’ve found it impossible to convey what prison did to us. But when I read Piper Kerman’s smart, funny, heart-grabbing “Orange Is the New Black” chronicling her year behind bars, I thought, “Whoa, she gets this.” Then I caught the Netflix series based on Kerman’s book. I now suspect the most lethal thing you can do to the truth about prison is to bring it anywhere near the entertainment industry. From her book, Piper Kerman seems a standup person. Yes, like on Netflix, she’s a thin, white Smith graduate; yes, she’s got the confidence that comes from being told all your life that you and your people matter. But during her comparatively tiny 11-month stint in the Danbury prison camp on a drug conviction, Piper Kerman, for all her legal reserves, her family’s support, her fiancé’s devotion, realized she was as powerless as the scores of mostly poor women of all

colors and cultures who did time alongside her. Prison corrodes humanity layer by layer with absurd, bureaucratic cruelties. Inside, as my partner found, the best way to hang on to your soul is to actually see the people around you. This is what Piper Kerman did, and the bonds she forged with the women at Danbury changed her life. Kerman became alive to the fact that each of the 2.4 million women and men locked into U.S. “correctional” facilities — disproportionately people of color, almost all poor — possesses souls that weigh the same as her own. Kerman angled her book in this direction, and now that she’s out, she’s on the board of the Women’s Prison Association, working to change the punitive, lock-‘em-up mentality that created this nation’s prison system. Which is why it hurts to see what was, in book form, a credible, compassionate story of women surviving prison, stream online as voyeuristic entertainment for anyone interested in mean-girl-sex-drugsnake-pit lockups. In this hierarchy of intimidation and deceit, shame trumps compassion almost every time. No wonder America loves this show. Prison on Netflix looks authentic. Women have convincingly bad skin, rotten teeth, lumpy figures. But this docurealism also works to shield shallowly conceived characters, many of whom verge on class and race caricatures. Black, Latina, poor white women, and — lest we forget — lesbians are trashy, self-hating, predatory, and come with

precooked back stories involving poverty, drugs, abuse, etc., to explain how they got that way. Piper, on Netflix, becomes a self-avowed WASP narcissist who, before entering prison, begs her fiancé to “keep my website updated.” Inside, she likes fucking the ex-girlfriend who got her arrested. She also isn’t above turning in someone’s contraband to get what she wants from the corrections officers — who are portrayed one-dimensionally as sadistic or two-dimensionally as pitiful. In transferring any work from page to stage it’s legitimate to alter the original. But “OITNB” the show goes way beyond this to disfigure the basic spirit of “OITNB” the book, refitting characters and storyline to suit TV’s definition of “gripping.” In the book, for instance, Piper, new to prison camp, remarks that the food is so bad there ought to be a hunger strike. She doesn’t know the middle-aged Russian woman sitting across from her is the camp cook. The cook, though hurt, warns Piper not to mention hunger strikes if she wants to avoid solitary. But on Netflix, the cook seethes, and next day at breakfast, Piper finds a bloody tampon on her muffin — an unsubtle cue to the camp’s women that Piper is to be starved. Piper doesn’t eat for days, until she figures out how to make amends. Crazy Eyes, in the book, is a Latina who had a crush on Piper, but who respectfully backs off after Piper explains she isn’t interested. Crazy Eyes, in the series, is a wigged-out black butch, who



ast week, The New Yo r k T i m e s b r o k e t h e unsurprising news that Christine Quinn's electoral disaster may have been more than rejection of her politics, but of Quinn herself — her female screech and high-pitched voice, the childlessness supposedly antagonistic to families, her unfeminine pushiness and goshdang dykey masculinity no man wants to stare at and no woman wants to be

accused of. Her advisors saw it coming and told her she had to do something, but apparently Quinn refused to talk about it, either out of hubris and short-sightedness or despair. Realistically, there's little she could have done. If Quinn had tried to appear softer, she'd have seemed weak or, worse, duplicitous. There are some circles you just can't square. All we can do is admit the problem like inequality addicts, try to take the first step again: "Hi, I'm Christine Quinn. I'm a dyke and I'm

screwed." We're not post-misogyny, post-homophobia, post-anything just because women have been able to vote for a while now and even own property, and lesbians can mess around safely in their own beds or tie the knot at City Hall and reduce their parents to happy blubbering idiots. The problem is, there's no real change in sight. In movies and on TV, gender roles are almost as rigid as ever. If we're lucky enough to get a female superhero with a musclebound gym bod, you can bet she'll have long girly hair. The toughest

after being refused, sneaks into Piper’s cubicle to piss on the floor. Occasionally, Netflix offers pockets of clarity: Poussey, a young black woman is able — desperately, ecstatically — to catch a last glimpse of her best friend Taystee as she’s led away on release; Sophia, the camp’s only transgender woman, confides in the activist nun. And despite the show’s moral incompetence, the actors are, for the most part, extremely competent, dimensional, skilled — and deserve better. But once you hear the opening lines of “OITNB”’s theme song, you know what the show’s about: The animals, the animals Trapped, trapped, trapped ‘til the cage is full… I’m truly sorry. I know you probably love this show. Go on, enjoy this skanky soap opera. Definitely enjoy Season One’s fade-out — spoiler alert! — as Piper beats a psychotic white trash Jesus freak possibly to death during the Christmas pageant. Just please don’t think this teaches you about prison. Here’s the thing. I’ve been visiting prisoners — women and men, state and federal — since 1988. I personally haven’t known life inside, but I know what it’s like to be the good friend of someone who will probably never get out. My partner’s 14-plus years inside color every aspect of our relationship and that will continue until one of us dies. And whether you know it or not, prison colors every aspect of your life in this country. You want to see women in prison? Turn off your flat screen. Get involved. Teach a class. Write or visit someone inside. Maybe she’s had hot prison sex. Maybe she gets into fights. That’s hardly the point. What will probably shock you is how much you have in common.

female politicians stuff themselves into pink Chanel skirts, while the religious counselors of their constituents advise their flock that their daughters shouldn't be sent to college. Keep 'em barefoot, pregnant, and ignernt as sin. While a video of that preacher went viral on the Internet, propelled by outraged feminists, nothing really happened. The women's movement is all but dead. LGBT groups are mostly mobilized for legal equality and have minimal impact on daily life. In fact, there's little going on anywhere that might start giving people ideas. It's not like we've got a big movement against the Vietnam War or for Women's Rights. All is calm on the activist front.


COGSWELL, continued on p.21


September 18, 2013 |


Christine Quinn: Sexism, Homophobia, and a Campaign’s Collapse BY PAULINE PARK


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hristine Quinn would have been the first woman and the first member of the LGBT community elected mayor of New York City had she won this year’s mayoral race. The fact that Quinn started the campaign as the clear frontrunner, with polls showing her at somewhere near 40 percent, but finished a distant third with a mere 15.5 percent of the vote on September 10, has fueled charges of sexism and homophobia. "Her sexual orientation and her domestic arrangement may have hurt her,” Lisa Miller blogged online in New York magazine (“Christine Quinn Got A Raw Deal — Because She's a Woman”), putting her “squarely in society's most reviled demographic category: middle-aged women without children — the jealous queens and kidnappers of Disney movies. Quinn's devastating loss stands as proof that in the privacy of the voting booth we are even less post-chauvinist than we are post-racial in our preferences.” How then would Miller explain Letitia James – another middle-aged woman without children — winning first place in the public advocate's race with 36 percent? "Did Christine Quinn Lose the New York Mayoral Race Because of Sexism?," Isaac Chotiner asks in the New Republic. "I suppose it's somehow less hurtful to accuse hundreds of thousands of people of sexism than it is to pick on a specific person," he writes, pointing out that Miller lacks a “coherent argument,” her case resting on a questionable analogy to the 2008 Obama/ Clinton race, which Miller asserts Obama won purely because of sexist attacks on Hillary. "Next time she indicts a large chunk of the country's biggest city,” Chotiner concludes, “she should have better evidence than a 2008 presidential campaign — which was utterly unrelated to Quinn's candidacy — and a handful of adjectives in a New York Times article," which pointed to a poll in which voters described Quinn with terms often used to denigrate women in power. But the mayoral candidate with the highest unfavorable rating was Anthony Weiner (around 55 percent); Quinn had only the second highest

negatives (around 45 percent). In fact, Quinn's status as the only woman and the only LGBT candidate in the mayoral race arguably provided two of her biggest assets. Edison Research exit polls showed that primary voters were disproportionately female (54 percent), which should have helped the only woman in the mayoral primary. "Women don’t support women to the extent they should," openly lesbian Assemblywoman Deborah Glick opined on primary night (see related story on page 9). But Ruth Messinger won the 1997 Democratic mayoral primary outright with 40 percent and had none of the problems generating support from other women that Quinn did. "There was a lot of misogyny coming out of the Anybody But Quinn movement," Glick asserted. But ABQ was co-founded by one woman (Wendy Neu) and another woman (Allie Feldman) was one of its lead organizers. ABQ was substantially funded by NYCLASS — a non-profit animal advocacy organization — in response to the City Council speaker’s having blocked the entire legislative agenda of the city’s animal rights activists, a group that included Donny Moss, a gay constituent of Quinn’s, who played a leading role in the ABQ campaign. But it was not only the speaker’s role as Cruella de Quinn — enemy of our hoofed friends in Central Park and our furry friends in all five bor oughs — that fueled the movement against her, unprecedented in recent mayoral campaign history. In “Roots of Betrayal: The Ethics of Christine Quinn,” Queens-based gay activist Louis Flores documented a host of ethical and legal infractions, including the celebrated slush fund scandal that prompted the speaker to push the term limit extension bill through the Council, allowing Bloomberg — and Quinn herself — to run for a third term. Quinn's biggest strategic error was her inability to craft an effective or even a coherent response to the palpable voter anger over her instrumental role in enacting legislation that overturned two successive public referenda limiting the terms of the mayor and Council members. Quinn started out the primary cam-


QUINN, continued on p.17


| September 18, 2013


QUINN, from p.16

paign season as the prohibitive frontrunner with at least the tacit support of billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the active support of a host of wealthy donors, including some of the city's biggest developers. In contrast, stuck in fourth place around 14 percent in the polls only a few months before the primary, Bill de Blasio was written off by many. The first openly gay Council speaker also had the entire gay political establishment behind her, including the Empire State Pride Agenda, the Stonewall Democratic Club, Lambda Independent Democrats, the Gay & Lesbian Democrats, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, and the Human Rights Campaign, along with women's organizations such as Emily's List and the National Organization for WomenNYC. Quinn was also endorsed by Gay City News, the only LGBT newspaper in New York, along with the New York Times, the New York Daily News, and the New York Post. Quinn also had the support of a dozen labor unions, including two of the biggest in the city: 32BJ and the Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union (RWDSU). She had the backing of the Queens County Democratic Party organization, the most powerful of the city's political machines, which put her in the speaker’s chair back in early 2006; and more than 50 elected officials as well as a host of celebrities and activists. But despite endorsements from the city’s powerful elites, come September, Quinn placed a distant third, losing every Democratic Party constituency. Quinn got only 16 percent of women versus 39 percent for Bill de Blasio and 26 percent for Bill Thompson. As the Times’ Sam Roberts noted, "de Blasio carried white women 36 to 26 percent and black women by a crushing 47 to 6 percent.” And just as women rejected Quinn in favor of de Blasio by a greater than two-to-one margin, a majority of LGBT voters also rejected her candidacy. Edison found Quinn winning just a third (34 per cent) of self-identified LGBT voters, well behind de Blasio, who won 47 percent. Did 74 percent of white and 94 percent of black female Democratic mayoral primary voters follow the lead of some phantom misogynist bogeyman? Did a wave of homophobia sweep the first openly lesbian mayoral candidate into the dustbin of political history? There simply is no evidence that misogyny or homophobia played a role in influencing the primary elector ate, which put three new openly gay

Council members in office — Carlos Menchaca in Brooklyn, Ritchie Tor res in the Bronx, and Corey Johnson in Quinn's own Council district (see related story, page 8). And on that same day that the only female mayoral candidate went down to a crushing defeat, women won primaries for borough president in both boroughs where a woman competed — Gale Brewer in Manhattan and Melinda Katz in Queens. "I don’t know that the LGBT community is always strategic in their thinking," Glick said as part of her entirely non-empirical assessment of Quinn's defeat. But how strategic is it to support candidates based purely on their sexual orientation or gender identity, without reference to issues of race, ethnicity, class, economic policy, position on policing issues, or any of the important questions facing this city? As a transgendered AsianAmerican woman, did I have an obligation to vote for Chris Quinn as the only female candidate in the race? Or an obligation to support John Liu as the only Asian American running for mayor? And if those were competing claims, which should have carried more weight? In the end, I voted for the candidate I thought would make

The real explanation for the catastrophic demise of Quinn’s campaign was that she was a bad candidate who ran an awful campaign.

the best mayor, Bill de Blasio. As I see it, a crude identity politics such as Deborah Glick, Lisa Miller, and others espouse can do nothing but impoverish public discourse in this city — the most diverse in the United States — and distract us from the pursuit of progressive policy change. Fortunately, on September 10, women and LGBT voters rejected the crude appeal of such a simplistic identity politics; in fact, Quinn even lost her own Council district to de Blasio, a stunning indicator of her campaign’s complete collapse. The real explanation for the catastrophic demise of Quinn's campaign was neither misogyny nor homophobia but the fact that she was a bad candidate who ran an awful campaign and that Democratic primary voters were sick and tired of 12 years of Bloomberg and the mayoral candidate most close-


QUINN, continued on p.21

y l ho s w i u y g k e s DeAr gu And GALS who like gAls, life, liberty And the pursuit of hAppiness begAn with Me.

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


September 18, 2013 |

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hat drives a respected gay activist over the edge into madness? That is the question posed by the bizarre anti-Semitic ravings that, in the last two weeks, have been broadcast on social media by Nikolai Alexeyev. He’s the brilliant and charismatic young lawyer who in 2006 led the effort by a few dozen courageous Russian queers to hold a Moscow Pride event, which was immediately banned by Russian authorities. Those activists have bravely continued their efforts every year since — with the same result. Alexeyev again and again put his body on the line, getting arrested some 40 times in civil disobedience to Russian bans on gay demonstrations. And he filed dozens of lawsuits in the Russian courts using the that nation’s constitutional guarantees to proclaim the right of gays to organize and speak. His two-pronged strategy — militant street activism combined with legal challenges — won a great victory when the European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg ruled unanimously, in the case of Alexeyev v. Russia, that Vladimir Putin’s Russia was guilty of violating three sections of the European Convention on Human Rights in banning Moscow Pride. The court ordered Russia to pay a fine of 12,000 Euros to Alexeyev plus his legal costs. Alexeyev and his activist colleagues also founded the Russian LGBT Human Rights Project, a human rights news website that became the catalyst for Russian queers seeking to affirm their right to love and desire and was the megaphone for raising the visibility of homosexuality in Russia, where it had hardly ever been discussed and then only in bigoted terms. Putin’s brutal and violent repression of the Moscow Pride demonstrations, in collusion with fascist and ultra-religious Russian Orthodox thugs, brought global condemnation, especially when foreign activists — like the openly gay German member of parliament Volker Beck, the British gay and human rights activist Peter Tatchell, and gay elected officials from other European countries — were badly beaten after journeying to Moscow to join the demonstrations. Because we at Gay City News have as a bedrock principle that queers everywhere,

but especially in countries like ours where we have more freedom than elsewhere, have a duty of international solidarity with queers in the 83 countries in which same-sex love and desire is criminalized, as well as those in which it is technically legal but culturally repressed, we’ve devoted more space and energy to covering the plight of gay people and their brave organizing efforts in dozens of countries than have other US gay newspapers. And as part of our coverage, we reported in dozens of articles over the years on the liberation struggles of Russian queers and on Alexeyev’s key role in organizing those combating for the love that dared to speak its name. We have interviewed other activists in Russia, Ukraine, and other former Soviet Union countries who told us of the considerable help Alexeyev gave to them in organizing in St. Petersburg and other Russian cities and in founding Slavic Pride to unite queer activists from Russia and other former Soviet bloc nations. Because we so admired the courage and effectiveness of the hardy band of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists led by Alexeyev in raising the visibility of homosexuality in Russia and in asserting their right to love, we were all the more shocked by Alexeyev’s diatribes in recent weeks (see our September 4-17 report, “The Anti-Semitic Meltdown of One Russian Gay Activist” at On Facebook and Twitter, Alexeyev poured forth a stream of invective against “the Jewish mafia trying to overtake the world and now LGBT fight in Russia,” claimed that “America is ruled by Jewish mafia,” and proclaimed himself the successor to the late neo-fascist politicians Jörg Haider of Austria and Pim Fortuyn of the Netherlands, two queers whose racism and anti-Semitism motored their electoral successes. Recalling how Alexeyev had been kidnapped and drugged by Putin’s security forces in an attempt to pressure him to drop his lawsuit against Russia before the European Court of Human Rights — while Putin-controlled news media put out a phony story that Alexeyev had sought political asylum in, of all places, the homophobic dictatorship of Ukraine! — we thought it was not entirely impossible that the anti-Semitic garbage being attributed to Alexeyev was the work of hackers from Putin’s sophisticated Internet control operation working to discredit Russian gay activists. But on two sepa-


NIKOLAI, continued on p.19


| September 18, 2013 NIKOLAI, from p.18

rate occasions in these last weeks, this reporter offered Alexeyev the opportunity to deny or to recant these stomach-turning appeals to race prejudice. And we were met with his firm refusal to do so, thus confirming that the anti-Semitism was indeed his own. As a journalist who over the years has done more reporting on Alexeyev’s activism and interviewed him more frequently than any other, I want to make it clear — both personally and on behalf of Gay City News — that we believe Alexeyev has crossed the line into a dark, nasty, dangerous, and repugnant miasma of prejudice that has absolutely no place in the gay liberation struggle. Homosexuals have for too long been the targets of stereotyping and bigotry of the worst sort to want to see others similarly targeted. Human rights are indivisible, and must include opposition to racism and anti-Semitism wherever this prejudice raises its ugly head, everywhere in the world. It’s all our business as liberationists to oppose it with all our vigor. With sadness and dismay, we can only condemn in the strongest possible terms Alexeyev’s recent statements. He has dishonored not only himself but also the courageous activists whose leader he continues to proclaim himself (just the other day he claimed to this reporter that “the entire Russian gay movement now depends only on me!”). But his anti-Semitism means he has forfeited his claim to be a leader of gay liberation. So we are left with this question: what drove him to this madness? In Russia, anti-Semitism has a long and bloody history and its roots are deep. Under the czars, the despotic monarchy had the Black Hundreds, the gangs of anti-Semitic thugs who carried out violent pogroms against Russia’s Jews. “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a phony tract that is a bible of anti-Semites deployed by Hitler’s Nazis and is still in circulation among bigots today, was a forgery by the czarist secret police. Under Stalin, anti-Semitism was used as a weapon of repression of political opponents of Jewish descent (like Leon Trotsky), and there were regular anti-Semitic purges, culminating in the 1948 campaign against “rootless cosmopolitanism” that killed or jailed Yiddish-speaking writers, poets, and intellectuals and in a Stalinist fantasy of a Doctors’ Plot by Jewish doctors to kill the Russian dictator. In today’s Russia, anti-Semitism is a major current in resurgent, reactionary Russian nationalism and the growing native Russian fascist movements — with which Putin has an ill-concealed collaboration. It finds fertile ground in the Russian Orthodox Church, long a fetid sewer of anti-Semitism. And all these Jew-hating forces are also leading the horrific waves of anti-gay prejudice now engulfing Putin’s Russia. Russian anti-Semitic fascists and xenophobes

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With his recent anti-Semitic rants, gay Russian activist Nikolai Alexeyev has consigned himself to history’s trash bin.

have videotaped their violent attacks on queers, using the Internet to disseminate real-life images of gay people being beaten and forced to drink urine with their heads in toilets, accompanied by calls to exterminate gay people as “un-Russian.” It is doubly tragic to see a leading gay activist like Alexeyev ally himself with these virulently anti-gay and anti-Semitic forces — and, indeed, to proclaim himself a leader of them as the Russian successor to Haider and Fortuyn — because this distracts attention from the draconian new anti-gay laws passed by Putin’s stooges in the Russian Parliament that have attracted worldwide condemnation. Unfortunately, history records many examples of activists, especially those operating under authoritarian and totalitarian regimes, who have cracked under the pressure of their dissident roles. Not a few moved to the far right, including anti-Semitism of the worst sort (the French left is littered with a number of such characters).One has to be something of an illuminé, to use the French term, to put oneself forward as a leader in such a repressive context of unending police and cultural repression. The line separating brilliance and madness has always been a thin one, and the danger of megalomania is always present. But whatever the reasons for Alexeyev’s anti-Semitism, there can be no excuses for it. None. Homophobia is a form of racial prejudice too. And stereotypical fantasies about Jews have no place in gay liberation anywhere on this planet. Jews, Gentiles, Muslims, queers — we all have bigotry as our common enemy. And we at Gay City News believe that a united front of unblemished opposition to all of it is our common duty. It’s an obligation of conscience. To be even more precise: Nikolai Alexeyev has now consigned himself to the trash bin of history along with all the other legions of racist zealots. We can only hope that our queer Russian brothers and sisters, who are under the most dire attack, will not be further undermined or tarnished by the unspeakable calumnies he is now broadcasting in their name or demoralized by Alexeyev’s defection to the camp of bigotry.

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Torres, also endorsed by StreetsPAC, is well versed in a broad range of progressive issues — from participatory budgeting to the battle against “predatory equity” and derelict landlords to sustainability, a key policy concern of his that encompasses issues including the health impacts of truck exhaust pollution, the need for congestion pricing to reduce traffic, the availability of nutritious fresh food, and the maintenance of affordable and livable housing. Emerging from a district where socially conservative Evangelical Christianity has taken hold in recent decades — making it, in Torres’ words, the Bible Belt of New York City — his ability to win over leaders across the spectrum, including most major unions, the Working Families Party, and politicians from reformer Gustavo Rivera to political dynasty scion Ruben Diaz, Jr., was striking. Yet, reaction against his victory came swiftly. In a New York Post editorial two days after the primary, titled “To the left of de Blasio,” the newspaper charged that Torres “used his residency in public housing as a credit to his candidacy,” and went on to ask, “Is such a councilmember likely to push policies decreasing public dependency?” The answer, not unexpectedly from the right-wing



September 18, 2013 |

Ritchie Torres with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.

pathological. Their position is offensive, redoubt, was, “Not likely.” In response, Torres gave at least elitist, and wrong. NYCHA residents as good as he got. “In my City Coun- won’t stand for it, and neither will I.” The most conventional of the newcil campaign, I sought to highlight the struggles of low-income NYCHA resi- comer victories on election night was dents, because those struggles have Johnson’s. His battle with Kurland was shaped the lives of people in my dis- hard-fought, with the candidates and trict and my life as well,” he said in a their surrogates trading charges that written release. “Instead of champion- at times turned harshly personal. Kuring reforms that would actually help land focused considerable energy on NYCHA residents, the New York Post questioning Johnson’s work experience is condemning and criminalizing poorB:9.75”— particularly two staff jobs he held for people, and treating us as sick and relatively short periods with real estate

developers — to question his commitment to the change voters were looking for this year. But at an August 26 debate moderated by Gay City News and its sister publication The Villager, Johnson emerged as the candidate best able to address the specifics on leading issues facing the district. A key point Johnson drove home in that debate was the fact that he made a clean sweep of endorsements from local elected officials, including Congressman Jerrold Nadler. Though Kurland had a number of high profile supporters, including former Mayor David Dinkins, the lack of endorsements from those closest to the district was telling, Johnson maintained. Longtime Chelsea Assemblyman Dick Gottfried was among Johnson’s supporters, and he spent much of primary day talking to voters on his behalf. “I don’t endorse a candidate halfheartedly,” he explained. “And Corey really has done terrific work in this community.” On primary night, the candidate himself was clearly relieved that the electioneering was over. “I want to talk about the future and about solving the problems this district faces, and so I’m glad that the campaign is behind me,” Johnson told his supporters. “I will fight for the people in this district. That is my pledge.” — Additional reporting by Sam Spokony


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| September 18, 2013


COGSWELL, from p.15

Ditto for the culture wars. There's no Woodstock or Haight-Ashbury on the horizon. No Harlem Renaissance, Audre Lorde, or David Wojnarowicz. In New York, activism has been particularly scarce since the demise of ACT UP and the Lesbian Avengers. There were two or three big demos protesting the Iraq War. A handful of folks denounced torture. Domestic spying is submitted to with barely a peep. Wall Street was occupied briefly then abandoned. After the Trayvon Martin verdict, there were a few protests but no budding movement. As humans, as Americans, it seems we've lost our hearts. We're dead in


QUINN, from p.17

ly associated with him. Quinn’s Rose Garden strategy was premised on creating the expectation that her nomination was inevitable — and in that regard at least was analogous to Clinton’s failed strategy in 2008. Quinn, like Thompson, ran a general election campaign in the primary, attempting to appeal to moderates and independents whom they believed they would need to attract once they won the nomination. De Blasio understood

the water. Play taps or some old spiritual. Let's get it over with. Though maybe I'm missing something. Maybe there's some underground thing getting ready to bloom, though I doubt it. The old tricks don't seem to work any more. In the US, we relied too long on identity politics to fuel progressive movements, rallying people around race, sexual orientation, gender. As if the categories had some independent existence tapping into hidden wells of Power. Raise your fist in the Black Power salute. Burn something like a bra. Or don't. Post-modern and queer theories seem to put the existence of any identity, especially the lesbian one, on the same plane as unicorns.

Our lives are performed, not lived. They are as flexible and fluid as any Coney Island contortionist. No matter that the street tells us different and the consequences of identity aren't flexible at all. Violence, rape, poverty of whole classes of people. Disenfranchisement. And yet, and yet, what do we have in common? Females are just creatures with two mounds on their chests and reproductive organs conveniently tucked away. Even so, I get chased out of women's restrooms. Get called sir half the time in the street when my hair is short. Not that dykes embrace each other. We're too this or too that. Not enough of the other thing. Likewise, nothing unites African

Americans and other racial minorities but skin. Scratch beneath it and what do you have? More skin. And then flesh and icky stuff. Blood. And bones. It is only abstractions that are shared. The invisible web of history and culture and experience. Things that must be continually taught, continually explored. Whether the lesson comes from a bigot and is one of shame. Or something to celebrate, taught by somebody inside the community reminding us survival itself is reason enough for pride. We did it. You can, too. Identity is largely an act of the imagination, filtered through imponderable flesh. It's a dream we deny the need for, but can't live without.

that the primary would be won by the candidate who could best appeal to a progressive primary electorate. Quinn’s failure to distance herself from the mayor meant that she was widely perceived as his tacit choice among the Democrats. Trying to steer the tortured course between the Scylla of her ties to Bloomberg — including to wealthy donors many of whom were his cronies and to pro-Bloomberg Democrats who were a significant minority of the primary electorate — and the Charybdis of the more progressive primary

voters who were fed up after 12 years of Bloomberg, Quinn was left without a winning campaign theme. Her claim that she was the only candidate who had “delivered for New Yorkers” rang hollow, an empty slogan reminiscent of the 1988 Dukakis presidential campaign that was all about “competence.” What Quinn had effectively delivered, primary voters knew, was a third term for Bloomberg, and that was the real albatross around her neck. In a change election, Quinn was tied inescapably to the Bloomberg

administration in which she was de facto deputy mayor, and as de Blasio’s campaign took off in the last few crucial weeks of the campaign by promising regime change, the big dead bird around Quinn’s neck dragged her down and sunk her. Pauline Park is a transgender activist who participated in the Anybody But Quinn campaign but is not a spokesperson for it; she did her Ph.D. in political science at the University of Illinois.


September 18, 2013 |


Gay Style: Dominant and Enduring

An American day dress, circa 1882.



he fact that gays, lesbians, and bisexuals have long ranked as the greatest designers in fashion history is, of course, no surprise to anyone. What is surprising is how long it has taken any museum to give them their full, out, and proud due.

A QUEER HISTORY OF FASHION: FROM THE CLOSET TO THE CATWALK The Museum at FIT Seventh Ave. at 27th St. Through Jan. 4 Tue.-Fri, noon-8 p.m. Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is free Information on Nov. 8-9 symposiums & other special events at

This oversight has happily been gloriously addressed with the Fashion Institute of Technology’s exhibit “A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk.” Curated by Valerie Steele and Fred Dennis, it is nothing less than a comprehensive history of three centuries of style, all of it wonderfully filtered through the eyes, minds, and talent of some of the most creative queers who ever threaded a





FIT’s celebration of our collective sartorial genius

A three-piece neo-Edwardian suit, originally worn by Bunny Rogers and now in the collection of Hamish Bowles.

Pierre Balmain, Jean Cocteau, and Christian Bérard’s riding costume for Cocteau’s “L'Aigle à Deux Têtes,” 1947.

A man’s clone look made up of a nylon flight jacket, with a T-shirt and jeans, circa 1978.

needle or put pen to sketchpad. “This was Fred’s idea and as soon as we thought about it, it seemed perfect,” Steele told me. “Such an important, original topic and it’s amazing that it hasn’t been done, apart from a handful of really small shows at gay and lesbian centers. There has never been a fullscale show of the history of LGBTQ involvement in fashion.” The show starts in the 18th century rather than in the golden gay ages of Ancient Greece or the Italian Renaissance. “Those periods didn’t have any special gay style,” Steele explained. “Alexander the Great wore the same kind of toga that everyone else wore, ditto with Leonardo da Vinci, but there’s been a lot of research done about the sex and gender revolution in the 18th century in cities like London and Paris, where you see the for the first time a real gay impact on fashion. The press talks about three categories of men — ‘mollies,’ cross-dressing effeminate sodomites; ‘macaronis,’ foppish men some of whom may or may not have been gay; and the man milliners. Already men were making and selling clothes for women, and we have a charming quote about this ‘fraternity of pretty gentlemen united by a mutual love who like to make women’s fashions.’ So already there is a wealth of evidence. “The 18th century look influenced

Oscar Wilde in his aesthetic phase, and there is something a little queer about the 18th century gentlemen, even today, as in this Vivienne Westwood outfit which [Vogue editor] Hamish Bowles lent us. It was an important step in fashion history from this kind of dress to the beginnings of the way men dress now. We all know this change began around 1800, but the main reasons were the rise of capitalism and the spread of democracy. The appropriation of elite, aristocratic dress by middle and lowerclass gay guys also helped turn the tide, which people then dropped and went in for something that looked more masculine and sober.” Influential French names like Vionnet, Chanel, Balenciaga, and Yves Saint Laurent are spotlighted, and, although not every designer in the show is gay, some were included for work which was either worn by prominent queers or influenced queer style. “Vionnet was almost certainly bisexual and talked about how much she loved women and only designed for those whose bodies she liked, how sexy they were and how they moved,” Steele said. “Balenciaga was gay but it was kept so quiet until a recent biographer talked about it. Molyneux never admitted to being gay in public, but it was well known in small circles. “And for all her rumored bisexuality, Chanel was very homophobic after the

war and referred to Dior and Balenciaga as ‘a couple of queens dressing women like transvestites.’ She was very vicious in her attack on them as gay men became more important in the fashion business, which she said had been taken over by pederasts. And back in the 1920s and 1930s, she attacked women designers like Vionnet and Schiaparelli because they were her big competitors then. She was an equal opportunity hater.” These designers and others contributed largely to the lifestyles and reputations of the fabled, glamorous “Best Dressed”-listed clotheshorses of the day. Doris Duke is represented by the “lobster dress” of Charles James, possibly America’s all-time greatest designer and the subject of this year’s Met Costume Institute show. He lived an unconventionally raffish life in the Chelsea Hotel and was befriended by the late, great illustrator Antonio Lopez, who did much to repair his tattered reputation brought on by years of eccentricity. Fashion icons Mrs. Harrison Williams and Tina Chow have their moments, and a sumptuous red and black Mainbocher evening ensemble is credited as the donation of “Mrs. Helen Vinson,” who was, actually, just Helen Vinson, a cherishable Hollywood supporting actress who specialized in


FASHION, continued on p.36


| September 18, 2013


A Kiss Ain’t Just a Kiss Young adult author celebrates 10 years of boys meeting boys BY MICHAEL SHIREY


n 2003, David Levithan published his impressive debut novel, “Boy Meets Boy” — a young adult novel about two youths who find love in an LGBT utopia. Was it a bit idealized? Yes. But it also created a voice that would become the essence of Levithan's charm as a writer, and it changed the way that young adult literature tackled LGBT subject matter.

The 9th Annual NY Men Having Babies Surrogacy Seminar & Gay Parenting Expo


By David Levithan Knopf Publishing $16.99, 208 pages


Levithan would go on to write many other stories of the same caliber, including the New York Times bestselling “The Lover’s Dictionary” and "Every Day." He would also co-write best-selling “Will Grayson, Will Grayson” with John Green and “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” with Rachel Cohn, the latter since made into a major motion picture. A decade later after “Boy Meets Boy,” Levithan releases “Two Boys Kissing,” a novel that follows the lives of several gay and trans youth, all engaged in some form of — yep, you guessed it — kissing. Set in the modern day, their stories are told through the eyes of gay men who

David Levithan

died of AIDS, who serve as a Greek chorus of “angel godfathers” narrating the highs and lows of each youth's story. This is new territory for Levithan, who normally sticks to lighter subjects. Here, he provides a comparison between the two generations, shedding light on their surprising similarities as well as their more pronounced differences. This is the most honest Levithan has been about the darker side of LGBT history, which he nails with chilling precision. “We were once like you, only our world wasn’t like yours,” Levithan writes. “You have no idea how close to death you came. A generation or two earlier, you might be here with us. We resent you. You astonish us.” Enter Craig and Harry, the main characters, as they prepare for their big day. The duo, a former couple who are now just friends, are vying for the Guinness World Record for longest kiss — 32 hours, 12 minutes, and 10 seconds. Big questions, from a rekindled romance to lack of bladder control, are raised. Popular music, from Madonna to Gaga, is referenced. In other words, Levithan pulls from his usual bag of tricks as he navigates these two through their endless make-out session. This may sound petty, but there’s more to it than meets the mouth — I mean eye — as Craig and Harry’s stories unfold. A couple of towns over, blue-haired R yan meets pink-haired trans man Avery at a gay prom. Their first kiss and their future as a couple seem uncertain,


LEVITHAN, continued on p.40

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September 18, 2013 |


On The Ropes Friendship of Muhammad Ali, Stepin Fetchit creates a powerful, not-to-be-missed play BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE


aking his cue from the unlikely — but true — friendship between the Depression-era film star Stepin Fetchit and the heavyweight champion boxer Muhammad Ali, playwright Will Power has written a literate and highly absorbing play that emerges as a distinctively American work of art.

New York Theatre Workshop 79 E. Fourth St., btwn. Bowery & Second Ave. Tue., Sat.-Sun. at 7 p.m. Wed.-Fri. at 8 p.m.; Sat. at 2 p.m. $70; Or 212-279-4200

The play delves into the upheaval of racial politics in the mid-1960s. At the outset, Ali has just changed his name from Cassius Clay after embracing the Nation of Islam, a faction of black Muslims that advocated the separation of the races. Ali has sent for Fetchit



Ray Fisher and K. Todd Freeman in Will Power’s “Fetch Clay, Make Man,” directed by Des McAnuff.

because he heard he was a friend of the famous black boxer Jack Johnson. Ali wants Fetchit to tell him about Johnson’s legendary “anchor punch,” a move so powerful that it allowed the boxer to be virtually invincible. Fetchit, who by the mid-1960s had become

reviled in the black community as the symbol of the subservient black man in white America’s culture, maintains he doesn’t know about the punch. But Ali takes a liking to him anyway, and asks him to stay to be his “secret strategist” as Ali prepares to defend his heavyweight

title against Sonny Liston in Lewiston, Maine. Swirling around these two characters in Riccardo Hernandez’s simple and stylized boxing ring set are members of the Nation of Islam watching over Ali, resentful of Fetchit’s presence. Sonji Clay, Ali’s wife, is also present, chafing at her new role as a subservient woman in the Nation of Islam. Though the play is largely set in 1965 before the bout, there are flashbacks to the 1920s and 1930s where we see Fetchit with William Fox, of the eponymous studio that employed him, demanding and getting greater salary and greater power even as he plays the stereotypical character a later generation of black Americans would despise. Whatever degradation he endures certainly makes the cash register ring. In fact, we learn that Fetchit was the first black actor ever credited by name on film and one of the highest paid stars in Hollywood — the antithesis of his onscreen image.


MUHAMMAD, continued on p.34

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| September 18, 2013


Trying to have a baby? We CAN HeLP!

Suspicious Love Director Michael Mayer creates thriller from Israeli-Palestinian love story


Our mission is to help patients realize the dream of parenthood.

“Out in the Dark” director Michael Mayer with one of the film’s stars, Michael Aloni.

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n intriguing melodrama, directed and co-written by gay Israeli filmmaker Michael Mayer, “Out in the Dark” concerns two men — Nimr (Nicholas Jacob) a Palestinian psychology student, and Roy (Michael Aloni), an Israeli lawyer — meeting and bonding in an Israeli gay bar. That it is dangerous for Nimr to be in Tel Aviv is not lost on the audience. We first see him as he is sneaking across the border to get to the bar.

OUT IN THE DARK Directed by Michael Mayer Breaking Glass Pictures Opens Sep. 27 Cinema Village 22 E. 12th St.

These attractive guys fall quickly and deeply in love. And they themselves have little problem that the other is “the enemy,” though the film’s tender ness soon tur ns dark. The closeted Nimr argues with his brother Nabil (Jamil Khoury) — who is storing guns — and he is kicked out of the family’s house. His troubles are complicated when he is suspected of being an Israeli collaborator and the Palestinians withdraw his permission to cross into Israel, where he attends classes. Roy uses his connections to help his lover, but as the legal and political issues come to a head, the

Israeli man realizes he does not know Nimr especially well. “Out in the Dark” teases out the situational and moral quandaries right up until the film’s ambiguous ending. Gay City News spoke with writer and director Mayer about the political, social, and sexual issues his ambitious film raises.

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Showcasing contemporary African choreographers

GARY M. KRAMER: How did you come to tell this story? MICHAEL MAYER: A friend of mine told me he was volunteering with a gay and lesbian center in Tel Aviv, giving support for gay Palestinians living in Israel. He got to know a few of these guys, who were hiding and came into the center and needed help — a place to sleep, medical attention, legal advice, or someone to talk to. This story surprised me, and I wanted to tell it and make people aware of it. GMK: How did you approach the material? MM: We tried not to make it too political and really tell a love story and an intimate film about Nimr’s family. We struggled to keep that balance and not make it too preachy or political. Although it is a fiction film, when we [Mayer and co-writer Yael Shafrir] did the research and talked to cross-border couples, the things that touched us most were their personal interest stories about how the family reacted. We wanted to translate that to film. That’s why the film clicks with


IN THE DARK, continued on p.35

Tickets Start at $15

Bouchra Ouizguen Sep 27 – 28 at 7:30pm Co-presented with the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) Crossing the Line Festival


September 18, 2013 |

For your HIV viral load,

The POWER to help you go from

•   ATRIPLA® (efavirenz/emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) has  been proven TO LOWER VIRAL LOAD to undetectable* in approximately  7 out of every 10 adult patients new to therapy through 3 years† •   The most common (at least 5%) moderate to severe side effects in patients  on ATRIPLA were diarrhea, nausea, tiredness, depression, dizziness, sinusitis,  upper respiratory tract infections, rash, headache, trouble sleeping, anxiety,  and common cold. Each of these was reported in less than 10% of patients

Real ATRIPLA patient.

INDICATION ATRIPLA (efavirenz/emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) is a prescription medication used alone as a complete regimen, or with other anti-HIV-1 medicines, to treat HIV-1 infection in adults and children at least 12 years old who weigh at least 40 kg (88 lbs). ATRIPLA does not cure HIV-1 infection or AIDS and you may continue to experience illnesses associated with HIV-1 infection, including opportunistic infections. See your healthcare provider regularly while taking ATRIPLA.

Call your healthcare provider right away if you get the following signs  or symptoms of liver problems: - skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow (jaundice) - urine turns dark - bowel movements (stools) turn light in color - don’t feel like eating food for several days or longer - feel sick to your stomach (nausea) - have lower stomach area (abdominal) pain •   You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or liver problems if you are IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking nucleoside What is the most important information I should know about ATRIPLA?  analog-containing medicines, like ATRIPLA (efavirenz/emtricitabine/ ATRIPLA can cause serious side effects: tenofovir disoproxil fumarate), for a long time. •  Some people who have taken medicine like ATRIPLA (which contains nucleoside  •  If you also have hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and you stop taking  analogs) have developed lactic acidosis (build up of an acid in the blood). Lactic  ATRIPLA, you may get a “flare-up” of your hepatitis. A “flare-up” is when the  acidosis can be a serious medical emergency that can lead to death. disease suddenly returns in a worse way than before. Patients with HBV who Call your healthcare provider right away if you get the following signs or  stop taking ATRIPLA need close medical follow-up for several months to check for hepatitis that could be getting worse. ATRIPLA is not approved for the treatment symptoms of lactic acidosis: of HBV, so you need to discuss your HBV therapy with your healthcare provider. - feel very weak or tired - feel cold, especially in your arms and legs - have unusual (not normal) Who should not take ATRIPLA? muscle pain - feel dizzy or lightheaded You and your healthcare provider should decide if ATRIPLA is right for you. Do - have trouble breathing not take ATRIPLA if you are allergic to ATRIPLA or any of its ingredients. - have a fast or irregular heartbeat - have stomach pain with nausea What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking ATRIPLA? and vomiting Tell your healthcare provider if you: •   Some people who have taken medicines like ATRIPLA have developed  •  Are pregnant or planning to become pregnant: Women should not become  serious liver problems (hepatotoxicity), with liver enlargement pregnant while taking ATRIPLA and for 12 weeks after stopping ATRIPLA. Serious (hepatomegaly) and fat in the liver (steatosis). In some cases, these liver  birth defects have been seen in children of women treated during pregnancy with problems can lead to death. one of the medicines in ATRIPLA. Women must use a reliable form of barrier contraception, such as a condom or diaphragm, even if they also use other *Undetectable was defined as a viral load of fewer than 400 copies/mL. methods of birth control, while on ATRIPLA and for 12 weeks after stopping † In this study, 511 adult patients new to therapy received either the meds in ATRIPLA each taken once ATRIPLA. Women should not rely only on hormone-based birth control, such as pills, daily or Combivir® (lamivudine/zidovudine) twice daily + SUSTIVA® (efavirenz) once daily. ‡

Source Healthcare Analytics, Source® PHAST Prescription Monthly, July 2006 – March 2013.

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| September 18, 2013

With over 7 years of prescribing experience, ATRIPLA is the #1 prescribed one pill, once-daily HIV treatment‡ SELECTED IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION •  Some people who have taken medicine like ATRIPLA  have developed build up of lactic acid in the blood, which  can be a serious medical emergency that can lead to death. •  Some people who have taken medicines like ATRIPLA have  developed serious liver problems, with liver enlargement  and fat in the liver, which can lead to death. •  If you also have hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and you stop  taking ATRIPLA, your hepatitis may suddenly get worse. ATRIPLA is not approved for the treatment of HBV. Please see below for more information about these warnings, including  signs and symptoms, and other Important Safety Information.  You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs  to the FDA. Visit, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Ask your doctor about ATRIPLA today. injections, or implants, because ATRIPLA (efavirenz/emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) may make these contraceptives ineffective. •  Are breastfeeding: Women with HIV should not breastfeed because they can pass HIV and some of the medicines in ATRIPLA through their milk to the baby. We do not know if ATRIPLA could harm your baby. •  Have kidney problems or are undergoing kidney dialysis treatment •  Have bone problems •  Have liver problems, including hepatitis B or C virus infection. Your healthcare provider may want to do tests to check your liver while you take ATRIPLA or may switch you to another medicine. •  Have ever had mental illness or are using drugs or alcohol •  Have ever had seizures or are taking medicine for seizures. Seizures have occurred in patients taking efavirenz, a component of ATRIPLA, generally in those with a history of seizures. If you have ever had seizures, or take medicine for seizures, your healthcare provider may want to switch you to another medicine or monitor you. What important information should I know about taking other medicines  with ATRIPLA? ATRIPLA may change the effect of other medicines, including the ones for  HIV-1, and may cause serious side effects. Your healthcare provider may change your other medicines or change their doses. MEDICINES YOU SHOULD NOT TAKE WITH ATRIPLA •  Do not take ATRIPLA if you are taking the following medicines because serious and life-threatening side effects may occur when taken together: Vascor® (bepridil), Propulsid® (cisapride), Versed® (midazolam), Orap® (pimozide), Halcion® (triazolam), or ergot medications (for example, Wigraine® and Cafergot®). •  ATRIPLA should not be taken with: Combivir® (lamivudine/zidovudine), COMPLERA® (emtricitabine/rilpivirine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate), EMTRIVA® (emtricitabine), Epivir® or Epivir-HBV® (lamivudine),

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Epzicom® (abacavir sulfate/lamivudine), STRIBILD® (elvitegravir/cobicistat/ emtricitabine/tenofovir DF), Trizivir® (abacavir sulfate/lamivudine/zidovudine), TRUVADA® (emtricitabine/tenofovir DF), or VIREAD® (tenofovir DF), because they contain the same or similar active ingredients as ATRIPLA (efavirenz/emtricitabine/ tenofovir disoproxil fumarate). ATRIPLA should not be used with SUSTIVA® (efavirenz) unless recommended by your healthcare provider. •  Vfend® (voriconazole) should not be taken with ATRIPLA since it may lose its effect or may increase the chance of having side effects from ATRIPLA. •  Do not take St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), or products containing  St. John’s wort with ATRIPLA. Taking St. John’s wort may decrease ATRIPLA levels and lead to increased viral load, and possible resistance to ATRIPLA or cross-resistance to other anti-HIV-1 drugs. • ATRIPLA should not be used with HEPSERA® (adefovir dipivoxil). These are not all the medicines that may cause problems if you take ATRIPLA.  Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription and nonprescription  medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements you are taking or plan to take. Important Safety Information is continued on the following page. Please see Patient Information on the following pages.


8/2/13 11:18 AM


September 18, 2013 |

ATRIPLA (efavirenz/emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate)   Important Safety Information (continued) What are the possible side effects of ATRIPLA? ATRIPLA may cause the following additional serious side effects: • Serious psychiatric problems. Severe depression, strange thoughts, or angry behavior have been reported by a small number of patients. Some patients have had thoughts of suicide, and a few have actually committed suicide. These problems may occur more often in patients who have had mental illness. • Kidney problems (including decline or failure of kidney function). If you have had kidney problems, or take other medicines that may cause kidney problems, your healthcare provider should do regular blood tests. Symptoms that may be related to kidney problems include a high volume of urine, thirst, muscle pain, and muscle weakness. • Other serious liver problems. Some patients have experienced serious liver problems, including liver failure resulting in transplantation or death. Most of these serious side effects occurred in patients with a chronic liver disease such as hepatitis infection, but there have also been a few reports in patients without any existing liver disease. • Changes in bone mineral density (thinning bones). Lab tests show changes in the bones of patients treated with tenofovir DF, a component of ATRIPLA. Some HIV patients treated with tenofovir DF developed thinning of the bones (osteopenia), which could lead to fractures. Also, bone pain and softening of the bone (which may lead to fractures) may occur as a consequence of kidney problems. If you have had bone problems in the past, your healthcare provider may want to do tests to check your bones or may prescribe medicines to help your bones. Also, bone pain and bone softening may occur because of kidney problems. Common side effects: • Patients may have dizziness, headache, trouble sleeping, drowsiness, trouble concentrating, and/or unusual dreams during treatment with ATRIPLA. These side effects may be reduced if you take ATRIPLA at bedtime on an empty stomach; they tend to go away after taking ATRIPLA for a few weeks. Tell your healthcare provider right away if any of these side effects continue or if they bother you. These symptoms may be more severe if ATRIPLA is used with alcohol and/or mood-altering (street) drugs. • If you are dizzy, have trouble concentrating, and/or are drowsy, avoid activities that may be dangerous, such as driving or operating machinery. • Rash is a common side effect with ATRIPLA that usually goes away without any change in treatment. Rash may be serious in a small number of patients. Rash  occurs more commonly in children and may be a serious problem. If a rash develops, call your healthcare provider right away. • Other common side effects include: tiredness, upset stomach, vomiting, gas, and diarrhea. Other possible side effects:  • Changes in body fat have been seen in some people taking anti-HIV-1 medicines. Increase of fat in the upper back and neck, breasts, and around the trunk may happen. Loss of fat from the legs, arms, and face may also happen. The cause and long-term health effects of these changes in body fat are not known. • Skin discoloration (small spots or freckles) may also happen. • In some patients with advanced HIV infection (AIDS), signs and symptoms of inflammation from previous infections may occur soon after anti-HIV treatment is started. If you notice any symptoms of infection, contact your healthcare provider right away. • Additional side effects are inflammation of the pancreas, allergic reaction (including swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat), shortness of breath, pain, stomach pain, weakness, and indigestion. This is not a complete list of side effects. Tell your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you notice any side effects while taking ATRIPLA. You should take ATRIPLA once daily on an empty stomach. Taking ATRIPLA at bedtime may make some side effects less bothersome. Please see Patient Information on adjacent and following pages.

© 2013 Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. ATRIPLA is a registered trademark of Bristol-Myers Squibb & Gilead Sciences, LLC. SUSTIVA is a registered trademark of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. All other trademarks referenced herein are the property of their respective owners. 697US13BR01913-10-01

Patient Information ATRIPLA® (uh TRIP luh) Tablets ALERT: Find out about medicines that should NOT be taken with ATRIPLA (efavirenz/emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate). Please also read the section “MEDICINES YOU SHOULD NOT TAKE WITH ATRIPLA.” Generic name: efavirenz, emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (eh FAH vih renz, em tri SIT uh bean and te NOE’ fo veer dye soe PROX il FYOU mar ate) Read the Patient Information that comes with ATRIPLA before you start taking it and each time you get a refill since there may be new information. This information does not take the place of talking to your healthcare provider about your medical condition or treatment. You should stay under a healthcare provider’s care when taking ATRIPLA. Do not change or stop your medicine without first talking with your healthcare provider. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you have any questions about ATRIPLA. What is the most important information I should know about ATRIPLA? • Some people who have taken medicine like ATRIPLA (which contains nucleoside analogs) have developed a serious condition called lactic acidosis (build up of an acid in the blood). Lactic acidosis can be a medical emergency and may need to be treated in the hospital. Call your healthcare provider right away if you get the following signs or symptoms of lactic acidosis: • You feel very weak or tired. • You have unusual (not normal) muscle pain. • You have trouble breathing. • You have stomach pain with nausea and vomiting. • You feel cold, especially in your arms and legs. • You feel dizzy or lightheaded. • You have a fast or irregular heartbeat. • Some people who have taken medicines like ATRIPLA have developed serious liver problems called hepatotoxicity, with liver enlargement (hepatomegaly) and fat in the liver (steatosis). Call your healthcare provider right away if you get the following signs or symptoms of liver problems: • Your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow (jaundice). • Your urine turns dark. • Your bowel movements (stools) turn light in color. • You don’t feel like eating food for several days or longer. • You feel sick to your stomach (nausea). • You have lower stomach area (abdominal) pain. • You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or liver problems if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking nucleoside analog-containing medicines, like ATRIPLA, for a long time. • If you also have hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and you stop taking ATRIPLA, you may get a “flare-up” of your hepatitis. A “flare-up” is when the disease suddenly returns in a worse way than before. Patients with HBV who stop taking ATRIPLA need close medical follow-up for several months, including medical exams and blood tests to check for hepatitis that could be getting worse. ATRIPLA is not approved for the treatment of HBV, so you must discuss your HBV therapy with your healthcare provider. What is ATRIPLA? ATRIPLA contains 3 medicines, SUSTIVA® (efavirenz), EMTRIVA® (emtricitabine) and VIREAD® (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate also called tenofovir DF) combined in one pill. EMTRIVA and VIREAD are HIV-1 (human immunodeficiency virus) nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) and SUSTIVA is an HIV-1 non-nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI). VIREAD and EMTRIVA are the components of TRUVADA®. ATRIPLA can be used alone as a complete regimen, or in combination with other anti-HIV-1 medicines to treat people with HIV-1 infection. ATRIPLA is for adults and children 12 years of age and older who weigh at least 40 kg (at least 88 lbs). ATRIPLA is not recommended for children younger than 12 years of age. ATRIPLA has not been studied in adults over 65 years of age. HIV infection destroys CD4+ T cells, which are important to the immune system. The immune system helps fight infection. After a large number of T cells are destroyed, acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) develops. ATRIPLA helps block HIV-1 reverse transcriptase, a viral chemical in your body (enzyme) that is needed for HIV-1 to multiply. ATRIPLA lowers the amount of HIV-1 in the blood (viral load). ATRIPLA may also help to increase the number of T cells (CD4+ cells), allowing your immune system to improve. Lowering


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| September 18, 2013

ATRIPLA® (efavirenz/emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate)

ATRIPLA® (efavirenz/emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate)

the amount of HIV-1 in the blood lowers the chance of death or infections that happen when your immune system is weak (opportunistic infections). Does ATRIPLA cure HIV-1 or AIDS? ATRIPLA does not cure HIV-1 infection or AIDS and you may continue to experience illnesses associated with HIV-1 infection, including opportunistic infections. You should remain under the care of a doctor when using ATRIPLA. Who should not take ATRIPLA? Together with your healthcare provider, you need to decide whether ATRIPLA is right for you. Do not take ATRIPLA if you are allergic to ATRIPLA or any of its ingredients. The active ingredients of ATRIPLA are efavirenz, emtricitabine, and tenofovir DF. See the end of this leaflet for a complete list of ingredients. What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking ATRIPLA? Tell your healthcare provider if you: • Are pregnant or planning to become pregnant (see “What should I avoid while taking ATRIPLA?”). • Are breastfeeding (see “What should I avoid while taking ATRIPLA?”). • Have kidney problems or are undergoing kidney dialysis treatment. • Have bone problems. • Have liver problems, including hepatitis B virus infection. Your healthcare provider may want to do tests to check your liver while you take ATRIPLA or may switch you to another medicine. • Have ever had mental illness or are using drugs or alcohol. • Have ever had seizures or are taking medicine for seizures. What important information should I know about taking other medicines with ATRIPLA? ATRIPLA may change the effect of other medicines, including the ones for HIV-1, and may cause serious side effects. Your healthcare provider may change your other medicines or change their doses. Other medicines, including herbal products, may affect ATRIPLA. For this reason, it is very important to let all your healthcare providers and pharmacists know what medications, herbal supplements, or vitamins you are taking. MEDICINES YOU SHOULD NOT TAKE WITH ATRIPLA • The following medicines may cause serious and life-threatening side effects when taken with ATRIPLA. You should not take any of these medicines while taking ATRIPLA: Vascor (bepridil), Propulsid (cisapride), Versed (midazolam), Orap (pimozide), Halcion (triazolam), ergot medications (for example, Wigraine and Cafergot). • ATRIPLA also should not be used with Combivir (lamivudine/zidovudine), COMPLERA®, EMTRIVA, Epivir, Epivir-HBV (lamivudine), Epzicom (abacavir sulfate/lamivudine), STRIBILD®, Trizivir (abacavir sulfate/lamivudine/ zidovudine), TRUVADA, or VIREAD. ATRIPLA also should not be used with SUSTIVA unless recommended by your healthcare provider. • Vfend (voriconazole) should not be taken with ATRIPLA since it may lose its effect or may increase the chance of having side effects from ATRIPLA. • Do not take St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), or products containing St. John’s wort with ATRIPLA. St. John’s wort is an herbal product sold as a dietary supplement. Talk with your healthcare provider if you are taking or are planning to take St. John’s wort. Taking St. John’s wort may decrease ATRIPLA levels and lead to increased viral load and possible resistance to ATRIPLA or cross-resistance to other anti-HIV-1 drugs. • ATRIPLA should not be used with HEPSERA® (adefovir dipivoxil). It is also important to tell your healthcare provider if you are taking any of the following: Fortovase, Invirase (saquinavir), Biaxin (clarithromycin), Noxafil • (posaconazole), Sporanox (itraconazole), or Victrelis (boceprevir); these medicines may need to be replaced with another medicine when taken with ATRIPLA. • Calcium channel blockers such as Cardizem or Tiazac (diltiazem), Covera HS or Isoptin (verapamil) and others; Crixivan (indinavir), Selzentry (maraviroc); the immunosuppressant medicines cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune, and others), Prograf (tacrolimus), or Rapamune (sirolimus); Methadone; Mycobutin (rifabutin); Rifampin; cholesterollowering medicines such as Lipitor (atorvastatin), Pravachol (pravastatin sodium), and Zocor (simvastatin); or the anti-depressant medications bupropion (Wellbutrin, Wellbutrin SR, Wellbutrin XL, and Zyban) or Zoloft (sertraline); dose changes may be needed when these drugs are taken with ATRIPLA.

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Videx, Videx EC (didanosine); tenofovir DF (a component of ATRIPLA) may increase the amount of didanosine in your blood, which could result in more side effects. You may need to be monitored more carefully if you are taking ATRIPLA and didanosine together. Also, the dose of didanosine may need to be changed. • Reyataz (atazanavir sulfate) or Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir); these medicines may increase the amount of tenofovir DF (a component of ATRIPLA) in your blood, which could result in more side effects. Reyataz is not recommended with ATRIPLA. You may need to be monitored more carefully if you are taking ATRIPLA and Kaletra together. Also, the dose of Kaletra may need to be changed. • Medicine for seizures [for example, Dilantin (phenytoin), Tegretol (carbamazepine), or phenobarbital]; your healthcare provider may want to switch you to another medicine or check drug levels in your blood from time to time. These are not all the medicines that may cause problems if you take ATRIPLA. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all medicines that you take. Keep a complete list of all the prescription and nonprescription medicines as well as any herbal remedies that you are taking, how much you take, and how often you take them. Make a new list when medicines or herbal remedies are added or stopped, or if the dose changes. Give copies of this list to all of your healthcare providers and pharmacists every time you visit your healthcare provider or fill a prescription. This will give your healthcare provider a complete picture of the medicines you use. Then he or she can decide the best approach for your situation. How should I take ATRIPLA? • Take the exact amount of ATRIPLA your healthcare provider prescribes. Never change the dose on your own. Do not stop this medicine unless your healthcare provider tells you to stop. • You should take ATRIPLA on an empty stomach. • Swallow ATRIPLA with water. • Taking ATRIPLA at bedtime may make some side effects less bothersome. • Do not miss a dose of ATRIPLA. If you forget to take ATRIPLA, take the missed dose right away, unless it is almost time for your next dose. Do not double the next dose. Carry on with your regular dosing schedule. If you need help in planning the best times to take your medicine, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist. • If you believe you took more than the prescribed amount of ATRIPLA, contact your local poison control center or emergency room right away. • Tell your healthcare provider if you start any new medicine or change how you take old ones. Your doses may need adjustment. • When your ATRIPLA supply starts to run low, get more from your healthcare provider or pharmacy. This is very important because the amount of virus in your blood may increase if the medicine is stopped for even a short time. The virus may develop resistance to ATRIPLA and become harder to treat. • Your healthcare provider may want to do blood tests to check for certain side effects while you take ATRIPLA. What should I avoid while taking ATRIPLA? • Women should not become pregnant while taking ATRIPLA and for 12 weeks after stopping it. Serious birth defects have been seen in the babies of animals and women treated with efavirenz (a component of ATRIPLA) during pregnancy. It is not known whether efavirenz caused these defects. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you are pregnant. Also talk with your healthcare provider if you want to become pregnant. • Women should not rely only on hormone-based birth control, such as pills, injections, or implants, because ATRIPLA may make these contraceptives ineffective. Women must use a reliable form of barrier contraception, such as a condom or diaphragm, even if they also use other methods of birth control. Efavirenz, a component of ATRIPLA, may remain in your blood for a time after therapy is stopped. Therefore, you should continue to use contraceptive measures for 12 weeks after you stop taking ATRIPLA. • Do not breastfeed if you are taking ATRIPLA. Some of the medicines in ATRIPLA can be passed to your baby in your breast milk. We do not know whether it could harm your baby. Also, mothers with HIV-1 should not breastfeed because HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in the breast milk. Talk with your healthcare provider if you are breastfeeding. You should stop breastfeeding or may need to use a different medicine.

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September 18, 2013 |

ATRIPLA® (efavirenz/emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate)

ATRIPLA® (efavirenz/emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate)

If you are dizzy, have trouble concentrating, or are drowsy, avoid activities that may be dangerous, such as driving or operating machinery. Rash may be common. Rashes usually go away without any change in treatment. In a small number of patients, rash may be serious. If you develop a rash, call your healthcare provider right away. Rash may be a serious problem in some children. Tell your child’s healthcare provider right away if you notice rash or any other side effects while your child is taking ATRIPLA. Other common side effects include tiredness, upset stomach, vomiting, gas, and diarrhea. Other possible side effects with ATRIPLA: • Changes in body fat. Changes in body fat develop in some patients taking anti-HIV-1 medicine. These changes may include an increased amount of fat in the upper back and neck (“buffalo hump”), in the breasts, and around the trunk. Loss of fat from the legs, arms, and face may also happen. The cause and long-term health effects of these fat changes are not known. • Skin discoloration (small spots or freckles) may also happen with ATRIPLA. • In some patients with advanced HIV infection (AIDS), signs and symptoms of inflammation from previous infections may occur soon after anti-HIV treatment is started. It is believed that these symptoms are due to an improvement in the body’s immune response, enabling the body to fight infections that may have been present with no obvious symptoms. If you notice any symptoms of infection, please inform your doctor immediately. • Additional side effects are inflammation of the pancreas, allergic reaction (including swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat), shortness of breath, pain, stomach pain, weakness and indigestion. Tell your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you notice any side effects while taking ATRIPLA. Contact your healthcare provider before stopping ATRIPLA because of side effects or for any other reason. This is not a complete list of side effects possible with ATRIPLA. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for a more complete list of side effects of ATRIPLA and all the medicines you will take. How do I store ATRIPLA? • Keep ATRIPLA and all other medicines out of reach of children. • Store ATRIPLA at room temperature 77 °F (25 °C). • Keep ATRIPLA in its original container and keep the container tightly closed. • Do not keep medicine that is out of date or that you no longer need. If you throw any medicines away make sure that children will not find them. General information about ATRIPLA: Medicines are sometimes prescribed for conditions that are not mentioned in patient information leaflets. Do not use ATRIPLA for a condition for which it was not prescribed. Do not give ATRIPLA to other people, even if they have the same symptoms you have. It may harm them. This leaflet summarizes the most important information about ATRIPLA. If you would like more information, talk with your healthcare provider. You can ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for information about ATRIPLA that is written for health professionals. Do not use ATRIPLA if the seal over bottle opening is broken or missing. What are the ingredients of ATRIPLA? Active Ingredients: efavirenz, emtricitabine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate Inactive Ingredients: croscarmellose sodium, hydroxypropyl cellulose, microcrystalline cellulose, magnesium stearate, sodium lauryl sulfate. The film coating contains black iron oxide, polyethylene glycol, polyvinyl alcohol, red iron oxide, talc, and titanium dioxide.

Taking ATRIPLA with alcohol or other medicines causing similar side effects as ATRIPLA, such as drowsiness, may increase those side effects. • Do not take any other medicines, including prescription and nonprescription medicines and herbal products, without checking with your healthcare provider. • Avoid doing things that can spread HIV-1 to others. • Do not share needles or other injection equipment. • Do not share personal items that can have blood or body fluids on them, like toothbrushes and razor blades. • Do not have any kind of sex without protection. Always practice safe sex by using a latex or polyurethane condom to lower the chance of sexual contact with semen, vaginal secretions, or blood. What are the possible side effects of ATRIPLA? ATRIPLA may cause the following serious side effects: • Lactic acidosis (buildup of an acid in the blood). Lactic acidosis can be a medical emergency and may need to be treated in the hospital. Call your healthcare provider right away if you get signs of lactic acidosis. (See “What is the most important information I should know about ATRIPLA?”) • Serious liver problems (hepatotoxicity), with liver enlargement (hepatomegaly) and fat in the liver (steatosis). Call your healthcare provider right away if you get any signs of liver problems. (See “What is the most important information I should know about ATRIPLA?”) • “Flare-ups” of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, in which the disease suddenly returns in a worse way than before, can occur if you have HBV and you stop taking ATRIPLA. Your healthcare provider will monitor your condition for several months after stopping ATRIPLA if you have both HIV-1 and HBV infection and may recommend treatment for your HBV. ATRIPLA is not approved for the treatment of hepatitis B virus infection. If you have advanced liver disease and stop treatment with ATRIPLA, the “flare-up” of hepatitis B may cause your liver function to decline. • Serious psychiatric problems. A small number of patients may experience severe depression, strange thoughts, or angry behavior while taking ATRIPLA. Some patients have thoughts of suicide and a few have actually committed suicide. These problems may occur more often in patients who have had mental illness. Contact your healthcare provider right away if you think you are having these psychiatric symptoms, so your healthcare provider can decide if you should continue to take ATRIPLA. • Kidney problems (including decline or failure of kidney function). If you have had kidney problems in the past or take other medicines that can cause kidney problems, your healthcare provider should do regular blood tests to check your kidneys. Symptoms that may be related to kidney problems include a high volume of urine, thirst, muscle pain, and muscle weakness. • Other serious liver problems. Some patients have experienced serious liver problems including liver failure resulting in transplantation or death. Most of these serious side effects occurred in patients with a chronic liver disease such as hepatitis infection, but there have also been a few reports in patients without any existing liver disease. • Changes in bone mineral density (thinning bones). Laboratory tests show changes in the bones of patients treated with tenofovir DF, a component of ATRIPLA. Some HIV patients treated with tenofovir DF developed thinning of the bones (osteopenia) which could lead to fractures. If you have had bone problems in the past, your healthcare provider may need to do tests to check your bone mineral density or may prescribe medicines to help your bone mineral density. Additionally, bone pain and softening of the bone (which may contribute to fractures) may occur as a consequence of kidney problems. Common side effects: Patients may have dizziness, headache, trouble sleeping, drowsiness, trouble concentrating, and/or unusual dreams during treatment with ATRIPLA. These side effects may be reduced if you take ATRIPLA at bedtime on an empty stomach. They also tend to go away after you have taken the medicine for a few weeks. If you have these common side effects, such as dizziness, it does not mean that you will also have serious psychiatric problems, such as severe depression, strange thoughts, or angry behavior. Tell your healthcare provider right away if any of these side effects continue or if they bother you. It is possible that these symptoms may be more severe if ATRIPLA is used with alcohol or mood altering (street) drugs.

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June 2013 ATRIPLA is a trademark of Bristol-Myers Squibb & Gilead Sciences, LLC. COMPLERA, EMTRIVA, HEPSERA, STRIBILD, TRUVADA, and VIREAD are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies. SUSTIVA is a trademark of Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharma Company. Reyataz and Videx are trademarks of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. Pravachol is a trademark of ER Squibb & Sons, LLC. Other brands listed are the trademarks of their respective owners.

21-937-GS-012 Revised June 2013

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| September 18, 2013



Divine Familial Dysfunction US staged debut of Sergey Taneyev’s “Oresteia” shows it off to best effect BY ELI JACOBSON

The Mostly Mozart Festival’s vocal offerings



ard Summerscape presented the US staged premiere of Sergey Taneyev’s “Oresteia” (composed 1887-1894, premiered 1895) as part of its “Stravinsky and his World” program. Taneyev (18561915) was a piano prodigy who later became an influential musical pedagogue and theorist. His pupils included Rachmaninof f, Scriabin, and Glière, and his two-volume treatise on counterpoint was the most advanced of its time. He was a protégé and friend of Tchaikovsky, who looked to the younger man for musical advice and criticism — though he feared Taneyev’s uncompromising opinions. Taneyev considered his Russianlanguage operatic adaptation of Aeschylus’ “The Oresteia” trilogy his greatest musical achievement. Peter T iboris and the Manhattan Philharmonic presented the dramatically intense first part, “Agamemnon,” in concert at Carnegie Hall in 2004. The final two parts, “The Libation Bear ers” and “The Eumenides,” were performed in the US for the first time at Bard. Aeschylus’ take on the House of Atreus works in some ways like an extended three-part episode of “Law and Order” — first we see the murder committed, then the investigation and pursuit of the murderers, and finally the whole thing goes to court. The final act, where Orestes is tried in Athens by a jury of citizens presided over by the goddess Athena, is an ode to the Periclean justice system that replaced vigilante honor codes with law and order. This is very different from Euripides’ “Electra” with its concentration on human psychology and individual will. Taneyev’s musical style is also very different from Strauss and Hoffmannsthal’s “Elektra” — a contrast between refined intellect and primal emotion. T aneyev composes in a smoothly tonal late Romantic 19th century style with no rough edges. But the violent conflicts of the story require a musical brutality and the capacity for shock and surprise, which are beyond the cerebral Taneyev. One begins to appreciate how Strauss had to push tonality into dissonance and ugliness in his “Elektra.” The most beautiful passages are the choruses

Liuba Sokolova and Maria Litke in the Bard Summerscape production of Sergey Taneyev’s “Oresteia.”

of the Mycenaean people — hushed, haunting, and full of exotically spiced harmonies owing much to Russian choral tradition. The arias and duets flow along in well-ordered musical paragraphs but never rise to powerful dramatic eloquence or individual musical inspiration. Given that Taneyev’s music is firmly grounded in a 19th century eastern European style, stage director Thaddeus Strassberger’s decision to update the action to the late czarist period in Russia worked perfectly. The tilted perspectives of Madeleine Boyd’s unit set represented the entrance to a dilapidated neoclassical palace but changed easily into the twisting corridors inside, the desert plain, and Apollo’s temple in the later sections. The cast, almost entirely Russian, was comprised of several talented leading artists from secondary opera companies in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Liuba Sokolova’s contralto Clytemnestra initially sounded a bit woolly. But as the queen descended into guilt and paranoia, her Slavic earth mother tones became haunting and sorrowladen. Taneyev’s Electra is, rather incongruously for Strauss fans,

a lyric soprano ingénue. Soprano Olga Tolkmit’s wide-eyed girlish appearance belied her character’s incestuous attachment to her late father and brother and her descent into bloodthirsty dementia at the end of the second act. Tolkmit has a vibrant full lyric soprano one longs to hear unleashed in Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov operas. Maria Litke’s richly resonant soprano embodied the fateful Cassandra and an authoritative Pallas Athena. Andrey Borisenko’s burly baritone made an imposing Aegisthus and Apollo. As Orestes, the penetrating tenor of Mikhail Vekua managed the ungrateful high, declamatory music without tiring but his presence and timbre were unheroic. Maxim Kuzmin-Karavaev’s lighttoned lyric bass and diffident stage manner missed the kingly gravitas of Agamemnon. D r. L e o n B o t s t e i n , l e a d i n g h i s excellent American Symphony Orchestra, was well-suited to Taneyev’s weighty intellectual idiom. This production (a co-production with the Mariinsky Theater) made the best possible case for Taneyev’s neglected opera without hiding the underlying reasons for its obscurity.

provided solace to New York voice fans suffering the summer drought of the Met’s off-season. Mezzo Alice Coote headlined a Mozart-Beethoven concert on July 31 with gripping, interpretively hands-on accounts of Mozart’s concert aria “Ch’io mi scordi di te... Non temer, amato bene” and Sesto’s aria “Parto, parto ma tu ben mio” from “La Clemenza di T ito.” The recitatives were performed with perfervid veristic intensity and vividly painted textual delivery. However, as in her Handel Sesto in the Met’s “Giulio Cesare” this spring, Coote lacked repose and controlled legato in the andante sections — the tone often became breathy and bumpy in phrasing. French pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet stunned me with an almost throwaway quicksilver silken virtuosity in Beethoven’s “Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major.” Bavouzet was magisterially in control of a myriad of nuances and colors and yet it was all delivered naturally without effort. Conductor Louis Langrée delivered light, fleet readings of the “Coriolan Overture” and the “Symphony No. 7 in A major” with exaggerated and eccentric tempo choices and little internal cohesion.

On August 14, Gianandrea Noseda was a more con-

vincing Beethoven interpreter in the “Symphony No. 2 in D major.” Rossini’s “Stabat Mater,” with the US debut of fast-rising Italian soprano Maria Agresta, comprised the program’s second half. Agresta has a compact penetrating, dark lyric soprano that is wellbalanced with an easy, if occasionally over-vibrant, top. Her European repertoire includes parts like Norma and early Verdi heroines but she will come to the Met in future seasons as Mimi and Micaela. Mezzo Daniela Barcellona, too long absent from New York stages, reveled in a large, warm round tone that enveloped the listener. Veteran bel canto tenor Gregory Kunde, who has now ventured into heavy Verdi roles, showed some dryness and spread tone in the middle yet he capped “Cujus Animam” with a secure, loud high D-flat. Bass Kyle Ketelsen impressed with a focused tone and excellent coloratura flexibility. Noseda enjoyed great rapport with the Mostly Mozart Orchestra, which played with great vitality, tonal warmth, and passion all evening.


September 18, 2013 |


Carine’s Career The chicest woman in the world talks



MADEMOISELLE C Directed by Fabien Constant English and French with English subtitles Cohen Media Group Bowtie Chelsea Cinemas 260 W. 23rd St. City Cinemas Beekman 1271 Second Ave. at 67th St.

Filmmaker Fabien Constant has trained his lens on Roitfeld in the documentary “Mademoiselle C,” and interviewing her about it was a great way to kick off New York Fashion Week. With her smolderingly fierce jolie laide mien, whip-thin figure swathed in a white Celine tunic top, black Miu Miu skirt, her signature stilettos (also Celine), and general killer tawny allure, she presented one initially intimidating façade, but this was instantly broken by her genuinely inviting friendliness and down-to-earth openness. Roitfeld is the type of charmer who initially asks you about yourself. When I told her that I once dabbled in fashion but got the hell out because of the viperish people in the biz, she said, “There are bitchy people everywhere. You have to have a carapace. People think fashion people are not nice, but when you see this film, it is about a real friendship between me and [her publisher] Stephen Gan. It goes back 15 years ago when we said, ‘Some day we are going to have a magazine together,’ because we always had so much fun. And it happened! He’s always wanted to protect me and let me sing and play, which I think is so nice. So friendship is possible. It may


or nigh on 20 years now, for those truly in the fashion know, Carine Roitfeld has been considered perhaps the world’s chicest woman. She began her career modeling in Paris at age 18, then became a stylist and journalist, then muse and consultant to designer Tom Ford at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. In 2001, she landed the coveted job of editor of Vogue Paris and turned every issue into an instant collector’s item through her daringly sexy layouts and unerringly stylish eye. Some may have thought she was finished when she left Vogue in 2011, but, instead she sprang back big-time with her own magazine, CR Fashion Book, the following year.

Carine Roitfeld with Karl Lagerfeld in Fabien Constant’s “Mademoiselle C.”

be rare, but in the film you see super ‘actors’ like Karl [Lager feld], Tom [Ford], and Riccardo [Tisci], and they are all still my friends. “There are just some not nice people, so you need a carapace, which is a sort of protection, like sunglasses. You take the bad with the good, but, at the end of the day, I’m quite a nice person. Sometimes I suffer for it but it’s okay. I do what I want and I have my friends and family.” Roitfeld has enjoyed a long relationship with former apparel mogul Christian Restoin, whom she’s never married, and has two children, Julia and Vladimir, who both took her surname. “People think it’s impossible to raise a family in fashion because it makes you crazy, but, when my kids were young, I was always stopping work for their school, taking them to the dentist and my son to football,” she said. “So now, I’m very close with my kids because family is the most important thing to me, and now I have a granddaughter, so it’s getting bigger. It’s important, because it gives you strength even when you have a bad moment, as we all do.” Roitfeld enjoyed “a very nice childhood. My father, Jacques, a film producer, was my biggest mentor. He was the most beautiful, charming, sexy dad. I was his princess and everything I did was to make him happy and proud of me. My mother was a real Parisian, which makes you immediately understand fashion when you are very young. It’s the way you live and what you see in shops, even if you are not shopping at Dior or Chanel. You know

it exists and it’s in your DNA, seeing beautiful people and knowing couture and parfum. I remember my mother wearing a lot of Pucci and eyeliner, and I was always doing that for her, like painting for a child.” Jacques Roitfeld, his daughter explained, “started the first erotico films, like ‘The School of Sex,’ but they were very soft, with a sweet little story. Soft porn but they were a beginning. Sex is good! In the photos I styled for Mario Testino, we tried to push a lot of sex in fashion magazines, but not in a tragic way. Sex has to be fun. Even if the girl is naked in the middle of the street, she’s still chic because she’s not suffering and wants to be there.” I’ve noticed that the 1970s work of Yves Saint Laurent and photographer Helmut Newton are constant reference points in Roitfeld’s oeuvre and when I mentioned that, she responded, “Yes. Each morning when I think of what to wear to work, I think, ‘Well, I’m a Saint Laurent girl!’ It’s not just his clothes but his idea of a woman, this respect I have for Monsieur Saint Laurent, whose images with Newton are everything I love. “I was not a top model but I learned the life of models, so when I work with them I know it’s not nice to be naked in front of everyone — and sometimes it’s cold. I respect and love them and am not jealous of them, even if they’re much younger, much better, much more everything than me. I’ve always liked models — they make me laugh and are always nice with me. I have a very good

relationship with them and am very faithful, like with Lara Stone. I really made her, no? “The business takes them and throws them away. I like new models, of course, but I like the old ones. I say old — and they’re 26 — but you can talk differently to them. You cannot say to a girl of 16 to become sexy. They don’t know about this in their life and it’s not good for them. But you can say this to the older girl and she may remember what she did the night before and she can become a comedienne, because I prefer to have actresses than models on the set. I talk to them as actresses, woman to woman.” I asked Roitfeld, who worked at Saint Laurent, if she knew the late Loulou de la Falaise, Yves’ special muse, with whom I hung out one unforgettable night at Studio 54. “She was amazing, but I was never her friend,” she responded. “She was a bit older than me so we never went to the same parties. But she had a great style and I liked that she was a muse but was not paid to be one. She was like a friend, and now someone can be the muse of 10 different designers. “It’s become a business. When I was working with Tom [Ford], it was just him, totally, and I was his feminine counterpart in how I was dressing and wore his clothes. We had a special common eye and now I am sometimes the muse of Riccardo Tisci. They are totally different but both have the same strength. I am very lucky in my career


IN THE NOH, continued on p.40


| September 18, 2013


Abortion Documentary Can’t Win by Forcing Default


A look at the handful of late term practitioners preaches to the choir

documentary of the year.” – Filmmaker Magazine

“One of the most




pieces of filmmaking

atching Ken Loach’s 1971 “Family Life” a few months ago, I was startled by the casualness with which it introduces a subplot in which its troubled protagonist gets an abortion. If made today, it wouldn’t exactly play as pro-choice — she’s basically forced into the procedure by her controlling mother. Yet abortion is so taboo in American TV and cinema that practically any acknowledgment of it is de facto prochoice.

AFTER TILLER Directed by Martha Shane and Lana Wilson Oscilloscope Laboratories Opens Sep. 20 Film Forum 209 W. Houston St. Elinor Bunin Munroe Center Film Society of Lincoln Center 144 W. 65th St.

Into this climate comes Martha Shane and Lana Wilson’s “After Tiller,” a documentary on the four doctors who perform late-term abortions in the US. Along with some more worthy qualities, it unfortunately epitomizes some of the worst aspects of contemporary American documentaries: a saccharine folk/ New Age score, cheap-looking cinematography and lighting, and a perspective that assumes that everyone who’s likely to watch the film agrees with its position. “After Tiller” begins with the murder of late-term abortion provider George Tiller in Wichita, Kansas. Since his assassination, Dr. LeRoy Carhart, Dr. Warren Hern, Dr. Susan Robinson, and Dr. Shelley Sella (who is a lesbian) are the only remaining doctors who provide third-trimester abortions. “After Tiller” combines images of their interactions with patients at clinics in New Mexico, Nebraska, Maryland, and Colorado, where they frequently face protesters, with interviews with the doctors and scenes of their daily lives away from the office. Shane and Wilson film some very intimate doctor/ patient consultations. They keep patients’ faces offscreen,



– Fandor



– Village Voice

Dr. Shelley Sella talks to one of her patients in Martha Shane and Lana Wilson’s documentary “After Tiller.”

keeping the camera focused on women’s bodies instead. When they shoot the doctors, they’re able to get closer, but the lighting is often blown-out and too bright. I can understand why their production circumstances required them to use a small, consumer-grade video camera, but in this case, it really makes “After Tiller” look like a student film. A friend suggested that there’s evidence of post-production trickery to make the film seem slicker, but it didn’t help much. The most valuable aspect of “After Tiller” is breaking down stereotypes about women who get late-term abortions. Only one percent of all abortions are performed during this time frame — though that may be partially due to the fact so few doctors handle them. Even in the view of many otherwise pro-choice people, they border on infanticide. The majority of the women who approach the doctors in “After Tiller” do so for medical reasons — their children would go on to have a miserable quality of life due to birth defects. One woman wants to get an abortion because her baby wouldn’t be able to eat or walk without assistance. Women also sometimes spend long periods in denial about being pregnant, either because they’re very young or because their pregnancy is the product of a rape. However, in one case, a woman who wants to get an abortion does so


AFTER TILLER, continued on p.35


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September 18, 2013 |


Czech Dušan Týnek Plays Complex Dance Games Young choreographer’s flash has not yet grown into a coherent story BY GUS SOLOMONS JR

(by Roderick Murray) shifted radically from one overhead source to another, altering the space. Týnek punctuated the rhythmic monotony with some surprising lifts. But it’s Murray’s lighting that articulated the move-per -beat dancing, which over the 15-minute duration of the dance started to feel like a jackhammer to the brain. The first premiere, “Romanesco Suite,” danced to a sound design by Dave Ruder and dressed by Týnek in sporty shorts and T-shirts, could be Part Two of the first dance, even down to Murray’s abrupt lighting changes and red shin buster lights that saturated the stage with color. Similar movements, like thrusting into a pushup and hopping on all fours, headstands, and cartwheels and little fast-foot patterns recalled not only the work of two of Týnek’s mentors — Childs and Merce Cunningham —

but also the movement in “Base Pairs.” And the unexpected entrance late in the piece of an eighth person (Eirich, joining the other six dancers from “Base Pairs” plus Ned Sturgis) was an homage, consciously or not, to Cunningham’s “Sounddance.” An overused trope of Týnek’s typically repetitive movement style is walking increasingly faster around the periphery of the space before breaking into a jog, mostly counter-clockwise. Choreographically, running is filler for him — like pirouettes in ballet — that fills time without advancing the journey. “Romanesco” highlights the emotionality of performance Týnek applies to his otherwise clean, abstractly designed movement, creating a dichotomy. We’re not sure if the brief connections — a lift here, a lean there — are meant to be more than kinetic

moments in an unabated kinetic stream. Týnek keeps everyone busy, in a hurry to keep going, which serves to squeeze the breath out of the choreography. The second premiere, “Stereopsis,” began with Týnek himself reciting more of Polutanovich’s abstruse poetry. He was miked, and the text was modulated from whispers to growls. Behind him were two giant lights, like monster’s eyes, glaring at us. The text perhaps refers to mythology — Cyclops and the like — but no matter. Here, the men, again bare-legged — not a complaint, as they all have beautiful bodies — wore Young’s brown briefs with a kind of double necktie that connected to the waistband, front and back. The women wore purple tunics over their shorts. The dancers provided their own sounds here, accenting phrases by shouting a percussive “Hah!,” clucking their tongues, or hissing. Couples skittered back-to-back, side-to-side, and front-to-front from the dimly lit rear, where they resided, into the lighted central arena where they engaged. This time, Týnek elaborated on the running — mostly clockwise for a change — to include a two-step, hop, and small leap. It carried the dancers around and around, singly, in pairs, in opposing circles, and in canon. Týnek knows how to make athletic, even exhilarating movement motifs, but doesn’t build them into the long, satisfying phrases that would transform them from exercises into expression. Like many young choreographers, he is still in the grip of his former masters but shows the sparks of a personal voice that’s eager to emerge.

listen that he is not the character he played. Both, however, discover that they are — or will be — both empowered and imprisoned by the characters they created. Power doesn’t leave it there but instead takes us inside each man. We see Fetchit — possibly holding back the information Ali asks for so he will be alone — as vulnerable to the judgment and mistreatment of others. And we see Ali as a man who on some level just wants to box. As the play’s conflicts and complexities unfold, every character remains sympathetic on some level — even Brother Rashid, the Nation of Islam enforcer who becomes Fetchit’s nemesis. Des McAnuf f’s taut direction is outstanding. One can’t help but feel the pace and tension slowly ramping up as the bout approaches and Ali, cool

in his public demeanor, becomes more and more desperate to find the “anchor punch” in private. Conflict with his wife grows, as well, when Ali learns her past is not as pure as he had fantasized. Much is at stake for all the characters and the pressure of that does not let up, even in a bittersweet ending highlighting the respect of one kind of champion for another. We see clearly the darkly poetic similarities between the two. As Muhammad Ali, Ray Fisher gives an extraordinary performance that conveys all the champ’s star power but also his depth, drive, and warmth when out of the spotlight. Nikki M. James is excellent as Sonji, who liberates herself from the role she’s expected to play —and accepts the consequences of that choice. Richard Masur is

appropriately abrasive as Fox, but even he has his vulnerabilities. John Earl Jelks is powerful as Brother Rashid, stern in his defense of the Nation of Islam yet still a man who fears he may not be doing the right thing. K. Todd Freeman is revelatory as Stepin Fetchit, offering a performance of great physical accomplishment as well as clarity and focus — as both an aging, somewhat defeated star and a brash young actor who knows his value. Fetchit makes it known that what he was in his time helped create a world where an Ali is possible. The issues Power tackles are intriguing, but it all works because he has written a good play. With brilliant use of language and elegant crafting of characters, he delivers a knockout punch.


Muhammad, from p.24

There is enough history to keep this interesting, and Power has a wonderful ear for dialogue and a true gift for crafting characters and scenes. Yet what makes the play so compelling is that at its heart it is about the invention of the self. Just as Fetchit created a character that got him fame, fortune, and status in his heyday, Ali is struggling to create and maintain an image for himself as the self-proclaimed “greatest.” The invention of the self as a bankable commodity is a distinctly American narrative, whether for the fictional Jay Gatsby or the all-tooreal Donald Trump. In Power’s writing, it’s fascinating to watch as Ali proclaims his greatness and Fetchit, whose real name was Lincoln Perry, tries to convince anyone who will



ušan Týnek is a young Czech-born choreographer whose eponymous Dance Theater, founded in 2003, has attracted goodly attention. In his three-dance evening at BAM Fisher (September 4-7), he showed a work from 2010 and two premieres. Týnek works in the modern dance tradition and his broad background of performing informs his style. The theater, a spacious, flexible black box was set up with the audience on three sides. Týnek’s choreography is extremely rhythmical but, oddly, none of these three works use music. Still, all are clearly the work of the same man, one skilled at moving dancers through space, clever at twisting old steps to new purposes, and thorough in details of production. “Base Pairs” (2010) uses the persistent pulse of a metronome and text by Cynthia Polutanovich, recorded by dancer/ choreographer Lucinda Childs. It’s hard to reconcile the emotional tenor of the words with the utter abstraction of the movement. Four women and three men (Alexandra Berger, Ann Chiaverini, Emily Gayeski, Elisa Osborne, John Eirich, Sam Swanton, and Tim Ward) appeared bare-legged in white leotards by Karen Young with fossils, skulls, vine tendrils, and fish, printed on them like tattoos by Ceri Isaac. The cast stood in formation, facing diagonally. Their windmilling arms yanked them into different facings like game tokens on a board. When they added lunges to the motif, taking them into space, the lighting

Emily Gayeski, John Eirich, Ned Sturgis, Dušan Týnek, Sam Swanton, Tim Ward, Ann Chiaverini, and Alexandra Berger in “Stereopsis.”

| September 18, 2013


IN THE DARK, from p.25

audiences, because we were able to strike a balance between a love story, an emotional story, and political resonance as well. It’s topical.

sexuality. He’s very introverted. Roy is more fluid in how he presents himself. In the gay club, for example, and when he and Nimr are together, he is softer than when he’s at work.

GMK: What do you think Nimr and Roy see in each other? MM: They each see someone who wants to get out [of the Middle East] as much as they do — these characters are exhausted with the situation. They try to live their lives detached from the politics and find comfort in each other. They also each find the qualities in the other they wish they had.

GMK: The film starts out as a love story, but becomes a kind of thriller. Can you discuss that? MM: One of the things that drove me to this story was that there are thriller elements — organizations, groups, and people who are putting others at risk in order to save or help guys who are in dire situations. We wanted to make it a love story and a thriller. The movies I like to see are films that mix genres.

GMK: How did you construct the sexuality of the characters, which is as important as their nationality? MM: Something that used to exist in the late ‘90s and most of the last decade was that the Israel intelligence community was using gay Palestinians as informants. It was an assumed fact that if [a Palestinian] was gay and spending a lot of time on the other side of the fence they were an Israeli collaborator. I want to think that sexuality and nationality is something the characters transcend. Nimr is closeted. He is very reserved, and not just in the way he expresses his

GMK: The film has an appropriately a m b i g u o u s e n d i n g . Wa s t h a t deliberate? MM: When Yael and I were writing this, we did research and had instances where we argued. We have a lot of pessimism when it comes to the IsraeliPalestinian conflict and the possibility of a solution. But the more we talked about it, we see generations down the line that there’s a possibility of peace and we do have hope. We wanted that to be a living, breathing part of the film. It’s true to the realities of these people. Never create a situation where there is no glimmer of hope.


not obvious from the film itself that the directors have. The questions raised by “After T iller” aren’t likely to be answered any time soon, because there’s never going to be a society-wide consensus on when life begins. The film doesn’t do itself any favors by never speaking directly to anyone on the anti-abortion side. All of its images of pr o-life protesters come at a distance — as they wave signs outside clinics or appear at hearings — or via the news media. I understand that “After Tiller” is intended to be a pro-choice film and have no problem with that.  It would be a stronger one if it took the other side more seriously.

AFTER TILLER, from p.33

because of the likelihood of “mild to severe mental retardation” in her child. It’s her decision to make about how difficult raising such a child is likely to be, but where do the doctors draw the line about when such decisions turn into euthanasia or eugenics? What would they say to a woman who wants to abort a fetus because it has Down’s syndrome? (As far as one can tell from the film, the law seems to put them in the position to make such judgment calls.) It’s clear from the way the doctors profiled in “After Tiller” speak that they’ve thought long and hard about these ethical questions, but it’s



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Gianni Versace’s leather evening dress, 1992.

Montana never gave up; and, of course, leather, in all of its pungent sexual significance. Who could ever have known that T-shirts from bars like the Eagle and the Mineshaft would ever be in a museum? You may definitely get a little misty over the wall of the “fallen” — those designers who died, all of them far too young, during the initial AIDS rampage. Their careers may not have been the longest, but their talent blazed red hot while they were around and their work here is so timelessly fresh. You could don any of their outfits and still be the height of chic today. Perry Ellis was like a breath of spring in American ready-to-wear with his easy-breezy silhouettes and fabrics. Willi Smith was a groundbreaking black designer with an ethos similar to Ellis’ but with a more exotic flavor and greater innovation, as in his wrap pants that would fly out of stores like Capezio in the Village — downtown fashion central — in the late 1970s. His sense of fun was shared by my friend Patrick Kelly, another black design pioneer, who couldn’t get arrested in New York, but, with the aid of a one-way ticket to Paris secretly given him by supermodel Pat Cleveland, conquered the City of Light, like his Southern sister Josephine Baker before him. He was the first American named to the prestigious Chambre Syndicale. Carmelo Pomodoro once partnered with the young Donna Karan at Anne Klein and really put that label on the map with a quintessentially American sophistication for working women who wanted to look professional and sexy. Bill Robinson was literally a shape-shifter for men, with his deconstruction of formerly boxy business attire at Calvin Klein and Yves Saint Laurent. Halston, of course, defined the 1970s with his starkly minimalist elegance and is represented by a pale blue gown donated by Lauren Bacall, which, like her, is the essence of sleek sensuality. The “fallen” section is particularly close to the heart of curator Dennis.

A John Bartlett ensemble, 2000.


slinky vamps and the “other woman,” often appearing far more chic than the stars themselves. She was, in life, Mrs. Fred Perry, the wife of the noted tennis champion. The British, with their strong peacock tradition of dandyism and ineffable design gifts, are here in force, in the ultra-urbane personas of Oscar Wilde, Cecil Beaton, and Noël Coward, whose silk dressing gown symbolizes an entire era of cocktails and laughter. Two genius recent designers — both of them fallen, one by death and the other by scandal — Alexander McQueen and John Galliano, have gorgeous work in the show. A lesser-known figure is bespoke-loving Bunny Roger (1911-97), a flamboyantly out scion of Scot wealth, who was not only a couturier to such as Vivien Leigh and the inventor of Capri pants in 1949, but a World War II hero as well. He was known for rouging up heavily for battle and leading his troops waving a rolled-up Vogue magazine, crying “Come on girls, up and at ‘em!” His supposed advice regarding approaching German forces, “When in doubt, powder heavily.” The ultimate dandy émigré, Quentin Crisp, is also on hand. Designer Miguel Adrover saw his apartment being disassembled in the East Village and scavenged his filthy, stained mattress, making a distinctively funky coat from the ticking. “It was really a mess,” Dennis said. “Apparently when they were making it, after washing it they all broke out with some kind of rash.” Not surprising, as Crisp famously once said, “Why ever clean? The dust doesn’t get any worse after 10 years.” The scruffy early look of Andy Warhol and the overthe-top bespangled one of Liberace are on display, as is a cool, mod Saint Laurent jumpsuit once sported by Larry Kramer, no less. But, in the celebrity department, the show’s biggest “get” has to be a collection of seven garments, from the Berlin Film Museum and never before shown in this country, worn by the immortal Marlene Dietrich. They include her man-tailored tuxedos, which challenged every notion of feminine sexuality in the 1930s, as well as a charming yachting ensemble that further establishes her as chicest movie star ever, on or off the screen. Two gay designers continually played with gender identity in their clothing — Gianni Versace and Jean Paul Gaultier. Fashion editor Hal Rubenstein has lent some outfits that were personally given to him by Versace along with the advice: “First, my dear, you put on your shorts or trousers and wrap one shirt around your waist, but let it flow in the back. Then you put on another shirt but leave it open… then put on your roller skates and fly down Ocean Avenue and be fabulous. They will be chasing after you, I promise.” The notorious 1992 leather ball gown inspired by gay S&M culture is present, and Dennis told me that Versace had originally wanted to show it 15 years earlier, but was forced to repress it because of the general outrage it caused. I personally own probably more Gaultier than of any other designer. From the time I first saw bracelets designed by him made of tin cans in a Paris boutique in the 1980s, I have always responded to his unique wit and oh-so French brand of sexy élan. The cone-busted silhouette, popularized by Madonna, is on protuberant display, as is Gaultier’s trademark sailor look, done, however, in head-to-toe shocking pink. And then there are those looks that will all be familiar to a certain generation of gay men, especially the “clone” ensemble of cutoff jean shorts, boots, and wifebeater; the reversible nylon aviator jacket that everyone seemed to own at one time and which designer Claude


FASHION, from p.22



September 18, 2013 |

Jean Paul Gaultier’ orange shirred velvet dress with cone bust and back lacing, 1984

“I knew Robinson when I first started working here,” he explained. “He used to come in and do research. AIDS wiped out an entire generation of talents — as well as stylists, photographers, hair and makeup artists — who should have been our Balenciagas, our old masters now, and could have been teaching our students. It’s important for these kids, especially the gay ones, to learn about their history, and realize that it wasn’t always this easy for us.” The show ends, triumphantly, with a room devoted to queer marriage, featuring the actual outfits worn by three same-sex couples, two of them male and one female. A fabulously fitting finale to a truly pioneering exhibit.

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September 18, 2013 |


Gore Vidal’s Forgotten Rival

John Horne Burns, America’s “best war novelist,” done in by homophobia and his own success


BY DOUG IRELAND f one asks male queers today who wrote the first serious modern American novel that was explicitly gay, nine out of 10 would answer Gore Vidal, for his 1948 book “The City and the Pillar.” But they’d be wrong.


That distinction belongs to John Horne Burns, whose 1947 “The Gallery,” based on his wartime service in North Africa and Italy, garnered almost universal rave reviews, becoming a bestseller that immediately went through 12 printings. The novel nearly won the Pulitzer Prize for its hitherto unknown 31-year-old author, who became a literary celebrity overnight. Burns’ portrait was featured on the cover of the influential Saturday Review of Literature as “the best war novelist of 1947,” and he was the first author to be praised simultaneously by Harper’s magazine and Harper’s Bazaar, the latter running a “romantic photograph of Burns taken on a gritty New York street” when it listed him as one of 1947’s “Men of the Moment” — along with David Lean, Robert Ryan, Michael Redgrave, and Stephen Spender. When Life magazine did a feature that year on the new generation of novelists to come out of World War II and assembled a half dozen of them for a group photograph, Burns was given pride of place at the front, with writers now better remembered than he in the background. Gore Vidal, whose World War II novel ”Williwaw” — a critically acclaimed little jewel about his war service in the Aleutians written when he was only 19 — was published the year before, but he was not included in the Life group of war writers. Yet today, Burns is almost forgotten, even by cultivated gay writers. The talented Christopher Bram (author of the novel “The Father of Frankenstein,” which became the Oscar-winning gay cult film “Gods and Monsters”), in his otherwise useful book “Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America,” published in 2012, accords Burns and “The Gallery” only a dismissive half-sentence. That’s a great pity because “The Gallery is, in so many ways, a much better book than the iconic “The City and the Pillar” — and Vidal knew it. This is one of the many revealing elements of an admirable new biography, “Dreadful: The Short Life and Gay Times of John Horne Burns” by David Margolick, just published by The Other Press. As Margolick writes, Burns “had several encounters with Gore Vidal, leading to a highly charged rivalry that seemed to fascinate, and haunt, Vidal (who was nine years younger than Burns) for decades afterward. The two competed over everything, including which of them was more competitive.” Vidal recorded at some length in his diary their first meeting, at a largely queer cocktail party in New York


By David Margolick The Other Press $28.95, 379 pages

thrown by a mutual friend. “There was mild antagonism in the air,” Vidal wrote of the encounter, adding: “He is very odd, quite ugly [Vidal vastly overstates this— others found Burns “handsome”]; tall plump and fair a long broken nose, flop ears and a high forehead… His speaking voice is pleasant — he talks jerkily to cover an obvious lack of ease — he says unpleasant things about writers, especially Truman [Capote]… His smile is charming.” Vidal and Burns met again a few days later at a party given by Beulah Hagen, a close friend of Burns who was the sister-in-law of the actress Uta Hagen and also the sister of the gay novelist and essayist Glenway Wescott, who’d invited Vidal. “It was a gloomy affair,” Vidal wrote later: “‘The City and the Pillar’ was just out and everyone was attacking it. Burns was riding high on ‘The Gallery’ and he tended to be rather patronizing, saying polite things about ‘Williwaw.’ All I can remember is Janet Flanner [the celebrated New Yorker writer and a notorious lesbian] taking him aside to tell him in her gruff voice that he had written one of the finest, etc., etc. No one, alas, praised me. I grew irritable. Glenway praised and praised. Burns pouted and mumbled alternately, offending, I was told later, everyone.” Margolick writes that “Beulah Hagen later recalled Vidal leaving that night in a huff.” Yet when, again only a few days later, Vidal finally read “The Gallery” as he was preparing to depart for Italy, he recorded that “I was much moved.” A few years later Vidal wrote that Burns “has extraordinary intuition and brains,” and said “The Gallery” displayed “a compassion which has been unequaled by his dry, careful contemporaries who commit as little as possible

both emotionally and artistically.” That Burns’ and Capote’s first books were such successes “reacts on me like a thunderstorm on a barometer,” Vidal confided in his 1949 journal: “There are passages in Truman that make me writhe they are so good… and the dignity of ‘The Gallery’ is like a blow… If they were unsuccessful I suppose I could survive their excellence but the fact that there are people who put one or the other or both ahead of me is too much.” Margolick writes, “Long after Burns had ceased to matter to just about everyone, Vidal continued talking about him, regaling guests in late-evening discussions at his home above the Mediterranean with gossip about his life and death.” And in a long essay for the New York Times Book Review in 1965, Vidal wrote, “Of the wellknown books of the war, I have always thought only Burns’ was authentic. To me the others were redolent of ambition and literature, and their talented authors have since gone on to better things. But for Burns the war was genuine revelation. In Naples he fell in love with the idea of life.” And the very first thing Vidal did on arriving in Italy was to take himself off to Naples to search out the Galleria Umberto I, the mammoth glass-enclosed shopping arcade whose bombed-out shell was the locus of the cruising and the gay bar Burns’ described in “The Gallery.” Vidal, of course, aimed to procure himself one of the Italian boys available there for a dalliance. Vidal was just one of many writers who admired “The Gallery” intensely. William Styron was “inspired “ by it, calling it “beautifully crafted.” Ernest Hemingway, who had not yet won the Nobel Prize for literature, wrote to a friend in 1947, “Read some damned good books. Latest: ‘The Gallery’ — wonderfully written,” and later urged the prestigious Italian publisher Mondadori to include the book in a series it would sponsor and Hemingway curate. Hemingway’s ex-wife, the war correspondent Martha Gellhorn, sent her accolades directly to Burns, telling him that “you write like an angel and so beautifully, and the book is a triumph and I thank you!” Edmund Wilson, the country’s most respected literary critic, was struck by Burns’ promise, writing in the New Yorker of his “unmistakable talent,” noting of “The Gallery” that “even the worst of these pages are the bad writing of a man who can write.” Wilson added, “Mr. John Horne Burns, when he has worked at his craft longer, will give us something both solider and more intense than this already remarkable book.” With ecstatic praise like this — especially for a first novel — flowing his way from all corners, Burns thought he was “a lock” to win the 1948 Pulitzer Prize — which went instead to James Michener for “Tales of the South Pacific” (later turned into the famous Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway musical and film), but Michener thought Burns was a much better writer who’d been “robbed” of his Pulitzer. He predicted Burns “would one day attain the stature of E.M. Forster.” Burns was “savagely disappointed” that Michener had won “his” Pulitzer and nursed a “burning hatred” for him, Margolick writes. At that famous Life photo session with the young war writers, Burns refused to shake Michener’s hand. Michener recalled in his memoirs that outside after the photo shoot, he was “standing on the sidewalk with a Life editor when the


DREADFUL, continued on p.39


| September 18, 2013


DREADFUL, from p.38

topic turned to Burns. ‘He’s quite a faggot, you know,’ the editor remarked. When we turned Burns was standing less than a foot behind us, his face an ashen gray.” The critical success of “The Gallery” was possible only because, as Margolick writes, “its gayness was almost entirely overlooked or, perhaps more accurately, ignored… Discomfited or uninterested or oblivious or downright hostile, most straight reviewers either missed the topic or pretended it wasn’t there. It was a familiar trope, one that affected gay writers like Walt Whitman and Oscar Wilde as well: the homosexual dimension of that work simply went unrecognized. (As the cultural historian Michael Henry Adams has noted, ‘being ignored is one of the bitterest forms of bigotry.’) “So ‘The Gallery’ was just another war novel, and Burns just another war novelist. Oddly enough, this conspiracy of silence insulated Burns from the hostility that greeted Gore Vidal’s ‘The City and the Pillar’ the following year.” But rampant homophobia was the critical response to Burns’ second novel, “Lucifer With a Book,” about a semiprestigious private school based on Harvard graduate Burns’ experience as a teacher at the Loomis School in Windsor, Connecticut, a semi-prestigious private academy about which “Lucifer” is an ill-disguised roman à clef. Typical of this anti-gay prejudice was the HeraldTribune Sunday Book Review, which denounced “Lucifer” as “the weirdest collection of freaks to have been brought together since Bar num.” The Chicago T ribune denounced its portraits of the students, who “range from blond, brainless, monied mastiffs popping bubble gum and winning the all-important football games to lushly effeminate numbers who make your skin crawl. In between there are a few misfits who came to The Academy to learn. They are, of course, Queers.” Despite Bur ns’ vocal left-wing politics, even the Communist paper the Daily Worker tarred “Lucifer” with a lavender brush, Robert Friedman writing. “Chapter after chapter, in monotonous exaggeration, is devoted to the sexual irregularities, abnormalities, and perversions to which seemingly practically everybody at The Academy is addicted.” Vidal later said that homophobia “destroyed Burns as a novelist” and called “Lucifer” “the most savagely and unjustly attacked book of its day,” an assessment with which even Michener — to whose work Burns had given an absolutely savage review — agreed. Bur ns had become addicted to

alcohol while a student at Harvard — he thought it aided his thought and creative processes — but the booze that fueled him throughout the writing of both “The Gallery” and “Lucifer With a Book” was already beginning to take its toll when the critical failure and homophobia that greeted his second novel drove him to self-exile in Italy, where the best (and gayest) sections of “The Gallery” are set. If Burns comes alive in this biography, it is due not just to the enjoyable prose of Margolick — a contributing editor of Vanity Fair — but to the use he makes of Burns’ voluminous, lively, vivid, and evocative correspondence. Burns was a difficult, prickly, and often imperious man to know, and he “wrote so many letters to so many people not because he had so many intimates, but because he didn’t,” Margolick writes. “He liked his own prose: in most cases, the recipients were almost secondary.” Burns’ gayest letters were written to a former student of his at Loomis, nine years his junior, David MacMackin, “eccentric, musical, precocious, and effeminate.” Margolick writes that “it is unclear whether they were ever sexually involved.” But the title of the biography, “Dreadful,” comes from Burns’ use of that word as camp code for homosexual as both noun and adjective in his correspondence with MacMackin, one of their many inside jokes — and one that allowed his letters to the youth from abroad to broach queer matters without alerting the army’s wartime censors. (Burns probably picked up “dreadful” as a signifier for “queer” from a Shelley

Burns “had several encounters with Gore Vidal, leading to a highly charged rivalry that seemed to fascinate, and haunt, Vidal.”

poem mentioning “deeds too dreadful to name.”) At his training camp, Burns wrote MacMackin, he encountered “a raft of dreadfuls” — most higher-ranking officers than he — beginning when he was “propositioned by an elegant slender Catholic sergeant” in the chaplain’s office. He wrote that the Seventh Medical Corps was “riotous & dreadful.” And that “‘twenty New York dreadfuls,’ calling themselves the ‘Mad Queens,’ and wearing their field jackets like ‘mink boleros’ had just entered the 32nd Battalion.” He also reported that “all the chaplain’s groups from corporals up


DREADFUL, continued on p.40

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LEVITHAN, from p.23

hinging on every decision they make. Elsewhere still, boyfriends Peter and Neil, together for over a year — an eternity in teen and gay years — struggle with growing apart and the notion they may no longer mean the world to each other. Levithan acknowledges the hardships


IN THE NOH, from p.32

because I spent 10 years with Tom as a muse and, after him, Riccardo, and they were the best ones. They are both quite charismatic and it’s very funny to have dinner with them because I think the idea behind fashion is to have fun, and Tom is really, really funny, as is Riccardo. Roitfeld said that, for her film, it was difficult to be in front of the camera, especially on her first day of meetings with her new magazine staff, none of whom she knew. “But I never said no to Fabien. He could go everywhere with me. It was good therapy for me because I’m such a control freak and he did it all — the music, the poster, the editing.” She hated the scene showing her wearing barrettes in her hair. “I’m sorry for that but the purpose


DREADFUL, from p.39

wriggle their bums when they walk and use high-heeled talk.” The extensive gay underside of army life, so finely chronicled by Allan Bérubé in his must-read 1990 World War II history “Coming Out Under Fire,” leaps out in Burns’ letters to his former pupil. In fact, Burns became something of a guru to the coteries of other “dreadfuls” he encountered in uniform; they looked up to him for his self-assurance and selfacceptance. But Bur ns could also be quite lucid about himself, as a letter to his mother demonstrates. Though his homosexuality was never discussed in his very conservative Irish Catholic family, the letter is worth quoting at length because it gives us the flavor of the man in his own words: “Nothing and no one really satisfies me except myself and ideas — music, poetry, intangibles. I am a sensationseeker of a fairly high order, and when there are no more sensations I’ll probably die in a genteel but none the less jaded manner. By this token I can’t help hurting people, of whom I always tire before they tire of me. They delude themselves into thinking that in me they’ve found some key, some secret, some be-all and endall. Sooner or later I find they’re boring me or sucking me dry, and I have to make a

September 18, 2013 | the gay community has dealt with in recent years, mainly bullying and suicide. He introduces Tariq, a victim of bullying and physical assault, who uses dance to try to overcome and not be defined by his past. Readers also meet Cooper, a closeted runaway whose life is spiraling out of control as he tumbles through a series of online and real-life sexual encounters.

Some characters cross paths, while others steer clear of each other. In a larger sense, though, they are all connected through the similarity of their experiences. Individually, they are each relatable, and together, they give voice to the current generation of youth — gay or otherwise. Like most of Levithan’s novels, “Two Boys Kissing” started as a short story,

the title inspired by the real-life story of Matty Daley and Bobby Canciello, who set the actual Guinness World Record for longest kiss in 2010. Their story, along with the others, falls into place with Levithan's refined optimistic style. The result is an enjoyable novel that celebrates the LGBT community’s progress. That and the joys — read: complications — of two boys' kiss.

of the film really was to show how you do fashion and share the work with other people,” Roitfeld explained. “It’s not just a business — thank God — but about having a dream and how to make that come true and meeting amazing people. Because all these photographers, designers, and hairdressers like Julian d’Ys, finally, are artists. “It is a tough business, though, and some designers’ shoulders are not strong enough. Look what happened to Monsieur Saint Laurent, Lee McQueen, Galliano. It’s tough to do four collections every year, minimum, and a handbag each season. You cannot be good all the time, and for the editor there are so many things to follow nonstop.” Asked her opinion of Galliano, Roitfeld said, “I’ve known him for a long time and still wear dresses of his from 18 years

ago. He’s a genius, and honestly, there are not so many in fashion. He’s a very sweet person, speaks good French, and I like him, feel sorry about everything that happened, and will be so happy when he comes back. He has to find a way, and it’s going to be difficult for him. “I think it’s all a terrible misunderstanding. I honestly was inviting him to my party and my premiere. I’m half-Jewish, I’m everything because my father is Jewish but my mother was not, so I’m open-minded. Galliano was the first one to put black girls on the runway and all different sizes of people, so I think he must have been on drugs and when you’re on drugs, you say horrible things.” Of the current younger designers, Roitfeld is particularly enthusiastic about J.W. Anderson and Christopher Kane.

“You have to be fearless, and I never follow the good advice of frightened people,” she said. “I did an entire issue of Vogue with the black model Liya Kebede and they said, ‘It won’t sell!’ — and it was a big success. I did Kate Moss when she was in rehab and they said I’d lose all the advertisers. It was hypocrisy, and six months later Kate Moss comes back. “I try to respect people, but sometimes people do feel bad because I push too much. But it’s just fashion and I try to make people aware with my eye. And I’m a Mom, so I don’t want to do things that will shock my kids. I’m sure I make a lot of errors, but I prefer to take risks.”

clean break with them. It’s impossible for me to have, like most soldiers, a ‘buddy,’ for my arc is too wide and too eccentric to admit of another’s presence. This summation of my perversities, reduced ad absurdum, makes me a great genius, a fool, a misanthrope, an ascetic. Probably I’m some of all; there’s a coldness and a cruelty and a logic in my reasoning that rather terrifies me… I’ve hardly ever failed to size up a character at once, on intuition, and later experience proves me to be right. I have moments of profound depression, my nerves are so sharp that I can reduce everything and everyone to a shamblesy zero. Then when I’m convinced I’m a cool ghoul, I have a moment of icy calm, like death, and the most exquisite fire and laughter glows in me, so that there seems to be between me and God a secret shared by very few.”

Children,” was a mess, and it, too, was greeted in the US with homophobic contempt. Typical was a Chicago Tribune review, which slammed Burns saying he had “not yet raised his sights above the slime of neuroticism, homosexuality, and assorted perversions… the reader is forced to consort with a wide range of sluts, lesbians, homosexuals, and incipient sadists.” His body already weakened by the series of sexually transmitted diseases — gonorrhea and syphilis —contracted during his serial trysts in wartime Italy, Burns spent his final years as a lonely fixture at the bar of the Hotel Excelsior in Florence, subsisting on brandy and candy and speaking to no one other than the barman, except to get into the occasional drunken argument. “In those years,” Vidal later wrote, “one tried not to think too much of Burns. He was the best of us all, and he went out in the worst way.” On a trip to the seaside with Nencini, Burns, as usual. drank too much, and, though ever oversensitive to sunlight, stayed out in the sun too long. He became ill and died within days, apparently of some sort of cerebral hemorrhage aggravated by sunstroke and booze. Why did Burns fall so far so fast, and die so soon at only 36? Vidal came as close as anyone to plumbing these two riddles: “Burns was a gifted man who

wrote a book far in excess of his gift, making a kind of masterpiece which will endure in a way that he could not. Extreme circumstances made him write a book which was better than his talent, an unbearable fate for an ambitious artist who wants to go on, but cannot; all later work shadowed by the splendid accident of a moment’s genius. I suspect that once Burns realized his situation, he in fact chose not to go on, and between Italian brandy and Italian sun contrived to stop.” I recently re-read “The Gallery” after some years away from it, and was again struck by how vital, fresh, and modern it is, and how realistically it portrays homosexuality as normal. It remains an important book, and an essential link and landmark in the still-unfolding history of queer culture. I agree with David Mamet’s assessment that “The Gallery” was “the best book to have come out of the war.” And though Margolick admits that, when he came to write this biography, the gay world was “a black hole for me” and “for a straight man, unfamiliar, even treacherous,” he r estor es Bur ns to us without condescension and with enormous sensitivity and sympathy. “Dreadful: The Short Life and Gay Times of John Horne Burns” is a fine piece of work that I heartily recommend without the slightest reservation.

Burns was a celebrity in Italy, where “The Gallery” was a bestseller and critically acclaimed for its sensitivity to the Italians and their mores (in contrast to John Hersey’s soupy and treacley wartime Italian novel “A Bell for Adono,” which they considered patronizing”). In Florence he was known to all as “Il Autore” (the Author). But although he formed a serious relationship with a small-town veterinarian, Sandro Nencini, a handsome man six years Burns’ junior, this happiness was bad for his work. His third novel, “A Cry of

Contact David Noh at Inthenoh@aol. com, follow him on Twitter @in_the_noh, and check out his blog at http://nohway.


| September 18, 2013


QUINN, from p.11

a group of GMHC staff members, which declared that the staff had "lost confidence" in the leadership of Hill and chief operating officer Janet Weinberg. The reporter lear ned through a source outside the board that Rolfe, Rivera, and the rest of the board had to sign a non-disclosure contract as a result of an agreement that bound them to secrecy about the events of the firing in exchange for Hill's quiet departure. A second GMHC source confirmed every detail provided by the first source. According to the sources, another stipulation of that agreement allowed Weinberg to avoid being fired as well, and she is currently serving as interim CEO until the board decides on a new hire for the leadership position. Hill, who is African American, threatened to sue the board — which is mostly comprised of white males — for racial discrimination once it was clear she would be fired, according to the sources. Hill could not be reached for comment on that, because she is currently out of the country on a sabbatical that began on July 1 and which will continue until the end of her tenure on September 29. Before becoming the CEO of GMHC in 2006, Hill served as the organization's managing director for community health. She also previously served as assistant

commissioner for the Bureau of HIV/ AIDS at the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Hill first became a high profile leader in the LGBT community when she served as Mayor David Dinkins’ gay liaison two decades ago. In October 2012, Hill was appointed chair of the New York State AIDS Advisory Council by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Weinberg lauded Hill's seven years as CEO of GMHC, a span which made her the longest serving leader of an HIV/ AIDS service organization. "In the world of HIV/ AIDS, she's renowned," Weinberg said. "I think she's raised the issue for black people in this epidemic and really set a precedent for making sure that HIV services were allinclusive, regardless of race, sexual orientation, mental health, and substance use issues." One of the most significant changes made by Hill during her tenure was the decision, in 2010, to move GMHC from its longtime home at 119 West 24th Street to new offices at 450 West 33rd Street, after the rent was raised significantly. The result of that move was unpopular among some AIDS activists, including GMHC co-founder Larry Kramer, mainly because of restrictions placed on the organization within the new location, such as the inability to provide medical services on-site.

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HEDDA LETTUCE lounge THURSDAY NIGHT SPECIAL 157 W 24th St. One free drink with your Chelsea Classics ticket stub.


September 18, 2013 | their roots in a bawdy tribute comedy, “Bette & Barry: Back to the Bathhouse.” Midler tribute artist Donna Maxon revisits the glorious 1970s at the Continental Baths with her acclaimed cabaret show, joined by musical director Fonda Feingold as Barry Manilow. The show, co-written by Maxon and director Michael Schiralli, incorporates songs from throughout both Midler’s career (“Wind Beneath My Wings,” “Delta Dawn,” “Friends”) and Manilow’s (“Copacabana,” “Looks Like We Made It,” “Mandy”), and the banter between the pair hits highlights of their career, including a touching reminiscence of friends from their bathhouse days lost to AIDS. Laurie Beechman Theatre, inside West Bank Café, 407 W. 42 St. Sep. 20, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 at, and there’s a $15 food/ drink minimum.

SEPTEMBER 26: New York Burlesque Festival.


Goldthwait. From 9:30-11 p.m., Mario Cantone ("Sex & the City," Broadway's "Laugh Whore") and his band present a late evening of comedy and music. Bearsville Theater, 291 Tinker St. near Overlook Dr., Woodstock. Tickets to each show are $50-$75 at

GALLERY The Legacy of Julian Pretto

Honoring and examining the history and legacy of gallerist Julian Pretto (1945-1995) and his fabled downtown New York galleries — which presented well over 100 artists spanning multiple generations, strategies, and styles at an array of small, often temporary alternative spaces in Tribeca, Soho, and the West Village neighborhoods — Minus Space presents an exhibition organized in collaboration with artist John Zinsser. Each of 45 artists, including Gay City News’ own Gregory Montreuil, will be represented by one work, many of which were originally presented by Pretto. 111 Front St., suite 226, btwn. Washington & Adams Sts. Through Oct. 26; Wed.-Sat., noon6 p.m. More information at

Pre-Columbian Identities


BENEFIT Bye-Bye Beach, Hello Big City

The Fourth Annual Pines in the City is a way to say goodbye to the beach while having fun and doing good. The OUT NYC Urban Resort hosts an evening that features DJ Kind Bud, performances by Natalie Joy Johnson and Jackie Dupree, a silent auction and raffle prizes, and a 90-minute open bar — all to benefit Live Out Loud, which is dedicated to inspiring and empowering LGBT youth by connecting them with successful LGBT professionals in their community, and the Tyler Clementi Foundation, which works to create inclusive and respectful environments for LGBT youth in homes, schools, churches, and the digital world. 510 W. 42nd St. Sep. 19, 6:30-10 p.m. General admission is $30 at; $50 for 6 p.m. entry to a lounge offering mini spa treatments.

READING Out With the Old, In With the New

In her “Drunken. Careening. Writers” series, Kathleen Warnock welcomes Lisa Ferber, creator of the hit web series “The Plotz Sisters” and a satirical multidisciplinary artist whose comedies of manner and whimsical paintings celebrate human quirk and beauty; Kurt Gottschalk, a journalist, radio producer, and the author of “Little Apples” and “Sentences”; and Thaddeus Rutkowski, author of the novels “Haywire Tetched: and “Roughhouse Haywire,” both finalists for the Members’ Choice Asian American Literary Award. KGB Bar, 85 E. Fourth St., btwn. Bowery & Second Ave. Sep. 19, 7 p.m. Admission is free.

CABARET Let Her Entertain You

Celebrating the release of her new CD, "Live at 54 Below," Laura Benanti, who won a Tony for her acclaimed performance as Gypsy Rose Lee in the recent Broadway revival of “Gypsy” and was nominated for her work in “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” “Into the Woods,” and

“Swing,” returns to 54 Below, 254 W. 54th St. Sep. 19, 7 p.m.; Sep. 20, 8 & 11 p.m.; Sep. 21, 8 p.m. The cover charge is $50-$60 at, with a $30 food & drink minimum.

THEATER A Southern-Sized Ghost Story

The Amoralists present “The Cheaters Club,” the newest play from resident playwright Derek Ahonen (“The Bad and the Better,” “The Pied Pipers of the Lower East Side”). It’s a Southern-sized Savannah ghost story that creeps out of the shadows and Spanish moss to bring us face to face with the skeletons that are lurking in our closet. Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand St., at Pitt St. Sep. 19-21, 8 p.m.; Sep. 21, 3 p.m. Tickets are $50 at


DANCE Flamenco’s Strength, Rhythm & Eroticism

“Eclipsis Flamenco: Encounter of Two Worlds” is an original, intensely passionate dance theatrical piece documenting the historical merging of the Pre-Colombian and Spanish cultures that birthed “mestizaje” (mixed cultures), the very foundation of Mexican life. Under the artistic direction of Mexican Flamenco star Maria Elena Anaya, whose partner Norah Jacobs is producer, “Eclipsis Flamenco” exuberantly explores the plasticity, strength, rhythm, and eroticism that emerge from the interaction of pre-Hispanic dance and Mexican folklore and reverberate in the profound chords of the guitar, percussion, and “cante flamenco.” Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie St., btwn. Delancey & Rivington St. Sep. 20, 21, 27 & 28, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $16, $12 for students & seniors at; $20 at the door.

PERFORMANCE Bette & Barry at the Bathhouse

Bette Midler and Barry Manilow go back to

CABARET Liza and Her Mama

Tommy Femia, who is a seven-time Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs (MAC) Award winner for his portrayal of Judy Garland, and Rick Skye, whose comic revues include "The War of the Mama Roses" and "A Slice O' Minnelli,” present a gagfilled, song-filled tribute to the famed mother-daughter Garland-Minnelli team. The musical line-up includes solos such as “Maybe This Time,” “New York, New York,” and “Over the Rainbow,” and a duo medley finale of “Get Happy” and “Happy Days Are Here Again.” Don’t Tell Mama, 343 W. 46th St. Sep. 21 & 28, Oct. 5 & 19, Nov. 2 & 30, Dec. 14 & 28, 8 p.m. There is a $25 cover charge at or 212-757-0788, and a two-drink minimum.

PERFORMANCE Choosing — That’s What Counts

Queer folk-pop duo Anna/ Kate, Anna Gothard and Kate Foster, present “I Run With You,” an exploration of choosing community, choosing love, and choosing each other. The evening is a song cycle devised by Anna/ Kate and friends, melding original tunes, covers, storytelling and... you. Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie St. btwn. Delancey & Rivington Sts. Sep. 21, 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.

Song and Laugh Men

The Woodstock Comedy Festival, held Sep. 20-22, benefits Family of Woodstock, which works on domestic violence prevention, and Polaris Project, which battles human trafficking. Tonight, the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Center recommends an evening of stand-up and sit down, comedy and music. On Sep. 21, 7-8:30 p.m., legendary TV host Dick Cavett is joined by comedian and director Bobcat

“Reflections on Identity: Endurance of Ritual,” curated by Yulia Tikhonova, presents eight emerging artists whose personal and collective identities represent a rich confluence of Spanish, Mexican, pre-Columbian, and Native American cultures. The artwork of Sol Aramendi, Sean Paul Gallegos, Omar Gámez, Thelma Garcia, Gabriela Leon, Lucia Ocegura, Sofia Garfias, and Mary Valverde engages these unique identities while opening a window into contemporary North American culture. Offering a critical view of the traps and deceptions of mainstream American culture, the exhibition poses difficult questions of politics, socio-economic status, and cultural assimilation often swept under the rug. Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie St., btwn. Delancey & Rivington St. Opening reception on Sep. 13, 5:30 p.m. Through Oct. 3.


CABARET His Aim Is True

Anthony Rapp (“Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” “Rent,” “Six Degrees of Separation,” “You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown”) brings his new unplugged evening of stories and songs to 54 Below. In addition to songs from these shows, Rapp performs others that have inspired him, including Elvis Costello's "Allison," Radiohead’s "Creep," and R.E.M.’s "Losing My Religion.” 254 W. 54th St. Sep. 22, 9:30 p.m. The cover charge is $35-$45 at, and there’s a $25 food & drink minimum.

MUSIC Detroit Meets Beijing at Lincoln Center

The New York Choral Society opens its season with an appearance with the Detroit Symphony and the Beijing Modern Music Festival under the direction of Yongyan Hu in a performance of a new piece by Xaiogang Ye, “Twilight of the Himalayas.” Avery Fisher Hall, 10 Lincoln Sq., Columbus Ave. at 64th St. Sep. 22, 3 p.m. Tickets are $20$80 at or 212-247-3878.


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BENEFIT The Pops Share With the Kids

New York Pops music director Steven Reineke hosts an intimate benefit concert, “Remember When…,” starring Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana (both of whom have starred in Rodgers & Hammerstein's “Cinderella”) to support the orchestra’s residency at Ronald McDonald House New York, which helps children fighting cancer discover their creative voice by teaching basic musical, creative writing and instrumental techniques. 54 Below, 254 W. 54th St. Sep. 23, 5:30 p.m. The evening begins with a champagne reception, followed by dinner and the concert. Tickets begin at $150 (reception and wine during the concert); $250 includes dinner, at or 212-765-7677.


COMMUNITY DOMA’s Demise & Your Family

The LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York and the Brooklyn Community Pride Center host a timely talk geared toward helping gay and lesbian couples understand the impact of the Supreme Court’s June decision striking down the key provision in the Defense of Marriage Act. The discussion puts specific focus on family and immigration law. The panel includes Carol Buell of the law firm Weiss, Buell & Bell, Carlene Jadusingh from the Law Office of Carlene Jadusingh, and Brad Snyder, executive director of the LGBT Bar Association. Brooklyn Community Pride Center, 4 MetroTech at Willoughby St. near Gold St. Sep. 24, 6-7:30 p.m. This event is free, but RSVP is suggested at


PERFORMANCE Vaudeville Resurrected

In his ongoing “History of Vaudeville Series,” author and performer Trav SD looks at the early years of cinema at one of America’s first great film production centers, the Vitagraph Studios in Midwood, Brooklyn, founded in 1907. Brooklyn Public Library, Grand Army Plaza at Eastern Pkwy. Sep. 25, 7 p.m. This discussion is free. Trav discusses the Kellys of Vaudeville — playwright George and comedy monologist Walter, both uncles of Grace Kelly — following the Sep. 29, 2 p.m. matinee performance of George’s “Philip Goes Forth.,” Mint Theater, 311 W. 43rd St. Tickets to the performance are $55-$65 (unreserved seats at $27.50) at


ADVOCACY AVP Honors Courage

The New York City Anti-Violence Project host the 17th annual Courage Awards, this year honor-

ing Laverne Cox, who dramatizes the challenges facing a transgender inmate in the new Netflix series “Orange is the New Black,” and writer Janet Mock, recently featured in the HBO documentary “The Out List.” Maulik Pancholy, known for memorable roles on “30 Rock” and “Weeds” and currently working on Nickelodeon's animated series “Sanjay and Craig,” emcees the evening, and break-out country singer Steve Grand performs in his first New York appearance. Studio 450, 450 W. 31st St. Sep. 26, 6 p.m. Tickets begin at $250, with an additional $50 for the afterparty, at

BOOKS Italian-American & Gay

Joseph A. LoGiudice, Michael Carosone, David Masello, and Gay City News’ Michael Luongo read from “Our Naked Lives: Essays from Gay ItalianAmerican Men,” a non-fiction anthology edited by LoGiudice and Carosone. The book consists of 15 essays that center on the intersection of sexuality and ethnicity, including familial issues, conflicts with Roman Catholicism, father-son disputes, gender stereotypes, and the clash between gay and Italian-American identities. Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia St., btwn. Bleecker & W. Fourth Sts. Sep. 26, 6 p.m. For more on the book, visit

PERFORMANCE You Gotta Have a Gimmick…

The annual New York Burlesque Festival, this year held Sep. 26-29, is the largest event of its kind. The festival kicks off with a Teaser Party, Sep. 26, 7 p.m., at Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St., btwn. Sullivan & Thompson St. Admission is $15 at; $20 at the door. The Premier Party takes place Sept. 27, 8 p.m., at Brooklyn Bowl, 61 Wythe Ave., btwn. N. 11th & 12th Sts., Williamsburg. The cover charge is $10 at; $12 at the door. The Burlesque Bazaar, where you can meeting vendors as well as burlesque legends, including April March, “The First Lady of Burlesque,” and Miss Nude World 1975, Tiffany Carter, takes place Sep. 28, noon-4 p.m., at the Slipper Room, 168 Orchard St. at Stanton St. This event is free. BB King’s, 237 W. 42nd St., is host to the Saturday Spectacular, Sep. 28, 7 p.m. Tickets are $30-$65 at bbkingblues. com; $35-$70 at the door. The afterparty takes place next door at Lucille’s Bar, 11 p.m.-1 a.m. This party is free for Saturday ticket holders. The festival concludes Sep. 29, 8 p.m., with the Golden Pastie Awards, at the Highline Ballroom, 431 W. 16th St. Admission is $25-$40 at; $30-$45 at the door. Seating is general admission, and the doors open at 6. For complete information and a four-day VIP pass, visit

ed house experience about our obsession and fascination with serial killers both real and fictional. Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center, 107 Suffolk St., btwn. Rivington & Delancey Sts. Evenings Sep. 27-Nov. 2; schedule varies. For performance times and tickets, from $30-$60, visit


WORKPLACE Opportunities with New York’s Big Employers

As part of Economic Empowerment Week, Citibank and the LGBT Community Center present the LGBT Career Fair, where you can meet representatives from more than four dozen major corporate and public sector employers. Citi Executive Conference Center, 153 E. 53rd St., 14th fl. (entrance at 53rd St. & Lexington Ave.). Sep. 30, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Free admission but you must register at or by emailing

York City. Leslie + Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, 26 Wooster St., btwn. Grand & Canal Sts. Oct. 1, 6-8:30 p.m. Tickets are $25$100 at


COMEDY Put that Joke on My Tab

In the latest installment of “Homo Comicus,” Bob Montgomery presents “Joketoberfest!,” homo-brewed hilarity from an intoxicating blend of LGBT comics, including Michele Balan, Marga Gomez, Adam Lehman, Nate Mitchell, and Brandy Rowell. Wed. Oct. 2. 8:30 p.m. Gotham Comedy Club, 208 W. 23rd St. Oct. 2, 8:30 p.m. The cover charge is $20, and there is a two-drink minimum. Reservations at 212-367-9000.


COMMUNITY Honoring Melissa Sklarz

In “Transcendence,” the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center honors longtime transgender community activist Melissa Sklarz, currently the president of the Stonewall Democrats Club of New

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NIGHTLIFE An Early Start on Halloween

New York’s most terrifying haunted house, “Nightmare,” celebrates its 10th year this fall. Produced by Timothy Haskell (creator of “Nightmare”) and Steve Kopelman (producer of “Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare”), the new edition is dubbed “Killers2,” a horrifying, immersive haunt-

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September 18, 2013 |

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t c e n recon • (215) 862-5030 explore this lively, walkable riverside town and Main Street. Eclectic shops • Unique dining • Historic B&Bs • Vibrant nightlife © Visit Bucks County, official tourism promotion agency.

Sept. 18, 2013, Gay City News  

Sept. 18, 2013, Gay City News

Sept. 18, 2013, Gay City News  

Sept. 18, 2013, Gay City News