FREE voLUME Twelve, ISSUE TWENTY One OCTOBER 16 - 29, 2013
Maloney’s Budget, Obamacare Defections 03 John Mitzel Remembered 07 Jersey Marriages By Next Week? 05 Transgenders & Immigration Reform 12
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October 16, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
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| October 16, 2013
Sean Patrick Maloney Draws Fire For Budget, Obamacare Votes Gay Hudson Valley House Democrat, narrow victor in 2012, sides with GOP, alienates labor allies n the days leading up to the shutdown of the federal gover nment, Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, a n u p s t a t e N e w Yo r k Democrat, twice voted to keep the government funded and against overturning Obamacare or delaying its implementation. But on September 30, in the decisive vote, Maloney, who is gay, was one of nine Democrats who defected, voting with the Republicans on the bill that has essentially left the government without the money needed to keep it running. Its doors have been shuttered ever since. Since the shutdown, Maloney has sided with the Republicans 11 times, breaking with the Democratic strategy to vote against legislation that would have funded government agencies selectively and incrementally. And early in the morning of October 1, Maloney was also one of only seven Democrats to vote for a rules change in the House that now prevents anyone but the majority leader — Republican Eric Cantor of Virginia — from forcing a vote on a bill that cannot be reconciled between the Senate and the House, ef fectively preempting any possible Democratic procedural maneuver to end the shutdown. The September 30 GOP-sponsored budget bill, which passed the House by 13 votes, tied funding the government to delaying the implementation of Obamacare for a year. The bill was defeated in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Obamacare health insurance exchanges opened for business the following day, even as the government shut its doors. In a n Oc tob e r 1 pr e s s r e l e a s e , Maloney said, “Passing a bill to keep our government running isn’t a game and should not be this controversial, and it’s time for this Congress to get it done. Last night, I did everything I could to prevent a shutdown.” And in an October 15 interview with Gay City News, he maintained he is a vociferous Obamacare supporter, saying, “I voted not to delay it and not to defund it. Period.” Many of his past supporters do not share his characterization of his votes. Indeed, Maloney, who represents Putnam, Orange, and parts of Dutchess and Westchester Counties in the Hudson Valley, has angered many of the progressive organizations that helped him snatch the seat
BY ANDREW MILLER
Freshman Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, an out gay Hudson Valley Democrat.
from Republican incumbent Nan Hayworth. In 2014, Maloney will likely face Hayworth again; an Obamacare opponent, she also has the backing of the Tea Party. Maloney, meanwhile, will not have the help of a popular president at the top of the ticket. Few of Maloney’s critics have been more outspoken than the Working Families Party, the statewide progressive party that backed him in 2012. “Being a Democrat means something,” said Khan Shoieb, a spokesman for the local WFP Party organization that includes Maloney’s district, “and it’s the wrong moment to abandon progressives. Voting with the Tea Party to shut down the government has consequences.” He said a petition the WFP has circulated criticizing Maloney for his votes has garnered 5,000 signatories. Maloney, like Dan Maffei, another upstate New York congressman who broke ranks with his party on the key September 30 vote, won his seat in a close race. Maloney’s was decided by only 8,500 votes, with him edging out Hayworth 52 to 48 percent. Because most congressional districts have been gerrymandered to favor one party, victories are generally lopsided, and relatively few districts are competitive every two years. In Maloney’s 18th Congressional District, of about 435,000 registered voters, Democrats outnumber Republicans by roughly 13,000, but there are about 8,500 registered Conservatives and more than 23,000 independents. In such a close race, a few thousand voters who choose to sit it out could be determi-
native. Some Maloney supporters remain enthusiastic about his work and his candidacy. The Victory Fund, the national organization that works to elect out LGBT politicians, is sticking with its candidate. “Sean Patrick Maloney is currently endorsed for 2014,” said Jeff Spitko, its spokesman, in a written statement. “We have no plans to reconsider his endorsement, as he currently meets all of our endorsement criteria and was voted upon by the Victory Campaign Board.” The group does not comment directly on policy issues. But Maloney was elected with strong union support, and the labor base that enthusiastically endorsed him is now expressing strong dissatisfaction, although they stop short of ruling out an endorsement in 2014. “Rep. Maloney has betrayed his supporters and his constituents by voting with the Tea Party leadership,” said Hector Figueroa, president of 32BJ SEIU, which represents building services workers, in a written statement. “His vote puts him on the side of those who prioritize the rightwing agenda of a minority of politicians over the well-being of the entire country. Not only is he willing to put a knife in the heart of ObamaCare, which allows millions of Americans to access affordable health care, but he is also siding with a leadership that has prevented tens of thousands of Americans from collecting a paycheck, including 32BJ members. With votes like these, Rep. Maloney risks losing the support of those who
elected him.” Other unions are being more diplomatic. “We are disappointed in the Congressman’s vote on this issue, and we wish he had voted differently,” said Carl Korn, a spokesman for the New York State Union of Teachers, which also endorsed Maloney in 2012. “We also recognize he has a strong record of support for issues like education, healthcare, and labor that our members are concer ned with.” Kor n pointed to several of Maloney’s positions in line with his labor supporters, including the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, his support of comprehensive immigration reform, and his sponsorship of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace. “He has always been with us,” Korn continued. “The vote on October 1 was his first vote against the Affordable Care Act. And there have been multiple votes on defunding the ACA since he's started in the House, but he has never voted to do so.” Scott Sommer, the New York area regional director of the United Auto Workers, whose organization gave Maloney’s candidacy a boost in 2012, said, “We’re disappointed on some of his votes on the government shutdown. Once this crisis is over, we’ll have a chance to sit down with the congressman and voice our concerns, and hopefully he’ll do things differ ently next time.” Two other unions that backed Maloney in 2012 — the New York State AFL-CIO and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) — declined to comment for this article. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which has expressed strong reservations about Obamacare in the past, did not return phone calls. Asked about dissatisfaction on the part of his union supporters, Maloney said, “I understand that some of my friends in labor disagree with some of my votes in Washington. We won’t all agree all of the time. But on issue after issue I have supported workers and unions." Notably absent from the dialogue about Maloney’s recent votes — pro or con — are members of the Democratic Party. Jonathan Jacobson of the Orange County Democratic Committee, declined to comment on Malo-
MALONEY, continued on p.14
October 16, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
NYC Tourism Closes Office in Russia over Threat to Gays Effort funded primarily by city cites violence, safety issues, as well as market conditions BY ANDY HUMM
YC & Company, the quasi-governmental agency that promotes tourism to the city from all over the world, is closing its office in Moscow in large part due to the anti-gay laws in Russia that have sparked violence against LGBT people and those perceived to be gay. Chris Heywood, senior vice-president for communications for NYC & Company, told Gay City News that the antigay laws and rising anti-gay violence “prevented us from sending our tourism sales staff into the [Russian] market. We do have LGBT staff.” He added that other factors were at play in the decision as well. The announcement of the closing of the Moscow office for NYC & Company, one of 18 around the world, was made by the group’s CEO, George Fertitta, at a Crain’s New York Business forum on tourism on September 25 at John Jay College. According to a source who was present, Fertitta explained that the main reason he was taking the action was because of the anti-gay laws, but the story was not picked up or announced in a press release. Heywood set up a phone interview
for Gay City News with Fertitta for October 7, but later e-mailed that Fertitta had to cancel because of a meeting he had at City Hall. “His schedule is not good for the rest of the week either,” Heywood wrote. Heywood explained there were multiple reasons why NYC & Company was closing its Russian office, which he said was not a “bricks and mortar” location but a relationship with AVIAREPS, an international tourism representation firm with an office in Moscow. He said the relationship would end on January 1. State Senator Brad Hoylman, a gay Democrat from the West Side, said of the closing of the Russian outlet, “I think that’s a prudent move by NYC & Company given the hostile climate.” He has joined Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell, another gay West Side Democrat, in urging State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to divest New York’s Common Retirement Fund of its assets in companies incorporated in the Russian Federation to protest the country’s new anti-gay laws that essentially make it a crime against children to be open about being gay. Russia has also banned adoption by those from countries that recognize same-sex marriages and is moving on legislation to take children away from Russian parents who are gay or lesbian.
While Hoylman said New York State’s tourism office should “follow suit” and also sever relationships with Russia, a query to the state tourism bureau was answered by an email from Empire State Development, which includes tourism in its responsibilities, saying, “ESD has no trade representation in Russia.” In a follow up, the agency confirmed it had no tourism presence either. While the city is the primary funder of NYC & Company, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office did not return a call for comment on the agency closing its Russian office. Queer Nation has been leading a grassroots campaign in New York to protest the Russian anti-gay laws through direct action against everyone from the Metropolitan Opera, which kicked off its season with Putin-loving artists, to bars serving Stolichnaya Vodka to Coca Cola, one of the big sponsors of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia in February. The group’s Alexis Danzig said in an emailed statement that NYC & Company “has confirmed what the US State Department has warned all Americans and what the Russian LGBT community has been saying for months. It’s unsafe to be gay in Russia. LGBT people and their allies will not be safe during the
Olympics, and LGBT Russians will not be safe after the Olympics are gone.” The US State Department did indeed just issue an advisory for Americans traveling to Russia citing the dangers posed by the anti-gay laws and atmosphere. It reads in part, “Violence against the LGBT community has increased sharply since the law was passed, including entrapment and torture of young gay men by neo-Nazi gangs and the murder of multiple individuals due to their sexual orientation. Many view this legislation as encouraging such violence, with the majority of attacks against members of the LGBT community going unreported.” Heywood emphasized that NYC & Company’s other main reason for closing its Russian office was due to “market conditions” there and its focus on a plan to pursue more Latin American tourists, particularly from Colombia and Peru. He said, “We’re not sending a message that we don’t want Russian tourists, but we don’t feel it’s the best decision to keep sales efforts in that market at this time. While what’s going on in terms of the anti-gay violence in Russia is of concern, we don’t make decisions solely based on political views or decisions; we make it based on market decisions. It was also somewhat of a safety concern.”
Facing Carnegie Protest, Putin Backer Gergiev Silent on Anti-Gay Laws
BY ANDY HUMM
rotests against allies of Vladimir Putin in New York concert halls moved from the Metropolitan Opera on September 23 to Carnegie Hall on October 10, targeting the same conductor and demanding that the leaders of these institutions do more to condemn the scapegoating of Russian gays who live under the threat of arrest, violence, and now a bill to have their children taken away from them. Russia has also stepped up its ban on foreign adoptions by gay people, barring adoptive parents from any country that allows same-sex marriage. Russian conductor Valery Gergiev, a close ally of Putin, the Russian president ratcheting up a reign of terror against LGBT people, continues to refuse to condemn the virulently anti-gay laws in his homeland. It has also come to light
that Gergiev “condemned Pussy Riot when that punk rock band defended the human rights of all Russians,” according to Duncan Osborne of Queer Nation, demonstrating that “he is not above making political statements.” The New York Times reported that Gergiev told a Russian news agency last week that he does not discriminate at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, where he is artistic director, but added “once you start to talk like this, you start to sound like someone who has to apologize. We have nothing to apologize for.” The Times was unable to get Gergiev or his manager at Columbia Artists to elaborate on what he means, but the call from Queer Nation is for him to condemn the anti-gay laws. While Gergiev was inside preparing to conduct Stravinsky ballets for his Mariinsky Orchestra, about 30 demonstrators affiliated with Queer Nation (including this reporter) protested outside, holding a
Hall management tries to have protestors inside arrested, but NYPD declines
Michael Lucas, a gay adult film producer who grew up in Russia, protests Valery Gergiev’s appearance at Carnegie Hall on October 10.
60-foot rainbow banner made by Gilbert Baker, creator of the Rainbow Flag, reading “Support Russian Gays.” The group chanted, “While you sit in your Carnegie
seat, Russian gays are being beat” and “Carnegie Hall should make it clear, Gergiev does not belong here.” The group asked that the Met Opera and Carnegie Hall condemn the anti-gay laws in Russia. While Peter Gelb of the Met wrote an extended program insert expressing support for LGBT rights, he would not dedicate a performance that included Gergiev and Anna Netrebko, another Putin supporter, to the plight of Russian gays, as demanded by Queer Nation. Clive Gillinson, the executive and artistic director of Carnegie Hall, wrote in an email to Osborne that “as an artistic institution [our] primary mission is to feature performances by the world’s greatest artists and ensembles, including Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra. Carnegie Hall firmly opposes all instances of discrimination, including discrimination against the LGBT
CARNEGIE, continued on p.9
| October 16, 2013
Christie Bid to Delay Gay Marriages Rejected as High Court Takes Appeal New Jersey Supreme Court to hear arguments in January but no word on october 21 wedding start date BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
ercer County Superior Court Judge Mary C. Jacobson has denied a motion by the State of New Jersey to stay her decision ordering the state to begin granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples on October 21. In an October 10 ruling, Jacobson found that none of the factors considered by New Jersey courts in deciding a motion for a stay were met and that the public interest w ould b e se r v e d by a l l o wi n g h e r decision to go into effect. In the wake of Jacobson’s ruling, Republican Governor Chris Christie asked the New Jersey Appellate Division to issue an emergency stay to allow his appeal of her original mar riage equality order to go forward before weddings begin. The day after Jacobson refused to stay her ruling, the State Supreme Court agreed to hear Christie’s appeal of the gay marriage ruling on an expedited basis, with oral arguments in January. That court also said it would consider the governor’s emergency stay request, though it did not immediately rule on that question. A September 27 ruling from Jacobson granted summary judgment on the claim that the state’s civil union law no longer afforded equal treatment to same-sex couples, if it ever had, since the federal government started to recognize same-sex marriages in the wake of Edie Windsor’s victory over the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) at the Supreme Court on June 26. After Jacobson’s ruling last month, Christie vowed to seek review directly in the New Jersey Supreme Court, and he asked the judge to stay her decision pending that appeal. In response, Jacobson explained that under New Jersey law a a stay of a trial court ruling is granted only if necessary to prevent irreparable harm, the party applying for the stay is asserting a settled legal claim and shows a reasonable probability of success in their appeal, and a balancing of the relative hardships imposed on the opposing parties concludes that greater harm would occur if a stay is not granted than if it is. Jacobson also noted that in a case where public policy is at issue, the court should consider whether granting a stay is in the public interest. Jacobson found that the state fell
short on all of these tests. New Jersey, she found, would not suffer irreparable harm if same-sex couples were allowed to marry while an appeal is pending. If the New Jersey Supreme Court were later to declare such marriages invalid, the state would have suffered no tangible harm at all. The state offered no New Jersey precedents to support its irreparable harm argument, instead citing cases from other jurisdictions, but Jacobson found them all unper suasive or distinguishable from the question she was considering. She also found that the state “has not shown that the underlying legal right it seeks to vindicate through its appeal is ‘settled.’” Indeed, in light of the DOMA ruling, Jacobson last month concluded that denying marriage to same-sex couples violates the New Jersey Supreme Court’s 2006 ruling that same-sex couples are entitled to the same rights and benefits as differentsex couples enjoy through marriage. That ruling led to the enactment of the current civil union law. In terms of balancing relative hardships, Jacobson found that delaying the date when same-sex couples can marry imposes a hardship on them, but not delaying it imposes no tangible hardship on the state. Jacobson ran through a list of federal rights and benefits that would be unavailable to New Jersey civil union partners unless they could marry, concluding that “these inequalities violate the clear directive” of the 2006 ruling. “While the State argues that its sovereignty is somehow threatened,” by her order, Jacobson wrote, “because it is the federal government’s actions [in not recognizing civil unions like marriages] that harm Plaintiffs, it persists in denying its responsibility for the current predicament of New Jersey civil union couples.” She pointed out that the state has done nothing to persuade the federal government to recognize New Jersey civil unions, leaving the burden entirely on civil union partners to bring their own lawsuits against federal agencies. In her ruling last month, Jacobson noted that many federal agencies have already made clear that they will not recognize civil unions. “Plaintiffs would face an enormous litigation burden if they were required to challenge, on their own, every federal
NEW JERSEY, continued on p.14
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October 16, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Community Board 2 Takes Up Stalled Stonewall Plaque Project Movement after collapse of private effort, but diversity of views on hows and wheres h e S t o n e wa l l I n n ba r — the 1969 raid on which sparked the modern LGBT liberation movement — is on a street renamed Stonewall Place and was made an official National Historic Landmark in 2000, but it does not have an official plaque marking its role in history. Gay State Senator Brad Hoylman has been trying to rectify that. After an ill-fated collaboration with the Historic Landmarks Preservation Center — a private group that establishes plaques around the city but would not invite folks who actually engaged in the Stonewall Rebellion to participate in a July ceremony that in the end was canceled — Hoylman teamed up with Assemblywoman Deborah Glick and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, LGBT colleagues who also represent the area around the famed bar, to develop a plaque through an open community process. The first step in that process, an October 15 meeting of Community Board 2’s Landmarks & Public Aesthetics Committee, was brief, with the committee quickly deciding that disagreements that have already surfaced about the language of such a plaque and related questions make it appropriate for CB2’s Social Services & Education Committee to hold the first public hearings. That committee next meets in November, though the Stonewall plaque issue is not yet on its calendar. Explaining the importance of his effort, Hoylman said, “Many people said that the building should have some sort of recognition on the façade. In the future, it might be a boutique or something,” rather than a gay bar. Indeed, for a long time after it ceased being a bar in the 1970s, it was a bagel place. Community Board 2, Hoylman explained, is the logical sponsor of the plaque since the city itself cannot do so “because it is already in a landmarked district.” The city’s Landmark Preservation Commission, however, did put forward the draft text for the plaque, which is based on an earlier version written by historian Martin Duber man. Although Duberman is one of the nation’s foremost scholars on LGBT history and the author of a 1993 book on the Rebellion, the text developed from his original language is drawing criticism from other veteran LGBT activists.
BY ANDY HUMM
Jubilant crowds gathered outside the Stonewall Inn on June 24, 2011 to celebrate the enactment of marriage equality in New York State that evening in Albany.
The language forwarded to CB 2 reads: Stonewall Inn 53 Christopher Street Here on the early morning of June 28, 1969, the police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar. What followed were six days of sporadic riots by hundreds of members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, demanding an end to police harassment, arrests and raids on gay establishments. The Stonewall Rebellion is widely regarded as the catalyst for the modern LGBT liberation movement and was noted by President Barack Obama in his 2013 inaugural address, the first time a president referred to gay rights in such a speech. Greenwich Village Historic District: 1969 National Register of Historic Places: 1999 New York State Register of Historic Places: 1999 National Historic Landmark: 2000 During the kerfuffle over the proposed private plaque back in July, Stonewall veteran Jerry Hoose raised a central critique of the entire enterprise, asking why a mob-run establishment that often exploited LGBT patrons should be honored. “I’m so tired of that bar being glorified,” he said. “It was this horrendous place where something great happened.” Stonewall veteran Jim Fouratt, in an email message, echoed Hoose’s thinking. “I would have objected to the choosing of an organized crime run bar that I have always seen as a symbol of lesbian and gay oppression, not liberation,” he wrote. “It was a seedy, dirty, unlicensed, cop pay-off joint that served expensive,
water down drinks and had thugs at the door… What needs to be celebrated and commemorated is outside the bar in the street where a very diverse representation of who we are in all our gender, racial and economic diversity found the courage to rebel against oppression and to come out and be visible.” Fouratt also objected to citing Obama on the plaque, writing, “Oh please, he said nothing the first four years in office and had a history of stating publicly he was opposed to same-sex civil marriage. Only when it was clear that the Supreme Court was going to rule in favor of equal treatment under the law and he needed the LGBT vote did he finally come out and say our collective name.” Fouratt suggested “that a plaque also be placed at the bottom of Christopher Street where generations of young LGBT youth, now mostly of color and transgender expression, have gathered to celebrate their diversity and sense of freedom. Today these mostly young people are being harassed by police and neighborhood ‘vigilante’ groups under the mask of block associations and business alliances.” Andrew Berman, who is gay and the head of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP), had a more complicated critique of the project. “We are taking a close look at this,” he wrote in an email. “Ever since GVSHP and allies got the Stonewall listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 1999 — the first site ever so recognized for its connection to LGBT history — we have been trying to call attention to a number of sites whose LGBT history is in danger of being forgotten or destroyed. “One of the few ways to protect our LGBT history sites is through New York City landmark designation, and the city
has thus far been quite resistant to doing so. While the Stonewall is technically within the Greenwich Village Historic District, as noted in the draft plaque language, the district was designated in April of 1969, and thus the designation report — the governing document for that landmark designation — makes no mention of the Stonewall riots. The Landmark Preservation Commission has never amended this or taken any formal steps to recognize or protect the LGBT history of the Stonewall, much as they refused to landmark 186 Spring Street, a house connected to some of the leading figures of the post-Stonewall LGBT rights movement, which as a result was demolished last year. Thus the level of protection or recognition that the Stonewall’s inclusion in the Greenwich Village Historic District offers is questionable. “Therefore including reference to Stonewall’s ‘inclusion’ in the Greenwich Village Historic District in the plaque might be misleading and add to a false sense of security about the level of protection and recognition that our historic sites have, and downplay the work we still must do.” Veteran activist Bill Dobbs, too young to have been at Stonewall, also had a critique of the proposed text, writing that it should instead begin, “Here on the early morning of June 28, 1969 the NYPD Public Morals Squad raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar, and met resistance from patrons being arrested and others nearby.” Dobbs, too, would delete the reference to Obama and said the plaque should note that in the wake of Stonewall, “new groups quickly took up the cause in New York and across the country.” Given the controversy that the language and location of any plaque commemorating the Stonewall Rebellion has already engendered, it’s not surprising that CB2’s Landmarks Committee made a quick call on October 15 that Social Services, which includes under its charge LGBT issues, was the place to get the public discussion started. Assuming consensus is achieved there on the appropriate wording and placement of a plaque, the issue would likely return to Landmarks for resolution of issues related to its design and crafting. Hoylman said there is no set timeline for getting this plaque in place. But he emphasized that what it says and where it goes will depend a lot on the direction members of the LGBT and West Village communities offer. His office encourages community members wishing to participate in the open process but unable to attend specific meetings to send their input to firstname.lastname@example.org.
| October 16, 2013
John Mitzel: A Remembrance Pioneering Boston Gay Liberationist was a lifetime organizer, writer, and bookseller ohn Mitzel, the proprietor of Calamus Bookstor e — Boston’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender bookstore — died on October 4 in his home in Arlington, Massachusetts. His death was the result of a long series of physical ailments, some related to alcohol and most recently a battle with oral cancer. Mitzel — as he was publically known to everyone, although some friends, myself included, called him John — was, for over four decades, a central figure in Boston’s queer community. I have such a long history with John it is almost impossible to detail everything he meant to me, or what he did for the LGBT community in Boston he both loved and often railed against. John and I met in 1971, soon after I arrived in Cambridge, at a Fag Rag meeting. Fag Rag, the first national gay male periodical, had started the year before and had published two issues. It was published by an anarchist collective and connected to Gay Men’s Liberation, Boston’s Gay Liberation Front. Coming from Gay Liberation circles in New York, I immediately joined GML. By 1973, John and I were fast friends and probably spoke on the phone almost every day since then. John, born in 1948, was a private person. As gregarious as he was — and he was compulsively so — he almost never spoke about his inner life. Every now and then the private side and history slipped out. He was institutionalized, and rumored to be given shock treatments, in his teens by his family for being homosexual and apparently tried to run over his high school principal with a car. He seemed to be completely distanced, more than many of us, from his biological family, though this changed later in life when he become close to his parents and his brother David. He drank. I suspect he drank — seriously drank — everyday since I met him. I probably knew John better than — or certainly as much as — anyone. And to me much of his inner life remains something of a mystery. I have no clear idea of his romantic passions, or even really of his sex life, although clearly his passion for wearing uniforms — police uniforms for special occasions, often security guard uniforms for everyday and work wear — was a hint of his erotic fantasy life. Coming of age in a movement predicated on consciousness-raising and the insistence that the “personal was the political,” John remained resolutely, obstinately private. But since his death I have, for the moment, stopped wondering about the “real John” but have accepted his elusiveness and have come to terms with the fact that the “real John” may well have been the public John. John was passionate about two things: community and writing. He understood the importance and the visceral presence of a community. He was actively, and continuously, involved in its constant creation, as a writer, organizer, speaker, and – in the best, gayest sense of the word — gadfly. A brief look at his political and publishing career tells the story. He was a founding member of the Fag Rag collective in 1971. He helped found the Good Gay Poets collective in 1973, even though he professed to hate poet-
COURTESY OF BRIAN GALE
BY MICHAEL BRONSKI
John Mitzel, 1948-2013.
ry. (As usual, his perversity emerged as he secretly wrote it and published a book of his collected poetry earlier this year.) He was a founding member of the Boston Gay Review, a gay male literary journal, in 1976. He founded Stonewall Distributors, a gay book and magazine distribution non-profit, in 1975. He wrote numerous articles for Boston’s Gay Community News in the 1970s and 1980s. He wrote a column in Philadelphia Gay News for years during the same period. For nearly 20 years he wrote a monthly column, “Common Sense,” for The Guide, a Boston-based gay travel and political magazine. As a publisher, he started Manifest Destiny Press in the 1970s and Calamus Books, a press that emerged from the bookstore in 2002. As an organizer, John worked on Gay Pride committees, formed working coalitions against archaic sex laws, and organized rallies against Anita Bryant, anti-porn laws, and violence against the LGBT community. It was a full public life that made a mark and was appreciated. His work came from two beliefs — the importance of community and the power of writing. For four decades, he sought to combine these in his efforts. And he did. John’s essays and columns, often iconoclastic and cranky, were very important for mapping out new ways of thinking. He emulated H.L. Menken, but with a queer sensibility. He was, in many ways, an editorialist of the first rank. But John never became the famous writer he wanted to be — who does? — and wanted particularly to be seen as a great fiction writer. His self-published, novels “Inferno Heights” and “Doubly Crost” (both
2009) are frenzied, metaphysical, hallucinogenic gay fantasias on politics and life that feel stuck in the satiric traditions of James Campbell and Carl Van Vechten but never find a life of their own. John’s encyclopedic knowledge of American literature was amazing, but he was often tripped up by imitation. On the other hand, his short stories —– collected in “Some Short Stories about Nasty People I Don’t Like” (1977) and “Last Gleamings” (2013) are deft and smart. “How to Write a Short Story” (in “Last Gleamings”) is as good as anything Dorothy Parker ever wrote. But John wanted to be Gore Vidal — urbane, original, on point, and always on target. But that slot was taken and John’s talents, while prodigious, were not suited for this. I think that John’s feeling that he was not a literary success was a bane in his life. Ironic, as others did consider him successful. While a talented, if quirky, writer and organizer, John’s genius was in creating spaces for people to come together. The salon is a European notion, but John was a master at creating these in the Boston queer community. When John was the cashier at Boston’s South Station Cinema — Boston’s first gay male porn theater — its office and lobby became the public meeting place of writers, artists, thinkers, and assorted intellectuals all mingling art and politics with the occasional dip into the theater’s back rooms for sex. In the 1980s, when John managed Glad Day Bookshop, first on Winter Street and then Boylston Street — he recreated this same setting (alas, without the porn or opportunity to have sex in the back room). In 2000, after Glad Day closed, and he opened Calamus Bookstore — truly his own space — he created an environment that fostered community, a vibrant intellectual environment in which gay men could come together. (While John’s stores carried a full range of LGBT books, his interests, as they were in Fag Rag, were basically focused on the gay male experience. I write this not to apologize or critique him, but it was a reality of his life. ) John, alas, was a terrible businessman. He gave books to friends, never charged enough for rare, out-of-print material, marked old porno magazines down to give-away prices. The business didn’t interest him that much. Many times I wished Calamus was more Barnes & Noble than Gertrude Stein’s sitting room. But the store (often barely) survived and continues — and Brian Gale, John’s assistant, will ensure new management guidance, which focuses, for example, on online sales in a way John never did. But what is clear is that the passing of John Mitzel is one more death in the generation who invented and fought for Gay Liberation. Having gotten through the massive devastation of the AIDS epidemic, we are now seeing the slow diminishment of an army of women and men who envisioned a new world of sexual and personal liberation never conceived of before 1969. Many, if not most, Fag Rag members are gone. GLF and GML members are in their 60s, 70s, and even 80s. There is a sadness in this, but these new deaths are age-related, not due to government negligence. Though they are to be expected, they are still a marker for the end of a cul-
REMEMBRANCE, continued on p.9
October 16, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Lesbian Co-Parent Claim Precluded By 22-Year-Old Case New York State continues to treat non-birth mother as “legal stranger” in custody case BY ARTHUR s. LEONARD
he evil that courts do lives on… On October 4, the New York Law Journal published a ruling out of the Rockland County Family Court that rejected all attempts by a lesbian coparent to challenge her former partner’s refusal to allow her any contact with the children they had been raising together. The principal barrier to the co-parent’s claim is a 1991 ruling by the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest bench, in Alison D. v. Virginia M., finding, in similar circumstances, that despite her parental relationship with a child since its birth the co-parent was a “legal stranger” who had no legal standing under state law to seek to have her parental rights recognized or to obtain custody or visitation. New York law requires “special circumstances” for a legally unrelated third party to seek custody of a child, and claims of this sort from longtime co-parents do not qualify under existing precedent. A.F., the complainant, and K.H. were registered domestic partners and were living together when they decided to have children. Using anonymous donor insemination, K.H. conceived two children whom the couple raised together until they separated in July 2011 (the
very month when same-sex marriage rights became available in New York). For the next seven months, the women continued living on separate floors in the same house, which allowed A.F. easy contact with the children. In early 2012, however, K.H. took the children to New Jersey where they lived in her mother’s house before relocating to another address in New York State. During this period, A.F. enjoyed visitation two days a week and on alternate weekends. A.F. contributed to the children’s financial support, but in May 2012 K.H. filed a petition in Rockland Family Court seeking to make that obligation for mal. As part of that claim, K.H. argued in detail about how A.F. was a parent of the children who should be held legally responsible for support. Three months later, however, K.H. withdrew that petition. A.F. continued to enjoy visitation and provide financial support until April of this year, when there was an “altercation during a visitation exchange.” At that point, K.H. refused her ex-partner further visitation and A.F. filed her petition in family court. Rockland County Family Court Referee Dean Richardson-Mendelson
found that the Alison D. decision, never overruled or modified by the Court of Appeals, had to control the disposition of A.F.’s legal claim. In other words, someone who would be declared a “legal stranger” to the child in 1991 remains a legal stranger today because the Legislature never heeded the court’s suggestion that it address the issue of non-traditional families. Second-parent adoption is legal in New York, as is step-parent adoption, but these parties never took those steps and their break-up came just as the state was enacting marriage equality.
The Legislature never heeded the court’s suggestion that it address the issue of non-traditional families. Failing on her claims based on New York’s custody statute, A.F. also advanced an argument based on the doctrine of equitable estoppel. According to that legal approach, K.H. could not deny A.F.’s parental status because she had, in fact, treated A.F. as the children’s
parent for years, fostering the relationship of A.F. with the children and allowing visitation to continue for almost two years after the women’s relationship ended. The Court of Appeals had directly rejected such an argument in the Alison D. case, so A.F. was precluded from making this claim here. Finally, A.F. argued judicial estoppel, a doctrine that would prevent K.H. from taking diametrically opposite positions in different legal proceedings. A.F. pointed out that her ex-partner had filed a support petition in which she alleged A.F. was a parent of the children, but now was arguing she was not. The court rejected this argument as well, pointing out that K.H. had withdrawn her support petition long before A.F. filed the custody and visitation petition. The doctrine, Richardson-Mendelson noted, usually applies only when a party wins a legal judgment using one argument and is then blocked from using the opposite argument in a later proceeding. In the end, for A.F., it made no difference that New York is now a marriage equality jurisdiction. Marriage equality provides equal marital rights, but it does not change the legal position of unmarried partners toward each other or their children. Unless the New York Legislature changes the rules, the legal invisibility of unmarried same-sex couples raising children will continue.
Nevada Supreme Court Gallops Ahead of New York on Co-Parenting High court finds both mothers can be legal parents in complex surrogacy case
BY ARTHUR s. LEONARD
n a unanimous October 3 decision, the Nevada Supreme Court settled several questions previously unaddressed in state law — finding, first, that a child can have two mothers and, second, that a co-parenting agreement made by two women before the birth of their child conceived through anonymous donor insemination, with one woman providing the egg and the other being the gestational mother, can be enforceable. The decision reversed a trial court decision that treated one of the women as a mere surrogate mother with no legal rights, and the case was returned to the trial court for a new determination of parental rights. Justice Nancy M. Saitta’s decision for
the court gave great weight to California decisions that interpret similarly-worded statutes. Sha’Kayla St. Mary and Veronica Lynn Damon moved in together about a year after their relationship began, and decided to have a child together. According to St. Mary, they decided that Damon would contribute the egg for in vitro fertilization with the resulting ovum implanted in St. Mary so that both women would have parental status — St. Mary as the birth mother and Damon as the genetic mother. After the fertilization was performed but before the child’s birth, the women signed a co-parenting agreement, under which they agreed that if their relationship ended, they would “each work to ensure that the other maintained a close relationship with the child, sharing the
duties of raising the child, and make a ‘good faith effort to jointly make all major decisions’” affecting the child. St. Mary gave birth to the child in June 2008 and was listed on the birth certificate as the child’s only parent, but the child was given a hyphenated last name to reflect both mothers. About a year later, the women ended their relationship, St. Mary moved out, and they disagreed about how to share their time with the child. St. Mary, however, cooperated with Damon by signing an affidavit declaring that Damon was the biological mother of the child, which Damon used to get a court order to have the child’s birth certificate amended to list her as well. That court, in 2009, declared Damon the child’s “biological and legal mother.” When St. Mary next filed a lawsuit
seeking to establish custody, visitation, and child support, Damon responded that as the biological mother she was entitled to sole custody, attaching the 2009 court order. The trial judge treated St. Mary as a mere surrogate. Damon succeeded in having St. Mary’s custody claim excluded from consideration and the case narrowed to only the question of visitation. The court found that St. Mary should have “third party visitation,” finding she “has no biological or legal rights whatsoever under Nevada law.” Further, the judge found the co-parenting agreement unenforceable, concluding that it fell outside the scope of valid surrogacy agreements, which under Nevada law could be made only by a married couple
NEVADA, continued on p.9
| October 16, 2013
CARNEGIE, from p.4
community; however these concerts, as musical events, are not the appropriate setting for political comment.” Osborne called Gillinson’s statement “worse than the Metropolitan Opera’s, if that is possible.” A flier handed out at the protest documented Carnegie Hall’s long history as a venue for political statements, from packed meetings of suffragettes in 1908 to gatherings against lynching and for civil rights. But in 2013, the handout read, “Carnegie Hall refuses comment on Russian government attacks on LGBT Russians.” Inside the hall, protestor John Weir of Queer Nation rose from his seat as Gergiev took the podium and shouted, "Gergiev, your silence is killing Russian gays." Osborne then rose from the other side of the balcony and shouted, "Valery, your silence is killing Russian gays." While there were a few boos, more audience
REMEMBRANCE, from p.7
tural moment. Plenty of young women and men do political work today — that will always continue — but the lives of the first wave of the first generation of Gay Liberationists are, person by person, coming to a close. In this new marriage equality moment — which is really, profoundly, about privacy — I’ve been thinking about what it means to be public. Maybe John’s private life — any private life — doesn’t matter as much as our public lives, what we do in the world. This is how I would like to remember John: We are at a leisurely lunch
NEVADA, from p.8
with a surrogate. St. Mary appealed the denial of her parental rights, and the Nevada Supreme Court unanimously agreed, finding that the trial judge was mistaken about state law. Following the lead of the California courts, the Supreme Court held that a child can have two legal mothers, and that a co-parenting agreement such as the one made in this case could be enforceable. Most significantly, the court found that St. Mary could be deemed a parent to the child because she was its birth mother under cir cumstances where the women agreed both were intended to be parents. The trial judge misconstrued the effect of Damon’s 2009 legal action establishing her parental rights, the high court said. The 2009 court order established Damon’s status as a legal mother of the child, but it did not order that St. Mary’s name be removed from the amended birth certificate. The case has contested facts, how-
members applauded, the two men said. Security grabbed the men to haul them out and wanted police to arrest them, but their attorney, Gerard Corsini, who was inside observing, told police that the two men had tickets and were not trespassing or breaking any laws. The police declined to arrest them. “Carnegie Hall not only wouldn’t say anything about the plight of Russian gays,” Osborne said, “they wanted to have us arrested. It is really reprehensible that they would emulate what the Russian government is doing to gay people.” All LGBT rights protests are banned in Russia under the new laws recently enacted unanimously by that nation’s parliament. And all protests of any kind have been banned from the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia in February. Winter Olympic sponsors such as Coca Cola have been targeted by Queer Nation and will be again, according to Osborne.
at Piccola Venezia in Boston’s North End. It is 1978. I am between deadlines, he is on break from what he called the “porno palace.” It is summer, the windows are open. We are discussing James Purdy’s just published “Narrow Rooms” and planning a new issue of Boston Gay Review. He is finishing his second glass of wine. I am picking at the end of my shrimp scampi lunch special. We are in the midst of what we see as a cultural revolution and the remaking of the worlds in which we grew up. We are both talking intensely and often lapse into silences, as though there is everything and nothing more to say.
ever. Damon claims St. Mary was intended only to be a surrogate and not an intended parent, and that the “coparenting agreement” was actually an invalid surrogacy contract the women signed because the clinic that performed the fertilization required a written agreement. When the case goes back to the trial court, it will have to determine whether St. Mary or Damon is more credible, but Justice Saitta’s narration of the facts implicitly suggests that St. Mary’s account makes more sense. Nevada is now a domestic partnership state, but that development post-dates the events at issue in this case. Had the women been registered Nevada domestic partners then, the law would have recognized both as parents of the child. But many lesbian couples have children without undertaking to register as partners or to marry — and, of course, in most states such options don’t exist at all — so the Nevada high court’s ruling remains important in continuing a trend from California and followed in New Mexico, as well, to encompass the legal situation faced by non-traditional families.
October 16, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
A Salute to Marjorie Hill October 14, 2013 An Open Letter to the New York City and National LGBTQ and AIDS/HIV Communities:
n light of the recent news that Dr. Marjorie Hill is leaving Gay Men’s Health Crisis as its CEO, we want to publicly thank her for her many years of wise and thoughtful leadership in our community. Many of us have worked with Marjorie for many years in different capacities and are inspired by her commitment to excellence, her passion for social justice, her profound dedication to LGBTQ equality and HIV/AIDS work. and her deep compassion. Our community is extremely fortunate to have Dr. Marjorie Hill as the indefatigable leader she is. Marjorie¹s service to GMHC is unprecedented. She was CEO longer than any other CEO or executive director in GMHC’s history — seven years. And, her contributions and dedication to GMHC — as a volunteer, board member, and
staff — extend well beyond her years at the helm. Marjorie joined the board of GMHC in 1994, at the height of the AIDS crisis in this country. She remained on the board until 2001, providing stable leadership in extremely turbulent times. After the New York Times declared HIV over, GMHC was deeply in debt and Marjorie courageously stepped forward to co-chair the board. In 2004, Marjorie became a member of the GMHC staff. She served as managing director for community health with responsibility for the Women’s Institute and coordination of community level initiatives. Marjorie also has an extensive history as a leader in our movement. In 1990, Mayor David Dinkins appointed her to become the director of the Mayor's Office for the Lesbian and Gay Community. While in this position, Marjorie shepherded in domestic partnership benefits for same-sex couples, making New York City one of the first cities in the nation to grant rights to such couples, helping to set in motion similar progress across the country. In 2001, Marjorie became the assistant commissioner for the Bureau of HIV/
AIDS at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. In this role, Marjorie funded and oversaw innovative tools to fight the HIV epidemic. Marjorie has also generously supported and volunteered for numerous organizations of great importance to our community. Some examples include: the Black Leadership Commission on AIDS; the boards of the New York Civil Liberties Union, the Public Health Association of New York, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; Mothers to Mothers, and chair of the Thirteen/ WNET Community Advisory Board. She is a senior advisor to the HIV Center for Clinical and BehavWith gratitude, • Katherine Acey,
GRIOT Circle • Moises Agosto • Kathy Ahearn-O’Brien • Brett Andrews • William Arnold • Chris Bartlett, William Way LGBT Community Center • Selisse Berry, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates • Douglas Brooks • Eliza Byard • Rea Carey • Cynthia Carey-Grant, WORLD • Kevin Cathcart • Guillermo Chacon, Latino Commission on AIDS • Vignetta Charles, AIDS United • Bernard Cherkasov, Equality Illinois • Donna Crews • Phil Curtis • Rev. DeWayne L. Davis • Ben de Guzman • Oscar De La O • Victor Diaz-Herman • Anne Donnelly • Erin Drinkwater • Sergio Farfan • C. Virginia Fields, National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc. • Earl D. Fowlkes, Jr., Center For Black Equity • Debra Fraser-Howze • Donna Futterman, MD • Dave Garcia • Neil Giuliano • Chad Griffin
ioral Research, Columbia University and on the editorial board of POZ magazine. Marjorie has consistently been willing to mentor leaders of other LGBTQ and AIDS service organizations to help make our movement stronger, and she has been an effective bridge builder among and between the diverse communities. Throughout her many years of service, Marjorie has been a unique and powerful voice in the fight against AIDS and on behalf of the LGBTQ communities. Both movements have benefited from her leadership. We are enormously grateful to Marjorie for her many contributions and proud to have her as a colleague. Along with many others, we look forward to what we hope will be many more years of Dr. Marjorie Hill sharing her gifts and experience to improve and strengthen our communities.
• Rev. Dr. Robert L. Griffin,
• Dave Montez
Sunshine Cathedral Metropolitan Community Church • Rebecca Haag, AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts • Jody Huckaby • Brian Hujdich, HealthHIV • Rebecca Isaacs, Equality Federation • Lorri L. Jean, Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center • Ronald Johnson • Vanessa Johnson • Barbara Joseph • Paul Kawata • Mara Keisling • Kate Kendell • George Kerr, START at Westminster • Naina Khanna • David Kilmnick, PhD, Long Island GLBT Network • Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, senior rabbi, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah • Peter Kronenberg • Abbe Land • Lorraine Langlois, Metro Wellness and Community Centers • Sharon J. LettmanHicks, National Black Justice Coalition • Kali Lindsey • Curtis Lipscomb • Alazar Manning • Robert J. Manning • Mary Elizabeth Marr • William McColl • Renee McCoy • Lisbeth Melendez Rivera • Rev. Jim Merritt
• Kareem Murphy • Candice Nichols • Clarence Patton,
Pipeline Project • Darren Phelps,
Pride at Work AFL CIO • Leo Rennie • Andrew Reynolds • Therese R. Rodriguez,
APICHA Community Health Center • Nathan Rush, Bethlehem House • Linda Scruggs • Pernessa Seele • Clarissa Silva • Michael Silverman • Nadine Smith • William (Bill) Smith • Sharon Stapel • Jessica Stern • Terry Stone • Sean Strub • Fred Swanson • Lee Swislow, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders • Glennda Testone • Craig E. Thompson, AIDS Project Los Angeles • Daniel Tietz • Rachel B. Tiven • Lance Toma • Carole Treston • Ivy Turnbull • Noel Twibeck • Evelyn Ullah • Hector Vargas • Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator, Metropolitan Community Churches • Phill Wilson • Chuck Wolfe • Evan Wolfson • A. Toni Young, Community Education Gr.
| October 16, 2013
Unprotected Oral Sex Makes Positive Man a Sex Offender Iowa appeals court rejects claim that undetectable viral load is a defense BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
ffirming the felony conviction of an HIV positive gay man for the crime of “criminal transmission of HIV” even though the man did not transmit the virus to his complaining sexual partner, the Iowa Court of Appeals ruled on October 2 that the attorney who represented Nick Rhoades did not fail to pr ovide ef fective legal assistance when he told the man to plead guilty. Black Hawk County District Judge David F. Staudt at first responded to Rhoades’ guilty plea by sentencing him to 25 years in prison, but then reconsidered the sentence and reduced it to supervised probation for five years. Either way, Rhoades had to register as a sex offender. Lambda Legal took on his case and appealed it to the Court of Appeals of Iowa. The HIV Law Project, the Alliance of State and T erritorial AIDS Dir ec tors, and the Center for HIV Law and Policy submitted an amicus brief, explaining why the statute, enacted in the early days of the AIDS epidemic, was based on outmoded factual assumptions about HIV treatment and transmission, but that didn’t sway the court, which suggested that such problems were more appropriately addressed to the State Legislature. According to the appeals court opinion by Judge Richard H. Doyle, Rhoades, who knew that he was HIVpositive and has an undetectable viral load due to his compliance with his treatment protocol, met the complainant, A.P., in an “online chat room.” At A.P.’s home, the two men had oral sex without a condom, then anal sex with a condom. Rhoades, the active partner, did not mention he was HIVpositive. A.P. claims that he tasted pre-cum during the oral sex and that the condom came off during the anal sex. Rhoades claims that the condom did not come off and, in any event, that he never ejaculated. A.P., who did not contract HIV infection, later learned that Rhoades
was HIV-positive and called the police. Rhoades was charged with violating a state law that makes it a crime for a person who knows that he is HIV-positive to “engage in intimate contact with another person” without informing them of their status. Although the statute is titled “Criminal Transmission of HIV,” the Iowa Supreme Court in prior decisions held that HIV transmission need not occur for it to be violated. It is sufficient that an infected person engages in sex that could expose their partner to transmission. The high court precedents date from 2006 and earlier, before the fact that an undetectable viral load involves almost zero risk of transmission was established.
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The high court precedents date from before the fact that an undetectable viral load involves almost zero risk of transmission was established. Rhoades argued that his use of a condom for anal sex and his care not to ejaculate during oral sex showed that he did not intend to expose A.P. to HIV, but Judge Doyle pointed to a 2001 State Supreme Court ruling where the defendant made a similar argument. In that case, the court wrote that “any reasonably intelligent person is aware it is possible to transmit HIV during sexual intercourse, especially when it is unprotected,” so a claim of “non-ejaculation is irrelevant.” Failure to use a condom even for oral sex, therefore, evinces Rhoades’ intent to expose A.P. to the virus, the appeals court found. Since there was “a factual basis” to support the guilty plea based on the unprotected oral sex, the appeals court rejected Rhoades’ contention that his attorney was deficient for letting him plead guilty. The court, having decided the case, did not take up the question of the protected anal sex. Lambda Legal and Rhoades are considering an appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court.
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BY JOHANNA VASQUEZ
r owing up transgender in E l S a l v a d o r, I lived in fear for my safety and, at times, my life. Neighbors and classmates taunted me relentlessly and beat me up because of my gender identity. When I was 16 years old, I was assaulted and brutally gangraped by seven men. During the attack, they screamed, “You are a sickening piece of trash, faggot.” They left me unconscious, ready to die. T errified that the transphobic police and community members would kill me if I reported the rape, I did the only thing I could think of: I fled to the US. Here, I was able to rebuild my life without the violence or persecution that plagued me in my home country. That came to an end when, after 12 years in the US, I was arrested and placed into removal proceedings for being in the country without legal documentation. I was thrown into an immig r a t i o n d e t e n t i o n c e n t e r, where I was beaten and sexually assaulted by another detainee. Unbeknownst to me, I had missed the oneyear deadline for applying for asylum in the US, and was faced with the bleak choice of accepting deportation or
wasting away in the detention facility. Grimly, I chose to stop fighting my case and was deported. In El Salvador, my safety was once again threatened and I decided I had to return to the US. Apprehended by border patrol, I was held in “protective” solitary confinement in an all-male prison 23 hours a day because I was transgender. After seven months of solitary confinement, I was again deported. This time, I didn’t even make it past the air port in El Salvad o r. T e n a r m e d men in a car abducted, raped, and threatened to kill me. When I summoned the courage to report the crime to the police, they took no action, saying the men should have killed me when they had the chance. For a third and final time, I fled El Salvador. Again I was arrested by immigration officials and sent to federal prison. This time, I got a chance to tell my story to a judge. Eventually, with the help of the LGBT immigrant rights group Immigration Equality, I won a legal status known as withholding
of removal, which allows me to live and work in the US — but does not provide many of the key protections of asylum. I tell my story because I hope it will help people understand the urgent need for compassionate, commonsense immigration reform. A new report from the National Center for T ransgender Equality (NCTE) underscores
Apprehended by border patrol, I was held in “protective” solitary conﬁnement in an all-male prison 23 hours a day because I was transgender. the unique challenges transgender immigrants face. Too often, we are locked out of asylum protections and mistreated and abused in detention facilities. A 2010 study found that in 46 percent of immigration cases in which the filing deadline was an issue, it was the only reason cited for denying asylum. For people like me who face the threat of severe violence and persecution if
deported, that arbitrary deadline is unacceptable. It is not uncommon for transgender, lesbian, gay, and bisexual detainees to be held in total isolation for up to 23 hours a day, like I was, simply because of our gender identity or sexual orientation. This happens despite the fact that solitary confinement fails to prevent abuse and can be extremely harmful to the psychological health of detainees. The thousands of stories like mine ar e why NCTE’s report calls on Congress to ensure that immigration reform legislation repeals the one-year asylum filing deadline and refor ms detention procedures to reduce detainee abuse and end overuse of solitary confinement. Both chambers of Congress have introduced legislation that includes a repeal of the asylum filing deadline as well as provisions that would greatly improve conditions for people held in detention facilities. Congress should make certain these important steps forward remain strong in final reform legislation. Our current immigration system leaves transgender people too vulnerable to discrimination, abuse, and injustice, and denies us the basic human dignity with which we should all be treated. I stand for commonsense, compassionate immigration reform because I believe that all immigrants, including LGBT immigrants, are a vital part of our country’s fabric and should be treated with dignity and respect under immigration laws.
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Indigestible Marriage BY KELLY JEAN COGSWELL
don't know the exact figure, but approximately a gazillion queers are getting gay married every week in New York. I was at the marriage bureau a couple months ago to watch two friends get hitched, and the usually echoing hall was
packed, not with wealthy gay white men cementing their fortunes, but with queers of all colors and ages and genders claiming their new rights. It sometimes took a minute to spot the happy couples. Like others getting married, they were often surrounded by their biological families, so hets generally outnumbered attending queers. Part of me thought
it was cool to see parents and siblings evolved enough to come, but it was also a little creepy to see how easy it was to diminish the presence of queers, even at our own weddings. Which is when I realized that this gay marrying thing wasn't very gay after all. I'm not sure what I expected. Not rainbow flags, certainly, but not this deep wrench-
ing, either — from the signing of the official documents to the chubby Latino guy named Angel whispering the magic words. Maybe it was because I'd never seen my dyke friends that way before. Surrounded by family, they were daughters and sisters and cousins, all the female roles defined by a still traditional society in which the family tree is everything, and most relationships are some vertical simula-
COGSWELL, continued on p.13
| October 16, 2013
Post-DOMA Dos and Don’ts For the Single Queer BY SUSIE DAY
ow that the Defense of Marriage Act has been repealed and same-sex couples in select states are free to legally marry, homophobia has lost much of its cultural currency. These days, discerning bigots consider it passé to hate homos, bi’s, trannies, or the gender -questioning, as long as they’ve gone to all the trouble of registering their silver patterns at Macy’s. Since society tends to see the sexual commingling of legally sanctioned couples — either straight or gay — as a bland, nonthreatening amalgam, the fashionably phobic now choose a more refined target on which to project their innate fears and insecurity — the single queer. Sans spouse, sans mate, sans boo — sans everything. If you’re single, if you have no one you can chastise for ordering the wrong flavor of sexual lube on the Internet, if there’s no Special Someone in your life to blurt out your most intimate secrets to in front of dozens of strangers on the A Train, cheer up. Your time will come. Meanwhile, the important thing is not to call attention to yourself as the pissed-off stereotype of the single LGBTQ reprobate that you probably are. “Out and Proud” is so old hat; “Effete and Discrete” is where it’s at. Here are some pointers to follow until the Right Partner comes along.
COGSWELL, from p.12
crum. Until I came to New York from Kentucky, I felt governed by my older sisters. My parents above them. Then preachers and teachers and bosses. And all the rest. I'd only been here a couple years when I joined the Lesbian Avengers and discovered a more horizontal world. Age and inexperience were on equal footing as long as you dared to wear a T-shirt, "I was a lesbian child," or if you ate fire or spoke out. Almost all of the dykes I know now I met during those years of meetings and marches and demos. And in my most vivid memories, they are surrounded by their own girl gang, rejoicing and fierce as creatures sprung from the head
DON'T: throw gin bottles at the TV and scream, "WHY CAN'T I FILE A JOINT TAX RETURN?" while gay and/ or lesbian “power couples” strut their joie de vivre stuf f in front of news cameras. Other married people in the room can sense your desperation and might start to shun you as one of those embarrassing single people. Try to understand that, in today’s world, sexuality of all shapes and sizes is acceptable. It is the fact of your own solitary existence — alone, staring into the Infinity’s bleak, cold void of human purposelessness and mortality — that makes you the real pervert. DO: dress in clothes that tastefully conform to the image of a hip, gay married person. This means, ladies: no jockstraps; gents: no hoopskirts. Red ribbons and rainbow flag pins should be neatly pinned to lapels, not through nipples. When in doubt as to your costume, consult your local genitalia. Persons of the gyno persuasion should wear a slimming dress or smart, "Rachel Maddow" slacks, while those of the dudely persuasion should don a casual, “Anderson Cooper” suit with pants reaching well below the knee.
“bodies.” Historians of the 1980s record these malcontents following President Reagan around, chanting, “Racist-Sexist-Anti-Gay-Ronald-Reagan-Go-Away." For pity's sake, if they really wanted the president to "Go Away," they wouldn't have gone to a place where they knew he would be, would they? Given their illogic and volatility, it is best not to point and laugh while they protest. Their little faces get red and they have seizures and pass out, then are carried off by cops, who do God knows what with them, thus hastening their inevitable, dinosaur -like extinction. On second thought: go ahead and tease them. NEVER: question your gover nmental authorities about issues that are not specifically about gay rights. After all, what do you know about US policy? Maybe Pakistan thinks drone attacks are cool! Maybe polar bears enjoy playing on melting icecaps! Remember, if it's not our problem, it doesn't really exist. Vive our differ ence!
him that we are not terrorists and do not deserve to be sent to Guantánamo to be held under "indefinite detention." (Note to single queers: send president wee note, thanking him for not holding you under indefinite detention. A small hanging plant might also help him through this financial crisis.) DON'T: per for m the gaucherie of attempting to start a third “radical” political party. This is the height of ingratitude and has been done to death. Both married and single homos have the potential to be just as sleazy and compromising as any heterosexual in either party — let's use it! DO: go online! A life devoted to blogging and tweeting makes you feel like you're on the verge of thousands of intimate relationships, when in reality, your life becomes more atomized and interior than ever! It's fun to have a gay singles website — you may get thousands of "hits" — but you'll never get an STD! LOL!
DON'T: tease the radical "queers." These people stridently call married people horrid names like “breeders” and “couple-talist pigs.” They enjoy making everyone around them unhappy with their ridiculous protests about keeping the “law” off their
DO: jump to your feet and cheer like a Hun witnessing a human sacrifice when our president begins a speech with rote chumminess like, "Michelle and I…" Remember, our president is now a Fellow Couple. He’s also having a mighty hard time these days, so cheer after anything he says that is not blatantly against gay marriage. Nothing impresses a president like adoration, which will remind
DON'T: stop, no matter how alone you are, adding to your gay-marriage hope chest! All the best TV sit-coms prove that married people will inevitably like you if you keep showing them that you, as a single person, hate yourself! Making disparaging remarks about your weight and/ or body image is good. Also useful are whimsical remarks about how you never got dates in high school. And don’t forget developing funny, selfdegrading crushes on unattainable icons, stars, and heroes. Just keep insulting yourself and, ultimately, people will accept you for whatever it is you might be if you could ever get married.
of Zeus and equal to anybody from a president to a prostitute. Now there they are, in the midst of their families. And the State is not the enemy but a party to the event. I imagine that's partly why our straight relatives find it so comforting, and are often the ones pushing for big weddings. Parents are excited to see their daughters anchored and safe. Kids want to see their two parents take their place, just like anybody else. The marriage contract is less as a link between two people than between that pair and society at large, binding them and dividing them at the same time. You might get immigration rights and tax write-offs, but when the State joins you for better or worse, richer or poorer, it also means you've had all
the benefits you're going to get and are mostly on your own. If one gets sick, the other foots the bill while society stands by until your last thin dime has been spent. Without a pre-nup, debts are inherited more often than lotto winnings. Vultures circle when your partner's at death's door. In this respect, I like the services that at least invoke a larger sense of the world. Back in the day, I remember a pastor at a commitment ceremony talking about how we were gathered there as community to help and support the couple. She laid a charge on us, as witnesses, which I guess we failed: the couple broke up a couple years later. The only blessing was that there was no need of lawyers to divide up the spoils.
I'm not arguing that same-sex marriage is bad. I'm glad we have it now. It has a symbolic meaning, and it's useful. Equality always is. I'm just not sure it's progress in a more essential way. It ropes us back into a world we escaped at great cost. And for what? Most of the straight people I know aren't happy in the land of matrimony. With rare exceptions, marriage seems like a musty room with all the windows glued shut by responsibilities and routine. And often acrimony. More than once I've gotten the impression that they are envious of my exile. No rights. No obligations, except moral ones. It seems straight people, too, long for some better way to organize their lives than this genealogy chart mentality and careful division into two's.
MALONEY, from p.3
ney’s votes. No other Democratic politician — local, state, or national — returned phone calls or emails, including members of the Philipstown Democrats (from a town in his district); the Putnam County Democratic Party; the Dutchess County Democratic Committee; Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, who represents part of Maloney’s district in Albany and endorsed his candidacy in 2012; and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Silence from supporters in one’s own party is at best unusual. Despite his fir m insistence that he “voted not to delay [Obamacare] and not to defund it. Period,” Maloney acknowledges he supports putting off for a year the law’s individual mandate — which is critical to its viability — explaining that “individuals deserve the same benefits that have been afforded to corporations by the Obama administration,” which has postponed requirements imposed on businesses. He has also cited the widespread website delays that impeded people’s ability to get through to New York State of Health, the state’s newly established health insurance exchange — delays that only became known when the program went live on October 1. “He sounds like a mouthpiece for
October 16, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com the Republican Party — those are their talking points, and their intention is to end Obamacare through, essentially, extortion,” said Kevin Finnegan, a spokesman for 1199 SEIU, the United Healthcare Workers, and a longtime friend and supporter of Maloney. His union is the largest in the state, and Finnegan estimates 10 to 15 thousand members live in Maloney’s district. “When we endorsed, and in fact promoted, Sean,” Finnegan continued, “I thought he had the best chance to beat Nan Hayworth — I still do. But I also thought that he would be a reliable Democratic voice for the area and be with us on important issues like Obamacare.” As would be expected, criticism of Maloney becomes more pointed the further to the left one moves on the political spectrum. The most scathing attack has come from Community Voices Heard/ Power, a grassroots organization that endorsed and, according to its members, worked hard for Maloney’s election. Cynthia Gilkeson, a spokeswoman for the group, which works on legislative issues related to welfare and affordable housing in New York City as well as Westchester and Dutchess Counties, said, “I knocked on doors trying to get him get elected, and now I feel betrayed.” This is not the first time CVH/
Power has tangled with Maloney since his election. They’ve criticized his vote against restoring funding for food stamps in committee (he ultimately voted against the cuts as well as work requirements for recipients.) But they are especially incensed by his vote to further empower Eric Cantor. “Maloney is a Republican in disguise,” Gilkeson continued. “I’m shocked and appalled by his voting record. I can’t distinguish him from Nan Hayworth.” The Maloney vote on the Cantor rules change may prove the most difficult for him to explain to other Democrats, since it blocks them from trying to use a legislative maneuver to achieve a “clean Continuing Resolution,” free of Tea Party demands, to go to the Senate and the president with to reopen the government. Throughout the crisis, Democrats have said they could attract moderate Republicans in support of such a CR if a free vote were allowed. Maloney said he didn’t think such a strategy would work, given that no Republicans have been willing to date to side with the Democrats. But that argument contradicts his most recent press release, which links to a Washington Post story reporting that more than 20 Republicans are now prepared to support just such a clean CR. Given Speaker John Boehner’s intransigence on allowing such a vote, however, the only way to get there is through the House rules that Maloney voted to do away with. Of the nine Democratic members of Congress who broke with their party on the crucial September 30 vote, seven were elected in very close races. Upstate New York’s Dan Maffei defeated Republican incumbent Ann Marie Buerkle by the same margin
of victory Maloney enjoyed, 52 to 48 percent. Still, more than a dozen Democratic representatives elected in very competitive races chose to vote with their party on September 30, including New York’s Bill Owens, whose rural district spans the state’s North Country, and Tim Bishop, who represents the easternmost part of Suffolk County on Long Island. After the government shutdown, more and more Democrats, including Owens and Bishop, joined Maloney in voting for bills to fund the government incrementally, including money for the National Institutes of Health, the National Parks Service, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, food stamps. Head Start, border security, the Federal Aviation Administration, and management of nuclear weapons. Each bill passed the House but was rejected by the Senate. As the country careens toward defaulting on its debt, which, save a compromise bill, Democrats predict could happen on October 18, there are likely to be many more congressional votes, and Sean Maloney’s will continue to be scrutinized intently by his boosters and detractors alike. According to Chris Keeley, CVH/ Power’s political and communications director, his organization did door-to-door outreach in Poughkeepsie and Newburgh, the largest cities in the 18th Congressional District, making more than 20,000 voter contacts in support of his candidacy. As it stands, CVH/ Power seems disinclined to do the same in 2014. In a race that was decided in 2012 by less than 9,000 votes and with union support wavering, such grassroots support could be key.
review is pursued. On the contrary, granting a stay would simply allow the State to continue to violate the equal protection rights of New Jersey samesex couples, which can hardly be considered a public interest.” Jacobson provided considerable support for her decision to deny Christie’s motion for a stay, and the governor’s response incorrectly argued that the US Supreme Court’s DOMA decision mandated that civil unions be recognized by the federal government. The State Supreme Court should easily dispose of that argument, but it is under no obligation to follow its own precedents on the conditions required for issuing a stay and it may not wish the situation to get ahead of its own consideration on the merits of such a politically charged question. If the high court, however, does hew to its own past rulings on granting stays, gay and lesbian marriages will begin on October 21.
NEW JERSEY, from p.5
agency interpretation of Windsor denying equal access to marital benefits to civil union couples.” Jacobson went on to chide the state for failing to step up in an effort to vindicate the equal rights of its civil union couples by marshaling its “creative legal talent” on their behalf. And she rejected the state’s argument that any delay for the appellate process to run its course would be brief, pointing out that “the time for completion of appellate review is completely uncertain.” The judge came down on the side of the plaintiffs on the question of the public interest as well. “Protecting the civil rights of New Jersey citizens is surely a matter of public interest,” she wrote. “Indeed, there is no ‘public interest’ in depriving a class of New Jersey residents of their constitutional rights while appellate
| October 16, 2013 in a Dream of You” and “The Redthroats,” and three forthcoming solo pieces; Tanya O’Debra, a writer, performer, and funny lady who is one half of the comic sister duo the O'Debra Twins; and Charles Rice-Gonzalez, a writer, longtime community and LGBT activist, and the executive director of BAAD! whose debut novel, “Chulito,” about a tough, sexy, hip hop-loving young Latino man coming of age and coming out in the South Bronx, was published in 2011. KGB Bar, 85 E. Fourth St., btwn. Bowery & Second Ave. Oct. 17, 7 p.m. Free.
LESLIE-LOHMAN MUSEUM OF GAY AND LESBIAN ART
GALLERY Ketch Him While You Can
OCTOBER 18: A work from Ketch Wehr's "Emblems of Things to Come."
"Emblems of Things to Come" is a series of large-scale paintings on wood and mirror depicting feminist martyrs, saints, and ancient women of power. In this series of work, Ketch Wehr, a New Yorkbased artist and freelance illustrator with a flair for the feral, reaches back in history, through the lens of gender defiance, to establish a queer lineage. Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, Window Gallery, 26 Wooster St., btwn. Grand & Canal Sts. Through Jan. 26. Opening reception is Oct. 18, 6-8 p.m.
PERFORMANCE Under a Full Blood Moon
At the stroke of midnight, with a full moon looming in the sky above, darkness descends on the elegance of Duane Park, and “Dead Sexy: Blood Moon,” New York's horrifically hot neo-burlesque show takes over. Jonny Porkpie and Jeremy X. Halpern reprise a frighteningly attractive, monstrously talented, insanely seductive night of tease, titillation, and of course... death. 308 Bowery at E. First St. Oct. 18, 11:59 p.m. Tickets are $15 at deadsexyburlesque.com; $20 at the door.
An Early Start on Halloween
“Estrogenius,” now in its 14th season, brings together the global community that supports women in all the arts. This year, there are a total of 45 events in music, dance, solo performances, short plays, theatrical productions, and visual arts from youth to professional adults and production companies. Stage Left, 214 W. 30th St., sixth fl., and Theaterlab, 357 W. 36th St., third fl. Through Nov. 10. For complete details on performances, visit estrogenius.org.
New York’s first and most terrifying haunted house, “Nightmare,” celebrates its 10th year in New York City 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 haunted 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 through Nov. 2; schedule varies. For performance times and tickets, from $30-$60, visit hauntedhousenyc.com.
DANCE Gutierrez Redux
BOOKS Surviving Golemhood
PERFORMANCE Get Your Estrogen On
“myendlesslove,” a re-mount of a Miguel Gutierrez show from 2006 performed only once before, is a solo about the poetics of gay sex, exploiting time-honored clichés about sentimentality, longing, and how we look beyond ourselves. Abrons Arts Center, Underground Theater, 466 Grand St., btwn. Pitt & Willett St. Oct. 17-19, 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 at abronsartcenter.org.
NIGHTLIFE Stepping Up to Mentor
Live Out Loud, which works to empower LGBT young people by connecting them with successful LGBT professionals in their communities, hosts its Young Professionals kick-off party. OUT NYC, 510 W. 42nd St. Oct. 17, 6-9 p.m. RSVP strongly suggested at info@ liveoutloud.info.
READING Awesomeness In Words
In her monthly “Drunken! Careening! Writers!” event, Kathleen Warnock welcomes Max Blagg, a poet, writer, and performer who has appeared at the Kitchen, Jackie 60, St. Mark's Church, the National Arts Club, Bowery Poetry Club, and the Guggenheim Museum, and whose first novel, “Ticket Out,” was published last year; David Cale, the writer and performer of 10 solo shows including the Obie Award-winning “Lillian,” the Bessie Award-winning “Deep
Lesbian journalist and author Donna Minkowitz reflects on her Jewish upbringing in her new memoir, “Growing Up Golem: How I Survived My Mother, Brooklyn, and Some Really Bad Dates.” Minkowitz makes a series of book appearances in the next two weeks: On Oct. 18, 7 p.m., in tandem with Thomas Rayfiel, author of "In Pinelight,” at the Park Slope Food Co-op, 782 Union St., just below Seventh Ave. On Oct. 22, 7 p.m., Minkowitz appears with comedian Michele Carlo and self-described "fantabulist" Daniel Guzmán at the House Storytelling Concert at 85 Chester Ave., btwn. Tehama & Clara Sts., Kensington, Bklyn. (F to Church Ave.). On Oct. 25, 6:30 p.m., Minkowitz holds a launch party at Queers for Economic Justice, 147 W. 24th St., # 4. On Oct. 27, 11 a.m., Minkowitz talks about her book at the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture, 53 Prospect Park W. at Second St. Minkowitz is joined by Lambda Literary Review editor William Johnson in conversation at the LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St. on Oct. 30, 7 p.m.
MUSIC Songs for Matthew
Chameleonic and Choral Chameleon present a series of free public performances commemorating the 15-year anniversary of Mat-
thew Shepard’s murder. This program includes David Conte's “Elegy for Matthew” and two Whitman settings by Conte and Michael Hennagin, “Invocation and Dance” and “Give Me the Splendid Silent Sun.” Artistic director Vince Peterson presents his surprising setting of the Carpenters' timeless “Top of the World.” John Street Church, 44 John St., btwn. William & Nassau Sts., Oct. 19, 2 p.m. and Oct. 21, 8 p.m. Performances also take place at Park Avenue Christian Church, 1010 Park Ave. at 85th St., Oct. 26, 8 p.m.; and in Bay Ridge at Union Church, 7915 Ridge Blvd. at 80th St., Oct. 27, 4 p.m. Free ticket reservations at choralchameleon.com.
POETRY Real Life
Robert Siek and Emanuel Xavier read selections from their new poetry collections. “Purpose and Devil Piss,” Siek’s full-length poetry debut, is a collection that spans a decade of the poet’s life, relating experiences good and bad and exploring human interactions through scenes of domesticity, sexual debauchery, early mornings coming off drugs, avoiding strangers on the street, locker rooms, and treadmills at the gym. Xavier's fourth full-length poetry collection, “Nefarious,” welcomes the reader into the later second act of a former underage prostitute, capturing insights into his private world of relationships, heartbreaks, life as a spoken word artist, time spent with his cat, and aging. Poet’s House, 10 River Terrace, near North End Ave., Battery Park City. Oct. 19, 6:30-9 p.m. Free.
GALLERY The Queer Chelsea Scene
Join an afternoon tour of seven Chelsea galleries with exhibits of particular interest to gay men and lesbians led by a gay studies professor. Exhibits include painting, sculpture, electronic media, and photography. 526 W. 26th St., Oct. 19, 1 p.m. For more information and tickets at $20, visit nygallerytours.com.
COMMUNITY Women Mingling & Dancing
SAGE, Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders, hosts its annual Fall Women’s Dance, featuring the tunes of DJ Susan Levine. Club LQ, 511 Lexington Ave. at 48th St. Oct. 20, 3:30-8:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 at sageusa.org
CABARET Nikki M. James Up Close
Nikki M. James, a Tony Award-winner for “Book of Mormon,” shares an evening of song and personal stories, with a mix of Broadway favorites, contemporary pop, and a few surprises. Joe’s Pub, inside the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Pl. Oct. 21, 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 at publictheater.org.
RETIREMENT Gay, Gray & in Southern France
The Villages Group-Rainbow is 107-villa retirement complex planned for LGBT seniors along the Canal du Midi in southwest France. On-site will be 24-7 hotel concierge services, tennis courts, indoor pool, gymnasium, and an entertainment and cultural complex. Danny Silver, a real estate professional who is the founder of the project, hosts an informational seminar on the resort at Holiday Inn Soho, 138 Lafayette St., btwn. Howard & Canal Sts. Oct. 21, 6-8 p.m. For more information on the project or to RSVP for the seminar, visit thevillagesgroup.com/rainbow or email info@ thevillagesgroup.com.
14 DAYS, continued on p.31
October 16, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Remaking Ourselves In Our Own Image Queer arts festival challenges the constraints of queer BY BRIAN McCORMICK
ince 2003, the Queer Zagreb Festival has advocated and promoted queer life and culture in that Croatian city with audacity. It has become a major art festival in Europe, all the while challenging and expanding the parameters of queer artistry.
Raimund Hoghe will present “An Evening With Judy,” his new solo with guests, as well as a special performance tribute on October 25.
aesthetics. A major newspaper had to run a correction for an “erroneous description” about a panel discussion. For Dobrovic, this all misses the point. “When someone hears ‘queer,’ they immediately think it has to tick all the boxes,” he said. “A festival cannot do that — otherwise you have a salad, with a politically correct dressing of course, but it does not need to do that.” “We know what queer art is,” Dobrovic elaborated, “but no one thinks how it can be also moving beyond gender, it can go beyond being purely iconic, it can talk about positions of power, center and margin, beauty, ideas, race, ethnicity. Queer is a powerful term to address these. But it is so smeared with homophobia that people cannot get over.” He added, “Working in Croatia, I learned to recognize homophobia in different masks and layers. It is not always a punch in the face.”
“Queer art is not taken seriously often by curators,” founder Zvonimir Dobrovic told Gay City News. “It took us some years in Zagreb to get on the map, to get people to notice programming we are doing can be on par with international centers.” Ten years on, he has proven to be more than equal, having presented more than 300 artists. “I have relationships with artists a lot of people in the curating world will know in some years, once these artists reach Berlin or Paris,” he said, “but often they have been to Zagreb first.” In 2012, Dobrovic launched the Queer New York International Arts Festival (QNYIA). This year’s festival is dedicated to festival co-director André von Ah. Dobrovic and von Ah married in August and in early September von Ah died suddenly. (Just days earlier, he had published a piece in the Huffington Post about Kennedy Center director Michael Kaiser’s wedding, which was officiated by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.) Initially, Dobrovic wanted to cancel the festival. “The idea of facing New York, where André and I had a lot of memories, was just too difficult to imagine,” he said. “But then I thought that out of my own comfort it would be unfair to André and all the work he put into it.” In addition to performances, this year’s festival includes a Queer Art New Music Series, a film screening and talkback, a series of discussions, and other public programs. “He was very keen on putting more context into the festival based on experiences last year,” Dobrovic said of his late husband. Last year’s festival was met with dissent from some critics and artists around notions of queer identities and
M Lamar presents “Surveillance: Punishment and the Black Psyche” as part of the Queer Art New Music Series at La MaMa on October 26.
Multiple venues Oct. 23 – Nov. 3 queerny.org
QUEER NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL
New York City nightlife personalities Shane Shane and Heather Litteer present “Good Morning, Queer New York! A very, very late morning talk show” at Participant INC. on October 24.
Addressing specific performers on tap, Dobrovic said, “Room 100 from Croatia and Antonia Baehr [Germany] are artists that will define what Queer New York tries to do, as they both in their ways question queer ness beyond purely gender, sexuality, or other usual prisms that stem from feminist thought.” Among the 16 acts from 10 countries in this year’s QNYIA festival are New Yorkers Shane Shane and Heather Litteer, Dan Fishback, and Max Steele. “We both were very committed to working with New York and US-based artists,” Dobrovic explained. “The role of a festival, any festival, always has to be communication and dialogue with its own geography. So, this year we really wanted to work with local artists much more and to put their work shoulder to shoulder to
the international programming.” For Dobrovic, the definition of queer is dependent on geography. But his hypothesis places queer art on alternative terrain, independent of queer activism. “Activism is linear,” he offered. “There is a timeline, a goal. With art, all these lines are erased. For example, you can be in Croatia and say, yes, they are 10 years behind Brazil in terms of LGBT rights, or 20 years behind the Netherlands. But, the beauty and the difference is you cannot come to Croatia, Brazil, Philippines, or any other country and say, in terms of queer art, they are 10 years behind.” The imprint of von Ah on the festival is indelible. “He was always excited about Brazilian arts,” Dobrovic said. Von Ah got performance and visual artist Gabriela Mureb and choreographer Angelo Madureira to present at the festival this year. “He insisted that Raimund Hoghe be in the festival as well,” Dobrovic explained, “and now in this twist of fate, Raimund will have a special one-off performance [October 25] as a tribute to André.” Hoghe will also be presenting “An Evening With Judy,” his new solo project, as part of the festival. Even before this year’s festival has started, Dobrovic is thinking about the next. “I want even more the partnerships,” he avowed. “I want BAM, Baryshnikov Arts Center, New York Live Arts, and the work there to be called queer and make a difference to the festival and help the artists in that sense be empowered. But just to note, it is impossible that Raimund Hoghe, after being in New York quite a few times, only now comes with an umbrella of queer. You have to be blind not to see queerness in each of his works, in the energy he gives, in the visuals.” We know queer when we queer see it. QNYIA 2013 is presented in partnership with the Abrons Arts Center (466 Grand St. btwn. Pitt & Willett Sts.), with events at Grace Exhibition Space & Gallery (840 Broadway, btwn. Park & Ellery Sts., Bushwick), The Invisible Dog Art Center (51 Bergen St., btwn. Boerum Pl. & Smith St., Boerum Hill), Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater (425 Lafayette St., btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Pl.), La MaMa, ETC. (74 E. Fourth St., btwn. Bowery & Second Ave.), Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art (26 Wooster St., btwn. Grand & Canal Sts.), the New School (66 W. 12th St.), and Participant INC. (253 E. Houston St., btwn. Aves. A & B). For a complete schedule visit queerny.org
| October 16, 2013
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Bell Bottom Blues Mind-blowing trip with Janis Joplin doesn’t quite let it all hang out BY DAVID KENNERLEY
rash, soulful Janis Joplin has been lionized as “The Queen of Rock ’n Roll” and lamented as a blazing comet that flamed out way too soon. This supremely talented, middle-class “white chick singing the blues” shot to fame in the late 1960s and died in 1970 of an unintended heroin overdose. She was only 27 years old.
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“A Night With Janis Joplin” attempts to recapture this legendary lightning in a bottle, showcasing her distinctive, raspy-toned vocals and musical influences, which included the likes of Etta James, Bessie Smith, Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, and even Broadway show tunes. But if you’re looking for a traditional Broadway musical — you know, with plot, character development, or dramatic arc of any kind — you won’t find it onstage at the Lyceum Theatre. Under the direction of Randy Johnson (who also wrote the piece), what we have here is an eclectic, electrifying concert featuring special guests and extended patter between numbers. Not that it’s such a bad thing. Mary Bridget Davies delivers goose bump-generating, heart-shattering, powerhouse vocals, channeling the legendary singer with an epic ferocity and adding grace notes of vulnerability. If Davies seems pitch-perfect, that’s partly because she’s had plenty of practice, embodying Joplin in the regional tour of this production and another musical tribute, “Love, Janis,” that toured the US some years back. What’s more, she actually fronted a reboot of Big Brother and the Holding Company, the acid rock band that gave Joplin her big break (some say it was the other way around). A paragon of antipretention, Janis loved to “tell it like it is” and Davies nails that quality with gritty panache. “People, whether they know it or not, like their blues singers miserable,”
Mary Bridget Davies as Janis Joplin.
muses Joplin. “They like their blues singers to die.” The role is so punishing that a second performer (Kacee Clanton) takes over for the Wednesday and Saturday matinees. Davies is hardly the only talent onstage. Taprena Michelle Augustine, De’Adre Aziza, Allison Blackwell, and Nikki Kimbrough not only play the backup singers (called the Joplinaires) but also impersonate the trailblazing artists who influenced Joplin. While each enjoys at least one fabulous moment in the spotlight, the stunning Augustine stands apart as the Blues Singer who belts out “Today I Sing the Blues,” rivaling any of Joplin’s numbers. The sensational band, comprised of eight boisterous musicians in period garb, remains prominently onstage for the entire show. The far-out costumes, by Amy Clark, efficiently evoke the groovy, hippie style of the 1960’s. Bell bottoms, crushed velvet, and Afros abound. Sad to say, there are problems beyond the lack of a proper book. At times the eager -to-please show tries, as one of Joplin’s hit songs goes, “a little bit harder” to rouse the audience to stand up and sing along. Perhaps a little too hard. The set and lighting, designed
JOPLIN, continued on p.21
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October 16, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Daniel Radcliffe and the Secret of Allen Ginsberg British actor searches for future poet’s soul at dawn of the Beats BY DAVID EHRENSTEIN
SONY PICTURES CLASSICS
h I’ve felt that many times,” Daniel Radcliffe said evenly. “It’s that moment when someone says or does something and it speaks to something in you. It’s when somebody else articulates what you want to be and you see that in them for a second. Moments that give you an instant connection to another person.” The moment Radcliffe was talking about appears early on in “Kill Your Darlings,” writer -director John Krokidas’ startling new film about the birth of the Beat Generation. The “connection” comes one afternoon in 1944 at the Columbia University library where an 18-year -old Allen Ginsberg (Radcliffe) is being shown around by a teacher when suddenly another student, Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan), jumps up on a table and begins to declaim his ideas about life and art, dazzling the man who would come to write “Howl.” But that would be 11 years later. The Allen Ginsberg of “Kill Your Darlings” isn’t yet a poet, and the fellow students and friends he meets at this time — “poor little rich boy” William S. Burroughs (Ben Foster) and a merchant-seaman named Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) — aren’t artists yet either. What kick-starts their careers and links them for life is Carr’s murder of his manipulative mentor David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall), an event known to serious students of Beat literature but rather obscure to the world at large. “I didn’t come across this story at all until 10 years ago,” noted Krokidas, who co-wrote the script with colleague Austin Bunn. “We shared creative ideas, and Austin told me this story of murder that brought together Allen, Jack, and Bill and stopped them from talking about doing something important with their lives and started them actually writing. It captures the Beats at a very young and rebellious age. You might call it an ‘Origin Tale’ of Super Anti-Heroes. Allen went to Columbia thinking maybe he wanted to be a labor lawyer. He didn’t want to say he was a poet because his dad was a poet. In fact, the poem that ends the film — where he announces that he is a poet — is the poem he wrote the day after David Kammerer died. We had a lot to draw on. Allen kept an extensive collection of journals
Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg.
and diaries, including from this era. Jack Kerouac wrote about the killing in his last novel, ‘Vanity of Duluoz.’ And then there’s the legendary book he wrote with Burroughs, ‘And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks,’ a literary vaudeville with alternating chapters by Burroughs and Kerouac that recounted the crime as a kind of variation on a detective thriller.” But no Burroughs-Kerouac collaboration, no matter how surreal, could rival the press event arranged in Los Angeles for “Kill Your Darlings,” with media from the world over jammed into a Beverly Hills hotel, clamoring to interview the physically slight but iconographically imposing Radcliffe, who has forsaken multimillion dollar CGI extravaganzas for the likes of small-scale mood pieces like “Horns,” off-beat romances like “The F Word,” and an utterly unique biopic like this. “I hadn’t met Dan when we started,” Krokidas noted, “but when I looked at photographs of the young Allen Ginsberg there is an uncanny physical resemblance. I didn’t know if he could relate to that character. When I first made my list of people who might be possible casting, I was looking for actors that were intelligent enough,
that we would believe would become these people later. That they would have the soul of a poet and be Allen enough that he would encourage people to be braver with their lives.” As it turned out, Radcliffe was more than capable of filling this bill and understanding what the story was about as well. Gay-friendly from an early age — a major supporter of the Trevor Project and an actor who has often cited drag queens as enormous influences in honing his talents — Radcliffe had no trouble with the film’s love scenes (a rather robust smoochfest with DeHaan) or its startling sex scene (when Ginsberg find the courage to lose his virginity to a casual male pick-up.) What really stands out is his understanding of the young Ginsberg and how he dealt with a first love whose artistic talents weren’t as expansive as the poet-to-be thought. “Allen had what Lucien lacked in ter ms of being a writer,” Radcliffe explained of the character’s dynamic. “Lucien always had that fear of not measuring up. The way he made up for it was by ebullience and charisma and charm, by being brilliant at putting people together and arranging them in such a way that they fly off each other. For the rest of his life he was a
renowned news editor. Had he been in the movie industry, he would have been a brilliant producer. Some people have that skill. The fact is Lucien couldn’t find peace with what he had. He could only inspire others.” Making matters worse was Kammerer, a man who had been his scoutmaster and for reasons that have never been made entirely clear was given leave by Carr’s parents to not only be his tutor but manage his life altogether. As the film shows, Kammerer wrote all of Carr’s class assignments at school. He was also romantically obsessed with him. While there is some controversy as to how far their relationship went sexually (Burroughs has claimed they never did the deed — though he may have said this to cover for Carr after his arrest), Krokidas’ film asserts it quite matter-offactly. It was Kammerer’s possessiveness that finally pushed Carr over the edge. One night in Riverside Park, Carr stabbed Kammerer with a Boy Scout knife, tied him up with a belt, weighed the body down with rocks, and threw it into the Hudson River. He confessed to Burroughs, who told him to turn himself in, which Carr eventually did, claiming it was an “honor killing” — meaning that he had killed the older man for attempting to sexually attack him. Carr pled firstdegree manslaughter but because of the “honor killing” claim served only 18 months. In the film, this brings about the end of what was a budding CarrGinsberg romance. A pivotal scene finds the lovestruck but deeply upset Ginsberg visiting his inamorata in jail and denouncing him for his dishonesty. “Allen sees something inherently wrong in lying for Lucien, and lying about his sexuality,” Radcliffe said. “Allen may not have liked David but he didn’t want to kill him. And that made him ask some serious questions. Lucien had been involved in some crazy behavior before. But with the murder, Allen had to reevaluate him and reevaluate himself in light of the fact that he had fallen in love with this person. What a complicated thing that must be to fall in love with somebody who kills someone else — and to still love them.” Hanging over it all is the other tragedy of Ginsberg’s life at this time — his mother Naomi (played in the film by Jennifer Jason Leigh) being committed to a mental institution and demanding
RADCLIFFE, continued on p.19
| October 16, 2013
Vague Stirrings “Kill Your Darlings” an unpersuasive look at unconventionality
upture the pattern” and “break the law” are ideologies that animate the neophyte Beats — Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan), Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), William S. Burroughs (Ben Foster), and Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) — in the ambitious period drama “Kill Your Darlings.” Director and co-writer John Krokidas certainly ruptures some patterns and breaks some rules telling this beguiling story set in the mid-1940s. Recounting the murder of David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall), the filmmaker uses contemporary music (TV on the Radio) and film snippets played back in reverse. Apparently, Krokidas is more interested in creating mood than verisimilitude, even if “Kill Your Darlings” is based on a true story.
KILL YOUR DARLINGS Directed by John Krokidas Sony Pictures Classics Landmark Sunshine Cinema 143 E. Houston St., btwn. First & Second Aves. landmarktheatres.com Walter Reade Theatre 165 W. 65th St. filmlinc.com
Audiences may be impressed by some of the film’s style and fanciful “dream” sequences — as when Carr and Ginsberg visit a club and the action freezes temporarily — but this film, often trying too hard, has more wrong with it than it gets right. It’s amusing to see David Cross — who played Allen Ginsberg in “I’m Not There” — play Louis Ginsberg, Allen’s father, here, but Radcliffe seems miscast in the central role. The young actor is too slight and scared as the
RADCLIFFE, from p.18
he come and see her. “That’s one of the things I kind of latched onto with Allen as much as anything else,’ Radcliffe explained. “The relationship you have with your mother is a very important thing for any man — a Jewish man in particular. It’s no surprise he felt different because his family background and situation were probably different from anyone else he knew. When you think about Allen as a young man having to visit
young poet, hiding behind his glasses, rather than looking through them at the big new world, drinking it in, and forming real thoughts about it like Ginsberg probably did. His Ginsberg transforms himself from meek to empowered over the course of the film, but Radcliffe has so far to travel he makes it merely from A to B. His performance never convinces. Likewise, the character of Lucien Carr, who makes a naughty entrance at the Columbia University Library reciting aloud a Henry Miller line about a cock, is not a particularly seductive co-conspirator. As DeHaan plays Carr, he comes across as less “outrageous” than bipolar. Still, Ginsberg falls under Carr’s spell and follows his new friend down to “the land of the fairies” — as Greenwich Village is referred to by Ginsberg’s roommate — to break free of tradition and conformity. At a party hosted by Kammerer, Carr’s lover — perhaps more precisely his college paper ghostwriter — Ginsberg meets William S. Burroughs, who is lying in a bathtub inhaling nitrous oxide. (Foster gives an irresistibly droll performance as Burroughs.) The new friends soon make plans to kill off the old guard and create anew. This means staging a mock suicide and fueling their dreams with Benzedrine. “Kill Your Darlings” gets the seed of the Beat movement right — the railing against convention — and there is a bit of life in the film when the characters must define themselves against prevailing expectations. When Ginsberg questions rhyme and meter, form and tradition in his Columbia poetry class or reads a poem he wrote to Carr and Kerouac while sitting in a boat, the film does enthrall. But then there is a leaden sequence of Ginsberg distracting a comely female
librarian with the promise of sex so Carr and Burroughs can steal her keys in order to pull off a prank displaying censored material throughout the library. The scene’s narrative importance — that this is the characters’ rebellion against authority — is not lost, but the break-in doesn’t amount to much fun. Nor is the romantic tension between Carr and Ginsberg especially sexy. A scene in which Ginsberg imagines Carr sucking on his finger is far more compelling than a kiss the two men share later in the film. When Ginsberg stares longingly at Carr as the librarian goes down on the future poet, there should be sparks between the two men. Instead it just looks awkward. We best understand Carr’s appeal from his ability to motivate Ginsberg to develop a sense of his own selfworth and to challenge convention. But Krokidas too frequently insists on using a cudgel to make the point. Such unsubtle storytelling is most egregious in a montage that crosscuts among
three forms of penetration — Kammerer being knifed by Carr, Burroughs injecting drugs, and Ginsberg getting fucked. The murder of Kammerer could profitably have been given greater emphasis in the film. While his stalking behavior comes across as a nuisance to Carr — and by extension, Ginsberg — and the depth of Carr’s affection for him is very much in doubt, the suggestion that they do him in seems extreme. After Carr does kill Kammerer, the film wrestles briefly with Ginsberg’s quandary over whether to help him mount his “honor slaying” defense — what today would be termed a claim of not guilty by reason of gay panic — but the issue turns melodramatic when he takes up his qualms with his mother (Jennifer Jason Leigh), who is institutionalized. All of which diminishes the climax of a film intended to help us understand young men eager to make their mark. In the end, the impression they leave is unsatisfying.
his mother in an institution and see her in that way and how upsetting that must have been for him. And the guilt he must have felt. It was a huge relationship that affected him for the rest of his life.” Out of that relationship Ginsberg wrote his greatest poem, “Kaddish” — which Radcliffe knew prior to “Kill Your Darlings.” “I had read that poem before, but it didn’t mean as much to me until now I read it again, and it became so emotionally powerful to me,” he said.
Krokidas was just as emotional. “The thing that kept me going all the time it took to make this film was the fact that in 1944 you could get away with murder by saying the person you killed was gay,” he said. “Look at what’s going on in Russia right now. We’ve come so far, but have we really? What would Allen say? Allen has always meant so much to me. I read about him and the Beats when I was still closeted. He was someone who I’ve always admired, wishing I could be that brave myself. It’s the artists you
fall in love with in your adolescence that stay with you for life. I’m not going to lie and say I prayed to the Art Gods, ‘Give me permission to tell this story.’ I just hope for people that knew him and respected him that I did him justice.” Radcliffe, for whom the punk rockers of the ’70s were signal figures much like the Beat, feels the same way. “It’s the same joy in nihilism,” he said. “The idea of tearing up everything and starting over from scratch. Do what you want to do and do it yourself. That’s what it’s all about!”
SONY PICTURES CLASSICS
BY GARY M. KRAMER
Dane DeHaan and Daniel Radcliffe in John Krokidas’s “Kill Your Darlings.”
October 16, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Dimly Lit But No Less Powerful “The Glass Menagerie” is what memories are made of BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE
MICHAEL J. LUTCH
emory is a particular affliction of the human species. It shapes our present, drives us, unsettles us, even haunts us. Memory is the subject of Tennessee Williams’ classic play “The Glass Menagerie,” which has never been so powerfully or poetically examined as in the spellbinding, ravishing revival now on Broadway.
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Under the brilliant direction of John Tiffany, this production is immediate and visceral, steeped in its period but resonating with an emotional intensity both shocking and beautifully underplayed. T if fany has trusted the script — and Williams’ original directions from 1944 — to create a world as it would appear in memory, dimly lit and lacking in detail yet powered by conflict and the longing for a resolution that may be impossible to attain. The simple story concer ns the Wingfield family — Amanda and her adult children Laura and Tom. Tom narrates the play from about 10 years after the events take place. It is his memory. Amanda, once a southern belle, is living in reduced circumstances in a cramped apartment in St. Louis
Cherry Jones and Zachary Quinto in “The Glass Menagerie” at the Booth Theatre.
since her husband abandoned them. Tom provides the family’s sole support working in a warehouse boxing shoes while Laura, crippled and pathologically shy, stays home and plays with her glass animals — the menagerie of the title. Amanda is desperate for Laura to be provided for and knows that her son itches to leave behind the stultifying life they share. A poet who wants to break free, he is bound by a sense of duty. Amanda ultimately prevails on Tom to bring home a young man for Laura, but dreams are dashed and Tom leaves, finally driven away by Amanda’s overbearing desperation. Amanda is often portrayed as a monster and almost a caricature, but here —in an absolutely breathtaking performance by Cherry Jones — she is a real woman forced to find her way in a world she was never intended to inhabit, fighting not just for her own survival but that of her family as well. The weapons at her disposal — charm, vivacity, and
flirtation — are useless in the world she finds herself in. Having nothing else to turn to makes her tragedy more poignant. Yes, Amanda is suffocating to both Tom and Laura, but it’s not maliciousness but blindness that makes her so. Even as she tries to protect her children, she can’t help but injure them. Jones has such command of the role, giving the character such richness, that Amanda becomes sympathetic and multi-dimensional. When the Gentleman Caller arrives and Laura is afraid to answer the door, Amanda says, “I must give you courage… for life.” It is a moment that resonates on many levels, illuminating the character in a way not seen before. It is one of many moments in Jones’ performance that left me with a lump in my throat, aching for Amanda — not a typical response to this character. When coupled with the mesmerizing performance of Zachary Quinto as Tom, the effect is a portrait of a family bound —
nay, strangled — by love. Quinto is fully present in each moment, but never lets us forget he is also outside this story as the narrator and that this is all his memory. He wrestles with the conflict between love of his mother and his yearning to find his own adventure. Quinto has a remarkable facility with Williams’ language and a simplicity and clarity that serve the role in ways I’ve not seen before. Remarkably, Celia Keenan-Bolger as Laura is as powerful as Jones and Quinto. We never know why Laura is as she is, but she is surely the anchor and glue of the family. Both Tom and Amanda love her passionately, but while Amanda wants to find someone to replace herself as Laura’s protector, Tom wants her to find the spine to at least go to the movies. Keenan-Bolger plays Laura as acutely aware of her situation and dying to let go. She almost does with the Gentleman Caller, “an emissary from the world we were somehow set apart from,” as Tom says. But it is not to be, and our hearts, Laura’s heart, and her glass unicorn are broken in an instant. The depth of this production is almost overwhelming. Bob Crowley’s set design surrounds the world with a pool of black liquid that serves as a metaphor for memory. Quotidian moments of setting the table and eating are carried out with beautiful, stylized movements that remind us that we are not living in reality but in Tom’s mind. For all of us, there are things we can never forget. Happily, this production is one of those. Christopher Byr ne web extra at gaycitynews.com: “The Bronx Boxers” at The Duke on 42nd Street.
A Plague on This House, Too At CSC’s “Romeo and Juliet” only the grown-ups shine BY ANDY HUMM
am fortune’s fool. I had looked forward to two stagings of “Romeo and Juliet” this season — one on Broadway with Orlando Bloom and another at one of my favorite companies, Classic Stage. A plague on both their houses. Shakespeare’s play, with its implausible plot of mid-teens who marry within a day of meeting, a magic potion that lets Juliet only seem to die, and a double suicide the next day,
ROMEO AND JULIET Classic Stage Company 136 E. 13th St. Through Nov. 10 Tue.-Thu. at 7 p.m. Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Sat.-Sun. at 3 p.m. $60-$125; limited $20 tickets on Fri. ClassicStage.org or 212-352-3101
can be hard to pull off in our time. But it has flourished in incarnations as varied as the Bernstein-Sondheim riff “West Side Story” and the sexy
Zefferelli movie in 1968 to Joe Calarco’s revelatory “Shakespeare’s R&J” version of prep school boys reading the forbidden text to each other and the smart and fun movie “Shakespeare in Love.” It can have special resonance for gay audiences with its themes of love denied. At Classic Stage, director Tea Alagic — haunted by the bloodshed in her native Bosnia — tries to bring out the intensity of the violence that does indeed permeate the play, but succeeds in making a mess of it on a spare
playing area that looks like a basketball court. Ill-cast or maybe just misdirected are the star-crossed lovers. Elizabeth Olsen, an accomplished indie film actress with a deep voice that sounds like she could bloom into Kathleen Turner if she’s lucky, never conveys the innocence that Juliet must if we are to believe her as she forsakes all for her boy. Julian Cihi is a buff Romeo, but that’s not enough to distract from his failure to embody
ROMEO & JULIET, continued on p.21
| October 16, 2013
ROMEO & JULIET, from p.20
the necessary hormonal wonder at having fallen in love with so beautiful a girl. They often came across as petulant and annoying rather than as the sweet young lovers we have to root for if the play is to work. The rest of the young feuding Montagues and Capulets do a lot of snarling and yelling, burying the beauty of Daphne Ruben-Vega and Elizabeth Olsen in CSC's "Romeo and Juliet." poetry that is there even in their violent Shakespeare that goes back decades, confrontations. There’s a touch of Baz Luhr man’s Miami- stepped in for William Hurt as Friar set movie version from 1996 with Lawrence and we can be glad he did, Leonardo DiCaprio, with several of lending dignity and illumination to the characters slipping into Spanish the mad proceedings and beautifully from time to time — but here with speaking the verse with such an no particular rhyme or reason. T.R. intensity that he looked completely Knight as Mercutio seems too old wrung out at the curtain. It is a for the role and, like most of those dif ficult r ole as he uses his holy playing the younger characters, he is orders to aid and abet the teen lovers and then tries to undo some of the no match for the poetry. T h e s a v i n g g r a c e s o f t h i s damage through what amounts p r o d u c t i o n a r e t h e g r o w n - u p s . to witchcraft. The mark that he is Daphne Rubin-Vega is absolutely slapped with at the end after owning brilliant as the Nurse, mixing humor, u p t o h i s p a r t i n t h e t r a g e d y i s f e r o c i t y , a n d w i s d o m i n e q u a l shocking but just. Alagic says she wants to direct all measure. She dominates every scene she is in and you wish she were in of Shakespeare’s plays. While she was blessed with some good players more. David Garrison as Capulet regally among her veterans here, she will nails Juliet’s imperious, will-not- need a better eye for young talent if be-contradicted father, and Kathryn she is going to make future stabs at Meisle is affecting as Lady Capulet- the canon work and a better ear for all that great poetry that in this foray as-aging-trophy wife. D a n i e l D a v i s , w i t h a d e p t h i n she left on the battlefield.
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JOPLIN, from p.17
by Justin T ownsend, is a rather unappealing mishmash of styles, featuring a backdrop of flashing video screens (showing the obligatory images of faded family photos and psychedelic color blobs) and all manner of light fixtures (fluorescent rods, giant Edisontype bulbs, and a couple dozen table lamps with funky shades). It’s a visual assault that’s all the more jarring in contrast to the elegantly restored Beaux Arts architecture of the Lyceum. Over the course of two hours and 15 minutes, the self-professed misfit beatnik shares anecdotes about learning to love music from her mother, creating paintings, her identification with Zelda Fitzgerald, a desire to leave her Port Arthur, Texas home to attempt a singing career in San Francisco, and her addiction to adulation — all inflected with the can-you-dig-it lingo of the day. “A Night with Janis Joplin” is hardly a full-fledged bio-musical, considering so many key facts were left out (how could they not mention Woodstock?).
Even if she refers to the desire to get stoned and get laid and takes a swig from a bottle now and again, the show feels sanitized for Broadway audiences. It carefully dances around her untimely death, never daring to mention “heroin” or “smack.” Clearly her doting family’s fingerprints are all over this production. Still, Joplin’s trademark guttural wails telegraph the story of pain and joy as effectively as any heavily plotted musical. Perhaps her feelings can best be distilled in a stanza from one of the final ballads, “Stay With Me:” When I gave you, I gave so very much How come I got back so very much less. After Blackwell delivers the famous, fluttering Gershwin “Porgy and Bess” aria “Summertime,” Davies belts out her raw rendition, in all its screechy, pock-marked splendor. Despite a muddled production, it emerges as pure musical magic.
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October 16, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
The Love and Sex Gore Vidal Dared Not Speak Tim Teeman shoves aside the curtain on an iconic American writer’s complicated affections BY DOUG IRELAND
he difference between Italian boys and American boys,” the great Gore Vidal remarked to Sean Strub over cocktails at La Rondinaia — Vidal’s villa in Ravello on the Amalfi Coast — “is the Italian boys have dirty feet and clean assholes, while American boys have clean feet and dirty assholes.”
IN BED WITH GORE VIDAL: HUSTLERS, HOLLYWOOD, AND THE PRIVATE WORLD OF AN AMERICAN MASTER
Vidal spoke as a connoisseur, because well into his 60s his life was a revolving door of well-set-up, masculine young men — 20-somethings and at times late teens — with whom he satisfied himself, rather rapidly, every afternoon like clockwork, reserving his evenings for conversation. They were chosen for beauty rather than brains — Vidal only rarely bedded boys of any intellect. And he paid most of them — he preferred it that way, because paying for sex meant he was always in control, and these tariffed couplings, three-ways, and orgies were typically oneoffs that, even if occasionally repeated with the same youths, led to no messy emotional entanglements. Life, Vidal once said, “was as promiscuous as I could make it.” A young gay British journalist, Tim Teeman – a 14-year veteran of the Times of London, most recently as its US correspondent in New York — has assiduously tracked Vidal’s sexual and affectional history in a juicy new page-turner of a book, “In Bed With Gore Vidal: Hustlers, Hollywood, and the Private World of an American Master.” But Teeman’s meticulously sourced account — based on extensive interviews with Vidal’s friends, relatives, servants, pimps, confidants, editors, and tricks — is much more than just a collection of salacious details, although these are present in abundance. He’s also produced a penetrating analysis of how all this impacted Vidal’s literary output and his worldview, in particular his attitudes toward sex. And Teeman answers the question that has puzzled so many: why did this prolific writer, who became a gay icon, refuse the label “gay” and insist that he was “bi-sexual”? Teeman also lifts the veil on the character of Vidal’s relationship with Howard Austen, the Bronx Jew whom he met at the Everard Baths in 1950 and who shared his life for more than half a century. For anyone who admires Vidal intensely, as I do, this book is a must-read. Vidal’s bisexuality was a myth, part of his carefully constructed image as a “normal” man. When his friend Barbara Howar (a one-time mistress of President L yndon Johnson, although Teeman doesn’t mention it) kidded Vidal saying, “I’m going to tur n you,” he replied, “If Joanne Woodward couldn’t do it, no one could.” But Vidal undoubtedly bedded Woodward’s
By Tim Teeman Magnus Books 283 pages; $19.99
husband, Paul Newman, when they and Vidal shared a Hollywood house together. Vidal was always a bit of a starfucker. As a young screenwriter he successfully pursued Fred Astaire. Some of the most scintillating sexual details about Vidal come from his former trick and pimp Scotty Bowers, author of “Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars,” to whose veracity Vidal himself attested, and who was 90 when Teeman interviewed him. Bowers reveals how he’d fixed Vidal up (at Gore’s request) with Tyrone Power; Vidal returned the favor by allowing Bowers to set them both up in a threesome with Charles Laughton. Vidal fucked Jack Kerouac, Rudolph Nureyev, Rock Hudson, and Brad Davis (star of “Midnight Express”), and had a three-way with Noel Coward and his partner Graham Payn. Vidal always claimed that his relationship with Howard Austen worked because there was “no sex,” that they were “just friends.” But Teeman quotes their correspondence, and says, “The letters are from one boyfriend to another, not two friends.” And Vidal’s servants in Italy testified they often slept together. Not until after Austen died of cancer in 2003 was Vidal able to acknowledge the importance of Howard in his life, in a “searing chapter” of “Point to Point Navigation,” a 2006 volume of memoirs. Vidal never really recovered from his partner’s death, and would spend hours tearfully listening to CDs of Austen singing songs like “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered.” But Vidal always claimed he had only had one
love in his life — Jimmie Trimble, a fellow student he’d met at Washington’s St. Alban’s School in 1937, and who was killed in World War II when a grenade exploded in his face. Vidal’s iconic gay novel “The City and the Pillar” is dedicated to Trimble. But Teeman shows how Vidal mythologized this relationship, in which the sex amounted to little more than the Princeton rub. And Vidal also had an important love affair with Harold Lang, the danceractor who starred on Broadway in “Kiss Me Kate” and “Pal Joey,” and whose voluptuous, talented ass was legendary. (Leonard Bernstein raved about it as he lay dying.) And, of course, there was Howard Austen. Vidal once wrote, “I’m exactly as I appear. There is no warm, lovable person inside. Beneath my cold exterior, once you break the ice, you find cold water.” But Gore’s longtime editor, Jason Epstein probably got it right when he said this “was down to his complicated relationship with his mother. She was a monster and not something you get over but have to pretend it didn’t matter. There was great pain there.” Vidal claimed she was a homophobe, and she was quite alcoholic. According to Epstein, “Vidal was very fragile. His whole manner was a defense not to be wounded, to strike first and walk away with a victory — the tough guy, the ‘I slept with a thousand people before I was twenty-five but don’t care about any of them.’” Epstein also elaborates on Vidal’s relationship to alcohol as Teeman reports: “For Epstein, Vidal’s epic drinking later in life was another aspect of his defense: ‘Wanting to dull feelings in that way suggests an inner turbulence you can’t handle. I’m sure the inner Gore was tortured. Having a crazy mother does you damage, but at some point you have to cut off your feelings to deal with it.’” After Vidal’s mother snubbed Austen, of whom he was very protective, Gore never spoke to her again. I recall an evening when Epstein invited me to join him for dinner with Vidal and Austen. Much of it is a blur — those were in my drinking days, and Gore and I were both knocking them back with abandon — and the only thing I can remember Austen saying in his somewhat whiny, nasal voice, was, “Oh, Gore, don’t drink so much!” But I could sense Vidal’s pain. Teeman paints a gut-wrenchingly sad picture of Vidal’s final years as he, now crippled, decayed into alcoholism, dementia, and paranoia. He thought that raccoons had invaded his bedroom, and made his major domo pretend to chase them away with a broom. As film director and Vanity Fair writer Matt Tyr nauer, one of Vidal’s closest friends, put it, “Howar d’s death ended the main chapter of Gore’s existence pretty much. Gore was in perpetual mour ning after Howar d died.” His drinking, he said, “became epic. He drank after he finished work…he didn’t stop until he collapsed… and grieved very openly. He talked about how sweet Howar d was, how much he missed him. He wor e a ring of Howar d’s. He talked about how wonderful and talented he was. He’d listen to recordings of him singing on CD, which he’d listen to again and again.”
VIDAL, continued on p.23
| October 16, 2013
Gays Find a Home at ComicCon Industry pros take a look at the LGBT presence in comics BY MICHAEL SHIREY
VIDAL, from p.22
After Austen died, Vidal told Scotty Bowers, “I was really in love with Howard.” “He’d cry,” Bowers recalled, and say, “I didn’t realize how much I loved Howard until now that he’s gone.” The man who said Jimmie Trimble was the only love of his life “sat there with tears in his eyes for ten to fifteen minutes” thinking about Howard. Austen was, Teeman writes, Vidal’s “gatekeeper, organizer, caregiver, moderator, partner, love.” At the end, Vidal became convinced his family was conspiring against him, including his devoted nephew, Burr Steers, his principal caregiver, to whom he’d promised his Hollywood house on Outpost Drive, where he’d moved when his health necessitated his departure from La Rondinaia in Ravello. Vidal’s final months were
GAY CITY NEWS
his past weekend, thousands of fans swarmed the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center to attend New York City’s ComicCon. The annual convention showcases the latest in comic culture and includes celebrity appearances, panel discussions, and every piece of merchandise imaginable. Among the panels was LGBT and Allies in Comics, hosted by Geeks Out and the Times Out. New York Times editor Jude Biersdorfer moderated a panel that included Dan Parent, Marjorie Liu, Rich Bernatovech, Greg Pak, and Daniel Ketchum. Liu and Bernatovech, both Marvel writers, talked about the character
Daniel Ketchum, Greg Pak, Richard Bernatovech, Marjorie Liu, and Dan Parent at New York ComicCon.
terrible — he was incontinent, in constant pain, his lungs filled up with fluid and had to be constantly drained, and he had congestive heart failure. When he died at the age of 86, he left all his fortune — estimated at some $37 million — to Harvard, cutting his family and retainers entirely out of his will. It was a horrifying end to a great talent. “In Bed With Gore Vidal” does not pretend to be a full-scale biography — that was done with skill by Fred Kaplan in 2000. Nor does Teeman evaluate Vidal’s literary output. But his book will hereafter be necessary for a full understanding of Vidal’s sexuality, which is such an important shaper of his work and life, as it is for that of any artist. Teeman’s research and reporting are first-rate. (Full disclosure: I was interviewed by him for this book and am quoted accurately.)
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victimization that was too long a key element in LGBT stories. Liu, known for work on Marvel’s “Astonishing X-Men,” strives to twist common storytelling clichés. In 2012, she wrote the first gay wedding story, between superhero Northstar and his boyfriend. Bar natovech is the writer for the “Neverminds” and “Sentinels,” two series with prominent LGBT characters. He credits his distinctive characters to the diversity of his fans and supporters. Pak, a former Marvel writer who notably penned several “Hulk” storylines and developed the alternate universe series “X-Treme X-Men,” takes a more natural approach to writing quality LGBT characters. One of his
COMICCON, continued on p.29
cogent exploration of a larger -thanlife man of the arts and politics who, if he hadn’t been queer, might well have been what he always wanted to be — president of the United States.
October 16, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
IN THE NOH
Claire du Cinema Laura & Santino, a Gallic Holmes, fall film fare
BY DAVID NOH
rench director Claire Denis has a new film, “Bastards,” which screened at the New York Film Festival, and I jumped at the chance to interview this provocative, ever-surprising auteur, whose previous work includes the highly lauded “I Can’t Sleep,” “White Material,” and “Friday Night.” “Bastards” is a dark-toned policier, featuring Vincent Lindon and Chiara Mastroianni, about a murkily powerful business magnate with a kinky sexual predilection who ruthlessly destroys families. When I told her I never knew what to expect whenever a new film of hers comes out, the soft-spoken yet intense director, clad in classic dyke plaid shirt chic, said, “I don’t know if my movies are so different from one another. But, always, as I am finishing a film there is some new project in the air, and Vincent Lindon wanted to be in my next one. I don’t see my films as different from one another as I think there is always a continuation in my work, and it had been 10 years since I worked with Vincent in ‘Friday Night.’ I can see why he reminds you of Jean Gabin and also Yves Montand because he is a real man, also in life. If you feel weak, you know you can lean on him and that is important because masculinity in cinema is not only a question of youth and beauty. Masculinity is in the face and the body, and now Vincent is 50. But he was just like this when he was 30. “It’s not a question of being gay or heterosexual, either. It’s a question of a person considering himself, ‘Okay, I’m a man so what kind of man am I going to be?’ It’s the same with women, I guess, but with women it is more difficult to make a clear choice. They are
Claire Denis with David Noh at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
more locked into their own image, with less freedom, perhaps, although the strongest person in my film is the young girl, who is victimized and walks down the street naked. Hers is the strongest body in the film. “To film that difficult scene, we waited down the street from her and she was in a little tent, warm. I brought her near the camera and uncovered her and was walking next to her so she was not completely exposed. And it was a street
in Paris I chose at night because there are only offices there — no one lives there — so nobody could watch us.” Denis’ films have often thankfully featured frank, human sexuality and nudity, in stark contrast to the sophomoric attitude toward sex that has traditionally pervaded Hollywood films. “You know, there are taboos about sex all over the world,” she said. “But because the business of cinema in places like Hollywood is so big, that implies that sexuality has to be treated in a childish way. In countries where the industry of cinema is small, it’s no big deal.” I remarked on how her film also called up the recent case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn with its powerful man sexually abusing women: “Of course, there is something of that. It was in the air while I worked on this. I didn’t think of him, exactly, but power and sex go well together. “[In the frank sex scene between Lindon and Mastroianni], my actors trusted me. It was very real and, yes, rough. And filming that was a problem for them, and for me, because I’m shy. And they are shy, but if we do it then we
try to do it not in a very realistic way but with a lot of spirit. Chiara is fantastic, and as she gets older she resembles less and less her mother [Catherine Denueve] and more her father [Marcello Mastroianni] . She’s so beautiful and such a great actress too, no? “She is always different, much more so than her mother, because she is not so iconic like her. Chiara is very secret, very secretive. Her mother came to Cannes for our screening and I was sitting near her and could see that she was kind of shocked to see her daughter acting like this. That was intense.” I thanked Denis for her very real and honest depictions of gay men, from “I Can’t Sleep” (1994) to her indelible, excruciatingly homoerotic tribute to gay love in the French Foreign Legion in “Beau Travail” (1999): “Thank you, and yes, I know, as you say, that ‘Beau Travail’ has become iconic in the gay community. But this was probably existing before me. Legionnaires were always sexually iconic for women and men. They know this and are very aware of it, because they tried to forbid me to make the film because they are very afraid of that image. I even know a gay nightclub where men like to dress as Legionnaires. I told them, ‘You don’t have to be afraid. I will mention a sort of love between these men that is also spiritual. It won’t be funny or ridiculous like in that nightclub. It’s going to be real.’ “There were 15 men on that set and we had very little time, only four weeks of shooting. I was so afraid of the French army always trying to stop us. I was very nervous, so [even with all those naked men] my libido was not completely free.” Denis’ narrative sense, always elliptical and multi-layered, which can be confusing, drives some people, in need of an ABCD straight-through storyline, crazy. “I don’t know why people get crazy about that. ABCD is good when you learn the alphabet or watch a clock, but if you listen to music, read books, or daydream… There is always an intrusion of dreams in me. I’ll be walking in the street and suddenly I’m somewhere else, and I’m not the only one. I think this is part of life and people who complain that they need an ABCD story are liars. They are afraid of something else, their own emotions, and are not very honest. “Cinema is definitely emotional, and it’s not cinema if you take that for granted. Is it art? I don’t know,
IN THE NOH, continued on p.30
| October 16, 2013
It Was Over When the Double D-Cup Lady Sang BY ELI JACOBSON
fter the final per for mance of “Anna Nicole” on September 28 and a last-minute Kickstarter campaign failed to raise necessary funds, New York City Opera declared bankruptcy, canceled the remainder of its season, and closed its doors after 70 years. The demise of the company started long before George Steel arrived — the ultimately fatal wound was the board’s decision to raid the endowment in 2008. The main reason “Anna Nicole” got off the ground at all was the fact that it was co-produced by BAM, a solvent and well-run arts presenting organization, as part of its 2013 Next Wave Festival. British composer Mark-Anthony Turnage’s “Anna Nicole” premiered at Britain’s Royal Opera House in 2011. Europeans have a guilty fascination with the vulgar, tawdry, sensational aspects of American popular culture. Whereas we get “Downton Abbey” and RSC tours stateside, the Brits just love our action movies and bubblegum pop. Anna Nicole Smith was not only a trash culture icon but also a tragic figure — a gold-digger who found heartbreak in wealth and media fame and died young. Her immortalization as an operatic heroine has distinguished precedents. The notorious courtesan Marie Duplessis died in 1847, became the heroine of a Dumas fils novel and play, and reached artistic apotheosis six years later in Verdi’s 1853 opera “La Traviata”. There is a weird dissonance between -Peter Travers, ROLLING STONE the anarchic, witty, profane, and satiric libretto of Richard Thomas and the solidly tonal, soberly reflective, conservative score by Turnage. The composer’s style is reminiscent of the mid-20th century tonalism of Douglas Moore, Jack Beeson, and Carlisle Floyd — who all composed signature works for City Opera. Rock and country music make fleeting appearances but this is more “Willie Stark” or “Baby Doe” than “Lulu.” Thomas’ libretto follows Anna Nicole from small-town waitress to stripper — and with the addition of huge silicone knockers — to finally winning the heart and hand of nonagenarian Texas oil billionaire J. Howard Marshall II. Oddly, Anna Nicole’s ascension to international fame via Playboy and Guess Jeans is not dramatized but only indirectly referred to in passing by the chorus. Marshall, Larry King, and
Howard K. Stern appear onstage but Hugh Hefner and Paul Marciano do not — certain powerful corporate interests may well be shielded from potentially unflattering dramatic portrayals. Act I shows Anna Nicole’s rise and ends with her wedding to the decrepit Marshall. Act II is the decline and fall — the tone darkens and the humor turns painful. The now obese and drug and alcohol-addicted media superstar is stalked everywhere by ever-multiplying cameras impersonated by the chorus. Anna Nicole loses the one person who gave meaning to her life — her son Daniel. After giving birth to a daughter (whose father Larry Birkhead is one of those faceless cameras but is not referred to at all), Anna Nicole sings a narcotized final liebestod next to the ghost of her son and is zipped up in a body bag while the stage becomes covered with debris. The fun starts before the curtain rises — the show curtain is a hot pink satin parody of the Royal Opera’s red velvet curtain but with Anna Nicole’s initials replacing QE II’s. Richard Jones’ inventive production has elements of “Saturday Night Live” and Comedy Central spoofs — the colors are cartoonishly bright and drab ugliness lurks behind shiny nouveau riche exteriors. A terrific cast mixes opera performers in the main roles with Broadway fixtures like Mary Testa, Ben Davis, and James Barbour in bit parts. Newcomer Sarah Joy Miller as Anna Nicole has a lighter Musetta-type voice than the role’s creator, EvaMaria Westbroek, but is visually more convincing as a Playboy model. Miller tore into the role with uninhibited abandon and emotional truth. Mezzo Susan Bickley as Smith’s mother Virgie conveyed an embittered but deeply concerned truth teller. Rod Gilfry was a glib, ambiguous Stern and Robert Brubaker’s ringing metallic tenor embodied Marshall’s irrepressible zest for life. Steven Sloane led a fine freelance orchestra and chorus with precision and verve. Turnage’s music might not compare with Verdi or even Floyd or Beeson at their best but “Anna Nicole” is a fun and trenchant piece of music theater. BAM’s audience mixed the young and hip with the older well-heeled operagoer. Everyone laughed at the jokes and profanity, was moved at the end, and enjoyed the show from start to finish. This could play on Broadway. As the dying Anna Nicole sang her
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Body bags arrive for an engaging Anna Nicole and City Opera, too
Robert Brubaker (wheelchair) and Sarah Joy Miller (right) in Mark-Anthony Turnage’s “Anna Nicole,” City Opera’s swan song, at BAM.
last words, “Made some bad choices, then made some worse choices, then ran out of choices,” it was an epitaph not only for the misspent unexamined
life of Anna Nicole Smith but for New York City’s “people’s opera.” The body bag was zipped up, the last chord faded away, and a dream died.
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October 16, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Love Is Blue Abdellatif Kechiche’s bold bid to examine lesbian erotics for all audiences BY STEVE ERICKSON
BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche Sundance Selects In French with English subtitles Opens Oct. 25 IFC Center 323 Sixth Ave. at W. Third St. ifccenter.com
It opens in the US only five months later, but it’s already become an object of controversy on multiple fronts. Kechiche and his actors can no longer stand each other. Distributor Sundance Selects voluntarily submitted it to the MPAA ratings board and, to no one’s surprise, it received an NC-17 rating. Even if it were rated PG, the commercial potential of a three-hour subtitled film in the US is limited, although “Blue Is the Warmest Color” has a trailer featuring quotes from both Steven Spielberg, who headed
fter seeing the misanthropic Austrian film “Paradise: Love” earlier this year, critic Farran Smith Nehme took to Twitter to lament the end of the era when European filmmakers were known for liking sex. French director Abdellatif Kechiche’s “Blue Is the Warmest Color” brings it back. Already infamous for its 10-minute lesbian sex scene, it seems intended to turn the spectator on. The film has drawn fire from feminists, particularly New York Times critic Manohla Dargis and Julie Maroh, author of the graphic novel on which it’s based, while winning the top prize at Cannes in May.
Adele Exarchopoulos (r.) and Léa Seydoux in Abdellatif Kechiche's “Blue is the Warmest Color.”
the Cannes jury that awarded it, and venerable lesbian film critic B. Ruby Rich. When “Blue Is the Warmest Color” begins, Adele (Adele Exarchopoulos) is 15. She’s dating high school boys, but one night she goes to a gay men’s bar and then drops by a lesbian bar. After a brief sighting of a blue-haired woman in the street, she’s driven to fantasize about her; at the bar, she meets the woman, Emma (Léa Seydoux), and befriends her. She discovers that Emma is a painter. Adele is studying literature and plans to become a teacher. The two quickly bond and become lovers. This year has seen several examples of male directors staging faux-lesbian fantasies — Brian De Palma’s admittedly entertaining “Passion” and Steven Soderbergh’s outright homophobic “Side Effects.” “Blue Is The Warmest Color” goes much further sexually than either film. Another difference is that Kechiche seems to want to cater to the desires
of both lesbians and straight men. He takes breakups and family dinners as seriously as sex. Nevertheless, “Blue Is the Warmest Color” is deeply voyeuristic. Kechiche isn’t content to merely show Adele masturbating; he must dramatize her fantasy of sex with Emma. He somehow manages to shoot a heterosexual sex scene without showing the penis. The 10-minute lesbian sex scene plays like a stunt designed to get people talking about the film, especially since it’s rather clumsily directed and edited. But perhaps I would feel differently if I were turned on by it. “ B l u e I s t h e Wa r m e s t C o l o r ” proceeds mostly as a series of extended conversations. The time frame is never exactly clear, but it seems to take Adele from her teens to her mid 20s. If Kechiche doesn’t have David Cronenberg or Catherine Breillat’s gift for using sex scenes to tell a story or establish
character, he’s pretty good at talking about class in fairly subtle ways, such as contrasting the oyster dinner at Emma’s house with the humble pasta dishes seemingly served every day by Adele’s parents. “Blue Is the Warmest Color” falls into a long tradition of French coming-of-age tales, whose high-water mark for films about teenage girls is probably Maurice Pialat’s “A Nos Amours.” Yet no one has blown up this kind of film to an epic scale before. To be honest, Kechiche’s style feels like a slightly watered-down version of French naturalism. All the same, he puts his own stamp on the genre by focusing it on a lesbian. André Téchiné’s “Wild Reeds” and Chantal Akerman’s “Portrait of a Young Girl at the End of the Sixties in Brussels” are the only prominent French-language coming-of-age films to devote much time to queer characters, and both are far more modest works. Kechiche may be playing out his fantasies about lesbians, using Maroh’s graphic novel as a springboard. However, 165 minutes or so of “Blue Is the Warmest Color” deals with matters other than sex. If the brigade of dirty old men in raincoats that haunted ‘70s porn theaters still exists, they’re likely to walk out around the halfway mark. I’m not inclined to dismiss Kechiche’s desire to speak to everyone or write it off as mere appropriation. Cultural segregation strikes me as worse, and I suspect he found parallels between Maroh’s experience as a lesbian and his own experience as an Arab in France. That said, we’ll really have achieved equality when a lesbian can make an equally explicit film about the love life of a heterosexual man and win prizes for it.
What Are You Going to Do Next? Randy Moore’s Disney dystopia has its comic irony, but struggles to deliver more BY STEVE ERICKSON
t’s hard to explain how a film as consistently entertaining as “Escape From Tomorrow” could wind up so unsatisfying in the end. One answer is that its prankish sensibility works best in short, sharp jabs — it accomplishes nothing in 90 minutes that the Fall’s 1984 song “Disney’s Dream Debased” couldn’t do in five. The tale of one man’s mental and physical breakdown at a Disney theme
ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW Directed by Randy Moore Producers Distribution Agency IFC Center 323 Sixth Ave. at W. Third St. ifccenter.com
park, the film created quite a bit of controversy at its Sundance premiere earlier this year. Given its potential for running afoul of trademark and copyright law — although the word “Disney” is only heard once, partially
edited out — many speculated it could never legally be released. However, the Disney team obviously realized they’d look like censors if they tried to bar its release, while giving the film lots of free publicity. It makes sense that its distributor, the Producers Distribution Agency, is best known for the pseudonymous street artist Banksy’s documentary “Exit Through the Gift Shop” — the two films share a punk irreverence, although Banksy’s is better thought-out. At the beginning of “Escape
From Tomorrow,” Jim (Roy Abramsohn) has just arrived with his wife, Emily (Elena Schuber), and their son, Elliot, and daughter, Sarah, for a vacation at Disney World and Epcot. Stepping onto his hotel balcony to take a phone call, he learns he’s just been fired. Keeping the news a secret from his family, he heads to the theme park with them. At first, he has a good time with them, but two teenage French girls catch his libidinous eye. His fun day at the park
ESCAPE, continued on p.30
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Song of Myself James McCourt’s memoir of his early years tells everything, faulty and frustrating as it is BY TIM TEEMAN
he world is in a state of terminal overshare. Memoirs crowd the book market: recoveries from addiction and abuse to transformations from rich to poor or vice versa, all obstacles traversed. The coming out tales of celebrities and sports stars feature closets inhabited and shaken off, pain endured, lessons learned, and inspiration duly offered. Just as reality shows have edged out fiction on our TV screens so it has also proved on the page, and our appetite for reading about the travails of others, famous and not, appears insatiable.
LASTING CITY: THE ANATOMY OF NOSTALGIA
However, if you have read James McCourt’s 2003 non-fiction “Queer Street: Rise and Fall of an American Culture, 1947-1985” — a heaving, cacophonous post-war gay history of New York — it won’t surprise you that there is very little typical in his sprawling memoir, “Lasting City: The Anatomy of Nostalgia.” Indeed, deliciously, there is nothing neat or didactically edifying about a single page of it. Unlike other memoirists, McCourt’s heart doesn’t bleed — it sings and shouts. There is — and this will delight McCourt’s fans and absolutely turn off those who found “Queer Street” an inedible curio — not a scintilla of conventionality about “Lasting City,” either in story or form. The book ranges this way and that, revealing the story of McCourt’s Irish-Catholic family — mixing fantasy and reality — and the blooming of his homosexuality on the teeming streets of New York and in its sexsodden bathrooms. The book is a vivid tapestry of the city, its voices, characters, and smarts, populated by McCourt’s family, peers, total strangers, and a selfcreated phantom called Moriarty. It is a confusing, frustrating puzzle that nevertheless — through detail and eccentricity — draws you into its splintered focus. It feels epic, but reveals — save for his mother’s stroke in the early 2000s — only McCourt’s early years and the story of his family history. McCourt’s mother, before she died, told him to “tell everything.” At the beginning of the book, he writes, “The rule is fast: life is short and art is long, but the transformation of a life into literature necessarily prolongs it.” This memoir, told in the third person, has an importance beyond the personal. We read about his ill mother in the hospital, then suddenly McCourt, who was born in 1941, is four years old and riding the train in from Jackson Heights, “his head just above the metal panel, just able to see out of the bottom of the window, the city skyline looming up, coming closer station by station — closer… closer…” The book too bobs up and down, the past collapsing into present or further-past, incidents and shards of memory piercing then receding — of Hollywood stars, family rows,
LIVERIGHT/ W.W. NORTON & COMPANY
By James McCourt Liveright/ W.W. Norton & Company $26.95; 336 pages
nights at the opera, and bitchy queens’ voices. There are scattered classical and literary allusions; one verse is explained away as “conflating Virgil and Psalm 29.” McCourt’s writing — his first book “Mawrdew Czgowchwz” was published in 1975 — has been compared to Ronald Firbank, his style a flourishing, extravagant salvo of bygone times, when self-conscious high-mindedness was to be celebrated and delighted in. In “Lasting City,” a couple of paragraphs may fold in references to comedy, tragedy, high camp, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Batman and Robin, “Enlightenment presumption,” Wittgenstein, Beethoven’s “Fidelio,” Berg’s “Lulu,” and Mae West. But the book isn’t willfully pretentious. It is showy, it loves hitching its many stylistic skirts, but McCourt’s memories are clear, their meanings intelligibly unpacked. A teenage McCourt writes a note to himself many of us could have: “Dear Life, I’m holding on. Love, Me.” The structure and interplay of voices and time zones will have you rifling the book’s pages, trying to place or re-place characters and situations. It’s a bit like being Alice guided and gulled in Wonderland by the Mad Hatter. Throughout, McCourt insists the memoir form itself is unreliable, that “Lasting City” is a writer’s construct like any book: “Whatever may be cast concerning the births, lives, and deaths of himself and of the others, they all live and breathe entirely between hard covers and anybody who wants to know more or otherwise is going to have to find out for himself (the women may rely on their intuition).” McCourt himself confesses, “One’s memory is faulty.” The book becomes a meditation on memoir and memory. Disavowing telling stories “front to back,” McCourt says, “The story is the
telling of the story, the lapping flow of yakkety-yak.” If McCourt’s voice isn’t speaking he evokes someone else’s, like a calming taxi driver or a café waitress who has mysteriously presided over a few important family meals in the past. Skeins of family narrative drop in and out of view: McCourt’s grandfather helped build Carnegie Hall, the Flatiron Building, and the original Madison Square Garden; his mother had a nascent career as an actress; she had two different identities; McCourt’s father had a breakdown four days after their marriage in 1929. McCourt recalls the gondoliers on Central Park’s Boating Lake and blissful boyhood summer days, at their end fireflies and “low and intermittent sounds and shadows.” The presence of McCourt’s older brother David, “my lifelong hero,” is loving and reassuring. He supplies McCourt with his first word: not “mama” or “papa” but Shazam (the italics are McCourt’s). A taxi ride near the park makes McCourt recall the playground of gay desire that the Ramble became, “by night the haunt of the sexually intrepid male homosexual horndog on the scent.” Next he lists the various scents you’d find there, from that distinctive cologne to amyl nitrate. He imagines being entrapped by police while masturbating at the spot. As in “Queer Street,” McCourt evokes a pre-gay liberation milieu with scabrous wit and mischievous eye, whether it’s the time he tried to pick up a straight actor; or as “a still-young slut taken to prowling the streets all night… gathering up the remnants of lives torn to tatters and stained with sour secretions of mind and soul, like some queer sexrag sheenie.” He receives a note from a stranger, who, having seen him one night, writes, “like the cat that sees best in the dark, I only had eyes for you… It’s in the lap of the gods whether or not we meet again on the rocky road to love on another day’s march closer home, but I wish you safe journey and a peaceful ending of the fever of life.” As a teenager sucking off men through glory holes in a restroom, McCourt receives another anonymous note: “Dear — You’re a good kid, you make a lot of people happy — are you wearing a bib?” The book ends, significantly, with a song. “Lasting City” reads like one — of many riffs and tempos, a sax solo here and there, dramatic arias too and rollicking choruses; a collision of voices, scenes, sensations, and memories. It will, like “Queer City,” starkly divide readers between those who want to hop on McCourt’s crazy charabanc and those who would rather a less chaotic read. But at least hear McCourt’s tune and revel in its discordance. “There was always music — there is still,” he writes in “Lasting City.” “All art aspires to the condition of it… One has never understood people who say they dislike music. They dislike music — yet the reason is quite simple after all: they find in it the source of too many unanticipated sensations.” The strange magic of McCourt’s writing elicits exactly the same, and all for the good. T im Teeman (timteeman.com) is a writer and journalist whose first book, “In Bed With Gore Vidal: Hustlers, Hollywood and the Private World of an American Master” comes out in November from Magnus Books.
| October 16, 2013
COMICCON, from p.23
“X-Treme X-Men” plots made headlines earlier this year for featuring a romantic kiss between fan favorites Wolverine and Hercules. Asked why he chose to “hook those two up,” Pak said the decision came naturally, comparing it to what he learned in improv theater, where the unlikely couples were the ones you got together in the end. “X-Men” has always been a safe haven for minorities, he said, the LGBT community being no exception. Ketchum, a longtime Marvel editor, compared the LGBT presence in comics to the community’s emergence in Hollywood. LGBT themes, he explained, originally were handled with delicate care and worked their way up the editorial food chain – sometimes going as high as the publisher. For Ketchum, the tur ning point came with the “Prodigy” storyline, where discussion of the titular character’s sexuality was seamless and natural. More recently, in “Young Avengers,” Ketchum has been looking to push the bar even higher. The series features a relationship between Wiccan, a mutant with magical powers, and Hulking, a Kree-Skrull hybrid modeled after the original Hulk. Ketchum hopes to introduce additional gay characters into current characters’ lives — moving past a “token gay character” mentality. Coming from outside the Marvel universe, Parent, creator of “Archie” comics’ gay Kevin Keller, talked about the success of his latest plot point — Kevin’s long anticipated first kiss. He also divulged future storylines in the “Archie” universe, including a world travel story. Parent noted that writers have decided to avoid the anti-gay crackdown in Russia, feeling that the material was too heavy for the “Archie” audience. When the panel was opened up to
questions, most focused on fan qualms about DC Comics, which has received a lot of negative attention this year — first, for hiring the homophobic Orson Scott Card to pen the upcoming Superman plot, and second, for refusing to publish a story arc involving Batwoman marrying her trans girlfriend. That latter flap caused the entire writing team for the story to leave DC. DC has defended itself on the Batwoman issue, arguing that its characters are superheroes plagued by internal conflicts and, thus, not supposed to live happily ever after. Liu argued that concept was simply lazy storytelling. Bernatovech agreed, saying DC’s new direction was alienating the company’s fan base. Pak, who is slated to be the writer for DC’s upcoming Batman/ Superman series, was more sympathetic, comparing comics to glorified soap operas — stories that sometimes lack happy endings. Other topics raised by the audience included Andrew Garfield’s comments earlier this year about exploring a bisexual Spiderman for the upcoming “Amazing Spiderman” movie as well as the panelists' dream LGBT pairings. One fan in the audience managed to stump panelists, asking about the lack of “asexual” representation in comics. “Jughead?,” Parent joked. “He’s kind of asexual.” The panel was in general agreement that it is a good time for LGBT characters in comics, but it could be better. Liu noted that creators and readers alike need to step out of the hetero-normative mindset of storytelling. Pak seconded that, saying that the industry should be creating tons of gay characters, with none required to portray the full range of queer experiences. Keep pushing the envelope was the message panelists had for audience members, who were reminded that their voice is heard through their dollars.
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Katelynn Rodriguez and Roy Abramsohn in Randy Moore’s “Escape from Tomorrow.”
ESCAPE, from p.26
soon turns into something more akin to a bad acid trip. He’s going insane, being experimented on by a mad scientist, and/ or physically ill. “Escape From Tomorrow” was shot
on black and white video, mostly at the park itself. Director Randy Moore did not go the easy route of making it look like a home movie. Somehow, the use of black and white makes the film’s integration of modest special effects — like the pupils of Elliot’s
IN THE NOH, from p.24
but when you are alone in a dark room, the image and sound can take you very far away. When I was a teenager, my first sexual lessons came from film. I need my dream and emotional references and when you make those not so important, it flattens a film. It’s like Muzak in elevators or department stores. That’s not music, but suddenly you listen to real music, and you’re like, ‘Oh!’ I got this last bootleg Bob Dylan album in Paris last month, buying it like an almost religious gesture. I listened to it, and suddenly I said, ‘Ohmigod!,’ and this was not because of my age but for its beauty and emotion.”
On September 23, 54 Below hosted a special benefit for the New York Pops
starring the charming “Cinderella” co-stars Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana. It was a bubbly, mel-
eyes turning completely black and the explosion of the Epcot dome — all the more believable. The film feels up to date, with Jim and Emily communicating via cell phone at the park, yet also faintly retro, like the Disney ethos itself. All the film’s female characters over 12 come across either as annoyances (Emily) or temptresses (the French girls and the woman with whom Jim has a brief, kinky fling). To some extent, this is justified because “Escape From Tomorrow” presents the world through a firstperson perspective, depicting life through Jim’s eyes. He’s a hor ny man suffering from a traumatic midlife crisis, so it’s natural that his perceptions reflect this. However, the film never suggests any alternative perspective. Emily’s nagging seems designed to justify Jim’s infidelity. “Escape From Tomorrow” assumes that Disney is a malign force in our culture and that its audience will agree. I don’t exactly dispute Moore’s perspective, but I’m not sure he’s coming at it from the right angle. I don’t think the Disney mythology is targeted at men in their 40s suffering from job loss and marital frustrations. Adults can certainly see
ody-filled, intimate evening, with the two sharing an easy chemistry as they reminisced about numerous onstage mishaps, ranging from giving each other near-concussions while madly embracing, to slipping crowns and, most direly, having to deal with the wrong shoe! The nostalgia extended even further back to childhood memories of Osnes wishing she had red hair to land the role of “Annie” and singing “You’ve Got Possibilities” to her teddy bear when she was 10, while Fontana recreated a youthful Artful Dodger audition, singing “That’s Entertainment” with a lisp. Under the direction of Steven Reineke, the Pops has a great season lined up at Carnegie Hall: “Sing, Sing, Swing” pays tribute to the big band era with Montego Glover (Nov. 1); Ashley Brown’s “Under the Mistletoe,” is its Christmas show (Dec. 19-20), and on March 21, “A Broadway Love Story” will feature that favorite White Way couple, Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley. (Complete information at newyorkpops.org.)
I totally enjoyed seeing Clint Holmes for the first time at the Café Carlyle with
his autobiographical show, “Stop This Train” (Oct. 2). Backed by a truly swellegant band with tasty arrangements, his Parisian section was especially winning, with songs like “Michelle,” “C’est Magnifique,” “La Mer,” and “C’est Si Bon” — many of them set to a sultry bossa nova beat — wafting me back to a more elanfilled time, when the City of Lights held a special magic for the cognoscenti of which Holmes was a vibrant, young member, before it was overrun with too many tourists and the inevitable McDo.
Fall in New York is always movie madness time, which got kick-started early by
NewFest, immediately followed by the New York Film
some irony in the notion of a Disney theme park as “the happiest place on Earth” and still go on to have a good time there. If Disney princesses have a negative effect on anyone, it's on young girls who grow up wanting to become them when they could instead dream of being scientists, teachers, or politicians. "Escape From Tomorrow" ignores this in favor of portraying an urban legend about rich Asian businessmen paying thousands of dollars to sleep with the women who portray princesses in the park. Compared to Jim, his kids mostly take Disneyworld and Epcot in stride. Rather than in-depth satire on Disney and its effects on American culture, “Escape From Tomorrow” of fers a series of potshots. Many of them land — the film is funny throughout, and Abramsohn’s sadsack performance keeps it engaging. Yet there’s something smug about it in the end, as Moore assumes the audience is safe from getting seduced by Disney. He’s talked about how the film originated in the feeling his childhood was warped by Disney. That perspective is missing from the final film, replaced by lots of gratuitous weirdness.
Festival. Highlights included two very sexual James Franco-generated projects: “Kink,” a doc about the popular B&D website, Kink.com, which focused a tad more on bound and gagged ladies than gents, and “Interior: Leather Bar,” the infamous re-enactment of supposed lost footage from William Friedkin’s notorious “Cruising” (1980). I applaud Franco’s stated desire (at his press conference) for realer, universal depictions of sex on screen, and found “Interior” especially strong, with its focus on the straight male lead (comely Val Lauren, playing Al Pacino) having to come to terms with gay male nudity as coupling is literally thrust in his face. As it happened, I found myself at odds with many other viewers, who either found it pointless or, worse, were just disappointed that Franco never showed his junk onscreen, and, worse, said so. (Can we raise the level a bit, guys?) Both Franco films — along with Travis Mathews’ “I Want Your Love” — are commendable for the way they push the envelope of sex in cinema. With the pervasive rise of Internet porn, the world is finally learning, and very quickly, too, about all forms of fucking. Formerly straight-identified men are now experimenting — at a jaw-droppingly rapid rate — with the kind of stuff they either stumble across or surreptitiously seek out on their iPads. Fraidy-cat American movies have to catch up with what is, at last, becoming a simple fact of life: sex. The big prize-winner at Cannes and gem of the New York Film Fest, “Blue is the Warmest Color” (see Steve Erickson’s review, page 26), may have been made by a heterosexual Tunisian man, Abdellatif Kechiche, but its portrait of a French lesbian relationship — replete with superintimate love scenes that have been excoriated as porno and inaccurate from a dyke viewpoint — felt emotionally authentic to me.
| October 16, 2013
14 DAYS, from p.15
PERFORMANCE Vaudeville Resurrected
“RuPaul's Drag Race” favorite Jinkx Monsoon announces a fifth extension of her New York theater debut in “The Vaudevillians,” in which Kitty Witless and Dr. Dan Von Dandy, lost in an Antarctic avalanche in the 1920s, thaw out thanks to global warming and reclaim the songs from their act long ago stolen — including the suffragette anthem, "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," and the ode to the electric iron, "Drop It Like it's Hot.” Laurie Beechman Theater, West Bank Café, 407 W. 42nd St. Oct. 22 & 29 & Nov. 1, 11:30 p.m.; Oct. 24 & Nov. 8, 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 28 & Nov. 3 & 11, 7 p.m. The cover charge is $25-$50 at SpinCycleNYC.com or 212-352-3101, and there is $15 food & drink minimum.
THEATER Marilyn, Marlene & Frida
Playwright Michelangelo Alasa’s takes on the lives, loves, and careers of three iconic women — Frida Kahlo, Marilyn Monroe, and Marlene Dietrich — in “Andy@62.” Duo Theatre, 62 E. Fourth St., btwn. Bowery & Second Ave. Tue., 8 p.m., Oct. 22-Dec. 17. Tickets are $20 at duotheater.org.
BENEFIT In Support of Vulnerable Youth
The Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBT youth, holds its fall fête, featuring musical guests Uzo Aduba and Adrienne Warren, DJ Anomaly Code, and a silent auction. Angel Orensanz Center, 172 Norfolk St., btwn. Houston & Stanton Sts. Oct. 23, 8-11 p.m. Tickets are $75 at thetrevorproject.org. Early admission at 7 for a champagne tasting with $125 admission.
PERFORMANCE Bibles & Garter Belts
The New York Times recognized Erin Markey for her "magnetic diva aggression” and tonight she brings her dark, absurdist humor to stories about her Midwestern family life and her salvation by Bible-Belt Christians, birthday presents, and Ypsilanti, Michigan strippers, told through pop covers and original music. Ben Rimalower (“Leslie Kritzer is Patti LuPone at Les Mouches”) directs, with musical direction by Tony-nominated Kenny Mellman (“The Julie Ruin,” “Kiki and Herb,” “Our Hit Parade”). Joe’s Pub, inside the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Pl. Oct. 23, 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 at joespub. com.
NIGHTLIFE Rollerena Returns
Tonight’s edition of P*rno Bingo features Queen of Studio 54 Rollerena, Witti Repartee, and boylesque sensation Suffra Gent in a conversation about New York in its heyday topped by a couple of
BENEFIT For Our Youth, Housing is a Right
The Ali Forney Center, which provides housing and social services for LGBT homeless youth across the city, holds its annual A Place at the Table benefit dinner, this year honoring Frank Selvaggi, an entertainment industry executive who has served on the boards of many leading community groups, including the Empire State Pride Agenda, the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, Athlete Ally, and the Treatment Action Group; Isis King, an artist and participant on “America’s Next Top Model” who benefited from housing in AFC’s transitional living program; and the Room and Board furniture design store. “Celebrity Chef” host Padma Lakshmi emcees the evening. Capitale, NYC, 130 Bowery, btwn. Grand & Broome Sts. Oct. 25, 6 p.m. Tickets begin at $500 at aliforneycenter.org.
PERFORMANCE Carrie, Like Never Before
In an adaptation for the Love Show Dancers, New York Innovative Theatre Awards nominees Rachel Klein and Angela Harriell joined forces to create “Carrie: Blood, Fire & Ballet,” a dance homage to the classic tale of terror. Passionate dance, aerial acrobatics, and stylized theatrics combine to create a dazzling spectacle. Experience teen rage as you've never experienced it before! La Luz, 135 Thames St., btwn. Varick & Porter Aves., Bushwick. Oct. 25, 26 & 30, 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 at carrieballet.eventbrite.com.
Diamond Lil & Mae West Live
“Diamond Lil, Queen of the Bowery” was a 1928 stage play written by Mae West and was called many things — including "critically acclaimed," "more sinful than Sodom," and "a drama of the underworld." The seedy underbelly of the old Sixth Ward is well represented in Darlene Violette and Dena Tyler’s adaptation, with a cast portraying prostitutes, procurers, sex traffickers, jewel thieves, gigolos, hornswogglers, and con men. Darlene stars as West. Don't Tell Mama, 343 W. 46th St. Oct. 27, 7:30 p.m.; Nov. 3, 17 & 24, 7 p.m.; Nov. 10, 8:30 p.m. The cover charge is $15 at donttellmamanyc.com, with a twodrink minimum. The Oct. 27 performance is presented in tandem with a Halloween party.
BOOKS The Case Against Assimilation
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, infamous radical queer troublemaker, reads from her memoir “The End of San Francisco,” what Slate’s June Thomas describes as a “denunciation of assimilation… [and] useful reminder that the gay community is far from
monolithic and that it is especially important to listen to the voices of resistance.” Three New York readings are planned: On Oct. 29, 6 p.m. at NYU, Kimmel Center for University Life, room 912, 60 Washington Sq. S; on Oct. 30, 7 p.m. at Bluestockings Bookstore, 172 Allen St., btwn. Stanton & Rivington Sts.; and on Nov. 4, 7 p.m. at Brooklyn Community Pride Center, 4 Metrotech Center, Willoughby & Gold Sts.
PERFORMANCE Let’s Do the Time Warp Again
Forty years after it first appeared on stage, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” gets a revival for two Halloween night performances only in Michael T and Benjamin Ickies’ dinner show adaptation that previously sold out Le Poisson Rouge. What better night to really dress up for the show! Duane Park, 308 Bowery at E. First St. Witching hour seating begins at 7:30 p.m. for a three-course dinner show at $60, plus tax, tip, and beverage. The midnight show is $10, plus a twodrink minimum. Tickets at duaneparknyc.com.
HALLOWEEN The Best Costume Ball of ‘Em All
Nonstop theater, a costume competition, and ballroom dancing bewitch the East Village in Theater for the New City's 37th annual Village Halloween Costume Ball, a unique festival that serves as a grand coming-together for everyday New Yorkers and artists alike. The one-night fiesta takes over all four of TNC's theater spaces, plus its lobby and the block of East 10th St. btwn. First & Second Aves. More than 1,500 wildly-clad celebrants gather for dancing, dining, showing off costumes, and viewing acts from the cutting-edge of cabaret and theater. The annual costume judging begins at midnight with the "Monsters and Miracles Costume Parade," as all revelers are invited to march past a panel of celebrity judges. 155 First Ave. at 10th St. Oct. 31. Outdoor entertainment, which is free, begins at 3 p.m. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and entertainment begins at 8. Tickets are $20 at theaterforthenewcity.net, but be warned: costume or formal wear is required.
songs and dances. The evening benefits Iris House, a center for women living with HIV. Uncle Charlie’s, 139 E. 45th St. Oct. 23, 9-11 p.m.
October 16, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com