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Executive Order on Jobs Contains No New Religious Exemptions In White House signing, Obama bars sexual orientation, gender identity discrimination by federal contractors



n a July 21 ceremony in the East Room of the White House, President Barack Obama signed his long-awaited executive order barring discrimination against LGBT employees by contractors doing business with the federal government. Significantly, the president’s action included no exemptions beyond what already existed in standing executive orders governing non-discrimination requirements

imposed on federal contractors. Obama’s action amends Executive Order 11246, a Johnson-era order that barred discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. Sexual orientation and gender identity will now be added to that list. Ongoing controversy about the religious exemption included in the current version of the proposed federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) — compounded by the recent Supreme Court ruling in the Hobby Lobby case that permitted closely-held corporations to claim a religious exemption from

complying with contraception coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act — raised significant concerns about whether Obama would treat sexual orientation and gender identity differently in his order than other protected classes already are treated. The decision to simply amend the 1965 Johnson order lays to rest that concern — which was fueled by pressure the administration was getting from religious conservatives and some congressional Republicans to approach LGBT discrimination as an exceptional circumstance.

Details of the executive order first surfaced on July 18 when White House officials released them to the media, and in a written statement that day from GetEQUAL, one of the LGBT groups that has repeatedly raised concerns about the exemption issue, Heather Cronk, the group’s director, said, “We’re so proud today of the decision made by the Obama administration to resist the calls by a small number of right-wing conservatives to insert religious exemptions into civil rights protections.”


EXECUTIVE ORDER, continued on p.5

Obama Stand-Up Guy on Religious Outs, But Questions Remain Hobby Lobby decision, Bush’s 2002 executive order amendment raise thorny problems BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD


hen White House officials went public on July 18 with news that President Barack Obama would, three days later, issue his executive order barring sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination by the federal government, advocates were cheered by word that no religious exemptions would be added to the terms of a longstanding executive order prohibiting discrimination on other grounds, including race, religion, and sex. In the weeks leading up to the president’s action, he faced calls from religious conservatives and congressional Republicans to condition his order on the right of at least some contractors to opt out based on their religious beliefs regarding homosexuality. Obama’s decision to resist these demands, however, does not definitively take the religious exemption issue off the table. From a 2002 amendment President George W. Bush made to the existing contractor nondiscrimination executive order, first issued by Lyndon Johnson, to the recent Supreme Court ruling in the Hobby Lobby case,


there are factors that keep alive the question of whether the nondiscrimination protections for LGBT employees of federal contractors will be absolute. The Obama order, signed on the morning of July 21, amended EO 11246, which Johnson put in place in September 1965, just a few months after Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act went into effect. The Johnson order charged the Labor Department with overseeing a program under which “government contracting agencies” would require contractors to agree not to discriminate in employment based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, the categories of discrimination barred by Title VII. Contractors are generally required to include similar provisions in any subcontracts they make as part of their obligation to the government. The penalties for noncompliance include cancellation or suspension of the contract and ineligibility for future contracts. The president lacks the unilateral authority to create laws that can be enforced in federal court by individual plaintiffs — such as those who face discrimination from contractors. As a result, complaints about noncompliance are handled administratively. The Labor Depart-

ment investigates complaints and can refer violations of federal statutes to the appropriate enforcement agencies, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). However, given that sexual orientation is not a protected category under federal law, the EEOC cannot act on complaints of anti-gay discrimination. Instead, the Labor Department must handle them in its contract compliance procedures. (During the Obama administration, the EEOC and other federal agencies first began to treat gender identity employment discrimination claims as sex discrimination, which is a protected class under Title VII.) In 2002, Bush amended the Johnson executive order to provide that “this Order shall not apply to a Government contractor or subcontractor that is a religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society, with respect to the employment of individuals of a particular religion to perform work connected with the carrying on by such corporation, association, educational institution, or society of its activities.” In all other respects, Bush’s order stipulated, such contractors must play by the same rules as everyone else. Obama’s action on July 21 did

not tamper with the Bush order, so religiously-affiliated contractors find themselves in an ambiguous position. On one hand, the Obama order requires them to agree not to discriminate in employment based on sexual orientation or gender identity. On the other hand, would it be plausible for them to argue they cannot recognize a gay person as a member in good standing of their faith, regardless of that person’s professed beliefs? Who gets to decide, for example, whether an individual professing to be Catholic who is also openly gay can be denied employment by a Catholic social welfare agency under contract to the federal government because the agency does not deem an openly gay person to be a practicing Catholic? Under the First Amendment, faith organizations are generally free from government interference in their religious activities, and they enjoy what is known as a “ministerial exemption” regarding the employment of not only clergy but also others who carry out their religious mission — even if there is no bright line spelling out precisely what jobs qualify under that exemption. The Supreme Court, however,


OBAMA, continued on p.12

July 24 - August 06, 2014 |



| Jul 24 - August 06, 2014


At the East Room signing ceremony, the president acknowledged the work of advocates, some in the room, opening his remarks by saying, “Many of you have worked for a long time to see this day coming. You organized, you spoke up, you signed petitions, you sent letters — I know because I got a lot of them. And now, thanks to your passionate advocacy and the irrefutable rightness of your cause, our government — government of the people, by the people, and for the people — will become just a little bit fairer.” Obama put his action into historical context, saying, “This executive order is part of a long bipartisan tradition. President Roosevelt signed an order prohibiting racial discrimination in the national defense industry. President Eisenhower strengthened it. President Johnson expanded it. Today, I’m going to expand it again.” But not every president has pushed contractor requirements in a progressive direction. In 2002, the Johnson-era order was amended by President George W. Bush to allow religiously-affiliated contractors to favor members of their own faith in hiring decisions, and such organizations enjoy a well-established First Amendment “ministerial exemption” regarding their hiring of personnel directly related to carrying out their faith practice. Bush’s amendment applies across the board to protections for all the classes covered by the Johnson order, and Obama will not expand or alter the language regarding religious exemptions. Demands by LGBT advocates that the president move on an executive order have steadily escalated during his years in office as the prospects for enactment of ENDA have dimmed. ENDA was passed last year by the Senate but Republican Speaker John Boehner has said the House will not take up the measure in the current Congress. With the GOP widely expected to hold onto the House in the November elections — and possibly gain control of the Senate, as well — Obama may never have the opportunity to sign the legislation. The president alluded to the congressional stalemate on jobs protections during his East Room remarks. “It doesn’t make much sense, but today in America, millions of our fellow citizens wake up and go to work with the awareness that they could lose their job, not because of anything they do or fail to do, but because of who they are — lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender,” he said. “And that’s wrong. We’re here to do what we can to make it right — to bend that arc of justice just a little bit in a better direction.” Obama also noted that 18 states and more than 200 municipalities provide nondiscrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity — New York being one of three states that protect only sexual orientation — and one of the guests on the dais with the president was Virginia’s Democratic governor, Terry McAu-

President Barack Obama signs his executive order barring anti-LGBT discrimination by federal contractors.

liffe, who issued an executive order during his first days in office this year barring anti-LGBT discrimination in state government employment. Though Obama’s action will not provide comprehensive employment protections in the private sector, it is estimated that the contractors covered in his order employ roughly 28 million workers, nearly 20 percent of the total American workforce. Even as frustration over lack of progress on ENDA mounted within the LGBT community, the Supreme Court’s June Hobby Lobby decision heightened anxieties about what the religious exemptions in the current draft of that legislation could mean. LGBT advocates who supported the language as approved by the Senate have conceded it could be used by a religiously-affiliated hospital or university to fire or refuse a job to a gay or transgender janitor, nurse, or instructor. When the Supreme Court, for the first time, held that a corporation could assert religious freedom to exempt itself from a statutory requirement, the radical nature of the exceptions contemplated regarding LGBT nondiscrimination protections as compared to those governing race or sex became even more clear. The escalating concerns, in turn, led to a stampede in which leading LGBT advocacy groups disavowed the current exemption language in ENDA. On July 9, in three separate statements, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, leading LGBT litigation groups, and Pride at Work, an AFL-CIO affiliate, all pulled their support for the measure due to its religious exemption provision. The following day, the Human Rights Campaign, ENDA’s lead lobbyist on Capitol Hill, made clear it would seek a nar-

rower exemption going forward — and that it is also interested in looking at a more comprehensive civil rights measure to cover discrimination in housing, public accommodations, and credit access, in addition to employment. Several grassroots groups, including GetEQUAL and Queer Nation NY, have been pressing for an amendment to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which provides comprehensive nondiscrimination protections based on race, religion, sex, and disability status, among other categories. Queer Nation has termed the ’64 Act the gold standard in civil rights protections. With ENDA dead in the current session of Congress, the recent scramble over the exemptions issue was clearly motivated, in reality, not by the bill itself but rather by the need to influence the administration’s deliberations over the executive order. After an extended period of silence about the potential for an executive order, the administration signaled definitively that it would move forward with one only in late June. In his July 21 actions, the president also expanded on President Bill Clinton’s Executive Order 13087, issued in May 1998, which provided protection from sexual orientation discrimination in federal government employment to also cover gender identity. As Gay City News has previously reported, those protections do not include enforceable rights or remedies, which can only be granted through legislation. During Obama’s tenure in office, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and other federal agencies began applying existing requirements of sex discrimination law to provide protections against gender identity employment bias.



At Gracie Mansion, Mayor Touts LGBT Progress, First Lady Celebrates Lesbian Roots De Blasio opens official home to community leaders, some erstwhile supporters of his rivals BY ANDY HUMM



ayor Bill de Blasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray, haven’t yet moved into Gracie Mansion, but they used the official mayoral home to play hosts to a diverse crowd of hundreds of LGBT New Yorkers and allies celebrating Pride the evening of June 26. “This is what I call a rainbow,” McCray told the gathering. Attendees sipped wine and feasted on roast chicken, burgers, hot dogs, and plenty of healthy options as they enjoyed sweeping views of the East River from the 18th century mansion’s expansive lawn. Unlike a garden party at Buckingham Palace where Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip mingle amidst the guests, de Blasio and McCray spoke to those assembled from a stage and slipped away afterwards without meeting guests other than the most high-powered, including City Coun-

Actor Cynthia Nixon with First Lady Chirlane McCray and Mayor Bill de Blasio at Gracie Mansion on June 26.

cil members and the mayor’s own commissioners. The queen, of course, doesn’t generally have to worry about being confronted on political issues the way New York’s first couple does. Then again, Prince Philip is unlikely to talk about his sexual and romantic past as candidly as McCray — to the evident delight of her husband — did about her life as a young les-

bian activist. “I came to New York in 1977,” she said. “I wanted to write and, of course, I was looking for love.” She soon found friends who “introduced me to gay New York City.” McCray now holds the title of first lady, which appears on releases from the mayor’s office, but as I remember from my days in the gay movement of the mid-1970s, calling a woman

a “lady” constituted fighting words — particularly in Salsa Soul Sisters, a group of lesbians of color McCray said “stamped my membership card ‘forever.’” These are details that don’t always make it into the autobiographical reflections McCray includes in her speeches, though news of her 1979 Essence article about being a young, black lesbian surfaced early in her husband’s campaign through a nasty article in the New York Post that was followed by an outraged response from de Blasio. His willingness to stand up to the baiting brought what was then a flailing candidacy visibility, defining him as a different kind of politician, unembarrassed about his modern family. “I know that if some of the pioneers of the gay movement could come back and see what happened, they would be so proud,” McCray said to a crowd that, in fact, included some of those pioneers, such as


DE BLASIO, continued on p.13

US Ambassador to United Nation Honors Global LGBT Fight Samantha Power joined by gay activist, out actor at Hunter College forum BY ANDY HUMM




he US Mission to the United Nations marked the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion with a forum on June 26 at Hunter College’s Roosevelt House, headlined by UN Ambassador Samantha Power, veteran gay and AIDS activist Bill Bahlman, and out actor and activist Zachary Quinto. Power celebrated the LGBT movement’s gains but also acknowledged the storm clouds on the horizon here and abroad. On the domestic front, she noted the progress on same-sex marriage in many states, but also pointed out that “several others are considering legislation that would allow businesses to refuse service to LGBT people, justifying it as ‘promoting religious freedom.’” And Power talked about the international situation “actually taking a sharp turn for the worse for LGBT individuals, becoming more intolerant and dangerous.” She cited the draconian anti-

gay laws in Uganda, Russia, and Nigeria and said President Barack Obama has “followed through” on a commitment to impose “consequences” for these laws, particularly in Uganda. “Our actions alone will not be able to reverse this appalling trend,” Power said, but argued “it is our duty to take the lessons we have learned in our own movement and share them with the people who are waging this struggle beyond our borders.” Bahlman, a leader in the post-Stonewall militant Gay Activists Alliance, shared some lessons from those early years that the current corporatized, top-down LGBT rights movement could take to heart. Recalling a “life of hiding” with “little light in our bars” all the way until the late 1960s, he said, “Stonewall changed everything.” GAA set up its headquarters at an old firehouse on Wooster Street and “met every night,” funding its rent and zaps of anti-gay bigots with a modest $2 fee for its weekly dances. Bahlman, now chair of Mt. Sinai’s HIV Community Advisory Board and the associate producer of the “Gay USA” cable TV show, said

Alyx Steadman of the Trevor Project, actor Zachary Quinto, Ambassador Samantha Power, activist Bill Bahlman, and Hunter College president Jennifer Raab.

that GAA’s speaker’s bureau volunteers “talked to two to three thousand students in public schools every week,” a scale of educational outreach absent today. He also recounted activists invading the American Psychiatric Association’s “annual meeting at the Hilton,” demanding of attendees, “How dare you refer to homosexuality as a disorder?,” an action that led by 1973 to


HUNTER COLLEGE, continued on p.13

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10th Circuit Affirms Decision Striking Down Oklahoma Marriage Ban Ruling stayed pending likely appeal directly to the Supreme Court BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD




he same appellate panel of three judges that last month ruled that Utah’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional reiterated that ruling on July 18 in Oklahoma’s appeal of a district court ruling striking down the ban there. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals panel found the Oklahoma prohibition was unconstitutional for the same reason: it denies same-sex couples a fundamental right without sufficient justification. Once again, Judge Carlos F. Lucero wrote for the majority, devoting most of his opinion to procedural and jurisdictional issues. Judge Jerome A. Holmes, authored a separate concurring opinion addressing an issue that technically wasn’t before the court: whether the state’s voter-approved marriage amendment resulted from unconstitutional animus, which he concluded it did not. As in the Utah case, Judge Paul J. Kelly, Jr., dissented, but the focus of his dissent was not on the merits but rather whether the plaintiff couples who brought the suit had legal standing to do so. And, as it did with the Utah case, the 10th Circuit panel stayed its ruling pending the state’s further appeal — in all likelihood directly to the Supreme Court.  The Oklahoma marriage case was filed nearly 10 years ago by two same-sex couples, Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin, who were seeking the right to marry, and Susan Barton and Gay Phillips, who were civilly united in Vermont in 2001 and subsequently married in Canada in 2005 and California in 2008. The original suit named the governor and the attorney general as defendants, and in an earlier ruling the 10th Circuit found they were not the appropriate officials to sue, because neither played a direct role in administering Oklahoma’s marriage laws. A lawsuit challenging Oklahoma’s marriage laws needed to be brought against one or more county court clerk, the 10th Circuit found. The plaintiffs’ amended complaint was filed against the Tulsa county clerk, Sally Howe Smith, who refused to issue Bishop and Baldwin a marriage license. Barton and Phillips, by then married in Canada as well as California, sought recognition of their union by both Oklahoma and the federal government. The suit sat dormant for years, with District Court Judge Terence C. Kern waiting for the litigation challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to play out. When the Supreme Court struck that law down last summer, Kern reactivated the litigation. Barton and Phillips soon found themselves in a Catch-22 of sorts when Kern ruled that since

found, for a situation where “fundamental liberties” are at stake. On the question of whether Bishop and Baldwin should have challenged the Oklahoma statutory ban as well as its constitutional amendment, Lucero found that under existing precedent the amendment superseded the existing law, so throwing out the amendment settled the question. The majority also rejected Smith’s claim that the Supreme Court’s 1972 refusal to take an appeal of a Minnesota marriage equality case because it presented no “substantial federal question” was binding on Kern. Doctrinal developments since then, especially last year’s DOMA ruling by the Supreme Court, overturned that precedent, the panel found. Holmes wrote the portion of the majority opinMary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin, the two Oklahoma marriage plaintiffs who prevailed at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. ion dealing with the appeal by Barton and Phillips on Kern’s finding that they sued the wrong defendant in their challenge to the state constitutional ban on recognizing their marriage. Though the 10th Circuit earlier instructed them Smith appealed, to sue a county court clerk, Holmes concluded represented by lawyers that direction was given prior to Smith’s sworn from Alliance Defending affidavit that her office plays no role in outof-state recognition. Barton and Phillips were Freedom, an anti-gay litigation found not to have standing, but would need to group based in Scottsdale, Arizona. sue those state officials with direct responsibility for marriage recognition. Any frustration they have with this outcome should be “tempered,” the county clerk has nothing to do with out-of- Holmes noted, by the likelihood that, as with state recognition, they had sued the wrong offi- Utah, Oklahoma’s ban on out-of-state recognicial — again. Kern declined to rule on the recog- tion would not survive a challenge directed to the nition portion of the suit. appropriate defendants. Kern did, however, rule in favor of Bishop and In his concurrence, Holmes tacked the quesBaldwin in their claim to the right to marry, spe- tion of whether “animus” was behind the concifically rejecting Smith’s argument that their stitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Under lawsuit was flawed in challenging only the state’s existing Supreme Court precedent, when a law constitutional amendment but not the statuto- disadvantaging particular groups is tainted by ry ban on same-sex marriage that predated it. animus, it is unconstitutional. In 1996, the high Brushing that problem aside, he held that the court struck down Colorado’s Amendment 2, ban on same-sex marriage violated the 14th which prohibited the state and localities there Amendment. from enacting gay rights protections. Smith appealed, represented by lawyers from Holmes, however, distinguished Amendment Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-gay litiga- 2, which was a sweeping and unprecedented tion group based in Scottsdale, Arizona, as well singling out of a particular group to deny them as by the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office. any form of redress, from the ban on marriage, Barton and Phillips also appealed, represent- which simply codified what Oklahoma had done ed by Don Holladay, the Oklahoma City lawyer throughout its history. Gay people had no fewer who had initially conceived the lawsuit. Barton rights after it was passed than they had before it and Phillips noted in their appeal that the 10th was, he noted. Amendment 2, in contrast, voidCircuit previously told them to direct their suit at ed gay rights law in several Colorado municipalia county court clerk. ties and, on its face, denied gay people the equal In his opinion for the 10th Circuit majority, protection guaranteed in the state constitution. Lucero reiterated the finding from the Utah case Even California’s Proposition 8, Holmes conthat the plaintiffs are seeking to be included in cluded, presented a different situation than the the fundamental right to marry. The state’s justi- Oklahoma amendment. He pointed out that the fications for refusing to let them marry — based Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that Prop 8, on “the procreative potential of opposite-sex couples” — are not sufficiently tailored, the majority c OKLAHOMA, continued on p.9 July 24 - August 06, 2014 |


Florida State Trial Judge Nixes Marriage Ban AG’s notice of appeal stays ruling that would otherwise have taken effect July 22, though only in the Keys BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD



OKLAHOMA, from p.8

in withdrawing a right previously identified in California, was motivated by the type of animus found impermissible in the Colorado Amendment 2 case. In Holmes’ view, the marriage ban, then, was unconstitutional but he was not saddling Oklahoma voters with the finding that they acted out of hostility toward their gay fellow citizens. Kelly, in dissent, disagreed with the majority’s finding that the plaintiffs needed only to challenge the marriage amendment and not the earlier statutory ban on same-sex marriage. He | Jul 24 - August 06, 2014


state trial judge in Key West has ruled that Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage violates the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution. On July 17, Judge Luis M. Garcia ruled that Monroe County Clerk Amy Heavilin must issue a marriage license to Aaron R. Huntsman and William Lee Jones, who have been a couple for 11 years. The judge gave Heavilin until July 22 to comply “in consideration of the Clerk of Court’s anticipated rise in activity, and preparation thereof.” Given state intervention, however, that deadline came and went with no licenses issued. Florida’s Republican attorney general, Pamela Jo Bondi, evidently anticipating the ruling, immediately filed a notice that she was appealing the ruling to the Florida Third District Court of Appeal. The notice that an appeal is being pursued automatically stayed Garcia’s ruling for the time being. On July 22, Garcia rejected Huntsman and Jones’ emergency motion to receive a license. Although the lawsuit was originally filed against Heavilin, the state intervened as a defendant and will handle the appeal. The plaintiffs and the defendants agreed that there were no factual issues requiring a trial, so Garcia ruled on the couple’s motion for summary judgment. Two legal groups allowed to file memorandums defending Florida’s

constitutional and statutory samesex marriage ban argued a trial was needed, but the judge found that only Monroe County and the State of Florida had standing to make that argument. Among other arguments, the state asserted that the US Supreme Court’s 1972 decision to not hear an appeal in a Minnesota gay marriage case because it did not present a “substantial federal question” blocked the plaintiff couple from making their constitutional claims. Garcia, however, pointed out that because of a a series of high court rulings since an anti-gay Colorado voter initiative was struck down in 1996 — and including the 2003 sodomy ruling and last year’s Defense of Marriage Act decision — the 1972 Minnesota precedent “is no longer binding and the issue of same-sex marriage has now become a Federal question.” In support of this conclusion, Garcia cited the US 10th Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent ruling upholding a December district court’s decision striking down Utah’s marriage ban, as well as federal trial court rulings from Pennsylvania, Oregon, Oklahoma, Michigan, and Virginia. The judge also rejected the state’s argument that the plaintiffs were seeking to establish a “new” constitutional right, finding, “The right these plaintiffs seek is not a new right, but is a right that these individuals have always been guaranteed by the United States Constitution. Societal norms and traditions have kept same-sex couples

Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones, the plaintiff couple in Key West.

from marrying, like it kept women from voting until 1920 and forbid interracial marriage until 1967.” Garcia concluded that the fundamental right to marry “encompasses the right to marry a person of one’s own sex,” meaning Florida’s ban violates the due process rights of the couple. Noting that in last year’s DOMA case, the high court found that the 1996 federal law violated the equal protection rights of same-sex couples because it was impermissibly based on animus toward gay people, the Florida judge found that the same analysis applied here. “The purpose and effect of the law was to impose a disadvantage, a separate status, and so a stigma upon all who enter into a samesex marriage,” Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote about DOMA. “Similarly,” Garcia found, “the

did not address the merits of the plaintiffs’ challenge, but he made clear in his Utah dissent that state bans on same-sex marriage do not violate the 14th Amendment. Kelly is the only federal judge since last June’s DOMA ruling to take that position. Utah officials previously indicated they would not file a petition for en banc review by all of the 10th Circuit’s judges of the three-judge panel’s decision against them. Instead, they are seeking Supreme Court review as their next step. With that case pending, it would seem to make no sense for Oklahoma to ask the 10th Circuit to handle their case differently.

purpose and practical effect of [the Florida Marriage Protection Act] is that it creates a separate status for same-sex couples and imposes a disadvantage and stigma by not being recognized under Florida law.” Garcia rejected the state’s assertion that there is “no evidence of animus towards homosexuals” on the part of those who promoted the 2008 state constitutional ban on samesex marriage. Here, the two groups who filed briefs in defense of the ban hurt their own case. Their memorandum, Garcia wrote, “paints a picture of homosexuals as HIV-infected, alcohol and drug abusers, who are promiscuous and psychologically damaged and incapable of long-term relationships or of raising children.” That, the anti-gay groups argued, made it rational for Florida’s voters


FLORIDA, continued on p.19



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Archaic Rules Applied in Gay Man’s Estate Dispute Attorney argues Manhattan surrogate judge presumed mother had priority over domestic partner “friend” of 35 years BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD


n early 2014 ruling from a surrogate judge in Manhattan highlights the dangers of making a will without the assistance of somebody knowledgeable about estate law. And, it also illustrates one court’s surprising reliance on old cases rather than on the evolving precedents in same-sex partner law in the decades leading up to New York State’s 2011 marriage equality law. In a February 14 decision, New York County Surrogate Nora Anderson resolved a disputed distribution from the estate of Ronald D. Myers, who died in 2006, by apparently making a “presumption in favor of” a relative, his mother, “as against unrelated persons,” in this case his surviving partner, Dr. Martin Ephraim. Both Myers’

mother and Ephraim have since died as well, making this a battle between their heirs. The attor ney for Ephraim’s estate, Karen Winner, has now filed a motion for re-argument, contending that the court’s decision overlooks significant precedents dating back to the 1980s establishing the “family” status of cohabiting samesex partners. The problems in this case stem from a homemade will Myers created in 1981, by which point he and Ephraim had already been together for 11 years. In the will, Myers designated Ephraim and his mother as executors, but when Myers died in 2006, his mother renounced her appointment, so Ephraim served as the sole executor. In the will, Myers provided that “all monies will be left to my Mother, Roberta F. Long. And that all Stocks of IBM will be left to Dr. Robert Ephraim. And also all personel [sic] property will be left to Dr.

Robert Ephraim.” In carrying out his duties as executor, Ephraim paid over to Long, who survived her son, the roughly $40,000 in cash in the estate. At his death, Myers owned a substantial portfolio of stocks, including but not limited to IBM, which Ephraim transferred to himself, treating the non-IBM stock as “personal property.” When Long subsequently died without a will, her administrator filed an objection to how Ephraim had distributed the stock, arguing he was entitled under the will to inherit only the IBM stock and Myers’ “personal effects.” When Ephraim himself died, his brother stepped into the case, which now pits Ephraim’s heirs against Long’s for the value of the nonIBM stock, which made up the bulk of the estate. (Winner’s motion for re-argument mentions, as the court’s opinion did not, that Myers had separately pur -

chased annuities for his mother valued at $165,000, which passed to her outside the estate.) On behalf of Ephraim, Winner argued that the language of the will made clear that Long’s only inheritance was to be the cash in the estate. She also argued that when Myers made the will, his only stock holdings were in IBM, so no inference should be drawn that he did not intend Ephraim to inherit other stock he might later purchase. Counsel for the Long heirs made the opposite argument, saying that in specifying Ephraim’s inheritance of the IBM stock, Myers intended that as a limitation and that other stocks should have been treated as “monies” rather than “personal property” and distributed to Long. Any other interpretation, the heirs argued, would be “nonsensical.” In trying to discern Myers’ intentions in making the will, Ander-


ESTATE, continued on p.12

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OBAMA, from p.4

has held that no organization has a constitutional right to refuse to comply with laws of general application not enacted to single out a religious practice for prohibition. The high court issued its key decision about the requirement that religious congregations comply with laws of general application in 1990. Three years later, in response, Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), providing that people with religious objections to laws of general application could claim a religious exemption unless the government could demonstrate a compelling interest that could not be achieved in any less restrictive way. Many states followed suit with similar laws placing the same restrictions on their own legislative and regulatory authority. RFRA suddenly took on a high profile last month when the Supreme Court, ruling on Hobby Lobby’s objections to the contraceptive coverage mandate in the Affordable Care Act, found that the company qualified as a “person” under the 1990 statute — eligible to claim a religious exemption — due to the fact that it was a closely-held, family-owned enterprise. The contraceptive coverage which the federal government identified as a compelling interest, the court found, could be provided in a way less restrictive of Hobby Lobby’s religious beliefs — for example, directly by the government itself. The high court’s Hobby Lobby ruling raised immediate fears about whether corporations owned


ESTATE, from p.10

son cited very old precedents and wrote, “In cases in which discovery of a decedent’s intent is more difficult, courts have employed a presumption in favor of the testator’s relatives as against unrelated persons.” Though her opinion clearly indicated her understanding that the two men lived together for more than 35 years, it referred to Ephraim as Myers’ friend. Anderson is never completely explicit about it, but it seems clear she made a “presumption” that favored the mother over the “friend.”


or operated by individuals with religious objections to homosexuality or to same-sex marriage might claim exemptions from employing or serving gay people or same-sex couples. In her dissenting opinion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg cited two cases in which state courts had rejected claims of religious exemption from public accommodations laws — by a Minnesota health club, which did not want to have gay members, and by a New Mexico wedding photographer, who had rejected business from a lesbian couple celebrating a commitment ceremony. The New Mexico Supreme Court found that the state’s version of RFRA was not violated by applying the state’s public accommodations law to a small business of this type. A health club and a wedding photographer are not the sorts of businesses likely to contract with the federal government, but the nature of the problem is clear from these situations. Under the terms of Obama’s order, for example, could a closely-held, family-owned company that produces a technology or provides consulting services the federal government wants to buy insist that for religious reasons it cannot employ gay people, or more particularly cannot continue to employ gay people who marry their same-sex partners? (Recent news reports have chronicled Catholic schools that employed gay people as teachers and administrators for many years suddenly terminating them after learning they married a same-sex partner.) Could a federal contractor refuse

to include the same-sex spouse of an employee in its workplace benefits plan on the same-basis that it includes different-sex spouses because of religious objections to same-sex marriage? EO 11246, as amended on July 21 by Obama, would probably say no. But if a contractor sought protection from the nondiscrimination requirement under RFRA, how would it fare? These questions are difficult to answer prospectively. In his majority opinion in the Hobby Lobby case, Justice Samuel Alito insisted the court was ruling only on the case before it, focusing on the religious objections by closely-held, family-owned businesses to providing contraception coverage, a requirement for which non-profit religiously-affiliated organizations had already been accorded exemptions by the Obama administration. The court, he asserted, did not purport to establish a wide-ranging exception to all legal obligations for all business corporations. Specifically, Alito commented that an employer could not rely on its religious beliefs to seek exemption from the race discrimination requirements of T itle VII. But did he intend to suggest that the RFRA exemption would not extend to any discrimination claims? Ginsburg was clearly concerned he did not mean to say that. And, in that context, in addition to the Minnesota health club and the New Mexico photographer, she could also have cited the Supreme Court’s decision in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, where the majority found that the group’s First

Amendment freedom of expression and association rights took priority over whatever interest the State of New Jersey had in forbidding public accommodations like the Boy Scouts from discriminating based on sexual orientation. What would the Supreme Court majority think about the relative weight of an executive order banning sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination as opposed to statutory protection for free exercise of religion in RFRA? Under the nation’s constitutional scheme, statutes would logically outweigh executive orders when there is a conflict between the two. Can a presidential executive order that is not effectuating a policy adopted by Congress — as the Johnson order was when it applied to categories protected under the 1964 Civil Rights Act — signify a compelling government interest, or does Congress have the sole authority to establish compelling government interests? Religious opponents of the new Obama executive order have warned it is going to lead to litigation, and they are likely not making empty threats. Some contractor who loses or fails to obtain government business because they will not comply, on religious grounds, with the nondiscrimination requirement will almost certainly go to court seeking injunctive relief, and the question will be squarely presented whether RFRA applies to the situation or if instead Obama’s order appropriately identified a compelling government interest that cannot be achieved in any less restrictive way.

The surrogate also found that a reference to “monies” can mean different things depending on the context — and can at times include “securities” and “stocks” — and that the phrase “personal property” can refer to “personal effects.” Indeed, Myers’ DIY will used both personal property and personal effects, and the surrogate reasoned that by mentioning stock separate from personal property he intended to distinguish between the two. Anderson also found a lack of clear evidence that Myers’ only stock holdings in 1981 were in IBM and drew on an old legal maxim that in specifying IBM stock in his

bequest, he intended to exclude any other stock from Ephraim’s inheritance. In contrast, she found that the bequest of “monies” to Myers’ mother was made “without qualification or limitation.” Anderson concluded, “Such lack of limitation combined with decedent’s use of the plural form ‘monies’ favors a broad reading of the mother’s bequest.” As a matter of law, then, Anderson found that Ephraim erred in distributing the non-IBM stock to himself and she granted summary judgment to Long’s estate. In her motion for r e-argument, Winner contends the court

improperly applied a presumption that failed to recognize the family relationship between Myers and Ephraim and adopted an interpretation of the will contrary to what one would expect under the circumstances, with a surviving long-term partner and a mother who was separately provided for with a substantial annuity in addition to the cash in Myers’ estate when he died. To the extent Anderson’s decision is based on a presumption that predates modern LGBT family law developments in New Yo r k , i t w o u l d s e e m r i p e f o r reconsideration — or possible reversal on appeal.

July 24 - August 06, 2014 |


DE BLASIO, from p.6

Steve Ashkinazy and Allen Roskoff, veterans of the early ‘70s Gay Activists Alliance. Even though de Blasio handily beat out lesbian Christine Quinn for the LGBT vote in last year’s Democratic primary, the bulk of the community’s political establishment went with Quinn — but was nevertheless welcomed to this party. Out labor leader Stuart Appelbaum, of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, one of Quinn’s point people on attacking de Blasio, was even given a shout out by the live-and-let-live mayor, as was Bill Thompson supporter Randi Weingarten, head of the American Federation of Teachers. Early de Blasio supporters Christine Marinoni, who now works for the Department of Education, and her spouse Cynthia Nixon warmed up the crowd for the mayor. Marinoni said that when candidate de Blasio asked her to head up his women’s committee in 2012, “I said, ‘I’m a bulldagger, not a woman!’ But he knows that people aren’t only one thing. What we believe in can truly trump identity.” De Blasio said when he met McCray while they both worked for Mayor David Dinkins, “there were violins playing, a thunderbolt hit me, I heard angels singing. I did not ask for her identification card! I just fell in love with her.” He also talked about the most visible lesbians in his administration, citing Marinoni and saying, “I did not know we had a new title for Emma Wolfe: ‘Power Lesbian’ and subtitle, ‘Director of the Mayor’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.’” In talking about his progress on LGBT and AIDS issues, de Blasio



the group removing homosexuality from its index of mental disorders. Quinto — who played Mr. Spock in “Star Trek” and Tom Wingfield in “The Glass Menagerie” on Broadway and is active with the Trevor Project hotline for LGBT youth — said he was “inspired” by what he heard, but lamented that his generation is “lazy and doesn’t seem to be getting any less lazy.” His peers, he said, take for granted gains that began before they were born. | Jul 24 - August 06, 2014

cited “more funding for runaway and homeless youth” and then, with indignation in his voice, said, “A lot of these kids have been put out of their own house by their own family, and that is unacceptable.” He added, “I’ve spoken about this as a parent. I don’t understand any parent — I don’t care what values they happen to have been brought up with — I don’t understand any parent who would treat their own child that way instead of embracing them and loving them, and including them and respecting them. So sometimes we have to do it if a family won’t do it. We have to save those children and uplift those children.” The mayor also touted the implementation of a 30 percent rent cap for people living with AIDS and receiving public assistance. On this issue, he said, many of those in the audience “never stopped organizing, and now it’s done.” The legacy of Stonewall, de Blasio said, is a “spirit of not accepting exclusion, of not accepting second-class citizenship. That spirit has to be alive every single day until the mission is done.” He got a big hand when Nixon noted “he refuses to march in non-inclusive parades” such as on St. Patrick’s Day in Manhattan, though many in the crowd were among those who challenged him on continuing to allow city personnel to march in uniform at such discriminatory events. The mayor concluded his remarks by saying, “We move forward together.” He succeeded in bringing a politically and socially diverse crowd together at Gracie Mansion, but he is likely aware he will continually face challenges in sustaining that sort of unity on the host of issues that face an even more diverse city.

“How do we expand in this country and around the world?,” he asked. The solution, he said, can’t just be “political,” though that is essential. “We have to look deeper at human experience and invite people — especially young people — into discourse,” Quinto said. “How do we be the ones to stand up? How do we translate self-respect into respect for others?” Technology, he said, must be harnessed “to advantage, inviting kids to be responsible.”



Kudos to the President and Next Steps for All of Us



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

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






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BY PAUL SCHINDLER First things first. Pr esident Barack Obama did his job this week, and the LGBT community is the better for it. For the past several years — especially as continued Republican control of the US House made it clear LGBT job protections nationwide in the form of the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act would not be enacted any time soon — Obama faced escalating demands to issue an executive order ensuring that companies profiting from taxpayer-funded government contracts do not discriminate. For a time, the administration reiterated its desire to see ENDA become law, perhaps not wanting to take pressure off Congress on the nondiscrimination front. But when Republican House Speaker John Boehner insisted that even the Senate’s bipartisan approval of the bill last year would not sway him, the president perhaps judged it was no longer politically credible for him to hold out for a legislative fix. The order he signed on Monday of this week does not, of course, grant blanket job protections for all LGBT workers, but it’s no small potatoes, either. Contractors covered by the order employ an estimated 28 million Americans, or just under 20 percent of the total fulltime workforce. That’s meaningful clout the US government exercises in the labor market, one that is likely to have significant spillover in creating competitive pressures on companies not participating as federal contractors. The president is to be praised, however, not simply for issuing the order — frankly, we should have seen it earlier — but for doing it in the right way. As news surfaced last month that he intended to move forward, Obama faced intense pressure from religious conservatives and Republicans to carve out a broad religious exemption that faith-based social service agencies and perhaps

other entities could use to opt out of the nondiscrimination provisions. Religious exemptions have become a hot button culture war wedge of late in America, especially in the wake of the Supreme Court’s radical June decision in the Hobby Lobby case that said even corporations are eligible as “people” to claim such outs. Within the LGBT community, there had already been a roiling debate over the breadth of the exemptions in ENDA, which even those among our leaders supporting the provisions admitted could allow religiously-affiliated organizations, including hospitals, universities, and social welfare organizations, to fire LGBT staff members carrying out all manner of jobs — from janitor to professor, from nurse to secretary. Religious organizations have always enjoyed some degree of exemption from civil rights law since at least some of their employees carry out constitutionally protected religious practice. It may seem as though that makes it difficult to draw a clear, bright line, but as attorney Evan Wolfson, the founding executive director of Freedom to Marry, pointed out on MSNBC recently, “We worked this through right 50 years ago this year,” with the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which “got the balance right.” To the extent that religious groups claim an exemption it should be to ensure that members of their faith carry out faith-related activities. That was how the ’64 Act was written and how it applies to prohibited racial, sex, and religious discrimination. And that principle was carried forward into President Lyndon Johnson’s executive order the following year barring discrimination by government contractors. And so it was fitting that Obama relied on what “we worked… through right 50 years ago” and amended Johnson’s contractor order from 1965. It was the appropriate thing to do and also had the virtue of being politically canny. For those who spent weeks demanding broad reli-

gious exemptions and were at the ready to fault him, the challenge they face is explaining why discrimination against LGBT Americans should not be treated exactly the same way as bias aimed at other groups. Some observers have noted with concern that President George W. Bush amended the Johnson order in 2002 to broaden the rights of religiously-affiliated government contractors to establish a religious test for their employees. They have, with good reason, asked whether Catholic Charities, for example, could say a job must be filled by a fellow Catholic and then argue that no sexually active gay person can call themselves a practicing Catholic. Some have called on the president to claw back the Bush order, but that is a very tall political order and one that sets up the unsettling prospect that presidential executive orders could soon become shortterm vehicles with an expiration date every four or eight years. And, as Arthur S. Leonard notes in his analysis on page 4, the Hobby Lobby ruling raises similar risks that the principle of religious exemptions might be abused to the detriment of LGBT people. Those risks would not be mitigated by jettisoning Bush’s amendment to the contractor order. The best news about Hobby Lobby is that it was not one based in the Constitution but rather was an interpretation of the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Damage that was done through legislation can be fixed through legislation. Now that the Human Rights Campaign, ENDA’s chief Capitol Hill lobbyist, has agreed with other leading advocacy groups that ENDA’s over-broad exemption must be eliminated, the bill’s redrafting can also take account of the Supreme Court’s reading of RFRA in the Hobby Lobby decision. Strong employment protection provisions on par with those in the 1964 Act can go far in curing both the Hobby Lobby and the Bush amendment problems. Which leads me back to my argument from several issues back. If the Civil Rights Act is the best model for our employment rights, it’s also the best vehicle for tackling discrimination overall. We need to be given the full protections of the ’64 Act across the board — in housing, public accommodations, access to credit, as well as employment. We knew how to do this 50 years ago.

July 24 - August 06, 2014 |


Gaza, Queers, and Banning Speech BY KELLY COGSWELL


t’s getting harder and harder to be a cheerful, card-carrying member of the LGBTQ community. If it’s not the new spate of weddings, it’s our obsession with the policing of speech. We catch some famous person saying “homo” or “fag,” bust their chops, and soon they’re at HRC or GLAAD, beating their breasts and getting sensitivity training. A few days later, the same censors are screaming, “Free speech! Free speech!,” because somebody wasn’t allowed to march for something (that they agree with). Those who demand limits, at least sometimes, might want to consider France as a cautionary tale. After World War II and the massacre of Jews, there are serious penalties for speech inciting hate. Last week, Anne-Sophie Leclere, a local, first-time candidate from the extreme right, was sentenced to five months in jail and given a 50,000 euros ($68,000) fine for publicly posting racist images and making racist remarks about Christiane Taubira, the minister of justice. And just this weekend, in an effort to prevent anti-Semitic violence, Paris banned a march — against the bombing of Palestinians. The government had what

they considered a good reason. A similar demo last week devolved from criticism of Israel to denunciations of “The Jews.” Protesters with baseball bats apparently tried to storm at least one synagogue, trapping a number of terrified people inside. The ban, though, was denounced even by members of the governing party as anti-democratic, no matter that it was probably legit. The right to assemble apparently isn’t written into the French constitution (though the right to strike is). In any case, the ban, complete with threats of jail time and huge fines, only made things worse. Big mouths got to play the victim and no doubt claim Jews really do control the gover nment. And after a semi-peaceful start, with a mixed crowd of all genders and ages, the march evolved into the usual melee featuring guys with their faces wrapped in those checkered scarves and posing for the cameras with a cloud of teargas behind. The message that Israel should quit bombing Palestinians was largely lost. Despite the predictable, though unintended consequences of curtailing speech, people still seem to think it’s a good idea. I went to hear a talk by Stuart Milk the other day, and he seemed a little embarrassed when some-

body asked him why Americans couldn’t gag Scott Lively. He didn’t exactly muster a spirited defense of our values. Just explained the law, kinda, then changed the subject as fast as he could. And it’s true, with near absolute free speech, Americans are stuck with the likes of preacher and anti-gay activist Scott Lively. In the US, “hate speech” pretty much only has legal implications when accompanied by a concrete act of violence. Or when there’s a direct and unmistakable cause and effect, like yelling “Fire” in a crowded theater, leading to somebody getting trampled to death. So Mr. Lively can travel the world spreading lies and hate about LGBT people, and he can’t be prosecuted in America until links between his anti-gay campaigns and violence become more and more direct. Or he’s attacked from a different legal angle. Faced with the consequences of such speech, it’s difficult to accept the usual pat response that the answer to bad speech is more speech. What we should say, then, is that efforts to prevent hate speech may actually open the door to it and thwart efforts to fight back. We’r e seeing it play out in Europe. With the intention to prevent a reprise of the Holocaust, they introduced the idea that it is acceptable to criminalize speech

that may incite a certain mindset (hate) that may incite a criminal act. From there, it’s not much of a leap to decide to prevent the original speech from taking place. And while you could shut up Scott Lively once and for all, you may also see more marches banned. Because something untoward might be said, which might eventually lead to violence. In the worst-case scenario, you get Russia. Because if the tools exist to ban Scott Lively, they exist to ban you. It all depends on who’s on top. Take these ideas to their logical conclusion with a different ideological lens, it’s not only possible, but practically necessary, to criminalize pro-gay speech. After all, societies agree on what is dangerous and repugnant, and if in Russia there is the widespread belief all queers are pedophiles, and also, somehow, magically, a threat to the state, speech in our defense is dangerous, too. So keep this in mind — once legal tools exist to curb speech, we can’t guarantee only the wise and good-hearted will be in control of them. So we better err on the side of scary, limitless speech. This is especially important — I’ll say it again — for queers. We will always be a minority, always vulnerable. We need to protect the few weapons we have. Kelly Cogswell is the author of “Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger,” published this year by the University of Minnesota Press.


Crackpot Alley BY ED SIKOV


i t h t h i s edition of Media Circus, we launch a periodic feature we’re calling “Crackpot Alley,” a roster of the most inane, dangerous, stupid, and appalling news items that cross our desk. We swear we are not making this stuff up. Unfortunately, we don’t have to. | Jul 24 - August 06, 2014

Night of the Fucking Dead: “Anti-gay activist Bryan Fischer has claimed that discrimination against gay people isn’t a problem, because we also discriminate against necrophiliacs,” Europe’s Pink News reports. “The American Family Association president wrote: ‘Homosexual conduct is sexually immoral. We discriminate against immoral sexual conduct all the time,’ linking to a story about a man arrested having sex

with a corpse.” For the record, I see nothing wrong with necrophilia, as long as the cadaver is over 18 and enters into the relationship with full consent. The Bible Tells Me So: From On Top magazine: “Independent Massachusetts guber natorial candidate and anti-gay activist Scott Lively argues that the world must stop the ‘gay agenda’ or face ‘chaos.’ ‘With the violent Stonewall Riot of June 28, 1969 (celebrated annually today as “Gay Pride Day”), the movement adopted a

radical Marxist goal and agenda heavily influenced by Herbert Marcuse of the Frankfort [sic] School of “Cultural Marxists.” In conclusion, the “gay” agenda is to eliminate the existing Judeo-Christian model of civilization, grounded in marriage-based procreative sexuality, to make way for an irrational and impossible Cultural Marxist model which imagines family-less unlimited “sexual freedom” (anarchy), while somehow preserving orderliness in every other aspect of human society. It reflects an


MEDIA CIRCUS, continued on p.16



Canadian Conservatives’ Predictable Stumble on Prostitution



nce the Canadian Supreme Court overturned criminal laws surrounding prostitution last December, it was a foregone conclusion that the Parliament controlled by the Conservative Party would recriminalize it. The party has now made its proposal, which is being widely criticized for enshrining the harms the high court identified in making its historic decision. Two separate judicial decisions rejecting Canada’s prostitution laws have been written by women, including Canada’s longest serving chief justice, Beverly McLachlin. The rulings were prompted by the sorry history of violence toward women participating in sex work. Recognizing the male violence that women sex workers face worldwide, the Canadian courts concluded that the just solution was to empower women to protect themselves. Under the Canadian Charter, all citizens have a right to “personal security,” but prostitution laws infringed on this right by prohibiting sex workers from hiring security guards, establishing indoor locations, and communicating and negotiating agreements with customers. The laws effectively prevented sex workers from screening clients for a “propensity to violence.”


MEDIA CIRCUS, from p.15

insane and Satanic delusion which breeds chaos, and can only be stopped by unceasing reaffirmation of Biblical values and the natural family by the rest of us.’” We presume that by “Biblical values and the natural family” Lively is referring to such commonly followed guidelines as Deuteronomy 25:5-10: “When brothers reside together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a stranger. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her, taking her in marriage and performing the duty of a husband’s brother to her, and the firstborn whom she bears shall succeed to the name of the deceased brother, so that his name may not be blotted out of Israel. But if the man has no desire to marry his brother’s widow, then his brother’s widow shall go up to


The high court did not legalize prostitution, it simply accepted its existence and asked what can be done to improve the safety of sex workers. The journey from trial to the unanimous Supreme Court decision gave anti-prostitution groups, including those representing feminists and law enforcement, a full opportunity to present their case — one that was decisively rejected. The Supreme Court suspended its decision for a year to give Parliament time to consider the options. There was no obligation to move quickly, and lawmakers could have reacted calmly by saying, “Wait, let’s see what actually happens.” Instead of imagining problems, they could have drafted new laws responding to actual problems stemming from decriminalization. Instead, the Conservatives jumped in, casting their lot unambiguously with groups whose views were fully aired before the Supreme Court and rejected. They chose an approach that engenders some popularity because, on its face, it seems to be a compromise: legalize the sale of sex but punish its purchase. They purported to sympathize with the victims — women — and to punish men who victimize women with money and coercion. To be sure, women are sharply divided on this issue, but those who advocate a harm

the elders at the gate and say, ‘My husband’s brother refuses to perpetuate his brother’s name in Israel; he will not perform the duty of a husband’s brother to me.’ Then the elders of his town shall summon him and speak to him. If he persists, saying, ‘I have no desire to marry her,’ then his brother’s wife shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, pull his sandal from his foot, spit in his face, and declare, ‘This is what is done to the man who does not build up his brother’s house.’ Throughout Israel his family will be known as ‘the house of him whose sandal was pulled off.’” Or not. (Autobiographical addendum: After the death of my grandfather’s older brother, his widow — my grandfather’s sister-in-law — actually showed up at Grandpa’s house, which he shared with my grandmother, my father, and my aunts, and attempted to play out this bizarre regulation. Not know-

reduction approach — recognizing the realities of a situation and minimizing the bad outcomes — condemned the Conservatives’ proposal, arguing it would keep women sex workers in danger. Meanwhile, groups whose animosity to prostitution is undisguised hailed the measure. The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada was pleased, saying, “This means that a sex buyer’s conduct is illegal wherever it occurs — whether on the street, in a private residence, massage parlour, or similar venue. The legislation backs this up with significant fines and potential jail sentences that will have a real deterrent effect.” Significantly, the proposal is more prohibitionist than current law, which permits commercial sex in private homes. Conservatives themselves argued their approach would “reduce demand for prostitution, deter participation, and ultimately abolish it, to the extent possible.” Abolition is to prostitution laws what a drugfree world is to prohibition — the ultimate objective. But where there is a willing buyer and a willing seller — be it with drugs or sex — condemned practices endure, despite censure. Other reformers aim to reduce the harm that these enduring practices cause. In an open letter, 221 attorneys, activists, professors, and intellectuals protested the Conservative initiative. The half step of legalizing the sale, but criminalizing the purchase, they asserted, repeated the mistakes of the old laws and would keep sex workers in danger. They


ing what he was supposed to do with Grandma, my grandfather sent her away. She did not spit in his face or yank off his sandals.) Desdemona Desdemented: Also from Pink News comes this gem: “An opera singer is under fire for an anti-gay rant in which she referred to gay people as ‘fecal masses’ and welcomed violent attacks against a pride parade. Tamar Iveri, who is Georgia-born but currently a member of Opera Australia, is due to star in the company’s upcoming production of Othello.” “Fecal masses?” I call bullshit. Say what? And from the Hollywood Reporter comes this magnificently odious item about Gary Oldman: “‘The Dark Knight Rises’ actor also defended [Alec] Baldwin’s use of derogatory and homophobic terms. ‘Alec calling someone an F-A-G in the street

CANADA, continued on p.33

while he’s pissed off coming out of his building because they won’t leave him alone. I don’t blame him. So they persecute.’ Oldman later singles out satirical news programs like ‘The Daily Show With Jon Stewart’ and ‘Real Time With Bill Maher.’ ‘Well, if I called Nancy Pelosi a cunt — and I’ll go one better, a fucking useless cunt — I can’t really say that,’ he begins. ‘But Bill Maher and Jon Stewart can, and nobody’s going to stop them from working because of it.’ “Oldman continues: ‘Bill Maher could call someone a fag and get away with it. He said to Seth MacFarlane this year, “I thought you were going to do the Oscars again. Instead they got a lesbian.” He can say something like that. Is that more or less offensive than Alec Baldwin saying to someone in the street, “You fag”? I don’t get it.’” You’re right, you moron. You really don’t get it. Let’s leave it at that.

July 24 - August 06, 2014 |



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#CDCTips | Jul 24 - August 06, 2014



Same-Sex Couples Marry in Denver, Boulder, Pueblo Amidst developments unfolding in courtrooms across Colorado, AG scrambled to halt weddings BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD


n a complex jumble of legal proceedings that suggests a growing consensus that marriage equality is inevitable in Colorado, one county judge there threw out the state’s ban on marriage by same-sex couples even as he stayed his ruling pending appeal, while a second co unty ju dg e f or a tim e wa s refusing to halt marriages there. Even the judge who stayed his gay marriage decision later declined to halt weddings he concluded were not based on his ruling. As a result, for more than a week county clerks in Boulder, Denver, and Pueblo were issuing same-sex marriage licenses, while the state attorney general scrambled in both state and federal court to halt the weddings. Finally, on July 18, in a terse opinion, the Colorado Supreme Court ordered a halt to the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses. Curiously, however, the order was directed only to the clerks in Boulder and Denver, with Pueblo unmentioned. On July 9, Adams County District Court Judge C. Scott Crabtree ruled that Colorado’s ban on same-sex marriage violates the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution. At the same time, he stayed his ruling to give the State of Colorado the opportunity to appeal the decision. Crabtree ruled on consolidated cases from Adams and Denver Counties that included plaintiffs who wished to marry and others who had married out of state and wanted their marriages recognized. Since Colorado adopted a constitutional amendment in 2006 barring same-sex marriage, the plaintiffs did not make state claims but rather based their suits on federal constitutional arguments. As a result, the state would first appeal Crabtree’s ruling through the Colorado state court system but, if unsuccessful, could then petition the US Supreme Court. This was precisely the route that led to the successful 1996 chal-


lenge to Colorado’s Amendment 2, a voter initiative that had prohibited the state and its localities from protecting gay people from discrimination. The challenge to Amendment 2 was filed in Denver County District Court, where the plaintiffs prevailed in a ruling upheld by the Colorado Supreme Court. The US Supreme Court, in a decision that has since become a cornerstone of gay rights progress, subsequently found that Amendment 2 discriminated based on sexual orientation without a sufficient rational basis. Crabtree quoted extensively from the long string of federal and state trial court marriage equality rulings that began with a feder al district court judge’s December decision in Utah. And he gave great weight to the US 10th Circuit Court of Appeals’ June 25 decision that upheld the gay marriage victory in Utah on equal protection grounds. Like Utah, Colorado is located in the 10th federal circuit. “The Court heartily endorses the recent holding by the 10th Circuit in Kitchen v. Herbert that the marital right at issue was never framed as the ‘right to interracial mar riage’ in Loving or the ‘prisoner’s right to marriage’ in Turner or the ‘dead-beat dad’s’ right to marriage in Zablocki,” Crabtree wrote, referring to important Supreme Court precedents on the right to marry. “Instead, the Supreme Court has repeatedly utilized the term ‘fundamental right to marry’ without any limitations. The Court rejects the State’s attempt to too narrowly describe the marital right at issue to the right to marry a person of the same sex.” As the 10th Circuit did, Crabtree then considered whether the marriage ban was necessary to promote a compelling state interest, a threshold question when a fundamental right is at stake. Colorado had argued its interest was in encouraging procreation and marital commitment for the benefit of children produced by different-sex couples, but Crabtree concluded this “interest” was concocted for purposes of defending the marriage ban in litigation and was

“merely a pretext for discriminating against same-sex marriages.” He noted that in seven prior federal marriage equality rulings as well as in the New Mexico Supreme Court’s ruling last year, “this notion of ‘responsible procreation’… [was] met without success.” Crabtree concluded “the State does not have a sufficiently important/ compelling interest in forbidding same-sex marriages or nullifying Colorado residents’ valid out-of-state same-sex marriages. The Marriage bans are unconstitutional because they violate plaintiffs’ due process rights.” Considering the question of equal protection, Crabtree found that because of his conclusion that Colorado’s “professed governmental interest was a mere pretext for discrimination,” the ban did not even meet the most lenient level of judicial review. Finally, looking to the high court rulings in Massachusetts and Connecticut, Crabtree concluded that Colorado’s civil union law could not survive as a “separate but equal institution.” Crabtree based his stay not only on the fact that all the other trial court rulings being appealed have been put on hold but also on the state’s argument that “the public has an interest in the orderly determination of the constitutionality of its laws and granting a stay will effectuate that end,” since only a final appellate ruling will settle the question. Had Crabtree’s ruling been the only marriage equality action in Colorado, the situation there might have remained status quo for the time being. But in Boulder, the county clerk, Hillary Hall, responded to the 10th Circuit ruling in the Utah case by announcing she would begin issuing marriage licenses — a development that predated Crabtree’s ruling. Her decision, she explained, was based on Deputy County Attorney David Hughes’ conclusion that in the wake of the 10th Circuit ruling, Colorado’s same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional and no longer binding.

Republican Attorney General John W. Suthers’ attempt to halt the clerk’s action failed in Boulder County District Court, when Judge Andrew Hartman, on July 10 — concluding the issue before him was not whether same-sex couples have a right to marry — found that the state had not made its case for preliminary relief. Though it was clear that Hall’s issuance of marriage licenses violated existing Colorado law, Hartman also considered the fact that both Crabtree and the 10th Circuit had found that same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry. Hartman concluded Suthers failed to show that allowing Hall to continue issuing licenses imposed an irreparable injury on the state and also found that the public interest in allowing individuals to exercise their fundamental federal constitutional right to marry outweighed any interest in requiring compliance with a law declared


COLORADO, continued on p.19

July 24 - August 06, 2014 |


COLORADO, from p.18

unconstitutional by two courts. After Hartman ruled, the county clerk and recorder in Denver, Debra Johnson, also began to issue licenses. Arguing that Johnson was barred from issuing licenses under the stay issued by Crabtree, Suthers asked him to order her to cease. Crabtree, however, concluded that Johnson’s actions were not based on his July 9 ruling but rather on the results


FLORIDA, from p.9

to “minimize the deleterious effect of these conditions on public health, safety, and welfare” by maintaining the marriage ban. That argument, alone, provided the evidence of animus in Garcia’s view. The judge concluded that the plaintiffs’ equal protection claims should be judged by applying a | Jul 24 - August 06, 2014

of the attorney general’s efforts to halt the marriages in Boulder. Consequently, he turned back the attorney general’s motion. At that point, Pueblo County jumped into the gay marriage licensing business. It was not until July 18 that the State Supreme Court gave Suthers what he was looking for. Though Pueblo County was not named in the high court order, KKTV reported that the clerk there had “reluctantly” had stopped issuing licens-

es in recognition of the directive to Boulder and Denver. Before winning the relief he sought, Suthers also traveled down a federal court route in his effort to halt the gay marriages in Boulder. On July 2, he filed a motion in a marriage equality case pending before the US district court in Denver conceding that despite his disagreement with the 10th Circuit finding in the Utah case, it does bind the court to grant the plaintiff same-

sex couples’ motion for summary judgment. Noting that every other federal marriage equality ruling under appeal has been stayed, Suthers argued that the district court in Denver should do likewise. Throughout the several weeks of controversy, Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, took the position that the attorney general should refrain from legal action and allow same-sex marriage licenses to be issued.

“heightened rational basis test” to the Florida ban, putting a greater burden than normal on the state in defending it — and dooming its prospects. However, even when Garcia employed a more lenient standard under which the ban would merely need to have some rational basis, he found the arguments wanting. The two groups who submitted the friend of the

court memorandum pointed to tradition — a ground that even Justice Antonin Scalia in his dissent from the 2003 sodomy ruling acknowledged was “just a kinder way of describing the State’s moral disapproval of same-sex couples” — and also to the goals of having heterosexual couples procreate responsibly and provide the best environment for raising children,

neither of which, he found, bore any rational relationship to a bar on same-sex couples marrying. Garcia’s ruling applies only to the right to marry — and in Monroe County alone — and not to have out-of-state marriages recognized in Florida, but there are several other marriage equality cases pending there, in both state and federal court.



Spacious, Gracious on the Upper West Side A symbol of prewar elegance and New York intellectual life retains its allure What’s on the Market


A four-bedroom duplex penthouse residence at the Apple Bank Building at Broadway and 73rd Street.




Space continues to be a bountiful luxury on the Upper West Side. Douglas Elliman is


UPPER WEST SIDE, continued on p.21


oosely framed by the Hudson River and Central Park, from West 59th Street to 110th Street, the Upper West Side was, from the 1940s until the 1970s, regarded as a bastion of middle-class families, bookish intellectuals, and politically active liberals raising families in prewar apartment buildings (think the Ansonia, the Beresford, and the Dakota) or inside brownstones dotting treelined streets. Admired as a family-friendly neighborhood, every November it wins the hearts of kids and tourists alike as the starting point for Macy’s magical Thanksgiving Day Parade ( parade/). The night before, Central Park West near 81st Street plays host to the gargantuan Balloon Blow Up. As easily accessed as Central Park, Riverside Park stretches from West 72nd to 158th Streets along the Hudson River, offering a range of courts and fields, plus a skate park for all ages. Kayaking, canoeing, and sailing begin at the marina at 79th Street, where the al fresco Boat Basin Café (boatbasincafe. com) is terrific for burgers and fireworks (at least when the Hudson River is given its turn to play host). Yes, the American Museum of Natural History/ Rose Center for

Earth and Space ( and Lincoln Center ( are famous worldwide, but locals consider Symphony Space at 95th and Broadway ( the neighborhood darling — particularly for its Selected Shorts program of new works of fiction read by marquee names from stage and screen. Shopping traditionalists can still browse the aisles at mom & pop stores on Broadway such as the Town Shop (opened in 1888), Citarella (since 1912), Harry’s Shoes, Fairway Market, and Zabars (each around since the 1930s), but also enjoy the convenience of big box newcomers like Bed, Bath & Beyond, the Apple Store, and Marshalls — along with smaller new entries like Baked by Melissa.

The Upper West Side is considered one of the more expensive parts of town, especially along West End Avenue, Riverside Drive, and Central Park West, with a plethora of sprawling pre-war residences stacked high inside co-op and condo buildings. Multi-unit as well as single-family brownstones are also plentiful and often feature wood-burning fireplaces and gardens. And for some years now, wellknown developers have been rolling out the welcome mat for buyers seeking new buildings with top-tobottom services. Accor ding to the Cor coran Group’s Second Quarter Market Report 2014, median prices were up 14 percent relative to a year ago. Average prices per square foot grew 28 percent during the second quarter, due largely to a higher volume of co-op trades along Central Park West than second quarter 2013. Compared to the year’s first quarter, median price was up 10 percent and prices per square foot gained 17 percent. Similar to the East Side, larger West Side units had the biggest year-over-year median price increases, with three bedrooms gaining 22 percent. Resale condos had substantial year-over-year price growth. Median price increased 13 percent

to $1.355 million. Average prices increased 23 percent to $1,714 per square foot, due in part to a large penthouse sale at 15 Central Park West. Larger units showed higher price gains; the median price of studios fell by two percent while three bedrooms increased by 33 percent. There was some cooling, however, in resale coop levels from the first to the second quarter of this year, with median prices down nine percent and average price per square foot down one percent. ( According to Douglas Elliman’s Second Quarter Report 2014, this brokerage is seeing Manhattan’s rental market tighten up a bit. Rental prices have increased to their second highest level in more than five years, with rents up for two consecutive month after six months of decline. The use of concessions by landlords has fallen by half since the beginning of the year and marketing times are faster than they were a year ago. T ight credit and rising city employment have continued to keep the pressure on rents, and Elliman anticipates similar conditions thr ough the summer months. (

The master bedroom of a penthouse residence at One Riverside Park. July 24 - August 06, 2014 |


UPPER WEST SIDE, from p.20

Extell Development Company has officially launched sales for One Riverside Park at 50 Riverside Boulevard at 62nd Street overlooking the Hudson River. The offerings include one- to seven-bedroom units, including five full-floor penthouses, two duplexes, and another high-floor unit with private pools. With interiors by designer Shamir Shah, square footage ranges from 850 to 6,000. Many of the homes feature floor -to-ceiling windows with endless views of the Hudson River, Riverside Park, and the Manhattan skyline, and all showcase wide-plank white oak floors and washer/ dryers. “The penthouses, with nearly 100 feet of frontage directly on the river, offer spectacular 360-degree views,” said Beth Fisher, senior managing director of Corcoran

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now listing a four-bedroom duplex penthouse with oversized windows, high ceilings, pocket doors, and hardwood floors at the landmarked Apple Bank Building at 2112 Broadway and 73rd Street. Coming in at more than 4,000 square feet of indoor living space, there’s an additional 382 square feet for outdoor enjoyments. Redesigned and renovated by well-known architect David Abelow as an open and light-filled loft-like condo, the grand room with a separate wet bar has a beautiful custom-designed open kitchen overlooking the dining area. The library features an en suite bathroom and built-in bookshelves. There is also a media area and a laundry room. The master suite has three California Closets walk-ins, a changing area, a changing island, and an en suite bathroom decked out in marble with a double-sink vanity, a separate glass shower, and a soaking tub. Owner extras include a fitness center inside the bank’s vault, a canine shower for groom-

ing pets, a landscaped patio, and round-the-clock doorman/ concierge services. Priced at $9.75 million. (

A two-bedroom, pre-war co-op on sale through Halstead Realty at 204 West 78th Street.

Sunshine Marketing Group. Kitchens options are a light package with white polished lacquer cabinetry and Montclair Danby Striato countertops or a dark package with stained oak millwork with charcoal high-gloss polished lacquer cabinetry coupled with Basalt marble countertops. All kitchens are equipped with premium Miele appliances. A select number have Sub-Zero

wine storage. Marbled master bathrooms boast Zuma soaking tubs, separate glass showers, and dark stained rift cut lacquered oak vanities. Some have bidets. The owner amenity list is long and includes the 40,000-squarefoot La Palestra Athletic Club with a pool, rock-climbing wall,


UPPER WEST SIDE, continued on p.33

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n an heroic act of self-sacrifice, Archibald “Chick” Andrews, better known as Archie, has died foiling an assassination attempt on his gay friend Kevin Keller. In last week’s issue of “Life with Archie,” the title character of the popular comic series took a bullet intended for Keller, and his sudden death, portrayed as an inspiring example of solidarity in the fight for equality, garnered massive media attention, even outside of traditional comic circles.

By Paul Kupperberg $4.99; 53 pages

Characters die — it is one of the understood facts of storytelling. But unlike most other fictional genres, it has become somewhat standard practice for comic book writers to resurrect their offed heroes. With that in mind, it can be difficult to wrap one’s head around the death of Riverdale’s favorite redhead. What is the cultural significance, if any, of Archie dying in Kevin’s place, when Archie is likely right around the corner in other series of the Archie universe? Rumors started back in April that Archie would meet his untimely end in an upcoming issue of “Life With Archie,” one of the many different storylines in the 75-year-old franchise. “Life” follows Riverdale’s mischievous teens in their adult years. Issue #36 of “Life With Archie” starts like a made-for-TV movie, with adult Archie basking in a seemingly perfect life, though readers are presented with two alternative — and very different — paths. Iconic moments from his past are spliced amongst the two scenarios and two possible wives — never identified but whose names are not | Jul 24 - August 06, 2014



hard to guess. But before either of these utopian futures can play out, Archie attends a benefit fundraiser hosted by longtime pal Kevin, who has recently returned to Riverdale. Now a US senator, Kevin has become the comic’s poster boy for gay rights, anti-violence advocacy, and gun control. The benefit is for the families of shooting victims — a follow-up on a story from a previous issue — but the event takes a dark turn when a crazed shooter sneaks in and threatens the senator’s life. Archie jumps to his friend’s rescue, and is fatally wounded. Cue the tears. Or not. While there are good intentions here, Archie’s untimely ending feels a bit empty. Though the plot twist was supposedly carefully thought out, it comes across as an exceptionally rushed device that doesn’t really give the readers anything new. Frankly, it reeks of a marketing ploy attempting to boost sales, which have been in gradual decline in recent years. Archie’s shooting points up an inherent problem with comic book deaths. Because characters frequently come and go in some capacity or another in different series of a comic franchise, their deaths tend to loose meaning and are seldom taken seriously. Readers have become accustomed to the possibility that their favorite characters will die — and they are also all too aware those characters are just as likely to return in upcoming issues. That lessens the weight, if any, the death of a major character might otherwise have. To be sure, the death is unprecedented in the Archie universe; no other major character has been killed off to date. Still, the shooting, as sensationalistic as it was, lacks a punch. It also cheapens the supposed message of allies standing up for equality. The writers at “Archie” have already amply demonstrated their investment in LGBT equality,

Archie was shot defending gay friend Kevin in a recent issue of “Life With Archie.”

given Kevin’s high profile since his introduction in 2010. In a 2013 reading, Paul Kupperberg, “Archie” writer and author of “Kevin,” a young adult novel that tells the story of Keller prior to moving to Riverdale, even went so far as to hint at making Kevin the first gay president in future storylines. Presumably Archie’s death will set the stage for Kevin’s upcoming big adventures. There’s no word yet on how long the current “Life With Archie” series will continue, but for now it is slated to publish through at least September. Issue #37, released July 23, picks up the story of the good folk of Riverdale still coping with Archie’s death a year later. At the same time, the comic’s writers have assured fans the shooting will not keep Archie from appearing in other series. Originally inspired by the “Andy Hardy” film series from the 1930s, “Archie” comics have provided generations of readers a bird’s eye view of teenage angst. For three quarters

of a century, Riverdale’s favorite all-American boy has faced many challenges, but prior to his dramatic end in “Life With Archie,” the driving theme has always been an unending triangle among him, girl next door Betty Cooper, and popular socialite Veronica Lodge. Kevin Keller’s emergence in the past four years and his marriage to his African-American husband Clay Walker prove just how far the genre has come since 1941. Since we first met Kevin, he has been warmly embraced by fans. Dan Parent, the creative mind behind Riverdale’s token LGBT resident, has always stressed that the storyline’s success comes from the fact that Kevin is so much more than just a gay character. Raised as an army brat, he eventually joined the military himself and later plunged into politics. His young adult novel backstory and the genre’s first ink-on-page kiss broke important ground. His buddy Archie’s courageous act to save his life unfortunately fell well short of that mark.



Gay Men Coming Together NewFest celebrates the unabashed release of queer sex BY GARY M. KRAMER


ewFest, the New York LGBT Film Festival, runs this weekend and through Tuesday, and three of its more provocative films zero in on gay men’s sexuality and the sex they have.

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


Wakefield Poole in Jim Tushinski’s “I Always Said Yes.”


“I Always Said Yes” (July 28, 9 p.m.) is Jim Tushinski’s affectionate portrait of gay erotic art filmmaker Wakefield Poole. A terrific queer history, this documentary recounts Poole’s life and work — from his experiences as a dancer in the Ballet Russes to his success making “artistic, erotic — not dirty” films, which include his blockbuster successes “Boys in the Sand” and “Bijou,” as well as the fascinating flop “Bible!” Poole recently chatted with Gay City News about how his background helped him make adult films. “Dance and theater were definitely an influence,” he explained. “It made me understand you had to have tension, keep it visually interesting, and give the audience a chance to add something to it, instead of just being an voyeur.” The filmmaker, in his view, has that same opportunity. “I found there was power in the camera because I could become a participant in the sex by what I chose to show — almost like a three-way, though my part was not physical, but totally mental. It was incredible feeling the power I had affecting the action — zooming in, doing a close up, etcetera.” Discussing his most famous film, “Boys in the Sand,” Poole waxed nostalgically about its lead, the late Casey Donovan, aka Cal Culver.


NEWFEST New York’s LGBT Film Festival

Two men at London’s Hoist in Charles Lum and Todd Verow’s “Age of Consent.”

“What is shocking about Cal is that he’s so American boy naïve, but has no boundaries,” he recalled. “For ‘Boys in the Sand,’ Cal said he’d do anything I want. He wanted to be part of it. He became a superstar. He was very sensitive and compassionate. He knew who he was.” Poole also knew himself well. Asked about putting his own name on gay adult films in an era when making and distributing pornography were in some places illegal, he said, “It never entered my mind not to put my name on it. It was right after Stonewall. I was never in the closet. I was out at nine. The whole point of making the movie was to make peo-

ple proud of what they were seeing and what they were doing in bed and not have guilt or feel bad about it. If I didn’t put my name on it, it would defeat the purpose.”

Another strong documentary having its New York premiere at NewFest is Charles Lum and Todd Verow’s “Age of Consent” (July 26, 11:30 p.m.), about the London all-male fetish club the Hoist, which opened in 1996 and is still around today. Shot largely on location, the film presents a lively behind-the-scenes tour of the celebrated establishment — its bar and its bars (on the iron cages), along with the backrooms, bathrooms, slings, and, of course, the

hoist itself. Co-director Lum had been to the club, and both he and Verow were approached by the owner to make a film about it. Verow only got to discover the club when they went to film it. In a recent chat, he recalled enthusiastically, “We wanted to see all the nooks and crannies. They also gave us permission to film while they were open. We had to wear leather, or on naked nights we had to walk around nude with a camera.” Slyly, Verow added, “It was kind of fun actually.” “Age of Consent” features great interviews with the Hoist’s men, from the kinky patrons to the proud employees. John Mitcheson, who cleans the place, is especially ingratiating. From “Age of Consent,” we get an interesting perspective on how a subculture builds and maintains a supportive community. “What is interesting is that you have to become a part of it,” Verow observed. “It’s being subversive, but within a group.” One of the film’s best scenes juxtaposes human rights activist Peter Tatchell chronicling Britain’s history of anti-gay discrimination in voiceover as patrons, including porn star Adam Dacre, perform explicit sex acts on screen. The sequence underscores the defiance that a legacy of criminalization created in Britain. For Verow, this was a particularly significant portion of the documentary. “It contrasts what’s legal now with the description of the laws against gay people through the ages,” he said. “I was thinking about nature films. You’re distanced fr om the graphic sex because you’re listening to an almost academic lecture about gay oppression in the UK. I like the idea of watching something and getting caught up in the images and forgetting what the person is saying, or your can listen to the person and pay less attention to


NEWFEST, continued on p.25

July 24 - August 06, 2014 |

PLAY DINE UNWIND Over 5,000 Games. Minutes Away! NEWFEST

Frankie Valenti, aka Johnny Hazzard, in Wade Gasque’s “Tiger Orange.”

“I’ve learned how to present rough words in a pretty package.”


NEWFEST, from p.24

what’s onscreen.“ Lum takes particular pride in interview segments that featured Dr. Joseph Sonnabend, who played a pioneering role in the response to AIDS decades ago and now lives in London. “Charles really wanted Sonnabend to be in the film, and he pursued him,” Verow explained. “He met with us and talked about AIDS in the context of the Hoist. This reinforced his message in the beginning of the AIDS crisis, which was not about shutting down the clubs, but keeping them open and educating people.” This, too, is a way that “Age of Consent” emphasizes the role the Hoist plays in nurturing community among a segment of London’s gay men.

“Tiger Orange” (July 26, 6:30 p.m.) showcases a charismatic performance by adult film star Frankie Valenti (aka Johnny Hazzard) in an earnest drama. Valenti plays Todd, a gay fuck-up who returns to his rural home where his brother Chet (co-writer Mark Strano), also gay, is eking out a life of quiet desperation. Todd comes back to lick his wounds but ends up doing battle with his brother. Valenti, who makes Todd’s restlessness palpable, spoke to Gay City News about the parallels between his role and his life. “It was kind of ironic,” he said. “My brother stayed at home and | Jul 24 - August 06, 2014

cared for my dad, while I left. It wasn’t the same as Chet and Todd’s story, but it was coming from the same place.” The actor said that like his character he is outdoorsy and becoming “more of a country boy,” but unlike Todd, who takes target shots in the film, Valenti has never fired a gun. “What’s in the film is the closest I’ve ever come to that,” he admitted. Temperament-wise, the two have similarities. “I tend to be a little reserved at first, but I do kind of speak from the heart and that’s often a double-edged sword,” he said, by way of comparison to Todd. “I think about what I’m going to say and the best time to present it. I’ve learned how to present rough words in a pretty package.” In fact, he said, he was direct in telling filmmaker Wade Gasque how much nudity he was willing to do in the film. “I was adamant about limiting how much I would show,” he said. “I didn’t want it to be gratuitous or expected. They had grander ideas about the nudity, and I did what I was comfortable with.” With this performance, Valenti’s illustrates his chops in non-adult roles that don’t depend first and foremost on him losing his clothes. In the previous issue of Gay City News, Gary M. Kramer looked at six other films screening this coming weekend at NewFest. That article is available at

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Summer Camp, Summer Love, Summer Doldrums Return of a classic, a site-specific success, and an overheated mess BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE



ummer camp takes on a whole new meaning with the silly and utterly winning revival of “Pageant,” now at the Davenport Theatre. First seen nearly a quarter of a century ago, this send-up of beauty pageants has men playing the girls as they compete for the sought-after title of Miss Glamouresse, spokeswoman for an eponymous beauty company. From swimsuits, evening gowns, and talent to spokesmodel abilities and handling a “beauty crisis,” the girls go through their paces, egged on by the oleaginous emcee.

Fat Baby 112 Rivington St., btwn. Essex & Ludlow Sts. Through Jul. 30 Sun.-Wed. at 8 p.m. $30-$50; Or 866-811-4111 2 hrs., no intermission



Davenport Theatre 354 W. 45th St. Through Sep. 1 Sat. at 8 p.m.; Sun. at 7:30 p.m.; Mon. at 7 p.m. $49.50-$79.50; Or 212-239-6200 90 min., no intermission Marty Thomas in “Pageant: The Musical,” at the Davenport Theatre through September 1.



The book and lyrics by Frank Kelly and Bill Russell have been slightly updated, but “Pageant” remains a deliciously cheesy pastiche of pageant tropes, obvious puns, and over-the-top performances — no easy feat on the diminutive Davenport stage. Albert Evans’ catchy songs are perfect pageant parodies, as well. This may all seem like a bit much, but that’s exactly what makes it work. Matt Lenz’s witty direction and Shea Sullivan’s choreography straight from Atlantic City keep you laughing from beginning to end. Of course, none of this would work without the stellar and oh-so-game cast who throw themselves head, heart, and heels into the proceedings. Seth Tucker as Miss West Coast is a Barbie-like airhead whose interpretive dance about reincarnation is hilarious — and just the kind of oddball thing one actually sees in a real pageant. Marty Thomas as Miss Deep South is probably the most believable of the lot as a woman, with many wonderful moments and the most politically incorrect ventriloquist act you’ll ever see. Alex Ringler is big and brassy as Miss Texas. Nick Cearley is fantastic as Miss Great Plains, wearing her favorite color, beige. (Yes, that’s the kind of New York-centric slur on the Midwest one can expect. But it’s all in good fun.) Nic Cory as Miss Industrial Northeast is a Latin spitfire with an accordion, and Curtis Wiley as Miss Bible Belt brings down the house

Tim Haber in “Play/ Date,” at Fat Baby through July 30.

with her gospel number about a marriage between God and Mammon. John Bolton as emcee Frankie Cavalier is delightfully unctuous, particularly in the wonderful parody number celebrating the newly crowned Miss Glamouresse. Each of the “girls” gets a shot at promoting one of the new beauty products, each more ridiculous than the one before. These talented men know how to play for maximum comic impact. For that, each of them deserves the crown.

“Play/ Date” resists easy categorization. A series of 17 short plays performed in different areas of the Lower East Side bar Fat Baby, it requires the audience to wander around, listen in, get drawn in and choose to see how things turn out or move on to the next. You can’t see all the stories, and I chose to stick with several to the end rather than keep milling about as others did. There were moments of such poignancy that I would have been sorry to miss them. But the artistry of the piece rests in the fragmented and individual way we each experience the world. If you want to go there, the show offers a very meta, epistemological take on human relationships, but every part of it is entertaining on its face and overall it’s effective even as simply an impressionistic piece about the challenges of meeting the right one in the New York of 2014. The show was conceived by Blake McCarty and directed and designed by Michael Counts, and while the subject of love and dating is nothing new, the treatments are fresh, the characters original, and the writing consistently engaging. In addition to the live experience, one can also follow the characters on social media before and presumably after. While I did not, I appreciate it as a savvy dramatic device, given how much of dating happens in that environment these days. I’ve always preferred live people, however, and here that means a 15-member company that is uniformly wonderful. Filling out each of the characters very well, cast members do an amazing job staying focused amidst an ever-changing crowd of people around them. As with “Here Lies Love,” the integration of the audience into the piece heightens engagement and creates a powerful and welcome element of contemporary theatricality. Run down to Fat Baby soon, and maybe take a date. “The Long Shrift” at Rattlestick, on the other hand, could send you running to a bar to try and forget. This lumbering play collapses under its poor construction, implausible plot, and one-note performances. So much stage tedium has rarely been achieved in a mere 100 minutes.


SUMMER, continued on p.27

July 24 - August 06, 2014 |


Shake It Up Baby, Now

Yet another jukebox musical, but this one is on a mission BY DAVID KENNERLEY


ave you seen the latest rollicking jukebox bio-musical that showcases hits from the 1960s written by a plucky Jewish songwriter, based in New York’s legendary Brill Building, who helped performers become superstars while being forced to stand in the shadows?


Irene Diamond Stage Pershing Square Signature Center 480 W. 42nd St. Through Aug. 31 Tue.-Fri. at 7:30 p.m.; Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat.-Sun. at 2 p.m. $31.50-$99.50; Or 212-279-4200

Zak Resnick in the title role of “Piece of My Heart: The Bert Berns Story.”

No, I’m not talking about “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.” This one’s titled “Piece of My Heart: The Bert Berns Story.” Unlike King, who finally recorded her own albums that made her a household name, Berns has largely languished in obscurity. With a book by Daniel Goldfarb, direction and choreography by Denis Jones, and spearheaded by Berns’ children, the production is bent on changing that. Why this gifted songwriter/ producer with a nose for the next big thing has remained a footnote is just one of the mysteries contemplated in this lively and enlightening new musical. His roster of pop-operatic hits (some co-written with others) is impressive and includes “I Want Candy,” “Hang On Sloopy,” “Here Comes the Night,” “Tell Him,” “Cry Baby,” and the titular “Piece of My Heart.”


SUMMER, from p.26

The story, such as it is, centers on a young man accused of rape as a high school senior who lands in jail, his family fractured. He is released five years later, when his accuser recants, and then another five years after that, she wants closure — or something. It’s at this moment when he just happens to arrive back home in time for their 10th high school reunion. Both he and his erstwhile accuser are compelled to attend, with unfortunate consequences. Robert Boswell may be an accomplished novelist, but as a | Jul 24 - August 06, 2014

And perhaps his biggest claim to fame is “Twist and Shout,” recorded by the Isley Brothers and later minted into a global phenomenon by the Beatles. Stricken with rheumatic fever as a teen and told he would not live to see middle age, Berns died in 1967 at 38 of heart failure before he could cement his legacy. Strangely enough, looming large over the proceedings is the ghost of another songwriter, Jonathan Larson. Not only was Larson also cut down in his prime, the day his “Rent” began its Off-Broadway run, but he wrote an entire musical called “tick, tick… BOOM!” about obsessing over goals at age 30 and seizing the moment — motifs that figure heavily in “Piece of My Heart.” Not that ticking clocks are the only concern. Refusing to fall into the trap of most jukebox musicals, where the songs are the jewels and the

playwright he has a long way to go. His exposition is clumsy, his dialogue stilted, and the characters undeveloped. Add to this James Franco’s seemingly disengaged direction, and the piece bogs down irreparably. It doesn’t help that the production is sloppy in the details of its staging or that the play’s “shocking” revelations come out of nowhere. It’s giving no short shrift to “The Long Shrift” to conclude it’s an amateurish mess. The company does little to repair the damage. Scott Haze, as Richard the jailed young man, has an unfortunate habit of mumbling and offers classroom acting that is

book is little more than the glue that holds them in place, Goldfarb took pains to craft a fact-filled, dramatically rich narrative. That Berns’ songs are partly autobiographical — heavy on the heartbreak and angst — made it easier for Goldfarb to integrate them into the story. Save for a few clunky transitions, the musical numbers feel organic. The enthralling story sounds like the stuff of fiction. We learn that Berns got his rhythm and blues vibe from a worldly black woman named Candace (the phenomenal de’Adre Aziza) and his saucy Latin beats from a trip to Cuba, where he did more tequila drinking and gun running for Castro than writing songs. After a mutually rewarding alliance, he has a bitter rift with an Atlantic Records bigwig (Mark Zeisler) who vows

shallow and annoyingly self-conscious. Ahna O’Reilly as Beth, the girl who accused Richard and now suffers remorse, is like a light switch — she goes on and off. And when she’s off, it’s like she’s not there. Allie Gallerani as Macy, the student who wants to get the two of them together, gives a generic teen performance both energetic and largely insufferable. Brian Lally as Henry, Richard’s father, has to negotiate the script’s weaknesses and the illogical changes in his character, so it’s hard to blame him for a flat and unfocused performance. As Richard’s mother, Ally Sheedy


HEART, continued on p.31

THE LONG SHRIFT Rattlestick Theater 224 Waverly Pl., btwn. Perry & W. 11th Sts. Through Sep. 23 Sun.-Tue. at 7 p.m.; Wed.-Sat. at 8 p.m.; Sat. at 3 p.m. $20; Or 866-811-4111 One hr., 20 min., no intermission

simply eschews acting altogether and is just haggard and angry — even in an idiotic dream sequence where she returns from the dead to haunt Henry. I wish I could say I was doing any better when I was finally sprung from this prison of a play.



HOT! at 23 Ellie Covan is Downtown’s theatrical saint; summer is time for fabulous road trips BY DAVID NOH




llie Covan’s annual HOT! Festival of live queer performance is celebrating its unbelievable 23rd year at Dixon Place, so I trekked down to her wonderful Lower East Side space to get the full dish, which she provided in her inimitably random yet wholly delightful way (161A Chrystie St., btwn. Rivington & Delancey Sts., through Aug. 2; “It’s funny, because we don’t really have a headliner this year,” she said. “Usually, we have a commission for a full finished production that runs for three weeks. We do eight of those a year, and usually one of those is in the HOT! Festival, like Lea DeLaria, but this year, they’re all one-night stands, works in progress by emerging artists, although there definitely are a few veterans, like Linda Simpson, Nora Burns, and Michael Cross Burke. There’s MargOH! Channing, who we love, a drag queen from the old school in the traditional cabaret sense, kind of drunk, over-the-top humor. Anna/ Kate do original lesbian folk songs, as sweet as can be, with a little bit of storytelling, kind of autobiographical, with beautiful harmonies.” Jes Tom’s “Fresh Off the Banana Boat” is described as a queer fourth-generation Asian American having a major identity crisis, with “banana” here meaning a person of Asian descent who is culturally white — “yellow on the outside, white on the inside.” Covan calls Tom “a trans Asian and absolutely the cutest person in the world, who you wanna take home with you, no matter what your sexual preference.” When Covan started HOT! in 1992, it was, like all Dixon Place events back then, held in her living room at a time when “there was not another gay performance festival. It was a party every night and the idea was to continue the Pride celebration in July, especially as we can’t compete with all the Pride events in bigger venues. Plus

Anna Gothard and Kate Foster, aka Anna/ Kate, in a scene from “Fear City/ Fun City,” which they present on July 26 at 7:30 p.m.

it was very hot in my apartment.” Born in Corpus Christi, Texas (“but don’t hold that against me”), Covan “wasted three years at the U of Texas, studying theater. If I’d known then what I know now, I would have just come here and studied with great teachers.” She moved to New York, but spent time traveling to Paris and Morocco, where she spent time with Paul Bowles after developing a performance piece about his brilliant writer wife, Jane. At the Public Theater, she understudied Annie De Salvo in Peter Parnell’s “Sorrows of Stephen” and “when Annie left, I got to go onstage for two weeks. Joe Papp used to send flowers to the understudy on their first nights — can you believe that? Everybody who acted in that play went on to a big career, except me. Pamela Reed, John Shea, Frances Conroy, Don Scardino, Alice Playten. The only thing the director told me before he left was to do it with a Texas accent — bad! I got my Equity card but was just God-awful, so bad that I never got to do another show at the Public. “I quit acting because if you’re an actor, you have to keep working so people see you and a lot of it is just crap. Also, it’s not hard to be another mediocre actor but to go beyond that and be excellent, I didn’t do that. I think good actors are narcissists and I’m just not a good narcissist. You have to just love for people

to be looking at you. “I became disillusioned, and then Dixon Place happened, which was never planned. A few people came over for pot luck supper because I had no money left at that point after traveling for so long and it just turned into this salon. You want to know who our first performers were? I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast, but I know there was Reno and Frank Maya.” The late Maya I will always cherish for two of the funniest bits I ever saw. He said he was going down on his boyfriend one night when the guy said, “Suck that big dick,” and Frank goes, “Okay! Where is it?” The other was when he went to the Anne Frank House and just marveled, “What a great apartment!” When I told Covan that I used to steal lines from him to pick up guys, she said, “I did, too! He performed more than anyone, late shows on the weekends and I never went to my bedroom and would stay up to watch him. His timing and delivery were impeccable. He started in a band and would do these rants which I have cassette tapes of, always wearing this gold ear. He died of AIDS fairly early, and he was lucky because his Latino parents were really wonderful people who loved him dearly. That last year when he was really bad, his father took care of him and was by his bed all the time.

“We had John Leguizamo at the beginning of his career. Great. Blue Man Group did their first performance ever at our open mic and they used real paint. There were fingerprints all over my house and they threw actual balloons filled with blue paint. I just left it all up. They were such an overnight success and are now a multinational corporation. We got a little piece of their residuals for Las Vegas until that closed, and now I can’t even get those guys on the phone. “Lisa Kron started here and when her show we commissioned went to Broadway she was really good about paying us our residuals. She didn’t forget her roots and comes back, and we are honoring her at our donor dinner benefit thing on September 15.” Regarding her big move out of her living room to her wonderful space on Chrystie Street, Covan said, “I was in an altered state then, so burnt out after six years of trying to raise $6 million with our $300,000 annual budget. Everybody said don’t do it, but we did. I looked around at places to rent when rents were starting to climb and it was $1,700 a month for a large space and I thought, ‘God, we should just buy something,’ so we own this — it’s a condo. I’m gonna die here. They’re gonna bury me in the basement.” In the opinion of many, Covan truly is something of a Downtown saint of the theater in the Ellen Stewart/ La MaMa tradition: “So many people tell me they did their first performance here or I gave them the first paycheck they ever got, and that makes me feel really good. We do works in progress, at different stages of development, so I felt that should be affordable. We charge a few dollars more for finished work, but it’s even cheaper for students and seniors. We could really use the money but it really doesn’t fit in with what we do. So as long as people keep drinking their butts off in our bar, we’ll be fine.” That bar is one of the best kept secrets in town — a dream for any-


HOT, continued on p.29

July 24 - August 06, 2014 |


my seat?’ And I slapped her. So, really, it’s over.”

HOT, from p.28

Screw the schlep to Fire Island — and the Hamptons, for that matter. Lately, I’ve been enjoying weekend getaway road trips to Philadelphia, Providence, and Connecticut, which have not only been cheap but fun-packed and culturally rich. In Philly, I enjoyed the $5-a-day hop on/ hop off bus, which takes you everywhere. That included the city’s wonderful museum, where my late friend revolutionary black fashion designer Patrick Kelly is getting a terrific show celebrating his brief but oh-so-bright career, running through November (Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway; The museum’s permanent collection also is world-class, and I thrilled to see Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun’s exquisite portrait of one of my idols, Madame du Barry. (When I go, I’m not going like Elsie, but like Jeanne du Barry, who, as she was dragged to the guillotine, chose not to exit with dignity, instead, shrieking, crying, and carrying on, all the way to the blade.)


one in the neighborhood: “At first I wondered if we would get any dropin business, but we really don’t even need it. While the shows are going on downstairs, it’s kinda dead, but before and after it’s packed, and our patrons can take their drinks into the shows. That’s how we keep our tickets so cheap, and we are going to have our Bingo Lounge in August when the theater is mostly kept dark because we don’t want to compete with the Fringe.” As bad as that long ago Public Theater stint was, Covan confessed she did get “to make out with John Shea and Don Scardino. I could tell you some stuff, but I won’t.” That brought up the question of her own sexuality and she said, “I’m bisexual, which means I have sex twice a year. Or maybe I buy sex: I have to pay people to touch me! How did you know? The other day I was on Fire Island for my first time, really. I was on that little shuttle bus which was full, so I stood in back and this woman in her early 20s, probably, was sitting with her friends and asked, ‘Would you like

Leslie Uggams with David Noh after the opening of “Gypsy” in Storrs, Connecticut.

The Philly Zoo is a world-class wonder with a mesmerizing bat cage that shows you exactly how “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” was inspired, and innovative cage tunnels where monkeys and tigers prowl above your head. The gay scene was lively and super-friendly, situated in the ultra-picturesque downtown historic district (which feels like olde London with its ancient pubs and quaint side streets), my favorite watering hole being the riotously gregarious U Bar. We even caught a very professional, fun production of “How to Succeed in Business” at the venue where Tennessee Williams’

“Streetcar” had its tryout, the historic Walnut Street Theatre, with its fabulous, memorabilia-filled Barrymore Café.

On a New England jaunt, we enjoyed a day at Horseneck Beach in Westport, Massachusetts, just east of the Rhode Island line, which has a sizable gay section, although the late afternoon onslaught of chiggers (a local curse) and the sight of a large crab scuttling near my feet gave this Hawaii boy the heebie-jeebies.


HOT, continued on p.31

2014 Sept 4 - Sept 74 - Sept 7 Sept

ntine e l a V r Hunte

Gloria Bigelow

Julie Goldman

Sandra Valls

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Big Gifts in Big Packages

Angela Meade and mezzosoprano Jamie Barton prove their mettle in summer concerts BY ELI JACOBSON




arger framed singers with equally grand voices win vocal competitions but often find the doors of the world’s opera houses closed to them. Thinner, photogenic singers with less unique imposing voices are preferred by visually oriented opera directors and publicity minded impresarios. A press firestorm erupted in May over British opera critics’ fat-shaming reviews of Irish mezzo Tara Erraught in Glyndebourne’s “Der Rosenkavalier.” Mezzo Alice Coote wrote an online open letter to critics lambasting the current trend of listening with the eyes, illustrating her thesis by comparing the two casts of last fall’s Met revival of “Norma.” In Coote’s view, the alternate cast outshone the starrier — and slimmer — opening night divas. “They perhaps were not physically slight as in a Grazia magazine cover, but boy could they SING,” she wrote. “These were great voices that filled the theatre and hit the solar plexus. The audience were immediately gripped by what hit their senses and ears and a huge standing ovation occurred at the end.” The alter nate singers were soprano Angela Meade and mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton. Both performed in concert this summer and demonstrated that, in opera, good things do in fact come in big packages. Meade and Barton were both winners of the 2007 Met National Council Auditions. In 2008, Meade made her professional operatic debut on the Met stage but engagements abroad have been few. Meade sings more concerts than staged opera. On July 12, under the auspices of Will Crutchfield’s “Bel Canto at Caramoor” series, Meade unveiled the title role of Donizetti’s “Lucrezia Borgia” in the original 1833 version. C rutch fiel d con d uc ted t h e Orchestra of St. Luke’s with elegant clarity and assembled a good cast

Angela Meade and Michele Angelini in Will Crutchfield’s “Bel Canto at Caramoor” series production of Donizetti’s “Lucrezia Borgia.”

around his star soprano. Michele Angelini has a light tenore di grazia better suited to Rossini, but he communicated the lost boy vulnerability of Lucrezia’s abandoned son Gennaro with heady plangent tone and touching sincerity. Tamara Mumford as his close friend (maybe more than friend...) Maffio Orsini displayed an agile mezzo-contralto with smoothly integrated, distinctive tone that has been underutilized in comprimario parts at the Met. Bass Christophoros Stamboglis as Lucrezia’s villainous husband Alfonso D’Este has a grainy but broadly thrusting tone that embodied bullying power and arrogance, though perhaps more aristocratic bel canto elegance would be ideal. Meade has cited Montserrat Caballé as one of her models, and her long-held, disembodied pianissimo high notes in Lucrezia’s entrance aria were worthy of the Spanish diva. Meade also sustained a long-held crescendo high note for several bars in the prologue’s ensemble finale. She drowned out her colleagues in unison high notes and was formidable in confrontation with her husband. The original florid rondo finale “Era desso il figlio mio” was a bravura

tour de force of cascading coloratura, though more rhythmic shaping and accentuation are needed. (Meade performed Donizetti’s more dramatic revised finale in the repeat performance on July 18.) Meade was off book and very much in command — one hopes this concert will lead to staged per for mances. A 1965 American Opera Society concert per formance of “Lucrezia Borgia” at Carnegie Hall turned Caballé into an overnight superstar. If she had emerged in today’s image-conscious opera world would her star have risen to the same height? One has to wonder.

Jamie Barton’s 2007 prize garnered her only secondary roles at the Met and regionally. In 2013, she won both the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition as well as its Song Prize. Now in her early 30s, Barton is finally taking on powerhouse dramatic mezzo-soprano roles like Fricka. Opening the Met’s summer recital series at Central Park’s Summerstage on June 23, Barton gave a taste of the future, trying out Amneris and Azucena in tandem with soprano Amber Wagner

and tenor Russell Thomas. In the “Aïda” Act II chamber scene duet, Barton’s Amneris initially sounded too benevolent in her false concern for Wagner’s Aïda, but she scored in the ensuing angry confrontation. Her crazed Azucena, heard in the last act “Ai nostri monti” duet, ranged from blazing soprano tops to contralto depths in her opening recitative. A soaring and accurate two-octave cadenza gave way to haunting soft legato tones in unison with Thomas’ Manrico. A smoldering “Acerba voluttà” from “Adriana Lecouvreur” contrasted with a comically over the top Witch’s aria from “Hänsel und Gretel” demonstrated Barton’s equal command of German and Italian opera. Two duets from “Norma” with her tenor and soprano colleagues emphasized maidenly tonal elegance and arching high phrases. Some effort on top reminded us that this is a soprano role. T h o m a s a n d Wa g n e r a l s o explored new Verdi repertoire. Thomas’ bronzed, secure tenor flowed with unforced power in an aria from “Macbeth” and a “Don Carlo” duet with Wagner. And he maintained bright agility in lighter arias from “Rigoletto” and “Hoffmann.” Wagner’s tone is glowing, refulgent, and warm — reminiscent of Eileen Farrell and Christine Brewer. Her Verdi duets and the aria “Pace, Pace Mio Dio” needed firmer tone and more rhythmic drive and textual coloration. A surprisingly idiomatic, jazz-inflected “My Man’s Gone Now” from “Porgy and Bess” reminded one of Farrell’s crossover successes. A poised and radiant “Elsa’s Dream” from “Lohengrin” revealed why the California soprano is increasingly in demand for youthful heroic Wagnerian heroines. Dan Saunders at the piano was adept in a wide range of musical genres and styles. All three singers are large of frame but also distinctive, exciting, and generous in sound. Mistress of ceremonies Margaret Juntwait excitedly observed that the stage was vibrating with the impact of their combined voices.

July 24 - August 06, 2014 |



I think it’s a triumph. It’s wonderful to feel that way about your work. That you’ll do anything to get it right. Besides murder.” She added, “I finally got that right and it satisfied Steve [Sondheim], that son of a bitch… Oh my God, what a tough guy he was to work with. But I was pleased as punch that he’s a perfectionist.” Given that Stritch became so identified with that song, it was natural to ask her about a comment she made to the New York Times Magazine that, despite struggles she acknowledged with alcohol, she drinks when lunching with rich ladies in Birmingham because you “can’t enjoy them sober.” Her response was vintage Stritch: “I can’t really enjoy anybody sober. I don’t want the ladies in Birmingham to take all the blame. I love the ladies in Birmingham. I say things like that with love and understanding…. There are ladies who lunch absolutely everywhere, and there’s nothing wrong with that. They get bored in Birmingham. They get bored in Poughkeepsie. They get bored in Toledo. We’ve all got dreams. We want to go places and do things. And I’m one of ‘em. I found a way to get through those long lunches and a couple of drinks will do

HOT, from p.29

Fall River offered the creepy Lizzie Borden house and a gem of a little locals-only diner, the Dunk-N-Munch, where I had the best, most humongous cheeseburger ever, aptly dubbed the Munchinator. New London, Connecticut, you should definitely check out, with its insanely picturesque Eugene O’Neill cottage, where he wrote many of his greatest hits. Overlooking the water, its interior is like a stage set for “Long Day’s Journey’s Into Night.” Just down the road is another of my favorite eateries, Fred’s Shanty, where yummy fried seafood can be enjoyed on the dock. But the real reason for this particular New England sojourn was Leslie Uggams’ debut as Mama Rose in “Gypsy,” at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. When a talent of her caliber essays this role of roles, you just GO, no questions asked. Miss Leslie of course proved total-


HEART, from p.27

to erase his name from music history. Something to do with power grabs and mob hits. Flash forward three decades, where his daughter Jessie (Leslie Kritzer) struggles to unravel her father’s legacy and convince her embittered mother Ilene (Linda Hart) not to sell the music rights to score a quick windfall. Under Jones’ inspired direction, the show comes alive with briskly | Jul 24 - August 06, 2014

it every time.” Karasawa’s film followed Stritch verité style through everyday routines she undertook during her last several years in New York. Explaining how she mustered the courage to expose herself to that kind of scrutiny, the actress said, “I learned a long time ago that secrets are dangerous. As soon as you’ve got a secret, something’s bound to go wrong. What are you afraid of, for Christ’s sake? I don’t care, I’m not afraid of anybody. I want to follow my truth. I’ve been there, done that, and got a million T-shirts.” In “Shoot Me,” Stritch recalled her late husband, John Bay, saying, “Everyone’s got their own sack of rocks.” Her own, she told Gay City News, was “a serious operation ahead of me. That’s a sack of rocks I’d rather not play with. I’m going to say my prayers — whichever religion I have yet to hang onto — keep my fingers crossed, and hope for the best. I want to live as long it takes to do everything I have to do on this earth before I leave the building.” Asked whether fans could hope to see her back on the New York stage, despite her “retirement” in Michigan, Stritch said, “Absolutely! I’m doing a couple of read-

ly worth the trip, delivering a performance that opened with an adorableness ineffably softening that hard-as-nails, manic, driven character. She sang, of course, thrillingly with that throbbing distinctiveness that just improves every year. In the later scenes, she evinced a ferociously steely power that made me wish its writer, Arthur Laurents — wherever the H he is — could have seen her, eternal doubter of her talent that late curmudgeon always was. Uggams is as noted in the business for her indefatigable graciousness as her skills. This was proved again when the entire audience was invited to the afterparty at the posh Nathan Hale Inn, where she personally greeted and selfie’ed every single person, after an exhausting performance that she confided to me “is really like doing King Lear!” In the role of Uncle Jocko was my buddy Steven Hayes (happily enjoying steady employment at U Conn, though we need to see him more in

paced scenes of Berns, his thuggish manager Wazzel (Bryan Fenkart), and his young wife (Teal Wicks) in the 1960s, juxtaposed with those of Jessie, Wazzel (Joseph Siravo), and Ilene in the 1990s. The sensational musical numbers, uplifted by zippy choreography, rival anything on Broadway right now. The cast is top-notch, led by gifted newcomer Zak Resnick as Berns. What he lacks in raw edginess he makes up for with pure, buttery vocals and dream-


Elaine Stritch, the legendary Broadway actress who won a 2002 Tony for her one-woman show but may be best known to young audiences as Alec Baldwin’s mother on NBC’s “30 Rock,” died on July 17. Having long contended with diabetes and more recently stomach cancer, the 89-year-old Stritch gave up her longtime home at Manhattan’s Carlyle Hotel last year in order to be closer to her extended family in Birmingham, Michigan. In one of her final interviews, given in connection with the release early this year of Chiemi Karasawa’s documentary “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me,” she talked to Gay City News about working with Stephen Sondheim, the song of his that became her anthem, drinking, her “sack of rocks,” and her hopes of returning to the New York stage. Asked about the scene in “Shoot Me” where she struggled to perfect her recording of “Ladies Who Lunch,” from Sondheim’s 1970 “Company,” in which she starred on Broadway and in London, Stritch said, “It was like, goddammit, I’m gonna get this right if it’s the last fucking thing I do in this world. I don’t care who knows because

ings. I certainly intend to find a new play, God willing. If I’m in good shape healthwise, I’m yours.” Unfortunately, this time the sack of rocks proved too much for an indomitable spirit. Several months after her surgery to treat the stomach cancer, Stritch died in her sleep in her Birmingham condo. At 7:45 p.m. on July 18, Broadway marquees were dimmed in her memory. — David Kennerley

New York), and I have never seen this part done so well, invested with just the right Phil Silvers hilariously grating edge. Also noteworthy was Hawaii-born Luke Hamilton, a nifty dancing Tulsa, and beautiful Alanna Saunders as June, in a multiracial cast so well directed by Vincent J. Cardinal that, for once, skin color truly made no difference. Storrs, itself, is also a lovely place to visit, and I had a wonderful lunch of katsu-don, edamame, and bubble tea at the Haru Aki Café, opened by a fun bunch of Asian former U Conn students. The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry had a delightful exhibit of masterworks in this genre by legendary names like Tony Sarg and Bill Baird, as well as the entire “Barber of Seville” giant puppet production by Amy Trompetter. Contact David Noh at, follow him on Twitter @in_the_noh, and check out his blog at

boat allure. He could be mistaken for Cheyenne Jackson’s younger brother. There are rough edges. Although the show works hard to weave in some 30 of the 200 songs from the Berns catalogue, many are mere snippets that shortchange the material (“Twenty-Five Miles” would have been a showstopper had they sung it all the way through). Some biographical plot points feel shoehorned and the chronology seems out of whack. And the point about

Berns being unfairly neglected is delivered, over and over, with the finesse of a sledgehammer. Conspicuously absent from this celebration are Van Morrison’s “Brown-Eyed Girl” and Neil Diamond’s “Solitary Man,” which Berns produced under his own label, Bang. Ilene secretly gave up control of the masters. Presumably, “Piece of My Heart” producers were unable (or unwilling) to secure the rights. A little piece of this musical’s enormous heart has been lost.


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CANADA, from p.16

decried a bill that would “limit the practical ability of sex workers to screen their clients or negotiate the terms of the transaction.” The bill creates “barriers to police protection” and prevents the operation of “safe indoor space” because clients might be arrested. A former hooker, Christine Wilson (it’s a pseudonym), called the legislation a sham. If sex workers can’t advertise, she wrote in the Toronto Globe and Mail, “That leaves one option — alone on the streets.” She scoffed, “The government wants you to believe that women in the sex trade will not be treated as victims, and the johns will be viewed as the predatory perverts they have always been. Don’t think for a moment that these women are really being seen as innocent victims. The government has left itself plenty of room to prosecute hookers when it chooses. It will still be illegal to communicate for the purposes of prostitution, illegal to work on residential streets or anywhere a minor might stumble upon you. They have left themselves a back door to arrest their own victims when it suits them.” Even the Conservative Party’s libertarian wing was dismissive of the new proposal. John Flanagan, a prominent public intellectual and former aide to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, accused the party of creating “a moral panic.” In a pessimistic mood, he wrote in the Globe and Mail, “The signs


UPPER WEST SIDE, from p.21

full-size basketball and squash courts, a two-lane bowling alley, a game room, a screening room, an indoor playground by Kidville, a function room with a catering kitchen, and a garden courtyard. Round-the-clock doorman and concierge services are on tap as is on-site parking. Prices start at $1 million and occupancy is slated for 2015. (

A two-bedroom, pre-war co-op with one full bathroom is now for sale through Halstead Realty at 204 West 78th Street. It features exposed brick walls, a | Jul 24 - August 06, 2014

are worrisome. Conservative MPs are talking darkly about pimps in schoolyards. The Minister of Justice has started to create a new class of folk devils by calling the customers of prostitutes ‘perverts.’” “Most alarming,” added Flanagan, a longtime political science professor at the University of Calgary, is the bill’s “potential to reunite the coalition of radical feminists, social conservatives, and law-enforcement authorities that gave us the triple moral panic of the 1980s over imaginary sexual abuse of children: satanic abuse in child-care centres, repressed-memory syndrome, and pedophile rings. Families were shattered and people were sent to jail, mainly in the US but also in Canada, for having committed implausible or even impossible sexual offences. Radical feminists wanted to strike at male domination of women and children, social conservatives were worried about sexual permissiveness, and law-enforcement authorities were pioneering new methods of investigation and interrogation. It was a potent combination.” Political parties that seek to govern a nation have a moral obligation to prevent contagions of unfounded fear in society. The Conservatives’ bill provokes controversy rather than consensus. And when enacted, the new law will certainly return to Canada’s Supreme Court, where a sex worker’s right to personal security is guaranteed. To no good effect, the issue will have gone full circle.

decorative fireplace, great closet and storage space, high ceilings, oversized windows, and hardwood floors. The generously sized open kitchen with a dining bar is outfitted with cherry cabinets, some of which are glass-fronted, granite countertops, and appliances from the likes of Sub-Zero. Because the floor plan has split bedrooms, the second bedroom is a great option for setting up a home office, media room, or, perhaps, a formal dining room. Set inside a 1920s townhouse-style building with a laundry room, this unit is one flight up and is priced at $750,000. ( manhattan/upper-west-side/204west-78th-street/coop/10338564)


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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, melodica, and a surprising array of under-used instruments. 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. JODY CHRISTOPHERSON

J. Stephen Brantley appears in the HOT! Festical July 28 at 7:30 p.m.


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

We’ll Sing ‘Em All and We’ll Stay All Night

Cabaret producer Joseph Macchia presents “An Evening of Garland,” featuring some of cabaret’s brightest lights singing the songs that Judy made her own — from “Over the Rainbow” to “Purple People Eater.” The evening’s singers include Jamie Hartman, Marla Green, Liz Lark Brown Lennie Watts, Lisa Yaeger, and Will Perez. Metropolitan Room, 34 W. 22nd St. Jul. 25, 7 p.m. The cover charge begins at $20, and there’s a two-drink minimum. Reservations at or 212-206-0440.


AT THE BEACH A South Pacific Soirée in the Pines


LuPone Lights It Up

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


The Fire Island Pines plays host to four big bashes this weekend. The main event is the Pines Party 2014, which has a “South Pacific” theme, and music by Chus + Ceballos and Marabito. The Beach at Fire Island, Jul. 26, 10 p.m.-sunrise. Prior to the main event, Matty Glitterati provides the sounds for the Blue Lagoon Pool Party, 135 Beach Hill, Jul. 26, 1-6 p.m. Immediately after the main event, the Morning Party takes place at the Pavilion, Jul. 27, 6-10 a.m. Abel is the morning’s DJ. Finally, the Bali Hai After Party, with music by Serving Ovahness, is held at 58 Bay Walk, Jul. 27, 2-6 p.m. Tickets are $150 advance, $200 at the door for the main event; $60 advance, $70 at the door for the pool party; $50 advance, $60 at the door for the after party; and $25 for the Morning Party. Advance tickets at or at the Harbor.


Lauren Molina (“Marry Me a Little,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Rock of Ages”) and Nick Cearley (“All Shook Up”) became YouTube

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 include 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

Vittoria Repetto, the self-described hardest working guinea butch dyke poet on the Lower East Side, hosts another in her famed series of women’s and trans’ poetry jams and open mics — a tradition that dates back more than a decade. Come prepared to deliver up to eight minutes of your poetry, prose, songs, or spoken words, if you wish. Bluestockings, 172 Allen St., btwn. Stanton & Rivington Sts. Jul. 29, 7 p.m. For more information on the jam, visit vittoriarepetto.


THEATER Dahmer, Midwestern Queer Trauma & Sorcery

HEALTH Get Fit For a Good Cause

Richard Martinez and Eileen Bastien, instructors at Zumba® Fitness originally trained in dance movement, will be joined by 20 of their colleagues in an afternoon introducing attendees to the personal empowerment approaches they offer. The event will benefit Gay Men’s Health Crisis. Chelsea Piers, Pier 60, 23rd St. at Hudson River Park. Jul. 27, 3:30-5 p.m. Admission is $25 at

CABARET It Gets Better

Malcolm Gets, whose Broadway credits include “Amour” and “The Story of My Life” and who has been seen on the big and small screens in “Caroline in the City” and “Grey Gardens,” makes his 54 Below debut. Trained as a classical pianist, Gets presents “Come a Little Closer,” celebrating the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Irving Berlin, Jule Styne, Cole Porter, James Taylor, and perhaps a songwriter who composed something in this century. 254 W. 54th St. Jul. 27, 5 p.m. Tickets are $35-$65 at 54below. com — add $5 for at the door admission — and there’s a $25 food & drink minimum.

Doing Dolly

“I Will Always Love You,” “9 to 5,” “Coat of Many Colors,” “My Tennessee Mountain Home,” “Jolene” — these are among the inimitable creations from singer, songwriter, and eight-time Grammy winner Dolly Parton. Tonight, 54 Below assembles a crew of Broadway and cabaret stars to bring her music to life. The cast, directed by Scott Coulter, includes Lisa Asher, Carole J. Bufford, Tim DiPasqua, Natalie Douglas, Alex Getlin, Mary Lane Haskell, Jessica Hendy, Lisa Howard, Fay Ann Lee, Lucia Spina, Gabrielle Stravelli, and KT Sullivan. 254 W. 54th St. Jul. 27, 9:30 p.m. The cover charge is $40-$50 at, and there’s a $25 food & drink minimum.


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 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

Below, 254 W. 54th St. Mon-Thu., 7 p.m.; Fri., 8 & 11 p.m.; Sat. 8 p.m. through Aug. 2. Tickets range from $85 - $150 at 54below. com. Add $5 to the cover at the door, and there’s a $30 food & drink minimum.


THEATER Getting the Audience Involved


Women and Trans Folks Jamming on the LES

Pacific Northwest actor and artist Randal Barnett offers an interactive and delusional preview of his upcoming play “JEF+KEV/SIM,” the story of the man named Dahmer, Midwestern queer traumas, and meth-fueled seropositivity sorcery. Bureau of General Services at Cage, 83A Hester St., btwn. Allen & Orchard Sts. Jul. 30, 9 p.m. More information at


BOOKS The Mark Zubro Oeuvre

Mark Zubro is the author of 28 novels, including 25 gay mysteries (the Paul Turner series, including “Pawn of Satan, and the Tom and Scott series, including “Another Dead Republican), “Safe,” a gay young adult mystery and romance, and one science fiction story, “Alien Home.” Tonight, Zubro reads and discusses his work at Bureau of General Services at Cage, 83A Hester St., btwn. Allen & Orchard Sts. Jul. 31, 7-9 p.m. More information at


PERFORMANCE Red Hot Mama Burns Bright

Sharon McNight debuted “Red Hot Mama: The Sophie Tucker Farewell Tour” at the Rainbow and Stars in May 1996 to nationwide critical acclaim. A musical biogra-


FRI.AUG.1, continued on p.35

July 24 - August 06, 2014 |



FRI.AUG.1, from p.34

phy of the great early 20th century stage and radio star, “Red Hot Mama” captures her life, songs, and sass and recalls signature songs that have since become standards, including “After You’ve Gone,” “It All Depends on You,” “Moanin’ Low,” and “The Man I Love.” Sophie lives again at the Metropolitan Room, 34 W. 22nd St. Aug. 1 & 3, 9:30 p.m. The cover charge begins at $25, and there’s a two-drink minimum. Reservations at or 212-206-0440.

A cast of emerging and established Broadway artists come together for an evening of music old and new, hosted by Julia Mattison (“Godspell”), to benefit the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Those performing in “Broadway Gets GLAAD” include Scott Alan, Mia Gentile (“Forbidden Broadway”), Sean Green Jr. (“Trailblazers,” “Grassroots”), Marja Harmon (“The Book of Mormon”), Brian Charles Johnson (“American Idiot,” “Spring Awakening”), Megan McGinnis (“Little Women,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie”), Ciara Renée (“Pippin,” “Big Fish”), Jessica Vosk (“The Bridges of Madison County”), Jacob Keith Watson (“Violet”), Natalie Weiss (“Everyday Rapture”), and Ari McKay Wilford (“Once”). Joe’s Pub, inside the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Pl. Aug. 4, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 at



AT THE BEACH Strings Uplugged


THEATER Jim Brochu in Conversation with Stephen Schwartz

Drama Desk Award-winning actor, playwright, and director Jim Brochu (“Zero Hour,” “Character Man,” “The Big Voice: God or Merman”) sits down with Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz (“Wicked,” “Pippin,” “Godspell”) to discuss Schwartz’s creative life and inspiration, his history, and even his future. 54 Below, 254 W. 54th St. Aug. 3, 7 p.m. The cover charge is $30-$55 at, with a $25 food & drink minimum.


BOOKS Barbara J. Taylor’s Debut Novel

Kaylie Jones joins Barbara J. Taylor to celebrate the release of Taylor’s debut novel, “Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night,” the latest in Akashic’s Kaylie Jones Books imprint. Based on a haunting family story, the novel brings readers into the heart of the early 20th century mining community in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Taylor will read a short excerpt from her novel, join in discussion with Jones, take questions, and sign books. Bluestockings, 172 Allen St., btwn. Stanton & Rivington St. Aug. 4, 7 p.m. For more information, visit | Jul 24 - August 06, 2014


Classical/ rock violinist Daisy Jopling, who toured with the string trio Trilogy for 13 years and has recorded seven CDs, appears as part of the Fire Island Pines Arts Project’s Unplugged Series. Tonight, she performs at the home of Barbara Sahlman. Aug. 2, 6-8 p.m. Tickets are $30 at or in the Pines harbor. Wine and light snacks will be available.

love behind the battle lines in France, and Dr. Laura Erickson-Schroth’s “Trans Bodies, Trans Selves,” a resource guide for transgender and gender-variant people. 76-11 37th Avenue, Suite 206, Jackson Heights. Aug. 5, 7-9 p.m. For more information, visit queenspridehouse. org or call 718-429-5309.


COMEDY Smiles of a Summer Night Bob Montgomery hosts “A Midsummer Night’s Scream,” an evening of queer laughs as part of his “Homo Comicus” series. His guests this evening are Judy Gold, Julie Halston, and Jackie Hoffman. Gotham Comedy Club, 208 W. 23rd St. Aug. 6, 8:30 p.m. There’s a $20 cover, with a two-drink minimum. Reservations at 212-367-9000.


HEALTH The White House Wants to Talk

Douglas Brooks, the newly appointed director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, will be in New York for two forums dubbed “A Dialogue for Life,” aimed at engaging local AIDS groups, consumers, and advocates to advance the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, increase access to care under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through Medicaid expansion and the New York State health insurance exchange, and explore

funding needs under the federal Ryan White and Housing for People With AIDS programs. These sessions are sponsored by the AIDS services group ACRIA and Amida Care, a Medicaid health plan designed for people living with HIV/ AIDS. The first forum is at the Schomburg Center, 515 Malcolm X Blvd. at W. 135th St., Aug. 7, 1:30-4-30 p.m. The second forum is at Brooklyn Law School, 205 State St., 22nd Fl. Aug. 8, 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. To confirm your attendance, email rsvp@ or call 844-304-8765.


POETRY New and Noteworthy

In the third installment of “Newfangled,” a series of readings by young poets, Robert Siek welcomes Lawrence Kaplun, a California-raised Brooklynite whose poems appear in Sonora Review, Southern Humanities Review, Toad, and the Gay & Lesbian Review; Rickey Laurentiis, a New Orleans-born Brooklynite who was recipient of a 2013 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and whose poems appear in Boston Review, the Kenyon Review, and Poetry; and Robert Whitehead, a Brooklynite whose work appears or is forthcoming in Assaracus, Gulf Coast, Vinyl, ALL HOLLOW, and Upstart. For the record, Siek, whose poems most recently appear in the Good Men Project, Painted Bride Quarterly, and the Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide, as well as the anthology “Between: New Gay Poetry,” also lives in Brooklyn. Bureau of General Services at Cage, 83A Hester St., btwn. Allen & Orchard Sts. Aug. 8, 7-9 p.m. More information at

CABARET A Girl Named Bill

Nellie McKay recently finished an extended run in the Off-Broadway hit “Old Hats,” which won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Alternative Theatrical Experience and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revue. For five nights, McKay presents “A Girl Named Bill — The Life and Times of Billy Tipton,” the 20th century jazz musician and bandleader who originally presented as a man only professionally but gradually lived as a male all the time, his birth as a woman little known at death. McKay is joined by her band, including Alexi David on bass, Cary Park on guitar, and Kenneth Salters on drums. 54 Below, 254 W. 54th St. Aug. 5-7, 7 p.m.; Aug. 8-9, 8 p.m. The cover charge is $50-$85 at, with a $5 premium at the door, and there’s a $25 food & drink minimum.

BOOKS Celebrating LGBT Writers in Queens

Queens Pride House hosts its first book-related event, featuring authors Leslie L. Smith and Nancy Agabian and photographer Mariette Pathy Allen. Smith will discuss his new book “Sally Field Can Play the Transsexual,” a serio-comic tale of sex, loss, redemption, and medication in the age of AIDS and the first novel about the anti-HIV treatments PEP and PrEP. Agabian will talk about “Me as Her Again,” her memoir about coming of age as bisexual in an Armenian family. Allen will introduce the book “TransCuba,” with her photos and a text by Mariela Castro Espín, the daughter of Cuban President Raúl Castro, which focuses on the island nation’s transgender community. The Book Fest also features Lance Ringel’s “Flower of Iowa,” a bittersweet saga of World War I in which an American soldier and a British soldier unexpectedly fall in

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July 24, 2014, GAY CITY NEWS  

July 24, 2014, GAY CITY NEWS

July 24, 2014, GAY CITY NEWS  

July 24, 2014, GAY CITY NEWS