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de Blasio’s Progressive Sweep 10 Brits on Stage 25, 27 Jersey Ex-Gay Ban Upheld 04 Christopher Rice’s NOLA Magic 26

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November 13, 2013 |


City News

9.875x11.4 4C

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10/30/13 9:54 AM


| November 13, 2013



Cover Illustration by Michael Shirey



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Coalition lays out post-Quinn proposals


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The unfortunate road to religious exemptions






November 13, 2013 |


Challenge to Jersey Conversion Therapy Ban Nixed Federal court upholds law barring professionals from subjecting minors to “ex-gay” treatments BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD



federal district court judge has rejected a constitutional challenge to a recently enacted New Jersey statute that bars licensed counselors there from providing “sexual orientation change efforts” (SOCE) –– popularly known as “gay conversion therapy” –– to minors. In a November 8 ruling, Judge Freda L. Wolfson granted the state’s motion for summary judgment in a case brought by a number of SOCE practitioners. In line with the conclusions of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which considered a similar challenge to a virtually identical California statute, Wolfson found that the law, enacted this past summer, neither regulates constitutionally protected speech nor improperly restricts the free exercise of religion. Since the practitioners’ suit was filed, a separate challenge was undertaken by a New Jersey minor and his parents making a similar argument and was also assigned to Wolfson, but no motions have been filed yet in that case. The New Jersey Legislature’s findings, based on testimony and official statements from professional counseling organizations, included the conclusion that SOCE cannot deliver on what it promises — instead finding that sexual orientation is a human characteristic not amenable to change through counseling — and that its practice may in fact cause psychological harm. SOCE was not banned for use with adults, but the Legislature concluded such treatment posed dangers for minors, who are not necessarily in the position to give informed consent and may be pressured into submitting to it by their parents or other authority figures. Judge Wolfson noted the statute applies only to licensed professional counselors, not unlicensed practitioners, such as clergy. And, like the federal courts that weighed the California ban, she pointed out that the New Jersey law does not prohibit licensed counselors from speaking about SOCE, recommending it, or referring clients to unlicensed per sons or out-of-state counselors. Given these factors, Wolfson concluded the law does not intend to inhibit speech, but rather was a regulation of clinical practice, which is conduct. She relied on precedents r ecognizing the state’s authority

A federal court has upheld a New Jersey law barring licensed professionals from practicing “gay conversion therapy" on minors.

to regulate the conduct of licensed professionals providing healthcare services, even when those services are delivered by talking to and with the client. (Earlier, more draconian types of SOCE used non-speech therapies to attempt to “change” their clients’ sexual orientation –– including some techniques that today would be considered physical or psychological torture.)

“tur n to the Ninth Circuit’s decision where appropriate”; her opinion ended up quoting from it extensively. Wolfson found that if the plaintiffs’ free speech argument were “taken to its logical end, it would mean that any regulation of professional counseling necessarily implicates fundamental First Amendment free speech rights, and therefore would need to withstand heightened scrutiny to be permissible. Such a result runs counter to the longstanding principle that a state generally may enact laws rationally regulating professionals, including those providing medicine and mental health services.” Since free speech rights were not at issue, the New Jersey law would be upheld if the Legislature could rationally have believed it would serve a legitimate state interest. The weight of professional literature and testimony was sufficient grounds for legislators to believe the law would advance a legitimate interest in protecting minors, she found. “The State has determined that the

Senators Brad Hoylman and Michael Gianaris, Assemblywoman Deborah Glick press a similar law in NYS Though federal district courts in New Jersey are not bound by precedents established by the West Coast Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Wolfson wrote that, absent any precedent in the Third Circuit under whose jurisdiction she serves, she would

potential harm to minors from SOCE, however slight, is sufficient to outweigh any potential benefits,” Wolfson wrote. “In that connection, I note that Plaintiffs themselves acknowledge that there is a dearth of non-anecdotal evidence to support the success rate, and benefits of SOCE.” The judge also rejected the plaint if fs ’ argume nt t hat t he law was vague or overbroad, dismissing the argument that its enactment left the plaintiffs in a quandary about what was prohibited and what was permitted. The Legislature, she noted, was careful to distinguish between counseling intended to “change” sexual orientation and counseling “including sexual orientation-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices” which “does not seek to change sexual orientation.” An alter native argument made by the plaintiffs –– that the statute infringes on the right to free exercise of religion by counselors or their clients –– also failed to make headway with Wolfson, who pointed out that clergy are not restricted from pursuing SOCE, so long as they are not acting as licensed professional counselors. Although the statute provides exemptions for counselors providing gender transition therapy and assistance to youth trying to adjust to their sexual orientation, Wolfson did not buy the plaintiffs’ claim that it “will disproportionately affect those motivated by religious belief because [it] effectively engages in impermissible ‘religious gerrymandering’ by providing individualized exemptions from the general prohibitions.” The Legislature did not act out of any religious motivation, she found. “From its plain language,” Wolfson wrote, “the law does not seek to target or burden religious practices or beliefs. Rather, [the law] bars all licensed mental health providers from engaging in SOCE with minors, regardless of whether that provider or the minor seeking SOCE is motivated by religion or motivated by any other purpose.” Based on Supreme Court precedent, because the law is religiously neutral on its face, “Even if [it]] disproportionately affects those motivated by religious belief, this fact does not raise any Free Exercise concerns,” the judge concluded. Liberty Counsel, the anti-gay litigation group representing the SOCE practitioners, has indicated its intention to appeal Wolfson’s ruling to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.


| November 13, 2013

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olice department documents filed in a federal lawsuit suggest that racial profiling in addition to the targeting of older gay and bisexual men may have played a role in a series of prostitution arrests that undercover cops made in Manhattan porn shops in 2008. Of the 41 men police are known to have arrested for prostitution in six porn shops, 18 were Latino and 14 were African-American. Seven were white and two were Asian. Altogether, 78 percent of the men arrested were either Latino or African-American. One of the men, Robert Pinter, sued the city and the police department in 2009 charging he had been falsely arrested for prostitution. Pinter’s lawyers filed police documents in the case that give the most comprehensive accounting to date of how many men were arrested. The documents did not identify the men, but they did give their arrest dates, age, race, and criminal histories. Previously, Gay City News had more limited information about just 29 men. The arrests were made by the same group of undercover officers in the Manhattan South Vice Enforcement Squad. According to Pinter and other men who were arrested, they were approached by a younger man, who turned out to be an undercover cop, who aggressively flirted with them. After they agreed to consensual sex, the younger man said he would pay for the sex. The men were then arrested. All of the men Gay City News spoke with said they never agreed to take money. In court filings, the NYPD has conceded that the offer of money first came from the undercover officers. The NYPD’s legal’s unit, the city’s Law Department, or the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement cited the prostitution arrests in nuisance abatement lawsuits that were brought against the porn shops in an effort to shut them down. Pinter’s conviction, after he was advised to plead guilty to lesser charges, was later vacated and his case dismissed, and the Manhattan district attorney also dropped prosecutions of some other gay defendants. The police actions were widely seen as false arrests by the LGBT community and many elected officials.

In earlier reporting, an obvious pattern identified was that police were targeting older men. That pattern was most apparent in Blue Door Video on First Avenue in the East Village. Nine of the 14 men busted in Blue Door were over 40. Of the 14 men arrested in Blue Door, four were Latino, three were African-American, six were white, and one was Asian. Men arrested in the other five shops ranged in age from their late teens to early 40s. Among the 27 men arrested in those shops, 14 were Latino, 11 were African-American, one was white, and one was Asian. In those five por n shops, 93 percent of the men arrested were African-American or Latino.

In those five porn shops, 93 percent of the men arrested were African-American or Latino.

The NYPD records suggest that police were not arresting prostitutes. Of the 14 men arrested in Blue Door, only one had a prior arrest and that was for grand larceny. Among the 41 men arrested in all six shops, 15 had prior arrests with a few with extensive criminal records, but just two out of the 41 had prior arrests for prostitution. The same vice cops who made the porn shop busts also made at least another 16 prostitution arrests of men and a few women in two Manhattan spas. Those spas were also sued in nuisance abatement lawsuits. Racial profiling by police is a significant issue in New York City, with it being most pronounced in data on stop and frisk, the police practice of conducting street stops and searches of New Yorkers. Over 80 percent of those stopped and frisked are African-American and Latino. The NYPD press office did not respond to an email seeking comment.

| November 13, 2013



ABA President Withdraws From NYC Russian Investment Forum American Bar Association’s James Silkenat underscored his opposition to anti-LGBT laws he president of the American Bar Association, who was set to be the keynote speaker at a daylong New York conference on November 18 about investing in Russia, has withdrawn from the event. After pressure and entreaties from gay leaders, an ABA spokesperson said that James Silkenat will not be speaking at the forum. The spokesperson issued the following statement from Silkenat late on November 7: “I remain committed to engaging with those in Russia who are working to put an end to human rights abuses in their country, and I will look for effective ways to oppose Russia’s policies and practices that oppress the LGBT community.” Silkenat’s pullout comes during a week of increasingly dire reports of the persecution of gay people in Russia and a general crackdown on dissent, especially in Sochi, the site of the Winter Olympics in February. The November 18 forum is planned by a group called Russian Center of New York that held a similar forum at the Princeton Club on October 28 that was picketed by Queer Nation, whose members inside the event asked why anyone would want to invest in Russia given new laws that forbid public expression of being gay or even open discussion about homosexuality. One forum participant responded to the Queer Nation members by shouting, “Gays will be the death of Russia!” The anti-gay attendee was allowed to stay, the gay questioners removed. The City of New York also recently asked that it not be listed online as one of the three co-sponsors of the November 18 forum, but a letter of welcome to the attendees from Mayor Michael Bloomberg — listed as a “testimonial” ––remained on the Russia Forum website ( as of November 12. Bloomberg’s of fice has ignored repeated requests for comment on what role the city is prepared to play in combating the anti-gay crisis in Russia. Gay activist Bert Leatherman, who successfully lobbied the mayor’s counsel, Michael Best, to get Bloomberg to pull the city’s endorsement, also pressed Silkenat and started a change. org petition to get him to pull out of the forum. Leatherman is also calling on Goodwin Procter New York, the law firm hosting the forum, to pull out.




ABA president James Silkenat.

It was never clear why Silkenat was asked to deliver the keynote, though his international business is a big part of his work. In an email message to Goodwin, he wrote, “Your promotion of investment in Russia seems analogous to advocating investment in Germany in the 1930s or South Africa in the 1980s.” Queer Nation plans a protest outside the November 18 forum at 9 a.m. at the New York Times building, where Goodwin’s offices are located. Responding to Silkenat’s decision to withdraw, Queer Nation’s Ken Kidd wrote in an email, “LGBT activists have once again successfully shamed the Russian government and its representatives in front of the people with whom it had hoped to do business. In the future, we expect our allies to speak out against Russia’s anti-gay legislation directly to Vladimir Putin’s representatives rather than merely declining to be associated with them publicly.” Leather man, who is studying in Brazil, explained he was inspired to get involved by online video of Queer Nation’s confrontation with the Russia Forum at the Princeton Club. In an email, he wrote that he was “gratified” that Silkenat is “taking a principled stand” now, but chastised Goodwin for

“collaborating with Russia Day 2013” at the New York Stock Exchange, calling the firm’s actions “hurtful to me as a young gay law school grad, but the pain I feel is nothing compared to the physical and psychological violence LGBT teens in Russia feel when they are abducted and tortured by neofascist gangs operating with impunity thanks to a wink and a nod from President Putin.” It was never clear why Silkenat was asked to deliver the keynote, though his international business is a big part of his work as a corporate lawyer at Sullivan & Worcester. But the forum’s listing of him in his capacity as president of the ABA made him a target of protest. State Senator Brad Hoylman, an out gay West Side Democrat, spoke with Silkenat on November 5 and said at that time that the ABA president was going ahead with his keynote. “He believes he can make more of a difference speaking out at the conference in opposition to the anti-LGBT statutes,” Hoylman said. “I told him I strongly disagreed and that it was morally and strategically wrong to do so and that

he should not do so as president of the ABA, which has a sterling record of support for LGBT causes in recent years.” The ABA authored an amicus brief in support of Edie Windsor’s successful challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act at the Supreme Court. “I told him that if he withdrew in his capacity as president of ABA it would send message to the Russian Federation that there are big repercussions in the international investment community as a result of the anti-LGBT laws,” Hoylman said. “It is as it was dur ing the apartheid years. Companies that professed constructive engagement made a healthy profit when they should have joined international boycotts. History has proven that Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were wrong” in their opposition to divestment from apartheid South Africa. On October 24, Hoylman and other gay elected officials, including Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and Councilmen Jimmy Van Bramer and Daniel Dromm, wrote a letter to New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli calling for divestment from Russia by the state employees’ pension funds –– a call made earlier by out gay Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell. While DiNapoli has urged Olympic sponsors to speak out against the Russian anti-gay laws, he claimed he cannot initiate divestment from Russian holdings given his fiduciary obligations to maximize pension fund earnings. As late as the afternoon of November 7, Silkenat told Gay City he would use his address as a “chance to show support for the gay and lesbian community in Russia” and that he wanted to take advantage of “any chance to talk about the rule of law issues that are an impediment in Russia.” But an hour later, he made the decision to pull out. In other recent developments in the Russian crisis, an LGBT social center in St. Petersburg was invaded on November 3 by anti-gay thugs with baseball bats and a pneumatic gun with which they opened fire. Activist Dmitry Chizhevsky was shot in the eye, and doctors say he will lose it. From his hospital room, Chizhevsky pledged to fight on. Police originally came to the scene and said there was no crime, but Chizhevsky’s hospitalization has legally compelled them to open an investigation. In Sochi, Norway’s TV2, which is the official network of the Winter Games


RUSSIA, continued on p.17


November 13, 2013 |


Can We Keep Up The Pace? BY PAUL SCHINDLER


ith the Hawaii State Senate giving final approval to a marriage equality bill on November 12, gay and lesbian couples in a total of 16 states plus the District of Columbia have now won the right to marry. Those states account for 37 percent of the nation’s population. Advocates working to expand the map –– to include the remaining 34 states and 63 percent of the population –– are buoyed by the progress, but caution that the current pace of gains that saw victory in seven states this year alone will not continue in the short term. Much of the hard work remains and will require considerable effort, resources, and patience. When same-sex weddings began in Massachusetts in May 2004, just over two percent of the nation’s population lived in marriage equality jurisdictions. Until 2007, a 1913 law –– a relic of an era when Massachusetts chose to honor statutes elsewhere barring interracial marriage –– kept same-sex couples from states without the right to marry from getting a license in the Bay State. After New York, in July 2011, became the sixth state to allow same-sex couples to marry, only 11 percent of the nation’s population lived in marriage equality jurisdictions, a figure that grew to just 16 percent after successful referendum battles in Maine, Maryland, and Washington State in last November’s election. The rush to the altar accelerated dramatically this year. By the end of May, gay marriage had been approved legislatively in Rhode Island, Delaware, and Minnesota, and in June the US Supreme Court let stand a lower court ruling that threw out California’s Proposition 8, a voter initiative that halted same-sex weddings there in 2008, just months after that state’s highest court authorized them. Then, in the first of a rapid series of victories over the past month, New Jersey’s Republican governor, Chris Christie, threw in the towel on blocking gay marriage. He did so when it became clear the State Supreme Court would, in January, uphold a lower court decision finding that –– in the wake of the collapse of the Defense of Marriage Act’s ban on federal recognition –– the state’s civil union law failed to provide same-sex couples with the same rights and benefits as married couples.













Last week, the State House of Representatives in Illinois approved a bill the Senate had passed in February and the Hawaii House adopted an amended version of a measure approved earlier by that state’s Senate. Democratic Governor Neil Abercrombie is expected to sign the Hawaii measure quickly now that the Senate has approved the House amendments, allowing marriages to begin on December 2. In Illinois, Democratic Governor Pat Quinn will sign the gay marriage law on November 20, though weddings there will have to await a July 1, 2014 effective date, unless the Legislature acts in January to move that date up. Just as the percentage of Americans living in gay marriage jurisdictions has grown dramatically, so too has support for granting gay and lesbian couples full equality. When the first couples married in Massachusetts, only about a third of Americans were in favor of marriage equality, according to a statistical analysis Nate Silver published in March on his fivethirtyeight blog at the New York Times. He estimated that figure rose to 51 percent by the spring of 2013. By

then, the Human Rights Campaign was pointing to an ABC/ Washington Post poll that put support at 58 percent –– and as the year has gone on, other polls have been closer to that level than Silver’s figure. According to a Pew Research Center poll in May, 70 percent of Americans born after 1980 favor the right of same-sex couples to marry. Momentum is clearly on the side of marriage equality. But 34 states do not grant gay couples the right to marry, and the opportunities available in many of the existing marriage equality states –– legal, legislative, and political –– are not currently options in the bulk of the remaining ones. “We’re in the midst of amazing progress but the road’s going to get a little tougher now,” said James Esseks, director of the LGBT and AIDS Project at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Marc Solomon, national campaign director at Freedom to Marry, made much the same point, saying, “We have reached a gap where we’re out of the phase of winning one state every few weeks.” The current hurdles in the way of fur-

ther progress are largely the result of states having rushed over the past two decades to bar marriage by same-sex couples. After conservatives in Congress, alarmed by preliminary progress marriage equality was making in Hawaii in the mid-1990s, succeeded in getting the federal Defense of Marriage Act enacted, many states followed suit –– not only by statute but also through constitutional amendments, many of which barred both gay marriage and other types of same-sex relationship recognition as well. Of the 34 states without gay mar riage, only Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, Wyoming, and New Mexico are without such constitutional prohibitions. The current prospects for enacting gay marriage in any those states –– the route to victory in 12 existing marriage equality jurisdictions (11 states and the District of Columbia) –– are not favorable, according to Solomon, who hastened to add that Pennsylvania, which is immediately adjacent to the swath of 11 Eastern Seaboard jurisdictions where


EQUALITY, continued on p.9


| November 13, 2013

Marriage Equality Gains In Law & Public Opinion State & Year of Legalization

Population (in 000s)

2004 Massachusetts


2008 Connecticut


2009 Iowa Vermont New Hampshire Washington, DC

3,074 626 1,321 632

2011 New York 2012 Maine Maryland Washington 2013 Rhode Island Delaware Minnesota California New Jersey Illinois Hawaii

% of Americans Supporting Marriage Equality*







Find the Relationship oF a liFetime

19,570 1,329 5,885 6,897 1,050 917 5,379 37,254 8,865 12,875 1,392

Cumulative Total as % of US Population





Bespoke matchmaking

New York’s executive GaY MatchMakiNG FirM

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* Polling numbers based on Nate Silver's March 2013 analysis of data. HRC cites an ABC/ Washington Post poll in that month showing 58 % support. 4.85w X 5.6375h inches 2.indd 1


EQUALITY, from p.8

marriage is legal, remains a prime target in the intermediate term. State court action –– which was the path to success in Massachusetts, Connecticut, California (initially), and Iowa –– is another possibility in those five states, and a remarkable case unfolding in New Mexico could yield that result in the near future. There, the ACLU and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) filed suit on behalf of six samesex couples. The litigants succeeded in getting an emergency order allowing plaintiffs Jennifer and Angelique Neuman-Roper to marry before Jen’s terminal brain cancer took her life. Several days later, the judge in the case broadened that order to allow marriage licenses to be issued generally in the state’s two biggest counties. The State Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the suit on October 23, and at least some attorneys involved in the case expect a decision fairly soon. Tragically, Jennifer Neuman-Roper, who was able to marry Angelique, died on November 8. Outside of the five non-marriage states without constitutional prohibitions, the path ahead is more difficult and relies on approaches avoided in

the early years of the marriage equality movement –– popular referendums and federal court action. Prior to the 2012 general election, the LGBT community lost more than 30 ballot fights when gay marriage was at issue, winning only in 2006 when an Arizona proposal was so far-reaching that it would have been banned, for example, domestic partnerships for opposite-sex senior citizens who met late in life after the death of spouses with whom they had completed their estate planning. The defeats included the rollback of marriage in California in Prop 8 and the veto of a marriage equality statute enacted by the Legislature in Maine the following year. Many LGBT activists argued that civil rights should not be put up for a vote, and that was a key rationale Garden State Equality articulated in continuing to litigate the issue in state court and seek an override of Governor Christie’s 2012 veto, rather than accept his challenge to take the issue to the voters. Last November’s election changed the ballgame on referendums, however. On one day, voters approved marriage equality laws enacted legislatively earlier in the year in Maryland and Washington State, affirmatively approved gay mar-


EQUALITY, continued on p.32

30/09/2013 4:35:40 PM


November 13, 2013 |


Claiming Progressive Mandate, de Blasio Romps to Victory Brooklyn Democrat wins largest non-incumbent vote share in memory BY DUNCAN OSBORNE




Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, a Brooklyn Democrat, arrives at the Park Slope Armory to claim victory on November 5.

The mayor-elect with his two children, Dante and Chiara.


tanding before a cheering crowd, Democrat Bill de Blasio sounded the themes of progressive values that won him the earlier Democratic primary and that clearly appealed to a wide swath of New York City voters in the general election. “The people of this city have chosen a progressive path and tonight we go forward on it as one city,” de Blasio told a crowd of roughly 1,000 supporters who gathered in the Park Slope Armory on November 5. Joe Lhota, the Republican contender in the race, conceded defeat 45 minutes after the polls closed at 9:00 p.m. When the unofficial vote tabulation was nearly complete, de Blasio was shown to have captured just over 73 percent of the vote. Exit poll data from Edison Research Services posted on the New York Times website showed de Blasio beat Lhota by large margins in nearly every demographic in the city. Lhota won white men by just two points and took Republicans and conservatives. De Blasio had a 21-percent edge among white women, however, and 83 percent of voters who identified themselves as lesbian, gay, or bisexual voted for the Democrat. And the mayor-elect captured an unprecedented 96 percent of the African-American vote. Dan Levitan, a de Blasio spokesman, said the campaign fielded thousands of volunteers at 40 get-out-the-vote sites and contacted 500,000 supporters via phone or in person in the three days prior to the election. “We were contacting people we had identified as supporters or for various reasons we thought were our supporters,” Levitan said before de Blasio spoke. After eight years with Rudy Giuliani in City Hall followed by 12 years of Michael Bloomberg, the election suggests that New Yorkers have tired of the Republican mindset they represented. Lhota also lost because his campaign was barely discernible, with some pundits speculating his real intent was to mount a more serious campaign for mayor in four years. De Blasio will have to confront expected budget deficits in the billions and must negotiate new contracts with every city union, which could cost as much as $7 billion. “He’s left with no money in the coffer and very high expectations,” said Deborah Glick, an out lesbian who represents the West Village in the State Assembly. Bloomberg and Giuliani claimed the mantle of fiscal responsibility. Giuliani cut taxes, doubled the city’s borrowing, and grew the size of the city’s workforce

Brooklyn City Councilman Jumaane Williams and Manhattan State Assemblywoman Deborah Glick on Election Night.

to its highest level ever. His fiscal management was so poor that Bloomberg criticized it. Bloomberg balanced the last four city budgets in part by not negotiating new contracts with the city unions. Voters may still expect fiscal discipline, even with gimmicks that Bloomberg and Giuliani used. “I think tonight will usher in a new progressive era and there’s a huge responsibility that comes with that to get it right,” said Corey Johnson, who was newly elected to represent Chelsea and the West Village in the City Council. Johnson, who is openly gay, won a contentious Democratic primary against attorney Yetta Kurland, an out lesbian. While a lack of cash may constrain what City Hall can achieve, Johnson said that a Mayor de Blasio and the City Council could implement policies, such as mandatory inclusionary zoning, that do not require money, but have been sought by progressives. De Blasio may also be spared political fights with the City Council or other citywide elected officials. Roughly 40 percent of the 51 City Council members will be new and they are seen as generally more left-leaning than the current Council. Democrat Letitia James, currently a Brooklyn city councilwoman, took the public advocate’s office, and Scott Stringer, also a Democrat and the current Manhattan borough president, won the city comptroller’s office. Both have sounded progressive themes in their campaigns for those citywide offices. In politics, however, some of the roughest fights can be among friends. Still the mood at the de Blasio celebration was exuberant. Carlos Menchaca, a newly elected and openly gay city councilman from Brooklyn, went dancing through the crowd trailed by a group of young people. Joining in the dancing was Antonio Reynoso, also a newly elected Brooklyn councilman. Menchaca and Johnson will join Ritchie Torres, newly elected from the Bronx, and incumbents Rosie Mendez of Manhattan and Daniel Dromm and Jimmy Van Bramer of Queens in the largest caucus of openly lesbian and gay members in the Council’s history. De Blasio’s 19-minute victory speech had a bit of theater in it when he delivered a portion in Spanish and later added just a touch of Italian. A good measure of the speech was aimed at moderating the expectations of New Yorkers. “Our work, all of our work, is really just beginning and we have no illusions about the work that lies ahead,” de Blasio said. “The road ahead will be difficult, but it will be traveled.”


| November 13, 2013


Coalition Lays Out Proposals for Post-Quinn Reforms


On eve of election, Council members, candidates signal a striking step toward power-sharing in 2014

Councilman Brad Lander and Corey Johnson, days before his election to the seat now held by Speaker Christine Quinn.



coalition of City Council members and Democratic Council nominees headed for victory took to the steps of City Hall on October 30 to begin making their case for sweeping reforms to the Council’s rules. Two months before they take office — and a week before they were even officially elected — gay Democratic nominees like Corey Johnson of Chelsea, Brooklyn’s Carlos Menchaca, and Ritchie Torres of the Bronx joined their future colleagues, led by Brooklyn Councilman Brad Lander, to present a proposal that would “take the politics out of member Items” by allocating discretionary funding for Council districts on a “fair and objective basis.” The reforms laid out also aim to ensure fairer consideration of legislation proposed from members outside the leadership; to give committee chairs greater control over hearings and staffing; to dedicate a greater share of Council resources to providing public services; and to establish a formal procedure by which members of the Council can file a grievance with the Rules Committee if they believe the rules are not being followed. “This is a great City Council getting better,” said Lander. “While the Council has held the Bloomberg administration accountable and been a strong voice for everyday New Yorkers, we can do more. By strengthening members’ offices and making our processes more transparent, the City Council

will make itself more accessible and responsive to our constituents.” Lander added that a total of 30 members and candidates who later won their races on November 5 had already signed on to the proposal. The City Council has 51 members. Councilman Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn, who has also surfaced as one of the leaders of the reform push, went out of his way to say that the plan is meant to change rules and practices and is “not connected to any one speaker.” But the specific goals of the proposal, especially regarding the allocation of discretionary funding, are clear reactions to the kind of quid pro quo atmosphere that many say existed under the eight-year tenure of Speaker Christine Quinn. During her unsuccessful run for mayor, her ironclad control of the Council was a persistent undercurrent in the public narrative, even if much of it was based on sources unwilling to speak on the record. Representatives of several good government advocacy groups also joined the Council members at the press conference to promote the plan. “The centralization of power within the speaker’s office has been an impediment to the exercise of good government and equitable allocation of resources for all New Yorkers,” said Susan Lerner, executive director of the New York branch of Common Cause. Williams stressed that the proposed reforms will “make the City Council more accessible and accountable to the people that put us in office in the first place.”


November 13, 2013 |


Senate Easily Approves Trans-Inclusive Jobs Protection Bill


Attention shifts to intransigent Republican House in 39-year effort to enact federal LGBT civil rights law

Transgender rights leader Mara Keisling says the road to House victory is uncertain, but that a successful grassroots effort can be mounted.



n a 64-32 vote on the afternoon of November 7, the United States Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which provides protections against bias in the workplace on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity. LGBT rights legislation has stalled in Congress since New York Representatives Ed Koch and Bella Abzug first proposed a comprehensive gay rights bill in 1974. Since the early ‘90s, advocates have pursued a more modest effort focused solely on employment protections. This measure has succeeded only once before –– in 2007, when the House, under Democratic leadership, passed a version of ENDA that provided no relief for transgender workers. That bill did not get a vote in the Senate, and no action was taken on ENDA in the 20092010 session of Congress, when Democrats controlled both houses and President Barack Obama was prepared to sign the legislation. Earlier in the week, Republican House Speaker John Boehner’s office released a statement saying, “The speaker believes this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs.” California’s Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader, responding by saying the sort of public pressure that last year forced the House’s GOP leadership to allow a vote on reauthorization of the Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA), which included specific protections for members of the LGBT community, might be a route to victory on ENDA, as well. With 96 members of the Senate voting, the measure attracted all 54 Democrats who were present and 10 Republicans. GOP co-sponsors Susan Collins of Maine and Mark Kirk of Illinois were joined by New Hampshire’s Kelly Ayotte, Arizona’s Jeff Flake and John McCain, Utah’s Orrin Hatch, Nevada’s Dean Heller, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, Ohio’s Rob Portman, and Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey. Among Democrats, Bob Casey, a Pennsylanian who supports ENDA, was not present for the vote.

“Today, a bipartisan majority in the Senate took another important step in this journey by passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would help end the injustice of our fellow Americans being denied a job or fired just because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender,” Obama said in a press statement immediately after the vote. “Today’s victory is a tribute to all those who fought for this progress ever since a similar bill was introduced after the Stonewall riots more than three decades ago.” The successful vote on ENDA followed shortly on the heels of the Senate’s rejection of an amendment by Toomey aimed at broadening the universe of employers that could claim a religious exemption from the legislation to potentially include for-profit businesses. In a statement on the amendment, Fred Sainz, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), said that it “undermines core American values, could cause harm and increase litigation.” Ian Thompson, a legislative representative of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Washington, told Gay City News that Toomey’s amendment “would create a dangerous license to discriminate. It is completely unacceptable.” Toomey was defeated by a 55-43 margin, with Collins, Kirk, and Murkowski providing the only Republican votes to hold the line on religious exemptions some LGBT advocates argued were already too broad. Democrats Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas sided with Toomey and the rest of the Republicans in the effort to weaken the bill. One day before the final ENDA action, the Senate, on a voice vote, accepted an amendment from Republicans Portman and Ayotte that would prevent the federal government or state and local governments receiving federal money from penalizing a non-profit organization exercising its religious exemption under ENDA by withholding the right to participate in or receive benefits under programs they administer. HRC and the ACLU both concluded this amendment was not necessary, but also agreed it posed no risk that state and local government LGBT rights protections would, in general terms, be pre-empted. In an HRC memorandum about the amendment obtained by Gay City News, the group wrote, “This amendment would prevent the Department of Housing and Urban Development, for example, from refusing to allow an organization that uses the ENDA religious exemption from participating in a grant program to provide housing for homeless individuals. However, it does not change the fact that, by regulation, HUD grantees cannot discriminate in those programs based on sexual orientation and gender identity.” One Senate source told the newspaper that the Republicans’ concern related to potential “retaliation” –– for example, a local zoning board denying approval to a facility operated by an organization claiming a religious exemption based on its use of that exemption. That organization, however, would still be liable for violating provisions of the local government’s LGBT rights ordinances. Though LGBT advocacy groups were united in supporting passage of ENDA in its current form, the ACLU was joined by Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the Transgender Law Center in a statement this past spring warning that the current religious exemption language provides religiously affiliated groups, including hospitals and universities, with

considerably more leeway to discriminate than is customary in civil rights legislation. In most LGBT nondiscrimination legislation enacted across the country, religious organizations directly related to faith and worship activities are free to apply a religious test for employment. Organizations such as hospitals, however, which act as public accommodations serving the population at large, typically cannot claim a religious exemption except for faith-related activities. Tico Almeida, currently the head of Freedom to Work who, in his former role as co-counsel on the House Education and Labor Committee, authored the religious exemption language, has defended it, arguing it was a “cut and paste” from Title VII provisions of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. At a forum on ENDA in New York in September, however, he conceded that Catholic Charities, a large nationwide non-profit that is a major social service provider and employer in many cities, would be exempt from ENDA’s provisions. ACLU’s Thompson said his group and others concerned about the breadth of the exemption would likely not press this issue unless the House fails to approve the bill before next year’s election and advocates review their options again in January 2015. In his view, ENDA is likely to still be an open issue at that time.

29 states have no gay rights laws; 33, including New York, lack transgender protections. In a fundraising appeal after the Senate vote aimed at pushing for House action, Mara Keisling, the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, wrote, “Today’s vote marks the first time a chamber of Congress has voted on a gender identity-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act… But this bill isn’t law yet. A path to victory in the House isn’t all that clear, but we believe with enough resources on hand, we can mobilize an even larger grassroots effort that can deliver a vote on ENDA in the House.” In a statement from HRC, its president, Chad Griffin, said, “Today, a strong bipartisan majority of the United States Senate made history by standing up for a fundamental American truth… We firmly believe that if the House of Representative were freed by Speaker John Boehner to vote its conscience, this bill could pass immediately. It’s unconscionable that any one person would stand in the way of this crucial piece of the civil rights puzzle.” New York’s senior senator, Democrat Chuck Schumer, who played a key role earlier in the week in negotiating agreement with several Republicans needed to reach the 60 votes to proceed to a floor debate on the bill, issued a statement saying, “Today, the arc of history –– that Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about –– bent again towards justice. It was a long time coming, but Democrats and Republicans of good faith came together, did the right thing, and voted to end discrimination in the workplace. Now it is time for the House to act.”


| November 13, 2013

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November 13, 2013 |


The Unfortunate Road to Religious Exemptions





Christopher Byrne (Theater), Susie Day (Perspective), Doug Ireland (International), Brian McCormick (Dance)

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Seth J. Bookey, Anthony M.Brown, Kelly Jean Cogswell, Andres Duque, Michael Ehrhardt, Steve Erickson, Andy Humm, Eli Jacobson, David Kennerley, Gary M. Kramer, Arthur S. Leonard, Michael T. Luongo, Lawrence D. Mass, Winnie McCroy, Eileen McDermott, Mick Meenan, Tim Miller, Gregory Montreuil, Christopher Murray, David Noh, Nathan Riley, David Shengold, Yoav Sivan, Gus Solomons Jr., Tim Teeman, Kathleen Warnock, B enjamin Weinthal, Dean P. Wrzeszcz







When the Senate last week, in a 62-34 bipartisan vote, appr oved the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), the achievement was noteworthy primarily for one reason –– it was the first time either house of Congress had approved such a measure with protections for transgender Americans included. The House passed the bill in 2007, but incorporated only provisions regarding sexual orientation, not gender identity as well. The Senate action likely does not foretell ultimate victory on this measure, which would remedy the failure of 29 states to provide any gay rights protections and 33, including New York, to offer relief to the transgender community. That’s because even before the bill got its final vote on the Senate floor, Republican House Speaker John Boehner put out the word that it would lead to “frivolous litigation” that would kill “small business jobs.” Ten GOP senators saw through that reflexive type of response, but Boehner, as usual, is playing to the far right in his House caucus. If the House Republicans are unwill-

Recalling My Mother’s Return from a Party

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fied only by showing a close and reasonable nexus between the discrimination and the religious tenet being protected. As gay rights protections grew up, the concept of religious exemptions began to be stretched further in that same direction –– based on the widespread belief, even among liberal friends of the LGBT community, that religious objections to homosexuality typically have more validity than any religiously-based objection to a person’s race or gender. Like women, a gay man’s status is seen per se as incompatible with service as a priest –– or as a clergy member in many faiths. As a general principle, however, it was easier under many laws to demonstrate a defensible nexus between barring gay and lesbian employment and protecting an exempted religious activity or function. Gay people, in that way, could be excluded not only from the role of clergy but also from many other activities within a religious organization. Where our community has generally been successful in drawing the line has been on the question of public accommodations. While a church or parish house can limit employment, a Catholic hospital, university, or social service agency that provides its services more generally to the public at large can


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ing to stanch their losses among Latino voters by taking on immigration reform, it’s probably not surprising they can’t see how increasingly out of step with the American public they are on LGBT rights as well. The unlikelihood of ENDA’s enactment in the current Congress should be seized on by the LGBT community to right a wrong in the bill passed by the Senate –– its craven sur render to the religious right on the question of religious exemptions. The 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bans discrimination in areas like housing and public accommodation as well as employment, made use of the concept of religious exemptions to allow religious organizations to base decisions such as their hiring on religion. A Catholic parish could show a preference for hiring Catholics; a mosque could staff itself with Islamic adherents. What such institutions could generally not do is base employment decisions on other proscribed categories. A synagogue was not free use to racial tests in hiring, for example. At the same time, the Catholic Church, of course, is free to limit its choice of priests by gender. Using a religious exemption to practice discrimination otherwise outlawed could be justi-

typically not discriminate under most state and local LGBT rights laws. That same protection is not afforded by ENDA. Defenders of the religious exemption language in the bill adopted by the Senate argue they have simply “cut and pasted” the language from the 1964 Civil Rights Act. What that means, however, is that a religious organization’s ability to differentiate employees based on their religion is now extended to their sexual orientation and gender identity as well. Tico Almeida is the leader of Freedom to Work, a leading LGBT rights group, but he was also the author of the exemption language, which he now defends, when he worked as a US House committee counsel. He has acknowledged that it would allow Catholic Charities, a major social service employer in many big cities, to hire and fire based on sexual identity or gender identity. That, as several critics have noted, amounts to “a license to discriminate,” one that cripples ENDA but will also weaken ongoing efforts to extend anti-bias protections to areas beyond employment and at the state and local gover nment level. It’s unfortunate that leading LGBT legal advocacy groups, who recognize the danger here, have elected to hold their fire, hoping to amend the bill after a new Congress takes office in 2015. Having won Senate approval based on concessions we never should have made, it could be a politically daunting task to try to take them back in 18 months.



vivid memory from 1948, when I was eight years old, keeps coming back to me at bedtime when I am about to doze off. My mother is bending

over me as I lie in bed looking up at her. We are living in Japan, in Tokyo, and she is about to go off to a party w i t h m y f a t h e r. A g e i s h a party that will last long into the night. As she leans near my face, I smell her scent of Chanel No. 5 mixed with the faint perfume of a gin mar -

tini coming from her mouth, bright with red lip rouge. She kisses me on the cheek and glossy hairs from her mink coat brush my forehead. A string of cool, milky pearls dips from her neck, touching my throat. Nearly 40 years old, she is at the height of her beau-

ty and middle age seems far away. No gray hairs have yet to appear in her crown of dark locks, worn in a 1920s bob-cut. Born in 1908, she r emains for her whole life a flapper, a creature of the Jazz Age. She and my father will be going out to one of those marathon Japanese parties wher e everybody is for ced to perform. With her velvety voice, my mother always sings to great acclaim and


OGLESBY, continued on p.15


| November 13, 2013


Our Veterans –– Daring to Serve BY KELLY JEAN COGSWELL


t’s the crack of dawn on Ve t e r a n ’ s D a y , a n d D e n n y Meyer is probably pinning on his medals and getting ready to come to Manhattan for the parade. He’s a short dumpling of a guy with a mustache and a bad back. Words burst out of his mouth when he talks. It seems a stretch to imagine he’s gay. Though he is, serving as a queer activist longer than a military guy. And no discharge in sight. When I interviewed him last week, I got the idea he was lonely, despite all the work he does for groups like American Veterans for Equal Rights. It’s not surprising though, an aging gay vet in a community that’s uncomfortable with anybody who’d join a military that for decades shot us in the back, tossed us overboard, or beat us to death with baseball bats. Which was really just an extension of a mission to kill the enemy. Which was how we were defined until two years ago when Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was dumped. Even straight folks aren’t particularly comfortable with vets. In these years of a volunteer military, we’re all less likely to know even hets in uniform, and we assume joining up is either for gun nuts or the poor and working class desperate for college money. Education is why my cousins


OGLESBY, from p.14

is especially popular with Japanese who have never met a gaijin (foreign) woman. Her standard numbers are Hoagey Carmichael’s “Stardust” and “China Night” (“Shi-i-nano-yoru”), which she renders in Japanese. She sings these songs often in our house as she works, practicing for those nights out. My sister and I are being left in the care of a maid, an invisible creature who seems terrified of white people, even tiny ones aged eight years old and nine months old. Closeted in an impossibly small servant’s room, our domestic buries her nose in an English-Japanese dictionary, which she seems to look at, not read. Some months later we are forced to terminate her services when my mother finds Junko in the kitchen standing over the stove gulping in deep breaths of gas, attempting to take her own life. It only comes out later that she is a

participated in his first civil rights march, and got a bloody head for his trouble. And when he saw people burning flags in 1968, he left college to join up. “It’s time to pay my country back for my family’s freedom.” I don’t think we understand that

feeling anymore. A gratitude for freedom and democracy. A desire to protect or serve it. What remains of it anyway. The Left especially cringes in the face of those words –– freedom and democracy –– claiming they’ve been dirtied up by the likes of George W. Bush and the saintly Reagan, with his dirty little wars. When the Left speaks disparagingly of American privilege, they usually mean our great wealth, the power of money and might at our fingertips, and ignore the things that are slipping away under the waving flags of Homeland Security or the Patriot Act. For a while, the jour nalist and gay lawyer Glenn Greenwald seemed like an outlier, a fr eak, going on and on about civil liber ties well after Obama got elected and most Democrats fell into silence about that prison camp Guantanamo, black ops, disappearances, the muzzling of free speech, profiling, domestic spying, endless wiretaps. If Snowden hadn’t started feeding him info, Greenwald would still be just one more crazy activist screaming in the wilderness. Undone by his anger and refusal to mince words. What’s wrong is wrong. The Left, especially the queer one, doesn’t connect the dots. That civil liberties and democratic rights are the foundation of our progress. If you

war widow, her husband having per ished in a suicide bomber attack days before the end of World War II. My mother seems gay and sophisticated as she says goodnight and tells me not to be afraid of the dark. I have always been terrorized by the night, especially since I discovered that tale of darkness Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.” Each creak in our earthquake-proof house, shudder ing readily with the passage of every truck on the nearby highway, drives me to distraction and desperation. Mother knows this and tries to sooth me into sleep before she leaves. In spite of her party face and good-time behavior, my mother is a shy person, filled with insecurity. Beautiful, she is unsure of her looks. At nearly 5’ 10” and almost three inches taller than my father, she feels freakish, not statuesque. A teetotaler her whole life, her new persona as a bottoms-up, let the good times roll party girl seems an

uneasy role she tries too hard to play. I hear her being “happy” and know her laugh is too high-pitched, almost desperate-sounding. I sense she plays this game for my father, to make him happy, to be the perfect trophy wife of a successful man. Left alone in my room, I fall into a fitful slumber after hours of watching leaping shadows dance on the wall. As dawn breaks, I think I hear a car door slam and what sounds like a woman moaning and crying in pain. I look out my bedroom window barely able to see the image below as light breaks in the dawn sky. My mother’s head is hanging out of the window of our Chevrolet and she is vomiting. Her vomit streaks the car door and her beautiful fur coat is covered with dripping mucus. A lump for ms in my throat as I watch my parents below. My mother continues to vomit and sob while my father stands by the car door, watching, speechless, seemingly helpless

went in years ago. Then their kids did it because it became the family business. When I asked, Denny said he enlisted for patriotism, in a moment of youthful idealism. His family were refugees from World War II and the Holocaust. Raised in New York, he was taught that there was “nothing more precious than American freedom. Because the family was saved. By this country. Otherwise they would have been killed by the Nazis.” This experience translated into his mother’s own version of silence equals death, a mandate to get involved, right wrongs, fight injustice, or face the consequences. Already in 1960, when he was 13, he

“Because the family was saved. By this country. Otherwise they would have been killed by Nazis.”

want to change laws or attitudes, you need a brave few to come out and exercise their rights to speak and assemble. Shout their heads off. Spend a good chunk of their lives demonstrating. Like Maxine Wolfe. Margarita Lopez. All those queers in ACT UP, Queer Nation, the Lesbian Avengers, and plenty that came before. We h a v e f e w e r a c t i v i s t s , f e w e r activist groups, a case of mass amnesia. The huge groups of the LGBT movement have gobbled up the small like any multinational. Gay rights is a profession, not a calling. Few people serve anymore. For a while I followed a bunch of blogs of young lesbians on Tumblr, and they seemed as isolated as any gay vet, who at least has a purpose. I say it’s time to institute a queer boot camp. Give them meaning, a community. Tell them there’s plenty worth fighting for. And it’s all at risk. History doesn’t move in some inevitably upwards arc. Gains are fragile. And come at great cost. They’d have to be crazy to join up, though. The LGBT community outside the big conglomerates isn’t for the faint of heart. We prefer our heroes dead, so we can edit their speeches, put words in their mouths. The living we despise. We harangue our politicians for their compromise and carefulness, and reject our veteran, big-mouthed activists for their shrill, uncomfortable cries. Check out this article at or visit kellycogswell. com for the full audio of the Denny Meyer interview.

to do anything. I want to rush down and comfort my beautiful, helpless mother, who until now has always seemed so strong and in control, but I do nothing, sadness and anger welling up in me. Many years later, I hear a song by Peggy Lee called “Is That All There Is?” She’s singing about a raging fire that burns down her house and when the fire is over, she asks, “Is that all there is to a fire?” Then she goes to a circus and after watching clowns cavort, elephants prance, and trapeze artists defy death, asks again, “Is that all there is to a cir cus?” Finally she sings about how she falls in love and how sad she feels when the boy she loves leaves h e r, c o n c l u d i n g w i t h “ I s t h a t a l l there is to love?” Sixty-five years after that morning in Japan, I can still see my mother struggle out of our Chevy and I think, “Is that all there is to a party?”


November 13, 2013 |


Emails to CDC Show City’s Halting Meningitis Response Health department sought technical advice, voiced doubt about its vaccine plans, potential benefits BY DUNCAN OSBORNE


onfronted with an outbreak of meningitis among gay and bisexual men in September 2012, New York City’s health department appears to have struggled to respond to the disease in the early months of the outbreak. “We have two recent cases of [meningitis] in MSM who likely had contact with each other about a month apart and we are recognizing that MSM is an emerging risk factor for [meningitis] here in NYC,” wrote Don Weiss, who heads the communicable disease surveillance unit at the city health department, in a September 20, 2012 email. “Since August 2010 we’ve had 9 known cases in MSM, 2 of which were also known to have HIV... We are holding a inter -bureau meeting on Monday to discuss the data and strategies, possibly issuing [meningitis vaccine] recommendations for the NYC MSM HIV community.” That Weiss email was the city’s first communication with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that discussed the outbreak. On September 27, the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) issued a press release saying it had seen four meningitis cases among men who have sex with men (MSM) in the prior four weeks. In a separate alert sent to healthcare providers that same day, the department said it knew of 12 cases since August of 2010. Gay City News obtained emails and other records related to the outbreak from the CDC under the Freedom of Information Act. The records are dated from September 20, 2012 to January 4, 2013. The same day that the DOHMH issued the two statements, Jay Varma, the deputy commissioner for disease control at the DOHMH, wrote CDC asking about the “benefits of vaccination in interrupting transmission, particularly among HIV-infected individuals.” Varma also asked about any epidemiological data on meningitis among “HIV-infected adults” and whether “anti-biotic prophylaxis” was useful in fighting the bug. He noted that the health agency was buying vaccine. “We’re ordering about 1,000 doses of [vaccine] to start with,” he wrote. “Hoping to have defined a group that might

benefit from vaccination tonight.” The DOHMH did not initially recommend vaccinations. In early October of 2012, it recommended that HIV-positive, sexually active gay and bisexual men get vaccinated, and in November it expanded that recommendation to include all sexually active gay and bisexual men regardless of HIV status. Though it initially said it wanted to vaccinate 10,000 men, the DOHMH bought 4,000 doses in 2012. The vaccination target grew to between 30,000 and 100,000 in 2013. The DOHMH bought another 8,000 doses in 2013. In an October 12 email, Var ma wrote to CDC again, saying, “Vaccine uptake relatively slow so we’ll be driving demand with a social marketing campaign to start in next 2 weeks.” The outbreak eventually grew to 22 cases, with a 23rd case upstate, and

Jay Varma wrote CDC asking about the “benefits of vaccination in interrupting transmission, particularly among HIV-infected individuals.” seven deaths. The last case was seen in February. This was not New York City’s first meningitis outbreak, and it had seen the specific bug causing the outbreak among gay and bisexual men before. In 2006, the city health department saw a 23-case meningitis outbreak among drug injectors in Central Brooklyn that killed seven people. Between June 28 and September 30 of that year, the department vaccinated 2,763 people. Three additional cases were seen after the campaign. Weiss was the lead author on a study on the Brooklyn outbreak that was published in 2009.


MENINGITIS, continued on p.17


| November 13, 2013


MENINGITIS, from p.16

The August 2010 case, part of the more recent outbreak, was 100 per cent identical to the bug that caused the earlier Brooklyn outbreak, according to a DOHMH PowerPoint presentation that was written by Weiss and was among the CDC records. The DOHMH first learned of the match in September 2012. Among three cases that occurred in August 2011, one was 91 per cent identical to the Brooklyn bug and another was 82 percent identical. The third case was listed as “n/a” under “Strain similarity to 2006.” The DOHMH learned of those similarities in October of 2011. Among epidemiologists, a greater than 85 percent match indicates that the two strains are the same. The presentation had data on genetic matching for four 2012 cases and reported that two were 90 percent identical to the 2006 strain, one was 88 percent identical, and the fourth was 92 percent identical. The rate at which the cases were initially occurring did not qualify them as an outbreak, which has a specific definition. “The occurrence of one case, even one that has the same molecular fin-


RUSSIA, from p.7

for that nation, had a crew doing preOlympic stories repeatedly detained by the police and aggressively questioned about their personal lives, sources, work plans, and religious beliefs. They were also denied the chance to call their embassy in Moscow. In Britain, where Putin pal Valery Gergiev is conductor of the London Symphony, his concert on October 31 at the Barbican was disrupted by gay activist Peter Tatchell, who prior to Gergiev’s entrance, “strode to the stage, dressed in a tuxedo, which led some in the audience to initially assume he was a Barbican spokesperson making an official announcement.” According to a release from Tatchell, he condemned Gergiev as “a friend, ally, and supporter of the Russian tyrant Vladimir Putin,” going on to detail Putin’s crackdowns on gay people and dissent in general. Tatchell said he was “manhandled” off the stage “to some slow hand claps but mostly to applause.” Gergiev wrote in a Facebook statement that he had gay friends and was aware of Tatchell’s protest. “I have said before that I do not discriminate against anyone, gay or otherwise, and never have done, and as head of the Mariinsky Theater this is our policy,” he said. But, the New York Times online arts blog wrote, “While Mr. Gergiev said in

gerprint as an earlier outbreak, does not necessarily portend a future outbreak,” the DOHMH wrote in an email to Gay City News. “In September 2012, we had sufficient evidence to indicate that the [meningitis] strain was circulating exclusively in a new risk group (MSM) and causing a high rate of death among HIV-infected MSM, prompting us to notify the public and recommend vaccination.” It was at that point that the health department judged that the cases constituted an outbreak. Two other North American cities that had meningitis outbreaks among gay men responded faster. Two of six gay men with meningitis in Toronto died in an outbreak from “early May to mid-July of 2001,” according to a 2003 study. Toronto health officials administered 3,850 vaccine doses free of charge in 50 locations, including bathhouses and a community center, from July 25 through August 18 of that year. Toronto saw no additional cases. An October 2003 outbreak in Chicago that killed three of six infected gay men led to an eight-day vaccination campaign that administered 14,267 doses at six sites, according to a 2007 study. There were no new cases there.

the statement that he had never supported anti-gay legislation, he did not specifically take a position on the recent Russian law.” Gergiev, who was protested by Queer Nation at the Metropolitan Opera gala this fall and at Carnegie Hall, was also a vocal supporter of the arrest and imprisonment of the group Pussy Riot in Moscow. Queer Nation’s Andrew Miller told the Times, “The issue is not whether Valery Gergiev has gay friends or coworkers, but rather that he has been an ardent supporter of Vladimir Putin, for whom he campaigned. It is Putin’s anti-LGBT laws, which have essentially made being gay illegal in Russia and led to arrests of and horrific violence against gay Russians, that he must denounce if he wants to be a true friend of the LGBT community. Until then, he is merely Putin’s collaborator.” Activist Sarah Schulman, on a speaking tour in Russia with the ACT UP movie “United in Anger,” wrote, “We asked the audience what they wanted” from foreign activists concerned about their plight and were told to use the word “fascism” in describing the Putin regime and to “boycott Russian government projects but actively support Russian activism and events.” Schulman added that she was told that “protests in the West help Russian queers in terms of morale” but, ominously, that “after the Olympics things will get worse.”

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What is STRIBILD? STRIBILD is a prescription medicine used to treat HIV-1 in adults who have never taken HIV-1 medicines before. It combines 4 medicines into 1 pill to be taken once a day with food. STRIBILD is a complete single-tablet regimen and should not be used with other HIV-1 medicines. STRIBILD does not cure HIV-1 infection or AIDS. To control HIV-1 infection and decrease HIV-related illnesses you must keep taking STRIBILD. Ask your healthcare provider if you have questions about how to reduce the risk of passing HIV-1 to others. Always practice safer sex and use condoms to lower the chance of sexual contact with body fluids. Never reuse or share needles or other items that have body fluids on them.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION What is the most important information I should know about STRIBILD? STRIBILD can cause serious side effects: • Build-up of an acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious medical emergency. Symptoms of lactic acidosis include feeling very weak or tired, unusual (not normal) muscle pain, trouble breathing, stomach pain with nausea or vomiting, feeling cold especially in your arms and legs, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and/or a fast or irregular heartbeat. • Serious liver problems. The liver may become large (hepatomegaly) and fatty (steatosis). Symptoms of liver problems include your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow (jaundice), dark “tea-colored” urine, light-colored bowel movements (stools), loss of appetite for several days or longer, nausea, and/or stomach pain. • You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or serious liver problems if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking STRIBILD for a long time. In some cases, these serious conditions have led to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any symptoms of these conditions.

10043_pgiqdp_GayCityNews_Winston_lo1.indd 1-2

• Worsening of hepatitis B (HBV) infection. If you also have HBV and stop taking STRIBILD, your hepatitis may suddenly get worse. Do not stop taking STRIBILD without first talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to monitor your health. STRIBILD is not approved for the treatment of HBV. Who should not take STRIBILD? Do not take STRIBILD if you: • Take a medicine that contains: alfuzosin, dihydroergotamine, ergotamine, methylergonovine, cisapride, lovastatin, simvastatin, pimozide, sildenafil when used for lung problems (Revatio®), triazolam, oral midazolam, rifampin or the herb St. John’s wort. • For a list of brand names for these medicines, please see the Brief Summary on the following pages. • Take any other medicines to treat HIV-1 infection, or the medicine adefovir (Hepsera®). What are the other possible side effects of STRIBILD? Serious side effects of STRIBILD may also include: • New or worse kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider should do regular blood and urine tests to check your kidneys before and during treatment with STRIBILD. If you develop kidney problems, your healthcare provider may tell you to stop taking STRIBILD. • Bone problems, including bone pain or bones getting soft or thin, which may lead to fractures. Your healthcare provider may do tests to check your bones. • Changes in body fat can happen in people taking HIV-1 medicines. • Changes in your immune system. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any new symptoms after you start taking STRIBILD. The most common side effects of STRIBILD include nausea and diarrhea. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that bother you or don’t go away.

What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking STRIBILD? • All your health problems. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have or had any kidney, bone, or liver problems, including hepatitis virus infection. • All the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. STRIBILD may affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may affect how STRIBILD works. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist. Do not start any new medicines while taking STRIBILD without first talking with your healthcare provider. • If you take hormone-based birth control (pills, patches, rings, shots, etc). • If you take antacids. Take antacids at least 2 hours before or after you take STRIBILD. • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if STRIBILD can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant while taking STRIBILD.


| November 13, 2013

STRIBILD is a prescription medicine used as a complete single-tablet regimen to treat HIV-1 in adults who have never taken HIV-1 medicines before. STRIBILD does not cure HIV-1 or AIDS.

I started my personal revolution Talk to your healthcare provider about starting treatment. STRIBILD is a complete HIV-1 treatment in 1 pill, once a day.

Ask if it’s right for you.

• If you are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed. HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in breast milk. Also, some medicines in STRIBILD can pass into breast milk, and it is not known if this can harm the baby. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit, or call 1-800-FDA-1088. Please see Brief Summary of full Prescribing Information with important warnings on the following pages.

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November 13, 2013 |

Patient Information STRIBILDTM (STRY-bild) (elvitegravir 150 mg/cobicistat 150 mg/emtricitabine 200 mg/ tenofovir disoproxil fumarate 300 mg) tablets Brief summary of full Prescribing Information. For more information, please see the full Prescribing Information, including Patient Information. What is STRIBILD? • STRIBILD is a prescription medicine used to treat HIV-1 in adults who have never taken HIV-1 medicines before. STRIBILD is a complete regimen and should not be used with other HIV-1 medicines. • STRIBILD does not cure HIV-1 or AIDS. You must stay on continuous HIV-1 therapy to control HIV-1 infection and decrease HIV-related illnesses. • Ask your healthcare provider about how to prevent passing HIV-1 to others. Do not share or reuse needles, injection equipment, or personal items that can have blood or body fluids on them. Do not have sex without protection. Always practice safer sex by using a latex or polyurethane condom to lower the chance of sexual contact with semen, vaginal secretions, or blood.

• Do not stop taking STRIBILD without first talking to your healthcare provider • If you stop taking STRIBILD, your healthcare provider will need to check your health often and do blood tests regularly for several months to check your HBV infection. Tell your healthcare provider about any new or unusual symptoms you may have after you stop taking STRIBILD Who should not take STRIBILD? Do not take STRIBILD if you also take a medicine that contains: • adefovir (Hepsera®) • alfuzosin hydrochloride (Uroxatral®) • cisapride (Propulsid®, Propulsid Quicksolv®) • ergot-containing medicines, including: dihydroergotamine mesylate (D.H.E. 45®, Migranal®), ergotamine tartrate (Cafergot®, Migergot®, Ergostat®, Medihaler Ergotamine®, Wigraine®, Wigrettes®), and methylergonovine maleate (Ergotrate®, Methergine®) • lovastatin (Advicor®, Altoprev®, Mevacor®) • oral midazolam

What is the most important information I should know about STRIBILD?

• pimozide (Orap®)

STRIBILD can cause serious side effects, including: 1. Build-up of lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis). Lactic acidosis can happen in some people who take STRIBILD or similar (nucleoside analogs) medicines. Lactic acidosis is a serious medical emergency that can lead to death. Lactic acidosis can be hard to identify early, because the symptoms could seem like symptoms of other health problems. Call your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following symptoms which could be signs of lactic acidosis: • feel very weak or tired • have unusual (not normal) muscle pain • have trouble breathing • have stomach pain with nausea or vomiting • feel cold, especially in your arms and legs • feel dizzy or lightheaded • have a fast or irregular heartbeat 2. Severe liver problems. Severe liver problems can happen in people who take STRIBILD. In some cases, these liver problems can lead to death. Your liver may become large (hepatomegaly) and you may develop fat in your liver (steatosis). Call your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following symptoms of liver problems: • your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow (jaundice) • dark “tea-colored” urine • light-colored bowel movements (stools) • loss of appetite for several days or longer • nausea • stomach pain You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or severe liver problems if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking STRIBILD for a long time. 3. Worsening of Hepatitis B infection. If you have hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and take STRIBILD, your HBV may get worse (flare-up) if you stop taking STRIBILD. A “flare-up” is when your HBV infection suddenly returns in a worse way than before. • Do not run out of STRIBILD. Refill your prescription or talk to your healthcare provider before your STRIBILD is all gone

• sildenafil (Revatio®), when used for treating lung problems

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• rifampin (Rifadin®, Rifamate®, Rifater®, Rimactane®) • simvastatin (Simcor®, Vytorin®, Zocor®) • triazolam (Halcion®) • the herb St. John’s wort Do not take STRIBILD if you also take any other HIV-1 medicines, including: • Other medicines that contain tenofovir (Atripla®, Complera®, Viread®, Truvada®) • Other medicines that contain emtricitabine, lamivudine, or ritonavir (Combivir®, Emtriva®, Epivir® or Epivir-HBV®, Epzicom®, Kaletra®, Norvir®, Trizivir®) STRIBILD is not for use in people who are less than 18 years old. What are the possible side effects of STRIBILD? STRIBILD may cause the following serious side effects: • See “What is the most important information I should know about STRIBILD?” • New or worse kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider should do blood and urine tests to check your kidneys before you start and while you are taking STRIBILD. Your healthcare provider may tell you to stop taking STRIBILD if you develop new or worse kidney problems. • Bone problems can happen in some people who take STRIBILD. Bone problems include bone pain, softening or thinning (which may lead to fractures). Your healthcare provider may need to do tests to check your bones. • Changes in body fat can happen in people who take HIV-1 medicine. These changes may include increased amount of fat in the upper back and neck (“buffalo hump”), breast, and around the middle of your body (trunk). Loss of fat from the legs, arms and face may also happen. The exact cause and long-term health effects of these conditions are not known. • Changes in your immune system (Immune Reconstitution Syndrome) can happen when you start taking HIV-1 medicines. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections that have been hidden in your body for a long time. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you start having any new symptoms after starting your HIV-1 medicine.


| November 13, 2013

The most common side effects of STRIBILD include: • Nausea • Diarrhea Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. • These are not all the possible side effects of STRIBILD. For more information, ask your healthcare provider. • Call your healthcare provider for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking STRIBILD? Tell your healthcare provider about all your medical conditions, including: • If you have or had any kidney, bone, or liver problems, including hepatitis B infection • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if STRIBILD can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant while taking STRIBILD. – There is a pregnancy registry for women who take antiviral medicines during pregnancy. The purpose of this registry is to collect information about the health of you and your baby. Talk with your healthcare provider about how you can take part in this registry. • If you are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you take STRIBILD. - You should not breastfeed if you have HIV-1 because of the risk of passing HIV-1 to your baby. - Two of the medicines in STRIBILD can pass to your baby in your breast milk. It is not known if the other medicines in STRIBILD can pass into your breast milk. - Talk with your healthcare provider about the best way to feed your baby. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements: • STRIBILD may affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may affect how STRIBILD works. • Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you take any of the following medicines: - Hormone-based birth control (pills, patches, rings, shots, etc) - Antacid medicines that contains aluminum, magnesium hydroxide, or calcium carbonate. Take antacids at least 2 hours before or after you take STRIBILD - Medicines to treat depression, organ transplant rejection, or high blood pressure - amiodarone (Cordarone®, Pacerone®) - atorvastatin (Lipitor®, Caduet®) - bepridil hydrochloric (Vascor®, Bepadin®) - bosentan (Tracleer®) - buspirone - carbamazepine (Carbatrol®, Epitol®, Equetro®, Tegreto®) - clarithromycin (Biaxin®, Prevpac®) - clonazepam (Klonopin®) - clorazepate (Gen-xene®, Tranxene®) - colchicine (Colcrys®) - medicines that contain dexamethasone - diazepam (Valium®)

- digoxin (Lanoxin®) - disopyramide (Norpace®) - estazolam - ethosuximide (Zarontin®) - flecainide (Tambocor®) - flurazepam - fluticasone (Flovent®, Flonase®, Flovent® Diskus, Flovent® HFA, Veramyst®) - itraconazole (Sporanox®) - ketoconazole (Nizoral®) - lidocaine (Xylocaine®) - mexiletine - oxcarbazepine (Trileptal®) - perphenazine - phenobarbital (Luminal®) - phenytoin (Dilantin®, Phenytek®) - propafenone (Rythmol®) - quinidine (Neudexta®) - rifabutin (Mycobutin®) - rifapentine (Priftin®) - risperidone (Risperdal®, Risperdal Consta®) - salmeterol (Serevent®) or salmeterol when taken in combination with fluticasone (Advair Diskus®, Advair HFA®) - sildenafil (Viagra®), tadalafil (Cialis®) or vardenafil (Levitra®, Staxyn®), for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED). If you get dizzy or faint (low blood pressure), have vision changes or have an erection that last longer than 4 hours, call your healthcare provider or get medical help right away. - tadalafil (Adcirca®), for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension - telithromycin (Ketek®) - thioridazine - voriconazole (Vfend®) - warfarin (Coumadin®, Jantoven®) - zolpidem (Ambien®, Edlular®, Intermezzo®, Zolpimist®) Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine. Do not start any new medicines while you are taking STRIBILD without first talking with your healthcare provider. Keep STRIBILD and all medicines out of reach of children. This Brief Summary summarizes the most important information about STRIBILD. If you would like more information, talk with your healthcare provider. You can also ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for information about STRIBILD that is written for health professionals, or call 1-800-445-3235 or go to Issued: August 2012

COMPLERA, EMTRIVA, GILEAD, the GILEAD Logo, GSI, HEPSERA, STRIBILD, the STRIBILD Logo, TRUVADA, and VIREAD are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies. ATRIPLA is a trademark of Bristol-Myers Squibb & Gilead Sciences, LLC. All other marks referenced herein are the property of their respective owners. © 2013 Gilead Sciences, Inc. All rights reserved. QC14559 02/13

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November 13, 2013 |


Love and Deception Mulhy explores cyberspace, Bellini sticks to the real, but still brutal world come late to the party in discussing Nico Muhly’s “Two Boys,” which just finished a run of seven Met performances –– indifferently received and poorly attended –– that marked the twoact work’s US premiere. The talented Muhly’s first opera, “Two Boys” premiered in 2011 at the English National Opera and was revised for the Met. I am in agreement with other commentators that there isn’t much opera here. The musical style is neither dissonant nor particularly lyrical –– a kind of spare minimalist tonal palette suggestive of Steven Reich or John Adams. The layered and complex choral pieces, representing the constant flow of communication and information exchanged on the Internet, comprise the best and most interesting music in the opera. The orchestral part, too loudly scored, suggests a film soundtrack that creates mood but remains in the background. The vocal lines are conversational recitative devoid of musical color and individuality. Except for one lyrical arioso sung by the teenaged protagonist Brian extolling the Internet’s power to create its own personal reality, it is all just heightened speech. Craig Lucas’ libretto resembles something written for a television drama –– musical expansion seems superfluous. Set a decade ago, the story (based on a real incident in Britain) concerns the attempted murder of a 13-year -old boy by a 16-year -old he met in an online chat room. A web of Internet deceit and seduction is revealed in police interrogations by the compassionate but relentless Detective Inspector Anne Strawson. The plot eventually becomes emotionally involving in the final third. But it takes too long to get there, and the audience is well ahead of the onstage characters in understanding how the Internet can enable role-playing and subterfuge. Bartlett Sher’s production, mostly dark scrims, drab fur niture, and black and white projections create a monochromatically grim universe that complements Muhly’s moody, minor key score. The world of the Internet, a stage for the imagination and forbidden desire, is similarly antiseptic and utilitarian –– just white screens and points of light that look like screensavers. The valiant and committed cast members –– led by the deeply moving Paul Appleby as Brian and the riveting Alice Coote as Strawson –– give it all




Alice Coote and Paul Appleby in Nico Muhly’s “Two Boys.”

they’ve got as do the supporting singers, chorus, and orchestra under David Robertson’s expert baton. I think Muhly’s “Dark Sisters,” composed at roughly the same time as “Two Boys” (it premiered in November 2011 at the Gotham Chamber Opera) is better composed for the voice, works better as music drama, and shows more of what the 32-year-old composer is capable of in the operatic genre. If “Two Boys” is to have a future, it needs a radical revision and reduction. It would work as a chamber opera –– it felt padded and overblown on the Met stage –– with the story telescoped into an 85-minute-long one-act. Jettison Strawson’s underdeveloped backstory and unhappy personal life and make her purely a narrator and interrogator. The framing device could be her writing her report on the case and flashing back to her interviews of Brian. Her character would get a full aria at the end with her personal summation of Brian’s case. The chorus could be reduced to a small ensemble who double as the other supporting characters. The music scored for a small chamber group would be spare and minimalist for the present-day real world, but the flashback cyber universe scenes need heightened musical language and style. If the required musical resources wer e r educed, the contemporary subject matter and the characters’ youth would make this attractive to student and chamber opera groups.

Deception is also at the core of Bellini’s “Norma,”

which received a Met revival unveiling two remarkable American sopranos in the demanding title role –– Sondra Radvanovsky and Angela Meade. This is the most successful casting the Met has fielded since Sutherland and Caballé sang it in the early 1970s. Radvanovsky is a fascinating vocalist but a frustrating artist. At the performance I attended on October 7, she was fluttery throughout the “Casta Diva,” but settled into a fiercely sung cabaletta. At the end of the first act trio, she eschewed the D she sang in other performances. This is a taut, metallic voice that does hard things very, very well but simpler things less well. The jagged ascents to exposed high C’s on “Trema per te fellon” in the Act I trio and “Adalgisa perirà” in the Act II duet with Pollione were dispatched with brilliant ease and abandon. But legato passages lacked tonal smoothness and expressive shaping and could wander slightly in pitch. At the same time, Radvanovsky could deploy a sustained pianissimo, which she did often. Despite the brilliant metal in the voice, Radvanovsky was temperamentally more a heartbroken wife and mother than a hell-hathno-fury vengeful priestess. I never believed for an instant her Norma could strike mortal blows to her children or Pollione. A better conductor

and colleagues and a production with a real director would perhaps help Radvanovsky pull together a mor e compr ehensive, passionate interpretation. The materials are all there but haven’t coalesced. (Meade in the alternate cast had a softer grained voice of greater tonal beauty but less stamina on top.) The r emainder of the cast was uninspiring. Kate Aldrich, the Adalgisa, looked youthfully alluring but sounded like a washed-out comprimario –– the tone juiceless and tired except in a few loud upper middle phrases. As Pollione, Aleksandrs Antonenko unleashed a fiercely metallic dramatic tenor like a bull in a china shop. The first act cantilena suffered a bruising, but the second act defiance and declamation were stirringly sung. He is a virile and ardent stage figure. James Morris as Oroveso looked venerable and his bass is still potent in the middle, but the tone has loosened and grayed on both bottom and top. Riccardo Frizza led a dashing overture, but from then on the rhythmic pulse was lax and he overindulged the singers. John Copley’s production looks like it was put together from leftover scenery from a “Ring” and cutout backdrops furnished with black painted wooden benches from the rehearsal studio. Bellini and these two Normas deserve better.


| November 13, 2013


Sacrificing Pop for Art BY STEVE G


rtpop” from Lady Gaga is an ambitious, sprawling mess of an album. This follow-up to 2011’s “Born this Way” is huge –– from bombastic club tracks to overpower ing vocals –– and it harkens back to the days of the concept album. The concept here being Lady Gaga herself. Her fame, her sexuality, and her ego. On top of that, “Artpop” also tackles power, money, depression, gender, fashion, the media, and space travel. Basically, any and all ideas Gaga may have had. You can easily imagine the accompanying concert –– and that’s what “Artpop” is: the throbbing, percolating soundtrack to her inevitable tour. The album opens with strumming guitars and a Middle Eastern influence in the track “Aura.” Gaga asks the question, “Do you want to see the girl who lives behind the aura? Behind the burka?” A song about gender politics, through it Gaga attempts to take

back control and power with lyrics such as “My veil is protection for the gorgeousness of my face.” Next up is “Venus,” the first song that Gaga has produced herself. A club dance mix of astrology, sex, and extraterrestrial adventure, the track and its seriously passionate tone miss the mark in almost hysterical fashion. Then again, it’s certainly not dull. After these two cuts, the album relaxes a bit and allows pop to bubble up to the surface. “Manicure” is one of the strongest tracks on the album –– sure to be a single. This grinding, rockinfluenced ode to a life of perks explodes at the start and never stops. And it’s got a pretty strong hook, too –– what a concept. “Manicure” is one of the few pop nuggets on the record without any labored manifesto. Just pure ear candy. This is followed by “Do What U Want.” a duet with R. Kelly. A bit of an R&B throwback, this song works well as a jam by two singers proving their chemistry. “Swine,” a snarling, grungy cut that


Gaga’s massive new project no reprise of her best

Lady Gaga aims to integrate art and pop in the album unsurprisingly called “Artpop.”

features the line “You’re just a pig inside a human body,” is rumored to have been written about Gaga’s falling-out with former friend Perez Hilton. This is one resentment that should’ve been locked away as an outburst in the lady’s diary. Two campy cuts on “Artpop” awkwardly tackle the world of style.

“Donatella” and “Fashion!” are both bitchy workout struts that attempt to do what David Bowie and RuPaul have done before –– and much better. “Gypsy” a cut produced with RedOne –– one of her most successful collaborators –– brings the record back to triumphant pop. Gaga sings “I don’t wanna be alone forever but I love gypsy life” over a soaring dance track. “Gypsy” flows well into the last cut of the album, the recent hit single “Applause”. Gaga has said the album was her dream for art and pop to come together. One can certainly appreciate the expansiveness and massive work that went into “Artpop.” Each track is propelled by expensively produced club beats from the best producers in the world. What’s lacking is editing and pure and simple song craft. There is no “Paparazzi” or “Bad Romance” –– singles that were impeccable three-minute blasts of pure pop. From the first time you heard them, your mind could never escape them. “Artpop” offers none equal to them –– merely reminders.


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Ready to Join the Club Cameron Deane Stewart inhabits a gay teen finding the support to be himself


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Cameron Deane Stewart and Justin Deeley in Gary Entin’s “Geography Club,” adapted from Brent Hartinger’s YA novel.



eography Club” is a loose adaptation of Brent Hartinger’s fine young adult book about gay teen Russel Middlebrook (the appealing Cameron Deane Stewart) navigating high school and his sexual identity. Russel has a secret relationship going with school quarterback Kevin (Justin Deeley), and their romance is evolving at the right speed for both boys. However, after Min (Ally Maki) spies the guys kissing one night, she invites them to join Geography Club. The club, a secret gaystraight alliance, is named “something boring” to prevent other students from joining in order to identify and expose the school’s LGBT teens.

GEOGRAPHY CLUB Directed by Gary Entin Breaking Glass Pictures Opens Nov. 15 Cinema Village 22 E. 12th St.

Russel at first observes the club and then begins to participate, but Kevin wants to keep his sexuality secret and does not attend the meetings. “Geography Club” plays out all the dramas of teen life –– from Russel’s anxiety about being asked to date a girl to his participation in a bullying incident and the angst Kevin feels about coming out. The film makes the issues surrounding peer pressure and self-expression credible

despite the supporting characters being underdeveloped and the film being somewhat haphazardly constructed. In a recent Skype session, the genial Stewart spoke about playing Russel and making “Geography Club.” GARY M. KRAMER: What were you like as a teen? CAMERON DEANE STEWART: Oh, boy! I’m 22 now. A couple years ago, I was in high school myself. I was the kid who was friends with everyone, but I didn’t really have a group that I felt I fit into. I was athletic, but didn’t play sports in high school. GMK: What appealed to you about Russel? CDS: Russel is mature for his age. He is strong-hearted and strong-willed. I guess I fell in love with his vulnerability. I felt there were so many positives that could come from playing him. The ultimate goal is for people to see Russel as he is. GMK: How did you identify with him? CDS: Everyone struggled with something in high school. I came from a pretty conservative place in Texas. I watched kids in high school get bullied or they didn’t come out or were stereotyped as the gay kid. This film was an opportunity for me to send a message to the youth that love is universal and that there is a group out there that is going through exactly what you are. GMK: What do you think about Russel


GEOGRAPHY, continued on p.25

| November 13, 2013



Atkins and Gambon Light up the Stage “All that Fall,” Beckett’s radio play: now it can be seen BY ANDY HUMM


ith acting greats Eileen Atkins and Michael Gambon landing in Samuel Beckett’s “All that Fall” at 59e59, the highly anticipated autumn British invasion is in full swing –– an artistic occupation that includes, from Shakespeare’s Globe, Mark Rylance as a chilling and thrilling Richard III and as a hilarious and touching Olivia in “Twelfth Night,” which co-stars Stephen Fry in his Broadway debut as Malvolio as you’ve never seen that misunderstood character. Then there are X-Men and equally compelling stage greats Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” and Harold Pinter’s “No Man’s Land.”

59e59 Theaters 59 E. 59th St. Through Dec. 8 Tue.-Thu. at 7 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed. & Sat. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. No Thanksgiving performance $70; $49 for members; Or 212-279-4200

Who needs to go to London? 59e59 hosts the annual Brits Off Broadway festival each spring, bringing highlights from the West End. And now they’ve imported this “All that Fall,” which was done by the little Jermyn Street Theatre in London and enjoyed a West End transfer to the Arts this year. Directed by the legendary Trevor Nunn, a former artistic director of the National Theatre, it’s something we are lucky to have. While I’ve been a devotee of Beckett




Michael Gambon and Eileen Atkins in Samuel Beckett’s “All that Fall,” directed by Trevor Nunn at 59e59 through December 8 only.

since high school — before he won the Nobel Prize in 1969, thank you very much — I’d known but never heard his 1956 radio play “All that Fall,” the journey of aging Mrs. Rooney (Atkins) to pick up her blind husband (Gambon) at the train station. We meet the characters they encounter along the way in a small Irish town, from earthy Christy the dung carter (Ruairi Conaghan) to prim Miss Fitt (Catherine Cusack), who helps Mrs. Rooney up a hill. In giving players names such as Miss Fitt, Beckett is making no effort to be subtle in his stereotyping of rural

GEOGRAPHY, from p.24

being a role model? CDS: So many times, in TV and movies, the gay characters are — I don’t want to say stereotyped — but they centralize on one idea of what that person may be. Russel breaks that mold. He’s average. A guy’s guy in some sense. I wanted him to be relatable, and I wanted to show a different aspect of a kid struggling with this. I wanted him to be an everyman, not extraordinary. I wanted him to be relatable emotionally, and break the stereotypes as much as I could — not a caricature of what the gay kid might be. He isn’t in the novel or in the film.

GMK: Do you feel pressure playing a character that has become a favorite of readers? CDS: Sure! He’s not quite Harry Potter, but it is fantastic to have such a built-in following. The goal from the beginning was to show an honest portrayal of a kid struggling in high school. I had not read the books prior to filming, and so I based the character off the script. But I wanted it to be as truthful as possible to what novelist Brent Hartinger and screenwriter Edmund Entin wrote and bring it to life. GMK: How did you approach the character? CDS: The best way I can describe it is

types. But while the setup borders on vaudeville, much like his “Godot,” the stuff that comes out of these forlorn mouths is some of the most sophisticated and trenchant philosophy of our time — without using any highfalutin words. Mr. Slocum (Trevor Cooper) pulls up in his car and asks, “May I offer you a lift, Mrs. Rooney? Are you going in my direction?” Mrs. Rooney: “I am, Mr. Slocum. We all are.” Existentialism made simple –– and funny to boot. But that’s Beckett’s genius. When seeking Miss Fitt’s help, Mrs. Rooney pleads, “Your arm! Any arm! A

helping hand! For five seconds! Christ, what a planet!” (Sounds like the kind of thing many of us want to scream at outrages from cutbacks in food stamps here to deadly poverty and disease in the Third World.) This was written as a radio play and rather than alter it too much, Nunn and his able designers of set (Cherry Truluck), lighting (Phil Hewitt), and notably sound (Paul Groothuis) have created a sort of world in between the radio studio and the stage. Rather than describe how that’s done, I’ll leave it to unfold on its own for you. Feel free to close your eyes from time to time and just listen. For such nearly dried up characters, “All that Fall” is juicy with scatology and sexuality, coupled with morbidity and digs at religion. It’s amazing that Beckett got all this past the BBC censors of the time because it still has the power to scandalize. While all characters sit on the stage, Mrs. Rooney is at the center of it throughout and Atkins manages to make her trip from weary to wearier immensely entertaining and poignant without being sentimental. When she reunites with Mr. Rooney, some melodramatic revelations ensue, pumped up by Gambon’s defensive bombast. The last laugh in the play is shared by the Rooneys when Mrs. Rooney relates what the scripture text for tomorrow’s service will be: "The Lord upholdeth all that fall and raiseth up all those that be bowed down.” After sitting through “All that Fall,” you’ll understand, too, what a bunch of bullshit that is. Beckett said he sank into a deep depression divesting himself of this wonderful play. I haven’t felt more lit up in a playhouse in a long time.

taking experiences from people I saw who struggled to come out or tried to find a group they fit into. Everyone has been in a situation where they don’t fit in. You take that and mold that to fit the character. I guess I never felt in with the jocks. I was athletic, but there’s that period where I felt like an outcast and didn’t quite fit in so I pull from those emotions.

last thing on my to do list. I still do it as minimally as I can.

GMK: Do you play football? CDS: [Laughs.] I’m not good at football. I played soccer for 11 years. I played football in middle school, but once I hit high school, it fizzled out. I remember that last day of shooting, the football game was our final scene. I was so winded running up and down the field. Exercising is the

GMK: Russel risks everything to define himself. Do you think he makes the right choices? CDS: Yes, 100 percent. I think there is no reward without risk. He has a complete understanding of himself by the end, and there’s no use in being with anyone else if you don’t know who you are.

GMK: Russel is described as a romantic. Are you romantic, or you more of a love ‘em and leave ‘em kind of guy? CDS: I’m a romantic. I can’t lie. I’m a sucker for rom-coms.


November 13, 2013 |


Heavens Rise, New Orleans May Fall

Christopher Rice’s page-turner conjures magic –– and may trust it too much BY MICHAEL SHIREY


here will never be a shortage of magic to come out of New Orleans –– be it jazz music, fine cuisine, or Southern literature. Christopher Rice’s new thriller novel, “The Heavens Rise,” is no exception. The best-selling author’s latest work is everything you’d expect from the son of New Orleans’ master of horror, Anne Rice.




By Christopher Rice Gallery Books/ Simon & Schuster $26; 317 pages

Rice’s story begins in August 2005, in the weeks before Hurricane Katrina. Niquette Delongpre, a student at the private school uptown (a thinly veiled version of Rice’s own h i g h s c h o o l a l m a m a t e r, I s i d o r e Newman), has just broken up with her boyfriend, Anthem Landry (yep, folks really do have names like that down there). Fellow student Marshall Ferriot sees this as his chance to snag the trophy girl of New Orleans high society. They meet, they flirt, and eventually Nicki warily decides to take Marshall to her family’s bayou plantation home, Elysium. Things quickly take a tur n for the worse when Marshall forces himself on her. The two begin fighting until they find themselves wading in a pool, being attacked by mysterious parasites. Nicki gets away, but something

Author Christopher Rice.

terrible from the swamp has escaped with her. In the days that follow, the entire Delongpre family disappears and Marshall is hospitalized after a failed suicide attempt. Nicki’s then closeted gay best friend Ben and Anthem are left to mourn her mysterious disappearance. Jump forward eight years, where a lot has changed in New Orleans. Ravaged first by Katrina and later by the BP Deep Horizon oil spill, the city is still getting by, much like Ben and Anthem. Ben is now a loose-canon news reporter who has seemingly moved on from the past, while Anthem is an alcoholic riverboat pilot who showcases his pain for all the Big Easy to see. The two have managed to stay friends, using that bond to hold on to

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the last shred of Nicki. Meanwhile in Atlanta, Marshall’s unconscious body, moved out of Louisiana post-Katrina, has been kept on life support all these years. Strange accidents start occurring around the hospital –– shattered windows and dead animals found around the grounds, followed by a nurse found dead in Marshall’s room. The thrills really kick up when Marshall disappears from Atlanta, and the body count starts to steadily rise. The danger comes to New Orleans when Marshall returns, alive and well, hell bent on finishing what was started that night at Elysium. After years in exile, Nicki must decide whether to return to the world she left behind –– lest she watch it be

destroyed. “The Heavens Rise” is a page-turner for sure, and the story sets itself up for the grand finish while tying up every loose end. Kudos to the author for utilizing existing terrors –– from microscopic parasites to venomous serpents –– as opposed to relying on the mythological creatures his mother fancies. Readers loyal to Rice will see the story’s predictable but appropriate ending long befor e it arrives. No spoilers here, but it’s fair to say the gay character really rises to the occasion. As for the others, you can rest assured the author gives all his characters their due. Rice has created an enjoyable tale, but falls short in a couple of ways. While he has mastered the art of emotional horror, he fumbles with the genre’s demands in describing physical terrors. As the plot climaxes, the characters’ growth, literally speaking, becomes hard to follow at times. The story’s “big bad” from the swamp is a great concept, one made more resonant given New Orleans’ recent troubles, but it doesn’t always translate well on the written page. Rice would have done well to leave more to readers’ imaginations. New Orleans is the focal point of Rice’s novel, and he paints a beautiful yet honest picture of the city, highlighting her buoyant spirit as well as her troubled racial and political past. This makes the novel’s final plot device regarding the city all the more unfortunate. As the characters ponder the salvation of the Big Easy, they ask if their “newfound power was the only way to help New Orleans.” It’s sad that Rice chooses as his answer a resounding yes.


| November 13, 2013


Sketchy Comedy

Deep in hillbilly territory, an imaginary saint promises succor to lost souls BY DAVID KENNERLEY


ver wondered what would happen if somebody stretched out a five-minute “Saturday Night Live” skit into two hours? Well, apparently dramatist Marlane Meyer has, and the result is “The Patron Saint of Sea Monsters,” a wicked, somewhat cryptic romp now playing at Playwrights Horizons.

Peter Jay Sharp Theater Playwrights Horizons 416 W. 42nd St. Through Dec. 1 Tue.-Sat. at 7:30 p.m. Sat.-Sun. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 7 p.m. $60;

In this boldly theatrical production directed by Lisa Peterson, ingenuity and incongruity reign. The story, which takes place in a redneck town deep in a forest somewhere out west, boasts creepy woodland creatures, like a stuffed squirrel, raccoon, fox, and deer, that hide among the trees in Rachel



Rob Campbell and Candy Buckley in Marlane Meyer’s “The Patron Saint of Sea Monsters,” at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater through December 1 only.

Hauck’s wildly inventive set. Even the stagehands wear plastic animal masks during scene changes. Oddly juxtaposed to this are oceanic motifs — a diaphanous aqua curtain, a giant whale puppet spouting glitter, and periodic visitations from Saint Martyr Bride, “patron saint of spinsters, childhood infirmity, and sea monsters.” Bedizened in seaweed garlands, pearls, and a starfish crown, she promises respite from this godforsaken place.

Not only does the plot defy easy description, but giving away too many details would spoil the fun. It’s a love story of sorts between Calvin (an excellent Rob Campbell), a murderous drunkard who can’t hold a job, and Aubr ey (Laura Heisler), a highly intelligent yet socially awkward doctor who worships Saint Martyr Bride. The naïve Aubrey wants more than anything to believe that Calvin is her soul mate, the man of her dreams. For

his part, Calvin will say anything just to get laid. He’d like to clean up his act, but he’s racked with guilt over a little incident involving his wife’s corpse Will Aubrey’s prayers to her obscure and possibly fictitious saint get answered? Lurking on the periphery is a motley band of eccentrics, many of whom reveal hidden pockets of homespun wisdom. These include Calvin’s foul-mouthed, sociopathic mother (Candy Buckley), his wisecracking buddies, Canadian Bill (Haynes Thigpen) and Speedy (Danny Wolohan), an ex-Marine psychic with a squeaky voice, a big-breasted floozy (Jacqueline Wright), and a lovelorn male convict bent on cuddling with Calvin. As fans might expect from Meyer (“The Chemistry of Change”), “The Patron Saint of Sea Monsters” has more than easy yuks on its mind. Buried beneath the jarring insults and eye-popping sight gags are pointed musings on the transient nature of love, marriage, family, and faith. For some, love is a majestic creature, a salvation. For others, it’s a nasty trap. The play also considers the animalistic side of humankind and the


SEA MONSTERS, continued on p.29



arold Pinter’s “Betrayal” is, aptly, deceptive in its complexity. What at first seems like a rather standard tale of marital infidelity is actually a larger meditation on human nature. Our natural state, Pinter suggests, is one of betrayal in a kind of Darwinian struggle for primacy in any situation — marriage, publishing, squash, you name it. Fidelity, honor, and any form of morality are artificial constructs of the social order that run counter to our inherent natures. Ultimately, however, our natures cannot be contained.

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Mike Nichols’ taut new production embraces this idea and brings a new perspective to the tale of a love triangle among a married couple, Robert and Emma, and Jerry, Robert’s best friend and Emma’s lover for nine years. The story is told in reverse. It begins after the end of the affair in 1977 and tracks back to its beginning and a boozy, pot-infused party in 1968. As the tale unfolds, the audience is on high alert not just to the sex but also to the structure of lies and omissions that roil the patina of British propriety. Robert knows about the affair long before Jerry thinks he does, and Pinter being Pinter, it’s what’s unsaid that is so unsettling. But here’s the thing about this production. The characters all have a warmth about them, which makes the overall affect all the more chilling. Robert seems to be blasé about the affair, which only heightens Emma’s frustration and Jerry’s guilt when he’s confronted. Robert’s cynicism


Two major British writers are back –– Pinter excites, Rattigan falls short

Rafe Spall and Daniel Craig in Harold Pinter’s “Betrayal,” directed by Mike Nichols.

is perversely appealing, resulting in an altogether contemporary reading perfectly calibrated to a time when marital infidelity has lost its ability to shock. I’m not sure it’s what Pinter intended, but Nichols’ direction gives the play a visceral immediacy that keeps one on the edge of the seat.

The central question is: Who is better equipped to survive — the man who sees things as they are or the man who struggles against conventional –– that is, artificial –– morality? Yeats figures briefly in the conversation between the


BRITS, continued on p.28


November 13, 2013 |


The Ecstasy and Its Underbelly

Paolo Sorrentino remains one of Fellini’s faithful children BY STEVE ERICKSON


talian director Paolo Sorrentino doesn’t make films that are easy to warm up to. My favorite Sorrentino film, 2011’s “This Must Be the Place,” had me convinced it was a put-on for its first half hour. What else to make of a film about a Goth rocker, played by Sean Penn and obviously modeled on the Cure’s singer Robert Smith, turned

Directed by Paolo Sorrentino in Italian with English subtitles Janus Films Opens Nov. 15 Lincoln Plaza 1886 Broadway at 63rd St.

Nazi hunter? Sorrentino’s films, however, have the courage of their convictions, strange as they might be, and “This Must Be the Place” eventually turns into a more imaginative Jewish revenge fantasy than Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Baster ds.” The pr oblem with his new film, “The Great Beauty,” isn’t gratuitous weirdness or incongruities like asking us to take a 104-year old nun’s inane babble as spiritual wisdom. It’s that so much of this weirdness is second-hand. After writing one novel in his 20s, Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo) found his creative well running dry and


BRITS, from p.27

men — Robert and Jerry are literary types — and the poet’s line, “cast a cold eye on life, on death,” would argue for the realist. Pinter is no slouch. The stellar cast is more than equal to the material. Rachel Weisz is complex and conflicted as Emma, who manages to be sympathetic even in her betrayals. Rafe Spall is outstanding as Jerry, the character most conflicted by the contradictory elements in his nature. Daniel Craig, the production’s crowd appeal, is extraordinary. The cold cynicism behind his charming nature and the conflict between his love for Emma and suppressed rage at Jerry are at first understated, but the power of his performance is in its subtlety. Robert is the kind of killer who waits as his victims exhaust themselves before



Toni Servillo in Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Great Beauty.”

turned to journalism to earn a living. For 40 years, he has also specialized in being the king of Rome’s party scene, as he puts it. In fact, the film opens with his 65th birthday party, an event for which the word “lavish” was invented. His first lover’s husband lets Jep know that he’s read her diaries and that she professed her undying love for him. This information yanks Jep out of his complacent fog and he becomes involved with stripper Ramona (Sabrina Ferilli), whose father is a friend. Sorrentino has long been compared to Federico Fellini. Rather than trying to run fr om this, he embraces it with “The Great Beauty.” Its first 20 minutes’ round of crane shots over

striking. Craig’s is a haunting and masterful performance. Ian MacNeil’s set of rooms that float in and out and Brian MacDevitt’s lighting, which makes powerful use of color temperature in different scenes, enhance this bold and exciting production.

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lavish productions of obscure classics. Its latest is an entertaining production of Terrence Rattigan’s “The Winslow Boy,” the first in New York in more than 60 years. It tells the story of the Winslow family’s turmoil when the youngest son is expelled from an elite school for stealing and the efforts invested to prove his innocence. Imported from London’s Old Vic, the production, under of Lindsay Posner’s direction, is done well, but it can’t

Rome and extravagant parties dares you not to compare it to “La Dolce Vita.” Sorrentino recapitulates much of Fellini’s excess, filling his film with camera curlicues and virtuoso d ol l y shots. H e d oes kno w whe n his material calls for a more sedate style and thankfully didn’t shoot the entire 142 minutes in this vein. But there’s no escaping the fact that “The Great Beauty” owes its existence to the Fellini classic, although prior comparisons between the two directors may have been overblown and superficial. To be honest, I’m not much of a fan of “La Dolce Vita” –– it’s too enamored of the “decadence” it purports to decry to be completely honest, although it’s one of Fellini’s

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compensate for a play that is creaky and dated. It trades in fairly stereotypical characters — the cantankerous father, wastrel brother, long-suffering mother, and so on — and has little to say outside the quaint notion of family honor above all. “Let right be done!” is the refrain that rings through at various points. Many of the more exciting plot turns happen offstage and are reported on by other characters. When something actually happens onstage, however, it can be quite delightful. The family calls in the famous lawyer Sir Robert

most entertaining works. “The Great Beauty” retains the hedonism but ups the melancholy, particularly in its second half. Unfortunately, it seems to expect the audience to find it a revelation that all-night partying often conceals an underlying sadness. Forget “La Dolce Vita” –– you can learn that from many reality shows. Sorrentino was born a decade after Fellini’s film was made. One gets the sense that he’s mour ning the lost potential of his parents’ generation. The ‘60s brought the debuts of numerous major Italian filmmakers. After that point, Italian cinema thinned out considerably. The decadence to which Fellini pointed can be seen in the disappointments of recent Italian films like Matteo Garrone’s “Reality” and Nanni Moretti’s “We Have a Pope.” It may say something about the Italian national character that “The Great Beauty” seems equally infatuated with strippers and nuns. More troublingly, it seems to blame women for Italy’s aesthetic decline. Early on, Jep interviews a pretentious performance artist who specializes in bashing her head into stone walls. He takes in another performance by an angry young girl who hurls paint on a canvas and splashes around in the results, in a parody of Abstract Expressionism. When a writer gives a self-righteous speech at a party, Jep gives a


GREAT BEAUTY, continued on p.31

Morton, who may or may not take the case, and his examination of 13-yearold Ronnie, the alleged criminal, is lively and dramatic. Later, when Sir Robert woos daughter Catherine Winslow, the tension is both comic and heartbreaking, very nearly a satire of British reserve. Still, the play, clocking in at nearly three hours, can’t quite generate excitement. The cast is excellent. Roger Rees is the patriarch, and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio plays his wife. Both are sure and appealing in their parts. Michael Cumpsty, the family’s regular lawyer who is in love with Catherine and hopes to win her after she’s jilted, is appealing. The evening, though, belongs to Charlotte Parry as Catherine and Alessandro Nivola as Sir Robert. It is these two who bring real life to an otherwise overly staid evening.

| November 13, 2013



An Odyssey’s Payoff Too Long Delayed BY GARY M. KRAMER


ame Judi Dench plays the title role in “Philomena,” a film “inspired by true events” about a workingclass Irish woman who was sent to a convent as a pregnant teen. There, her child is taken away from her and adopted by an American couple. Now, 50 years later, Philomena enlists the aid of Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan, who co-wrote the screenplay), a disgraced journalist, to find the son she never knew.

PHILOMENA Directed by Stephen Frears The Weinstein Company Opens Nov. 22 Paris Theatre 4 W. 58th St. Landmark Sunshine Cinemas 143 E. Houston St., btwn. First & Second Aves.

Martin agrees to perform this service so that he can write a human interest story about Philomena. But the pair’s efforts to answer questions about her son make for a slow-going first hour of the film. Only when a queer twist is introduced does the film become engaging. One of the problems with “Philomena” is its lack of subtlety in contrasting its two main characters. Martin is snobbish champagne to romance-novel reader Philomena’s


diluted Bucks Fizz. He makes things happen, while she lacks savvy about how the world works. They rub each other the wrong way but eventually rub off on each other. Thankfully, there are a few graceful moments at the film’s end that demonstrate how the characters have changed as a result of their experiences together. Dench often plays an elegant, smart lady, but in “Philomena” she is cast against type. Her unsophisticated character shocks Martin by saying the word “clitoris,” knowing what a gay man’s “beard” is, and wanting to watch Martin Lawrence cross-dressing in “Big Momma’s House 2” in the American hotel where their search takes them. Viewers might be amused by the estimable actress making all of this sound convincing, but really it is as dreadful as it sounds. Coogan’s Martin tries to contain his exasperation at Philomena, and some viewers may find themselves doing the same thing. Dench does have a few strong moments. Recalling her quickie r omance that pr oduced her son, Philomena admits the sex, however sinful, was amazing. The regret and joy in her voice register clearly. Similarly, her reaction to various bits of news about her son proves poignant. Under director Stephen Frears, however, the storytelling is often high melodrama, as when syrupy music swells and a young Philomena is prevented from saying goodbye to her child as he looks out the back window of a car while being taken away. The cliché fails to achieve

SEA MONSTERS, from p.27

mystical power of dreams. The first-rate performers, most taking on multiple roles, go a long way to ground the proceedings. If many characters remain cartoons, the leads shade their roles with unexpected depth. Greasy-haired Campbell plays the wretched Calvin with wry sensitivity and makes his stunning transformation credible. Despite Aubrey’s religious fervor and harebrained antics, Heisler adds just enough sweetness and humanity to keep us on her side. “I know it’s the dream of every woman to be married,” Aubrey says. “And I know from personal experience that you can make these things happen if you believe them hard enough.” Meyer can’t resist tossing in a few topical rants to bulk up the play. When complaining about fat cats who kept their jobs while putting millions of Americans out of work, Aubrey asks, “At what point did we become two Americas? At what point did Greed stop being one of the seven deadly sins?” Unfortunately, like the sketch comedies from which


Judy Dench, Steve Coogan don’t quite click in Stephen Frears’ “Philomena”

Judi Dench and Steve Coogan in Stephen Frears’ “Philomena.”

the emotional payoff. Likewise, when Philomena returns to the convent and arrives at the window and gate where she last saw her son, the “haunted by the awful past” feeling seems contrived. As Martin and Philomena wend their way from Ireland to the US, encountering a variety of characters who lead them to some truths, they discuss their beliefs in God and sin. Even here, the passion feels forced. The chemistry between two very fine actors never quite works. It may be that Dench is capital-A Acting, exaggerating Philomena’s quirks, like enjoying the little squares of toast — croutons, the sophisticated Martin would call them — at the salad bar. What both the film and Dench do get right is the regret Philomena has about

it was inspired, “The Patron Saint of Sea Monsters” may be too clever for its own good. The jokes are hitand-miss, and there are passages where levity gives way to tedium.

burying the secret memory of her son in a convent for 50 years. As Philomena struggles with the decision to go public in Martin’s story, we can see her inner pain and anxiety. There are too few moments of genuine emotion like this in the film, though at the end Philomena takes an action that is surprisingly powerful and oddly transcendent. Only in its closing moments does “Philomena” become the redemption tale it should be, and that may be the redemption of the film itself. But in a film that spends most of its time showcasing the odd couple antics of Dench and Coogan –– enjoyable as they are at certain moments ––it’s a shame Frears took so long to reach the inspired storytelling he was capable of.

Yet despite any shortcomings, this warped dramedy leaves us with a marvelous sense of wonder and renewed faith that in this wild world, any goal is worth going for. A dream shattered is still far better than no dream at all.

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November 13, 2013 |


Adjmi’s Antoinette

Heady play about headless queen, a seriously fun ride, Village boo! time BY DAVID NOH



eeks after seeing it, I still haven’t been able to get David Adjmi’s stunning play, “Marie Antoinette,” out of my head. It’s my best theatrical experience of the year so far. It runs through November 24 and I urge you to catch it at all costs (46 Walker St., btwn. Church St. & Broadway; I interviewed sexy, smart Adjmi in the cushy midtown digs Soho Rep has provided for him. I was surprised to learn that, unlike me, he was not a diehard Antoinette obsessive, a passion that started for me at seven when I saw a picture of her and asked my Aunt Mary who she was. “The queen of France who had her head chopped off” was all she needed to say –– plus that gown! The play is divinely researched and accurate, but Adjmi said, “I didn’t know a ton about Marie Antoinette and wasn’t that fixated on her. But when I wrote the play, I became fascinated and read Antonia Fraser and all the other different books about her. It’s funny because I wrote this in 2006 before Sofia Coppola’s movie came out. I finished it in March and the film went to Cannes that May so it was very much in the zeitgeist. People compare the two, but I haven’t seen the film, didn’t want to know about it. As soon as I wrote the play, I found out about the movie and I thought, ‘Oh Jesus Christ!’ It didn’t do well and I think that’s one of the reasons why my play didn’t get done back then. “The character of my Marie is fused with me. I didn’t know her but felt something when I was researching her, a weird stirring inside. I thought, ‘I think I understand and know who this girl is,’ so I fused her with me and people I know and the culture in 2006. I thought about George Bush, the scion of a politically powerful family, put in this position he wasn’t really equipped for and not knowing what was going on. It was a kaleidoscope of stuff that informed the writing. I never wanted to do a literal historical rendering of her. I’m not good at that and never want to watch those plays, anyway. It felt very raw and immediate to me to interpose this personal stuff into this historical context and see what happened. So she’s real strung out and real neurotic, like a Jewish mother Marie Antoinette [chuckles].”

David Adjmi, whose play “Marie Antoinette” runs at the Soho Rep through November 24.

The direction, by Rebecca Taichman, is audaciously brilliant, in this minimal yet immensely rich production. In her film, even with full cinematic resources, Coppola copped out and ended it before the French Revolution began. On Soho Rep’s tiny, narrow stage, the entire nightmare is vividly evoked through a battery of ingenious effects. “At our first production meeting, we were thinking, ‘How the fuck are we gonna do this without turning it into ‘Les Miz,’ people with blackened teeth, etc.?,’” Adjmi recalled. “It could be really horrible so we had to do it in a non-literal way, so I wrote these projected titles, like headlines, and Marie spins around the stage reading about what’s happening to her. “This production is very different from the one we did previously at Yale Repertory. When we got this offer, we thought, ‘We can’t do the same production, which was a spectacle with costume changes and wigs flying up and back down to the ground. We even dropped a heavy sheet of dirt on Marie and it was like thud!, and the audience screamed, a very visceral, different kind of experience. Rebecca said, ‘Let’s just drop everything.’ Maybe two or three things from the original production remain, but we totally reinvented the wheel. Rebecca’s extraordinary.”

Marin Ireland could very well be giving the performance of the year in the title role: “What she’s being asked to do here not a lot can do. It’s very tricky, switching to extremes from moment to moment. She starts out like this comic virtuoso and then spirals into this German tragedy. At our first reading seven years ago, I said, ‘Let’s just read. I don’t want to say too much,’ and she just played it like a score, uncanny. We have a real connection and it was exactly the way I heard it in my head when writing it, which never happens. Because I never think its gonna be so clear –– even wonderful actors can’t hear what I hear. But she could hear the music and when you find someone like that, you’re like, ‘Ohmigod, don’t leave me!’” The production has Marie’s two best friends, the Princesse de Lamballe and the Duchesse de Polignac, played by an Asian and black actress, respectively. When I asked why Polignac (Marsha Stephanie Blake) was pregnant in the play, Adjmi smiled, “Honestly, when we started, she was not pregnant, but by the time we got to New York, she was really pregnant. And I couldn’t fire her –– she’s brilliant –– so we’ll work it into the show. It’s funny because the actress who initially played that role at Yale got pregnant and that’s why she couldn’t do it here. There’s something about this role, and the play really is so

much about pregnancy!” Adjmi, a Syrian Jew (who’s single, by the way), grew up in Brooklyn: “Midwood, which is now called Kensington. I guess it was sort of like a ghetto, growing up on Ocean Parkway. I always wanted to be a writer but procrastinated, didn’t know if I could do it, scared. I didn’t come from a family of writers, but business people, like in all the electronics stores on 47th Street –– Crazy Eddie. I was like, I’m not going to do that and escaped to forge this other path for myself. “Being gay for me was hard. It was bad, the 1980s, a very homophobic environment, and I wrote about that a little in my play ‘Stunning’ and probably deal with that in all my work. I think that experience of being an outsider really informs all of my work as a writer, in general. Not just as a gay man, but that feeling of being excluded. I just read this great quote from an introduction of Brecht plays, written by Eric Bentley, where he said, ‘God is really on the periphery.’ He’s not in the center and it’s so interesting, a privileged position to be on the perimeter of something because you get to observe things and really have more of an overview in some ways. So for an artist, it’s a very good thing, a gift. You just have to know how to convert it. “My family was not at all cool with me being gay. I went to a therapist and he got me to come out and then tried to do a conversion on me to make me into a bisexual and get married off. That didn’t work, but I tried, I tried… It’s funny, like some gigantic sedimentary rock I carry, like some of the trauma of that. But now we’re living in a different time, so you feel kind of like, ‘Oh wait, I’m not supposed to feel that way, I’m supposed to be liberated!’ These younger people that I teach and meet, gay guys in their 20s, have no idea about our difficult past. It’s interesting to feel that discrepancy, like a dinosaur or artifact, almost like from McCarthyism. “I don’t have a big gay play in me. I don’t think like that. ‘3C’ maybe was my big gay play but people hated it, although some loved it. It was very polarizing. It was me re-enacting my trauma watching the show ‘Three’s Company’ when I was a little boy and going, ‘What is this?’ It seemed like being gay was a joke and I thought, ‘Wait, am I gay? Oh, no, I’m a joke!’


IN THE NOH, continued on p.31


| November 13, 2013


IN THE NOH, from p.30

“So in a way, I was writing about this, but I don’t think in those terms, although maybe I should. I really like William Hoffman’s ‘As Is’ and Larry’s ‘The Normal Heart,’ but I wonder what a gay play would be now because I don’t think anyone has written it. What does it mean now to be a gay man or woman? Or trans –– I think there are some very interesting young trans writers, and I’d like to see what that play is, exploring sexuality in that way. I don’t want to see another gay farce thing. That we know –– it’s been done. Now what? I want to see something that critiques us and will blow my mind. Okay, is this who we are now?”

The Ride has been going on for a while now, but I just took

it for the first time and loved it! This interactive bus tour of New York, which happens aboard a specially outfitted bus, one side of which is openly glasspaned and fully visible from the street, has a special haunted edition that was one hilariously twisted blast. Highly apocryphal and highly funny ghost tales were spun by the two seriously droll, adorable hosts –– both total improv virtuosos –– and lo and behold, said ghosts would magically appear before us at different stops, singing and tap dancing. In one particularly enchanting Manhattan vignette, a couple twirled together around Columbus Circle with all of the magical élan of Astaire and Rogers. And all of this was happening in the midst of normal Manhattanites, going about their daily business, most of them amusingly and completely oblivious to their shenanigans. Or maybe they just didn’t want to be hit upon for spare change. There was, however, a lot of wonderful, euphoric street reaction to our bus from various random pedestrians, who did everything from striking muscle poses to performing an impromptu moonwalk routine. And, inevitably our guides would point out those most haunted New York spots of all, the Duane Reades, “haunted by people who ate the sushi,


GREAT BEAUTY, from p.28

withering run-down of every little hypocrisy of her life. If what he says is true, she has no right to be snooty about other people’s failures, but Jep never shows the same anger toward male hypocrites in his milieu. Sorrentino may want to be Fellini, but the level of accomplishment of “The Great Beauty’ is closer to Baz Luhrmann. To be fair, it does adult sentiment better than “The Great Gatsby,” which felt like an adolescent’s toy. “The Great Beauty” may not exactly feel superior to Jep, but it

used their makeup, died in line waiting for the cashier to figure out how a touch screen cash register works.” (

Maybe it was still too soon after Hurricane Sandy, or the

weather, or the threatened cancellation of the Sixth Avenue parade, but this year Halloween in the West Village was smaller and therefore more fun than it’s been in ages. There was no need to escape my building on Christopher Street, as the crowds were manageable, the cops non-intrusive, and only diehard, hard-core celebrants seemed to be out and about. We had a serious blast, just making the rounds of what gay watering holes are left in the nabe –– raucous tranny haven Boots & Saddle, venerable bear den Ty’s,

“I wonder what a gay play would be now; I want to see something that critiques us and will blow my mind. ” my “living room” Julius, and, best of all, the Monster, which, with its twerking thugs downstairs and happy brayers of Judy/ Liza songs upstairs, still remains a wonderfully raffish Queer Heaven. Adorable married couple Julian Hussey and Bill Bolter were my guests from Bath, England. I dressed as my ladyboy alter ego, Donna Ho, and discovered just why such eminences of the genre as Lady Bunny and Joey Arias so enjoy being a girl. It’s the stoopid, grinding trade, stupid!


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critiques an Italian culture in which no one owns a TV, ever mentions Silvio Berlusconi, or has to worry about money or unemployment. (Freelance journalists should all move to Rome if Sorrentino’s portrait of their lifestyles there is accurate!) The only alternative presented is turning into a parody of Mother Teresa. Any resemblance to reality, though, is somewhat beside the point: Sorrentino is making cinema about cinema. He’s talented enough that “The Great Beauty” is often captivating and always holds one’s attention, but its soul seems to be missing.






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32 EQUALITY, from p.9

riage in Maine (three years after rejecting the Legislature’s gay marriage measure), and turned back a constitutional ban in Minnesota (which just months later enacted its own gay marriage law). Suddenly, the idea the community could win at the battle box was proven a viable option. It may now be the most predictable route to advancement. “Would we prefer not going to the ballot?,” Freedom to Marry’s Solomon asked. “Yes, but it’s the way to win. Until we get a federal court ruling in our favor, it may be the only way to win in many places.” For Solomon and other leading advocates in the fight, including the ACLU, the next ballot box battleground is Oregon, where his group points to polling from last December showing pro-equality support at 54 percent. The state is a logical target for other reasons, as well. Bordered on the north by Washington and the south by California, Oregon implemented a civil union-style law in 2007 and, just last month, began honoring same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions based on an opinion from the state’s Department of Justice. Solomon, the ACLU’s Esseks, and other advocates also agreed on the other top targets for voter referendums –– Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, Michigan, and Ohio. The ballot effort in those states, however, would not be undertaken until 2016. Defensive referendums still provoke anxiety among gay marriage advocates, who are fighting to forestall a constitutional amendment vote next year in Indiana and to block any effort by legislators in New Mexico to overturn a potential state court victory there. Since legislatures cannot enact laws to get around constitutional amendments and it is also difficult to challenge them in state courts, the other key avenue for expanding the map is through federal litigation. When the American Foundation for Equal Rights, a newly formed group, announced in 2009 that it was mounting a federal court challenge to Prop 8, leading LGBT legal advocacy groups reacted with dismay –– worried that, with the current Supreme Court composition, there was a distinct risk of locking in a bad ruling. By the time the high court this June allowed a district court decision striking down the voter initiative to stand, views had changed considerably. And AFER’s founder, Chad Griffin, was sitting at the helm of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s leading LGBT lobby group. Though it restored gay marriage to California, the Prop 8 case in and of itself did not indicate where the Supreme Court stands on the question of a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry –– except, perhaps, that it is not yet ready to decide. District Judge Vaughn Walker issued a sweeping ruling in AFER’s favor identifying such a right,



November 13, 2013 |

but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed him on narrower grounds, finding that the constitutional problem lay in the voters’ decision to take away a right gay Californians previously enjoyed as a result of a ruling from that state’s Supreme Court. On technical grounds, the US Supreme Court voided the appellate ruling and let stand Walker’s decision –– without establishing any precedent on the underlying issue. Still, given the opinions written by Walker and by federal courts in a variety of cases that led to this June’s win over DOMA at the Supreme Court, legal advocates have become emboldened about the issue being winnable for keeps at the nation’s highest court. Several dozen cases challenging state marriage bans –– brought by the leading LGBT litigation firms and, in some cases, by private attorneys alone –– are now working their way through the federal courts, with no certainty as to which might move most quickly, either in winning marriage in a particular state or in getting the broader issue before the Supreme Court. One of them, a lawsuit by Lambda Legal, involves Nevada, which has both a constitutional amendment barring gay marriage and a broad domestic partnership law analogous to a civil union statute. Lambda’s original filing in the case focused on the argument that Nevada could not give couples all the rights and benefits of marriage but deny their unions the label of marriage, a perspective in line with the logic of the Ninth Circuit ruling in the Prop 8 case, which emphasized that California’s domestic partnership law did just that. Lambda lost at the district court level, but that ruling addressed the broader question of a constitutional right to marriage, an issue that Lambda has expanded on in its pending appeal to the Ninth Circuit. Because the case is already in the appellate phase, it has the potential to be the first of the new round of federal challenges to make it to the high court, though the ACLU’s Esseks noted that the Ninth Circuit is historically the slowest to act. It could also be that a victory in Nevada would be narrowly tailored to states that give same-sex couples broad

domestic partnership benefits, but not marriage, a group that also includes Colorado and Oregon. Most of the other federal marriage suits do not fit the specific fact pattern of Nevada, California, Colorado, and Oregon, and may therefore pose the fundamental question more directly. Lambda has filed suit regarding West Virginia, and in tandem with the ACLU regarding Virginia, whose marriage ban is also being challenged by AFER. The ACLU is also active in litigation over North Carolina’s constitutional ban on gay marriage and Pennsylvania’s statutory ban. The NCLR has recently filed new suits regarding Idaho and Tennessee in federal court. In Michigan, a federal lawsuit by a lesbian couple, April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, challenging the state’s ban on joint adoption, was amended at the suggestion of the judge to include a challenge to that state’s marriage ban. Michigan’s motion for summary judgment was denied, with the judge, Bernard Friedman, finding that the Supreme Court’s June decision in the DOMA case strengthened the “plausibility” of the couple’s claims. That case goes to trial in February, and the couple is represented by private counsel, though with the amicus support of the ACLU of Michigan. In Ohio, a federal district court judge ruled that a Cincinnati couple who married in Maryland, James Obergefell and John Arthur, were entitled to a temporary restraining order requiring the local registrar of death certificates to record them as married when Arthur, who was critically ill with Lou Gehrig’s disease and has since died, were to pass away. That order was later expanded to include another Ohio gay spouse who died, and the judge has now allowed a gay funeral director in Cincinnati to carry on the case as a “third-party plaintiff” eligible to assert a claim on behalf of future clients. In issuing his original restraining order, the judge, Timothy S. Black, cited Edie Windsor’s victory over DOMA, finding that Ohio may well be violating a same-sex married couple’s equal protection rights when treating them differently than other married couples. He also noted, “Ohio law has historically and

unambiguously provided that the validity of a marriage is determined by whether it complies with the law of the jurisdiction where it was celebrated.” The Ohio case –– being argued by Alphonse Adam Gerhardstein, a prominent gay right litigator in the state –– is focused on outof-state recognition, but clearly Black’s reliance on the DOMA equal protection finding has broader implications. No leading advocate will get into the business of predicting how judges will rule, but the ACLU’s Esseks and Freedom to Marry’s Solomon agree that as cases move through the courts –– state benches in New Mexico and elsewhere and in numerous federal districts –– the work of advocates at all levels is additive. Public education, underway everywhere but especially in those states where referendums are likely –– both proactive and defensive –– could pay off not only at the ballot box but also in the national conversation. And the national mood –– coupled with the metrics of marriage equality’s advance –– will likely play a critical role if and when the Supreme Court takes up the constitutional question directly. After making an obligatory nod to the importance of legal argumentation, Esseks said of the high court, “They, like the rest of us, live in the real world… We will want to answer the questions of where is public opinion? How many marriage equality states are there? What percentage of the population lives in those states? We want them to see a country that is ready to embrace this.” Solomon noted two historical examples regarding the Supreme Court –– the 1967 Loving ruling that struck down the nation’s remaining laws barring interracial marriage and the 2003 Lawrence ruling that eliminated sodomy laws. In the 19 years after the California Supreme Court threw out that state’s miscegenation law, just under half of the 30 states with similar statutes did away with theirs. The high court upheld Georgia’s sodomy statute in 1986, when 24 states still had similar laws. By 2003 –– the year of the Lawrence ruling reversing the 1986 decision –– another 10 states and the District of Columbia had followed a pattern begun by Illinois in 1962 in jettisoning such statutes. Freedom to Marry’s game plan is predicated on achieving, by 2016, public support for marriage equality nationwide above 60 percent and more than half of the nation’s population living in states that give same-sex couples the right to marry. “We really do think that the court will see that the nation is ready,” he explained. Esseks acknowledged the efforts underway are also necessary in the event the litigation route proves to be a dead end. “The work we do in the states is to prepare for the Supreme Court or, if we lose in the Supreme Court, to do the longer slog that would follow,” he said.

| November 13, 2013

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Unending Camp

Gay and camp have long enjoyed a close relationship, sometime even a monogamous one — that is, until the nuts from the “ex-gay” movement started their own camps, summer and otherwise. “Gay Camp” is Philip Mutz and SusanKate Heaney's hit cabaret comedy show, directed by Phillip Fazio, about the trials and tribulations of the gay campers. The Duplex, 61 Christopher St. at Seventh Ave. S., Sheridan Sq. Nov. 15, Dec. 5 & 20, 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the or 212-255-5438, and there’s a two-drink minimum.


GALLERY In Bed With Abraham Lincoln NOVEMBER 22: Is Julie Klausner too gay for Brooklyn?


With more than 225 short films, features, art installations, and live performances –– all made by and for LGBTQ folks –– MIX, the 26th New York Queer Experimental Film Festival transforms a 20,000-square-foot warehouse in Gowanus, Brooklyn. The gallery and gathering spaces are free and open to the public, turned into a living organism, complete with a monumental pair of breathing lungs, neuron lattices, fleshy openings, and veiny interiors. Beyond the screenings themselves, you can easily loose a few hours exploring the nooks and crannies of the site. 521 Third. Ave., btwn. 12th & 13th Sts., Brooklyn. Nov. 12-17. For a complete guide to the film and event schedule, visit Film admission is $13; $20 for closing night, and free to those under 21 or living with AIDS.

PERFORMANCE Hatchet Against the Hooch

“Smashed: The Carrie Nation Story,” an absurd booze-opera from James Barry and Opera on Tap, tells the story of the Temperance Movement’s hatchet-wielding icon in a fully immersive, allbar-encompassing production. Freddy’s Bar and Backroom, 627 Fifth Ave. at 17th St., Brooklyn. Nov. 14, 8 p.m. Free admission.


GALLERY New from the Pop Factory

Larry Krone’s work has been described by Holland Cotter as “an expression of manufactured pop emotion taken seriously.” In “Larry


MUSIC Mavis Staples’ New Jam

BOOKS Limited Edition Bianchi & an Unlimited Celebration

Tom Bianchi signs copies of his new book, “Fire Island Pines: Polaroids, 1975-1983.” A collector’s edition of the book is published in a limited run of 67 numbered copies, which can be pre-ordered at Bureau of General Services –– Queer Division, 83A Hester St., btwn. Orchard & Allen Sts. Nov. 15, 8 p.m. BGSQD celebrates its one-year anniversary tonight with a party that follows the book signing.

PERFORMANCE Get Your Albo Out of the Buzz Saw

In “The Junket,” Mike Albo presents a harrowing but hilarious tale of a writer living/ trapped in New York for two decades. After starting a column for the country's most influential newspaper, he goes on a crazy, over-the-top press junket and becomes a gossip item and a pawn in the acrimonious war between Old and New Media. David Schweizern directs. Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie St., btwn. Delancey & Rivington Sts. Nov. 15-16, 10 p.m. Tickets are $17; $15 for students & seniors at or 212-219-0736; $20 at the door.



Krone: Together Again,” the artist goes beyond expressing these borrowed emotions and infiltrates the culture of the objects, music, and traditions closest to him to explore their immediate access to our hearts. The exhibition’s centerpiece is “Then and Now (Cape Collaboration),” a glittering, floor-length cape, fully embroidered and encrusted with hand-sewn sequins, not an inch of its surface left unadorned by intricate handiwork. Pierogi, 177 N. Ninth St., btwn. Bedford & Driggs Aves., Williamsburg. Nov. 15-Dec. 22. Tue.-Sun., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Opening reception is Nov. 15, 7-9 p.m. More information at

Artist Skylar Fein’s work combines factual and fictional histories, proposing evidence of uncertain moments through his imagery and objects. In the 1830s, Abraham Lincoln shared a bedroom with Joshua Speed in Springfield, Illinois. Many historians, biographers, and scholars have speculated about the nature of their relationship, causing an ongoing debate about Lincoln's sexuality, with strong cases about the 16th president’s samesex attractions coming from C.A. Tripp and Larry Kramer. Since no photographs exist of the Speed residence, the artist relied on photos and sketches of similar structures, as well as on his imagination to create an impressionistic and slightly hallucinatory re-creation that is far from a museum periodroom. C24 Gallery 514 W. 24th St. Through Dec. 21. Tue.-Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Mavis Staples is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner. With a bold new album, “You Are Not Alone,” the legendary vocalist adds a remarkable new chapter to an historic career. Tonight, Staples appears with Ryan Montbleau, whose band has its roots in the Northeast but in its newest album explores the slow-cooked sound of New Orleans. City Winery, 155 Varick St. at Vandam St. Nov. 17, 8 p.m. Doors open at 6. And then on Nov. 19, 8 p.m., Staples appears with Deadly Gentleman, a Boston-based quintet that employs acoustic guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, and double bass — a lineup usually associated with traditional bluegrass

but that in the Gentlemen’s hands lends itself to music that defies conventional genre notions. Tickets for both shows are $55-$65 at City Winery has a full dinner menu.

An Evening Showcasing Isabel Leonard

The New York Choral Society returns for its 20th year at the Richard Tucker Music Foundation Gala. In an evening led by maestro Riccardo Frizza, the Gala concert feature mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, winner of the prestigious Richard Tucker Award, conferred annually upon an artist on the threshold of a major international career. Others performing include Stephanie Blythe, Joyce DiDonato, Renee Fleming, Susan Graham, Angela Meade, Matthew Polenzani, and Patricia Racette. Avery Fisher Hall, 10 Lincoln Center Plaza. Nov. 17, 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $40-$150 at


CABARET Marcovicci’s Golden Voice

Andrea Marcovicci celebrates her 65th birthday with an all-new show, “Moonlight Cocktail,” a tribute to that that bygone era of sophisticated nightlife, with the sounds of singers who enthralled –– including Mabel Mercer, Bobby Short, Julie Wilson, Hildegarde, Portia Nelson, and Billie Holiday. Joe’s Pub, inside the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Pl. Nov. 18, 7 & 9 p.m. Tickets are $20 at the bar; $40 reserved; $50 premium at

BENEFIT LGBT Health Trailblazers

In its annual Community Health Awards honoring the leaders and trailblazers in the field of LGBT health and wellness, the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center recognizes the contributions of Harris M. Nagler, president of the Beth Israel Medical Center, Claudia Slacik, of the US Export-Import Bank, Michael Bayer, a lecturer at Baruch College/ City University of New York, and Humberto Cruz, the recently retired director of the New York AIDS Institute. Julie Halston (“Anything Goes,” “Sex and the City”) hosts the evening, which includes cocktails, dinner, entertainment, and the awards ceremony. Espace, 635 W. 42nd St. Nov. 18, 6-9 p.m. Tickets begin at $350 at

Art Against Hate

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation hosts its annual art auction and benefit, an evening of cocktails, hors d’ oeuvres, and variations of art –– from music and film to silent and live auction pieces. Adrienne Cook is the evening’s art curator. The Level at Metropolitan Pavilion, 123 W 18th St., 5 fl. Nov. 18, 6-9:30 p.m. Tickets are $99 at

POLITICS Happy Days Are Here Again The Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club holds its Post-Election Celebration and Award Ceremony in an evening that features Tony Award winners Alan Cumming (“Cabaret”) and Billy Porter (“Kinky Boots”). The home of Mark Green and Deni


MON.NOV.18, continued on p.35


| November 13, 2013


sionals in the community. Tonight, Alex LaCase, the group’s youth programming manager, Tom Hernandez, its homecoming project manager, Jeff Hagan, its marketing associate, and founder Leo Preziosi, Jr. host an open house for adults interested in contributing to the Live Out Loud mission. Wine and cheese will be served. Live Out Loud, 570 Seventh Ave., ninth fl. Nov. 21, 6-7:30 p.m. RSVP to

MON.NOV.18, from p.34

Frand, 43 E. 19th St., Apt. 3. Nov. 18, 7:30 p.m. for VIP reception; 8-10 for the main event. For tickets and information, call 212-741-3677 or email


In his last contribution to Gay City News, the late Doug Ireland wrote that Tim Teeman “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.” Teeman appears in conversation with Matt Tyrnauer, a film director and Vanity Fair contributor who was a longtime Vidal intimate. LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St. Nov. 19, 7:30-9 p.m.

THEATER Marilyn, Marlene & Frida

Playwright Michelangelo Alasa 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., through Dec. 17. Tickets are $20 at


BUSINESS Opportunities for Black LGBT Business Owners

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), the nation’s leading African-American LGBT civil rights organization, partners with the US Small Business Administration in presenting “Many Faces. One Dream.,” an economic empowerment tour aimed at assisting LGBT small business owners and entrepreneurs in finding the opportunities for growth. New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge, 333 Adams St. Nov. 20-21. Registration is $25 at

BOOKS “Chulito” and More

Celebrating the second anniversary of his debut novel “Chulito,” about a tough, sexy, hip hop-loving young Latino man coming of age and coming out in the South Bronx, Charles Rice-Gonzalez reads from that book and some of his newer work. Borough of Manhattan Community College, 199 Chambers St. at West St. Nov. 20, 2:30 p.m., at a meeting of the Guild, a student club for young writers. Rice-Gonzalez also appears at the Bronx Music Center Lab, 1303 Louis Niñé Blvd. at Southern Blvd., Bronx. Nov. 23, 7:30-9 p.m. Free admission to both events.


BOOKS Gore Vidal Unfiltered

“Nefarious” Night Out

Emanuel Xavier reads from his latest fulllength poetry collection, “Nefarious,” in which he welcomes readers into the later second act of a former underage prostitute. The book captures insights into his private world –– relationships, heartbreaks, life as a spoken word artist, time spent with his cat, aging, and more. EVR NYC, 54 W. 39th St. Nov. 20, 9-11 p.m. Free admission.

HEALTH Positive About Middle Age

SAGE, Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders, and Gay Men’s Health Crisis present “The AIDS Generation: Stories of Survival and Resilience.” The panel is led by Perry N. Halkitis, director of the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior & Prevention Studies and a professor of applied psychology and public health as well as population health at NYU who wrote “The AIDS Generation” based on in-depth interviews with 15 long-term survivors of HIV infection. Eric Bartley, Scott Jordan, and Sean McKenna, three of the men profiled in the book, join the panel. SAGE, 305 Seventh Ave., btwn. 27th & 28th Sts., 15th fl. Nov. 21, 7-8:30 p.m.

CABARET Rizo Rising

It has long been rumored that Lady Rizo is the product of a night of unrestrained indulgence among Peggy Lee, Mel Brooks, Nina Simone, Dean Martin, and Janis Joplin. The truth is she was raised by theatrical gypsies with the highest show business ethics. The chanteuse and comedienne celebrates the release of her debut CD at Joe’s Pub, inside the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Pl. Nov. 20-21, 9:30 p.m. Admission is $20 at; $25 at the door.

NIGHTLIFE Beardonna Benefits the Bronx

Will Clark’s latest edition of “P*rno Bingo” benefits the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance. Guests include the last blonde ambition phenom, Beardonna, and comic Corinne Fisher and Broadway actor Huling Foster. Uncle Charlie’s, 139 E. 45th St. Nov. 20, 7-9 p.m.


BOOKS A Lesbian Take on the Great Awakening

How did a queer gal like Susan Stinson end up spending 10 years researching and writing a novel about the 18th century New England revival leader Jonathan Edwards? Perhaps you can find out when Stinson reads from the novel, “Spider in a Tree.” She appears, along with Holly Hepp-Galvan and John Schuyler Bishop, as part of Kathleen Warnock’s Drunken, Careening Writers series, KGB Bar, 85 E. Fourth St., btwn. Bowery & Second Ave. Nov. 21, 7 p.m. Stinson also appears at the Bloom Readings, with Suzanne Parker and Joseph Quintela, at the Lounge at Hudson View Gardens, W. 183rd St. & Pinehurst Ave. Dec. 15, 5 p.m.

COMMUNITY Pitching In at Live Out Loud

Live Out Loud, which works to empower LGBT youth by connecting them to successful profes-


MUSIC BENEFIT Support Youth in Many Ways

The first single from Jason Lapin, a Saint John University senior who has a voice and style reminiscent of Jack Johnson and John Meyer, was the anti-bullying anthem “Pass It On.” With his new EP, “Friendly to Strangers” arriving, Lapin performs a concert to benefit Camp Sunshine, a camp for terminally ill children. The folk band Stilettos-n-Steel also perform. University Settlement Speyer Hall, 184 Eldridge St. at Rivington St. Nov. 22, 7 p.m. Admission is $20; $10 for students, and additional donations accepted all evening.

CABARET Too Gay for Brooklyn? Really?

Julie Klausner, author of “I Don't Care About Your Band” and the upcoming YA novel “Art Girls Are Easy,” sings some goddamn songs in her first-ever cabaret show, “Too Gay for Brooklyn.” Joe’s Pub, inside the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Pl. Nov. 22-26, 7:30 p.m. Admission is $20 at; $25 at the door.


BOOKS For Filth, Baby, For Filth!

The Bureau of General Services-Queer Division hosts the book launch for Ask Dominick’s “Dominick Reading for Filth,” edited by Dale Corvino and with artwork by Scott Hug, Paul Gellman, Carlo Uranus, Damani Moyd, Miguel Libarnes, Alice O'Malley, and Gio Black Peter. 83A Hester St., btwn. Orchard & Allen Sts. Nov. 23, 7 p.m.


Klezmer on the Holiday Season’s Eve

A septet of musicians from Metropolitan Klezmer presents a pre-holiday Thanksgivukkah concert, recognizing this year’s calendar coincidence of the nation’s day of thanks and the Jewish festival of light. Expect the ensemble’s typically unexpected mash-up of musical genres including klezmer, swing, blues, jazz, and world music. Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia St. near Bleecker St . Nov. 24, 8:30-10 p.m. There’s a $10 cover, with a $10 food & drink minimum. More information at 212-989-9319.


NIGHTLIFE A Monster Carnival of Sin

Daniel Nardicio turns the venerable Monster into a carnival of sin one night before the nation gives thanks. With cotton candy, popcorn, and circus freaks, including Bridget Everett, who has the world’s biggest titties, upstairs and the world’s hottest go go and strong men downstairs, where underwear is mandatory. DJ Johnny Dynell is master of ceremonies. 80 Grove St. in Sheridan Sq. Nov. 27, 10 p.m. Tickets are $20 at; $30 at the door.


THANKSGIVING Celebrate With a Plate

This year, help out the efforts of God’s Love We Deliver –– which provides hot meals at home to people living with AIDS and other life-challenging illnesses –– by sponsoring a holiday meal at $10 a plate. Visit If you can help out in delivering these meals by car, email volunteer@ or call 212-294-8158.


November 13, 2013 |

Getaway to

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

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