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Marriage Equality Advancing Everywhere! 06, 08 Sex Work Sanctions and Safety 13



Mrs. Cole Porter 25 Whatever that was. 31



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December 25, 2013 |


Harnessing Familiar Hands to Chart Progressive Course In early appointments, de Blasio pulls from bench that served mayors dating back to Koch BY DUNCAN OSBORNE



hen introducing Lilliam BarriosPaoli, his pick for deputy mayor for health and human services, Mayor -elect Bill de Blasio noted she had been a nun for five years and a proponent of liberation theology, a political movement in the Roman Catholic Church that found support for economic equality in scripture. Proponents of that theology were eventually silenced by the Vatican. “I’ve spent the bulk of my career trying to work on behalf of the poor,” Barrios-Paoli said at the December 12 announcement. “I’m elated to be part of an administration that makes that a central theme.” As de Blasio has rolled out the senior members of his incoming administration, he has emphasized their progressive credentials and commitment to reform. But the most common term applied to them in the press has been “veteran.” Barrios-Paoli worked in the Koch, Giuliani, and Bloomberg administrations. Anthony Shorris, the incoming first deputy mayor, served in the city’s Department of Education under Mayor

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio at news conferences announcing the appointments of Dean Fuleihan as his budget director and Lilliam Barrios-Paoli as deputy mayor for health and human services.

Michael Bloomberg, led the Department of Finance under Ed Koch, and was named executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 2007 by Eliot Spitzer, then the Democratic governor. Shorris currently heads the NYU Langone Medical Center and sits on the board of the Healthcare Association of New York State, a group that lobbies for hospitals and healthcare networks.

Dean Fuleihan, de Blasio’s budget director, spent 33 years working for the State Assembly. Gladys Carrión, who will head the Administration for Children’s Services, has served in city and state government positions. For some community members, the incoming City Hall looks less progressive and more status quo. Allen Roskoff, president of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, praised

one pick — Emma Wolfe, an out lesbian who will be de Blasio’s director of intergovernmental affairs, as “a total lefty” and having “absolutely terrific politics,” but was less effusive about the other choices. “The others are all establishment,” Roskoff said. “There are going to be a lot more positions, and hopefully he’ll be picking


DE BLASIO, continued on p.33

President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle will not attend the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, the White House made clear on December 17 in announcing the official US Presidential Delegation to the Games. With neither Vice President Joe Biden nor any former president on the list, 2014 will mark the first time since the Summer Games in Sydney, Australia, that no American official of such high rank will be in attendance, according to USA Today. The US will, however, be sending several LGBT athletes, including tennis great Billie Jean King, as members of the official delegation. Observers of the controversial anti-gay legislation in Russia, which has spawned a wave of lethal violence against LGBT people there, had been awaiting White House word on who would be representing the US at Sochi. Queer Nation NY, which has led protests in New York against the Russian law for months, hailed the Obama administration’s announcement. “The White House has sent a strong

message of disapproval of Russia’s antigay law by declining to have the president, the first lady, the vice president, or the vice president’s wife attend any part of the Olympics in Russia,” the group said in a statement to Gay City News. French President Francois Hollande and German President Joachim Gauck had earlier announced their plans to skip the Games, though neither government offered specific explanation of their decision. The US delegation to the Opening Ceremonies will be led by a former Cabinet secretary, Janet Napolitano, who headed up the Department of Homeland Security before accepting the presidency of the University of California system. It will also include tennis star King, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Obama in 2009. Michael A. McFaul, the US ambassador to the Russian Federation, will be part of both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies delegations. The closing delegation will be headed by William J. Burns, a deputy secretary

of State, and will include two-time Olympic ice hockey medalist Caitlin Cahow, who came out as a lesbian in November. Others joining the American delegations to Sochi include Robert L. Nabors, the White House deputy chief of staff for policy, and former Olympians Bonnie Blair and Eric Heiden, both speed skaters, and figure skater Brian Boitano. Two days after being named to the delegation, Boitano, who had long declined to comment on widespread speculation about his sexuality, issued a statement saying, “While I am proud to play a public role in representing the American Olympic Delegation as a former Olympic athlete, I have always reserved my private life for my family and friends and will continue to do so. I am many things: a son, a brother, and uncle, a friend, an athlete, a cook, an author, and being gay is just one part of who I am. First and foremost I am an American athlete and I am proud to live in a country that encourages diversity, openness, and tolerance.”



Olympic figure skating champion Brian Boitano was named to the official US delegation to the Olympics and several days later ended longstanding speculation by coming out.

Asked about the “message” he intended to send in his naming of the delega-

tion and decision not to go to the Games himself, Obama, at a December 20 news conference, at first joked, “I’ll be going to a lot of Olympic Games post-presidency,” and then added, “I think the delegation speaks for itself. You’ve got outstanding Americans, outstanding athletes, people who will represent us extraordinarily well. And the fact that we’ve got folks like Billie Jean King or Brian Boitano, who themselves have been world-class athletes that everybody acknowledges for their excellence but also for their character, who also happen to be members of the LGBT community, you should take that for what it's worth — that when it comes to the Olympics and athletic performance, we don't make distinctions on the basis of sexual orientation.” Lauding the administration’s decision to include prominent LGBT athletes in its delegation, Shawn Gaylord, the advocacy counsel at Human Rights First, in a written statement, said, “The selection of this delegation displays to the international community the American values of respect and equality for all.” — Paul Schindler


| December 25, 2013



When City Council Speaker Christine Quinn appeared in Inwood on March 10 to formally announce her candidacy for mayor, she was the odds-on favorite to become the first out LGBT resident of Gracie Mansion. Exactly six months later, her hopes came crashing down, when she finished a distant third in the Democratic primary and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio (seen here with son Dante and daughter Chiara), running as an “unapologetic progressive” on a “tale of two cities” campaign theme, swept to victory. In November, de Blasio romped over Republican Joe Lhota, capturing 73 percent of the vote. Gay candidates fared far better in City Council races, where Corey Johnson was easily elected to replace Quinn on Manhattan’s West Side, and Ritchie Torres, from the central Bronx, and Carlos Menchaca, representing Brooklyn’s Sunset Park and Red Hook, became the first out LGBT winners from their boroughs. The three join incumbents Rosie Mendez, Daniel Dromm, and Jimmy Van Bramer on the Council.





It's been 10 years since Massachusetts’ highest court ruled that gay and lesbian couples there have a state constitutional right to marry, and 2013 distinguished itself as the banner year in the ongoing struggle. On New Year’s Day, only nine states allowed same-sex couples to wed. With a favorable federal court ruling in Utah on December 20, that number now stands at 18 — with Rhode Island, Delaware, Minnesota, California, New Jersey, Hawaii, Illinois, and New Mexico also added to the list. June 26, however, delivered the strongest pro-equality punch — actually, a one-two punch — when the US Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act’s ban on federal recognition of legal same-sex marriage in a case brought by New York widow Edie Windsor (seen on the right with her attorney Roberta Kaplan) and also declined to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling that struck down Proposition 8, a 2008 voter initiative that stripped samesex couples in California of their right to marry.

The Russian Parliament’s passage of harsh new homophobic legislation outlawing public expression of gay and lesbian identity led to a wave of brutal crimes there as well as to worldwide backlash. Activist groups, including Queer Nation NY, protested the crackdown and violence with demonstrations targeting investment in Russia; supporters of President Vladimir, including artists performing at the Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall; and Russian imports, including vodka (Stolichnaya being dumped in the street in front of Manhattan’s Russian Consulate on July 31 by bartenders from Boxers NYC). While some activists are calling for a boycott of February’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, the state and city comptrollers instead urged the Games’ sponsors to speak out against the repression. Figure skater Johnny Weir dismissed those demonstrating against Russia as “idiots,” while President Barack Obama indicated he will not attend the Games, instead sending a delegation that includes three out lesbian and gay athletes (see page 4). Human rights are under fire elsewhere in the world, including Africa, where a group of LGBT activists traveled to the United Nations for a conference that included representatives from Latin America and Asia as well. The Africans arrived right on the heels of Nelson Mandela’s death in South Africa and — tragically — just weeks before the Ugandan Parliament passed a draconian anti-gay law now awaiting presidential action (see page 8).






December 25, 2013 |


New Mexico Becomes 17th Marriage Equality State State’s high court rules several months after trial judges ordered some counties to issue licenses BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD



he New Mexico Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that denying same-sex couples the right to marry violates the State Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. In a December 19 opinion for the court, Justice Edward L. Chavez wrote, “We hold that the State of New Mexico is constitutionally required to allow same-gender couples to marry and must extend to them the rights, protections, and responsibilities that derive from civil marriage.” The court’s ruling was widely anticipated in light of the tone of the oral arguments before the court. This past summer — in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act’s ban on federal recognition of legal samesex marriages — several New Mexico trial courts directed county clerks to issue

Among the successful plaintiffs in the New Mexico marriage equality case are Kim Kiel and Rose Griego, and Miriam Rand and Ona Porter.

marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. The New Mexico Constitution gives the State Supreme Court authority to take appeals directly from the trial courts, bypassing the intermediate court of appeals, “where it is deemed to be in the public interest to settle the ques-

tion involved at the earliest moment.” So when the New Mexico Association of Counties asked the high court to definitively resolve the question of same-sex marriage without waiting for it to percolate up through the appellate process, the court agreed. With some counties

issuing licenses to gay and lesbian couples and others not, the court viewed the situation as “chaos statewide.” The plaintiffs had argued alternatively that denying marriage to samesex couples violated equal protection and deprived them of a fundamental right. Since the court decided the case on equal protection grounds, it never turned to the fundamental right issue. On the equal protection question, opponents of marriage equality argue that same-sex couples are not similarly situated to different-sex couples because they cannot procreate with each other on their own. Rejecting this position, Justice Chavez wrote, “Fertility has never been a condition of marriage, nor has infertility ever been a specific ground for divorce.” It is also not true, the court found, they are not similarly situated, given that same-sex couples can adopt or employ reproductive technology to


NEW MEXICO, continued on p.15

US Judge Nixes Utah Gay Marriage Ban, Weddings Begin Within hours of December 20 ruling, licenses issued, couples marry federal district judge has ruled that Utah’s ban on same-sex couples marrying violates a fundamental right guaranteed to them under the 14th Amendment. In a December 20 ruling, Judge Robert J. Shelby, appointed to the federal bench last year by President Barack Obama, found that the state had shown no rational reason for its statutory and constitutional ban on marriage equality. Shelby did not immediately stay his ruling pending appeal by the state, so couples were free to seek licenses immediately, and since Utah has no waiting period for marrying once a license is issued, gay and lesbian couples had wed before the day was over. The attorney general’s office, by that time, had filed a notice of appeal on behalf of Republican Governor Gary R. Herbert seeking to have the decision overturned by the 10th Circuit On December 23, Shelby denied a motion by the state to stay his ruling and the state filed an “emergency” motion with the 10th Circuit — its third effort to get the appeals court involved — seeking a stay pending its appeal. Meanwhile, hundreds of same-sex marriages were performed throughout the day in Utah, although a handful of county clerks kept their offices closed in a refusal to issue such licenses. The 10th Circuit directed the marriage plaintiffs to file a response to the state’s motion by 5 p.m. Mountain time that day, but as Gay City News went to press a short time later no further information on the status of the motion was available. Among the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals’ 10 judges, three are Obama appointees, with four from George W. Bush, two from Bill Clinton, and one from George H.W. Bush.




State Senator Jim Dabakis, Utah’s Democratic Party chair, and partner Stephen Justesen were among 35 couples married by Salt Lake City Democratic Mayor Ralph Becker on December 20.

Two Utah lawyers unaffiliated with LGBT legal advocacy groups, Peggy Tomsic and James E. Magleby, filed suit on behalf of three same-sex couples. Two of the couples had been denied marriage licenses by county clerks, while the third was married in Iowa and is seeking recognition of their marriage by Utah. The case moved quickly to summary judgment, the motions having been argued just weeks ago. Shelby’s opinion is the first federal court ruling since the Supreme Court’s June DOMA decision to find that same-sex couples have a federal constitutional right to marry, guaranteed by the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment. Noting that the Supreme Court, in 1972, declined to hear a gay marriage case, stating it did not

present “a substantial federal question,” Shelby concluded that many high court cases decided since then, culminating in the DOMA ruling, have created a substantial federal question. And, in no small irony, he quoted Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent in the DOMA case, that “the view that this Court will take of state prohibition of same-sex marriage is indicated beyond mistaking by today’s opinion. As I have said, the real rationale of today’s opinion is that DOMA is motivated by ‘bare desire to harm’ couples in same-sex marriages. How easy it is, indeed how inevitable, to reach the same conclusion with regard to state laws denying same-sex couples marital status.” On this point, Shelby wrote, “The court agrees with Justice Scalia’s interpretation of [the DOMA ruling] and finds that the important federalism concerns at issue here are nevertheless insufficient to save a state-law prohibition that denies the Plaintiffs their rights to due process and equal protection under the law.” Regarding the plaintiffs’ due process challenge, Shelby showed that the Supreme Court has consistently treated the right to marry as a fundamental right. The state, he said, made the absurd argument that gays are not deprived of this right because they can marry partners of the opposite sex. “But this purported liberty is an illusion,” the judge wrote. “The right to marry is not simply the right to become a married person by signing a contract with someone of the opposite sex… A person’s choices about marriage implicate the heart of the right to liberty that is protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. The State’s argument disregards these numerous associated rights because the State focuses on the outward manifesta-


UTAH, continued on p.33

| December 25, 2013



Dismissing “So-Called Rights of LGBT People,” India's High Court Revives Sodomy Law Defending the right to legislate morality, justices point to arguments by Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD


two-judge panel from the Supreme Court of India has ruled that a 2009 decision from the Delhi High Court striking down that nation’s colonial-era sodomy law is “legally unsustainable.” The December 11 ruling from Justices G.S. Singhvi and Sudhansu Jyoti Mukhopadhaya drew immediate protests from progressive elements of Indian society and provoked street demonstrations in several cities. The attitude of the justices was most clearly expressed near the end of their lengthy opinion when they referred to “the so-called rights of LGBT persons.” Press reports anticipating the ruling had all assumed it would go the other way, affirming the Delhi High Court, and the decision sent shock-waves through India’s LGBT community. An application for reconsideration will be filed, and since Singhvi retired from the court after the opinion was announced, such a rehearing would not involve him. In the wake of the decision, key figures in the ruling Congress Party are reported to be committed to overturning it, despite political pressure from an invigorated conservative opposition. A worldwide Day of Outrage, with demonstrations in New York, London, Toronto, and Sydney, as well as major cities in India, was held on December 15. At Union Square, Malaysian activist Grace Poore, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission’s program coordinator for Asia and the Pacific Islands, said, “It is a very sad day for all people of India and those who look toward India for leadership in a modern age. Courts around the world from Singapore to Zambia and advocates for LGBT human rights in the Asia Pacific, Africa, and the Caribbean have been looking to the Indian Courts to take down this British colonial law.” The Supreme Court justices produced a lengthy document, but they actually had little to say directly about the grounds on which they were reversing the Delhi High Court. The opinion is inflated with lengthy quotations from the sodomy law’s legislative history and prior decisions by Indian courts, some of which — read on their own — lend support to the lower court’s ruling. It was clear the justices believed the question of whether consensual adult sex should be a crime was a political matter, not a legal question for the court. The new ruling upsets a political accommodation to the 2009 Delhi High Court ruling, after which the government decided — on the heels of extensive cabinet debate — not to appeal. Instead, officials complied with the ruling by refraining from prosecutions of private, consensual, adult sexual activity. Conservative sectors of Indian society, particularly some religious organizations, however, were outraged by the decision and mounted their own appeal. Oddly, their legal standing to do so was not at issue in the case, even though the standing of an HIV prevention group, the NAZ Foundation, to mount the original 2001 challenge to the sodomy law was considered. That delayed the case until 2004, when the Supreme Court found the judiciary should take the case and sent it to the Delhi High Court, which spent five years reaching its verdict. On the merits, the two Supreme Court justices adopted arguments made by the sodomy law’s defenders that it was not discriminatory. If prosecutors

applied the law in a discriminatory fashion in targeting gays, they concluded, that was not a problem inherent in the law itself. The NAZ Foundation’s leading argument was that the statute impeded efforts to stem the spread of HIV by deterring gay men from cooperating with public health efforts and by motivating law enforcement officials to interfere with condom distribution and other safe-sex campaigns. The other principal arguments made against the sodomy law invoked the privacy, human dignity, and equal protection rights that have proved persuasive in other countries. The NAZ Foundation argued the sodomy law made gay men presumptive criminals in the eyes of society, targets for discriminatory treatment, harassment, and persecution by the police. This, NAZ argued, violated principles of human dignity Indian courts had found inherent in the nation’s constitution. Because the sodomy statute was adopted by the British colonial administration in 1860 and has been unchanged since then, its opponents also argued it was not an authentic expression of Indian culture and is now inconsistent with modern conceptions of individual rights. The court rejected the notion that the law’s colonial origins counted against it, noting that post-independence India affirmatively enacted it as part of its penal code. Pointing to past efforts to repeal the law, the justices wrote that “the Legislature has chosen not to amend the law or revisit it. This shows that Parliament, which is undisputedly the representative body of the people of India, has not thought it proper to delete the provision. Such a conclusion is further strengthened by the fact that despite the decision of the Union of India [the federal government] to not challenge in appeal the order of the Delhi High Court, the Parliament has not made any amendment in the law.”

The court insisted it is not “empowered to strike down a law merely by virtue of its falling into disuse or the perception of the society having changed as regards the legitimacy of its purpose or its need,” unless there was shown to be a “clear constitutional violation.” Rejecting the argument that the law amounted to anti-gay discrimination, the justices wrote, “It merely identifies certain acts which if committed would constitute an offense. Such a prohibition regulates sexual conduct regardless of gender identity and orientation.” The justices, therefore, rejected any equal protection argument, even though NAZ pointed out that it was generally seen and implemented as a ban on gay sex and a source of stigma focused on LGBT people. The Delhi High Court’s 2009 decision did not find the sodomy law unconstitutional on its face, but rather as it was applied to private, consensual adult sex. The Supreme Court justices found that looking to the law’s application was unwarranted since “a miniscule fraction of the country’s population constitute lesbians, gays, bisexuals, or transgenders and in the last more than 150 years less than 200 persons have been prosecuted” for violating it. Answering arguments from the NAZ Foundation that the law violates gay people’s due process “right to live with dignity” since it is “used to perpetrate harassment, blackmail, and torture on certain persons, especially those belonging to the LGBT community,” the court found that “this treatment is neither mandated by the section nor condoned by it and the mere fact that the section is misused by police authorities” does not render it unconstitutional. Responding to the Delhi High Court’s concern about legislating morality, the Supreme Court justices pointed to the dissents made by US Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas in the 2003 Texas sodomy case in which they argued government has a right to enforce its moral views. At the same time, the Supreme Court criticized the Delhi High Court for relying on judicial rulings from outside India. “In its anxiety to protect the so-called rights of LGBT persons and to declare [the sodomy law] violates the right to privacy, autonomy, and dignity, the High Court has extensively relied upon the judgments of other jurisdictions. Though these judgments shed considerable light on various aspects of this right and are informative in relation to the plight of sexual minorities, we feel that they cannot be applied blindfolded for deciding the constitutionality of the law enacted by the Indian legislature.” The distinctive history and culture of India lessens the persuasive weight of judicial rulings from other countries, the justices concluded, pointing to other Supreme Court rulings. The immediate press response to the ruling emphasized the political pressure facing the Congress Party — which earlier chose not to appeal the 2009 Delhi High Court sodomy repeal — from its conservative opponents in the upcoming national elections. However, on December 14, the Kashmir Monitor, an Indian newspaper, reported that Sonia Gandhi, the powerful Congress Party boss, expressed "disappointment" about the restoration of an "archaic, repressive, and unjust law." Still, the newspaper detailed, the route to either a judicial or legislative clawback of the newly restored sodomy law in the world’s largest democracy remains uncertain.


December 25, 2013 |


Ohio, Virginia Courts Weigh In on Marriage Questions With Utah decision a nail-biter, federal judges stepping up elsewhere as well BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD


ven as drama played out in Utah, with same-sex couples scrambling to marry ahead of the state’s desperate efforts to win a stay of a federal court ruling requiring it to issue them licenses, December 23 proved an active day elsewhere for marriage equality litigation — specifically in Virginia and Ohio. In Virginia, US District Judge Michael F. Urbanski denied a motion by Virginia’s registrar of marriages and a county clerk to dismiss a marriage equality case filed jointly by Lambda Legal and the LGBT Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. Urbanski rejected arguments that the plaintiffs lacked standing and that the dispute was not “ripe” for adjudication. Meanwhile, in Ohio, US District Judge T imothy S. Black issued an injunction against Ohio officials, mandating that death certificates there going forward reflect a married status for any deceased individual legally married to a same-sex spouse in another jurisdiction. Black’s order was narrow, but his extensive opinion made clear his view that in light of the Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling in June, same-sex couples have the right to marry. Black’s ruling, however, was based on a narrower theory — the right to remain married. “Once you get married lawfully in one state,” he wrote, “another state cannot summarily take your marriage away, because the right to remain married is properly recognized as a fundamental liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause of the United States Consti-

tution.” And when Ohio does not recognize same-sex marriages the way it does other marriages that could not be undertaken in that state — such as the marriage of first cousins or of people considered minors under Ohio marriage law — that “violates the United States Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection.” The original plaintiffs in the case before Black were James Obergefell and John Arthur, a same-sex couple married out of state in advance of Arthur’s impending death from Lou Gehrig’s disease, and David Michener, a surviving spouse who had married his partner, William Herbert Ives, just weeks before, only to lose him unexpectedly. Black allowed Robert Grunn, a gay funeral director who handled Arthur’s funeral in October, to join as a plaintiff. Ohio law gives funeral directors direct responsibility for submitting the facts for death certificates, so Grunn risked prosecution if he listed as married somebody whose marriage would not be recognized under state law. This past summer, Block issued preliminary relief to both families, directing state officials to designate Arthur and Ives as married on their death certificates. The December 23 ruling made that relief permanent and required Ohio officials to act accordingly in future situations involving the death of a same-sex spouse. Black’s opinion recounted the many ways that Ohio’s refusal to recognize valid same-sex marriages imposes substantial injuries and complications. The right to remain married and have one’s state of residence honor that marriage was a fundamental right, he found, meaning that the state would, at a mini-

mum, have to prove an important policy reason for refusing to recognize such a marriage when it recognizes different-sex marriage from out of state that could not be performed there. Ohio, he concluded, failed to meet that burden. Among the justifications put forward by the state, according to Black, were “‘Ohioans’ desire to retain the right to define marriage through the democratic process,’ ‘avoiding judicial intrusion upon a historically legislative function,’ ‘Ohio’s interest in approaching social change with deliberation and due care,’ ‘the desire not to alter the definition of marriage without evaluating steps to safeguard the religious rights and beliefs of others,’ and ‘[p]reserving the traditional definition of marriage.’” The judge concluded, “These vague, speculative, and unsubstantiated state interests do not rise anywhere near the level necessary to counterbalance the specific, quantifiable, and particularized injuries evidenced here.” Black conceded that the DOMA ruling, which struck down the ban on federal recognition of legal same-sex marriages, acknowledged the traditional interest of states in controlling the institution of marriage, but he pointed out that the Supreme Court had intervened in the past to strike down state marriage provisions that violated federal constitutional rights. “The fact that each state has the exclusive power to create marriages within its territory does not logically lead to the conclusion that states can nullify already-established marriages from other co-equal states absent due process of law,” he said, allowing that the arguments made by Ohio officials "may be more compelling in the context

of marriage creation than they are in the context of marriages that have already taken place.” Still, as US District Judge Robert Shelby did last week in his ruling throwing out Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage, Black pointed to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s DOMA dissent, in which he warned that the majority’s logic in that case would lead inevitably to state same-sex marriage bans being invalidated. Black could have stopped there, having found that Ohio’s failure to recognize the out-of-state marriages violated the couples’ due process rights, but he went on to cite the DOMA majority opinion, by Justice Anthony Kennedy, in arguing that in treating same-sex marriages differently than, say, the marriage of first cousins, “the Ohio scheme has unjustifiably created two tiers of couples: (1) opposite-sex married couples legally married in other states; and (2) same-sex married couples legally married in other states. This lack of equal protection of law is fatal.” Ohio, he concluded, had no rational basis for making such a distinction. Instead, “the clear primary purpose and practical effect of the marriage bans… [is] to disparage and demean the dignity of same-sex couples in the eyes of the State and the wider community,” Black wrote. “When the primary purpose and effect of a law is to harm an identifiable group, the fact that the law may also incidentally serve some other neutral governmental interest cannot save it from unconstitutionality.” Governor John Kasich and Attorney General Mike DeWine, both Republicans, announced they would appeal Black’s ruling to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

UGANDA PARLIAMENT PASSES ANTI-GAY BILL WITH LIFE SENTENCES More than four years after Uganda first began discussing draconian anti-gay legislation — that in its earliest drafts included a death penalty — that nation’s Parliament, acting in unexpected and hurried fashion on December 19, gave final approval to a bill that would mandate life imprisonment for those repeatedly convicted of prohibited same-sex conduct. According to the Daily Monitor, a Ugandan newspaper, the category of behaviors that could lead to a life sentence include oral and anal penetration, genital stimulation, and even touching with the intent to engage in those acts. Despite the objections of Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, who said that the Parliament lacked a quorum to hold the vote, the bill has now advanced to President Yoweri Museveni, who has not made clear whether he will sign it. Though Museveni has spoken out against gays and also claimed there are few in Uganda, he also appeared to be try-

ing to slow the measure’s momentum several years ago when — in the wake of an international outcry — he appointed a commission to study its implications. Parliament took no action then, and the sudden reemergence of the bill last week appeared to catch activists by surprise, though Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga was known to be in favor of it. “I’m outraged and disappointed that the Uganda Parliament has acted in a very ignorant and irrational way,” said Frank Mugisha, the executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), in a written statement. “We shall fight this legislation to the end.” SMUG noted the prime minister’s concerns regarding lack of a quorum, criticizing “the haphazard manner in which members of Parliament passed it with little if any regard to procedure and to whether it complies with the 1995 Constitution.” The group, which called on Museveni to veto the measure and for

the international community to remind Uganda of its treaty obligations, pointed not only to the bill’s assault on the dignity of LGBT people but also to the negative impact it would have on HIV prevention and AIDS treatment. Under the legislation, there are also penalties for promoting homosexuality and for failing to report knowledge of same-sex conduct. As Parliament debated the bill, David Bahati, who originated it in October 2009, said, “I want to thank the speaker for the courage she exhibited because passing this bill means protecting our cultures, marriages, and the family institution.” The Human Rights Campaign, in a statement condemning the Parliament’s action, pointed to the role of American evangelical extremists — Scott Lively, a Massachusetts pastor, “chief among them” — in encouraging action on the anti-gay bill in visits they have made to Uganda in recent years. — Paul Schindler

| December 25, 2013



Noting Francis Is “Not Pro-Gay,” Advocate Names Him Person of the Year

Dolan says new pope not changing Church’s “essence,” but LGBT mag says he’s “persuading hearts and minds”

riting that “Pope Francis is still not pro-gay by today’s standard,” the Advocate magazine has named the new leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics its Person of the Year. “Like it or not, what he says makes a differ ence,” the magazine argued in making its announcement on December 16. “Sure, we all know Catholics who fudge on the religion’s rules about morality. There’s a lot of disagreement, about the role of women, about contraception, and more. But none of that should lead us to underestimate any pope’s capacity for persuading hearts and minds in opening to LGBT people, and not only in the US but globally.” The magazine hung its faith in Francis’ “capacity” — and willingness — “for persuading hearts and minds in opening to LGBT people” on several comments the new pope made in recent months. In a September interview with the Jesuit magazine America, Francis said if he were asked his views on homosexuality he would respond, ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love or reject and condemn this person? We must always consider the person.” A m o n t h e a r l i e r, w h e n a s k e d a b o u t g a y priests, the pope said, “If a person is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge him?” Francis used the America interview to urge others in the Catholic Church away from overemphasis on social questions such as homosexuality and reproductive freedom, saying, “It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.” Significantly, as many noted at the time, the pope said nothing to indicate that the Church’s position on any of these issues would be changed when they are talked about. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, New York’s archbishop and at the time the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, hit the morning television circuit in the wake of the pope’s remarks, saying of them,  “The way he’s doing it is so fresh and is so captivating, but he’s not really changing anything of the essence of the Church.”




Stickered with a symbol of support for marriage equality, even though he opposes it, Pope Francis is named the Advocate’s Person of the Year.

“There is no change on women’s issues. No change on gay relationships. It is not a policy change document.” Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of DignityUSA, the LGBT Catholic group, told Gay City News, “The pope’s comments on women show underdeveloped thinking about women. He talks about a new theology, but doesn’t give a new sense of direction. There is no change on women’s issues. No change on gay relationships. It is not a policy

change document.” Still, the pope’s embrace of the humanity of LGBT people — which under Church doctrine amounts to “love the sinner,” a position staked out by former President George W. Bush as he waged war on marriage equality and even nondiscrimination protections — was enough for the Advocate. The magazine offered an analogy based more on wishful thinking than any evidence in hand, writing, “In the same way that President Obama transformed politics with his evolution on LGBT civil rights, a change from the pope could have a lasting effect on religion.” The magazine acknowledged that, in a joint encyclical issued earlier this year with his predecessor, Benedict XVI, Francis reiterated the Church’s position that marriage is a “stable union of man and woman. This union is born of their love, as a sign and presence of God’s own love, and of the acknowledgement and acceptance of the goodness of sexual differentiation.” Despite this, the magazine hinted that the new pope might be open to supporting civil unions for gay couples, noting that he pushed for that option during his homeland Argentina’s debate over marriage equality — as the “lesser of two evils,” however. The magazine’s cover image put a NO H8 sticker — the symbol of opposition to California’s Proposition 8, which denied same-sex couples the right to marry (a right the pope opposes) — on Francis’ face. The Advocate not only followed Time magazine’s lead on selecting its person of the year, it also offered a list of runners up. Time’s ranking put Edie Windsor, who successfully challenged the Defense of Marriage Act at the Supreme Court, in third place, while the Advocate put her in a group that included as well the two couples who challenged California’s Proposition 8 in fourth place. Noting that its sister publication had just honored Windsor with a Lifetime Achievement Award in its Out 100 event, the Advocate wrote, “But even Windsor herself is a powerful symbol for the many others behind the scenes. Also at the Supreme Court that day, for example, were the four plaintiffs in the related Proposition 8 case from California, and they should be lauded. Or, any of their lawyers.” The magazine wrote that other cases challenging DOMA were also headed for the high court when Windsor’s challenge was accepted.

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December 25, 2013 |


Trans Woman Can Pursue Bias Claim Against Residential Drug Program NY judge refuses to dismiss suit alleging gender identity, disability discrimination in housing BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD


inding that a transgender woman sent to a residential drug treatment program under a plea agreement had stated sufficient grounds to make a claim of discrimination, a State Supreme Court judge in Brooklyn denied a motion to dismiss a housing bias lawsuit against the program under state and city law. Justice Debra Silber’s opinion, published on December 12 in the New York Law Journal, came in Sabrina Wilson’s suit against Phoenix House and Sydney Hargrove, the director of its induction unit. Opening her opinion by noting “there has been a considerable lack of understanding in the courts with regard to issues of concern” to transgender people, Silber provided a lengthy summary of the developing law of gender identity discrimination before turning to the merits of the defendants’ motion. According to Wilson, she told Hargrove during her intake interview that she was a transgender woman but that in a series of encounters, he and other Phoenix House officials essentially treated her as a man. When he asked her if her hair was “real,” Wilson told him she wears a wig and was told that was not allowed at Phoenix House, though she said other women were permitted to wear wigs. Similarly, Wilson claims, a counselor told her that she had to stop wearing high heel shoes, though some other women were allowed to. When Wilson attended group therapy meetings, she was required to sit with the men rather than the women and when some women objected to her attending a women’s support meeting, she was asked to leave. Wilson claims she complained to

Hargrove about being required to share sleeping and bathroom accommodations with men and was told, “You should adjust.” Wilson eventually persuaded the other women to consent to her attending their support meetings, but Hargrove insisted she not do so. Wilson alleged that during her fourth week in the program, another counselor told her that Hargrove believed she should be transferred to another program because Phoenix House could not meet her needs as a transgender person. If a suitable facility were not found, she was told, she would most likely be sent to jail. Thirty-eight of her fellow residents

subject to state and local laws forbidding housing discrimination. It also claimed that Wilson did not qualify for protection as a person with a disability, and that even if she could pursue her claims, she was limited to ordinary damages, but was not eligible to receive punitive damages or for the injunction she seeks requiring Phoenix House to alter its policies and train its staff regarding transgender issues. Silber agreed with Wilson that she can pursue a disability discrimination claim. Claims of gender identity discrimination can clearly be made under the transgender rights provisions of the city’s human

Wilson claims she complained to Hargrove about having to share sleeping and bathroom accommodations with men and was told, “You should adjust.” signed a petition asking Hargrove to reconsider his decision, but he made no formal response and did not tell Wilson where she might be transferred. When Phoenix House failed to find an alternative program, Wilson gave up hope and left Phoenix House without permission, in time relapsing and then being resentenced to prison, where she spent two and a half years. Wilson made both gender identity and disability discrimination claims, the latter based on prior cases in New York establishing that people who experience bias based on their “gender identity disorder” qualify for relief under disability discrimination provisions of the law. Phoenix House argued that as a residential treatment facility –- which it distinguished from a “dwelling” — it was not

rights law, and even before those were enacted, state courts had found that transgender people encountering discrimination could seek relief under both state and city laws since the concept of sex and gender is broadly construed under both. Silber also found that, in prior cases, residential programs operated under government contract were found to fall under provisions of state and local law banning housing discrimination. Wilson was at Phoenix House for treatment, but she was required to live there and so it was her dwelling place. Under both state and local law, the judge concluded, a residential facility has the obligation to make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities to give them equal opportunity to benefit from the

services provided. Though Silber agreed that Wilson could not seek punitive damages and injunctive relief under state law, she could do so under city human rights law, the judge found. Wilson’s complaint charged Har grove with aiding and abetting Phoenix House’s discrimination against her. His argument for dismissal, tracking Phoenix House’s motion, was that because there was no valid discrimination claim, he could not be liable for “aiding and abetting” discrimination. So, like Phoenix House, he failed in his motion for dismissal. Silber ordered the defendants to file their answer to Wilson’s complaint within 30 days, and then discovery will begin unless a settlement is negotiated. Wilson is represented by Armen Merjian of the AIDS services group Housing Works, who, in a written statement, said, “Rather than contest the facts, Phoenix House moved to dismiss, asserting that the Human Rights Laws should not apply to their program. We are delighted that the Court has affirmed that Phoenix House is not above the law, and that transgender folks and others have a right to challenge odious discrimination in this and analogous settings.” Taking note of Silber’s comments regarding the “considerable lack of understanding in the courts” of transgender concerns, Merjian commended the judge for “enhancing that understanding.” He specifically pointed to Silber’s recognition that transgender individuals face greater risk for harassment, assault, and rape in prison “and therefore programs such as defendants’ are even more critical for them.” Phoenix House did not respond to an email seeking comment.

COMMUNITIES GATHER TO FORESTALL TENSIONS IN WAKE OF HATE ATTACK In the two weeks after a gay African-American man was beaten in Williamsburg by a gang of men he described as “Hasidic Jews,” black and Jewish leaders came together twice to denounce violence aimed at any community within the city. “There’s a united voice to say that we’re denouncing violence in any and every way possible,” Tony Herbert of the National Action Network said on December 8 outside State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, according to a report on 1010 WINS Radio. Michael Miller, CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council, said, “We will constantly do everything that we can to ensure that acts of violence such as these will not happen.” Leaders from both communities voiced the fear that the assault on 22-year-old Taj Patterson, a fashion student at the New York City College of Technology at roughly 4:30 a.m. on December 1, may have

been a response to recent “knock-out” attacks — carried out with seemingly no motive but for the thrill of violence — against Jews by African-American youth. State Senator Eric Adams, an African-American Democrat who is Brooklyn's borough president-elect, offered a reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of any knock-out assailant. According to the Daily News, Patterson was headed home to Fort Greene from a party when he was attacked on Flushing Avenue, and suffered a broken eye socket, retina damage that required surgery, blood clotting, and cuts and bruises to his knees and ankles. Patterson told the newspaper that one of his assailants “told me to ‘stay down, faggot, stay the fuck down.’” The victim also stated, “I was alone. I was an easy target. I’m black. I’m gay, a whole slew of reasons.” The Daily News quoted Evelyn Keys, an MTA bus driver, who

arrived on the scene to find a group of men surrounding Patterson, who “was in so much pain. He says, ‘I can’t see… I can’t breathe.’” The newspaper also cited the police complaint, which said that the victim was “highly intoxicated, uncooperative, and incoherent” when officers arrived on the scene. Assemblyman Dov Hikind, an unsparing opponent of LGBT rights initiatives, voiced doubts about Patterson’s account, saying it was “bizarre.” Hikind was quoted in the Jewish Press suggesting it would be “so out of character” for Hasidic men to carry out such an attack, but the assemblyman has since declined further comment on the incident. No arrests have been made in the attack on Patterson as of December 23, according to the NYPD press office. The incident is being investigated by the police department’s Hate Crimes Task Force. — Paul Schindler

| December 25, 2013



LeFrak Faces HIV-Positive Renter’s Discrimination Claim Federal judge declines to dismiss case against major New York realtor BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD


federal court judge has ruled that a client of the city’s HIV/ AIDS Services Administration (HASA) has alleged facts, that if proven in a trial, would make the LeFrak Organization, a major New York City realtor, liable for discrimination against people with HIV who are dependent on gover nment support in paying their rent. In a December 13 decision, Judge Denise Cote refused to dismiss the case brought by a plaintiff, identified as L.C., who attempted to rent a unit at the LeFrak City in Queens. Notified by HASA that she was eligible for rental support of $1,100, L.C. contacted the LeFrak rental office and was referred to a Queens Boulevard office that handles apartments for applicants paying their rent with such assistance. According to Cote’s opinion, LeFrak’s agents would not show L.C. an apartment until she provided a letter from HASA confirming that it would pay the $1,110, but the agency does not issue such letters until a client has been approved for a particular apartment. The realtor maintained the same posture even when Housing Works, an AIDS services group, called its agents on L.C.’s behalf. The other plaintiff in the case, Fair Housing Jus-

tice Center (FHJC), sent “testers” to LeFrak to confirm what their policies are. One tester told staff at the realtor that she earned $46,000 a year and was looking for an apartment in the $1,100 range. She was shown floor plans and given an application to complete, with no request for immediate income verification. Two other testers said they were scouting apartments on behalf of a brother living with AIDS whose rent would be paid by HASA. Like L.C., they were asked for a HASA letter before LeFrak would proceed. The realtor also stated that criminal and credit checks would need to be completed prior to beginning an application, something not required of the tester who said she was employed. Those inquiring about apartments paid for with HASA funding are referred to an office where a glass window separates the applicants from LeFrak staff, unlike the regular rental office. L.C. and FHJC filed a federal discrimination lawsuit in April, asserting claims under the US Fair Housing Act (FHA), which forbids housing discrimination against people with disabilities, and under the New York City Human Rights Law, which bans discrimination not only against people with disabilities but also based on a renter’s source of income. The complaint alleged that LeFrak’s policy represents intentional discrimination and also has a disproportionately adverse effect on people with disabilities. LeFrak moved to dismiss the case, claiming that it

PENTAGON: GUARD UNITS IN EVERY STATE NOW ON BOARD WITH SAME-SEX BENEFITS In a December 13 written statement, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that every state is now complying with his order that National Guard units provide Department of Defense identification cards to all military spouses regardless of their sexual orientation. In August, the Pentagon — responding to the June Supreme Court ruling that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act’s ban on federal recognition of same-sex marriages — directed that all married military personnel, in differentsex and same-sex unions, be accorded full access to spousal benefits. National Guard units are overseen by state governments, and a number of them in the South, citing their ban on marriage by same-sex couples, declined to issue gay and lesbian spouses the ID cards necessary to access benefits. In October, Hagel stepped in to order compliance, and since then, those states that were resisting found workarounds that involve some role for federal employees to satisfy the states’ objections to being directly involved in issuing the IDs and thereby recognizing the marriages. In Oklahoma, all married spouses, gay and straight, will now have their ID cards issued by federal personnel. The two last states to fall in line were

Georgia and Mississippi two weeks ago. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, same-sex spouses of personnel at more than 70 National Guard units across Georgia will get their identification processed at two federal facilities — Fort Benning Armory in Columbus and the Clay National Guard Center in Marietta. That state has roughly 13,000 National Guard personnel, according to the newspaper. “We are abiding by the constitutional mandate from the state perspective,” the newspaper quoted Governor Nathan Deal, a Republican, saying. “We have strictly advised our National Guard to honor and abide by the constitutional provision and they are doing so.” Georgia’s approach is similar to the solution worked out previously in Texas and Louisiana and in its immediate wake by Mississippi. Hagel’s statement offered no indication of the fractious process by which the states that were out of compliance were brought to heel. “Following consultations between the National Guard Bureau and the adjutants general of the states, all eligible service members, dependents and retirees — including same-sex spouses — are now able to obtain ID cards in every state,” he

said. “All military spouses and families sacrifice on behalf of our country. They deserve our respect and the benefits they are entitled to under the law. All of DoD is committed to pursuing equal opportunities for all who serve this nation, and I will continue to work to ensure our men and women in uniform as well as their families have full and equal access to the benefits they deserve.” Ian Thompson, the Washington-based legislative representative at the American Civil Liberties Union, was more direct in assessing the process that led to full compliance. “This is a welcome announcement, and one that Secretary Hagel deserves credit for making happen,” he said of the Pentagon chief’s statement. “The resistance on the part of some governors on extending these benefits to same-sex couples was a grossly unfair violation of federal law that turned the promise of equal treatment for all military personnel on its head. The ACLU is pleased to have partnered with the American Military Partner Association on a national petition urging the Department of Defense to ensure that same-sex military couples could not be denied equal access to the federal benefits to which they were entitled.” — Paul Schindler

did not intentionally discriminate against people with HIV, so the FHA claim lacked merit because a renter is not protected under federal law based on their source of income. Rejecting this argument, Judge Cote wrote that the complaint “alleges that LeFrak understood that HASA clients, alone of all persons requiring government housing subsidies, would be unable to produce a source-of-income letter at the application stage of the rental process. This is sufficient to give the defendants fair notice of the plaintiffs’ theory that LeFrak intentionally discriminated against L.C.” Cote found that the plaintiffs could advance an argument that LeFrak’s procedures make it particularly difficult for clients to rent apartments, thus having a “disparate impact” against persons with HIV, since the percentage of New York’s HIV-positive population on housing subsidies exceeds the percentage of New Yorkers without HIV who receive such subsidies. The judge’s analysis of the New York City Human Rights Law claims was straightforward. The factual allegations supporting the disability discrimination are the same under federal and city law, and since LeFrak argued it was not liable under federal law since its policies discriminated on the basis of source of income rather than disability, the realtor essentially conceded it was violating city law. Though LeFrak argued its requirement for income verification before renting an apartment was “legitimate and applied to all applicants,” the judge pointed out the plaintiffs were not denying that, but rather were challenging the realtor’s refusal to show apartments or accept rental applications before income documentation was presented. It was this policy that “served as an impediment that prevented L.C. from ‘securing’ an apartment,” Cote wrote. The judge also observed that the plaintiffs claim LeFrak has a different approach toward applicants relying on government programs than toward those who are economically self-sufficient, establishing “a prima facie case of disparate treatment based on source of income.” Attorneys Armen Merjian from Housing Works and Diane Lee Houk from the law firm of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady represent the plaintiffs. LeFrak is represented by Randy Mastro, who served as a deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani, and other attorneys from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.


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December 25, 2013 |


The State of Our Movement, The Size of Its Wallet BY PAUL SCHINDLER



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

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






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This is the season for celebrating the holidays and also giving (hopefully at least some) thought to end-of-theyear charitable giving. So it’s appropriate for Gay City News to once again take a look — for the third year in a row — at the National LGBT Movement Report produced by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), an independent think tank that provides research and analysis in the battle for LGBT equality. The report — which measures the financial strength and donor reach of leading non-profits in the community and provides some analysis on staff diversity in those organizations — details the second straight year of positive indicators for a movement hit badly by the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009. In data collected from 36 national and statewide organizations — which together account for 61 percent of the spending by all LGBT social justice organizations — the expense budgets available to these groups grew by 10 percent in 2012, to $165.6 million. That growth came on top of a 2011 increase of 17 percent. Those figures compare very

favorably with the previous years, Revenues for LGBT non-profits, as with all sorts of worthwhile organizations across the country, plunged from 2008 to 2009, and only managed to roughly stabilize in 2010. As a result, despite the fact that growth in LGBT giving outpaces that among non-profits generally, we are still not where we were when the financial crisis hit more than five years ago. Some folks may be inclined to think the battle is won. New York has enjoyed marriage equality for more than two years, and now our unions are recognized by the federal government and in three times as many states as they were when Governor Andrew Cuomo signed our law in June 2011. But certainly we can’t really be that complacent. Congress has still not enacted a basic jobs protection statute for LGBT Americans, and same-sex families face greater than average hurdles when economic times turn tough — or don’t improve fast enough. More than 30 states still bar samesex couples from marrying — and look at the panicked response by Utah state officials to last week’s marriage equality ruling from a federal judge. Consider the climate of hate illustrated by the comments from “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson — and the rabid rallying around him. And give some thought to what is happening to LGBT people in

Russia, Uganda, India, and the many other places that don’t receive the media attention they deserve. It’s not time to pack up the tent; in fact, it’s long past due for all of us to recognize that we are part of a community whose permanent foundation deserves our support. It’s easy to be cynical about Gay, Inc. — or any large organization in today’s complex and not always particularly transparent world — and nobody should give without convincing themselves that their money will be well spent. On average, according to MAP, LGBT organizations outperform non-profits generally in dedicating revenues raised to direct program and services costs — spending only 19 percent on other expenses. But you don’t have to be persuaded by the averages — plenty of details, both in terms of required financial disclosure and news reporting, are out there for you to make your own judgments. The most important thing is that you find an organization doing the kind of work you feel needs getting done and carrying out that work up to your standards. Then, show your support. MAP estimates that only about three percent of LGBT adults in America do that. Think about it. Three percent. And an average of 41 percent of any given group’s

revenues comes from its top 10 donors. When Gay City News first reported on MAP’s annual report two years ago, one critic complained we weren’t accounting for support given to groups that are not exclusively LGBT-focused but do important work for the community. Fair enough. Double the percentage of giving to generously sidestep that problem. Is participation by six percent adequate? For those who decide to participate, there’s a lot of work to do. Many in the community believe we focus too much attention on marriage equality and not enough on other social justice questions. In that regard, it’s encouraging to learn from MAP that the National Black Justice Coalition saw a 42 percent increase in its revenue from 2011 to 2012. But it’s also sobering to realize that Queers for Economic Justice, a group that has fought hard for a dozen years to broaden the political agenda within the LGBT community, has just announced plans to close its doors. MAP doesn’t track the finances of groups that work on health issues like AIDS, but it would certainly never question the uncomfortable truth that HIV remains an enormous crisis in the gay community. For many of us, our resources to help are limited, which is why it’s all the more important to do your homework and figure out where your dollars can contribute to making a difference. We won’t tell you how to spend your money, but we urge you to consider sharing some of it in the cause of building a more just tomorrow.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR TELL ME AGAIN — WHO IS THE IDIOT? December 3, 2013 To the Editor: Perhaps, people, it is time to award Johnny Weir his tiara, perhaps throw him a parade, and allow him to fade into the rainbow (”Johnny Weir Says Gay Protesters Are ‘Idiots,’” by Andy Humm, posted online Dec. 3). He has lost any credence as a gay spokesperson, if he ever had any. Weir is Weir much like Liberace was Liberace. He enjoys playing dress up and preening for a crowd but, like Liberace, he is damaging to the gay community for his elitism. And let us all remember that Thomas Roberts shamefully pled that he could not find a way to comment on the

topic of LGBT discrimination while on stage in Russia. And if the Roberts can’t give a shout out on a stage surrounded by beauty pageant contestants, should we be surprised if Weir only self-aggrandizes himself more while “reporting” from Sochi? David Fagan December 3, 2013 To the Editor: Good-bye Johnny, sad he just lost all his gay support. He says he’s ignorant of Russian politics. Then why comment? Obviously he’s never been to a march where people threw rocks or yelled epithets at him. I’ll never buy a ticket to see him. I won’t watch NBCs Olympic coverage. Did you hear that sponsors? Weir better start waving the rainbow flag. Maybe even the US

flag that stands for freedom, because his waving the Russian flag now supports hatred and violence. Barry G. Wick December 5, 2013 To the Editor: Queer Nation protested Columbia University and Barnard College for allowing openly gay Olympic skater Johnny Weir to speak against a US boycott or gay and lesbian athletes boycotting the Winter Games in Russia. Queer Nation should step back from attacking openly gay and lesbian athletes and concentrate on demanding US corporate sponsors of the Olympics speak out against the


LETTERS, continued on p.13


| December 25, 2013


A Canadian Breakthrough on Sex Work Sanctions and Safety



n a unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court of Canada has decriminalized prostitution, making that nation the second to go this route. The court’s December 20 decision relied heavily on social science data introduced into evidence that found the safety of sex workers is best protected by allowing them to conduct business in facilities where negotiations over condom use, rates, and expectations are carried out in a calm and ordered environment. Criminalizing prostitution forces sex workers into remote locations outside the public eye that make an initial encounter too hasty for them to adequately protect themselves. Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, in her opinion for the court, wrote that the Canadian statute under challenge has had a “negative impact on the safety and lives of street prostitutes, who are prevented from screening potential clients for intoxication and propensity to violence.” The law “is a grossly disproportionate response to the possibility of nuisance caused by street prostitution,” she added. The isolation of sex workers has also been deepened by laws prohibiting drivers, receptionists, and supervisors to work with them and thereby profiting

from the “avails” of prostitution. The court ruled that a law designed to discourage pimps and other exploitative types of relationship can’t be written so broadly that it prevents support structures to enhance the safety and wellbeing of sex workers. “Sex workers around the world are thrilled by the decision,” said Chanelle Gallant of Maggie's: Toronto Sex Workers Action Project in telephone interview. “Canada has become second country after New Zealand to decriminalize sex work. This is an incredible win for safety, justice, and equality in Canada and in the world.” Gallant emphasized that it is also a victory for queers, noting that among the founders of the LGBT movement were sex workers, including, she said, Sylvia Rivera and Marcia P. Johnson. The two were prominent radical leaders in the years after Stonewall who demanded rights for both the transgender community and for sex workers, who were constantly arrested and too often assaulted and raped in the city jails. The policing of prostitution remains a problem for transgender women, in particular, who are often profiled for harassment and arrest. “Fearless transgender women,” Gallant said, came forward as leaders in the sex workers’ rights movement over the years. The court’s decision was suspended

for one year, and Robyn Maynard, an outreach worked for Stella, l’amie de Maimie, a Montreal group representing sex workers, insisted that Parliament give sex workers a prominent place at the table while drafting the new laws mandated by the court. Chloe, a sex worker and advocate, insisted that “sex workers be at the table for all decisions made about our lives.” In a statement issued by Maggie’s, she stated, “We will continue to fight for full equality and justice and oppose any attempts to criminalize any part of the sex industry, including our clients.” The groups are concerned that Parliament will introduce the Nordic model that decriminalizes the sex worker, but lays out stiff fines for clients, creating the same incentives that drive the industry underground and create safety issues that the current regime has. It is this halfway measure that the New York Times endorsed in a recent editorial. The court’s unanimity did not spring up in a vacuum. The justices were responding to evidence introduced in the trial court, including friend of the court briefs filed by groups such as the Secretariat for UNAIDS. “Where sex workers are able to assert control over their working environments and insist on safer sex, evidence indicates that HIV risk and vulnerability can be sharply reduced,” UNAIDS stated.

“Laws, policies, discriminatory practices, and stigmatizing social attitudes drive sex work underground, impeding efforts to reach sex workers and their clients with HIV prevention.” Criminalizing sex work, the United Nation’s HIV organization argued, fosters violence and “laws governing sex work and law enforcement practices are a central part of the violence experienced by sex workers. Sex workers are regarded as easy targets for harassment and violence because they are considered immoral and deserving of punishment.” UNAIDS, in its filing, noted that its conclusions are based on careful study of the experience from 30 years of the HIV epidemic. The Canadian high court decision comes out of a case that began in 2007, and it challenges the prevailing view that pimps and johns alone create the degradation and trafficking tragedy often associated with sex work. Government policy, the court found, plays a key role, and the Supreme Court concluded that appropriate policies from the government can enhance safety and prevent many harms. Blanket prohibition and condemnation in broadly drawn criminal laws, it found, only heighten the problems and discourage solutions. In New York City, Sienna Baskin of the Sex Workers Project was “thrilled” by this “landmark decision” that recognizes “the role of the state in making a prostitute more vulnerable to violence” and that the state cannot regulate against nuisance “at the cost of the health, safety, and lives” of sex workers. “We stand in solidarity with sex workers in Canada,” she said, “and hope that this decision leads to global interest in a less punitive approach to sex work.”


LETTERS, from p.12

homophobic laws put in place in Russia and publicly embraced by their president, Vladimir Putin. I rather doubt that anyone in the leadership of Queer Nation has spent their lives with one goal in sight. Winning Gold for their country at the Olympics. I believe in supporting the Russian lesbian and gay movement by bringing attention here to what they are going through. I support the athletes who want to compete as athletes and not be frightened or intimidated by the Russian government and their security apparatus, the Orthodox Church, or the neo-Nazi youth thugs, all hellbent on attacking gays, We should be demanding the Olympic organizers provide safe space for all athletes participating. I support any openly gay athlete like New Zealand speed skater Blake Skjellerup, who wants to compete.

Wa k e u p , Q u e e r N a t i o n . T h i s i s one tactic that hurts gay and lesbian people. I have stood with you this fall in protests, and I have dumped vodka to make a political point. But I will not stand with you in silencing gay and lesbian athletes or in demanding they do not compete. And I say to my friend Gilbert Baker: fight the power, not the athletes. I, for one am proud of them — and I just bet you are, too. Jim Fouratt

December 5, 2013 To the Editor: It’s that simple. He’s an idiot all the way to the bank. He doesn’t have an ounce of sensitivity to his own oppressive situation as a gay may because he has money and fame. Ruth Berman



To the Editor I called the law firm phone of Jim Silkenat and read the law firm’s support of gay lawyers and how the firm supports gay rights and fights LGBT discrimination and asked him on his phone service how he could participate in such hate at the New York City event. (“ABA President Withdraws from NYC Russian Investment Forum,” by Andy Humm, online on Nov. 8). I left my number. I then emailed Jim Silkenat with the email address his office gave me. I’m glad my contribution helped get him to resign from the Russia Forum event in New York.

December 5, 2013 To the Editor: This is very encouraging (“NYS Comptroller to Olympic Sponsors: Condemn Russian Anti-Gay Laws,” by Andy Humm, posted online Dec. 5). I appreciate that our comptrollers are taking on this issue. We are hearing mostly stone silence from so many quarters. The safety and freedom of the Russian LGBT community is all our responsibilities. This evil should not and need not be left in place. Shame on all these corporations and on NBC, who are showing their real colors. Time for our LGBT community to boycott NBC and MSNBC in response.

Timothy Lunceford

William Stribling

November 8, 2013

WRITE US! Please send letters to the editor, of 250 words or less, to: 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 25, 2013 |




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| December 25, 2013


Australian Capital’s Marriage Equality Law Nixed


Nation’s high court says federal Parliament has exclusive authority


ust days after same-sex couples began getting married in Canberra under a law passed by the Australian Capital Territory’s Assembly, the High Court of Australia, that nation’s highest bench, ruled that the territorial legislation was “inconsistent” with the federal Marriage Act of 1961 and was thus “of no effect.” The same-sex marriages contracted over the previous few days are invalid, the court found. At the same time, the High Court’s unanimous decision makes clear that the Australian Parliament does have authority, if it desires, to open up the status of marriage throughout the nation to same-sex couples. The federal government filed suit shortly after the territorial legislature passed the law, asking the High Court to declare it invalid. The court had refused the government’s request to block the start of marriages in Canberra, but quickly heard the case and rendered its verdict within a week. Despite the uncertainty of the marriages being upheld as valid, some same-sex couples did wed in the brief period when they could. The December 12 ruling required the


NEW MEXICO, from p.6

have children, just as some different-sex couples do. In any event, procreation is a bit beside the point, in the court’s view, since the purpose of the state’s marriage laws “is to bring stability and order to the legal relationships of committed couples by defining their rights and responsibilities as to one another, their property, and their children, if they choose to have children.” The highest courts in California, Connecticut, and Iowa reached the same conclusion, Chavez’s opinion noted. One of the plaintiffs’ arguments was that the case was about sex discrimination, which, because of the State Constitution’s Equal Rights Amendment, would have subjected the law to a “strict scrutiny” standard of judicial review, making it very difficult to defend. The high court found that there was no sex discrimination, since both men and women are equally barred from marrying same-sex partners. Instead, the court analyzed the case as a question of sexual orientation discrimination, and had to determine whether strict scrutiny also applied here or if the more customary “rational basis” review,

court to delve back into 19th century jurisprudence, in response to the argument by the Australian Capital Territory (ACT, a jurisdiction similar to the District of Columbia) that the federal Parliament’s constitutional authority to regulate marriage was limited to “marriage” as that term was known and defined by the nation’s 1900 constitution. According to that theory, the federal Parliament could regulate only opposite-sex marriages, giving discretion to ACT and the other Australian states to pass their own laws dealing strictly with same-sex marriages. The court was unwilling to accept this argument, finding that the Constitution did not intend to freeze the federal government’s authority within the bounds of that term as understood in 1900. “Marriage,” the unanimous decision said, should be understood “as referring to a consensual union formed between natural persons in accordance with legally prescribed requirements which is not only a union the law recognizes as intended to endure and be terminable only in accordance with law but also a union to which the law accords a status affecting and defining mutual rights and obligations.” Australia’s Parliament has the authority to broaden its 1961 law to include same-sex marriages, the court found, just as it has made adjustments

to the definition of the rights and obligations of marriage, for example by adopting laws on divorce and to equalize the legal status of women with men in marriage. The federal Parliament’s authority to

make marriage laws is now established as exclusive, and the court found that the federal Marriage Act, by inference, currently prohibits same-sex marriage, especially since it was amended in 2004 to bar recognition of such unions from outside Australia. That amendment, the ruling stated, contained “the implicit negative proposition that the kind of marriage provided for by the [1961 law] is the only kind of marriage that may be formed or recognized in Australia.” The ruling did not come as a big surprise to marriage equality supporters, who vowed to go back to the Australian Parliament to seek an appropriate amendment to the federal Marriage Act. “This is devastating for those couples who married this week and for their families,” Rodney Croome, the national director of Australian Marriage Equality said in a written statement. “However, this is just a temporary defeat.” He added, “”We now have clear political and constitutional path forward for marriage equality, and call on the prime minister to grant his party a free vote on the reform.” Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who leads Australia’s Liberal Party, opposes marriage equality and won election in September against the Labor Party incumbent, Kevin Rudd, who supports the rights of same-sex couples to marry.

under which courts give significant deference to legislative enactments, was called for. In the end, the court found that an intermediate level of review was appropriate. Strict scrutiny is applied when examining discrimination claims regarding classes of people who have historically faced pervasive discrimination. In response to the argument that gays have now become a politically powerful group, the court concluded “that effective advocacy for the LGBT community is seriously hindered by their continuing need to overcome the already deep-rooted prejudice against their integration into society, which warrants our application of intermediate scrutiny in this case.” The persistence of the closet, the court found, is significant in this regard. “It is reasonable to expect that the need of LGBTs to keep their sexual orientation private also hinders or suppresses their political activity,” Chavez wrote. Despite the steady advances in the marriage equality fight, the court noted that most states still ban it and, like the federal government, also fail to provide basic nondiscrimination protections. As the result, the court embraced intermediate scrutiny of the marriage laws, under which they were presumed

unconstitutional and the burden was on those defending them to show they advance an important state interest. The court then rejected all the arguments put forward by the State of New Mexico and a variety of groups that filed briefs in favor of its position — namely, the need to promote responsible procreation, to support responsible child-rearing, and to prevent the “deinstitutionalization of marriage.” “We fail to see how forbidding samegender marriages will result in the marriages of more opposite-gender couples for the purpose of procreating, or how authorizing same-gender marriages will result in the marriages of fewer opposite-gender couples for the purpose of procreating,” Chavez wrote. In fact, given the burdens of “either lengthy and intrusive adoption procedures or assistive reproduction” that same-sex parents face, the court found, they are virtually models of responsible procreation. On the question of raising children, Chavez’s opinion pointed to voluminous evidence supporting the abilities of samesex couples to raise children well and also noted that New Mexico law already supports same-sex couples as parents. “We fail to see how depriving committed same-gender couples, who want to marry and raise

families, of federal and state marital benefits and protections will result in responsible child-rearing by heterosexual married couples,” he wrote. “In the final analysis, child-rearing for same-gender couples is made more difficult by denying them the status of being married and depriving them of the rights, protections, and responsibilities that come with civil marriage.” On claims regarding the “deinstitutionalization of marriage,” the court found no evidence that fewer differentsex couples have married in jurisdictions where same-sex couples have been allowed to. New Mexico is now the 17th state — plus the District of Columbia — to embrace marriage equality, a group that makes up nearly 38 percent of the nation’s population. That figure is building toward a critical mass that would be very useful for the Supreme Court to see when one or more of the 40-plus pending marriage equality lawsuits raising federal constitutional questions finally makes it to the nation’s highest tribunal. The plaintiffs were represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the LGBT Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, as well as the ACLU of New Mexico and several local cooperating attorneys.



Australian Liberal Party Prime Minister Tony Abbott opposes marriage equality.


December 25, 2013 |


In 2013, celebrities embraced an interesting array of approaches toward acknowledging what in many cases — though certainly not all — was already widely assumed. In what most observers considered a rambling Golden Globe Lifetime Achievement Awards acceptance speech, Jodie Foster broke years of stubborn silence by saying she didn’t have to do “a big coming out speech tonight because I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago in the Stone Age, in those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends and family and co-workers and then gradually, proudly to everyone who knew her, to everyone she actually met.” Veteran basketball center Jason Collins, currently an unsigned free agent and never the object of public speculation, declared in a Sports Illustrated cover essay, ““I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.” Tom Daley, a 19-year-old British Olympic diving medalist who in September said he was not gay, took to YouTube in December to announce, “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.” For many Americans, Daley buried the lead — the fact that that “guy” is Dustin Lance Black, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of “Milk.”

In a move that further marginalized traditional broadcasters already undermined significantly by cable channels, Netflix and other video content streamers began producing their own shows this year — and one of the undisputed hits was “Orange is the New Black,” a women’s prison drama. One of the new stars to emerge from “Orange” is Laverne Cox. A transgender woman whose character poignantly embodies the challenges facing inmates undergoing gender transition, Cox has used her new celebrity to speak out against hate crimes and for the dignity of the trans community. With LGBT characters for years proliferating in the comics world — such as Kevin Keller in the Archies gang, the reintroduction of the Green Lantern, and Batwoman coming out —February’s announcement from DC Comics that it commissioned Orson Scott Card, a board member at the antigay National Organization for Marriage who has bashed homosexuality as “the end of democracy in America” going back nearly two decades, elicited a swift reaction. “What did DC think? That we wouldn’t notice?,” said Jono Jarrett of Geeks Out, a queer comics group in New York. Amidst an uproar of some calling on DC to drop Card and others saying simply don’t buy the comic, reports surfaced that the series had been shelved, though as recently as July DC was saying it was still on. When “Ender’s Game,” a science fiction film based on a Card novel of the same name, opened on November 1, Geeks Out hosted “Skip” parties in six cities, including New York. The Boy Scouts of America, after years of resisting calls that it open itself up to gay members — going so far as to fight the issue at the Supreme Court — finally agreed that no youth would be denied membership “on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.” The problem is that the new policy does not apply to adults, which means that Scout leaders — and even 18-year-old Eagle Scouts — will continue to be stigmatized and barred. Lucien and Pascal Lucien Tessier of Kensington, Maryland, scouting brothers who are both gay, became the face of dissent from this supposed liberalization. Lucien, who is 20, was an Eagle Scout and worries that 16-year-old Pascal will never have that chance. Sunday, August 11 saw the last dance at an icon, Splash Bar on 17th Street in Chelsea, which opened in 1991 before the neighborhood was yet on the international gay radar. “The Village was where gay life happened to be,” owner Brian Landeche explained the night he said goodbye to his bar. “Seventeenth Street was the closest thing we could find to the Village with a large floor.” Huge crowds turned out on the final nights, many of them with memories of Splash nights going back 22 years. “Everything has its time,” Landeche said. “Splash was a party and it was time to leave the party.” He then added, “I’m going to get eight hours of sleep every night.”

Other prominent figures who came out this year included actor a n d s c r e e n w r i t e r We n t w o r t h Miller, who did so while declining an invitation to a film festival in Russia, citing that nation’s new anti-gay legislation, and figure skater Brian Boitano (see page 4), who went public two days after President Barack Obama named him as part of the official US delegation to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.











| December 25, 2013



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Among those the LGBT community lost in 2013 were a pioneering champion, two iconic radicals, and a longtime nemesis. Jeanne Manford, whose gay son Morty was involved in the Stonewall Riots, first held up “Parents of Gays Unite in Support for Our Children” at the 1972 Pride March — an action prompted by the beating Morty suffered at the hands of the firefighters union boss during a Gay Activists Alliance demonstration. With several other couples, Manford and her husband Jules soon formed what is now known as PFLAG. Jeanne died on January 8 at age 92, nearly 21 years after Morty’s death from AIDS. The following month, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded her the Presidential Citizens Medal, the nation’s second highest civilian honor. T h r e e - t e r m Mayor Ed Koch, who served during the earliest and some of the worst years of the AIDS crisis but never publicly acknowledged his homosexuality, died on February 1 at age 88. Credited by many for “saving” New York after the mid-1970s fiscal crisis, Koch was a disappointment on LGBT issues and, in the eyes of most activists, a disaster on AIDS. Longtime AIDS warrior Larry Kramer succinctly expressed the views of many when he said, “He was not kind to us.” John Mitzel, the proprietor of Boston’s LGBT Calamus Bookstore and a fixture in that city’s queer community for more than four decades, died at age 65 on October 4. A founding member in 1971 of Fag Rag, the first national gay male periodical, he remained active in queer publishing the rest of his life, while also at the forefront of LGBT community organizing. “John was passionate about two things: community and writing,” said author Michael Bronski. “He understood the importance and the visceral presence of a community.” And, with considerable sadness, Gay City News said goodbye to Doug Ireland, for nine years a contributor on international human rights, politics, and books. Ireland, who died at his East Village home at age 67 on October 26, was an uncompromisingly radical journalist but, for more than a decade, also a sought-after political operative, managing Bella Abzug’s successful first congressional campaign as well as her 1976 Senate run, where she came within a whisker of beating Democratic primary opponent Daniel Moynihan. A contributor to New York magazine, the Nation, the Village Voice, POZ magazine, and LA Weekly, as well as several French publications, Ireland was a prodigious reporter and writer, despite a host of physical impairments including muscle deterioration related to his childhood polio. Recalling time spent with him last year while Ireland was in considerable discomfort, POZ founder Sean Strub said, “It was right before the election and for several hours, we got a masters tutorial in what was happening in the global political environment. I wish I had recorded it.”

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| December 25, 2013


The Year in Queer

The good, the best, and the busts of a memorable year BY GARY M. KRAMER


ith actors in challenging roles and filmmakers crafting provocative drama, comedies, and documentaries, 2013 was another Queer Year for film. Here’s a rundown of the year’s queer films and trends, including the good, better, and best — as well as the worst — of 2013.

Gay Directors, Gay Films

Best: Spanish bad-boy Pedro Almodóvar created one of his funniest and gayest films in decades with “I’m So Excited,” about a trio of gay flight attendants dealing with panic-stricken first class passengers when the plane’s landing gear fails. Honorable mention: François Ozon’s splendid “In the House” was a return to queer storytelling for the out auteur. He tells a complex story, filled with layers of seduction, about a student who engages his professor by chronicling the goingson in the home of a gay friend.


Abdellatif Kechiche’s “Blue Is the Warmest Color.” It was three hours long. It had explicit lesbian sex scenes. It won big at Cannes. And it’s a masterpiece — an intimate, erotic, and ecstatic romantic drama that captures issues of self-worth and self-expression in ways both authentic and devastating. Plus, lead actress Adèle Exarchopoulos gives a phenomenal performance.


Best Queer Film of the Year

Adèle Exarchopoulos (r.) and Léa Seydoux in Abdellatif Kechiche “Blue is the Warmest Color.”

Jared Leto as Rayon in “Dallas Buyers Club.”

Gay Directors, Straight Films

term abortions, including one who is a lesbian.

Good: Bill Condon’s “Fifth Estate” was an entertaining drama about Julian Assange, but it never quite reached the depths it might have plumbed. Best: Lee Daniels’ “The Butler” was a remarkable history of the AfricanAmerican civil rights struggle in America — though absent any queer content — as seen through the eyes of a White House butler played by Forest Whitaker.

Documentaries of the Year

Best: “Call Me Kuchu,” directed by Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Z o u h a l i - Wo r r a l l , c o m m e m o r a t e d the work of murdered Ugandan gay activist David Kato and chronicled the

struggle for LGBT rights there in the face of brutal repression, from both the government and the society generally. This blistering documentary about how LGBT individuals survive and even thrive in a country were being gay is illegal shines a bright light on its brave subjects. Another fine doc, “God Loves Uganda,” from director Roger Ross Williams, also addresses the issue of being queer in that nation, looking at the way the American evangelical right is aiding and encouraging the anti-gay forces there. Honorable mentions: “Valentine Road,” Marta Cunningham’s film about the shocking aftermath of a anti-gay hate crime, and “After Tiller,” a look at doctors willing to perform late-

Teen Spirit

Good: The girls in Harmony Korine’s “Spring Breakers” shared some samesex kisses while Marc (Israel Broussard) in Sofia Coppola’s “The Bling Ring” loved those heels he stole. Very good: Emory Cohen gave a knockout performance as a gay teen who has a date with a much older, married African-American man (Wendell Pierce) in the remarkable drama “Four,” by director Joshua Sanchez. B e s t : A gay couple, Luis (Luis Figueroa) and Brandon (Brandon Diaz),


QUEER YEAR, continued on p.30

The Top Ten and a Very Strong Bench Hollywood, indies, documentaries turn in impressive performances in 2013 BY STEVE ERICKSON



here’s a lot to say about the best films of 2013, so a brief introduction is in order. The strength of documentaries remains astonishing, and this was the best year for American cinema — from Hollywood (although summer blockbusters were generally dismal, at least judging from the sampling I saw) to micro-budgeted indies — since 1999. In a weaker year, my runners-up list would make a satisfying top 10.

Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke in Richard Linklater’s “Before Midnight.”

1. “Leviathan” (Lucien CastaingTaylor and Véréna Paravel) A night on a fishing boat becomes a means of opening the doors of perception, a la head-trip cinema of the late 1960s and early ‘70s. The directors have refused all political and ecological intent, and their documentary seems to deflect interpretation. Yet I think Gr eenpeace would appr ove of its apocalyptic tone, which suggests this bounty might be the sea’s final one.


TOP 10, continued on p.30


December 25, 2013 |


The Trouble With Lenny

Bernstein letters illuminate an artist’s life and a cultural epoch



he publication of “The Leonard Bernstein Letters” by Yale University Press is an event of considerable importance — providing insight into both an artistic original and broader cultural themes, as well. What editor Nigel Simeone has assembled in this volume — which includes missives from friends and collaborators, Aaron Copland, Jerome Robbins, Comden and Green among them, as well as from the man himself — reveals far more than a conventional biography ever could.


In reading what Bernstein had to say about his life what impresses is not just the breadth and depth of his achievements as a composer, conductor, teacher, and very public intellectual, but the light it often inadvertently sheds on gay life in the latter part of the 20th century. And said light is sometimes shining from between the lines. For while Simeone has done a remarkable editorial job overall, being straight and subculturally myopic, matters that pop off the page and right into today’s gay reader’s face mean little to him. “Felicia Montealegre was the love of his life,” Simeone declares with absolute certainty. One can say that’s true only insofar as this elegant Costa Rican-born actress, who married Bernstein in 1951 and bore him three children, was the most important woman in his life. But when it comes to sexual as well as romantic love, Montealegre was forced to stand and wait her turn in a line that contained a great many men. “You are a homosexual and may never change,” she wrote to Bernstein not long after they were married. “Let's try and see what happens if you are free to do as you like, but without guilt and confession, please!... Our marriage is not based on passion but on tenderness and mutual respect. Why not have them?” In other words Montealegre entered, with eyes wide open, into what was called in that time “a New York Marriage.” He could have all the “boys on the side” he wanted, as long as he was “discreet” about it. This was far from an unusual arrangement. It was in act common in those days for well-heeled “Wills” to marry their “Graces.” And if both were same-sex oriented (as was the case with Cole and Linda Porter, and Paul and Jane Bowles) so much the better. Societal acknowledgement of the sexual truth was out of the question back in the day. It would cast one into that gutter inhabited with those with what pulp paperbacks called “strange twilight urges” — outcasts subject to arrest, incarceration, and in some truly egregious “worst case scenarios,” prefrontal lobotomy. Being “a homosexual” meant you were not simply “immoral” but “neurotic” and ipso facto criminal. Marriage to a woman, particularly for the socially ambitious likes of Lenny, was the only way to go. In his letters to clarinetist — and later classical


Edited by Nigel Simeone Yale University Press $38; 624 pages

recording producer — David Oppenheim, Bernstein quips, “I almost married Rhoda [Saletan] last night, but stopped when I saw Judy [Holliday] and decided to marry her.” He was of course “kidding on the square.” And ironically it was Oppenheim who ended up with Holliday in a marriage that lasted for nine years and produced a son. He married two additional times and fathered several children. But that can’t be guessed at in his letters to Lenny, where these intimate friends are in anguish over what to do with their sexuality. Both were seeing Marketa Morris, a noted analyst they refer to as “the Frau.” “You are seeing Felicia and the day she leaves you have to see a boy. The same old pattern. You can't give up,” “the Frau” writes to Lenny — who disagrees with her: “Felicia and I grow closer all the time. She’s an angel, and a wonderful companion. I shouldn’t be surprised if it works out beautifully in the end.” But before reaching that end, there were those such as the “boy” the “the Frau” refers to — a grown man in actuality, actor Farley Granger. “My visible verb, my very Dear” Farley writes to Lenny thanking him for a gift of (obviously quite expensive) cuff links. “But the thing with me is that I don’t feel that I have to wear something you gave me, to be reminded of how much I love you.” Granger goes on to note, “I am having Dinner with Felicia tonight. She is a great girl, and I’m sure loves you very much.” No wonder then that Lenny asked Farley to accompany him on the trip to Costa Rica where he sealed the deal with a formal marriage proposal to Felicia. Taken aback, Granger respectfully declined. For outre as this request may seem, it typifies Bernstein’s desire to have everything. He was a classical composer (“Age of Anxiety,” “Jeremiah,” “Kaddish” )

a “popular” one (“On the Town,” “Wonderful Town”), and sometimes in between the two (“West Side Story,” “Candide,” “Trouble in Tahiti”). Imperfect husband he may have been, Bernstein was nonetheless a wonderful father and a wildly enthusiastic friend to his many collaborators. And to himself he was gay and straight. In 1967, he cheekily writes to Stephen Sondheim: “I hope you’re loving somebody regularly and in bed,” clearly indicating that his “West Side Story” collaborator, now well on his way to a fabulous career of his own, liked his amour served al fresco. That wasn’t for Lenny. He was doubtless amused when Aaron Copland wrote to him that in Los Angeles, “There are even the same extraordinary young men with wavy hair and impeccable complexions who used to be on Hollywood Blvd. — still around.” But while Bernstein could get casual sex aplenty, what he wanted was to rein it in through societal convention. His reasoning on this score can be seen in a letter to his sister Shirley: “How strange that you have written to me just now of Felicia! Ever since I left America she has occupied my thoughts uninterruptedly, and I have come to a fabulously clear realization of what she means — and has always meant — to me. I have loved her despite all the blocks that have consistently impaired my loving-mechanism, truly and deeply from the first. Lonely on the sea, my thoughts were only of her. Other girls (and/or boys) mean nothing.” That wasn’t of course entirely true. In his letter to Shirley he continues, “I have been engaging in an imaginary life with Felicia, having her by my side on the beach as a shockingly beautiful Yeminite boy passes — inquiring into that automatic little demon who always springs into action at such moments.” In short, marriage would keep that ‘little demon” at bay. Did he really believe this or was he “talking himself into it?” In 1952 he writes to his intended, “In any case my dearest darling ape, let’s give it a whirl. There’ll be a crisis (?) from time to time but that doesn’t scare me anymore. And let’s relax in the knowledge that neither of us is perfect and forget about being HUSBAND AND WIFE in such strained capital letters, it’s not that awful!” “It’s not that awful” may not sound terribly romantic. But Felicia knew this “New York Marriage” would be very special, what with Lenny’s star rising in the arts and their intersecting circles of friends who made their parties the envy of all New York. The most (in)famous of these parties was given on January 14, 1970 when Otto Preminger, Jean Vanden Heuvel, Peter and Cheray Duchin, Sidney and Gail Lumet, Cynthia Phipps, Barbara Walters, Bob Silvers, Richard Avedon, Arthur Penn, Julie Belafonte, Peter Stone, Sheldon Harnick, and Burton Lane were assembled for a soiree where Simeone notes: “Also present were Black Panther Party members Robert Bay, Donald Cox, and Henry Miller, as well as some wives of the accused.” Black “militants” who had dared to purchase guns to protect themselves and their community from the racist Oakland California police, the Panthers were (falsely) accused of planning to bomb the US Capitol. “Members of the press were not invited to the event, but Charlotte Curtis of the New York Times and Tom Wolfe of New York Magazine somehow managed to slip in,” Simeone says.


BERNSTEIN , continued on p.33

| December 25, 2013



She’s Got Him Under Her Skin BY DAVID KENNERLEY


hile many have declared that New York’s theater season is top-heavy with Shakespeare, I see a stealth invasion of the jukebox musical.

LOVE, LINDA: THE LIFE OF MRS. COLE PORTER York Theatre Company The Theater at Saint Peter’s 619 Lexington Ave.; enter on E. 54th St. Through Jan. 5 Mon. at 7 p.m.; Thu.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Sat. at 2:30 p.m.; Sun. at 2:30 & 7 p.m. $67.50; or 212-935-5820

Exuberant tuners featuring the likes of Janis Joplin, Billie Holiday, Clive Davis, Burt Bacharach, Carole King, and Harlem’s Cotton Club have struck a chord with audiences longing to recapture the magic, albeit manufactured, of old favorites. Most of these shows intersperse biographical nuggets in an attempt to add context or drama or both. And now, Cole Porter gets his own jukebox bio-musical — but there’s a twist. “Love, Linda: The Life of Mrs. Cole Porter,” courtesy of the York Theatre Company, focuses on his devoted wife of 35 years who served as his undersung muse. If you didn’t know that the legendary songwriter, famous for such durable gems as “Love For Sale,” “In the Still of the Night,” and “Night and Day” — just a few of some 20 tunes performed in this delightful, heartfelt work — had a wife, you are forgiven. It was an open secret

that Porter was a fervent homosexual, and his lyrics are riddled with curious, not-so-veiled gay references (look no further than “You’re the Top”). The main intent of this solo show, starring jazz vocalist Stevie Holland, who also wrote the book (with an assist from musical arranger Gary William Friedman), is to shine a spotlight on Linda’s sizable influence on her supremely talented hubby (the couple first met in Paris in 1919). Holland believes it’s time to shake Linda’s second-fiddle status once and for all. This charming little wisp of a show, which lands somewhere closer to a r evue than a book musical, is a decidedly intimate affair. The blonde, radiant Holland is backed by Christopher McGovern on piano, Danny Weller on bass, and Alex Wyatt on drums. The talented trio serves as the primary set piece, along with a zebra skin rug, crimson deco chair, and little table with a photograph of Porter, a cigarette case, and a glass of champagne. For her part, the confidently poised Holland brings an intense vulnerability to the nurturing partner role. Her impassioned, supple renditions of Porter’s gorgeous classics are bright and fresh, managing to steer clear of maudlin territory. It should be noted that Holland seems more comfortable reinterpreting standards than portraying a character. The brilliance of “Love, Linda,” directed by theater veteran Richard Maltby, Jr., is serving up all-too-familiar standards in an unexpected context. Coming from Linda, “So In Love,” from Porter’s 1948 hit show “Kiss Me Kate,” conveys a sharper sense of futility:


A muse behind Cole Porter — his wife — steps out from the shadows

Stevie Holland in “Love, Linda: The Life of Mrs. Cole Porter.”

So taunt me and hurt me Deceive me, desert me I’m yours ‘til I die So in love, so in love So in love with you, my love, am I If “Love, Linda” is an ode to Porter’s forgotten wife, it’s also a meditation on the limits of labels. For decades, Cole has been branded the “witty gay songwriter,” and Linda his “beard” or “fag hag.” The marriage was a shrewd partnership — Linda was a rich socialite reeling from a divorce from an abusive husband. Porter enhanced her social status as they mingled with the bright young things of the Jazz age and beyond. Yet it was more than a marriage of convenience. Holland sees their bond as a complex love story, brimming with

beauty and art. “Just because love between two people may be difficult to define,” Linda asserts at the top of the show, “that doesn’t mean it didn’t exist.” She even says that Porter “gladly obliged” her “occasional desires” while she allowed him to satisfy his “more complex sexual palette elsewhere.” Porter regularly shared his song drafts with his wife, who wasn’t shy about giving notes. Porter often heeded her suggestions. In Paris and Venice and New York, the couple was the toast of the town. Not that their relationship was all roses and Waldorf salads. A chagrined Linda reads aloud her husband’s desperately amorous letters to a young ballet dancer named Boris — the men had a steamy, public love affair in Venice. After moving to culture-starved Hollywood, Linda suffered from bouts of boredom and jealousy. “With all those suntanned Adonises around him, Cole abandoned the discreet behavior I had grown to rely on,” she laments. Linda skipped out once but came running back to take care of him after he suffered a horrible accident, falling from a horse and crushing both his legs. He needed her more than ever, and she was happy to oblige. One of this season’s most popular jukebox musicals is the high-octane “A Night With Janis Joplin,” which features a rollicking Janis taking swigs from a bottle of Southern Comfort. I couldn’t help wishing that Holland’s dignified, self-possessed Linda would sashay over to the side table, chug that full glass of champagne, and loosen up her delivery just a little bit.

It Would Have Died Hereafter Lack of focus, jumble of styles are the undoing of another “Macbeth” BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE


hakespeare as popular entertainment is getting a welcome bit of revival on Broadway at the moment. The magnificently hilarious “Twelfth Night” and the bombastic and unprecedented “Richard III,” both featuring Mark Rylance and an all-male company, strive to be as close to what Shakespeare’s audience might

have seen. They blow away many more contemporary productions I’ve seen of either play. Then there’s “Macbeth” at Lincoln Center, in a new staging by Jack O’Brien and featuring Ethan Hawke in the title role. Given the frequency with which this play has been staged lately — with at least one more production slated for next year — another production begs the question, “Why bother?” Well, if for no other reason, it’s a

pleasure to be reminded that at its heart, “Macbeth” is a ripping ghost story. It’s a tale of dark and supernatural powers and the ways such powers can corrupt otherwise moral men. To Shakespeare’s audiences in his time, this would have been both thrilling and terrifying, as belief in witches was by no means unknown. Modern audiences tend to see the Weird Sisters who set Macbeth on


MACBETH, continued on p.27

MACBETH Vivian Beaumont Theater Lincoln Center 150 W. 65th St. Through Jan. 12 Tue.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. $77-$157; Or 212-239-6200


December 25, 2013 |


2013 Aggie Awards Warm Up Winter

The year’s best, and a deserved big break for golden-voiced Matthew Farcher years, finally front and center in a role worthy of her, like her “Sounder” and “Miss Jane Pittman” four decades ago. She and wonderful co-stars Vanessa Williams and Cuba Gooding, Jr., found fresh, often bitchy humor in the cornpone material that was nothing short of revelatory.



e honor Agnes Moorehead annually with awards in her name for the best live performances of the year because there was no actress more versatile than she. Recent viewings of two of her films confirmed this for me once again — unnecessary as that was. In the classic, essential women’s jail drama “Caged,” she could have played any of the more flamboyant inmates portrayed so memorably by embattled Betty Garde, dykey Lee Patrick, and that terrific human gargoyle Hope Emerson. Instead, she was the prison’s warden, investing this essentially sympathetic, yet ultimately powerless authoritarian with a nicely dry concern for her prisoners that never veered into sentiment. And she was on the wrong side of the law in “The Revolt of Mamie Stover,” as Bertha Parchman — she always had the best movie names! — the madam of a notorious downtown Honolulu brothel during World War II. Platinum blonde here and enjoining her “hostesses” to sparkle while they push drinks to GI’s, she’s the most convincing whoremistress in film history, with a fascinating moment when, in a heated argument with her thuggish factotum, he says, “You’re nothing but an ugly…” and she interrupts him with an acidic “Don’t say it!”

“Marie Antoinette” David Adjmi’s genius, funny, and wrenching post-modern take on that French queen was, hands down, the most thrilling, original play of the year. Rebecca Taichman’s superb direction provided the perfect minimalist yet glowing frame for a captivatingly acerbic titular performance by Marin Ireland, which automatically enters the ranks of theatrical legend. “The Mutilated” Who knew that those two refugees f r o m J o h n Wa t e r s i n d i e s a n d in-your -face downtown performance art, Mink Stole and Penny Arcade, could be the perfect, raffishly compelling interpreters of later Tennessee Williams? Vividly directed by Cosmin Chivu, with a spanking Dixieland band onstage, this was by far the most successful Williams production seen in New York in a decade, at least.

Judy Collins at Town Hall I finally caught up with this music legend and was overwhelmed by her utterly ageless Valkyrie beauty and that unchanged voice, which is so enduringly resonant that it seems to contain its own personal Dolby sound system.


In no particular order, the “Aggie” awards for 2013:

“Kemble’s Riot” The late Adrian Bunting’s play was a deserved top prize winner at NYC Fringe. This clever, color ful, and informative work was about the London riots of 1809, which started when the r ebuilt Covent Gar den theater charged ticket prices that infuriated its patrons to an incendiary degree. Sheer, brazen charm was the order of the day here, especially in the sterling performances of the great Guy Masterson and Beth Fitzgerald, as well as hilarious audience plants Matt Baetz and Marla Schultz.

Marin Ireland gave one of the stage performances of the year as David Adjmi's Marie Antoinette.

“The Assembled Parties” After so many indifferent outings, ever -fecund playwright Richard Greenberg really scored with this compelling family saga and comedy of manners, which recalled the elegance of S.N. Behrman and Philip Barry, with added social content. Jessica Hecht’s deliciously mannered performance drove some viewers crazy, but I think it beautifully fueled the production. “Buyer and Cellar” For sheer, deliciously accessible entertainment, Jonathan T olins’ study of ultimate acquisitiveness as perpetrated by ultimate star Barbra more than fit the bill. Michael Urie’s dazzling virtuosic performance will live on in the memory of anyone who saw it. (Barrow Street Theatre, 27 Barrow St. at Seventh Ave. S., through Apr. 13; barrowstreettheatre. com.)

“Motown the Musical” And while we’re talking accessible, all you had to do here was relax into your seat before wanting to jump up and dance to the evergreen, bewilderingly vast catalogue of hits the world has embraced for generations. The book was avid, to say the least, but never has this mattered less in a musical, faced with the jawdropping barrage of musical talent onstage, with a special holla to Valisia LeKae’s uncanny Diana Ross, Charl Brown’s Smokey Robinson, and Raymond Luke, Jr.’s adorable Michael Jackson/ Little Stevie Wonder. (LuntFontanne Theatre, 205 W. 46th St.; “The Trip to Bountiful” A black cast breathed beautiful new life into Horton Foote’s chestnut. Magnificent Cicely Tyson made the most spectacular big star comeback in

Bettye Lavette at Town Hall Another mythic artist delivered total originality, an irresistibly salty stage presence, and ultra-loose jazzfunk song stylings that defied easy classification — the mark of a true, imperishable artist “Disaster!” Good, fun camp, rare as it is, is always welcome, done to a fare-theewell by Manhattan showbiz-ites who really know what they’re about. This parody of 1970s disaster epics featured the shlockiest songs of the era, brayed by the motliest assortment of characters since, well, “The Poseidon Adventure.” Mary Testa’s Shelley Winters tribute and Jonah Verdon’s hysterical double role as brother and sister moppets were cast stand-outs, but Jennifer Simard’s convulsing nun, Sister Mary, a recovering gambling addict, really stole the show, the single funniest performance I saw this year. (St. Luke’s Theatre, 208 W. 46th St., through Feb. 28;

Also in the cast of “Disaster!” is Matthew Farcher,

who, portraying the ship’s hunky


IN THE NOH, continued on p.27


IN THE NOH, from p.26

player of a waiter, is another big reason for the show’s success. When he sang that un-killable Gilbert O’Sullivan hit, “Alone Again, Naturally,” his stunning clarion tenor actually cut through the self-pitying corn of the lyrics, making them seem truly heartfelt, and I immediately thought, “This is a voice I’ve gotta hear more of!” Farcher easily fits the handsome, blonde leading man physical requirement for his role, but even more attractive is his easy-going modesty and good-natured availability. Although he had a show to do and it was his 23rd birthday, he took time off to meet me at a local Starbucks for a quick interview — that’s the kind of good guy he is. When I complimented his rendition of that song, he laughed: “Yeah, it’s all the music you love to hate. But I’m lucky that all the songs sit right in my register, making them easy to sing. I’m also so lucky I got the part. I went to the general audition and was surprised that Seth Rudetsky [the show’s star and co-creator] not only was there, but played the piano for me. I was nervous — he’s famous! — but he immediately put me at my ease. He knows all this music so well, he can play it by heart, and was sitting there at the piano, watching my every


move. I’m sure they could have gone with a bigger name, so I am grateful that I’ve gotten this great chance and am now meeting so many great people through the show. Seth knows everybody! “It’s just so amazing to stand on that stage with Seth or Mary or Jennifer, performing with them and taking in all that incredible energy and talent. Every show is like a master class for me, watching them, and every show is so much fun! Even before we opened and the reviews were in, we were pretty confident this was a go because of the ecstatic audience reception we got in previews.” Farcher hails from Saugerties upstate and is a bizarrely well-adjusted middle child who never had intentions of performing, being far more into baseball. Through his siblings, he got roped into school theatricals, but says that if he has talent, “It all comes from my mother [laughs]. She would want me to say that!” Productions of “Beauty and the Beast” and “Les Miz” really crystallized things for him and, “I started taking voice lessons.” (You can watch an incredible YouTube video of him gorgeously singing “Bring Him Home” at age 17.) Farcher, single at the moment — “Yeah, no girlfriend” — went to Pace University and has done the typical actor/ waiter thing, waiting for that

Matt Farcher is one of the standouts in “Disaster!,” at St. Luke’s Theatre through February 14.

break, which “Disaster!” seems to be for him. Before this, he enjoyed performing the work of composer Adam Guettel (“a great experience”), and “Les Miz,” “Phantom” (both male leads) and “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” are roles he aspires to play. Farcher was also in the road company of “Beauty and the Beast,” playing Gaston, “which was kind of strange, but I worked out and bulked up as much as I could. Although I was nothing like the actor who replaced me,

who was huge and could sing, and so right for the part.” The most Farcher told me about being replaced was that he got sick, but I later found out more of the story. He was in Houston, when he caught what he thought was the flu, but which turned out to be a serious and rare auto-immune disease called aHUS (atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome). Luckily, the doctor treating him there had the drug Soliris, which treats aHUS. The Saugerties community rallied to his side to help him out with costs not covered by his health insurance — and offer some return for his family’s generosity over the years. Farcher’s parents own Lox of Bagels, a local eatery noted for the charitable work it does with students from the local high school — basing an annual holiday donation on the kids’ sizable bagel purchases over the year. Last year, the students turned the charitable tables on the Farchers. Pretending they were doing a school newspaper story on Lox of Bagels, senior class officers Eric Beresheim and Ryan Cornelison showed up, only to slip Matt an envelope with a check inside. Between 300 and 500 people suffer from aHUS every year, so our holiday thoughts are with them and with the Farcher family. Happy New Year to all, and to all a good night!

MACBETH, from p.25

his murderous path as either metaphors for ego run rampant or mental illness. (The latter was the concept behind Alan Cummings’ production last year, which, ironically, was more ego run rampant than Shakespeare.) In the current production, O’Brien has tried to split the difference between grand guignol and a contemporary reading — with decidedly mixed results. The staging is highly dramatic. Scott Pask’s looming set is spectacular, drawing inspiration from the expressionists. Japhy Weideman’s lighting is equally breathtaking, making as much use of darkness as of light and achieving a haunting theatricality throughout. Catherine Zuber’s costumes are, as always, cut perfectly, implying a classic period without being specific. There is heavy use of dark colors and leathers with occasional, dramatic flashes of color, such as gold in the coronation robes, that, as Henry IV says, “shine out like bright metal on sullen ground.” Completing the concept’s high drama are the Weird Sisters, played by three men — John Glover, Malcolm Gets, and Byron Jennings. The male dynamic makes them appropriately scary, and one has no trouble believing that Glover, especially, could summon demons on a whim. The play’s design




| December 25, 2013

Daniel Sunjata and Ethan Hawke in “Macbeth,” at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater through January 12.

and the per for mances from these three actors coming so early in the play set a stylistic tone that O’Brien unfortunately abandons once the main plot begins to unfold. The problem is that Ethan Hawke and Anne-Marie Duff as Macbeth and his Lady, respectively, appear to be in a different production of the play than the one unfolding around them. Hawke is an extraordinary actor, and his performance in “Clive” was a highlight of last season. However, his approach to Macbeth is much smaller

and out of scale with the background action. He makes some interesting choices, particularly in moving from skepticism about predictions he will be king to conviction as the Weird Sisters’ prophecies begin to come true. Still, he underplays the moment in a way that could have been fascinating in a more intimate production. Duff’s per formance is largely unfocused, her motivations never clear in a given scene. Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking scene, arguably one of the most famous in all of Shakespeare,

evokes neither horror nor sympathy. Like much of the rest of her performance, it seems mechanical and filled with far too much contemporary sexuality. Perhaps O’Brien was trying to create a distinction between the corporeal and supernatural worlds by placing naturalistic performances by Duff and Hawke at the center of the play, but the conceit, if that’s what it was, falls flat, as the action become larger and more dramatic. Daniel Sunjata’s Macduff is huge, for example, and he fills the stage with his presence. Of course, he’s really the hero of the piece, and he carries it off with wonderful authority. Brian d’Arcy James is an affecting Banquo and delivers some of the show’s most compelling moments as his loyalty to Macbeth is repaid with his murder. Not so successful is Jonny Orsini as Malcolm. Outstanding in “The Nance” last season, Orsini is too contemporary and understated in the role. While one roots for this production and its haunting design, the apparent lack of a clear directorial point of view ultimately undoes it. One has to be impressed by the ef fort, but the whole thing never really pulls together and, however reluctantly, gives up the ghost.


December 25, 2013 |


Winter Wonders and Discontents

Mark Morris, Juilliard, “Der Rosenkavalier” all please, but a confounding “Falstaff” from Robert Carsen t’s so nice — and so rare — when much-touted cultural events live up to their hype! This happened November 23 at what I intend to continue calling the New York State Theater, where I delightedly watched one of the pinnacle events of Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival, the Mark Morris Dance Group in “L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato.” This two-hour-long explosion of joy in movement is 25 years old. Christine Van Loon’s pastel costumes and James F. Ingalls’ brilliantly varied lighting create a whole world that Morris — so much more musically attuned than many prominent choreographers today — fills with remarkable visual evocations of the structures and gestures of baroque music. Handel’s Milton-based oratorio, somewhat pruned and re-ordered, presents a panoply of life experiences, to which the superb dancers rise with tireless energy. The music flowed under veteran Handelian Nicholas McGegan, but he had less success than usual getting baroque flavor out of a modern orchestra. Having a celesta stand in for Handel’s carillon bells proved an anachronistic mistake. The singers stood in the pit. Yulia van Doren’s lovely, agile soprano shone, as did Douglas Williams’ wide-ranging bass-baritone, and they put their words across well. Dominique Labelle had missed the prior show due to illness, and still sounded uncharacteristically strained in her upper octave. John McVeigh retains some agility, but the timbre has dried and his contributions were variable. Patrick Gardner’s Riverside Choral Society handled its duties capably. The totality was deliriously received, justly so.

S o w a s H a n d e l ’s “Radamisto” at Juilliard the next

afternoon, the last performance of three. With NYCO gone, one wishes Juilliard and Manhattan School could extend the runs of their shows, which represent some of the city’s most exciting operatic options. James Darrah’s spare staging, almost dream-like in its deliberate pace and statuesque posing, took a while to make sense, but proved an interesting alternative to the usual mannered strategies of dealing with da capo arias. The design team (scenery and lights by Emily Anne MacDonald and Cameron Jaye Mock; costumes by Sara Jean Tosetti) worked wonders. Musically, Julian Wachner had




Angela Meade, Jennifer Johnson Cano, and Ambrogio Maestri in Verdi's "Falstaff."

things well in hand with Juilliard415 — the school’s early music band, in its first operatic deployment — though the horns had their issues, as baroque horns will. Juilliard unleashed an impressive barrage of vocal talent. For some, Handel may be a way station on to other repertory, but for all of them this experience of singing sustained lines and rapid fiorature is salutary. Certainly countertenor John Holiday, with his beautiful tone and expressivity, sounded an assured career Handelian in the title role; the only thing somewhat lacking was the ability to sustain the longest lines without an extra breath. As the put-upon Polissena — Radamisto’s sister — Mary Feminear was most impressive, as was the clarion-voice baritone Aubrey Allicock as her straying husband, a cruel invader bent on stealing Radamisto’s wife, Zenobia. Mezzo Virginie Verrez showed fully professional stage command, singing extremely well in a blazing voice perhaps eventually destined for Donizetti heroines. Not all the singers dealt equally well with the overambitious, high-flying cadenzas Wachner had them venture; but — again, as a totality — this “Radamisto” succeeded beautifully. Julliard’s next mainstage show, in April, is “Cendrillon,” perhaps Massenet’s most ravishing score.

“Der Rosenkavalier” at the Met December 3 proved

an enjoyable evening despite Edward Gardner‘s lackluster conducting, Peter Rose’s routinely galumphed-through Ochs, and the fact that Gardner or Robin

Guarino’s antic direction drove several reliable supporting singers into poor performances. For most, “Rosenkavalier” means the three central women. Daniela Sindram made a fine company bow as a coltish, credibly male Octavian, commanding the style and the full range needed. Her timbre is attractive without impressing itself on the memory, as have my favorite Met Octavians (T royanos, Baltsa, Graham). Sindram worked well with the detailed and moving Marschallin of Martina Serafin — not a “great” instrument and sometimes edgy on top, but echt Viennese and a classy artist. Erin Morley’s likable Sophie sailed beautifully through her exquisite top line, though the voice lacked impact at the bottom. As a bonus, Guatemala’s Mario Chang assumed his first Met lead (the Italian Tenor) in a burst of fine, resonant latinate sound. Expect to hear more of him.

R o b e r t C a r s e n ’s n e w “Falstaff,” seen December 9,

scored quite high musically under James Levine, but I must dissent from those colleagues who found it charming, well directed, or — oddest of all — funnier than most Broadway comedies. Broadway comedies rarely feature seven-minute pauses between scenes! Paul Steinberg’s sets and Brigitte Reiffenstuel’s spiffy 1950 costumes celebrated dubious British pre-Suez nostalgia, and I just couldn’t work out who Carsen thought these people were. Fenton (Paolo Fanale, cute but hardvoiced, with little dynamic finesse) starts as a waiter but reappears in riding gear.

Ford’s disguise as “Signor Fontana” was a deeply unfunny dude ranch cowboy outfit with mirror shades. How did Falstaff recognize him when he appeared in a smoking jacket as himself? (Young Romanian baritone Şerban Vasile made an emergency Met debut in the role — cruelly unannounced before the show — singing serviceably enough, keeping his place in ensemble and onstage.) For that matter, how did the dirty, dirt-poor Falstaff keep up his considerable uppercrust wardrobe and club membership? The whole evening was like that. Why would Alice Ford — beautifully voiced by Angela Meade, but offered a generalized slice of “comic energy” rather than a verbally-fueled characterization — make a romantic dinner and serve it in her kitchen (however snazzily detailed)? What was Mr. Ed doing drawing focus at the start of Act III? “Drawing focus” from the text and principal action seemed to be Carsen’s frequent aim. Clever-clever, frenetic productions like this and the Rat Pack “Rigoletto” can certainly amuse an audience once, but why would anyone want to sit through them again? Ambrogio Maestri — an extroverted born Falstaff in rich vocal form — made the evening memorable. Strongest in support were Lisette Oropesa’s gossamer-voiced Nannetta and Jennifer Johnson Cano’s exuberant, stylishly dressed Meg. Back on safe vocal ground, Stephanie Blythe’s patented — perhaps too much so — Mistress Quickly won laughs. The imported Italian Dr. Caius sounded terrible. David Shengold ( writes about opera for many venues.



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30 QUEER YEAR, from p.23

is finely drawn in Michel Gondry’s enchanting comedy-drama “The We and the I.” The treatment of these queer students seen on a long bus ride home is honest, never demeaning or sensationalizing their sexuality.

Trans Performance by a Cisgender Actor

In a good film: Jared Leto will likely score an Oscar nomination for his terrific portrayal of Rayon in Jean-Marc Vallée’s AIDS drama “Dallas Buyers Club,” In a bad film: Kate del Castillo’s scenery-chewing performance as a trans inmate in “K-11” wasn’t bad — in fact, she was quite entertaining as the LGBT cell’s Queen Bee. But this lurid drama directed by Jules Stewart (Kristen’s mom) was a mess.

Beat Film

Worst: Among three films out this year that portrayed the Beats, “Kill Your Darlings,” in which Allen Ginsberg

Most Promising Newcomers

Male: Wentworth Miller not only came out publicly this year — taking a whack at Russia’s new anti-gay laws in the process — he also penned a wicked script for the stylish and sinister thriller “Stoker,” directed by South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook.

Female: Stacie Passion of fered a notable directorial debut with the absorbing lesbian drama “Concussion.”

filmmaker Paul Schrader, working from a script by out gay Bret Easton Ellis, told a stylish, sordid tale of a love triangle featuring bad behavior and bared bodies — Lindsay Lohan and James Deen among them.

Mining the Murderous Lesbian Meme

Worst: Steven Soderbergh’s “Side Effects” had the misfortune of relying on not one, but two murderous lesbians for a big plot twist. Best: Out filmmaker Jamie Babbit made the far more interesting — and tricky — “Breaking the Girls,” in which two women fall in love and exchange murders (a la “Stranger on a Train”), but only as prelude for the delicious twists and double-crosses to follow!

Baring It All

Finally to the question of who offered the very best nude scene. Matthew McConaughey’s character in “Dallas Buyers Club” instructs the medical establishment to kiss his naked ass, but the moment was certainly not seductive. It would be tough to choose among the actors in the three Beat films: Studly Garrett Hedlund answering a door in the altogether in “On the Road”; adorable Daniel Radcliffe displaying his cute caboose in “Kill Your Darlings”; and the bohemian Jean-Marc Barr showing off his divine behind in “Big Sur.” All of these guys are contenders, but none can compete with the sexiness and vulnerability of “Blue Is the Warmest Color.” There, Adèle Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux bared not only their bodies but also their souls.

The Arousal Quotient

Mediocre: “Lovelace,” made by gay filmmakers Jeffrey Friedman and Rob Epstein, about the meteoric rise to fame of porn star Linda Lovelace and the abuse she suffered at the hands her husband. It had some good moments but never quite grabbed viewers by the throat. Best: “The Canyons,” by straight

TOP 10, from p.23

2. “Spring Breakers” (Harmony Korine) Although made before Miley Cyrus’ VMA per for mance, this is the definitive film of that moment. It sums up a culture where teenage girls and young women are encouraged to both objectify themselves and embrace a post-feminist concept of empowerment. It explores American pop culture from the inside without passing judgment, and I’m sure Korine would be the first to admit to the lechery in his gaze. The filmmaker finds beauty and danger in “spring break... forever,” where most would only find a group of girls in bikinis and drunk guys spilling beer on them. 3. “The Act of Killing” (Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn, and Anonymous) This documentary, in which American Joshua Oppenheimer (working with a native co-director who couldn’t use his name) asks Indonesian war criminals to reenact their murders and tortures on film, could have been a tasteless misfire. Instead, the results indict the whole concept of escapist entertainment as potentially murderous. All resemblance between Indonesia and America, particularly under the Bush administration, is intentional. 4. “Gravity” (Alfonso Cuarón) A budget of more than $200 million dollars usually buys disposable movie stars and bloated special effects. In the case of “Gravity,” it bought an excellent



(Daniel Radcliffe) falls in love with and under the spell of the murderous Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan), was an ambitious, but largely unsuccessful ef fort to capture their early days. Better: “On the Road” was Walter Salles’ ear nest adaptation of the Ker ouac classic. Sam Riley’s Sal Paradise and Garrett Hedlund as Dean Moriarity were, respectively, the Kerouac and Cassidy characters. This handsomely mounted drama captured their restless spirit with mixed results. Best: Michael Polish’s “Big Sur” featuring Jean-Marc Barr as an older, alcoholic Kerouac is both beautifully filmed and superbly acted, making it the Beat film to beat.



December 25, 2013 |

Oscar Isaac in Joel and Ethan Coen “Inside Llewyn Davis.”

performance by Sandra Bullock and, for once, a truly inventive and disorienting 3D CGI . The film is closer to the psychedelic realms of “Leviathan” or Gaspar Noé’s “Enter the Void” than to any recent blockbuster. It’s a shame that the script is relatively weak, but at least being lost in space means that the characters don’t talk too much. I’d love to see Cuarón take what he’s learned from making mega-budget extravaganzas, return to Mexico, and try making a film on the scale of “Y Tu Mamá También” again. 5. “Before Midnight” (Richard Linklater) “Before Midnight” is that rarity: a truly adult film. I don’t mean that it’s particularly sexually explicit, but it examines the costs and compromises of life after 35 with an honesty rare in an industry chasing after teenagers’ dollars. 

Harmony Korine’s “Spring Breakers” beat Miley Cyrus’ VMA performance to the punch.

6. “Upstream Color” (Shane Carruth) On a single viewing, the narrative of “Upstream Color” is almost incomprehensible, but it comes across as the film Terrence Malick was trying to make with “The Tree of Life” and “To the Wonder” and failed at. At its most coherent, it hints at connections between human and animal consciousness. But this is about as experimental as narrative cinema gets before it heads into the avant-garde, and it’s rewarding and pleasurable even if it remains baffling. 7. “Inside Llewyn Davis” (Joel and Ethan Coen)  I’m generally not a big Coen brothers fan, but for once their customary misanthropy is earned. The tale of a folksinger in 1961 New York who manages to ruin his career

and alienate all his friends, it also examines how a momentarily hip scene can be swept away by the official culture — even the official counterculture, like that represented by Bob Dylan — of its time. Additionally, its vision of Greenwich Village in winter is indelible. 8. “A Touch of Sin” (Jia Zhang-ke) Chinese director Jia’s films have long given a voice to the people left behind by the country’s economic boom. With “A Touch of Sin,” he’s started screaming; this is the angriest film I’ve ever seen about contemporary China. In his portrait of violence as a potentially cathartic response to oppressive circumstances, Jia finds unlikely kinship with Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained.”


TOP 10, continued on p.31

| December 25, 2013



It’s Tough Out There

Adam Goldman doesn’t sugarcoat fortunes of three young New Yorkers in web series season finale BY MICHAEL SHIREY


uck you. My time is worth something,” Sam says with a smile before walking off set — quitting his job. The scene is a per fect culmination of the season finale of “Whatever this is.,” the web series that is nearly flawless in capturing the angst of discovering your personal worth while starting out your career.


WHATEVER THIS IS Directed by Adam Goldman Rascal Department Hunter Canning, Madeline Wise, and Dylan Marron in the season finale of “Whatever this is.”

Adam Goldman has had one busy year. After having wrapped up his other critically acclaimed web series, “The Outs,” the writer and director launched a new one, “Whatever this is.,” focused on a group of 20-somethings struggling to make it big in New York City. Many critics and viewers question how much innovation network and cable television is willing to risk, an issue highlighted by companies like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu producing original content unfettered by the typical industry self-censorship. The results have provided some breakthroughs for LGBT storylines and characters. Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black” has garnered widespread praise for its depiction of women and lesbians, and stands out even more so when compared to the cookie-cutter LGBT characters network programming offers. Goldman takes this notion a step further and shows that you do not need any big names behind an idea to create something that is equally good

— if not better. In “The Outs,” co-written with Sasha Winters, Goldman gave viewers a series with strong gay characters who were anything but stereotypical. The scripts showed a sharp ear for dialogue, and the cinematography was crisp. Every actor seemed born to play their roles — including Goldman, who portrayed one of the main characters, Mitch. He achieves the same success with “Whatever this is.,” which was funded through a successful Kickstarter campaign. The series’ pilot premiered in August, introducing viewers to a somewhat hapless trio — Sam (Hunter Canning) and Ari (Dylan Marron), who work on a film production crew, and Sam’s girlfriend, Lisa (Madeline Wise). Since the first episode, things have gone from bad to worse for the three. Their so-called “plan” is not working. While not as gay-inclusive as “The Outs,” “Whatever this is.” doesn’t shrink from LGBT issues, whether homophobic violence or discrimination, in the workplace

and otherwise. The show addresses the recent spike in LGBT violence in the third episode, “Ghost Cheaters,” which features an off-screen shooting outside of a gay bar in the West Village, reminiscent of a real shooting death that occurred in the neighborhood this past spring. Homophobic discrimination is most apparent in the gay character Ari, who is harassed throughout the show, which he weathers with grace. What does get to him is the lack of support from his roommate and co-worker Sam. “What problems does this straight, white guy have?,” Ari asks. A lot, apparently. Sam, the trio’s would-be leader, spends most of the show “asleep at the wheel,” literally and figuratively speaking. Although he is the next person in line to lead the production crew, he suffers from being overworked. He starts making careless mistakes, one of which gets another co-worker fired. Sam’s shortcomings are not limited to his professional life — he ends up cheating on Lisa with


it avoids sensationalism and easy explanations for her behavior.

some of her subjects in more depth. “The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear” avoids the usual clichés of Eastern European miserabilism, while still conveying an overall sense of malaise and tackling problems like alcoholism.

TOP 10, from p.30

9. “The Unspeakable Act’ (Dan Sallitt) “Blue Is the Warmest Color” won great acclaim for taking the French coming-of-age film, blowing it up to epic scale, and adding a 10-minute sex scene. Although it’s an American film, “The Unspeakable Act” is a truer heir to the French New Wave. Exploring the world of a teenage girl struggling with incestuous desire for her brother,

10. “The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear” (T inatin Gurchiani) Georgian director Tinatin Gurchiani placed ads seeking young people to audition for an apocryphal narrative film. She filmed the results, which are quite revealing in and of themselves, and then went on to shoot the lives of

Best unreleased films: “Gebo and His Shadow” (Manoel de Oliveira), “Nobody’s Daughter Haewon” (Hong Sang-soo), “Sleepless Night” (Jang Kun-jae), and “What Now? Remind Me” (Joaquim Pinto).

another girl on the set while on a shoot upstate. While Sam and Ari tackle their work, Lisa is a school teacher on summer vacation. Unlike the boys, who loathe their job, she loves hers and eagerly awaits the return of fall so that she can return to school. Looking for summer employment while on break, she takes a job working for a lesbian power couple. Things progressively take a turn for the weird as the couple shower Lisa with gifts and invite her to dinner parties, leading viewers to question their motives. Lisa is eventually coerced into attending a foot fetish party with them — which blows up in her face when a parent of one of her students recognizes her. Appropriately titled “Broke,” the season finale opens with the rascals finding out they’ve been robbed. Their rent money has been stolen, and their spirits are broken — everything is in ruins. Lisa comes clean about the foot fetish fiasco and having been forced to quit her teaching job. Back on the set, the boys’ superior gets fired, and Sam is given a shot at taking his place. Their situation finally appears to be getting better, but the offer instead serves as a wake-up call for Sam, who storms off the set, Ari in tow. The two return home to find Lisa packing to move out. Sam begs her to stay and give him a second chance, owning up to all of his shortcomings of late. He says he has an idea — different from a “plan” — to pursue their own work instead of waiting for someone to give them a chance. “I can do this, Lisa. But I don’t want to do it with out you — either of you,” Sam implores, ending the season. Goldman finishes with an open ending, perhaps holding on for a second season. Or maybe the ending is just that frank. It’s a tough business — some people make it; others are not so lucky. Here’s to hoping Goldman does.

Runners-up: “American Hustle” (David O. Russell), “Bastards” (Claire Denis), “The Last Time I Saw Macao” (João Pedro Rodrigues and João Rui Guerra da Mata), “Let the Fire Burn” (Jason Osder), “Old Dog” (Pema Tseden), “Pacific Rim” (Guillermo del Toro), “Something in the Air” (Olivier Assayas), “The Square” (Jehane Noujaim), “Valentine Road” (Marta Cunningham), and “Viola” (Matias Piñeiro).


December 25, 2013 |

WeddingPrideDirectory Celebrating gay anD lesbian marriage

ATTORNIES Chou Law Luna Chou Law

401 Broadway in New York, (212) 226–2610, 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, 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.

Habberstad BMW

945 E Jericho Tpke. In Suffolk, (631) 271–7177,, 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.


Stetson Real Estate

Beth Israel LGBT Health Services 10 Nathan D Perlman Pl. in New York, (212) 420–2000, 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, 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.

Groomed Grooms

1214 E. Boston Post Rd. in Westchester, (914) 381–7173, 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.

Warburg Realty

Multiple locations, 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.


430 W. 24th St. in New York, (646) 325–3378, 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, 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,, 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, Mind Over Matter Health & Fitness is a Manhattan based in-home personal training service providing fitness professionals to you in your home.


New York God’s Love We Deliver

166 6th Ave. in New York, (212) 294–8100, 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,, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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.

Edible Arrangements

(718) 535–7909,

242 E 77th St. in New York, (646) 234–4840, InTouch NYC is a New York City-based healing sanctuary providing acupuncture, Chinese herbs, nutritional counseling, bodywork, and pilates.

Mind Over Matter


240 W 47th St. in New York, (212) 201–7650,, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, Modern Spaces is a real estate firm that manages

40 N. River Piers in New York, (212) 206–7522, / 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.

Hotel Giraffe

365 Park Avenue South in New York, (212) 685–7700, 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.

Hotel Pennsylvania

401 Seventh Ave. in New York, (212) 736–5000, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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,, 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, 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.

Tio Pepe

168 W. Fourth St. in New York, (212) 242–9338,, 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.

Villa Russo

118-16 101st Ave. in Queens, (718) 849–0990, 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,, 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,, 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 25, 2013


DE BLASIO, from p.4

people who aren’t that traditional.” Pauline Park, the acting executive director of the Queens Pride House, was less charitable. “Most of the people who’ve been announced are essentially retreads,” she said. Both Roskoff and Park, however, emphasized that policy would come from de Blasio and his appointees are less important. “The proof is in the pudding, and de Blasio, as with any elected official, should be and I think will be judged on how he actually governs,” Park said. Roskoff said that finding people who have the experience to run the city’s large bureaucracies is not easy. “He has to hire capable people, but


UTAH, from p.6

tions of the right to marry, and not the inner attributes of marriage that form the core justification for why the Constitution protects this fundamental right.” The plaintiffs had shown, Shelby found, that the “right to marry” as framed by the state was, for them, “meaningless.” He also rejected the argument that same-sex couples’ inability to procreate on their own disqualifies them since that “is not a defining characteristic of conjugal relationships from a legal and constitutional point of view.” That justification for marriage, he found,“demeans the dignity not just of same-sex couples, but of the many opposite-sex couples who are unable to reproduce or who choose not to have children.” He also rejected the state’s argument that the plaintiffs were seeking some new right of “same-sex marriage,” as opposed to the well-established fundamental right to marry. “The alleged right to same-sex marriage that the State claims the Plaintiffs are seeking is simply the same right that is currently enjoyed


BERNSTEIN, from p.24

Leonard Bernstein had never hidden his liberal sympathies. While by no means so far left as to be associated with the Communist Party, he was listed as being a virtual one in the McCarthy era pamphlet “Red Channels” — a fact that often created difficulty when he needed a passport to work overseas and the government was chary of allowing him permission. But this inconvenience was as nothing compared to the ridicule he received when Charlotte Curtis reported on the party in the New York Times society section. “There they were, the Black Panthers from the ghetto and the black and white liberals from the

they are who they work for and [de Blasio] sets the policy,” he said. De Blasio offered a similar rationale when asked about his choices at the December 18 press conference announcing the Fuleihan appointment. “Veteran and progressive are not diametrically opposed concepts” he said. “It’s very easy to preserve the status quo... If you’re going to make change, you need the most talented people and you need people with an extraordinary amount of experience who understand how to achieve that change.” Progressives, including some in the queer community, were dismayed when de Blasio selected William Bratton to be his police commissioner, though that choice probably reassured other voters. Bratton implemented the use of statistics, the mapping of crime, and the appli-

cation of performance measures, such as arrests made or summonses issued, to assess police performance. While Bratton did not use stop and frisk when he ran the city’s police department from 1994 to 1996 under Rudy Giuliani, he embraced it when he ran the Los Angeles police department from 2002 to 2009. Barrios-Paoli won praise from some advocates who saw their agencies or issues attended to or funded during her tenure as the commissioner at the city’s Department for the Aging under Bloomberg. “Lilliam Barrios-Paoli has been an outstanding ally for LGBT older people,” wrote Michael Adams, the executive director of Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders (SAGE). “Under her leadership, the city's Department for the Aging fund-

ed the first-ever LGBT senior center.” Daniel Tietz, the executive director of ACRIA, an AIDS services group, said that Barrios-Paoli was “really smart and capable” and well versed in city government. “She knows city government well,” he said. “She knows HIV well... She certainly gets our community’s concerns.” For William Dobbs, a gay civil libertarian, concerns over the early de Blasio appointments highlight the need for the community to get more engaged in pressing City Hall. “De Blasio talked a good game,” Dobbs said. “Let’s see if his administration walks the walk... Too many in our communities are concerned with elections and more of us need to strengthen organizing around issues. De Blasio will deliver a lot more progress if there’s a lot more pressure on him.”

by heterosexual individuals,” he wrote. Shelby also rejected the idea that the right at issue could not be fundamental because it was not construed in the past to extend to same-sex couples. “The Constitution is not so rigid that it always mandates the same outcome even when its principles operate on a new set of facts that were previously unknown,” he said. “Here, it is not the Constitution that has changed, but the knowledge of what it means to be gay or lesbian. The court cannot ignore the fact that the Plaintiffs are able to develop a committed, intimate relationship with a person of the same sex but not with a person of the opposite sex. The court, and the State, must adapt to this changed understanding.” Shelby also pointed to the majority opinion in the 2003 Texas sodomy case, where Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that “our laws and tradition afford constitutional protection to personal decisions relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, child rearing, and education” and held that “persons in a homosexual relationship may seek autonomy for these purposes, just as heterosexual persons

do.” Scalia’s dissent there seized on this statement to complain that the decision opened the door to same-sex marriage, and again Shelby agreed. Since Shelby viewed this as a case about a fundamental right, the burden on Utah was to prove a compelling interest in denying same-sex couples the right to marry. But the judge found that the state failed to articulate even rational, never mind compelling, reasons for excluding same-sex couples from marriage. In arguments strikingly similar to ones made the day before by New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Edward Chavez in its marriage equality ruling, Shelby found that some of the interests the state said it was protecting by banning samesex marriage were actually harmed, especially regarding the raising of children — those with same-sex parents. In addressing the plaintiffs’ equal protection argument, Shelby was required by Tenth Circuit precedent to apply a rational basis test to claims of sexual orientation discrimination, according to which the state’s policy is presumed to be constitutional unless the challengers can show it is lacking in any rational justification. And

that was precisely the conclusion Shelby reached in his due process analysis. “The State was unable to articulate a specific connection between its prohibition of same-sex marriage and any of its stated legitimate interests,” Shelby wrote. “At most, the State asserted: ‘We just simply don’t know.’ This argument is not persuasive. The State’s position appears to be based on the assumption that the availability of same-sex marriage will somehow cause oppositesex couples to forego marriage. But the State has not presented any evidence that heterosexual individuals will be any less inclined to enter into an oppositesex marriage simply because their gay and lesbian fellow citizens are able to enter into a same-sex union. Similarly, the State has not shown any effect of the availability of same-sex marriage on the number of children raised by either opposite-sex or same-sex partners.” Prior to the Utah decision, 17 states and the District of Columbia had formally legalized marriage equality. With Utah, more than 38 percent of Americans would live in jurisdictions where samesex couples can marry.

middle, upper-middle and upper classes studying one another cautiously over the expensive furnishings, the elaborate flower arrangements, the cocktails and the silver trays of canapés.” Adding injury to insult, right-wing dandy Tom Wolfe wrote a lengthy essay in New York Magazine entitled, “Radical Chic: That Party at Lenny's” laying on the ridicule even more thickly. Never discussed by either Curtis or Wolfe, but duly noted by Simeone, was the fact that “On May 13, 1971, after an eightmonth trial and only a few hours of jury deliberation, the Panther 21 defendants were acquitted on all counts — in part because it emerged that undercover informants had infiltrated the Black Panther Party and instigated the bomb

plot.” In other words it was all perfectly fair as well as perfectly square. That this deliberately distorted event hangs high in Bernstein’s legacy is egregious. But more consequential is what happened in 1973 when Ber nstein met a handsome young composer named Tom Cothran and left Felicia for him. “You’re going to die a bitter and lonely old man,” she told him as he headed for the door. And in a way, she was right. For Bernstein had lived with Cothran only a few months when he lear ned that Felicia had been diagnosed with lung cancer. He immediately left Cothran and returned to Felicia nursing her right through to her death in 1978 — a death he blamed himself for causing. Cothran

died of AIDS in 1981. There’s no record of whether Bernstein felt the same amount of guilt in that instance. As for his “personal life,” a lyric Sondheim wrote for “Do I Hear a Waltz?” (music by Richard Rodgers) sums it up: “Sometimes she drinks in bed Sometimes he’s homosexual But why be vicious? They keep it out of sight Good show! They’re gonna be alright Heigh-Ho! They’re gonna be alright” As for today’s gays — who can marry their Cothrans — we’re gonna be alright, too.


December 25, 2013 |


CABARET Liza and Her Mama

DECEMBER 30 - JANUARY 5: Go full throttle with Pam Ann.

Tommy Femia, who is a seven-time Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs (MAC) Award winner for his portrayal of Judy Garland, and Rick Skye, whose comic revues include "The War of the Mama Roses" and "A Slice O' Minnelli,” present a gag-filled, song-filled tribute to the famed motherdaughter Garland-Minnelli team. The musical line-up includes solos such as “Maybe This Time,” “New York, New York,” and “Over the Rainbow,” and a duo medley finale of “Get Happy” and “Happy Days Are Here Again.” Don’t Tell Mama, 343 W. 46th St. Dec. 28, 8 p.m. There is a $25 cover charge at or 212-7570788, and a two-drink minimum.


CABARET Little Edie Returns to Manhattan


BENEFIT Beethoven Concert to Aid Typhoon Victims

In a benefit for the victims of the recent typhoon in the Philippines, the New York Festival Orchestra, made up of emerging collegiate musicians and other distinguished players from the metropolitan area, will be joined by the Beethoven Memorial Chorus for the USA-Japan Goodwill Concert. The evening will include a holiday performance of Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony” under the direction of Hideaki Hirai, with Hideyuki Tsuji leading the Chorus, featuring soprano Naomi Satake, alto Francesca Lunghi, tenor Paul Williamson, and bass-baritone Katsuji Mura. Other performers include the No Borders Chorus and the comedy quartet Lunch Break. Carnegie Hall, 881 Seventh Ave. at 57th St. Dec. 26, 8 p.m. The event is free, but reservations are required at 212-247-7800. Donations for typhoon relief will be collected.


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

Gilbert & Sullivan’s New Season

The New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players, America’s preeminent professional company, launches its season with productions of “The Pirates of Penzance” and “Patience.” Under the artistic and music direction of Albert Bergeret, “Pirates” is performed Dec. 27, 28 & 31, 8 p.m.; Dec. 28, 2 p.m.; Dec. 29 & 30, 3 p.m. “Patience” is performed Jan. 3, 8 p.m.; Jan. 4, 2 & 8 p.m.; Jan. 5, 3 p.m. Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th St. Tickets are $67-$87; $59-$79 for seniors; $34-44 for children. On New Year’s Eve, add $10 for adults, $5 for children.


GALLERY AIDS Art From Those Who Know

“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. Through Jan. 5.

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 —

“Little Edie" Beale, of “Grey Gardens” fame, performed a cabaret act at Reno Sweeney nightclub in the West Village during Christmas Week 1978. Jeffrey Johnson brings his critically acclaimed “Edie Beale LIVE at Reno Sweeney,” which Sandra Bernhard has hailed as “flawless,” to New York tonight. 54 Below, 254 W. 54th St. Dec. 30, 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 plus a $25 dinner & drinks minimum at or 866-468-7691.

COMEDY Full Throttle

Australia’s Pam Ann (aka Caroline Reid) is back in “Full Throttle” her most un-PC, filthiest, funniest, most explosive show to date. London’s Daily Telegraph writes that her show “ is like being held hostage on a plane filled with laughing gas.” Joe’s Pub, inside the Public Theater 425 Lafayette St., btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Pl. Dec. 30 & 31, 7 p.m.; January 2-5, 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $30; $50 on New Year’s Eve at joespub. com or 212-967-7555.


NEW YEAR’S EVE The Phantom Ball

DJ's Johnny Dynell and Serving Ovahness provide the sounds for XL Nightclub’s Phantom Ball, a masquerade party and stage production with live performances of some of the best vignettes from “Phantom of the Opera,” with remixes choreographed especially for the evening (check out a remix of “The Music of the Night" at lyqy4p6). XL, 512 West 42nd St. Doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets are $49-$133 at

A Murray Hill New Year’s

Mr. Murray Hill rings in the New Year with his annual laugh-tastic, boozy, bodacious variety show and dance party with New York's wildest and wackiest performers. Hill’s cast includes Dirty Martini, acrobatic tassel twirler Trixie Little,

boylesque stud Mr. Gorgeous, glamour girl Tansy, rapper and bling king Champagne Jerry (aka Neal Medlyn), and dance comedy duet Kitten LaRue & Henry Hoover. The Slipper Room, 167 Orchard St. at Stanton St. Dec. 31, 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $35-$100 at slipper

A Strictly Private Masked Ball


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

With a totally naked wait staff, dancers, and a clothing optional policy, DN’s 11th annual Masked Ball: New Year’s Cockin’ Eve promises to be the evening’s sexiest bash. JD Phoenixx and Hans Berlin host, and there’s an open bar from until midnight. Dec. 31, 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Email for the private location. Tickets are $74 at

A Kiss for the Spider Woman

Chita Rivera, who created leading roles in shows ranging from “West Side Story” in the 1950s to “Bye Bye Birdie,” “Chicago,” and, in the 1990s, “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” is honored by Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS in a birthday tribute at which she will perform with her longtime trio, Michael Croiter, Michael Patrick Walker, and Jim Donica. 54 Below, 254 W. 54th St. Dec. 31, 7 & 11 p.m. Tickets for the 7 p.m. show (doors open at 5) are $300 and include cover, dinner, champagne, tax & tip); tickets for the 11 p.m. show (doors open at 9:15) are $400 at 54Below. com or 866-468-7619.

A Speakeasy for 2014

“Speakeasy Moderne” also lays claim to being New Year’s sexiest party, where singers enchant, flappers flirt, and dancers dazzle in an intoxicating blend of Jazz Age Manhattan, vaudeville, cabaret, and a touch of burlesque. The cast includes singer/ songwriter Dina Fanai, Puss n’ Boots, Kristin Ewing, Jessica Lee Coffman, Nate Suggs, and pianist Yasuhiko "Yaz" Fukuoka. "Official Hank" Stampfl is the evening’s emcee. Stage 72, 158 W. 72nd St. Dec. 31, 10 p.m. Tickets, which includes an open bar until 2 a.m., are $200 at


PERFORMANCE The Future of Queer

In “Squirts,” a Helix Queer Performance Network event, curator and host Dan Fishback rallies the brashest new voices of the queer stage for a


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| December 25, 2013




FRI.JAN.3, from p.34

peek into the future of underground, revolutionary queer art-making. Ranging from drag and cabaret to spoken word and theater, these young artists take cues from their predecessors while reinventing their forms through the singular weirdness of their own individual visions. Each night also features a guest legend — an established icon of queer performance. The two-week series stars Ariel “Speedwagon” Federow, Dane Terry, Kirya Traber, Man Meat Collective, and Untitled Queen. Among the guests of honor are Penny Arcade (Jan. 3), Split Britches (Jan. 4), Flotilla DeBarge (Jan. 5), Jack Waters & Peter Cramer (Jan. 10), Susana Cook (Jan. 11), and Arthur Aviles (Jan. 12). The Club at La MaMa., 74A E. Fourth St., btwn. Bowery & Second Ave. Jan. 3-12; Fri. & Sat., 10 p.m.; Sun., 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $15; $10 for students & seniors at

Split Britches, Yesterday & Tomorrow

Split Britches, New York's premiere lesbian performance troupe, kicks off the new year with "Ruff," Peggy Shaw's performance about life and art following her 2011 stroke, written by Shaw and Lois Weaver and directed by Weaver. La MaMa First Floor Theater, 74A E. Fourth St., btwn. Bowery & Second Ave. Jan. 9-26; Thu.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $15; $10 for students & seniors at or 212-475-7710. La MaMa also hosts “Desperate Archives,” a gallery show of installations made from remnants of Split Britches’ last 20 years of work. Jan. 3-19; Wed.-Sun., 1-7 p.m. Opening reception is Jan. 3, 6-9. For more information, call 212-505-2476.


COMMUNITY Edie Windsor & the Attorney Who Journeyed With Her

Edie Windsor, the 84-year-old widow who took the federal government’s ban on recognition of legal same-sex marriages to the Supreme Court and won this past June, is joined by Roberta Kaplan, her attorney, in a conversation with actress and comedian Judy Gold. 92nd St. Y, 1395 Lexington Ave. at 92nd St. Jan. 7, 8:15 p.m. Tickets are $29 at or 212-415-5500.

Have You Guys Had A Consensual Adult Sexual Relationship?



COMEDY Stayin’ Hilarious

Let Your Voice Be Heard Tell Your Story Church Needs to Listen

“Homo Comicus” host Bob Montgomery welcomes Judy Gold, Michelle Buteau, Poppy Champlin, and Adam Lehman to Gotham Comedy Club, 208 W. 23rd St. Jan. 8, 8:30 p.m. The cover charge is $20 and there’s a two-drink minimum. Reservations at 212-367-9000.

917-444-2487 P.O. Box 262, New York, NY 10113


THEATER Women Behind Bars — No Orange

In 1927, long before “Orange Is the New Black,” women inmates in New York were incarcerated in the Women’s Penitentiary on Welfare Island, a short ferry ride from the hustle and bustle of Midtown on what is now Roosevelt Island. In “Island Girls,” written by Barbara Kahn and Noelle LuSane, with music by LuSane, a newlygraduated social worker comes face to face with her own biases grounded in her white, upper class background while she gets to know the prisoners, including Polish Jewish lesbian Eve Adams, whose stories have long been forgotten but are brought back to life in this meticulously researched play. Kahn and Robert Gonzales Jr. direct. Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave. at 10th St. Jan. 9-26; Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. Tickets $12 at or 212-254-1109.






MUSIC A Klezmer One-Two Punch

The Isle of Klezbos all-gal sextet teams up with the powerhouse Metropolitan Klezmer octet to inaugurate the new Vox Hebraica concert series, curated by Marina Kifferstein, at the legendary Actors' Temple, whose past congregants ranged from Shelley Winters and Sophie Tucker to the Three Stooges. The two ensembles embrace an eclectic mix of musical styles with both irreverence and respect. 339 West 47th St., btwn. Eighth & Ninth Aves. Jan. 10, 9 p.m. Tickets are $15; $10 for students & seniors at




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


December 25, 2013 |

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