Playground Summit & Transgender Gains 12
Brad Lamm Talks Rehab 19
Quarter-Life Crisis 47
From Cuba to Egypt & Iraq, LGBT Rights in the Spotlight © GAY CITY NEWS 2014 | NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
FREE | VOLUME THIRTEEN, ISSUE TWENTY-SIX | DECEMBER 25, 2014 - JANUARY 07, 2015
EDITORâ€™S LETTER Black and blue
24 14 DAYS From Cuba to Egypt & Iraq, LGBT rights in the spotlight
Sexual frankness & queer twists
Adult film condom law survives court review
Center overhaul nears completion
December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
Gay Marriage Slated for Florida on January 6 Even with no appellate ruling, Supreme Court won’t block district court decision BY PAUL SCHINDLER
he United States Supreme Court has denied a motion from Florida’s Republican attor ney general, Pam Bondi, that it stay a district court marriage equality ruling while the state pursues an appeal with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. In a two-sentence order, from which only Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas indicated dissent, the high court gave a go-ahead for same-sex marriages to begin in Florida on January 6, one day after expiration of the stay issued by District Court Judge Robert Hinkle when he made his original decision on August 21. Bondi had earlier sought a stay from the 11th Circuit, which denied her motion on December 3. Even though the Supreme
Court, since early October, has allowed marriage equality to go into effect in 16 states where federal courts have struck down bans, each of those states are in circuits where appeals courts have upheld the district court rulings. Florida is the first case of the high court allowing a district court gay marriage ruling to go into effect without it first being upheld at the appellate level. In early January, the Supreme Court imposed a stay on a district court ruling in Utah after the judge who ruled in the case and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals declined to do so. The 10th Circuit later upheld the district court and, when the high court declined to accept review of Utah’s appeal in that case, marriages resumed there and began in the other states under that circuit’s jurisdiction. Marriage equality rulings in the Fourth, Seventh, and Ninth Cir-
cuits have also been allowed to stand, with states in each of those jurisdictions also falling into line. The only federal appeals court to rule against marriage equality is the Cincinnati-based Sixth Circuit, which in November reversed gay plaintiff victories in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, and Kentucky. The Supreme Court will consider whether or not to hear appeals in one or more of those cases in January. If such an appeal is taken, it may be possible for arguments to be heard and a decision reached before the high court ends its session in late June. Such a ruling would likely settle the question of whether there is a US constitutional right to marriage by same-sex couples, as federal courts in roughly two dozen states have now concluded. Acknowledging the finality of the high court’s ruling on further delay of gay marriage in Florida, Bondi
STATUS OF MARRIAGE EQUALITY AS OF JANUARY 6, 2015
issued a statement shortly after the decision was released, saying, “The Supreme Court has now spoken, and the stay will end on January 5.” The attorney general’s statement did not make clear whether Florida will continue to pursue its appeal at the 11th Circuit. Bondi’s motion to the high court for a stay originally went to Justice Thomas, who hears such petitions from the 11th Circuit. He referred the matter to the full court, which then ruled against her. A statement from Equality Florida quoted its executive director Nadine Smith saying, “It’s time to break out the wedding bells! We look forward to January 6th being a special day –– Florida is ready for the freedom to marry."
See New York Law School Professor Arthur S. Leonard’s view on what the high court’s Florida action means in Perspectives, page 31.
With the Supreme Court’s December 19 decision to allow marriages to go forward in Florida effective January 6, same-sex couples will be able to legally wed in 36 states plus the District of Columbia, representing 68 percent of the US population. The state of Missouri is now recognizing out of state marriages by same-sex couples, who are also able to marry in St. Louis County, the state’s largest. Federal court victories in Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, and Mississippi are currently under appeal, as are losses in Louisiana and Puerto Rico. Though plaintiffs prevailed in district court in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, and Kentucky, those wins were reversed at the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in November. The Supreme Court will likely take up appeals of one or more of those cases in 2015. Marriage litigation is also in the federal courts in Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Alabama, and Georgia, with no rulings yet.
STATES WHERE MARRIAGE EQUALITY IS RECOGNIZED
STATES WHERE FEDERAL COURTS HAVE ISSUED PRO-MARRIAGE RULINGS, CURRENTLY UNDER APPEAL
| December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015
STATES WHERE FEDERAL COURTS HAVE ISSUED PRO-MARRIAGE RULINGS, REVERSED BY THE SIXTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS IN NOVEMBER
STATES WHERE ADVERSE RULINGS HAVE COME DOWN IN FEDERAL COURT AND ARE BEING APPEALED
STATES WHERE MARRIAGE EQUALITY IS BEING LITIGATED IN FEDERAL COURT WITH NO RULING YET
New Reports Document Re-Escalating Violence Against LGBT Iraqis IGHLRC, women’s rights groups draw on personal stories to emphasize continuing threat, new risks from ISIS
BY MICHAEL LUONGO
he US invasion of Iraq in 2003 unleashed a wave of sectarian religious violence in what was once a relatively secular country, where conflict was held in check by brutal dictator Saddam Hussein. Along with women, religious minorities, artists and other creative people, and other groups, LGBT Iraqis faced brutal persecution from militias that sprang up in the wake of the American occupation. Now, in addition to internal issues unresolved nearly 12 long years later, a new threat exists for LGBT Iraqis from ISIS, the Islamic State, which has wreaked havoc in Iraq and neighboring Syria, leading to a massive refugee crisis and further destabilization of the region. Gay City News has covered the crisis facing gays in Iraq from the beginning of the war, with both direct reporting from Baghdad and other locations there as well as remote reporting using sources inside the country. This reporter traveled to Iraq twice –– in 2007 and 2009 –– and met with a wide variety of LGBT people there. Violence against LGBT Iraqis has risen and fallen in the years since the invasion, perhaps peaking in 2007, at the time of the US military surge.
But in a pair of new reports, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, a group that has United Nations observer status, makes clear that the peril facing LGBT Iraqis has not gone away and, in fact, saw a lethal resurgence over the past year. The IGLHRC reports, produced in conjunction with MADRE, an international women’s human rights organization, and the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), which is based in Baghdad, are titled “When Coming Out is a Death Sentence” and “We’re Here: Iraqi LGBT People’s Accounts of Violence and Rights Abuses.” The second report is alternatively titled “The Iraqi LGBT Memoir Project” and is based on interviews with a group of five LGBT Iraqis –– three gay men, a lesbian, and a transgender woman. The stories that comprise “The Memoir Project” are personal and harrowing, detailing not just anti-gay violence but how the general chaos of a war-zone exacerbates the issue. Under the pseudonym Farrah, the transgender woman recounts escaping abusive relatives into the safety of a relationship, only to have it end when he was “killed during a bombing in Baghdad.” Leyla, the lesbian participant, who is from Basra, an oil-rich conservative city in the south of Iraq, explained how her 17-year -old girlfriend was killed by the men in
Haider, who met this reporter on Manjam, the gay cruising site, looks out on the Karada district from a hotel window in 2009.
Two men holding hands in 2009 in Baghdad’s Karada district, where gays at times have felt comfortable being visible.
her family when their relationship was discovered. Later, Leyla herself was kidnapped by the Mahdi Army, among the most notorious of militias responsible for killing LGBTs and others in Iraq. “One night when I was about to enter the club in 2008, the Mahdi army kidnapped me,” Leyla said. “They took me to a place that was covered with blood, and there were some gay men and two other lesbians. They started torturing us. They burned my left thigh and beat us without any mercy. Then, they slaughtered a gay man in front of our eyes.” The atrocities commonplace in a war zone also pervade the story of Saad, a young gay man from Baghdad who said his “mother was killed in one of the fights between the Americans and Al-Qaeda. That’s when my real tragedy started.” Saad fell into sex work to survive and was also repeatedly raped in one house where he sought shelter. His problems worsened during the 2012 “Emo killings," a period of time when militias were murdering young men who dressed in androgynous Goth manner. He ends his story by explaining, “I don’t have big dreams. I want to be healthy, love someone, and live in a place where I am free and respected.” IGLRHC’s main report, “When Coming Out is a Death Sentence,” cites recent extreme violence against LGBT Iraqis. On May 15
of this year, the Brigades of Wrath (Saraya al-Ghadhab), the military arm of the League of the Righteous, published a list of 23 men “accused of the ‘crime’ of homosexual acts and one man accused of the ‘crime’ of having long hair.” “On June 15, 2014, according to witness accounts, the League of the Righteous attacked a group of four including both men and adolescents,” IGLHRC reports. “Two of the victims, adolescent boys between 15 and 17 years old, were killed and beheaded, and their heads thrown in the garbage, said one witness who has also visited the surviving two victims in the hospital. The boys were commonly thought to be gay in their community.” The report goes on to describe the mass murder by the League of the Righteous of residents of a “brothel in Baghdad’s Zayuna district, killing 34 individuals and injuring an additional four. Two of those killed were believed by Iraqi civil society activists to be gay.” The invasion of Iraq by the United States led to the internal and external displacement of millions of Iraqis, including large numbers from the LGBT community. Many Arab Iraqis resettled in the Kurdish region of Iraq’s north, where homosexuality has been more tolerated. Others fled to Damascus, where –– until the Arab Spring revolts began
IRAQ, continued on p.30
December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
Gay Cuban-American’s Take on New Obama Policy Richard Blanco, official poet at 2013 inauguration, “happy” but feels “guilty,” as well BY MICHAEL LUONGO
Michael Luongo: What is your first impression of the historic change in relations between Cuba and the United States? Richard Blanco: For years, I had generally thought that normalizing relations with Cuba was a good
PETE SOUZA/ WHITE HOUSE
resident Barack Obama’s recent re-opening of for mal diplomatic relations with Cuba has spawned praise and scorn –– and renewed interest by LGBT advocates in the island nation’s human rights record. Over the past decade, this reporter has written extensively about Cuba for Gay City News, beginning with a report on my 2003 visit there. Most recently, the 2012 New York visit by Mariela Castro, the daughter of President Raúl Castro who as head of the National Center for Sex Education speaks out prominently on LGBT issues there, offered the opportunity to interview a variety of LGBT and other Cubans and Cuban Americans knowledgeable about rights issues. The most famous LGBT Cuban-American in the world today is Richard Blanco, the poet who wrote and delivered “One Today” at Obama’s 2013 second-term inauguration. He was the first Latino, immigrant, and openly gay writer to hold that position of honor at a presidential swearing-in –– and he was also the youngest, 44 at the time. Conceived in Cuba, born in Spain, and raised in Miami, Blanco’s life in many ways shares common threads with that of other Cuban-Americans, and at the same time is worlds apart. His new book, “The Prince of los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood,” from ECCO Press, recounts his early, formative years. In an email exchange since the president announced the nation’s new Cuba policy, Gay City News asked Blanco what he thinks of the new openness and what it might mean for Cuba’s LGBT community, for tourism, and for other aspects of life.
Richard Blanco reviews a copy of his inaugural poem with President Barack Obama.
thing; and I still do, but when that became a real possibility, I realized that the situation is much more complex and layered than I had considered, and my reaction was a bit mixed. I was surprised by that. Mostly because I was craving some guarantee that these changes will indeed lead to greater freedoms and prosperity for the people of Cuba. That’s the real issue for me. Not just the economic embargo, but Cuba’s embargo against democracy. Cuba needs to be held accountable for that, which needs to change as well. Also, I felt somewhat “guilty” about being “happy” about these changes as I began to think of all the struggles, sacrifices, and injustices that my parents and elders in my Cuban community had endured. I felt I needed to respect their experiences and emotions, and that this would not be a slap on their faces, so to speak. It’s all still very complex for me, and I’m still trying to work it out. One thing for sure, however, I intend to be part of healing the “emotional” embargo that has been in effect as well. There are many stories that need to be shared for reconciliation of Cubans everywhere that have been figuratively divided by the economic embargo and historical animosities — on both sides of the 90-mile fissure that has divided friends and families for generations. There has been a virtual “Berlin Wall” and when that truly comes down, we need to reconcile many more matters of the heart.
| December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015
ML: Have you visited Cuba as an adult, and if so did you meet other gay people there or talk with activists? RB: Yes, several times. But I don’t travel to Cuba as a tourist; I travel to see family and I stay with them. Some members of my family are gay, but my sense is that there is no “LGBT community” per se, at least none that I have seen. It’s all very clandestine. There is no such thing as “activists” in the way we understand it in the US. Keep in mind that Cuba is a totalitarian state — everything is controlled by the government. If you want to really understand what it is/ was like to be a gay man in Cuba, read Reinaldo Arenas, especially his memoir, “Before Night Falls,” which was also adapted into a full length feature film directed by Julian Schnabel. ML: What do you think this renewed opening in Cuba will mean for LGBT rights in Cuba? RB: That’s way, way down the pipeline. A lot has to happen with respect to basic freedoms first — like freedom of speech, to name one of many. ML: You read the poem for President Obama’s inauguration. What did it mean for you to be the first immigrant, first Latino, first openly gay person to do so? RB: Well, this would take a book to answer, and in fact I wrote one: “For All of Us, One Today: An Inau-
gural Poet’s Journey.” But to sum it up, I understood that my story — like the stories of the hundreds of thousands of people like me (gay, Latino, immigrant) –– had always been a grand part of America. Now we are finally getting the chance to write that story into the narrative of our nation. Though at times it’s tough to do so, I realized that America is still a work-in-progress, and I renewed my faith in American Democracy and our country’s ability to adapt and right the wrongs. ML: There are only a few openly gay Latino celebrities, with perhaps Ricky Martin the most famous, though he came out late in his career. What is the importance of having out, well known figures in the Latino community? RB: There are maybe a hand-full of gay role models — and we certainly could use a whole lot more. In Latino communities we are dealing with the construct of “Machismo”— a set of hyper-masculine, Latin-Lover stereotypes that need to be broken down, perhaps more so than in other cultures. I do what I can to lead by example and storytelling so that the “face” of what it means to be a gay Latino man has more dimension and becomes more accepted and commonplace. ML: Many of us who might have visited Cuba or imagine visiting Cuba think of it as special, locked in amber in the past, and maybe even nostalgically want to keep it that way, different from any other country. Is there something selfish about that? Do you think people who did not see Cuba before this are missing out, or is there no best time to see a place? RB: This is one of the questions I get asked most often, and, frankly, one of the most annoying. It feels to me akin to saying “I want to visit North Korea before it changes.” Would Americans have said that of the former Soviet Union? Cuba is “locked in amber” not by choice, but because of the lack of choices. For example, the antique
CUBA, continued on p.30
Diverse, Nuanced Messages From Activists Around the Globe For International Human Rights Day, IGLHRC convenes dozens of on-the-ground experts
BY PAUL SCHINDLER
GAY CITY NEWS
n what has become an annual tradition coinciding with the observance of Inter national Human Rights Day at the United Nations, nearly three dozen LGBT rights advocates from across the globe traveled to New York in early December for several days of meetings and presentations coordinated through the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. In a Manhattan press briefing on December 9, one day ahead of the formal UN event, IGLHRC’s executive director, Jessica Stern, framed the international drive for equal rights, personal safety, and dignity as one marked by impressive progress as well as crushing episodes of backlash. The challenges around the world, she said, are diverse, complex, and often subtle. Opening the briefing by noting the “extraordinary growth in acceptance of LGBTI rights,” Stern explained the value of activists from around the world gathering together by saying, “There are solutions. There are people who know how to end discrimination, who know how to end violence.” But during a discussion in which representatives from Africa, the Middle East, Russia, Asia, and Latin America talked about the backlash they face at home, Stern also said, “The result of our collective audacity can be a crackdown on civil society.” With the LGBT rights movement in the US so focused on marriage in recent years, Stern took pains to emphasize that globally “concerns are very diverse.” Activists on the ground warn their Western allies about the dangers of making aid conditional on human rights progress, they face the turmoil of civil wars and regime change, and before the legal status of couples can be broached, they must often tackle more fundamental issues such as sodomy law repeal, basic healthcare, and reproductive rights. “We need to bring more ambition and more nuance to the work,”
Stern said. “Only calling for marriage can actually hurt us.” Chalwe Mwansa, an activist from Zambia, talked about the way backlash can become something of a contagion. His work focuses on documenting human rights abuses as well as combatting the stigma and marginalization that compromises many LGBT Zambians’ access to healthcare. Noting Zambia’s long history as a peaceful society, he said that as anti-LGBT laws and persecution have swept other African countries such as Zimbabwe, Uganda, and Nigeria –– not only at the behest of government leaders but often with the encouragement of Western religious conservatives, as well –– backlash has become a threat in his nation as well. Humphrey M. Ndondo, who directs Zimbabwe’s Sexual Rights Centre, cautioned that the anti-gay climate in his country cannot be laid solely at the feet of its longtime president, Robert Mugabe. “After Mugabe dies, the situation is not going to change, because homophobia has worked and has worked for years,” he said. “What works is being anti-homosexual. It sells like hotcakes.” In Russia, the current crackdown on gays follows the missed opportunities of the immediate post-Soviet period, according to Daniil Khaymovich, an attorney there who works with the Transgender Legal Defence Project. “Prior to Putin, there were 10 years or so of an independent media,” he said. “But there was no real time to create civil society institutions.” He added, “I have video from that period, where LGBT issues were discussed in a very progressive way. All these questions were then removed from media space.” In contrast to Russia, an Egyptian activist, who cannot be named because of dangers he would face back home, challenged the notion that life for LGBT people there has changed with the succession of recent governments. “The Mubarak regime was not secular,” he pointed out. “By constitution, Egypt is an Islamic state.” Speaking about the recent epi-
Turkish activist Sedef Çakmak.
sode in Cairo in which “33 men were arrested in a Turkish bath, beaten, and dragged outside naked” –– 26 of whom now are facing prosecution for “debauchery” –– he said it represents an effort by the government to “distract attention by claiming we challenge public morality.” Public activism is beyond reach for now, he said. “It is not possible for anything to happen on the street because you will be killed.” Public demonstrations for LGBT rights are also not a viable route in Turkey, though individual visibility is a path some activists are now pursuing. Sedef Çakmak talked about how she was one of a group of nearly a dozen out LGBT candidates who ran in recent local elections. Though she did not win, she now serves as an advisor on LGBT policies to the mayor of Besiktas, a municipality of nearly 200,000 within Istanbul. Though there is public debate about gay issues, there are no constitutional protections in Turkey based on sexual orientation or gender identity and a hate crimes law proposal under consideration also fails to address these categories. Çakmak spoke movingly about the personal toll activism can take, even in a society where LGBT life is not completely hidden. “Wherever I go I say I am an openly lesbian, but I am so afraid,” she said, her voice cracking. “ I am doing this because I am so afraid. Two weeks ago, a transgender was killed. Another friend came to my house after being beaten for being transgender. My girlfriend, who was beaten earlier, gets angry when I try
to hold her hand, put my hand on her shoulder in public. It’s ironic that we talk about political representation of the LGBTI community, but we are afraid to walk on the street. We are particularly afraid of the government.” Backlash is also apparent is countries such as Colombia, where activists are working on family issues such as partner recognition and adoption. “We are facing very strong opposition that we did not face 10 years ago, that we need to take into account in doing our work,” said Marcela Sanchez, director of Colombia Diversa. In Taiwan, the challenges are not so much in the public sphere, where LGBT people remain largely invisible to a public that chooses not to see them, said Jennifer Lu, director of public affairs for the Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association, but within their homes. “There is violence in families,” she said, “and that is ignored because it is seen as normal. There is a family obligation to get married. There are negotiated marriages between gay men and lesbians. It happens all the time.” Lu and her partner want to have a child and want recognition of their family. Asian LGBT groups, she said, lack resources to advance their advocacy much beyond volunteer efforts. When asked what Western activist can do to support human rights efforts in their countries, Zimbabwe’s Humphrey M. Ndondo warned against making economic aid contingent on progress. “Aid conditionality means Zimbabwe gets closer to China, which will not press Mugabe on this issue,” he said. “Threats from the UN and elsewhere to withdraw aid can hurt HIV prevention. Aid conditionality does not work. We have talked about this among many African activists.” The Egyptian activist offered a different perspective on what the people in his country need from the West and the UN. “I want member states to act
TURKEY, continued on p.11
December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
Gay Asylum Claims Made Easier by European Court Ruling Decision on African immigrants in Holland curbs arbitrariness, recognizes sexuality’s deeply private nature BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
n a ruling likely to produce significant changes in how immigration officials in European countries deal with gay asylum applicants, a European Union court has set limits on the requirements of proof demanded of them. In a December 2 ruling in appeals from three gay Africans seeking asylum in the Netherlands, the European Court of Justice held that human rights law there bars officials attempting to determine whether the applicants are in fact gay from basing their inquiry on homosexual stereotypes, from asking detailed questions about sexual practices, from requiring them to submit to “tests” to establish their homosexuality or to provide evidence such as films of them engaging in homosexual conduct. The court also found it is inappropriate to decide that applicants are not credible merely because they did not declare their sexual orientation in their first encounter with authorities. The ruling did not name the asylum seekers, identifying them simply as A, B, and C. Asylum claims are governed by a complex body of both international and national laws. There is, however, a significant consensus that the term “particular social group” identified in a foundational 1951 international treaty on refugees includes sexual minorities. The European Union’s directives on refugees and asylum seekers build on that 63-year-old treaty. In general, the burden is on asylum seekers to show they fit into one of the categories afforded protection, which can be difficult when national immigration authorities voice skep-
TURKEY, from p.10
strongly against Egypt,” he said. “There have been many accommodations. The UN should protect the Egyptian people.” Russia’s Daniil Khaymovich spoke for many of the activists in saying the West can be most helpful in supporting the development of
ticism. Many LGBT asylum seekers, who have spent their lives hiding their identity in their home countries, are fearful of being honest in their intended country of refuge and may make up stories about other forms of persecution, which only hurts their credibility in the long run. Even without that problem, the lack of documentation establishing their sexuality or anyone who can vouch for them means LGBT asylum seekers face a high hurdle to establish their claims of persecution. In the cases before the European court, applicant A was deemed not credible based on his first application, and he filed a second application “stating that he was prepared to take part in a ‘test’ to prove his homosexuality or to perform a homosexual act to demonstrate the truth of his declared sexual orientation.” Even with that extraordinary offer, Dutch authorities were unwilling to credit his claim of being gay. Applicant B was rejected on the ground that his statements about his homosexuality “were vague, perfunctory, and implausible.” The Dutch government, noting he came from a county where homosexuality was “not acceptable,” asserted he should have been able to “give more details about his emotions and his internal awareness of his sexual orientation.” Applicant C’s first application, which was rejected, stated asylum grounds other than homosexuality. When he claimed homosexuality in his second application, his credibility was questioned, even though he gave authorities a video showing him engaged in “intimate acts with a person of the same sex.” Authorities said he was unable to answer questions about how he had become conscious of his homosexu-
non-government civil society institutions. Russian law forbids political groups from taking money from outside the country, but support for education efforts on issues such as transgender health, in contrast, faces no such constraint. “Educating doctors is not political,” he said, “and is invisible from the standpoint of the state.”
| December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015
ality and was unaware of Dutch gay rights organizations. All three applicants were rejected throughout the Netherlands’ immigration process, but the Dutch government eventually referred their cases to the European Court of Justice, expressing concern about conforming the its investigatory process to applicable international and national laws. The European Court confirmed that nations are within their rights to require some confirmation that asylum applicants who say they are gay are in fact gay. At the same time, the court found that applying stereotypical and categorical notions of what a gay person is like or should know was antithetical to resolving claims on a case-by-case basis. And inquiries based on demanding information about or video evidence of sexual practices violated the fundamental human rights of asylum seekers. Perhaps the court’s most sig-
nificant conclusion, however, was that somebody’s credibility was not automatically compromised if they didn’t raise their sexual orientation at the first opportunity in the asylum process. “Having regard to the sensitive nature of questions relating to a person’s personal identity and, in particular, his sexuality, it cannot be concluded that the declared sexuality lacks credibility simply because, due to his reticence in revealing intimate aspects of his life, that person did not declare his homosexuality at the outset,” the court found. The European Court ruling is especially timely given the recent sharp increase in asylum applications from LGBT refugees from Africa, the Middle East, and Russia, most of whom would likely have great difficulty providing the kind of documentation routinely available for political or religious dissenters fleeing with family and compatriots.
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Playground Summit Led to Transgender Insurance Rules Change Brad Hoylman pressed neighbor who runs state financial services agency to require insurers to cover transition costs BY DUNCAN OSBORNE
s State Senator Brad Hoylman was pressing the Cuomo administration to issue a rule requiring New York insurers to pay for medical procedures related to gender transition, he had several conversations with Benjamin Lawsky, who heads the state agency that issued the rule on December 11, when both men were at a West Village playground with their kids. “Nothing like the playground to talk about issues of state government,” said Hoylman, an out gay Democrat who represents the district that runs from 72nd Street to the West Village and from river to river in Lower Manhattan. The playground summit occurred two or three times, but Lawsky and Hoylman are neighbors so they discussed the issue when they bumped into each other on the street and they also had “a couple of phone calls,” Hoylman said. “They were very collaborative, I have to say,” Hoylman said. The conversations began in June when Hoylman wrote to Lawsky, the superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services, suggesting that the state require insurers to cover “transition-related health care” for transgender people.
Connecticut issued such an order in 2013 and some insurers in New York were already paying for these services. New York is the 10th state to require this of insurers. The rule was issued after Governor Andrew Cuomo was elected to a second term in November. “[Cuomo] took some heat,” Hoylman said. “He clearly expended some political capital.” The rule was written to define as many procedures as possible as medically necessary to avoid having insurers refuse to cover some needed procedures with the argument that they are little more than plastic surgery. As insurers implement the change, Hoylman said he and advocates would be watching to guard against insurers saying some procedures are merely cosmetic. “That is probably something that I will be following to ensure that important procedures are not found to be cosmetic procedures,” Hoylman said. “The language is pretty broad, which I think is a good thing.” The rule says that any insurer who covers “mental health conditions may not exclude coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of gender dysphoria,” which describes “people whose gender at birth is contrary to the one with which they identify.” As with any medical or mental health condition, insurers
are allowed to review procedures for gender dysphoria for medical necessity, but that review is subject to the same laws as all other procedures covered by private insurers. Michael Silverman, the executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, which reviewed the proposed rule before it was issued, said the experience of transgender people trying to get procedures covered by private insurers was no different from the experience of all consumers who have private insurance –– consumers battle for coverage and insurers try to deny it. “Of course, there are going to be fights with insurance companies about what is medically necessary,” Silverman said. “We’re not seeing any differences.” On December 17, the state Department of Health issued a proposed rule that would allow Medicaid, the government-run health plan for the poor, to cover transition-related healthcare for transgender people. A number of organizations have been pressing for the change for years. “Over the years, there have been a number of lawsuits filed,” Silverman said. The Legal Aid Society and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project have a current lawsuit against the state that seeks this change. The new Medicaid rule was an obvious move once
the Cuomo administration chose to require that private insurers pay for transition-related healthcare. “As a political matter, as a logic matter, it made little sense for the state to force private insurers to do what it wasn’t doing,” Silverman said. The proposed rule excludes people under 18 from coverage and it has a list of procedures that it deems to be cosmetic and it will not pay for. The Medicaid rule is in a 45-day comment period and advocates are submitting comments that challenge these exclusions. Currently, “353 natal males and 308 natal females” in the state Medicaid program have a gender dysphoria diagnosis, the state health department said in the filing. The estimated annual cost to New York of providing “hormone therapy only, partial [gender reassignment surgery], or full [gender reassignment surgery]” would be approximately $6.7 million, the state filing said. The proposed Medicaid rule drew criticism from New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, a conservative group. Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican who lost to Cuomo in the governor’s race, and Martin Golden, a Republican who represents part of Brooklyn in the State Senate, also opposed the change. Their comments were published in the New York Post.
Appeals Panel Reverses Order that Prison Provide Sex-Reassignment Surgery Full First Circuit says Massachusetts correctional officials can deny treatment for trans woman in male facility
BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
n a startling about-face, the five active judges of the US First Circuit Court of Appeals reversed both a district court ruling and a three-judge appellate panel in finding that the Massachusetts Department of Correction (Mass DOC) did not violate the Eighth Amendment ban on “cruel and unusual punishment” when it refused to provide sex-reassignment surgery to an inmate serving a life sentence. Michelle Kosilek, who was named Robert at birth, was convicted of first-degree murder in the killing of her wife. Kosilek, who is 65, twice attempted suicide while awaiting trial and also
failed in an effort at self-castration. After being imprisoned, she was diagnosed with gender dysphoria, and Mass DOC’s own medical staff recommended surgery as necessary medical treatment. But the department initially rejected even her request for hormone therapy and to be allowed to dress and groom as female because of a policy against such treatment for inmates convicted as male and imprisoned in an all-male facility. The December 16 ruling came in a 3-2 vote, with the majority from the original three-judge appeals panel dissenting vociferously. The main dispute between the three-judge majority and the dissenters was over the appropriate role for appellate review of a district court decision that Judge Mark L. Wolf predicat-
ed on factual conclusions after a lengthy trial. While claiming it was not doing so, the majority appeared to heavily substitute its own judgment of the facts for Wolf’s, which was strongly decried by the dissenters. An earlier stage in Kosilek’s litigation resulted in Wolf ordering Mass DOC to provide hormone therapy for her and to allow her to live as female. The department grudgingly complied, but kept her in the all-male prison and refused to allow the next step to sex-reassignment surgery, despite warnings from its own medical professionals who believed she might attempt to castrate herself or commit suicide if denied the surgery.
SURGERY, continued on p.13
December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
Adult Film Condom Ordinance Survives Appeals Court Review Los Angeles video producers fail to block new voter-initiated requirements for sheathed anal, vaginal sex BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
unanimous threejudge panel of the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected a constitutional challenge to a voter initiative that compels actors in adult films to use condoms during scenes of anal or vaginal intercourse while filming in Los Angeles County. The December 15 ruling affirmed a decision by District Judge Dean D. Pregerson, who had struck down portions of the ordinance while also denying a motion from adult film industry plaintiffs to stay its enforcement while their legal challenging was pending. Those plaintiffs appealed Pregerson’s denial to the Ninth Circuit, while the ordinance’s proponents objected to the district court striking down some of its provisions. LA County voters approved the ordinance in November 2012, and among a variety compliance and enforcement provisions, it also required the use of condoms during oral sex and mandated county-approved training in blood-borne
pathogens for some employees of the film productions. Pregerson agreed to block enforcement of the oral sex condom requirement and he narrowed the definition of “adult films” to only those that depicted anal or vaginal penetration. The plaintiffs contended that their First Amendment rights to freedom of expression were being unconstitutionally abridged by the ordinance, contending that it was a content-based regulation of speech for which a compelling state interest had to be demonstrated. The court concluded, however, that the motivation of voters was not to interfere with the filmmakers’ erotic “message” but rather to prevent the transmission of STDs, especially HIV, which the news media reported was on the rise among adult film actors. According to Judge Susan P. Graver’s opinion for the appeals court panel, the filmmakers had contended “that condomless sex differs from sex generally because condoms remind the audience about real-world concerns such as pregnancy and disease,” so that “films depicting condomless sex convey a particular message about
SURGERY, from p.12
Under Supreme Court precedents, inmates are entitled to receive appropriate treatment for serious medical conditions, and the lower federal courts have in recent years generally come to the view that gender dysphoria qualifies. Little by little, resistance to starting hormone therapy in prison has been broken down by a series of federal decisions. Wolf’s more recent ruling, however –– based on Eighth Amendment grounds –– was the first to order a prison system to provide sex-reassignment surgery. Mass DOC’s arguments in response to Kosilek have shifted over the years, but were not primarily based on the expense of surgery. Initially, the state quarreled with the view that the treatment was medically necessary and more recently settled on questions of security –– the concern being that after surgery there would be no good place to house Kosilek for the remainder of her life imprisonment. If kept in an all-male prison, officials contended, she would have to be placed in isolation to protect her from other inmates. Transferring her to a women’s prison would provoke negative reactions, even trauma among inmates | December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015
sex in a world without those risks.” The court disagreed, finding that “whatever unique message Plaintiffs might intend to convey by depicting condomless sex, it is unlikely that viewers of adult films will understand that message. So condomless sex is not the relevant expression for First Amendment purposes; instead, the relevant expression is more generally the adult films’ erotic message.” The restriction on the filmmakers’ speech, Graber wrote, was “de minimis.” “The requirement that actors in adult films wear condoms while engaging in sexual intercourse might have ‘some minimal effect’ on a film’s erotic message,” she asserted, “but that effect is certainly no greater than the effect of pasties and G-strings on the erotic message of nude dancing. ” Restrictions on nude dancing in public venues have been upheld against similar constitutional challenges by the Supreme Court. The filmmakers accepted the contention of the ordinance’s supporters that the government has a legitimate interest in preventing the spread of HIV, but they argued
–– many of them with histories of suffering sexual abuse –– forced to have a convicted wife-murderer in their midst. Wolf found Mass DOC’s most recent rationale to not be credible, given the current commissioner’s success in another state’s prison system in housing a post-operative transgender woman in the general male prison population without serious security problems. The district judge ordered the department to provide Kosilek with surgery, and he was upheld by the three-judge First Circuit panel. Mass DOC then applied for what is known as en banc review, an intermediate step between a three-judge panel’s ruling and an appeal to the Supreme Court. Writing for the en banc court, Judge Juan Torruella disputed several of Wolf’s factual findings. Wolf heard testimony from a variety of medical experts, some of whom said sex-reassignment surgery was medically necessary for Kosilek, with others disagreeing. The en banc court, then, decided that Wolf erred in finding Mass DOC’s refusal to provide the surgery unconstitutional. While prison officials cannot be “deliberately indifferent” to serious medical needs, here, the court found, Mass DOC was providing treatment,
the ordinance was not sufficiently “narrowly tailored” to achieve this. Regular testing of actors sufficed to avoid transmission, they argued, noting the industry has voluntarily adopted such testing requirements for a number of STDs. Judge Pregerson, however, had received evidence that the rate of STDs among adult actors in LA was higher by a statistically significant amount than that of the general public. The appeals court upheld Pregerson’s refusal to block enforcement of the ordinance generally but also his decision to bar the government from carrying out certain of its provisions. The case now goes back to the district court for a trial on the merits. Pregerson’s ruling in this case predated the emerging consensus that consistent use of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) by HIV-negative people can sharply reduce the likelihood of HIV transmission through condomless sex. The ordinance, however, is broadly-written to embrace all sexually-transmitted pathogens, not just HIV, so it is uncertain that the PrEP factor will change the likely outcome of the filmmakers’ challenge to the law on the merits.
including psychotherapy and hormone treatment, and allowing Kosilek to dress and groom as female, as a result of which there was testimony her mental state had improved. The panel also concluded Wolf was wrong in rejecting Mass DOC’s testimony about the security concerns raised about housing Kosilek after surgery, and it rejected his conclusion that the department’s resistance was motivated by political pressures and adverse press coverage of the case. The five-judge panel’s two dissenters pointed out that after its own medical experts endorsed the surgery, Mass DOC sought out a “second opinion” from a doctor known to oppose such procedures, thereby creating the alleged “split” in medical opinion. Kosilek’s case has received wide attention and drew amicus briefs in support from groups including National Prison and the LGBT Rights Projects of the American Civil Liberties Union as well as Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders. Kosilek’s legal team, led by Joseph L. Sulman before the First Circuit, might well now seek review by the Supreme Court, which has never previously ruled on an Eighth Amendment medical treatment claim by a transgender inmate.
Addiction Treatment Leader Addresses State of the Art Brad Lamm, Dr. Oz’s interventionist, talks rehab and LGBT people’s specific needs BL: No, they were very good marketers. If you wake up one morning and the doctor says, “You have stage three cancer,” your first call ––
BY CHRISTOPHER MURRAY
Christopher Murray: What’s wrong with rehab? Brad Lamm: In early 2003, a therapist suggested I go to rehab. January. I looked at Hazelden and thought, Minnesota in the winter? And instead decided to go to a crummy treatment program that was very spa-like in Laguna Beach. So, I packed away $35,000 in cash and took a leap of faith. That’s one of the big challenges of finding treatment, it doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight –– it’s kind of a Wild West show. There’s a big controversy in addiction treatment right now. Some of the big players are owned by big hospital groups now and many of the programs follow the tenets of Twelve Step recovery, but, it’s not really enough. That’s a big part of the problem right now. What do you do? I’m a believer in the spiritual component, but you also need great clinical. If someone | December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015
CM: Is going to be to Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. BL: But for addiction treatment, most people rely on Google.
COURTESY: BRAD LAMM
rad Lamm was wearing a Washington Capitals baseball cap when he arrived at Le Pain Quotidien near his Chelsea home a little after noon one recent Sunday. The place was packed with strollers and brunchers, making for a dull roar. He ordered an herbal tea and a pumpkin muffin, saying he was fighting a cold. “You’re the first person I’ve spoken to today,” he said. It wasn’t very long before he pulled out an iPhone embossed with an “Oprah’s ‘The Life You Want’ Weekend” logo to show off photos of his beloved dogs Bandit and Oliver, whom he pampers with his husband, Broadway producer Scott Sanders. Lamm, 48, looks and sounds about as normal a good guy as you could ever want to meet. We could have been in a Starbucks in his hometown of Wenatchee, Washington, or almost anywhere else and his easy smile would have been pleasantly unremarkable if you didn’t know he is Dr. Oz’s interventionist, the author of five books on topics related to addiction and compulsive behaviors (the most recent 2014’s “Hand to Mouth: 4 Steps in 4 Weeks to Quit Smoking Now”), the consulting producer on a series about obesity for the Oprah Network, and the founder of the Breathe Life Healing Centers in New York, Los Angeles, and Detroit, which help people overcome problematic behaviors in their lives. Given my own experience as a psychotherapist working with the LGBT community, I was eager to hear Lamm’s insights from his cutting-edge work and the new treatment model he has built.
Brad Lamm has worked in addiction treatment for the past decade.
is sick enough to go to rehab, you need more than working the first three steps of AA. You can do that for free at home. I think, too, that it’s an issue of coming of age. The current model for treatment providers has been around since the ‘60s, and for many of them the Twelve Steps are the fundamentals. I’m such a believer in Twelve Step, I think it’s awesome. Outcome-based studies show peer-to-peer is important, but so is great clinical and so is medication management for some. Along with exercise and diet. CM: What about trauma work? BL: That’s what I think has been the missing component. CM: How was the place in Laguna? BL: I went to shitty, expensive treatment in Laguna and it changed my life. I was introduced to the Twelve Step model there. CM: What made it shitty? BL: Well, I know how they are run now. They were really real estate people, business people. They had a relationship with a psychiatrist, but I never saw him. The therapist was unlicensed. She was someone that had been there for a long time and she was okay, but I also paid $100 extra a week to get soul readings from her. She read my cards. It wasn’t based in anything but someone’s desire to maximize the profits per bed. CM: Did you know that at the time?
CM: Almost every rehab will tell you, “Oh, yes, we work with gay people! We’re great for gay people!” They will tell you they have a specialized track for crystal meth users, which is usually one meeting a week. BL: I went where I did because they had a gay track. The same guy who ran the gay track ran the Christian track. He had relapsed the week before I got there, so both the gays and the Christians had no leader. Twenty-five years ago I think gay-specific treatment was really useful. Now it’s less so because we are living out. CM: But what about gay men dealing with crystal meth? That’s a whole different kettle of fish. People coming into treatment, they may be paranoid, exhausted. If they are gay, they may have sexual trauma. BL: If you are dealing with crystal specifically, I happen to agree. We have a sexual health program, we make sure our Twelve Steps meetings are crystal meth-safe. There are plenty of meetings where people wouldn’t feel safe talking about crystal meth. Good psychiatry is very important for a meth addict. In the in-patient treatment milieu, meth has the highest rate of relapse. And the related issue of sexual compulsivity is massive. We [LGBTQ people] are a unique subset. The treatment has to be sensitive to that so that the person can feel safe and can talk, be vulnerable and get better. I think it all comes down to trauma. Everyone who comes into treatment has a unique trauma history, whether that’s big “t’ or little “t” trauma, that is resulting in a connection to a behavior that is interrupting the kind of life they want. Everyone has got their own story. I think though if we talk ourselves into being so unique, we can miss out on being part of the community in the treatment milieu. The people at Breathe are very diverse –– gay, straight, black, white. CM: Don’t you think there are some gay people who walk into a room in a rehab and there are straight guys there who are maybe just a little bit rougher and so hunker down into a defensive posture?
HEALING, continued on p.22
LGBT COMMUNITY CENTER
LGBT COMMUNITY CENTER
The Center’s lobby has been dramatically expanded to allow for a cybercenter at one end and a café leading to the garden at the other.
COMMUNITY CENTER OVERHAUL NEARS COMPLETION
LGBT COMMUNITY CENTER
LGBT COMMUNITY CENTER
The first-floor Kaplan Assembly Hall was modified to remove cast iron columns, open up windows, and add acoustic enhancements to the walls without eliminating site-specific artwork from 1989.
A new floor, acoustic improvements, and new soundproof windows will expand the potential uses for the third floor Lerner Auditorium.
Bureau of General Services –– Queer Division, a bookstore and event venue, is now housed in room 210 at the Center. December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
The new fourth floor home for the Pat Parker/ Vito Russo Center Library and its National History Archive.
The renovation’s lead designers, Brian Ripel and Nicola Mongelli.
Twenty-six months after announcing an ambitious $7.5 million facelift updating auditorium drop ceiling, coverings that boarded up some windows, and cast iron columns that significantspaces on its first and third floors and dramatically expanding the breadth of its lobby entrance, ly impaired sight lines and the addition of acoustic materials on the walls did not come at the the LGBT Community Center is just one month shy of a grand unveiling of the results. expense of site-specific art created in a 1989 Center show. At a December 16 press preview at the West 13th Street facility, Center executive director The former bathroom containing the famed Keith Haring mural “Once Upon a Time” was refurGlennda Testone showed off three floors of improvements to the building’s overall aesthetic, the bished and is now accessible through swinging glass doors emblazoned with a blown up photo acoustics of its main meeting spaces, the look and soundproofness of windows, and the condition from New York’s LGBT history, as are the doors to several of the other small rooms on the second of bathrooms and elevators. and third floor corridors. The renovation, she said, came in on time and on budget, though she added that expansion of The renovation of the former schoolhouse –– built in 1844 and purchased by the Center the scope of work had increased the total cost from the original estimate to $9.2 million. More in 1984 –– is the second one completed in this century. In its opening up of the lobby and its than two thirds of that cost, or $6.6 million, came from city and state funds, with the rest from improvements to the building’s major meeting spaces, this renovation in important respects private sources. finishes a job not fully completed in the Center’s $13 million refurbishing done between 1998 Soundproofing and acoustical improvements in both the first floor Kaplan Assembly Hall, which and 2001. gave birth to ACT UP in the late 1980s, and to the third floor Lerner Auditorium should solve perenAccording to Testone, the next big task ahead for the Center will be upgrades to the annex nial problems audiences have hearing presentations in those rooms and will also allow the Center building across the garden that currently houses its youth services programs. Planning on that will to host more musical events. Drop-down video projection screens will allow both rooms to show not begin until a thorough needs assessment is completed, she said. movies and stage other visual productions. Testone quoted the late Irving Cooperberg, a Center founder who said of its early years, “We The Pat Parker/ Vito Russo Center Library and its National History Archive will now be com- are building for the generation after AIDS,” an epidemic that claimed his life in 1997. Though that bined into a sleek new space on the fourth floor. time has sadly not yet arrived, with vastly improved and more sophisticated facilities, the Center The change most Center visitors will notice immediately, however, is the expanded lobby now faces the enviable challenge of expanding its leadership role in the social and cultural life of space, with both first floor rooms at either end of it eliminated to make way for an open plan that New York’s diverse LGBT community. — Paul Schindler includes a cybercenter for free use and a café. The café, at the west end of the lobby, will, after some additional work, lead to sliding glass doors opening up to the garden. Work on redoing the garden –– including repaving, permanent plantings, new lighting, and some cool weather heating elements –– has not begun and will depend on how severe the winter is. A large metal plate in the middle of the iron gate leading from the garden to 13th Street will be removed so that the outdoor space is no longer hidden away from public view. The elimination of the two rooms that had been adjacent to the lobby occasioned controversy among members of SAGE, Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders, who long had exclusive use of one of them. The group has been relocated one floor up, but an agreement under which it will share its space with some other groups using the Center has kept at least some SAGE members unhappy. Testone voiced confidence that the significant issues raised had all been addressed to everyone’s satisfaction. A key strength of the renovation was the success of its designers –– Brian Ripel of RSVP Architecture Studio and Nicola Mongelli of N-Plus Architecture and Design –– in combining modern elements with features of historical significance. In the Kaplan Assembly Hall, the elimination of a Keith Haring’s famed wall mural “Once Upon a Time,” completed on May 27, 1989. | December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015
NYPD Conducted Stop and Frisk Inside Home of Man Alleging Earlier Abuse Weeks after Crown Heights gay man’s party shut down, narcotics officers show up, question eight, make no arrests
BY DUNCAN OSBORNE
HEALING, from p.19
BL: I hear you. But what if for that same person one of their primary triggers is not being able to be open and vulnerable and honest? If you treat them in a ghetto, a gay program, where everybody’s gay, then if they return home and their primary triggers remain around those very issues –– honesty, vulnerability, self-awareness –– how then does that per son navigate the world after we actually encouraged stratification in treatment?
GAY CITY NEWS
oughly six weeks after a 2013 police raid on a Brooklyn private party sparked headlines, police returned to that location and questioned eight people who had gathered there. “Mr. Campbell eventually had to move out of that place,” said Eric Subin, the attorney who is representing Jabbar Campbell, the party promoter, in his state court lawsuit against the city. “There was a series of harassing gestures.” In his lawsuit, Campbell reports that two officers from the 77th precinct arrived at his Crown Heights brownstone at about 3 a.m. on January 13, 2013 and instructed him to shut the party down. At the time, Campbell told Gay City News he had produced at least 10 parties in recent months in his Sterling Place home and was “hosting a party for some gay friends of mine” on January 13. He said about 80 people were there. About five to 10 minutes after the two officers showed up, additional officers from the 77th precinct arrived, joined by officers from the Patrol Borough Brooklyn North. Campbell said officers in that second wave attacked him when he opened his front door. The lawsuit accuses police of beating Campbell while yelling antigay insults. “They beat me into a daze,” he said in 2013. “They cursed at me and called me all sorts of anti-gay slurs.” On March 1, 2013, at least three officers from the Narcotics Bureau Brooklyn North arrived at the brownstone and questioned eight people there, according to police reports that were filed this past November in federal lawsuits brought by two of those eight people. Campbell added the March 1 incident to his state case. The police report, a “stop, question, and frisk
Jabbar Campbell outside the Sterling Place home where he formerly lived.
worksheet,” says the officers detected a “strong odor” of marijuana coming from the second floor of the brownstone and they suspected the people inside were trespassing. Police did nothing more than question the people inside. They did not make arrests or issue any summonses, which is a common result of stop and frisk activity. It is very unusual for police to conduct so-called stop and frisks in private homes. In 2012, 115,535 of 532,911 stops, or 21 percent, occurred “inside,” according to data compiled by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU). That designation includes building lobbies and hallways, subway stations, businesses, and what officers identified as “mezzanines” in their reports. Of all the 2012 stops, 1,148 gave “residence” and another 305 gave
CM: Well, everyone who goes into a rehab is probably pretty beat up, right? And coming out of some pretty nasty stuff. Don’t they need a circle of safety before they start dealing with that stuff? BL: I give a talk at Breathe occasionally called “Seeking Safety” –– it’s the only group I do. If you don’t feel safe, it would be very difficult to be vulnerable and do the work. CM: I’m a big fan of the idea of “safe enough.” I think the [Twelve Step] rooms are safe enough. I
“dwelling” as the location, though even some of those were outside. What is clear from the NYCLU data is that stop and frisk activity rarely, if ever, occurred in private homes that year. The NYCLU compiled comprehensive data only for 2012. The original January 13 action received widespread media attention and spawned protests because a video camera at Campbell’s front door showed a police sergeant reaching up and turning it toward the wall before Campbell answered the door the second time. A camera inside the apartment shows police moving the guests out and then searching the apartment. The cameras did not capture Campbell’s arrest or the altercation with police. Campbell was charged with third-degree assault, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and possessing marijuana and ecstasy. Those charges were dismissed, Subin said. In a 2013 email, the police department press office wrote that Campbell had “hosted parties there with a $10 charge per person to enter, then a cash bar on top on that. IAB [Internal Affairs Bureau] is investigating his complaints against the officers.” In January of 2013, the city’s 311 system showed 22 complaints about loud music or a party associated with Campbell’s address since September of 2012. Precinct commanders receive regular reports about 311 complaints, so it is likely that Campbell’s parties were known to the 77th precinct and were considered a problem. Police responded to at least three of those earlier complaints and either could not gain entry to the apartment or they “observed no violation,” according to the 311 website. The city’s Law Department did not respond to an email seeking comment and the police department did not respond to an email asking how often stop and frisk activity occurred in private homes.
don’t think they are necessarily always safe. BL: There are many rooms that aren’t safe at all. You have no professional moderators in the rooms. That’s the beauty and the beast of Twelve Steps, right? I’m a believer in gay Twelve Step groups for folks, but I push against gay-specific rehabs in 2015. I could have done Breathe LA as a gay rehab, there are enough gays going to rehab out there. PRIDE is still in Minnesota. But I don’t think corralling the gays for treatment is the answer.
I think creating a safe environment from the top down where you can explore who you are safely is important. It used to be you’d go away to rehab in the country somewhere on 22 acres –– that’s not the real world either. My model for Breathe was a clinically sound model in urban hubs so you are not cloistered on a yurt so far away from your life that when you get back it’s such a shock. For more information on Lamm’s work and the Breathe Life Healing Centers, go to breathelhc.org.
December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Black and Blue PUBLISHER JENNIFER GOODSTEIN
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It is a poignant irony that a long-simmering debate framed in the public mind as pitting white cops against black New Yorkers was brought to a boil by the cold-blooded execution of two officers of color — one Latino, the other Asian-American. Black lives matter, as protesters have said over and over since grand juries declined to return indictments in the deaths of Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in Staten Island. Blue lives matter, as NPYD supporters began saying even before the heinous murders of Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. All lives matter, it turns out. In the nation’s largest and most diverse city, we have to learn to live together with a modicum of respect for each other and our differences. It’s an easy call for me to say that Pat Lynch, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association president, disgraced his uniform in his incendiary charge that Mayor Bill de Blasio has “blood on
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[his] hands.” I can only shake my head to see former Governor George Pataki blame the officers’ deaths on “the divisive anti-cop rhetoric” of the mayor and Attorney General Eric Holder. And it’s embarrassing to see a gay business, Boxers Bar, tweeting hate messages about de Blasio turning his “disgusting mouth into political gain using cops death” and telling Al Sharpton “there is not a place in hell dark enough for you… Please may your fate find you.” But as I shudder at these outbursts, I can’t help but acknowledge that signs held up by some protesters in recent weeks equating the NYPD with the KKK are also unacceptable. Or that demonstrators exploiting a chaotic scene on the Brooklyn Bridge to hurl a garbage can from the walkway down onto a traffic lane or to start slugging police officers are dead wrong. I won’t, however, fall into a false equivalency that says outrageous conduct by fringe elements among the protesters is the same as ugly provocation from the head of the police union or a former governor. The Eric Garner case raised issues this city must address. It’s not about all
cops being racists or being bad actors. Instead, it’s about insufficient training, lack of consequences for bad behavior, and relationships between the police and district attorneys that are too cozy. Systemic law enforcement changes are needed. As is cultural change, not just among police but from all of us. It is not okay for those angry at the world to use legitimate protests as a venue to vent violent rage. But’s it precious of Lynch and Pataki to act like the mayor did anything but what a father should when warning Dante to keep his cool in encounters with police. Any honest person will concede that race, ethnicity, class, gender, or sexual orientation can all too easily become a tragic flashpoint in tense confrontations between police and the public. So we all need to honor the grief among New York police officers, we need to carry out protests in ways aimed at winning hearts and minds rather than scoring points, and our leaders urgently need to bring this debate indoors. For real. Another month or year or decade of everyone being self-satisfied in their outrage will accomplish nothing. Not one young person will be safer. Not one more police officer will return home at the end of their shift. Not one more holiday will be full of joy.
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BY ED SIKOV
ink News out of the UK r eports that “the antigay Catholic League has mocked gay designer T om For d for launching a range of penis-themed pendants in the shape of a cross.” The article goes on: “The fashion designer launched the $790 designer pendants this week –– which are available in gold and silver. There are three different options; small penis pendant, medium penis pendant, and large penis pendant.” The Catholic League’s Bill
Donohue is always good for a laugh and his response to the penis cross news did not disappoint: “When we learned of this item, I said to the staff that I bet this guy Tom Ford is a homosexual. I was right. He even thinks he’s married.” It doesn’t take a clairvoyant to guess that a penis cross’ designer is likely to be a gay man or to predict that the pendant’s tar get audience is the same crowd. Who other than a successful gay designer would know that there were enough gay men with both the disposable income and the dreadful taste to justify the production of such a vulgar, garish item?
I’ve got to say –– to my enormous shock –– that I’m with Donohue on this one. It’s offensive to mock the central religious symbol of Christianity by turning it into a decorative cock. (The shaft is the post, and two balls form the crossbar.) I’m not questioning Ford’s right to produce the overpriced and astoundingly dumb thing. But I do think that mocking a holy symbol is an unnecessary provocation. Gay folks dislike being made fun of. Nobody likes to be made fun of. Can’t we respect other people enough to avoid mocking their most heartfelt beliefs? Even those for whom respecting faith is
impossible should recognize that turning a cross into an obscenity is just another way of spreading hate. Christ, do gay people always have to be such dicks? That said, I must add that I’ve never understood how Christians justify wearing gold crosses as jewelry. Call me crazy, but it seems crass to me to put the means of Jesus’ excruciating death and the symbol of his miraculous resurrection on a gold chain and display it in a field of chest hair. And don’t worry, I have no plans to stay cozy with Bill Donohue and the Catholic League. I’m perfectly happy to let him make an ass of himself –– again –– with his comments (quot-
MEDIA CIRCUS, continued on p.25
December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
PERSPECTIVE: A Dyke Abroad
Hope for Queers Now in Cuba? Maybe
BY KELLY COGSWELL
resident Obama made history this week by dumping a policy toward Cuba that hasn’t helped a bit to usher in democracy or protect human rights. In fact, the 50-year effort of both Democrats and Republicans to isolate the island and twist its little Caribbean arm has only allowed Cuba’s dictatorship to entrench itself. The country remains the only one in Latin America where pretty much every form of dissent is repressed. Open your mouth, you may be smashed in the face by the cops, intimidated by angry mobs bussed in for the occasion, and suffer other public acts of shaming and “repudiation” either in the street or, if you get big enough, on the state-run media. Write a dissenting blog, you can forget holding a job or, until the regime’s recent charm offensive, being allowed to leave the island prison. Once gone, you may be forbidden from returning. The real gadflies are serially detained without any charges for several hours or several days, while the cops harass their families. Worse is long-term imprisonment. So a little change can’t hurt. A little opening. The only question is will this actually make things better for the average Cuban? Especially queers? If you believe the New York Time’s editorial board, Cuba was already on the verge of a hurricane of rainbow flags and unicorns. The only problem with this excellent news, delivered in Sunday’s “Cuba’s Gay Rights Evolution,” is that it’s largely bullshit, based on a distortion of both queer Cuban history and the current reality. The editorial didn’t express any kind of skepticism at how Cuba’s most prominent LGBT rights advocate, the National Center for Sex Education
MEDIA CIRCUS, from p.24
ed in the same Pink News article) about Guinness and the boycott of the popular Irish dry stout his group is currently pushing: “We should remember that this cor porate bully tried to shove its secular agenda down our throats by punishing the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade for not allowing gays to march under their own banners in 2014; it pulled its sponsorship.” I gotta tell ya, Bill, your unconscious is showing yet again. It’s long past time to put the “shoving things down our throats” trope to rest.
(CENESEX), is led by sexologist Mariela Castro, a straight white woman with a convenient last name and an outdated approach. The Times writers practically wet themselves heralding her bravery as “the first lawmaker in Cuban [post-revolutionary] history to cast a dissenting vote” in parliament. C’mon, she’s the dictator’s fucking daughter. Nobody’s gonna drag her to jail, and they probably gave her the okay to do it. Can anybody say pink-washing? And while Ms. Castro deserves props for getting gay issues out there and winning free gender reassignment surgery and hormones for trans people, the writers should have at least mentioned what happens to her “visible and empowered community” when they try to do things for themselves. Case in point is black lesbian and blogger Leannes Imbert Acosta, founder and director of the independent association Observatorio Cubano de Derechos LGBT (Cuban LGBT Rights Watch). In 2012, when she asked the glorious CENESEX for help gathering information on the forced labor and re-education camps of the 1960s that incarcerated tens of thousands of queers, the governmental institution was rather less than responsive. And when Imbert Acosta went ahead with plans for her own exhibit on the camps, state security turned up at her door, confiscated her materials, and dragged her off to the cop station. Not for the first time. The New York Times itself is complicit in erasing LGBT history in Cuba. Probably the most misleading part of the editorial was its downplaying of how viciously the regime has repressed LGBT people, writing that sexual minorities were “ostracized” and that “some” people were sent to “labor camps.” “Ostracized” doesn’t begin to describe the systematic anti-gay campaign by
Turning now to People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch, which reports that the Family Research Council’s crackpot-in-residence Tony Perkins has been claiming recently that LGBT rights will cause an economic meltdown, “a rapid downward spiral of our nation, including our economy.” Precisely how this financial collapse will occur, not to mention how it’s all going to be our fault, is notably absent from Perkins’ hysterical prediction. As quickly as he raised the alarm, he dropped the subject entirely and moved on to a tortured rationale arguing that
| December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015
the government, which not only passed punitive laws declaring us enemies of the state but also whipped up mobs as large and violent as any we’ve seen lately in Uganda. And it wasn’t just “some” gay men, but more like 25,000 who were incarcerated in brutal re-education and forced labor camps, along with thousands more Jehovah’s Witnesses and other undesirables. The gay men that could, fled. Suicide was not uncommon. Lesbians, often ignored in this history, were more often sent directly to jail or mental hospitals where the Cuban state attempted to electro-shock away their degenerate counterrevolutionary tendencies. Neither was this vast wave of anti-gay hate over in the ‘70s, as The Times implied. Even after the camps were closed following an international outcry in 1968, new anti-gay laws were passed and plenty of LGBT people, especially dykes, continued to get booted from jobs and end up in jails and mental hospitals, all the way through the 1980s. People with HIV, especially queers, were forcibly interred in state-run sanitaria until 1993. Even now, public decency and assembly laws are used to harass LGBT Cubans and people with HIV, who can be convicted of the ever-popular “pre-criminal social dangerousness.” “Publicly manifested homosexuality” actually remains illegal. Still, we should be hopeful at the new Cuba opening. At its worse, only the elite, white, military-connected kleptocracy –– that already controls the economy –– will benefit. At its best, ordinary LGBT folks may get help from another two years of an Obama State Department, which is actively supporting LGBT people worldwide. What Cuban queers actually need to build an authentic LGBT movement, though, is what all Cubans need, the rights to free speech and assembly, the only real building blocks of change. Let’s hope that doesn’t get lost in the rush to pry open one more new market. Kelly Cogswell is the author of “Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger”(University of Minnesota Press, 2014), which includes large sections on LGBT Cuba.
what the objects of his hate see as hate is not in fact hate at all, but love. The house of Gay Liberation is on fire, Perkins explains, and he’s just being the Good Samaritan who comes to our aid: “You go beating on the windows of the bedroom and you awaken them, now you’ve disturbed their sleep, you’ve wakened them up, you’ve disturbed them, you’ve made them uncomfortable because you’ve awakened them in the middle of the night and you’ve told them their house is on fire. Do you hate them because you’re doing that? I would say that you’re actually expressing love, profound love,
by awakening them to something that is very destructive and liable to take their lives.” Perkins doesn’t mention the fact that in the scenario he describes he’s the arsonist pouring gasoline around the house and hurling Molotov cocktails in through the windows. Am I mistaken or is this sanctimonious clown becoming more wacko by the month?
And to wrap up this year in media, here’s a recent headline, with no comment necessary –– from The Daily Dot: “Artist Paints Kim Kardashian Butt Portrait with His Penis.”
What is STRIBILD? STRIBILD is a prescription medicine used to treat HIV-1 in adults who have never taken HIV-1 medicines before. It combines 4 medicines into 1 pill to be taken once a day with food. STRIBILD is a complete single-tablet regimen and should not be used with other HIV-1 medicines. STRIBILD does not cure HIV-1 infection or AIDS. To control HIV-1 infection and decrease HIV-related illnesses you must keep taking STRIBILD. Ask your healthcare provider if you have questions about how to reduce the risk of passing HIV-1 to others. Always practice safer sex and use condoms to lower the chance of sexual contact with body fluids. Never reuse or share needles or other items that have body fluids on them.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION What is the most important information I should know about STRIBILD?
Who should not take STRIBILD? Do not take STRIBILD if you: • Take a medicine that contains: alfuzosin, dihydroergotamine, ergotamine, methylergonovine, cisapride, lovastatin, simvastatin, pimozide, sildenafil when used for lung problems (Revatio®), triazolam, oral midazolam, rifampin or the herb St. John’s wort. • For a list of brand names for these medicines, please see the Brief Summary on the following pages. • Take any other medicines to treat HIV-1 infection, or the medicine adefovir (Hepsera®).
What are the other possible side effects of STRIBILD?
STRIBILD can cause serious side effects:
Serious side effects of STRIBILD may also include:
• Build-up of an acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious medical emergency. Symptoms of lactic acidosis include feeling very weak or tired, unusual (not normal) muscle pain, trouble breathing, stomach pain with nausea or vomiting, feeling cold especially in your arms and legs, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and/or a fast or irregular heartbeat.
• New or worse kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider should do regular blood and urine tests to check your kidneys before and during treatment with STRIBILD. If you develop kidney problems, your healthcare provider may tell you to stop taking STRIBILD.
• Serious liver problems. The liver may become large (hepatomegaly) and fatty (steatosis). Symptoms of liver problems include your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow (jaundice), dark “tea-colored” urine, light-colored bowel movements (stools), loss of appetite for several days or longer, nausea, and/or stomach pain. • You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or serious liver problems if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking STRIBILD for a long time. In some cases, these serious conditions have led to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any symptoms of these conditions.
• Worsening of hepatitis B (HBV) infection. If you also have HBV and stop taking STRIBILD, your hepatitis may suddenly get worse. Do not stop taking STRIBILD without first talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to monitor your health. STRIBILD is not approved for the treatment of HBV.
• Bone problems, including bone pain or bones getting soft or thin, which may lead to fractures. Your healthcare provider may do tests to check your bones. • Changes in body fat can happen in people taking HIV-1 medicines. • Changes in your immune system. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any new symptoms after you start taking STRIBILD.
What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking STRIBILD? • All your health problems. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have or had any kidney, bone, or liver problems, including hepatitis virus infection. • All the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. STRIBILD may affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may affect how STRIBILD works. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist. Do not start any new medicines while taking STRIBILD without first talking with your healthcare provider. • If you take hormone-based birth control (pills, patches, rings, shots, etc). • If you take antacids. Take antacids at least 2 hours before or after you take STRIBILD. • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if STRIBILD can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant while taking STRIBILD. • If you are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed. HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in breast milk. Also, some medicines in STRIBILD can pass into breast milk, and it is not known if this can harm the baby.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088. Please see Brief Summary of full Prescribing Information with important warnings on the following pages.
The most common side effects of STRIBILD include nausea and diarrhea. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that bother you or don’t go away.
December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
STRIBILD is a prescription medicine used as a complete single-tablet regimen to treat HIV-1 in adults who have never taken HIV-1 medicines before. STRIBILD does not cure HIV-1 or AIDS.
I started my personal revolution Talk to your healthcare provider about starting treatment. STRIBILD is a complete HIV-1 treatment in 1 pill, once a day. Ask if itâ€™s right for you.
| December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015
Patient Information STRIBILD® (STRY-bild) (elvitegravir 150 mg/cobicistat 150 mg/emtricitabine 200 mg/ tenofovir disoproxil fumarate 300 mg) tablets Brief summary of full Prescribing Information. For more information, please see the full Prescribing Information, including Patient Information. What is STRIBILD?
Who should not take STRIBILD?
• STRIBILD is a prescription medicine used to treat HIV-1 in adults who have never taken HIV-1 medicines before. STRIBILD is a complete regimen and should not be used with other HIV-1 medicines. • STRIBILD does not cure HIV-1 or AIDS. You must stay on continuous HIV-1 therapy to control HIV-1 infection and decrease HIV-related illnesses. • Ask your healthcare provider about how to prevent passing HIV-1 to others. Do not share or reuse needles, injection equipment, or personal items that can have blood or body fluids on them. Do not have sex without protection. Always practice safer sex by using a latex or polyurethane condom to lower the chance of sexual contact with semen, vaginal secretions, or blood.
Do not take STRIBILD if you also take a medicine that contains: • adefovir (Hepsera®) • alfuzosin hydrochloride (Uroxatral®) • cisapride (Propulsid®, Propulsid Quicksolv®) • ergot-containing medicines, including: dihydroergotamine mesylate (D.H.E. 45®, Migranal®), ergotamine tartrate (Cafergot®, Migergot®, Ergostat®, Medihaler Ergotamine®, Wigraine®, Wigrettes®), and methylergonovine maleate (Ergotrate®, Methergine®) • lovastatin (Advicor®, Altoprev®, Mevacor®) • oral midazolam • pimozide (Orap®) • rifampin (Rifadin®, Rifamate®, Rifater®, Rimactane®) • sildenafil (Revatio®), when used for treating lung problems • simvastatin (Simcor®, Vytorin®, Zocor®) • triazolam (Halcion®) • the herb St. John’s wort Do not take STRIBILD if you also take any other HIV-1 medicines, including: • Other medicines that contain tenofovir (Atripla®, Complera®, Viread®, Truvada®) • Other medicines that contain emtricitabine, lamivudine, or ritonavir (Atripla®, Combivir®, Complera®, Emtriva®, Epivir® or Epivir-HBV®, Epzicom®, Kaletra®, Norvir®, Trizivir®, Truvada®) STRIBILD is not for use in people who are less than 18 years old.
What is the most important information I should know about STRIBILD? STRIBILD can cause serious side effects, including: 1. Build-up of lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis). Lactic acidosis can happen in some people who take STRIBILD or similar (nucleoside analogs) medicines. Lactic acidosis is a serious medical emergency that can lead to death. Lactic acidosis can be hard to identify early, because the symptoms could seem like symptoms of other health problems. Call your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following symptoms which could be signs of lactic acidosis: • feel very weak or tired • have unusual (not normal) muscle pain • have trouble breathing • have stomach pain with nausea or vomiting • feel cold, especially in your arms and legs • feel dizzy or lightheaded • have a fast or irregular heartbeat 2. Severe liver problems. Severe liver problems can happen in people who take STRIBILD. In some cases, these liver problems can lead to death. Your liver may become large (hepatomegaly) and you may develop fat in your liver (steatosis). Call your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following symptoms of liver problems: • your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow (jaundice) • dark “tea-colored” urine • light-colored bowel movements (stools) • loss of appetite for several days or longer • nausea • stomach pain You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or severe liver problems if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking STRIBILD for a long time. 3. Worsening of Hepatitis B infection. If you have hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and take STRIBILD, your HBV may get worse (flare-up) if you stop taking STRIBILD. A “flare-up” is when your HBV infection suddenly returns in a worse way than before. • Do not run out of STRIBILD. Refill your prescription or talk to your healthcare provider before your STRIBILD is all gone
• Do not stop taking STRIBILD without first talking to your healthcare provider • If you stop taking STRIBILD, your healthcare provider will need to check your health often and do blood tests regularly for several months to check your HBV infection. Tell your healthcare provider about any new or unusual symptoms you may have after you stop taking STRIBILD
What are the possible side effects of STRIBILD? STRIBILD may cause the following serious side effects: • See “What is the most important information I should know about STRIBILD?” • New or worse kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider should do blood and urine tests to check your kidneys before you start and while you are taking STRIBILD. Your healthcare provider may tell you to stop taking STRIBILD if you develop new or worse kidney problems. • Bone problems can happen in some people who take STRIBILD. Bone problems include bone pain, softening or thinning (which may lead to fractures). Your healthcare provider may need to do tests to check your bones. • Changes in body fat can happen in people who take HIV-1 medicine. These changes may include increased amount of fat in the upper back and neck (“buffalo hump”), breast, and around the middle of your body (trunk). Loss of fat from the legs, arms and face may also happen. The exact cause and long-term health effects of these conditions are not known. • Changes in your immune system (Immune Reconstitution Syndrome) can happen when you start taking HIV-1 medicines. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections that have been hidden in your body for a long time. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you start having any new symptoms after starting your HIV-1 medicine.
December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
The most common side effects of STRIBILD include: • Nausea • Diarrhea Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. • These are not all the possible side effects of STRIBILD. For more information, ask your healthcare provider. • Call your healthcare provider for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking STRIBILD? Tell your healthcare provider about all your medical conditions, including: • If you have or had any kidney, bone, or liver problems, including hepatitis B infection • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if STRIBILD can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant while taking STRIBILD. - There is a pregnancy registry for women who take antiviral medicines during pregnancy. The purpose of this registry is to collect information about the health of you and your baby. Talk with your healthcare provider about how you can take part in this registry. • If you are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you take STRIBILD. - You should not breastfeed if you have HIV-1 because of the risk of passing HIV-1 to your baby. - Two of the medicines in STRIBILD can pass to your baby in your breast milk. It is not known if the other medicines in STRIBILD can pass into your breast milk. - Talk with your healthcare provider about the best way to feed your baby. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements: • STRIBILD may affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may affect how STRIBILD works. • Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you take any of the following medicines: - Hormone-based birth control (pills, patches, rings, shots, etc) - Antacid medicines that contain aluminum, magnesium hydroxide, or calcium carbonate. Take antacids at least 2 hours before or after you take STRIBILD - Medicines to treat depression, organ transplant rejection, or high blood pressure - amiodarone (Cordarone®, Pacerone®) - atorvastatin (Lipitor®, Caduet®) - bepridil hydrochloride (Vascor®, Bepadin®) - bosentan (Tracleer®) - buspirone - carbamazepine (Carbatrol®, Epitol®, Equetro®, Tegretol®) - clarithromycin (Biaxin®, Prevpac®) - clonazepam (Klonopin®) - clorazepate (Gen-xene®, Tranxene®) - colchicine (Colcrys®) - medicines that contain dexamethasone - diazepam (Valium®)
| December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015
- digoxin (Lanoxin®) - disopyramide (Norpace®) - estazolam - ethosuximide (Zarontin®) - flecainide (Tambocor®) - flurazepam - fluticasone (Flovent®, Flonase®, Flovent® Diskus®, Flovent® HFA, Veramyst®) - itraconazole (Sporanox®) - ketoconazole (Nizoral®) - lidocaine (Xylocaine®) - mexiletine - oxcarbazepine (Trileptal®) - perphenazine - phenobarbital (Luminal®) - phenytoin (Dilantin®, Phenytek®) - propafenone (Rythmol®) - quinidine (Neudexta®) - rifabutin (Mycobutin®) - rifapentine (Priftin®) - risperidone (Risperdal®, Risperdal Consta®) - salmeterol (Serevent®) or salmeterol when taken in combination with fluticasone (Advair Diskus®, Advair HFA®) - sildenafil (Viagra®), tadalafil (Cialis®) or vardenafil (Levitra®, Staxyn®), for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED). If you get dizzy or faint (low blood pressure), have vision changes or have an erection that last longer than 4 hours, call your healthcare provider or get medical help right away. - tadalafil (Adcirca®), for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension - telithromycin (Ketek®) - thioridazine - voriconazole (Vfend®) - warfarin (Coumadin®, Jantoven®) - zolpidem (Ambien®, Edlular®, Intermezzo®, Zolpimist®) Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine. Do not start any new medicines while you are taking STRIBILD without first talking with your healthcare provider. Keep STRIBILD and all medicines out of reach of children. This Brief Summary summarizes the most important information about STRIBILD. If you would like more information, talk with your healthcare provider. You can also ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for information about STRIBILD that is written for health professionals, or call 1-800-445-3235 or go to www.STRIBILD.com. Issued: October 2013
COMPLERA, EMTRIVA, GILEAD, the GILEAD Logo, GSI, HEPSERA, STRIBILD, the STRIBILD Logo, TRUVADA, and VIREAD are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies. ATRIPLA is a trademark of Bristol-Myers Squibb & Gilead Sciences, LLC. All other marks referenced herein are the property of their respective owners. © 2014 Gilead Sciences, Inc. All rights reserved. STBC0108 10/14
IRAQ, from p.8
INTERNATIONAL GAY AND LESBIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
in 2011 –– nearly one million Iraqis refugees lived, including thousands of gay men. Some traveled there with their families and others on their own. The ISIS crisis has closed land routes to Kurdistan, while the Syrian civil war has left fewer places for gay Iraqis to flee, a situation the report also examines. In a statement, Jessica Stern, IGLHRC’s executive director, said, “LGBT Iraqis are in a desperate situation that demands action. Many Iraqis face violence and serious human rights abuses but LGBT Iraqis, reviled across large segments of society, have none of the protection that can come from families, tribes, and the community-at-large. Now, many LGBT Iraqis literally must hide to protect themselves. Exposure can mean death in the chaos of present-day Iraq.” In the same statement, Yifat Susskind, executive director of MADRE, said, “Human rights advocates, in Iraq and across the world, are banding together to sound the alarm. Respect for all human rights, indivisible and universal, demands that we stand up for LGBT people who are in grave danger now. This struggle, to defend all who are targeted for their gender and sexuality, is central to securing human rights for all people.” Hossein Alizadeh, Middle East and North Africa regional program coordinator for IGLHRC, said
A map in IGLHRC’s “When Coming Out is a Death Sentence” shows the extent of the Islamic State’s control and claims in Iraq and Syria.
in the statement, “The stories of LGBT people in Iraq are a painful reminder of the rampant abuse and violence that these individuals face because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. No human being should suffer inhumane treatment because of who they are.” IGLHRC and its partners in producing the reports hope they will influence international and Iraqi non-profit groups, donor nations trying to assist in combatting the humanitarian crisis, and the global LGBT community –– and identified several critical areas of potential edress: • Pushing the Iraqi government to lift the prohibition on civil society
CUBA, from p.9
cars in Cuba are not a hobby, Cubans need to keep those cars running because they have no alternative for transportation (most of them are refurbished with Soviet car engines). I encourage people to visit Cuba, but to get off the “tour bus” and try to understand/ see Cuba beyond the mojitos and rumba lines — the façade that the government puts on for tourists. I advise them to go with humanitarian or cultural exchange groups so that they can see more of the “real” Cuba and Cuban people who are in dire circumstances that keep them from changing and who lack freedoms that most of us take for granted. But on the other hand, if by “change” we’re talking about the dreaded scenario of Cuba someday being overly commercialized with McDonalds and Starbucks on every corner — a Cuba that has lost its authenticity (like so many
organizations operating shelters for those fleeing violence and to increase resettlement spaces for LGBT individuals. • E xpediting appeals for LGBT individuals who want to leave the country. • M onitoring reports of ongoing violence against LGBT Iraqis with the goal of urgently expanding protections. • Holding militias accountable for harassment and abuse of individuals because of their real or perceived sexual orientation and or gender identity — this last undoubtedly the most daunting challenge.
tourist economy cities and nations) — then yes, go to Cuba now. It is worth seeing now, but with the sensitivity that certain kinds of changes are good and absolutely necessary. ML: Tell me more about your new book – your memoir “The Prince of los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood.” RB: Where am I from? Where do I belong? Who am I? These are the universal questions that have always obsessed my writing. And continue to do so in the new memoir. It deals with my cultural coming of age as the child of Cuban immigrants. I grew up in the grip of two imaginary worlds: the Cuba of the 1950s that my family longed for and my idealized fantasy of America from TV shows like “The Brady Bunch,” which offered a life just as “exotic” as the island paradise that was my birthright. But the memoir also takes a close look at
In addition to IGLHR, MADRE, and OWFI, other groups have also brought attention to the crisis facing LGBT Iraqis. In 2009, Human Rights Watch issued an extensive report detailing the killings of gay men in Baghdad and other cities and succeeded in bringing a group of gay men out of the country. The Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project, based in New York, recently helped a transgender Iraqi and a gay Syrian resettle in the United States. Becca Heller, IRAP’s co-founder and director said, “Prior to the US invasion in Iraq, our Iraqi LGBT clients report that, as long as they carefully concealed their identity, they could live and maintain secret relationships. Since then various groups have actively sought out LGBT individuals for persecution, even during periods of relative calm in Iraq.” Heller concurs with much of what is in the IGLHRC reports, explaining, “The rise of ISIS has meant renewed witch hunts against LGBT individuals. Our clients report that ISIS personnel in Iraq and Syria detain known or suspected gay men, torture them, and search their cell phones and laptops for information on other gay men, and then repeat the cycle. This means that even individuals who conceal their identity may be searched out, exposed, tortured, and executed.” The IGLHRC reports can be downloaded from iglhrc.org. The Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project website is refugeerights.org.
contending with my burgeoning artistic and sexual identities. I wanted to show how all these things collide, intersect, merge into one “story.” I wanted to evoke the complexities and glories — and humor — of that story and of becoming in all these contexts. It is a resonant account of how I came into my own sense of an authentic self, one that incorporated my Cuban-ness and my queerness, my American-ness and my artistic drive; the way in which we are all perpetually shaped by our experiences, our memories, and our stories of community and family. ML: What was it like coming out to your parents? RB: I didn’t come out in the memoir because it ends at around age 17. And as such, what I explore in the book is all those thousands upon thousands of “little” moments since we are very
CUBA, continued on p.31
December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
PERSPECTIVE: As Goes Florida
The Supreme Court’s Affirmative Signal on Marriage Equality
BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
he Supreme Court’s December 19 denial of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s motion seeking an extension of a stay put in place by the district court that struck down that state’s ban on same-sex marriages was issued with no explanation. The signal it sends, however, seems clear. There is a majority on the Supreme Court to strike down state bans on same-sex marriage. That is the only explanation for the high court’s ruling that makes sense, and the story of the past year tells why. Almost exactly 12 months ago, the US District Court in Utah struck down that state’s gay marriage ban, and the trial judge refused to stay his decision pending appeal. The decision relied heavily on the Supreme Court’s June 2013 ruling that nixed provisions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act prohibiting the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages validly contracted under state law. Even as the State of Utah scrambled to seek a stay from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, same-sex couples began marrying there. The 10th Circuit quickly issued its own refusal to stay the decision, and Utah turned to the Supreme Court for relief. Meanwhile, hundreds of samesex couples from Utah and neighboring states were getting married. By the time the Supreme Court issued a stay on January 6, 2014, more than 1,300 couples had married. That stay –– another decision the high court issued without explanation –– nevertheless sent a message to lower federal courts. Although there were a few gaps along the way during which same-sex couples were able to marry briefly in several states, on the whole pro-marriage equality decisions were stayed pending review unless state governors decided not to appeal them –– as in Oregon and Pennsylvania. Then the circuit courts of appeals started weighing in, with three circuits ruling for
CUBA, from p.30
| December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015
Arthur S. Leonard is a New York Law School professor and the longtime editor of Lesbian/ Gay Law Notes.
and dated constantly. Interestingly to me, however, it was the embracing of my Cuban heritage followed by my pursuit of a life in the arts as a poet that bolstered a greater and more authentic sense of self, and in turn gave me the courage to come out. Learning to be true to myself in these other contexts finally allowed me to do the same when it came to my sexuality. For more information on Richard Blanco, visit richard-blanco.com.
young that build up our understanding of ourselves, let us envision our lives as gay men/ women, and finally give us the courage to come out. I came out when I was 25, and I’m happy to report that it was relatively easy. Sure, many in the family were “shocked,” and it took them a few years to come out themselves, so to speak. But mostly because I was one of those men who over-compensated and did a great job of passing as a straight man — always had girlfriends
marriage equality over the summer and the states affected responding by filing petitions for Supreme Court review. On October 6, the high court denied petitions to review the pro-marriage equality rulings from the Fourth, Seventh, and 10th Circuits, which lifted stays in place in states in all three circuits. The following day, the Ninth Circuit ruled for marriage equality in cases from Nevada and Idaho. Because the Supreme Court would not hear appeals of pro-equality rulings from any of these four circuits, other states under their jurisdictions were also bound by the precedent established and, in snowballing fashion, district courts quickly handed down marriage equality orders in each of them. The high court refused stays in every case where one of those states sought to delay the mandate facing them. In the most recent of those denials, Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas noted their disagreement with the court’s action –– the only explicit insight offered in orders otherwise unaccompanied by any explanation. Other justices may agree with those two but not be saying so given that no written opinion was issued, but it’s clear Scalia and Thomas were not in the majority. By the time the high court considered Florida’s request for an extension of its stay, the number of marriage equality states had grown to 35. Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage has been struck down by several state trial courts as well as a federal district court, and in each case Bondi filed appeals. US District Judge Robert Hinkle, who ruled in August, gave the state a temporary stay, mainly to see how the Supreme Court would handle the pending appeals of pro-marriage equality circuit court rulings. When the high court in early October declined to take up any of those appeals, he extended his stay through January 5 to give Florida time to seek a further stay at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals or at the Supreme Court. After the 11th Circuit turned Bondi down, the high court followed suit, the first time it ever affirmatively allowed a same-sex marriage order to go into effect within a circuit whose
court of appeals had not yet spoken on the merits. Florida will become, then, the 36th state with marriage equality, with marriages also happening in St. Louis County, Missouri (which is in the Eighth Circuit), where no stay has yet been issued in a ruling there. Petitions for review are pending at the Supreme Court from a ruling by the Sixth Circuit, the first court of appeals in the past year to reject marriage equality claims –– after plaintiff victories in district courts in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, and Kentucky. A petition is also pending from an adverse trial court ruling in Louisiana. It seems clear that the Supreme Court will grant review in one or more of the pending appeals, even as the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, on January 9, hears oral arguments in several marriage equality cases –– after wins in Texas and Mississippi and the Louisiana loss. The Supreme Court’s action in the Florida case makes clear that at least five justices were comfortable with the idea of marriage equality going into effect there without an appellate ruling on the merits, which seems to me a very clear signal of the ultimate outcome of this issue at the high court. That outcome was predicted by Scalia in his harsh dissent from the court’s DOMA ruling last year. He said that the court’s ruling told plaintiffs what to argue and told lower courts how to fashion decisions in favor of same-sex marriage. Scalia’s comments, in fact –– along with similar observations penned as early as his 2003 dissent in the Texas sodomy case –– have been cited over and over again by lower federal courts ruling in favor of same-sex marriage plaintiffs. A nationwide marriage equality victory now appears overwhelmingly likely at the Supreme Court. The only questions remaining are when the court will decide and which constitutional theories it will embrace. Some lower courts have relied on due process arguments based in the fundamental right to marry, others have ruled on equal protection grounds, and some on a combination of the two. The choice of theory is mainly of interest to legal scholars and pundits. The bottom line is what interests the general population –– and what that bottom line will be is increasingly apparent.
Poet Richard Blanco.
The Best Films of 2014
angelo Antonioni’s 1970 “Zabriskie Point,” only there’s nothing celebratory about her characters’ explosions, just more reasons for angst and loneliness.
Ten that stood out, others that came close, and three deprived of the chance to be seen
THE CINEMA GUILD
E l l a r C o l t r a n e i n R i c h a r d L i n k l a t e r ’s “Boyhood.”
“Actress” (Robert Greene)
Joaquim Pinto and his husband, Nuno Leonel, in Pinto’s autobiographical documentary “What Now? Remind Me.”
As much of a genre-bender as “What Now? Remind Me,” Greene’s doc presents a singular heroine: Brandy Burre, a one-time actress (who appeared for two seasons on “The Wire”) who gave up her craft to become a suburban homemaker. “Actress” traces the dissolution of her relationship with her partner T im and her attempts to return to acting, but what’s really remarkable about it is its direction, which combines elements of cinema vérité with extremely stylized sequences, depicting Brandy’s everyday life through slow motion and supersaturated color.
“Stray Dogs” (Tsai Ming-liang)
“The King of Escape” (Alain Guiraudie)
Hafsia Herzi and Ludovic Berthillot in Alain Guiraudie’s “The King of Escape.”
BY STEVE ERICKSON
mong the past year’s films, I have chosen the 10 best, another 10 runners-up, and three that did not enjoy distribution but should have.
“Boyhood” (Richard Linklater) Yes, I know. Consensus is boring, but I loved this film as soon as I saw it at an advance screening, well before it became the most critically lauded film of the 21st century. I’m suspicious of claims for its universality –– which, most likely, no one would make if the
same real-time techniques were used on a film about a poor African-American girl –– but I’m convinced the film does get at something real and profound about the way we experience time, a quality that an American cinema increasingly drawn to empty spectacle generally ignores.
“What Now? Remind Me” (Joaquim Pinto) The most ambitious documentary I’ve seen this year, out gay Portuguese director Pinto’s film runs nearly three hours. Nominally, it’s a diary of a year in which he underwent experimental treat-
A return to form after sever al weak films from out gay Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang, “Stray Dogs” stars his partner Lee Kang-sheng as the father of a homeless Taipei family. Tsai isn’t afraid to find beauty in poverty, although he makes it clear that the audience and his characters are experiencing the same environments differently. With several shots running longer than 10 minutes, Tsai deliberately tests the audience’s patience, but he reminds us that great beauty can be found by slowing down our pace.
ment for HIV and hepatitis C, but it sprawls through his life in a manner that suggests a synthesis of Jonas Mekas and Chris Marker. Its affinities lie as much with avant-garde film as with more traditional documentaries, and it’s all the stronger for it.
“Night Moves” (Kelly Reichardt) Even Kelly Reichardt’s usual fans deserted her this time around –– I seem to be alone in thinking that “Night Moves,” a chronicle of three deeply alienated radical environmentalists, is her best film. Here, Reichardt returns to the territory of Michel-
As generally used, the term “post-gay” is meaningless and vaguely homophobic. But it happens to fit this 2009 Fr ench film, released in the US for the first time this year. Its schlubby protagonist, an overweight and ordinary-looking 40-year old, starts off identifying as gay but sleeps with everyone from 16-year -old girls to 70-year -old men. Guiraudie’s “Stranger by the Lake” got much more attention (it’s the reason “The King of Escape” got a belated release), but this is a stronger, more complex, and sex-positive film.
BEST FILMS, continued on p.46
December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
Sexual Frankness, Strong Documentaries & Queer Twists 2014 was strong, eclectic year for global gay cinema BY GARY M. KRAMER
he year in queer film got off to a great start in January with the release of arguably the best of 2014, Alain Guiraudie’s erotic, explicit, and irresistible thriller “Stranger by the Lake.” The film did not shrink from full frontal nudity, a trait strikingly shared by a number of other films this year, most of them not specifically queer. Lars von T rier’s fascinating “Nymphomaniac” featured a parade of penises as Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg), the film’s title character, recounts her multiple lovers. The documentary “The Final Member,” from filmmakers Zach Math and Jonah Bekhor, chronicled the efforts to secure a human specimen for the Icelandic Phallological Museum. Nicholas Stoller’s campus comedy “Neighbors” took a fairly predictable sophomoric turn, as Zac Efron and his fraternity brothers made casts of their cocks to raise money — and hell and eyebrows, as well. Meanwhile, in Eliza Hittman’s fantastic indie film “It Felt Like Love,” young Lila’s (Gina Piersanti) sexual coming of age reaches a harrowing point as she is confronted by several naked guys daring her to perform oral sex. Teenagers grappling with their sexual identity were also central to several memorable gay films in 2014. The best of the bunch was Darren Stein’s “G.B.F.,” a high school comedy where the gay teen wasn’t a pariah, but a desirable accessory. “Date and Switch,” which came and went around Valentine’s Day, had best friends Michael (Nicolas Braun) and Matty (Hunter Cope) planning to lose their virginity to hot girls until Matty queers the plan when he comes out to Michael. “Dear White People,” by out gay writer and director Justin Simien, was a clever campus satire that featured a gay student, Lionel Higgins (Tyler James Williams), as the most complex of the four central characters. Though Lionel faces abuse, he also develops a resilience that has viewers rooting for him. In Daniel Ribeiro’s fantastic Brazilian
Two men at London’s Hoist in Charles Lum and Todd Verow’s “Age of Consent.”
film “The Way He Looks,” Leo (Ghilherme Lobo), a blind gay teen, may struggle with how a world he can’t see perceives him, but he is quite confident in his homoerotic desires for a school pal. Also of note was out filmmaker Matt Wolf’s “Teenage,” a terrific documentary, narrated in part by gay actor Ben Whishaw, about the coming of age of teens from the turn of the 20th century into the postWorld War II era. Other notable LGBT documentaries in 2014 included “Jobriath A.D.,” Kieran Turner’s electrifying, strange-but-true portrait of Jobriath, an openly gay glam rocker from the 1970s who never quite became a star; “Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia,” Nicholas D. Wrathall’s candid portrait of the late, great queer writer; “Before You Know It,” from P.J. Raval, about a trio of gay seniors, one of whom cross-dresses; and “The Dog,” Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren’s outstanding recounting of the outrageous life of John Wojtowicz, the man who robbed a Brooklyn bank to pay for his lover’s sex change –– and inspired Al Pacino’s unforgettable turn in Sidney Lumet’s 1975 “Dog Day Afternoon.” The documentary “Kink” by Christina Voros explored the world of BDSM and was “presented by James Franco,” who co-directed the quasi-documentary “Interior. Leather Bar.,” a reimagining of 40 lost minutes from William Friedkin’s 1980 “Cruising,” another –– though notably less successful –– Pacino vehicle. Neither Franco
| December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015
John Lithgow and Alfred Molina in Ira Sachs’ touching drama, “Love Is Strange.”
project proved as sexy or illuminating as Todd Verow and Charles Lum’s excellent NewFest entry “Age of Consent,” a doc that took viewers inside the Hoist, a venerable leather club in London. Also from London was “The Imitation Game,” a crowd-pleasing though sobering drama about gay mathematician and computer pio-
neer Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch, in an Oscar-worthy performance) before, during, and after World War II. In contrast, “Pride” was the feel-good queer film of the year about LGBT activists standing with striking miners during Maggie Thatcher’s iron rule.
YEAR OF QUEER, continued on p.48
Add some extra
to your holiday season Grab a bottle at any Heartland location
Food Fight T.R. Knight as a gay restaurant boss striving to fix his shattered families BY DAVID KENNERLEY
dour cloud of melancholy hangs over “Pocatello,” Samuel D. Hunter’s latest fractured-family drama, currently at Playwrights Horizons. Pocatello is the name of the bland Idaho town — it really exists, by the way — reeling from the closing of its vital paper mill some years back. Now it’s overrun with soulless strip malls and vile chains, like Best Buy and Walmart and Applebee’s, that cater to a pathetically low common denominator. Hunter could just as well have named the play “Peoria.” Or “Bumfuck.” The only ray of hope in this bleak terrain is Eddie (T.R. Knight), a zealous manager of a faltering Italian restaurant franchise. You know, the kind of place festooned with Chianti bottles and plastic grape vines on the ceiling (Lauren Helpern designed the realistic, appropriately dismal set). To lure his family members, acutely estranged after
the tragic death of their father years ago, to an overdue reunion, Eddie has cooked up “Famiglia Week,” a lame promotion where families of employees get discounted meals. Eddie’s family members, sadly enough, are having none of it. His long-absent older brother (Brian Hutchison) flew in with his wife (Crystal Finn) from afar and can’t wait to get the hell out of there. His petulant mother Doris (Brenda Wehle), upset that there’s no gluten free pasta option, wants out as well. No amount of free bread sticks can keep them there. At the next table is another miserable clan. Troy (Danny Wolohan), one of the servers, has invited his wife Tammy (Jessica Dickey), his elderly dad (Jonathan Hogan), and his angry teen daughter Becky (Leah Karpel, too old for the role), who is obsessed with questions of food sourcing. “There’s genocide happening right now,” shrieks Becky. Later, she appears to be reading the classic Upton Sinclair meatpack-
ing exposé, “The Jungle.” One can imagine she has a tattoo on an upper thigh that says “Meat is murder.” The kind-hearted Eddie tries to fashion an alternate family from his hapless staff, even requiring them to attend a group lunch every Thursday. This surrogate family, however, is no less grudging than his real family. Like the restaurant that’s slated to close in two weeks (Eddie hasn’t told his employees yet, ramping up the dramatic tension), these characters are truly hurting. Depression, alcoholism, bulimia, dementia, meth addiction, and suicide all come into play. As with the eatery itself, Eddie works overtime to try and save them. Question is, who’s going to save Eddie? Knight leads a uniformly fine cast, portraying Eddie with a tender, aching delicacy. As pressures mount, we can see the cracks in his cheery veneer grow sharper and deeper. A nervous breakdown
POCATELLO Playwrights Horizons Mainstage Theater 416 W. 42nd St. Through Jan. 4 Tue.-Wed. at 7 p.m.; Thu.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Sat.-Sun. at 2:30 p.m., Sun. at 7:30 p.m. $75-$95; ticketcentral.com One hr., 40 mins., no intermission seems only one callous insult away. Although Knight has forged an impressive career onstage, he’s best known for his Emmy-nominated role in “Grey’s Anatomy.” You may recall his abrupt 2009 departure not long after he came out publicly as gay when the tabloids reported that co-star Isaiah Washington called him a “faggot” (Washington was subsequently fired, though he made a surprise return guest appearance in May 2014). Last year, Knight married his partner, Patrick Leahy, in an intimate ceremony in Hudson, New York.
FOOD FIGHT, continued on p.35
Magic in the Making — Mostly Magnificent revival, stellar one-man show, and a bunch of tired princesses THE ELEPHANT MAN
BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE
THE CINEMA GUILD
s remarkable as Bradley Cooper’s slow transformation from hunk to horror is in the splendid revival of “The Elephant Man,” that’s just a warm-up to one of the most richly understated and surprisingly moving performances of the season. The play tracks John Merrick’s journey from sideshow freak to unconventional celebrity and darling of London society. Of course, people come to “gape and yawp” at him in both roles and he is no less a freak in a fashionable suit than wearing rags in a tent. The not-sosubtle themes of how the power of celebrity changes the way a person is perceived and what of ourselves we project onto celebrities are never far below the surface. In the sideshow, Merrick is the
Bradley Cooper and Alessandro Nivola in “The Elephant Man.”
stuff of nightmares. Saved from abuse, dressed well, and given a chance to be more human, he provides the opportunity for the wealthy to gratify their egos by being close to him. At heart, it’s not a particularly original story, but it is universal. Who has not at one point or other felt freakish or misunder-
stood and longed to be accepted for who they are? It’s one of those stories audiences never tire of, and, at least in this production, it’s seldom been so compelling. Director Scott Ellis had the excellent sense to present the story simply and as written, relying on his wonderful cast and the empathic
Booth Theatre 225 W. 45th St. Through Feb. 15 Tue., Thu. at 7 p.m. Wed., Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. $99-$169; telecharge.com Or 212-239-6200 Two hrs., with intermission imaginations of his audience to give this production its power. Cooper’s physicality once established becomes almost secondary to Merrick’s unfolding as a thoughtful and creative human being. Contorted body aside, the performance is all in Cooper’s eyes and attitudes, always effectively conveying Merrick’s discovered depth while allowing a larger cultural commentary to resonate quietly. Cooper brings
MOSTLY MAGIC, continued on p.35
December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
T.R. Knight and Brian Hutchison in Samuel D. Hunter’s “Pocatello,” at Playwrights Horizon through January 4.
FOOD FIGHT, from p.34
The theatrical landscape is strewn with dysfunctional family dramas, and under the clear -eyed direction of Davis McCallum, “Pocatello” charts a few patches of new territory. Not only are these extensively flawed, poor souls aching from the economic realities of lost industry and a consumer culture run amok, but they also unwittingly build elaborate fortresses against authentic human connection. Hunter, who wowed critics
MOSTLY MAGIC, from p.34
such honesty to the role that Merrick’s final choice is as understandable as it is heartbreaking. Cooper’s work is beautifully complemented by Alessandro Nivola as Fredrik Treves, the doctor who rescues Merrick from the sideshow and protects him in the hospital. Though the role is largely expository at first and reactive later on, Treves also has to discover the humanity within the science –– and becomes a richer person for it. Nivola is always excellent on stage (he was the best thing in “The Winslow Boy” at Roundabout), but he’s never been better or clearer than in this production. As Mrs. Kendal, the actress who propels Merrick into the social sphere, Patricia Clarkson is equally outstanding, with just the right balance of heart and theatricality. The rest of the company, particularly Henry Stram as the head of the hospital and Anthony Heald as Bishop Walsham How who forces his faith on Merrick,
with “The Whale” and the similarly themed “A Bright New Boise” in recent years, has plenty to say about an atrophied America. But there are too many moments where his ideas and his characters trip hopelessly over one another. “You know you can choose to be a happy person,” Tammy snips to Becky. This unruly yet poignant drama proves, no matter how furiously we try in today’s artificially flavored, cookie-cutter, chemically sprayed world, it’s just not that simple.
are solid and effectively create the world of the play –– a beautifully conceived world presented far too rarely these days.
I’m always a sucker for a small story wonderfully told. “Every Brilliant Thing” is just that. The one-man show starring Jonny Donahoe, which he wrote with Duncan Macmillan, tells Donahoe’s story from boyhood to present day. Along the way, he deals with his mother’s suicide attempts, depression, family upheaval, and the messy process of living. His coping mechanism was to write a list of every thing he thought was brilliant — something that occupied him intermittently throughout his life and played a part in every major turning point. The play is simply Donahoe recounting the story, and he enlists audience members to read things on the list and play other parts. This might seem labored, but in performance Donahoe is appeal-
MOSTLY MAGIC, continued on p.42
| December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015
Master Singers — And, um, Others...
it’s a great show for young children as well as an attractive novelty for opera lovers. Seen in English December 7, the puppets and partial puppets were enchanting, and musical values under Goren were high. Karin Mushegain brought a sweet, affecting mezzo with the ability to sustain long phrases to the Cat. Andrea Carroll’s Princess and Craig Verm’s Miller looked appropriately fairy-tale and sang very well. Kevin Burdette and the designers (Andromache Chalfant and Nick Barnes) collaborated to produce an applause-winning Ogre. Gotham brought the city a real holiday treat.
Manhattan opera stages, large and small
Andrea Carroll and Craig Verm in the Gotham Opera production of Montsalvatge’s “El gato con botas.”
BY DAVID SHENGOLD
t 32, the Met’s “Boheme” staging is older than the opera’s six leading characters are meant to be. It soldiers on, the crassly over-busy Act II bringing cheers, while the lovely snowy Act III restores some depth and taste. Score and even staging make for a good first opera experience, and the Met is circulating several worthy young singers into it through January 24. The star November 24 was Sonya Yoncheva, a beautiful figure onstage who — unlike some other beautiful figures on major stages these days — commands a very fine voice, comfortable in all ranges and dynamics. She offered a straightforward, stylish Mimi. The other soloist operating on her level was David Bizic’s generous-voiced, endearing Marcello. Francesco Demuro made an equivocal emergency debut, bringing feeling, decent presence, and genuinely italianate sound and diction to his work. Like so many lyric tenors, he sounded floored by the cumulative demands for volume that Puccini’s orchestration puts on Rodolfo. Alessio Arduini (Schaunard) and Matthew Rose (Colline) provided highly professional, pleasant-sounding turns. The only sour ingredient was looks-cast Myrto Papatanasiu’s Musetta, rarely on pitch and vocally not remotely of Metropolitan standard.
At December 17th’s “Die Meistersinger” –– in general a very solid performance of an inert, borderline-kitsch staging — Martin Gartner, who had been singing Kothner, jumped in
as Beckmesser. Gartner provided an admirably detailed performance, stressing traditional fussiness but seeming a real human being, and sang the part classily, without distortion. A fine save! Replacing him as Kothner, Ryan McKinny seemed –– like many of the Meistersingers –– far too young and sounded greatly reduced in volume from his once-clear promise as a Wagnerian comer. Though he tired on high notes after five (!) hours of singing, 66-year-old James Morris deserved genuine admiration for how cannily and solidly he got through his legato-based, relatively “regular guy” Hans Sachs. Vocally the stars of the performance were Hans-Peter Koenig, a terrifically resonant Pogner, and the rich-toned Karen Cargill (Magdalene). Johan Botha brought commendable stamina and accuracy to Walther and entered into the drama more than is his wont. Botha’s tone is impressive though not particularly ingratiating. Paul Appleby (David) was quite decent and should improve with time. Annette Dasch, a less-than-mediocre Countess Almaviva in 2009, returned as a less-than-mediocre Eva –– more looks casting. James Levine sometimes slowed down alarmingly and there were more orchestral accidents than of yore, but he still brings a lot to this score.
Gotham Opera revived its splendid production of Montsalvatge’s 1947 “El gato con botas” (“Puss in Boots,” with performances alternated in language) on the Museo del Barrio’s charming little stage. Neal Goren and director Moises Kaufman and his Tectonic Theater Project should remount it every other year, as
Another fine chamber company, the little opera theatre of new york, consistently offers interesting novelties. Two short pieces by Carlisle Floyd, “Slow Dusk” and “Markheim” showed different stages in the development of this key American composer, still at work at 88. The first work, from 1949, is really a student exercise, scanty and obvious of plot if sincere. The two male cast members –– tenor John Kaneklides (Micah) and mellow baritone Robert Balonek (Jess) — sang more agreeably than did their raw and overloud female colleagues. “Markheim,” crafted for bass singing actor Norman Treigle in 1966, shows a great leap in craft and both musical and verbal sophistication (Floyd writes his own libretti). I’m not sure its blend of Dickensian melodrama and “Faust”-parody quite comes off, but it has some effective vocal writing and made a good vehicle for Tyler Putnam, precise of pitch and diction and visually convincing in the “dastardly ruined noble rake” title part. Tenors Brent Reilly Turner (pawnbroker Josiah Creach) and Matthew Tuell (the diabolical Stranger) worked hard but effectively in music requiring challenging hurdles. As Tess the maid, Angela Mannino furnished sparkling clean coloratura and good line. Director Philip Shneidman often had singers addressing not one another but the audience. His best contribution was choosing the design team — Neal Patel (sets), Lara de Bruijn (costumes) and Nick Solyom (lighting), whose work proved handsome and evocative. Inessa Zartesky and Raymond J. Lustig provided chamber arrangements that worked in the intimate space of 59 East 59’s Theater A. LOTNY, it’s audibly evident, can’t afford as much string ensemble rehearsal as Gotham, but on December 9 Richard Cordova worked superbly with the forces at hand, with the flute/ piccolo and oboe/ English horn chairs commendably filled. Manhattan School of Music, on December 14, had a triumphant outing, plugging another local repertory gap with the American premiere of Ernest Bloch’s 1910 “Macbeth” in its original French version. The post-Wagnerian, Debussy-like score proved fascinatingly
MACBETH, continued on p.44
December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
IN THE NOH
Endora’s Year-End Encomiums The best in live performance and film for 2014 BY DAVID NOH
very year, we give out the Agnes Moorehead Awards for outstanding live and film per formance, realizing full well that despite her mammoth body of excellent work, she is probably best known as Endora on TV “Bewitched.” So, it’s appropriate to introduce this year’s Aggies with memories from two of her co-stars on that unforgettable 1960s sitcom. Interviewed by Reminisce.com, Erin Murphy (Tabitha) said, “My favorite was Agnes Moorehead. She was nothing like people may think. Everyone thought she would be scary to me, but she wasn’t scary at all. To me she was like a grandma. I loved visiting her dressing room, which was all purple. She was smart and funny and she would draw me little cartoons. I just loved her so much. She was such a color ful and amazing person.” Dick Sargent, the second of the series’ Darrins, interviewed by Owen Keehnen, recalled, “I can always tell someone is gay when they ask [about her]. She was very set in her ways and I had to really make her my friend. About the third or fourth show I was in, she said to people in front of me, ‘They should never meddle with success.’ Meaning Dick York should never have been replaced, which I thought was a very cruel and unthinking thing to say in front of me. But that was her. She came to rehearsals with a Bible in one hand and her script in the other. She was certainly the most professional woman in the world… and she was so good. Thank God we became friends eventually.” However you remember her, Aggie must have been smiling down from thespian Olympus on the wealth of good stuff on New York stages and screens in 2014. This is the first Aggies edition I’ve done where I had to seriously edit my number of choices. And so to the Aggies, in alphabetical order:
James Franco and Chris O’Dowd in the revival of John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men.”
Daniel Radcliffe in Martin McDonagh’s “The Cripple of Inishmaan.”
Ten Best Live Performances “The Belle of Amherst”
to make one lasting memory. DiDonato, one of the LGBT community’s biggest supporters, especially on the issue of bullying, was in rapturous form and voice, performing gorgeous bel canto selections from her CD “Stella di Napoli,” transforming Gowanus into Venice for an evening.
The single most luminous performance of the year was given by Joely Richardson in this one-woman Emily Dickinson play. An uncanny fluidity and grace were the hallmarks of her thrilling performance. There was no one else on the stage with her and that’s exactly what you wanted. I’ve seen her mother, Vanessa Redgrave, live many times, and Richardson was the superior performer, stage-wise, the equal of her aunt Lynn Redgrave when she did her own staggering one-woman turn in Alan Bennett’s “Talking Heads.”
“The Cripple of Inishmaan” The whole school of boggy, dreary, edgy Irish plays largely eludes me, but Michael Grandage’s revival of Martin McDonagh’s lovely, quirky work wove complete, often hilarious enchantment. Superstar Daniel Radcliffe was terrific but admirably always strictly a part of the magnificent ensemble, which included the brilliantly fiery Sarah Greene and a raft of delicious Irish biddies.
“Gypsy” at the University of Connecticut at Storrs Why? Two words: Leslie Uggams. Defying age and all else, this shouldbe living legend poured a lifetime’s rich experience into the musical role of roles, in a happy production that also featured a hilarious Steven Hayes and gorgeous Alanna Saunders, who just played Tiger Lily in CBS’ “Peter Pan.”
| December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015
“Icebound” My favorite Off-Broadway company is Alex Roe’s marvelous, cozy, and rewarding 23-year-old Metropolitan Playhouse, which specializes in reviving obscure American work. He did himself especially proud this year with Owen Davis’ still powerful 1923 Pulitzer Prize-winner, dealing as it does with hardscrabble New England family economics. “Within the Law,” another cash-driven play, written in 1912 by Bayard Veiller and later turned into “Paid,” one of Joan Crawford’s strongest early vehicles, brought added glory for wonderfully acted and designed work to the company.
Joyce DiDonato’s recital for LoftOpera at the Gowanus Ballroom Just one of those rare, magic Manhattan… er, Brooklyn nights where everything –– star, material, venue, weather, pizza –– conjoined
Nellie McKay in “A Girl Named Bill — The Life and Times of Billy Tipton” at 54 Below The most brilliant cabaret act of the year was the ever-astounding McKay’s imagining of cross-dressing musician Tipton. With minimal props and costumes and a very game backup band as her supporting cast, McKay created a hypnotically haunting movie, exquisitely playing and warbling 1930s gem after gem in her invaluable, ineffable style.
IN THE NOH, continued on p.44
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COMPLERA is a prescription medicine for adults who have never taken HIV-1 medicines before and who have no more than 100,000 copies/mL of virus in their blood. COMPLERA can also replace current HIV-1 medicines for some adults who have an undetectable viral load (less than 50 copies/mL) and whose healthcare provider determines that they meet certain other requirements. COMPLERA combines 3 medicines into 1 pill to be taken once a day with food. COMPLERA should not be used with other HIV-1 medicines.
COMPLERA is a complete HIV-1 treatment in only 1 pill a day. Ask your healthcare provider if COMPLERA may be the one for you.
Pill shown is not actual size.
December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
COMPLERA does not cure HIV-1 infection or AIDS. To control HIV-1 infection and decrease HIV-related illnesses you must keep taking COMPLERA. Ask your healthcare provider if you have questions about how to reduce the risk of passing HIV-1 to others. Always practice safer sex and use condoms to lower the chance of sexual contact with body fluids. Never reuse or share needles or other items that have body fluids on them. It is not known if COMPLERA is safe and effective in children under 18 years old.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION What is the most important information I should know about COMPLERA? COMPLERA can cause serious side effects: • Build-up of an acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious medical emergency. Symptoms of lactic acidosis include feeling very weak or tired, unusual (not normal) muscle pain, trouble breathing, stomach pain with nausea or vomiting, feeling cold especially in your arms and legs, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and/or a fast or irregular heartbeat. • Serious liver problems. The liver may become large (hepatomegaly) and fatty (steatosis). Symptoms of liver problems include your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow (jaundice), dark “tea-colored” urine, lightcolored bowel movements (stools), loss of appetite for several days or longer, nausea, and/or stomach pain. • You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or serious liver problems if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking COMPLERA for a long time. In some cases, these serious conditions have led to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any symptoms of these conditions. • Worsening of hepatitis B (HBV) infection. If you also have HBV and stop taking COMPLERA, your hepatitis may suddenly get worse. Do not stop taking COMPLERA without first talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to monitor your health. COMPLERA is not approved for the treatment of HBV.
Who should not take COMPLERA?
Changes in liver enzymes: People who have had hepatitis B or C, or who have had changes in their liver function tests in the past may have an increased risk for liver problems while taking COMPLERA. Some people without prior liver disease may also be at risk. Your healthcare provider may do tests to check your liver enzymes before and during treatment with COMPLERA. • Bone problems, including bone pain or bones getting soft or thin, which may lead to fractures. Your healthcare provider may do tests to check your bones. • Changes in body fat can happen in people taking HIV-1 medicines. • Changes in your immune system. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any new symptoms after you start taking COMPLERA.
The most common side effects of COMPLERA include trouble sleeping (insomnia), abnormal dreams, headache, dizziness, diarrhea, nausea, rash, tiredness, and depression. Other common side effects include vomiting, stomach pain or discomfort, skin discoloration (small spots or freckles), and pain. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that bother you or do not go away.
What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking COMPLERA? All your health problems. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have or had any kidney, mental health, bone, or liver problems, including hepatitis virus infection. • All the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. COMPLERA may affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may affect how COMPLERA works. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist. Do not start any new medicines while taking COMPLERA without first talking with your healthcare provider. • If you take rifabutin (Mycobutin). Talk to your healthcare provider about the right amount of rilpivirine (Edurant) you should take. • If you take antacids. Take antacids at least 2 hours before or at least 4 hours after you take COMPLERA. • If you take stomach acid blockers. Take acid blockers at least 12 hours before or at least 4 hours after you take COMPLERA. Ask your healthcare provider if your acid blocker is okay to take, as some acid blockers should never be taken with COMPLERA. • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if COMPLERA can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant while taking COMPLERA. • If you are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed. HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in breast milk. Also, some medicines in COMPLERA can pass into breast milk, and it is not known if this can harm the baby. •
Do not take COMPLERA if you: • Take a medicine that contains: adefovir (Hepsera), lamivudine (EpivirHBV), carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Equetro, Tegretol, Tegretol-XR, Teril, Epitol), oxcarbazepine (Trileptal), phenobarbital (Luminal), phenytoin (Dilantin, Dilantin-125, Phenytek), rifampin (Rifater, Rifamate, Rimactane, Rifadin), rifapentine (Priftin), dexlansoprazole (Dexilant), esomeprazole (Nexium, Vimovo), lansoprazole (Prevacid), omeprazole (Prilosec, Zegerid), pantoprazole sodium (Protonix), rabeprazole (Aciphex), more than 1 dose of the steroid medicine dexamethasone or dexamethasone sodium phosphate, or the herbal supplement St. John’s wort. • Take any other medicines to treat HIV-1 infection, unless recommended by your healthcare provider.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
What are the other possible side effects of COMPLERA?
Please see Brief Summary of full Prescribing Information with important warnings on the following pages.
Serious side effects of COMPLERA may also include: • New or worse kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider should do blood tests to check your kidneys before starting treatment with COMPLERA. If you have had kidney problems, or take other medicines that may cause kidney problems, your healthcare provider may also check your kidneys during treatment with COMPLERA. • Depression or mood changes. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms: feeling sad or hopeless, feeling anxious or restless, have thoughts of hurting yourself (suicide) or have tried to hurt yourself.
| December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015
Brief Summary of full Prescribing Information COMPLERA® (kom-PLEH-rah) (emtricitabine 200 mg, rilpivirine 25 mg, tenofovir disoproxil fumarate 300 mg) tablets Brief summary of full Prescribing Information. For more information, please see the full Prescribing Information, including Patient Information. What is COMPLERA? • COMPLERA is a prescription medicine used as a complete HIV-1 treatment in one pill a day. COMPLERA is for adults who have never taken HIV-1 medicines before and who have no more than 100,000 copies/mL of virus in their blood (this is called ‘viral load’). Complera can also replace current HIV-1 medicines for some adults who have an undetectable viral load (less than 50 copies/mL) and whose healthcare provider determines that they meet certain other requirements. • COMPLERA is a complete regimen and should not be used with other HIV-1 medicines. HIV-1 is the virus that causes AIDS. When used properly, COMPLERA may reduce the amount of HIV-1 virus in your blood and increase the amount of CD4 T-cells, which may help improve your immune system. This may reduce your risk of death or getting infections that can happen when your immune system is weak. • COMPLERA does not cure HIV-1 or AIDS. You must stay on continuous HIV-1 therapy to control HIV-1 infection and decrease HIV-related illnesses. • Ask your healthcare provider about how to prevent passing HIV-1 to others. Do not share or reuse needles, injection equipment, or personal items that can have blood or body fluids on them. Do not have sex without protection. Always practice safer sex by using a latex or polyurethane condom to lower the chance of sexual contact with semen, vaginal secretions, or blood. What is the most important information I should know about COMPLERA? COMPLERA can cause serious side effects, including: • Build-up of an acid in your blood (lactic acidosis). Lactic acidosis can happen in some people who take COMPLERA or similar (nucleoside analogs) medicines. Lactic acidosis is a serious medical emergency that can lead to death. Lactic acidosis can be hard to identify early, because the symptoms could seem like symptoms of other health problems. Call your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following symptoms which could be signs of lactic acidosis: – feel very weak or tired – have unusual (not normal) muscle pain – have trouble breathing – having stomach pain with nausea or vomiting – feel cold, especially in your arms and legs – feel dizzy or lightheaded – have a fast or irregular heartbeat • Severe liver problems. Severe liver problems can happen in people who take COMPLERA. In some cases, these liver problems can lead to death. Your liver may become large (hepatomegaly) and you may develop fat in your liver (steatosis). Call your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following symptoms of liver problems: – your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow (jaundice) – dark “tea-colored” urine – light-colored bowel movements (stools) – loss of appetite for several days or longer – nausea – stomach pain
• You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or severe liver problems if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking COMPLERA for a long time. • Worsening of Hepatitis B infection. If you have hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and take COMPLERA, your HBV may get worse (flare-up) if you stop taking COMPLERA. A “flare-up” is when your HBV infection suddenly returns in a worse way than before. COMPLERA is not approved for the treatment of HBV, so you must discuss your HBV with your healthcare provider. – Do not run out of COMPLERA. Refill your prescription or talk to your healthcare provider before your COMPLERA is all gone. – Do not stop taking COMPLERA without first talking to your healthcare provider. – If you stop taking COMPLERA, your healthcare provider will need to check your health often and do blood tests regularly to check your HBV infection. Tell your healthcare provider about any new or unusual symptoms you may have after you stop taking COMPLERA. Who should not take COMPLERA? Do not take COMPLERA if you also take any of the following medicines: • Medicines used for seizures: carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Equetro, Tegretol, Tegretol-XR, Teril, Epitol); oxcarbazepine (Trileptal); phenobarbital (Luminal); phenytoin (Dilantin, Dilantin-125, Phenytek) • Medicines used for tuberculosis: rifampin (Rifater, Rifamate, Rimactane, Rifadin); rifapentine (Priftin) • Certain medicines used to block stomach acid called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs): dexlansoprazole (Dexilant); esomeprazole (Nexium, Vimovo); lansoprazole (Prevacid); omeprazole (Prilosec, Zegerid); pantoprazole sodium (Protonix); rabeprazole (Aciphex) • Certain steroid medicines: More than 1 dose of dexamethasone or dexamethasone sodium phosphate • Certain herbal supplements: St. John’s wort • Certain hepatitis medicines: adefovir (Hepsera), lamivudine (Epivir-HBV) Do not take COMPLERA if you also take any other HIV-1 medicines, including: • Other medicines that contain tenofovir (ATRIPLA, STRIBILD, TRUVADA, VIREAD) • Other medicines that contain emtricitabine or lamivudine (ATRIPLA, Combivir, EMTRIVA, Epivir, Epzicom, STRIBILD, Trizivir, TRUVADA) • rilpivirine (Edurant), unless you are also taking rifabutin (Mycobutin) COMPLERA is not for use in people who are less than 18 years old. What are the possible side effects of COMPLERA? COMPLERA may cause the following serious side effects: • See “What is the most important information I should know about COMPLERA?” • New or worse kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider should do blood and urine tests to check your kidneys before you start and while you are taking COMPLERA. If you have had kidney problems in the past or need to take another medicine that can cause kidney problems, your healthcare provider may need to do blood tests to check your kidneys during your treatment with COMPLERA. • Depression or mood changes. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms: – feeling sad or hopeless – feeling anxious or restless – have thoughts of hurting yourself (suicide) or have tried to hurt yourself • Change in liver enzymes. People with a history of hepatitis B or C virus infection or who have certain liver enzyme changes may have an
December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
increased risk of developing new or worsening liver problems during treatment with COMPLERA. Liver problems can also happen during treatment with COMPLERA in people without a history of liver disease. Your healthcare provider may need to do tests to check your liver enzymes before and during treatment with COMPLERA. • Bone problems can happen in some people who take COMPLERA. Bone problems include bone pain, softening or thinning (which may lead to fractures). Your healthcare provider may need to do tests to check your bones. • Changes in body fat can happen in people taking HIV-1 medicine. These changes may include increased amount of fat in the upper back and neck (“buffalo hump”), breast, and around the main part of your body (trunk). Loss of fat from the legs, arms and face may also happen. The cause and long term health effect of these conditions are not known. • Changes in your immune system (Immune Reconstitution Syndrome) can happen when you start taking HIV-1 medicines. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections that have been hidden in your body for a long time. Tell your healthcare provider if you start having any new symptoms after starting your HIV-1 medicine. The most common side effects of COMPLERA include: • Trouble sleeping (insomnia), abnormal dreams, headache, dizziness, diarrhea, nausea, rash, tiredness, depression Additional common side effects include: • Vomiting, stomach pain or discomfort, skin discoloration (small spots or freckles), pain Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. • These are not all the possible side effects of COMPLERA. For more information, ask your healthcare provider. • Call your healthcare provider for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking COMPLERA? Tell your healthcare provider about all your medical conditions, including: • If you have or had any kidney, mental health, bone, or liver problems, including hepatitis B or C infection. • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if COMPLERA can harm your unborn child. – There is a pregnancy registry for women who take antiviral medicines during pregnancy. The purpose of this registry is to collect information about the health of you and your baby. Talk to your healthcare provider about how you can take part in this registry. • If you are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you take COMPLERA. – You should not breastfeed if you have HIV-1 because of the risk of passing HIV-1 to your baby. – Two of the medicines in COMPLERA can pass to your baby in your breast milk. It is not known if this could harm your baby. – Talk to your healthcare provider about the best way to feed your baby. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements: • COMPLERA may affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may affect how COMPLERA works. • If you take certain medicines with COMPLERA, the amount of COMPLERA in your body may be too low and it may not work to help control your HIV-1 infection. The HIV-1 virus in your body may become resistant to COMPLERA or other HIV-1 medicines that are like it.
| December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015
• Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you take any of the following medicines: – Rifabutin (Mycobutin), a medicine to treat some bacterial infections. Talk to your healthcare provider about the right amount of rilpivirine (Edurant) you should take. – Antacid medicines that contain aluminum, magnesium hydroxide, or calcium carbonate. Take antacids at least 2 hours before or at least 4 hours after you take COMPLERA. – Certain medicines to block the acid in your stomach, including cimetidine (Tagamet), famotidine (Pepcid), nizatidine (Axid), or ranitidine hydrochloride (Zantac). Take the acid blocker at least 12 hours before or at least 4 hours after you take COMPLERA. Some acid blocking medicines should never be taken with COMPLERA (see “Who should not take COMPLERA?” for a list of these medicines). – Medicines that can affect how your kidneys work, including acyclovir (Zovirax), cidofovir (Vistide), ganciclovir (Cytovene IV, Vitrasert), valacyclovir (Valtrex), and valganciclovir (Valcyte). – clarithromycin (Biaxin) – erythromycin (E-Mycin, Eryc, Ery-Tab, PCE, Pediazole, Ilosone) – fluconazole (Diflucan) – itraconazole (Sporanox) – ketoconazole (Nizoral) – methadone (Dolophine) – posaconazole (Noxafil) – telithromycin (Ketek) – voriconazole (Vfend) Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine. Do not start any new medicines while you are taking COMPLERA without first talking with your healthcare provider. How should I take COMPLERA? • Stay under the care of your healthcare provider during treatment with COMPLERA. • Take COMPLERA exactly as your healthcare provider tells you to take it. • Always take COMPLERA with food. Taking COMPLERA with food is important to help get the right amount of medicine in your body. A protein drink is not a substitute for food. If your healthcare provider decides to stop COMPLERA and you are switched to new medicines to treat HIV-1 that includes rilpivirine tablets, the rilpivirine tablets should be taken only with a meal. Keep COMPLERA and all medicines out of reach of children. This Brief Summary summarizes the most important information about COMPLERA. If you would like more information, talk with your healthcare provider. You can also ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for information about COMPLERA that is written for health professionals, or call 1-800-445-3235 or go to www.COMPLERA.com. Issued: September 2014
COMPLERA, the COMPLERA Logo, EMTRIVA, GILEAD, the GILEAD Logo, GSI, HEPSERA, STRIBILD, TRUVADA, VIREAD, and VISTIDE are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies. ATRIPLA is a trademark of Bristol-Myers Squibb & Gilead Sciences, LLC. All other marks referenced herein are the property of their respective owners. ©2014 Gilead Sciences, Inc. All rights reserved. CPAC0151 12/14
Big Troubles Andrey Zvyagintsev tells tale of Russia where adversity, hypocrisy overwhelm BY STEVE ERICKSON
ANNA MATVEEVA/ SONY PICTURES CLASSICS
ith “Leviathan,” Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev stages a marriage of convenience between protest art and family melodrama. Its first half expresses a blunt anger about Russian politicians’ abuse of power, as well as their hypocrisy in embracing an Orthodox Church to whose values they merely pay lip service. In its second half, the film shows how the flaws of human nature make it so hard to fight effectively against the injustices it depicts. The two portions of the film, however, never really come together, even if its opening and closing shots of demolished boats and animal carcasses in and alongside water rhyme with each other. It piles on the bleakness to numbing effect. “Leviathan” takes place near the Barents Sea in Northern Russia. Kolya (Alexey Serebryakov) operates an auto repair shop and lives with his wife Lilya (Elena Lyadova) and his son Roma (Serguei Pokhodaev), born to a previous wife. When the town’s mayor Vadim (Roman Madyanov) attempts to seize his property, including his land, house, and business, Kolya brings in a lawyer from Moscow, but that only winds up creating problems. He rejects the mayor’s monetary offers, which only infuriates the mayor more. Meanwhile, while on a picnic, Kolya faces disaster in his personal life, as well. Russians seem to have taken over from Arabs as the villains du jour in Hollywood. As far as I
Aleksey Serebryakov in Andrey Zvyagintsev’s “Leviathan.”
know, there’s no Russian-American Anti-Defamation League to complain about this, and filmmakers can justify their cartoonish depictions of Russian Mafioso by pointing to Putin. No one is going to come away from “Leviathan” thinking that Zvyagintsev likes Putin much. Never cited directly in dialogue, his portrait pointedly hangs above Vadim’s office like a malign charm. He just misses making it into a target gallery of Russian dictators. If there are real villains in “Leviathan,” there are no simple heroes. Its characters’ tendency to reach for the vodka bottle is their most stereotypically Russian attribute. (One is surprised when Kolya gets angry at his teenage son for drinking beer!) When tragedy strikes, Kolya’s deepest urge is to drink even more vodka than usual. Apart from the beginning and ending, “Leviathan” doesn’t fetishize the beauty of the Russian landscape, although it does show some lovely shots of the sea and
LEVIATHAN Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev Sony Pictures Classics In Russian with English subtitles Opens Dec. 25 Film Forum, 209 W. Houston St. filmforum.org Lincoln Plaza 1886 Broadway at 63rd St. lincolnplaza.com countryside. Instead, Zvyagintsev shows off his directorial chops mostly through well-blocked, symmetrical images of people sitting down. No Wes Ander son diorama, these shots are well-composed enough that they call attention to themselves without being overtly stylized. The grim tone of “Leviathan,” particularly in its second half, seems archetypally Russian. Its narrative does not. In fact, its story of struggle between a relatively poor landowner and a powerful man who wants to steal his land could come from an American Western. Joseph H. Lewis’ 1958
EVERY BRILLIANT THING
THE CINEMA GUILD
Barrow Street Theatre 27 Barrow St., btwn. W. Fourth St. & Seventh Ave. S. Through Mar. 29 Tue.-Sun. at 7:30 p.m. Sat.-Sun. at 2:30 p.m. $55, $75; smartix.com Or 212-868-4444 70 mins., no intermission Jonny Donahoe in “Every Brilliant Thing.”
MOSTLY MAGIC, from p.35
ing and engaging, and the reading of items from the list — some silly, some highly relatable — at times becomes quite emotional. At one point, Donahoe says, “Anyone who has made it to a certain point in life and hasn’t dealt with crushing depression hasn’t been paying attention.” That he has –– as presumably have many in the audience ––and the fact that something
“Terror in a Texas Town,” which played Anthology Film Archives in a tribute to blacklisted screenwriters a few weeks ago, has a very similar premise. “Leviathan” also resonates outside Russia in contemporary settings. I can picture the story taking place between Israeli settlers and Palestinians on the West Bank today. Part of the problem with “Leviathan” is that it seems simultaneously indirect and heavy-handed. Key events take place off-screen or are hinted at through sound design. It seems clear that heavy drinking, adultery, and machine guns don’t mix, but before we learn exactly what has happened the film cuts to a scene between Vadim and a priest. The second half of the film thrusts Kolya into a situation well beyond his capability to handle, and the political angle seems to be replaced by a spiritual framing. The priest compares Kolya to Job, but the film never resolves the contradictions between the film’s contradictory tones. In the end, “Leviathan” returns to Vadim and the priest, who gives a sincere if narrow-minded conservative sermon about the evils of Pussy Riot, albeit not mentioning them by name, and the one true way of the Orthodox Church. For his part, Vadim is willing to ruin a man’s life to take his land. Amidst all this hypocrisy, the film’s solace lies in natural elements of earth and water, which don’t seem nearly enough. “Leviathan” would have benefited from sustaining its anger rather than tumbling into depression.
as simple as a list and a bit of mindfulness can take one off the brink and back into life should serve as potent reminders of our ability to find ways to keep going. Donahoe and this show go on my list of brilliant things.
Your rewards for enduring the inept and tedious revue “Disenchanted!” are the per -
MOSTLY MAGIC, continued on p.43
December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
Summoning the Will
The Dardenne brothers’ look at a working class woman brought low by the new economy TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT
Directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne Sundance Selects In French with English subtitles Opens Dec. 24 IFC Center 323 Sixth Ave. at W. Third St. ifccenter.com Lincoln Plaza 1886 Broadway at 63rd St. lincolnplaza.com
glamour and beauty don’t detract from the character she plays. Pretty people can have problems too. As “Two Days, One Night” begins, Sandra (Cotillard) gets a phone call informing her that her job at a solar panel factory is set to become a casualty of downsizing. Her 16 coworkers were forced to choose between Sandra’s job and getting annual bonuses of 1,000 Euro each. Not surprisingly, almost all chose the bonus. On a Friday afternoon, she wins a concession that a second vote on her continued employment will be held by secret ballot on Monday morning. But dogged by a depression that caused her to take some time off from work, her instinct is to stay in bed. Her husband Manu (Fabrizio Rongione), who works in the kitchen of a restaurant called Lunch Garden, pushes her to get going. The family, which includes a young son and daughter, has only
tentatively climbed steps toward a middle-class life, and Sandra and Manu fear they’ll wind up back in public housing and on the dole. Fighting off tears and panic, Sandra spends the weekend tracking down her coworkers to convince them to take her side. The Dardenne brothers’ background was originally in documentaries, but their first two narrative features looked much different from the naturalist work that followed. They didn’t make much of an impression outside Belgium. But their third narrative film, “La Promesse,” did, and all their subsequent movies have followed its neo-realist style. The Dardennes’ signature shot is a handheld camera tracking the back of an actor, often focusing on his or her neck. Their aesthetic has been copied by filmmakers working in completely different areas, like the action films of Paul Greengrass. Perhaps as a result, “Two Days, One Night” cools it with the shakycam. Apart from minor reframing, the camera generally only moves when the actors do. Compared to
The show’s premise is that the Disney princesses are going to shake off the shackles of male domination and be liberated — even if only for one night — to be truly themselves. The jokes are predictable. A thousand princes and all the wizardry in the realm couldn’t save this piece, whose book, music, and lyrics are by Dennis T. Giacino. The lyrics –– with rare exceptions –– are uninspired. Most egregious, however, is the
hackneyed girl power message. Anyone who has been paying attention knows that from Belle to Elsa, the contemporary Disney princesses are strong, smart, and independent women with no need of a man to rescue them. And, in any event, satirizing Disney has been done to death — and usually much better. When Giacino is at a loss for the legitimately funny, he resorts to the pandering and vulgar, which is too easy and always falls flat.
Marion Cotillard in Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s “Two Days, One Night.”
BY STEVE ERICKSON
he effects of the recession that began in 2008 weren’t immediately apparent in world cinema, but some of the past year’s best releases finally started grappling with the brutality of the new Gilded Age. Tsai Ming-liang’s “Stray Dogs” tells it from the side of the victims, Dan Gilroy’s “Nightcrawler” from the side of the victors. The Dardenne brothers’ cinema has always had political overtones, but their past few films have taken them for granted, apparently assuming that working with provincial Belgian working-class settings is a statement in itself. “Two Days, One Night” brings back an edge to their reinvention of neo-realism, which had grown a bit cozy. At the same time, it marks the first time the Dardenne brothers have worked with an international movie star. Fortunately, Marion Cotillard’s
MOSTLY MAGIC, from p.42
formances of the six amazingly talented women in the cast. They deserve much better material, and I fully expect we’ll soon see Michelle Knight, Becky Gulsvig, Jen Bechter, Alison Burns, Lulu Picart, and Soara-Joye Ross in something much better. From outstanding voices and terrific technique to dead-on comic timing, these women are brilliant and delightful.
| December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015
earlier Dardennes films like “The Son,” the direction is almost sedate. Sandra is fighting both capitalism and her own vulnerability. Much of the time, the latter seems to loom larger. The film never spells out the exact nature of the mental illness that led her to take a break from working, but her recovery has her popping Xanax like candy. Sandra’s strongest impulse is clearly to give up her struggle, even as Manu urges her forward. To say that she finds a reservoir of inner strength would make her sound like the protagonist of a Lifetime Channel movie. She’s not an archetypal “strong woman”; in many ways, she’s constantly fighting her weaknesses. But her flaws make her seem all the more real, even if one might question the ease with which she eventually overcomes some of them. (Belgian hospitals let people go home remarkably early, it seems.) In a perverse way, the ending allows her the simultaneous satisfactions of triumph and defeat. The Dardennes have few critics. The handful of naysayers they do face have accused them of making a kind of “social worker cinema,” fatally distanced from the kind of working-class people they depict. I don’t know the brothers’ own economic background, but they started off filming the neighborhoods where they used to live. Embracing neo-realism, with its background in the Italian left just after World War II, may have been a deliberate political choice for films like “La Promesse” and “Rosetta,” rather than a mere stylistic one. Working-class solidarity isn’t what it used to be, even in Western Europe. The first 85 minutes of “Two Days, One Night” are a prelude to one woman’s attempt to stay true to her community, even if that choice paradoxically leaves her alone.
DISENCHANTED! Theatre at St. Clement’s 423 W. 46th St. Through Jan. 25 Mon.-Tue. at 7 p.m. Thu.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Sat.-Sun. at 3 p.m. $78; ovationtix.com Or 866-811-4111 One hr., 40 mins. No intermission
LIONSGATE/ ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS
Keilly McQuail and Michael Labbadia in Preston Sturges’ “Strictly Dishonorable.”
IN THE NOH, from p.37
“Of Mice and Men” Anna D. Shapir o helmed a pitch-perfect interpretation of John Steinbeck’s classic, which still packs an elemental, nigh-Biblical punch after all these decades. Chris O’Dowd was the ideal Lenny, while I confess to being in James Franco’s bratty cor ner re Ben Brantley’s obnoxious Times review. Yes, this handsome hyphenate is over-exposed, especially of late, but, when it comes to getting down and acting a part like this, he retains his James Dean burning empathy and intensity.
“A Raisin in the Sun” At 60, Denzel Washington had zero problem playing the 20-something Walter Younger and it was a master class in acting just to see the panther-like grace with which he moved across the stage, not to mention the incisive passion he brought to this warhorse. Director Kenny Leon was smart to just stay out of his way and that of the three ferociously strong women backing him up –– Sophie Okonedo, Anika Noni Rose, and the fabulously redoubtable LaTanya Richardson Jackson.
“The Threepenny Opera” I felt virtually alone among my critic colleagues in adoring Martha Clarke’s mesmerizing vision of the venerable Brecht-Weill piece. The fluidly transitioning stage pictures she created evoked dark Weimar geniuses like George Grosz and Otto Dix, and her (budget-driven) use of a bulldog as Queen Victoria was a true stroke of genius. Clarke gave riveting new life to the show, just as did Richard Foreman’s legendary production for Joe Papp.
Special Shout-Outs To Toris Amos at the Beacon Theatre This was the best rock concert of the year, where this total art-
MANHATTAN SCHOOL OF MUSIC
Robert Mellon in the Manhattan School of Music production of Ernest Bloch’s “Macbeth.”
“Alive Inside,” directed by Michael Rossato-Bennett (documentary) “All of Me,” directed by Arturo González Villaseñor (documentary)
Justin Simien’s “Dear White People.”
Preston Sturges’ career-making play was given the most delightful revival by the estimable Attic Theater Company. Full value was given by director Laura Braza to this greatest of writer’s canny wit and heart, and the romantic chemistry of its adorable leads, Keilly McQuail and Michael Labbadia, was the most convincing seen on a New York stage all year.
of music for dementia patients and of a band of Latina women selflessly making a mission of feeding impoverished migrant workers are simply stories everyone should see.
ist captivated a sell-out following of old and young, straight and gay with her utter magic on the keyboards and vocals. She sang a rapturous plethora of dearly beloved anthems, and visually it was the most beautiful and elegant concert I’ve ever seen, with gorgeously organic, superbly timed lighting changes.
Phil Geoffrey Bond for his very special 54 Below nights Bond recreates Broadway shows with his own scrupulously researched, delightful narration, and amazing array of talent that, for me this year, consisted of the likes of Marilyn Maye, Mimi Hines, Lee Roy Reams, Len Cariou, Cady Huffman, Penny Fuller, Terese Genecco, Molly Pope, and the effervescent Carole J. Bufford marvelously performing “The Act,” “Applause,” “Funny Girl,” and “Mame.”
Ten Best Films of 2014 For me, it will always begin with the screenplay, and every one of these features had script in spades. As for the two docs, their accounts of the miraculous power
MACBETH, from p.36
atmospheric and well worth revival in a fine performance led by Laurent Pillot that showed off the school’s vocal talent and production savvy impressively. Dona D. Vaughan’s staging was unfussily direct, finding the through-composed work’s dramatic pulse and adhering to it. The Three Witches — of whom lower-voiced Lisa Barone and Niru Liu were vocally exceptional — proved key to the work and staging: Mozartean Three Ladies plus Wagnerian Norns and Rhinemaidens rolled into one. Alumnus baritone Robert Mellon (Macbeth) and striking Maria Natale (Lady Macbeth), a budding dra-
“Belle,” directed by Amma Asante “Blackbird,” directed by Patrik-Ian Polk “Dear White People,” directed by Justin Simien "The Imitation Game," directed by Morten Tyldum “Life Partners,” directed by Susanna Fogel “Listen Up Philip,” directed by Alex Ross Perry “Love is Strange,” directed by Ira Sachs “Mommy,” directed by Xavier Dolan
To all my wonderful, deeply appreciated readers, have the happiest, gayest city –– and country –– holidays imaginable! Contact David Noh at Inthenoh@ aol.com and check out his blog at http://nohway.wordpress.com.
matic soprano, projected their wide-ranging music — and lust-fueled ambition — strongly. Other standouts included the Macduffs: cultivated baritone Xiaomeng Zhang, occasionally pressed at dynamic climaxes, rich-voiced Brittany Nickell in an affecting cameo scene as his wife, and young countertenor Jordan Rutter as their plucky, doomed son. The whole ensemble delivered an impassioned performance, drawing out the work’s cohesive cinematic power and evoking apt cheers from a knowing industry crowd. David Shengold (email@example.com) writes about opera for many venues.
December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
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| December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015
Passionate Truths Susie Day’s satire sensitive to human suffering, aimed at world turned upside down
BY NATHAN RILEY
BEST FILMS, from p.32
“Goodbye to Language” (Jean-Luc Godard)
SNIDELINES: Talking Trash to Power By Susie Day Abingdon Square Publishing $12; 160 pages of reform school.” Clarinda marries Phollabia, “Queen of the Lesbian Social Change Activists,” and suddenly “all the oxygen is sucked out of
videos of his dog Roxy –– missing from all previous directors using the device, apart from avant-garde filmmaker Ken Jacobs.
grandparents, finding much danger and a little promise while creating a space that feels both lived-in and stylized.
“The Immigrant” (James Gray)
“Nightcrawler” (Dan Gilroy)
James Gray might be the last classical filmmaker left standing. His films deserve to be a lot more mainstream than they are, especially since “The Immigrant” and its precursor, “Two Lovers,” have grown past the mere genre pastiche of his earlier work. Giving Marion Cotillard one of her two stunning roles this year (as a Polish immigrant in 1921 New York), Gray reconstructs the world of his
Dan Gilroy’s directorial debut manages to reinvent classic antiheroes like Travis Bickle and Patrick Bateman for the Internet age. The tale of a repellent, downright evil videographer, it’s set in a world of freelance capitalism, where corporations have almost faded from view but the worst aspects of their culture have been adopted by individuals. Gilroy creates an indelible LA sleazescape of sprawling sub-
OPEN ROAD FILMS
Like all Godard’s recent films, “Goodbye to Language” pon ders the poisoned legacies of fascism and communism through a wealth of literary and cinematic references. A coherent narrative is not on its agenda. Yet it introduces something new to the mix: 3D. Godard is unafraid to use 3D for inventively abrasive, even ugly effects. “Goodbye to Language” is often beautiful, but there’s a modesty to its use of 3D –– epitomized by the blow-up of home
ABINGDON SQUARE PUBLISHING
he rise of Ronald Reagan and free market worship has by now long cast a pall over the soul of America. Memories of the radicalism of the 20th century linger, but the energy is largely gone. We’re catching a glimpse of the old spirit with the demonstrations against police slayings of Blacks, but the collective strength of the left is hard to find. But Gay City News columnist Susie Day has never forgotten. Her writing, as presented in “Snidelines: Taking Trash to Power,” pulses with the moral clarity that is the left’s greatest gift: the detection of right from wrong. Her satire, like Jonathan Swift’s, cuts to the quick. Her wish is that we retrieve the passion that drove politics during Vietnam and the AIDS epidemic. Today’s world is turned upside down. “Radical capitalist circles” from tycoons to ice cream vendors support the “Wealthy Underground,” chanting “BANKERS UNITED WILL NEVER BE INDICTED” while wearing sequined T-shirts reading “FIGHT THE POWERLESS.” For sure, Susie is an upfront lesbian, but her cause is human solidarity and her barbs are directed at a mind-numbing consumerism and social conformity. She worries that marriage equality will erase the taint of transgression that once imbued gay rights with an outlaw spirit and identification with society’s outcasts. Gay men, she writes, “think they know about opera. Ha. They don’t know about lesbian opera.” The “Sapphic Ring Cycle” tells the cautionary domestication tale of “naughty and heedless, Clarinda a baby dyke just out
the theater.” The sex goes out of their marriage and Clarinda, bereft, sings, “Tis awful to be lawful; O Phollabia, why didst we not elopia.” Susie Day has a true love. As a reporter, she met Laura Whitehorn, who was in prison for her participation in the bombing of the empty US Capitol, breaking a bust of Teddy Roosevelt. Whitehorn stole Susie’s heart because she combined “complex layers of fact with a gut-level identification with suffering.” The courtship that started in prison waiting rooms and continued by letter goes on to this day long after Laura’s release. Susie’s passion for human rights and her sorrow at the injuries done by the powerful –– whether against prisoners in Guantanamo Bay or displaced Palestinians –– still flourish. There is nothing chic or easy about her radicalism. While most of us deplore the mass incarceration of America’s war on drug prisoners, Susie has befriended Herman Bell, a Black Panther who was convicted for the 1971 shooting deaths of police officers Joseph Piagentini and Waverly Jones. Forty-three years later, Bell is still in prison because New York State does not parole “violent felons,” much less convicted cop killers. In most countries, a prisoner can earn credits for good behavior –– the elderly Bell has certainly done that, coaching football and earning college degrees. Merit time, as it is called, allows prison authorities to encourage positive behavior and create tests to see if an inmate is safe to release into society. One reason the US relies so much on solitary confinement and super max prisons is that without merit time punishment is the only hammer. To this day, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association opposes the release of Herman Bell, but Officer Jones’ son disagrees, saying, “Nothing would give us more pleasure or joy than to see that man walk out of prison doors.” Susie’s satire warms the heart with bedrock truths. I’ve read her columns for years, but it is only after reading this book that I learned about the unifying truth that drives her imagination.
Jake Gyllenhaal in "Nightcrawler."
urbs full of bloodshed, inseparable from the oddly perky persona of Jake Gyllenhaal’s villain.
BEST FILMS, continued on p.47
December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
Quarter-Life Crisis What you didn’t know you didn’t know about growing up
BY MICHAEL SHIREY
ussel Middlebrook’s life is in a bit of a rut. While everyone around him seems to have their dating and work life together, Russel finds himself stuck is a series of monotonous hook-ups and multiple dead-end jobs. He is lost, confused, and growing increasingly frustrated — something many readers will immediately relate to. They might even go as far as to call this his quarter-life crisis. But all that changes when Kevin, Russel’s high school boyfriend, resurfaces. Kevin has recently moved to Seattle with his new boyfriend, who proves to only be a minor speed bump as Kevin and Russel gravitate toward each other once again. Things continue to heat up as the two go down a humorous — albeit predictable — path together before their reuniting finally comes to fruition. Kevin isn’t the only one ruffling Russel’s feathers. While working as a lifeguard, he saves vibrant Vernie Rose from drowning. Author Brent Hartinger’s newest and strongest character, Rose vows to return the favor and is determined to “save Russel’s life.” Through a series of mishaps — in settings from elegant dinner parties to blind dates to exciting new career paths — she slowly but surely gives Russel’s life a little more direction. It’s unfortunate that Rose’s fresh story is often overshadowed by the Kevin plot line, which is a far more familiar one with few new insights offered. Equally disappointing is the limited role played by Russel’s best friends, Min and Gunnar –– whom we met in Hartinger’s earlier “Geography Club” but are absent for most of this book. But all of them play their part in Russel’s
story, which unfolds at a pleasant pace complete with one well-deserved happy ending after another. In the end, “The Thing I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know” will leave readers in their 20s with a sense of assurance. Older readers might well find themselves yearning for the good old days of youth. Hartinger first won the hearts of YA readers with “Geography Club,” which follows Russel and a group of gay students as they navigate high school, forming a secret GSA disguised as a geography club. The book was well received for its positive portrayal of young gay and lesbian relationships, and it went on to spawn four sequels (including “The Thing I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know”) and was adapted into a movie in 2013. What makes “The Thing I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know” unique is that it takes a young adult character like Russel and throws him into a very adult world — a rare literary transition handled more or less with grace. Equally rare is a mainstream, well-written LGBT-themed book geared at the 20-something audience. One of the book’s greatest strengths is getting to see how Russel’s fellow “Geography Club” alums Min, Gunnar, and Kevin have grown up since the original novel. Kevin, who opted to break up with Russel and stay in the closet at the end of “Geography Club,” starts off the novel in a healthy relationship — a more than welcome sign of progress. But not everything in this transition works. During one of the novel’s racier sex scenes, a discussion of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP, is brought up. The conversation reads more like a bad public service announcement than an actual informed encounter, leaving the reader feeling cheated. But minor hiccups aside, “The Thing I
THE THING I DIDN’T KNOW I DIDN’T KNOW By Brent Hartinger BK Books $14; 256 pages Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know” overall is a success — and hopefully the first of many books of its genre. Hartinger plans to release the next chapter in Russel’s life, “Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams,” in mid-2015.
BEST FILMS, from p.46
“Selma” (Ava DuVernay) The year’s best Hollywood release by far (“Nightcrawler” was a minor mainstream hit technically released by an independent company), “Selma” shakes the dust off the mainstream, largely co-opted image of Martin Luther King and returns the man to his uncompromising, complicated roots. In pre-production for years, it now plays as a post-Ferguson call to activism, gathering steam as it builds toward a triumphant finale. Best undistributed films: “Bloody Beans” (Narimane Mari), “The Iron Ministry” (J. P. Sniadecki), and “Natan” (David Cairns & Paul Duane).
| December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015
David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, Jr. in Ava DuVernay’s “Selma.”
Runners-up: “The Babadook” (Jennifer Kent), “Beyond the Lights” (Gina Prince-Bythewood), “The Dog” (Allison Berg & Frank Keraudren), “John Wick” (Chad Stahelski), “The Naked Room” (Nuria Ibañez), “National Gallery” (Frederick Wiseman), “Two Days, One Night” (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne), “Under the Skin” (Jonathan Glazer), “Vic + Flo Saw A Bear” (Denis Coté), and “We Are Mari Pepa” (Samuel Kishi Leopo).
BREAKING GLASS FILM
Hugo Catalán and Emilio von Sternerfels in Julián Hernández’s “I Am Happiness on Earth.”
YEAR OF QUEER, from p.33
Other inspirational films out this year included Martin Provos’ “Violette” about the bisexual French writer Violette Leduc (Emmanuelle Devos, in a committed performance), who is encouraged in her craft by her friend Simone de Beauvoir (Sandrine Kiberlain). In gay filmmaker Scott Coffey’s under-appreciated comic gem “Adult World,” Amy (Emma Roberts) is a would-be poet who harasses her favorite writer, Rat Billings (a wonderfully acerbic John Cusack), to get him to mentor her. His guidance comes at a terrific and terrifically funny price.
Milo (Bill Hader), the suicidal queer sibling in gay writer and director Craig Johnson “The Skeleton Twins,” has not quite recovered from his illicit relationship with his English teacher (Ty Burrell) when he was 15. While he and his sister Maggie (Kristen Wiig) have some fun lip-synching to Starship, much of “The Skeleton Twins” is otherwise a drag, in good measure because Hader plays Milo stereotypically gay. Better comic material was on display in Gillian Robespierre’s “Obvious Child,” a sweet and snarky comedy about Donna (Jenny Slate) a stand-up comic who finds herself pregnant after a one-night stand. Out comedian and writer Gabe Liedman had an impressive supporting
turn as her gay best friend. An odd and maddening trend in LBGT cinema this past year was filmmakers’ use of final queer twists in their stories, a device that often left a bad taste. So — spoiler alert! —when Pastor Jay Reinke comes out in the last moments of Jess Moss’ over-praised bad unfocused documentary, “The Overnighters,” it feels like a cheat. Likewise, queer writer and director Gregg Araki’s “White Bird in a Blizzard” is supposed to shock viewers with the finale discovery that two male characters are having an affair, but the twist feels cheap and unearned. Even the “surprise” at the end of the fun dysfunctional family comedy “This Is Where I Leave You,” which reveals one character’s same-sex relationship, plays more as a gotcha than a real moment. What felt very real on screen this year was the relationship between Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) in Ira Sachs’ touching “Love Is Strange.” This lovely, observational drama showcases a pair of powerful performances by Lithgow and Molina that offer some nakedly emotional moments. And coming full circle, the sexiest film of the year was undoubtedly Mexican filmmaker Julián Hernández’s “I Am Happiness on Earth,” a mesmerizing romantic drama chronicling the erotic affairs of Emiliano (Hugo Catalán), a filmmaker. Featuring plenty of uninhibited sex, as well as some palpable heartbreak, Hernández’s film was scorchingly hot.
GAY CITY GUIDE 2015 GLOSSY MAGAZINE
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December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
| December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015
er 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. Dec. 29, 7 p.m. Tickets are $25-$50 at purplepass. com, and there’s a two-drink minimum.
CABARET Feinstein Remembers Ol’ Blue Eyes On the eve of the centennial year of Francis Albert “Frank” Sinatra’s birth, Michael Feinstein, dubbed the “Ambassador of the Great American Songbook,” kicks off a year-long celebration of Ol’ Blue Eyes. Birdland Jazz Club, 315 W. 44th St. Dec. 2627, 8:30 & 11 p.m. Tickets are $60$250 at birdlandazz.com and there’s a $10 food & drink minimum.
WED.DEC.31 CELEBRATION A Charles Busch New Year’s Eve
PROSPECT PARK ALLIANCE
New Rules From Baby Jane Baby Jane Dexter’s “Rules of the Road (Part 3)” is the latest emotionally empowering and highly-charged show from the cabaret star who has received six major MAC Awards, t w o N i g h t l i f e Aw a r d s , a n d t w o Back Stage Bistro Awards. Dexter sings selections from Rogers & Hammerstein, Cy Coleman & Peggy Lee, Peter Allen & Carol Bayer Sager, Leiber & Stoller, Mike Scott, Randy Newman, and John Bucchino. Metropolitan Room, 34 W. 22nd St. Dec. 26-27, 7 p.m. The cover charge is $25, and there’s a two-drink minimum. Reservations at 212-206-0440.
Laura Benanti at the Countdown
For the first time in 12 years, “Christmas with the Crawfords” returns to New York, with a cast that includes Joey Arias as Joan, Chris March of “Project Runway” as her beloved Christina, Connie Champagne as Judy Garland, Sherry Vine in the dual role of Hedda Hopper and Baby Jane Hudson, and Flotilla DeBarge as Hattie McDaniel tormenting Joan with her Oscar throughout the party. Other Tinsel Town icons –– including Liberace, Carmen Miranda, Gloria Swanson, and the Andrews Sisters –– also make an appearance. Abrons Art Center, 466 Grand St. at Pitt St. Dec. 26-27, 8 p.m. Tickets are $45 at abronsartscenter.org or 212-3523101.
PERFORMANCE Sandra Is Blessed & So Are We Sandra Bernhard’s new live show “Sandra Bernhard is #blessed” spotlights her blend of hysterical insight and outspoken views, with rock-nroll, cabaret, stand-up, and a little
THEATER Use a Wooden Hanger for Your Coat
Playwright, actor, and drag legend C h a rl e s B u s ch (“Tale of the Allergists Wife,” “Die! Mommie! Die!,” “Psycho Beach Party,” and “Vampire Lesbians of Sodom,” among many) presents a special onenight-only New Year's Eve show, full of outrageous personal stories, original characters, and classic songs and music. Busch is joined by his longtime musical director Tom Judson. 54 Below, 254 W. 54th St. Dec. 31, 7 p.m. Tickets are $85-$135 at 54below.com, and there’s a $45 food & drink minimum.
High camp, masks, and fireworks all brighten New Year's Eve.
burlesque. Bernhard is joined by her band the Flawless Zircons. Joe’s Pub, inside the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Pl. Dec. 26-30, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m.; Dec. 31, 9 & 11 p.m. Tickets are $60, $150 on Dec. 31 at joespub.com.
Lypsinka, in Repertory With Herself John Epperson performs a rotating best of Lypsinka repertoire with “Lypsinka! The Boxed Set,” “The Passion of the Crawford,” and “John Epperson: Show Trash.” Connelly Theater, 220 E. Fourth St., btwn. Aves. A & B. Through Jan. 3. For complete schedule and tickets at $45, visit ovationtix.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 Off-Off 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.
MON.DEC.29 GENRE 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 go broke trying. “People tend to be familiar now with alcohol and drug addiction — and I’ve got those, too,” Rimalow-
F o u r - t i m e Tony-winner Laura Benanti (“Gypsy,” Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown”, “Into the Woods,” and “Swing!”) is joined by composer and musical director Todd Almond in greeting a brand new year with a brand new show. 54 Below, 254 W. 54th St. Dec. 31, 11 p.m., with doors opening at 9:15 Tickets are $260-$380 at 54below.com. The price includes a four-course dinner, a champagne toast, tax, and tip.
Marilyn Maye at Metropolitan Room Marilyn Maye, who Gay City News’ David Noh writes gave one of the year’s most memorable performances at 54 Below, presents two New Year’s Eve shows as part of a two-week run at Metropolitan Room, 34 W. 22nd St. Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m., with doors opening at 7. Tickets are $50-$115 at metropolitanroom.com, and there’s a twodrink minimum. Dec. 31, 10 p.m., with doors opening at 9:30. Tickets are $199-$299, which includes a n o p e n b a r, c h i c k e n F r a n c e s e , roasted Potatoes, and vegetables, pastries, coffee, tea, party hats, and noise makers. Jan. 2-4 & 7-10, 7 p.m. Tickets are $40-$115, and there’s a two-drink minimum.
WED.DEC.31, continued on p.51
December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015 | www.gaycitynews.nyc
WED.DEC.31, from p.50
Queen of the Night on New Year’s Eve
Brandon Voss and Patrick Duffy host a “Queen of the Night” New Year’s Eve b a s h , w i t h t h a t i m m e r s i v e t h e a t e r ’s trademark acrobatics, striptease, and audience mixing-up, as well as the sounds of a live orchestra. The Diamond Horseshoe at the Paramount Hotel, 235 W. 46th St. Dec. 31, 8:30 p.m. dinner, with party to follow at 10 p.m. Dinner & party packages begin at $300; party admission at 10 begins at $150, and party access after 12:30 a.m. is $40 at vossevents.com.
HSNP MUSIC MANAGEMENT
Masked Debauchery Big Dick Clark and Brian Kenny host D w o r l d ’s 1 2 t h a n n u a l N e w Ye a r ’s E v e M a s ke d B a l l , w h i c h D a n i e l Nardicio promises will be the night’s sexiest party, with an all-nude crew of eight dancers. 250 W. 40th St., fourth fl. Dec. 31, 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Tickets are $53 at dworld.us; $30 if you’re under $30 and use the password “daddydick” online. Email Daniel@dworld.us to sign up for the $100-prize Stroke of Midnight Contest.
Fireworks in Prospect Park For those of you who live in Park Slope, Prospect Heights, or Windsor Terrace and want to just spill out of your home for a New Year’s Eve Party, check out a beloved Brooklyn tradition: live entertainment and hot chocolate in Grand Army Plaza followed by fireworks in Prospect Park. The fun starts at 11 p.m. at Grand Army Plaza, where Flatubush Ave. meets Eastern Parkway and the park. Fireworks begin at midnight and can be seen best on the park’s West Drive or on Prospect Park West, btwn. Grand Army & Ninth St.
Late Show on Murray Hill In his first show of 2015, Mr. Murray Hill grabs the mike for a boozy, bodacious post-midnight variety show and dance party that features, as well, Dirty Martini, Mr. Gorgeous, Champagne Jerry, Bridget Barkan, and Kitten LaRue & Lou Henry Hoover. Joe’s Pub, inside the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Pl. Dec. 31/ Jan. 1, 1 a.m., with doors opening at 12:30. Tickets are $20-$30 at joespub.com or $40 at the door.
ment,184 Eldridge St., btwn. Rivington & Delancey Sts. Jan. 8, 5 & 9 p.m., Jan. 9, 5 p.m., Jan. 10, 15-16 & 22-23, 8 p.m. Tickets are $18, $10 for students & seniors at kyoungspacificbeat.org or 800838-3006.
SAT.JAN.3 MUSIC Kicking Off the Jazz Year of the Queer The Eco-Music Big Band presents a New Year’s celebration of the LGBT experience in welcoming 2015 as the Year of the Queer. The band presents jazz work by Billy Strayhorn, the band's bassist, Amanda Ruzza, and bandleader Marie Incontrera, a new arrangement of Fred Ho’s work for the Brooklyn Women’s' Anti-Rape Exchange, “Yes Means Yes, No Means No, Whatever She Wears, Wherever She Goes!”, and a reimagining of Frank Zappa called “My Big Band Wants To Kill Your Heteropatriarchy!” Joe’s Pub, inside the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Place. Jan. 3, 7 p.m. Admission is $16 at joespub. com.
tems that are broken. The play, directed by Park and produced by his Pacific Beat company, stars Daniel K. Isaac (“Anna Nicole: the Opera” at BAM), Flor De Liz Perez (“Pericles” at the Public Theater), and Rafael Benoit (“Magic Kingdom” at the Connelly Theater). The production features original music by Svetlana Maras, choreography by Yin Yue, video by John Knowles, and installation art by Jason Krugman. University Settle-
Silent Kneeling Jacob Steinberg‘s celebrates the launch of his new full-length poetry collection “Before You Kneels My Silence” f r om Scr ambler Books. The evening, hosted by Lucas Baumgart, features performances by Steinberg, Carina Finn, and Lonely Christopher. Bureau of General Services –– Queer Division at the LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St. Jan. 8, 7-10 p.m.
From Russia With Love Out gay British electro-pop musician Billy Lloyd, whose influences include Bjork, Patrick Wolf, and Lana Del, recently appeared on the Moscow stage to sing about homophobia. He makes his US debut at Joe’s Pub, inside the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Place. Jan. 3, 9:30 p.m. Admission is $14 at joespub.com.
Writer in a Strange Land
Take the party all the way into New Year’s morning, thanks to BPM, with DJs Tony Moran and Serving Ovahness on the main floor and Steve Sidewalk in the lounge at xl Nightclub, 516 W. 42nd St. Dec. 31/ Jan. 1, 2 a.m.-9 a.m. Admission is $40 at xlnightclub.com, with premium table bottle service packages available.
Kyoung H. Park’s “TALA” blends the semi-autobiographical story of a gay, Korean-Chilean playwright living in America with the tale of Pepe and Lupe, two lovers inspired by Chilean poets Pablo Neruda and Gabriela Mistral. This surreal tragicomedy delves deep into the absurdities of being an artist while trying to write within the margins of sys-
| December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015
“It wasn’t fun choosing T:12.75”
between paying rent and paying health insurance.” –Josh, East Village, NY
Before I had health insurance, it was a big decision to go to the doctor. I was a lot more focused on waiting until I couldn’t get out of bed to try to seek any advice or attention. After the NY State of Health Marketplace opened, I found affordable options. I wanted it to be, like, if you think you need to go to the doctor, you should probably go to the doctor.
Don’t waste a minute. Find your plan at nystateofhealth.ny.gov. Or call 1-855-355-5777.
©2014 NY State of Health
Proofreader Nb: NHYAHCH44000
December 25, 2014 - January 07, 2015 | www.gaycitynews.nyc