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FREE VOLUME ELEVEN, ISSUE TWENTY FIVE DECEMBER 5 - 18, 2012

Meningitis Alert Widened 09 Telly Leung Sings 18 Seabra Guilty of Murder 10 AP Nixes ‘Homophobia’ 15

all the right moves

brought to

Whiz kid choreographer Travis Wall takes the next big step, page 16

‘bare’


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December 5, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

All the Right Moves Brought to ‘Bare’ Travis Wall takes the next big step 16

Illustration by Michael Michae Shirey

REMEMBRANCE Gus Archilla, marriage equality fighter into his 90s, dies 12

FILM Alan Cumming on his turn as a drag queen pioneer for same-sex parenting rights 17

FROM THE EDITOR This Christmas, support our community 26

21, 28-29


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| December 5, 2012

POLITICS

Nathan Schaefer’s Agenda Marriage equality in hand, new Pride Agenda chief faces other challenges, uncertain Albany leadership BY PAUL SCHINDLER

GAY CITY NEWS

E

ighteen months after New York joined an elite group of states that have legalized marriage equality and less than 30 days after what he called “a very exciting election,� Nathan Schaefer faces a path that in critical respects is largely uncharted as he assumes the leadership of the Empire State Pride Agenda (ESPA). New York is the largest of the nine states that currently give same-sex couples equality in civil marriage, but it is behind 16 states and the District of Columbia in affording nondiscrimination protections to its transgender and other gender-nonconforming residents. Ten years have elapsed since a gay rights law was enacted in Albany, and ESPA now cites passage of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, or GENDA, as its top priority. Other major challenges face the group as well. Homelessness among LGBT youth continues to defy a solution in New York City, with up to 40 percent of the estimated 3,800 young people living on the streets on any given night self-identifying as queer. The City Council engages in an annual duel with the Bloomberg administration to restore cuts in homeless youth services proposed in the mayor’s executive budget, while the first budget out of Governor Andrew Cuomo after he took office in early 2011 slashed spending in that area by 50 percent. Advocates say there are a mere 250 shelter beds funded by government available to homeless youth in the city, with perhaps another 100 paid for from other sources. Whatever the shortfall in resources for youth, there is substantially less public and community attention to the emerging needs of an exploding population of out LGBT seniors. The Pride Agenda coordinates a state network of more than 50 health and human service organizations that serve an estimated 800,000 LGBT New Yorkers annually, but while the group has been able to maintain funding out of the governor’s budget at more than $5 million in recent years — despite the Great Recession — additional allocations from the State Senate and Assembly, which totaled more than 3.5 million in 2009, went away when so-called member items were eliminated. ESPA also has responsibility for monitoring implementation of legislation previously enacted. One example is the rollout of the Dignity for All Students ant-bullying measure that was passed in 2010 — and amended this year to include cyberbullying — but is only now coming online. All this is a tall order, especially for a group that some in the community no doubt believe has already achieved its most important goal. Schaefer, however, betrays no sense that he sees his role as that of caretaker over a group whose biggest victory is behind it. In a mid-November interview, asked how his first month in the job had gone, the 31-year-old former public policy director at the Gay Men’s Health Crisis responded, “Very good. It has certainly been overwhelming, but also exciting and thrilling. And I’ve gotten great support, from the staff, and from the board, and from people across the state.� The week before, Schaefer had toured Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo, in a trip that included a visit with the parents of a transgender son.

Nathan Schaefer, the Pride Agenda’s new executive director, addresses the tasks ahead in the group’s Manhattan office.

“I can’t tell you enough about their interest and enthusiasm� for ESPA’s work, he said. The story those parents shared, he explained, is an important part of the group’s efforts to emphasize to legislators looking at GENDA “who it affects.� There is no question, however, that Schaefer faces the tasks ahead with more limited resources. He said that the group’s fall dinner in Manhattan exceeded its roughly $1 million fundraising goal, but acknowledged its planners aimed lower than the “unprecedented� affair held in 2011, when the marriage victory was still fresh. Louis A. Bradbury, ESPA’s board chair, speaking at a November 28 event where the group’s strategic priorities through 2015 were outlined, said the current budget is about ten percent down from last year’s. There are more than a few ironies in the fact that success on the marquee issue of gay marriage would constrain fundraising at ESPA, not least of which is that married same-sex couples in New York are still denied every single benefit of marriage available under federal law — an inequality that involves the most important considerations, including IRS tax filing, inheritance rights, and Social Security survivor benefits. For that reason, perhaps more than any other, ESPA is exploring options for moving beyond its traditional exclusive focus on state and municipal level advocacy into work on the federal level. Both Schaefer and board co-chair Norman C. Simon, at the November 28 strategic priorities gathering, talked about how an extensive outreach effort the group recently undertook — that involved Internet surveys and focus groups, as well as individual interviews with donors and community leaders — uncovered support for ESPA striking out in this direction. “We don’t know exactly what this looks like,� Schaefer said on November 28, though he indicated it would likely begin with an exploration of how to work with New York’s congressional delegation, in which Democrats and Republicans alike now represent a state with thousands of same-sex married couples denied federal recognition. “There is the opportunity, and the time is now,� Schaefer told Gay City News earlier in the month about

the challenges his group could tackle in Washington. “We now have access to thousands of married couples, and they and we have stories to tell.� A big part of the role Schaefer clearly believes ESPA can play is in “demonstrating the need� these couples have for righting the wrong of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Acknowledging that the group has not explored what federal government resources could be generated to support homeless LGBT youth, he said much the same tack — documenting the unmet need — could be taken in advocating on that issue in Washington. And, of course, the lack of a transgender civil rights law in New York — along with the absence of any protections for the LGBT communities in more than half the states — provides an urgent need for action in Washington on the long-stalled Employment Non-Discrimination Act and on a potential executive order from President Barack Obama barring anti-LGBT job bias by federal government contractors. For ESPA, though, the most pressing case to be made is on behalf of GENDA. At an October 24 state legislative hearing held in Lower Manhattan, the Pride Agenda and other advocates, including the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, spelled out stark statistics documenting the realities of transgender life — on-the-job harassment of up to three-quarters of the community and discriminatory firings affecting 20 percent, homelessness experienced by two out of three transgender New Yorkers at some point in their life, physical or sexual assault inflicted on up to a third of the population, and attempted suicide rates 25 times the national average. The legal landscape for New York’s transgender community, however, is not uniform. With the recent enactment of a civil rights ordinance in Syracuse, the state’s most populated cities — including New York, Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, Binghamton, and Ithaca — all provide protections based on gender identity and expression, as do Westchester, Suffolk, and Tompkins Counties. But as ESPA’s transgender rights organizer, Christopher Argyros, pointed out, a resident of Suffolk County who works in Nassau County has housing protection but not employment protection. The same could be said of Westchester

䉴

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| December 5, 2012

HEALTH

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City Steps Up Meningitis Alert Amidst Callen-Lorde Criticism LGBT health clinic says push lagging as health department broadens vaccination warning to HIV-negative men BY DUNCAN OSBORNE

C

iting new meningitis cases among gay and bisexual men in addition to the 12 it reported on September 27, New York City’s health department expanded the target population for its meningitis vaccine campaign in a November 29 announcement. And the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, the Chelsea clinic that has vaccinated about 700 of the nearly 2,000 people vaccinated to date, is saying the health department is moving slowly and not publicizing the campaign sufficiently. The department first noted the outbreak on September 27. On October 4, it recommended vaccination for any HIV-positive man who had sex “with another man that he met through a website, digital application (‘App’), or at a bar or party since September 1.” In the latest alert, the department recommended that men, regardless of HIV status, who live in ten North Brooklyn neighborhoods and have had sex with another man since September 1 should get vaccinated. The agency also suggested that men who have had sex with another man in the past three months be offered the vaccine “regardless of HIV status” or where they live.

In effect, the department now recommends that all gay and bisexual men who have had recent sex with a man should consider getting vaccinated. While HIV-positive men probably see their doctors regularly, that may not be true of HIV-negative men so they may not hear about the vaccine campaign. “Now they’re talking about HIVnegative men who may or may not be engaged in healthcare,” said Dr. Gal Mayer, Callen-Lorde’s managing director of clinical services. “Where is the public messaging? Where are all the alerts for gay men to come in and see their provider? That’s what is needed at this point. If we really want to vaccinate 10,000 people, I think it’s time to step up the public messaging.” At an October 16 presentation at the Physicians’ Research Network, Dr. Marcelle Layton, the assistant commissioner at the department’s Bureau of Communicable Disease, told attendees at the educational group, “The estimate is about 10,000 that we’re aiming to vaccinate,” according to a video posted on the network’s website. “We recognize that uptake has been slow,” Layton acknowledged, after saying the department was “investing a little bit of money” in a media campaign. In an email, the department press office told Gay City News it is “working with community based organiza-

Ugandan Parliament Debates ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill The Ugandan Parliament, reconvening on December 4 after a heated controversy over a petroleum exploration and development bill led to its week-long suspension, is widely expected to soon take up a controversial measure, under consideration for the past several years, that would make homosexual acts punishable by death under certain circumstances. Among a variety of draconian penalties for engaging in homosexuality, promoting it, or simply “aiding and abetting” it, the death penalty is prescribed for those convicted of “aggravated homosexuality” — conduct that includes sexual acts by a person who is HIV-positive, sex with a person under 18 or under one’s “authority” or coercion, or simply being a “serial offender.” Despite published reports in recent months that the “kill the gays” provisions have been removed from the bill, Ugandan human rights activists emphasize that the current draft of the measure continues to contain language regarding the death penalty. David Bahati, the member of Parliament

who wrote the legislation, has stated his goal “to kill every last gay person.” In a widely circulated email, Clare Byarugaba, an activist based at Makerere University Kampala, said that handwritten notes on the current bill in Parliament might indicate some discussion about toning down the measure, “but we can’t be sure.” Meanwhile, Box Turtle Bulletin, an American blog that has monitored the situation in Uganda closely, warned that once the divisive controversy over the petroleum measure is resolved, President Yoweri Museveni’s government could find “passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill to be a very politically useful diversion… effective in uniting everyone [in] their collective hatred of gay people.” SumOfUs.org, an online progressive advocacy group, has collected more than 100,000 signatures urging Pepsi, which has major investments in Uganda, to let that government know the negative consequences passing such legislation would have on the nation’s economic development. — Paul Schindler

tions, the medical community, and key opinion leaders (e.g., bloggers) to inform them about the outbreak and spread the message to persons eligible for vaccination.” The agency has advertised “on several social media sites” and will distribute “posters and palm cards” at medical facilities and gay-friendly venues. In the latest alert, the department reported seeing 16 “invasive meningococcal disease” cases among gay and bisexual men since 2010, with 11 occurring in the past 12 months. Four of the men are dead. The agency estimated that “15%-20% of the initial target population” — of HIV-positive men — have received the first dose of the two-dose vaccine since October 4. At the network event, Layton said that one or two men who visited New York City may have carried the bug to other jurisdictions. The press office said one such case was under investigation. “We are investigating one case right now to confirm that it is, in fact, part of this outbreak, and will work with the appropriate jurisdiction to report this case when it is confirmed,” the press office wrote. 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. “So eight weeks later, we’ve vaccinated 2,000 people, of which Callen-Lorde has vaccinated 700, and there’s been two additional cases,” Mayer said. “It’s really not moving very quickly.” In a 2009 study in Clinical Infectious Diseases, New York City health department staff reported on a 23-case meningitis outbreak among drug injectors in Central Brooklyn in 2006 that killed seven people. Between June 28 and September 30 of that year, the department vaccinated 2,763 people. The study noted that an additional three cases were seen after the campaign. Among infections in this year’s outbreak that were analyzed, the department noted, in the September 27 alert, that “6 of 7 infections are related to a strain of N. meningitidis that was responsible for the 2006 outbreak in New York City.” The Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), which is not licensed to administer vaccinations, held a community forum on meningitis and is informing its clients about the vaccination campaign. “They’ve been contacting us with great frequency,” Marjorie J. Hill, Ph.D., GMHC’s chief executive officer, said of the health department. “I think they’ve been, from our perspective, they’ve handled this in a very thoughtful and thorough manner.”

Syracuse Approves Transgender Rights Ordinance In a 7-1 vote on November 19, the Syracuse Common Council approved a measure to ban discrimination based on an individual’s “actual or perceived gender expression.” The transgender civil rights ordinance, sponsored by Councilor Jean Kessner, amends the city’s 1990 Fair Practices Law, which barred discrimination based on sexual orientation. Mayor Stephanie Miner, like Kessner a Democrat, will sign the measure. Syracuse joins six other cities — New York, Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, Binghamton, and Ithaca — and Westchester and Suffolk Counties in the metropolitan area and Tompkins County, surrounding Ithaca, in providing nondiscrimination protections to transgender and other gendernonconforming New Yorkers. According to the Empire State Pride Agenda (ESPA), the state’s LGBT rights lobby, those jurisdictions account for

more than 60 percent of the state’s population. According to the Syracuse Post-Standard, the one no vote on the Common Council came from Khalid Bey, a Democrat who cited the risks women would face in using public bathrooms under the law, a familiar line of attack on transgender civil rights protections. At an October 24 legislative hearing on a statewide transgender civil rights bill, chaired by Assemblyman Dick Gottfried and Senator Daniel Squadron, Manhattan Democrats who are its lead sponsors, witnesses uniformly testified that they were unaware of any problem of the sort Bey identified occurring anywhere a transgender civil rights law was in effect. In fact, James Sheppard, the chief of police in Rochester, and Steven Krokoff, his counterpart in Albany, testified that local protections there have enhanced public safety and law enforcement. — Paul Schindler


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December 5, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

CRIME

Second-Degree Murder Conviction for Renato Seabra Jury rejects insanity plea in grisly 2011 Carlos Castro slay BY DUNCAN OSBORNE

personality. “This was a brutal and sadistic crime, where Renato Seabra bludgeoned, choked, and mutilated his victim before murdering him,” District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., said in a November 30 statement. “But the jury’s verdict now, finally, holds Seabra accountable. It is particularly tragic that Carlos Castro was not only betrayed by his spurned lover, but met a very painful and violent end far from his home.” Jurors were charged by Daniel P. FitzGerald, the judge in the case, on November 29, and they deliberated for roughly 90 minutes that day. They returned a verdict by roughly 3:45 pm the next day. The speed with which they reached a decision suggests they never seriously considered the defense claim that Seabra, 23, was insane at the time of the murder and therefore not legally responsible. Jurors weighed if Seabra was guilty of murder two, not guilty — a verdict they were never going to return since both sides agreed he killed Castro in their Midtown hotel room early last year — or not responsible. David Touger, who defended Seabra with Rubin M. Sinins, declined to comment. A 2011 study by Russell D. Covey, a law professor at Georgia State University, on insanity defenses, published in the Boston University Law Review, cited a 1997 study that concluded an insanity defense is used in 0.1 to 0.5 percent of US criminal cases and is only successful one out of four times. Jurors perceive the defense as a get-out-of-jail-free card. In his opening statement, Sinins told jurors that defendants who are found not responsible undergo another legal proceeding in which a court decides if they are still dangerous and must be institutionalized. Touger repeated that in his closing remarks. One defense expert, Dr. Roger Harris, a psychiatrist,

MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY

A

fter deliberating for roughly a day, a Manhattan jury convicted Renato Seabra of second-degree murder in the 2011 killing of Carlos Castro, a 65-year -old Portuguese TV

Renato Seabra and Carlos Castro in New York City the week Seabra murdered the older man.

told the jury that some defendants who are found not responsible are held for life. But in her closing argument, Maxine Rosenthal, who prosecuted the case with Jun Park, told jurors that Touger could not “guarantee” what the outcome of the subsequent legal proceeding would be should they decide Seabra was not legally responsible for Castro’s killing. The defense used Harris and Dr. Jeffrey Singer, a psychologist, to argue that the symptoms observed by doctors and staff at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital, where Seabra was first treated just a few hours after the January 7 murder, Bellevue Hospital, where he was held until his transfer to Rikers Island three months later, and the city’s Department of Correction showed he was suffering from a serious mental illness. The defense wanted jurors to infer that Seabra was insane at the time of the killing.

The defense also cited the gruesome nature of the crime. Seabra strangled, beat, and castrated the victim. He told the two defense experts he believed he was acting on orders from God to eradicate homosexuality from the world. In varying accounts, Seabra said that after making superficial cuts to his own wrists, he either placed Castro’s testicles on his wrists or wiped the blood from Castro’s testicles on his wrists. The prosecution’s expert, Dr. William Barr, the director of a neuropsychology unit at the NYU Langone Medical Center, told jurors that Seabra’s symptoms were likely the result of the killing, and he raised the possibility that Seabra was faking his illness though he never said that definitively. The prosecution argued Seabra was using Castro for money and to advance his modeling career. When Castro told the younger man they would be returning early to Portugal from their New York City vacation and that their relationship was over, Seabra flew into a rage and killed Castro. Rosenthal delivered a highly effective closing statement. The case took on a very personal tone as the skilled lawyers on both sides fought, frequently angrily, over the law and testimony. FitzGerald appeared exhausted by the acrimony at times. During Touger’s closing statement, Gay City News observed that three jurors appeared to have fallen asleep at moments, so when Touger was heard discussing a fourth juror who was snoring, the newspaper asked him about that juror just before court proceedings were due to resume. Touger objected to Gay City News mentioning the sleeping jurors in an article and asked if the newspaper had seen other jurors nodding their heads vigorously in agreement during his closing. When this reporter said he had not seen that, Rosenthal, who never talks to the press, said she did not see that either. When Touger asked if this reporter had seen a juror quietly saying, “Absolutely,” during his closing, this reporter said he missed that and Rosenthal chimed in that she missed that, too.

Seabra Defense Experts Spun Variation on ‘Gay Panic’ Argument Despite lawyer’s disavowal of tactic, murderer convinced two witnesses he found sex “nauseating” BY DUNCAN OSBORNE

I

n his closing statement in the murder trial of Renato Seabra, David Touger told a Manhattan jury that “Renato got caught in a situation he couldn’t handle and it drove him crazy.” Seabra, now 23, was convicted on November 30 on one count of seconddegree murder in the 2011 killing of Carlos Castro. The two Portuguese men began a relationship shortly before Castro’s death. Following his closing, Touger was

offended when asked if gay sex drove his client “crazy.” It was Castro’s “controlling” manner that made his client insane and he would have been just as insane if a woman had treated him that way, Touger said. The two experts that Touger hired appeared to disagree. They argued that Seabra was insane when he strangled, beat, and castrated the 65-year -old Castro and could not be held legally responsible. And what drove him insane? “He essentially made a decision that he would be able to sustain and

tolerate this intimate relationship with Mr. Castro,” Dr. Roger Harris, a psychiatrist, told jurors. “He felt coerced. I’m not suggesting at all that he was coerced.” Harris agreed when Maxine Rosenthal, the prosecutor in the case, asked during cross-examination, “Homosexuality played a significant role in this case, correct?” Earlier in the two-month-long trial, Dr. Jeffrey Singer, a psychologist, told jurors that “[Seabra] performed anal sex on this man and I think he had grave misgivings about that.”

It certainly looked like the defense case was a variation on the homosexual panic defense that claims a defendant flew into a murderous rage when a gay man flirted with him. Dr. Jack Drescher, a psychiatrist and past president of the Committee on Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Issues of the American Psychiatric Association, saw that defense at play. “The arguments of the expert witnesses do contain elements of a ‘gay panic’ defense, in which an assault

SEABRA, continued on p.11


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| December 5, 2012

SEABRA, from p.10

perpetrated against a gay man is deemed justified because the latter made an unwanted sexual advance which provoked extreme emotional distress in the accused,” Drescher wrote in an email. Roughly three months before Seabra killed the Portuguese TV personality in a Midtown hotel room, the two met via Facebook. Castro showered the younger man with gifts that included clothes for him and his family, a new cell phone, teeth whitening, new head shots to use in his modeling career, advice from an attorney on a modeling contract, and all-expenses-paid trips to Madrid, London, and New York City. Castro’s feelings about the relation-

meeting Castro, he had never had sex with a man. He told Singer that he had sex with an older man at 13 and found it “pleasurable.” He also told Singer he had sex with two peers who were male cousins. Seabra also reported disliking the sex with Castro. He told Harris, “I didn’t like it. I found it nauseating... Since Portugal, before coming to the US, I was feeling grossed out about it.” The defense claimed that Seabra was acting out a psychotic delusion when he attacked Castro. He believed that God had instructed him to eradicate homosexuality and claimed that he possessed special powers that allowed him to cure homosexuality by touching people. Jurors deliberated for roughly a day before reaching their ver dict, which suggests they never seriously considered the insanity defense and its underlying rationale. The prosecution argued that Seabra was using Castro for money and to advance his career. He flew into a rage and killed Castro when the older man announced they were returning to Portugal early and their relationship was over. Drescher wrote that he could not comment on Seabra’s state of mind because he has not interviewed him, but he did comment on the defense. “Apparently the expert witnesses who did examine the defendant have been persuaded that the lavish gifts and promises of career help were inadequate compensation for the sexual favors provided and which he claims were repulsive to him,” Drescher said. “This is because the defendant sounds like he is saying he is not ‘really’ gay and only put up with sexual advances for material reasons throughout the several months dur ing which he willingly, and non-psychotically, accepted them.”

Dr. Roger Harris agreed when asked, “Homosexuality played a significant role in this case, correct?” ship were rarely discussed during the trial, but it appears he felt they had a serious commitment. When Seabra flirted with some girls on the New York City trip, Castro was very upset and he rejected Seabra’s efforts to make up with him. Seabra told defense experts that the relationship was a deal. He was having sex with the older man in exchange for gifts and help with his career. “He reported that Carlos gave him ‘luxuries’ as a way of maintaining the relationship,” Harris said. Singer told jurors, “Again, the strings attached were just too much for him to bear... I think he entered into this relationship without the resources to handle it.” Seabra told Harris that prior to

Immigration Equality Praises House Hispanic Caucus When the Hispanic Congressional Caucus announced on November 28 the principles that will guide it as it seeks a major reform of immigration law next year, Immigration Equality, which works to ensure equality for LGBT couples in which one partner is not an American citizen, was quick to offer praise. The Caucus called for legislation that “protects the unity and sanctity of the family, including the families of bi-national, same-sex couples, by reducing the family backlogs and keeping spouses, parents, and children together.” “The Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ commitment to lesbian and gay families sets the baseline for what comprehensive immigration reform must include,” said Rachel B. Tiven, Immigration Equality’s

executive director. The group estimates that 36,000 couples are impacted by the inability to sponsor a same-sex partner or spouse for US residency. New York Democratic Congressman Jerrold Nadler is the longtime sponsor of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), which would achieve on a stand-alone basis what the Hispanic Caucus has now committed itself to in its comprehensive push. The Democrats’ immigration reform efforts will be led by New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez and Illinois Representative Luis Gutierrez. In recent comments to Gay City News, Nadler expressed confidence that the “commitment” from other immigration reform advocates to include UAFA in any final legislation adopted will stand. — Paul Schindler


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December 5, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

OBITUARY

Gus Archilla, Marriage Equality Fighter Into His 90s, Dies Elmer Lokkins, his partner of 67 years, husband of nine, survives him in Florida BY PAUL SCHINDLER

COURTESY: MICHAEL SABATINO

G

us Archilla, who was partnered with his husband Elmer Lokkins for 58 years before the couple was able to legally marry in Canada in 2003, died on November 26, ten days before his 97th birthday. Lokkins, who is 93, survives Archilla, after a relationship that lasted for 67 years. Meeting just months after the end of World War II, the couple lived in the Archilla family’s apartment in Upper Manhattan’s Washington Heights for their first decade together and, in 1957, bought an apartment in Morningside Gardens, near Columbia University, where they lived for more than half a century. For the past several years, the couple resided on Marco Island on Florida’s west coast, in an apartment upstairs from Archilla’s niece, Christina Dean. Archilla, who for the past five years suf fered fr om complications of an abdominal aor tic aneurysm, was at home there at the time of his death, with Lokkins and other family members on hand. Dean and her brother, Richard Chimelis, were children of Archilla’s late sister, Idalia, and Chimelis, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, described Archilla and Lokkins as “the traveling glue” of a family that extended across the US and beyond. “They really were the communication link between a family spread out from upstate New York to Califor nia, Florida, T exas, and, for a time, Italy,” Chimelis said several days after his uncle’s death. In 2007, at the annual Wedding March across the Brooklyn Bridge staged by Marriage Equality New York (MENY), the couple told Gay City News they met by happenstance in Columbus Circle in September 1945, shortly after Lokkins was discharged from the service, after seeing duty in the Philippines, New Guinea, and Australia. L o k k i n s , a Wa s h i n g t o n S t a t e native who spent part of his youth in an Illinois orphanage, was in New Yo r k h o p i n g t o e n r o l l a t C o l u m bia and was in Columbus Circle after a voice lesson at Carnegie Hall. Ar chilla, a native of Puerto Rico, was there listening to political speeches, and Lokkins recalled being approached by someone he immediately came to think of as his “beautiful Spanish don.”

Gus Archilla and Elmer Lokkins joined the Marriage Equality New York contingent at a recent LGBT Pride March in Manhattan.

As Lokkins completed the story of their first meeting, Archilla, speaking with evident emotion, said, “After 62 years, it's wonder ful to have a partner who gives you a kiss every time he walks by you.” In 1945, Archilla worked in the city’s then-thriving shipping industry, but according to a 2003 New York T imes pr ofile of the couple, he later went to work as the assistant to Lokkins, who was the registrar of the Graduate Center at the City University of New York (CUNY). Chimelis confirmed the account in that Times story that when Lokkins moved into the Archilla household, the family talked about him only as Gus’ friend. But there was, apparently, from the start a difference between what was talked about and what was understood. “ H i s f a t h e r, I t h i n k , k n e w , h e accepted Gus, but I doubt he liked it,” Chimelis said. Archilla’s father was a Presbyterian minister who was strict with his nine children. They, in turn, Chimelis said, “adored their parents” and maintained their devotion to his religion, especially the daughters. “Most of Gus’ siblings have not wanted to discuss” the specific nature of his relationship with Lokkins, his nephew said. The Times reported that the couple was estranged from one of Archilla’s brothers for 40 years, until the man developed Alzheimer’s disease.

Others of Archilla’s brothers and sisters were more accepting, but had their limits. Dean and Chimelis’ mother was the one closest to Archilla, but she was “particularly stubborn” about not addressing her brother’s homosexuality. When her husband casually mentioned it to their children, who had “sort of grown to realize it,” Idalia said “we would never talk about it,” Chimelis recalled. “My mother was not gracious about the wedding,” he said, something her children gave her “a hard time about.” Archilla, Chimelis added, “was pissed” at his sister over that, and the two grew a bit “less close.” The challenge of living in what was in some ways a glass closet influenced Gus and Elmer’s behavior around other people. The first time they publicly embraced was at their wedding in Niagara Falls, Ontario. “My sister and I were so glad that they were finally able to be free with each other,” Chimelis said. Even with their longstanding discretion, others outside their families understood the two men shared a deep connection — and the response was not always friendly. At the 2005 MENY Wedding March, Lokkins recalled that when a retirement party was held three decades earlier for the CUNY president, one of the deans said to him, “Well, you aren’t going to bring Gus, are you?”

In fact, the couple went to the party together, and, Lokkins said, they made a practice of accompanying each other to major events in their lives from that point forward. Archilla and Lokkins attended a number of Wedding Marches in the years prior to passage of New York’s marriage equality law in 2011, and, according to the Times, helped carry the banner for SAGE, Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders, at the 1993 March on Washington. At the 2 0 0 5 We d d i n g M a r c h , a c k n o w l edging that he and Archilla never expected to see the day when they could legally marry, Lokkins advised activists hoping to follow suit here in New York to “keep on pushing.” Two years later, Archilla, then 91, spoke to the Wedding March crowd in Cadman Plaza on the Brooklyn side of the bridge, telling them, “Canada made it possible for us. I hope everywhere else it will soon be possible. Maybe while we are still alive, though there is not much time left.” If the legal landscape changed only slowly over the couple’s long relationship, their bond with their families deepened much earlier. “Our Uncles Gus and Elmer have been together and in our lives since we were born, and we love them dearly,” Chimelis wrote in an email message responding to Gay City News’ query. He later told the newspaper that after Ar chilla’s father died when Gus was a young man, he became “head of the family,” a role in which he was respected. The two men provided financial support to every one of their nieces and nephews and grandnieces and grandnephews when they attended college, including Chimelis’ two stepdaughters. Archilla’s last remaining sibling, Eliel, and a sister -in-law who sur vived one of his other brothers, saw him in his final weeks. Gus Ar chilla is survived by 20 nieces and nephews on his side of the family and another 11 on Lokkins’ side. Chimelis said that Lokkins suffers from a Parkinson’s-like ailment that severely limits his mobility and speech abilities, but retains strong cognitive skills and spends his time listening to books on tapes and public radio and watching television. Asked if he will remain in the apartment in Dean’s building, Chimelis responded, “Elmer is as much our family as Gus. Elmer will stay put.”


13

| December 5, 2012

LEGAL

US Court Rejects Nevada Same-Sex Marriage Suit Bush-appointed judge says enacting civil unions does not create 14th Amendment imperative for full equality BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD

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ambda Legal’s suit on behalf of eight samesex couples in Nevada seeking the right to marry or to have their existing marriages recognized there suffered a setback on November 26, when US District Judge Robert C. Jones concluded the state had a rational basis for maintaining a distinction between domestic partnerships and marriage. Lambda promptly announced it would file an appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The lawsuit is one of several across the nation seeking a declaration that a state that has adopted domestic partnerships or civil unions for same-sex couples has failed to meet the 14th Amendment requirement of equal protection of the laws by not going the next step to allow them to marry. A similar lawsuit in Hawaii was rejected by a trial court earlier this year, and lawsuits are pending in Illinois raising the same challenge. All three states have civil union-type laws that provide same-sex couples with essentially identical state law rights as legally married couples, but not the title of marriage. Jones’ ruling was the first on this issue to take place since voters in Maryland, Maine, and Washington State supported the right of samesex couples to marry in November ballot questions, at which time Minnesotans rejected an anti-marriage constitutional amendment. Jones found that these electoral victories actually undermined the plaintiffs’ legal claims, since they detracted from the argument that the political powerlessness of same-sex couples entitled them to have laws treating them dif ferently subjected to “heightened scrutiny” by courts. Rejecting the argument that statutory and constitutional provisions in Nevada barring marriage by same-sex couples amounted to gender discrimination, Jones — a graduate of Brigham Young Univer sity and UCLA Law School appointed to the district court in Nevada by President George W. Bush — took up the question of whether sexual orientation discrimination should be subjected to heightened scrutiny or to less demanding “rational basis”

review, under which the burden of proving a law has no valid basis falls on the plaintiffs. As many federal circuit and district courts have done — indeed, as the Ninth Circuit did itself in a 1990 case that Jones cited as binding circuit precedent — he misconstrued the Supreme Court’s equal protection methodology by quoting the 1990 decision’s assertion that in order to merit heightened scrutiny, the plaintiffs would have to demonstrate that gays “1) have suffered a history of discrimination, 2) exhibit obvious, immutable, or distinguishing characteristics that define them as a discrete group, and 3) show that they are a minority or politically powerless, or alternatively show that the statutory classification at issue burdens a fundamental right.” Careful review of Supreme Court cases involving the question of judicial review, however, shows that it never insisted that all three items on the list must be present in order for heightened scrutiny to apply. If it did, there would be no heightened scrutiny of sex-based classifications in law, and even strict scrutiny of racial classifications would be imperiled. According to Jones, “homosexuals have indeed suffered a history of discrimination, but it is indisputable that public acceptance and legal protection from discrimination has increased enormously for homosexuals.” Since past discrimination is not inherited, as it is with race, “any such disabilities with respect to homosexuals have been largely erased since 1990.” And despite changing public and scientific opinion, Jones accepted the 1990 conclusion of the Ninth Circuit that sexual orientation is not an “immutable characteristic.” Finally, despite 32 consecutive state ballot defeats on the question of marriage equality, Jones cited the four victories on November 6 — coming on top of the Nevada gay community’s success in ending its anti-sodomy statute and in enacting comprehensive domestic partnership rights — as evidence that gays are no longer politically powerless. “Plaintiffs’ democratic loss on a particular issue does not prove that they lack political power for the purposes of an

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and Rockland Counties, Albany and Troy, or Buffalo and Niagara Falls. One of the ways ESPA hopes to demonstrate the need for GENDA in more personal terms is through its TRANScribe Story Project, in which members of the trans community — and their partners, families, friends, coworkers, bosses, and clergy — write about their experiences and how the lack of legal protections, economic opportunities, healthcare resources, and basic personal safety affects their lives. The group will use these stories in its annual Equality and Justice Day lobbying push next spring, when it presses the State Senate to finally allow a floor vote on the measure, which has been approved numerous times by the Assembly. In 2010, GENDA got as far as the Judiciary Committee, where it was expected to be approved based on the private assurances of several Republicans. As the hearing came to a close, however, GOP senators as a bloc joined Bronx Democrat Ruben Diaz, Sr., an implacable foe of the LGBT community, in preventing the measure from going to the Senate floor for a vote. The most dispiriting moment in the hearing, however, came when a Democratic staffer, on hand to provide information helpful to the effort to pass the bill, responded to a typical opposition charge — that it would allow “men in dresses” to enter women’s bathrooms — by saying that such “men” would be at risk if they entered men’s bathrooms. Advocates are determined to head off the canard that transgender civil rights imperil the privacy of women in settings like bathrooms by documenting that such complaints have simply not been heard. At the October legislative hearing, the police chiefs of Rochester and Albany stated unambiguously that local ordinances there had actually enhanced public safety. Suzanne Perry, a League of Women Voters official and a Republican, testified, “Those who fabricate these fears believe that women like me will respond to them. But they recognize them as ploys.” Winning the substantive argument, however, is often not the key to success in Albany. Getting a floor vote — which requires the acquiescence of the majority party — is the real issue. Republicans have controlled the Senate for eight of the ten years since GENDA was first proposed. In the majority, they have never allowed a vote, and when Democrats led the Senate, they blocked action in the Judiciary Committee. Not a single Republican senator has publicly endorsed the measure. With two State Senate races still unresolved, Democrats were nominally in a position to potentially snag a 33-30 majority in January. However, in an agreement announced on December

December 5, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com 4, a group of five Democrats confirmed they have reached agreement with the Republicans to forge a coalition majority in which the GOP would be the predominant player. Incoming Brooklyn Democrat Simcha Felder had earlier announced his intention to also caucus with the Democrats. Senator-elect Brad Hoylman, an out gay Manhattan Democrat who replaces Tom Duane in January, told Gay City News several weeks ago that Republican control of the Senate would imperil

critic of his marriage vote. And Stephen Saland, from the Lower Hudson Valley, was weakened in his primary by an antiequality challenger, who stayed in the race on the Conservative line and may have handed the contest to a Democrat, in a race not yet officially called. With the election of Sean Patrick Maloney, an out gay Democrat, in a congressional district that includes much of Saland’s State Senate district — not to mention the marriage equality victories in state ballots nationwide — Schaefer had reason to argue that the verdict out of the November 6 election was good for the LGBT community. But, like Freedom to Marry’s Evan Wolfson, who after the September primary told Gay City News that McDonald’s and Saland’s problems came in low-turnout GOP primaries, ESPA’s chief sidestepped a central problem raised by these races — that Republicans, in weighing whether to embrace LGBT issues, don’t worry about facing Democrats, they fear challenges from the right in their own party. If ESPA faces tricky political terrain in Albany come January, however, the feedback the group got in its recent

“We don’t know exactly what this looks like,” Schaefer said of the Pride Agenda’s likely push into federal government advocacy. GENDA’s passage. Democrats in the group of five who cut the deal with the Republicans have not to date responded to Gay City News’ queries as to whether they raised the issue of GENDA in their negotiations. At a November 27 City Hall rally, the Working Families Party, tenant activists, and labor leaders had made much the same warnings about a host of other progressive goals. A WFP spokesman acknowledged that nobody was slated to address GENDA at that rally, though he said an LGBT activist was on hand for a similar public event in Buffalo. Explaining that “we, as a nonpartisan organization” cannot be part of the jockeying over control of the Senate, Schaefer, speaking weeks before the powersharing deal was completed, said, “We will work with everyone. We have to work with everyone.” Indeed, three of ESPA’s greatest achievements — the 2000 hate crimes law, the gay rights law in 2002, and the marriage equality victory in 2011 — all came while the Senate was in Republican hands. Democrats, however, provided the bulk of the votes — in 2011, 29 of the 33 that ensured victory. As ESPA lobbies Republicans, one issue they will likely confront is the legacy of the marriage vote last year. As advocates pressed for GOP support in the Senate and Assembly in the years leading to marriage equality’s success, they consistently emphasized the importance of reelecting those who voted the right way. However, of the four Republican senators who voted yes, only freshman Mark Grisanti of Buffalo is guaranteed of returning to Albany in January. Rochester’s Jim Alesi bowed out of his reelection race in the face of an expected primary challenge from an anti-equality Assembly Republican. Roy McDonald, from Saratoga and Rensselaer Counties north of Albany, was defeated in the September 13 primary by a harsh

strategic review offers cause for reasonable optimism. More than threequarters of those questioned online, in focus groups, and in personal interviews scored the group at seven out of ten or better on measures of political access and working with elected officials. “That is our brand,” declared co-chair Norman C. Simon in the November 28 strategic overview meeting. Taking a lead role in the implementation of pro-LGBT laws already enacted, serving as an “umbrella” group to coordinate efforts on behalf of LGBT youth, and working to grow the pie of social service funding for the community are natural directions for the group to move in, its surveys found. Where ESPA’s stakeholders feel the group needs to do more are in the areas of communicating its mission and strategies, diversifying its base of supporters — in racial and ethnic, socioeconomic, age, and political affiliation terms — and lending its expertise to other organizations in the community. Given these findings, it’s not surprising that Schaefer, in his first handful of public appearances, has repeated variations on a common theme. “I want to hear from all of you,” he said at the October fall dinner in Manhattan. “I need to be well-armed with your personal stories.”

Alabama 18-Year-Old Arrested in Brutal Beating of Sister’s Girlfriend A 23-year-old lesbian has been released from a Mobile, Alabama, hospital after a brutal beating she received on Thanksgiving Day allegedly at the hands of her girlfriend’s 18-year-old brother. Mallory Owens’ face was beaten so badly she had to undergo reconstructive surgery to place metal plates in her cheekbones, WKRG.com reports. She left the University of South Alabama Medical Center on November 26. Owens’ mother, Kristi Taylor, told the CBS affiliate that the attack was motivated by Travis Hawkins, Jr.’s homophobia and occurred in the Hawkins home. “She was invited over by the family to eat Thanksgiving,” Taylor told WKRG.com. “I did not want her to go, I begged her not to go, knowing how the family felt about her. But she said, ‘They’re trying to be nice.’” Owens’ family said Hawkins had attacked her earlier this year with a pipe wrench, but that no charges were pursued. Owens’ sister, Avery Godwin, said she wanted “him behind bars for life. He doesn’t need to be out, because if he does he could do this to someone else or he’ll finish it off with my sister.” Hawkins was arrested on November 25 and charged with second-degree assault and released shortly after that on bond. Owens’ family is demanding that the charges be upgraded to attempted murder. Ashley Rich, Mobile’s district attorney, said,

“We’re on top of this,” but stated there was no immediate basis for pursuing a hate crime charge. “He is charged with causing serious physical injuries to her, which is assault second-degree under the laws of the State of Alabama,” WKRG. com quoted Rich as saying. In a written statement issued on November 27, Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, said, “HRC has reached out to the Department of Justice and the FBI to urge them to investigate the incident and provide any needed assistance to local law enforcement. Alabama has no hate crime protections that cover sexual orientation and gender identity.” Rich acknowledged that a hate crime prosecution based on an anti-gay motive could only take place under federal law. According to the news outlet, early last year Rich sought to prosecute Hawkins’ father, Travis Sr., on charges of shooting his son. Travis Jr., however, declined to testify against his father. Owens has no health insurance but a fund to provide support for her care has been established at Regions Bank. Karen Ocamb, who writes the LGBT POV blog at Los Angeles’ Frontiers, an LGBT magazine, quotes Evelyn Mitchell of the Regions corporate communications office as saying that those wishing to help can call 1-800-REGIONS for information about making donations. — Paul Schindler


15

| December 5, 2012

PERSPECTIVE

BY DR. GEORGE WEINBERG

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he Associated Press just changed its famous Stylebook for its reporters to ban future use of the word “homophobia.” Writers have been told to replace the word with more “neutral language” — with words that don’t ascribe any motive or state of mind, even to those who persecute gays. This is a major mistake and an injustice to gay people everywhere. Gay people must never forget that those who condemn them — and not they themselves — have an emotional problem. If you are condemned for being inferior, depraved, or danger ous and you aren’t, it is invaluable to know that the psychological problem is theirs, not yours. In the case of homophobia, this was a hard-ear ned discovery and truth. It must never be forgotten. When it was made, the overwhelming majority of those in the mental health profession still taught that gay people were inherently sick. Homophobia — the word and the concept — trumpeted to all the fact that this view was biased and distorted. No other word makes this as clear or describes the situation more accurately. Back in the ‘60s when I coined the word, 30 states could put two adults in jail for many years for consenting homosexual acts. You could be denied a job, thrown out of your apartment, fired and denied your pension for being gay. The picture was only somewhat better than it is in many backward countries today. My closest gay friends, understandably, kept their secret from me. Many people disowned their own children for life for being gay. Others, who didn’t go that far, wept for them. You couldn’t r eason even with professionals, who were supposedly trained to be open-minded. The frequent suicides by gay people didn’t especially bother them. One said to me about his own patient, who had killed himself after five years of “conversion therapy’ had failed, “That’s the course that this illness often takes.” The irrationality and phobic nature of their attitude were unmistakable. In l965, there were about 50 activists for homosexual rights in the US and many of them wouldn’t talk about their own sexuality. They called themselves ‘homophiles,’ and

most talked about the problem as if it didn’t pertain to them personally. That year, I made a speech at the East Coast Homophile Organization in New York City. The other professionals talked about homosexuality as if it were a disease. An avid debate followed. A few weeks afterwards, I realized that we were up against a phobic reaction, which I called “homophobia.” Over time, the label seemed increasingly apt. If you feel unhinged by people who can do you no intrinsic harm and don’t want to, you have a problem. It took time for both gay people and heterosexual people to appreciate this fact. By Stonewall in 1969, gay people were starting to see that they weren’t as alone as they had thought. The word “homophobia” encapsulated a truth that they’d suspected and needed to be affirmed. The real psychological problem wasn’t theirs, but belonged to those who persecuted gays. The difficulties that gay people were saddled with derived from the psychological disturbance of their oppressors. By the early ‘70s, gay activists were coming out all over the country; they cherished the word and what it did for them. Knowing that their persecutors were unhinged and delusional, even sometimes dangerously delusional, gave them much more chance to stand up straight, to feel dignity and be proud of themselves. They rejoiced in the word and saw its applicability everywhere. A father who disowned his son or daughter suddenly looked unhinged, instead of justified.

MACMILLAN BOOKS

The AP Notwithstanding, Homophobia is Sadly Alive and Well

Dr. George Weinberg’s 1972 book first brought the term “homophobia” to a wide audience.

and I saw it wherever I went to speak. The gist of many letters I received was the same: “Now that I see that people’s contempt for me springs from a problem of theirs, I feel whole. I can finally enjoy being who I am.” More than one letter said, “Now that I know this, I am no longer suicidal.” It didn’t solve the problem, but it clarified it. By analogy, if disturbed people all wear red hats and healthy people don’t, the new concept took the red hats off those who shouldn’t have been wearing them and put them on the people who should. It was easier to combat the problem when you saw who had the red hats.

The rage against gay people, their oppressors’ mockery of them, and the refusal to hire them, all began to look manifestly phobic. You couldn’t miss it. The rage against gay people, their oppressors’ mockery of them, and the refusal to hire them, all began to look manifestly phobic. You couldn’t miss it, and it was invaluable to see. The rewards of this truth were huge. It gave gay people new hope to see that their oppressors were dealing from psychological weakness, not strength. The word went on placards

The AP’s recent dislike of the word because it is “political” makes no sense. It is political because a large number of people have brought it to light and are opposing abuse. If one man beats up his wife nightly because he’s a drunk, it isn’t political. It is personal. If a million do and women organize in protest, it’s political. But it is still personal and psychological.

“Political” just means that many people are trying to do something about it. Homophobia doesn’t lose its status as a phobia just because many people are now on to it and are trying to cure it or to live in spite of it. A phobia is an irrational dread of something harmless, motivating the desire to avoid it or expunge it. The world needs the word “homophobia” and what it says. People need to understand what it teaches. We have no other word that places the red hats where they belong and this one is well established. As for the argument that it is imprecise, so is a word like “freelance” writer; people don’t go around throwing lances any more. And, by the AP’s logic, why not get rid of the word “gay” since not all gay people are joyous. It’s a big mistake to pretend precision here. It was a great advance to have the term “hate crimes” brought into the language and into the law. The term underscores the psychological motive of the person who commits such crimes — for instance, violent acts accompanied by anti-semetic language or the defacing of temples. By the AP’s logic, that term should be the first to go. It clearly refers to the mental and emotional state of those who commit hate crimes. Victims of hate crimes wouldn’t tolerate the erasure of the word. I can guess why the term “hate crimes” isn’t being eliminated along with “homophobia.” AP wants its language to go over well everywhere its stories might be picked up. The term “hate crimes” wouldn’t stop the media from picking up AP stories, while the word “homophobia” might draw objection in some places. In short, AP’s decision, far from depoliticizing its reporting, is itself likely based on a political judgment. It would be terrible for gay people to eliminate the word or even to subdue it. It would not promote accuracy. It would rather be a step backwards toward 1970, when publishers wouldn’t even read my book until St. Martin’s Press welcomed it. One editor had written to me, “There are eleven books on homosexuals already and that’s more than we need.” Whatever the intention of erasing the word “homophobia,” doing so is very much a consciousness-lowering and injurious decision. We still need the word. Badly! Dr. George Weinberg, a practicing psychotherapist, has written 12 books. He has also written for popular magazines and for television. His 1972 book “Society and the Healthy Homosexual” introduced his little known concept of homophobia to a worldwide audience.


16

December 5, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

All the Right Moves Brought to ‘Bare’ Emmy-nominated whiz kid choreographer Travis Wall takes the next big step BY DAVID KENNERLEY

the project — it’s so intense. I’ve never done a show like this before, working with actors and singers, not just dancers. The experience has taught me so much, it’s like I’m going to school. I thought I’d be doing this a lot later in my life. I think I may have found a new career. I’m really enjoying this.

are,” the topical, edgy rock musical about two Catholic boarding school dudes in love, has had well over 100 productions since it premiered in LA in 2000, amassing a rabid cult following. And now it’s back in New York in a vibrant, retooled version playing at The New World Stages.

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DK: You can already tell after just a few weeks? TW: Yep. I knew on the very first day. The work ethic is so different — it’s basically a scheduled 9-7 job. I love the consistency of it. In TV and film, there might be an 18-hour day or a two-hour day.

BARE THE MUSICAL New World Stages 340 W. 50th St. Mon., Wed.-Sat. at 8 p.m.; Sun. at 7:30 p.m. Sat. at 2:30 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. $89.75-$126.50; telecharge.com Or 212-239-6200

DAVID KENNERLEY: First off, I must confess I’m a huge fan. What

BOBBY QUILLARD

With music by Damon Intrabartolo and book and lyrics by Jon Hartmere (Hartmere and L ynne Shankel added more songs), this Off Broadway “revisal” boasts an exuber ant young cast portraying a group of angst-ridden, hormone-ravaged teens grappling with issues of faith, self-expression, sexuality, and bullying. The under cover lovers ar e played by Jason Hite and T aylor Trensch. And who better to preside over this endeavor than Stafford Arima, the openly gay director of other teencentric shows such as “Carrie” and “Altar Boyz.” Arima was wise to recruit the supremely gifted choreographer Travis Wall, a young, tattooed dynamo nominated for an Emmy for his work with “So You Think You Can Dance.” In fact, their initial meeting was captured, somewhat awkwardly, in the surprisingly watchable yet little seen — it was on the Oxygen network — reality series “All The Right Moves,” which chronicled the rising star’s efforts to launch his dance company, Shaping Sound. He was also a choreographer for the visually stunning film “Step Up Revolution.” Gay City News r ecently caught up with an overworked yet spunky Wall in a rehearsal room near Times Square to discuss “Bare” and his e x p l o s i v e c a r e e r. F o l l o w i n g a r e excerpts from the conversation.

DK: Can you talk more about the connection you feel to the subject matter? TW: I realized I was gay around 15 or 16. I was quiet about it at first and had a girlfriend at the time. I saw how gay kids were being bullied in my school and I didn’t like any of it. No one ever accused me of being gay, but I didn’t want to try to figure out who I was around these people who didn’t know who they were. I knew I was better than that. So I peaced the fuck out [laughs]. That’s what the kids ar e going through in this show. They can’t be themselves among the group they’re surrounded by. The show has such a strong message of tolerance. There’s a story to be told. It’s not just kick ball changes and sparkles.

Dancer and choreographer Travis Wall, who appeared on Broadway at 12, returns to New York as choreographer to a highly anticipated Off Broadway show.

drew you from LA to Off Broadway with the “Bare” project? TRAVIS WALL: The producers saw a piece I did on “So You Think” — it was a boy duet about best friends breaking up — and they invited me to a reading of “Bare.” I had no idea what I was getting myself into and I showed up completely open-eyed and open-eared. I was blown away, crying and crying, because the story is so close to what I went through coming out about five years ago. I

felt like Jon Hartmere had been following me around with a pen, writing about my life. Thank God I had dancing and choreography to escape those feelings. I have so much to pull from my experience. I think I’m the right person to tell this story. DK: What’s it like doing your first show Off Broadway? TW: I got to New York a few weeks ago and was thrown headfirst into

DK: “Bare” is a musical with a conscience. You participated in an event for National Coming Out Day and the producers are partner ing with the Human Rights Campaign and anti-bullying groups. How does it feel to be part of a show that enlightens as well as entertains? TW: It’s awesome. “Bare” is a gay show — actually I wouldn’t say it’s a gay show; it’s an amazing love story that just happens to be with two boys. I want everyone to see the show — it’s not for one audience. It educates about the minefields kids can face in school these days. Why some have even committed suicide. It’s because kids are not being accepted. We are also partnering with the Tyler Clementi Foundation. His sui-

BARE, continued on p.24


17

| December 5, 2012

FILM

When Love Is Released Alan Cumming on his turn as a drag queen pioneer for same-sex parenting rights BY GARY M. KRAMER a sed on a true story, “Any Day Now” has a plot that may sound like it belongs in a saccharine TV movie-of-theweek, but it proves to be a remarkably affecting film about a gay couple in 1979 Los Angeles involved in a custody battle. Rudy (Alan Cumming) is a drag queen who meets, mates, and then quickly moves in with Paul (Garret Dillahunt), a closeted lawyer. Rudy does this because he wants to be able to take care of Marco (Issac Levya), a teenage neighbor with Down syndrome who has been abandoned BOBBY QUILLARD

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ANY DAY NOW Directed by Travis Fine Music Box Films Opens Dec. 14 Landmark Sunshine Cinema 143 E. Houston St., btwn. First & Second Aves. landmarktheatres.com Elinor Bunin Film Center Lincoln Center 144 W. 65th St. filmlinc.com

Garret Dillahunt and Alan Cumming in Travis Fine’s “Any Day Now.”

after his mother is arrested. While Paul obtains emergency legal custody of Marco, the couple soon face court appearances and, eventually, scrutiny of their queer lives.

“Any Day Now,” which has won numerous audience awards on the festival circuit, shows, without lecturing, just how hard obtaining legal rights was — and, in many places,

continues to be — for same-sex couples. The film’s chronicle of justice will wring strong emotions from viewers, but does so in cogent and compelling ways that avoid the pitfalls of being didactic. There are also many poignant moments — from Rudy’s reaction to watching his “son” Marco sing at school to a heartbreaking letter Paul (in voice-over) reads in the film’s most powerful scene. Cumming, whose acting is fantastic here, also gets to showcase his fabulous voice, especially in his moving cover of Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released,” the song from which the film draws its title. Gay City News spoke with the out gay Scottish actor about making “Any Day Now.” GARY M. KRAMER: How did you make Rudy a character and not a caricature? ALAN CUMMING: Obviously, some of the anxieties I had were about how to deal with things that could fall

ANY DAY NOW, continued on p.23

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December 5, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

IN THE NOH

Leung Power Telly luvs ya, Penny brighter than ever BY DAVID NOH lthough he’s still so very young, I consider Telly Leung already a Broadway veteran for all the considerable pleasure he’s given me over the years, with his soulful, honeyed tenor and dazzling energy. He really emerged a star last year in the revival of “Godspell,” and now has a new CD out, “I’ll Cover You” (Yellow Sound Lab). Like the title says, it’s a collection of gorgeously arranged covers, all of which he performs with impressive passion and an uncanny rhythmic sense. Many of the songs were originally done by women, and Leung told me, “Like, in the case of ‘Firework,’ when you take away all the production, it’s just a really good song. With ‘Before the Parade Passes By,’ I saw Carol Channing in the last Broadway revival of ‘Hello, Dolly!’ and she was just so great, such an inspiration and such a committed performer, I thought, ‘That’s what it’s all about. That’s exactly what I want to do.’ Leung also does a sprightly, mambo-flavored version of Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach” that really cooks, as well as a lovely take on the Indigo Girls’ “Galileo,” which is one of his favorite tracks, and mine as well. When I was a long-ago aspiring actor, studying at Stella Adler and auditioning, practically the only roles open to Asian actors were Ito in “Mame” and the odd revival of “The King and I,” so it’s been impressive to watch the trajectory of Leung’s career, for, although he was in the underappreciated revival of “Flower Drum Song,” he’s also gotten major roles in shows like “Godspell,” “Wicked,” and “Rent” not based on the color of his skin. Leung also sparkled in the revival of “Pacific Overtures”: “I got to sing ‘Someone in a Tree,’ which I’d heard was one of Stephen Sondheim’s favorite songs, for the man himself. At the audition, I got about four bars into it, and he said, ‘That’s fine. Thanks,’ which I guess is as high a compliment as you can get [laughs].” Like many actors of his generation, “Rent” was a major deal, and Leung remembered camping out for ticket: “It was a thrill when I got to actually be in the show in the last couple of years of its Broadway run, and I also got to play Angel at a benefit per for mance at the Hollywood

EVE REINHARDT

YELLOW SOUND LAB

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Telly Leung’s new CD, “I’ll Cover You,” covers many songs best known as being performed by women.

Bowl with Neil Patrick Harris, Vanessa Hudgens, and Wayne Brady. Playing that role taught me to live every day to its fullest.” In 2012, Leung delivered the greatest commencement keynote speech I have ever heard, at his alma mater, Stuyvesant High School (which you can view on YouTube), and he said that made him more nervous than anything he’d ever done “because those kids are so smart and tuned in, I didn’t want to blow it and make an ass of myself.” In the speech, he described his parents, Judy and Stephen Leung, who separately escaped from China during the 1970s Cultural Revolution. They literally swam seven hours from Canton to Hong Kong to fr eedom, although Stephen was caught and sent for several years to a re-education camp before attempting the swim again and succeeding. Leung described his parents’ meeting while working at a travel agency: “You’re cute.” “You’re cute.” “You like won ton soup? I like won ton soup!” “You swam seven hours from Canton to Hong Kong? So did I!” The couple married, came to New Yo r k w i t h $ 2 0 0 , a n d h a d a s o n , whom they named after his mother’s favorite TV star, Telly Savalas of “Kojak” fame. Leung’s highest profile gig may have been his appearance as one of the singing group the Warblers on “Glee”: “I went out there to audition for the part of Blaine. His was only supposed to be a short story line, but the audience response was

so positive that they kept him on, as well as the Warblers. Although I would have loved to have gotten the role, it’s obvious that Darren Criss was perfect for the part, he’s just so good! It’s a dream set, so comfortable and professional, made better by the fact that there are so many friends I came up with in New York, like Lea Michele. I had returned to New York after filming it, and then suddenly had to fly back again to film the special Super Bowl episode, in which we performed ‘Bills’ [magnificently], so that was exciting.” Leung makes no big deal about being gay. “Ther e’s never been a problem with it for me,” he said matter -of-factly. “I have no desire to be any kind of role model but I’ve been in a relationship for a long time, and if I don’t say much about it it’s because he is not in the business and really has very little interest in it. I’m out to my parents and, actually, it was harder to tell them I wanted to be an actor over their aspirations for me to be a doctor or engineer than it was to tell them I was gay. They’re now happy for my career, but it’s something of an ef fort to get them to come see my shows. I’m not like Jason Tam, whose parents fly in from Hawaii for everything. And they live in Brooklyn! But some one like George Takei is really an inspiration to me on so many levels, so political and out there.” Ask Leung about his “dream role” and he will mention the one he plays in “Allegiance,” a new musical in which he co-stars with Takei, a driv-

ing force behind the production. “I play George’s character in his youth in this story about a guy, Sammy Kimura, whose family is sent to an internment camp during World War II. He was a loyal American who served in the US army and became a war hero, but there is a rift in his family with the members who resisted the draft for what America did to them. It’s great to work with George and Lea Salonga, with whom I’m reunited after ‘Flower Drum Song,’ and who was like a mother hen to us all. It’s a wonder ful, important show, and we did a four -week workshop at the Old Globe in San Diego and definitely want to bring it into New York.”

Actress Penny Fuller i s returning in “13 Things About Ed Carpolotti” at 59E59 Theaters (59E59.org), and she described her new musical as the story of “a recent widow, whose parents didn’t approve of her husband, but they loved each other. She had one child and was an interesting woman — strong, ironic, with a fabulous sense of humor. But now she has to face being alone and finds out that Ed left her in insurmountable debt, and all kinds of things ensue. But it’s ultimately a great love story about how much he loved her and how well he knew her. “I had done this as a monologue, written by Jeffrey Hatcher about ten years ago, and always loved it and thought it could make a great musical. So I brought it to [cabaret direc䉴

IN THE NOH, continued on p.19


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| December 5, 2012 IN THE NOH, from p.18

tor] Barry Kleinbort, who got me into cabaret in the first place, and he helped me put it together.” Fuller won an Emmy award and was nominated for a Tony for playing Eve Harrington in the musical version of “All About Eve,” opposite Lauren Bacall’s Margo Channing: “I’d been flown to New York to audition for Harold Prince for ‘Company’ and was leaving when I ran into this stage manager who told me they wanted me to audition for ‘Applause’ but wouldn’t fly me in. I said, ‘Well, I’m here,’ so I auditioned. ‘They’d given me an early script and on the plane home I thought, ‘Don’t let me get this. It isn’t very good and I won’t have the nerve to tur n it down.’ They cast someone else and I was in a beauty parlor on Santa Monica Boulevard with my head in the sink when they brought the phone to me and I heard, ‘They’re going to eliminate the Eve out of town in Baltimore. Can you fly in and do it tonight?’ “So I went, and I’m not that smart but because I hadn’t seen it, I could see the forest for the trees, what was needed. Eve is not your basic ingénue, not young, she has to be desperate and much more of a threat to Margo or it doesn’t work. I remember saying to myself, ‘My goal is to make everybody who knows this movie remember it wrong, and think that she really is a good friend of Margo.’” As for her legendarily formidable costar Bacall: “I remember thinking, ‘Oh, God let her know that if I’m good it will only help her, and she did. She loved me, and we went through a lot of years together. She knew for whatever reason that I was the right color to help the play and we became good old friends. She’s the best, she’s just scared so she has to act that way sometimes. “I’d think, ‘You’re insecure? Why?’ But do you know why she does everything with that downtur ned chin looking up? That’s because [director] Howard Hawks said she was so nervous her head would shake, so he told her to hold her face that way. “Anne Baxter [Eve in the film] replaced her. It was my last matinee and I was getting ready to go on and I hear this clankety-clank. Someone’s wearing a noisy bracelet! I do the speech in the dressing room about my husband Eddie and the brewery, and I hear that clankety-clank again and look over in the wings. It’s Bette Davis, watching us from off-stage with her clankety bracelets! “Anne Baxter was wonderful, but she was scared. She was put in the

Veterans, service members and families, we’re here to help. KAREN GRECO PR

Penny Fuller stars in “13 Things About Ed Carpolotti” at 59E59 Theaters.

s h o w b y t h e s t a g e m a n a g e r, a n d he was pushing her to go here and there. You don’t touch her! I don’t know how I got the nerve, but I went to her dressing room and said, ‘Listen to me, every movie star wanted to play this part. You’re playing it, and you’re the only one who knows what Margo is about. Don’t let these people bother you,’ and it was a great thing for her. “As Margo, she was different, very womanly, sensual, strong, and dramatic, because Annie was dramatic. The edges were maybe softer but the inner core was as strong. On her opening night, I went to T if fany’s and found a little silver apple that I had engraved, ‘Goodbye Eve. Hello Margo. Love to AB from PF,’ When I left the show, she gave me one that said, ‘Goodbye Eve. Hooray Penny. Love to PF from AB.” Fuller is indeed a testament to showbiz survival, as are her two best girlfriends in the business, Linda Lavin and Elizabeth Ashley: “I was Liz’s understudy in ‘Barefoot in the Park,’ and when she was cast as my mother in ‘Dividing the Estate,’ everyone said, ‘How does she feel about that?’ We’re actresses! We’re supposed to do that! “I could play her mother, but what I hadn’t counted on was her arrival with the dog after the hurricane in my Upper West Side apartment. She and Bill Craver, who was the ‘Baref o o t ’ c o m p a n y m a n a g e r, n o w a n agent, stayed with me, so the three of us are there for three days. Ohmigod, we have known each other all these years, and Craver got there first so he got the bedroom and she stayed on the couch!” Contact David Noh at Inthenoh@ aol.com and check out his blog at http://nohway.wordpress.com/.

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December 5, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

OPERA

Tempest-Tossed Ades, Handel, Mozart in Gotham and Motown BY DAVID SHENGOLD he Met’s thir d per for mance of Thomas Adès’ 2004 “Tempest” took place in extraordinary c o n d i t i o n s : N e w Yo r k City, including the opera house, had been virtually closed for two days after the most destructive local stor m since 1938, with the most flooding since 1821. Millions of people remained in darkness and the crucial subway system remained inactive. So it was miraculous that the musicians, the backstage crew, and a decent-sized audience were able to get there at all. And, it was most ironic to witness a narrative that begins with a sinking ship, high winds, and apparent loss of life. The opera had its mildly successful North American première in Santa Fe in 2006 under Alan Gilbert. Here, the composer himself conducted, and capably. After the near fiasco of the “Ring” — a success only to those HD viewers who encountered Wagner’s work for the first time — Robert Lepage provided a production more kinetic and visually striking than what Jonathan Kent had done in Santa Fe. The Dukedom of Milan and its offshore court-in-exile become 19th century La Scala, employing the scarcely new, but often entertaining idea of a theater within a theater. Prospero was the part’s creator, Simon Keenlyside, working very hard vocally at first and sounding constricted at range extremes, but excellent at soft and medium dynamics and a splendid actor. He stage-managed and oversaw events from backstage (Part One) and the auditorium (Part Two). Many entrances took place from the prompter’s box, and Ariel danced and cavorted balletically off a flying chandelier. Audrey Luna, a young Zerbinetta and Queen of the Night, per for med with astonishing vigor and grace but one fears the same kind of vocal damage that beset the more beautiful tones of Cyndia Sieden, the London and Santa Fe Ariel. The part largely sits at high C and above. The major problems with the piece — a serious ef fort with much fine orchestral writing, harmonics taking precedence over melodic content — remain the presence of a female chorus of Neapolitan courtiers, negating the effect, so central in Shakespear e, of Miranda’s uniqueness

KEN HOWARD/ METROPOLITAN OPERA

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Simon Keenlyside as Prospero and Isabel Leonard as Miranda in Thomas Adès's "The Tempest."

as a woman, and, despite judicious pacing, the poor quality of Mer edith Oakes’ verse paraphrases of the play. One comes to dread every completion of the facile, doggerel rhymes. Nor is the word setting, particularly in choral passages, very transparent, though a lovely Brittenesque passacaglia toward the end shines as an exception. Isabel Leonard looked lovely and sounded very smooth as Miranda, not a role of strong musical profile. Adès strains his tenors mercilessly. William Burden’s King emerged best, with phenomenal diction and expressive and beautiful timbre. As his son Ferdinand, Alek Shrader sang musically but — perhaps wisely — as if on eggshells, rarely opening out on top. Alan Oke sang Caliban with conviction and some charm in a worn, largely unlovely spieltenor. The original Ferdinand (the recently ailing Toby Spence, a thoughtful artist) was brave to per form Antonio but sounded in vocal distress until his final scene. He did, however, furnish crystalline diction. John del Carlo, his bass thinning on the bottom, lacked the gravitas for Gonzalo’s socialistic vision. Best of the rest was Iestyn Davies’ excellent and theater -filling turn as the drunken conspirator Trinculo.

Lepage might have done more in the way of Personenregie to differ entiate these courtiers; but as sheer spectacle, his team’s design work pleased more than many a recent company effort. In the circumstances, this was a “Tempest” to respect.

Later this season, the Met presents a new “Giulio Cesare” starring David Daniels. Detr oit’s Michigan Opera Theatre ventured one last month, its first baroque effort. I heard a few lobby mutterings — “This opera will never make the Met!” was a pleasure to refute — but the audience in the fabulous restored Opera House November 14 had a very good time. Michael Shell’s production was a scattershot version of the Orientalist “They’re making a silent movie!” trope we’ve seen visited on many an “Entfuehrung” and “Italiana” in r ecent years. Certainly the work itself blends comic and tragic elements, but there was little visual or conceptual logic on display here, plus a kind of underlying jingoism I found uncomfortable: “Va tacito” showed Daniels’ Cesare playing Realpolitik chess with Anthony Roth Costanzo’s Tolomeo through knocking down and purloining Egyptian idols — to audience giggles.

The two countertenors proved well contrasted in timbre. Daniels started rather choppily but found his accustomed form in legato numbers. He gives greater color and animation than previously to the conqueror’s key recitative passages. Costanzo, mustachioed a la Douglas Fairbanks, made Tolomeo a petulant martinet but never descended into caricature vocally in his three arias, and his cadenzas and or naments excelled. Lisette Oropesa, her voice flowing and clear, looked sensational in James Schuette’s Cleopatra designs and — though trills wer e mer ely indicated — proved herself ready for the great role. Canadian Allyson McHardy, a stylish Handelian, made a substantial, attractive figure of Cornelia. Howard Arman’s foursquare conducting seemed to take place rather separate and apart fr om what the fine singers were doing, and he earned my ire for countenancing the reduction of “Cara speme” — one of the score’s great numbers — to just its initial A section, despite the vocal excellence of Emily Fons’ visually credible Sesto. Other numbers, like “Tu la mia stella sei,” disappeared altogether. MOT’s season continues enticingly with Christine Goerke in “Fidelio” and Latonia Moore in “Aida.”

Back in New York, “ L a Clemenza di T ito” (November 20) was that increasing rare thing — an unqualified great night at the Met. Jean-Pierre Ponnelle’s neoclassical staging holds up well, and Harry Bicket elicited an excellent per for mance fr om or chestra and chorus. Elina Garanca’s beautifully sung, forthrightly acted Sesto marked her first genuine artistic milestone locally. Giuseppe Filianoti (Tito) and Bar bara Frittoli (Vitellia) gave us the pleasure of native Italian in the recits, and though both omitted some high notes, they gave committed performances with much admirable vocalism. Crystalline-voiced Lucy Crowe (Servilia) did well in her first Met part. Less extraordinary vocally, Kate Lindsey (Annio) and Oren Gradus (Publio) held their own, she with a memorable “Tu fosti tradito.” David Shengold (shengold@yahoo. com) writes about opera for many venues.


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| December 5, 2012

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THEATER Let Go and Enjoy

Hedwig Would Die for an Invitation

Joe Marshall wrote and directs “Girl. A Lopsided Tree Won’t Ruin Christmas,” a story in which Santa croaks, leaving Herby and Vinnie, his two trusted elves, unemployed and in debt, while on the other side of town, the ghetto-fabulous Tym Moss is starring in an Off Broadway show as Flamin’ Cowboy, Prepubescent Girl, High Society Lady, Little Boy, and Drug Addict. When their worlds collide, it’s a lopsided Christmas. Girl. Moss welcomes special guests Avi Wisnia (Dec. 6), Sarah Atereth (Dec. 7, 8 & 14), Morry Campbell (Dec. 8), NaJah Lewis (Dec. 9), Tom Goss (Dec. 15-16) Pepper Mint (Dec. 20-21), Reverend Yolanda (Dec. 27), and Ernest Kohl (Dec. 28-29). The Players’ Theatre Loft, 115 MacDougal St., btwn. W. Third & Bleecker Sts. Through Dec. 29. Thu., 7:30 p.m.; Fri., 7 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 7 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m. Tickets are $45 at lopsidedchristmas.com, but you can use Promo Code TYM for discounts.

Dancing pink flamingos, cans of Spam, and ugly Christmas sweaters — but no sugar plum fairies or snowflakes — come to life on Christmas Eve in “Project Runway” and “Mad Fashion” star Chris March’s “Nutcracker” trailer park mash-up, “The Butt-Cracker Suite.” HERE Arts Center, 145 Sixth Ave. at Dominick St., just below Spring St. Through Dec. 29, Tue.-Sun., 8:30 p.m.; Sat., 10:30 p.m. also; Sun., 4 p.m. also. Additional shows on Dec. 26, 4 p.m.; Dec. 28, 10:30 p.m. No show on Dec. 25. Tickets are $50 at here.org or 212-352-3101.

Los Nutcrackers: A Christmas Carajo The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance presents the ninth year of its queer Latino holiday classic, Charles Rice-González’s “Los Nutcrackers: A Christmas Carajo.” Interweaving “The Nutcracker” and “A Christmas Carol,” the piece follows a gay couple who go on a psychedelic trip, guided by a ghetto thug/diva spirit, through their lives one Christmas Eve. Mark Finley directs, with choreography by Richard Rivera. BAAD, 841 Barretto St., btwn Garrison & Lafay-

That’s Amore! Emmy Award winner Sonia Blangiardo (“One Life To Live,” “As the World Turns”) directs a revival of Anthony J. Wilkinson’s “My Big Gay Italian Wedding,” with original music and lyrics by David James Boyd and original choreography by J. Austin Eyer. Wilkinson and Daniel Robinson (“Hairspray”) star as the grooms with recording artists Kim Sozzi ("Feel Your Love") and Judy Torres ("No Reason To Cry") alternating the role of Aunt Toniann. Groom Anthony Pinnunziato’s mother will only bestow her blessing if groom Andrew Polinski’s estranged mother does so as well — and they find a Catholic priest to perform the vows! And, of course, an ex-boyfriend shows up to blow the whole deal up. St. Luke’s Theatre, 308 W. 46th St. Through Feb. 23. Tickets are $39.50-$99 at telecharge. com or 212-239-6200.

14 DAYS, continued on p.28

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December 5, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

THEATER

The Nightmare Before Christmas “A Christmas Story: The Musical” tries to be merry and bright, but it’s coal in the stocking BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE he United States has never had Britain’s Christmas pantomime tradition, but the lure of holiday lucre and the strong tourist crush in New York this time of year have driven producers to turn Christmas stories into musicals in ever increasing numbers. We’ve seen “White Christmas,” “Elf,” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” all transformed into family-friendly spectacles, not to mention “Christmas Carols” of every variety.

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A CHRISTMAS STORY: THE MUSICAL

The formula is simple — take a familiar film or story, add some showy, generic music, a tap chorus, a precocious moppet or two, and you’ve got it. It’s best, too, to set it in a time period that can be drenched in nostalgia when, as everyone knows, the holidays weren’t debased, Mom and Dad knew their place, and the world was much gentler and kinder. (The exception was “White Christmas,” which had Irving Berlin and a crackerjack, grownup book going for it.) While you can’t blame an enterprising producer for trying to gin up some holiday business and deliver a great big Broadway show, there isn’t enough gin in the world to wash down “A Christmas Story: The Musical,” even with its pander ing genre. Based on the classic movie of the same name, the story of Ralphie Parker, a boy who wants a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas, and the antics of his family and school in 1940 is simply insipid. Draped in gauzy sentiment, the story is the dewy reminiscence of author Jean Shepard, who is Ral-

CAROL ROSEGG

Lunt-Fontanne Theatre 205 W. 46th St. Through Dec. 30 Tue., Thu. at 7 p.m. Wed., Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat.-Sun. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 7:30 p.m. $65-$155; ticketmaster.com

Johnny Rabe as Ralphie Parker in “A Christmas Story: The Musical.”

phie’s older self. Joseph Robinette has replicated the movie’s storyline, but the characters he’s created are wrapping-paper thin, and other than the delight of watching a favorite flick come to life in front of you — the people behind me were, as at “Spamalot,” anticipating the lines — it’s impossible to care about them. Ralphie becomes a boy obsessed with his desired present to the point of creepiness. Everyone tells him the gun is a bad idea because Ralphie will shoot his eye out. Think about it. How could that happen? It’s other kids’ eyes to be concerned about, right? Ralphie’s father (identified only as The Old Man — quaint, no?) is a crossword puzzle freak who rivals his son’s obsessiveness when he wins a lamp in the shape of a fishnet-stockinged leg (that shocks — shocks — the neighbors) in a contest. The Old Man proves to be nothing more

than a cartoon character, even down to the gibberish he spouts, made up of sanitized obscenities. (The crisis in the plot occurs when Ralphie claims to have said, “Oh, fudge,” but actually says something unforgiveable. Guess.) There is an attempt near the end to give these characters actual human emotions, but by that time they’re so tiresome and manufactured it fails utterly. The music and lyrics by Benj Paske and Justin Paul are bland and generic. They’re forced into the plot, and the production numbers are laughable and not in a good way. Whether The Old Man is dancing with the leg lamp in an orgy of fetishistic narcissism, Ralphie is having a Wild West fantasy, or, in the second act, the strait-laced teacher becomes a speakeasy bombshell in a crimson dress, they are all the same — just like, in fact, the specialty numbers in a traditional British pantomime. Worse yet, Warren Carlyle’s choreography is consistently uninspired, derivative, and mechanical. One can’t deny that the cast is talented, and they do the best they can to add some entertainment to this turkey carcass. (They’ve even thrown one of those into this, along with some live dogs.) Johnny Rabe is appealing as Ralphie, and Caroline O’Connor sparkles as the teacher, Miss Shields. By far the highlight of the evening, though, is Erin Dilly as Ralphie’s mother. She has a magnificent voice as well as the only two songs in the show that make sense or have any semblance of feeling. Not so good is Dan Lauria as Jean Shepard, the narrator. His smarm quotient is set way too high and cloys from the first scene. John Bolton pushes too hard as The Old Man, becoming tedious, ridiculous, and unbelievable as a father. Yes, this may be how Ralphie sees him, but as with so much else in this production, John Rando’s direction is muddy and confusing. Now lest you think me a Christmas curmudgeon, there are many annual entertainments I revel in. Scrooge’s transformation — or the Grinch’s for that matter — moves me every time, and I’m always touched by Charlie Brown’s tree. “A Christmas Story: The Musical” forces the holiday spirit rather than give us real people and authentic heart. God save us, everyone.


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| December 5, 2012

ANY DAY NOW, from p.17

into stereotypes or be negative por trayals or cloying. I was conscious of that — much more than a straight actor would be. The part was originally more effeminate. But I fought to resist that. Any drag queen I know has balls of steel to walk down the street in wig and heels. I forgot Rudy is a drag queen. It’s a small part of the film, but he is performing in the initial scene. I was a drag queen with slightly hairy armpits — that was my concession. I wanted to be truthful and real. I wanted to be in the moment of the love story and not a distracting stereotype. GMK: How did you work on your rapport with your co-stars Garret Dillahunt and Isaac Levya? AC: I just really felt incredibly comfortable with Garret. When you have to do something like this — where we’re going to be making out and weeping — and realistically portray a thunderbolt love affair, we just dove right in. I met him at the wig fitting, and we shot two days later. We just really got on. There was never any awkwardness about the sex or lovey-dovey stuff. He’s easygoing and open and lovely, and easy on the eyes. Isaac was just so lovely. He was excited to work with me, having seen me in “Spy Kids.” He was so excited to see Mr. Floop. I did fall in love with him. In a way, my relationship with Isaac mirrors what’s in the movie. My favorite thing about the experience was meeting Isaac. He was a ray of light. GMK: How did you work on the songs Rudy sings as a performer in the film? AC: It’s always a matter of which songs we have the rights to. And that changed all the time as we got nearer to shooting. What can we afford? But I thought that it was amazing that we got the Dylan song, a cri de coeur. The songs are more about what’s happening in the story — they have a thematic contribution. I love that the film ends with a song. It’s concluded by a performance; the song says more than any scene could. But it’s hard because you have to pre-record them. So you have to remember where the song came [in the film] so you know the feeling. The day I had to perform it I was so exhausted. I was in a state of distress throughout making this film, but I really wanted to give it my all. GMK: You did! It’s an incredible scene. Speaking of performing, what can you say about the drag scenes? Do you enjoy doing that or was it just part of the part? AC: I dreaded those scenes! I did a thing for BBC where I played transgender, and I never want to see a high heel

ever again. I was sore! I have respect for women — it’s like bondage. I don’t have an inner drag queen. It’s not my thing. Androgynous works for me. GMK: What research did you do on custody issues — both past and present — for same-sex couples? AC: I read a bit and talked to people, and over the years I have friends who have tried adopting, and the issues of adopting now through the state system are very hard as a gay couple. Your rights are vague. GMK: What drives you as an advocate and activist? AC: I don’t like injustice. I want equality. I’m Scottish and I grew up with a sense of fighting injustice — it’s almost genetic. As a gay man, I feel more and more angry. It’s easy to get lackadaisical. Even though great strides are made, we’re still secondclass citizens. GMK: Do you think you would make a good parent? AC: Hah! I think so. I have two dogs, and that’s as far as it’s going to go. I was once obsessed about having a child. My novel [“Tommy’s Tale” from 2003] was a thinly veiled memoir about wanting to be a parent. But now — after all the guys I dated — I am with someone whom it would be sensible to have a kid with, and we’re content and don’t want to. GMK: Do you prefer to play gay characters and tell gay stories? AC: I feel a responsibility to take part in things that are meaningful and can change minds that need to be changed, but I don’t think, “Oh, I’ve not done my quota of gay characters.” Travis [Fine, the director] spoke to my manager and she really pushed me to read “Any Day Now.” And sometimes when you read something like this, you think: “That’s why you pay them!” Mostly, I’m drawn to things that are interesting and that I’m passionate about. A lot of the time they are gay, and I get asked to play gay characters because I don’t have an issue with it. Doing something like this, the passion and energy are more about how I feel than the actual role — what the film can do to open minds if more people see it. GMK: The film concerns issues of justice. Do you think the world is just? AC: [Laughs.] No! I don’t think the world is just. I think there are heartening things in the world, like Obama being reelected and states voting not to oppress gay people’s rights. But there is a long way to go, and I hate when they throw us a bone to think it’s all lovely. But we don’t have equality yet, and when that happens, it will be a more just place.

STILL GIVING. Beloved philanthropist Brooke Astor set up a permanent fund with The New York Community Trust. Today, The Trust continues to carry out her philanthropy, and always will. What are your plans?

Brooke Astor 1902-2007

Consider setting up your own permanent fund today. Visit stillgiving.org or contact Jane Wilton (212) 686-2563


24 䉴

December 5, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

BARE, from p.16

cide was just devastating. Coming out shouldn’t have to be that difficult, but the world makes it that difficult. The haters shouldn’t try to control us. Until the day we are fully supported, we have to shout and get noticed.

DK: In one episode you said you “fell for the wrong guys” when you were younger. Care to elaborate? T W: Um [nervous laughter]… I used to fall for straight guys all the time. It’s twisted and my friends made fun of me. I thought I could help the guy come out of the closet, make them feel that being gay was okay. I was that support to a lot of guys. Some experimented and came out, and some did not. But I grew up. Now that I know how wonderful it is to be in a gay relationship, I will never do that again. DK: As a choreographer for your own dance company, you’re used to calling the shots. What’s it like working with a director like Stafford Arima? TW: My opinion is always heard in this process. The writer, the composer, the director, and myself — we all get together in one room and deconstruct the script. We don’t always agree, but we always reach a smart compr omise. I r eally lear ned the show inside out. As a result, I know wher e every character is coming from, which is essential to choreographing the show. DK: This is a reboot of an earlier production. How did you go about reinventing the choreography? TW: We’ve added a whole new kind of vocabulary. There are no traditional dance numbers in the show. Not only do the characters express themselves using song, but they use movement as well. I’m exploring a whole new side of choreography I never knew existed. It’s movement, not dancing. None of this feels like “5, 6, 7, 8!” DK: What’s it like working with performers who are not career dancers? T W: I h a v e t o e x p l a i n t h i n g s a little differently, but these kids are extremely talented. The reason I say “kids” is because this is the first job

CHAD BATKA

DK: We saw your boyfriend on “All The Right Moves.” Has he been supportive of your latest venture? TW: Absolutely, he is with me here in New York. We’ve been together for a year and a half. He loves that I have a consistent schedule. He’s happy for me because I come home and I’m so excited about this job.

The cast of “Bare” and stars Jason Hite and Taylor Trensch.

where I walked in and felt like an old trash bag. I used to always be the youngest person in the studio and I prided myself on that. Now I feel like I’m old. And I just turned 25. DK: “Bare” is a rock musical. Is that a stretch from your contemporary aesthetic? TW: Everyone thinks I come from this contemporary background because that’s who I am as a dancer, but I’ve been trained in a variety of styles. What I’m really trained in is musicality. Different songs make you do dif ferent things. There are moments in the show that are really funny, so I’ve played with humor — comic timing is important. The show is so eclectic. It’s got aggressive rock sequences and contemporary ballads. There’s a hallucinatory drug scene. And a sassy “Dreamgirls” scene. DK: What’s the biggest challenge working in musical theater? T W: Yo u s p e n d s o m u c h t i m e and sweat working on one section and it can be cut in a heartbeat. And then sometimes it can be brought back and you do it all over again. It can be overwhelming. But I’m learning, “that’s show business, kid.” DK: You were in “The Music Man” on Br oadway when you wer e 12. What do you remember from that experience? TW: Back then I was the fat kid doing back handsprings across the stage. It’s a whole other experience being on this side of the table. There is so much more work that goes into these shows than I realized.

I loved performing on Broadway. Yet after a year and a half into it, I wanted to do something new. It’s tough doing eight shows a week of the same thing. I realized I wanted to work behind the scenes. I prefer to choreograph something, make it happen, leave, do another job, and have that first one still running.

filming 12 hours a day. Our lives were so busy, so stressful. I wasn’t sleeping. We finally had to kick the cameras out or we wouldn’t have a finished [Shaping Sound] show. I can’t say yet whether we will do a season two. If we do, a few things will have to change. I’m happy we did it, but I was happy when it was over.

DK: How does choreographing for a stage musical compare to working in other media? TW: With movies and TV it’s a little easier, because if there’s something you want to focus on, you can easily put a camera on it and zoom in. In a two-hour [stage] show, you have this huge blank canvas and you have to figure how to get the audience focused on the right moments. Every second is meticulously choreographed, whether cast members are moving or not. I even choreographed a sex scene.

DK: What’s next? Is Shaping Sound really going on tour? TW: Yes, we’re doing a ten-city tour in the spring. New York will be on the schedule, at the Joyce Theater. I’m so excited to put this awesome dance spectacular together and hit it out of the ballpark. After that, we plan to return to Fire Island to perform for the annual DRA [Dancers Responding to AIDS] benefit.

D K : Do you feel “All The Right Moves” helped your career? TW: The reason we did it was to put Shaping Sound on the map. But also I wanted to be a positive gay role model and portray two guys in a loving relationship. I’m a normal person and I’m gay. When I was growing up, there were hardly any out public figures or gay TV char acters. And if there were, they were huge stereotypes. I couldn’t relate to them. I like sports, I play football, I do all these things. I wanted to break down stereotypes. DK: Can we expect the show to return for another season? TW: It was a crazy experience,

DK: Any final thoughts? TW: I’m so excited about “Bare” and I’m honored to be part of the process. It was so before its time. It can be dif ficult for me to watch because it takes me back to that dark place a few years ago. I felt so alone. But it has touches of humor, as well. A show should make you laugh before it can make you cry. It’s a dramatic love story that dares to challenge. It will make you think, it will make you feel. And that’s what theater should be. T ravis Wall will host a post-show TalkOUT discussion following the December 6 performance. Tyler Clementi’s family will host a similar discussion following the December 12 perfor mance, as will the cast of “Bare” on December 19.


25

| December 5, 2012

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December 5, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR PUBLISHER JENNIFER GOODSTEIN

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This Christmas, Support Our Community

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L

ast year at this time, our cover story at Gay City News was titled “How Do We Move the 97 Percent?” It wasn’t a piece about Occupy Wall Street. Instead, it explored the findings of the Movement Advancement Project’s (MAP) annual National LGBT Movement Report. According to that study, “Even an optimistic estimate concludes that fewer than three percent of LGBT adults give to national LGBT organizations.” After publishing that cover story, the newspaper received a letter critical of the piece, noting that many in the community give to other social justice organizations that are not focused exclusively on queer issues but do serve LGBT interests. Sometimes, broader-based advocacy groups carry out gay-specific projects; in other instances, they tackle issues of major concern to the queer community as well as to other groups. Fair enough. It is encouraging that LGBT issues are increasingly being mainstreamed into the agendas of a wide range of advocacy organizations, and communities of all sorts only hurt themselves mselves s by unnecessarily “silo-ing” g” ttheir heir efforts.

But even if giving by LGBT Americans to social advocacy causes were three times greater than the data on targeted donations to queer-specific organizations suggest, that still means that more than nine out of every ten in our community neglect to open up their wallets in support of our common welfare. That’s clearly not enough. MAP’s new r eport is out this week, and there are some encouraging signs. Overall, revenues, which declined precipitously in the face of recession from 2008 to 2009 but managed largely to stabilize in 2010, increased by a heartening 17 percent in 2011. The number of individual donors — who contribute more than a third of total organizational resources — grew and attendance at fundraising events spiked by an impressive ten percent. Just as important is the efficiency with which LGBT advocacy groups spend their money. MAP estimates that organizations serving the community devote 80 percent of total revenues to programming and services, which exceeds the good practices benchmark for the nonprofit sector generally. Despite this good news, MAP concludes that total participation by community members is unchanged from last year’s report — “the actual percentage

of LGBT adults who have donated to LGBT social justice organizations is likely lower than three percent.” Among the 40 organizations studied by MAP in detail, including more than a dozen based in New York, an average of 44 percent of total contributions came from a group’s ten largest donors. We can change this, and now is a particularly opportune moment to do so. Why? Because we are winning. After years of slow but steady progress during which huge obstacles — in terms of institutional power and public opinion — persisted, recent events, most strikingly the four ballot wins on marriage equality questions on November 6, demonstrate that the embrace of our community by the American public at large has reached critical mass. If that conclusion sounds like a specific recommendation that you contribute to the fight for marriage equality — the drive to extend New York’s victory to other states and to end the ban on federal recognition of our unions — it is not. To be sure, there is much more to be done on that front and the day when victory is complete cannot come soon enough. But there are so many other options and too many great

needs. While our community has made dramatic gains on marriage rights, we still do not enjoy basic job protections nationwide, never mind inclusion in the civil rights laws that shield other minorities from discrimination in housing, public accommodations, access to credit, and the like. And there are many among us — our transgender brothers and sisters, youth, especially youth of color, seniors, immigrants, and those who live outside the nation’s major metropolitan areas — who suffer a vulnerability that is not simply about social justice, but often about survival itself. Meanwhile, AIDS — both its prevention and its treatment, not to mention the civil liberties of those living with the virus — has sadly fallen off the radar screen for most of us. And, health problems, such as breast cancer, that affect lesbians at disproportionate rates compared to the general population are not often seen as queer issues. Many of these challenges lack the media buzz and vogue of marriage equality, which is precisely why support for solutions are so important and why your dollars can make such a difference. Thank God there are people — many, many people — willing to write checks in the tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote our civil right to marry. If that’s not the sort of money you have to bring to the table, you can likely make a difference on a wide choice of other critical issues on a far more modest budget.

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

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© 2012 Gay City News. All rights reserved.

BY NATHAN RILEY

D

rug policy reform will play a bigger role in American politics during President Barack Obama’s second term, and it behooves our leaders in Washington, DC, and elsewhere to welcome this shift.

Public attitudes are changing, and the drug reformers’ condemnations have taken on a new, more confident and aggressive tone. Voters in Colorado and Washington State approved referendums permitting the recreational use of marijuana in retur n for taxes on the pot industry. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, this is first time

any political jurisdiction in the world has acted to “regulate marijuana like alcohol.” In Massachusetts, voters approved medical marijuana distribution. In Brooklyn, Hakeem Jeffries was elected to Congress as a drug reformer and campaigner against police abuses. Diane Savino, a Staten Island Democrat, champions

medical marijuana and will play a pivotal role in deciding State Senate majorg if the S tate S enat ate e ma majo jorr ity is led by a Republican or a Democrat. Governor Andrew Cuomo supports ending criminal charges for the possession of marijuana in public view. He posture is a positive response to the swelling discontent over police stops of minority youth. The rapid change in public attitudes invites comparison with the growing acceptance of marriage equality. A majority is accepting ideas

RILEY, continued on p.30


27

| December 5, 2012

PERSPECTIVE

The Elephant in the Room BY KELLY JEAN COGSWELL

I

was at this party the other day, when the people I'd sat down with decided I'd become inconvenient. They wanted to invite this other girl to go out with them, but not me, so what to do? Being awkward or just assholes, their solution was to suddenly ignore me. Pretend like I'd ceased to exist while they talked about dressing up as vampires or something and the reaction they got in bars. I was tempted to wave my hand in front of their faces, and say, "Yoo hoo, still her e." But it was mor e interesting to stay motionless in my chair, watch their contortions, and see how long they could keep it up. Indefinitely, it tur ned out, even if their eyes were forced to glide past my own like I was a kind of repellant particle scientists aren't able to detect except by the movement of others around it. They reminded me of three-year olds that can make other people come and go just by covering their own eyes. Or like politicians who have the amazing capacity to erase the elephant or dyke or whatever in the room. We just had a whole election cycle where, unless I'm mistaken, poor people weren't mentioned once, just the suffering middle class, though mor e and mor e people ar e dr opping out of it and fewer climbing in. And in four years of having our first

black president, racism has also fallen off the national agenda even as it grew. Don't make eye contact, it will get bored. In 2008, it was the leaders of the LGBT community who managed to shut their eyes to Obama's inconvenient relationships with bigots. He campaigned, for instance, with the same black, anti-gay preachers as Bush, and when he won, invited that Anglo pig Rick Warren to pronounce over his inauguration. Rick Warren equated gay marriage with polygamy and incest. Said abor tion was genocide as much as the Holocaust was. Took his campaign — and gazillions of his white fundamentalist American dollars —

And like an opportunistic infection, more AIDS. You have to be an idiot not to know why young black queers in the US get HIV more than anybody else. For World AIDS Day, Reuters reported that in 2010, "72 percent of the estimated 12,000 new HIV infections in young people occurred in young men who have sex with men, and nearly half of new infections were among young, black males." The article did a pretty good job identifying the culprit. Not just lack of infor mation, but homophobia. Lately, even relatively conservative international organizations have started to consider it in their programs, talking about the "gay"

You have to be an idiot not to know why young black queers in the US get HIV more than anybody else. to the African continent where he egged on anti-gay ef forts in places like Uganda, telling the pr ess there queers had no human rights. Preach on, brother man. The Ugandans embraced your message, considering every couple of months the death penalty for queers. Nobody seemed to remember that giving hate the podium always means more violence, more shame.

stigma of AIDS. Men who have sex with men think they can only get it if they identify as "gay". Straight men don't think they can get the "gay" disease. Women in that constellation are apparently immune. UNAIDS aspires to get to zero. Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. The only effective way to get rid

The Virgin Rebirth, A Public Service Annunciation BY SUSIE DAY

D

ear Women of Western Culture, My name is Mary. Not the Mary of Had-aLittle-Lamb fame. Holy

Mary. O r, i f y o u w i l l , M a r i a . B u t n o t Maria as in “The Sound of Music.” A v e M a r i a . Yo u k n o w , M o t h e r o f God? Queen of Heaven? Our Lady of Perpetual Boundary Issues? Yo u m i g h t r e m e m b e r m e f r o m

such codependent masterpieces as the Pietà and nine billion paintings depicting the braless Madonna and blessed breast-fed children. Boys, all boys. Which reminds me: I want to talk about abortion rights. Don’t get me wrong: motherhood is a noble profession. But I didn’t choose it. That’s the whole point here. Looking back, I haven’t done much with my life except reproduce — once. For some reason, this makes me the eter nal, long-

suffering maternal archetype. Every second, I get prayers for help from zillions of needy depressives. These people never think to ask me about my possible empty-nest syndr ome, my take on global war ming, or whether I’ve managed, after all these years, to graduate college. They mostly want a favor from The Man. Well, screw that. I am too through with being the nurturing female progenitor embedded in Western Culture’s incessantly whining collective unconscious. I

of the (gay) stigma of AIDS, is to get rid of the stigma of gay. Because the other side of cultures of intense homophobia is shame. Which in the case of young black men is amplified by racism. Unprotected sex can be just another slow suicide like the bottle. Or hanging around street corners. Or joining gangs. Part of that may begin to tur n around now that Obama's seen the light, and his positions have "evolved." In 2012, Hillary Clinton used her international platform as US secretary of state to declare that gay rights were human rights. A few weeks later, Barack Obama announced his support for marriage equality. Despite worried or gloating pundits, it didn't cost him the election. He won queer votes. And people of color mostly stayed on boar d. In fact, he gave renewed hope to lots of queer activists and allies of color. The usual verbal gay-bashing has been muted. Several black celebrities like Jay-Z have actually come out against homophobia: "It's no dif fer ent than discriminating against blacks. It's discrimination. Plain and simple." This sea change can only help struggling young queers of color. It's a good start, but there's still the little intractable matter of racism and race. It's easier for a straight president to speak up for the queers than a black president to speak up unapologetically for himself and all the kids who look like him. They are invisible particles we swerve around trying to keep the lid on. Sacrificing them to keep somebody else's peace.

am bigger than that — I am an individual, dammit, and I want to actualize my freaking potential. I want to learn skydiving and get an iPhone and play “Angry Birds” and occupy Wall Street, and I want to bust Bradley Manning out of jail. But you girlies are making all that difficult. That’s because you, women of Wester n Culture — regardless of your religious beliefs or lack thereof — need to psychologically vacuum out your mental image of me, the obsessively giving Virgin. Abort me, you fuckers. This is not only to save the life of the Mother, it’s for you, too. Please don’t ask me how the Baby Jesus would feel here. How should I know? My son the messiah — he

SUSIE DAY, continued on p.31


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December 5, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

14 DAYS, from p.21

SUN.DEC.9

Christmas Stripped & Sullied

FRI.DEC.7

EndTimes Productions presents the sixth annual edition of “Naked Holidays,” a flesh-filled evening of non-traditional holiday mischief, naughty short plays, music, and merriment. Highlights include "Weredeer," about a man doomed to become a monster on Christmas Eve; "How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Holidays," set in the Fox newsroom during the War on Christmas; "The Worst Jews In the World," in which a Christmas-loving Jewish couple feels conflicted; "Dad Came Out This Christmas," about a father who makes the Yuletides gay; and "The Naked People Play," the traditional full-monty “Naked Holidays” closer. Times Square Arts Center, 300 W. 43rd St. Through Dec. 30, Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m. No performances Dec. 23-26. Tickets are $57.50 at Telecharge.com or 212-239-6200.

POLITICS Lincoln Loved Christmas

CBST.ORG

The Log Cabin Republicans of NYC hold their annual holiday party, this year celebrating the contributions of Christopher Taylor, the vice president of the New York County Republican Committee and a past president of the club, and Brian Graybow, who serves on the Log Cabin state board of directors. The evening includes an open bar, a sumptuous hors d'oeuvres spread, and deserts courtesy of Li-Lac Chocolates. Metropolitan Republican Club, 122 E. 83rd St. Dec. 7, 7-10 p.m. Admission is $25 with the donation of an unwrapped toy for a foster child in need; $35 otherwise.

TUE.DEC.11

ART David Wojnarowicz’s Legacy

Art critic Cynthia Carr offers an exclusive presentation to New York audiences about artist and AIDS activist David Wojnarowicz, the subject of her new biography, "A Fire in My Belly." Wojnarowicz found acclaim in the East Village in the ‘70s and ’80s and continues to stir emotions and raise hackles. Emerging from a childhood that included abusive parents, orphanages, and hustling on the streets, he found his subject matter, along with his photographer partner Peter Hujar, in New York's abandoned buildings, junkies, and burgeoning art scene, before dying of AIDS in 1992 at the age of 37. In 2010, Washington’s National Portrait Gallery made headlines when it responded to protests from the Catholic League by voluntarily censoring an excerpt of David Wojnarowicz's video “A Fire in My Belly” from its show on American portraiture. LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St. Dec. 11, 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 at gaycenter.org.

SPIN CYLCLE

STEPHEN SOROKOFF

COMMUNITY Celebrating Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum

PERFORMANCE Liza With A V Victoria Libertoire, back for the fourth year in a row, is faux Liza Minnelli as host of the annual Dance New Amsterdam Winter Cabaret. Libertoire/ Minnelli’s guest include Moe Angelos, Bougie, Aimee Brown, Robin Cloud, Jennifer E. Koltun, James & JF, Maddy Mann & Lexi Miller, Allison Miller, Ernie Pappanastos, Elizabeth Whitney, Gretchen Winterkorn, Deb Bicknese, Drae Campbell, L Boogie, Luscious von Dykester, Prince Kim, Joanne Swanson, and Ariel Speedwagon. The event’s producers warn you to “prepare to laugh so hard that your face hurts.” 53 Chambers St., across the street from City Hall. Dec. 7 & 8, 10 p.m., with pre-performance receptions at 8:30. Tickets are $17; $14 for students & seniors at tinyurl.com/cly3ynw.

Distorted Kristmess Dallas DuBois and the "ladies" of the longrunning (and soon-to-return) drag hit “Distorted Diznee” run all of your holiday favorites past a dirty funhouse mirror. Highlights include a twisted take on “Let It Snow,” an alternative Grinch, and a warped spin on “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and a special visit from the Port Authority Cockettes, an altogether downscale version of the celebrated Radio City Rockettes. DuBois’ co-stars are Pixie Aventura, Holly Dae, Tina Burner, and Bootsie LeFaris. Laurie Beechman Theater, 407 W. 42nd St. Dec. 7, 10 p.m. Tickets are $15 at SpinCycleNYC.com or 212-352-3101, plus a $15 food & drink minimum.

CABARET Gershwins, Feinstein & A Young Protégé Celebrating the release of his new book “The Gershwins and Me” and a CD of 12 Gershwin songs, Michael Feinstein performs “A Gershwin Holiday,” an evening of classic Jazz Age songs from “Strike Up the Band” to “Love Is Here to Stay.” Pianist and arranger Alan Broadbent leads a quintet in accompaniment, and Nick Ziobro, the 16-year-old upstate New York winner of a Feinstein high school competition, joins the engagement as special guest vocalist. Feinstein’s at Loews Regency Hotel, 540 Park Ave. at 61st St. Through Dec. 22, Tue.-Thu., 8 p.m.; Fri-Sat., 8 & 10:30 p.m. Cover charge is $60, with a $40 food & drink minimum. Reservations at FeinsteinsatLoewsRegency.com or 212-339-4095.

SAT.DEC.8 PERFORMANCE Happy Mollydays Poet/ elementary school security guard Molly "Equality" Dykeman presents her second annual Christmas variety show. With the Percocet-fogged haze that is her mind, will she be able to muck her way through holiday numbers, festive choreography, and a glittering array of guest stars, including Michael Musto, Bambi Galore, Will Clark, Jubilee Diamond, and Adam Sank? Come find out. Laurie Beechman Theater, 407 West 42nd St. Dec. 8 & 21, 9:30 p.m. Admission is $18 at SpinCycleNYC.com or 212-352-3101; $20 at the door. There is a $15 food & drink minimum.

Congregation Beit Simchat Torah celebrates Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum’s 20th anniversary of spiritual leadership there in a special event in which the rabbi appears in conversation with Cynthia Nixon, Frank Rich, and Rabbi Ayelet S. Cohen. John Jay College, Gerald W. Lynch Theater, 524 W. 59th St. Dec. 9, 3 p.m. A reception follows the formal program. For information on tickets, visit cbst.org.

MUSIC Gay Men Sing Christmas In its second of two performances, the Empire City Men’s Chorus, a gay classical ensemble, celebrates the season with “Love and Justice: A 20th Anniversary Holiday Concert.” Artistic director Christopher Clowdus draws from the chorus’ holiday repertoire as well as commissioned work from gay and gay-friendly composers, including Marvin Gaspard, Dorothy Hindman, David Hurd, and Gwyneth Walker. A performance of “Sunday” from Sondheim’s “Sunday In The Park With George” features past and current members of the chorus. St. Ann and the Holy Trinity Church, 157 Montague St. at Clinton St., Brooklyn. Dec. 9, 5 p.m. Admission is $25; $15 for students & seniors at empirecitymenschorus.org or 212-545-4110.

PERFORMANCE All That Fun For Just a Little Gelt Sherry Vine hosts New York’s most popular holiday burlesque, a dazzling dreidel that pits eight Hanukkah hopefuls in competition for the ranks of the Menorah Horah Royalty. Who has the chutzpah to claim the crown? Vine’s special guest are the Schlep Sisters, Minnie Tonka, and Darlinda Just Darlinda. Highline Ballroom, 431 W. 16th St. Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m.; doors open at 6. Admission is $20-$30 at highlighballroom.com; $25-$35 at the door.

NIGHTLIFE Snaxx in the House that Blair Built Fresh from her season in Ibiza, Ms. Barbara Tucker, the queen of House Music, headlines Snaxxstravaganza, tonight celebrating more than a decade of dancing together in dingy basements, historic discos, Black Parties, sandy beaches, and sunny, sunny shores. All in the house that John Blair built, XL Nightclub, 512 W. 42nd St. Dec. 9, 6 p.m.-midnight.

WED.DEC.12

PERFORMANCE Jackie Oh, No!

Continuing her mission to poison every sacred belief and tradition with her 15th annual holiday show, drag star Jackie Beat presents a cocaine-fueled rewrite of “Let It Snow,” the pregnancy confessional “Santa’s Baby,” and a menorah-loving “Jew Christmas.” Laurie Beechman Theater, 407 West 42nd St. Dec. 12, 14-15, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 13, 10 p.m.

BAM’s Icelandic Bargain Set in a nursing home at holiday time, director Gísli Örn Gardarsson's “Faust: A Love Story” centers on Johann, a senior resident and once-famous actor who has played all the star roles except Goethe's famous protagonist. Greta, his nurse and the object of his affection, enables him in a kind of Faust fantasia wherein Johann, on the verge of taking his own life, is rescued by the demon Mephisto, who bets God he can keep Johann/ Faust from His clutches by fulfilling the old man’s wish for the glories of youth and love. The production comes to BAM’s 30th Next Wave Festival from Vesturport Theatre and Reykjavík City Theatre. BAM Harvey Theater, 651 Fulton St., btwn. Rockwell & Ashland Pls. Dec. 12-14, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 15, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 16, 3 p.m. An artist talk, moderated by critic and scholar Jonathan Kalb, takes place post-show on Dec. 13. Tickets are $25-$90 at bam.org.

FRI.DEC.14

GALLERY The Eros of Italy

European-based curator Peter Weiermair, a specialist in the field of the male nude who is particularly knowledgeable about gay photographers working in Italy, has selected work by 11 such artists from different generations whose work ranges from documentary to conceptual. The exhibition he brings to the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, consisting of 60-70 photographs and one video, is titled “Diaries: An Anthology of Photography from Italy,” and he writes, “The unifying theme of the work is the male nude, its beauty, Eros, and sexuality.” 26 Wooster St., btwn. Grand & Canal Sts. Dec. 15-Feb. 3. Tue.-Sun., noon-6 p.m. Opening reception is Dec. 14, 6-8 p.m. More details at leslielohman.org.

FRI.DEC.14, continued on p.29


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| December 5, 2012 FRI.DEC.14, from p.28

PERFORMANCE Gather Round the Yuletide TV

MUSIC In the Pink for the Holidays Steven Reineke leads the New York Pops in two evenings of holiday cheer featuring special guest Pink Martini, a “little orchestra” of a dozen members, founded in 1994 by pianist Thomas Lauderdale, that crosses genres of classical, jazz, and old- fashioned pop. “Joy to the World” will include seasonal favorites, including works by Maurice Ravel, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and Irving Berlin. Carnegie Hall, 881 Seventh Ave. at 57th St. Dec. 14-15, 8 p.m. Tickets are $37-$108 at Carnegiehall.org or 212-247-7800.

Judy Collins joins the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus for its annual seasonal spectacular, “An American Holiday.” The chorus artistic director, Dr. Charles Beale, said, “There is so much powerful American music and this season we’re focusing on what it means to be gay in America today. As a Brit, it has been especially uplifting working with the chorus to create this all-American holiday show. And we are so honored to have Ms. Collins, an American musical icon, join us this year. Her messages of hope meld perfectly with the mission of our chorus.” Town Hall, 123 W. 43rd St. Dec. 16, 3 & 8 p.m. Tickets are $57.80-$89.95 at nycgmc.org.

SIMPLYSTREISAND.NET

PERFORMANCE Lettuce Entertain You

Barbra Streisand tribute artist Carla DelVillaggio, whom the New York Post says looks and sounds “uncannily like the real deal,” presents a holiday special, featuring songs including “Memories,” “Jingle Bells,” “What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?,” “It Must Have Been the Mistletoe,” “GrownUp Christmas List,” “Winter Wonderland,” a couple of Hanukkah songs she must remember from her days at Erasmus Hall High School, and even a couple of Barbra classics. Laurie Beechman Theater, 407 W. 42nd St. Dec. 14, 20 & 22, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $22 at SpinCycleNYC.com or 212-352-3101, and there is a $15 food & drink minimum.

NIGHTLIFE Ritual – In Life & Erotics

SUN.DEC.16

MUSIC Judy Collins & the Gay Men’s Chorus at Christmas

Streisand Under Mistletoe

FRI.DEC.21

In “Milk and Cookies,” Nicholas Gorham is joined by husband Dane Terry at their home for the broadcast of their annual Christmas special. The couple are joined by Charlotte Miller, Enid Ellen, and Nat Ann Carrera. Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie St., btwn. Rivington & Delancey Sts. Dec. 14, 10 p.m. Tickets are $12 at dixonplace.org; $15; $10 for students & seniors at the door. NEW YORK CHORAL SOCIETY

Hedda Lettuce’s crisp comedy and delicious song parodies have made her festive holiday celebrations a hit for more than a decade. With “Lettuce Rejoice 2012!,” she returns with classics such as “Here Comes Tranny Clause,” “Sleigh Ride,” her tribute to Grindr, and “Do You Think That He’s Queer?,” a fag hag’s plaintive ballad. Hedda also offers a demented homage to the late Amy Winehouse. Paul Leschen accompanies Hedda on piano. Metropolitan Room, 34 W. 22nd St. Dec. 16, 22 & 26, 9:30 p.m.; Dec. 19, 7 p.m.; Dec. 23, 4 & 9:30 p.m. Admission is $22-$25; reservations at 212-206-0440.

days following his birth when they took flight to save their baby from King Herod’s murderous plot. Soloists are Heather Johnson, mezzo-soprano; William Burden, tenor; Alan Held, bass-baritone, and Richard Bernstein, bass. Carnegie Hall, 881 Seventh Ave. at 57th St. Dec. 18, 8 p.m. Tickets are $30-$80 at nychoral.org or carnegiehall.org.

WED.DEC.19 A Stonewall Christmas The Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City holds its annual holiday party, with complimentary cocktails, coffee, and dessert. LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St. Dec. 19, 6:30-9:30 p.m.

From casual kisses at the door to formal slave poses, ritual objects such as collars to slave contracts, the BDSM world is rife with concepts of ritual — but what is a ritual? The Lesbian Sex Mafia hosts Lee Harrington, a spiritual and erotic educator, gender explorer, and eclectic artist, who leads an inquiry into rituals from day-to-day life to intense connections, erotic play, and sacred time. LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St. Dec. 21, 8-10 p.m. Admission is $10; $5 for LSM members. Workshop open to all genders.

PERFORMANCE La Navidad Cubana Bubbly Cuban chanteuse and campy cult favorite Margarita Pracatan — armed with a Yamaha keyboard, her thick accent, and a slippery grasp of the English language — wants to spend the holidays with you. She loves you, baby! With a program of holiday classics — plus a tune written for her by the B-52's Fred Schneider! — she’s on a mission to change your life one song at a time, even if she seldom finds the right key, lands on the right note, or sings the proper lyrics! Laurie Beechman Theater, 407 W. 42nd St. Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $18 at SpinCycleNYC.com; $20 at the door, with a $15 food & drink minimum.

NEW N EW Y YEAR’S EAR’S E EVE VE

ENCHANTMENT E NCHANTMENT A AWAITS WAITS Y YOU OU ABOARD A BOARD TTHE HE

ZEPHYR Z EPHYR Y YACHT ACHT

TUE.DEC.18

MUSIC Marveling at a Moving Moment

David Hayes makes his debut as music director of the New York Choral Society with a presentation of two choral works, “O magnum mysterium,” an innovative, harmonically rich work that marvels at the mystery of Jesus’ birth by Pulitzer-prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon, and “L’Enfance du Christ,” Berlioz’s dramatic and moving telling of the story of Mary, Joseph, and the newborn Jesus in the

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30 䉴

RILEY, from p.26

that first blossomed in the 1960s and ‘70s. The next step is to encourage a positive response from politicians. Ethan Nadelmann, the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, draws the sensible conclusion that the recent referendum wins were not “pro-pot.” Most voters don’t smoke pot, but they realized “it made more sense to regulate, tax, and control marijuana use.” Prohibition has never made grass go away, and the voters approved new policies that cope with its use and regulate it like alcohol. Here in New York, Cuomo recognizes the need for evenhanded enforcement and supports expanding marijuana decriminalization by eliminating criminal charges for persons having marijuana in “public view” — an existing policy that makes offenders out of youth who are stopped and asked to empty their pockets, bringing their weed illegally into the open. It would be helpful and encour aging if the governor took the next step in responding to popular will by taking a fresh look at the fully legal recreational use of marijuana and the tax revenues it could bring. In Washington, the current debate over the fiscal cliff provides an opportune moment for highlighting the government revenue benefits of regulating and taxing marijuana sales. Supporting drug reform has been shown to boost the reputations of elected of ficials. It helped David Soares get elected Albany County district attorney and Eric Schneiderman

NEVADA, from p.13

equal protection analysis,” he wrote. Jones confronted head on the New York-based Second Circuit’s recent ruling on Edie Windsor’s challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which found that sexual orientation discrimination should be treated for equal protection pur poses like sex. He pointed out that women had long been deprived of the vote, excluded from juries, and denied the basic right of property ownership. The only “homosexuals” historically subjected to such deprivations, he asserted, were those convicted under sodomy laws, undoubtedly a “miniscule” proportion of all gay people. When the Supreme Court embraced heightened scrutiny for sex discrimination cases in 1973, he argued, “continued discrimination against women... was largely due to the high visibility of the sex characteristic, a visibility that the characteristic of homosexuality does not have to nearly the same extent

December 5, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com in his successful campaign for state attorney general. The issue proved much the same political plus that Eliot Spitzer’s embrace of marriage equality in his 2006 run for governor provided in casting him as a forwardlooking leader. While political leadership on drug reform would smooth the road ahead, the reformers themselves are not waiting. They have instead been sharpening their arguments and are now less likely to make the case simply that prohibition is futile and illadvised. A more aggressive posture is taking hold among leading reformers. For years, these groups have urged reform with facts like these: In 1980, the total US prison population was about 500,000, but it has grown to more than 2.3 million today. To return to the nation’s incarceration rates of 1980, four out of five prisoners currently held would have to be released. The staggering growth in prison populations has created a general unease about using prisons to cope with drug use. Researchers and reform advocates today, however, believe these facts underestimate the crisis. The new view is that the drug war creates a caste system in American society, with the label criminal replacing the old Jim Crow marker of skin color. This argument could be a gamechanger. Democrats — and some Republicans, too — are starting to recognize the political liability of supporting drug prohibition. Mass incarceration of citizens drawn disproportionately from communities of color has implications at the ballot box.

While US incarceration rates are high, the arrests do not occur on Park Avenue or Beverly Hills. They ar e concentrated in other neighborhoods. The residents of Harlem, Bed-Stuy, Chicago’s South Side, and South Central LA are the ones arrested. And because arrests are nearly always made among the poor, the black and the brown, the rate of arrests in those communities are astronomically higher than those suggested by the nationwide figures. A point made dramatically in Eugene Jarecki’s new documentary, “The House I Live In.” The HIV Prevention T rials Network recently released a comprehensive study of black men and new HIV infections. Sixty percent of the African-American gay and bisexual men surveyed in the six cities under review had been in jail. In New York, 57 percent had a history of incarceration. Even Obama and his attorney general, Eric Holder — whose active campaigns against medical marijuana have provoked dismay among refor mers — seem to be gaining a new recognition that radical changes in policy endorsed by voters must be respected. In 2010, the administration warned Californians that a proposition there to legalize marijuana would violate federal law. This year, they were silent as Colorado and Washington voters approved what Californians had rejected. Federal prosecutions of medical marijuana are focused on two states — Montana and California, which have no regulatory systems to govern their dispen-

saries. The feds are more tolerant in states where regulations are in place. Congress should push the president to exercise restraint as Colorado and Washington implement the regulated sale of marijuana. Drug law reform is now fully on the public policy radar screen, but it is still in its adolescence, growing stronger but still fragile. Lines of communications must be kept open among the public, reformers, and elected of ficials. Refor mers should move aggressively to develop a real debate rather than allow oppositional postures to harden. Here in New York, the LGBT community has long embraced medical marijuana; its benefits to people living with AIDS have been understood going back decades. New York, as much or more than any urban area, is also keenly aware of the way in which marijuana penalties and stop and frisk policing have criminalized vast numbers of youth, most of them youth of color. On November 28, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice packed an Upper West Side synagogue to bestow a “Risk-Taker Award” on ACT UP. The group next plans to launch a Campaign Against Discriminatory Policing, for which they plan to reach out to Muslim and Arab groups for support. These developments do not arise in isolation from one and other. And they clearly suggest it is high time to put the question of how to rationalize this state’s and this nation’s drug policies and how to normalize drug use in our society.

as gender.” In other words, the closet preserves privilege for those who can “pass” as non-gay, and this makes a critical difference for Jones. Having determined that this was a rational basis case, Jones readily concluded that the state’s interest in preserving the traditional definition of marriage was sufficient. He cited Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s statement to that effect in her concurrence with the majority opinion in the 2003 ruling that struck down the nation’s sodomy laws, and imputed much the same meaning to Justice Anthony Kennedy’s finding in the majority opinion that settling the question of sodomy did not require the high court to address whether the state had to “recognize” same-sex relationships. “Although traditional moral disapproval is not alone a valid state interest for prohibiting private, consensual activity,” Jones wrote, noting the majority opinion in the sodomy case, “civil marriage is at least partially a public activity, and pre-

venting ‘abuse of an institution the law protects” is a valid state inter est.” He did not spell out what that abuse might be. The difference between the domestic partnership rights open to samesex couples in Nevada and the status of civil marriage, Jones found, constituted “minor differences in civil rights and responsibilities that are not themselves fundamental rights.” He also rejected the salience of the Ninth Circuit’s ruling earlier this year that Proposition 8 violates the 14th Amendment, since Nevada never allowed same-sex marriage, so this was not a case where the state was withdrawing an already recognized right from a particular group. As judges elsewhere have done without offering any factual proof, Jones credited speculation that opening marriage to same-sex couples might cause heterosexuals to refrain from marrying, thereby adversely affecting any children they have. In fact, marriage by same-sex couples has existed in Massachu-

setts for more than eight years, and that state continues to have one of the highest marriage rates and lowest divorce rates in the nation. Depending what the US Supreme Court does with the pending petitions for review in the Prop 8 and several DOMA cases, Jones’ ruling could become little more than an interesting footnote in legal history. On the other hand, if the Supreme Court decides to avoid answer ing the underlying 14th Amendment question concerning the right of same-sex couples to marry — which it could do by relying on other grounds — this decision, together with the earlier Hawaii ruling, would place the issue on the doorstep of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. That court — though also shying away from the fundamental issue of whether same-sex couples have a right to marry — has signaled a disposition toward a more liberal constitutional analysis in both its Prop 8 decision and a recent Arizona domestic partnership benefits case.


31

| December 5, 2012

OUT OF THE DARKNESS — WORLD AIDS DAY, 2012 PHOTOS BY DONNA ACETO REPORTING BY PAUL SCHINDLER Activists marked December 1, World AIDS Day, in Manhattan with a vigil and march that began at Trinity Lutheran Church on West 100th Street and proceeded by candlelight to Advent Lutheran Church and Broadway United Church of Christ, which share space at 93rd and Broadway. Brent Nicholson Earle, an early ACT UP member who founded the American Run to End AIDS (AREA), led participants at Trinity Lutheran in reading the names of those who died from the epidemic. At Advent Lutheran/ Broadway United Church of Christ, Andy Medina of Streetwise and Safe — a group that counsels youth of color about how to safely handle police stops — talked about how young people who are stopped and frisked by the NYPD have been arrested on suspicion of sex work if they had too many condoms in their possession. Reverend James Campbell, the pastor of Broadway United Church of Christ, also addressed the group. Since the AIDS epidemic was first identified in the early 1980s, about 650,000 Americans have died from

complications of HIV disease. More than 100,000 of those deaths were in New York City. Worldwide, AIDS has cost roughly 30 million people their lives. AIDS deaths have declined steadily in New York City since antiretroviral combination treatment was introduced in 1996, but even as new infections in the city declined in 2010 by eight percent, they grew by 1.5 percent among gay and bisexual men, according to data from the city’s health department. The pattern is similar across the country, where roughly 50,000 new infections occur every year. In 2009, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 64 percent of those infections occurred due to male-to-male sexual contact. Slightly under 40 percent of the new infections among gay and bisexual men came from just seven metropolitan areas — New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and Houston. US News and World Report quoted Dr. Jonathan Mermin, the CDC's director of the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, saying, "Gay and bisexual men are over 40 times more likely to have HIV than heterosexuals.”

and not in a good way. A few days l a t e r, s o m e a n g e l c o m e s a r o u n d selling Bibles. Sticks his foot in the door and says, “You’re gonna like this book, tootsie — it’s got your name in it!” Then he shows me that part in the book of Luke where it says, “Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God.” Whoa, what newlywed pubescent would not want to hear that? Then I read the part that said I was going to bring forth a son: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee… and the power of the Highest shall over shadow thee.” Yeah, right: “Overshadow.” Huh. Funny, you don’t hear that word much in rape crisis centers. But whatever. I didn’t want to hurt God’s feelings, so even though I’m Jewish, I bought the leather -bound deluxe King James version. Angel threw in a free vacuum cleaner. Long story short, couple days later in the mail

SUSIE DAY, from p.27

never calls, he never writes. Well, who can blame him? As a parent, I was way too controlling, something you can’t always see in those paintings. I forced that kid to live out my dreams: “Jesus, you’re late for your elocution lesson”; “Jesus, your father and I paid good money for that magic set, now make with the wine trick”; “I don’t care how much fun those kids are having, Jesus, you’re going to sit there until you heal that leper.” I admit it — I was frustrated and demanding. I mean, hell, people always said I was the one with the charisma. Yo u q u e s t i o n m y s t o r y ? F i n e , check the record. At 14, I was mar ried off to a much older man. I went through with it because I had no choice. If I didn’t, I might have gotten stoned in the marketplace —

I get a Candygram. So, not thinking, I unwrap a chocolate-covered cherry and — BLAMMO — I’m what they call “overshadowed.” So I become another pregnant teenager. No, wait — I become THE pregnant teenager. The cosmic buni n - o v e n - w h o - m e ? a v a t a r. Yo u ’ d think I would feel radiant and fulfilled, but I feel like crap. That’s because, for over 2,000 years, the fundamental moral foundation of Western Culture has been the fact that little Mary of Nazareth (that’s me) was for cibly impr egnated by the Holy Ghost — and fucking went along with it. Thank god that idiot Todd Akin said, a few months back, that thing about “legitimate rape.” Because of him, it totally dawned on me: Yeah, I really DO have ways to “shut that whole thing down.” So you know what? Today’s Vir gin is taking pro-choice to whole new levels. She is choosing her own

friggin’ self. Today’s Virgin nurtures what she wants; she terminates when she wants. And so can you, women of Western Culture. In fact, until you do, you can be as “liberated” as you want — become a nuclear physicist, sell lesbian sex toys, play your tuba at Carnegie Hall, practice yoga on the beach — it won’t matter. As long as I, the Blessed Mother, remain society’s unspoken ideal of Womanhood — and I do — you’ll always be waiting, waiting to have greatness thrust upon — or into — you. You’ll spend your whole life wondering what’s wrong with you; why your movie-star potential was never discovered; why nobody asked you to the ball. Face it, dolls: you’d be a lot better off if you got my Divinely fertilized, all-accepting, glass-slipper -fetishizing archetype the hell out of you. Because it’s never going to grow up to be a person.


32

December 5, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

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Gay City News  

Gay City News December 5, 2012 All the Right Moves Brought to Bare