Page 1

NewFest at Lincoln Center 29


NYC, NYS Take on Russian Hatebook 12

My First NYC Pride 06


The furor over religious exemptions


04, 05, 16

Sun shines again on Pride day

08 PERSPECTIVE City must catch up on right to alter birth certificates


HEALTH Cuomo endorses plan to end AIDS; evidence shows wider PrEP use



Fierce farce



IN THE NOH Imperishable vamps

38-39 2

34 JuLY 10 - 23, 2014 |

| JuLY 10 - 23, 2014


High Court Says For-Profit Corporations Can Claim Religious Exemptions Ruling in Affordable Care Act case could weaken LGBT nondiscrimination protections, giving businesses an out BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD




n a decision with the potential to open up wide gaps in nondiscrimination protections for sexual minorities, the Supreme Court has ruled that a family-owned corporation could claim an exemption from complying with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) because of the owners’ religious objections to funding certain forms of contraception. The court’s 5-4 decision on June 30 drew an impassioned dissent from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who specifically noted two gay-related decisions by state courts that could be endangered. The court’s opinion by Justice Samuel Alito, however, disputed that the ruling would have the broad effects Ginsburg identified. According to Alito, the ruling was a narrow one, addressing only the specific facts of the case, which was brought by two “closely-held” corporations, Conestoga Wood Specialties and Hobby Lobby

Justices Samuel Alito and Ruth Bader Ginsburg sharply disagreed about the potential impact of the court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case.

Stores. These businesses began as small family enterprises — Conestoga is a woodworking business begun by a Mennonite man in his garage that now employs 950 people, and Hobby Lobby is a small arts-and-crafts business started by a Catholic family that is now a national chain with more than 13,000 employees. As the businesses grew, the owners formed corporations, but did not sell stock publicly, each retaining ownership and control in their family circle. The owners of Conestoga and

Hobby Lobby have religious objections to four of the contraceptives included in the ACA’s minimum coverage requirements for employers’ healthcare plans. Failure to meet the ACA requirements can result in substantial fines, and the two companies argued that forcing them to pay for such coverage places a substantial burden on their free exercise of religion, a right protected by the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. RFRA was enacted in 1993 by overwhelming majorities in both

HRC, OTHER ADVOCATES REGROUP ON ENDA In a stunning about-face, the Human Rights Campaign, the chief LGBT lobbying group pushing the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act on Capitol Hill, announced on July 9 that it would seek “a narrowed religious exemption” compared to the one contained in the version of the bill approved by the Senate last year. Since it is doubtful ENDA will get a vote in the Republican-led House this year, the bill’s rewriting will likely happen early next year, as the new Congress convenes. Perhaps as significantly, HRC announced support for “a fully comprehensive LGBT civil rights bill. A bill that, at long last, would bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in all core civil rights categories — including housing, public accommodations, credit, education and, if ENDA fails to pass, in employment.” Suggesting the group may embrace the longstanding demands of some activists that the community push for specifically amending the 1964 Civil Rights Act, HRC president Chad Griffin, in a statement simultaneously posted on the group’s blog and at, said a comprehensive approach “is a visionary idea that Congresswoman Bella Abzug brought to Congress in 1974. Its time has come.” HRC’s move comes a day after a wide array of leading LGBT groups pulled their support for ENDA in its current form and barely a week after the Supreme Court’s controversial decision in the Hobby Lobby-Affordable Health Care Act case. That ruling, on June 30, crystalized concerns on the left about religious


exemptions in civil law (see Arthur S. Leonard’s story above). HRC and the other advocacy groups undoubtedly timed their statements, as well, to put pressure on the Obama administration as it finalizes its executive order barring sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination by private sector contractors doing business with the federal government. In separate statements on July 8, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF), a group of legal advocacy groups — including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the Transgender Law Center — and Pride at Work, an LGBT affiliate of the AFL-CIO, all announced they would no longer support the version of ENDA the Senate has approved. “The morning after the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling, we all woke up in a changed and intensified landscape of broad religious exemptions being used as an excuse to discriminate,” Rea Carey, NGLTF’s executive director, said in a written statement. “We are deeply concerned that ENDA’s broad exemption will be used as a similar license to discriminate across the country.” The five legal groups, in their statement, wrote, “Given the types of workplace discrimination we see increasingly against LGBT people, together with the calls for greater permission to discriminate on religious grounds that followed immediately upon the Supreme Court’s decision last week in Burwell v.

houses of Congress and promptly signed by President Bill Clinton. That law reflected an outcry that erupted after the Supreme Court, in 1990, ruled that individuals cannot claim a religion exemption from laws that apply generally if those laws were not intended to burden religious freedom. The case that gave rise to the ruling involved a Native American who lost his job after ingesting peyote as part of a religious ceremony, was denied unemployment benefits, and sued under the First Amendment’s Free Exercise of Religion Clause. The high court found he could not claim a religious exemption from a state law that generally barred the use of peyote and so was properly denied unemployment benefits. With RFRA, Congress aimed to reinstate prior Supreme Court precedents that allowed individuals to claim exemption from laws that burdened their religious practice if those laws were not necessary to achieve a compelling governmental interest.


HOBBY LOBBY, continued on p.14

Hobby Lobby, it has become clear that the inclusion of this provision is no longer tenable.” The objectionable language, the legal advocates said, “could provide religiously affiliated organizations — including hospitals, nursing homes, and universities — a blank check to engage in workplace discrimination against LGBT people.” Since at least some anti-LGBT discrimination — that shown to be based on gender stereotyping — has already been successfully challenged under the existing federal ban on sex discrimination, the advocacy groups maintained that enacting ENDA in its current form “actually might lessen non-discrimination protections now provided for LGBT people by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and very likely would generate confusion rather than clarity in federal law.” HRC’s Griffin did not mention the Hobby Lobby ruling, instead focusing on the opportunities the LGBT community has to achieve more than it could in the past: “In the year and a half since the current version of ENDA was introduced, we have significantly moved the needle on Congressional support for LGBT equality… [we] can’t ignore that somewhere in between the introduction of this version of ENDA and today, a revolution has happened in the fight for LGBT equality. We’re at one of those moments you read about in the history books, and it turns up everywhere you look.” Faith-based organizations and Christian right leaders are pressuring the administration to incorporate broad religious exemptions into the Obama executive order, and now LGBT groups are signaling they are not ready to give up that battle. — Paul Schindler

JuLY 10 - 23, 2014 |

Pride March Highlighted ENDA Concerns HRC Could Not Duck Elected officials, grassroots advocates voice opposition to loopholes in ENDA, Obama executive order BY ANDY HUMM


| JuLY 10 - 23, 2014


en days before the Human Rights Campaign shifted course and spoke out against the broad religious exemption in the current version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (see sidebar, page 4) — the federal LGBT job rights bill — it was clear the provision was in trouble. The city’s June 29 LGBT Pride March evidenced clear and growing opposition among both activists and New York’s elected officials, including members of the US House of Representatives who could decide ENDA’s fate, even if not this year. The measure passed the US Senate last year but is stalled in the Republican-controlled House. And while President Barack Obama’s announcement that he is drafting a long-demanded executive order to ban anti-LGBT bias by federal contractors, the call from conservatives for him to include a similar religious exemption is creating angst among community leaders. Matt Foreman, who formerly led the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) as well as the Empire State Pride Agenda, has termed that possibility a “crisis situation.” Most civil rights laws have some “ministerial exemptions” for religious groups, but even faith congregations are bound not to discriminate in jobs not directly related to their religious mission. But ENDA, in its current form, would allow a Jewish hospital, for instance, to fire doctors and nurses for being gay or lesbian. When religiously-affiliated groups such as Catholic Charities agree to take public funds in a place such as New York City, they also agree not to discriminate in hiring or the provision of services, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. But US Senator Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, and religious leaders such as the Reverend Rick Warren, who led the prayer at Obama’s first inauguration, are demanding that religiously-affiliated

contractors be able to take federal money and discriminate, but only against LGBT people. Gay City News surveyed some of the elected officials who showed up on Fifth Avenue on June 29 for the 45th annual march commemorating the Stonewall Rebellion, especially Democratic members of Congress who are ENDA sponsors, about the controversy. West Side Representative Jerry Nadler said, “I don’t think that it should have a religious exemption broader than the Civil Rights Act. There is a place for a religious exemption, but if it is broader than that I probably would not support it. I hope it doesn’t come to that.” Then, referring to the controversy about the elimination of the gender identity protections in the version of ENDA approved by the House in 2007, Nadler added, “We should have learned our lesson from the transgender” dispute. As the measure moved toward a vote that year in the House, then controlled by the Democrats, its chief sponsor, Barney Frank, an out gay Massachusetts Democrat who has since retired, agreed to drop “gender identity and expression” to win greater support — a move endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign but denounced by hundreds of LGBT groups across the country, including NGLTF, then led by Foreman. The bill passed, but seven Democratic members of Congress, including Nadler, voted against it because they insisted on a more inclusive bill, only to find themselves downgraded by HRC in the group’s annual legislative ratings. HRC has since pledged never to jettison transgender coverage again, but in the effort to win Republican support for ENDA in the Senate last year compromised on another key issue, with an exemption that would have sacrificed the rights of LGBT people who work for religiously-affiliated institutions. In its new position announced on its blog and at July 9, the group said its continued push for ENDA depends on “a narrowed religious exemption.” Both New York Maloneys in the House are also troubled by the bill

To d d Ti f F e r n a n d e z s h a k i n g h a n d s w i t h President Barack Obama and lobbying him for a more comprehensive federal LGBT rights bill at a White House Pride reception on June 30.

as it currently reads. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of Manhattan’s East Side said she is “objecting to the exemption” but does not see ENDA coming up in this gridlocked Congress in any event. Out gay Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, who represents a Hudson River Valley district upstate, said, “I feel it is very important that it not be that broad.” Other local officials also have concerns. State Senator Brad Hoylman, an out gay West Side Democrat, said, “I don’t support the broad religious exemption.”  City Councilman Corey Johnson, an out gay Chelsea Democrat, said, “We need to close that religious loophole while looking at more comprehensive legislation that covers housing and public accommodations.” Assemblyman Dick Gottfried, also a Chelsea Democrat, agreed with the other critics, saying that a religious exemption needs “to be very limited to groups that are congregations.”  Rea Carey, NGLTF’s current executive director who was one of the grand marshals of this year’s march, said, “We’re working for the best ENDA and we don’t like the religious exemption. We still need to educate members of Congress about it.” Her group officially pulled its support for ENDA’s current ver sion on July 8, one day ahead of HRC’s announcement that it was

changing course. Marching with a big “Seek Full Equality” banner, Todd Tif Fernandez has long advocated dumping ENDA and going back to the original approach to LGBT federal rights by amending the 1964 Civil Rights Act to add “four words” — “gender identity” and “sexual orientation.” He said, “The time for full LGBT equality is now.” That, too, is a position that HRC has now moved to. Though its July 9 statement did not explicitly call for amending the 1964 Act, the group said it now supports “a fully comprehensive LGBT civil rights bill… that, at long last, would bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in all core civil rights categories — including housing, public accommodations, credit, education and, if ENDA fails to pass, in employment.” Fernandez made his case in the New York march, at a White House briefing for LGBT leaders the following day, and to the president himself at the June 30 White House Pride reception. He is among a group of activists who launched the Equality Pledge Network, with the theme “Add 4 Words,” at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington later that evening. “I spoke to President Obama about our bill,” Fernandez posted on Facebook. “Not sure what good it did, but he said he wasn’t blocking any bill being filed, and his staff agreed to talk in more detail. I also talked with his entire team about the need for the US to have equality, questioning them all in detail at the three-hour briefing.” Queer Nation NY carried a rainbow “ENDA IS NOT EQUAL” banner that stretched across Fifth Avenue right behind its target, the HRC contingent of several dozen people — few of whom had anything to do with HRC and most of whom were from the ad firm of McCann Erickson and wearing HRC T-shirts. As Queer Nation continued to amp up pressure on the national lobbying group, Andrew Miller, an activist


RELIGIOUS EXEMPTIONS, continued on p.26



My First Pride Weekend in New York Drag queens wrestling in Bushwick, smiling dykes honoring their outrage, and a sweet spot out front of Stonewall BY RYAN HOWE

Well after midnight, the Culture Whore, consisting of Mark Dommu and Paul Leopold, who hosted the party alongside David Sokolowski, introduced the first round of performers before taking the stage themselves. The duo’s performance started out as a friendly game show to win money. “After all that’s what Pride is all about,” Dommu exclaimed into the microphone, as he rubbed his fingertips together in the universal sign for money. The performance took a chaotic turn when they handed out cereal to start a food fight and then shamed the audience to help clean it up. “When the three of us decided to throw a Pride party, we realized that we were really fed up with what Pride has become,” Dommu explained. “We just kept talking

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rmed with a small coffee as I walked up to a Bushwick warehouse on June 27, I was ready to start my Pride Weekend — my first in New York — at the radical queer party RIOT! Maneuvering between a U-Haul truck and a fence, I could feel the heat spewing out of the entrance that lay feet in front of me. It was going to be a hot weekend in the city. Inside the warehouse, people lined the walls conversing with one another and ordering drinks from a lemonade stand-type bar in the back of the room. Dance videos played on loop behind the stage as partygoers crowded the dance floor, stripping off their shirts to beat the heat.

Jade Obler and Jude Diebold at the June 28 Dyke March.

about how Pride originally started as a riot, and now there’s this sense of complacency today.” Setting out to bring back the sense of being angry and fighting for what still needs to be done in the queer community, the three men put together a list of performances that would be entertaining but still have a deeper meaning. The most popular was the final performance, which involved drag queens wrestling in a kiddie pool covered in Cool Whip. Dancers in the hot warehouse crowded the stage as Brooklyn queens climbed into the pool and started ripping off their opponents’ clothes. “A riot is people coming together and using their bodies to make a statement, and seeing these queens lose what makes them queens was a very meaty way to signify a riot,” Dommu said. “Honestly, it was the best party we’ve ever thrown.”

The next day, I drowsily made my way toward Bryant Park, where the Dyke March was set to start. As soon as I reached the steps of the New York Public Library, however, I was wide awake. The steps were crowded with a jarring mixture of out-of-towners visiting the BeauxArts landmark guarded by two stately lions and raucous lesbians taking selfies with friends. The unsuspecting tourists had no idea that they were about to witness the beginning of the 22nd Annual Dyke March. Sitting in front of a tour group on the steps were Jude Diebold, 27, and Jade Obler, 25, with their arms interlocked. The blocky letters on Diebold’s pink tank top reading “Live And Let Lez” and her girlfriend’s black T -shirt shouting “Smash Capitalism!!!” seemed appropriate for the march. According to the Dyke March’s

mission statement the annual event is “a protest march, not a parade — we don’t ask for a permit, because we have the right to protest.” Every year thousands of lesbians gather in the spirit of what Pride started out as — a fight against ongoing discrimination targeting the LGBT community. That’s the main draw for Diebold and Obler. “It’s great because we all are coming together without giant corporate floats or glitter — well, maybe there is some glitter,” Diebold said as she looked around. “It’s very grassroots and exciting, we come with these handmade signs and just march down the street for everyone to see that we are here and we won’t be ignored.” This was Diebold’s fourth time at the Dyke March, but only Obler’s first. As soon as the sound of drums came from the street, both women stood up and quickly walked up to the sidelines. Holding hands as the front banner passed them, Obler’s mouth stretched into smile. They watched as women holding up signs they’d made themselves and a second drum line passed by before they jumped into the crowd and started walking southbound. “It’s beautiful,” Obler said as she passed 39th Street. Directly on her right, eight women stood holding hands in a straight line, barricading any traffic that might try to pass through the march, each wear ing a light blue shirt with the word “DYKE” stretched across the back. Cross-town traffic, however, was already being detoured away from Fifth by police stationed a block down from both sides of the avenue. The couple walked hand in hand for blocks, stopping occasionally to


PRIDE, continued on p.13

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Singaporean Sex Workers’ Advocate Meets US Counterparts Vanessa Ho travels to New York, DC, San Diego, and Alabama as part of State Department gender identity project BY RYAN HOWE


| JuLY 10 - 23, 2014


n June 16, Vanessa Ho, who works on behalf of sex workers’ rights in Singapore, was among 11 advocates for sexual minorities who arrived in Washington under the auspices of the State Department for a three-week tour of the US. The advocates, who traveled as well to New York and two other cities, were here as part of a human rights and gender identity project of the department’s International Visitor Leadership Program and represented Azerbaijan, India, Israel, Mexico, Nigeria, Romania, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe, as well as Singapore. Ho is the program coordinator of Project X, a social initiative to end discrimination against sex workers in her home country. Project X is a small organization that does community outreach to identify sex workers, traveling to red light districts and also going online. The group hands out condoms, lubricants, wet wipes, health guides, and human rights information and offers free HIV and STD checkups, aiming to develop close relationships of trust with sex workers who often work in the shadows, vulnerable to harassment both official and otherwise. “We introduce ourselves and ask them if they need any help,” Ho explained. “We set up these relationships, that way they feel comfortable in telling us if their rights have been violated in any ways.” Most of what Project X focuses on is human rights documentation. That involves explaining what rights sex workers have in Singapore and making a record of what they consider human rights violations. Ho did not always aim for a career in social advocacy. She has a master’s degree in Gender, Society and Representation from University College London, but chose to forgo a civil service career for a life of activism. Once she returned to Singapore after completing her degree, she held a teaching posi-

Vanessa Ho in Manhattan on June 27.

tion, attended a wide array of networking events, and made a lot of contacts, including the founder of Project X. She didn’t join the group right away, but took over when the founder stepped down in 2011. “It’s not a very exciting story about how I got engaged,” Ho said, with a smile. “I really just needed a job. I knew that I wanted to work at a nonprofit and I was really fortunate to meet the founder of the project, and when she retired she asked me to take over. I’m kind of living out the cliché of a gender studies student.” Most sex workers in Singapore do the work illegally. There is a small population of licensed sex workers who operate out of brothels, which are immune from police raids — though the state will not acknowledge the existence of such a legalized trade. Most of those working illegally do it on the street or through the Internet. Project X advocates for their safety from abusive clients and from passersby who will subject sex workers to verbal abuse — in the form of vulgarities and degrading slurs — when they encounter them. Violence is rare in Singaporean society, but the harassment can do psychological damage, Ho said. And because unlicensed sex workers compete with those officially sanctioned, the harassment can also come from the police. Even licensed workers are sub-


HUMAN RIGHTS, continued on p.26

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N OW S E RV I N G B R E A K FAST, LU N C H , & D I N N E R A L S O S E RV I N G W E E K E N D B R U N C H . . . .1 1 - 4





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PHOTO ESSAY BY DONNA ACETO AND MICHAEL LUONGO | Even though this year’s LGBT Pride March, marking the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, lacked the triumphalism of last year’s victories over the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8, participants and spectators were in a buoyant and boisterous mood. Among those marching down Fifth Avenue on Sunday, June 29 were Governor Andrew Cuomo; a spirited Mayor Bill de Blasio, joined by his wife Chirlane McCray; grand marshal Laverne Cox, star of Netflix’s hit show “Orange Is the New Black,” joined by Delores Nettles, who held up a picture of her daughter Islan, a transgender woman slain last year in Harlem; grand marshal Jonathan Groff, with his HBO “Looking” co-star Frankie J. Alvarez; the out LGBT members of the City Council, including Manhattan’s Corey Johnson and Brooklyn’s Carlos Menchaca; and Bianca del Rio, winner of the sixth season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” on Logo. JuLY 10 - 23, 2014 |


PHOTO ESSAY BY DONNA ACETO | The 22nd New York City Dyke March stepped off from Bryant Park late in the afternoon on Saturday, June 28, headed south to Washington Square Park. The annual show of lesbian visibility, famously unpermitted even with police cooperation, included well-known activists from Edie Windsor, the successful plaintiff in last year’s challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, to Eve Sicular, the drummer for Metropolitan Klezmer and Isle of Klezbos, who recently said she has always been called on for dyke events because everyone knows about her ability to make noise. At Washington Square Park, Dyke March participants made their presence known, taking time to cool off and cuddle up.

A DECADE OF TRANS JUSTICE DEMANDS PHOTO ESSAY BY DONNA ACETO | On Friday, June 27, the Audre Lorde Project held its 10th anniversary Trans Day of Action, bringing together trans and gender non-conforming people of color and allies to call attention to continued violence and discrimination, while celebrating a legacy of | JuLY 10 - 23, 2014

resilience, organizing, and community building. Daisy Lopez was among those who entertained and spoke at the Christopher Street pier, a location that for decades has drawn trans and other queer young people seeking a safe place to gather in a city that can sometimes be unwelcoming.



As Cuomo Endorses Plan to End AIDS, Evidence Shows Wider PrEP Use State Medicaid data indicates Truvada taken as prevention in far greater numbers than its maker Gilead estimates BY DUNCAN OSBORNE



e w Yo r k ’ s s t a t e health department is estimating that in the first five months of this year more than 3,000 people on Medicaid were taking an anti-HIV drug to avoid becoming infected with the virus that causes AIDS. “For the period January 2014 through May 2014, the State Health Department estimates that 3,149 Medicaid recipients were on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP),” a department spokesman wrote in an email. “Data regarding the number of privately insured individuals on PrEP are not available.” Estimates in two studies by Gilead Sciences, the company that manufactures and markets Truvada, the only drug approved for PrEP, were much lower. Using pharmacy data, the company estimated that 2,319 “unique individuals” across

Governor Andrew Cuomo and Dr. Howard Zucker, the interim state health commissioner, announcing New York’s commitment to a plan to effectively end the AIDS epidemic by 2020.

the nation started PrEP between January 1, 2012 and September 30, 2013. That increased from the estimated 1,774 “unique individuals” starting PrEP between January 2011 and March 2013. There is overlap between the two estimates, and it is unknown how many of those individuals are still taking the drug. In its most recent study, Gilead estimated that 570 “unique PrEP

users” began the treatment in the entire Northeast during that period, accounting for 25 percent of all new users across the US. The disparity between the Gilead estimate and the state health department estimate was so great that Gay City News asked the department to reconfirm it. On July 2, Bill Schwarz, who heads the press office at the department,

wrote, “I did confirm… that the number we provided is the Department’s estimate of negatives on Truvada.” The Food and Drug Administration approved Truvada for PrEP in 2012. The once-a-day pill is taken by people who do not have HIV and is highly effective at preventing HIV infection if the dosing schedule is followed. Failed adherence, however, was a serious issue in PrEP studies. AIDS activists and advocates have been concerned since the FDA approval that few people were using the HIV prevention tool. They offer various reasons for people not taking the drug, including gay men fearing they would be seen as promiscuous if it were known they were on the drug and people simply not knowing about the intervention. “I’m surprised at how high it is,” said Jim Eigo, a member of ACT UP


CUOMO, continued on p.11


Klein-Skelos Senate Lags Alito-Scalia-Roberts Court on Protecting LGBT Kids High court lets stand decision upholding conversion therapy ban, one essentially the same as that rejected by Albany BY PAUL SCHINDLER


midst the shocked reaction to the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lob b y r uling — which opens up the possibility of religious exemptions being used as corporate get-out-of-jail free cards regarding employee nondiscrimination protections — there was a less-noticed bit of good news on the last day of the high court’s session. On June 30, the court declined to review an August 2013 ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld California’s pioneering law barring licensed mental health professionals from engaging in sexual orientation conversion therapy on patients who are minors. The California law is the model for a measure introduced in the


New York State Legislature that the Senate refused to take up this year. Practitioners of so-called “sexual orientation change efforts” (SOCE) filed two lawsuits challenging the California law on First Amendment grounds, but the Ninth Circuit upheld the statute, distinguishing between the rights practitioners enjoy to advocate for the practice in public debate and the limitations on the therapeutic practices they can employ in their professional conduct governed by state licensing. The Supreme Court’s June 30 action effectively ended the effort to overturn the law and signaled the lack of sufficient support on the court for reexamining the Ninth Circuit’s conclusions about its constitutionality. New York’s SOCE measure, sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblywoman

Deborah Glick, both out LGBT Manhattan Democrats, won Assembly approval on June 16 in an 86 to 28 vote. However, despite its backers’ confidence that it had majority support in the Senate, the leadership — headed by Long Island Republican Dean Skelos and his governing partner, the Bronx’s Jeff Klein, of the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) — did not allow the measure to get a Senate vote. Both Hoylman and the Empire State Pride Agenda (ESPA) said the SOCE ban had the votes for passage and pointed to Long Island Republican Senator Jack Martins’ decision to sign on as a co-sponsor in the final days of the session, which ended June 20. At least two other GOP senators signaled their support, and the Pride Agenda had assurances of support from all five members of Klein’s IDC — all of which substantiates the claims by

Hoylman and ESPA that the votes were there. Hoylman used the occasion of the high court’s refusal to review the California law as an opportunity to underscore his frustration that he was denied the opportunity to have his bill heard on the Senate floor. “The Supreme Court’s decision today to decline to hear a challenge to California’s law prohibiting so-called ‘gay conversion therapy’ for minors is a milestone in our fight to outlaw this harmful and widely-discredited practice by licensed mental health providers,” he said in a written statement. “The court’s decision is also a sad and embarrassing reminder how New York lags behind other states that are protecting LGBT kids. It’s shameful that we can’t get the same legislation to the floor of the


CONVERSION THERAPY, continued on p.11

JuLY 10 - 23, 2014 |


CUOMO, from p.10



State Senate because of obstructionism by the Republican leadership — even though it had the votes (35) to pass.” Republicans actually won a minority of the seats in the Senate in the 2012 election, but were able to get control due to the decision by the IDC’s five Democratic senators to defect from their party and enter into a power -sharing arrangement with the GOP. After the session ended, a deal under which the IDC would return to the Democratic fold was announced. That development followed a commitment Governor Andrew Cuomo made in late May to fight for Democratic control of the Senate in the November elections. Advocates praised the efforts by two IDC members — Tony Avella of Queens and Diane Savino of Staten Island — in trying to push the SOCE measure forward, but Klein did not respond to press inquiries as to what steps he was taking. Klein faces a primary challenge in September from Democrat Oliver Koppel — a former member of the | JuLY 10 - 23, 2014

City Council and State Assembly who 20 years ago served a brief stint as state attorney general — fueled by anger at the obstacles he argues the IDC poses for progressive issues. Advocates for the SOCE ban emphasize that leading professional groups — including the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Associations, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Association of Social Workers, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry — agree that treating homosexuality and gender nonconformity as mental illnesses in need of cure actually increases mental health risks for young people in terms of depression, substance abuse, and suicide. According to one source familiar with the effort to pass the bill, despite the unambiguous limits on it, Senate Republican leaders pointed to concerns some religious communities voiced about their freedom to counsel young people unfettered by the state. No such group, however, made a public statement in opposition to the bill.

and advocates, including ACT UP, Harlem United, the Treatment Action Group, Gay Men’s Health Crisis, VOCAL-NY, and State Senator Brad Hoylman, an out gay Democrat who represents the West Village, Chelsea, and Hell’s Kitchen. “We have the science, we have the technology to solve this crisis,” Hoylman said. “We do need a task force.” Missing from Sunday’s announcements was Mayor Bill de Blasio. Since the great majority of the state’s new HIV infections occur in New York City, the city’s participation is a requirement for success. Dan Tietz, chief special services officer at the city’s Human Resources Administration, read a statement at the groups’ press conference that had the mayor endorsing the plan, but de Blasio himself has not made a statement. Tietz headed ACRIA, an AIDS group, until two weeks before. Activists also urged Gay City News to contact the White House for a response to Cuomo’s announcement. The White House was ready with a statement from Douglas Brooks, director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy.


New York, an AIDS activist group. “It’s the biggest I’ve heard.” While 3,149 is still a small number, it suggests that far more people may be taking the drug than advocates previously knew and that there may be a greater willingness to use PrEP than was previously known. The higher estimate comes as Governor Andrew Cuomo endorsed a plan to use new laws and HIV prevention tools, including PrEP, to reduce the number of new HIV infections in New York from roughly 3,400 in 2013 to 730 or fewer in 2020. This plan to end AIDS, which is supported by more than 30 AIDS groups, also envisions increasing HIV testing, increasing the number of HIV-infected people who are in treatment and have an undetectable amount of virus in their blood making them far less infectious, and greater use of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), a 28-day course of anti-HIV drugs that prevents infection in someone with a recent exposure to HIV.

After leaking endorsement of the plan to the New York Times, which reported it in a June 28 story, Cuomo formally announced his support prior to the start of New York City’s Pride parade on June 29. In a press scrum, Cuomo, who was joined by Dr. Howard Zucker, the interim state health commissioner, said the plan would rely on more testing, more treatment, and PrEP. The state has negotiated lower prices with a number of drug companies, including Gilead, to make the plan economically feasible. “We’ve worked with drug companies to make the drugs more affordable,” he said. AIDS groups, notably Housing Works, had announced on June 26 that they would hold a press conference prior to the start of the parade to demand that Cuomo support the plan. Instead, they praised him, though the groups are pressing for a task force to spell out the specifics of the plan. “We can end AIDS as an epidemic without a cure,” said Matthew Bernardo, chief operating officer at Housing Works, at the press event. He was joined by other AIDS groups

Kelsey Louie, the chief executive officer at Gay Men’s Health Crisis, and Matthew Bernardo, the chief operating officer at Housing Works, were among advocates on hand at the Pride parade to praise the governor’s action.

“The White House applauds Governor Cuomo’s naming of a task force to develop a comprehensive plan to end HIV/ AIDS in New York State by 2020,” the statement read. “We look forward to working with Governor Cuomo on this important initiative. The President’s National HIV/ AIDS strategy lays out a path for us all to work together to achieve an AIDS-free generation, and we welcome efforts to accomplish that goal.”

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NYS, NYC Comptrollers Pressure Hate-Filled Russian Social Networking Site DiNapoli, Stringer also question top LGBT-friendly US corporations on their overseas policies


New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer — joined by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli — took action on two fronts regarding global LGBT rights.



n a telling demonstration of how concern about the treatment of LGBT communities worldwide has risen to the fore in US domestic politics, the comptrollers of the City and the State of New York have injected themselves — in their roles as major institutional investors — into the issue on two fronts. On June 27, State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer wrote to 20 leading US-based multinational corporations seeking information about the steps they are taking to ensure workplace fairness for their LGBT employees in nations where their rights, status, and safety are otherwise increasingly under attack. On the same day, DiNapoli and Stringer wrote to Mail.RU, a Russian company that owns the majority stake in VKontakte (online at, a social networking platform that is host to several thousand neo-Nazi and antigay “communities,” some of which advocate violence and have uploaded content that is either



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explicitly violent or presents footage in which harassment and violence against LGBT people is only thinly veiled. The pension funds controlled by the two comptrollers have substantial investments in the 20 American companies to which they wrote and, to a lesser degree, in Mail.RU. According to a release from the comptrollers and a copy of the letter sent to the 20 US corporations, they were selected based on having significant overseas operations and records of “strong equal opportunity employment policies” in their US activities. The letter notes that recipients received a perfect 100 percent rating from the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index and have endorsed the proposed federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would bar job discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. According to the grassroots activist group Queer Nation, its members worked in recent months to “mak[e] the case” to DiNapoli and Stringer to put pressure on Mail.RU and and to raise the issue of internationalizing LGBT nondiscrimination protections among leading American corporations. The group of 20 companies the letter went out to was suggested by the group, it said. “We are appreciative of Tom DiNapoli and Scott Stringer for their action,” Ken Kidd, a member of Queer Nation, said in a release issued after the comptrollers announced their actions. “Their voices are invaluable in the struggle to win anti-discrimination protections for all employees globally and in halting violence against LGBT people.” Michael Ighodaro, an activist who worked with Queer Nation on lobbying the comptrollers, said, “As a Nigerian gay man living in New York City, I am happy that the comptrollers are taking this step to ensure city funds are invested in companies that implement pro-LGBT policies globally — especially in Africa.” Eric Sumberg, a Stringer spokesman, acknowledged the role the activists played in the comptrollers’ decision to move forward, saying, “Both the City and State Comptroller’s Offices had informative meetings with Queer Nation over the past few months.” The release from DiNapoli and Stringer stated, “Anti-gay legislation in Russia and certain countries in Africa compels companies that have championed LGBT rights here in the US to ensure their policies are upheld wherever they do business.” DiNapoli, in the release, said, “The momentum of the LGBT civil rights movement here in the US is inspiring, but LGBT men and women face a rising tide of discrimination and violence in some parts of the world. These companies have a strong track record upholding LGBT equality

domestically and we want to ensure their employees are protected from discrimination no matter where in the world they’re located.” For his part, Stringer said. “We want our portfolio companies to protect our investment for the long haul, and that means ensuring that their strong non-discrimination policies are enforced consistently across the globe. On this issue, I am confident that companies will find that taking a stand for what is right is also a way to protect the bottom line.” Even as they voiced optimism that companies behaving well in the US would also do so abroad, the comptrollers’ letter also contained a warning: “Historically, US companies have suffered reputational damage when they are perceived as being complicit in or turning a blind eye to serious human rights abuses in their international operations.” The companies contacted by DiNapoli and Stringer — in which they have $13 billion dollars worth of investments — are Accenture, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Coca-Cola, Corning, Dow Chemical, General Electric, GlaxoSmithKline, Goldman Sachs, IBM, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan Chase, Marriott, McDonald’s, Morgan Stanley, Pepsico, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, 3M, and Yum! Brands. In managing the massive pension funds for current and retired city and state employees, Stringer and DiNapoli are among the nation’s largest institutional investors. The pension funds, however, hold a relatively modest stake in Mail.RU — a total of $9.2 million. In their letter to that company’s Moscow-based chief financial officer, Matthew Hammond, the comptrollers noted that hosts “sites advocating and depicting violence against members of the Russian gay community.” They pointed to media reports that members of a group that styles itself “Occupy Pedophilia” lure gay men and teenagers to apartments in cities across Russia where they are assaulted and tortured. Videos of such assaults as well as ones where men are held under duress before the screen goes black and screams are heard have been posted to In some cases, victims are seen being forced to drink urine, and the bruising and cuts seen on some of the gay men make clear the violence they suffered even when their actual assault is not shown. According to Queer Nation, as of June 27, there were 679 Occupy Pedophilia “communities” on, up by 13 from June 3, despite statements from Mail.RU dating back months that they would work to curb the hate-related and violent content on the social media platform. Videos posted by those communities currently number 3,954, up from 3,933 in early June.


COMPTROLLERS, continued on p.13

JuLY 10 - 23, 2014 |


PRIDE, from p.6

On the final day of Pride Weekend, I was rested enough to to make my way to the parade early. After rubbing aloe on my new sunburn and stopping at Doughnut Plant, where I ordered a pink Pride doughnut, I made my way to Christopher Street. Covered in Pride memorabilia and homemade T -shirts declaring their sexuality proudly, people slowly filled the street. Standing in front of the iconic Stonewall, which sparked a tradition that has lasted



Queer Nation reports that there are an additional 1,593 neo-Nazi communities present on, affiliated with the so-called 14/ 88 movement. The digits 14 refer to the 14 Words coined by American neo-Nazi David Lane: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” The digits 88 refer to the eighth letter of the English alphabet — H – and are shorthand for Heil Hitler. In their letter to Hammond, DiNapoli and Stringer state that criticism of’s “association with the abhorrent behavior described above has been increasing in momentum over the past several months and creates the risk of serious reputational harm to Mail. RU Group Limited as a 52 percent interest holder of As fiduciaries we are concerned about the potential for a negative impact on | JuLY 10 - 23, 2014

[city and state pension fund] investments in your company.” The comptrollers are asking for a report on what plans Mail.RU has to investigate the existence of hate and violence on and to take appropriate steps to end it. Ighodaro, in his statement issued by Queer Nation, suggested the pension funds could go further in battling homophobia and antiLGBT violence around the world. “I believe the city should divest from any company that has directly or indirectly advocated for the passage of anti-gay laws in Uganda or Nigeria,” he said. “Those investments should be redirected to socially responsible companies within those countries. Making sure New Yorkers’ money is not being used to perpetuate homophobia or violence abroad is the right thing to do.” Mail.RU’s Hammond did not respond to Gay City News’ request for comment.


talk with friends or take pictures of signs about femme visibility or the right to abortion. “It’s not only beautiful because of dykes coming together from all ages and taking the street as their own,” Obler explained. “It stands for something that the LGBT community seems to stray away from. It keeps the idea of fighting back against what people perceive to be normal. It’s my own Pride parade, and I know this sea of lesbians will continue to march every year for what they believe in.” Walking behind the couple approaching Washington Square Park, I noticed a small tattoo peeking out of the top of Diebold’s pink tank top that read, “I will respect my outrage.”

45 years, eight women stood in a circle waiting for the parade to start. As a police car drove by with sirens blaring and lights flashing, the crowd starting clapping and Sasha Lamb, 22, turned to her friends, her face brightened. “There’s something ironic about cheering the police outside of Stonewall,” she said. It was Lamb’s first time attending a Pride parade. Identifying as queer, she was excited to see so many people come together in the spirit of being gay and being proud. “It’s phenomenal to see how far the community has come in the last 45 years,” she said as she scanned the crowd. “Look around, everyone is smiling and happy it’s a bit overwhelming. I can’t think of a better place to be today. I can’t think of better people to spend the day with.” The seven women standing alongside Lamb all came to Pride for similar reasons, but with different expectations. Another newcomer to NYC Pride, Sharle Kruger, 26, expected Christopher Street to be more risqué. As she looked down the street at the rainbow flags waving in the gentle but constant breeze, she was shocked to see how conservatively most people were attired. Aside from the occasional bikini or man wearing nothing but underwear, most people were fully dressed. It’s not the same atmosphere in

Sharle Kruger (far l.), Victoria Righthand (flowers in her hair), and Sasha Lamb (far r.), with five friends outside the Stonewall during the LGBT Pride March on June 29.

South Africa, where she normally spends Pride. “I expected to see a lot of naked people,” she explained. “Where I’m from, everyone comes dressed in gold booty shorts and nothing else. It’s on a much smaller scale, but the people get really into it.” Unlike her friends, Victoria Righthand, 25, is a Pride veteran here in New York. A few years ago, she scoped out her spot in front of Stonewall where she could watch the parade and get drinks throughout the day. It’s also the atmosphere that brings her back to the same spot every year. “To me, Pride is about celebrating the victories that we have already

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accomplished, but it’s also coming together in the spirit of Stonewall and using this huge celebration to make us visible so the issues we still have to face are visible, too,” she said. “So I’m here to celebrate.” The diverse group of friends waited a little while longer for the parade to start, and once it did all eight pressed themselves up against the metal police railing. I walked away as they started dancing to Big Frieda on the Diet Coke float. As I made my way down Christopher Street watching a sea of people cramming close up to the railing, I could see that there isn’t a wrong way to celebrate Pride. Just bring some sunscreen is the only general rule of thumb I can offer.

Kelly Taylor Brewmaster




HOBBY LOBBY, from p.4

The big point of contention in the Conestoga and Hobby Lobby cases was whether a family-owned business corporation could seek the protections that RFRA’s authors were widely thought to have intended only for individuals. In the 1993 law, Congress spoke of “persons,” but Alito found that the term “person” when used in a federal statute includes corporations and other business entities, unless that law specifically says otherwise. Lower courts have split over this issue, some arguing it is impossible for a corporation, as opposed to an individual, to have and practice religious beliefs. Countering this argument, Alito pointed out that states authorize the formation of religious corporations whose purpose is to advance religious beliefs and that Congress had recognized the existence of such entities by allowing them exemptions under the ACA. In fact, he noted, the Obama administration’s regulations under the ACA extended the coverage exemption to non-profit corporations that were not religious corporations, such as church-affiliated hospitals and universities, providing them with a “workaround” under which they would not directly fund the contraceptives. Alito treated these examples as the government’s concession that corporations can and do practice religion. Alito conceded the government could have a compelling interest in seeing that women have access to contraception, but found it failed to create a mandate that was “the least restrictive means of serving that interest.” Instead, the contraceptive mandate “plainly fails that test,” because Congress could have made such coverage available at public expense or have extended to companies like Conestoga and Hobby Lobby the work-around already provided to religiously affiliated non-profit corporations. Alito emphasized that the ruling is tailored to the specific circumstances raised by the plaintiff companies and expressed no opinion about whether it might apply to publicly-traded companies or to situations other than the contraception issue. He did, however, note that there are no reports of


publicly traded corporations seeking religious exemptions from laws of general application and suggested it was unlikely they would do so. Ginsburg, by contrast, sounded the alarm that the court was ripping a hole in federal — and potentially state — laws on a wide range of issues, including employment and public accommodations nondiscrimination protections. “Until this litigation,” she wrote, “no decision of this Court recognized a for -profit corporation’s qualification for a religion exemption from a generally applicable law, whether under the Free Exercise Clause or RFRA. The absence of such precedent is just what one would expect, for the exercise of religion is characteristic of natural persons, not artificial legal entities” such as corporations. Ginsburg quoted from an 1819 opinion by Chief Justice John Marshall observing that a corporation is “an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of law,” and a 2010 statement by retired Justice John Paul Stevens, in his last great dissenting opinion, in Citizens United, pointing out that corporations “have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires.” Alito argued that an individual or family should not have to sacrifice their right to free exercise of religion just because they incorporate their small business to gain the advantages of doing so. Ginsburg countered that employers seeking the benefits of doing business as corporations should also have to assume the responsibilities of complying with generally applicable laws. The court’s failure to state explicitly that RFRA would not provide religious exemptions for publicly traded corporations alarmed Ginsburg. “The Court’s determination that RFRA extends to for-profit corporations is bound to have untoward effects,” she wrote. “Although the Court attempts to cabin its language to closely-held corporations, its logic extends to corporations of any size, public or private. Little doubt that RFRA claims will proliferate, for the Court’s expansive notion of corporate personhood — combined with its other errors in construing RFRA — invites for-profit entities to seek religion-based exemptions from regulations they

deem offensive to their faith.” Ginsburg cited two examples of particular concern to the LGBT community — a 1985 case from Minnesota and a New Mexico case from last year, both involving family-owned businesses asserting claims of religious exemption from gay rights laws. The Minnesota case involved a health club owned by born-again Christians that denied membership to anyone they deemed “antagonistic to the Bible,” including “fornicators and homosexuals” as well as unmarried heterosexuals cohabiting and married women working without their husband’s consent. The Minnesota courts held that this policy violated the state’s ban on public accommodation discrimination, and specifically the ban on sexual orientation discrimination. The New Mexico case involved Elane Photography, which refused to provide photographic services for a lesbian commitment ceremony. Elane claimed a First Amendment right to withhold its services as well as an exemption under the state’s version of the RFRA, but the New Mexico Supreme Court rejected both claims, finding the company’s refusal to provide services a violation of the state’s gay rights law. “Would RFRA require exemptions in cases of this ilk?,” Ginsburg asked. “And if not, how does the Court divine which religious beliefs are worthy of accommodation, and which are not? Isn’t the Court disarmed from making such a judgment given its recognition that ‘courts must not presume to determine the plausibility of a religious claim’?” Alito had commented that religious objections to employing people because of their race would not be allowed pursuant to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but he failed to address Ginsburg’s more general objection. “There is an overriding interest, I believe, in keeping the courts ‘out of the business of evaluating the relative merits of differing religious claims,’” she wrote, quoting from an opinion by Justice Stevens, “or the sincerity with which an asserted religious belief is held.” She expressed concern that approving some religious claims and not others could lead to a perception that the court was favor-

ing one religion over another, and suggested that with the new ruling the court “has ventured into a minefield by its immoderate reading of RFRA.” According to Ginsburg, only organizations formed “for a religious purpose, engaged primarily in carrying out that religious purpose, and not engaged substantially in the exchange of goods or services for money beyond nominal amounts” should be entitled to religious exemptions from complying with general laws. Alito’s opinion was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, and Clarence Thomas. Ginsburg’s dissent was joined by Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan joined Ginsburg’s dissent in part, but said it was not necessary to decide — as Ginsburg’s dissent did — whether “for-profit corporations or their owners may bring claims” under RFRA, since they agreed with Ginsburg that Conestoga and Hobby Lobby’s exemption claim would fail even if RFRA applied. Since court ruling was based on RFRA rather than a First Amendment finding, it could be overruled if Congress were to amend the 1993 law to create, for example, a distinction between non-profit and for-profit corporations or to eliminate exemptions for all but religious corporations. The decision is yet another in a growing body of Supreme Court rulings expanding the rights and immunities of corporations by treating them as “persons.” And it signals the importance of making sure that proposed laws to ban sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination, such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, address the issue of religious exemptions carefully to avoid the problems Ginsburg highlighted in her dissent. Indeed, the ruling may require LGBT advocates to examine existing state and local laws to determine whether amendments are necessary to close any loopholes, since there are thousands of privately-held corporations and other small businesses that might be able to claim exemptions under this decision, especially since many states adopted their own versions of RFRA in the years after 1993.

JuLY 10 - 23, 2014 |

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BY PAUL SCHINDLER Three years ago, shortly after enactment of New York’s marriage equality law, I had the opportunity for a oneon-one interview with Gover nor Andrew Cuomo about the hands-on r ole he played in the fateful final days leading up to that measure’s approval by the Republican-controlled Senate. One critical factor in his negotiations with a small group of GOP senators — four of whom voted yes, providing the margin of victory — was language spelling out the rights of religious congregations to be free of any obligation to marry couples they did not wish to. When I asked the governor about the deliberations over “religious exemptions,” he made a point to tell me, “I will say, gratuitously, that it’s a trap for the gay community. There is no reason for the gay community to alienate the religious community.” Discussions I had at the time with legal advocacy groups, including the New York Civil Liberties Union, persuaded me that the religious exemption provisions that made their way into the marriage law were not in fact problematic. NYCLU’s Donna Lieberman was emphatic in telling me that faith-affiliated groups won no new “exemptions” or privileges to discriminate. In a broader sense, however, I think the governor was wrong. Of course the LGBT community need not alienate friends or potential friends among faith communities. But it would be naïve for us to forget that some religious groups are indeed hostile to our interests. And that, as the culture wars continue to rage — even if our opponents represent the attitudes of an ever-shrinking share of Americans — they are stepping up their efforts to enshrine in law whatever discrimination against us they can. Ironically, the right wing’s hysteria about “religious freedom” and their demands for “religious exemptions” represent something of a rearguard effort.

At one time, by smearing us as sick or as threats to their children or as a group seeking “special rights,” anti-gay forces tried to deny us basic civil protections altogether — in our personal safety, in employment, in marriage. But in 2014, it must be clear even to them they are losing that fight. So now they are the ones seeking special rights — rights, privileges even, that protect them from following the same rules governing the rest of society and that allow them a secure zone where they are free to discriminate against LGBT people. LGBT rights is not the only area where “religious freedom” is raised as a battle cry to curtail the freedoms others enjoy. We need look no further than last week’s unconscionable Supreme Court ruling that found that even private corporations can use religious freedom as a way to evade their responsibilities under law — in this case, to provide their employees access to reproductive healthcare otherwise required by the Affordable Healthcare Act. While it is stunning that the high court so radically expanded the notion that a corporation has rights as “a person,” it is not surprising that the religious right is as hostile to the reproductive autonomy of women as it is to the dignity of LGBT people. What is unique in the right wing’s use of religious freedom arguments in battling the LGBT community, however, is the assertion that civil rights laws should treat us differently than they do any other group in American society. Under the 1964 Civil Rights Act and provisions of law and policy that followed, religious groups have been granted leeway in making some religious distinctions in their hiring. They have not, however, been allowed discretion in adhering to other civil rights requirements — those, for example, barring racial or sex discrimination. When right-wing religious activists and Republicans argue that the proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act or the president’s pending executive order barring sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination

by federal contractors must incorporate exemptions allowing employers to opt out based on their religious objections, that is wholly unprecedented practice in civil rights law. What they are saying, in effect, is that Americans of all stripes deserve civil rights protections, but that the protections enjoyed by LGBT Americans will be different and lesser than those afforded everyone else. That is unacceptable and it’s un-American. As a long-marginalized community, we too often give in to the instinct to negotiate against ourselves in the hopes of gaining some ground in a very long game. That has been our mistake with ENDA to date, with our leading advocates co-signing a religious exemption that is far too broad. The change in posture staked out this week by the Human Rights Campaign and other leading LGBT groups suggests we have recognized the error of that path and are willing to alter our strategy. I hope that finding our own backbone can serve as prelude to our insisting that our progressive friends find theirs. The right wing may be making their religious freedom arguments from a defensive crouch, but they are remarkably effective in influencing the public discourse. Cuomo apparently found it politically shrewd to emphasize his view that gay rights advocacy should be careful not to antagonize religious sentiment. When an upstate town clerk refused to carry out her legal obligation to issue samesex couples marriage licenses, the county district attorney offered Gay City News something of a shrug and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, like Cuomo a reliable ally, declined comment altogether. Mayor Bill de Blasio, an otherwise outspoken progressive, refuses to acknowledge any problem in allowing church congregations to use public school space for religious services, despite clear evidence the practice is at odds with the principle of and crying need for church and state separation. And now we wait on the ally-in-chief, President Barack Obama. Will he hang tough in his federal contractor executive order for the principle that all employers must follow the same rules? Or will contractors who make religious exemption claims be given special privileges to discriminate? It would be a breach of faith with the LGBT community for the president to promise us long awaited executive action only to force some of us to pray for our jobs.

JuLY 10 - 23, 2014 |


Don’t You Play Me Le Jazz, Nat, Baby BY ED SIKOV


ou couldn’t pay me enough to sit through “The Pleasures of Being Out of Step,” a new documentary about the anti-gay jazz critic and First Amendment twister Nat Hentoff. Two articles in the New York Times provided more than enough nausea to suffice; the film itself, which recently debuted in New York at the IFC Center, would have caused internal bleeding. The first piece, a bland arts item by Larry Rohter, starts with a recap of Hentoff’s early career as a jazz promoter and slowly proceeds to elucidate his politics: “In the 1960s, sensitized by his friendships with jazz musicians, he spoke out strongly in support of the civil rights movement — the film shows him squaring off against William F. Buckley Jr. — and the 1970s allowed him to focus on what he viewed as growing government encroachment on individual freedoms.” So far, so good. But then Rohter slides into this: “These days, Mr. Hentoff describes himself as ‘an imperfect libertarian.’ He became a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, in 2009 and lately has been promoting the presidential hopes of Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, who, he said, ‘knows the Constitution’ and shares his position on civil liberties issues like surveillance and the use of drones.” Let us pause for a moment and notice the slippery transition from the civil rights movement — a term limited in its use here to African Americans, leaving out women’s and gay liberation — to the Cato Institute and Rand Paul. It’s generous of Rohter to call the Cato Institute “a libertarian think tank.” In fact, it’s a crank right outfit

co-founded by Charles Koch; his equally drastic brother, David Koch, sits on Cato’s board of directors. Some of Cato’s poisonous schemes are the privatization of Social Security and the wholesale elimination of eight cabinet agencies — Education, Labor, Commerce, Energy, Agriculture, Interior, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs. After all, why do we need a Department of Energy when the Koch brothers could just issue policies out of Koch Industries’ corporate headquarters? Rand Paul, of course, is the tousled-haired plagiarist and likely presidential candidate who predicted that the Supreme Court’s destruction of the Defense of Marriage Act could lead to legal bestiality: “It is difficult, because if we have no laws on this, people will take it to one extension further — does it have to be humans?” Rohter goes on: “In the film, Mr. Lewis [David L. Lewis, the director of “The Pleasures of Being Out of Step”] tracks Mr. Hentoff’s shift to what he regards as social conservatism to the early 1980s, when Mr. Hentoff broke with colleagues on abortion and responses to the AIDS epidemic.” Apparently reluctant to sour the milk by providing any details of Hentoff’s noxious proposals about people with AIDS, Rohter moves on to interview Hentoff’s wife. The same sssssh!-don’twake-the-baby courtesy held sway in the Times’ review of the film and indeed in the film itself, in which Karen Durbin, Hentoff’s former colleague at the Village Voice, says simply: “His first reaction to AIDS was not good. He was not at all interested in privacy rights for men with AIDS.” I’ll spell it out: Hentoff liked to differentiate between “innocent” people with AIDS and “guilty” people with AIDS. On what do you think he based his distinction? You got it: babies born to mothers with AIDS were the innocents, as were those who received HIV-tainted blood transfusions, whereas

the guilty were gay men, injection drug users, and in fact anyone who got it by having sex with an infected partner. In Hentoff’s warped worldview, one could actually be guilty of having an illness, though of course only one illness made the cut; there was never any talk of guilty cancer patients or guilty people with Parkinson’s disease. Hentoff advocated mandatory HIV testing long before there were any truly effective treatments for the disease. Theoretical individual liberty was key for Hentoff; practical individual liberty —freedom from being rounded up by the government and forcibly given HIV testing without regard for privacy — was something else entirely. Like William F. Buckley, Jr.’s concurrent proposal in 1986 for tattooing everyone with HIV at the physical site of their infection — asses for gay men, arms for hemophiliacs — Hentoff’s strident, even belligerent demand for mandatory HIV testing never got around to the specifics of how the program would work. In the darkest years of the AIDS crisis, what did the word mandatory mean in the context of mass blood testing? Would government vans have roamed through neighborhoods on the lookout for men with good haircuts and tank tops and punk rockers with needles hanging out of their arms? Would phlebotomists in HAZMAT suits have physically grabbed people off the sidewalks, frog-marched them into the vans, strapped them down on gurneys, stuck needles into their arms, and taken their blood? And who would have paid for tests administered against our will? The government? Maybe we could have charged it up on Amex and gotten points to be used for frequent flier one-way trips out of the country. Nat Hentoff presents himself as a crusader. On gay rights and the rights of people to be free from forced blood tests, he’s just another creep. I skipped “The Pleasures of Being Out of Step.” My stomach wouldn’t risk it. Follow @edsikov on Twitter.


Blasting Past the Dyke March BY KELLY COGSWELL


couple of Saturday mornings ago, I was sitting in a Toronto café watching the news when its World Pride rundown included a blurb on the Dyke March. They actually said it on TV: “Dyke.” And no buildings collapsed or fire rained down from the sky, though it was pretty hot. I even got a little sunburnt when I joined the dykes gathering in down| JuLY 10 - 23, 2014

town’s Allan Gardens, hanging out, and trying to figure out where their groups were meeting. Because the closer we move toward legal equality, the more official and officious our events. In Toronto, there was registration for groups and an order of march that actually had individuals asking if they could participate. On the upside, there were portable toilets and the use of a free wheelchair if you needed one. Tents were set up to give out NoH8 temporary tattoos. Others

took pictures of kissing queers for some project or other. There was an informational type booth that didn’t have much information, but plenty of cute volunteers, one of whom informed me she was straight but looked disappointed when I didn’t immediately applaud her benevolence. I was at the march to give out stuff about the Lesbian Avenger Documentary Project, the same Avengers who started the whole Dyke March thing in 1993 in Wash-

ington, DC, when 20,000 lesbians were Out for Power. In 1994, on the anniversary of Stonewall, the original New York Avengers hosted the first international Dyke March here, getting another 20,000 lezzies into the street to declare that Lesbians Lust For Power. It was amazing. All those dykes from all over the world, stepping into the street as lesbians, many for the first time ever. They danced. They shouted. They ripped their shirts off with joy. And they did it with a radical political message and didn’t ask anybody for permission.


COGSWELL, continued on p.26


PERSPECTIVE: Bringing an Epidemic to a Close

Governor Cuomo Makes History by Committing New York State to Ending AIDS A COMMUNITY LETTER


n Sunday, June 29, coinciding with New York City Gay Pride, Governor Andrew Cuomo made history by committing New York State to ending AIDS as an epidemic by 2020. New York, the epicenter of the nation’s HIV epidemic since the beginning, now becomes the first jurisdiction in the world to launch an effort to end our AIDS epidemic, even without a cure, by stopping deaths from HIV and eliminating new HIV infections. The governor’s announcement builds on recent scientific findings that early HIV treatment can reduce new transmissions of the virus by 96 percent and that two anti-HIV drugs given together, when taken daily as prevention, can reduce new infections by over 90 percent. Because getting all HIV-positive New Yorkers into care, with adequate support services, will increase HIV program costs, over the past six months, the state successfully negotiated discounts from several HIV drug manufacturers, comprising 73 percent of the state market. We call on the holdout companies — representing the remaining 27 percent and making important treatments — to expeditiously come to similar agreements. New York has the people, institutions, resources, and tools needed to end AIDS as an epidemic and Governor Cuomo’s announcement shows the way forward for other jurisdictions around the country and around the world.

In June 2013, a remarkable coalition of over 30 New York organizations, among them LGBT and AIDS groups, asked Governor Cuomo to be as progressive regarding AIDS as he is in other arenas by publicly declaring an end to AIDS in New York by the year 2020 and by appointing a high-level State Task Force to develop the strategic roadmap and plan to get us there. On June 29, Governor Cuomo took a bold step and committed to a State Plan to End AIDS by 2020. We continue to urge him to convene a multi-stakeholder State Task Force to map out the details of the plan — to establish set goals, benchmarks, and outcomes on a timeline between now and 2020 — and then to coordinate and monitor implementation. The goal is ambitious, but grounded in reality. New York State has always been a leader in the fight against AIDS. We have seen an almost 40 percent decrease in new HIV diagnoses in the last decade, with fewer new infections each year, while nationally there has been no decline in the number of new HIV infections diagnosed each year. Now, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation and New York’s incredibly successful Medicaid reform give us unprecedented momentum, putting more people, especially those at risk, into primary care and freeing up funds for support services vital to HIV treatment adherence. We also have the science — new testing technologies, new prevention tools like pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, and post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP, and highly effective antiretroviral treatments. An HIV-positive person on treatment that renders the virus “undetectable”

in the blood is not only healthy but also virtually unable to transmit HIV to others. With these advancements we can end AIDS if we have the resolve, even while critical research continues toward a cure and a vaccine. Over the past three decades, we’ve learned that any effective plan to address AIDS requires shared commitment: the political will of government, coordination between state and city health agencies, and the energy and dedication of AIDS activists, doctors, researchers, and service providers. In addition to the drug-discount negotiations, other breakthroughs over the past year include the affordable housing protection for disabled people with HIV put in place by Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio and new HIV testing laws that will increase our ability to diagnose HIV early and get positive persons into care while they’re still healthy. Now that Governor Cuomo is throwing his full weight behind this initiative with confidence, we have the political leadership as well as the science, momentum, community support, and social protections required to make the end of AIDS in New York a reality. It’s not only the right choice, it’s also cost-effective. Our current “stable” epidemic in New York State is expensive — in human lives and public spending — and unsustainable over time. In New York, 130,000 people live with HIV and 3,000 new HIV infections occur annually. These 3,000 new infections add at least $36 million in HIV medicine costs alone every year.


COMMUNITY LETTER, continued on p.19

PERSPECTIVE: A Call for Reform

City Must Catch Up on Right to Alter Birth Certificate Gender Marker BY LETITIA JAMES


he five boroughs of New York City are now in the awkward position of falling behind upstate Chemung and Greene Counties when it comes to transgender rights. The good n e w s i s t h a t t h e N e w Yo r k State Health Department’s new regulations allow residents to change the gender marker on


their birth certificates without having to give proof of gender reassignment surgery or hormonal treatments. The bad news is that that Title 24 of the Rules of New York City has not kept pace with these reforms. Recently, California, Iowa, Oregon, Vermont, Washington State, and Washington, DC led the way in dropping sex reassignment surgery as a criterion for changing the gender designation on birth certificates. The federal government

no longer requires it for updating Social Security or passport information. And the movement went international last month, when the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a report condemning these requirements as coercive and discriminatory. Although some transgender individuals do elect to have these surgical procedures, others would prefer not to. Under New York City’s current law, transgender individuals who hold out from hav-

ing the procedure are forced to use birth certificates that do not reflect their current gender identification. According to the comprehensive National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS), “only onefifth (21 percent) have been able to update all of their IDs and records with their new gender.” Since birth certificates are used for employment, one particularly disturbing statistic for New York City residents is that 90 percent of transgender individuals reported job discrimination and harassment, and 47 percent said that it involved being fired or denied a job or promotion. Not surprisingly,


CALL FOR REFORM, continued on p.19

JuLY 10 - 23, 2014 |



Every averted HIV infection saves the state over $400,000 in lifetime medical costs. Current HIV prevention and care saves the state $1 billion every year through improved health outcomes and prevented infections. The State Plan to End AIDS will more than double those savings, freeing funds that could be re-allocated to address other health issues. We have work to do. Although new infections are dropping in almost every other demographic, in New York State, HIV is rising dramatically among young men who have sex with men and transgender women. Our governor led the way nationally by redesigning Medicaid to improve health outcomes and save the state $8 billion. Applying the latest scientific evidence in the context of universal health coverage, New York State can also show the way for all to end AIDS. “We have won when we’re one” was NYC Pride 2014’s theme, the idea being that the marriage equality fight isn’t over until the LGBT community worldwide enjoys its protections. That theme also echoes a longstanding theme of the AIDS movement: “The AIDS epidemic isn’t over until it’s over for everyone.” Since Governor Cuomo successfully led New York to mar riage equality, more than a dozen other states have followed suit. By launching New York State on a sustainable path to ending AIDS,


CALL FOR REFORM, from p.18

the transgender population’s rate of unemployment, poverty, and homelessness is much higher than the national average — and this has been particularly true for individuals of color. Extrapolating from the data, the Williams Institute’s Jody Herman has estimated that “if rates of employment and housing discrimination found in the New York sample of the NTDS hold true for the transgender population of New York as a whole, then 11,600 have lost a job, 21,500 were not hired for a job, 11,600 were denied a promotion, 11,000 have been denied housing, and 4,600 have been evicted due to anti-transgender bias.” She concludes that “employ| JuLY 10 - 23, 2014

Governor Cuomo once again lays down a challenge for other states to follow. Governor Cuomo has chosen to make history by committing the full resources of New York State to ending AIDS in the next decade. We salute him for his leadership, we look forward to his appointment of a State Task Force to create a blueprint and implementation strategies for the plan, and we vow to work with him and all New Yorkers in making this commitment a reality. Perry Junjulas, Executive Director And person living with AIDS The Albany Damien Center Michele McClave, Executive Director AIDS Council of Northeastern New York Benjamin Bashein, Acting Executive Director ACRIA Doug Wirth, President/ CEO Amida Care

Diane Arneth, President/ CEO Community Health Action of Staten Island

William Moran-Berberena, Executive Director MCCNY Charities, Inc.

Denis Nash, Ph.D., Executive Officer Doctor of Public Health Programs CUNY School of Public Health and Hunter College

Sharon Stapel, Executive Director New York City Anti-Violence Project

Jennifer Jones-Austin, CEO/ Executive Director Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies Kelsey Louie, CEO GMHC Steven C. Bussey, CEO Harlem United Community AIDS Center, Inc. Barbara Zeller, MD, Chief Clinical Officer HELP/ PSI Charles King, President/ CEO Housing Works, Inc. Jeffrey Reynolds, Ph.D., Executive Director Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (LICADD)

Carolina Lopez, Executive Director New York Harm Reduction Educators Peter Gordon, MD, Medical Director Comprehensive Health Program New York Presbyterian/ Columbia Virginia Shubert, Principal Shubert Botein Policy Associates Robert Maher, Executive Director TOUCH — Together Our Unity Can Heal, Inc. Mark Harrington, Executive Director Treatment Action Group (TAG) Emma DeVito, President/ CEO VillageCare Sean Barry, Executive Director VOCAL-NY

Regina R. Quattrochi, CEO Bailey House, Inc. Robert Cordero, President and Chief Program Officer BOOM!Health Erin Drinkwater, Executive Director Brooklyn Community Pride Center

ment and housing discrimination against transgender New Yorkers may cost from $1.5 to $7 million in Medicaid and housing program expenditures, not including the additional millions in income tax revenues that could be generated if employment discrimination was reduced or eliminated.” By bringing its birth certificate law into line with state, national, and international norms, New York City will be giving itself a gift this 45th anniversary of Stonewall. Letitia James was elected New York City public advocate in November 2013, after representing Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospects Heights, Crown Heights, and Bedford-Stuyvesant on the City Council for a decade.


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

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

• All your health problems. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have or had any kidney, bone, or liver problems, including hepatitis virus infection.

• Take a medicine that contains: alfuzosin, dihydroergotamine, ergotamine, methylergonovine, cisapride, lovastatin, simvastatin, pimozide, sildenafil when used for lung problems (Revatio®), triazolam, oral midazolam, rifampin or the herb St. John’s wort. • For a list of brand names for these medicines, please see the Brief Summary on the following pages.

• If you take hormone-based birth control (pills, patches, rings, shots, etc).

• Take any other medicines to treat HIV-1 infection, or the medicine adefovir (Hepsera®).

• If you take antacids. Take antacids at least 2 hours before or after you take STRIBILD.

What are the other possible side effects of STRIBILD?

• If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if STRIBILD can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant while taking STRIBILD.

Do not take STRIBILD if you:

Serious side effects of STRIBILD may also include:

• Build-up of an acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious medical emergency. Symptoms of lactic acidosis include feeling very weak or tired, unusual (not normal) muscle pain, trouble breathing, stomach pain with nausea or vomiting, feeling cold especially in your arms and legs, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and/or a fast or irregular heartbeat.

• New or worse kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider should do regular blood and urine tests to check your kidneys before and during treatment with STRIBILD. If you develop kidney problems, your healthcare provider may tell you to stop taking STRIBILD.

• You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or serious liver problems if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking STRIBILD for a long time. In some cases, these serious conditions have led to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any symptoms of these conditions.

What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking STRIBILD?

• All the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. STRIBILD may affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may affect how STRIBILD works. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist. Do not start any new medicines while taking STRIBILD without first talking with your healthcare provider.

Who should not take STRIBILD?

STRIBILD can cause serious side effects:

• Serious liver problems. The liver may become large (hepatomegaly) and fatty (steatosis). Symptoms of liver problems include your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow (jaundice), dark “tea-colored” urine, light-colored bowel movements (stools), loss of appetite for several days or longer, nausea, and/or stomach pain.


• Worsening of hepatitis B (HBV) infection. If you also have HBV and stop taking STRIBILD, your hepatitis may suddenly get worse. Do not stop taking STRIBILD without first talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to monitor your health. STRIBILD is not approved for the treatment of HBV.

• Bone problems, including bone pain or bones getting soft or thin, which may lead to fractures. Your healthcare provider may do tests to check your bones. • Changes in body fat can happen in people taking HIV-1 medicines. • Changes in your immune system. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any new symptoms after you start taking STRIBILD.

• If you are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed. HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in breast milk. Also, some medicines in STRIBILD can pass into breast milk, and it is not known if this can harm the baby.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit, or call 1-800-FDA-1088. Please see Brief Summary of full Prescribing Information with important warnings on the following pages.

The most common side effects of STRIBILD include nausea and diarrhea. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that bother you or don’t go away.

JuLY 10 - 23, 2014 |

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

I started my personal revolution Talk to your healthcare provider about starting treatment. STRIBILD is a complete HIV-1 treatment in 1 pill, once a day. Ask if it’s right for you.

| JuLY 10 - 23, 2014


Patient Information STRIBILD® (STRY-bild) (elvitegravir 150 mg/cobicistat 150 mg/emtricitabine 200 mg/ tenofovir disoproxil fumarate 300 mg) tablets Brief summary of full Prescribing Information. For more information, please see the full Prescribing Information, including Patient Information. What is STRIBILD? • STRIBILD is a prescription medicine used to treat HIV-1 in adults who have never taken HIV-1 medicines before. STRIBILD is a complete regimen and should not be used with other HIV-1 medicines. • STRIBILD does not cure HIV-1 or AIDS. You must stay on continuous HIV-1 therapy to control HIV-1 infection and decrease HIV-related illnesses. • Ask your healthcare provider about how to prevent passing HIV-1 to others. Do not share or reuse needles, injection equipment, or personal items that can have blood or body fluids on them. Do not have sex without protection. Always practice safer sex by using a latex or polyurethane condom to lower the chance of sexual contact with semen, vaginal secretions, or blood. What is the most important information I should know about STRIBILD? STRIBILD can cause serious side effects, including: 1. Build-up of lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis). Lactic acidosis can happen in some people who take STRIBILD or similar (nucleoside analogs) medicines. Lactic acidosis is a serious medical emergency that can lead to death. Lactic acidosis can be hard to identify early, because the symptoms could seem like symptoms of other health problems. Call your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following symptoms which could be signs of lactic acidosis: • feel very weak or tired • have unusual (not normal) muscle pain • have trouble breathing • have stomach pain with nausea or vomiting • feel cold, especially in your arms and legs • feel dizzy or lightheaded • have a fast or irregular heartbeat 2. Severe liver problems. Severe liver problems can happen in people who take STRIBILD. In some cases, these liver problems can lead to death. Your liver may become large (hepatomegaly) and you may develop fat in your liver (steatosis). Call your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following symptoms of liver problems: • your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow (jaundice) • dark “tea-colored” urine • light-colored bowel movements (stools) • loss of appetite for several days or longer • nausea • stomach pain You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or severe liver problems if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking STRIBILD for a long time. 3. Worsening of Hepatitis B infection. If you have hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and take STRIBILD, your HBV may get worse (flare-up) if you stop taking STRIBILD. A “flare-up” is when your HBV infection suddenly returns in a worse way than before. • Do not run out of STRIBILD. Refill your prescription or talk to your healthcare provider before your STRIBILD is all gone


• Do not stop taking STRIBILD without first talking to your healthcare provider • If you stop taking STRIBILD, your healthcare provider will need to check your health often and do blood tests regularly for several months to check your HBV infection. Tell your healthcare provider about any new or unusual symptoms you may have after you stop taking STRIBILD Who should not take STRIBILD? Do not take STRIBILD if you also take a medicine that contains: • adefovir (Hepsera®) • alfuzosin hydrochloride (Uroxatral®) • cisapride (Propulsid®, Propulsid Quicksolv®) • ergot-containing medicines, including: dihydroergotamine mesylate (D.H.E. 45®, Migranal®), ergotamine tartrate (Cafergot®, Migergot®, Ergostat®, Medihaler Ergotamine®, Wigraine®, Wigrettes®), and methylergonovine maleate (Ergotrate®, Methergine®) • lovastatin (Advicor®, Altoprev®, Mevacor®) • oral midazolam • pimozide (Orap®) • rifampin (Rifadin®, Rifamate®, Rifater®, Rimactane®) • sildenafil (Revatio®), when used for treating lung problems • simvastatin (Simcor®, Vytorin®, Zocor®) • triazolam (Halcion®) • the herb St. John’s wort Do not take STRIBILD if you also take any other HIV-1 medicines, including: • Other medicines that contain tenofovir (Atripla®, Complera®, Viread®, Truvada®) • Other medicines that contain emtricitabine, lamivudine, or ritonavir (Atripla®, Combivir®, Complera®, Emtriva®, Epivir® or Epivir-HBV®, Epzicom®, Kaletra®, Norvir®, Trizivir®, Truvada®) STRIBILD is not for use in people who are less than 18 years old. What are the possible side effects of STRIBILD? STRIBILD may cause the following serious side effects: • See “What is the most important information I should know about STRIBILD?” • New or worse kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider should do blood and urine tests to check your kidneys before you start and while you are taking STRIBILD. Your healthcare provider may tell you to stop taking STRIBILD if you develop new or worse kidney problems. • Bone problems can happen in some people who take STRIBILD. Bone problems include bone pain, softening or thinning (which may lead to fractures). Your healthcare provider may need to do tests to check your bones. • Changes in body fat can happen in people who take HIV-1 medicine. These changes may include increased amount of fat in the upper back and neck (“buffalo hump”), breast, and around the middle of your body (trunk). Loss of fat from the legs, arms and face may also happen. The exact cause and long-term health effects of these conditions are not known. • Changes in your immune system (Immune Reconstitution Syndrome) can happen when you start taking HIV-1 medicines. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections that have been hidden in your body for a long time. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you start having any new symptoms after starting your HIV-1 medicine.

JuLY 10 - 23, 2014 |

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

- digoxin (Lanoxin®) - disopyramide (Norpace®) - estazolam - ethosuximide (Zarontin®) - flecainide (Tambocor®) - flurazepam - fluticasone (Flovent®, Flonase®, Flovent® Diskus®, Flovent® HFA, Veramyst®) - itraconazole (Sporanox®) - ketoconazole (Nizoral®) - lidocaine (Xylocaine®) - mexiletine - oxcarbazepine (Trileptal®) - perphenazine - phenobarbital (Luminal®) - phenytoin (Dilantin®, Phenytek®) - propafenone (Rythmol®) - quinidine (Neudexta®) - rifabutin (Mycobutin®) - rifapentine (Priftin®) - risperidone (Risperdal®, Risperdal Consta®) - salmeterol (Serevent®) or salmeterol when taken in combination with fluticasone (Advair Diskus®, Advair HFA®) - sildenafil (Viagra®), tadalafil (Cialis®) or vardenafil (Levitra®, Staxyn®), for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED). If you get dizzy or faint (low blood pressure), have vision changes or have an erection that last longer than 4 hours, call your healthcare provider or get medical help right away. - tadalafil (Adcirca®), for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension - telithromycin (Ketek®) - thioridazine - voriconazole (Vfend®) - warfarin (Coumadin®, Jantoven®) - zolpidem (Ambien®, Edlular®, Intermezzo®, Zolpimist®) Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine. Do not start any new medicines while you are taking STRIBILD without first talking with your healthcare provider. Keep STRIBILD and all medicines out of reach of children. This Brief Summary summarizes the most important information about STRIBILD. If you would like more information, talk with your healthcare provider. You can also ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for information about STRIBILD that is written for health professionals, or call 1-800-445-3235 or go to Issued: October 2013

COMPLERA, EMTRIVA, GILEAD, the GILEAD Logo, GSI, HEPSERA, STRIBILD, the STRIBILD Logo, TRUVADA, and VIREAD are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies. ATRIPLA is a trademark of Bristol-Myers Squibb & Gilead Sciences, LLC. All other marks referenced herein are the property of their respective owners. © 2014 Gilead Sciences, Inc. All rights reserved. STBC0106 06/14

| JuLY 10 - 23, 2014



East River Idylls

Well priced, conveniently located, Long Island City is tough to beat



Developed by Rockrose Development Corp., the Linc LIC at

The living room of a one-bedroom condo at 5-49 Borden Avenue.




ong Island City in southwestern Queens — running from the East River and Newtown Creek to Broadway and east to roughly 51 Street and Hobart Street — is home to some 70,000 residents, according to the Long Island City Partnership. Sometimes referred to as Hunters Point, the neighborhood is transforming itself big time — due in no small measure to take-your-breath-away views of Manhattan’s skyline, its quick commute to Midtown, and the amenity-driven developments that began popping up a decade or so ago. The Partnership reports that since 2007, more than 7,600 residential units have been completed in the neighborhood, with another 12,800 either under construction or on the drawing board. Chic restaurants and a vibrant nightlife are booming, while over at the 12-acre Gantry Plaza State Park die-hard fishermen try their luck at one of the four piers and others simply stroll the waterfront promenade. One of the two largest outdoor markets in Queens — the other is in Astoria — LIC Flea & Food ( is open every Sunday on 46th Avenue near the waterfront. Not only can you sample a tasty bite or purchase products from local restaurants and artisanal food producers, you will find plenty of venders hawking vintage clothing, antiques, and gifts. Cultural favorites include the MoMA P.S. 1 Museum (momaps1. org) on Jackson Avenue off 46th Avenue, the Noguchi Museum ( on 33rd Road and Vernon Boulevard, and the nearby Socrates Sculpture Park ( on Vernon Boulevard at Broadway. As well, century-old industrial buildings and old commercial garages have been recreated as must-see art galleries and performance spaces such as the Chocolate Factory Theater ( on 49th Avenue, also near Vernon Boulevard. For those up for a very quick detour, the Museum of the Moving Imagine ( on 35th Avenue at

A view of Gantry Plaza with TF Cornerstone’s waterfront buildings then still under construction.

37th Street in Astoria is most definitely worth a visit. Transportation to and from Manhattan is a snap, in one of several options. New York Waterway’s East River Ferry Service (eastriverferry. com) is a bike-friendly service that makes stops at Pier 11/ Wall Street, Brooklyn Bridge Park/ DUMBO, Schaefer Landing/ South Williamsburg, North Sixth Street/ North Williamsburg, India Street/ Greenpoint, Hunters Point/ LIC, and East 34th Street/ Midtown. On warm weather weekends, you can also travel to Governor’s Island this way. The E, M, and R trains are available at Queens Plaza; the N, Q, and 7 nearby at Queensboro Plaza; the E, M, and 7 at Court Square/ 23rd Street; and the 7 also at Hunters Point Avenue and Vernon Boulevard/ Jackson Avenue. You can also pick up the Long Island Railroad into Penn Station at Hunters Point Avenue. The G train, that mysterious line

with an emphasis on wellness, spa treatments, putting greens, tennis courts, cabana-filled sundecks, playrooms, swimming pools, and on-site parking. The neighborhood is also full of row houses, brownstones, and pre-wars. To be sure, there are plenty of units for sale, but fancy — and not so fancy — rental developments rule. Of-the-moment rentals are not just attracting younger and newly arrived renters, but families and empty nesters, as well.

that runs only between Queens and Brooklyn (with a Park Slope terminus) is available at Court Square and at 21st Street.

WHAT’S ON THE MARKET Trulia ( reports that the median sales price for homes in Long Island City from March 14 to June 14 was $700,000. And according to Streeteasy (streeteasy. com), the current median rent for studios is $2,535, with one-bedroom units coming in at about $2,800. Both companies are highly rated online real estate databases for buyers, renters, sellers, and real estate professionals. Along with property listings, they both provide neighborhood information and community insights. The housing stock includes fancy, tricked-out high-rise complexes, mostly along Vernon and Center Boulevards, that offer a host of pleasures and creature comforts — resident lounges, fitness centers

43-10 Crescent Street is currently renting studios to three bedrooms, including a huge 1,400-square-foot, three-bedroom home with 11-foot ceilings and a wraparound terrace. Among the other homes, many sport floor-to-ceiling windows and private outdoor spaces. Communal amenities include a private park, a bi-level lounge with a pool table, a roof deck with a lawn, misting sprays, squash and basketball courts, a bi-level fitness center, a playroom, a screening room, round-the-clock doormen, private storage, and on-site parking. Pet Services by SPOT include daycare, walking, grooming, training, transportation, and cage-free boarding. No-fee monthly rents start at $2,375. (

TF Cornerstone’s sixth and final residential building on the waterfront is a family-friendly development with spacious apartments and a sprawling amount of outdoor space. Known for its sleek, modern design that curves around LIC’s famous Pepsi-Cola sign, the building’s offerings range from studios to three-bedroom apartments with anywhere from 500 square feet to more than 1,300. All feature floorto-ceiling windows, hardwood floors, custom-designed closets, and Manhattan skyline vistas. A select group of units have outdoor space. Open kitchens have glossy white cabinetry and the latest in stainless steel appliances. Communal extras include a 50,000-squarefoot amenity deck with a real


LONG ISLAND CITY, continued on p.25

JuLY 10 - 23, 2014 |

The Manhattan skyline as spied from Long Island City.



sand beach volleyball court, two tennis courts, a reflecting pool, a sprawling lawn, a putting green, and a sun deck with BBQ grills. Additional amenities include play areas, a dog run, fitness centers, lounges, on-site parking, and 24-hour concierge/doorman services. No-fee monthly rentals begin at $2,295. ( “When TF Cornerstone pur chased this property in Long Island City more than 10 years ago, our vision for the neighborhood went beyond just developing beautiful buildings behind the Pepsi sign,” said Jon McMillan, the company’s director of planning. “We sought to create an entirely new waterfront community for our residents.”

A north-facing one-bedroom condominium (approximately 661 square feet) with million-dollar views of Manhattan from a private balcony is now available for leasing at 5-49 Borden Avenue at Vernon Boulevard in the Hunters Point section through Town Residential. Available furnished or unfurnished, its features include walls of windows, 12-foot ceilings, hardwood floors, and a washer/ dryer. The open kitchen is outfitted with premium appliances. Residential amenities include a lounge, a fitness center, a Zen garden with BBQ grills, and an outdoor fireplace, along with 24-hour doorman/ concierge services and indoor parking. The monthly rent is $2,700. ( html?webID=235159).

Also within the Hunters Point section, Modern Spaces has launched sales for FIVE Fortyone, a boutique building with just three units: a 2,040-squarefoot three-bedroom duplex with a 1,000-square-foot landscaped garden as well as two three-bedroom triplexes (1,596 and 1,616 square feet) with 472-square-foot landscaped roof terraces. Located at 5-41 47th Road, occupancy is set for early fall. | JuLY 10 - 23, 2014

Developed by Ascent, features include hardwood floors and custom Shaker -style cabinetry and appliances, including a built-in wine cooler, by Viking, Bosch, and Avanti in the kitchen. Bathrooms boast Kohler finishes, rain shower stalls, and pull-down teak benches. The building is outfitted with Sonos sound system wifi and an inter com system pegged to a cell phone/ tablet app, and each unit has private storage space. Prices begin at $1.7 million. “The neighborhood is seeing a tremendous amount of high-rises cropping up and we wanted to offer an alternative for those seeking the look and feel of a stand-alone home,” said Jennifer Dorfmann, the executive vice president of Modern Spaces. ( new-developments/queens/longisland-city/5137)

A two-bedroom duplex condominium at the brand new Millstone (41-18 27th Street) is now selling for $845,000. About 1,160 square feet, it features private outdoor space. In-home amenities include a washer/ dryer, Brazilian teak wood floors, and high ceilings. The kitchen is outfitted with Fisher & Paykel and GE appliances, white lacquer and glass cabinetry, and gray and white marbled granite countertops. The master bath, with its deep soaking tub, is dressed in floor-to-ceiling ceramic tiles and Brazilian teak vanities topped with gray CaeserStone. Communal amenities include a video intercom system and a roof deck. The building has other available units starting at $505,000. A 421a tax abatement is in place for 12 more years. ( sales/41-18-27th-street-unit-1bqueens-ny-11101) Correction: In “Hell’s Kitchen Savories,” in the most recent issue of Gay City News (Jun. 26-Jul. 9), the address published for Gotham West was incorrect. The correct address is 550 West 45th Street.


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with the group, wrote at the Huffington Post, “It seems that HRC, the largest — and richest — LGBTrights group in the country, could not be bothered to field a team for the largest LGBT-pride parade in the country.” Embedded with the Queer Nation banner carriers for part of the march, I noticed many on the sidelines seemingly perplexed by what “ENDA” was. The group’s Ken Kidd, who was among those passing out thousands of fliers explaining the objections to the bill, said, “Some people knew it was about employment equality, but they’re not adequately educated about it.” Queer Nation’s Ann Northrop


HUMAN RIGHTS, from p.7

ject to having their human rights abused. Almost 90 percent of sex workers in Singapore are migrants from elsewhere in Southeast Asia, Ho said. After their contract is up at the brothel that employs them, these migrant workers are often deported and put on a travel ban so they can’t re-enter the country. “Another thing is that trans women who are pre-op or non-operative are not allowed to work in these brothels,” Ho added. “It has to say female on the identification card, and they are only allowed to


COGSWELL, from p.17

I was warned Toronto’s World Dyke March wouldn’t have the same edge. Some of this year’s organizers complained that the politics had been stripped away since an earlier group had responded to the siren song of money from Toronto’s official Pride organization. And you don’t get nothing for free. Dyke issues, they said, were consistently swept under the rug. Like the violence we face, the constant harassment, the disenfranchisement, really, when so many young queers are booted from their homes and don’t make it through school. Uneducated, gender non-conforming, they can’t find jobs, much less a way to participate in civic life. In 2010, some outraged Toronto activists organized a Take Back the Dyke March that was almost as


chatted up HRC’s president Chad Griffin about her group’s objections to ENDA at a June reception — at which point he clearly had not come around on the need to make changes in ENDA and to seek a more comprehensive civil rights measure, as well. “He said that there are millions of people who need these protections now” and minimized the impact on those not covered due to the religious exemption, Northrop said. “I said that, ‘You’re the new guy at HRC and you could say that you’ve taken a fresh look at this and decided that we don’t need to settle for this bill, that the country is ready for something better.’ And he said, ‘How many votes is that going to get in the Senate?’ I said, “Who thought we’d get marriage equality so quick-

ly?’ I encouraged him to bring the bigger vision that he brought to the Prop 8 case.” In the wake of HRC’s July 9 statement, Queer Nation “commended” the group. Foreman, who now heads up the LGBT and immigrant rights grant-making areas at the Evelyn & Walter Haas Jr. Fund, released a personal statement last week expressing deep concern about Obama’s impending executive order, especially in light of the Supreme Court’s decision granting “closely held” companies the right to invoke “sincere religious objections” when claiming exemptions from civil law. “Hobby Lobby dramatically escalates the harm that will be caused if President Obama succumbs to

growing pressure from religious and anti-gay forces and (with implicit or explicit approval from HRC) puts an ENDA-like religious exemption in the promised Executive Order (EO) to prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination by federal contractors,” he wrote. “While largely under the radar, this is, in fact, a crisis situation.” And referring to provisions of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Foreman also wrote, “The only acceptable religious exemption is the one long-contained in Title VII. Anything else can spell disaster for years to come, including profoundly weakening the impact of future federal nondiscrimination laws and our hopes to secure meaningful civil rights protections in the 29 states that still lack them.”

change their identification card after they have completed the entire gender reassignment surgery.” Ho works with a lot of sex workers who are a part of the LGBT community. Eighty percent of the people Project X works with are tans women, and some are gay and lesbian sex workers. “Which is why I guess they picked me for this program,” she said. Singapore continues to maintain its British colonial era sodomy statute on the books, Ho explained, though social and official attitudes toward homosexual-

ity have liberalized significantly in recent decades. Still, the changes are informal. Political organizing and assembly remain subject to very tight government controls. Pride celebrations in Singapore require government permits and stay away from overt expressions of politics. The State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program’s human rights and gender identity project took its 11 international visitors to four US cities that offered the advocates networking opportunities with American counterparts. In addition to Washington

and New York, they traveled to San Diego and Huntsville, Alabama. Ho had the chance to meet with other advocates for sex workers and also attended a number of Pride events. “It’s been really great just meeting all these people, and seeing these organizations that are working toward the same thing most of us in the program work on back home,” she said. “One of my favorite moments was when we met with Spirit of the Cross, which is a gay church in Huntsville. It was quite an amazing thing to see that environment in Alabama.”

big as the official one. But in their estimation, it was too late to regain control. They’ve temporarily conceded the fight. Though this year transpeople — equally pissed with the official Trans March — were holding a competing event. I heard so much trash talk that when I walked to the front, I expected corporate logos everywhere, glum girls in pearls and twinsets. But what I saw was the usual sea of cheerful dykes who were dancing and flirting and waving clever signs. The crowd of 7,000 was led off by dykes on bikes, and included women’s health centers and one large group called Craft Action TO. Actually subsidized by Pride Toronto, they’d crocheted alternative Dyke March banners and an extraordinary umbrella composed almost entirely of tits. Guided by Guatemalan dyke Adriana Alarcón,

lesbians who had never touched yarn joined the new wave of craftivists, discussing politics as they got their craft on. There was no denying the energy. Even the dykes who’d helped organize the earlier competing march seemed happy. Maybe because in large demos like this, it’s the numbers that count. No matter what theme we have or signs we wave, the primary message of a Dyke March is in our dyke bodies claiming public space en masse for a whole two hours. After all, despite our growing legal rights, dykes are still largely invisible in the public sphere from politics to TV, not to mention the streets. Even the LGBT community would prefer to leave the L behind. The official World Pride Facebook page had lots more posts promoting the merchandise than they did for the Dyke

March or other lesbian activities. One event organizer complained that his dyke stuff, even when it was official, almost never made it into the printed World Pride program. Alone, a more radical march wouldn’t solve these problems. To bring attention to specific issues, we may as well piggyback on official efforts and seed their marches with groups of 10 or 15, each carrying signs of our own choosing. We could also use Pride Week to host Speak Outs or create direct actions by small groups around the most pressing local issues. The real question is how to harness that dyke energy from July to May, when the real work gets done. Kelly Cogswell is the author of “Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger,” published this year by the University of Minnesota Press.

JuLY 10 - 23, 2014 |


Fierce Farce

Dramatist Everett Quinton sustains the skewed tradition of Ridiculous Theatre BY DAVID KENNERLEY


hen an edgy, offbeat play transfers to Off Broadway, it’s easy to imagine the work has sprung from some fringy stage in the bowels of downtown Manhattan — or perhaps Bushwick. But “Drop Dead Perfect,” a madcap romp that manages to both skewer and honor noir melodramas from the 1950s, was incubated elsewhere. Stony Point, to be exact, in the wilds of Rockland County.

Peccadillo Theater Company and Penguin Rep Theatre at St. Clements 423 W. 46th St. Jul. 15-Aug. 10 Wed.-Sat. at 8 p.m.; Sat., Sun. at 3 p.m. $25; Or 845-786-2873

Helmed by Joe Brancato, artistic director of Penguin Rep Theatre, the enterprise could be mistaken for a long lost Charles Ludlam spoof. Propelled by a glowing review in the New York Times, the Penguin Rep production has landed at the Theater at St. Clements in the heart of the theater district, courtesy of the Peccadillo Theater Company. And who better to star in this “adult comedy” than the illustrious Everett Quinton, Ludlam’s longtime companion and collaborator in the fabled Ridiculous Theatrical Company? (Tragically, Ludlam died of complications due to AIDS in 1987, just as his career was taking full flight.) Quinton plays Idris Seabright, the daffy mistress in a Florida manse whose life begins to unravel. The production is transferring largely intact and also features Michael Keyloun doing double duty portraying the narrator and the drug-toting attorney and an often-shirtless Jason Cruz as the shady nephew from Cuba. The exception is Jason Edward Cook, who took over the role of an aspiring ingénue with a phallic fixation for the original actor who had a scheduling conflict. | JuLY 10 - 23, 2014



Quinton, who has at least 75 productions under his belt, recently directed the exuberant revival of the Ludlam classic “The Mystery of Irma Vep.” Now he’s happy to hop out of the director’s chair and get back on the boards. “The public likes to see me as these diesel women,” he said. “I was praying for a role like this to come along. It’s fun getting back into it.” Unmistakably, “Drop Dead Perfect” has roots in the genre known as the Theatre of the Ridiculous, spearheaded in the 1960s by John Vaccaro’s Play-House of the Ridiculous and Ludlam’s Ridiculous Theatrical Company and later embraced by Charles Busch and Ryan Landry, among others. The genre’s hallmarks include men in female roles, a campy queer sensibility, fierce double entendres, and sly cultural references. The more tasteless and tawdry, the better. Quinton believes that Ludlam’s troupe was among the first to draw on popular literature, cinema, and television as source material. “Our whole culture is doing that now,” he said. “You can’t deny the influence.” Brancato recalls being enthralled by the Ridiculous Theatrical Company, whose home was in a Sheridan Square basement in Greenwich Village. “I went to see the joy and the downright audacity,” he said. “Charles’ philosophy was: if you think it’s funny, if you know it’s nasty, if you feel it’s working, then do it.” Brancato laments that such risk-taking is scarce nowadays, whether in commercial theater or even not-for-profit, where the stakes are so high it might as well be commercial. “Seeing Everett in that world was amazing, and I’m ecstatic he has joined us in our throwback thriller,” he enthused. “His work is genius.” “Drop Dead Perfect” bears more than a passing resemblance to “Irma Vep.” Both plays open with a raging thunderstorm, feature a menacing portrait above a fireplace mantel, and are obsessed with flora like pyracantha and bougainvillea. Brancato feels the play embraces

Everett Quinton and Jason Cruz in Erasmus Fenn’s “Drop Dead Perfect,” directed by Joe Brancato.

a similar sense of brash abandon. “It’s a salute to what Charles was about, rather than an imitation,” he said. “Trying to replicate anything is not artistically satisfying and you always fall short. One can paint a mustache on the Mona Lisa and that’s fun. Trying to paint the Mona Lisa again? Not so much.” Brancato explained, “Some people see it as a wacky little thriller, others catch the allusions and enjoy it on a deeper level. It’s very naughty in the best sense of the word.” But was he worried it might be too racy for Stony Point? “Suburbia no longer has issues with risqué,” he said. “Theater is tame now compared to what comes into their living rooms over cable TV. This play is different from what we normally do. It was a brave step, and that’s what the Ridiculous was about. I always wanted to mount something like this.” A truism in theater is that comedy is much harder to pull off than tragedy. And while a play’s appeal depends on the skills of the ensemble and the creative team, Brancato credits another factor, as well: the audience. “A comedy is successful if people are ready to have a good time,” he said. “If you’re hosting a dinner, you can serve all the martinis you want, but if the guests are in a bad mood the party goes south.”

Brancato praised the unique, communal joys of live theater. “We used to go to the movies and now we do Netflix,” he noted. “We used to go to flea markets and now we sell on eBay. Synagogues, churches, and theater are basically the only places that we gather. Give me the frickin’ theater any day.” The subversive spoof is the brainchild of Erasmus Fenn, who, as it happens, is actually a pseudonym, adding a layer of mystery. So who is this enigmatic figure? “What can I say about Erasmus Fenn?,” Brancato mused. “He lives in the Bronx but is agoraphobic. He always wanted to pen such a tale. He has clearly put his ego aside and is letting the collaboration between Everett and myself live.” Although the Ridiculous Theatrical Company was born in 1967, Quinton didn’t join until 1976, by which time it had become less explosive. “The pendulum was swinging back,” Quinton recalled. “You could not get away with things in the ‘70s that you could do in the ‘60s.” He cited an early, particularly scandalous play titled “Conquest of the Universe,” based on Marlowe’s “Tamburlaine,” that lifted a shocking scene from Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus” where they bake the


DROP DEAD, continued on p.36



Strike Up the Bland Two musicals collapse under their own weight BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE

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original material and has written a story that blunts its artistry and softens the edges of Skakur’s lyrics, trying to make drug dealing and violence play to a wider audience. The result is a story that’s pallid and predictable, riddled with stereotypes and clichés. If they are so afraid of Shakur’s work, why did they bother in the first place? Had Kreidler truly embraced it, the show could have been something remarkable, rather than a pale copy of “In the Heights.” That said, there are some amazing performances in this show. Saul

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ne wouldn’t think that rapper and poet Tupac Shakur and the Beach Boys had much in common — at least until now. What they share — as of this month — are jukebox musicals based on their work that take their game-changing art and reduce it to a predictable show that does the music no favors. You’ve probably forgotten “Good Vibrations,” the Beach Boys musical that closed more than nine years ago. “Holler If Ya Hear Me” probably won’t fare much better. And it didn’t have to be this way. Music and poetry that celebrated “thug life” and a Broadway theater may not seem a good fit. But darkness and violence are often seen on stage — take Shakespeare. The real problem with this show is that book writer Todd Kreidler didn’t trust the

Tonya Pinkins and Christopher Jackson in “Holler If Ya Hear Me.”

Williams plays John, a man just released from prison who is trying to go straight. When allowed to abandon himself in the songs, he is a powerhouse of precision and focus that takes your breath away. Christopher Jackson as Vertus, a gangster wannabe, is equally outstanding. Tonya Pinkins plays a generic, long-suffering mother, but her singing, as always, is perfect. In fact, the entire company is strong. Director Kenny Leon is at his best working with the songs, making them clear and compelling, mining them for the drama and power the book doesn’t provide. Wayne Cilento’s choreography is consistently exciting and sharp. Good as these are, they are not enough to compensate for the lack of vision that made a mediocre, conventional run-ofthe-mill show out of a very un-conventional artist’s exciting vision.

Besides some game actors and another brilliantly ingenious set by David Korins, there was absolutely nothing to recommend “Fly By Night,” the “new” musical that closed last week at Playwright’s Horizons. This derivative, dirgefilled disaster cherry-picks characters and plot points from plays and musicals you might actually enjoy seeing and cobbles them together into a stultifying mess. So, let’s see. We’ll start with the folksy narrator who sometimes takes part in the action. (Cribbed from “Our Town.”) Then we’ll throw in a guy in a menial job who wants to be a songwriter. (The central story from “Once.”) Then, how about two somewhat naïve — but plucky — sisters who want to make it in the Big Apple? (“Wonderful Town,” anyone?) But let’s throw in some stuff about chance meetings and choices. (So fresh from “If/ Then,” this might be that show’s discarded material.) For

romantic tension and because the girl wants more from her life than the songwriter seems to offer (“The Fantasticks,” check), we can add a tortured playwright who’s both romantic and trying to be experimental? (Good thing Chekhov is in the public domain.) You get the idea. There are no credits for the book, music, or lyrics. Will Connolly, Michael Mitnick, and Kim Rosenstock take credit for the whole shebang — though Rosenstock claims sole credit for the concept — and perhaps that’s why the show feels like something done by committee. The score is musically immature, the kind of forgettable generic stuff packaged for children. And the characters are so undeveloped it’s impossible care for them. Ironically, the only character who seems real — the father of the would-be songwriter — is tangential to the proceedings. The cast was better than the material. Patti Murin made the most of Daphne, the girl who falls for the would-be songwriter but discovers she wants more. Allison Case did her doe-eyed act from “Hands on a Hardbody” as Miriam the sister who works in a diner. Adam Chanler-Berat, as the songwriter Harold, was charming but largely reprised his performance from “Peter and the Starcatcher.” Peter Friedman as Harold’s father is always very good, but by the time of his second act song the show had spun out of control and its emotional impact was blunted. Given these talented people, director Carolyn Cantor didn’t have to do much and it’s pretty obvious she didn’t. She just let them do their shtick, which is why “Fly By Night” was such an apt title. Though given the shameless lifting from others this show engaged in, it’s a surprise they didn’t call it “Much Ado About Nothing.”

JuLY 10 - 23, 2014 |


Communication and Connection

NewFest offerings examine many paths to surprising emotional bonds BY GARY M. KRAMER


ewFest, the city’s LGBT film festival, runs July 24-29 and showcases New York premieres of many worthwhile LGBT films. In this issue and the next, Gay City News highlights some of the standouts from the schedule of screenings.

NEWFEST New York’s LGBT Film Festival

On July 24 at 7:30 p.m., out filmmaker Karim Aïnouz will receive the festival’s Achievement Award, followed by a screening of his superb new film, “Futuro Beach.” This stunning drama features a hunky Brazilian lifeguard, Donato (Wagner Moura), bonding


Walter Reade Theater 165 W. 65th St. Jul. 24-29

Fabio Audi, Ghilherme Lobo, and Tess Amorim in Daniel Ribeiro’s “The Way He Looks.”

— often in a naked, physical sense — with Konrad (Clemens Schick), who is grieving over the loss of his friend. After Donato visits Konrad in Germany, their relationship deepens and changes. Things change even more when Ayrton (Jesuíta Barbosa), Donato’s young-

BRUCE LaBRUCE FINDS SOMETHING NEW IN SOMETHING OLD NewFest’s closing night feature, on July 29, is “Gerontophilia” the latest film from Bruce LaBruce. If viewers are expecting a typical radical-pornographic film by the Candian enfant terrible, they will be surprised. “Gerontophila” is a surprisingly sweet film depicting the unexpected love affair between a handsome recent college grad, Lake (Pier-Gabriel Lajoie), and Mr. Peabody (Walter Borden), an 81-year-old patient in an old age home. Bruce LaBruce spoke with Gay City News about his thoughtful romance as well as about fetishes. GARY M. KRAMER: Bruce, you made a charming film about a taboo subject. Were you out to shock? BRUCE LABRUCE: Yes, absolutely! That was the strategy. The idea was to do something shockingly kind and gentle because I’ve done so many shocking and often pornographic films. I wanted to choose a subject that was a transgression of a sexual taboo or treating a fetish romantically, but not to make it explicit this time. I expected more of a resistance, but people don’t seem too pissed off that I’m trying something completely different. GMK: What is the appeal of this fetish, gerontophilia? BLB: It’s the reverse “Lolita,” with the old man as the sex object. The closer to death the person is, the more erotically charged it is for the gerontophile. The fetish is coming from a place you can’t define. It is as mysterious for Lake as it is for the audience. GMK: How do you think your film punctures the taboo of gerontophilia in particular, and fetishes in general? BLB: I think there is a misconception that fetishes are nasty, or something to be ashamed of. But I’ve found there is often a great appreciation for the object of the fetish — that a foot fetishist appreciates the foot and the form of the foot. There’s an aspect of that here: Lake’s sexual connection to the elderly starts with empathy. All the characters in the film are experimenting and transgressing sexual barriers.

| JuLY 10 - 23, 2014

er brother, takes over the narrative in the film’s third act. Aïnouz’s deliberately elliptical style of storytelling captures ebb and flow of its characters’ erotic and emotional currents, which is what makes the film so mesmerizing. Also from Brazil is “The Way He Looks” (July 29, 5 p.m.), Daniel Ribeiro’s expanded version of his excellent 2010 short, “I Don’t Want to Go Back Alone.” This feature is one of those rare cases of improving on the original. Leonardo (Ghilherme Lobo) is a blind teenager whose BFF, Giovana, or Gi (Tess Amorim), assists him in school and often walks him home. Gabriel (Fabio Audi) joins their class and befriends Leo and Gi, but when a class assignment forces Gabriel and Leo to work together, the guys quickly form an intimate bond — and Gi is soon jealous. “The Way He Looks” charts the tender sexual tensions and burgeoning desires that develop between the two teenage boys as — no spoiler here — they slowly fall in love. This buoyant film is utterly captivating and easily the feel good film of NewFest. Not to be missed. Another film featuring teenagers is the made-for-TV Dutch feature “Boys” (July 24, 9:30 p.m.), Mischa Kamp’s sensitive drama

that traverses familiar coming out/ coming of age film territory. Sieger (Gijs Blom) runs track and qualifies for a squad with his best friend Stef (Stijn Taverne). Partnered in the relay with Marc (Ko Zandvliet), Sieger is unexpectedly attracted to him, and the two develop a homoerotic bond that becomes more intense as they begin stealing kisses. Sieger fights his romantic feelings with macho posturing and half-hearted dates with Jessica (Lotte Razoux Schultz). If there are no surprises about whether Sieger and Marc will end up together, “Boys” focuses on framing the conducive mood that makes that possible. Scenes of the teammates shot through a trampoline or sharing a moped ride together depict affectionate moments that speak volumes. If this slight film seems padded out with a subplot involving Sieger’s cute but troubled older brother Eddy (Jonas Smulders), it is forgivable. Hong Khaou’s “Lilting” (July 27, 7 p.m.) is a subtle chamber drama about the communication gap between Richard (out actor Ben Whishaw) and Junn (Peipei Cheng). Both are mourning the loss of Kai (Andrew Leung), Junn’s son and, unbeknownst to her, Richard’s lover. Richard doesn’t speak Mandarin and Junn


NEWFEST, continued on p.36



Fantastical World Shines in Style, Then Dims

Michel Grondy’s adaptation of Boris Vian novel succeeds best when the weather’s fair BY STEVE ERICKSON


rench director Michel Gondry, best known for “Eter nal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and his music videos, has an aesthetic one could call un-naturalism. He’s made two documentaries, one of which turned a feature-length conversation with Noam Chomsky into animation.


Gondry’s latest film, “Mood Indigo,” is adapted from a novel by French author Boris Vian, published in English in two different translations (one with the same title as the film, the other as “Foam of the Days”), and it kicks off with a tracking shot through a room of typists slaving away at Vian’s text. Gondry imagines living, insect-like alarm clocks, mice that clean windows by scratching the dust off with their paws, and a “pianocktail,” which mixes drinks according to the notes one plays on a piano. Even if Vian originated these ideas, Gondry brings them to life as images — no mean feat.


Directed by Michel Gondry Drafthouse Films In French with English subtitles Opens Jul. 18 Landmark Sunshine 143 E. Houston St., btwn. First & Second Aves.

Audrey Tautou and Romain Duris in Michel Gondry’s “Mood Indigo.”

“Mood Indigo,” however, succeeds only as long as its characters are having fun. Gondry’s sensibility doesn’t fit the tragic turn the story eventually takes. Colin (Romain Duris) is a rich man who lives in a apartment reflecting his eccentricities, such as his pianocktail invention. His chef Nicolas (Omar Sy) prepares dishes he learns from TV cooking shows. His best friend Chick (Gad Elmaleh) is obsessed with philosopher JeanSol Partre (Philippe Torreton) and has a new girlfriend, who’s related to Nicolas. That triggers Colin’s interest in finding a partner, and he decides to attend a party.

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There, he meets Chloé (Audrey Tautou) and quickly falls in love with her. Their life of picnics and meetings at the Eiffel Tower comes to a halt when she falls ill. Her sickness is suitably bizarre. A water lily has begun growing in her right lung. Colin attempts to cure her by filling their apartment with fresh flowers. The flowers and medical bills put a strain on his savings. “Mood Indigo” may be compared to “Amélie,” especially because of the presence of that film’s star, Tautou. However, Gondry’s visual style is well thought-out and a lot more pleasurable than that of Jean-Pierre Jeunet. As far as I can tell, he relies on analog special effects rather than CGI. The living alarm clocks were visibly moved frame by frame. Gondry imagines a whole world that’s completely unrealistic yet always feels believable. The film feels like a fantasy from the ‘90s heyday of the “space age bachelor pad music” revival. The English title comes from a Duke Ellington song, and the

majority of the film’s music does as well. Colin hates today’s pop. The film’s time frame is never clear. In an interview, Gondry says this is deliberate: “It’s set at an undefined date. Not 1947 and not 2013. There are references to the 1970s, because [pr oduction designer] Stéphane Rozenbaum and I are the same age and we picked objects that reminded us of our youth. Many of my visual choices are linked to my childhood, like Colin’s apartment for example.” Vian loved jazz, which obviously comes across in “Mood Indigo.” He also identified with African-American culture so strongly that he wrote a novel from a black man’s perspective and then claimed to be its French translator. The character of Nicolas might seem uncomfortably servile at first, but as the film progresses he comes across as a partner in Colin’s adventures, not just his chef. If the role has echoes of actor Sy’s Magic Negro turn in “The Intouchables,” “Mood Indigo” is devoid of that film’s “blacks are so weird and exotic” attitude. Here, everyone is weird and exotic. “Mood Indigo” kicks off with bright colors, virtuoso tracking shots, and characters who put on three-piece suits to attend dogs’ birthday parties. To say that it’s an exercise in style would be an understatement. As with Wes Anderson, little of the real world makes it into Gondry’s world. Anderson’s films, however, have often flirted with melancholy, even tragedy, as did Gondry’s best film, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” I can only imagine that film’s screenwriter, Charlie Kaufman, adapting Vian. I suspect he’d do a better job with the downbeat conclusion than Gondry and co-writer Luc Bossi did. Exhilaration suits Gondry far better than doom, even after he switches from color to black-and-white to alter the mood. JuLY 10 - 23, 2014 |


Growing Up in Real Time Richard Linklater chronicles a boy’s life in the sprawl of Texas

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he late French critic Serge Daney praised Eric Rohmer’s “The Green Ray” by saying its gr eatness lay in the way it created a unique sense of duration. The same is true of Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood.” I’ve never seen a film paced quite the same way.


Especially in its first half, which covers the protagonist’s life from age six to 14, characters pop in and out of the story with no explanation. In one scene, his mother is taking a psychology class. Soon afterwards, she’s married to her professor. The film is more than two hours and 40 minutes long, yet it flies by. The only r eal pr ecedent is French director Maurice Pialat’s work, yet Pialat’s films were deliberately jagged — one got the sense he wanted to piss off spectators expecting a conventional narrative — while Linklater’s storytelling is both elliptical and relatively gentle. At the same time, he manages to convey something profound about the way we experience time. When the film slows down in the second half, while the protagonist finishes high school and starts his first day of college, it suggests that he’s feeling the weight of every moment. “Boyhood” was shot in brief intervals over the course of a dozen years — something unprecedented for a narrative film. (In total, there were only 39 shooting days.) When it begins, Mason (Ellar Coltrane) and his sister Samantha (the director’s daughter Lorelei) are living in a small East Texas town. Mason likes spraying graffiti and browsing through lingerie catalogues, while Samantha is more extroverted | JuLY 10 - 23, 2014


Directed by Richard Linklater IFC Films Opens Jul. 11 IFC Center 323 Sixth Ave. at W. Third St.

Ellar Coltrane in Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood.”

and somewhat bratty. Their mother (Patricia Arquette) is separated from their father (Ethan Hawke). The family moves to Houston, and she goes back to school to get an MA in psychology. The kids see their father from time to time, as he takes them bowling and offers political opinions and awkward lessons about contraception. Their mother makes the mistake of marrying an abusive alcoholic. Like Kelly Reichardt’s “Night Moves” — the only real competition “Boyhood” has as the best film released so far this year — Linklater’s film combines an American setting with European influences. His characters never leave Texas. They move around a lot, alternating between big cities (Houston and Austin) and small towns, but there’s a sense of suburban sprawl and rural space to the whole film. None of its settings feel urban the way Manhattan does. “Night Moves” combines a European sense of alienation, derived from Antonioni and Bresson, with a landscape of Pacific Northwest campgrounds, dams, and farms. “Boyhood” is steeped in Texan culture, which includes the notion that it’s a good idea to give a boy a shotgun for a 15th-birthday present and then head off to church.


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BOYHOOD, continued on p.32



Seeking a Dog’s Life Jafar Panahi and Kambozia Partovi probe the confinement of life in Iran BY STEVE ERICKSON

under its confinement. When the Iranian government declares dogs “impure” and un-Islamic, banning pet owners from walking them in public, a screenwriter (Partovi) shuts himself up in his house with his dog Boy. He shaves his head and covers all the windows in his house with cur tains. Working on a new script, he’s disturbed by a nameless young woman (Maryam Moghadam) and her brother (Hadi Saeedi). They appear to be on the run from the law, though their behavior is odd enough to make the writer doubt their story. While he’s reluctant, he agrees to let them stay with him. The writer argues with the woman, and her brother seemingly comes and goes at random. Then Panahi (playing himself) turns up, and a twist takes place. The opening scene of “Closed

Curtain” — a long shot of a barred door — goes on for so long, with so little happening, that it resembles avant-garde director James Benning’s experiments in duration. Through the door, one can see people walking outside, but they’re far too distant to make out any faces. Throughout, Panahi and Partovi play with extremes of light and darkness. In several scenes, two characters talk in lighting so dim that they may as well be offscreen. The editing is extremely elliptical. In the space of a cut, minutes, if not hours, pass. Characters suddenly disappear and reappear with no explanation. Partovi’s character tries to create a private space for himself and his dog; “Closed Curtain” suggests that in contemporary Iran, that’s impossible. The first half of “Closed Curtain,” which centers around Partovi and

the young woman who barges into his house, is tightly focused. It’s dark, both visually and thematically. After that point, it introduces a greater number of characters into the narrative and lets some light into the frame. The reality of these characters is sometimes in doubt. Of all the films Panahi has made, this is the one closest to classic European modernism — no doubt the reason why it’s earned him so many Pirandello comparisons. “Closed Curtain” is complex, to the point where it’s not afraid to be confusing. “This Is Not a Film” wore its tiny budget on its sleeve like a badge of honor; one scene was even shot on an iPhone. As it happens, several scenes in “Closed Curtain” are also shot on cell phones, but it’s far from “This Is Not a Film 2.” It also feels much less like a Panahi film, although its two-part structure evokes his second film, “The Mirror.” The presence of a co-director was barely felt in “This Is Not a Film,” but here, Partovi actually makes more of an impression — at least as an actor — than Panahi, who doesn’t appear on-screen until the film’s final half. The ending of “Closed Curtain” has a disappointing lack of focus. Still, the initial mood of the film is indelible. “Closed Curtain” suggests a lot about how bleak life in Iran can get —with images of slaughtered dogs on a TV report as Boy lies placidly on the couch — while avoiding overt politics.

it makes a big impact. There are minor changes in the color and lighting of the film as it progresses, which may reflect technological evolutions at Kodak, but its look is consistent, which makes the speed of the narrative’s passage through time all the more jarring. In an instant, Mason’s hairstyle suddenly changes. Mason comes into his own in the second half of the film. In photography, he finds a real passion. A teacher tells him that he needs to learn discipline if he’s going to succeed in making a living, but he at least gets a college scholarship out of it. Linklater didn’t study photography, but his own craft is

obviously related. I’d be amazed if “Boyhood” isn’t autobiographical on some level, though the director brought the drama full circle by casting his own daughter as Mason’s sister. While watching “Boyhood,” one experiences the recent past as history and then realizes that it was the present at the time of filming. When Mason and Samantha go out campaigning for Obama, it was hardly certain he would be elected. The political references in “Boyhood” play as markers of time more than anything particularly meaningful. The film’s one false note is a condescending scene in which a Latino restaurant man-

ager comes up to thank Mason’s mother for encouraging him to get an education. If there’s anything truly political in “Boyhood” — and I think there is — it lies in Mason’s determination to live life on his own terms in a world where that notion is in danger of being reduced to a slogan advertising jeans. In New York, the summer is Linklater’s: on July 18, Anthology Film Archives (anthologyfilmar opens “Double Play,” a documentary featuring him and avant-garde filmmaker James Benning, and accompanies it with a partial retrospective, including several rarities.


CLOSED CURTAIN Directed by Jafar Panahi and Kambozia Partovi In Farsi with English subtitles Variance Films Opens Jul. 9 Film Forum, 209 W. Houston St.

Panahi’s partner in dissidence, Mohammad Rasoulof, recently made “Manuscripts Don’t Burn,” which played MoMA last month. That is angry agitprop, the kind of film likely produced by someone planning to leave his country for good. (Indeed, Rasoulof wanted to emigrate to Germany last fall until his passport was seized by the Iranian government.) “Closed Curtain” doesn’t indict the Islamic regime directly; instead, it shows the psychological effects of living


BOYHOOD, from p.31

But Linklater draws his storytelling techniques from films his characters might not have a chance to see theatrically in Texas, at least outside of Austin. “Boyhood” was shot on 35mm film. Were it shot on video, the 12-year production would be far more obvious; that format’s technology has changed so much over the period during which “Boyhood” was made that the earliest footage would now look rather primitive. Linklater’s direction avoids showiness, but when he wants to aim for beauty, as in the rural landscapes of the film’s final scenes,



losed Curtain” opens and closes with lengthy, mostly static shots of barred doors. That’s fitting for a filmmaker — Iranian director Jafar Panahi — living under house arrest and officially banned from his craft. Despite this sentence, “Closed Curtain,” co-directed by Kambozia Partovi, is the second “non-film” he’s made under these terms. It’s a lot stranger and more ambitious than his first, the largely documentary “This Is Not a Film.”

Co-director Kambozia Partovi as Writer, with his dog Boy, in Partovi and Jafar Panahi’s “Closed Curtain.”

JuLY 10 - 23, 2014 |


Pride Week Opera Verdi, Britten, Kern were on the program in San Francisco



| JuLY 10 - 23, 2014

Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony offered gay-specific proSTEFAN COHEN

an Francisco Opera presented three works during its summer season, smartly timed to overlap with Pride Day and Frameline’s Film Festival. Volunteering duties at the Castro kept me from seeing Patricia Racette in the beautiful Jun Kaneko’s beautiful “Madama Butterfly” production. But Racette — who sang both Margherita and Elena in “Mefistofele,” plus the title role of “Dolores Claiborne” this season at the company where she rose to prominence — also ventured a new role, Julie in “Show Boat.” The programming — surpassingly mainstream for a company that used to roll out “Wozzeck, “Katerina Ismailova,” “Lear,” and “Orlando” — also included the final (one hopes) revival of John Copley’s stuffy, unimaginative “La traviata” staging, which has served the company in “Classic Comics” fashion for many years. Laurie Feldman had tweaked it soundly without reanimating it. The sole arresting image was the well-lit (by Gary Marder) tableau opening Act III, in Violetta’s sickroom. Vladimir Stoyanov showed a solid, well-produced baritone of reasonably high quality. His Germont was evenly vocalized but faceless, all stock gestures and insufficiently alert text, in need of an animating director. One wants to like Albanian tenor Saimir Pirgu, who looks reasonably like a latinate leading man and has clear talent, but like his 2011 Tebaldo here, his Alfredo sounded dry, brusque, and charmless except in a few moments where he introduced some head voice into the mix. Flatness intruded at first; he drove after a more spintoish sound so much that loud, high passages were the only places the timbre really hung together. Serious restudying would benefit Pirgu; perhaps more technical security would free him to react more to his scene partners. Music director Nicola Luisotti — on some occasions quite galvanic — here provided idiomatic but sometimes rather slack support; “Parigi, o cara” expired due to an ineffective tempo. He did nurture Nicole Cabell, in the role of Violetta, with considerate allowance of rubato. The evening’s saving grace (besides Verdi’s music) was Cabell. Opening Night buzz was mixed, but by this fifth performance (June 25) she was admirable and likable. An attractive stage figure with graceful plastique, Cabell is blessed with a lovely and — rarer these days — individual sound. She’s essentially a billowing lyric soprano with good agility, extending to fine staccati in Act One’s rigorous demands. High C sharp — key here — holds no terrors for Cabell. One of the admirable things about her singing — setting her off from much of the competition these days — is her command of varied dynam-

the level of a cabaret offering, no hearts were broken. Heidi Stober’s Nola, with too light a voice, lacked genuine star presence. Harriet Har ris (Parthy) had some funny moments, but Bill Irwin, often a great actor, channeled Ray Bolger here and was just too self-indulgent. The audience clearly loved hearing this delightful score but clumsy amplification spoiled much of the dialogue where I sat. Next summer promises more variety, with “Les troyens” as well as a world premiere joining “Le nozze di Figaro.”

Elza van den Heever and Stuart Skelton in the San Francisco Symphony’s semi-staged production of Britten’s “Peter Grimes.”

ics and varied tone color. At first, rapid music passed with unincisive diction — and in this iconic part, every utterance needs verdian “parola scenic,” the expressive utterance a Muzio, Callas, Sills, or Scotto brought to it. Greater experience may bring that. Already, in more conversational sections, Cabell used the text with care and point.

For me, “Show Boat” (July 1) is the only great American operetta. Its relative seriousness, courtesy of Oscar Hammerstein’s question-raising libretto, obviously had an eventual effect on musical comedy as a genre. Plus, Jerome Kern’s tuneful music is often very effective. John DeMain used a reasonable edition, leading the orchestra well; they provided some sheen but didn’t always unbend when needed. Francesca Zambello’s well-traveled fiesta of a staging avoided almost any depth, since the cast was largely directed to deliver dialogue as brassy shtick and the visual emphasis was on cute l’il kids, balloons, and razzle-dazzle dancin’. Holdovers from Chicago in 2012, Angela Renée Simpson (a hilarious Queenie) and Morris Robinson (an elemental-voiced Joe) practically walked off with the show, though two of the other opera singers offered fine work. Michael Todd Simpson looked and sounded exactly right as Ravenal, capturing the tricky idiom and — mercifully — not forcing his natural charm on the audience. Racette danced and moved well as Julie, but laid the accent on a bit unrelentingly. Her two numbers were done with a real command of pop style and registration, but Zambello staged “Can’t Help Lovin’ that Man” without foreboding or pathos, and though one admired Racette’s accomplishment on “Bill,” which succeeded on

gramming, with concert readings of Britten’s “Peter Grimes,” highly effectively semi-staged and clothed by James Darrah. Adam Larsen’s fine black-and-white videos proved key in conveying the work’s sea-haunted atmosphere. On June 29, a very substantial Pride Day matinée crowd deservedly cheered the strong, moving work of Stuart Skelton (Peter) and Elza van den Heever (Ellen). The South African soprano, locally trained, showed a freedom and tonal beauty that eluded her in the Met’s “Stuarda.” Ellen’s contribution to Act II demands dramatic scope; van den Heever follows Christine Goerke and Brewer in actually offering the goods, and her acting proved very affecting. Skelton has patterned some touches on Jon Vickers and Anthony Dean Griffey — what better models? — and offered a powerful, beautifully sung and acted anti-hero, l ovely in head voice and at full Heldentenor tilt, lacking perhaps only enough middle dynamic. Nearing 70, Alan Opie (Balstrode) remains oak-solid vocally; his performance was full of subtle verbal and visual touches. Nancy Maultsby made a satisfying Mrs. Sedley, while Ann Murray — though she knows the idiom and her craft — remains a very mature top-free soprano rather than the contralto implicit in Auntie’s music. Eugene Brancoveanu made Ned’s words admirably clear but the timbre emerged too rough and Alberich-like. Veteran Kevin Langan (Hobson) continues to maintain a high professional standard. As Swallow, John Relyea sounded firmer and richer than for some time, though vowels were over-darkened vowels. Precise in pitch and articulation, Kim Begley (Horace Adams) made for luxury casting. Tilson Thomas predictably went to town on the score’s showier bits. Some more contemplative stretches required more soul, but the string playing — in particular — was excellent. Ragnar Bohlin’s chorus excelled in this very memorable show. David Shengold ( writes about opera for many venues.



Imperishable Vamps Film Forum looks at the ladies of noir; a dancin’ man creates a true legacy BY DAVID NOH




he mesmerizing world of film noir of fers the per fect dark, cool respite from summer’s heat and, starting July 18, Film Forum presents “Femmes Noir” (209 W. Houston St., through Aug. 7, It’s a comprehensive run-down of titles featuring Hollywood’s most iconic actresses being alluring, mysterious, treacherous and even downright murderous. The imperturbably gorgeous Louise Brooks in G.W. Pabst’s pitiless Frank Wedekind adaptation “Pandora’s Box” (1929; Jul. 21) kicks things off silently in 1928, but the real genre originator was probably Mary Astor in “The Maltese Falcon” (1941; Jul. 25). This classically beautiful, always underrated actress, every bit the equal of Davis, Hepburn, or Stanwyck, but with far more range than any of them, made Dashiell Hammett’s Brigid O’Shaughnessy an intriguingly ladylike, ultra-feminine, and delicate damsel in distress, whose dainty facade could suddenly drop in an instant — as when she viciously attacks Peter Lorre’s oily homosexual Joel Cairo in their competitive race for that titular treasure. Her canny director, John Huston, advised her to run around the set before shooting a scene as, in his opinion, compulsive liars like Brigid were always a little out of breath. Astor’s Brigid was an archetype, but it’s amazing how varied the villainnesses are in this extremely well-played series, with their dazzlingly diverse displays of sensuality. There’s Claire Trevor’s hard-edged, sour lemon acerbity in “Murder, My Sweet” (1944; Jul. 25); Gene Tierney’s utterly glacial brand of evil in “Leave Her to Heaven” (1945; Jul. 20-21); Lana Turner’s pouting petulance in “The Postman Always Rings Twice” (1946; Jul. 18-19); Joan Bennett’s abrasively common trampiness in “Scarlet Street” (1945; Jul. 24), and Peggy Cummins’ unformed nymphet precocity in “Gun Crazy” (1949, Jul. 27). The two-ton lugubriousness,

Gene Tierney in John M. Stahl’s “Leave Her to Heaven” (1945).

undeniably hypnotic, of Eternal Victim Joan Crawford is represented in “Sudden Fear” (1952, Jul. 29) and her definitive rags-to-riches saga “Mildred Pierce” (1945, Jul. 18-19, 31) — although it’s impossible to ever take the latter seriously again if you see Carol Burnett’s “Mildred Fierce” take-off. Barbara Stanwyck was perhaps the absolute queen of the genre, insanely malevolent in the creepy near Greek tragedy “The Strange Love of Martha Ivers” (1946; Jul. 31) and, of course, in the greatest of all noirs, “Double Indemnity” (1944; a 70th anniversary celebration Aug. 1-7), in which she combines an anklet, hilariously worn sunglasses, tight angora sweaters, and one of the worst wigs in all cinema to make hateful histrionic history. Stanwyck’s direct opposite would be the luscious Rita Hayworth who, in “Gilda” (1946, Jul. 23) and “Lady from Shanghai” (1947, Jul. 24), seems the epitome of softly compliant, voluptuous womanhood, of whom it’s nigh impossible to believe anything bad. Marilyn Monroe in “Niagara” (1953; Jul. 22) continues this nuzzlingly sexy tradition, with perhaps a soupçon more of flint to her nature. The more modern era is represented by the searingly ferocious Glenn Close’s “Fatal Attraction” (1987, Jul. 30) with its classic female stalker line, “I’m not going

to be ignored!” There’s also the strenuous Kathleen Turner in “Body Heat” (1981, Jul. 30), a good example of how not to do it, for the essential noir dame should never let the sweat show. But I can’t let my little tribute to these delicious dames end without saluting my favorite lady among them, Marie Windsor’s Sherry in Kubrick’s “The Killing” (1956, Jul. 26). She’s an unmitigated c-word in her cruelly dismissive (and side-splitting) scene with her chump of a husband (eternal chump Elisha Cook, Jr.), but so entertaining with her relentless put-downs and unbearably humpy secret stud on the side (a pre-Ben Casey Vince Edwards, positively drool-inducing trade here).

After a lifetime in showbiz as a super-prolific dancer and director, Grover Dale, who turns 79 on July 22, has become the Answer Man. With his website, “,” whose mission statement is “to empower dancers and choreographers to think, to grow, and to create satisfying careers for themselves,” he is doing an invaluable service to performers of all ages. “I guess I’ve created this for myself, like a father figure to hundreds of dancers on the Internet. I say to the kids, ‘Look, you’ve already got everything you need

inside you. It’s just going to keep coming out if you allow it. Be present, get in the room with your colleagues,’ and they are really creating the website with demo reels that are remarkable. They’re building careers with this technology they’re comfortable with, and I’m just sorry I won’t be around 40 years from now to see how their careers developed because they’re producing themselves.’ Dale’s story started in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, a steel town south of Pittsburgh, and he showed me a picture of himself as a tiny child sitting on some steps outside of a ramshackle house. “This is where my creative life began on these steps my grandfather built,” he said. “They were my safety zone where I would sit, and they saved me from what was going on in our house. My mother had married this alcoholic guy who worked in the steel mill and it was crazy. “Somehow, I just longed to go somewhere else, and one day a neighbor lady saw me sitting there and said, ‘Grover, if you take my son Jimmy down to the dancing school, I’ll pay you a dollar a week and also pay for your tap class. That started everything, and little did she know she was my dance angel, launching my life, and I wish I remembered her name.” Dale ended up starting his own dance school at 15 (“with 120 dancers, incredible!”), but “I walked away from my business — it never dawned on me that I could sell it — to come to New York in 1953. I got a job selling hot dogs and orange juice at Nedick’s and quickly landed a job as a dancer on ‘The Jackie Gleason Show.’ There were then nine network musical shows in New York, and I worked alongside Paul Taylor, Herbert Ross, Joe Layton, Tony Mordente, and so many others. “When Tony and I, who were on Broadway in ‘Lil Abner,’ landed our jobs in ‘West Side Story,’ the chorus boys pinned us down on the dressing room floor and shaved our crotches, so we would remember them for the next four months,


IN THE NOH, continued on p.35

JuLY 10 - 23, 2014 |


Marilyn Monroe in Henry Hathaway’s “Niagara” (1953).


IN THE NOH, from p.34

itching and scratching in our dance belts! I played Snowboy in ‘West Side,’ and that first night, when the curtain came down, there was complete silence, so we all thought it was a flop. Then the curtain went up and the audience went crazy.” That started a special relationship between the show’s tortured genius director, Jerome Robbins, and Dale, who went from being his dancer to his prized assistant. “I worked for him for over 30 years, and the shit could hit the fan, baby, but he had other sides to him,” he recalled. “When his show ‘Jerome Robbins’ Broadway’ came up, he wanted to hire me and promised I would get co-director billing. He said, ‘I feel that if something goes wrong and I can’t make it, I know that you’ll take care of it, you’re my insurance policy.’ “The heart of that man, and the wisdom! He knew what would touch an audience, and when he choreographed his process never involved using a mirror like most choreographers. It got to the point where I would be standing behind him and just by watching the back of his neck could almost sense what he was going to do. “We couldn’t afford to take it out of town, so we had this nine-month rehearsal period up in Purchase and got to do two performances on a bare stage with little lighting and no sets or costumes. We stripped the show down and it was spectacular, the way it should have been done, with the costs split in half and producers loving us forever. | JuLY 10 - 23, 2014

“My job was to storyboard the entire conception, but when I finished and went to see Jerry, he was in tears. ‘Grover,’ he said, ‘I can’t do it. All the money has been committed to build the sets and I promised the writers of all those shows we’re using that we would do it exactly as the originals.’ “He caved in and that was the beginning of a change in our relationship. My gut tells me that because I knew the truth of what that show should have been, it then became hard for him to be around me. It was difficult because, every time he saw me, I was like a reminder of this, and I still have those drawings.” Dale’s Wikipedia entry lists his personal life as having included relationships with Anthony Perkins and actress Anita Morris. “Just those two?” Dale chuckled. “Ten years with Tony and 20 with Anita. But they haven’t even touched the tip of the iceberg!” “At a certain time, I was mar riage material, but I had no intentions of being that until I met Anita. In response to a Village Voice ad I had placed seeking dancers for the Lenox Arts Center, she sent a bizarre picture of herself in a white plastic face mask and black leotard, bent over in a back bend with her arms on the floor. She was the leading lady of a mime theater and I thought, ‘Oh, please, what nerve!’ “There were two piles of dancers’ photographs on my desk, a ‘yes’ and a ‘no,’ and my hand was on its way to the ‘no’ pile when it stopped.


IN THE NOH, continued on p.36

Baruch Performing Arts Center & TGW Acting Studio present


Taming of The Shrew a Play by william Shakespeare Directed by Thomas g. waites

July 10-August 3 / $35 Tickets: 212-352-3101 or online at

25th St between Lexington & Third Avenues Use Code GCN for $8 discount! 35



Ben Wishaw in Hong Khaou’s “Lilting,” screening July 27.


DROP DEAD, from p.27

two sons in a pie and feed them to the Emperor. “[One actor] put nine cocktail franks up his ass and shit them out onstage in front of the public,” Quinton said. “Scatological humor represents anger in the theater, and Ridiculous Theatre was borne out of rage.” In fact, Quinton believes that the Theatre of the Ridiculous offered the first honest gay voice on stage.


IN THE NOH, from p.35

I had to meet this person and see who the fuck would do this. A week later she shows, this stunning redheaded beauty and literally my life was changed in a second, like with my dance angel. I never identified as bisexual, I always just said I’m gay, but I just happened to fall in love with a woman, and she wasn’t my first. I never went to bed with Liza, but we were well on our way, if I could have just gotten her husband [Peter Allen] off my back. He was such a trip! “I met Tony when I was cast as understudy to him in the show ‘Greenwillow.’ I had first seen him in a magazine and thought, ‘That looks like me! Young small-town kid.’ He did ‘Psycho’ right before our show, and that film was a blessing and a curse for it typecast him forever. I remember how wonderful he was in films like ‘Friendly Persuasion,’ and he could never get a part like that again. “It was the 1960s and we lived together but never went out to


NEWFEST, from p.29

does not speak English, so Richard hires Vann (Naomi Christie) to help translate and bridge the gulf between them. “Lilting” is a bit stagy given the construct of Junn and Richard each talking through Kai against the backdrop of the mother imagining her late son and the surviving lover remembering him in flashbacks. Moments where Kai is translating can often having a static feel. Still, the film deftly addresses the loss both mother and lover suffer. Junn feels lonely and suffocated, while Richard copes with survivor’s guilt while having to navigate the prickly Junn’s jealousy. “Lilting” builds to an emotionally powerful climax, and the performances by Whishaw and Cheng, especially, are very affecting.

A lesbian entry, Daniel Armando’s “What It Was” (July 26, 4 p.m.) is a poetic meditation on longing and desire as Adina (Arlene Chico-Lugo) faces her fears and searches for love and self-worth in New York. The story hopscotches back and forth in time, chronicling her relationships with Toni (Deirdre Herlihy), Hilary (Melissa Navia), and Mondi (Brandon Smalls) — each of whom offers affection but also complications. The film is beautifully shot, with lovely scenes of Adina in the city — on the subway, crossing bridges, and on the streets. An especially intimate sequence has Hilary painting Adina’s body. If Adina’s poignant voice-overs sometimes risk seeming pretentious, they also contribute to the film’s ephemeral quality.

“We were an oppressed minority group with no rights, and this theater allowed us to say, ‘We’re queer and you can go fuck yourself if you don’t like that,’” he said. While no cocktail franks appear in “Drop Dead Perfect,” there is a bit of racy business involving a crème sandwich cookie. Another prolific Ridiculous acolyte, Charles Busch (“Vampire Lesbians of Sodom”), is often compared to — and confused with — Charles Ludlam. I couldn’t help wondering

if Quinton and Busch have a fuming rivalry — you know, kind of like Joan Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland. “In the early years I was a bit jealous,” Quinton admitted. “He was an upstart. But we have been friends for a long time. I love Charles and consider him a dear heart. I don’t know how he feels about me.” Although rehearsals prevented Quinton from joining New York’s recent Gay Pride celebrations, he did manage to catch some of the

parade. “There was the cutest cop,” he said excitedly. “He was very friendly and had this beatific smile. In the olden days, the cops were not friendly to us. In fact, every time the gay cops would march by in the parade, the straight cops would turn their backs on them.” Quinton continued, “I love that we stop traffic and that we make police work overtime to protect us. We are taxpayers, too. We deserve it.”

restaurants together. I loved his mother, and I met Anita when I was with Tony. I remember driving into the parking lot of the Arts Center and she was standing there, and when she saw me she had that look of when a three-year-old looks at you and just runs to you. No one had ever done that and I was like, ‘Dear God,’ and that was the beginning. We had our son, Badge, in 1978. “I left Tony and then he met Berry Berenson, and we all got married within three weeks of each other. Everyone we knew thought we were insane, that we had some kind of agenda with these two women, and we all lived together in the same house for a while in Chelsea on 21st Street. We took the garden apartment and they were in the main part of the house. Our families got together on certain occasions. They were very social, so it was a regular thing to go to their LA house and hang out.” Perkins died of AIDS in 1992, Morris succumbed to ovarian cancer in 1994, and Berenson perished aboard American Airlines flight 11

on 9/ 11, making Dale the sole survivor of this fascinating menage. “Anita’s death was devastating and it took me five years before I saw anybody, a lot of healing. It never occurred to me that she would go before me. I was nine years older and it was something I needed to go through, having never dealt with losing somebody like that.” Dale appeared in Noël Coward’s “Sail Away” in London’s West End in 1962 : “I was doing ‘West Side Story’ on my first trip to London. The stage manager announced, ‘There’s a man named Noël Coward coming up to your dressing room.’ Everybody laughed in disbelief and then he appeared and said, ‘Young man, I would like to invite you to supper to talk to you about playing the juvenile lead in my new musical.’ Dinner turned out to be with Marlene Dietrich and Alain Delon! I couldn’t speak, so Noël said, ‘Come to my hotel room tomorrow and I will play you your songs.’ Which he did, he was so wonderful, and it was great to see someone at his

level be able to say, ‘Something’s wrong with this show.’ And then listen to the choreographer and have him take over the direction, which Joe Layton did to make it work beautifully. They had two female leads and they took one out, and kept Elaine [Stritch]. “Speaking of my romances, Elaine and I were engaged to be married in London. What were we thinking? We even got a marriage license! She never talks about that one, but she was so much fun to live with, her laugh! Those were her drinking days. We had a house on Anderson Street right behind the pub, so it was the perfect location. So funny because all I wanted to do was meet men and I couldn’t get anybody’s attention. And then, 30 years later, some actor writes on the Internet that every gay man in London wanted me! Ohmigod, how stupid could I have been!” Contact David Noh at Inthenoh@, follow him on Twitter @ in_the_noh, and check out his blog at

JuLY 10 - 23, 2014 |

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presents the second half of her electric guitar radio musical, “Postcards from Nevermore,” visually scored by a projection from Anna Hovhannessian. Betsy Housten reads from her upcoming zine about queerness, quick fixes, and questionable choices, while Rachel Kerry performs “The Heart Demands a Superhero Vogue Battle,” a fierce spoken word/movement piece performed in spandex, masks, and at least two capes. Bureau of General Services — Queer Division at Cage, 83A Hester St., btwn. Orchard & Allen Sts. Jul. 12, 7:30 p.m. Free.

AT THE BEACH Honoring a Legend


JULY 12: Linda Eder at the Ice Palace.

Frank O’Hara’s work has been a continuing touchstone and inspiration for poets and readers for the last 60 years. To pay homage to the late poet, the Fire Island Pines presents the Frank O’Hara Fire Island Pines Poetry Festival. Moderated by New York poet Adam Fitzgerald, the festival features local and international poets and writers, who will each read one of O’Hara’s works and one of their own. Whyte Hall, Fire Island Pines. Jul. 12, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. Tickets are $10 at

Linda Eder at the Ice Palace


PERFORMANCE Laughter, Tears, and Sequins

Charles Busch, the acclaimed actor and Tony-nominated playwright and drag legend, returns to 54 Below with a show chock full of outrageous personal stories, original characters, and classic songs — all performed with his unique glamour. Busch is an entertainer and camp icon, but also a master humorist and the author of dozens of hit plays such as “Tale of the Allergist’s Wife,” “Die! Mommie! Die!,” “Psycho Beach Party,” “The Divine Sister,” and “Vampire Lesbians of Sodom.” Busch is joined by his longtime musical director, Tom Judson. 254 W. 54th St. Jul. 10, 7 p.m.; Jul. 11 – 12, 8 p.m. Tickets range from $35 - $80 at

All Out Arts’ 2014 Fresh Fruit Festival, celebrating its 12th anniversary of showcasing LGBTQ arts and culture, is the biggest ever, with more than 100 artists performing over 45 multidisciplinary pieces in comedy, theater, dance, performance art, readings, and film. The Wild Project, 195 E. Third St., btwn. Aves. A & B. Through Jul. 21. Tickets, which range from $10-$18, and complete scheduling information at

For the 23rd Year in a Row, It’s HOT! This Summer

HOT!, presented by Dixon Place and its artistic director Ellie Covan, is in its 23rd year as the longest running queer arts festival, with offerings in theater, music, puppetry, performance art, and, in everything


Buckle In

Iconic international air hostess to the stars, Pam Ann — the alter-ego of Australian writer and comedian Caroline Reid — is back in her filthiest, funniest, most topical, and most explosive show to date. Pam hits the JFK tarmac in “Fly,” a show that takes passengers on the flight of their lives from check-in to security, boarding, and landing — without ever leaving the ground. Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Pl. Jul. 11–12, 11:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 at


PRIDE Run, Don’t Walk to Staten Island

As Staten Island PrideFest celebrates 10 years of Pride at the Staten Island LGBT Community Center, the first ever Pride Day 5k run and walk is introduced. The race is intended as an all-inclusive fun run, all on the grounds of the Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Gardens, 1000 Richmond Terrace at Cottage Row. PrideFest continues all afternoon. Jul. 12, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Free. More information at

PERFORMANCE Clowning Disaster Amidst Idiotic Cabaret Ariel “Speedwagon” Federow, a self-described post-clown disaster, and Sabrina Chap, who bills herself as a cabaret idiot, present a works-in-progress show featuring new work from cutting edge queer artists. Federow performs a very special book report, while Chap


PERFORMANCE Breaking the Ball


PERFORMANCE Bringing Brooklyn into Manhattan

Praised by the New York Times for his “well-crafted compositions, relating poignant tales of love, loss, and small town life,” and his “considerable lyrical clout,” Dave Hall brings his new work “Songs of Brooklyn” to the West Village. Whether conjuring a preacher in “Weeksville,” impersonating a crusty old-timer in “Beard and Beer” (complete with Carroll Gardens accent), or describing a humble funeral n “Greenwood,” Hall gently beckons his audience to follow him on a journey through time and place, one that covers his home borough from the late 16th through the early 21st century. Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia St., btwn. Bleecker & W. Fourth St. Jul. 15, 6 p.m. Tickets are $10 at


WRITING Words that Burn

The Legendary House of Old Navy is a group of LGBT youth who use a talent and awareness-based scene to speak a message of togetherness and self-worth. Its third annual ball provides an opportunity for dance, competition, performance, or maybe just a better understanding of this longstanding underground cultural phenomenon. JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave. at . 76th St. Jul. 13, 3 p.m. Tickets are $5 at or $10 at the door.

BOOKS Martin Duberman’s “Stonewall” Discussed “Stonewall” is gay historian Martin Duberman’s 1993 account of the 1969 rebellion. Ben Miller, a writer and student of history, moderates the Bureau Book Club’s discussion of “Stonewall,” on sale at a 10 percent discount. Bureau of General Services — Queer Division at Cage, 83A Hester St., btwn. Orchard & Allen Sts. Jul. 13, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. Free.


PERFORMANCE Have You Checked Twitter?

3-Legged Dog brings a new take on social media with its production of “Play/ Date,” an immersive theatrical experience that plays out on social media and in live performance, featuring one-act plays by 17 different playwrights including Greg



PERFORMANCE Fresh Fruit Festival Bigger Than Ever

presented, homoeroticism. Events are held in the theater space as well as the lounge at 161A Chrystie St., btwn. Rivington & Delancey Sts., through Aug. 2. Individual performances range from $10-$15, with some free events, exhibitions, and discussions in the lounge. A festival pass to everything is available for $60 at

Daniel’s Icon Series on Fire Island presents the iconic Linda Eder in a onenight-only performance. Eder is an American singer and actress, who made her Broadway debut in the musical “Jekyll & Hyde,” for which she received 1997 Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations as well as the Theatre World Award for Best Actress in a Musical. The Ice Palace, Cherry Grove, Fire Island. Jul. 12, 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $30- $80 at

Kotis (“Urinetown”), Clay McLeod Chapman (“The Pumpkin Pie Show”), and Chad Beckim (“And Miles to Go”). This evening of blind dates, love at first sight, late-night hookups, and ugly breakups is conceived by Blake McCarty, directed by 3LD creative director Michael Counts, and has a guest DJ providing a score. “Play/ Date” creates an electrifying mash-up of live performance, digital communication, and New York nightlife. Fat Baby, 112 Rivington St., btwn. Essex & Ludlow Sts. Sun.Wed., 8 p.m., through Jul. 30. Tickets are $30-$50 at

Kathleen Warnock hosts a “Hotter than July” edition of “Drunken! Careening! Writers!,” featuring Richard Byrne, a DC-based playwright and journalist whose glam rock musical, “Nero/Pseudo” (written with composers Jon Langford and Jim Elkington), was produced this spring by WSC Avant Bard and who will read from a new play in progress, “Dad Jeans”; Sassafras Lowrey, who got hir start writing as a punk zinester in Portland, and is the 2013 winner of the Lambda Literary Foundation’s Berzon Emerging Writer Award, editor of the twotime American Library Association-honored, Lambda Literary Award finalist “Kicked Out” anthology, and the author of “Leather Ever After”; and Nicole Pandolfo, whose plays have been produced in New York and around the world. KGB Bar, 85 E. Fourth St., btwn. Bowery & Second Ave. Jul. 17, 7 p.m. Admission is free.


THU.JUL.17, continued on p.39

JuLY 10 - 23, 2014 |



THU.JUL.17, from p.38

Three Poets Read

Three poets appear tonight to read from their current and past works. Greg Wrenn, the author of “Centaur” whose poems have been published or are forthcoming in “The Best American Poetry 2014,” the American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review, and the New Republic, is currently working on a book of linked essays about coral reefs, the impermanence of beauty, and human destiny. Billy Merrell is the author of “Talking in the Dark,” a poetry memoir, the co-editor of “The Full Spectrum: A New Generation of Writing about GLBTQ, and Other Identities,” which received a Lambda Literary Award, and also a children’s author. Paul Legault, the author of three books of poetry — “The Madeleine Poems,” “The Other Poems,” and “The Emily Dickinson Reader” — co-edits Telephone Books, an imprint of Nightboat Books focused on works of radical translation. Bureau of General Services — Queer Division, 83A Hester btwn Orchard & Allen Sts. Jul. 17, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Free.

NIGHTLIFE Back to the Ball

The Hamilton Lodge is connecting back to its roots with a weekly queer gathering reminiscent of the “balls” during the Harlem Renaissance when the gay community came together in extravagantly colorful celebrations of their sexuality. The parties, every Thu., 6-11 p.m., offer $5 drink specials and an open space to meet new people. Red Room Lounge, 1 Bennett Ave. at 181st St., Inwood. Free.


STORIES From the Subway to Craigslist

PRIDE The Bronx’s Healthy Day in the Park

The Bronx celebrates Pride with an afternoon party and health fair at Crotona Park. Entertainers include SK8, Lori Michaels, and Amadis Salsa, in a program hosted by Diva Jackie Dupre, Clover Honey, and Tyra Allure Ross. Among the afternoon’s honorees are BAAD! The Bronx Academy of Arts & Dance and entertainer Appolonia Cruz. Speakers include longtime activist Kim Ford, writer, director, and producer Leslie L. Smith, and City Councilman Ritchie Torres, the borough’s first out gay elected official. Crotona Park, just south of Indian Lake, near Claremont Pkwy. & Crotona Ave. Jul. 19, noon-6 p.m. More information at blog. Admission is free.


Tickets range from $85 - $150 at 54below. com. Add $5 to the cover at the door, and there’s a $30 food & drink minimum.


BOOKS Girls Gone Nerd

Maggie from Papercut Press returns with her Nerd Grrrl Series, which brings together women involved in different facets of nerd and geek culture to talk about their work within the genre. Bluestockings, 172 Allen St., btwn. Stanton & Rivington Sts. Jul. 22, 7 p.m. Free. More information at


Lauren Molina (“Marry Me a Little,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Rock of Ages”) and Nick Cearley (“All Shook Up”) became YouTube sensations when they burst on the nightlife scene as the Skivvies, an undie-rock, comedy-pop duo. They don’t just strip down their musical arrangements, they literally strip down to their underwear to perform their distinctive mashups and eccentric originals for cello and ukulele, with touches of glockenspiel and melodica. 54 Below, 254 W. 54th St. Jul. 26, 11 p.m. Actually, there is a cover — $30-$40 at — and there’s a $25 food & drink minimum.

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THEATER Getting the Audience Involved

After a sold-out benefit run for Broadway Cares in February, producers of “Pageant — The Musical” bring the show back in a limited Off-Broadway engagement. “Pageant” features contestants desperately vying for a glittering tiara, with swimsuit, talent, and evening gown competitions. The prospective queens includes Nick Cearley, from “The Skivvies,” Frankie J. Grande, from “Mamma Mia,” and Alex Ringler, from “West Side Story.” Each night a different winner is crowned by the audience, who get to vote for the winner. The Davenport Theatre, 354 W. 45th St. Sundays, 7:30 p.m.; Mondays, 7:30 & 10 p.m., through Sep. 1. Tickets are $49.50-$79.50 at



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“Studs — Gay Erotic Fiction,” edited by Richard Labonté, is collection of rough and surly, smooth and sultry, quick and raw stories. In “Underground Operator,” two men on a nearly empty subway platform indulge in rough, anonymous sex that lets them momentarily forget the stifling summer heat. “Donuts to Demons” finds a self-described “rock-n-roll artfag” searching for a lover “as patient and gifted and generous as he advertised on Craigslist.” Contributor Emanuel Xavier, who also wrote the collection’s forward, is joined by fellow contributors Charlie Vazquez, Lee Houck, and Sam J. Miller, who seduce the audience with sexy prose. Bureau of General Services — Queer Division, 83A Hester btwn. Orchard & Allen Sts. Jul. 18, 7 p.m. Free.

Patti LuPone, a two-time Tony winner (“Evita” in 1980; “Gypsy” in 2008) and musical theater icon, appears in her critically acclaimed show “The Lady With a Torch.” LuPone performs an eclectic collection of work from such composers and lyricists as Arthur Schwartz, Howard Dietz, Jule Styne, Sammy Cahn, Billy Barnes, Harold Arlen, George and Ira Gershwin, and Cole Porter. 54 Below, 254 W. 54th St. Mon-Thu., 7 p.m.; Fri., 8 & 11 p.m.; Sat. 8 p.m. through Aug. 2.


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JuLY 10 - 23, 2014 |

GAY CITY NEWS, JULY 10, 2014