Joe Nicholson, Pioneer Journo, Dies 03
Scottish Pixie Survivor 22
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Cuomo Pressed on Court Pick 08
FREE | VOLUME THIRTEEN, ISSUE TWENTY-ONE | OCTOBER 16 - 29, 2014
The clean-up begins
New prospects on Long Island, old fight at the Center
HEALTH Finally, reform on transgender birth certificates
06 CRIME More anti-LGBT mayhem in Bushwick Billy Porter remembers Mama
10 Video in Crown Heights attack online at: gaycitynews.nyc/ police-releasevideo-crownheights-anti-gayassault/
14 DAYS Out there, again, with Derek Jarman
20 EDITORâ€™S LETTER
Words offer comfort, deeds summon grace
30-31 October 16 - 29, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
Joe Nicholson, Pioneering Gay Journalist, Dies
Post veteran, first out out reporter at a city daily, made mark in AIDS, hate crime, St. Pat’s stories BY ANDY HUMM
Joe Nicholson at the New York Post in a 1999 photo.
East Side who was opposed to the state hate crimes bill. Nicholson’s impromptu back-seat questioning of Goodman eventually got him to come out in favor of the long-delayed legislation, gaining the measure a sponsor in Senate majority party. The bill finally did pass in 2000, after an 11-year battle. As medical-science editor of the Post in January 1990 in some of the worst years of the AIDS pandemic in New York, Nicholson exposed Mayor David Dinkins’ nominee for health commissioner, Dr. Woody Myers, as someone open to quarantining gay people if necessary. Myers, an African-American Republican from Indiana who had served on the Reagan AIDS Commission that was stacked with conservatives such as Cardinal John O’Connor, told Nicholson, “There are occasions when it is important to use isolation techniques.” “LOCK UP SOME AIDS CARRIERS,” the Post’s front-page blared with a picture of Myers, throwing a wrench into his nomination put forth by Dinkins transition team members including Gay Men’s Health Crisis’ Tim Sweeney, Dr. Mathilde Krim of the American Foundation for AIDS Research, and Tom Stoddard of Lambda Legal but militantly opposed by ACT UP. The New York Times essentially urged Dinkins to stand up to ACT
NEW YORK POST
| October16 - 29, 2014
oe Nicholson, who came out as a reporter at the New York Post in 1980 — a first for anyone at a big city daily — died October 8 after a battle with cancer. He was 71 and is survived by his beloved Sherwin T. Nicholson, whom he married in January 2013 at Holy Apostles Church in Chelsea and where his funeral was conducted on October 11. The men had been together since 1982. Nicholson started at the Post in 1971 under the liberal ownership of Dorothy Schiff, but came out in 1980 under the conservative Rupert Murdoch regime, partly in response to the shootings at the West Village bar Ramrod by a deranged anti-gay killer who felled two gay men and wounded others. Nicholson wrote a story for the Post about how such violence is driven by homophobia and published it in the New York Native, a gay weekly, after the Post spiked it. Nicholson wrote that Murdoch’s editors from Australia and Britain “arrived accepting stereotypes they had heard about homosexuals, and so I thought they should get to know an actual gay man who had been a standout player in high school football, a college rugby player, and a Navy officer, things I don’t think most of any of them had been. I have to say they responded magnificently and gave me some of their best assignments.” “Joe was not only a tenacious tabloid reporter, he was a really sweet guy and completely adored Sherwin,” said longtime gay civil liberties activist Bill Dobbs. Indeed, the journalistic exploits of Nicholson, who spoke fluent Spanish, included jumping into the back of Fidel Castro’s car in 1973 to get an exclusive with the Cuban leader. His 1973 book, “Inside Cuba,” was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Nicholson reprised the car tactic years later in pursuit of State Senator Roy Goodman, a mostly liberal Republican from the Upper
Joe Nicholson’s front-page story about the proposal of Mayor David Dinkins’ health commissioner nominee, Dr. Woody Myers, to quarantine people with AIDS.
UP, writing, “It would be naive to suppose that Dr. Myers’ likely policies in New York can be inferred from his policies [in Indiana].” Myers recanted his position on quarantine, but served just a little over a year in the position. Nicholson’s reporting on AIDS won a 1992 award from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, the media watchdog group that ironically was formed in 1985 in response to the Post’s sensationalistic coverage of the early epidemic. A series Nicholson wrote on medical do-not-resuscitate orders for the Post moved State Health Commissioner David Axelrod to put forth and get passed a law that such orders be required to be in writing. The series was nominated for a Pulitzer. Nicholson also brought major newspaper attention to the quest of the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization to march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 1991. I was a Dinkins appointee on the City Human Rights Commission at the time and Nicholson quoted me saying that if ILGO could not march, the mayor should not either. That, too, landed on page one and fueled the controversy, leading to ILGO marching without its banner but with Dinkins among its contingent, which was met by a chorus of boos and occasional beer-can missiles. ILGO was banned thereafter
and Dinkins boycotted the subsequent exclusionary parades. When President Bill Clinton’s promise to lift the ban on open gay service in the military was scuttled by adoption of the 1993 Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, Nicholson wrote in the Post about his time as a closeted Naval officer and later talked about his experiences on Charlie Rose and Phil Donahue’s TV programs. After 22 years at the Post, Nicholson moved over to the Daily News and later became an associate editor at Editor & Publisher. Nicholson was a generous mentor to other journalists. Veteran out journalist David France, who directed the Academy Award-nominated documentary “How to Survive a Plague,” wrote, “Joe taught me to be a reporter” and called Nicholson, among other things, “aggressive, thorough, fair” and “wicked, fearless, generous, and full of love for truth and justice.” He also wrote that Nicholson “snuck me into a job” at the Post “where I worked with him for 89 days. He was amazing to watch up close.” Sonia Reyes was an administrative assistant to Post editor Roger Wood. At Nicholson’s wake at Redden’s Funeral Home, she told me, “The only reason why I became a reporter was because of Joe, Joe,
NICHOLSON, continued on p.7
LGBT-Friendly Senior Housing Slated for Long Island Fifty-unit Bay Shore complex first of its kind in tri-state area BY ANDY HUMM
COURTESY: LONG ISLAND GLBT SERVICES NETWORK
ifty units of affordable housing for LGBT and LGBT -friendly people age 55 and over are set to open in Bay Shore, Long Island in the spring of 2016 through a collaboration among government, developers, and the Long Island GLBT Services Network, which operates community centers in Woodbury in Nassau County, Bay Shore in Suffolk County, and Sag Harbor in the Hamptons. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, a Democrat, announced enabling legislation for the development at a ceremony attended by 100 on October 7 in Bay Shore. “It was only a couple of years ago that Suffolk County was considered a county of intolerance,” he said, alluding to anti-immigrant attacks that made headlines, but “but we have changed the tide and today’s announcement only reinforces the commitment I made to ensure that this county embraces its diversity and serves as a welcoming place for all.” David Kilmnick, the GLBT Network’s CEO, who first began working on services for the com-
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone at the podium during an October 7 ceremony announcing the launch of a LGBTfriendly senior housing development in Bay Shore, with Assemblymember Phil Ramos to the immediate left of the podium and the Long Island GLBT Services Network’s David Kilmnick next to Ramos.
munity 21 years ago through Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth, told Gay City News, “If we can get GLBT senior development in suburban Long Island, it can be done anywhere. I don’t imagine this will be the last one we do.” Kilmnick said the project was first suggested to Bellone by Ethan Eldon, president of Sustainable Management, a development company, whose work in government included a commis-
sionership in Mayor Abe Beame’s administration in the mid-1970s. Eldon was a lifelong friend of the late gay journalist Doug Ireland, a regular contributor to Gay City News. “He just said it would be great to have LGBT senior housing,” Kilmnick said. “He’s not gay himself, but has seen gay people struggle. The county executive told him to contact me.” Kilmnick and Eldon got to work putting together the project, which also includes the collaboration of POKO Management and the non-profit Long Island Housing Partnership. “It’s a public-private partnership,” said Kilmnick, “with the county coming up with funds for the planning process. We’ll own 51 percent of the entire project without having to put a penny in.” A federal Department of Housing and Urban Development program will provide financing for the development, Kilmnick said. When completed the project will occupy three-quarters of an acre on Park Avenue, some of which is already owned by the GLBT Network. The complex will include studios, one-bedrooms, and a few two-bedroom apartments, with eighty percent dedicated for affordable housing with federal income restrictions and 20 percent rented out at market rate. Applications to live in the development are not limited to Suffolk County residents. According to Kilmnick, the Network “will pro-
SENIORS, continued on p.11
October 16 - 29, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
SAGE Space at the Center Still Contentious Issue Members say loss of control key complaint BY ANDY HUMM
| October16 - 29, 2014
month ago, older LGBT people who have met at the SAGE Room at the LGBT Community Center for more than 30 years celebrated what they saw as a victory. After having already been moved from their longtime home on the ground floor due to renovations at the Center, they believed that had won the right to control their use of room 207. But within days of SAGE’s executive director, Michael Adams, meeting with the group’s constituents who gather on West 13th Street and saying they were “happy” with an agreement worked out with the Center, several of the seniors were telling Gay City News they do not have control over the space and want it. The SAGE constituents were especially alarmed when they saw the couch from their old room cut up in the Center’s trash. They also say that outside activities were scheduled in their room on Thursday and Friday nights without consulting them, displacing the SAGE Singers rehearsal and a men’s discussion group. SAGE has since sent Tom Weber, its director of care management services, to meet with those constituents raising concerns, and Peter Hess, one of the older gay men, said he found the tone of the meeting “cordial.” Hess added, “But the problem is that both the Center and SAGE have decided to ignore what we want and do what they want.” SAGE and Center leaders deny this, but only up to a point. R o b W h e e l e r, t h e C e n t e r ’ s chief operating officer, wrote in an email, “The Center’s agreement is with SAGE, not individual members. This includes furnishings and other items in the room. The Center and SAGE have come to an agreement about how the space is being used going forward, which is open to change or adjustment if SAGE desires. Part of that agreement was that wornout furniture would be replaced
SAGE members’ old couch cut up and left in the trash outside the LGBT Community Center.
with new furniture. If SAGE members have concer ns, they need to speak with SAGE as they have been doing.” Tracy Welsh, SAGE’s deputy director, told Gay City News, “We want our constituents to be happy there. It is a leased space for all older adults who want to use it. The whole result shows that constituents have had a lot of input. What constituents want is very important.” She added, “We did say the old furniture would not go back in and that it could be thrown out.” Constituents will have “a say” on the selection of new furniture, Welsh explained, saying it would be “homey” but has to be “accessible and age-appropriate.” Carol Demech, a constituent, said that the furniture, which also included tables, brass lamps, a TV, a new refrigerator, a computer, and artwork and photos done by the people who use the room, was owned by them and that nothing should have been disposed of without their consent. “The furnishings were donated to SAGE seniors by other SAGE seniors,” she wrote in an email. “SAGE will not talk to us. We send them emails and they are not answered.” Other constituents, however, said their emails to SAGE have been answered. Jerry Hoose, a Gay Liberation Front veteran from the late 1960s who is one of the leaders of the effort to keep control of the room, said, “We’re getting crapped on slowly. We’re going to get kicked out on our asses. SAGE is not fighting to keep our presence here [at the Center]. They have broken
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SAGE, continued on p.7
Health Department Now Ready to Ease Transgender Birth Certificate Changes Legislation by Councilmember Corey Johnson tracks administrative proposal from de Blasio administration
BY PAUL SCHINDLER
n a decisive reversal of its position from eight years ago, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is prepared to reform its regulations regarding amendments to birth certificates so that transgender people bor n here can change the gender designation on that record without providing proof of transition surgery. The department’s proposal would also dramatically ease the documentation from an attending health care professional that those seeking a gender marker change must provide, by widening the range of professionals eligible to affirm an applicant’s request. Qualified professionals would include medical doctors, psychologists, licensed social workers, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, marriage and family therapists, and midwives.
A professional drawn from this group would have to attest that the individual’s current gender designation “does not match or align with the applicant’s affirmed sex or gender identity” and that the marker sought “more accurately reflects the applicant’s sex.” According to Democrat Corey Johnson, the City Council’s out gay Health Committee chair who is sponsoring legislation that mirrors the health department proposal, the broadened group of professionals whose credentials will be recognized by the new policy will make it “the most expansive and most forward-thinking in the country.” Johnson’s committee will hold hearings in November on his legislation and he hopes to win a full Council vote in January, at about the same time the health department proposal gets final approval. In a Johnson press release, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito voiced her support for the bill.
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The twin proposals won praise from advocates, who have long worked on the issue and emphasized the significance of accurate identity records for transgender people, particularly in a post-9/11 world where security measures are routine in many day-to-day venues. The National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that 40 percent of transgender Americans have faced harassment while presenting identity documents that don’t match their gender identity. Michael Silverman, the executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF), said, “We applaud both of these efforts to help transgender people born in New York City update their birth certificates to match who they truly are. These proposed policy changes reflect modern medical standards for transgender health care.” A release from the Empire State Pride Agenda praising the health department and Johnson quoted New York Civil Liberties Union executive director Donna Lieberman saying, “You don’t realize the importance of having a birth certificate that accurately reflects who you are until you face the challenges that transgender New Yorkers regularly struggle with — harassment, denials of service, employment problems, and other endless bureaucratic nightmares caused by a single ineradicable mark on their basic proof of identity.” In 2006, the health department preliminarily proposed a similar reform — though not as far reaching — and held public hearings where the feedback was nearly unanimously positive. At the last minute, however, the department’s commissioner, Dr. Thomas Frieden, who now heads the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pulled the plug on the change. He told Gay City News at that time, “We were at fault” for not consulting with other parties such as law enforcement, hospital administrators, and schools that have requirements for sex-segregated facilities, including cells, patient wards and rooms, and showers. Johnson told Gay City News that
he raised the birth certificate issue in his first meeting with Dr. Mary Bassett, the new health commissioner named at the beginning of the de Blasio administration. “She said, ‘I hear you. I need to educate myself,’” Johnson recalled. He said he and his staff, the health department, other affected city agencies, and advocates “worked on it substantively since early July.” Johnson said the spring decision by New York State, which oversees birth certificate records for all municipalities outside the city, to drop its surgical requirement “galvanized” the effort to move the issue along at City Hall. The US State Department dropped its requirement for proof of surgery in issuing passports in 2010, and since then many other federal agencies have followed suit. Silverman said that a TLDEF suit challenging the existing surgical requirement also played a role in moving the ball. He said the city was about to be forced to provide witnesses for deposition in that suit and the presiding judge commented that if the health department intended to change its policy, it made sense to do so before attorneys began taking testimony. “And of course with New York State moving forward and removing its surgical requirement, it made it all but ridiculous for the city not to,” Silverman added. Johnson took care to note that even though both the federal and state governments moved faster on reform, neither adopted as thoroughgoing a change as the city is contemplating. Meanwhile, in the State Senate, Brad Hoylman, an out gay Democrat who, like Johnson, represents Manhattan’s West Side, has filed legislation to change the form of birth certificates so a child with two fathers or two mothers is not shown with one parent designated by the wrong gender. Hoylman also sponsors legislation that would allow “intended” parents of children born as the result of artificial insemination or surrogacy to be listed on the certificate at the time of birth — as well as a bill to end the state’s ban on surrogacy contracts.
October 16 - 29, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
NICHOLSON, from p.3
Joe. He had a vision for me that I didn’t have for myself,” lobbying her for two years to get into reporting. She became the first Latino reporter at the paper and said she learned her craft from Nicholson. “I’m attuned to bigotry,” Reyes said. “Joe had to fight the editors to get his stories on AIDS in. He was so thorough that they finally broke down and published them.” Nicholson’s cousin, Michael Lane, eulogized him, citing his many achievements as a reporter and his journalistic mantra, “Just get it right.” But Lane said, “His biggest achievement by far, though, was his 32 years with the love of his life, Sherwin.” Lane said to Sherwin, a tall, soft-spoken Trinidadian immigrant who found love with the shorter Irish American Nicholson, “You are the best thing that ever
SAGE, from p.5
our agreement.” Bill Shubick, a constituent who directs the SAGE Singers, said of his group’s displacement from meeting at their usual time on Thursday nights, “SAGE offered me my time slot back, but they want me out by 6:30 p.m. sharp,” which would eliminate the group’s customary half-hour of socializing after rehearsal. “That’s unacceptable,” Shubick added. “We’re being squeezed. We want control back.” The Friday evening men’s discussion group, meanwhile, has been moved to the SAGE Center at 305 Seventh Avenue at 28th Street, an arrangement that Hess, one of its members, said the group is trying to reverse. Phil Katz, another constituent, said, “I love SAGE, but the staff members don’t communicate with one another and therefore miscommunicate with the constituents. It’s very frustrating.” He worries that more time slots will be taken away from the seniors. Saying, “I feel we’re being flimflammed with information constantly changing,” Alvin Goldstein, 74, explained why the issue is so important to longtime members of the group that meets at the Center. “This is the only venue where [older] gay men and women | October16 - 29, 2014
happened to our family.” Joseph H. Nicholson, Jr. was born July 13, 1943, the son of a reporter and Associated Press executive, Joseph Nicholson, and a teacher, Virginia, who predeceased him. He was a graduate of Bronxville High School and Holy Cross College, and began studies at Fordham Law School before turning to journalism. In addition to his husband, Sherwin, he is survived by a sister, Katherine Nicholson Pendergast of Belmont, Massachusetts, niece Elizabeth Pendergast, and many cousins including Lane of Brooklyn, Timothy Muller of Manhattan, and Mary Anthea Muller of Greenport on Long Island. Donations in Joe Nicholson’s memory can be made to Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen at 296 Ninth Avenue at 28th Street, the city’s largest voluntary meals program for the homeless.
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can come in and feel free to be themselves,” he said. “We can’t do that at a regular senior center. And the SAGE Center doesn’t have the space to have a socialization area. They have a small room, but it can’t handle all of us.” SAGE’s Welsh pointed out the benefits of the group’s new space in room 207. “From our perspective, this is a bright new space that will have new furniture,” she said. “It will have a refrigerator. The hours will be pretty much the same, with access on Sundays.” The Center’s Wheeler acknowledged the concerns of the SAGE members but noted they need to get on the same page as that group’s leadership. “All of us at the Center have a deep respect for SAGE and its members, and we look forward to many more years of SAGE at the Center,” he wrote in an email. “As with any group that rents space, it is not our place to get into the middle of a group’s leadership and its members. The Center has said ‘yes’ to every request SAGE has made regarding the SAGE community room, and we continue to be open to whatever they might need from us in the future.” The SAGE constituents, meanwhile, are circulating a petition voicing their concerns that they will present to the both SAGE and the Center.
Advocates Urge Guv to Reject Court Renomination HRC, Pride Agenda, LGBT law group argue against new term for Judge Victoria Graffeo on NYS’ highest bench BY PAUL SCHINDLER
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s Gover nor Andrew Cuomo approaches a decision on whether or not to reappoint Judge Victoria Graffeo to another term on the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest bench, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s leading LGBT advocacy group, is weighing in. “We urge you not to reappoint Judge Graffeo and instead select someone who would treat all New York families equally under the law,” Chad Griffin, HRC’s president wrote in an October 8 letter to the governor. In stepping up on the question of reappointing Graffeo to the Court of Appeals, HRC joins the LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York, or LeGaL, and the Empire State Pride Agenda, New York’s LGBT rights lobby, in urging a different course on Cuomo. Appointed to the high court by former Governor George Pataki, Graffeo’s 14-year term ends in November. If re-appointed, she could serve another eight years until she reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70. Cuomo will choose from a pool of seven candidates, including Graffeo, presented to him by the State Commission on Judicial Nomination. In his letter to the governor, Griffin cited not only Graffeo’s participation in the four -to-two majority that sunk a marriage equality lawsuit eight years but also a more recent vote involving the parenting rights of a lesbian mom who had been in a civil union with her child’s biological mother. “In 2006, Judge Graffeo joined the majority opinion against marriage equality for New York’s gay and lesbian couples,” Grif fin wrote. “While many Americans have evolved on LGBT rights, in 2010 Judge Graffeo declined to recognize a lesbian mom as a full parent despite her legal relationship to the biological mother. Con-
New York State Court of Appeals Judge Victoria Graffeo.
sistently she has shown a lack of respect for constitutional rights afforded to all Americans and instead defers to the legislature on issues that are appropriate subject matter for the courts.” In an email, Alison Steinberg, communications director at the Pride Agenda, wrote, “We’re in agreement that Graffeo should not be reappointed.” LeGaL, in its September 15 letter to Cuomo, written by Touro Law Center professor Meredith R. Miller and Janice B. Grubin of the LeclairRyan law firm, noted a particularly egregious problem in Graffeo’s history on LGBT rights issues. In a concurring opinion in the 2006 ruling barring samesex marriage, Miller and Grubin pointed out, she made what even then seemed like a facetious case for why banning same-sex couples from marrying does not represent anti-gay discrimination — the fact that “[r]egardless of sexual orientation, any person c[ould] marry a person of the opposite sex.” In countless court rulings since then, state and federal judges have found that the right to marry means nothing if a person is denied the choice of spouse. Griffin’s reference, in the HRC letter, to the 2010 lesbian par enting case, apparently intended to shorthand the issues involved, instead may have obscured them. In that case, Debra H. v. Janice R., the non-biological mother of a
GRAFFEO, continued on p.9
October 16 - 29, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
GRAFFEO, from p.8
child born to her civil union partner after they entered into their union in Vermont, sought visitation and custody rights regarding the child. Graffeo joined a unanimous decision finding that the civil union gave that mother parenting rights, rights that would be respected by New York and allow her to proceed with her claims for visitation and/ or custody. In a concurring opinion, however, Graffeo insisted the civil union was the only ground on which Debra H. could seek to exercise parental rights. She wrote her concurrence, in fact, to specifically reject any legal argument — available in some jurisdictions — that Debra H. was, by the nature of her ongoing relationship and responsibilities toward the child in a family setting, a de facto parent with all the rights of a par -
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concluding that the non-biological mother was a legal stranger to the child, despite the fact that the two women jointly planned the child’s birth using artificial insemination. Graffeo argued in those cases that parenting rights in situations involving assisted reproductive technology were not for the courts to sort out, but would need to be addressed by the Legislature. In their letter for LeGaL, Miller and Grubin wrote, “Our community needs jurists on the Court of Appeals who will reject the temptation of easy solutions that ignore the complicated realities characterizing modern family life.” The group, in fact, recommended that Cuomo avail himself of the opportunity to appoint the first out LGBT member of the Court of Appeals by naming Daniel Alter, who was among the other six candidates presented to him by the Commission on Judicial Nomina-
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Graffeo argued forcefully to uphold a 1991 precedent that limited standing to claim parenting rights to those who have a biological or adoptive relationship to a child.
ent. Graffeo argued forcefully to uphold a 1991 precedent that limited standing to claim parenting rights to those who have a biological or adoptive relationship to a child or who were the spouse of the biological mother at the time of the child’s birth. LeGaL’s letter, also noting that Graffeo “insisted [the 1991 precedent] ‘must be reaf fir med,’’’ aruged that “the cost” of that precedent is “permanently denying many parents any further role in the lives of their children, especially those parents without access to the costly advice of lawyers before a child is born.” Overtur ning that precedent remains a critical goal of LGBT family advocates. In another 2010 parenting dispute between two lesbian former partners, who had not gone down the road of either adoption or an out-of-state civil union, Graffeo sided with the court’s minority, | October16 - 29, 2014
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tion. Currently the general counsel at the state’s Department of Financial Services, the 49-year-old Alter was up for an appointment to the federal judiciary in the Southern District of New York in 2010, a nomination that came apart over allegations — which he denied — that he had spoken out against use of the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance and in favor of saying “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas.” In a crew of seven candidates, Alter’s chances to win a seat on the bench now are unknown, but the governor’s delay in acting on the question — his official deadline was last week — suggests he is not eager to re-nominate Graffeo, one of four judges out of seven appointed by Republican Pataki. LeGaL, for one, would love to see the appointment go to Alter, but for them, HRC, and the Pride Agenda, Cuomo has six chances out of seven to do the right thing.
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Trans Beaten BadlyofinCommerce Bushwick TheWoman Manhattan Chamber Second recent anti-LGBT attackCommittee in Brooklyn neighborhood LGBT-2-B BY ANDY HUMM
28-year -old trans woman was beaten by four men on a Bushwick street at about 11:20 p.m. on October 12, according to the New York City Police Department. The incident, which police say occurred outside of 1250 Buckwick Avenue near Halsey Street and involved the perpetrators making “anti-gay statements,” is being investigated by the NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force. The woman, whose name has not been released, was a client of New Alternatives for Homeless LGBT Youth. Kate Barnhart, the group’s executive director, said the victim was walking with a gay friend when the men approached them “and asked what they were doing in the neighborhood.” Barnhart added, “When they figured out from her voice that she was transgender, they starting calling her a ‘faggot’ and beating her with a 2 X 4.” Media reports have cited NYPD sources describing the weapon as a plexiglass board. The victim’s friend was able to escape without injury, Barnhart said. According to Barnhart, a bystander captured cell phone video of the incident and police have surveillance video as well as the weapon used in the attack. “She is listed in stable condition,” Barnart said of the victim, “but it is not clear if she will have permanent brain damage.”
According to the NYPD, the victim was “transported to Elmhurst Hospital in critical condition.” Barnhart added, “It is outrageous that transgender people are still not safe in what is supposed to be the safest LGBT city in the world.” The October 12 attack is at least the second anti-LGBT bias incident in recent weeks in Bushwick. Three men have been charged in connection with the shooting of a 22-year-old man on September 27 at about 7 a.m. on Broadway near Putnam Avenue. According to media reports as well as information from the Kings County District Attorney’s Office and the New York City Anti-Violence Project, the victim identifies as a gay man and was, with several friends, dressed in feminine clothing when they were approached by three men who yelled slurs including “faggots” and “tranny.” When the victim and his friends tried to leave, the victim was shot in the buttocks. After treatment at Brookdale Hospital, he was released. Police charged 21-year-old Matthew Smith with attempted murder, assault, criminal possession of a weapon, and menacing, all as hate crimes. Cody Sigue, 22, and Tavon Johnson, 17, were charged with menacing and aggravated harassment, both as hate crimes. While one media source identified the victim by name, at this point Gay City News is not doing so. — Additional reporting by Paul Schindler
212 473 7875 firstname.lastname@example.org 10
October 16 - 29, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
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SENIORS, from p.4
vide all the health and nutritional and recreational services” at a new LGBT senior center there that will be open to non-residents as well. The Bay Shore project will be the fifth such development nationwide, the others being the John C. Anderson apartments in Philadelphia, Spirit on Lake in Minneapolis, Triangle Square in Hollywood, and one set to break ground this fall in Chicago’s Halsted neighborhood. Speaking at the October 7 ceremony, State Assemblymember Phil Ramos, a Democrat, said, “It is so important that we recognize the needs of all members of our community, and this is a big step toward addressing those needs for this historically underserved group.” County Legislator Monica Martinez, also a Democrat, said, “Ensuring Suffolk County is a welcoming place for all continues to be a priority of my office.” The Network’s press release noted that the “non-profit Equal Rights Center recently conducted surveys across 10 US states and
| October16 - 29, 2014
found that in 46 percent of cases, gay couples reported discrimination when seeking housing.” Shortly after the announcement last week, Kilmnick received a piece of hate mail — the third in 18 months — threatening both him and the new housing development with violence. “It’s quite disturbing and unnerving,” he told Long Island Press, “and it’s also a wake-up call for all of us not to be complacent with all the gains we’ve had with equality in the community.” Kilmnick told Gay City News he grew up in Far Rockaway and was inspired by the work of his grandmother, Helen Leonescu, who was a Democratic district leader. “I went out on the campaign trail with her and she always talked about senior issues,” he recalled. “My first job out of social work school was with the Jewish Association for Services for the Aged.” Though he started out his LGBT work on Long Island with youth, Kilmnick explained, “I wanted our seniors to see that their lives matter and mean something and can have golden years that are truly that.”
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Words Offer Comfort, Deeds Summon Grace
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I was reminded by my friend and colleague Andy Humm that a defining maxim of the women’s suffrage movement a century ago was “Deeds Not Words.” In our age, words are expertly focus-group-tested and then wielded alternately as heartfelt promises, dire warnings, and lacerating weapons. We all cycle through thousands of words a day, but leave ourselves too little time to keep track of the deeds that follow — or don’t. This caveat is crucial in considering the three paragraphs — the 226 words — dealing with gay and lesbian people in the preliminary report issued by the synod of bishops meeting at the Vatican at Pope Francis’ behest. Those 226 words, in turn, have been boiled down to handfuls of words, sound bites really, that make up the headlines trumpeting the news out of Rome. As has been the case throughout Francis’ 18-month papacy, many of those headlines have been upbeat, at times breathless, heraldings of a New Church — a “shift,” a “new tone,” a “sharp break with the past” are phrases repeated over and over again. In some tellings, Francis becomes an ecclesiastical Barack Obama of sorts — “evolving” toward the right place. As if the process of shifting political positions in a pluralistic democracy can be easily analogized to an ancient religion’s stewardship of deeply embedded thinking and teachings on human sexuality and individual agency. The “positive” aspects of the synod’s reports are well known: “Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities?... Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation…?” And, “It has to be noted that there are cases in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners.” That’s fine as far as it goes — but the three paragraphs are careful to
maintain the longstanding limitations on the embrace these words suggest: Is the “accepting and valuing their sexual orientation” possible “without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?” In acknowledging value in gay and lesbian unions, the bishops make clear they do so “without denying the moral problems connected to” them. And in a clear proclamation that the Church will continue to claim its unsettling global political role, the bishops write, “The Church furthermore affirms that unions between people of the same sex cannot be considered on the same footing as matrimony between man and woman. Nor is it acceptable that pressure be brought to bear on pastors or that international bodies make financial aid dependent on the introduction of regulations inspired by gender ideology.” These unambiguous reaffirmations of a traditional dogma hostile to the LGBT community has led many to dismiss the bishops’ interim report as nothing more substantial than earlier statements from Francis, which skeptics charged were calculated to convey openness while delivering no change. I never thought that a pastor saying, “Who am I to judge” was a particularly profound or revolutionary development — except set against the context of the papacy, an institution where humility and openness have never been hallmarks. In Rome right now, however, I think something more is going on — and it merits serious consideration along with a healthy dollop of caution. Here, Francis is not primarily a speaker, he is an actor. The 10 cardinals who wrote the interim report were largely his appointees. As Jeff Stone, DignityUSA’s spokesman, noted, “Francis’ fingerprints are all over this report.” I think the pope is trying to move the Church, but the question is precisely where? In Stone’s view, what has been accomplished so far involves who feels more empowered and who feels less so. Even before this week, he asserted, LGBT Catholics felt more welcomed and progressive priests and bishops felt freer to speak out. But critics have rightly pointed out that at the same time, in the US, gay
Catholic school teachers and church choir masters, some of them long known to be gay, have been fired — their offense being their marriage to their partner. Stone predicted that bishops, whose political instincts “got them where they are,” will read the tea leaves and halt this kind of retribution. Time will tell. People seeking a spiritual home, however, look for a lot more than simply a congregation that will not punish them. Asking them to detach from teachings that reject core aspects of their personhood is violently at odds with the goal and meaning of communion. And if we are to give Francis the benefit of the doubt that his intentions are the right ones, it is in this respect that he may well fail. Nothing in the 226 words indicates any intention to challenge the stain inflicted on the Church by the infamous 1986 “Halloween Letter” authored by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who in 2005 became Pope Benedict XVI. As a key lieutenant of Pope John Paul II, Ratzinger wrote, “The particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.” Marianne Duddy-Burke, DignityUSA’s executive director, hailed the “astonishingly new” language in the interim report for representing “a far different starting point than saying we are ‘objectively disordered.’” Stone said that Church doctrine often does not change by abrupt repudiation but rather by the “accretion” of new doctrine that in gradualist fashion supersedes what was originally in place. But the Catholic Church does not have the 359 years it took for it to apologize to Galileo for his imprisonment during the Inquisition. Even as he talked about the gradualism of change in the Church, Stone also pointed to the revolutionary changes wrought by Vatican II in the 1960s and by comments Francis has made suggesting that sometimes things need to be done quickly. I will credit the new pope with a willingness to reach out to LGBT people with a new humanity. I am not yet convinced he appreciates the profound pain and suffering his Church has caused gay people, especially in the past three decades. And it’s unfortunate that Francis has demonstrated no willingness to actively uproot Benedict’s entrenched spiritual poison that continues to fester at its core.
October 16 - 29, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
PERSPECTIVE: A Dyke Abroad
Dusting Off Identity Politics
BY KELLY COGSWELL
ast week, yet another person told me that identity politics was dead. “Sure, as a strategy, it was okay for our generation, helped us get a lot done from AIDS to marriage, but the young ones aren’t into labels. They use ‘queer’ or whatever. Don’t see the need for L-G-B-T at all.” Which may well be true. Young queers can declare victory. Get married. Or not. Ride off into the sunset or ironically drink Bud out of Mason jars at home. Identity politics seems particularly dusty during specialized history months when PBS broadcasts a couple of documentaries on the likes of Harvey Milk like they do of Martin Luther King or Cesar Chavez. Some simplistic little thing that fossilizes our struggles into something a kid can understand. Though nothing that breaks into straight, white, male History to indicate that our stories of liberation are as important and revolutionary as those of our Founding Fathers. In fact, are a kind of continuation of them. Not separate or apart. Even I hate identity politics sometimes, because after years of calling attention to differences, we get groups of whacktivists who don’t just acknowledge difference, but fetishize it, even enforce it, attacking any queer organizer that tries to offer parallels with, for instance, the black civil rights movements, because it is an “appropriation” of experience. Likewise, any attempt to connect queers in Nigeria with those in New York or even Mississippi is automatically denounced as a form of neo- or post- or maybe even pre-colonialism. While these critics are ostensibly attacking
racism or colonialism, it’s hard to distinguish them from the bigots who believe that each group, each nation is not just formed somewhat arbitrarily by skin color or sexual orientation, or gender, or geography, and the experiences of their lives that follow, but is so profoundly and inherently different that we’re not just apples and oranges but sea slugs and skyscrapers. Which begs the question, if we’re as foreign to each other as all that, on what planet can we be equal? Why bother with democracy at all? The biggest argument to reconsider identity politics, is that even in places where City Hall flies the Rainbow Flag in June, they’ll still call you a faggot or dyke or tranny when they beat your ass, no matter how passé identity is. Critics of Obama don’t really go after his politics, but his black skin. Women are still raped every couple of minutes just for having tits. When I was harassed on the street a couple of weeks ago it was as a big ole dyke. The legal barriers to my equality may be falling every day, but homophobia is still alive and well. Just like racism. And misogyny. All those things that impose identity, history, life experience, whether we want it or not. Because the focus is identity, a more enlightened version of identity politics can respond. A willingness to do what Ta-Nehisi Coates is doing with race, asking what it means to be black, how racism is enmeshed in our national history and imagining some way to redress it. The only way to assure basic human rights is through political action. And the only way to wield political power is to be visible. And the only way for minorities to be visible is to organize around these arbitrary differences somebody started
calling identities. What queers need to articulate this time around, though, is that while differences exist, and they matter, they don’t make us unrecognizable to each other or the world. Like an extended family, each member may have a different personality, life, name, even gender, class, race, history, or nationality, but we’re still in it together. If we are uncomfortable with the language that defines us, it is up to us to transform it by taking these awkward words and putting our bodies behind them, investing them with our lives. Only then, will they begin to change and “woman” will make room for the likes of me. And “lesbian” can mean blue jeans, Doc Martens, and a Mohawk on Wednesdays, and on Saturdays a furry skirt and lipstick. Or whatever. Even in our own community, we can intersect and be different and the same all at once. We can even shift between our identities because they aren’t fixed. Though the consequences might be. The jobs we still don’t get. The religions we’re exiled from. The families many of us still leave behind to save ourselves. We can do anything we want, except abandon the field of battle. I think in the midst of all this progress, we’ve failed to communicate to a younger generation just how vulnerable we are. That we LGBTQ people are a minority today — and always will be. A dangerous reality when humans have a predilection for punishing the different and powerless and progress is never written in stone. Voting rights won generations ago are under attack again. Ditto for abortion rights. Identity politics is dead. Long live identity politics. Kelly Cogswell is the author of “Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger,” published earlier this year by the University of Minnesota Press.
PERSPECTIVE: Media Circus
Even Googling Monkeys In Love Can’t Forgive Rick Santorum BY ED SIKOV
uh! Have you ever come up with a brilliant and revelatory idea or discovery that, on reflection, made so much sense you were suddenly baffled as to why you thought it was so brilliant in the first place? I do it all the time. The latest example of my unwavering drive to patent the obvious | October16 - 29, 2014
occurred the other day as I was amusing myself searching online for anti-gay horror stories (a perverse pleasure, I know, but I can’t help myself). On this occasion, I began by entering my usual inquiry word in the Google News search bar: anti-gay. I found some fairly sour stuff, but nothing exceptional — nothing that satisfied my deep-seated craving for proof of the world’s essential hostility. Suddenly an ecologically responsible compact fluorescent bulb
flipped on in my head: I was searching the wrong term! Searches for anti-gay lead to websites and publications like the Huffington Post and Slate, the New York Daily News and the Advocate — in other words, news sources without a homophobic agenda. To find truly vile stories about gay people, I realized, you should never use the word we use to identify ourselves. No, that’s entirely self-defeating. Search instead for homosexual and the nuts come flying off the trees.
Sure, you get some of the same positive, boring stories you get with anti-gay. But you also get gems from sites like Patheos.com, which claims to be Hosting the Conversation on Faith. “Homosexual Interests Trump the Poor’s,” one recent Patheos headline stated. The piece made the warped and paranoid assertion that gay — excuse me, homosexual — people’s vast and frightening power comes at the expense of the world’s impoverished. I must remember to tell my husband that our marriage is the cause of famine in South Sudan. Or Charisma News, which offered “9 Prophetic Keys for Binding the
MEDIA CIRCUS, continued on p.18
THE CLEAN-UP BEGINS BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
good bet, however, that he gave no hope to the Republicans that they were likely to get his vote.
& PAUL SCHINDLER
A day after the Supreme C o u r t ’s “ d e c i s i o n n o t t o decide,” a unanimous three-
MARLIN LAVANHAR/ FACEBOOK.COM
ith lightning speed last week, actions by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court either upheld or let stand promarriage equality rulings in seven states from Virginia to Idaho and also created legal precedents for gay marriage to be extended to another nine states within the appeals court circuits where those cases originated. Assuming a variety of efforts by states seeking appeals or stays are resolved favorably — and there is good reason to think they will be — same-sex couples in 35 states could have the right to marry within days or weeks. In a 36th state, Missouri, officials will not challenge a state court mandate that out-ofstate marriages be recognized. First to the Supreme Court’s action on October 6, which set the cavalcade of progress in motion. The high court denied petitions for review of appellate court gay marriage victories in Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Utah, and Oklahoma. In these cases, the US Courts of Appeals for the Fourth, Seventh, and 10th Circuits had ruled in recent months that same-sex couples have a 14th Amendment right to marry. Each of those rulings had been stayed pending high court action, and those stays have now been lifted. The rulings the high court let stand are now binding precedents in all states under those circuits’ jurisdiction, six of which did not yet have marriage equality. Colorado was the first state to fall in line. The state’s Republican attorney general, John Suthers, who appealed a marriage equality ruling — which was stayed — from the district court this summer, concluded the state was bound by the ruling from the 10th Circuit, which includes Colorado in its jurisdiction. Marriages began promptly. North Carolina’s Democratic attorney general, Roy Cooper, immediately indicated he would no longer defend that state’s ban. On
Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin, plaintiffs in the Oklahoma marriage equality case, marry in Tulsa.
October 10, a federal district court overseeing ongoing litigation there ordered the state to stop enforcing its policy, and marriages began the same day. The Legislature’s Republican leadership took steps to pick up the mantle of mounting an appeal, but what grounds they could articulate that eluded the five states whose appeals were not taken up by Supreme Court is unclear. On October 9, West Virginia’s attorney general, Republican Patrick Morrisey, announced the state would have to comply with the Fourth Circuit precedent in the Virginia case, and Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, a Democrat, directed all public agencies to comply accordingly. The other three states bound by the precedents established in the Fourth and 10th Circuit rulings have so far resisted and the district court judges overseeing litigation there have not yet ruled. In South Carolina, Republican Governor Nikki Haley backed up GOP Attorney General Alan Wilson’s vow to fight on, while Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, also Republicans, led the charge in their states in promising to fight on. It’s important to remember that the high court’s decision to deny a petition for review is not a decision on the merits. Though unantici-
pated, the court’s decision to allow marriage equality to go into effect in so many states without ruling may have struck the justices as prudent. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — a likely marriage equality supporter who has already officiated at several same-sex marriages and was part of the majority that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act last year — recently said she saw no urgency as long as there was no disagreement among the circuit courts of appeals. It takes just four votes to grant review in an appeal. If the four most conservative Republicans — Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito — thought they had a chance of picking up the vote of Justice Anthony Kennedy, the DOMA majority opinion’s author, they would likely have voted to grant review in one or more of these cases. The four Democratic appointees — Justices Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan — presumably marriage equality supporters based on their DOMA votes, may agree with Ginsburg that there is no need to take up review unless and until a circuit split develops. We may never learn what Kennedy said in the court’s conference two weeks ago to persuade his colleagues to refrain from granting review. It seems a
judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of marriage equality in cases from Nevada and Idaho. Writing for the panel, Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt, appointed to the court by Jimmy Carter, found the marriage bans fail to meet the heightened scrutiny standard the Ninth Circuit applies in reviewing sexual orientation discrimination claims. The panel upheld a favorable ruling in Idaho earlier this year and overturned a 2012 ruling against marriage equality in Nevada. Nevada quickly fell into line with the ruling. GOP Governor Brian Sandoval early this year concluded Nevada’s marriage ban was no longer defensible, so the state did not argue on its behalf before the court of appeals, leaving its defense to an anti-marriage-equality group, the Coalition for the Protection of Marriage. The Coalition was allowed to step in when the state backed down from defense of its marriage ban, but it does not have legal authority under Nevada law to further appeal the case. Idaho was a different story. There, Governor Butch Otter, also a Republican, authorized attorney Gene Schaerr, a Washington-based Supreme Court litigator, to file an emergency application for a stay pending appeal with the Ninth Circuit and with the Supreme Court. Justice Anthony Kennedy quickly granted the temporary stay on October 8. Schaerr’s application said Idaho would seek Supreme Court review and raised two questions — whether heightened scrutiny, a rigorous standard of judicial review, is appropriate in sexual orientation cases and whether bans on samesex marriage are in fact sexual orientation discrimination. If the Ninth Circuit erred on either point, he argued, the Supreme Court could send the case back to the Ninth Circuit for reconsideration.
MARRIAGE, continued on p.15
October 16 - 29, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
MARRIAGE, from p.14
Otter’s hopes to buy time, however, were dashed soon enough. Kennedy received the plaintiffs’ response to Idaho’s petition on October 9, and a day later the full court, without comment, denied the request for a longer stay pending appeal. On October 13, the Ninth Circuit ordered that marriages begin on October 15. Otter vows to continue the state’s effort to challenge the Ninth Circuit order. The Ninth Circuit’s use of heightened scrutiny dates only to this past January, in a case where the court concluded that last year’s ruling in the Defense of Marriage Act case effectively applied that standard by placing the burden on the federal government to justify its unequal treatment of legal samesex marriages. Reinhardt did not offer a view on whether the marriage bans met the more customary and lenient standard of exhibiting at least some rational basis. The high court’s refusal to grant Idaho officials a longer stay in pursuing an appeal is likely a relief to LGBT legal advocates. The state pointed out that heightened scrutiny was a different standard that those used in the other appellate rulings the Supreme Court let stand, a hook that could have led the high court to treat the Ninth Circuit differently. Action in response to the new Ninth Circuit precedent came quickly in Alaska, where District Judge Timothy M. Burgess, in a surprising Sunday ruling on October 12, issued an immediate injunction barring enforcement of the same-sex marriage ban there. Republican Governor Sean Parnell has vowed to fight the ruling, but license applications began to be accepted the following day. Unlike the Ninth Circuit, Burgess essentially found that the state’s ban failed to satisfy even a more lenient, deferential standard of review, writing, “Alaska’s samesex marriage laws are a prime example of how ‘the varying treatment of different groups or persons is so unrelated to the achievement of any combination of legitimate purposes that we can only conclude that the legislature’s actions were irrational.’” Burgess, appointed to the high | October16 - 29, 2014
court by President George W. Bush in 2005, also rejected the state’s argument that the plaintiffs were seeking a “new” constitutional right of “same-sex marriage,” finding instead that at stake was what the Supreme Court has repeatedly identified as a fundamental right to marry, one the high court has never limited, he said, to “the particular facts of the case before it or [found to be] a right belonging to a particular group.” The two other states impacted by the Ninth Circuit ruling have so far been quieter. In Arizona, a district court has given state officials until October 16 to offer a counterargument to the presumption the ruling overturns the same-sex marriage ban there. No timing has been established for district court action in Montana.
Still to be heard from is the Sixth Circuit, where the court of appeals heard oral arguments on marriage victories in all four states under its jurisdiction — Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee — early in August. Observers of those arguments had predicted this might be the first circuit to rule against gay mar riage, but the Supreme Court’s action might influence the judges’ thinking, especially given the lack of any dissent from an action that opened up marriage equality in 11 more states. In the Fifth Circuit, the court has yet to schedule arguments on appeals from district court rulings in Texas and Louisiana, though those are widely expected in November. In the 11th Circuit, that court has also not scheduled arguments on Florida’s appeal from a trial court pro-marriage equality ruling. The State of Missouri last week announced it would not appeal a state judge’s order that it recognize valid marriages from other jurisdictions. Earlier this year, a state judge in Arkansas struck down the gay marriage ban there on federal constitutional grounds, in a ruling that was stayed. Both states are in the Eighth Circuit, where Iowa and Minnesota already allow gay and lesbian couples to marry, but where no federal court rulings have come down. The Eighth also includes Nebraska and North and South Dakota.
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19 marriage equality states before October 6
5 state victories the Supreme Court let stand on October 6 3 states bound by rulings the Supreme Court let stand that now have marriage equality 3 states bound by the same rulings that are resisting
SCENARIOS GOING FORWARD Out of total of 11 circuit courts of appeals, the question of marriage equality has been settled — for now, at least, in six. Every state in the Second and Third Circuits — New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware — has marriage equality without any case going before a federal appellate court. The Virginia ruling by the Fourth Circuit, the Indiana and Wisconsin rulings by the Seventh Circuit, the Idaho and Nevada rulings by the Ninth Circuit, and the Oklahoma and Utah rulings by the 10th Circuit will, over the coming days and weeks, have brought marriage equality to 11 new states beyond those five. 16
The Sixth Circuit, which heard arguments in early August on marriage equality wins in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, and Kentucky, could rule at any time. Arguments have not yet been scheduled in appeals of a Texas marriage equality victory and a Louisiana marriage defeat in the Fifth Circuit or in a Florida marriage equality win in the 11th Circuit.
pealed and is in effect. A state court ruling in Arkansas granting equal marriage rights has been stayed.
Finally, Puerto Rico is the one US territory whose courts are part of the federal judiciary. A marriage recognition case there could eventually go to the Boston-based First Circuit Court of Appeals. The four states in that Circuit — Massachusetts, There has been no federal ruling yet in Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine any of the seven states in the Eighth Cir- — already have marriage equality. cuit, though Iowa and Minnesota already allow same-sex couples to marry. An out- Several broad scenarios for the endof-state marriage recognition ruling from game follow. a state court in Missouri is not being ap— Paul Schindler October 16 - 29, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
2 states where the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals handed down marriage victories on October 7 1 state bound by the Ninth Circuit ruling that now has marriage equality 2 states bound by the same ruling where there has been no district court compliance yet
4 states awaiting a Sixth Circuit ruling on district court victories
Florida victory appealed 3 states awaiting hearing by the Fifth Circuit Texas victory appealed Louisiana loss appealed
Marriage equality loses in one or more of the following circuits: the Sixth, the Fifth, the 11th, the Eighth, or the First. The Supreme Court accepts one or more of those defeats for review and settles the question of whether there is a federal constitutional right to marry. Given that only the Sixth Circuit has, to date, heard arguments, that might be the only one that would advance fast enough for the high court to hear an appeal in the term ending in June 2015. Should marriage equality lose at the high court, the fate of the federal appeals rulings that currently allow same-sex marriage would become a hotly contested, even divisive legal issue.
| October16 - 29, 2014
3 states awaiting hearing by the 11th Circuit
Missouri, after a state court marrage recognition victory, honors out-ofstate marriages
Marriage equality wins in all the remaining circuits and it becomes the law of the land without Supreme Court intervention.
Marriage equality suffers a defeat in one or more of the circuit courts of appeals, but the Supreme Court does not agree to review the decision and a â€œcircuit splitâ€? continues on an issue of significant public concern. In that scenario, same-sex couples in circuits with an adverse ruling would need to seek the right to marry through state constitutional avenues.
MEDIA CIRCUS, from p.13
Homosexual Spirit.” I knew I was in for a good time when I saw that the illustration for the article was a rendering of the Tower of Babel. “Today’s homosexual movement is possibly the most unified on the Earth. They have one language and one purpose. Everybody is in agreement,” the author, John Burton, writes. Obviously Burton has never been to a Tony Awards party. “This simultaneous horizontal and vertical advance of the homosexual movement is brilliant, though not original,” Burton continues, adding a surprising geometric twist to his insane rant. “We saw it at Babel, and we’ll see it again at the end of the age. The Antichrist’s strategy includes horizontal world domination and a vertical one-world religion. At the end of that strategy, after a great battle, God wins.” So what’s the trouble, Toots? As Vince Lombardi (or maybe Red Sanders) once said, “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.” So to quote Bugs Bunny, “Unlax!” You’ll be in heaven, we’ll be in hell, and you can gloat all you want.
The highly entertaining OneNewsNow’s quote of the week needs no comment from the likes of me: “Five years after publicly denouncing the Bible’s teaching of wives submitting to their husbands, former President Jimmy Carter is stepping it up a notch by stating that Jesus wouldn’t judge or condemn homosexual behavior.” So the next time you’d like to take an armchair tour of cuckooland, just fire up Google News and search for homosexual. It’ll take you places you’ve never dreamed of.
Those Who Lie Down With Dogs… What’s the deal with anti-gay crackpots and their compulsive fantasizing about bestiality? Years would go by without the subject of man-on-dog sex entering my head if it weren’t for the wackjobs on the religious and/ or politically crank right who can’t get their minds off of it. It’s downright disgusting, and I wish they’d seek professional help for what is clearly a severe and seemingly a contagious mental illness. The latest nutcase to spew the filthy topic into public discourse is the bishop of the Mexican Diocese
of Aguascalientes, José María de la Torre Martín, who found himself in hot water (get it?; ¿comprende?) when he spoke out against proposal there to legalize same-sex marriage. The perverted cleric opined that allowing gay couples to marry will lead to “allowing a man to marry a dog, and they can inherit the puppies.” Returning to Bugs Bunny for the right response, I can only say: “Whadda maroon!” If a gay guy wanted to marry a dog, the dog would be almost certainly be similarly male, so there wouldn’t be any puppies no matter how many times the cross-species lovers did the nastiest nasty. And if by some Bible-like miracle a litter would result from this improbable union, the happy couple wouldn’t be inheriting the puppies; they’d be birthing them. Jeez, doesn’t this clown know anything?
I Confess No, I’m not referring to the second-tier Alfred Hitchcock film starring Montgomery Clift as a Catholic priest. (Despite the brilliant casting of a closeted gay man as a priest, “I
Confess” just isn’t on the same masterpiece level as “Rear Window,” “Vertigo,” and “Psycho.”) I’m actually confessing to being mistaken in my last column — probably. Embarrassingly, I was making fun of Bill Kristol for always spouting predictions that prove to be wrong, when I — yes, I — predicted the Supreme Court would take up the issue of same-sex marriage during this court session. But, last week, the Supremes stopped in the name of love by declining to hear the appeals of a five states fighting lower court rulings declaring their anti-gay marriage laws unconstitutional. Many SCOTUS watchers were surprised by the court’s refusal to hear the appeals, but widespread shock doesn’t let me off the hook for being wrong in a column ridiculing a guy who’s always wrong. Should another appeals court rule against marriage equality, there’s a chance I might yet get a reprieve from my errorhood. But I am going to preemptively apologize — not to the worthless Kristol, but to you. I’m also willing to predict that I’ll be wrong again some time soon. Follow @edsikov on Twitter.
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October 16 - 29, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
I Remember Mama In confronting a wretched past, Billy Porter finds hope for the future BY DAVID KENNERLEY
WHILE I YET LIVE
| October16 - 29, 2014
Primary Stages The Duke on 42nd Street 229 W. 42nd St. Through Oct. 31 Tue.-Thu. at 7 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Sat. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. $70; PrimaryStages.org Or 646-223-3010 2 hrs., 30 mins., with intermission JAMES LEYNSE
ave you noticed the boomlet in bioshows about gay, tormented, and ultimately triumphant African-American males on the New York boards this season? Last month, “Bootycandy” wowed audiences with its darkly comic take on growing up black and gay, presumably set in Cincinnati where the playwright Robert O’Hara was raised. “Mighty Real” brought the delirious music of disco queen Sylvester to life, laced with reflections about his boyhood in LA and career in San Francisco. And now there’s “While I Yet Live,” the semi-autobiographical play by Broadway star Billy Porter about, well, growing up black and gay in Pittsburgh. But unlike its exuberantly entertaining predecessors, Porter’s work is a confessional, arduous kitchen-sink drama that some have compared to “August: Osage County.” The church figures heavily in the lives of all three young men, though tragically, so does sexual abuse by a predatory male adult. “While I Yet Live” focuses on this horrific issue as one that drives Calvin (a standin for Porter) from his home and lets him off the hook while his younger sister, Tonya, cares for their mother, Maxine, gradually losing motor control due to cerebral palsy. Porter has described the play as “a love letter” to the strong women who raised him when any father figure was scarce. Yet it registers as a long and furious letter indeed, smudged by tears. Catharsis may be a primary force behind this bold endeavor. Helmed by Sheryl Kaller (who did a fine job with another multi-generational play, “Mothers and Sons”), the drama centers on Calvin’s alternately bickering and loving family preparing for Thanksgiving dinner in various rooms of a large, well worn home (nicely rendered by James Noone). Tonya addresses the audience, setting the tone by reciting the rules of the house: “Children are to be seen and not heard. Spare the rod, spoil the child. Stop
S. Epatha Merkerson in Billy Porter’s “While I Yet Live,” directed by Sheryl Kaller, at the Duke on 42nd Street through October 31.
crying ‘fo I give you sumtin to cry about.” In an upstairs bedroom, Maxine is having a heart-to-heart with dear friend Eva, who suffers from a terminal illness too terrible to name. Grandma Gertrude and Aunt Delores are busy in the kitchen preparing dinner, arguing about chittterlings. Stepfather Vernon is watching the Steelers game in the living room. Meanwhile, the sassy, effeminate Calvin has another runin with his mother about his sexuality — she’s ashamed and in denial and doesn’t seem to care that the church kids call her son “Fairy Dust.” Soon the frayed ties that have barely kept the family together come undone, and before you know it, 17-year-old Calvin throws some belongings into a knapsack and splits. For good. The action fast-forwards seven years later, and then jumps a few years after that. Some family members have passed, though occasionally they come back as ghosts. Tonya is now the backbone of the family. Calvin, who has moved to New York and is busy being a Broadway performer, returns for the occasional quick visit, in some ways a ghost himself. Although Porter does not appear in this heartfelt drama — the gifted Tony-winner is still shaking his booty in “Kinky Boots” on Broadway — Kaller has assembled an impressive cast, led by the sublime S. Epatha Merkerson as the Bible-wielding Maxine. Lillias White (Gertrude), Elain Graham
(Delores), and Sharon Washington (Eva) bring a poignant urgency to their roles. Kevyn Morrow adds startling shades of humanity to the monstrous stepfather. And Sheria Irving’s Tonya transitions convincingly from bratty little sister to savvy head of household. Unfortunately, the weak link is Larry Powell, who plays Calvin like he’s in a “Saturday Night Live” sketch, conveying little of the churning pain or rage required for such a tortured, complex character. You can’t help but admire the courageous and ambitious “While I Yet Live,” which delivers some truly
affecting moments. The heavily plotted, overstuffed work, however, is in need of some serious editing. The piece is a dizzying swirl of disparate themes — family dysfunction, the dangers of religion, the fickleness of God, being true to oneself, overcoming sexual abuse and severe illness, guilt over neglecting elderly parents, expressing love before its too late, the healing power of forgiveness, and so much more. There’s even a jarring reference to the terrorist attacks on 9/11. What’s more, in addition to numerous bits of scripture, Porter has crammed so many truisms into the dialogue it feels as if co-written by Oprah Winfrey, who, as it happens, is mentioned multiple times. Platitudes like “Name it and claim it,” “Forgive yourself first,” and “Fake it till you make it” become mind-numbing after a while. If only the creative team had heeded one of the wisest adages of all: “Less is more.” Featuring DJ Connie Fro
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Out There, Again BAM celebrates the transgressive queer riot of Derek Jarman’s cinema BY GARY M. KRAMER
more concerned with mood and atmosphere than narrative and realism. Jarman’s painterly use of light and mirrors creates fabulous imagery, and the representations of the artist’s paintings — including a self-portrait as Bacchus — are beautifully rendered. There are also fabulous period costumes by Sandy Powell. The film includes anachronistic moments, such as one of a critic typing his review of the artist’s work in his bathtub — scenes that amuse rather than perplex.
he late, great gay filmmaker Derek Jarman made enduring contributions to cinema. His final theatrical release, “Blue” (Nov. 7, 7:30 p.m.) in 1993, was an extraordinary experimental documentary about his life with HIV. Jarman shot a single composition of a blue screen while in voice-over he describes his thoughts about life and death. The static image is a symbol of his sightlessness — AIDS had destroyed his retinas.
“Caravaggio” was one of several “portraits” the filmmaker made over his career.
QUEER PAGAN PUNK: THE FILMS OF DEREK JARMAN
This may sound like a rigorous approach to presenting film — and at points, it feel that way — but Jarman’s poetic narrative, full of beautiful imagery, stream of consciousness candor, and justified outrage, creates a powerful, revealing self-portrait. “Blue” is full of fascinating insights, as when Jarman equates his hospital with an S&M club, where everyone is anonymous. This is an appropriate, elegiac last film. Jarman died in 1994, and now, on the 20th anniversary year of his passing, BAMcinematék is presenting a “comprehensive retrospective” of the director’s work. In addition to his dozen feature films, Jarman’s shorts, videos (for the Smiths and Throbbing Gristle, among others), and documentaries will be shown along with Ken Russell’s 1971 film “The Devils” (Oct. 31, 2, 4:30, 7 & 9:30 p.m.), for which Jarman designed the sets.
Two of the highlights of Jarman’s career, “Sebastiane” and “Caravaggio” will be shown in new digitally restored versions. “Sebastiane” (Nov. 9, 2 & 6:30 p.m.), from 1976, at first blush might seem pretentious. It features an all-male, mostly nude cast speaking Latin, but the film is, in fact, a masterpiece of historic importance in queer cinema. The filmmaker’s decadent vision is what makes this daring film so memorable. Set in 303 AD, “Sebastiane” features a group of able-bodied Roman soldiers in exile. The title character (Leonardo Treviglio), believed to be a Christian, disobeys the orders of his commanding officer and is repeatedly punished. Still, he still fascinates the men, who alternately befriend and fight with him — until he is martyred in a scene that is at once violent and erotic.
BRITISH FILM INSTITUTE/ PHOTOFEST
BAMcinématek Peter Jay Sharp Building 30 Lafayette Ave. at St. Felix St. Oct. 30-Nov. 11 Schedule, tickets at bam.org
Dexter Fletcher as a young Caravaggio in Derek Jarman’s 1986 film.
Throughout the film, Jarman clearly enjoys fetishizing Treviglio, and the sexual tension that exists as Sebastiane is spied while showering or tied down in the desert is palpable. A sequence in which two soldiers make love in slow motion in the water and one where the men unwind in the bath are highlights.
Jarman’s 1986 feature “Caravaggio” (Nov. 8, 4:30, 7 & 9:15 p.m.) is arguably the director’s best film. Less a biopic of the painter than a tableau of episodes in his life, the story flashes back and forth in time as Caravaggio (Nigel Terry) lies on his deathbed. Early on, he screams out the name “Ranuccio” (Sean Bean), who is revealed to be a model who inspired the artist and whom the artist loved, perhaps unrequitedly. We see Ranuccio knife Caravaggio (as a young man, Dexter Fletcher), after which the men become blood brothers. The fragile relationship among them and Ranuccio’s lover Lena (Tilda Swinton, Jarman’s muse, in her film debut) forms much of the film’s drama. But other narratives emerge as well, such as Caravaggio’s early work as a painter and his relationship with Cardinal del Monte (Michael Gough), who sponsored his work. These scenes provide Jarman with opportunities to explore themes including Caravaggio’s homosexuality and the corruption of the Catholic Church. Like most of Jarman’s work, “Caravaggio” is
“Wittgenstein” (Nov. 9, 4:15 & 8:45 p.m.), from 1993, is another, and it is also a highly stylized tableau. Jarman shrewdly stages the philosopher’s life in a series of dioramas all shot against a black background or, in some cases, a blackboard. The minimalist approach has maximum impact. Again, the director’s use of light and color pop on the screen. In direct address to the camera, the young Ludwig Wittgenstein (Clancy Chassay) tells his life story, presenting his family but also expostulating about a variety of theories of logic. He also interacts with a green Martian (Nabil Shaban), which is better than it sounds. Jarman presents many of Wittgenstein’s thoughts via episodes in the thinker’s life, such as his enlisting in war, publishing a book (for no money or royalties), and his efforts and frustrations teaching at Cambridge and elsewhere. Sexuality is treated matter-of-factly in the film, with scenes of Wittgenstein holding the hand of Johnny (Kevin Collins) in the cinema and sharing a bed with him. Jarman ends his playful production on an appropriately witty note that will delight viewers.
Other treasures are revealed by going deep into the director’s backlist. Jarman’s 1985 feature “The Angelic Conversation” (Nov. 4, 7 & 9:15 p.m.) is a series of beautiful, mostly stop-motion images shot on Super-8 and blown up to 35mm. There is no narrative, only Judi Dench reciting Shakespeare’s love sonnets as two handsome young men (Paul Reynolds and Phillip Williamson) enact a “romance.” The hypnotic musical soundtrack is provided by the band Coil. Jarman’s artistic use of light is incandescent here. Some sequences burst with color or are filmed in arty black and white, providing a visual texture to Dench’s regal voice-over. “The Angelic Conversation” is representative of Jarman’s many films made using Super-8. Of all his work, it is also the filmmaker’s favorite.
JARMAN, continued on p.28
October 16 - 29, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
QUEER PAGAN PUNK: THE FILMS OF
Volker Schlöndorff proves himself a survivor in a quiet take on Nazi end game
JÉRÔME PRÉBOIS/ ZEITGEIST FILMS RELEASE
Niels Arestrup and André Dussollier in Volker Schlöndorff’s “Diplomacy.”
n the ‘70s heyday of New German Cinema, it was easy to underrate Volker Schlöndorff. Compared to the genius of Rainer Werner Fassbinder or the radical cinema of Werner Schroeter and Harun Farocki, his films seemed middle-of-the-road and tepidly liberal. When the Oscars gave him their seal of approval for his 1979 adaptation of Günter Grass’ novel “The Tin Drum,” he only seemed more milquetoast. Yet he’s aged better than I would’ve imagined 30 years ago. Since Fassbinder, Schroeter, and Farocki have all passed away, Werner Herzog seems to be the only New German Cinema director still operating at full force. Late Schlöndorff films like “The Legend of Rita” and now “Diplomacy” are smallscale but genuine triumphs. The current generation of acclaimed German filmmakers called the Berlin School are known for their avoidance of period pieces. The directors of New German Cinema, whose parents could have been Nazis and who were children during World War II, wanted to deal directly with the war and the inheritance of fascism. This led to great films, like Fassbinder’s historical saga “The Marriage of Maria Braun,” but it also led to the attitude that most German | October16 - 29, 2014
OCT 30—NOV 11
DIPLOMACY Directed by Volker Schlöndorff Zeitgeist Films In French and German with English subtitles Opens Oct. 15 Film Forum, 209 W. Houston St. filmforum.org
cinema should address this poisoned legacy. The ultimate result was the likes of “Downfall,” Oliver Hirschbiegel’s ugly and oddly nostalgic film most memorable for the memes it spawned on YouTube, in which a subtitled Hitler rants about various subjects. “Diplomacy” takes place in one all-day talk session starting at dawn on August 25, 1944. While the Allies threatened to take Paris in the summer of that year, Hitler gave orders that the city should not fall into their hands. If it did, it should be bombed to pieces, in revenge for the Allied bombing of German cities. General Dietrich von Choltitz (Niels Arestrup) is in charge of this plan, which is well underway. Then, Swedish Consul General Raoul Nordling (André Dussollier) drops by his hotel suite and launches into a conversation ultimately aimed at talking him out of it. “Diplomacy” is hipper than it initially seems. Received wisdom among leftist cinephiles holds that all war films are pro-war (unless, perhaps, they were made by Sam-
PHOTO: COURTESY EURO LONDON FILMS
BY STEVE ERICKSON
BAM.org/DerekJarman BAM Rose Cinemas / Peter Jay Sharp Building / 30 Lafayette Ave / Brooklyn Title sponsor of BAMcinématek and BAM Rose Cinemas:
DIPLOMACY, continued on p.28
The Scottish Pixie Survivor Alan Cumming’s memoir tackles and transforms the legacy of a difficult childhood BY CHRISTOPHER MURRAY
NOT MY FATHER’S SON
By Alan Cumming Dey Street Books $ 26.99; 304 pages
DEY STREET BOOKS/ HARPER COLLINS
ust try to stop him! Most days this fall, that whirling dervish with the devilish twinkle in his eye, Alan Cumming, is filming new episodes of CBS’s popular drama “The Good Wife,” then scooting up to Broadway where he continues his naughty and nice Tony-winning star turn as the Emcee in the Sam Mendes-directed revival of the revival of the Kander & Ebb musical “Cabaret.” That’s eight shows a week at the Roundabout Theatre’s Studio 54. The perennially boyish actor and activist may turn 50 this January, but he clearly has all the energy of a hyperactive 13-year-old. Adding to his regular gigs, for the next two months on Mondays, his one day off from the show, he’ll be bopping to Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Toronto as part of a whistle stop book tour for his new memoir about intergenerational family secrets and his path to overcoming childhood scars from his relationship with an abusive father. Oh yeah, and he also holds court at “Café Cumming,” a tongue-incheek post-show salon in his dressing room backstage at Studio 54. Along the way, he tweets, posts snapshots on his popular Instagram site, and does interviews, interviews, interviews. All that’s left for him to do in the world apparently is to stage a coup in some small, out-of-the-way country. Oops, wait, he’s kind of already checked that off the list, too, having recently supported his homeland Scotland’s failed bid for independence from the United Kingdom. “I’m totally exhausted. It’s a lot,” he said recently by phone from the East Village home he shares with his husband, graphic artist Grant Shaffer, and a couple of beloved dogs. “I try to stay healthy,” he added, having gone vegan two years ago. However he’s done it, Cumming has been ridiculously productive and almost indefatigable, having appeared in more than 45 films, including three “Smurfs” movies voicing “Gutsy Smurf,” “Eyes Wide Shut,” and gay favorites “Burlesque,”
Alan Cumming in a photograph from his new memoir “Not My Father’s Son.”
“Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion,” and “Any Day Now.” Since coming out as bisexual in 1998, he’s also been an energetic activist for gay rights and AIDS charities, receiving the Vito Russo award from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation as well as recognition from the Human Rights Campaign, both in 2005. A well-known style maven, Cumming even has his own brand of cologne. His just-published new memoir, “Not My Father’s Son,” from the Harper Collins imprint Dey Street, has much of the upbeat spirit for which the actor is known, but pushes into the melancholy territory experienced by two generations of men in his family. Raised in Angus, Scotland, Cumming and his older brother were often at the mercy of the humiliations and rage of their philandering father. After Cumming left home to attend the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, his parents divorced and he had little to do with his dad. But in 2010, after agreeing to be the subject of the UK genealogy program “Who Do You Think You Are?,” which would focus on the mysterious death of his World War II hero maternal grandfather in Malaysia, his father precipitated an emotional crisis for Cumming’s family by announcing he was not the actor’s biological father. The memoir unfolds as a mystery, with Cumming discovering hidden secrets about his father and grandfather and being forced to reconsider basic assumptions about what led
him to become the artist and man he is today. It’s filled with love for his mother, brother, and grandmother as well as his supportive close friends. DNA testing would ultimately determine the actual truth about his paternity. “It’s kind of overwhelming, people’s reactions,” he said when asked about the response of friends and family to the memoir. “Everyone in my life knows. It’s hard to know how people will react to it. Some people have been very upset by it.” In part, Cumming said, he wrote the book “in the hopes that people who are in similar situations can know that I’ve come through it and am a happy person.” It’s an affecting and well-written memoir, filled with plenty of humor and insight that tempers the seriousness of a story that tackles issues including childhood abuse and combat-induced Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Cumming stresses the lessons he’s learned about the healing power of being “open and honest.” Well known for his pixie-like provocative humor, he’s quick to point out the difference between the persona he’s created as an adult and who he was allowed to be as a child. “Provocation was definitely not for me then,” he said, adding that in order to survive, “Humor was the thing, definitely. In many ways you have to find the funny in things.” When asked if his sensitivity as a boy made him a target for his father’s tirades, Cumming demurred, noting his straight
older brother, Tom, was a target as well. “That’s trying in some ways to rationalize something that’s irrational,” he said, referring to the abuse both boys suffered at the hands of a father he now considers to have been mentally ill. His father died of cancer in 2010, the same night Cumming was at the Tribeca Grand, hosting a charity screening of his genealogy program episode that benefited a PTSD organization. At a recent Sunday matinee of “Cabaret”, the day before the book party for “Not My Father’s Son”, Cumming showed he still has the stuff. You could tell he loved climbing all over the stage set’s stairs and ladders, playing off the audience as well as his fellow cast members, including the intense Michelle Williams (“Brokeback Mountain), who will be followed in the Sally Bowles role in November by Emma Stone (“The Help”). A couple of guys vacationing from Nova Scotia, sitting at one of the small round cabaret tables with the tiny red fringed lamps, said they were huge fans of Cumming and love his character, Eli Gold, in “The Good Wife.” Passing by at that moment, dexterously wiggling in between the tables with the Kit Kat candies he was selling from a big tray on a strap around his neck, was a friendly platinum blond young man who said he was eager to read Cumming’s memoir, even though some of it might be sad. “When you admire someone, you’re interested to learn how they came to be who they are,” he explained. “Even when some of that isn’t pretty.” When you’re alone in the dark with the bright lights hurting your eyes, working really hard, juggling a lot of things at once, and trying to keep smiling, it’s nice to know the people out there watching feel for you and wish you well, so before letting Cumming off the phone, I shared the comment from the young Kit Kat hawker. “That’s really so very, very nice,” he said, clearly moved.
October 16 - 29, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
Spirited Revivals, Reviving Spirits
and the Making
of Queer History
Curated by Jonathan David Katz
Repertory standards stand out
Funded by the John Burton Harter Charitable Trust
October 17, 2014 to January 4, 2015
BY ELI JACOBSON
MARTY SOHL/ METROPOLITAN OPERA
fter a grueling, spiritually exhausting summer of labor negotiations, the Metropolitan Opera has gotten back to work presenting revivals of repertory standards. In many ways, these are better indicators of the company’s current health than the new production of “Le Nozze di Figaro” that opened the season. Sir Richard Eyre’s elaborately busy yet tired staging already feels like a revival, with uneven casting and forced, routine stage business. Puccini’s “La Bohème” has recently become the vehicle of choice for introducing new artists onto the Met roster. The cast scheduled for the September 29 per for mance headlined rising young singers on the international scene — Bryan Hymel, Quinn Kelsey, Myrtò Papatanasiu. But the withdrawal of Ekaterina Scherbachenko brought a familiar veteran to joing the newcomers. HeiKyung Hong has been singing Mimì at the Met since 1987, yet her performance radiated a youthful freshness and ageless beauty that set her apart. Hong’s singing had a cameo-like delicacy and fineness of detail, the soft elegiac timbre evoking tenderness and melancholy. Her manner was reserved with underlying depths of feeling. In contrast, Hymel portrayed an outgoing Rodolfo — high spirited and full of boyish ardor. His tenor initially sounded dry and wooden in the middle with easy but disconnected high notes. By Act II, his burly rangy tenor developed more lyric flow and warmth. Kelsey, a star Verdi baritone on European stages, was luxury casting as Marcello — the tone rich and imposing yet full of youthful sap. Hopefully in future seasons Kelsey and Hymel will be given opportunities to shine in more heroic repertory. The rest of the cast was routine. In a disappointing debut, Papatanasiu’s raven-haired spitfire
Pretty Yende in the Julie Taymor production of Mozart’s Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte.”
Musetta looked more glamorous than she sounded; hollow middle voice alternated with squally high notes. David Soar’s ordinary comprimario level Colline and Donald Maxwell’s faded Benoit and Alcindoro were inexplicably imported for roles easily cast with superior local talent. Conductor Riccardo Frizza has a predilection for perversely arbitrary tempo changes and too often drowned out the singers, but the orchestra played gloriously for him.
OLE BEAD H W
| October16 - 29, 2014
The revival of “Carmen” (scheduled for an HD showing on November 1) starred the by now familiar gypsy of Anita Rachvelishvili surrounded by local role debuts. Rachvelishvili has refined her vocal interpretation — her earthy, powerful mezzo has been scaled back for greater Gallic elegance and ductility. The more lyrical approach results in easier, better integrated high notes but there is a loss of visceral excitement. I wish she would steer herself away from predictable slutty stage business — wide-open legs and unconvincing dry-humping and tussling on the floor. As I imagine her, Carmen doesn’t throw herself at
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REVIVALS, continued on p.28
Inventive revival reminds us home is where the heart is BY DAVID KENNERLEY
YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU
irector Scott Ellis knows a thing or two about reviving musty Broadway shows, having breathed new life into “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” “Harvey,” and “Twelve Angry Men” in recent years. But in restaging the Moss Hart-George S. Kaufman chestnut “You Can’t Take It With You,” he faced some particularly dicey challenges. Not only is the 1936 farce about a daffy family sort of hokey, but Ellis must juggle 20 oddball characters — many of them onstage at once — indulging in such antics as interpretive ballet, playing a giant xylophone, and setting off fireworks. The action is confined to a single set, the New York home of patriarch Martin Vanderhof. And the play is written in three acts with two intermissions, which can be trying for today’s fidgety audiences used to the whambam 90-minute format. There’s good reason “You Can’t Take It With You” has been absent from Broadway for three decades. In the wrong hands, the fluffy comedy could collapse like a soufflé. Rest assured, the play is safe with Ellis. He’s brushed off the cobwebs and punched it up with
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Kristine Nielsen and Annaleigh Ashford in Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman’s “You Can’t Take It With You,” directed by Scott Ellis.
some eye-popping effects that feel organic to the material. It doesn’t hurt that he’s had experience directing wacky TV shows like “Modern Family,” which the play weirdly prefigures. Ellis has assembled a top-drawer cast, led by none other than James Earl Jones, who lends just the right balance of goofiness and gravitas to kindly Grandpa Vanderhof. Kristine Nielsen brings the batty spasticity she perfected
in “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” to daughter Penelope, an aspiring playwright of sexy melodramas. Her pyromaniac husband, Paul, is embodied with off-kilter charm by the ever-reliable Mark Linn-Baker. Their footloose daughter Essie, who appears to live her life as the lead in “Giselle,” is nimbly played by Annaleigh Ashford (a knockout in “Kinky Boots”). The other daughter, Alice, who falls for a Wall Street titan’s handsome son (Fran Kranz), is played with remarkable sensitivity by Rose Byrne of TV’s “Damages” fame. In the 1965 revival, by the way, Alice was played by the venerable Rosemary Harris, currently wowing audiences in Tom Stoppard’s “Indian Ink.” The delightful Julie Halston, veteran of many a Charles Busch spoof, stops the show with her
HEART continued on p.25
Stars, Scars, and Spangles Two plays can’t quite get it up, but one spectacle is dazzling BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE
ven when he’s not at the height of his powers Neil LaBute is, at least superficially, more enter taining and provocative than most contemporary playwrights. “The Money Shot,” his latest outing with MCC now at the Lortel, has plenty of his trademark lacerating wit, even if it runs out of steam long before it achieves the eponymous (ahem) climax. The title, of course, refers to the moment of orgasm in porn films.
THE MONEY SHOT MCC at the Lucille Lortel Theater 121 Christopher St. at Bedford St. Oct. 16-18 at 8 p.m. Oct. 18 at 2 p.m.; Oct. 19 at Sun 3 p.m. $69-$125; lortel.org/llt_theater Or 212-352-3101 One hr., 45 mins., no intermission
The plot, such as it is, concerns two fading stars — one who has eschewed acting to build her own product empire and one who has devoted himself to action pics that are lucrative but artistically vapid. They have come together to ask permission of their respective spouses to do a full-on sex scene in a movie they are shooting. It’s nearly a full hour into the play, however, until we know what’s really going on. The rest of the play is consumed with potshots at the vacuity of actors, the shallowness of Hollywood, and the indignity of aging in a business where youth trumps talent. The shots are funny and often on the mark, but they never coalesce into a fully realized play. That’s because the characters are too stereotypical, the jokes too easy, and the situation too far fetched to make much of an eve-
ning out of this. For all the acidetched humor and underlying anger of the characters, at heart they are crashing, narcissistic bores, and we soon grow tired of them. There’s racism, sexism, a few anti-gay barbs, jabs at eating disorders, objectification of men and women, but it’s all cobbled together in ways that feel careless — as if LaBute had all these great lines he’d thought up but nowhere to put them. However, you will laugh in spite of yourself. Director Terry Kinney does what he can with this, but it’s not really that much. The actors often appear awkward. Elizabeth Reaser plays Karen, the actress trying to build a business. She is reasonably competent, but ultimately bland. If that’s intended to demonstrate her inherent shallowness, it’s not very well thought out. As her lover Bev,
Callie Thorne is a stock angry lesbian, but she throws herself into it all gamely. (Quite literally at the end.) But she gives us nothing we haven’t seen before. Steve, the erstwhile “Sexiest Man Alive,” is played by Fred Weller, who usually can do no wrong in my book, but he has been given little to start with and nowhere to go. Gia Crovatin, who plays his very young wife, is a caricature, though she has some funny bits. Watching vapid people doing boring things ends up feeling like a waste of time, but there is a great deal of pleasure to be had staring at Derek McLane’s perfect Hollywood Hills patio. That’s the only real star on view here.
“Stalking the Bogeyman,” the tale of a young man seeking
BOGEYMAN, continued on p.25
October 16 - 29, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
HEART, from p.24
portrayal of a sloshed visitor, one moment passing out cold, the next stumbling in slow motion up the staircase. And we can’t forget the illustrious Elizabeth Ashley, who imbues a grand dignity to Olga, a Russian duchess reduced to waiting tables in Times Square. The pyrotechnics on display are hardly limited to the performances. Those fireworks that Paul and pals are concocting in the basement are made of real explosives, a first for any production of the play. Sure they’re a bit gimmicky, but they’re awesome to watch. Ellis has also added a few live critters to the mix. Penelope has two cuddly kitten companions (after the run of the show, they are available for adoption). And you can actually see Grandpa’s snakes slithering around in an aquarium in the corner of the room. David Rockwell has crafted a living/ dining area that’s even more eccentric than the Vanderhof clan — a comfy, Victorian-style manse with wooden beams and stuffed to the gills with all kinds of old paint-
BOGEYMAN, from p.24
revenge against the man who sexually and physically abused him, may have made a terrific narrative. As a play, however, it falls short. Originally written as a dark memoir by journalist David Holthouse and adapted for the stage by Markus Potter, the play seeks to dramatize the acts of abuse and David’s quest for retribution over a quarter century. Unfortunately, Potter, who also directed with little subtle-
ings, knick-knacks, and gewgaws. There’s even a printing press. The zippy original music by Jason Robert Brown, who won two Tony Awards last season for “Bridges of Madison County,” is an inspired touch, as well. There are multiple plot fragments beneath the mayhem. Grandpa, who lives a sedate life after he quit his soul-crushing job years ago, now has G-men hounding him for evading taxes for 23 years (he just shrugs and shoos them away). Alice, perhaps the most “normal” of the bunch, is torn between two worlds — her loving, bizarre family and a life of luxury with her fiancé. When he and his disapproving, snobby parents, dressed to the nines, pay an unexpected visit, havoc ensues. The dilemma so artfully rendered here is timeless: Is it better be “normal” slogging away at a lousy job earning decent money or let your freak flag fly and follow your bliss, earning just enough to get by? Maybe you can’t take it with you, but this briskly paced, fine revival proves that, at least for one magical evening, you really can go home again.
STALKING THE BOGEYMAN New World Stages 340 W. 50th St. Wed.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Sat at 2 p.m.; Sun at 3 & 7 p.m. $59-$79; telecharge.com Or 212-239-6200 90 min., no intermission
ty, tries to dramatize too much of the story. Monologues, where the actor playing David speaks directly to the audience, are the most compelling moments in the piece.
BOGEYMAN, continued on p.27
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IN THE NOH
Claire De Couture One Dutch designer’s unique take, Diva DiDonato BY DAVID NOH
Despite my huge reluctance at returning from a glorious month in my native Hawaii, once more I realized exactly why I live in New York when I attended Joyce DiDonato’s utterly magical concert and release party for her ravishing new CD, “Stella di Napoli.” It celebrates the birth of bel canto opera in 19th century Naples,
he history of fashion is awash with the names of male gay designers, but there have been surprisingly few women couturiers who have identified as queer. There were once bisexual whispers about Coco Chanel and, recently, Jill Sander has been quite open about her lesbianism. A couple of summers ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Claire Fleury, when, under the auspices of the Bureau of General Services — Queer Division (BGSQD), I introduced a pair of gay-related films at her Strange Loop Gallery on Ludlow Street. While the gallery is no more, Fleury has re-emerged with pop-up boutiques that feature her true passion — the clothes she designs that are joyously remindful of that fervent creative East Village period of the 1980s with their brilliant color palettes, edgy silhouettes, and effortlessly easy air of sartorial insouciance. Her creations (clairefleury.com) are at once punk rock and haut elegance. Explaining that “every month, I will pop up in a different location,” Fleury will be at 3, a hair salon at 90 East Third Street on November from 5 to 8 p.m., in collaboration with painter Timothy Atticus and stylists from 3. “It’s a different way of shopping,” said the talkative and talented drink of water. “Adventurous because of the venue, location, and combination with other artists. Personal because it’s small scale, very select items, and I am always there to style you and give advice. And cool because it is not a conventional store.” Fleury first came to New York in 1991, staying for a year and working as a dancer and a bicycle messenger. She hails originally from Amsterdam where she studied dance and later performing arts. “These schools were helpful in the sense that they both promoted a creative way of thinking in almost any field,” she said. “We had experimental dinners cooked at school, played music, danced, wrote, filmed, performed. New ideas were encouraged, experiments greeted with enthusiasm. I always felt nurtured in trying out anything new that I could come up with, however silly or great those ideas were.” Back then, her big influences “came from the UK predominantly: Michael Clark, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Vivienne Westwood, David Bowie, Boy George. But then I discovered the fashions of Jimi Hendrix, Prince, even Rod Stewart in the ‘70s. It all comes down to what is glamorous, pop, performative, colorful. The designers Galliano and Pam Hogg, throw in a Renaissance painting and some traditional wear from Holland and Japan, traditional professional wear like sailor pants, chefs’ aprons, kilts, school uniforms. I could go on and on! I guess it’s all about
how you mix things up, because I believe a lot of people mix styles and inspirations, especially in fashion, and that, in turn, inspires other people, like me.” Fleury said she identifies more with being “gay” or “queer” than “lesbian.” “I was always different, just did not think anything of it until other kids started making comments,” she recalled. “I stayed different and I guess I started flirting with the same sex from the age of four. My mom and brother were always cool with it. My father was not and told me at age 16 that he did not agree with my lifestyle and therefore would not pay for my study, like he did for my brother. I was thus forced to work in bars and restaurants until the crack of dawn, and would take my first dance lessons in the morning half asleep [laughs].” Fleury is married to Alesia Exum, with whom she ran Strange Loop, where BGSQD, which just moved to the LGBT Community Cneter on West 13th Street, had its first of several incarnations. “They opened their book store and event space in our gallery, and organized an amazing amount of events in that space, that brought in a lot of wonderful people,” She said. “Alesia and myself continued to curate the exhibitions there. After nine months, we felt it was time to go our separate ways and the Bureau moved on. “After a total of two and a half years, I felt it was time to move along and focus on my own artistic career. I am however forever grateful for the experience, for meeting hundreds of wonderful people. We refer to it as a ‘two-anda-half-year durational performance.’ Dressing is a form of expression. Even if you want your clothes to say ‘no comment,’ you’ve just said something. “I believe the meaning and expression of clothes change according to who puts them on. That is the beauty of it. Therefore I call my clothes a collaborative performance with whoever wears them. Eventually I would like to travel more, have my pop-ups in other cities and countries, while always remaining that secret party that you have to know about instead of the franchise no one wants to hear about. I have some secret famous clients that I cannot reveal, but I make custom clothes for a number of musicians. I need to move on from making pants for drummers though — no one ever gets to see them! I would love to make a suit for Laurie Anderson, a coat for David Bowie, and a kilt for Nick Cave.”
Severely Mame in glitter pants and a USA flag jacket created by Claire Fleury.
and the event took place at the Gowanus Ballroom in Brooklyn, a working metal factory by day alongside that toxic canal which, on the night of October 3, managed to look as enchanting as any in Venice. The concert was presented in collaboration with LoftOpera, one of those essential small companies that has rushed into the breach left by the sad demise of New York City Opera. It is staging “The Barber of Seville,” and offered samples, featuring wonderful Mexican baritone José Adán Pérez in the title role, who sang with such ardor, musicality, and acting élan that I am not going to miss this production for the world (loftopera.com). The evening, however, was DiDonato’s all the way. Renee Fleming has somehow been dubbed “The People’s Diva,” but I feel this appellation suits DiDonato far more, and she proved it once more with her singular choice of this perfect, unexpected venue and the passion with which she performed and even lectured the audience — comprised of many young hipsters, obviously opera newbies — about the history and wonders of bel canto. She made this miraculous era of music-making fully come to life, and her soaring voice beautifully served the arching melodies of Bellini, Donizetti, and Rossini, as well as lesser known but quite marvelous composers like Pacini and Mercadante. In a spirit of hospitality combining both Brooklyn and Italia, free beer was served all night, as well as pizza after the concert. Instead of being whisked away to some luxe after-soiree
DIDONATO, continued on p.27
October 16 - 29, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
DIDONATO, from p.26
with millionaire patrons, DiDonato simply changed out of her gorgeous Vivienne Westwood sequined gown into a more casual sequined party shift, grabbed a brewski, and hung out all night. She told me how excited she was to be doing Handel’s “Alcina” at Carnegie Hall on October 26 (Carnegiehall.org), for which Westwood is again designing her dress, “making my character’s transformation something wonderfully reptilian!” Anti-gay bullying is one of DiDonato’s special concerns, and she performed beautifully at last spring’s terrific “Broadway Battles Bullying” benefit at NYU and was recently filmed by PBS singing Purcell’s “Dido’s Lament” at the Stonewall Inn, “in tribute,” she said, “to victims of this kind of senseless violence which I cannot believe is happening in this day and age. (joycedidonato.com)
Claire Fleury in a checkered suit she created.
In a web exclusive at gaycitynews.nyc, David Noh offers a parting take on the New York Film Festival. Contact Noh at Inthenoh@ aol.com and check out his blog at http://nohway.wordpress.com.
BOGEYMAN, from p.25
For a complete change of pace, do check out the astonishingly creative and delightful “Rococo Rouge” from Company XIV at its new home across from the Public Theater. This is a big show in a tiny space, mashing together opera, burlesque, comedy, music, acrobatics, and whatever into a vest-pocket spectacle that will leave you marvelously entertained. Conceived, directed, and choreographed by Austin McCor mick, this is entertainment for its own sake, asking | October16 - 29, 2014
PHILLIP VAN NOSTRAND
Ironically, the need to overwrite undermines the human drama, particularly in scenes where adult actors are playing children or teens (sorry, that just never works). This would have been more compelling, and felt less forced, as a one-person show, more like Martin Moran’s “All The Rage,” which covered similar ground but felt more immediate and honest. There is no question that this is a harrowing story of one man’s healing. Roderick Hill does a fine job as Holthouse, leading a competent cast. Still, this is one story that sadly loses its impact in the telling.
Davon Rainey in Austin McCormick’s “Rococo Rouge.”
ROCOCO ROUGE Company XIV Through Nov. 1 Thu.-Sun. at 8 p.m. 428 Lafayette St., btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Pl. $65-$105; CompanyXIV.com Or 212-677-1447 90 mins., with two intermissions
nothing more than that you be seduced and dazzled. And you will be. Don’t ask too many questions, and just let yourself go and experience it in all its idiosyncratic fun.
man to put his queer spin on other works drawn from popular culture: “The Tempest” (Nov. 1, 7 & 9:15 p.m.) was a wildly inventive 1979 take on Shakespeare; 1991’s “Edward II” (Nov. 2, 4, 6:15 & 8 p.m.) retells Christopher Marlowe’s drama about the 14th century king, complete with scenes of contemporary queer protesters; and his contribution to the 1987 omnibus “Aria” (Nov. 10, 7 & 9:15 p.m.) features Tilda Swinton in a re-imagining of Charpentier’s “Louise.” “War Requiem” (Nov. 6, 7 & 9:15
p.m.), from 1988, provides a kaleidoscopic visual essay set to Benjamin Britten’s music. There is more — much more — most notably “The Last of England” (Nov. 5, 7 & 9:15 p.m.), Jarman’s 1988 attack on Margaret Thatcher. The non-narrative film is a riot of color and style, with Jarman’s 8mm home movies intercut between mesmerizing images of soldiers and a great gay sex scene that happens on top of a British flag. I hope this retrospective prompts a renewed passion as well as a re-evaluation of Jarman’s indelible work, which remains spellbinding two decades after the filmmaker’s death.
excitingly stripped-down here, especially with canny use of a moving camera on a small set, where lighting keeps flickering due to power outages. It often evokes Frank Pierson’s made-for-HBO film “Conspiracy,” in which a group of Nazi officers have a polite meal and plan the Holocaust over dinner and drinks. “Conspiracy” is far more disturbing than many films that depict the horrors of war more directly. Arestrup and Dussollier aren’t the only actors in “Diplomacy,” but they occupy 90 percent of the film’s running time. Almost no women appear in the film, which I suppose makes sense given the military
setting. The two men are evenly matched. They’re as close to being friends as two people on opposite sides of a conflict can be. They may not be upper class in the sense of the American “one percent,” but they share an aristocratic mindset. Neither man is French, but they revere French culture, even if von Choltitz is willing to blow up Paris to make a point. They live in a time when the French language was an international lingua franca the way English is now. Both actors are elderly men, but Arestrup seems more ravaged by age than Dussollier. To some extent, this is a function of the
plot: von Choltitz suffers asthma attacks several times and has to reach for his medication. Now that Schlöndorff stands apart from the context of New German Cinema, it’s easier to see his modest but genuine virtues. Fassbinder’s melodramas combined radical and populist elements, while Schlöndorff’s ‘70s films, like “The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum,” went straight for liberal values. It was easier to scoff at those values, represented here by Nordling, 40 years ago, but in a more conservative climate, the quiet merits of Schlöndorff’s cinema seem all the more real.
ine’s brightly soaring Frasquita added sparkle to the ensembles. After rushing through the prelude, rising podium star Pablo Heras-Casado’s energetic, forward moving tempos didn’t preclude sensitivity to orchestral detail and nuance.
dity — accurate and professional but flat. The star of the evening was the radiant Pretty Yende as Pamina — her rich glowing soprano soaring through the testing high-lying phrases while her simple, generous yet dignified portrayal won all hearts. Her “Ach, ich fühl’s” would have benefited from a tempo that allowed her to float and spin the vocal line. Yende’s German pronunciation could use some work but the audience didn’t care — she got the biggest ovation at the final bows. Toby Spence sounded bright and lyrically refined as Tamino, acting with purpose and resolve — he seems to be fully recovered from thyroid cancer surgery in 2012. René Pape, hidden behind Sarastro’s kabuki makeup and bulky costume, rolled out velvety legato phrases with only a little weakness on the lowest notes.
R yan McKinny’s Speaker was also burdened by a costume that wore him and his pleasant baritone lacks gravitas. Markus Werba’s Austrian homeboy Papageno showed off a sexy swagger and a lusty baritone, and he added little improvisatory touches that enlivened the bird catcher’s familiar comedic shtick. Ana Durlovski, in her Met debut as the Queen of the Night, has one of the strangest coloratura voices I have heard. Her darkened, covered middle register sounds exactly like the mezzo Brigitte Fassbaender morphing into a laser like heady placement in the upper register. She nailed all five high F’s — her scales were sketchy in her entrance aria but the staccati in the vengeance aria were eerily accurate. The technical and musical problems in this “Flute” should sort themselves out with repetition.
JARMAN, from p.20
“Queer Pagan Punk” also showcases films that allowed Jar-
FINE LINE FEATURES/ PHOTOFEST
Steven Waddington and Kevin Collins in Derek Jarman’s “Edward II.”
DIPLOMACY, from p.21
uel Fuller or Stanley Kubrick) and that the Holocaust should not be fictionalized. Schlöndorff, working off a play by Cyril Gély (the two wrote the script together), has made a war film that’s almost all talk, despite a small dash of violence. It touches glancingly on the Holocaust, but the fact that Nordling’s wife is Jewish becomes an important narrative point. “Diplomacy” feels theatrical, but it was shot in Cinemascope and aims for a minimalist approach. What might seem like excess staginess in a lesser director’s hands becomes
REVIVALS, from p.23
men but coolly makes them come crawling to her. As her Don José, Aleksandrs Antonenko, another Slavic vocal heavyweight, seemed overly loud and graceless in Acts I and II. His voice is uninteresting at less than full tilt. But as Don José got angrier and more desperate in the last two acts, his trumpet tone rang out with appropriate force. Antonenko’s lumbering, glowering stage demeanor also robbed the character of romantic vulnerability but proved effective in the final confrontation. Anita Hartig’s winsome Micaela pleased the audience by vir tue of elegant musicianship and good French diction, her tone taut but vibrant. Massimo Cavalletti’s Escamillo was decently sung with a smooth but bland baritone that lacked dash. Kiri Deonar -
The October 6 season premiere of Mozart’s “Die Zauber flöte” was strongly cast but undercut by technical problems in the pit and backstage. The popular Julie Taymor production has been seen to better advantage — lack of rehearsal was evident in badly timed scene changes and light cues, incorrect musical entrances, drops that got stuck on set pieces, and poorly executed puppetry. For a production so focused on visual effects and spectacle, this is a liability. Adam Fischer’s conducting was a prosaic race through the score with little fantasy or profun-
October 16 - 29, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
| October16 - 29, 2014
Broadway at 36th St. Oct. 20, 6 p.m. cocktails; 7 p.m. dinner. Tickets are at $500 sageusa.org.
COMMUNITY Black Lesbian Creativity Celebration
THU.OCT.16 PERFORMANCE Karen Finley’s AIDS Retrospective Karen Finley, winner of two Obies and two Bessies and one of the four National Endowment for the Arts grant recipients who sued in 1990 when Congress yanked their funding for “indecency,” reprises some of her most searing performance work on the subject of AIDS, written and originally produced when medical treatment remained tragically ineffective. Her retrospective piece “Written in Sand” gets its world premiere at the Baruch College Performing Arts Center, 55 Lexington Ave., entrance on 25th St. Oct. 16 & 23, 8 p.m. Tickets are $30 at SpinCycleNYC.com or 212-3523101. Student & senior tickets at $20 available at the box office.
FRI.OCT.17 DANCE New Work From Jonathan Royse Windham
TUE.OCT.21 BOOKS County of the Imagination
BOOKS Poetic Rivalry Sibling Rivalry Press presents readings from three poets who just published full-length collections. Brent Calderwood reads from “The God of Longing”; Matthew Hitttinger from “Erotic Postulate”; and Stephen S. Mills from “A History of the Unmarried.” Bureau of General Services — Queer Division, now at the LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St., room 210. Oct. 18, 7 p.m. More information at bgsqd.com.
In “Another Country,” James Baldwin envisioned a “country of the imagination” as a freedom, longing, and hope. As a preview of next April’s Seventh Annual New York Rainbow Book Fair, the fair (rainbowfair.org) and the LGBT Community Center present “Nights in Another Country,” an evening in which queer writers reflect on the imagination, the public joys and private journeys of writing, exile, and coming home. Tonight, hear from Regie Cabico (2014 Lambda Literary nominee as co-editor of “Flicker & Spark: A Contemporary Anthology of Queer Poetry and Spoken Word”), Rigoberto González (Guggenheim and NEA fellowship-winning author of 15 books of poetry and a Rutgers-Newark English professor), Charles Rice-Gonzalez (author of the novel “Chulito,” co-founder of BAAD! The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, and English lecturer at CUNY/ Hostos Community College), and Emanuel Xavier (author of poetry collections including “Nefarious” and “Pier Queen” and the novel “Christ Like”). LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St. Oct. 21, 6:30 p.m. A donation of $10 is suggested.
SUN.OCT.19 PERFORMANCE A Dangerous, Radical Arcade “Longing Lasts Longer” is an evening of dangerous ideas and radical inquiry about what it means to be human right now from Penny Arcade. Equal parts memoir, manifesto, cultural critique, and cri de coeur, the piece is Arcade’s conjuring of the New York of cultural resistance and individual renaissance, set against a live-mixed soundscape ranging from Al Green to John Lennon. Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Pl. Oct 19 & Nov. 10, 7 p.m.; Oct. 20, Nov. 2-3 & 9, 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 at joespub.com.
MUSIC Klezmer & Lox Metropolitan Klezmer, which brings a unique world music edge to a traditional music form, plays brunch at City Winery, 155 Varick St. at Vandam St. Oct. 19, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Admission is $10 at citywinery/newyork; free for kids under 13. Full menu and bar available, but there is no minimum order.
THEATRE ROW/ STUDIO THEATRE
Choreographer Jonathan Royse Windham’s “Creatures of Habit” — which features seven dancers with dynamic physicality who find themselves in an absurd, yet strangely familiar universe, in a story that draws its inspiration from slapstick comedy, children’s stories, game shows, and existential drama — receives its world premiere. Original music composed by Dan Kazemi. Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie St., btwn. Rivington & Delancey Sts. Oct. 17-18, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $16; $12 for students & seniors at dixonplace.org or 212-2190736; $20 at the door.
As part of its 40th anniversary programming, the Lesbian Herstory Archives hosts Black Lesbian DIY Fest 2014, an all day event that includes workshops and skill shares, the sale of zines, small press books, chapbooks, and posters by or about self-identified black lesbians, and a raffle with prizes from participating authors, artists, and sponsors. 484 14th St., btwn. Eighth Ave. & Prospect Park West, Park Slope. Oct. 18, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, including tabling at the festival, visit blacklesbiandiyfest. wordpress.com.
The Champagne of Bottled Camp
Dan Derby and Michael Rheault’s “Fabulous! The Queen of New Musicals” is a “Some Like It Hot”-style tale of two down-on-their-luck female impersonators — Josh Kenney and Nick Morrett — on a cruise ship trying to keep their cool and all the while creating confusions worthy of Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. Directed by Rick Hamilton with choreography by Mary Lauren, “Fabulous!” was an OffOff Broadway hit last season and is now running at Write Act Repertory Theatre, Times Square Arts Center, 300 W. 43rd St. Through Dec. 29: Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat.-Mon., 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $45 at brownpapertickets.com.
Supporting Our Seniors
Tales of the Trade
At the annual gala of Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders, SAGE honors notable advocates and change agents who have made a difference in the lives of LGBT older adults, including Frank Stark, a former board member of the group; Dr. Rosanne Leipzig of the Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine; Bronx City Councilmember Ritchie Torres, who led the efforts to expand community centers for LGBT seniors to all five boroughs; and the M•A•C AIDS Fund. Playwright Terrence McNally is the evening’s special guest. Gotham Hall, 1356
Canadian burlesque star Miss Rosie Bitts makes her New York debut in the solo show “Stories of Love and Passion,” which mixes jazz and burlesque with raw seduction in heart-breaking, hilarious, and taboo tales of sex work, unplanned pregnancy, loss of virginity, and more. Directed and dramaturged by Suzanne Bachner, with live accompaniment by Jeff Poynter. Theatre Row/ Studio Theatre, 410 W. 42nd St. Oct. 21, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $19.25 at telecharge.com or 212-239-6200.
14 DAYS, continued on p.31
October 16 - 29, 2014 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
14 DAYS, from p.30
WED.OCT.22 HALLOWEEN Gay and Scared Witless
THU.OCT.23 MUSIC Organ Carpentry Cameron Carpenter, an out gay organist known for his flamboyant performance style, brings his touring organ, a creation of his own design, to Town Hall to present a recital of his new CD, “If You Could Read My Mind.” 123 W. 43rd St. Oct. 23, 8 p.m. Tickets are $58-$116 at ticketmaster.com.
PERFORMANCE Hey, Big Spender In “Bad With Money,” Ben Rimalower — who previously explored his obsession with La LuPone with “Patti Issues,” to much acclaim — charts his sometimes hilarious, sometimes harrowing struggle to overcome his problem —or get rich trying. “People tend to be familiar now with alcohol and drug addiction — and I’ve got those, too,” Rimalower says. “But spending money I don’t have is really my drug of choice.” Aaron Mark directs. The Duplex, 61 Christopher St. at Seventh Ave. S., Sheridan Sq. Through Nov. 6: Thu., 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $25-$50 at purplepass. com, and there’s a two-drink minimum.
DANCE A Pina Bausch Anniversary at BAM Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch made its New York debut at the Brooklyn Academy of Music 30 years ago, and now the company returns with Bausch’s “Kontakthof,” a classic of the choreographer’s repertoire, performed with the collaboration of Rolf Borzik, Marion Cito, and Hans Pop. BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Ave. at Ashland Pl. Oct. 23—25, 28, 29, 31 & Nov. 1, 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 26 & Nov. 2, 3 p.m. Tickets are $25-$85 at bam.org. On Oct. 27, 7:30 p.m., BAM Rose Cinemas, also at 30 Lafayette Ave., presents Rainer Hoffmann and Anne Linsel’s “Dancing Dreams” (2010), a chronicle of Bausch preparing 43 German teenagers for a performance of “Kontakthof.” The screening includes a Q&A with Tanztheater | October16 - 29, 2014
Now In its 11th season edition, “Nightmare,” a haunted house tradition that takes on legendary horror stories and urban legends, hosts its first Gay Night. The Clemente, 107 Suffolk St., btwn. Rivington & Delancey Sts. Oct. 22, rolling admissions from 7-10 p.m. Tickets are $30-$60 at hauntedhousenyc. com, with a $10 discount for using the secret password “lugnut” at the box office. “Nightmare” runs through Nov. 1.
Wuppertal dancer Dominique Mercy. Tickets are $14 at bam.org.
BOOKS Emerging Adult Writers “Adult Contemporary” is an experimental salon series featuring readings, lectures, performances, and interviews with and by established and emerging writers. Tonight, the series, organized by Katherine Brewer Ball and Svetlana Kitto, welcomes Jan Clausen, whose books include novels, the memoir “Apples and Oranges,” and six volumes of poetry; Jaime Shearn Coan, a poet and a CUNY English PhD student, who writes about dance and whose chapbook, “Turn it Over,” will be published next year; and Amber Jamilla Musser, who teaches about women, gender, and sexuality at Washington University in St Louis and whose book “Sensational Flesh: Race, Power, and Masochism” was just published. Bureau of General Services — Queer Division, now at the LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St., room 210. Oct. 23, 8 p.m. More information at bgsqd.com.
For the 34th year, Theater for the New City presents its Village Halloween Costume Ball. The party takes over every inch of TNC’s performance space at 155 First Ave. at 10th St. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 31, with entertainment beginning at 8 with two continuously running cabarets. Stilt dancers, jugglers, fire-eaters, psychic readers, and burlesque and vaudeville performers are scattered throughout, and American and international delicacies are available at what TNC describes as “people’s prices.” At midnight, the Monsters and Miracles Costume Parade begins. Outdoor entertainment on 10th St. btwn. First & Second Aves., free to the public, begins at 4 p.m. Tickets for the indoor fun, where costumes or formal wear are required, are $40 at theaterforthenewcity.net/halloween.htm.
show includes standards from Bennett’s hey day, including “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” “Sophisticated Lady,” “Lush Life,” and “Anything Goes.” Channel 13, Oct. 24, 9 p.m. For more information, visit pbs.org/gperf.
All Frank N. Furter, All the Time
Life’s a Tease Jonny Porkpie hosts an evening of tease, starring King of Boylesque Tigger!, Cory Petit, Danny Putman, Johnny Panic, Lewd Alfred Douglas, Lucky Charming, Mike Monaco, and Viktor Devonne. Elektra Theater, Show World, 300 W. 43rd St. Oct. 24, 11 p.m. Tickets are $20-$35 at dworld.us.
Logo TV offers an all-day marathon of the 1975 camp classic “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Drop in any time for a dose or two of Dr. Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry), Janet (Susan Sarandon), Brad (Barry Bostwick), Riff Raff (Richard O’Brien), Eddie Ex (Meat Loaf), and Rocky himself (Peter Hinwood). Logo, Oct. 31, 10 a.m.-Nov. 1, 6 a.m.
FRI.OCT.24 BENEFIT Lea DeLaria Shows Up for LGBT Youth “Place at the Table,” the annual fall gala of the Ali Forney Center, which provides housing and social services for LGBTQ homeless youth across the city, features comedian and chanteuse Lea DeLaria, a star of the Netflix hit “Orange Is the New Black.” Daniel Watts is a guest performer. Capitale, 130 Bowery at Grand St. Oct. 24, 6 p.m. cocktails, 7 p.m. dinner. Tickets are $500 at aliforneycenter.org.
TELEVISION Tony Goes Gaga He’s 88, but Tony Bennett shows no signs of flagging in his dedication to keeping his hits contemporary. Tonight, on PBS’ “Great Performances,” he teams with Lady Gaga in “Cheek to Cheek,” a show taped at Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall in July. The
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