The Original LGBT Expo Hits the Javits February 28 - March 1, pages 20-23
pages 10-11 © GAY CITY NEWS 2015 | NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
FREE | VOLUME FOURTEEN, ISSUE FOUR | FEBRUARY 19 - MARCH 04, 2015
Rallying to boost homeless youth spending
Out Hotel developer scores Fire Island bargain
Long nightâ€™s journey into death
Getting beyond Gare du Nord
Yuck it up
38 February 19 - March 04, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
Still Hearing Jerry Hoose’s Voice Early gay activist, on hand at Stonewall Rebellion, remained in the fight to the end BY PERRY BRASS
erry Hoose, a Christopher Street resident and gay rights movement fixture for generations, died on February 11 in Beth Israel hospice care, after a battle with stage IV pancreatic cancer. Jerry was one of the first people I met in the Gay Liberation Front after joining in November 1969, shortly after Stonewall. He had been at Stonewall on that fateful evening five months before. Like a lot of young men of his generation from the New York hinterlands — Jerry was raised in Brighton Beach — he went downtown to connect with the clandestine gay world. The Stonewall wasn’t exactly “classy,” but if you liked to dance and knew Diana Ross backwards and forwards, you’d go. During the Stonewall Rebellion,
Jerry Hoose, 1945-2015, in the garden at the LGBT Community Center.
he fought back with drag queens and other street kids, and is featured in the PBS American Experience documentary, “Stonewall Uprising.” After the rebellion, Jerry attended a planning meeting at Alternate U. on the second floor of a building at Sixth Avenue and 14th Street, at which Martha Shelley named the organization that rep-
resented the first radicalization of queer people after Stonewall: the Gay Liberation Front. Modeled after Viet Nam’s National Liberation Front, GLF espoused take-no-prisoners, radical, confrontational politics and a complete remaking of society so that gays, lesbians, and “transvestites” (our term for transgender folks) could
be free to be themselves. GLF wanted to “Smash the Church, Smash the State” and upend patriarchal institutions like psychiatry, the law, monogamy, “missionary-position” gender roles (man on top, woman on bottom, and all static “butch/ femme” role designations), and the “legalized theft” some people called “property.” GLF meetings were often anarchistic and crazy. Jerry loved GLF, but was basically apolitical. He was a “vernacular,” street-and-Troom-cruising queer. He adored a nighttime venue in the far West Village known as the Trucks, where scores of guys, looking for sex, crawled into the backs of empty, pitch-black, unlocked 18-wheelers docked for the night. The Trucks had been an institution downtown for decades. We “liberated” them, passing out leaflets, talking to men, and politicizing them. You’d meet friends there. Jerry was always among them. The cops periodically hit the Trucks, mostly scattering guys using squad cars and flashlights.
REMEMBRANCE, continued on p.18
when you want more than
“the bare essentials” Charming and beautifully appointed, this dynamic 40 acre property is a classic Hudson Valley country estate; Circa 1900. The property is situated on a two acre pristine pond. Formerly operating as a Bed & Breakfast/Vacation Rental, the home maintains period moldings and hardwood floors. Modern amenities throughout the four bedrooms. Bathrooms en-suite, working fireplaces (propane), two sitting rooms, a half bath, French doors. Large Gourmet modern kitchen where Private Chef Classes are taught by professionals. State-of-the-art HVAC, electric and plumbing. The property has been featured in Le Figaro magazine, New York Daily News, Rachel Ray, listed in Hudson Valley & Catskill Mountains: An Explorer’s Guide. The Private Chef Cooking Classes have built a significant following and a respected reputation. Included is a separate two bedroom carriage house with four bay garage which provides rental income or innkeeper lodging. Property is minutes to Route 9, Metro-North, Culinary Institute of America, Marist College, Walkway Over the Hudson, the FDR and Vanderbilt Estates, Vassar College, Rhinebeck, New Paltz and Beacon; Enjoy kayaking, hiking, biking, horse-back riding and golf. Spectacular home for weekender or year-round living. Zoned agriculture, existing Christmas Tree Farm can be possible vineyard sites. Perfect site for intimate weddings & events.
39 West Dorsey Lane, Hyde Park, NY • Marty Masina: 845-702-1375 • email@example.com GayCityNews.nyc | February 19 - March 04, 2015
Mayor’s Budget Includes No New Dollars for Plan to End AIDS Preliminary proposal laid out February 9 cuts health department, human resources spending
BY DUNCAN OSBORNE
DEMETRIUS FREEMAN/MAYORAL PHOTOGRAPHY OFFICE.
he two city agencies that are most likely to contribute resources to a plan to substantially reduce new HIV infections in New York saw their funding cut in the city’s preliminary budget, suggesting that any effort those agencies might make to advance the plan will be paid for by reprogramming existing cash and not from new money. The preliminary budget, which was released on February 9, cut the city health department budget from $1.760 billion in the current fiscal year to $1.708 billion in the 2016 fiscal year, which begins on July 1. The Human Resources Administration (HRA) budget was cut from $10.472 billion to $10.334 billion from 2015 to 2016. The health department funds most of the city’s HIV prevention efforts. The HIV/ AIDS Services Administration (HASA) is the HRA unit that links people with AIDS to benefit programs, such as housing support, Medicaid, food stamps, and transportation assistance. The plan aims to reduce new HIV infections from the current roughly 3,000 annually to 750 a year by 2020. It was first endorsed by Governor Andrew Cuomo last year and later by Mayor Bill de Blasio. With over 90 percent of the new HIV diagnoses in the state occurring in New York City, the plan will not succeed without the city’s support. More than half of the city’s HIV diagnoses are among gay and bisexual men, so the plan has to significantly reduce new HIV infections in that group. At the press conference releasing the preliminary budget, de Blasio pointed out several initiatives that were funded with new cash, such as $11.5 million for new bullet-proof vests for police and $18 million to improve emergency response times, but when asked if this budget required HRA and the health department to reprogram existing cash, he emphasized the preliminary nature of the budget. “Well, first of all, I commend the governor for the goal he’s set, and we’re certainly going to be key participants in that,” de Blasio said. “This is a preliminary budget, so we’ve addressed some of the things that we needed to address immediately, because they were fiscal ‘15 expenditures. We’ve addressed some things that we’re ready to include going forward. A lot more will be looked at and evaluated for the executive budget. So, we certainly want to figure out what role we need to play.” The mayor releases his proposed executive budget in late April and the City Council holds hearings on the budget both before and after that date. The state budget, which was released on January 21, contained no new money for the plan
Mayor Bill de Blasio laying out his preliminary budget on February 9.
either, but did reprogram $5 million in current spending to fund a program to help pay for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which involves HIV-negative people taking anti-HIV drugs to keep them uninfected. It also had a one-time expenditure of $116 million to build 5,000 housing units over five years for the homeless, people with special needs, and people with AIDS. Earlier this year, the city health department launched a program to educate 600 doctors about PrEP and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), anti-HIV drugs used by people with a recent exposure to HIV to keep them uninfected. Last year, Cuomo and de Blasio won a longsought change in state law that caps rent at 30 percent of income for people with AIDS who receive housing assistance. “Last year, we were — we were very, very happy to make progress, finally, on affordable housing for people with HIV and AIDS, but there’s more work to be done,” de Blasio said. “So, we’ll assess that for the April budget.” Advocates have consistently argued that stable housing is critical to HIV-positive people’s ability to adhere to their treatment regimens and, as a result, reduce their infectiousness to their sexual partners. The city is facing difficult fiscal times. The de Blasio administration had to close a $1.8 billion gap in the $77.7 billion 2016 budget. State support for the city has declined and with Republicans controlling Congress, federal dollars may also continue to decline. While the city has seen job growth since 2009, 65 percent of that growth has been in low wage jobs that account for just 28 percent of the earn-
ings over that time, so there has not been much expansion in the city’s tax base. Expenses have climbed. Mayor Michael Bloomberg closed his budget gaps by not negotiating new contracts with any city unions, so wages and benefits for city employees remained flat. The de Blasio administration has signed contracts with 71 percent of the unions, and the mayor said the city had won $3.4 billion in healthcare savings in those contracts. In November, de Blasio asked all agency heads to scour their budgets and find savings. The commissioners were told that they could use any dollars saved in their budgets. “I’ve said to the agencies that I expect them to find cost efficiencies and programs that were not effective enough or might be from another era and bring that back as part of the process leading to the executive budget,” de Blasio said. The preliminary budget renewed last year’s increase in funding for runaway and homeless youth so that the city could provide 100 emergency beds above the level it had in previous years. During the 2013 mayoral primary campaign, de Blasio and all of his Democratic rivals committed to increasing the stock of available emergency beds by 100 every year until waiting lists at the small number of available youth shelters were eliminated. The new budget does not go beyond the increase implemented last year. “I asked for additional funds for runaway and homeless youth beds,” said City Councilmember Corey Johnson, an out gay city councilmember who represents Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, and the West Village. “One hundred beds isn’t enough. We need to do more.” February 19 - March 04, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
Hoylman, Advocates Rally to Boost Homeless Youth Spending Out gay Manhattan Democrat joined by colleagues, advocates in push to get Cuomo to step up BY PAUL SCHINDLER
GAY CITY NEWS
tepping up the effort to press the Cuomo administration to provide more funding to shelter homeless youth, State Senator Brad Hoylman, an out gay Manhattan Democrat, appeared with fellow elected officials and advocates outside of City Hall on February 12 to make the case. “It’s a cold day but we’re here to tell legislators we need more funding for homeless youth,” Hoylman said in opening the press conference. Noting that the state will finish up its fiscal year on March 31 with an almost $6 billion surplus — due in part to substantial settlements with Wall Street firms — he pointed to a decline in Albany spending on runaway and homeless youth from $6.3 million in 2008 to $2.35 million in each of the budgets enacted
under Governor Andrew Cuomo. Hoylman and others are seeking an increase to $4.75 million, which the senator acknowledged would only “partially restore” the state’s level of spending prior to the economic crisis that began in late 2007. He used an easel-mounted poster to make the point that while spending fell by two-thirds in inflation-adjusted dollars, the number of youth turned away from shelters because of lack of beds exploded 10-fold — from 571 such incidents in 2008 to 5,041 in 2012. The press event was full of signs bearing the hashtag #5000TooMany. A 2007 census by the Empire State Coalition estimated that on any given night about 3,800 youth 24 and younger — as many as 40 percent of them LGBT or questioning — do not have a roof over their head in the city. State Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, an Upper West Side Democrat who is leading the charge
State Senator Brad Hoylman kicks off the February 12 press conference.
in her chamber on increasing the funding, noted that New York City has only about 350 government-funded beds for homeless youth, and Jim Bolas, executive director of the Coalition for Homeless Youth, said statewide the figure is about 950. Hoylman said that an estimated 25 percent of homeless youth end up engaging in sex work, while
Public Advocate Letitia James argued, “Housing one of the most important preventers of HIV.” Several speakers echoed Hoylman’s argument that the fiscal climate in the state is dramatically better than it was when the funding cuts were made four years ago. Rosenthal said she was “angry
YOUTH, continued on p.19
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GayCityNews.nyc | February 19 - March 04, 2015
What is STRIBILD? STRIBILD is a prescription medicine used to treat HIV-1 in adults who have never taken HIV-1 medicines before. STRIBILD 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? STRIBILD 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, 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.
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? Serious side effects of STRIBILD may also include: • 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. • 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. 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.
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.
February 19 - March 04, 2015 | 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.
GayCityNews.nyc | February 19 - March 04, 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?
• STRIBILD is a prescription medicine used to treat HIV-1 in adults who have never taken HIV-1 medicines before. STRIBILD can also be used to replace current HIV-1 medicines for some adults who have an undetectable viral load (less than 50 copies/mL of virus in their blood), and have been on the same HIV-1 medicines for at least 6 months and have never failed past HIV-1 treatment, and whose healthcare provider determines that they meet certain other requirements. • STRIBILD is a complete HIV-1 medicine and should not be used with any other HIV-1 medicines. • STRIBILD does not cure HIV-1 or AIDS. You must stay on continuous HIV-1 therapy to control HIV-1 infection and decrease HIV-related illnesses. • Ask your healthcare provider about how to prevent passing HIV-1 to others. Do not share or reuse needles, injection equipment, or personal items that can have blood or body fluids on them. Do not have sex without protection. Always practice safer sex by using a latex or polyurethane condom to lower the chance of sexual contact with semen, vaginal secretions, or blood. What is the most important information I should know about STRIBILD? STRIBILD can cause serious side effects, including: 1. Build-up of lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis). Lactic acidosis can happen in some people who take STRIBILD or similar (nucleoside analogs) medicines. Lactic acidosis is a serious medical emergency that can lead to death. Lactic acidosis can be hard to identify early, because the symptoms could seem like symptoms of other health problems. Call your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following symptoms which could be signs of lactic acidosis: • feel very weak or tired • have unusual (not normal) muscle pain • have trouble breathing • have stomach pain with nausea or vomiting • feel cold, especially in your arms and legs • feel dizzy or lightheaded • have a fast or irregular heartbeat 2. Severe liver problems. Severe liver problems can happen in people who take STRIBILD. In some cases, these liver problems can lead to death. Your liver may become large (hepatomegaly) and you may develop fat in your liver (steatosis). Call your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following symptoms of liver problems: • your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow (jaundice) • dark “tea-colored” urine • light-colored bowel movements (stools) • loss of appetite for several days or longer • nausea • stomach pain You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or severe liver problems if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking STRIBILD for a long time.
3. Worsening of Hepatitis B infection. If you have hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and take STRIBILD, your HBV may get worse (flare-up) if you stop taking STRIBILD. A “flare-up” is when your HBV infection suddenly returns in a worse way than before. • Do not run out of STRIBILD. Refill your prescription or talk to your healthcare provider before your STRIBILD is all gone • Do not stop taking STRIBILD without first talking to your healthcare provider • If you stop taking STRIBILD, your healthcare provider will need to check your health often and do blood tests regularly for several months to check your HBV infection. Tell your healthcare provider about any new or unusual symptoms you may have after you stop taking STRIBILD Who should not take STRIBILD? Do not take STRIBILD if you also take a medicine that contains: • adefovir (Hepsera®) • alfuzosin hydrochloride (Uroxatral®) • cisapride (Propulsid®, Propulsid Quicksolv®) • ergot-containing medicines, including: dihydroergotamine mesylate (D.H.E. 45®, Migranal®), ergotamine tartrate (Cafergot®, Migergot®, Ergostat®, Medihaler Ergotamine®, Wigraine®, Wigrettes®), and methylergonovine maleate (Ergotrate®, Methergine®) • lovastatin (Advicor®, Altoprev®, Mevacor®) • midazolam, when taken by mouth • 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 elvitegravir, cobicistat, emtricitabine, or tenofovir (Atripla®, Complera®, Emtriva®, Truvada®, Tybost®, Viread®, Vitekta®) • Other medicines that contain lamivudine or ritonavir (Combivir®, Epivir® or Epivir-HBV®, Epzicom®, Kaletra®, Norvir®, Triumeq®, Trizivir®) STRIBILD is not for use in people who are less than 18 years old. What are the possible side effects of STRIBILD? STRIBILD may cause the following serious side effects: • See “What is the most important information I should know about STRIBILD?” • New or worse kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider should do blood and urine tests to check your kidneys before you start and while you are taking STRIBILD. Your healthcare provider may tell you to stop taking STRIBILD if you develop new or worse kidney problems. • Bone problems can happen in some people who take STRIBILD. Bone problems include bone pain, softening or thinning (which may lead to fractures). Your healthcare provider may need to do tests to check your bones. • Changes in body fat can happen in people who take HIV-1 medicine. These changes may include increased amount of fat in the upper back and neck (“buffalo hump”), breast, and around the middle of your body (trunk). Loss of fat from the legs, arms and face may also happen. The exact cause and long-term health effects of these conditions are not known.
February 19 - March 04, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
• 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. 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 doctor 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 over-the-counter 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®)
GayCityNews.nyc | February 19 - March 04, 2015
- medicines that contain dexamethasone - diazepam (Valium®) - digoxin (Lanoxin®) - disopyramide (Norpace®) - estazolam - ethosuximide (Zarontin®) - flecainide (Tambocor®) - flurazepam - fluticasone (Flovent®, Flonase®, Flovent Diskus®, Flovent HFA®, Veramyst®) - itraconazole (Sporanox®) - ketoconazole (Nizoral®) - lidocaine (Xylocaine®) - mexiletine - oxcarbazepine (Trileptal®) - perphenazine - phenobarbital (Luminal®) - phenytoin (Dilantin®, Phenytek®) - propafenone (Rythmol®) - quinidine (Neudexta®) - rifabutin (Mycobutin®) - rifapentine (Priftin®) - risperidone (Risperdal®, Risperdal Consta®) - salmeterol (Serevent®) or salmeterol when taken in combination with fluticasone (Advair Diskus®, Advair HFA®) - sildenafil (Viagra®), tadalafil (Cialis®) or vardenafil (Levitra®, Staxyn®), for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED). If you get dizzy or faint (low blood pressure), have vision changes or have an erection that last longer than 4 hours, call your healthcare provider or get medical help right away. - tadalafil (Adcirca®), for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension - 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: December 2014
COMPLERA, EMTRIVA, GILEAD, the GILEAD Logo, GSI, HEPSERA, STRIBILD, the STRIBILD Logo, TRUVADA, TYBOST, VIREAD, and VITEKTA 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. © 2015 Gilead Sciences, Inc. All rights reserved. STBC0153 01/15
ALABAMA SUPREME COURT
Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore.
BY PAUL SCHINDLER
ith the Supreme Court’s refusal, since last O c t o b e r, t o block marriage equality rulings from federal appeals courts as well as some US district courts, 18 new states have been added to the roster of places same-sex couples can legally wed. Officials in several states were outspoken about their unhappiness and creative — if somewhat desperate — in their legal maneuvering to block the inevitable. Still, after some dilatory feints, gay marriage arrived in those states and resistance largely fell away. Alabama could prove the exception. That, at least, is what Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has spent the last couple of weeks trying to make happen. Advocates, for their part, are confident that whatever wrenches Moore throws into the works can be cleared away. “Temporary problems” created by Moore’s “anomalous extremism,” said Evan Wolfson, president of the national advocacy group Freedom to Marry, are “not to be confused” with any “real, authentic, and organic resistance” by Alabama residents. The current fracas began with two rulings, on January 23 and 27, from Judge Callie V.S. Granade of the Southern District of Alabama, who found that the ban on samesex marriage there violated the US Constitution. Granade gave the state until February 9 to seek a stay — to give it time to appeal — from either the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals or the US Supreme Court.
The high court’s willingness to allow marriage decisions to go into effect began when it announced it would not review pro-equality rulings out of the Fourth, Seventh, and 10th Circuits in early October. In late December, in a case involving a decision out of Florida, the Supreme Court, for the first time, let a district court marriage ruling take effect without review by a circuit court of appeals. In that sense, the high court’s decision, on February 9, to refrain from staying Granade’s rulings in Alabama was not a big surprise — except that between its Florida decision in December and then, the court agreed to review the Sixth Circuit’s ruling against marriage equality, in cases from Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, and Kentucky. The Supreme Court’s decision not to freeze Alabama’s status quo even while it actively engages the marriage equality question from the Sixth Circuit was the clearest sign yet of how the ultimate question will be settled later this year — a point not lost on Justice Clarence Thomas. In a frustrated dissent from the majority, on which he was joined by Antonin Scalia, Thomas wrote, “This acquiescence may well be seen as a signal of the Court’s intended resolution of that question…. In this case, the Court refuses even to grant a temporary stay when it will resolve the issue at hand in several months.” The Supreme Court’s denial of a stay to Alabama — which came the day Judge Granade’s order was due to take effect, less than an hour before the state’s probate courts, responsible for issuing marriage licenses, opened in Alabama’s 67 counties — would normally have
allowed same-sex couples statewide to get licenses immediately. Chief Justice Moore made sure that didn’t happen. On the previous evening, February 8, Moore, acting in his role as “administrative head of the judicial system” in Alabama, issued an order to the county probate judges saying, “Effective immediately, no Probate Judge of the State of Alabama nor any agent or employee of any Alabama Probate Judge shall issue or recognize a marriage license that is inconsistent with” the State Constitution. Provocation is nothing new for Moore. In 2003, he was thrown off the Alabama Supreme Court after defying a federal judge’s order that he remove a massive granite Ten Commandments display from the court’s lobby; his absence proved temporary, however, with voters returning him to the bench in 2012. Moore began his drive to resist marriage equality in a January 27 letter to Republican Governor Robert Bentley, where he argued that the US Constitution gives Granade no authority to rule on marriage, which he termed a “divine institution.” “I ask you to continue to uphold and support the Alabama Constitution with respect to marriage, both for the welfare of this state and for posterity,” Moore wrote to the governor. “Be advised that I stand with you to stop judicial tyranny and any unlawful opinions issued without constitutional authority.” Moore’s intervention had predictable results: confusion, even some chaos. Surprisingly, however, roughly a third of the counties — representing some of the state’s
biggest cities — were on board with Granade’s ruling within the first couple of days. Some counties stopped issuing marriage licenses of any kind, saying Moore’s order had muddied the waters. Other probate judges noted that the federal court ruling barred the Alabama attorney general and other agents of the state from enforcing the marriage ban but did not order them to issue licenses. Soon enough, Granade addressed that issue in response to a motion from the four plaintiff couples who had prevailed on January 27. In a February 12 order, she enjoined the Mobile County probate judge “from refusing to issue marriage licenses” to them. Though the order did not specifically apply to other probates judges, the handwriting was on the wall. According to Randall Marshall, legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, no probate judge at that point could be under any illusion that their obligations were different than Mobile County’s. And, indeed, the number of counties issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples shot up — as of February 18, the number stands at 48 of 67, with two more signaling they are ready to go, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Even with this, however, the matter is not yet settled in Alabama. At least 10 counties continue to issue licenses only to different-sex couples, with the remainder having indefinitely shuttered their marriage license windows as they sort the matter out. On February 11, two anti-gay groups — the Alabama Policy Institute (API) and the Alabama Citizens Action Program (ALCAP) — filed a petition with the State Supreme Court asking it to order probate judges to stop issuing same-sex marriage licenses. These groups may have problems demonstrating their legal standing to petition the state high court on this issue since they lack a concrete stake in its resolution. That’s the issue that tripped up the defenders of California’s Proposition 8 at the US Supreme Court two years ago, though no exact parallel can be drawn between the rules governing appeals in the federal judiciary and practices in Alabama state courts. Still, it’s worth noting that
ALABAMA, continued on p.11
February 19 - March 04, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
My sister Tammy and I more than four decades ago.
BY TROY MASTERS
s a crimson tide of same-sex marriage rolls across Alabama, lives are being transformed right before our eyes — the latest huge stage in the paradigm shift that has remade that state in the past 50 years. And if racial progress upended a way of life in Alabama centuries old, gay marriage manages to go beyond race, straight to the core of every family, black and white. I was raised in 1960s Nashville, where my stepfather — originally from Dothan, Alabama — was a prominent musician. My sister and I would travel to Dothan to spend summers there, and those childhood memories — good and bad — have shaped us throughout our lives. Getting in the car to leave Nashville, I would always say “Let us go to Dothan,” the tag line of the local newspaper, the Dothan Eagle, that was borrowed from the Bible. My sister and I would laugh at my silly joke. We were always excited to see Granny Alabama. She’d cook for a week before we arrived, and no matter what hour we showed up we were showered with buttered biscuits, red-eye gravy, black-eyed peas, collard greens, red velvet cakes, banana pudding, and countless other treats all cooked up with love. Papa would also be there, stoic, wearing his overalls, showing his love in playful glances. In my youngest years, Alabama seemed to be a place of infinite love and security. Summers there seemed so alive. But as I grew to understand more about adult conversation — often filled with deroga-
ALABAMA, from p.10
the two justices on the Alabama court unwilling to consider the API/ ALCAP petition rejected it on grounds of standing. Still, six justices — Moore absent from the court’s response for unknown reasons — were willing to consider the matter and ordered the probate judges named in the API/ ALCAP petition to file briefs by 5 p.m. on February 18.The petitioners, in turn, will have until the end of the day on February 20 to respond to those briefs.
tory expletives about blacks and Jews — I came to feel my safety there was fragile. During one of those summers, I was exposed to the first evidence that others could see what was so different about me. “Troy is a queer,” I overheard my stepfather say with energetic disgust to another family member. Even at 13, I understood that my feelings for other boys were supposed to be secret. Now I knew terror. For the first time in my life, I felt depressed and I became painfully shy. Alabama was now a place not of love, not of shelter, not of the magic of family, but of fear. I wanted somebody to turn to for understanding. One of my stepfather’s band members that summer was blind and in those days it didn’t seem strange that he was nicknamed Blind Jack. But he was also called a “homo” by most everyone. Jack was the object of unending ridicule and I instinctively knew to avoid him. I was also desperate to know him. One day, Jack and I were alone at the dinner table and he asked me to read the newspaper to him. After I read to him for a while from the Eagle, he asked me if there was anything wrong, if there was something I wanted to talk about. Jack never denied he was a “homo,” and he had overheard gossip about me. I burst into tears and told him what I had overheard my stepfather say. I wanted to run away, I said, and I wished I had never been born. Assuring me that everybody is different in some way and that sometimes other people just can’t understand, he told me that I was a good boy and that he loved me, that even my stepfather loved me, and that one day I would be happy. At some point, he said, people just
What happens next is anyone’s guess. “I’m sitting in Montgomery, Alabama, and asking the same question,” said the ACLU’s Marshall when asked how this could play out. The petition could be dismissed, he said, on a variety of procedural grounds, including standing, or it could be rejected on the merits. Or, of course, the state high court could move into an openly defiant posture by ordering the probate judges to stop complying with Granade’s ruling. “It would be very disconcert-
GayCityNews.nyc | February 19 - March 04, 2015
wouldn’t care. Shortly after that conversation, my stepfather fired Jack and I always imagined it was my fault. The secret that I had associated with Blind Jack was out, and some of the adults who had taunted Jack began to say, “Troy is a homo.” Their kids said it too. At the public pool, kids would scream, “faggot,” “queer,” “chicken,” “homo,” as they tried to dunk my head under the water. At one point, a big crowd joined in — including kids I had known all my life — and I was terrified they were trying to drown me. My depression became dangerous and I remember thinking of ways to hurt myself. I gave up going to Dothan in the summer even though that meant missing out on the love of Granny Alabama and Papa. And in time I began to associate my experiences there with what I learned about Alabama’s recent past: the church bombings, the police dogs attacking black people. The slurs I heard about blacks, Jews, and Yankees now seemed pretty much the same as my stepfather’s ugly phrase “Troy is a queer.” But that Alabama is not the Alabama of tomorrow. As I watch counties there gradually fall in line, I am staggered to recall the way my summer dreams were crushed there decades before. Had all this happened when I was 13, so much would have been different for me. I hope that for every LGBT 13-year-old in Alabama today — many of them still feeling isolated and perhaps even more in danger — this week’s events, boisterous and contentious as they are in many parts of the state, can also make a big difference. Because in my life, Jack was right.
ing for a probate judge to receive an order from the State Supreme Court and disregard it,” Marshall said. Still, constitutional defiance is not the same as a “constitutional clash,” in his view. “The question is clear as a matter of federal law,” Marshall said. “If the district court had all the probate judges before her, she could order them to issue licenses. She could order them not to comply” with any countervailing order from the Alabama Supreme Court. The Supremacy Clause in the US Constitution unambiguously settles the
question, in Marshall’s view, even though he admitted the story would play out in the media as an epic confrontation over states’ rights. For his part, Moore rejects Marshall’s view of the state of play. When pressed in national media interviews, the chief justice acknowledged that should the US Supreme Court rule favorably on marriage equality as now widely expected, “the state courts would be bound” by that. He is vociferous, however, in denying the
ALABAMA, continued on p.24
Out Hotel Developer Scores Fire Island Bargain Ian Reisner sees opportunity in Pines to build on three years of experience with 42nd Street gay complex BY MICHAEL LUONGO
alk about bargains. Some of the most famous real estate in gay history recently sold at auction for only 40 percent of its original asking price, falling into the hands of real estate developer Ian Reisner, owner of the Out Hotel, the gay hotel complex on West 42nd Street in Hell’s Kitchen. Reisner made his purchase in conjunction with P.J. McAteer, owner of the Pines’ Sip & Twirl, Pines Bistro, and Pines Pizza. Originally listed for $25 million dollars and won at $10.1 million, the lot has 320 feet of dock side frontage and represents nearly 80 percent of the commercial real estate space on Fire Island Pines. The property includes the fabled Pavilion nightclub, recently rebuilt after a fire, the High Tea deck, the Botel Hotel, the Rack Gym, the Pines Pool and Bar, the Blue Whale restaurant, Canteen, and the Cultured Elephant restaurant, along with several small shops, two homes, and a boat. The sale will officially close at the end of February. Reisner is excited about potential synergies with his Manhattan property. Saying he has not decided on a new name for the hotel, he offered a variety of suggestions, including the Pines Hotel, the Out Post Pines, and “Pines In, a play on the Out Hotel.” While the final name remains in the air, Reisner said he wants to make the new complex “a huge community experience,” where patrons and Fire Island residents can spend the day, with breakfast, brunch, and other activities. He added he is working with David Barton on a spa and gym for the complex with “everything from training with cute trainers, but we’d also have nutrition counseling and we would have spa treatments,” along with tailored health services to provide hormonal and vitamin recommendations for gym users. Reisner has various models in mind for renovation and market-
The Pavilion nightclub in late spring 2012 as renovations were being completed on it after the fire of the previous year.
“I think the panache has been beaten up a little bit, but it can easily come back if somebody invests the time and the money and the passion into redoing it.” ing, most notably Sunset Beach on Long Island’s Shelter Island, which is paired with the Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District. One goal is to improve transportation between Manhattan and Fire Island through sea ferries and sea planes, as Sunset Beach does. This would streamline marketing to Europeans and other non-local visitors, Reisner said, speaking of packages of “three, five, seven days in America,” with varying day combinations split between the city and Fire Island. Completion of the renovations is likely by April 2016, said Reisner, who envisions works similar to what he did with the Out Hotel, also originally a mid-century motel complex. “We will do the exact same thing with the cinder block structure out there,” he said. “And recreate something really cool and contemporary in a cheap-chic kind of way.” Rather than “deck, deck, after deck,” as is seen throughout Fire Island, Reisner thinks touches will include bamboo plantings
and open space, along with the more customary wooden decks; he pointed to the courtyards in the Out Hotel as models. Expanding on the Pines’ role as a vacationers’ resort, Reisner said he plans to expand the properties’ use during what are known in the travel industry as the shoulder seasons — the months surrounding the main summer season. In the case of Fire Island, the shoulder months are April and May, and September and October, when he hopes to promote corporate retreats and similar gatherings. Reisner acknowledged that Fire Island has lost some of its flair, with gay travelers increasingly looking to other locations for vacations, especially since the Pavilion fire in late 2011. Calling the current time period a “rundownish kind of situation,” he explained, “I think the panache has been beaten up a little bit, but it can easily come back if somebody invests the time and the money and the passion into redoing it, which is exactly what I am doing.”
Fire Island’s troubles, Reisner said, have helped other regional resorts. Gays from New York, he said, “spend more time in Provincetown than they do in the Pines. And one is one hour away, the other is six hours away.” Bob Howard, of Bob Howard Real Estate, one of the oldest real estate firms in the Pines, agreed that recent years have been difficult. “The real estate market, in general to begin with, is a little on the flat side,” he said, adding that in the case of Fire Island, an added factor has been the “assimilation of gay life and gay culture. There are plenty of places in the world where gays can go where they might not have felt as comfortable before.” Damage to the Fire Island beach in 2012’s Superstorm Sandy has also been a factor. “As goes the oceanfront, so does the real estate market,” Howard said, while noting that most of the beach problems should be resolved in engineer ing projects due for completion in 2016. Howard pointed to one positive — no Pines homes were lost in the storm, though some did suffer water damage and have not been repaired. Howard welcomes Reisner’s project. “I think the plan is wonderful,” he said. “It will float the boat and result in rising real estate prices.” Regardless of its current slump, Howard believes Fire Island remains a magical destination. “You get out into one of the most lovely natural settings in the world in Pines Harbor, totally disconnected from the mainland,” after arriving by ferry, he said. “It’s this bizarro world where men are with men and women are with women and the straight people are in the minority,” something he said is unmatched by any other gay resort in the world. In a press statement about the sale, former TV newsman Andrew Kirtzman, one of the previous owners, said, “In their six years as owners of the Pines commercial district, the owners of FIPV constructed an
FIRE ISLAND, continued on p.24
February 19 - March 04, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
HIV/AIDS Activists Renew Call for St. Pat’s Boycott HIV/AIDS HIV/AIDS HIV/AI S HIV/AIDS HIV/AIDS HIV/AIDS Participation of gay employee group from parade’s broadcast sponsor derided as “trickery” ARE YOU POSITIVE (+)? BY DUNCAN OSBORNE
h i l e t h e organizers of New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade have allowed an LGBT employee group from the television station that broadcasts the event to march this year, Irish gay and lesbian groups continue to call for a boycott of the parade, saying the inclusion of OUT@NBCUniversal is little more than a publicity stunt meant to make it appear that the 24-year ban on Irish LGBT groups has ended. “We’re here to continue the boycott and reject the trickery,” said Emmaia Gelman, a member of Irish Queers, at a February 17 press conference on the steps of City Hall. Originally organized by the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the parade first banned LGBT groups in 1991 when David Dinkins was mayor and John Cardinal O’Connor, a leading anti-LGBT voice, ran the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. In recent decades, the parade has been strongly identified with the archdiocese. In an unambiguous rebuke to O’Connor, Dinkins invited the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization to march with him that year — which occasioned an ugly response to the mayor and his guests from many spectators. No LGBT group has marched since then, and parades have been consistently marked by controversy over the ban. The parade’s 2015 grand marshal is Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the current head of the Archdiocese of New York. The parade is now organized by NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which last year announced with great fanfare that OUT@NBCUniversal had been accepted as a contingent in the 2015 parade. While some mainstream media played that as an end to the ban, activists who have been trying to join the parade for years saw it as a ploy to bolster support for the event, which lost two major sponsors last
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year over the exclusion of LGBT Irish groups. “It is clear that last year’s decision was made to placate the sponsors,” said Rosie Mendez, a lesbian city councilmember who represents lower Manhattan, at the press conference. NBC, which is a unit of Comcast, the cable giant, was also under fire last year for its role in broadcasting the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia, where LGBT Russians have been under attack by the government. The inclusion of OUT@ NBCUniversal was seen as little more than window dressing. “The issue has never been allowing a gay group in the parade,” said Daniel Dromm, an out gay city councilmember who represents part of Queens, at the press event. “It has been having an Irish gay group in the parade… We are demanding an inclusive parade and we are asking other elected officials not to march.” City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who is on a junket in Israel, released a statement that read, “Until the St. Patrick’s Day Parade is really and truly inclusive of all I will not march in it. Half measures will not suffice for a parade that should be open to everyone regardless of who they are or whom they love.” A spokesperson for Mark-Viverito, who represents parts of Manhattan and the Bronx, told Gay City News, “She wanted to make sure the message got out even while she is away.” Mayor Bill de Blasio did not march in the 2014 St. Patrick’s Day Parade, but he has not committed to the boycott in 2015. Also endorsing the boycott are Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, the Lavender and Green Alliance, the Empire State Pride Agenda, the statewide LGBT lobbying group, and the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, a gay group. “We will also take special note of those who will not be joining us because they don’t want to upset the cardinal,” said Allen Roskoff, president of the Jim Owles club.
GayCityNews.nyc | February 19 - March 04, 2015
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February 19 - March 04, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
Third Strike Against Andrew Shirvell Sixth Circuit upholds substantial damage award against obsessively anti-gay former Michigan official
BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
CHRIS ARMSTRONG WATCH
ust weeks ago, Michigan’s Court of Appeals dealt two strikes against former Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell, rejecting his challenge to his dismissal by the state’s former attorney general, Mike Cox, and denying his claim for unemployment benefits. On February 2, he suffered a third strike at the hands of the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Cincinnati. Shirvell — who, while in the state’s employ in 2010, under took an obsessive campaign to discredit the out gay president of the student government association at the University of Michigan, his alma mater — was found, in a ruling from the state appeals court, to lack any First Amendment free speech claim in connection with his firing. The federal appeals court, meanwhile, upheld a substantial damage award for his attacks on Christopher Armstrong, who was the first openly LGBT student government president at Michigan. The court approved a damage award of $3.5 million against Shirvell. Ar mstrong sued Shirvell on claims including defamation, “false light” invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and stalking. The trial judge rejected Shirvell’s motion for a summary judgment dismissal, Shirvell formally refused to retract various statements he had made about Armstrong, and the case went to trial in August 2012. The jury found Shirvell liable in connection with Armstrong’s claims, awarding him $4.5 million in total damages. Shirvell’s appeal attacked every aspect of the verdict, arguing his conduct and speech were protected by the First Amendment, that the evidence did not support the jury’s conclusions, and that the trial judge’s instructions misled the jury into awarding excessive dam-
An image of University of Michigan’s out gay student government president Christopher Armstrong that Andrew Shirvell posted on his blog while serving as the state’s assistant attorney general.
ages. Writing for the Sixth Circuit panel, Judge Julia Smith Gibbons found merit in only one of Shirvell’s objections — that inaccuracies in the trial judge’s jury charge led the jury to impose duplicative defamation damages. On the merits of the case, the appeals panel found that the trial record fully supported the jury’s conclusions. Regarding the defamation claim, for example, Gibbons wrote, “The evidence in Armstrong’s favor — demonstrating harm caused by statements that were properly submitted to the jury as defamatory — was immensely one-sided. Through a special verdict form, the jury found over 100 statement by Shirvell defamatory and over 60 of those defamatory statements were made with actual malice.” “Actual malice” is a legal term of art indicating the jury found that Shirvell knew the statements were false or acted with reckless disregard about whether they were true. The court found plenty of evidence in the trial record to support the jury’s conclusion on this score. “A reasonable jury could conclude from the evidence that many of Shirvell’s statements were pure fabrications,” Gibbons wrote. “For example, he claims that police ‘raided’ Armstrong’s house during a party, but the evidence contradicted this. A reasonable jury could
GayCityNews.nyc | February 19 - March 04, 2015
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BY ED SIKOV
’m the One Who Needs the Cocktail! From the New York Post’s unavoidable Page Six, which was compelled to cover Bruce Jenner’s transitioning by interviewing one of the Village People: “Randy Jones — aka the Cowboy from the ‘Macho Man’ band — was spotted at John and Tommy Greco’s K*Rico in Hell’s Kitchen, exclaiming, ‘I need a cocktail! I can’t wrap my mind around the news on Bruce!’… Jones concluded: ‘In the animal kingdom, there are patriarchal societies, like gorillas, and ones where females rule, like a lion pride.” A valuable observation, I suppose, but someone else is going to have to explain its relevance to Bruce Jenner’s supposed transgender identity. To be fair to Page Six, it’s not entirely outrageous to recruit a Village Person to opine on Jenner’s transition; Randy Jones and the other Villagers appeared with Jenner in Nancy Walker’s unwatchably bad 1980 movie “Can’t Stop the Music.” (No, seriously — it’s not camp, it’s not fun, it’s just godawful, though Jenner does look fetching in a hairy-abs-revealing cutoff T-shirt.) It has scarcely been a secret for the past year that Jenner is transitioning from male to female, but in recent weeks the coverage has been unremitting. In terms of sensationalism, the story has everything going for it: one of the world’s greatest athletes, new hairdos and hot pink nails, public shock, and Kardashians (ignobly, he’s Kim, Khloé, and Kourtney’s stepfather). Given the story’s gasp mongering potential, though, the Page Sixes of the world have taken a backseat to more thoughtful, even shockingly supportive treatments of the issue. Slate, CNN, the Huffington Post, and many other media outlets have published smart, knowledgeable pieces on the issue. Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times went so far as to call for Wheaties cereal to put the transgender Jenner on its box, as it did after Jenner won the gold medal in the decathlon at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. That’s not to say that every media outlet has responded heroically. The Times’ Jacob Bernstein reports
transitioning for another day? (The New York Times.) Or does one just let all journalistic standards fly out the window and conflate the two stories? (The New York Daily News.) I’m going with the former. It’s like writing a story about George W. Bush’s hobby, painting portraits and landscapes, and somehow seeing the need to mention that he’s suspected of snorting cocaine while an undergraduate at Yale. That would be totally and completely unfair.
that the tabloid In Touch “even went so far as to superimpose a picture of Mr. Jenner’s head onto the body of the actress Stephanie Beacham, adding red lipstick to his mouth in an attempt to feminize his appearance and better reflect the headline, ‘Bruce’s Story: My Life as a Woman.’” Even the headline was a lie; Jenner certainly did not tell her story in the scuzzy pages of In Touch. In fact, as of this writing, Jenner has maintained total silence about his transition. Excuse me, her transition. This dreaded pronoun crisis stems directly from Jenner’s lack of confirmation. How does one refer to a trans woman who refuses to verify herself as a trans woman? A number of trans spokespeople have refused to comment on Jenner on the grounds that until somebody makes a decision to come out as trans, it’s nobody’s business to speak publicly on the matter. They have a point, but I think celebrities like Jenner forfeit their right to privacy the instant they appear on a “reality” show the sole purpose of which is to commercialize and commodify the minutiae of their lives, as Jenner does as the stepdad in “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.” Once the wall between private and public is breached, you can’t just — you should pardon the expression — stick your finger in the dyke. And what to do when Jenner crashes his Escalade on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu? Does one stick to the story at hand and leave gender
This issue’s “Crank of the Fortnight Award” goes to wackjob radio commentator Linda Harvey, who had problems — big problems — with Katy Perry’s halftime show at the Super Bowl, particularly the song (wait for it) “I Kissed a Girl”: “This 2008 song is a prime expose of the lies embedded in the homosexual agenda,” wrote Harvey. “Not that Perry leads that effort. Just like her flirtation with Satan, she’s merely joining and providing theme music for a movement that long pre-dates her. There would be a predictable reaction if a well-known homosexual woman crooned that she had ‘kissed a boy and liked it’ and she ‘hopes her girlfriend don’t mind it.’ If such a song even saw the light of day, it would be instantly labeled bigotry, hate, and right-wing extremism. After all, one is never allowed to experiment in that direction. Satan and his mouthpieces will make sure such a notion never gains traction.” There is much to be said about the sheer tastelessness of Perry’s half time show: the gaudy flames costume she first appeared in; the fact that none of the sets and costumes had anything to do with each other from scene to scene, leading to a garish hodgepodge of gargantuan and mostly ugly gimmicks; and, most of all, her incredibly boring songs. But Linda Harvey touches on none of this. As with Randy Jones and his lion pride remark, would someone be kind enough to let me know what the fuck she’s jabbering about?
To close this column, I was going to take a potshot at Brian Williams. But I changed my mind in light of NBC’s suspending him for six months, an absurd overreaction. He’s fallible. We all are. And that’s not news. Follow @EdSikov on Twitter. February 19 - March 04, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
PERSPECTIVE: A Dyke Abroad
A Voice from Gay Ghana BY KELLY COGSWELL
hana may be one of Africa’s more democratic countries, but not for queers. Thanks in part to anti-gay campaigns encouraged — and financed — across West Africa by US evangelicals, 98 percent of people in Ghana believe that homosexuality is “morally unacceptable.” Politicians openly denounce lesbians and gay men as foreigners and abominations. They blame us for AIDS, even demand that we be rounded up and jailed, not just under colonialera laws prohibiting “unnatural acts” but anything they can think of, even through genocide. In 2010, more than 1,000 protesters in the Western Region of Takoradi rallied against our mere existence. Violence has been escalating, especially against gay men. Just a week or so ago in the capital city of Accra, event promoter Kinto Rothmans was ambushed by a mob, forced to admit he was gay, and brutally beaten. The video posted by a proud attacker immediately went viral. A few days before, a crowd of boys at St. Paul’s Senior High School in the small town of Danu tried to lynch two classmates accused of being gay. When two teachers tried to interfere, the boys rioted. The cops were called in and
ended up fatally shooting a student. Last year, Richard, now only 20, was forced to flee the country after a lifetime of harassment and abuse. In middle school, after telling his best friend he had a crush on him, Richard was flogged several times, then expelled. Back home, the village chief issued another round of punishments. “I was detained for about five days during which I wasn’t fed. I was only given water every morning,” he told me. “I was also sent to a shrine where I was made to drink a calabash of blood. Then I was beaten, and they broke my right arm. Afterwards, I was banished from my hometown. It was around my last year in middle school so I had to study on my own in order to take the final exams to get into high school.” He briefly lived with relatives in Accra before he ended up at St. Paul’s and can testify first hand to the anti-gay brutality there. “I was seen with another guy by the school prefect who reported us to the head master,” Richard said. “We were called to the front of the entire student body and asked to tell the whole school what the prefect saw us doing.” Afterwards, they were beaten by several male teachers, then dragged on their knees to the school offices, and later humiliated again at another school assembly in which they were officially expelled.
When he got home, he was harangued by his aunts and uncles who eventually threatened to lynch him if they saw him talking to a boy. “They claimed I’d pollute them, and talk them into being gay,” he said. Richard’s parents sent him to a different town up north, but it wasn’t enough. His boyfriend from high school came to visit and they were seen in a local bar. A couple of days later, when he was shopping with a cousin, he was attacked by a pair of youths, two vigilante “zongo boys” that administer “instant justice” to anybody from queers to thieves. One guy pinned his hands behind his back, the other started punching him in his stomach. “I struggled with them, but I couldn’t do anything because they were stronger than I was,” Richard said. His cousin called the police who dragged all four of them to the station and detained them for 24 hours. During his stay, he passed out and had to be rushed to the hospital with internal bleeding. In the end, the cops let his attackers go and charged him with being a homosexual. His family helped him flee again, but when the death threats continued anyway from local youths who threatened to lynch him on sight, his mother decided he had to leave Ghana before he ended up dead. She’s a nurse and worked with his two stepbrothers to get the money together. Richard’s in Texas now, study-
ing to be an EMT and working in the cafeteria when he can pick up the hours. The group Human Rights First is helping him to get a permanent visa. He says he tries not to think too much about why he came, or how alone he is. He just wants a normal life. Maybe he’ll get it. We video-chatted on Skype. I could see he’s young and good-looking, though he seemed shell-shocked. His voice was nearly flat as he told me that it hurt to imagine he might never be able to go home. Or see his family again. “I tell myself at least no one is coming to kill me,” Richard said. “Or beat me up because I am gay.” There’s not much reason to hope things will change anytime soon. When Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama visited the US not long ago, he was asked about homophobia in his country. “All he could say was that because of the culture there wasn’t even room to talk about it,” Richard recalled. “So he couldn’t even make a comment about it. It makes me so sad. All that is going on back there and nobody is doing anything about it.” Still, when I asked about his hometown where most people are farmers or fishermen or traders, he wistfully told me, “It’s really cool, more of a village, really, where almost everybody knows everybody. It’s a friendly place to grow up.” Kelly Cogswell is the author of “Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger,” published last year by the University of Minnesota Press.
PERSPECTIVE: The Long View
Medical Marijuana Advocates Press to Ease New York’s New Regs
BY NATHAN RILEY
dvocates for medical marijuana, aggravated by the narrowness of New York State’s path to date on the plan adopted into law last year, remain doggedly hopeful about the possibility of positive changes after the state health commissioner completes review of public comments. The initial regulations posted in December were deeply disappointing. Although the law recognizes that, under limited circumstances, marijuana has medicinal purposes, the restricGayCityNews.nyc | February 19 - March 04, 2015
tions imposed treat it as an “illicit substance,” making New York’s program one of the most restrictive in the nation. At a rally at Hostos Community College in the Bronx on February 3, Julie Netherland a leader in Compassionate Care New York, one of the many groups that lobbied for the law, said, “The first draft of regulation offered a narrow interpretation of the statute instead of a more expansive one.” Among the major problems is that health insurance won’t pay for these medicines, and although the state fixes the price after consulting with the businesses that will grow and sell it,
there are no provisions for a sliding scale to help moderate and low-income patients. Those at the Hostos rally expressed concern that the law would reproduce existing injustices endemic in New York’s posture toward drug laws. The proposed regulation, a number of speakers argued, would require many families to get their medication in the underground economy and face legal risks. The law gives the health commissioner, Dr. Howard A. Zucker, discretion to make modifications in rolling out the program, but Governor Andrew Cuomo rejected a legislative proposal to have a board of doctors establish flexible governance. The legislation authorized dispensing for illnesses including cancer, epilepsy, and HIV, and required the health commissioner to consider adding five more, including Alzheimer’s, mus-
MARIJUANA, continued on p.18
REMEMBRANCE, from p.3
For a few years after Stonewall, the area around Christopher Street had become remarkably “free,” so the cops came around mostly to intimidate men without actually arresting them. Though like police anywhere, they could get nasty. Jerry often yelled out a warning. Late one night I was sitting on the concrete loading ramp, watching men grope their way into the adjacent darkness to do what they wanted. I was engaged in nothing I had to worry about, when suddenly the revolving lights of a squad car approached. Jerry yelled, and everyone tore out. I stayed. Since I was doing nothing, what could they bust me for? A cop with a flashlight appeared and just nodded. A few minutes after he was gone, Jerry returned furious, with about 15 guys. After Stonewall, he had an absolute loathing of, as we called them, “the pigs.” “You’re sick, Perry!” he shouted at me. “Anyone who’s not scared of the cops is sick!” That was one of my favor ite Jerry Hoose stories; he used “sick” often. He once interrupted an argumentative GLF meeting by screaming louder than anybody: “Anyone who doesn’t think homosexuals are sick should come to one of these meetings!” We got a lot done though, and Jerry was very instrumental. He steered our dance committee that produced weekly dances at Alternate U. These were the first regularly scheduled, gender-mixed, non-Mafia, openly-queer socializing experiences in New York. They
were advertised on the back page the march, making sure order was of the Village Voice as “Gay Com- kept and that we were not simply munity Dances,” making this the disciplined but openly defiant. “Keep your heads up! You’re not first time “gay community” was used publicly in the city. The danc- in a dark bar anymore, but in the es had a $3 donation and brought sunshine,” he shouted through a in around $500 per week — a megaphone during this first, tense march. “We’re gay and we’re proud! princely sum then. The money supported GLF’s Say it now: ‘Gay and Proud! Gay actions. A large chunk of it was and proud!’” used as a donation to the Black Panthers, who were under government siege: an “action” that threw GLF into another target of controversy. We were no longer just a “You’re not in a dark bunch of queers in the West bar anymore, but in the Village, but were joining our politics directly to Huey Newsunshine,” he shouted. ton’s Panthers, a revolutionary, outlawed party closely monitored by the FBI. Jerry spent the rest of his life Jerry was in favor of the Panther gift, although in truth he want- feeling that way, although he ed the money for “gay things,” for could get “pissed off,” as he comhomeless or unwanted kids like plained, “with the gay communihe’d been with no real place to go ty” — meaning his life at the LGBT in the Village, except to hang out on Center on West 13th Street, which the street — a situation which has he thought was not doing enough hardly changed. He continued his to deal with ageism. Jerry became work on the dances until GLF fold- focused on SAGE — now known formally as Services and Advocaed about two years later. I was at the meeting where Craig cy for GLBT Elders — and grew Rodwell, owner of the Oscar Wilde close to Tom Weber, director of the Bookstore, proposed the idea of group’s constituent services. With having a “Christopher Street Liber- Tom’s help, Jerry organized panel ation Day March” up Sixth Avenue discussions over the years about to Central Park, in June — exactly LGBT elders and their interacone year after Stonewall. During the tions with the community. Two of ensuing debate, Jerry was all for it, them — in 2009 and 2010 — spotalthough many women weren’t, lighted the Gay Liberation Front. sensing that an annual event like Reaching back to his chant at the this might swiftly be taken over by first Christopher Street Liberation the bars, then still Mafia-run. Jerry Day March, Jerry titled the second became one of the first marshals of of those two panels “From Dark-
MARIJUANA, from p.17
cular dystrophy, and post-traumatic stress disorder. These illnesses were not added in the draft regulations released in December. Speaking at Hostos, Manhattan City Councilman Mark Levine said he supports taxing and regulating marijuana so its sale is legal, but focused his remarks on the limited number of ailments cited in the law. He struggles with migraine headaches, another illness that many patients treat with marijuana but is not specifically allowed by New York’s new law — though the health commissioner could use discretion to add it to the program. Right now, however, Zucker is proposing the most restrictive interpretation of the law. Patients must provide a doctor’s certification to apply to the state health department for a license
to purchase medical marijuana. The $50 application fee can be waived for low-income patients. Doctors cannot prescribe it unless they have received special training, an unusual restriction not seen in other programs around the country. Only five producers will be authorized to grow marijuana in greenhouses that must be secured to prevent theft or diversion of the crop. It must be laboratory tested at the expense of the registered producer and sold in dispensaries controlled by the producer. Before the medicine is produced, the producers must reach an agreement with the health department on price. An excise tax is imposed on the sale of these medicines. Only 20 dispensaries are permitted statewide and no delivery services are permitted, so many patients will be forced to travel long distances. The marijuana may not be smoked even though that is the cheapest and fastest way to
ness Into Light: The First Year of Gay Liberation.” Both events had packed audiences, mostly young people profoundly moved that this small group of ragged radicals had changed history. A third, in 2011, specifically about intergenerational relations in the community, featured young people in conversation with elders from GLF. After SAGE moved its headquarters uptown, Jerry worked to keep its comfortable drop-in center on 13th Street in the Village — an effort that involved bureaucracies of both organizations. Jerry, trained in GLF, could be vocally persuasive. He got as many people as possible on his side, with petitions and open meetings. After a lot of contention, last year he won: the drop-in center has remained at the Center, though upstairs from its longtime home, with some SAGE members ner vous about its permanence. It was the last controversy Jerry was involved in — he was already in the process of dying. Jerry was 69 at the time of his death. Always so bright and streetsmart, he had a genuine Brooklyn accent you don’t hear anymore. I can still hear Jerry’s often cantankerous but lovable voice in my head, and I hope that it continues there for a long time. Perry Brass’s latest novel is “King of Angels,” a Southern, gay, Jewish coming of age story set in Savannah, Georgia, in 1963, the year of JFK’s murder. His next book, “The Manly Pursuit of Desire and Love,” will be published in June, 2015.
feel marijuana’s effect. Netherland said the health commissioner is not prohibited from authorizing the sale of whole plants, the most economical way to make marijuana available. The regulations follow Cuomo’s direction and restrict the medicine to oils and extracts. The governor’s team in Albany now has staff with experience in the drug reform movement, including Tracie M. Gardner, an assistant health secretary, so there is hope that the final regulations will be responsive to the public comments made. “I don’t think it’s designed to fail and DOH will be able to remedy problems in the final regulations,” said Netherland, but the groups at Hostos warned in a handout that the present regulations have “so many restrictions it becomes unworkable, like New Jersey’s” program — widely seen as a failure among drug reform advocates. February 19 - March 04, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
YOUTH, from p.5
GAY CITY NEWS
because we have money to build a bridge” — the replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge crossing the Hudson River from Westchester to Rockland County — but not enough to address the needs of homeless youth. City Comptroller Scott Stringer, noting that his office just completed a quarterly economic report showing a strong local economy, argued it was time for “government, state and local,” to think about “how to spend its peace dividend.” In the near term, Hoylman and Rosenthal are organizing colleagues in the Senate and the Assembly to press the governor to increase the appropriation for runaway and homeless youth when he files amendments on February 20 to the budget proposal he announced last month. After the press conference, Hoylman acknowledged that advocates need to be prepared to contest the funding question past that date, when negotiations over the governor’s amended budget begin in earnest between Cuomo and legislative leaders. The state must adopt its budget by April 1. Even as he put pressure on the governor to step up on homeless youth funding, Hoylman was careful to credit Cuomo for other youth-focused initiatives, including a job training program and recent proposals for juvenile justice reform. Former City Councilmember Lew Fidler, who during his years as chair of the Youth Services Committee was a champion for homeless youth funding, was less charitable toward the governor. Noting that
Jim Bolas, executive director of the Coalition for Homeless Youth.
he now works for Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and has always been “a proud Democrat,” Fidler said, “I was not a proud Democrat” when the governor, early in his first term, boasted of preserving the state’s social safety net during a recession even as he “slashed” runaway and homeless youth funding. The City Hall event came the same week that Mayor Bill de Blasio laid out his preliminary budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. In last year’s budget, the mayor made good on his campaign pledge to increase funding for emergency beds for youth so that the total stock would grow by 100. During the 2013 campaign, however, de Blasio and each of his Democratic primary rivals agreed to make incremental increases of 100 each year until waiting lists at youth facilities disappear. The preliminary city budget does not make room for that additional increase. Bolas acknowledged that advocates will try to improve the city’s contribution as the budget process plays out at City Hall, but said that for now “the focus is on the state. They’ve fucked us for years.”
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he Original LGBT Expo, a trade show aimed at both the consumer and business-tobusiness markets, has been a late winter mainstay at Manhattan’s Jacob Javits Convention Center since 1993. On February 28 and March 1, however, it will take its first bow under new management. According to Jay Handy, a director at Life Out Loud Events, the expo’s new producer, the goal is to “enhance but maintain.” “Our management company has been tasked with maintaining an event that has been successful for 21 years,” he told Gay City News. Ironically, Handy’s first job out of college in 2001 was working for the RDP group, the expo’s founding producer, and he is mindful of just how unique an event RDP established over the years. “There is no other LGBT Expo,” he said when asked about comparable events in other cities. “It really is the only one of its kind. For trade shows in most other industries, there are multiples — a West Coast and an East Coast one, for example.” For now, the event at the Javits stands alone. But even as Handy acknowledged two decades of development that Life Out Loud Events has to build on, he emphasized that “build on” they will. “When I say a different generation took this over, I mean a different generation took this over,” he said. The event’s branding has been reimagined to enhance opportunities to leverage social media networks to spread the message that something new and different can be expected this year. In the past, Handy said, the push to attract attendees was heavily weighted toward what he called “guerilla marketing” through street outreach. In an effort to expand beyond longtime customer loyalty and attract newcomers, including younger professionals, the expo
Paige Turner is among the hosts of the Expo’s continuous stage show.
has tapped LGBT employee groups at major Manhattan companies to broaden the reach of its message. Broadening its appeal also involves enhancing and diversifying its programming, Handy explained. One new addition is a seminar series of 12 panels on topics ranging from travel to the transgender workplace. The WNBA’s New York Liberty is hosting a discussion of LGBT athletics; Denny Meyer, a gay former sergeant first class from the Viet Nam era will talk about his longtime fight to win recognition from his fellow veterans; and Matt Skallerud, president of Pink Banana Media, will share strategies for reaching the LGBT community via social media. Brooke Guinan, a third generation New York City firefighter will tackle the issue of being transgender in the workplace. Other seminars will take up unknown but not-to-be-missed vacation destinations, the challenge of staying together for couples, especially those who are parents, investing for retirement, and staying healthy until then. Back this year will be the popular video lounge, with offerings ranging from New York filmmaker Dennis Shinners’ “Barrio Boy” — a story of haircuts, hip-hop, and homo-sex on the down low where a Latino barber falls for an Irish customer while giving him a trim — to a Q & A with Pierre Stefanos, a film editor whose credits include two Oscar-nominated HBO documentaries and three Emmy-winning TV programs and whose first two nar-
GayCityNews.nyc | February 19 - March 04, 2015
EXPO, continued on p.22
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al and Chelsey are lesbians who both grew up in smalltown Georgia. In addition to the typical struggles faced by young couples — they met four years ago — they were also dogged by lack of family support. Chelsey’s family didn’t approve of the couple’s relationship and Val never felt much family acceptance at all in her life. “Not only are we a lesbian couple, but we are an interracial lesbian couple living in the South,” Val said. “This was difficult for her family and society to accept.” Struggling to stay together, they even lived out of Val’s car for a short time. The couple has clearly turned a corner in their lives and today are raising their seven-month old daughter Emerson. But, engaged for two years, they’ve never been able to plan the wedding they feel they deserve.
EXPO, from p.21
rative shorts as writer and director are “Bedfellows” and “Brighton.” Both days of the expo weekend will also, of course, feature a continuous stage show, with performers including Lovari, who hit #1 on iTunes R&B new releases with “Still in Love,” appearing with cable porn icon Robin Byrd to sing their hit duet “Touch Me”; the improv musical comedy duo Haus of Mimosa; stand-up comic Paul Hallasy; actor, singer, songwriter, and radio/ TV host Tym Moss; Rob Scott, a Brooklyn-born child soap star who discovered his passion for music while singing beside Will Smith at the 1998 Grammies; singer and songwriter Josh Zuckerman, who enjoyed heavy rotation on Sirius FM Radio last year with “Turn Around”; acoustic soul rocker Cody Bondra; playwright and actor José Batista Ayala; versatile stage and TV drag comedic queen Honey Clover; nightlife personality Paige Turner, dubbed “the ultimate Barbie in the drag world”; Pep-
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Chelsey and Val, a couple of four years from Georgia, will get married in New York at the Original LGBT Expo on February 28.
All that has now changed. After entering a wedding contest held by the same-sex marriage resource website EngaygedWeddings.com, the couple will travel free to New York City on February 26 to claim a wedding package valued at $30,000 — including a deluxe stay at the Intercontinental Hotel in Times Square, car service by Perfect Limo, personalized wedding
ENGAYGED, continued on p.23
permint, who boasts seven drag shows every week in New York; Tina Turner impressionist Ron B.; and DJ jRoc, famed for his Top 40/ House/ Dance mixes. A highlight on the stage will be a lifetime achievement award given to longtime downtown maven Michael Musto on Sunday at 3 p.m. One of Life Out Loud Events’ main goals in 2015 is to engage those who turn out for a longer stretch of the day than in past years. “There is a difference between attendees and fans,” Handy said. “We want to draw fans and we want to treat them as such.” Asked for expected attendance for the weekend, Handy was modest. Noting that past years’ turn-out averaged from 20,000 to 25,000, he said, “We’ll be happy to do 25,001.” Daily admission tickets are $20, with VIP admission, which includes a host of perks, including free entry to afterparties on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, are $40. For complete information, visit thelgbtexpo.com.
February 19 - March 04, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
ENGAYGED, from p.22
bands from Brent & Jess, photography by Steven Rosen, and a $5,000 cake from haute so sweet. The wedding on Saturday at the LGBT Expo will feature flowers from NYC Flower Project, music by Capriccio Ensemble, and officiating by the Reverend Will Mercer. At a date the couple will decide on later, they will enjoy an all-expense paid honeymoon at Los Altos de Eros, an LGBT -friendly luxury destination in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. The wedding bash is perhaps the splashiest endeavor by EngaygedWeddings.com, but the organization has brought high visibility to marriage equality gains ever since its founding in 2009. With mass weddings in locales from Chicago to Seattle, EngaygedWeddings.com has tried to keep pace with the rollout of legalization nationwide. Along the way, the organization has amassed a digital catalog of
resources same-sex couples can draw on in planning their weddings and their married lives together. Click on New York on the site’s US map and you’ll be taken to a page that has links for local bakeries, bartenders, caterers, wedding venues, dance lessons, DJs, florists, photographers, honeymoon accommodations, and more — all of them vetted as knowledgeable and eager to serve the gay and lesbian market. Similar resources are available across the nation and around the world, not only in jurisdictions where same-sex couples can marry, but also in places where couples might choose to celebrate their union even if they had to travel elsewhere to actually tie the knot. You can find Engaygedwedding. com not only online but also at the center of the LGBT Expo’s wedding pavilion on February 28 and March 1. Oh, and Saturday afternoon might be a chance to witness a very special moment in the lives of two loving moms from Georgia.
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ALABAMA, from p.11
authority of a federal district court to decide the question. In his view, state courts and the federal judiciary’s lower courts stand on par with each other, with the US Supreme Court the only bench that can resolve disputes. For Freedom to Marry’s Wolfson, Moore’s argument is disingenuous: “There was no state case until he created one by going down a lawless path.” Moore was able to inject his “anomalous
FIRE ISLAND, from p.12
internationally-renowned Pavilion on the site of a devastating fire that left its predecessor in ashes. They also renovated the Blue Whale, opened Canteen restaurant, and refurbished the Botel pool deck into a huge and wildly popular new party venue. We congratulate Ian
extremism” into the Alabama debate due to the “anomalous quirk” in state law that puts those issuing marriage licenses under the administrative authority of the chief justice and not the governor and the executive branch. Neither Alabama’s Republican governor nor its Republican attorney general, both of whom oppose marriage equality, Wolfson noted, has allied himself with Moore on his resistance to Granade’s authority. Saying he was “reasonably hopeful that the Alabama Supreme Court will not drag out the
and P.J. and wish them a terrific future in the Pines. We’re excited to see them take the commercial district to a new level.” Reisner recognizes that the Fire Island purchase is a challenge, but he said feels his experiences with the Out Hotel will help him get things right. For the West 42nd Street hotel, he said, 2014 was
SHRIVELL, from p.15
conclude that Shirvell — who was standing outside, filming the house — simply fabricated his story.” She described Shirvell’s attempts to minimize some of the evidence as “disingenuous” and “implausible.” The court also rejected Shirvell’s attempt to argue that Armstrong, as the Michigan student government president, was a public figure. Supreme Court precedents make it extremely difficult for a public figure to win damages for defamation, requiring a finding of “actual malice” — which the jury did, in fact, find here. In any event, the appeals court disagreed with Shirvell’s characterization of Armstrong. A student body president is not a public official or a government spokesperson, and the court concluded that Armstrong even fell short of the category of “limited public figure” — for having thrust himself forward into a public controversy. The only controversy in this case, the panel found, was created by Shirvell, not Armstrong.
delay invited by Roy Moore,” Wolfson acknowledged that should the State Supreme Court direct probate judges to defy the federal district court, confusion will get worse before it gets better. The ACLU’s Marshall said, “We’re hoping that this does not create the kind of chaos this could create.” But both Marshall and Wolfson, for now at least, see Moore’s shenanigans as a “side show.” “Marriage equality is coming to Alabama, one way or the other,” Marshall said. “We will prevail.”
an excellent year, with 89 percent occupancy and a “50 percent gay/ 50 percent straight” mix of clientele. XL, the hotel’s nightclub, was a more difficult situation, he said, hastening to add that its problems have been overcome. Last month, he said, was the best January the club has ever had. XL’s current talent roster, with headliners such as
Shirvell also claimed Armstrong failed to prove he suffered any real injury as a result of Shirvell’s actions, but the court found plenty of evidence to support the jury’s conclusion that Armstrong was entitled to compensatory damages. Having found that some of Shirvell’s statements fell into the category of per se defamation — statements presumed to inflict injury, such as, for example, tarring Armstrong as a racist, a liar, and a Nazi — the jury could award compensatory damages without specific evidence that Armstrong had suffered physically, emotionally, or financially. Beyond that, wrote Gibbons, the jury could have found that Armstrong did suffer actual losses. It appears possible that Shirvell’s activities contributed to Armstrong’s rejection by the Teach for America program, and distracted him sufficiently during his job search to interfere with his obtaining employment after graduation. Armstrong ended up taking unpaid internships while continuing to look. Although he had a modestly-compensated job by the time of trial, Armstrong testified about his con-
Bianca del Rio, Reisner said, offers attractive opportunities for crosspromotion of events and entertainment in his two locations. “The fits and starts are turning into good starts now,” Reisner said of what he has learned from developing the Out Hotel. The Fire Island Pines, he hopes, can build on those lessons.
cern that the case’s notoriety would adversely affect his future job searches. There was also “significant evidence of the emotional harm that Armstrong suffered,” Gibbons wrote, so the court upheld the award of both compensatory damages and punitive damages. The appeals panel, however, agreed with Shirvell that the award of damages for defamation and false light invasion of privacy — two theories so highly related that the plaintiff may “have but one recovery for a single instance of publicity” under Michigan precedent — led the jury to incorrectly double up the damages related to certain of the former assistant attorney general’s statements. As a result, Armstrong’s total award was reduced from $4.5 million to $3.5 million. Neither of those sums seems likely ever to be actually collected by Armstrong, unless the hapless Shirvell suddenly becomes a fabulously wealthy Internet entrepreneur. At this point, the verdict seems more about symbolic vindication.
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Cynthia Nixon chooses a tinderbox topic for her directorial stage debut BY DAVID KENNERLEY
The New Group The Pershing Square Signature Center 480 W. 42nd St. Through Mar. 22 Tue.-Fri. at 7:30 p.m. Sat. at 2 & 8 p.m. Wed., Sun. at 2 p.m. $77; thenewgroup.org 90 mins., no intermission Dr. Williams gripes that “Jackie” (he ignores her real name) doesn’t look him in the eye and can’t be trusted. Jaclyn thinks the doctor looks right through her because he disapproves of black people socializing with white people. Is this conflict due to cultural, racial, or gender bias, or is it just two folks who, pardon the pun, don’t see eye to eye? Not that “Rasheeda Speaking” is solely about racial tensions. The drama shrewdly intuits the power shifts and prickly politics that can arise in any workplace. Jaclyn returns from a weeklong absence (she’d suffered a panic attack or toxin allergy or both) to find her plants wilted from lack of water, her desk piled with junk, and the twitchy Ileen promoted to office manager. “But there’s only two of us,” says Jaclyn incredulously, realizing that Ileen’s job now is to check up on her. She ridicules Ileen for looking
e live in a post-racial society. At least that’s what the average American wants to believe. Ask anyone if they’re guilty of racism and chances are they’ll be galled and fiercely deny it. Yet studies — and recent news headlines — suggest otherwise. In truth, sometimes there is a yawning, murky gap between what we consciously think and how we behave. It’s this chasm that “Rasheeda Speaking,” by Joel Drake Johnson, dares to scrutinize. The central figures in this uneven yet provocative offering from the New Group are two co-workers at a nondescript doctor’s office in present-day Chicago. Jaclyn (Tonya Pinkins), a self-assertive black woman prone to acute respiratory attacks who joined the staff relatively recently, is viewed as rude to patients. Ileen (Dianne Wiest), a timid, squirrelly white woman who has worked there for several years, is asked by Dr. Williams (Darren Goldstein) to document any offending behavior as ammunition to get Jaclyn fired. Once Jaclyn figures out what’s going on, she thwarts their evil plan with a more diabolical one of her own. Tables are turned and then toppled over.
Tonya Pinkins and Dianne Wiest in Joel Drake Johnson’s “Rasheeda Speaking,” directed by Cynthia Nixon.
“pale and puffy” and warns, in all seriousness, that poisonous rays emitted from the computer are stealing Ileen’s color. If the 90-minute drama registers as a bit clumsy, it’s not necessarily the fault of the multitalented Cynthia Nixon, who should be commended for tackling such a fraught tinderbox of a play for her directorial debut. As written, certain moments feel contrived and stretch cre-
Long Night’s Journey into Death O’Neill’s “Iceman Cometh” at BAM is a brilliant ordeal BY ANDY HUMM
he Iceman Cometh” starring Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy in top form along with a flawless ensemble is first and foremost as good and true a rendering of Eugene O’Neill’s epic drama of alcoholism and despair as we are likely to see. The creative team from the Goodman Theatre in Chicago led by director Robert Falls is firing on all cylinders at BAM, but there is a challenge for the audience as well — a marathon confrontation with the humanity of life’s losers who seem to be at rock bottom when the curtain rises on them in a Greenwich Village bar’s dark backroom, but who, we soon learn, have even farther to drop as the stage and their lives are illuminated over the course of almost five hours.
Lee Wilkof and Stephen Ouimette (in foreground), with Brian Dennehy, Nathan Lane, and Salvatore Inzerillo in Eugene O’Neill’s “Iceman Cometh” at BAM through March 16.
There are no Wednesday and Satur day matinees, just one exhausting performance a day six days a week of characters who are — in the main — exhausted from the get-go, often sleeping at their
GayCityNews.nyc | February 19 - March 04, 2015
tables or sitting in vacant, alcoholic stupors staring into space (looking out at us and making it hard to look away). That is the guts of Dennehy’s turn as the spent radical, Larry Slade, who brushes off the
COMMENTARY, continued on p.34
intrusions of his imprisoned ex-lover and comrade’s young son, Don Parritt (Patrick Andrews, outstanding in a pivotal role), and of anyone else who tries to stir him from his wait for the release of death. Late in the first act, traveling salesman Theodore “Hickey” Hickman (Lane), a graduate of Harry Hope’s (Stephen Ouimette, suitably pathetic) saloon, makes his semi-annual appearance — much anticipated by the down-and-out patrons thirsty for his free drinks and glad-handing bull. But Hickey has come this day in 1912 with an unbelievably dark secret and a new agenda for the men and the hookers who also hang there: saving them from their “pipe dreams.” It’s a phrase from the 19th century for the kind of dreams one has when smoking opium and here it is repeated ad nauseam (44 times to be exact), but it is cheap liquor and unbearable reversals in life that drive these men’s delusions.
ICEMAN, continued on p.34
Song and Story The politics of porn, the passions of Poe, the perils of kindergarten BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE
formed radically by technology; it’s only because it’s porn that we pay closer attention. What makes “Pretty/ Filthy” so engaging, in addition to Wohl’s smart book, is the score. Michael Friedman, of “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,” is a clever and incisive lyricist and his score is both complex and approachable. The songs — sharp and sophisticated — cover everything from picking your porn name to the effects of arousal on women and the challenges of men keeping erections. The cast is outstanding. Alyse Alan Louis plays Becky, a small town girl, who becomes Taylor St. Ives (named for the apricot face scrub). It’s certainly a non-traditional ingénue role, but Louis has a great presence and wonderful voice. Luba Mason as Georgina Congress, an aging porn star, is sensational. She’s got a great voice and masters the hard job of conveying the ways the business has changed. Steve Rosen plays several roles, but is
Abrons Art Center 466 Grand St. at Pitt St. Through Mar. 1 Tue.-Sat. at 8 p.m.; Sun. at 2 & 7 p.m. $55; ovationtix.com Or 866-811-4111 90 mins., no intermission
ne tends to think of “political theater” as heavy, pedantic, angry, and obscure, a kind of dramatic breast-beating self-conscious about its own significance. So, when political theater comes in a package as bright and buoyant as the new musical “Pretty/ Filthy,” it may take a few moments to realize how insightful it really is. The subject here is “the other Hollywood,” aka the porn industry. Created by the Civilians, a company that specializes in documentary style theater, the piece is based on interviews with the stars and those behind the camera in the porn industry in Hollywood. What becomes clear is that it is a business, and like all other businesses, it’s one in transition. Book writer Bess Wohl’s book is ingeniously subversive. She lures us in with the first few gags pandering to the audience’s attitude of superiority toward people who “have” to do porn. But then she drills down into who these people are, and we discover that they’re sympathetic, concerned about caring for their kids, looking to build a better life, and not forced into this at all. Who needs to be forced when there are so many willing participants? Wohl’s book also goes right to the heart of porn, skewering, albeit gently, the puritanical superiority endemic in a society near ly all of whose members have watched porn at some point. The show tracks the industry’s evolution from its 1980s high point with the introduction of the VCR to the threats the Internet poses to its revenue stream. Like so many industries, this is one being trans-
Maria-Christina Oliveras, Alyse Alan Louis, Jared Zirelli (background), John Behlmann, and Lulu Fall in Bess Wohl and Michael Friedman’s “Pretty/ Filthy.”
New World Stages 340 W. 50th St. Mon. at 7 p.m.; Wed.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Sat. at 2:30 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. $75-$115; telecharge.com Or 212-239-6200 Two hrs., 45 mins., with intermission
most memorable as Sam Spiegel, an agent. He’s got a kind of oleaginous charm that makes him as appealing and good-hearted as he is creepy. The rest of the company — John Behlmann, Lulu Fall, Maria-Christina Oliveras, Marrick Smith, and Jared Zirilli — are all excellent, each playing a variety of roles. Steve Cosson’s tight and focused direction keeps the show moving, and Neil Patel’s slightly cheesy backdrop and the effective use of projections by Darrel Maloney are also just right. Like the best documentaries, the show seems to make no judgments about its subject matter, but through compelling human stories, it demands we take notice of something we may pretend doesn’t exist.
“Nevermore” is the story of Edgar Allen Poe in his last days, and I’m guessing it’s the first steampunk musical, thanks to outrageously imaginative design by Bretta Gerecke. In fact, the design
APPLICATION PENDING Westside Theatre 407 W. 43rd St. Through Apr. 19 Sun.-Tue. at 7 p.m. Thu.-Sat. at 8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. at 3 p.m. $79-99; telecharge.com Or 212-239-6200 75 mins., no intermission
tends to overwhelm the thin book, which chronicles Poe’s life as told by a troupe of players who encounter Poe on his final train trip. Poe had a rough life — unlucky in love, unlucky in business — and just when it seemed it might be turning around, he dies. The show was created by writer, composer, and director Jonathan Christenson, and for all the outlandish look of the piece (think Edward Gorey meets Lady Gaga), it’s a fairly traditional sequential tale in verse of Poe’s life that could use some editing. At two hours and 45 minutes, it is overlong, with not enough new in the second act to sustain interest as well as verse that begins to feel strained. All that aside, the reason to see the show is Scott Shpeley’s sensational performance as Poe. He has one of those rare voices that is as versatile as it is beautiful and the effect is often thrilling. The rest of the six-member company playing a variety of roles are excellent as well, but it’s unfortunate that the concept trumps the content and lacks the tension we generally expect from Poe himself.
Let me just say I adore Christina Bianco. As a comedienne and singer, her impressions have been
BIANCA, continued on p.37
February 19 - March 04, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
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When a Straight Irishman Stumbles into a Gay Parade What drummer Brian Fleming learned about inclusiveness in Queens
BY KATHLEEN WARNOCK
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t all started with the big drum. “I had built the biggest drum in the world, 15 feet in diameter,” Brian Fleming said. “The drum they called the biggest drum in the world, it looked like a little bongo compared to mine!” Fleming, who lives in County Clare, Ireland, decided that the world’s largest drum needed to come to America. For St. Patrick’s Day. “I phoned up the Fifth Ave. parade, and they said they don’t do floats,” he recalled. “So I found the St. Pat’s for All Parade and [its founder] Brendan Fay, and it turned out he was on his way to Dublin. So we ended up meeting. And I was thinking: a New York City gay rights activist, this guy was going to be dressed like Elton John or Liberace, but he was just a raving normal guy and we got to talking and talking and talking... I could see how passionate he was about the parade, and he could see how passionate I was about my drum.” The drum never made it to New York. It would have cost a fortune to ship it. But the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs did send Fleming and several other Irish musicians to the St. Pat’s for All Parade, the inclusive parade in Sunnyside, Queens, begun in response to Manhattan’s exclusion of LGBT groups. It was the start of a relationship that has spanned more a decade and encompassed dozens of musicians, concerts, parades, and now a solo show, “A Sacrilegious Lesbian & Homosexual Parade,” written and performed by Fleming. Directed by Raymond Keane, it’s having its US premiere at Frigid NY, for six performances beginning February at 19 at Under St. Mark’s Theater. When he got to New York, Fleming “couldn’t believe the drama going on around the parade and what Irish-Americans were saying about it, and that the Church was sort of lining up against Brendan. At that point in Ireland, we were just starting to have a lot of influx of
Brian Fleming presents his “A Sacrilegious Lesbian & Homosexual Parade” at Frigid New York.
A SACRILEGIOUS LESBIAN & HOMOSEXUAL PARADE Frigid New York Horse Trade Theater Group Under St. Marks Theater 94 St. Marks Pl., btwn. First Ave. & Ave. A Feb. 19 at 5: 30 p.m.; Feb. 23 at 10:30 p.m. Feb. 28, Mar. 4 at 7:10 p.m. Mar. 7 at 12:30 p.m.; Mar. 8 at 1:50 p.m. $15; $10 for students & seniors horsetrade.info immigrants. We had one Nigerian member in our band, playing djembe, and then we get to Queens and finally got to see the actual melting pot that people talk about all the time in places where it hasn’t happened. Queens, where you have every race under the sun living together and mostly getting on.” On the day of the parade, Fleming recalled “it was so uplifting. When you look up and see people leaning out of the buildings: all different colors, all different ethnicities, all enjoying the parade, it’s a great example of what a St. Patrick’s parade could be. And the whole thing of making Irishness an excuse for exclusivity is anathema to me.” Fleming’s musical career includes more than 40 albums and work in dozens of countries, and his travels gave him the urge to write about his experiences and how they changed him. “A lot of the work I do is as a drummer /musician,” he said. “You’re the guy backing people. You make songs happen and it’s not always clear to the person listening what it is you did. Often it’s very hard for me to point out that’s the bit I did. A builder builds a house — ‘I made it, people live in it.’ In music, you can find it very difficult to say, ‘This is me, this is what I did.’”
Fleming’s first show, “Gis a Shot of Your Bongos Mister” (2011) was about “some parts of my life where I was traveling over to Africa and bringing African musicians to Ireland, to working class neighborhoods in Dublin. I sent it to the Fringe in Dublin, and they accepted it. Then they send you to some workshops on writing. I didn’t have my drums and had to read a bit of the piece. They didn’t laugh or throw me out or call me a fake. And I realized that the writing is valid. It passes.” In his next show, “Have Yis No Homes To Go To” (2013), about joining a troupe of Clowns Without Borders to tour Rwanda, he used more words and visuals and less drumming. “So by the time I got to this one, I didn’t feel obliged to put in a whole lot of drumming,” he explained. “That’s my other thing. This is a theater thing. So I wanted to make a show about St. Pat’s for All.” Originally, Fleming said, he had trouble with show’s arc and point of view. “I was actually intending to play a character called the Naked Panti Boy, who would be a cross between the Naked Cowboy and [Irish drag queen and activist] Panti Bliss,” he recalled. “Thankfully, dramaturg Michelle Read didn’t get that character at all. I’ve been saved that. Audiences should all be grateful to her.” What Fleming was trying to sort out was how to include — or whether to mention — that he’s straight and that he felt the parade was Brendan Fay’s story. “There are liberties you can take if you’re gay and you’re talking about other people persecuting gays in the way Panti does; she gives them an awful teasing,” Fleming said. “If you’re straight, you don’t feel you have the right to talk about things in the same way. And I was trying to figure whether and when I should out myself as straight.” Bliss’ manager, advising him to play it “straight” from the start, pointed out the significance of the play in the context of the public debate over the upcoming marriage equality referendum in Ireland. “He said, ‘This is important. When the equality referendum comes up, we all know which way the gay people are going to vote, but we need this middle ground of allies who can see it from their own point of view,’” Fleming recalled. “‘Your perspective is valuable and valid too.’” With that Fleming went back to work. “I ended up taking a sort of gonzo Irish perspective: stumbling into things clumsily and going on and discovering stuff that way,” he said. “I just stumble in as a heterosexual Irish person trying to dress up camp to fit into the parade and not really getting it, which is the way it was. I brought the Irish musicians and had no idea of LGBT issues, just knew I had met some really good people and we were having a good time and doing something right.” February 19 - March 04, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
Cinema Succor in a Cold Season With impressive breadth, Film Comment Selects keeps New York in global swing
BY STEVE ERICKSON
Franco Maresco’s “Belluscone: A Sicilian Story” purports to be an unfinished film by the generally sarcastic and provocative Maresco, who disappeared under mysterious circumstances. It was supposedly assembled by other editors and is narrated by real-life film critic Tatti Sanguineti. The pretext, of course, is nonsense. Using a fragmented structure, it tells a coherent story of the Mafia’s influence on Italian politics and culture, leading all the way up to the infamously corrupt former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. But Maresco sets his sights fairly small, concentrating at first on music promoter Ciccio Mira (whose interviews are shot in black and white, while the rest of the film is in color, for some reason) and his stable of “neomelodic” artists. No one can define the neomelodic style, but while one artist says his message is anti-violence, it seems to involve frequently giving shoutouts to prisoners, sometimes including coded messages from the Mafia. Maresco’s resort to a fictional framing device suggests his difficulty getting a handle on a man as slippery as Berlusconi and an organization as big as the Mafia. While the film is quite funny, it never settles GayCityNews.nyc | February 19 - March 04, 2015
Kon Ichikawa’s 1959 “Fires on the Plain”
FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER
anuary and February are usually deserts for cinephiles, although this is less true in a city with a still-thriving film repertory scene like New York. Granted, 2015 has already brought us worthwhile films like Bruno Dumont’s “Li’l Quinquin,” Desiree Akhvan’s “Appropriate Behavor,” Peter Strickland’s “The Duke of Burgundy,” Aleksei German’s “Hard to Be a God,” and Abderrahmane Sissako’s “Timbuktu,” but most of these were fairly marginal releases that disappeared in a week or two. In the mainstream, Michael Mann’s clumsily scripted but visually vibrant “Blackhat” was the only sign of life. That’s why winter programs like the Museum of the Moving Image’s “First Look,” MoMA’s “Documentary Fortnight,” and the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s “Film Comment Selects” are essential links for New Yorkers to the greater world of international film festivals. Programmed by the editors of Film Comment magazine, this year’s “Film Comment Selects” kicks off with a documentary on ‘80s schlock distributors Cannon Films and includes new and old films from the US, Chile, Germany, France, Italy, Hong Kong, Iran, and Japan. There are a number of titles celebrating their 40th anniversary, including Philippe Garrel’s extremely rare “Un ange passe.” The festival swerves from the austerity of Garrel to Larry Clark’s latest investigation of teenage sexuality to a collection of student films by ‘70s horror filmmakers. Here’s my take on four films I was able to sample:
Malmros isn’t out to find cracks in Denmark’s social democracy; Kirsten’s downfall is more personal and mysterious. As rendered by the director, it’s all the more haunting for its depiction in pretty, colorful cinematography. (February 27, 6:30 p.m.)
Danish director Nils Malmros' 1992 "Pain of Love."
FILM COMMENT SELECTS Feb. 20-Mar. 5 Film Society of Lincoln Center 144 W. 65th St. filmlinc.com
for easy potshots at everyday Sicilian pop music fans, and some of its best jokes are aimed at the director himself. A coda, in which Italians reveal their ignorance of the Mafia’s involvement with Italian politics, suggests why Maresco made it. (February 24, 8:30 p.m.)
This year’s “Film Comment Selects” offers a six-film retro of Danish director Nils Malmros, whose 1992 “Pain of Love” I was able to preview. Malmros is willing to delve into very challenging and difficult emotional territory, going at least as far as Ingmar Bergman. “Pain of Love” tells the story of a troubled woman named Kirsten, from childhood through young adulthood. The film is loosely based on the experiences of Malmros’ wife; his most recent film, “Sorrow and Joy,” tells the story of her infanticide of their child. Unlike Lars von Trier’s melodramas about sacrifices females make, there are no easy targets here. Kirsten’s parents are understanding; when she becomes sexually active, her mother takes her to get fitted for a diaphragm. The men she dates disappoint her, but that seems to have more to do with her personal demons. They’re not perfect, but they’re kind and pleasant enough.
is one of the bleakest and most devastating anti-war films ever made. So why remake it? Ichikawa’s Japanese compatriot Shinya Tsukamoto has had a go, with weak results. A soldier (played by the director himself) wanders the Philippines in the final days of World War II, affected by TB and adrift from the organized Japanese troops. Tsukamoto made his reputation with cult genre films, some of them — like “Tetsuo: Iron Man” and “Nightmare Detective” — extremely good. But here, he turns World War II into a B-movie gore-fest. Splattering brain material and bisecting heads doesn’t effectively convey the horror of war; Tsukamoto makes World War II look like an Italian zombie film; the emphasis on cannibalism in the final half hour doesn’t help. The use of nocturnal settings does lend the film an effectively nightmarish quality, and I appreciated its narrative abruptness, particularly in the beginning. But Tsukamoto falls far short of his role model. (February 21, 5:15 p.m.)
Riley Stearns’ “Faults” opens with cult deprogrammer Ansel Roth (Leland Orser, who does downtrodden middle age perfectly) at the end of his rope. On his way from a poorly received talk at a hotel, he’s greeted by a couple who want their daughter Claire (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) saved from an organization called Faults. Desperate for money, he agrees. Despite having been made on a tiny budget, as far as one can tell from its small cast and the use of two hotel rooms as sets for the majority of the film, “Faults” has a strong sense of visual style. Stearns’ signature is a slow zoom from a static camera into the image of two people talking. He doesn’t move the camera unless it’s absolutely necessary. Perhaps due to its use of limited space, “Faults” feels like an adaptation of a play, although Stearns wrote it directly for the screen. Still, David Mamet or Neil LaBute would be proud of its twists and turns, while its hints of the paranormal are all Stearns’ own. Very quickly, it becomes apparent that Roth is in way over his head; as critic John DeFore put it, viewers may identify with his realization that he’s been manipulated by people with hidden agendas. Stearns’ interest in power and control extends outwards from the characters to the audience. (February 23, 8:30 p.m.)
Getting Beyond Gare du Nord Robin Campillo explores a young Ukrainian immigrant’s effort to live a life other than a hustler’s BY GARY M. KRAMER
FIRST RUN FEATURES
he outstanding French drama “Eastern Boys” opens as if it’s a sexdrenched film about exploited undocumented immigrant hustlers. A cluster of young, attractive Eastern European youths congregate outside of Paris’ Gare du Nord. In a hypnotic sequence that unfolds largely without subtitles one of these Eastern boys, the handsome Ukrainian Marek, agrees to meet French businessman Daniel at Daniel’s house the following day and, for €50, “do anything.” Shr ewdly, writer/ dir ector Robin Campillo takes this familiar storyline and turns it into a far more intense and absorbing drama. Awaiting Marek’s arrival, Daniel is surprised in his apart-
Kirill Emelyanov and Olivier Rabourdin in Robin Campillo’s “Eastern Boys.”
ment by Marek’s gang, who take over his posh home and clean it out, removing his artwork, destroying his fur niture, and generally wreaking havoc. That Daniel dances with these intruders, rather than call the cops, is explained mostly by a chapter title
that reads: “This Party of Which I Am the Hostage.” Daniel, it seems is resigned to the bad situation that has befallen him. “Eastern Boys” is riveting in this sequence, with pulsating electronic dance music playing and palpable sexual tension, especially when
a good-looking Russian, known as the Boss, taunts Daniel before dancing with him. Daniel does get what he originally bargained for, as well. Marek later turns up and allows Daniel to fuck him for the €50 originally agreed on. Rather than exacting revenge, Daniel makes love to Marek, and the two agree to additional assignations. “Eastern Boys” is a character study that will leave audiences wondering if Marek is merely gay-for-pay, exploiting Daniel, or there is more going on emotionally between the two men. The point of the film becomes clear in its third and longest act. Campillo ratchets up the tension as Daniel hatches a plan to help Marek extricate himself from working for the Boss. The taut plot makes it difficult to anticipate whether the film will end romantically or tragically. With viewers on tenterhooks as Marek tries to quit the hustling business, an extended scene in which in which undocumented Eastern Europe-
EASTERN BOYS, continued on p.31
Deep, often unspoken forces drive bodies to their destiny in Karim Aïnouz’s “Futuro Beach.” BY GARY M. KRAMER
ut gay filmmaker Karim Aïnouz’s superb new film “Futuro Beach” is a gripping three-part drama that begins in danger ous ocean waters. Konrad (Clemens Schick) is swimming with his friend Heiko (Fred Lima) at a Brazilian beach when Heiko suddenly disappears. Donato (Wagner Moura), a hunky lifeguard, saves Konrad and explains that Heiko is the first swimmer he has ever lost. Bound by their shared survivor’s guilt, Donato offers assistance to Konrad. These men are strangers to each other and the audience, Aïnouz providing no background except a few lines of dialogue. But their bond is strong; almost immediately the two guys are having a hot and heavy tryst in Donato’s car. As they spend increasing-
ly more time together during the 10 days Konrad searches for his friend’s missing body, their relationship deepens. In fragmented episodes, Aïnouz captures the ebb and flow of their erotic and emotional currents. “Futuro Beach” has no real plot. It is a mood piece featuring bodies in various dramatic environments — cities, beaches, in the water, and on the road. Konrad’s search for the missing Heiko is a quietly powerful sequence in a boat along the ocean. Donato is most at home in a pool or working in an aquarium. The emphasis on the men’s physical — and often naked or near-naked — bodies is mesmerizing. They express themselves more with silence and body language than verbal communication. One poignant scene has Konrad and Donato stripping down to their undershorts on craggy rocks. The men allow the water
to splash up against them, and the danger provides them with a release for their emotions. This is also a rare moment when the two men verbally articulate their feelings for each other. The intense affair between these sexy strangers does not end after Konrad returns to Germany. Part two of the film has Donato visiting Konrad, the men spending time dancing, fucking, and fighting. They also discuss the future of their relationship, which it appears could end at any moment. The despair each of these men exhibits makes their drama hypnotic. Konrad continues to struggle with Heiko’s death in Brazil, while Donato seems uneasy away from a beach during his visit to Germany. The men’s feelings are largely unspoken, even repressed as they try to find comfort in each other. “Futuro Beach” is all about displacement and how people
FUTURO BEACH Directed by Karim Aïnouz Strand Releasing In Portuguese and German with English subtitles Opens Feb. 27 IFC Center 323 Sixth Ave. at W. Third St. ifccenter.com adapt to being out of their natural environment. When Donato, bored with a children’s basketball game Konrad takes him to, wanders off and into an empty classroom, a custodian who catches him informs Donato that he is not supposed to be there. It is a vivid metaphor for Donato’s lack of belonging and overall malaise. “I hate my life,” he confesses at one point to Konrad. “Futuro Beach” shifts gears in
TIDES, continued on p.31
February 19 - March 04, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
EASTERN BOYS c
EASTERN BOYS, from p.30
ans eke out fragile, tenuous existences in an anonymous hotel will surely resonate. “Eastern Boys” may be a variation on the “white savior” genre — in which a heroic white man uplifts a racial other — but that does not work against it. How the characters subvert social constraints is what makes the film so interesting, similar to the way “Heading South,” a 2005 film Campillo co-wrote about sex tourism featured middle-aged white women and younger Haitian men. He explores marginalized characters but also shines spotlights on strange bedfellows. The director’s voyeuristic style of shooting — from the early scene at the train station to the mesmerizing episode in Daniel’s apartment and later the nerve-wracking sequence at the Boss’ hotel — pulls viewers into the action. Campillo’s fluid visual approach makes scenes of the Boss hunting his prey and Daniel caressing Marek naturalistic and exciting, even if the plotting at times strains credulity. The acting by the three princi-
Directed by Robin Campillo First Run Features Opens Feb. 27; one week only Film Society of Lincoln Center Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center 144 W. 65th St. filmlinc.com ples is impressive. Olivier Rabourdin is very expressive as Daniel; his hangdog look upon seeing Marek enter his apartment during the home invasion speaks volumes. As Marek, Kirill Emelyanov offers a very sensitive portrait of a young man looking for a way out of a bad situation. When he waves to Daniel at his window, we can feel real affection there. In support, Daniil Vorobjev is absolutely magnetic as the Boss. Alternately tough and seductive, Vorobjev steals his every scene. Marek’s story is one of many about foreign youth hoping to escape a bad life by moving to a new country. The film, though occasionally manipulative, is always compelling, and audiences will root for Marek and Daniel. “Eastern Boys” ends in a powerful delivery of Campillo’s message. C
Wagner Moura (center) in Karim Aïnouz’s “Futuro Beach.”
TIDES, from p.30
the third and weakest episode. Here, Donato’s younger brother, Ayrton (Jesuíta Barboso), travels from Brazil to Germany looking to reunite with Donato, whom he has not seen in almost a decade. The episode forces viewers to fill in many blanks regarding the characters, who are as enigmatic at this point as they were when they first met in Brazil. Still, patient viewers will appreciate this part’s symmetries with what came before as Ayrton stays with Konrad while trying to reconnect with Donato. The three men play complementary roles in the over-
all tale. A match cut that connects the lane of a swimming pool Donato dives into with a road Ayrton is driving along echoes something we learned earlier — that while Donato was bor n to be in the water, Ayrton is afraid of it. “Futuro Beach” is a subtle film that demands something of audiences if they are to engage with its characters and themes, but Aïnouz elicits strong performances from his lead actors. The shy, wounded characters find ways to communicate, sometimes wordlessly, and such moments help the film get under the viewer’s skin — like the salt at Futuro Beach that, Donato explains, corrodes.
GayCityNews.nyc | February 19 - March 04, 2015
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LA Overkill Screenwriter Bruce Wagner’s story on steroids overwhelms David Cronenberg’s first US venture BY STEVE ERICKSON
or the first two thirds of his career, Canadian director David Cronenberg was known as the king of “body-horror.” Who can forget the phallic appendages grown by Marilyn Chambers in “Rabid” or the quasi-vaginal VCR slit in James Woods’ stomach in “Videodrome”? While not queer himself, Cronenberg’s films are full of images of gender and sexual fluidity, made most explicit in “M. Butterfly” and “Crash.” They’ve influenced gay directors like Todd Haynes. With his latest film, “Maps to the Stars,” Cronenberg ventures to the US for a shoot for the first time. It should be no surprise that the result isn’t exactly a paean to the American Dream. A bigger surprise is that screenwriter Bruce Wagner’s sour voice dominates, though it’s true that Cronenberg has grown increasingly reliant on other writers’ work, as well, sometimes to his detriment. “Maps to the Stars” begins with a young woman asleep on a bus. She turns out to be Agatha (Mia Wasikowska), a Twitter friend of
Carrie Fisher’s who has just arrived in Hollywood from Florida, having pretty much been discarded by her family, who have their own demons. She makes friends with a limo driver (Robert Pattinson) and quickly gets a job as an assistant to Havana (Julianne Moore), a troubled actress angling for a role as her own mother. Stafford Weiss (John Cusack) is a self-help guru with a celebrity coterie. His 13-year-old son Benjie (Evan Bird) is a child star who just got out of rehab. In lieu of Oxycontin, he’s now pounding energy drinks and returning to the “Bad Babysitter” franchise. “Maps to the Stars” is the latest in a long line of films about women getting screwed over by Hollywood, from Billy Wilder’s “Sunset Boulevard” to David Lynch’s “Mulholland Dr.” and “Inland Empire.” It exposes the plastic, tabloid mentality ruling LA. Or does it? The dialogue is full of name-dropping. For example, Wagner’s script presumes that the audience will recognize that a reference to “Harvey” probably means Miramax and Weinstein Company founder Harvey Weinstein. Lynch’s films didn’t rely on such
Robert Pattinson in David Cronenberg’s “Maps to the Stars.”
MAPS TO THE STARS Directed by David Cronenberg Focus World Opens Feb. 27 IFC Center 323 Sixth Ave. at W. Third St. ifccenter.com
OVERKILL, continued on p.33
Early ‘50s British Complacency Fails to Fire John Boorman’s return to the big screen has too little at stake BY STEVE ERICKSON
ilm Forum preceded the opening of British director John Boor man’s “Qu e en & C oun t r y ” with a weeklong retrospective of his earlier films. The retro closes with “Hope and Glory,” the 1987 film to which “Queen & Country” is a belated sequel. In fact, this new film opens with footage from that earlier, highly acclaimed opus. This time around, Boorman has set his sights much lower. Putting “Queen & Country” in the context of Boorman’s entire career, which includes classics like “Point Blank,” “Hell in the Pacific,” and “Excalibur,” may not do it any favors. Even at the height of his talent, Boorman had a penchant for bizarre follies like “Zardoz” and “Exorcist II: The
Heretic,” but at least they were far more entertaining than his latest film, if not necessarily in the ways in which they were intended to be. “Queen & Country” is complacent and nostalgic. Apart from some sexual frankness and four -letter words, it could have been made in the early ‘50s, the period in which it’s set. In the opening scene, we learn that Bill (Callum Turner) lives with his parents on an island in the Thames. His older sister Dawn (Vanessa Kirby) has emigrated to Canada. Bill expects to get drafted and those fears (or, possibly, wishes) come true. He’s not very happy with the authoritarian nature of military life and dreads having to fight in the Korean War. Fortunately, he’s kept behind to serve as a teacher for younger soldiers and becomes friends with Percy (Caleb
Landry Jones). The two constantly get in trouble with the obnoxious Sergeant Major Bradley (David Thewlis), especially after stealing a rare Victorian clock. On leave, Bill falls for Ophelia (Tamsin Egerton); actually, he gives her that name because she won’t tell him her real name, a sign their relationship isn’t built to last. Boor man is waxing autobiographical here, although that doesn’t become entirely explicit until the final scene. It’s natural to feel affection for one’s youth, but doing so in this context requires leaving out quite a bit: namely, the fact that there was a war going on. Bill never makes it to Korea. He finds it boring to be stuck in England teaching typewriting, but at least his life is safe. Boorman’s depiction of English life in the early ‘50s is similarly tame. Getting a TV
QUEEN & COUNTRY Directed by John Boorman BBC Worldwide North America Opens Feb. 18 Film Forum 209 W. Houston St. filmforum.org set to watch the coronation is the high point of the existence of Bill’s family. It would be 15 years or so before homosexuality was decriminalized in Britain, and the slurs and innuendo fly freely. If there’s a recurring theme in Boorman’s oeuvre, it’s men (or women, in the case of “Beyond Rangoon”) pushed out of their comfort zones by a confrontation with the unknown, such as the wilderness in “Hell in the Pacific” and
QUEEN, continued on p.33
February 19 - March 04, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
OVERKILL, from p.32
knowledge. It doesn’t seem to be just a coincidence that the limo driver, who comes off the best of any of these characters, is loosely based on the young Wagner. It wouldn’t be completely accurate to say “Maps to the Stars” does away with body-horror. Agatha’s hands and body are covered with burns, the result of a childhood accident we gradually learn more about. But we never see them. The real horror in “Maps to the Stars” is psychological, largely the product of incest; it feels like almost everyone in the film is a victim. Wagner is aiming for Greek tragedy here, but missing. His mythic tone, which calls attention to the symbolism of fire and water and the way certain characters have been marked by these elements, feels like the product of a particularly
ambitious grad student. Visually, Cronenberg lends a chilly elegance to the dark side of LA. The production design can’t be faulted either; most characters’ homes look like largely empty art galleries. This style, as effective as it is conceptually, doesn’t do the bleak humor of Wagner’s script any favors. But Wagner’s vision has been outdone by Matthew Stokoe’s brutal novel “High Life” or even Dan Gilroy’s tabloid saga “Nightcrawler.” Fame’s underbelly is part of what attracts people to Hollywood, just as the dangers of hard drugs, as well as their pleasures, appeal to people looking to lose themselves for a few hours. A real cautionary tale about Hollywood would show actors fiddling with their cell phones for hours while people set up lights, not teens drinking GHB, playing with guns, and engaging in perverse sex.
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Caleb Landry Jones and Callum Turner in John Boorman’s “Queen & Country.”
QUEEN, from p.32
“Deliverance.” The unknown here mostly takes the form of military bureaucracy and Sergeant Major Bradley. For a film that takes place during the Korean War and encompasses sexual betrayals, not much seems to be at stake. Only during the final 15 minutes does Boorman bring any true danger into the picture. He ends by humanizing Bradley and showing the perils of war, but it’s too little, too late.
Boorman undoubtedly got something off his chest by making his film, but I’m not sure what. The best comedies made by England’s Ealing Studios at the time it was set had more edge. The final shot sets one up for a continuation of Bill’s story. Given that Boorman is now 82 and had gone eight years between films, will he ever get the chance to continue his cinematic autobiography? And if he does, will it regain the punch missing from “Queen & Country”?
GayCityNews.nyc | February 19 - March 04, 2015
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Snowy Lincoln Center Nights Verdi’s “Requiem” a highlight of Philharmonic season; Juilliard treats with Gluck’s “Iphigénie” BY DAVID SHENGOLD
he Metropolitan’s seemingly endless run of the 1982 Zeffirelli “Bohème” r esumed January 15 after more than a month’s lapse. Riccardo Frizza had trouble holding together ensemble; rehearsals for cast members new or returning from past seasons must have been minimal. The performance dragged and just didn’t quite gel. French tenor Jean-François Borras — who memorably jumped in last year for Jonas Kaufmann in “Werther” — won himself a return as Rodolfo. It’s a clean, pleasingly heady sound, perhaps better suited here to slightly lighter French or Italian works, but he performed capably. Unlike most Rodolfos, he bravely essayed “Che gelida manina” in its original key; he made its climactic high C, briefly lost it, and then found it again. Thereafter he pointedly let loose on high notes. Overall, Bourras offered a good characterization.
The much-ballyhooed Kristine Opolais continues a puzzlement. She is certainly telegenic, presenting Mimi as a kind of goth Nicole Kidman, unsparingly realistic in showing her physical weakness even in the early acts. Opolais commits to enacting her characters with maximum conviction. But, though she plainly knows what she’s singing, I heard no particular mastery of verbal infection. More troublingly, even for increasingly looks-driven audiences, she just didn’t sing very well. Opolais’ upper octave is quite lovely and allows bloom on high notes. Lower down the sound was cloudy and empty. She did improve, managing a gracefully done Act Three (the heart of this drama), but the essential low notes for Mimi’s searing “Sono andati” emerged manufactured. Can this talented “singing actress” muster the purely vocal chops to succeed at the Met? Musetta was Marina Rebeka, fresh from a run of satisfying Violettas. Curiously inaudible at first,
COMMENTARY, from p.25
dulity; behind the poignancy, we are often too aware of Jackson’s intentions. It’s like watching a production of “Peter Pan” where the fly wires are replaced by heavy-gauge steel chains. Would an elderly patient like Rose (the ever-reliable Patricia Conolly) really suggest to a receptionist like Jaclyn that her attitude problem was somehow motivated by “a revenge for slavery?” Highly doubtful.
ICEMAN, from p.25
“Have the guts to be who you are,” Hickey tells them — an exhortation familiar to us in the LGBT movement — but all he succeeds in doing is throwing their lives into turmoil. “Dat Hickey,” Joe Mott, the lone black denizen (John Douglas Thompson in a standout performance) says, “he gets my head all mixed up with craziness.” A play this deep and long gives us an opportunity to reflect on lots of things beyond its great stagecraft. I couldn’t help think at age 61 about the state of my own dreams
her voice clicked in just in time for a solid enough Waltz Song with lots of personality; she did better thereafter. Mariusz Kwiecien’s sexy Marcello was welcomely detailed in both motion and verbal point; he drove his fine baritone a little harder than needed. In Alessio Arduini, the company has found a suitable, stylish Schaunard. This wasn’t a special evening.
The next night marked a high point of the New York Philharmonic season: a wonderful performance of the Verdi “Requiem,” truly one of the most enjoyable classical vocal pieces extant. Critics have long pointed to the work’s “operatic” nature — if you’re looking for an inward evocation of Heavenly Peace, head for Gabriel Fauré’s “Requiem” — but the theatricality of Verdi’s score, best experienced in a live concert, just adds to its magnificence and power. The trumpets were arrayed in the balconies of Avery Fisher Hall and Alan Gilbert stressed the showy aspect of the
A terrific cast goes far to overcome the machinations. Pinkins mines a streak of gentle vulnerability within Jaclyn, earning our empathy even as she connives with impunity. Wiest is well cast as the dedicated, bumbling office manager clearly out of her depths. The overriding message seems to be: Everyone’s a little bit racist. Which, come to think of it, is the title of a hilariously trenchant ditty from the puppet musical “Avenue Q,” executed with a panache that’s only occasionally displayed here.
— pipe, personal, and political. There is a character for most everyone to identify with at some level — and each gets a chance to tell his or her story in the spotlight. I saw echoes of “Our Town” (written in 1938, the year before O’Neill wrote this play, which was not produced until ’46) with its indelible graveyard scene where the dead sit and talk to the recently departed Emily. In “Iceman,” the near dead occupy the landscape similarly — less relating to each other and more biding their time before the end. It also presages the tragicomedy that Samuel Beckett perfected
music, but the smooth and precisely coordinated New York Choral Artists brought forth the needed dignity and fervor. Angela Meade proved in remarkable form, her dark soprano attractive and even thrilling over a high dynamic span. Her precise attacks were most welcome. I heard several audience members make comparisons with Montserrat Caballé, and they were merited. We rarely hear Finnish star Lilli Paasikivi in this country, and that’s a shame as she boasts one of the most beautiful mezzo-soprano voices to be heard today, notable for a rich supply of tone colors and outstanding technical ability. Tenor Russell Thomas subbed well for Brandon Jovanovich. Already the veteran of several Verdi roles, his high notes are magnetic and full. If not quite the master of dynamics his three colleagues were — the sound in the (ideally) floated “Hostias” section emerged a bit
SNOWY NIGHTS, continued on p.35
And if you’re wondering where the titular Rasheeda comes in, she’s the subject of a story recounted by Jaclyn about a group of rowdy young professionals on her daily bus commute. The “pretty white men” mock the hardworking, middle-aged black women on the bus, and Rasheeda is their derogatory code name. Never mind that the passage is shoehorned into the proceedings. As delivered with quiet intensity by Pinkins, the magnificent monologue is by far the most potent moment of the play.
in “Waiting for Godot” in 1953 — homeless tramps by the side of a country road instead of in a dingy bar (Kevin Depinet’s breathtakingly simple set design lit moodily by Natasha Katz); like Godot, the iceman never comes, but he’s breathing hard offstage. And Hickey’s subversive party games made me think about the set-piece in Mart Crowley’s “The Boys in the Band” that bowed in 1968. It may be heresy. It may not be permitted by the O’Neill estate. But while there are merits to lingering until midnight with these terrific actors and characters and deep-
THE ICEMAN COMETH Brooklyn Academy of Music Harvey Theatre 651 Fulton St. at Rockwell Pl. Through Mar. 16 Tue.-Sat. at 7 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. $35 to $180; bam.org or 718-636-4100 Four hrs., 45 mins., with three intermissions ly contemplating their lives and ours, even Shakespeare plays often get cut without any loss of impact — and this one could be, too. But two characters notwithstanding, you can’t hurry death much as you may desire The End.
February 19 - March 04, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
SNOWY NIGHTS, from p.34
Original stars Elina Garanca and Roberto Alagna returned to Richard Eyre’s rather ugly, risibly over-choreographed “Carmen” production after several years and — thanks in large part to Louis Langrée and his orchestra, giving Bizet’s genius its due — it made a very pleasant Met evening (February 9). Garanca must be one of the most purely sonorous Carmens in recent decades, and one longs to hear her luscious voice in the heavier repertory she’s promised to undertake. She looked beautiful and danced at least respectably. But one didn’t believe her as dangerous or fate-obsessed for a single moment. Alagna by contrast conveys José’s journey to ruin with convincing passion. His French diction is always a joy and, for a 51-year old tenor who’s been risking heroic repertory for some time, he sounds in very secure — though not
The next night Juilliard served up Gluck’s “Iphigénie en Aulide,” a wonderful score, in David Paul’s spare but effective semi-staging. Jane Glover imparted some Gluck style to the cast but under her the Juilliard415 orchestra, so often impressive, lacked both ensemble — string tone especially suffered — and precision. In roles demanding mature, brilliant singing actors, Yunpeng Wang (Agamemnon) and Virginie Verrez (Clytemnestre) both gave it a good shot, though he sounded a tad stiff and she favored incisiveness over vocal beauty. Brandon Cedel’s Calchas showed off a mighty bass-baritone, while we heard too little of legato-savvy
throaty — Thomas made an impressive showing. Eric Owens’ expressive bass-baritone limned the music’s contours — trill and all — with remarkable intensity, uttering the Latin text with a deep feeling rare in performances of any sacred music. If Meade emerged the special vocal dazzler of the quartet, Paasikivi and Owens shared honors for musicianly channeling of Verdi’s masterwork’s emotional wallop.
precisely youthful — form, with blazing high notes and some ability to float. Ailyn Perez was canny to debut at the Met as Micaela, which shows off her appealing presence and very pretty lyric voice very well. Good to hear mostly free, secure, full-voice high notes, until recently a sticking point for the gifted soprano from Chicago. The other newcomer, Hungary’s Gabor Bretz, fared rather roughly as Escamillo, but any frequent “Carmen”-goer has heard worse. Had he not oversung the climaxes he might have pleased more. The most distinguished smaller roles were Richard Bernstein’s sturdy Zuniga and Danielle Talamantes’ sweet-voiced Frasquita. The only disaster was a rough, rasping Dancaire unworthy of the Met stage.
Andrew Stenson and Ying Fang in the Juilliard production of Gluck’s “Iphigénie en Aulide.”
baritone Takaoki Onishi (Patrocle), Achille’s heroic friend. The central young lover roles, Iphigénie and Achille, written for two key Gluck creators, Sophie Arnould and Joseph Legros, were in good hands. Andrew Stenson aced the needed high range and breath control, if not yet the total stylistic command or theatrical chops, for his challenging part. But Chinese soprano Ying Fang, so wonderful as the Met’s Barbarina this Fall, was just enchanting to hear: a limpid, always musical stream of gorgeous lyric tone. Her extremely thoughtful, touching performance will surely remain among the season’s highlights. David Shengold (email@example.com) writes about opera for many venues.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Affordable Housing Policy: • April 2013: Then-Public Advocate Bill de Blasio criticizes former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s annual increases in water rates as a “hidden tax.” • February 2014: Mayor de Blasio increases water & sewer rates 3.6%. • June 2014: Mayor de Blasio calls for Rent Freeze (landlords wind up with 1% rent increase, lowest ever on record).
• November 2014: Mayor de Blasio calls for stricter rent regulations. • January 15, 2015: Mayor de Blasio announces a 13% increase on real estate tax assessments.
Increased Taxes and Costs + Rent Freeze = Landlords Cannot Repair, Improve, Maintain and Preserve Affordable Housing The de Blasio Affordable Housing Equation Just Doesn’t Add Up. GayCityNews.nyc | February 19 - March 04, 2015
The de Blasio affordable housing policy hurts poor and middle-income families, those most in need of affordable housing – as well as landlords of rent-stabilized apartments, the largest providers of affordable housing.
It’s Time for New Solutions to an Old Problem. 35
IN THE NOH
Party Girl Lady Mendl’s swell soirees; Ginger lover; que rico! BY DAVID NOH
ady Elsie Mendl, nee De Wolfe, (18591950) — at various times in her life an actress, author, inveterate party hostess, and pioneering interior decorator — was universally considered one of the chicest women of her time. She enjoyed her pick of the leading couturiers vying to garb her (Schiaparelli was a favorite), the first to dye her hair blue, and a yoga advocate whose motto (as repeated by Ina Claire in “Ninotchka”) was “Never complain, never explain.” The height of her style-setting reign was the 1930s, and it all peaked late in the decade with two consecutive circus-themed parties she threw in 1938 and 1939 at her home in Versailles, the Villa Trianon, which to this day remain legendary for their insanely scrupulous planning, opulence, and glittery guest lists. These parties form the nucleus of a sumptuous book by Charlie Scheips, “Elsie De Wolfe’s Paris: Frivolity Before the Storm” (Abrams), which deliriously sweeps you back to an ineffably elegant, gone-forever era immortalized in such 1939 classic films as “Midnight” and “Rules of the Game.” The book’s genesis began, Scheips told me, when he was the director of the Conde Nast archive for a decade: “I started being intrigued by John McMullin [a close intimate of Mendl’s], who was the social writer for the magazines in the 1920s and 1930s. I did massive research on him and was going to publish a book about him before 9/11. He wrote a column called ‘As Seen By Him,’ and the reason he is forgotten is that it didn’t have his name attached to it, although he was the most prolific contributor in the history of Vogue. In 1930, he started taking photos of the rich at play to accompany his articles. After 9/11, the book got canceled and, when I left Conde Nast in 2003, I put my boxes of research in storage in my Dad’s house in Connecticut. “My life went in different paths and I eventually went back to Columbia to finish my masters’ in American Studies, and I wrote a 200-page thesis on McMullin which I still plan to turn into a biography. About two and a half years ago, I was cruising around the Internet looking at Getty images, and I stumbled upon photos of Lady Mendl’s party of July 1, 1939, taken by Time/ Life photographer William Vandivert, which had been misdated. They were amazing and I called up the director of Getty to see if there were any more.” There were indeed more, and Scheips also recognized certain dresses on the guests that turned out to be the very ones given to the Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute by socialities like Mendl, Mona Bismark, and Mrs. Hector Munn, and are constantly dragged out as emblems of
the height of couture. “My friend Susan Train, who has been at Vogue Paris for six decades, fell in her apartment and was in bad shape so I flew to Paris to be with her. One night I asked her about this French photographer who had been at the same ball, Roger Schall, whose photos had appeared in Vogue. She said, “I know his son!” and gave me his number. Two days later, I’m in his studio looking at 250 never before published photos of the party, and as I studied them I realized that they were not from the same night. There were two parties in 1938 and 1939 with Elsie wearing different dresses.” Scheips began conceptualizing a book about these two nights in a world that was “gone with the wind the minute the war came. I went back to Paris two summers ago and was desperate to find the man who owned Elsie’s house, the Villa Trianon. I did find him but he was very creeped out by this American guy with all this interest in his house. He’d been robbed, some mantelpieces had been stolen. Then a terrible storm happened and wreaked havoc on it and he didn’t have the money to restore it, and he said it was too dangerous to allow me to see it.” Mendl’s name is largely forgotten, except by people in fashion and in interior decoration — a field she pretty much invented — but, as an overall taste-maker of her time, she ruled supreme. “Everybody talks about the duchess of Windsor and how she was the style setter of the1930s, but McMullin had introduced her to Elsie, and she and Johnny totally restyled her, in terms of her clothes, interiors and entertaining. Elsie was the absolute queen of what I call International Society — this lesbian! — and I also proved that she was so much older than she said she was, almost 80 when she had this party, this old American dyke throwing this party in Versailles for 700 guests. So crazy, and the world around her was very gay or bisexual or whatever you want to call it. This was not talked about — everybody just knew and was very discreet — but it’s very hard to find a straight person involved in this story.” De Wolfe married Sir Charles Mendl in 1926. It was the perfect arrangement with Charles at one point declaring, “For all I know the old girl’s still a virgin!” Scheips explained, “When she married, she was already 68 years old and realized that by being married to a French diplomat she could live totally tax-free. She was always smart about money.” Before Sir Charles, Elsie had been part of a major lesbian power trio, consisting of herself, J.P. Morgan’s daughter Anne, and eminent literary agent Bessie Marbury, with whom she lived on Sutton Place. Scheips doesn’t think it was an actual, sexual menage a trois: “I tried to be very
Charlie Scheips with his new book “Elsie De Wolfe’s Paris: Frivolity Before the Storm” from Abrams.
discreet and not make more of it than there was, but they were not closeted. Bessie and Ann had a mentor-older/ younger woman friendship, and Elsie was the star, the alpha female of the group. Bessie was a powerhouse, incredibly successful with George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, and Victorien Sardou among her clients. When Oscar got out of jail, she had saved his royalties and was the only one who gave him money. She and Elsie offered him an outbuilding near the Villa Trianon to live in as he was penniless, but he wanted to live in Paris, not Versailles. “Anne had all the money from her father. Bessie and Elsie were best friends growing up together. Bessie mentored Elsie as a decorator and everything went swimmingly until World War I when Anne and Elsie got more involved in the war effort. Bessie was obese and in poor health, so she stopped traveling and became involved in Democratic politics and Catholic charities. She produced Cole Porter’s first musical. “Anne and Elsie got the Legion d’honneur and Red Cross medal for their hands-on work. They were really at the front with burn victims and rotting flesh, not just rich ladies buying ambulances. Anne later bought the Chateau Blérancourt which is now the museum of French-American friendship, her obsession.” Beginning her decorating career, Mendl did the houses of her friends on Sutton Place, and then Morgan and Marbury started the Colony Club, which really started her decorating success. “She did Conde Nast’s apartment at 1040 Park, as well as rich American women, the first or second generation wives of robber barons who wanted her taste from California to New York,” Scheips said. “She was the original brander, years before Martha Stewart, endorsing cigarettes, radios, cars — an incredible dynamo.” Scheips did eventually get to see the Villa Trianon: “After I handed the manuscript for the book, the owner, whose trust I had gained by then, allowed me to come see it last May. It had been restored three times: when Elsie first found
IN THE NOH, continued on p.37
February 19 - March 04, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
IN THE NOH, from p.36
MoMA continues its exploration of the work of Hollywood icons in its “Acteurism” series with a selection of Ginger Rogers movies.
it in ruins, then it became a hospital in World War I, and then was occupied by Nazis in World War II. An extraordinary day, her pet cemetery was there. Elsie used Villa Trianon as her Petri dish of ideas. It kept evolving and when she and Bessie first moved there they had an outdoor dining terrace off the main house, which was 18th century. She covered that, then glassed it in. Her original dining table was featured in her 1915 book, ‘House of Good Taste,’ and I was walking around on this rainy day, with all the overgrown topiary and trees which hadn’t been cut in 50 years, when I saw that great stone table by one of the stables. Only I would have known that! “On her bedroom door, there’s still the little sign which says ‘Moi,’ there are shadows of where pictures used to hang. No furniture but the curtains are still hanging. I sent the owner a picture of Cole Porter sitting at that table. He was thinking of dividing the property up as luxury villas of Versailles to get his money back. But by end of the summer, when I showed him the manuscript, he was so taken by what I had done that he has decided to restore the house to its former glory and wants to consult with me about this. So there’s a whole amazing post-book story!”
Ginger Rogers and James Stewart in George Stevens’ 1938 1938 “Vivacious Lady.”
One of the most instantly likable, appealing and sexy female presences in her early career, she’s at her non-musical peak in Gregory La Cava’s 1937 “Stage Door” (Feb. 18-20, 1:30 pm.). La Cava was an improvisational wiz at mining his actors’ real personalities and quirks, and he perfectly pits proletariat darling Rogers (with absolute killer comic timing) against patrician Katharine Hepburn, amusingly demonstrating every quality which would make her box office poison the following year. The two stars were also romantic rivals off-screen, simultaneously dating Howard Hughes, which lends an extra edge to this endlessly enjoyable film, which, before “All About Eve,” was Hollywood’s best evocation of New York life on the boards. Rogers’ real-life BFF, Lucille Ball, gives her first effective screen performance here: you see Lucille literally becoming Lucy. Rogers is also entrancingly
BIANCA, from p.26
GayCityNews.nyc | February 19 - March 04, 2015
tured lockjaw, and more. There isn’t an original character or gag in the piece, and authors Greg Edwards and Andy Sandberg trot out jokes and torture the plot so that even poor Christine, the beleaguered kindergarten admissions officer fielding the phone calls, emerges as hateful and manipulative, or as the promotional materials would have it, “hilariously cutthroat.” Actually, there’s nothing hilarious about any of this, and despite Bianco’s incredible technical ability, the piece instead comes off as shockingly condescending, racist, and homophobic, with every character demeaned and scorned. This is the lowest form of insult comedy, both juvenile and offensive. What Bianco was thinking when she chose to get involved with this project is unclear. At the performance I saw, the house was only about one-third full, which probably means that vast majority of Bianco’s other 129,324 YouTube
I adore South American food so was positively rejoicing at the opening of K*Rico on February 4. Perfect for theater dining at its 51st and Ninth Avenue location, it’s an elegant, sophisticated jewel with super -succulent eats, like the five different cuts of wet and dry aged prime USDA beef I positively devoured. Featuring genius star chef Steven Cruz and owned by Christian Tanno and the Greco brothers, John and Tommy, who owns the justly popular Ritz Bar and Lounge, it’s a welcome addition to the neighborhood. I loved the fantastically stocked bar where you can discover a very rico Latin world of tequilas, mescals, and piscos. (kriconyc.com)
a highlight of “Forbidden Broadway,” and, in a recent cabaret show, I heard her sing the very best “Last Midnight” from “Into the Woods” I’ve ever encountered. As an impressionist, she is uncanny in her evocations of pop, rock, and Broadway divas, with rare comic virtuosity that has earned her legions of YouTube subscribers. So, it’s incredibly disappointing to see her in the pandering, shallow, and inept comedy “Application Pending” at the Westside Theatre. In playing all the parts, Bianco carries off the conceit with impressions that have to be both general and distinct. The results, unfortunately, are generic stereotypes of familiar characters culled from soap operas and bad comic acts. We have the flamboyant gay dads, the poor Latina janitor not fluent in English, the annoying Jewish woman, the entitled woman with the tor-
herself in George Stevens’ 1938 “Vivacious Lady” (Feb. 25-27, 1:30 p.m.), showing why Elsa Schiaparelli described her at the time as the perfect American woman. Every actress at the time wore a pageboy, but no one wore it better than Rogers. Stevens’ direction has its typical, maddeningly logy moments, but Rogers, showing Beulah Bondi how to do the Big Apple or decimating Frances Mercer in a bitch fight, kills. Rogers’ “Kitty Foyle” (Mar. 4-6, 1:30 p.m.) won her the 1940 Academy Award, somewhat unbelievably, as it bested not only Bette Davis’ “The Letter” and Katharine Hepburn’s “The Philadelphia Story,” but the spectacular, non-nominated Rosalind Russell in “His Girl Friday,” Margaret Sullavan in “The Shop Around the Corner,” Vivien Leigh’s “Waterloo Bridge,” and even Rogers’ own superior performance in “The Primrose Path.” She’s good in this popular soapera, but I feel
the Oscar was an early death knell to her career. After 1942, her talent, now officially anointed by that naked gold man, seemed to mystifyingly dry up, along with her own sense of humor, as she began to take herself very seriously, with unintentionally risible grande dame mannerisms and attitudes, as well as a much heavier comic attack, to match that of the Queen herself, Greer Garson. “Lady in the Dark” (Mar. 11-13, 1:30 p.m.), from 1944, is submitted as evidence. What undoubtedly was a smashingly chic, airy lark on stage with Gertrude Lawrence became a two-ton, lavishly vulgar thud onscreen, framing a heavily imperious star who seemed to have forgotten an essential fact: musicals should be fun. (11 W. 53rd St.; moma.org/visit/calendar/films/1552)
Scott Shpeley in Jonathan Christenson’s “Nevermore.”
subscribers will never have to be subjected to this travesty and can continue enjoying the work she does so brilliantly.
TUE.FEB.24 BOOKS Love Is Warm, February Is Cold
92ND STREET Y
Youth Advocates Thank Supports
When Brightness Vanishes Based on his young adult novel “Absolute Brightness,” James Lecesne, a co-founder of the Trevor Project, presents “The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey,” in which he portrays the citizens of a Jersey Shore town where a 14-yearold boy has gone mysteriously missing and everyone is forced to examine their lives as well as the knit of a fractured community. Plastic Theatre founder Tony Speciale directs. Dixon Place, 161 Chrystie St., btwn. Rivington & Delancey Sts. Feb. 19 & Mar. 6-7, 11, 13-14, 20-21, 27-28, 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 21, 2 p.m.; Feb. 22, Mar. 1, 6 p.m. Tickets are $18 at dixonplace.org or 212-219-0736.
FIERCE, the advocacy and support group led by LGBT youth of color, hosts its annual Luvin You FIERCE-ly community awards. This y e a r, t h o s e r e c o g n i z e d i n c l u d e group members Chris Baez and Darielle Harris, activist and poet cory schmanke parrish, and Reverend Mark E. Erson, pastor of St. Johns Lutheran Church. Novelist and poet Bushra Rehman will perform. FIERCE, 147 W. 24th St., sixth fl. Feb. 20, 6-9 p.m. This event is free, but RSVP at goo.gl/uOCVQ0.
PERFORMANCE Just Shy of 30 Years BETTY, the alt rock/ vocal band of Alyson Palmer, Elizabeth Ziff, and Amy Ziff, has performed globally for nearly three decades, entertaining the beejeezus out of audiences, while raising money and awareness for human rights, women’s equality, LGBTQI acceptance, and grassroots organizations working for positive social change. Tonight, they appear at Joe’s Pub, inside the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Pl. Feb. 20, 7 p.m. Tickets are $30-$40 at joes. pub.
DANCE Five Weekends of Harkness Dance The 2015 Harkness Dance Festival, “Stripped/ Dressed,” features five dance companies as innovative as they are eclectic in programs curated by artist-in-residence Doug Varone. On Feb. 20-21, 8 p.m.; Feb. 22, 3 p.m., Adam Barruch and Chelsea Bonosky present an evening-length “Belladonna,” loosely based on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “Rappaccini’s Daughter.” On Feb. 27-28, 8 p.m., Mar. 1, 3 p.m., David Parker’s “Tap Lab”
brings together contemporary dancers with roots in tap and his Bang Group to create up-to-the-minute rhythm dances. On Mar. 6-7, 8 p.m.; Mar. 8, 3 p.m., Vicky Shick Dance presents “Pathétique, Miniatures in Detail,” a very deliberate weaving together of sound, costume, and choreography, with company solos and duets complemented by Barbara Kilpatrick’s whimsical costumes and sound composition by Elise Kermani, mixed and performed live. On Mar. 13-14, 8 p.m.; Mar. 15, 3 p.m., a performance by the Martha Graham Dance Company includes her masterwork “Cave of the Heart,” performed in its entirety, with the famous sets designed by sculptor Isamu Noguchi. On Mar. 20-21, 8 p.m.; Mar. 22, 3 p.m., Sally Silvers’ “Actual Size Plus” plays homage to the films and motifs of Alfred Hitchcock. 92nd Street Y, Buttenwieser Hall, Lexington Ave. at 92nd St. Tickets are $25-29 at 92y.org.
SUN.FEB.22 BENEFIT Stars of David Songs For CBST Based on the best-selling book by Abigail Pogrebin, “Stars of David Story to Song” is a new musical celebrating the Jewish identity of some of America’s most notable public figures — including Andy Cohen, Fran Drescher, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Tony Kushner, Norman Lear, Leonard Nimoy, Gwyneth Paltrow, Joan Rivers, Aaron Sorkin, and Gloria Steinem. Today's performance is the 20th annual Shabbat Shirah Benefit Concert for Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, New York’s LGBT synagogue. Merkin Hall, Kaufman Music Center, 129 W. 67th St., off Broadway. Feb. 22, 3 p.m. Tickets are $100-$180 at starsofdavidsongs.com.
THU.FEB.26 COMEDY Yuck It Up “Laugh Riot” brings together funny folk Adam Sank, Sweetie, Robby n e K a a m i l , and Pattty McKeever. Stonewall Inn, 53 Christopher St., btwn. Waverly Pl. & Seventh Ave. S. Feb. 26, 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 at dworld.us; $20 at the door.
NIGHTLIFE Tuesday Ain’t Fat! Or Tuesday! Daniel Nardicio presents the 12th Annual Nardi Gras, a Big Apple homage to the Big Easy. Dance to the deep fried sounds of DJ Scott Ewalt and enjoy six Dirty South Ragin' Cajun go-go studs. Be a beadwhore. The Cock, 29 Second Ave. at First St. Feb. 26, 11 p.m. Admission is $20; $10 before midnight.
TUE.MAR.3 CABARET Ryan Rafferty Atop the Fashion World In “Ryan Rafferty is the Most Powerful Woman in Fashion,” the man who styles himself a “demented Rat Packer for the millennium” portrays Anna Wintour facing a crisis when her decision to feature a reality star and a rapper on the cover of her magazine backfires, calling her judgment into question. Rafferty uses storytelling, pop music, and lots of creative license. Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette St., btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Pl. Feb. 15 & 18, 7 p.m.; Mar. 3, 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 at joespub.com.
February 19 - March 04, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
Theatre Askew presents the world premiere of Trav SD’s “Horseplay: Or, The Fickle Mistress, A Protean Picaresque,” directed by Elyse Singer of Hourglass Group and with original music by William TN Hall. Before Mae West, Madonna, or Kim Kardashian, there was controversial, enigmatic “actress” Adah Isaacs Menken, who in 1861 became world famous after being stripped to a flesh-colored tunic and tights, tied to the back of a horse, and sent up a four-story-tall papier-mâché stage mountain in the Broadway melodrama “Mazeppa.” Now she’s forgotten. Who was she really? Black? White? Jewish? Catholic? Lesbian? Poet? Act r e ss? E q u e s tri en n e ? “ H ors e play” stars Molly Pope, Everett Quinton, Jan Leslie Harding, Chuck Montgomery, Tim Cusack, Mark St. Cyr, and Tiffany Ambercrombie. Ellen Stewart Theatre at La Mama, 66 E. Fourth St., btwn. Second Ave. & Bowery. Through Mar. 1: Wed.-Sat. 8 p.m.; Sun., 4 p.m. Tickets are $18; $13 for students & seniors at lamama.org or 646-430-5374.
Novelist and poet Perry Brass, a coordinator of the annual Rainbow Book Fair, moderates “Out of Cupid’s Mouth: Warm Love in A Cold Month,” a panel of multi-generational voices, including poet Philip F. Clark, romance writer KT Grant, mystery writer Debra Hyde, poet Ashley Inguanta, poet Ansley Moon, poet and activist Heidi Andrea Restrepo Rhodes, poet Robert Siek, and actress and suspense writer Kay Williams. LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St. Feb. 24, 6:30 p.m. $10 donation is suggested.
GayCityNews.nyc | February 19 - March 04, 2015
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February 19 - March 04, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc