FREE VOLUME TWELVE, ISSUE TWENTY FIVE DECEMBER 11 - 24, 2013
Johnny Weir v. “Idiot” Gay Activists 12 LGBT Africans’ Message for the West 16
Cukor Kudos 24 Love Virtually 26
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December 11, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
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| December 11, 2013
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BY DUNCAN OSBORNE
hile Bill de Blasio’s c h o i c e o f Wi l l i a m Bratton to head the city’s police department likely reassured New Yorkers that the declines in crime seen over the last 20 years will be sustained, few are asking if the management techniques that Bratton first put in place in the early 1990s are responsible for some of the policing ills that advocates complain about today. “His policies were the beginning of all the trouble that some people now have with policing,” said one of the skeptics, Robert Gangi, director of the Police Reform Organizing Project at the Urban Justice Center, a human rights group. Stop and frisk is the best known police practice and is among those that advocates have found most objectionable. Stops went from under 100,000 in 2002 to a high of nearly 700,000 in 2011. Young African-American and Latino men are overwhelmingly targeted in stops and frisks. Bratton was New York City’s police commissioner from 1994 to 1996 under Mayor Rudy Giuliani. He is credited with implementing the practices of using statistics, mapping crime, and using performance measures, such as arrests made or summonses issued, to assess police commanders or even individual officers. While stop and frisk was not a Bratton innovation in New York City, published reports indicate that he embraced it when he ran the Los Angeles police department from 2002 to 2009. For gay men, the focus on driving up arrests meant an increase in police stings for public sex that brought significant increases in public lewdness arrests in the city. In New York City in 1998, there were 479 public lewdness arrests, and 769 public lewdness arrests followed in 1999. Nearly 100 percent of those arrested were men. In 2000, 1,088 and 1,069 of them, or 98 percent, were men. In
2001, police arrested 727 people for public lewdness and 699 of them, or 96 percent, were men. From 2003 through 2012, public lewdness arrests ranged from a low of 406 in 2004 to a high of 690 in 2010. Of the 5,401 public lewdness arrests in the city in that 10-year period, 5,096 of those arrested, or 94 percent, were men. The arrest data came from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services. From time to time, Gay City News has used the state Freedom of Information Law to obtain the criminal complaints for public lewdness arrests and those records show that a portion of the men arrested in any given year are flashers who almost always expose themselves to a woman. They also show organized police stings at locations where gay men gather to have sex. Such stings never target the places where heterosexuals gather for public sex, such as “lovers’ lanes” often celebrated sentimentally in popular culture. In 2003, Gay City News reported that police arrested 399 people across the state for violating New York’s sodomy law in the years after it was struck down in 1980 by the state’s highest court. While the sodomy arrests declined from 1981 to 1998 there was a sudden increase to 32 in 1999 and to 60 in 2000, with 53 of those 60 arrests made in Manhattan. Some of those arrested were found guilty after pleading to lesser charges. In 2008, police arrested 41 men for prostitution in six Manhattan porn shops. Just two of the 41 men had prior arrests for prostitution and 32 of the 41, or 78 percent, were Latino or AfricanAmerican. Those arrests were later cited in nuisance abatement lawsuits brought by the city in an effort to shut the shops down. Just as arrests increased, the NYPD’s legal unit increased nuisance abatement lawsuits for many different violations from 214 citywide in 1994 to 899 citywide in 2008. While crime decreased substantially from the Dinkins administration until 2013, the data show a police depart-
BILL DE BLASIO PHOTOSTREAM/ FLICKR.COM
MEET THE NEW BOSS:
William Bratton, the NYPD commissioner-designate, with Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio at a December 4 press conference.
For Gangi, the increases in stop and frisk show that successive mayors and police commisioners indiscriminately seized on Bratton’s innovations. ment that is driven by numbers and not necessarily by crime, though police have consistently said they responded to community complaints in the prostitution and public lewdness arrests. For Gangi, the increases in stop and frisk and other measures show that successive mayors and police commissioners indiscriminately seized on Bratton’s innovations. “They basically took those approaches and used them in a thoughtless and heedless way and intensified them,” he said. Jumaane Williams, a city councilman who represents parts of Brooklyn, was among the few voices who questioned de Blasio’s pick. He issued a statement on December 5, the day of Bratton’s appointment, that raised questions about his earlier time as commissioner. “By many accounts, CommissionerDesignate Bratton had a mixed tenure during his previous role as Commissioner,” Williams said. “While violent crime dropped, many communities of more color felt that Commissioner-Designate Bratton was not responsive to their
needs. While CompStat was ingenuitive in focusing on areas of high crime, this race-to-the-bottom, hyper-focus approach led to the quota system, which is a central problem in Stop and Frisk.” De Blasio campaigned as a progressive and said stop and frisk had to be reformed. On December 5, he held a conference call with advocates, including Gangi, to “assure us of his continuing commitment to establish an NYPD that treats people responsibly and respectfully and he thinks Bratton is that man to achieve that,” Gangi said. In an email statement, Lis Smith, a spokeswoman for the de Blasio transition team, wrote, "Starting with his appointment in 1976 as the first Boston Police liaison to the LGBT community — where he worked with Barney Frank, the then-Chief of Staff to the Mayor — Commissioner Bratton has been a champion for LGBT rights and an advocate for recruiting more members of the LGBT community into policing. In all of his departments, he has led successful efforts to expand and improve relationships with the LGBT community.”
December 11, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Comptroller to Olympic Sponsors: Condemn Russian Anti-Gay Laws State’s pension chief joined by city’s, 19 investment firms in call for action en major Olympic sponsors from Coke to Dow Chemical — a group that has largely declined to heed calls that they speak out forcefully against Russia’s laws making it a crime to be gay in public — are now being pressured by the $161 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, led by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, to do that and more. New York City Comptroller John Liu and 19 private investment firms also signed the December 3 letter to sponsors of the Olympic Games scheduled for February in Sochi, Russia. “The Russian government’s discriminatory laws have cast a shadow over the Olympics,” DiNapoli said in a December 5 release calling on the sponsors to “stand up for the respect and equality enshrined in the Olympic movement, advocate for human rights, and confront abuses.” DiNapoli, a Democrat, called it “not just the right thing to do, it protects shareholder interests and corporate reputations.” Liu, also a Democrat, said, “If they fail to step up and speak out in support of equal rights for all, they risk damaging their reputations and their value to investors.” Shelly Alpern, a director at Clean Yield Management, a signatory to the letter, said that since the Olympic Games derive 92 percent of their revenue from sponsorship and TV rights, they have enormous “influence over the International Olympic Committee and host countries. There is simply no justification for silence and inaction.” The letter called on the sponsors to take three steps — make sure that their own “nondiscrimination policies are strong, inclusive, and enforced globally,” especially for employees in Russia; tell Russia’s leaders to rescind the anti-gay laws; and tell the International Olympic Committee (IOC) “to obtain firm and express commitments from the Russian government” on the safety and rights of athletes and visitors at the Sochi Games. The letter noted the recent protests against the inaction of the sponsors and the activist calls for boycotts of their products and services, emphasizing that taking the actions requested “will help protect your company’s brand and reputation, and, consequently, your profits and our investments.” The letter says, “Russia has drawn worldwide condemnation by its enactment of laws restricting the rights of LGBT citizens to free speech and assem-
bly. These actions have cast a shadow over the competition and violate both the spirit of the Olympic Games and the Olympic Charter.” It also says, “We believe strongly that the corporations in which we invest have the opportunity to and should confront the wrongs that result from Russia’s new laws.” The laws have whipped up an extremely anti-gay atmosphere in Russia that has led to the torture and deaths of Russians perceived to be LGBT, an intensified crackdown on any public protest by LGBT people or anyone else, and terrorist attacks on gay bars and the offices of LGBT groups. Russia has taken action to stop adoptions of Russian children in countries that permit same-sex marriage and is considering a bill to take away children from Russian gay and lesbian parents outright. The recently concluded LGBT film fes- New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. tival in St. Petersburg was interrupted five times by bomb threats, and after its closing day out gay director Gus Van ment calling the comptrollers’ action Sant and screenwriter Dustin Lance “a small step,” adding that “if DiNapoli Black, in defiance of the new laws, believes ‘strongly that the corporations unveiled a big rainbow banner outside in which we invest have the opportureading “Support Russian Gays.” The nity to and should confront the wrongs banner was made by Rainbow Flag cre- that result from Russia’s new laws’ then ator Gilbert Baker and brought into he should follow his own advice and immediately sell all the Russian assets Russia by Black. DiNapoli has faced calls in recent held by the Common Retirement Fund. months to divest from Russia by Unfortunately, DiNapoli has refused to Upper West Side Assemblyman Daniel even disclose the Russian assets held O’Donnell, West Side State Senator Brad by the fund in response to a Freedom of Hoylman, and Jackson Heights City Information request from Queer Nation.” In response to Queer Nation, Eric Councilman Daniel Dromm. The three out gay Democrats praised the move Sumberg, a DiNapoli spokesman wrote by the state and city comptrollers and in an email, “Corporate engagement is either dropped or weakened their calls the first step in any shareholder action. Comptroller DiNapoli is the trustee of for divestment. “ I t ’ s a r e a l l y g r e a t s t e p , ” s a i d the Fund and must ensure that the O’Donnell. “If others in DiNapoli’s posi- interests of the members, beneficiaries, tion do the same thing, that might make and retirees of the retirement system are the sponsors start to see their sponsor- paramount in any investment decision.” Andre Banks, executive director of All ship as a bad thing, not a good thing.” DiNapoli’s move is believed to be the Out, which has focused a lot of its efforts first such action from a state comptrol- against the Russian laws on the Olymler. There is a bill in the California Leg- pic sponsors, called the letter “a really islature calling for divestment from Rus- bold and extremely important move. It sends a clear message that tacit supsia, but it has not moved. Hoylman called it a “strong mes- port for Russian anti-gay laws is bad for sage” and said sponsors “must take business.” Banks said, “ We are running a camaction against Russia’s discriminatory laws targeting the LGBT community.” paign targeting Coca Cola and other He termed their doing anything less sponsors that is going to ramp up at “an abdication of their corporate social the beginning of the year and through the Games at Sochi. The comptroller’s responsibility.” Saying, “The comptroller’s action and action shows increased scrutiny and divestment are not mutually exclusive,” public criticism is a real liability” for Hoylman indicated he is continuing to these sponsors. He said the response from Coke so far has been “weak.” discuss the issue with DiNapoli’s office. “They are talking to the IOC about Queer Nation NY, which has been out in the streets protesting the Russian these issues, but refuse to make an laws for months now, issued a state- affirmative statement against the anti-
ANDREW HILL/ NYS COMPTROLLER’S OFFICE
BY ANDY HUMM
gay laws,” Banks said. The major sponsors in addition to Coke and Dow are AtoS, General Electric, Omega, McDonald’s, Panasonic, Proctor & Gamble, Samsung, and Visa. DiNapoli’s release said that their failure to speak up against the Russian laws was “not acceptable.” As of press time, two sponsors had responded to DiNapoli. George R. Hamilton, the vice president of Olympic Operations for Dow Chemical, wrote about the company’s pro-gay policies and said he had “personally, as early as July, expressed our concerns” about the ant-gay laws to the IOC and Sochi Organizing Committee, “as have numerous other Dow employees as they join the planning calls for the upcoming Olympics.” Hamilton agreed that “full inclusion of LGBT employees” is “a business imperative.” The Swatch Group, makers of Omega, took a different tack, noting that “Omega is official Time keeper of the Olympics since 1932, not a sponsor” — a record that put the company in Berlin in 1936 at the Olympic Games presided over by Adolf Hitler. G.N. Hayek, Swatch’s CEO, writing from the company’s Swiss headquarters, told DiNapoli that the company has never boycotted the Games even when some countries have. Bloomberg News had earlier reported that Swatch issued a statement saying it would be “inappropriate for us to take any position that could have even the appearance of partisanship.” Hayek went on to chastise DiNapoli over US policies such as “the massif [sic] collection of date [sic] of the NSA,” writing that these threaten “the integrity of our internal confidential information” and “can cause huge damage to our company and shareholders.” He wrote, “As an investor you should… speak up loud about such potentially damaging practices coming from the USA.” Bloomberg News reported that CocaCola “won’t withdraw sponsorship to avoid undermining gay athletes who’ve spent years preparing for the competition. ‘A more positive impact can be made through continued involvement, rather than by sitting on the sidelines,’ Anne Moore, a spokeswoman for CocaCola, said by email.” Among the investors signing the DiNapoli letter were the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, the Unitarian Universalist Association, the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, Northstar Asset Management, Trillium Asset Management Corporation, and the Nathan Cummings Foundation.
| December 11, 2013
Overturned Hate Crime Conviction Faces Review NY high court takes up manslaughter verdict in Lateisha Green slay BY PAUL SCHINDLER
ransgender rights advocates are hailing the request by the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest bench, for full briefing and oral arguments regarding an appeals court ruling that overturned a first-degree manslaughter hate crime conviction in the 2008 death of a transgender woman in Syracuse. Dwight R. DeLee, who was 20 at the time of the crime, was convicted in 2009 by an Onondaga County jury in the shooting death of 22-year-old Lateisha Green. The prosecutor cited anti-gay statements made by DeLee — including “get you faggots, get out of here… get the fuck out of here” — in arguing that the defendant was guilty of a hate crime motivated by animus toward Green’s sexual orientation. Bias based on gender identity — as opposed to sexual orientation — is not covered under the state’s 2000 hate crimes statute. The jury did not convict DeLee on second-degree murder charges, but instead found him guilty of first-degree manslaughter as a hate crime. The jury proceeded to find the defendant not guilty on all the “lesser included” charges related to the killing, including simple firstdegree manslaughter without the hate crimes penalty enhancement. On July 19 of this year, a five-judge panel of the Appellate Division ruled 4-1 that because the jury acquitted DeLee on simple manslaughter its verdict was “inconsistent.” DeLee’s conviction was overturned, but William J. Fitzpatrick, the Onondaga County district attorney, appealed to the state’s high court. “We strongly disagreed with the Fourth Appellate Division’s conclusion and are extremely pleased that New York’s highest court has agreed to consider the appeal,” said Michael Silverman, the executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF), in a December 8 statement. “We believe the jury reached a proper verdict based on its understanding of the Judge’s instructions, viewing first-degree manslaughter alone as a lesser offense and therefore choosing ‘not guilty’ on that charge, but concluding that firstdegree manslaughter as a hate crime was the correct verdict, and therefore convicting DeLee on that charge.” In October, TLDEF was joined by Lambda Legal, the Empire State Pride Agenda, the Anti-Defamation League, and the New York City Anti-Violence Project in filing an amicus brief in support of Fitzpatrick’s appeal.
Lateisha Green was 22 when she was slain in Syracuse.
“Vacating that conviction would be a grave miscarriage of justice that would subvert the jury’s plain intent,” the brief read. “Allowing the person who shot Lateisha Green to walk free would frustrate the purpose of New York’s Hate Crimes Law, working in exact opposition to the Legislature’s two stated goals of enhancing punishment and deterring future hate crimes.” The arguments made by the prosecutor and those joining the TLDEF brief were echoed by the appellate panel’s dissenter, Justice Erin Peradotto. “In my view,” wrote Peradotto, “the jury’s verdict is reasonable and logical based upon the elements of the crimes as charged to the jury and, therefore, should not be disturbed.” The jury’s notes to the judge, she wrote, indicated it was convinced “the fatal shooting of the victim constituted a hate crime, but that the jury was grappling with whether to convict defendant of the hate crime of murder in the second degree, manslaughter in the first degree, or manslaughter in the second degree.” Once it determined DeLee was guilty of manslaughter in the first degree as a hate crime, it went on to the indictment’s second count and found him not guilty of simple manslaughter — as well as all the lesser offenses. In the county prosecutor’s letter to the Court of Appeals, prompted by Peradotto’s granting its application to appeal, Chief Assistant District Attorney James P. Maxwell wrote, “The People provided the
HATE CRIME, continued on p.14
"Wishing everyone a happy holiday season for all traditions and a happy and healthy New Year." Assemblymember
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December 11, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Johnny Weir Says Gay Protestors Are “Idiots” BY ANDY HUMM
ormer Olympic skater Johnny Weir was picketed by Queer Nation outside his talk at Barnard College December 2 for his position that “the Olympics are not the place to make a political statement” about Russia’s anti-gay laws and “you have to respect the culture of a country you are visiting.” During his talk he spoke of “idiots like the ones outside tonight, dumping vodka in the street,” action he dismissed as useless. “They say all these stupid things,” he told the audience of about 40 Barnard women students. “I never supported the [Russian] government. I supported the people.” Polling shows the Russian people support the anti-gay laws overwhelmingly. The banner outside, made and held by Gilbert Baker, creator of the Rainbow Flag, among others, stated in blood red, “Weir: Russian Olympic Clown; N.B.C.: Naïve Bloody Collaborators.” Weir, whose bio says that he “works
with the Russian Children’s Welfare Society and Russian Consulate in New York City,” will join NBC Sports as a commentator at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia in February. “We’re angry at him for not telling the truth about what’s going on in Russia to LGBT Russians and everybody else who dissents, who are being brutalized,” said Ann Northrop of Queer Nation at the protest. “He is selling out millions of people to satisfy his desire not to forgo his income or status. Is this what he would have done in Germany in 1936?” Weir spoke mostly of what he called his “storybook life” as a champion figure skater, but complained bitterly of the “ugly inner world politics of figure skating” that he believes made it impossible for him to win an Olympic medal. The skater did not officially come out as gay until after his last Olympics in 2010, when he wrote a memoir saying he did so in response to the rash of highly publicized gay teens suicides. He repeatedly expressed his lifelong love for all things Russian, especially “a style that was so inspiring.” His husband, Victor Weir-Vornov, is of Russian
GREG HERNANDEZ/ WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Given Barnard College platform, figure skater dismisses new Russian law as banning “anal sex in front of libraries”
Skater Johnny Weir.
descent and also spoke at the forum. “I still don’t study Russian politics,” Weir said. “I don’t pretend to get Russian politics.” But he did assert, “In my own country, I don’t have equal rights,”
though he added that living in New Jersey, “it’s nice to be able to get married.” Referring to the new anti-gay law in Russia, which forbids virtually all public mention of homosexuality as a threat to children, the athlete flippantly characterized it as “no anal sex in front of libraries.” “I’ve never had a bad experience in Russia,” he said, “not gotten called a fag or beat up,” something occurring systematically to many others since the law was passed, none known to have been an Olympic athlete. “I only see the rosy, golden side. I choose to see Russia in an arrogant, selfish way. I didn’t know what to think about the new law.” Weir acknowledged the challenges the Russian LGBT community faces, saying, “I know their lives are not like mine. It’s difficult to come out as gay in Russia. I didn’t think the law was changing so much.” He went on to emphasize that the anti-gay laws carry “fines,” not prison. He voiced no concern for the violence against LGBT people that escalated
WEIR, continued on p.13
Appeals Panel Revives Gay Russian Asylum Seeker’s Bid In holdover Bush case, Obama policy toward LGBT conditions under Putin at issue now BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel has granted a gay Russian asylum seeker’s petition for review, finding that there must be a determination of whether the government met its burden of showing that conditions for LGBT people in Russia have improved sufficiently to overcome the presumption that the applicant has a well-founded fear of persecution if required to return there. The recent wave of harassment and violence aimed at the LGBT community in wake of new anti-gay legislation there and Russian law enforcement’s failure to halt such activity would seem to make meeting that burden impossible. In fact, those following recent news reports out of Russia would likely think it incredible that this question has not been definitively resolved under US asylum policy. The panel, in a November 27 ruling, remanded the case to the Board
of Immigration Appeals (BIA), which it said erred in its finding that the asylum applicant failed to show he was subjected to persecution by individuals the Russian government was unable or unwilling to control. Circuit Judge Arthur L. Alarcon noted that, contrary to customary procedures, the asylum applicant was authorized to proceed anonymously in a “John Doe” filing, something granted “in exceptional cases where necessary to protect a person from harassment, injury, ridicule, or personal embarrassment.” The Immigration Judge (IJ) who initially considered Doe’s application expressly found that his testimony about growing up in Russia was credible. The applicant stated he joined a club for gay students while attending East Siberian Technological University in his hometown of Ulan-Ude. Soon, classmates, members of his wrestling team, and others “began mocking him.” Doe suffered two violent attacks from fellow students, and after the first, in which he sustained an eye injury and
body bruises, police dismissed his effort to make a report by saying the “case is not so serious” and asking why he didn’t defend himself. In the second attack, in April 2003, Doe and his boyfriend were beaten by other customers in a restaurant, and the applicant lost consciousness, suffered internal brain hemorrhaging and a concussion, and was hospitalized for three weeks. His father reported the attack to the police, who sent an officer to interview him in the hospital. Though the officer gave him the name of some of his attackers, who were known to him from school, Doe later received a letter from police saying the case would not be prosecuted, based on a provision in the criminal code that was not spelled out. After his release from the hospital, Doe continued to face harassment from the same attackers. He soon moved to Moscow, where he said he endured discrimination and suspicion from police due to his Buryat ethnicity. After four months, he left Russia for the US on a student visa.
In New York, Doe enrolled in the American Language Communications Center, but eventually stopped attending classes and received a notice from Homeland Security that he was violating the terms of his visa. At that point, he applied for asylum. Despite accepting Doe’s testimony as credible, the IJ found that “the record does not support the conclusion that the government was unable or unwilling to protect the respondent.” The judge said the police’s action in ignoring Doe’s report of his first beating reflected prejudice but pointed out that, in the second case, an officer was sent to the hospital to interview him. Regarding the lack of prosecution in that case, the IJ would not “conclude that the police decision was based on an improper motive” because he lacked information about the specific provision of Russian law authorities cited. The IJ also noted that Doe was able to relocate to Moscow to escape his local persecutors. The judge deemed
ASYLUM, continued on p.13
| December 11, 2013
WEIR, from p.12
sharply following passage of the law earlier this year or about pending legislation that would take children away from gay or lesbian parents. He instead expressed deep concern about the call for a boycott of the Sochi Olympic, saying it would “ruin 600 lives” — those of the athletes who have trained for it. Weir said he often performs as a figure skater in Russia. “If I am asked if I’m gay, I’ll say yes,” he said, but, “I’m not a flag waver, but I fully support people who wave flags.” He emphasized, however, that an athlete doing so at the Olympics could be expelled. “I could never forgive myself if I was pro-boycott,” he said. “Just to piss off Putin is not a reason not to field a team. I’m hard-headed.” Weir added, “I prefer to fight where I live than in another country. I’m as gay as they come. I am Elton John’s fanny pack.” (Queer Nation leafleted the pop superstar’s December 3 concert at Madison Square Garden, urging him to speak out against the Russian laws at his Moscow concert on December 6, something John did. He told his Russian fans, “I am deeply saddened and shocked over the current legislation... In my opinion, it is inhumane and it is isolating. Some
ASYLUM, from p.12
his claim of ethnic discrimination in Moscow irrelevant since it was not due to his sexual orientation. When Doe appealed in November 2007, the BIA ruled his “claim is based on isolated hate crimes which, while deplorable, do not establish his eligibility for asylum.” The applicant, the board found, had “not shown that there is widespread persecution of homosexuals in Russia which is sponsored or condoned by the Russian government.” The BIA, which during the administration of President George W. Bush was generally unfriendly to gay asylum claims, also noted the lack of specific information about the grounds on which authorities declined to prosecute in the second assault. In July 2009, Doe petitioned the Ninth Circuit to review the BIA ruling. In his opinion for the appeals panel, Judge Alarcon wrote, “We are persuaded, after reviewing this record, that the BIA erred in concluding that Doe failed to demonstrate that the Russian government was unable or unwilling to control the persons he identified as having persecuted him on account of his homosexuality. The Government failed to present any evidence to rebut Doe’s undisputed testimony that he suffered serious assaults at the hands
people have demanded that because of this legislation, I must not come here to Russia. But many, many more people asked me to come and I listened to them. I love coming here.” You can see the whole speech on youtu.be/NDEOhh-_ Jaw. John dedicated the concert to “the memory of Vladislav Tornovoi," a 23-year old brutally raped with beer bottles and murdered by his drinking buddies in Volograd in May after telling them he was gay.) Weir-Vornov was more critical of his parents’ homeland than was his husband. “It is not a free country,” he said. “I am more activist than Johnny.” Still, he emphasized, he supports his husband “completely.” Weir was applauded by the crowd at one of the nation’s most elite women’s colleges. During the Q & A, this reporter challenged the skater to apologize to the activists he called “idiots,” noting the four of them have a combined history of more than 100 years of gay and AIDS activism that contributed to his right to marry Weir-Vernov. Asked if he saw any distinctions between the situation facing LGBT people in the US and those in Russia, Weir
said, “I understand the beatings, the deaths, and understand not being able to live your life.” He said he lashed out at the activists because they have said things about boycotting the Olympics and about him he considers “unfair.” “A lot of these people have chosen to be activists,” Weir argued, saying his own “activism” is living his life openly with his husband. Facing critical questioning from others in the audience, Weir said, “I applaud the protestors,” but warned that if athletes do the same in Sochi, “you can have your gold medal stripped from you.” “I apologize if I offended anyone,” he said. In a column in the Falls Church (Vir-
“I’ve never has a bad experience in Russia,” Weir said, “not gotten called a fag or beat up,” something occurring systematically to many others.
of individuals on account of his homosexuality or to show that the Russian government was able and willing to control nongovernmental actors who attack homosexuals.” The US gover nment, the panel found, would have “to show by a preponderance of the evidence that ‘there has been a fundamental change in circumstances such that the applicant no longer has a well-founded fear of persecution’ or ‘the applicant could avoid future persecution by relocating to another part of the applicant’s country.’” The Ninth Circuit panel also found that the BIA erred when it regarded the discrimination Doe encountered in Moscow on account of his ethnicity as, in effect, a separate asylum claim. “Doe raised these issues to support his contention that he could not reasonably relocate to Moscow, not as a separate ground for asylum,” Alarcon wrote. As the case stands now, the Obama administration faces an interesting test, asked to take a stand in a judicial forum on the question of whether the Russian government is now complicit in the severely oppressive situation confronting gay people there. World opinion seems clear on the Putin regime’s culpability in this regard.
ginia) News-Press the morning after the Barnard appearance, Weir again apologized for his choice of words, writing, “I allowed my own fear and emotion to
get the better of me and for a moment I became a hypocrite.” He also wrote, “My stance of being pro-athlete before being pro-gay has ruffled so many feathers and it becomes difficult to speak publicly because of this fight.” (A day after the “idiot” flap, Weir, perhaps trying to move beyond it was asked by TMZ, with Lady Gaga hoping to be the first person to sing in space, what barrier would he hope to break there. Saying he didn’t want to embarrass his husband, he mouthed out the response, “Fellatio.”) At Barnard, while insisting, “I don’t consider myself a celebrity,” Weir, at the same time, said, “As a public figure I owe my livelihood to people who support me. I didn’t ask to be a public figure.” He shows solidarity with Russian gays, he said, “by being with them.” According to Queer Nation, Barnard rejected its request that it provide alternative viewpoints during the Weir event. The group was critical of NBC for putting two gay employees forward — Weir and MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts, who recently traveled to Moscow to host Donald Trump’s Miss Universe pageant — “to put on a happy gay face on the Russian government’s bigotry.” Barnard political science professor Kimberly Marten moderated the Weir appearance, a video of which was posted on the website of Columbia’s Harriman Institute for Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies.
A CATHOLIC PRIEST IS MY LOVER! We’ve Had A Consensual Adult Sexual Relationship
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December 11, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
City Faces Trans Woman’s Claim of Hostile Treatment State judge says AIDS agency may be liable in handling request for updating gender on client ID BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
Manhattan State Supreme Court judge has ruled that a transgender Jane Doe plaintif f can proceed with her discrimination claim against New York City based on the treatment she received when requesting that the HIV/ AIDS Services Administration (HASA) issue her a new benefits ID card correctly identifying her name and gender. The December 2 ruling, from Justice Margaret A. Chan, raises the puzzling question of why the City Law Department did not negotiate a settlement with Doe already and is instead spending resources litigating over what appears to be a case of bureaucratic obtuseness at HASA. According to Chan’s decision, the plaintiff, identified as male at birth in Puerto Rico, recognized her female gender identity early in life and began taking hormones and testosterone suppressants at age 12 to feminize her body. She later underwent medical and surgical procedures to transition fully, and received a New York court namechange order in March 2011. A client of HASA, Doe applied in August 2011 to change her records and receive a new benefits card. Her complaint relates how use of her benefits card with the wrong name and gender led to situations where she was accused of fraud or otherwise subjected to embarrassment and harassment. When Doe presented her HASA case-
HATE CRIME, from p.11
court with a sworn statement from the foreperson of the jury one week after the verdict. The foreperson indicated that the jury decided ‘relatively quickly’ that defendant committed a hate crime, and the jury did not find defendant guilty of the non-hate crime because that ‘would have been unnecessary or even “overkill.”’” Looking to the instructions that County Court Judge William D. Walsh gave the jury, Maxwell noted, “The jury was never told in this case that its verdict on any of the homicide charges for the ‘non-hate’ counts had to be guilty if the jury found defendant guilty of the corresponding homicide charge as a hate crime… It was reasonable (and perhaps even required) that once the jury found that defendant killed his victim as a hate crime, the jury had to reject the theory that defendant killed the victim as a non-
worker with the court-issued name change order and a letter from her treating physician attesting to her completed gender transition, the case manager said he would pass the request for a name change on to the HRA case manager, “but could not guarantee that the request would be granted.” Regarding Doe’s request that her gender identification also be changed, the caseworker said that would not be possible without a new birth certificate. Even when Doe explained that Puerto Rico does not issue new birth certificates in gender transition cases, her caseworker, his supervisor, and the manager of the local HASA office all insisted the agency could not change its records to reflect Doe’s current gender identity without such a document. When she requested a written explanation for their refusal to help her, she was required to sign a release using her birth name, even though she no longer uses that name to transact business and finds it demeaning. Her complaint also alleges that HASA employees insisted on calling her by the male name on her ID card, despite the name-change order. After continued advocacy, HASA eventually caved and changed the records, but Doe decided to challenge HASA’s policy of requiring birth certificates to make gender identification changes in its records, arguing that the name-change order and doctor’s certification should be sufficient. She is represented by Manhattan Legal Services attorney Daniel Pepitone. Doe brought her lawsuit under both
state human rights law and the city’s human rights ordinance, alleging gender and disability discrimination. The state law expressly forbids discrimination in providing public services because of sex or disability, while the city law goes further and specifically bars discrimination based on gender identity. Doe claims she was denied access to benefits, including immediate processing of her request to update her HASA records and issue her a new, accurate benefits card. She also claimed HASA employees violated her right to privacy by the way they treated her, “speaking loudly so that others in the office were privy to plaintiff’s request and knowledge of her change of gender.” The city responded that Doe was never actually denied benefits or services and that if she felt harassed or demeaned by HASA employees, her treatment did not “rise to the level of discrimination.” Justice Chan noted that the city’s anti-discrimination law specifically provides that it “shall be construed liberally for the accomplishment of the uniquely broad and remedial purposes,” regardless of how similar state and federal protections would be construed. Chan noted that though HASA’s policy of requiring a new birth certificate in order to change its records regarding a client’s gender is neutral on its face, “a claim of discrimination based on sexual orientation can be stated where a facially neutral policy or practice has a disparate impact on a protected group.” Noting evidence to sup-
port Doe’s claim that Puerto Rico does not issue new birth certificates after a gender transition, Chan found that this obstacle meant the plaintiff has hampered access to benefits for which she is eligible. “Thus, while HASA’s policy appears to be equal across the board, its practical impact for the transgender community is not,” Chan wrote. The judge, contradicting the city’s argument, also found that the way HASA employees treated Doe was “not a light matter.” Their actions, she wrote, were “laden with discriminatory intent,” since they knew based on her documentation that she had transitioned and “yet did not treat her accordingly or appropriately.” Chan concluded, “It cannot be said that plaintiff felt demeaned for any reason other than abject discriminatory reasons,” and rejected the city’s motion to dismiss the case. The burden on the city is now to show that it is somehow necessary to insist on a new birth certificate to make a change in gender in HASA records and identification documents, even when a client has presented both medical evidence and a court-ordered name change document. If Doe’s medical evidence was sufficient for the court to order a name change, it’s hard to imagine an argument HASA can make to justify why such evidence is not also enough for its purposes. Chan’s opinion may wake up the City Law Department to negotiate a settlement with Doe and to advise HASA to change its policy.
hate crime.” Maxwell warned that if the appellate ruling is upheld DeLee “will go virtually unpunished for killing his victim, despite the overwhelming proof that defendant killed the victim because of defendant’s belief that the victim was homosexual.” That would mean that DeLee, who has been in prison since his 2008 arrest, would avoid the minimum sentence of 10 years based on his past criminal record and the hate crime conviction. After reviewing letters from Maxwell and from DeLee’s attorney, the high court requested full written briefs in the case, which will be followed next spring by oral arguments. TLDEF’s Silverman told Gay City News that DeLee’s conviction was the first time a defendant in New York State was found guilty of a hate crime in the killing of a transgender victim. Only one
other defendant in the nation was similarly convicted, according to TLDEF. “The appellate ruling that put Dwight DeLee back on the streets frustrates the goal of the New York State hate crimes law,” Silverman said. “The goal in the appeal is to send the message that it is not okay to commit a murder against a transgender person.” He acknowledged that DeLee’s hate crime prosecution was made possible by the district attorney’s ability to point to anti-gay statements the defendant made in committing the crime. That approach was “a workaround” the shortcomings of the existing hate crime law, Silverman said. In fact, in its letter to the high court, the district attorney’s office referred to the victim as “a transgender individual named Moses Cannon who identified and lived as a female and chose the name LaTeisha Green or ‘Teish.’”
Silverman noted that the pending Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), long stalled in the State Senate, would add the category of gender identity and expression to the 2000 hate crimes statute. Asked about statements from some of New York’s district attorneys that they would prosecute anti-transgender violent crimes under the law’s protections based on gender, Silverman said, “It is always better to spell out categories specifically, and that’s never more true than in something like a hate crimes law. Rather than be in a position of relying on the good will” of district attorneys. Through TLDEF, Roxanne Green, the victim’s mother said, “I was outraged that our daughter’s killer was released from prison on a technicality. Now I feel some relief that New York’s highest court will review this case. I want justice for Teish.”
| December 11, 2013
World AIDS Day Focus on Ending New York Epidemic by 2020 Advocates say goal achievable even without cure, vaccine
A World AIDS Day rally in Times Square set out an ambitious goal of ending the HIV epidemic in New York within seven years.
that among gay and bisexual men under 25 who become infected through sexual transmission, 80 percent are black or Latino. Still, at a rally in Times Square on World AIDS Day, Charles King — himself HIV-positive and the leader of Housing Works, which serves many clients from communities of color — did talk about a celebration. “Seven years from today,” he said, “we [will] gather again in a great day of celebration… to say that we were there at the beginning of the end, to say to our loved ones who passed on that we kept the faith, we kept up the fight, and AIDS did not win.” King and others sounded the theme that AIDS can “end” by 2020 through a combination strategies: getting everyone tested and those positive into treatment, which would bring down their viral load to an undetectable level and make it virtually impossible for them to transmit the virus; convincing people at high risk for HIV to take a daily pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, pill to prevent them from getting infected; reminding those not on PrEP to take post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP, drugs within 72 hours of a possible exposure; and continuing to promote condom use. Studies show that young men of color actually use condoms more than white gay and bisexual men, but the men of
is the season — to talk about AIDS. Largely gone from public consciousness in the United States — even in New York, its epicenter in this country — AIDS gets a “Day” every December 1 and most of the groups getting public and private funds to address it feel obligated to do so publicly. Most public displays around town right now are designed to get us revved up to spend money for Christmas, and the red ribbon symbol of concern for AIDS often blends right in, to the point that many don’t know its meaning. At the next great gay holiday, the Oscars on March 2, presided over by out lesbian Ellen DeGeneres, it is doubtful that AIDS ribbons will be festooning any tuxedos or gowns. Last year, the biggest mention of AIDS there was the nomination for best documentary of David France’s “How to Survive a Plague” — a look at ACT UP at its peak 20 years ago. World AIDS Day, of course, is not something to celebrate but to mark, as it has been for 25 years going back to the dark days before drug cocktails began to save lives. It is part solemn remembrance of the dead, part recommitment to fight it. Which is not to say that there isn’t anything to celebrate. T reatment advances have brought mortality down dramatically since the mid-1990s. San Francisco activist Michael Petrelis, who is living with AIDS, has frequently asserted that health departments and AIDS non-profit organizations bury good news for fear of seeing funding drop. In a recent email, he pointed to the city’s 2012 HIV surveillance report that showed annual new HIV diagnoses in New York declining by about 40 percent since 2001. That same city report indicated that the incidence rate — the number of actual new infections as opposed to those diagnosed in any given year — declined by 42 percent between 2008 and 2012. The 2012 figures, however, were “preliminary.” The rate of decline from 2008 to 2011 was a far more modest 18 percent. Significantly, even using the 2012 preliminary findings, the decline in HIV incidence among men who have sex with men 30 and under was “not statistically significant.” That point was driven home in a front page story in the New York Times on December 5 titled “Poor Black and Hispanic Men Are the Face of HIV” — though the article unfortunately conflated gay men and transgender women. That story reported the sobering statistic
BY ANDY HUMM
Housing Works executive director Charles King addressing the World AIDS Day gathering in Times Square.
color are drawing their sexual partners from a pool of mostly older men of color who either do not know their status or do not take anti-retroviral drugs sufficiently to prevent them from being infectious. They also face social conditions — more poverty, rejection of their sexual orientation in their homes, and worse healthcare that fails to treat sexually transmitted diseases that are HIV gateways — that set them up for their infections. The Times Square rally brought about 300 people together from a spectrum of AIDS organizations from GMHC to ACT UP. Both groups were co-founded by veteran activist Larry Kramer, who has been ailing and whose unique angry voice was missing. The HouseWorksVideos page on YouTube includes highlights from the rally at tinyurl.com/mq48ath. Many of the same people organized and attended another rally the following afternoon at the First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem, which — along with Chelsea and central Brooklyn — is a neighborhood particularly hard hit by HIV. “You can’t take God seriously and not dignify all human beings,” the church’s pastor, Reverend Michael Waldron, Jr., told the crowd of several hundred. “Our communities are perishing because our people have not been educated.” Waldron, who plans a run for the US
House seat now held by longtime Democratic lawmaker Charlie Rangel, is a supporter of same-sex marriage, though he does not bless them in his church even while welcoming LGBT congregants. Sean Barry, the executive director of VOCAL-NY, which works to empower people living with HIV, among other vulnerable communities, told Gay City News it is not enough to address the crisis among youth of color with condoms and drugs, but that they need “stable food and housing,” as well. His group is focused on again passing legislation that would cap rent for people living with AIDS receiving public assistance at 30 percent of their income. The Legislature approved the measure in 2010, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg prevailed on Governor David Paterson to veto it, and the measure died in the State Senate when in next came up last year. Barry is hopeful that with the support of Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, the bill will finally be enacted, though Governor Andrew Cuomo has been silent on it. Barry would like to see the governor say, in his January State of the State message, that “New York does big things and New York is going to be the first state to end AIDS by 2020.” If Cuomo doesn’t come through on the rent cap measure,
AIDS DAY, continued on p.16
December 11, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
African LGBT Activists Tell West to Follow Their Lead In New York to meet US, UN officials, roughly a dozen discuss assistance they need from abroad ducation, empowerment, investment, investment, investment” is what LGBT communities in Africa need assistance on, said Juliet Mphande, a human rights activist from Zambia, at a December 9 press briefing hosted by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. During the second week of December, IGLHRC is facilitating visits to New York by LGBT advocates and human rights defenders from several dozen nations in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean, who are meeting with officials from the US, the United Nations, and other advocacy groups. The December 9 briefing brought together roughly a dozen African activists who reflected on their civil rights struggle and what they look for in terms of support worldwide. Mphande and her fellow activists emphasized that rather than showy signs of international solidarity what they look for is assistance sensitive and responsive to the efforts they are spearheading on the ground in their own cultures. “Never make a comment without sending an email to one of the people here, who are among the people who are suffering,” said Reverend Kapya Kaoma, an Anglican priest from Zambia now based in Boston who wrote “Globalizing the Culture Wars: US Conservatives, African Churches, and Homophobia.” Kaoma also said, “It’s an insult to Africa for people in the US to speak out on Zambia without speaking to Juliet. Stop speaking for Africa; let Africa speak for itself.” Two high-profile statements from Western leaders on behalf of LGBT Africans were discussed — and, to at least a degree, found wanting by the activists. In June, President Barack Obama, in a joint press conference in Senegal with that nation’s president, Macky Sall, said, “I don’t believe in discrimination of any sort.” “It would have done a lot if he had called Senegal’s president to talk about his concerns,” Kaoma said. “In the US context, it works to be public. Not in Africa.” Western political leaders, he emphasized, should respond to the needs of local LGBT communities, not activists in their own countries. Two years earlier, British Prime Minister David Cameron suggested that his country’s foreign aid might be curtailed for countries enacting severe anti-gay legislation, such as the bill considered in Uganda that includes the death sentence among its penalties. “All of a sudden, we’re tagged as agents of re-coloni-
AIDS DAY, from p.15
VOCAL is prepared to camp outside his office in Albany until he does. The bill is being carried by out gay Senator Brad Hoylman, a West Side Democrat. Speaking at the Harlem rally, Hoylman told Gay City that he has gotten indications from Cuomo’s health department that the administration is sympathetic to the legislation. Reginald Brown, also from VOCAL and one of the many speakers living
BY PAUL SCHINDLER
LGBT activists Gift Trapence of Malawi, Juliet Mphande of Zambia, and Chesterfield Samba of Zimbabwe at a December 10 reception hosted by IGLHRC.
zation,” said Friedel Dausab, a Namibian who works in HIV prevention. “We are not asking the West to cut aid,” Zambia’s Mphande said. “LGBT people are Africans, too.” Britain can exert greater influence, she and others noted, through its leadership of the Commonwealth of Nations, to which many African countries, once colonies, belong. Dausab said that Britain could also contribute to challenging the notion that gay rights is a colonial import. In fact, he and other activists pointed out, both anti-sodomy laws and Biblical injunctions against homosexuality are the legacy of British rule on the continent. The activists emphasized that the question of whether anti-gay attitudes are indigenous to African culture is a very live one on the continent. One leading Nigerian evangelical scholar, Kaoma noted, has emphasized that some African cultures, prior to the colonial era, made a place for people with same-sex orientations. “Africa is generally tolerant of diversity,” said Chesterfield Samba, the leader of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe. “But leaders have politicized LGBT and other groups” to preserve their power, often by diverting popular attention from their failures in governing. Their divisive tactics, Zambia’s Mphande said, make the public education task in front of LGBT activists daunting. Within most African societies, she said, “Sex is not discussed. So the sexualizaiton of gays is the problem. ‘How do they have sex?’ is what people think about.”
with AIDS, told the rally, “Housing is health.” He said his rent takes 70 percent of his Social Security Disability check, leaving him $12-13 a day for food and everything else. He said he eventually got evicted and the city “paid more for me to stay in a shelter.” Wanda Hernandez, also with VOCAL, said she was diagnosed with AIDS in 1995 and worked two jobs to make ends meet until 2001. At that point, she was forced to go on disability and saw 75 percent of her checks go to rent.
According to Zimbabwe’s Samba, African leaders often point to the writings of right-wing evangelical leaders, such as Scott Lively, to justify their homophobic views. “An American goes to Zambia, Uganda and tells lies and the embassies don’t say, ‘No, it’s not true,’” he said. “Embassies should say those views don’t represent American views and they don’t reflect science. Africans respect science, but there is no counter-narrative.” Western embassies could do a better job of engaging local activists and looking to their lead on how best to advocate on gay issues, the Africans said. With the entrée they enjoy with African political leaders, Namibia’s Dausab said, diplomats from the US, UK, and elsewhere can express their concerns, and they can also try to “create spaces” where local activists can get access to their own leaders. Just days after the death of South African freedom fighter and former President Nelson Mandela — whose passing was marked by a moment of silence at the press briefing — Kaoma, the Zambian Anglican priest, noted that Mandela and his colleagues in the African National Congress completed their educations early. Saying that because they often lack supportive families, “LGBT Africans are among the least educated” people there, Kaoma challenged Western activists to “bring them to the US to get a college education.” He also argued that the intense scrutiny on Uganda because of the effort to pass a draconian anti-gay law there has “overshadowed” often more dire conditions in other African nations. “Uganda is now much safer than Zambia,” he said, “but there is a preoccupation with Uganda.” One day after the press briefing by the African activists, they and IGLHRC’s guests from Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean gathered for a Roundtable Strategy Session on International LGBT Rights at the UN. In remarks opening up that session, Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN, recalled that up until a few years ago, IGLHRC was denied consultative status at the world body. At that time, the UN had just beat back efforts to eliminate “sexual orientation” from a resolution condemning summary executions. That resolution now includes language on “gender identity,” as well. Condemning Russia’s new anti-gay law for being “as outrageous as it is dangerous,” Power said, “To criticize the criminalization of LGBT status is not cultural imperialism. And to deny gays and lesbians the right to live freely — and to threaten them with discrimination or even death — is not a form of moral or religious puritanism. It’s in fact barbarism.”
Housing Works’ King spoke at this rally, too, reiterating that “today is a great day to end AIDS” and that it can be done “without a cure or vaccine.” “It is not about a lack of resources,” he said. “It is about a lack of political will.” Estella Vazquez, the executive vice president of SEIU 1999, the healthcare workers union, said people of color are “at high risk, not because we engage in more risky behavior, but because of the lack of housing and health care and our disproportionate incarceration.” To
end the epidemic, she said, “we must also eliminate homophobia, racism, and sexism.” That’s a tall order and one that needs to be addr essed every day of the year, not just for a week in December. Right now, the city doesn’t even have a subway and bus poster campaign that might put the plan to end AIDS in the public consciousness, especially the minds of vulnerable LGBT youth of color and those who love them.
| December 11, 2013
December 11, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
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Morgan Boecher brings a light but vivid touch to a story of gender transition.
BY MICHAEL SHIREY
ho am I? A man? A woman? Gay? Straight? Am I normal? These are questions every transgender person likely asks themselves. Trans man Morgan Boecher attempts to answer these and more in his semi-autobiographical graphic novel, “What’s Normal Anyway?”
WHAT'S NORMAL ANYWAY? By Morgan Boecher $15; 145 pages whatsnormalanyway.net
Boecher, who recently read from the novel at Bluestockings Bookstore and Café on the Lower East Side, began his female-to-male transition during his senior year of college. Believing that the transgender story was essentially unrepresented in mainstream media, he felt he had a story to tell. A selfdescribed “charging rhino,” Boecher began drawing comics, a medium that allowed him more freedom than a traditional memoir would. “What’s Nor mal Anyway?” was originally released in weekly installments on Boecher’s blog, WhatsNormalAnyway. net, over the course of three years before being published through a successfully funded Kickstarter campaign. As the name suggests, the graphic novel tackles
transgender acceptance and defining one’s own sense of normal. Boecher draws in a loose minimalist style, letting his words do the story’s heavy lifting. This is not to say that the drawings are not good. On the contrary, he illustrates the character’s expansive range of emotions in vivid fashion that helps drive home his message. In a time when memoirs and personal essays are a dime a dozen, Boecher’s work stands out as a fun, quirky, heart-felt story. The story starts with Mel in the early stages of his transition, documenting them in a video-blog. He is immediately overwhelmed by a comical trial and error physical marathon — struggling with packers for his pants and binders for his torso to achieve a flat-chested appearance. Mel dabbles with different facial hair combinations, along with a slew of other hairy situations. Next come the testosterone shots, which lead to humorous bouts of T-rage. All this in preparation for top surgery. Mel’s biggest struggle, however, is an emotional one. In addition to learning to accept himself, Mel faces constant obstacles on the outside — from unsupportive parents to everyday encounters with people who mistake him for a girl. Mel stresses over being outed in a men’s locker room, spewing endless evasions until a cisgender character suggests he be upfront and simply state he is trans.
NORMAL, continued on p.19
| December 11, 2013
Tik Tik Boom “Britney Jean”
won’t take you inside, but it could get you out for the evening BY STEVE G
NORMAL, from p.18
Mel does not go the journey alone, though. His amped-up — if more than a little bit naïve — personality is balanced by his voice-of-reason roommate Leena, who while making no attempt to understand the hurdles Mel must jump nonetheless remains supportive. Their friend Beef, a meat-headed straight man, is that guy who says all the wrong things — from “Dude you gotta watch sporting events and drink beer!” to “You know, you’ve got a pretty hot bod” — not out of malice but simply out of ignorance. Leena and Beef aren’t the per fect sidekicks, but their shortcomings fairly represent the larger society’s deficit in understanding trans issues. On the other hand, Diego, a fellow trans man, manages to steer a lost Mel on the right path — getting him in touch
ritney Spears has said of her new album “Britney Jean,” “It is my most personal record yet. I poured my heart and soul into this album.” As deep confessionals go, this album barely scratches the surface. If anyone is expecting Britney to bare the dark inner recesses of here soul — not here. If, instead, you are looking for a fun pop dance record, then this collection delivers. The first five cuts would be a great way to start an evening as you get ready to go out clubbing. “Britney Jean” opens with “Alien,” produced by William Orbit, who held the reins on Madonna’s “Ray of Light” album years ago. This cut sets the tone for a an album where Britney’s voice is used as an otherworldly ingredient in the track. Set among outer space beats and baselines, her vocals, somewhat robotic, work. The most successful songs here utilize Britney’s heavily processed and reverbed voice in this way. “Work Bitch,” the next cut, is selfexplanatory — nowadays it seems no record is complete without a “bitch” track or two. In this case, it keeps the club theme going. “It Should Be Easy” is a throbbing disco collaboration between Britney and will.i.am. One of two cuts produced by David Guetta, it builds on the dance feel and makes you eager to hear a sprawling remix real soon. “It Should Be Easy” leads into the sexy bump and
grind that is “Tik Tik Boom,” on which rapper T.I. guests. One of the album’s weaker cuts i s “ C h i l l i n ’ Wi t h Yo u , ” B r i t n e y ’ s collaboration with sister Jamie Lynne. The song strips away the effects, leaving it to Britney’s thin vocals to carry the day. She has never been a great singer. And the “Chillin’ With You” theme seems stale, even forced by this point. The album ends with “Don’t Cry” — a strange choice. In its composition, lyrics, and especially instrumentation, it seems like a close copy of the Justin Timberlake hit “Cry Me a River,” at the time believed to possibly be about his ex — Britney. Maybe “Don’t Cry” is Britney putting her personal stamp on the album. “Britney Jean” is a fun dance club record. No reinvention of the wheel, to be sure. But there are great dance tracks helmed by some of today’s best producers.
with the correct doctors and support groups, all the while being a role model who understands everything he is going through. A charming story, “What’s Normal Anyway?”’s greatest strength is its humor, lightening up what could be very heavy subject matter and even presenting it as slapstick. In the process, Mel’s journey comes full circle. By the end, the hero has had successful top surgery and, more importantly, come to accept and love himself. The other characters’ plot lines tie up rather quickly at the end — a little too conveniently, but there’s no particular surprise there. Boecher is now at work on a prequel comic, of fering readers a glimpse of Mel’s earlier days as Melissa. Installments are available for viewing at whatsnormalanyway.net.
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December 11, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
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What is COMPLERA? COMPLERA® is a prescription HIV medicine that is used as a complete regimen to treat HIV-1 in adults who have never taken HIV medicines before and who have an amount of HIV in their blood (this is called “viral load”) that is no more than 100,000 copies/mL. COMPLERA contains 3 medicines – rilpivirine, emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. It is not known if COMPLERA is safe and effective in children under the age of 18 years. COMPLERA® does not cure HIV-1 infection or AIDS. To control HIV-1 infection and decrease HIV-related illnesses you must keep taking COMPLERA. Avoid doing things that can spread HIV-1 to others: always practice safer sex and use condoms to lower the chance of sexual contact with body fluids; never reuse or share needles or other items that have body fluids on them, do not share personal items that may contain bodily fluids. Ask your healthcare provider if you have questions about how to reduce the risk of passing HIV-1 to others.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION What is the most important information you should know about COMPLERA? COMPLERA® can cause serious side effects: • Build-up of an acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious medical emergency. Symptoms of lactic acidosis include feeling very weak or tired, unusual (not normal) muscle pain, trouble breathing, stomach pain with nausea or vomiting, feeling cold, especially in your arms and legs, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and/or a fast or irregular heartbeat. • Serious liver problems. The liver may become large (hepatomegaly) and fatty (steatosis). Symptoms of liver problems include your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow (jaundice), dark “tea-colored” urine, light-colored bowel movements (stools), loss of appetite for several days or longer, nausea, and/or stomach pain. • You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or serious liver problems if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking COMPLERA for a long time. In some cases, these serious conditions have led to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any symptoms of these conditions. • Worsening of hepatitis B (HBV) infection. If you also have HBV and stop taking COMPLERA, your hepatitis may suddenly get worse. Do not stop taking COMPLERA without first talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to monitor your health. COMPLERA is not approved for the treatment of HBV.
Who should not take COMPLERA? Do not take COMPLERA if you have ever taken other anti-HIV medicines. COMPLERA may change the effect of other medicines and may cause serious side effects. Your healthcare provider may change your other medicines or change their doses. Do not take COMPLERA if you also take these medicines: • anti-seizure medicines: carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Equetro, Tegretol, Tegretol-XR, Teril, Epitol); oxcarbazepine (Trileptal), phenobarbital (Luminal), phenytoin (Dilantin, Dilantin-125, Phenytek) • anti-tuberculosis medicines: rifabutin (Mycobutin), rifampin (Rifater, Rifamate, Rimactane, Rifadin) and rifapentine (Priftin) • proton pump inhibitors for stomach or intestinal problems: esomeprazole (Nexium, Vimovo), lansoprazole (Prevacid), dexlansoprazole (Dexilant), omeprazole (Prilosec), pantoprazole sodium (Protonix), rabeprazole (Aciphex) • more than 1 dose of the steroid medicine dexamethasone or dexamethasone sodium phosphate • St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) If you are taking COMPLERA you should not take other HIV medicines or other medicines containing tenofovir (Viread, Truvada, Stribild or Atripla); other medicines containing emtricitabine or lamivudine (Emtriva, Combivir, Epivir, Epivir-HBV, Epzicom, Trizivir, Atripla, Stribild or Truvada); rilpivirine (Edurant) or adefovir (Hepsera). In addition, tell your healthcare provider if you are taking the following medications because they may interfere with how COMPLERA works and may cause side effects: • certain antacid medicines containing aluminum, magnesium hydroxide, or calcium carbonate (examples: Rolaids, TUMS). These medicines must be taken at least 2 hours before or 4 hours after COMPLERA. • medicines to block stomach acid including cimetidine (Tagamet), famotidine (Pepcid), nizatidine (Axid), or ranitidine HCL (Zantac). These medicines must be taken at least 12 hours before or 4 hours after COMPLERA. • any of these medicines: clarithromycin (Biaxin); erythromycin (E-Mycin, Eryc, Ery-Tab, PCE, Pediazole, Ilosone), fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), ketoconazole (Nizoral) methadone (Dolophine); posaconazole (Noxafil), telithromycin (Ketek) or voriconazole (Vfend). • medicines that are eliminated by the kidneys like acyclovir (Zovirax), cidofovir (Vistide), ganciclovir (Cytovene IV, Vitrasert), valacyclovir (Valtrex) and valganciclovir (Valcyte).
PALIO Date: 10.4.13 • Client: Gilead • Product: Complera • File Name: 9731_pgitvd_standard_updtd_ant_GayCityNews.indd
| December 11, 2013
A complete HIV treatment in only 1 pill a day. COMPLERA is for adults who have never taken HIV-1 medicines before and have no more than 100,000 copies/mL of virus in their blood.
Ask your healthcare provider if it’s the one for you.
These are not all the medicines that may cause problems if you take COMPLERA. Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements you are taking or plan to take.
The most common side effects reported with COMPLERA are trouble sleeping (insomnia), abnormal dreams, headache, dizziness, diarrhea, nausea, rash, tiredness, and depression. Some side effects also reported include vomiting, stomach pain or discomfort, skin discoloration (small spots or freckles) and pain.
Before taking COMPLERA, tell your healthcare provider if you: liver problems, including hepatitis B or C virus infection, or have abnormal liver tests • Have kidney problems • Have ever had a mental health problem • Have bone problems • Are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. It is not known if COMPLERA can harm your unborn child • Are breastfeeding: Women with HIV should not breastfeed because they can pass HIV through their milk to the baby. Also, COMPLERA may pass through breast milk and could cause harm to the baby
This is not a complete list of side effects. Tell your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you notice any side effects while taking COMPLERA, and call your healthcare provider for medical advice about side effects.
COMPLERA can cause additional serious side effects: • New or worsening kidney problems, including kidney failure. If you have had kidney problems, or take other medicines that may cause kidney problems, your healthcare provider may need to do regular blood tests. • Depression or mood changes. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms: feeling sad or hopeless, feeling anxious or restless, have thoughts of hurting yourself (suicide) or have tried to hurt yourself. • Changes in liver enzymes: People who have had hepatitis B or C, or who have had changes in their liver function tests in the past may have an increased risk for liver problems while taking COMPLERA. Some people without prior liver disease may also be at risk. Your healthcare provider may need to check your liver enzymes before and during treatment with COMPLERA. • Bone problems can happen in some people who take COMPLERA. Bone problems include bone pain, softening or thinning (which may lead to fractures). Your healthcare provider may need to do additional tests to check your bones. • Changes in body fat can happen in people taking HIV medicine. • Changes in your immune system. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections that have been hidden in your body for a long time. Tell your healthcare provider if you start having new symptoms after starting COMPLERA.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit http://www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088. Additional Information about taking COMPLERA:
• Always take COMPLERA exactly as your healthcare provider tells you to take it.
• Take COMPLERA with food. Taking COMPLERA with food is important to help get the
right amount of medicine in your body. (A protein drink does not replace food. If your healthcare provider stops COMPLERA, make certain you understand how to take your new medicine and whether you need to take your new medicine with a meal.)
Stay under the care of your healthcare provider during treatment with COMPLERA and see your healthcare provider regularly. Please see Brief Summary of full Prescribing Information with important warnings on the following pages.
Learn more at www.COMPLERA.com
PALIO Date: 10.4.13 • Client: Gilead • Product: Complera • File Name: 9731_pgitvd_standard_updtd_ant_GayCityNews.indd
December 11, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
• Worsening Especially tell y Worsening of Hepatitis B infection. of Hepatitis If you have B infection. hepatitis BIfvirus you have (HBV)hepatitis B virus (HBV) • an antacid me infection and take COMPLERA, infection and your take HBV COMPLERA, may get worse your (fl HBV are-up) may if get you worse stop (fl are-up) if you stop COMPLERA (kom-PLEH-rah) COMPLERA (kom-PLEH-rah) calcium carbon taking COMPLERA. 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Immunodeficiency Syndrome)). – itraconazole Do not take COMPLERA Doif: not take COMPLERA if: • COMPLERA contains•3COMPLERA medicines contains – rilpivirine, 3 medicines emtricitabine, – rilpivirine, tenofovir emtricitabine, •tenofovir • your your HIV infection has beenHIV previously infectiontreated has been withpreviously HIV medicines. treated with HIV medicines. – ketoconazole disoproxil fumarate – disoproxil combinedfumarate in one tablet. – combined It is a complete in one tablet. regimen It istoa complete regimen to • you are taking any of• the you following are takingmedicines: any of the following medicines: treat HIV-1 infection and treatshould HIV-1 not infection be used andwith should othernot HIVbemedicines. used with other HIV medicines. – methadone ( – anti-seizure – anti-seizure carbamazepine medicines: (Carbatrol, carbamazepine Equetro, Tegretol, (Carbatrol, Equetro, Tegretol, • It is not known if COMPLERA • It is notisknown safe and if COMPLERA effective inis children safe andunder effective the age in children under the age medicines: – posaconazol Tegretol-XR, Teril, Epitol); Tegretol-XR, oxcarbazepine Teril, Epitol); (Trileptal); oxcarbazepine phenobarbital (Trileptal); phenobarbital of 18 years old. of 18 years old. – telithromycin (Luminal); phenytoin (Dilantin, (Luminal);Dilantin-125, phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek) Dilantin-125, Phenytek) • COMPLERA does not• cure COMPLERA HIV infection does not orcure AIDS.HIV Youinfection must stayoron AIDS. continuous You must stay on continuous – voriconazole – anti-tuberculosis (anti-TB) – anti-tuberculosis medicines: (anti-TB) rifabutin (Mycobutin); medicines: rifabutin rifampin(Mycobutin); rifampin therapy to control HIV therapy infectiontoand control decrease HIV infection HIV-related and illnesses. decrease HIV-related illnesses. (Rifater, Rifamate, Rimactane, (Rifater, Rifamate, Rifadin); rifapentine Rimactane,(Priftin) Rifadin); rifapentine (Priftin) • medicines that • Ask your healthcare• provider Ask your ifhealthcare you have any provider questions if youabout have how any questions to about how to cidofovir (Visti – – proton pump inhibitor proton (PPI) pump medicine inhibitor for certain (PPI) stomach medicine or for intestinal certain stomach or intestinal prevent passing HIV to prevent other passing people. Do HIVnot to share other or people. re-useDoneedles not share or other or re-use needles or other and valgancicl problems: esomeprazole problems: (Nexium, esomeprazole Vimovo); lansoprazole (Nexium, Vimovo); (Prevacid); lansoprazole (Prevacid); injection equipment, and injection do notequipment, share personal and do items not share that can personal have blood itemsorthat can have blood or dexlansoprazole (Dexilant); dexlansoprazole omeprazole (Dexilant); (Prilosec, omeprazole Zegerid); pantoprazole (Prilosec, Zegerid); pantoprazole body fluids on them, like bodytoothbrushes fluids on them, andlike razor toothbrushes blades. Always andpractice razor blades. safer Always practice safer What are the po sodium (Protonix); (Aciphex) rabeprazole (Aciphex) sex by using a latex orsex polyurethane by using a condom latex or polyurethane to lower the chance condomoftosexual lower the chance sodium of sexual(Protonix); rabeprazole contact with semen, vaginal contactflwith uids semen, or blood.vaginal fluids or blood. – more than 1 dose of–the more steroid thanmedicine 1 dose ofdexamethasone the steroid medicine or dexamethasone dexamethasone or dexamethasone COMPLERA can • See “What is t sodium phosphate sodium phosphate What is the most important What isinformation the most important I should information know about COMPLERA? I should know about COMPLERA? COMPLERA?” – St. John’s wort (Hypericum – St. John’s perforatum) wort (Hypericum perforatum) • New or worse COMPLERA can causeCOMPLERA serious side caneffects, cause serious including: side effects, including: • If you take COMPLERA, • If you you take should COMPLERA, not take: you should not take: • Build-up of an acid •inBuild-up your blood of an (lactic acid acidosis). in your blood Lactic (lactic acidosis acidosis). can Lactic acidosis can some people w happen in some people happen who take in some COMPLERA people or who similar take COMPLERA (nucleosideoranalogs) similar (nucleoside analogs) – Other – Other tests to check medicines that contain medicines tenofovirthat (Atripla, contain Stribild, tenofovir Truvada, (Atripla, Viread) Stribild, Truvada, Viread) medicines. Lactic acidosis medicines. is a serious Lacticmedical acidosisemergency is a seriousthat medical can lead emergency to that–can lead to have had kidne – Other Other medicines that contain medicines emtricitabine that contain or lamivudine emtricitabine (Combivir, or lamivudine (Combivir, death. Lactic acidosisdeath. can beLactic hard to acidosis identifycan early, be hard because to identify the symptoms early, because the symptoms can cause kidn Emtriva, Epivir or Epivir-HBV, Emtriva,Epzicom, Epivir or Trizivir, Epivir-HBV, Atripla, Epzicom, Truvada, Trizivir, Stribild) Atripla, Truvada, Stribild) could seem like symptoms couldofseem otherlike health symptoms problems. of other Call health your healthcare problems. Call your healthcare tests to check rilpivirine provider right away ifprovider you get right any ofaway the following if you getsymptoms any of the which following could symptoms–which could(Edurant)– rilpivirine (Edurant) • Depression or be signs of lactic acidosis: be signs of lactic acidosis: – adefovir (Hepsera) – adefovir (Hepsera) you have any o – feel very weak or tired – feel very weak or tired – feeling sad o What should I tell myWhat healthcare shouldprovider I tell my before healthcare taking provider COMPLERA? before taking COMPLERA? – have unusual (not normal) – have unusual muscle pain (not normal) muscle pain – feeling anxio Before you take COMPLERA, Before you tell take your COMPLERA, healthcare provider tell your ifhealthcare you: provider if you: – have trouble breathing – have trouble breathing • have or had liver problems, • have or including had liverhepatitis problems,B including or C virus hepatitis infection,Bkidney or C virus infection, kidney – have though problems, mental health problems, problemmental or bone health problems problem or bone problems – have stomach pain –with have nausea stomach (feeling pain sick withtonausea your stomach) (feeling sick or vomiting to your stomach) or vomiting • Change in live • • are pregnant or plan to arebecome pregnant pregnant. or plan Ittoisbecome not known pregnant. if COMPLERA It is notcan known if COMPLERA can – feel cold, especially–infeel infection or wh yourcold, armsespecially and legsin your arms and legs harm your unborn child. harm your unborn child. risk of develop – feel dizzy or lightheaded – feel dizzy or lightheaded with COMPLER Pregnancy Registry. There Pregnancy is a pregnancy Registry. registry There isfor a pregnancy women who registry take for women who take – have a fast or irregular – have heartbeat a fast or irregular heartbeat antiviral medicines during antiviral pregnancy. medicines Theduring purpose pregnancy. of this registry The purpose is to collect of this registry is to collect COMPLERA in provider may n information about theinformation health of you about and the yourhealth baby. of Talk youtoand youryour healthcare baby. Talk to your healthcare • Severe liver problems. • Severe Severeliver liverproblems. problems Severe can happen liver problems in people can whohappen take in people who take treatment with provider provider can take about parthow in this youregistry. can take part in this registry. COMPLERA. In some cases, COMPLERA. these liver In some problems cases,can these lead liver to problems death. Your can lead to death. Yourabout how you liver may become large liver (hepatomegaly) may become large and you (hepatomegaly) may develop fat andinyou your may liver develop•fat your liver areinbreast-feeding or• are planbreast-feeding to breast-feed.orYou planshould to breast-feed. not breastfeed You should if younot breastfeed if you • Bone problem (steatosis). Call your (steatosis). healthcare Call provider your right healthcare away ifprovider you get right any ofaway the if you get any of the have HIV because of have the risk HIVofbecause passingofHIV thetorisk yourofbaby. passing Do not HIVbreastfeed to your baby. Do not breastfeed problems inclu following symptoms of following liver problems: symptoms of liver problems: fractures). You if you are taking COMPLERA. if you are At taking least two COMPLERA. of the medicines At least contained two of the in medicines contained in your bones. COMPLERA can be passed COMPLERA to your can baby be in passed your breast to your milk. baby We in do your not breast know milk. We do not know – your skin or the white – your part skin of your or the eyeswhite turnspart yellow of your (jaundice) eyes turns yellow (jaundice) whether this could harm whether your baby. this could Talk to harm youryour healthcare baby. Talk provider to yourabout healthcare the provider about the • Changes in bo – dark “tea-colored” urine – dark “tea-colored” urine best way to feed your best baby.way to feed your baby. changes may i – light-colored bowel –movements light-colored (stools) bowel movements (stools) (“buffalo hump Tell your healthcare provider Tell your about healthcare all theprovider medicines about youalltake, the including medicines you take, including – loss of appetite for several – loss ofdays prescription and nonprescription prescriptionmedicines, and nonprescription vitamins, and medicines, herbal supplements. vitamins, and herbal supplements. Loss of fat from appetite or longer for several days or longer long term heal • COMPLERA may affect • COMPLERA the way other may affect medicines the way work, other andmedicines other medicines work, and other medicines – nausea – nausea • Changes in yo may affect how COMPLERA may affect works, how and COMPLERA may cause works, serious andside mayeffects. cause serious If side effects. If – stomach pain – stomach pain you take certain medicines you take withcertain COMPLERA, medicines the amount with COMPLERA, of COMPLERA the amount in your of COMPLERA in your happen when y • You may be more likely • Youtomay stronger and b get be lactic more acidosis likely toorget severe lacticliver acidosis problems or severe if liverbody problems if too low and may be bodyit may may be nottoo work lowtoand helpit control may notyour workHIV to infection. help control your HIV infection. a long time. Te you are female, very you overweight are female, (obese), very or overweight have been(obese), taking COMPLERA or have been taking TheCOMPLERA HIV virus in your body The HIV mayvirus become in your resistant body may to COMPLERA become resistant or othertoHIV COMPLERA or other HIV after starting y for a long time. for a long time. medicines that are likemedicines it. that are like it.
Brief Summary of fullBrief Prescribing Summary Information of full Prescribing Information ®
PALIO Date: 10.4.13 • Client: Gilead • Product: Complera • File Name: 9731_pgitvd_standard_updtd_ant_GayCityNews.indd
us (HBV) up) if you stop ddenly returns treatment of der.
talk to your
The most common sideThe effects most of common COMPLERA side effects include:of COMPLERA include: Especially tell your healthcare Especially provider tell your ifhealthcare you take: provider if you take: an antacid medicine• that an antacid contains medicine aluminum, thatmagnesium contains aluminum, hydroxide,magnesium or hydroxide, or • trouble sleeping (insomnia) • trouble sleeping (insomnia) calcium carbonate. If calcium you takecarbonate. an antacidIfduring you take treatment an antacid withduring COMPLERA, treatment with COMPLERA, abnormal take the antacid at least take2the hours antacid before at least or at 2least hours 4 hours beforeafter or atyou least 4 hours• after you dreams • abnormal dreams take COMPLERA. take COMPLERA. • headache • headache
eed to check HBV infection. toms you may
• any any of these medicines (ifoftaken thesebymedicines mouth or injection): (if taken by mouth or injection):
• depression • depression – erythromycin (E-Mycin, – erythromycin Eryc, Ery-Tab, (E-Mycin, PCE, Pediazole, Eryc, Ery-Tab, Ilosone) PCE, Pediazole, Ilosone) Additional common side Additional effects include: common side effects include:
, Tegretol, rbital
r intestinal vacid); antoprazole
a medicine to block •the a medicine acid in your to block stomach, the acid including in yourcimetidine stomach, including cimetidine • dizziness (Tagamet), famotidine(Tagamet), (Pepcid), nizatidine famotidine(Axid), (Pepcid), or ranitidine nizatidinehydrochloride (Axid), or ranitidine hydrochloride • diarrhea (Zantac). If you take one (Zantac). of these If you medicines take oneduring of these treatment medicines withduring treatment with COMPLERA, take the acid COMPLERA, blocker at take least the12 acid hours blocker before at least or at12 least hours 4 hours before or•atnausea least 4 hours after you take COMPLERA. after you take COMPLERA. • rash – clarithromycin (Biaxin) – clarithromycin (Biaxin)
| December 11, 2013
– fluconazole (Diflucan) – fluconazole (Diflucan)
– itraconazole (Sporanox) – itraconazole (Sporanox)
• stomach pain or discomfort stomach pain or discomfort
– ketoconazole (Nizoral) – ketoconazole (Nizoral)
• skinspots skin discoloration (small discoloration or freckles) (small spots or freckles)
– methadone (Dolophine) – methadone (Dolophine)
– posaconazole (Noxafi–l)posaconazole (Noxafil) – telithromycin (Ketek)– telithromycin (Ketek)
Tell your healthcare provider Tell yourif healthcare you have any provider side effect if youthat havebothers any side youeffect or that that bothers you or that does not go away. does not go away.
These are not all the possible These areside noteffects all the of possible COMPLERA. side effects For more of information, COMPLERA. For more information, ask your healthcare provider ask yourorhealthcare pharmacist. provider or pharmacist. • medicines that are eliminated • medicines bythat the are kidney, eliminated including by acyclovir the kidney, (Zovirax), including acyclovir (Zovirax), Call your doctor for medical Call your advice doctor about for medical side effects. advice Youabout may side reporteffects. side You may report side cidofovir (Vistide), ganciclovir cidofovir (Cytovene (Vistide), ganciclovir IV, Vitrasert), (Cytovene valacyclovir IV, Vitrasert), (Valtrex), valacyclovir (Valtrex), effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 effects to FDA (1-800-332-1088). at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088). and valganciclovir (Valcyte) and valganciclovir (Valcyte) – voriconazole (Vfend)– voriconazole (Vfend)
What are the possibleWhat sideare effects the possible of COMPLERA? side effects of COMPLERA?
How should I take COMPLERA? How should I take COMPLERA?
• Stay under the care• of Stay your under healthcare the careprovider of your during healthcare treatment provider withduring treatment with serious side caneffects, cause serious including: side effects, including: dexamethasone COMPLERA can causeCOMPLERA COMPLERA. COMPLERA. • See “What is the most • See important “What isinformation the most important I should information know about I should know about • Take COMPLERA exactly • Take asCOMPLERA your healthcare exactlyprovider as your tells healthcare you to take provider it. tells you to take it. COMPLERA?” COMPLERA?”
• Always • Always • New with take food.COMPLERA Taking COMPLERA with food. with Taking food is COMPLERA importantwith food is important New or worse kidney problems, or worse including kidney kidney problems, failure, including can happen kidneyinfailure, can happentake in COMPLERA to help the right amount to help of getmedicine the rightinamount your body. of medicine A proteinindrink yourisbody. not A protein drink is not some people who takesome COMPLERA. people who Yourtake healthcare COMPLERA. provider Yourshould healthcare do blood provider should do get blood a substitute your healthcare for food. provider If yourdecides healthcare to stop provider COMPLERA decides to stop COMPLERA tests to check your kidneys tests to before checkstarting your kidneys treatment before with starting COMPLERA. treatment If youwith COMPLERA. If youfor food. aIf substitute ada, Viread) and you are to new youmedicines are switched to treat to new HIVmedicines that includes to treat rilpivirine HIV that includes rilpivirine have had kidney problems have in had thekidney past or problems need to in take theanother past or medicine need to take thatanother medicine thatswitched and ombivir, the rilpivirinetablets, tablets should the rilpivirine be taken tablets only with should a meal. be taken only with a meal. can cause kidney problems, can cause yourkidney healthcare problems, provider yourmay healthcare need to do provider blood may needtablets, to do blood da, Stribild) tests to check your kidneys tests to during checkyour yourtreatment kidneys during with COMPLERA. your treatment with COMPLERA. • Do not change your dose • Do not or stop change taking yourCOMPLERA dose or stop without takingfirst COMPLERA talking with without first talking with your healthcare provider. your See healthcare your healthcare provider. provider See your regularly healthcare while provider taking regularly while taking • Depression or mood• changes. Depression Telloryour mood healthcare changes. provider Tell your right healthcare away ifprovider right away if COMPLERA. COMPLERA. you have any of the following you havesymptoms: any of the following symptoms: • If you miss a dose of• COMPLERA If you miss within a dose12 of COMPLERA hours of thewithin time you 12 hours usuallyoftake the time you usually take – – feeling sad or hopeless feeling sad or hopeless PLERA? it, take your dose of COMPLERA it, take your with dose food of COMPLERA as soon as possible. with foodThen, as soon takeasyour possible. Then, take your – feeling anxious or restless – feeling anxious or restless ou: next dose of COMPLERA next atdose the regularly of COMPLERA scheduled at thetime. regularly If youscheduled miss a dose time. If you miss a dose ection, kidney of COMPLERA COMPLERA 12 hoursbyofmore the time thanyou 12 hours usuallyoftake the time it, wait youand usually take it, wait and – have thoughts of hurting – haveyourself thoughts (suicide) of hurting or have yourself tried(suicide) to hurt yourself or have tried to hurt yourself by moreofthan then take the next dose then of COMPLERA take the next atdose the regularly of COMPLERA scheduled at thetime. regularly scheduled time. • Change in liver enzymes. • Change People in liver withenzymes. a history People of hepatitis with aB history or C virus of hepatitis B or C virus • Do MPLERA can take more than your notprescribed take more dose than to your make prescribed up for adose missed to make dose. up for a missed dose. infection or who haveinfection certain liver or who enzyme havechanges certain liver may enzyme have anchanges increased may have• Do an not increased risk of developing newrisk or worsening of developing livernew problems or worsening duringliver treatment problems during treatment This Brief Summary summarizes This Brief Summary the mostsummarizes important information the most important about information about with COMPLERA. 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December 11, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Always Elegant, By George!
Lincoln Center Hosts an Astonishing Cukor Full Career Survey
BY DAVID NOH
or some reason, in America, his own country, George Cukor never made it into the pantheon of directors universally considered great. The omission is scandalous when you consider the number of titles in his oeuvre that are undisputed classics. Although the late Andrew Sarris and the French espousers of the auteur theory, in which the director is everything, gave him props, his career’s lack of a recognizable “signature” — like John Ford’s Westerns, Hitchcock’s suspense, or Howard Hawks’ male bonding — has always made his name something of an afterthought to theirs.
Film Society of Lincoln Center Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center 144 W. 65th St. Walter Reade Theater 165 W. 65th St. Dec. 13-Jan. 7 $10; $7 for students, seniors & members $25 for five-film package filmlinc.com
Anyone planning, as I am, to immerse themselves in the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s complete retrospective, “The Discreet Charm of George Cukor” — a holiday treat if e’er there was — will see at once how much this director deserves proper recognition at last. Katharine Hepburn, whom he helped discover and with whom he enjoyed a lifelong personal and professional relationship, once observed that Cukor’s signature was actually the performances of the actors in his films, which were always as good as they could possibly be. There’s truth in that statement, but it’s somewhat of a simplification and diminishment, because Cukor also insisted on his scripts being as finely honed as possible. Similarly, he demanded that the look, the design of his films be elegant and apropos of their theme. He was fortunate to enjoy the lavish resources of MGM, the studio with which he was most as s ocia t ed , a nd i t ’ s t e l l i n g t h a t , especially in the 1940s and ‘50s, when that company’s films became ever more hollow, even if luxuriously produced, Cukor’s output — “The Philadelphia Story,” “A Woman’s Face,” “Gaslight,” “Adam’s Rib,” “Pat and Mike,” “The Actress” — remained strong, particularly because of his respect for good writing.
THE DISCREET CHARM OF GEORGE CUKOR Hollywood celebrates Ethel Barrymore’s 70th birthday at George Cukor’s palatial home, with (standing l. to r.) Billie Burke, Judy Garland, Lucile Watson, Katharine Hepburn, Constance Collier, and Laura Harding, and (seated l. to r.) Lionel Barrymore, the birthday girl, Spencer Tracy, and the director-host.
What all of his films had in common was their elegance, a quality achieved as well by his fellow directors Max Ophuls, Ernst Lubitsch, and Vincente Minnelli, all of whom rank somewhat higher in critical estimation. And, if he had anything else that could be deemed a signature, it was the blessed lack of anything embarrassing in his work. There was nothing of the low, racist touches that marred Ford’s films, or Hitchcock’s use of unappealingly stiff or downright inept actors (Robert Cummings, John Forsythe, Gregory Peck, Vera Miles, Tippi Hedren), or Hawks’ increasingly heavy-handed, bumptious humor (“Monkey Business”, “I Was a Male War Bride”), fortunately absent in his earlier masterpieces like “Twentieth Century,” “Bringing Up Baby,” and “His Girl Friday.” Minnelli’s films may have looked gorgeous, but to bask in their aesthetic one often has to put up with a lot of shoddy, crassly commercial screenwriting. Simple good taste may not be all, but it is surely something. Another reason for Cukor’s lack of appreciation may simply be homophobia. In a Hollywood macho to the core, he was the only big director who was unapologetically gay, and there is no more illustrative anecdote than the time his concerned boss, Louis B. Mayer, summoned him to his office and asked him point blank, “Are you homosexual?” Cukor’s reply: “Devotedly.” Unlike bisexual or rumoredto-be-so directors like Minnelli and
Mitchell Leisen, he never felt the need to marry, and he remained on contract to MGM for nearly a quarter century. Critics have often dismissed him as a “women’s director,” which often is little more than a condescending code word for “gay” — and also highly specious when you consider that Spencer Tracy, Leslie Howard, John Barrymore, Fredric March, Wallace Beery, Lowell Sherman, and James Mason did some of their best work for him. Cukor literally taught Jack Lemmon how to act on screen and was the first director to really bring out the comic talent of Cary Grant, hitherto a failed matinee idol. Basil Rathbone, hitherto a successful matinee idol, was so good as Mr. Murdstone in “David Copperfield” that he found himself unhappily typecast as villains for the rest of his career. Born George Dewey Cukor in New York City on July 7, 1899 to Jewish Hungarian parents, he was stagestruck from childhood, when divas like Nazimova, Ethel Barrymore, and Hazel Dawn dazzled him, engendering an undying love for theatrical ladies. He started on the lowest rungs of the business, working in regional companies before gaining the status of Broadway director in the 1920s, doing the first stage adaptation of “The Great Gatsby.” The talkies in 1929 lured many New York stage types to the Left Coast, and he started as a dialogue director. His first big success was the film version
of the “The Royal Family of Broadway” (1930), and he consolidated that with the stunning all-star achievement of “Dinner at Eight” (1933), which he finished in an amazing 27 days. For the rest of his career, smoothly handsome film adaptations of plays, like those two George S. Kaufman-Edna Ferber works, would be his particular métier. Besides a bustling career, Cukor had an intriguing private life as one of Hollywood’s great hosts. He built a mouthwateringly palatial home in Beverly Hills, which saw many a party, as well as regular renters for its guest houses like Hepburn and Tracy (who actually passed away there). Two parties, in particular, memorably featured Judy Garland, who would find her screen apotheosis in Cukor’s masterpiece, “A Star is Born.” The first was Ethel Barrymore’s 70th birthday party, when all fell silent and Garland sang “Happy Birthday” to her a cappella. ‘It was to die,” Hepburn later reminisced. The second event is a hitherto unpublished anecdote I discovered while researching Cukor at the USC library, from an oral history, in which he described a party thrown for the allblack cast of Samuel Goldwyn’s “Porgy and Bess.” Garland was to entertain that night and Cukor asked her what she was going to sing. “Oh, ‘Swanee,’ ‘Mammy,’ ‘Rockabye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody,’“ she replied. Horrified, Cukor remonstrated that perhaps the guests would take offense, and was reassured by Garland that it would be all right. At the party, she indeed sang those songs, which were greeted with tumultuous applause and enthusiasm from all present. Catching her afterwards, Cukor started to apologize for his misgivings, but Garland cut him off, “You didn’t have to worry, George. The niggers love me!” True story, from the lips of Cukor, and illustrative of Garland’s famed, inimitable, correctness-be-damned sense of humor. (When I once repeated this story to her daughter Lorna Luft, she said simply, “Oh, dear.”) The Lincoln Center program includes all of his biggest hits — the remarkable ten films he made with Hepbur n, including perhaps his very best, the sparkling society comedy “Holiday,” and their notorious, gloriously selfindulgent flop, “Sylvia Scarlett,” one of the most bizarrely androgynous efforts to come out of the studio system. It features Hepburn impersonating a boy through much of it, gleaning the carnal attentions of both Dennie Moore and Cary Grant (who says that she/
CUKOR , continued on p.30
| December 11, 2013
Word Play, Rough Play Stanley Tucci, Alice Eve dance nimbly in vintage Neil LaBute
WINNING START TO YOUR NEW YEAR!
ROGIER STOFFERS/ TRIBECA FILM
Alice Eve and Stanley Tucci in Neil LaBute’s “Some Velvet Morning.”
BY GARY M. KRAMER
laywright and filmmaker Neil LaBute has crafted an absorbing, albeit stagy two-hander in “Some Velvet Morning.” The drama unfolds entirely in a Brooklyn residence owned by Velvet (Alice Eve). One morning, her ex-lover Fred (Stanley Tucci) arrives at her doorstep, luggage in hand, exclaiming, “I’m here, with all my stuff!” Fred has left his wife of 24 years for Velvet, a highclass prostitute he once frequented. They met when she slipped a note in his pocket at his son’s graduation.
SOME VELVET MORNING Directed by Neil LaBute Tribeca Film Opens Dec. 13 Village East Cinema 189 Second Ave. at 12th St. villageeastcinema.com
The film presents the delicate dance of these two lovers reuniting after four years apart. At first, Fred nervously tries to reestablish a connection, telling some unfunny jokes. Velvet, caught unawares by his arrival, mentions an appointment she has, hoping to extricate herself from the immediate situation. The story has a seesaw quality, with the characters letting the power shift back and forth between them as they recall their past and consider a possible future together. “I did what I said I would do,” Fred states, suggesting that means he finally left his wife. But in reality he means that during their extended absence, he dialed things way down, cutting back on the emails, the phone calls, and the gifts he once sent his mistress. When Fred asks Velvet’s advice on what he should do
now that they are finally together, she instructs him to call his wife. Such is the dynamic between this older man and younger woman. “Some Velvet Morning” captures honesty and anger, sarcasm and condescension between Fred and Velvet as they play games of verbal volleyball. She lobs a comment about “seeing” other men — one of whom is Fred’s son — and he rolls his eyes in exasperation. He asks her to complete her unfinished sentences, especially her ultimatums. In what may be Velvet’s most priceless response, she tells the insistent Fred how she got her name. He does not like the answer. It is a doozey of a response — and typical of the misanthropic LaBute. The language between the lovers is precise. Words and what is really behind them are a good portion of what animates the writer and director in this take on the battle of the sexes. When Fred confesses his love for Velvet, she sheds tears. But that may be as much a defense mechanism of hers as it is an unfiltered emotional response. The issues of truth and trust come into play repeatedly throughout “Some Velvet Morning.” Fred repeatedly says “Really?,” often in disbelief at what Velvet tells him — whether that she is meeting his son for lunch or that she can’t really see him again until a week from Sunday. Disbelief quickly becomes rage, and the film crackles when the two become irate with each other. “When has love ever been fair?,” Fred pointedly asks Velvet, letting the question hang — for the audience to answer. LaBute’s script is strong, but not airtight. Viewers might find certain moments forced or phony, but discussing those would be a spoiler. And despite the
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VELVET, continued on p.27
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December 11, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
An Iranian in Paris
Asghar Farhadi latest psychological yarn is telling in ways likely unintended
n 2011, Iranian director Asghar Farhadi made history with his film “A Separation,” which enjoyed worldwide critical and commercial success and became the first Iranian movie ever to win an Oscar. It grossed about $7 million dollars in the US, quite good for a foreign-language film these days, especially one not made by a well-known director. (His previous film, “About Elly,” played to acclaim at the Tribeca Film Festival but was bought by a distributor that got tied up in legal limbo.) At the same time — and unlike many of the Iranian films championed in the West — it pleased the mullahs at home. Farhadi’s latest film, “The Past,” is the official 2013 Iranian choice for a Best Foreign Film nomination, though the participation of the director and of actor Ali Mosaffa are the only really Iranian things about it. It was filmed in France, with French production money. The censorious climate in Iran has encouraged many Iranian filmmakers to work abroad — indeed, to emigrate. Farhadi has publicly declared the more moderate Rouhani regime a sign of hope for the Iranian film industry. The favorite Iranian filmmaker of many American and European critics, Abbas Kiarostami, has melted into his surroundings in the two narrative films he’s made in Europe and East Asia. Mohsen Makhmabaf, who now lives in England, took advantage of his freedom to shoot a documentary on religion in Israel, which would never be permitted if he still lived in Iran. With “The Past,” Farhadi has gone on making what he usually does: a psychological mystery of sorts, this one probing the enigma of why a woman would try to kill herself. After a four-year separation, Ahmad (Mosaffa) returns to Paris from Tehran in order to finalize a divorce from his wife Marie (Bérénice Béjo), a pharmacist. She’s about to marry her fiancée Samir (Tahar Rahim), whose wife is
CAROLE BETHUEL/ SONY PICTURES CLASSICS
BY STEVE ERICKSON
Bérénice Béjo as Marie and Ali Mosaffa as Ahmad in Asghar Farhadi’s “The Past,” which opens December 20.
THE PAST Directed by Asghar Farhadi In French with English subtitles Sony Pictures Classics Opens Dec. 20 Film Forum, 209 W. Houston St. filmforum.org
in a coma after a suicide attempt at the dry cleaning shop he opened. Ahmad learns that Marie’s relationship with their 16-year-old daughter Lucie (Pauline Burlet), whom she is raising, is tortured, to put it mildly. Entangling himself with Marie’s new family raises issues around the suicide attempt and its effect on everyone it touched. Farhadi avoids obvious tourist landmarks in Paris. His characters seem to live in an off-the-beaten-path, working-class neighborhood. However, there are relatively few exteriors in “The Past. When his characters do go out, Paris seems to rival Seattle and Vancouver for rain.
“A Separation” received numerous comparisons to classic European theater, particularly Chekhov. Part of what seemed so fresh about it two years ago was its distance even from Iranian art cinema, which tends to focus on poor people or children. That film’s portrait of Iranian society at all levels was startling. Among Iranian films distributed in the US, Dariush Mehrjui’s “Leila” is its only obvious precursor. The theatrical feel persists in “The Past,” whose shoot was preceded by two months of rehearsal, but it’s cruder and more driven by the demands of an overloaded plot. One can perceive Farhadi hitting marks at the 25-, 50-, and 75-page points in his script in order to further develop its mystery. It’s usually interesting to see a foreign filmmaker’s point of view on a society not their own, although not always in the ways they intended. “The Past” casts a critical gaze on France’s culture of easy divorce and serial monogamy. It suggests that Marie has hurt her children by living life according to her desires, giving up on relationships too early and without any thought for how this might affect Lucie. These observations aren’t necessarily wrong or the sole province of Iranian men, of course, but in “The Past,” they’re harder to take seriously because they’re coupled with an idealization of Ahmad. Farhadi’s film is the antidote to Ben Affleck’s “Argo,” whose sole sympathetic Iranian character got 90 seconds of screen time. Ahmad is the nicest person in the film. Not only is he capable of rising above Marie and her family’s petty squabbles, he’s a great cook and he knows how to unclog a drain! “A Separation” presented a large cast of characters in which everyone was flawed. Its narrative began with a woman’s desire to emigrate and, in doing so, leave her elderly father, but it never blamed all the story’s subsequent problems on her. For the most part, “The Past” critiques everyone but Ahmad. As talented as Farhadi is, I don’t think he deserves such a perfect stand-in.
Every Bit of Love
In a spiffed up LA, Joaquin Phoenix ventures way out on the emotional frontier
f the films made about the dangers of the Internet, the best is Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s 2001 “Pulse.” It’s also the most elliptical and enigmatic — the hardest to boil down into a cautionary tale for parents. Spike Jonze’s “Her” takes a seemingly ludicrous premise — a man (Joaquin Phoenix) falls in love with his computer’s operating system (the voice of Scarlett Johansson) — and runs with it.
HER Directed by Spike Jonze Warner Bros. Opens Dec. 20 citywide
Thanks to trashy TV shows like “Strange Sex” and “My Crazy Obsession,” we know that some people have already fallen in love with sex dolls and robots, even without artificial intelligence. Also, an increasing number of people spend all their waking hours online, a point brought home when a woman at my screening of “Her” decided it would be a good idea to simultaneously watch the film and browse Facebook. Jonze’s film is science fiction, but the sort whose concerns are so contemporary that one wonders how it will look in 10 or 20 years. The press kit describes the setting of “Her” as the “slight future,” but something has happened to rid LA of most of its cars. It focuses on Theodore (Phoenix), who’s recovering from a divorce that’s being
finalized. At work, he writes beautifully eloquent love letters for other people, printed out in fake handwriting. After seeing an ad for a new operating system powered by artificial intelligence, he buys it. Loading it in, he discovers it has a voice. “She” dubs herself Samantha. Samantha is incredibly smart and, as he quickly finds out, flirtatious. As odd as it seems, Theodore and Samantha fall in love and even figure out how to have sex with each other. An imaginative amount of worldbuilding went into “Her.” It envisions a Los Angeles that’s closer to New York, although the Pudong District in Shanghai was the actual inspiration. The
HER, continued on p.31
BY STEVE ERICKSON
Joaquin Phoenix in Spike Jonze’s “Her.”
| December 11, 2013
Kill Me Now One new musical, one new play — stellar casts, but deadly dull
here are going to be two diametrically opposed responses to the new musical “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder.” There will be those charmed by the merry mayhem of a serial murderer finding ingenious ways of knocking off everyone who stands between him and a lordship in Edwardian England. Silly antics, British pantomime-inspired characters, pastiche music hall songs by Steven Lutvak, and Robert L. Freedman’s clever lyrics are all in store.
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER Walter Kerr Theater 219 W. 48th St. Tue., Thu. at 7 p.m. Wed., Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. $50-$147; telecharge.com Or 212-239-6200
Others, of course, will find the entire undertaking insufferable. For the sake of Broadway’s financial viability, that second group appears to make up a minority — unfortunately, one I am a part of. I’m not familiar with the novel by Roy Horniman on which this is based and have only a dim memory of the movie “Kind Hearts and Coronets,” which tells the same story, though it is not credited as a source for this undertaking. The story concer ns Monty Navarro, who discovers after his mother dies that he is distantly related to Lord D’Ysquith. Having married a Castilian, the mother was banished from the family, and young Monty tries to claim a connection to the
noble family but is rebuffed. Not to be deterred, he insinuates himself into the family and slowly begins introducing everyone ahead of him to their maker. The heir-razing scheme is provoked by Money’s love for the beautiful Sibella, who will not have him since he is not rich — yet comes around when it appears he’s getting closer to the prize. A distant cousin, Phoebe, meanwhile, has set her cap for Monty, and romantic entanglements ensue. Monty, is of course, arrested, but in a plot twist right out of Gilbert & Sullivan, a happy ending all round seems likely. The pr oblem with this piece is that the overlong first act is all about killing off the people who stand in Monty’s line of succession, something that is not funny enough and soon becomes tedious. Jef ferson Mays, who plays all the D’Ysquith victims, is a versatile and extraordinary actor, but his performance is largely pulling funny faces and adopting the poses of stock characters — from the effete and effeminate to the stuffy and stentorian. Appealing as Mays is, the charm wears off fairly quickly. Things get a little more fun after intermission, as Monty’s romantic tangles move the plot. There is an inspired trio among Monty, Phoebe, and Sibella early on in Act Two that is the high point of the show and clearly demonstrates what might have been. For the rest of the piece, director Darko Tresnjak has done a by-the-number staging on music hall-inspired sets by Alexander Dodge, with nice period costumes by Linda Cho. The sound design by Dan Moses Schreier is subpar, making a lot of the show sound muddy. With the exception of the lovers’ trio, the score, too, is less-than memorable.
VELVET, from p.25
fact that Velvet is a strong, independent woman, the film is not without elements of misogyny, which LaBute has been accused of in the past. As director, LaBute keeps the drama engrossing throughout. Framing the characters in mirrors and doorways provides added dimension to the emotions they express. When Velvet, in a gesture of comfort, places her hand on Fred’s knee — the characters’ first moment of physical contact — it is surprisingly intimate. Later, as he negotiates a kiss from her, it is a tense and slightly erotic exchange. It is great to see Tucci playing a leading role, and he does so with gusto. Artfully using his wiry body, he envelopes Velvet when they sit close together on a bench and shakes his legs as he gets riled up about something.
THE JACKSONIAN The New Group at Theatre Row 410 W. 42nd St. Mon.-Tue. at 7 p.m. Thu.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Sat. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. $75; telecharge.com Or 212-244-3380
BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE
Lisa O'Hare and Bryce Pinkham in "A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder."
Still, the lead actors distinguish themselves despite their surroundings. Bryce Pinkham, as Monty, has a terrific musical theater voice, a charming presence, and the ability to carry a show. It’s exciting to see him emerge from secondary roles as a true leading man. Two Br oadway newcomers, Lisa O’Hare as Sibella and Lauren Worsham as Phoebe, are also finds, with beautiful voices and unmistakable star quality. Look for much more from these two in seasons to come. You might be the sort of theatergoer who eats this stuff up. For me, it was more or less DOA.
Beth Henley returns to her quasi-Southern Gothic roots
with a new play, “The Jacksonian,”
Tucci can also deliver a jolt — breaking a trinket in a moment of rage or, at several points, mentioning his cock. When he speaks vulgarly and without shame about sex, his authenticity as a character is striking. Eve’s performance matches if not betters her co-star’s. With a posh English accent, bleached blond hair, pale skin, bright red lipstick, and a truly fabulous red dress, Velvet is very alluring. It is easy to see why Fred would be attracted to her, and also why she may be less keen on reciprocating for love rather than money. Eve manages to make Velvet seductive yet vulnerable. But when Fred punctures her fragility, she comes back stronger. It almost goes without saying that a film written by LaBute will have a twist. But even if you see the reveal coming, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that Fred and Velvet are vying for sympathy and dignity in a story that explores morality, love, hope, and guilt. That’s what will keep audiences rapt as “Some Velvet Morning” unfolds.
getting its New York premier from the New Group. It’s a muddled, unfocused piece that tells the story of a dentist, Bill, hobbled by addiction and marriage problems, who has taken up long-term residence in a seedy hotel. Susan, his wife, visits him — and they fight — while daughter Rosy stays in the bar where a creepy bartender tries to seduce her by, of all things, swallowing cutlery. The other character, Eva, a maid and waitress at the hotel, has set her sights on the dentist. The play is ostensibly told through the eyes of Rosy, who often comes downstage to offer information, such as where we are in the May to December timing of the story. This is a good thing, though the plot is mighty confusing even with the help. Henley has dashed off characters with her usual quirkiness, but the story has more violence than is typical for her, unfortunately with no discernible point to it. Setting the action against the racial upheaval in Jackson, Mississippi in 1964 simply feels gratuitous. Arriving from the Geffen Playhouse, “The Jacksonian” boasts a cast that includes Ed Harris, Glenne Headly, Amy Madigan, Bill Pullman, and Juliet Brett. An accomplished lot, but under Robert Falls’ lackluster direction, they all seem to flounder. Henley’s wit and idiosyncratic humor shine through at moments, but not enough to enliven this turgid, baffling, and ultimately pointless play.
December 11, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
IN THE NOH
Robin and Sierra delight, enthralling exhibits, an almost saintly riot grrrl
Sierra Boggess’ gig on December 4 was quite the model for any youngster wanting to learn how to put together a great cabaret act, with enough melody, humor, and sparklingly delivered personal info to give you a real idea of who she is. As if sending a charmingly covert f.u. to producers who hire reality TV stars to carry live televised Broadway adaptations, she took the stage with “I Have Confidence” from “The Sound of Music,” and immediately proved how much more suited for the role she would have been than that poor, stiff, off-pitch girl with the typewriter name. Her immaculate soprano showed impressive range, glowing especially on two arias from “La Bohème,” and a ravishing “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” which once more illustrated how amazingly versatile theater actresses have to be these days, and, miraculously, sometimes are. And, although it’s been done, her jaw-droppingly fast mash-up of pop stars warbling show tunes (think Britney doing “Phantom”) and opera singers attempting the same (think Susan Graham as Evita) was gloriously irresistible. The show even became a family affair when she brought her lovable, obviously ex-hippie dad onstage to accompany her on a lovely country song while her sister played the cello. Why do I call him a hippie? Her sister’s name is Summer. Producer Harold Prince, one of Boggess’ true mentors, sat next to me,
The master’s sketch of a Broadway audience, as seen in “The Line King: Al Hirschfeld” at the Library for the Performing Arts.
raving to his table, “I told you she was great!” Boggess is one of the stars of his autobiographical revue, “The Prince of Broadway,” slated to hit Broadway in 2016, and she delivered ample, winning proof for his enthusiasm.
The Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center (40 Lincoln Center Plaza; nypl.
org/locations/lpa) is currently hosting a number of wonderful exhibits you could easily spend an afternoon exploring. “The Line King: Al Hirschfeld” has to be the definitive survey of this great caricaturist’s career, which made him as essential a part of New York life as the Empire State. I was especially intrigued to see the work of his youthful influences and cohorts, like the great Miguel Covarrubias, as well as Hirschfeld’s earlier work for theater and the movies, which I prefer to his later, starker style for the richness of its comic detail. One drawing, of a typical Broadway audience, half of them sound asleep, while the others make nuisances of themselves with unwieldy overcoats, noise-making, and distracting penlights, is absolutely timeless, totally illustrative of so much of my life today. For all you devoted “Nina” obsessives, ther e’s a full section dealing, in beguilingly exhaustive detail, with Hirschfeld’s beloved habit of inserting his daughter’s name into his drawings. Who knew that Whoopi Goldberg was among the most obsessed? A lesser -known, but once just as essential a Broadway personality was photographer Florence Vandamm
LIBRARY FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS AT LINCOLN CENTER
isarming young talent has recently been ruling at 54 Below. On November 25, I caught adorable two-time Tony nominee Robin De Jesús’ “Crush to Crushed,” which unapologetically charted the search for gay love and what happens once you find it. A veritable firecracker of energy onstage, De Jesús offered enviable vocal chops in what was essentially a pop cover act, delightfully indulging himself in singing songs originated by women from Beyoncé to Miley to Britney. When the songs’ narrative turned sour, relationship-wise, I enjoyed his gleefully abrasive rendition of Ben Folds Five’s “Song for the Dumped.” Calming down a bit, he offered a lovely change-of-pace “I Wish You Love.” His frenetic stage patter was often hilarious, detailing his own personal vocabulary, with the usage of “That’s so Equity” to offer the highest praise, and “You stay over there; Namaste over here!”
LIBRARY FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS AT LINCOLN CENTER
BY DAVID NOH
A photograph of dancer and choreographer Carmen de Lavallade by Florence Vandamm.
(1883-1966), whose classic images of personalities and productions had a wonderful clarity and dramatic power to them. Born in London and trained at the Royal Academy, she first established herself in the West End and came to America with her American engineer husband in 1923. She opened a studio on West 57th street and, for 25 years, was Broadway’s photographer of record. A stroll through her library exhibit yields a priceless trove of theatrical memories from the Great White Way’s Golden Age. Vandamm had a particularly close relationship with Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne and the erstwhile First Lady of the Theater, Katharine Cornell. Her portraits of Fontanne and Cornell glowingly capture these women’s ineffable, imperious beauty from a time when real stars were uniquely distinctive, resembling no one else. Va n d a m m , m u c h l i k e E d w a r d Steichen, recorded the simple truth, and it’s instructive to see that she was no George Hurrell when it came to an easy glamorization of her subjects, as witness her shots of actress Esther Ralston. As photographed by her on an entire contact sheet, Ralston, ordinarily one of the screen’s great beauties, strangely comes across as a total nothing, quite plain. Don’t leave the library before going up to the third floor to catch yet another little exhibit in a space many overlook but I’ve always found rewarding since discovering a tribute to the late, great costume designer Martin Pakledinaz there. Displayed in cases are various bibelots culled from the Library’s vast
archives — Sarah Bernhardt’s Art Nouveau belt, pins belonging to Ruth Chatterton and Gertrude Lawrence, Cole Porter’s cigarette cases, and, most amusingly, Gypsy Rose Lee’s Dirty Kosher Chinese Fortune Cookies. It’s a homemade can filled with dirty jokes on slips of paper, which Lee handed out to soldiers during her USO tour in Vietnam. Example: “Gypsy Rose Lee say: Beware of sergeant who sings love songs to his privates.”
Another Broadway legend was celebrated at the Julie
Harris memorial at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre on December 3. Harris was the first actress I ever became truly aware of, when — in one of my earliest memories — I watched “The Member of the Wedding,” based on the Carson McCullers novel, on TV. Harris’ bizarre tomboy sprite of a girl was spellbinding, talking about her loneliness and the crusts on her elbows, but even more so was the character of little sissy boy John Henry (brilliantly played by Brandon deWilde), who could have been me. (When deWilde died, I was completely distraught, running downstairs to the hotel lobby where my mother worked screaming, “Mommy!”) In the years since, Harris’ performance has become the ultimate touchstone for me, as well as so many others. The tribute included a Charlie Rose episode in which Dames Judi Dench and Maggie Smith both extolled that performance as one they could never top. Laurette Taylor’s “Glass Menagerie” was sadly never filmed, but Harris’ sheer incandescence as McCullers’ Frankie Addams has thankfully been recorded for all to marvel over. Taylor’s fabled quality of realness — not acting — was something Harris shared, and what speaker after speaker at her tribute lauded. Joan Van Ark appeared, almost a ringer for Harris herself, dressed in a Noel Taylor gown Harris never wore but gave to her, with a bagful of cards and additional gifts from the actress she shared with the audience. Christopher Plummer was stirringly eloquent, as he always is when recalling his great contemporaries (definitely read his memoir, “In Spite of Myself”). Wonderful Zoë Akins was deliciously wry, thunderously stating, “I never liked Julie Harris!” The reason for this was her husband, producer Robert Fryer, always telling her to “Be like Julie” — i.e., read her lines simply, no acting — with an air of expectation.
IN THE NOH, continued on p.30
| December 11, 2013
Theatre at St. John’s presents
Autumn in New York
Small companies offer rich vocal harvest in season deprived of NYCO, OONY
A new play by Peter Filichia A holiday treat for the whole family.
e tr a e th ll! e e a Fr for
Starring Philip Hoffman William Parry Julia Peterson Maureen Silliman Hayden Wall
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This riff on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, is a story of redemption and the heart-melting surprise of feeling needed. Directed by Daniel Neiden
Eric Owens in the Collegiate Chorale’s performance of Boito’s “Mefistofele,” conducted by James Bagwell.
BY ELI JACOBSON
udiences faced this October and November, two of the busiest months on the opera and vocal calendar, with City Opera sadly a thing of the past and Opera Orchestra of New York still silent about the current season. Fortunately, for musical opportunities outside the Metropolitan Opera, small opera companies and concert presenters rushed to fill the void. For 19 seasons, Teatro Grattacielo has been educating New York operaphiles on the diversity and eclecticism of Italy’s verismo school of composition. Rather than dealing exclusively with gritty realism, verismo covers a wide range of musical styles and dramatic genres that reflect international influences — including faux Orientalism. On November 19, Teatro Grattacielo presented Franco Alfano’s “Sakùntala,” which premiered in 1921 with a libretto by the composer based on the Sanskrit legend. “Sakùntala” is considered Alfano’s best work and influenced Casa Ricordi to select Alfano to complete Puccini’s unfinished “Turandot.” Artistic director Duane Printz chose Alfano’s 1951 re-orchestration, finding it more harmonically rich and sophisticated than the recently rediscovered original version. The lushly orchestrated work reveals the influence of Ravel and Debussy, with hints of Richard Strauss. However, what we have here is yet another case of “all sauce and no meat.” The orchestra bathes us in exotic harmonies and colors, but concrete melodies fail to coalesce. The singers, saddled with difficult high-lying music, strain their vocal resources to little effect since there are no memorable arias. The audience savors the music’s exotic perfume but it
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evaporates in the memory after the last note dies away. Michelle Johnson as Sakùntala sounded voluptuous when the music didn’t press her rich soprano too hard. Tenor Raúl Melo as the King handled the relentless declamation in the passaggio with firm musicianship and unflagging technical command. Mezzo Shirin Eskandani and bass Ashraf Sewailam were striking in supporting roles. Conductor Israel Gursky reveled a little too much in the sumptuous textures of the score — too often the orchestra overpowered the soloists. Praise and gratitude must again be given to Printz for recruiting fine musicians in a well-rehearsed performance illuminating a forgotten but fascinating chapter of operatic history.
The Collegiate Chorale, on November 6, presented as its annual operatic offering Boito’s “Mefistofele” in concert at Carnegie Hall. Boito’s adaptation of Goethe’s “Faust,” with its huge choruses, episodic dramatic structure, and color ful orchestral interludes, is well suited to concert presentation. In the title role, bassbaritone Eric Owens unfortunately seemed vocally and physically below his best (a throat infection had him seated on a raised stool chair throughout the concert). Despite indisposition, he maintained his distinctive dark mahogany color throughout the wide compass of the role. But the Prologue, Act I, and Act II were played without a break, and Owens’ stamina failed him on a crucial high phrase just before intermission. Juliana Di Giacomo’s full lyric soprano sounded youthful and luscious, c
AUTUMN, continued on p.31
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CUKOR, from p.24
he would make a “right good hot water bottle” to cozy up to in bed on a cold night), as well as in-jokes like the great cameraman Joseph August appearing as an extra and bisexual international beauty Natalie Paley bragging about having her picture taken by “Oliver [Messel] and Cecil [Beaton].” There’s also that eternally watchable gay favorite, “The Women,” with its allstar all-female cast; the superb period noir “Gaslight”; “David Copperfield,” a classic made of a classic if there ever was one; “Girls About Town,” the very best 1930s gold digger comedy; ‘What Price Hollywood?,” the 1932 original version of “A Star is Born,” striking for its early dissection of the vicissitudes of Lotusland and marvelous Slavko Vorkapich’s montage of alcoholic director Lowell Sherman’s suicide; and “Camille” (1937), which is always celebrated as Garbo’s greatest vehicle, but should also be recognized as a great film in its own right. It’s a remarkable, opulent evocation of Dumas’ Second Empire Paris — and an absolute touchstone for every subsequent film or theatrical presentation of both the original play and Verdi’s opera of it, “La Traviata.” Cukor’s magnum opus, “My Fair Lady,” for which he finally won a Best Director Oscar, is, ironically, one of his weakest films. He narrowly beat out Minnelli to direct it and, for once, I wish Minnelli had won, for the cinematic, pictorial verve and movement he might have lent to this too respectful, at times downright stodgy movie transfer. The awful dubbing of Audrey Hepburn’s per fectly adequate (if not Melbaesque) voice aside, she yet manages to be enchanting, but Rex Harrison’s performance is mummified and his
IN THE NOH, from p.28
Rosemary Harris recalled a man on a bus squeezing her knee and telling how much he loved her in “The Belle of Amherst,” and getting off before she could correct him that that was the other Harris. She remembered a time when there were four theatrical Harrises — herself, Julie, Barbara, and columnist Radie, the redoubtable one-legged journalist of whom it was said all Broadway was at her foot. I do wish Rosemary hadn’t listened to her husband, who she said told her to cut two-thirds of her speech. With her rich professional history, beautiful voice, and rare graciousness, she is one of the few people alive I always long to hear more from.
An exhibit any movie l o v e r m u s t s e e is “Dante
Ferretti: Designing for the Big Screen” at MoMA through February 9 (11 W. 53rd St.; moma.org). A very good
December 11, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com cavorting at Ascot may be the most badly acted moment in all Cukor. The rarities here are what will fascinate hard-core cinemaniacs. “Zaza,” written by a frequent Cukor collaborator, the literate and lyrical, possibly bisexual Zoë Akins, is an eye-poppingly lavish Paramount Belle Epoque fantasia, featuring Claudette Colbert in perhaps her richest performance, as a cabaret star thrown by her love for a married man (Herbert Marshall). A rare bit of profound miscasting for Cukor, Marshall is ineffably dull and unalluring, but Colbert is astonishing, going from a music hall hoyden, flamboyant enough to have been written by Colette, to piercingly delicate Back Street heartbreak, and the cabaret/ backstage scenes are charged with a fabulous brio. In 1936, producer Irving Thalberg hired Cukor to bring “Romeo and Juliet” to the screen, starring his wife Norma Shearer and Leslie Howard. They were both well over 30, and this fact, for years, has been the misguidedly negative focal point in consideration of the film. Cukor himself felt that it was a little too reverentially staid and could have used some of the garlic and fire of the Zeffirelli 1960s version, but I think it is quite extraordinary. Photographed by the great William Daniels and designed by Oliver Messel, it’s one of the most beautiful black and white films ever made and is perfectly cast, down to the smallest part, with John Barrymore, as Mercutio, giving a real demonstration of what made him the leading actor of his generation. Even with her inescapable affectations, Shearer makes a radiant and eventually moving Juliet (especially in the potion scene, done in one long, extraordinary take, a Cukor specialty), and velvet-voiced Howard has that singular, essential quality usually
lacking in Romeos — true nobility. “ T w o - F a c e d Wo m a n ” a n d “ H e r Cardboard Lover” have forever been categorized as demeaning swan songs for those MGM queens, Garbo and Shearer, but both are far from shameful. The first may have been messed up by the Hays Office for its adulterous theme, but has moments of S. N. Behrman-scripted genuine high comedy involving Garbo joyously sending up her own femme fatale image, and an ultra-delicious, acidic Constance Bennett. The second is a disarmingly soignée boudoir comedy based on a Jacques Deval stage vehicle once favored by Laurette Taylor, Jeanne Eagels, and Tallulah Bankhead and, with Cukor deftly guiding Shearer and her priceless playmate George Sanders through their aristocratically absurd paces, you can still see why. “The Chapman Report” (1962) was Cukor’s darker version of “The Women,” based on a bestseller that took its inspiration from the sex-driven Kinsey Report. It features Shelley Winters as a discontented housewife going in for adultery, Glynis Johns as an arty socialite having a May-December fling with a beach boy, Jane Fonda as the frigid one, and Claire Bloom giving a spectacularly complex and tragic portrait of the nymphomaniac Naomi Shields. Yes, it’s every bit as entertaining as it sounds and, in my research, I was amused to find memos from producer Darryl F. Zanuck wondering what the hell was taking Cukor so long to film the beach scene of semi-nude hunks like Ty Hardin playing volleyball. Yes, although Cukor was always extremely discreet and the ultimate professional, one cannot help noticing the plethora of comely male pulchritude in his films (something they share with those of his contemporary Luchino
Visconti). It can be as obvious as in “The Chapman Report,” or materialize as that cadre of gorgeous soldiers who surround Judy Holliday at the climax of the effervescent “It Should Happen to You.” Cukor’s “type” is also obvious — he preferred the sun-kissed, Irish/ WASPy boys next door familiar from Bruce Weber shoots, and many of them would show up as his houseguests, the day after those grand soirees with Hepburn and Barrymore, to eat the leftovers, swim in his pool and… All this and Cukor himself were immortalized, however crassly, in “Gods and Monsters,” ostensibly a film about James Whale, another gay director, who like Minnelli, the competitive Cukor always disdained. A rare moment of indiscretion once got him arrested on a vice charge, but MGM managed to erase both the particular charges and all subsequent record of it. He directed his final film, “Rich and Famous,” in 1981 at the astonishing age of 82, and it’s a fantastically funny, moving, and literate finale, with Jacqueline Bisset and Candice Bergen giving the performances of their careers as eternal frenemies who both write for a living. It also contains the most daring scene of Cukor’s career, in which Bisset picks up a succulent street hustler (Matt Lattanzi) and brings him to her hotel room where he drops trou and reveals possibly the most spectacular male caboose in cinema history. After seeing it, Hepburn declared, “George! You’ve made a very sexy movie!” Cukor died in 1983, leaving almost everything to lawyer George Towers, a younger man he became involved with in the 1950s, and whose education he financed. His fabulous house was sold and its fabled William Haines-designed interiors renovated, but, boy, if those walls could only talk!
case could be made for Ferretti as the greatest art director in movie history for his magnificent work, creating the looks for works by Fellini, Scorsese, Pasolini, Zeffirelli, Coppola, Terry Gilliam, T im Burton, and so many others. The show is innovatively done, with numerous hanging screens — like laundered sheets — to wander through, on which are projected essential film clips, lending a mesmerizingly surreal air. Hanging on the walls, Ferretti’s sketches for visual feasts like “Hugo,” “The Age of Innocence,” “Titus,” “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen,” “Sweeney Todd,” and the notorious “Salò” easily rank as pure works of art in themselves. Accompanying the show is an amazing 22-film retrospective that shows the breadth of this man’s output. Clad in a black Chinese jacket, at the press preview, he was endearingly modest, citing his partnership with his wife, set decorator Francesca Lo Schiavo, as essential to his career.
Sini Anderson’s “The Punk Singer” is a marvelous documentary
Apart from a lovable “The Gnädiges Fräulein” I caught in New Orleans last year, this was simply the best Tennessee Williams production I have seen in years, after so many truly disappointing, more expensive movie star -ridden revivals on Broadway and Off. The design and wondrously alert direction by Cosmin Chivu were perfection, as was the inclusion of a live Dixieland band, all of it providing a fabulously seedy frame for two sterling portraits of down-and-out ladies managing to survive with the questionable aid of frequent slugs and occasional thugs. Mink Stole, never better, played the more proper Blanche DuBoisdelusionary of the two, with apt, curdled daintiness, while Penny Arcade, resembling Elizabeth Ashley’s somewhat dumpier sister, crowned her picaresque career with a gesturally terrific, all-out performance that would have had old Tenn himself cackling with glee.
about Kathleen Hanna, feminist icon of the 1990s, singer with Bikini Kills and Le Tigre, and founder of the riot grrrl movement. Married to Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz, she stopped performing in 2005. A long undiagnosed case of Lyme disease was one of the reasons for that, along with the forthrightly down-to-earth yet complex artist’s uneasy relationship with fame, beginning from the days when her female fans would be in physical danger at her concerts in the raging boy-dominated world of punk rock. In the film, she comes off as a beautiful in every way, endlessly political being, and, at the in-person Q & A that followed the opening night screening, was all that and more, relating to her adoring audience with a rare authenticity that was heartwarming.
I cannot let this column end without a tip of the hat to New
Ohio Theatre’s “The Mutilated.”
| December 11, 2013
HER, from p.26
city is free of smog and traffic congestion. Instead of driving, almost everyone rides the subway. You can even ride the train to the beach. Additionally, Theodore plays holographic video games in his apartment, where their foul-mouthed characters interact with Samantha. On the downside, “Her” looks like a film shot in high-definition video five years ago, before DCP became obligatory and the technology improved. The lighting seems too bright, with blownout white backgrounds. One wonders if cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema was trying to hide the real look of contemporary Los Angeles. Jonze’s many music videos have shown off his range as a director, but in “Her,” as in his 1999 debut “Being John Malkovich,” he seems to be deliberately holding himself back and shying away from beautiful images. A friend theorized that he wants the film to look like it was shot through an Instagram filter. Samantha starts off in danger of becoming a Manic Pixie Dream OS. After all, computers are built to serve people. Although she doesn’t have a body, she risks being another version of the “pleasure units” from “Blade Runner,”
AUTUMN, from p.29
but she was chary with her chest voice and a tentative flutter in the high range shortchanged several high climaxes in the Prison Scene. Arturo ChacònCruz’s lean bright tenor — very Italiante — lacked expansion but was firm and evenly balanced throughout the range. Conductor James Bagwell kept the multitudinous Collegiate Chorale and American Symphony Orchestra together but couldn’t synthesize Boito’s eclectic score into a convincing musico-dramatic whole. Italian opera is not his domain.
In late October, Gotham Chamber Opera took a walk on the musicological wild side, restaging the four original avant-garde one-act operas that premiered at the Baden-Baden Festival of 1927. I suspect that even in 1927, this was a less than satisfying musical mixed bag. Darius Milhaud’s “L’Enlèvement d’Europe” (“The Abduction of Europa”) is an eight-minute mythological tableau that describes the plot in the third person rather than dramatizing it dir ectly. Milhaud’s scor e is a sensuous but aimless wash of French impressionism — better suited as musical background for a modern dance work or experimental film. Director Paul Curran placed the action in the present day, depicting a fatal love triangle playing out in a chic art gallery — paintings by Georg Baselitz provided the background for the gallery and appeared in the program’s other three operas. Ernst Toch’s “Die Prinzessin auf der
with the added bonus of being genuinely smitten with Theodore. However, as Samantha and Theodore’s relationship develops, it evolves past the honeymoon stage. She starts to make demands of him. When the couple tries to have physical sex, via a complicated and illconceived three-way, it’s her idea and he’s reluctant to carry through with it. Her desires set the stage for the ending. To its credit, “Her” doesn’t offer up the standard near -future dystopia. The film’s world seems no worse than the present. If anything, it’s cleaner and more pleasant, if equally lonely. In contemporary science fiction cinema, such optimism is almost unheard of. “Her” may suggest that it’s better for Theodore to connect with human women than Samantha, but it doesn’t demonize technology. It refrains from making any grand, obvious statements about how the Internet has made us both more connected and more alienated. After all, “Her” is as much about consumerism as technology itself. However, its ending does show the challenge of finding a conclusion to such an oddball story, and the results are only partly satisfying. Still, as he did in 1999, Jonze has his finger on the zeitgeist.
Erbse” (“The Princess and the Pea”) was also updated as the taping of a reality television show with the selfdramatizing, spoiled “royal family” done up as the infamous Kardashian clan. Both the staging and the music were ceaselessly busy and selfconsciously striving for effect without much real substance (much like the real Kardashians). Stick with Mary Rodgers’ “Once Upon a Mattress” for this story. Paul Hindemith’s “Hin und Zurück” (“Hither and Back”) played out a crime of passion and then ran it in reverse. Here, the clever staging utilizing projections aptly simulated the effect of a vintage film reel ran in reverse. Hindemith’s score is witty and harmonically spiky. The six songs that comprise Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s “Mahagonny Singspiel” lay out the basic themes of the later full work “The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny.” Weill’s music is way more memorable than the other three works but dramatically this is just a preliminary sketch and the staging seemed random and pointless. As the formidable Kris Jenner lookalike Queen in the Toch piece, soprano Helen Donath — a veteran of 53 operatic seasons — reveled in a bright tireless upper register and perfect German diction. Donath lacked vocal pith lower in her range in the Weill singspiel. Mezzo Jennifer Rivera shone in several roles as did veteran basso John Cheek. The polished chamber orchestra under music director Neal Goren’s disciplined baton made the best musical case for each of these disparate works.
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“We assume a certain level of sophistication and skepticism of our readers,” said John Cook, editor in chief of Gawker, according to a December 10 article in the New York T imes. In an increasingly dumbed-down media world, it’s refreshing to hear a leading industry figure speak up for the intelligence of his audience. Unfortunately, the comment was made to defend his own site’s inability and/ or unwillingness to vet everything it reposts. The Cook comment came in an article titled “If a Story Is Viral, Truth May Be Taking a Beating.” The Times piece focused on something familiar to anyone who spends any kind of time at all getting their news online — which means just about all of us these days. A lot of what you read is either flat-out untrue or highly specious. And far too much of that dubious content is indiscriminately passed along — not only by blogs that solely “aggregate” the work of others but also by online news sites that generate their own reported stories even as they repost or link to (often with generous summaries) postings on other sites. What’s new to me in the Times piece is the way in which
several high profile editors defend what is clearly problematic journalistic conduct. The article points to three recent stories that were either fake or embellished — a Twitter posting about a colorful outburst aboard a Thanksgiving Day flight, a letter to Santa Claus said to have been written by a child in which an Amazon.com link for a desired Christmas toy was scrawled in crayon, and a woman’s essay about her life of poverty, which the author eventually conceded was, in the Times’ words, “impressionistic rather than strictly factual.” The woman’s concession came only after she pocketed $60,000 in donations from readers moved by her plight. That’s money she told the Times she has no intention of returning, even as she charged that people are using questions about her veracity “to avoid talking about the issues.” Few issues facing American society are less seriously engaged than poverty, that is undoubtedly the case. But in a political culture where genuine efforts to combat poverty and its root causes face backlash and cynicism regarding the deservedness of those government and other institutions could be helping, the woman might consider how a story about the impact of economic inequality that goes viral online but is later debunked further debases the quality of public debate.
According to the Times, the poverty essay was highlighted on Gawker as well as the Huffington Post. Gawker’s Cook said, “We are dealing with a volume of information that it is impossible to have the strict standards of accuracy that other institutions have.” Cook’s one hell of a salesman for his product. Ryan Grim, the Washington bureau chief for the Huffington Post, which also reposted the airline fracas and the phony Santa letter stories as well as the poverty essay, said, “If you throw something up without fact-checking it, and you’re the first one to put it up, and you get millions and millions of views, and later it’s proved false, you still got those views. That’s a problem. The incentives are all wrong.” The Times story doesn’t make clear if Grim is diagnosing a systemic problem in the media world or half-assedly defending his own site’s behavior, but if the incentives are “all wrong” he has a job title that would seem to put him in a position to force a serious conversation about that issue at HuffPo. BuzzFeed, it would appear fr om the T imes reporting, picked up on only one of the three stories mentioned, and a fairly innocuous one at that — the faux account of a holiday onboard customer meltdown. Still, its news director, Lisa Tozzi, is quoted saying that highlighting something of this sort is merited because that “is where our read-
ers are living. Our readers are seeing all of this stuff and I feel like there’s an expectation that we are reporting on the culture they’re living in.” The Times quotes Joshua Benton, who directs the Harvard University Nieman Journalism Lab, getting to the very heart of the problem here. “You are seeing news organizations say, ‘If it is happening on the Internet that’s our beat.’ The next step of figuring out whether it happened in real life is up to someone else.” When Gawker’s Cook smugly says he counts on his readers being “sophisticated” and “skeptical,” he’s really saying “reader beware.” He’s not willing to do the job of a journalist, so they should expect to pick up the slack. So why turn to journalists at all? Cook’s posture feeds a public cynical even in the face of good journalism, which can draw its own critics among those hostile to basic truths being told — whether people in power or a much larger group of citizens who are either complacent or apathetic. The work being done at the Huffington Post and BuzzFeed, which employs some of the most talented and dogged reporters around today, is hurt when shabby standards are applied to some portions of their sites and defended publicly by editors who certainly know better. The business model that gives a pass to such practices could well hold the seeds of these organizations’ demise. And the work of every journalist is devalued when industry standards sink so conspicuously to a level where if it sells, it runs.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR REMEMBERING NOVEMBER ‘63 December 4, 2013 To the Editor: Thank you for this very sweet, nostalgic story, seeing J.F.K.'s killing from the eyes of a nine-year-old (“That Sad Thanksgiving,” by Paul Schindler, Nov. 27). I was 16 that year and a senior at Savannah High School. It was the year that my high school, the largest high school in the state of Georgia, was integrated. When the news came on, some kids cheered — but others were deeply moved. My favorite teacher was a Yankee and a Catholic, raised in upstate New York. I will never for-
get her breaking down at the window of her classroom as the two of us watched the flag in front of the school being lowered to half mast.
pher Rice’s “The Heavens Rise” by one of New Orleans’ own (“Heavens Rise, New Orleans May Fall,” by Michael Shirey, Nov. 13).
Perry Brass Bronx The writer is author of “King of Angels,” a coming of age novel set in Savannah in 1963.
AT BIG MUDDY’S MOUTH November 14, 2013 To the Editor: This is a well written article about Christo-
WRITE US! Please send letters to the editor, of 250 words or less, to: Editor@GayCityNews.com Or mail them to 515 Canal Street, Suite 1C, New York, NY 10013 Gay City News reserves the right to edit letters for space or legal considerations.
| December 11, 2013
From Bratton, A New Direction Needed
BY NATHAN RILEY
or Bill de Blasio and William Bratton’s NYPD to make a clean br eak with the troubled recent past, there must be a fundamental redefinition of the crime problem in New York City. No doubt due in large measure to the massive focus on the abuses of stop and frisk, Commissioner Ray Kelly, despite his continued defense of the policy, has actually brought those numbers down dramatically since their high point in 2011. Still, as the once and future commissioner, Bratton has an obligation to point the department in a new direction. First and foremost, the racist implications of a policy that takes as its starting point the color of a suspect’s skin must be abandoned. Recently justifying his stop and frisk record in an interview with Playboy, Kelly said, “In New York, 70 to 75 percent of the descriptions of perpetrators of violent crime are black men; the vast majority of the remainder is Latino. And 97 percent of shooting victims are black or Latino. Our stops are 53 percent black and roughly 35 percent Hispanic.” Applied to defending a policy that saw nearly 700,000 stops in 2011, the vast preponderance of which found no wrongdoing, these statistics betray an attitude permeated with errors and blind spots. Kelly’s viewpoint ignores the profound and positive social change that has taken
place in communities of all sorts across the city. The commissioner’s perspective is based on the assumption that crime fell only because police cracked down. In fact, the improvements are also the result of residents of the city — white, black, and brown, rich and poor — obeying the law. New Yorkers, regardless of their demographic profile, are, in overwhelming numbers, law-abiding, which is why stopping them well over half a million times, largely in communities of color, is widely viewed as a startling affront. The first step in setting a new tone is for the de Blasio administration and his new police commissioner to state the obvious — that crime is not racially based, that there are criminals and many more law-abiding citizens in every group, and that identifying criminals cannot be based on figuring out where the black and brown people are. Kelly has used the crime reductions of recent years to warn against any retreat. “Last year the homicide rate was the lowest in at least 50 years,” he said. “And this year we’re running about 30 percent below that.” But he fails to draw the logical next conclusion — that tactics started during an historic crime wave can’t necessarily be justified when that surge disappears. A second major step the NYPD must take is to remove the incentives that encourage the police to make marijuana arrests. The explosion in such arrests under Mayor Michael Bloomberg was not in response to any public outcry, and there is no evidence that marijuana
use troubles or frightens New Yorkers going about their business. It’s time to make clear that policing marijuana is the NYPD’s lowest priority. Under Bloomberg, officers received credit for making marijuana busts. It was considered a mark of an “active” policeman, and that viewpoint led to abuses. Private possession of small amounts of marijuana, out of public view, is not a crime in New York State, but when police told black and Latino youths to empty their pockets and found marijuana, they then claimed it was in public view. The youth would be fingerprinted and find themselves with a criminal record. The new commissioner should make it clear these tactics are over. A third critical step is eliminating the intimidation and hostility that accompanies many police stops. As any cop well knows, a stop can quickly lead to humiliation. And few communities have experienced that as frequently as transgender New Yorkers. As Dean Spade of the Silvia Rivera Law Project recently told Al Jazeera America, “That's part of what policing is — is this kind of generalized suspicion. Does something look out of place? And transgender people are often that thing that looks out of place.” Along with young gay men of color, transgender women often face particular harassment due to the practice of using condom possession as evidence to support a charge of prostitution. AIDS activists warn such enforcement damages public health efforts to curb transmis-
New Times, New Tactics to Fight AIDS
BY KELLY COGSWELL
've got no new tactics to fighting HIV/ AIDS, but I know we have to look for them. Some of the things we'd assumed are just plain wrong. Like successful treatment programs would lead to a lessening of stigma. Well, I've heard from a friend in Burundi that the reverse is true. Before, HIV-positive people had to become activists to save their own lives and often found courage they never knew they had. They spoke out and changed people's attitudes.
Now, with the new drugs, the newly diagnosed cower and run, and the drugs help them to. There are fewer activists, not more. And more silence. In the US, too, activists are flailing even as infection rates are increasing, along with blasé attitudes. Many queers actually seem hostile to the idea that young LGBT people should be warned about HIV/ AIDS. That possibility hadn't crossed my mind until last week when I checked out the responses to Michael Specter's grief-stricken article in the New Yorker, "What Young Gay Men Don't Know About AIDS." In the threads, a significant amount
of commenters, many of them gay, condemned Specter for his "scare tactics," his "labeling" and "stigmatizing." According to them, HIV/ AIDS is a manageable disease just like diabetes, and old fogies like Specter should get over themselves. Things have changed. It was homophobic to keep pointing out that queers were getting the disease when straights were, too. A virus knows no gender, no sexual identity. It was racist to mention young black men were hardest hit. While there are still plenty of people getting HIV because they don't know how to prevent it and I know there is
sion, and many in the community know firsthand the abuse it can lead to as a law enforcement measure. As with stop and frisk, it is corrosive of basic community trust in the police. Prosecutors remain divided on whether to use such evidence in criminal cases, so the new mayor and police commissioner could put the issue to rest by simply forbidding the practice among NYPD officers. The fourth, and in many respects most fundamental, step in charting a new course is for the NYPD to recognize how sending people to jail affects their families and loved ones. Time and again, when young people entering the criminal justice system are interviewed, they mention lack of family stability as an important contributor to their problems. For many, that means a father who spent years in prison. This is a national problem, as well as one here in New York. At a recent meeting of the Drug Reform Alliance, which celebrated the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington State, the group’s executive director, Ethan Nadelmann, said he wished the United States would reduce the rate of incarceration to the international average. “No democratic country has locked up people the way we do,” he said. “I’m fighting so we can become average.” That is a radical demand. The US is currently incarcerating 2.3 million inmates. For the nation to become just “average,” that number would have to decline to 500,000. Reducing incarceration could be part of a de Blasio agenda aimed at strengthening families, as important as raising the minimum wage so that parents can spend more time with their children. Given New Yorkers’ ability to reduce crime in their midst, empowering them further with greater economic stability could expand the urban renaissance still too confined to the city’s wealthiest precincts.
a trend of young queers of color who don't protect themselves because they figure "what the hell, I'm doomed, I'll get it anyway," these commenters seem to belong to a different category. With and without HIV, gay and straight, they seem somehow... smug. They are part of the growing — and not just right-wing — trend of people who hate activists on principle. They are profoundly lazy, both physically and morally, invested in declaring HIV/AIDS "manageable" because that means they won't have to worry about condoms. Or responsibility. If they get HIV and pass it on, it's no big deal. They haven't ruined anybody's life or caused anybody's death. These commenters even blame gay AIDS activists for the disease's stigma — not homophobic bigots.
COGSWELL, continued on p.35
December 11, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
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| December 11, 2013
Tom Daley, British Olympian, Comes Out BY PAUL SCHINDLER
om Daley, the 19-year old Olympic Bronze Medal Winner from Britain who shot to fame at 13 when he won that nation’s men’s national diving championship, ended longstanding speculation when he acknowledged in a December 2 YouTube video that he has been in a relationship with another man since the spring. With nearly 2.5 million Twitter followers, the young athlete has long been a teen heartthrob, often showing up at press events wearing only his Speedos. The British gay magazine Attitude recently named him the sexiest man in the world. Around that time, Daley was quoted in the UK Mirror saying, “I think it’s funny when people say I’m gay… I laugh it off. I’m not. But even if I was, I wouldn’t be ashamed. It wouldn’t bother me in the slightest what people thought. But I can understand why I have a massive gay following. I spend most of my life half naked in trunks
COGSWELL, from p.33
I can't imagine where to start with them. I suppose we could try to dispel the notion that any disease can be benign. I go especially nuts when they compare HIV/AIDS to diabetes, a real disaster of a "manageable" disease that runs in my family. You have to watch what you eat all the time, exercise, take your meds, test your blood sugar. Struggle to forgo sweet tea, potato chips. All the good stuff. Get it wrong, you're screwed. It messes up your circulation and any little cut or bruise can be dangerous. A friend of mine lost half his foot. My aunt lost both her legs before she lost her life. You should have seen her in the hospital — half the bed empty where her legs used to be, all the tubes snaking in and out. People go blind. Stroke out. It's the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, this manageable disease. HIV is no better. Drugs don't work for everybody. Sometimes they have side effects. You have to remember to take them, and have insurance to pay for them. Even if your viral load drops, you have to get tested all the time because it might go up again. You worry with every cold, every flu. It's not like in the ads where a handsome guy
on a diving board showing off my bare chest.” But in his new video, which he explained he made so he could speak to his fans unfiltered by the media, Daley said, “Come spring this year, my life changed — massively — when I met someone and it made me feel so happy, so safe, and everything just feels great. And that someone is a guy. It was always in the back of my head that something like that could happen, but it wasn’t until spring this year that something just clicked. It felt right. My whole world just changed, right there and then.” Having just come out, Daley hastened to add, “Of course I still fancy girls. But I mean, right now I’m dating a guy and I couldn’t be happier. It makes me feel safe and just really does feel right.” Subsequent press reports have linked Daley to Oscar-winning “Milk” screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, though neither man has confirmed those reports. The 20-year age gap between the two men has created a bit of a dust-up online about a presumed relationship between two consenting adults.
takes a single pill and gets happily on with his life. It is so much better and easier to just wear a fucking condom. If you forget once or twice and get stuck with HIV. Well, cross that bridge when you come to it. But avoid that bridge. Burn it. Run away as fast as you can go. Flee for your life. Also, you should know, HIV may cause more than just AIDS with its pneumonias and sarcomas. Up until last year I had a brother-in-law, Carlos. Decent guy. HIV-positive. He hadn't needed meds for years. One day, he went to his doctor for a bad back and the doctor found these lumps. It turned out to be a kind of lymphoma that wasn't exactly AIDS-related but tends to appear in people with HIV, though very rarely in the general population. There was a bunch of chemo. It went away. Came back. But you don't want to hear about that. HIV is manageable. No big deal. No weird cancers popping up. Nothing percolating. You have no role in its spread. Kelly Cogswell’s book “Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger” is due for publication in March from the University of Minnesota Press and can be pre-ordered via Amazon at tinyurl.com/ jws8qw3.
On December 10, the Towleroad blog posted an 11-second video that showed Black tagging along behind Daley as the diver departed a University of Houston gym in October. In his YouTube video, the medal winner, who said he is committed to winning a Gold in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, suggested he was speaking out to clear up misconceptions about him created by the media. “Recently, I was misquoted in an interview and it made me feel really angry and frustrated,” Daley said. “I’ve only ever talked about things I’ve felt comfortable talking about.” He mentioned other private matters — such as bullying in school and the death of his father from cancer in 2011 — that he was unwilling to speak about publicly. “I wanted to put an end to all the rumors and speculation,” Daley said. “Just say it and tell you guys. Then reaffirming his commitment to continue training for Rio, he said, “It would be great to have you guys on my journey, too. And I just wanted to make sure that I got to tell you guys.”
Press reports, unconfirmed, quickly link diver to screenwriter Dustin Lance Black
British Olympic diver Tom Daley.
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December 11, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
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Antigone Rising, a New York-based all female LGBT country rock band, performs music from the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, the Allman Brothers Band, and Rob Thomas. Tonight, they add a holiday twist with special guest Toby. Rockwood Music Hall, 196 Allen St., btwn. Houston & Stanton Sts. Dec. 12, 7 p.m. Tickets are $18 at rockwoodmusichall.com.
DANCE Whiteface Warhol
Emerging choreographer Raja Feather Kelly smashes together voguing, traditional ballet vernacular, whiteface, and drag performance to bring a surreal Andy Warhol back to life. Kelly’s Brooklyn-based dance company, the Feath3r Theory, premieres its new work “Andy Warhol’s DRELLA (I love you Faye Driscoll).” Invisible Dog, 51 Bergen St., btwn. Smith & Court Sts. Dec. 12-13, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 at thefeath3rtheory.com.
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Penny Arcade and Sweden’s Alexander Alvina Chamberland appear together in an evening of performance and reading. Arcade reads excerpts from her from her memoir in progress, while Chamberland reads from the forthcoming transfemme-inist gurlesque novel — with the working title "Bitchslutcuntfaggotladyboy" — a satirical parody of the genre of novels about growing up. BGSQD, the Bureau of General Services — Queer Division, 83A Hester St., btwn. Orchard & Allen Sts. Dec. 12, 7 p.m. A $10 donation is suggested.
MUSIC Grrrls & Guitars
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BOOKS Queer Double Feature
The Bureau of General Services — Queer Division presents two authors reading from their latest work. At 5:30 p.m., David Eye presents the launch of his chapbook of poems “Rain Leaping Up When a Cab Goes Past” (Seven Kitchens Press). At 7:30, Gilles
Herrada discusses his book “The Missing Myth: A New Vision of Same-Sex Love,” which explores the question of what gay spirituality is and whether the issue is crucial or even relevant. Herrada, who will lead a conversation among audience members, argues that spirituality is the context in which any other type of knowledge (like science) and self-knowledge (like psychology) unfolds. BGSQD, 83A Hester St., btwn. Orchard & Allen Sts. Dec. 13, 5:30 & 7:30 p.m. A $10 donation is suggested.
PERFORMANCE Puppets of the Absurd
Artist Theodora Skipitares, currently showing at the Whitney Museum of Art, leads an evening of performance and demonstration around her practice of puppet theater. Skipitares, Judith Malina, Jan Leslie Harding, and other guests re-imagine Eugene Ionesco's absurdist classic “The Chairs” as a puppet theater piece, interspersing live vignettes of performance with interactive demonstrations. The Whitney, 945 Madison Ave. at 75th St. Dec. 13, 7 p.m. This event is free with museum admission, which is pay-what-you-wish on Fri. , 6-9 pm. No reservation required.
THEATER Feliz Navidad — We Hope!
An interweaving of “The Nutcracker” and “A Christmas Carol,” “Los Nutcrackers: A Christmas Carajo,” written by Charles Rice-González, is a queer Latino play about a gay couple who go on a psychedelic trip through their lives one Christmas Eve. Carlos and Gabriel, together for 15 years, have argued so much they are heard in the queer heavens, which send a ghetto thug/diva spirit to guide them on a trip through their lives. They travel to the first time they met back in 1986 at a white party at the Palladium dancing to Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, and on to a catastrophic trip to City Center to see “The Nutcracker,” to a dinner party with Martha Stewart fanatics, and more. Christopher Burris directs. This is the tenth anniversary staging at the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, 2474 Westchester Ave. at St. Peters Ave. (#6 to Westchester Sq.). Dec. 13-14, 20-21, 8 p.m.; Dec. 21, 3 p.m. Tickets are $25 at BronxAcademyofArtsAndDance.org or 718-918-3110.
14 DAYS, continued on p.38
| December 11, 2013
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38 14 DAYS, from p.36
PERFORMANCE Everyone’s Favorite En-Diva
“Lettuce Rejoice 2013” serves up a holiday bonanza of crisp comedy and delicious song parodies from the inimitable Hedda Lettuce. Never stale, never out of fashion, but not always particular about good taste, Hedda’s holiday hell-raising has been a must-see for generations. How can a girl go wrong? The Metropolitan Room, 34 West 22nd St. Dec. 14, 20 & 21, 9:30 p.m.; Dec. 15 & 22, 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 at 212-206-0440.
MUSIC A Bohemian Christmas
Early Music New York presents a holiday concert, “Good King Wenceslas: A Bohemian Christmas,” based around St. Wenceslas (Václave), a 10th century prince and martyr who is the patron saint of the Czech lands, Bohemia, and Moravia. The familiar English Christmas carol “Good King Wenceslas” has no historical basis, but the Czech song “Svatý Václave” (“St. Wenceslas”), probably originating in the early 14th century, is an invocation of the beloved saint. Frederick Renz directs. First Church of Christ, Scientist, Central Park West at 68th St. Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m. Four more performances take place at Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Amsterdam Ave. at 112th St. Dec. 15, 22 & 25, 2 p.m.; Dec. 25, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 ($50 for Christmas Day matinee) at EarlyMusicNY.org; $20 student tickets at the door.
Hindi, Russian, Ladino, and Zulu, as well as English, and welcomes special guests — the Children’s Choir of the Brooklyn Waldorf School, which joins the NYCGMC in a rousing number complete with a Chinese dragon puppet. The Town Hall, 123 W. 43rd St. Dec. 15, 3 & 7 p.m. Tickets are $58-$90 at nycgmc.org.
PERFORMANCE A Velvet Underground Tribute
Just weeks after iconic rocker Lou Reed’s death, Tammy Faye Starlite portrays the sublimely and glamorously decadent Velvet Underground chanteuse Nico (nee Christa Paffgen) in a dark, Weimar-cum-Warhol “Kabaret Konzert.” Starlite sings some of her most beloved lieder, such as "Femme Fatale," “All Tomorrow’s Parties," and "I’ll Be Your Mirror,” as well as Nico’s classic covers, including Bowie’s "Heroes, Rogers and Hart’s "My Funny Valentine,” Dylan’s "I’ll Keep It With Mine," and the Doors’ "The End.” Joe’s Pub, inside the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Pl. Dec. 15, 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 at joespub.com.
COMEDY Laughing in LIC
The New York City Gay Men’s Chorus presents “What a Wonderful World,” its annual holiday concert, this year including traditional seasonal favorites — Benjamin Britten's “Ceremony of Carols” and Eric Whitacre's gorgeous “Lux Aurumque” — as well as stunning solstice and year-end songs by composers from around the globe. The chorus sings in Mandarin,
“Art & AIDS: Perceptions of Life” is an exhibition, curated by Osvaldo Perdomo and David Livingston, featuring artists living with HIV and AIDS who created work of diverse media in weekly therapeutic art classes run by GMHC's Volunteer, Work and Wellness Center. Sale of the works will assist the artists achieve greater financial independence. Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, 26 Wooster St., btwn. Grand & Canal Sts. Opening reception on Dec. 19, 6-8 p.m. Through Jan. 5.
This month’s installment of “Drunken! Careening! Writers” focuses on the upcoming year in lesbian erotica, featuring series host Kathleen Warnock, who is the editor of annual editions of “Best Lesbian Erotica,” and D.L. King, editor of the Lambda Literary Award-winning “The Harder She Comes” and editor of Erotica Revealed.com. KGB Bar, 85 E. Fourth St., btwn. Bowery & Second Ave. Dec. 19, 7 p.m. Free admission. ADAM SANK
MUSIC Gay Voices in a Holiday Spectacular
GALLERY AIDS Art From Those Who Know
BOOKS Best Lesbian Erotica
GALLERY Dusty’s Etchings
Joseph Cavalieri’s work includes painted and silk-screened glass art that mixes contemporary graphic design with the Medieval medium of enamel-painted and kiln-fired stained glass. In “A Miraculous Return,” his second solo exhibit at the lounge at Dixon Place, he presents a meditative and somewhat comical series — including works celebrating the late pop diva Dusty Springfield — that encompasses engravings, silk-screen, and hand painting on glass, as well as acid etched copper. 161A Chrystie St., btwn. Rivington & Delancey Sts. Daily from 6 p.m. through Jan. 3. For more information on Cavalieri, visit cavaglass.com.
that will include Verdi’s “ Ave Maria,” Respighi’s “Laud To The Nativity,” Finzi’s “In Terra Pax,” the a cappella “Dormi, Jesu” by contemporary composer Abbie Betinis, Stephen Paulus’ “Three Carols of the Nativity,” and a variety of traditional carols. Featured singers include mezzo-soprano Heather Johnson, soprano Sarah Shafer, tenor Benjamin Bliss, and baritone Jarrett Ott. Carnegie Hall, 881 Seventh Ave. at 57th St. Dec. 17, 8 p.m. Tickets are $30-80 at nychoral.org.
Gay funnyman Adam Sank, in a Jingle Balls edition of “The Queens of Queens,” welcomes comedians Carmen Lynch, Chris Doucette, Joanne Filan, and Tarik Daniels. Laughing Devil Comedy Club, 738 Vernon Blvd. at 45th Rd., Long Island City (# 7 train to Vernon-Jackson). Dec. 15, 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 at laughingdevil.com, and there is a two-drink minimum.
BENEFIT Kinky Kabaret
“Kinky Boots” stars Stark Sands, Annaleigh Ashford, and Tony-winner Billy Porter join the show’s Tony Award-winning composer Cyndi Lauper for “Kinky Kabaret” to benefit Lauper’s True Colors Fund, which works to raise awareness and provide solutions regarding LGBT youth homelessness. Birdland, 315 W 44th St. Dec. 16, 7 p.m. Tickets are $60-$250 at ticketfly.com.
PERFORMANCE A Choral Christmas
The New York Choral Society and Orchestra, under the baton of David Hayes, presents a Christmas concert
MUSIC A New York Pops Christmas
Steven Reineke leads the New York Pops in a holiday concert featuring Ashley Brown and Judith Clurman’s Essential Voices USA. The program includes classics such as ’ll Be Home For Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland,” “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “Yes, Virginia (There's A Santa Claus),’’ and musical highlights from composers Sammy Cahn, John Williams, and Vince Guaraldi. Carnegie Hall, 881 Seventh Ave. at 57th St. Dec. 19 & 20, 8 p.m. The orchestra presents a family concert version of “A Charlie Brown’s Christmas” on Dec. 21, 2 p.m. Tickets are $17-$120 at carnegiehall.org.
New York overtaken by billionaires toddlers? These questions may or may not be answered in “Heeb for the Holidays,” Jackie Hoffman’s return to Joe’s Pub, inside the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Pl. Dec. 20-24, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 at joespub.com.
GALLERY New from the Pop Factory
Larry Krone’s work has been described by Holland Cotter as “an expression of manufactured pop emotion taken seriously.” In “Larry Krone: Together Again,” the artist goes beyond expressing these borrowed emotions and infiltrates the culture of the objects, music, and traditions closest to him to explore their immediate access to our hearts. The exhibition’s centerpiece is “Then and Now (Cape Collaboration),” a glittering, floor-length cape, fully embroidered and encrusted with hand-sewn sequins, not an inch of its surface left unadorned by intricate handiwork. Pierogi, 177 N. Ninth St., btwn. Bedford & Driggs Aves. Williamsburg. Through Dec. 22. Tue.-Sun., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. More information at pierogi2000.com.
COMMUNITY Bronx Family Gathering
The Bronx LGBTQ Center hosts “Family Holigays” in celebration of Christmas and Kwanzaa, a pot luck gathering especially organized for many in the community without family at the holidays. First Lutheran Church of Throggs Neck, 3075 Baisley Ave. at Hollywood Ave. Dec. 26, 2-6 p.m. Admission is free, but to help organizers plan the pot luck, registration is requested at tinyurl.com/plm8gg8.
PERFORMANCE Sandra Bernhard Leads Us Into 2014
Sandra Bernhard offers her hysterical insight, outspoken views, and outrageous mouth to help ease out 2013 and ring in the New Year. With her band, the Rebellious Jezebels, she still has all the raucous energy of youth, bringing audiences to their feet. Joe’s Pub, inside the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Pl. Dec. 26-29, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m.; Dec. 30, 9:30 p.m.; Dec. 31, 9 & 11 p.m. Tickets are $50; $100 early show New Year’s Eve; $150 late show at joespub.com.
PERFORMANCE A Christmas Hebrew Class
What happens to a Jewish straight woman on a gay cruise during Rosh Hashanah / Yom Kippur? How does an unwanted aging actress survive in a
December 11, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
| December 11, 2013
Celebrating gay anD lesbian marriage
ATTORNIES Chou Law Luna Chou Law
401 Broadway in New York, (212) 226–2610, www.lunachoulaw.com Chou Law Luna Chou Law specializes in immigration, asylum, and applications for legal permanent resident status and naturalization, and LGBT rights. It petitions for your family members.
AUTOMOTIVE Bay Ridge Subaru
1819 Cropsey Ave. in Brooklyn, (718) 234–7960, www.brooklynsubarudeals.com Visit Bay Ridge Subaru in Brooklyn for your new or used Subaru Impreza, Legacy, Forester, Outback, and Tribeca. It also supports same-sex couples and were at the GLBT Expo at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.
945 E Jericho Tpke. In Suffolk, (631) 271–7177, www.habberstadbmw.com, JJacome@HabberstadBMW.com Proud supporters of the LGBT community!
These finely crafted fruit bouquets make the perfect addition to any wedding celebration.
properties of all types including condos, apartments, and commercial real estate.
HEALTH & BEAUTY
Stetson Real Estate
Beth Israel LGBT Health Services 10 Nathan D Perlman Pl. in New York, (212) 420–2000, www.wehealny.org/services/ LGBT_Health_Services/index.html Beth Israel Medical Center LGBT Health Services provides an array of health, referral and educational services, promotes LGBT health equity and access to care, and develops effective partnerships with LGBT organizations, agencies and allies.
Chelsea Face and Body 270 W 19th St. in New York, (212) 647–8825, chelseafab.com Chelsea Face and Body offers the largest variety of state-of-the-art aesthetic services. It prides itself in its ability to keep you looking renewed, refreshed, and rejuvenated for a more youthful appearance.
1214 E. Boston Post Rd. in Westchester, (914) 381–7173, www.stetsonrealestate.com Stetson Real Estate is an independent firm located in Mamaroneck, Westchester County, New York. The firm has thr guiding philosophy that if it focuses on serving the client best — as opposed to the agent’s self-interest — the business will prosper.
Multiple locations, www.warburgrealty.com Warburg Realty is one of the city’s best trained and hardest working agents, and by choosing them to represent you and your property, you also get the benefit of Warburg’s leadership strategies every step of the way. Warburg Realty has distinguished itself in the vanguard of tech-savvy real estate companies.
RECEPTION HALLS & CATERERS Allegria Hotel
430 W. 24th St. in New York, (646) 325–3378, www.groomedgrooms.com Groomed Grooms provides men’s hair and makeup for weddings and other major events. Its slogan: You have the legal right to look your best.
80 W Broadway IN Nassau, (516) 889–1300, www.allegriahotel.com Allegria Horel, is a chic and sophisticated wedding venue in Long Beach with breathtaking ocean views. It is great for rooftop or beachfront weddings.
7905 5th Ave. in Brooklyn, (646) 712–4084, Fastworldmall@yahoo.com, www.bridaldreamsmall.com Bridal Dreams’ mission is simple: to provide the best products and service to its customers at the lowest prices possible. It takes great pride in its company, commitment to customer service, and products.
In Touch NYC
The Edison Ballroom
126 W 96th St. in New York, (212) 865–9290, www.mindovermatternyc.com Mind Over Matter Health & Fitness is a Manhattan based in-home personal training service providing fitness professionals to you in your home.
BRIDAL APPARAL Bridal Dreams
New York God’s Love We Deliver
166 6th Ave. in New York, (212) 294–8100, www.glwd.org God’s Love We Deliver is the tri-state area’s leading provider of nutritious, individually-tailored meals to people that are too sick to shop or cook for themselves. God’s Love provides all services by employing a small but dedicated professional staff and with the critical assistance of nearly 8,000 volunteers annually.
ENTERTAINMENT Erik Robert Jacobson, Classical Cellist
(212) 584–7500, www.jacobseneric.com, email@example.com Mr. Jacobsen is a cellist and conductor residing in Brooklyn, New York. He has performed with Renee Fleming on David Letterman and at the inaugural concert at Zankel Hall at Carnegie.
M B Sound Productions Entertainment
3034 Merrick Rd., (516) 322–1745 in Long Island or 3034 Merrick Rd., (888) 517–2789 in Nassau, www.mbsoundproductions.com MB Sound Productions & Entertainment is a professional, high tech, well equipped, and mobile DJ entertainment company servicing the tri-state area. It has over 15 years of experience, and can accommodate all types of events.
FERTILITY Genesis Fertility & Reproductive Medicine (718) 283–8600, www.genesisfertility.com Genesis Fertility & Reproductive Medicine is a nationally recognized center for the treatment of infertility. It is known for its excellent success rates. Most major insurers accepted.
FLORISTS & CENTERPEICES Angelica Flowers and Events
436 Hudson St. in New York, (212) 229–0272, angelicaflowersandevents.com New York City’s premiere custom floral designer for events, corporate accounts, and same day delivery.
Ariston Flowers & Boutique
110 W 17th St. in New York, (212) 929–4226, www.aristonflorist.com Ariston Flowers is an award-winning and familyowned business that has been in operation since 1977. It stocks an array of fresh flowers directly imported from France, Holland, Hawaii, and from other parts of the world. It also has accessories such as vases, pottery, and baskets.
(718) 535–7909, www.EdibleArrangements.com
242 E 77th St. in New York, (646) 234–4840, intouchnyc.com InTouch NYC is a New York City-based healing sanctuary providing acupuncture, Chinese herbs, nutritional counseling, bodywork, and pilates.
Mind Over Matter
INVITATIONS Print Icon
240 W 47th St. in New York, (212) 201–7650, edisonballroom.com, firstname.lastname@example.org The Edison Ballroom was originally opened in the 1930’s and was constructed in the classic art deco design. The venue can be rented for all kinds of events, including a wedding.
Multiple locations, www.fairwaymarket.com Fairway offers seasonal, signature catering packages with the highest-quality, happy-making eats with zero work. Have Fairway cater your engagement, bachelor, or bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner or wedding.
Grand Oaks Country Club
125 W 21st St. in New York, (212) 255–0844, www.printicon.com Print icon New York offers modern and heritage printing, including laser engraving, indigo press, letterpress, thermography and debossing accompanied by custom design services.
200 Huguenot Ave. in Staten Island, (718) 356–2771, www.grandoaksnyc.com Formerly the South Shore Country Club, this new and improved Staten Island venue can provide the perfect elegant backdrop for your reception with prime dates still available.
Hornblower Cruises & Events
Greenwich Jewelers 64 Trinity Pl. in New York, (212) 964–7592, www.greenwichjewelers.com In search of something classic, contemporary, or completely eclectic? Greenwich Jewelers is your source for exquisite adornments that are designed to last — and make your life brilliant.
Little King Jewelry 177 Lafayette St. in New York, (212) 260–6140, www.littlekingjewelry.com Little King Jewelry is a contemporary jewelry boutique in Soho that offers an eclectic mix of jewelry such as classic 21st century heirlooms, indie, rock and roll, to one-of-kind couture jewelry for all occasions.
LIMOUSINES M & V Limousine Ltd. 1117 Jericho Tpke. In Suffolk, (800) 498–5778, www.mvlimo.com M & V has the largest selection of antique and exotic limousines in the world. Its main focus is providing you with an elegant and stress-free experience on your wedding day.
REAL ESTATE SERVICES Brooklyn Accurate Building 1860 Bath Ave. in Brooklyn, (718) 265–8191, www.accuratebuilding.com email@example.com Inspectors Accurate Building Inspectors is a full service home and building inspection firm servicing New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and the nation since 1961. It provides inspections, consulting, assistance, and testing services for homeowners It has and will continue to serve and support the LGBT community.
Modern Spaces Multiple locations, modernspacesnyc.com Modern Spaces is a real estate firm that manages
40 N. River Piers in New York, (212) 206–7522, / www.hornblower.com/home/ny Hornblower New York specializes in New York dinner cruises, harbor cruises, yacht charters, sightseeing, events, birthday parties, and weddings. It has exceeded guest expectations for over 30 years by maintaining impeccable comfort and safety standards with a large fleet of private yachts in California and New York.
365 Park Avenue South in New York, (212) 685–7700, www.hotelgiraffe.com Hotel Giraffe would be honored to host your rehearsal dinner, special day, or to arrange guest accommodations. Its experienced staff will ensure that all of your expectations and special requests are surpassed.
401 Seventh Ave. in New York, (212) 736–5000, www.hotelpenn.com The conveniently located Hotel Pennsylvania has all the ingredients for a perfect reception. It has flexible ballrooms that provide an elegant, functional Manhattan setting for weddings of all sizes.
Millennium Broadway Hotel
145 W. 44th St. in New York, (212) 768–4400, www.millenniumhotelnyc.com The Millennium Broadway Hotel’s fully functioning Hudson Theatre has recently received a 3.5 milliondollar renovation. It offers flexible and moveable seating as well as Broadway-quality lighting and sound, making it the most extravagant wedding and reception facility in New York City.
Museum of Jewish Heritage
36 Battery Pl. in New York, (646) 437–4202, www.mjhnyc.org The Museum of Jewish Heritage’s unique facilities are perfect for galas, receptions, conferences, weddings, other life cycle events, and more.
The Picnic House in Prospect Park
95 Prospect Park West in Brooklyn, (646) 393–9031, www.prospectpark.org/visit/places/picnic The Picnic House in Prospect Park is a 4,000 square foot brick-and-glass enclosed pavilion with a terracotta tile roof. Built in 1927, it has been praised for its light and sweeping views. The natural setting makes it a perfect choice for a wedding and the French doors gracing the rear balcony create a charming focal point for the exchange of vows.
Hotel Plaza Athenee
37 E. 64th St. in New York, (212) 734–9100, www.plaza-athenee.com/weddings-en.html The Upper East Side’s Hotel Plaza Athenee is a stunning European-style venue with antique furnishings in the lobby, a beautiful marble entranceway, and Italian tapestries on the walls. It is the perfect backdrop for your wedding photographs. It has an elegant ceremony space and the hotel’s dazzling, gold-domed Arabelle restaurant provides a great reception site.
The Provincetown Business Guild
3 Freeman St. in Provincetown, (508) 487–2313, ptown.org In 2004 — when Massachusetts became the first state to extend full marriage benefits for same-sex couples — Provincetown quickly became the number one destination for LGBT unions. The inclusive, gay-friendly spirit provides the perfect place for all couples to host a wedding, commitment ceremony, or spend their honeymoon. In addition to the charming seaside splendor that Provincetown provides, there are a plethora of party planners, caterers, venues, and other helpful businesses that make it easy and comfortable for future newlyweds to plan their special day. Contact the Provincetown Business Guild for additional help!
reBar Brooklyn Gastropub
147 Front St. in Brooklyn, (718) 766–9110, rebarnyc.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Located on the mezzanine of an 19th century tea factory, this hip, Brooklyn gastropub’s seasonal New American menu, 120 bottled beers, sustainable and organic wine list, and its extensive scotch selection.
Queens Russo’s on the Bay
162-45 Cross Bay Blvd. in Queens, (718) 843–5055, russosonthebay.com A beautiful, waterfront wedding at Russo’s On The Bay is a truly royal experience. It offers unwavering commitment to detail that you can sleep easy knowing that the valet will provide excellent service at the door, the food will be superb, the linens will be pressed, and the venue will be running like a well-oiled machine.
168 W. Fourth St. in New York, (212) 242–9338, www.tiopepenyc.com, email@example.com At Tio Pepe you have a choice of atmosphere. The skylight dining room supplies a touch of romance while the enclosed sidewalk cafe provides a room with a view of Greenwich Village.
118-16 101st Ave. in Queens, (718) 849–0990, villarussocatering.com The Villa Russo has celebrated engagements and weddings for more than 50 years in its spacious wedding venue. The hotel invites you to experience the true radiance of this elegant Italian-style villa. The food is delicious and the certified wedding planners will assure a day you and your guests will not forget.
TRAVEL Ace World Travel
8320 13th Ave. in Brooklyn, (347) 915–4287, www.aceworldtravel.net, firstname.lastname@example.org Ace World Travel is a full-service, independent, home-based travel agency. Its goal is to help you explore the world however you desire, and make that experience as unique and memorable as possible.
WEDDING MINISTRY Celebration Ceremonies
(646) 322–6743, www.celebrationceremonies.net, FMFortunato06@aol.com Reverend Francesca Fortunato has been an ordained Interfaith minister since 2003. Rev. Francesca creates and performs beautiful, personal, meaningful ceremonies for couples of many different faiths (or none). She is proud and delighted to now perform legal marriages for members of her own LGBTQ community.
December 11, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
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