Signorile: No Time for Covering Our Ass 05
Father Comes Home, Son Comes Out 30
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Government Sitting Out AIDS Agency Fraud Suit Suggests Tough Slog
Ex-employees of AIDS Healthcare Foundation charge incentives to staff, patients violate federal, state laws BY DUNCAN OSBORNE
ata from the US Department of Justice on whistleblower lawsuits suggest that a recent fraud case brought against the AIDS Healthcare Foundation by three former employees is unlikely to succeed. The lawsuit, filed last year under the federal False Claims Act and a similar Florida statute by Shawn Loftis, Mauricio Ferrer, and Jack Carrel, charges that AHF defrauded the federal government and Florida by paying incentives and bonuses to employees for increasing HIV testing, identifying more HIVpositive people, and steering those people to AHF facilities for treatment and care. The lawsuit also charges that some patients were given incentives to use AHF facilities. The federal government and Florida reimbursed AHF for the testing and later care and treatment through Medicare, a federal health program, Medicaid, a health program jointly funded by the states and the federal government, and various other federal agencies. AHF is headquartered in Los Angeles and operates in 12 states. Such lawsuits are first filed under seal and the government is required to investigate the allegations. It then decides if it will join the case. The plaintiffs in these lawsuits, the three former employees, collect a percentage of the settlement or
judgment. The suit was filed in June of last year, and in February of this year Florida and the federal government declined to intervene. While the federal statute says that no inferences can be drawn from a decision to not intervene, data strongly suggest that when the federal government does not intervene, the case will not be successful. In 2013, such lawsuits won $47.1 million when the federal government intervened and nothing in cases where the government declined to intervene, according to Justice Department statistics. From 1987 through 2013, these lawsuits won settlements or judgments worth $2.6 billion when the government intervened and $151.8 million, or just five percent of all the cash for those years, when the government did not intervene. “Recoveries under the False Claims Act are almost entirely in cases in which the government intervenes,” said John T. Boese, who is of counsel at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP and a nationally recognized expert on such litigation. “The fact that Florida and the federal government declined to intervene here is an indicator.” Boese has always represented defendants in false claims cases. Attorneys who have represented whistleblowers and academics who have published on the False Claims Act were less definitive, but generally noted that these cases
were tougher when the government does not participate. “First, government decisions to decline do not, without more information, mean anything,” wrote Shayne Stevenson, the partner who heads the whistleblower practice at Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, in an email. “The law is wellestablished that no inference in favor of the defendant can be taken from a mere decline. The government has limited resources and cannot intervene in every case in a timely manner. Second, there are many circumstances in which payments to Medicare/ Medicaid or other government beneficiaries in exchange for provision of medical services is unlawful, but there are exceptions.” Ted Leopold, who is lead counsel for the former employees in the AHF suit and a partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll LLP, said the Justice Department office in southern Florida had more Medicare fraud cases than any other unit in the nation so it is not surprising that they did not intervene in the AHF suit. “I take very little from that,” he told Gay City News. “The fact that they have not taken the case is not a big bellwether.” US Department of Health and Human Services documents supplied to Gay City News by AHF indicate that employee compensation, which would include the bonuses and incentives paid to AHF employees, are exempt
from False Claims Act provisions. Federal anti-fraud rules place strict and very low limits on gifts and support that may be given to Medicare and Medicaid patients. The lawsuit alleges that AHF defrauded the government to the tune of $20 million a year. The False Claims Act allows triple damages and fines between $5,500 and $11,000 per violation so, if successful, the lawsuit could cripple the agency and perhaps even force it to close. AHF, with an annual budget of $300 million, has over 400,000 clients and 3,000 employees worldwide. A judgment against AHF could also chill HIV testing and treatment efforts at other AIDS agencies. The lawsuit has delighted some AIDS activists who dislike Michael We i n s t e i n , A H F ’ s p r e s i d e n t , because he is a visible and occasionally provocative opponent of p r e -e x po s ur e pr o phylax is (PrEP), anti-HIV drugs taken by HIV-negative people to prevent infection. Weinstein said that federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) allow incentives for staff and patients. “The CDC, HRSA, and NIH all have incentives built into their interventions,” he told Gay City News. “It’s commonplace... It seems like our crime here is we’re trying to get patients into care.”
PrEP Prompts Shift in Federal Funding Priorities
$185 million in new CDC grants continue trend away from behavioral to biomedical interventions BY DUNCAN OSBORNE
as government funders increasingly pay for biomedical interventions that prevent HIV infections, such as pre-exposure pr ophylaxis (PrEP), and provide less support for behavioral interventions that increase condom use and alter
sexual behavior, the funding landscape for AIDS groups may shift and they will have to change how they interact with their HIVnegative clients. “That’s a major challenge that the community doesn’t know that PrEP is an option for them,” said Kimberleigh J. Smith, vice president for policy, advocacy, and communications at Harlem United.
“It’s a whole different conversation that has to happen with folks… It’s going to come with a different level of engagement.” Harlem United, which hired its first fulltime PrEP navigator in January, performed just over 4,500 HIV tests in 2014 and roughly 2,600 were on young men who have sex with men, a population that has a high rate of
new HIV diagnoses. Smith said a “fair amount” of those were repeat testers, likely people who are having frequent or intermittent unsafe sex and keep getting tested to monitor their HIV status. Previously, repeat testers could be offered counseling; now they may be candidates for PrEP, a
PREP, continued on p.7
April 16 - 29, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
No Time for Covering Our Ass
Mike Signorile sounds urgent warning that unapologetic battle for equality must still be waged
BY PAUL SCHINDLER
GayCityNews.nyc | April 16 - 29, 2015
IT'S NOT OVER
Getting Beyond Tolerance, Defeating Homophobia, & Winning True Equality By Michelangelo Signorile Houghton Mifflin Harcourt $27; 259 pages, with endnotes
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
n the course of a 179-page overview of still-daunting challenges confr onting America’s LGBT community — compelling in both its breadth and its frequent forays into granular detail — Michelangelo Signorile provides two passages that, for me, were telling first and foremost about the author himself. “Being vocal, organizing at the grass roots, and collectively demanding action,” he explains, have always been critical to the comm un ity ’s p ost - S t o n e wa l l advances, “but especially so since the emergence of AIDS drew a sharp line and instilled in us an attitude of ‘never again.’” He continues, “The mantra of ACT UP, ‘Silence = Death,’ has been in the DNA of every other aspect of the movement from then on. We weren’t going to rest.” Earlier in “It’s Not Over: Getting Beyond T olerance, Defeating Homophobia, & Winning T rue Equality,” Signorile talks about the value of self-defense education in building individual empowerment in the community. Recalling a Staten Island youth in which he was called a “faggot” at school, but also taught to stick up for himself by his second-generation Italian Catholic father, he writes, “My own instinct was also to fight back. Years later I realized that that was the basis of all of my eventual activism and writing.” The experience was clearly formative for Signorile over the long run, but something mor e fundamental was this: “Fighting back against bullies was something I had to do in order to survive emotionally.” And, he asserts, social science has since demonstrated he was not alone in this: “Research suggests that young people who stand up to their bullies are happier and more productive later in life.” These windows into Signorile’s moral and psychological education will no doubt provoke “aha moments” of recognition for readers who have followed his career for the past quarter century-plus — in
the late ‘80s as a brash new voice at the brash Manhattan newspaper OutWeek, today as the gray-hair editor at large at Huffington Post’s Gay Voices vertical, and for the past dozen years as a talk jock on SiriusXM Radio. Signorile has always been a fighter; in fact, on more than one occasion targets or critics of his hard-charging journalism have suggested it is he who is now the bully. His activist passion seems undimmed since the worst days of the AIDS crisis. And his ubiquitous presence across a variety of media platforms certainly suggests he squanders little time at rest. With “It’s Not Over,” Signorile makes an urgent case against what he calls “victory blindness,” a view of the world he argues is really a “dream… a kind of bedtime story that tells us we’ve reached the promised land.” His use of “victory blindness” is, of course, a direct retort to Linda Hirshman’s 2012 history “Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution,” but Hirshman’s narrative, in its broadest framing, is one Signorile clearly worries is being complacently embraced across the LGBT community. “Seduced” by the sweeping advance of marriage equality, he argues, the community is ignoring looming problems: ongoing hate violence, suicides and homelessness among youth, persistent rates of HIV infection and the criminalization of those with the virus, and the lack of civil
rights protections in more than half the states and at the federal level. Signorile ties all these problems to “a much larger constellation of homophobia, transphobia, and bigotry that continues to permeate this country, and that every gay or transgender person recognizes intuitively.” Meanwhile, the anti-gay right, “rebranding” itself to take account of more positive popular attitudes toward the LGBT community, is pushing a backlash making itself the “victim” of an overreaching gay agenda intolerant of the “religious freedom” of people with moral objections to homosexuality. The book looks at how this line of resistance set up last year’s battle in Arizona over legislation that aimed to provide broad exemptions from nondiscrimination laws based on religious beliefs — and, since completing his book, Signorile has been outspoken as the issue surfaced in Indiana, Utah, and Arkansas. The “gay establishment” — often as embodied by the Human Rights Campaign — is a frequent Signorile target, but it is not institutional triumphalism alone that concerns him. “Victory blindness,” he asserts, led a surprising number of typically outspoken activists to trim their sails in response to the flap over Mozilla’s appointment of Brendan Eich, a financial backer of Proposition 8, as CEO. Even though Eich, in short order, was forced to resign in the face of a negative “market” reaction, many in the community voiced squeamishness about his takedown. It’s not surprising to read Signorile castigating his bête
noire Andrew Sullivan for “giving ammunition to the enemy” in saying Eich had been “scalped by some gay activists,” but it’s striking to see him call out blogger Jim Burroway, AIDS leader Peter Staley, and journalist and pundit Dan Savage, as well. “Magnanimous” is the word he quotes both Savage and Burroway using to describe how the community should respond to revelations like those that surfaced about Eich. Signorile, in contrast, sees a vital role for the “shaming of opponents for their bigotry” in moving the dial on our agenda. Signorile uses the Eich controversy to segue into a discussion of NYU law professor Kenji Yoshino’s brilliant 2006 book “Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights.” Yoshino, a gay Asian American, describes “covering” as a tendency of minorities and women in society to “downplay [their] difference, making it palatable or at least inoffensive.” Being a “team player,” Signorile explains, is a strategy used by those who think they’ve won their rights and are now focused on consolidating gains and not falling back. Covering, in Yoshino’s view, can be a useful strategy on the path towar d advancement, but it is also “morally complex” — there is a limit to its effectiveness and it imposes a cost on those who practice it. Signorile is unambiguous in asserting that the LGBT community has reached the limit on what covering can do for our advancement. Signorile’s integration of Yoshino’s perspectives into his analysis here is on target. Each of us faces the choice between personal authenticity and covering in countless situations on the job and with our families, non-LGBT friends, and neighbors every day; the instinct to go along to get along is always a strong one. Politically, the posture our community and its leadership and advocacy groups assume in public debate also often carries an implicit test of whether we will cover, putting on the most
SIGNORILE, continued on p.6
JAYNE WEXLER/ HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
SIGNORILE, from p.5
innocuous, nonthreatening face so they will “like us.” Signorile believes that approach — which he sees as a declaration of weakness — simply does not work. One thing missing from this discussion, however, is a consideration of the cost borne in a strategy of public shaming of our opponents. LGBT people grow up with a painful understanding
of the power of shame and, perhaps too, of the tendency of its toxicity to infect both ends of the shaming relationship. Shaming is a difficult strategy to sustain, and it’s not surprising that being magnanimous has a power ful allure for many people. Still, Signorile harnesses the concepts of victory blindness and covering to thoughtful consideration of a host of big issues before us, including our representation in movies and television and the way that our lives and aspirations are reported and judged by the news media. I came away disappointed with a chapter that probably aims to do too much in just 21 pages — “Winning True Equality.” There, Signorile takes on a host of recent public battles — including the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the failed effort over more than two decades to enact a federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and the dramatic turnaround of the marriage equality issue — that he concedes “doesn’t at all purport to be a complete history.” And in fairness, the issues he tackles here are ones he has written and talked about extensively and
with informed insight in the past half dozen years. My problem, however, is that the level of generality demanded by space constraints here leaves important conclusions that are asserted still wide open for debate. Broadly speaking, he sees “incrementalism” — or “legislative covering” — as a “failure.” Chad Griffin’s “bold” vision in federalizing the marriage equality issue in his Prop 8 lawsuit, however, was only possible after a decade and a half of incremental slogging by Evan Wolfson and Mary Bonauto, among many, as Signorile himself acknowledges. And though it’s true that the marriage equality drive abandoned a focus on “rights” in favor of “love and commitment,” many would question whether covering was not a big part of that refocus. Jo Becker’s discussion in “Forcing the Spring” about how the Prop 8 plaintiffs were vetted — and her take was one very sympathetic to the cause — makes clear that a premium was placed on putting forward the most palatable face of gay and lesbian America. One other qualification to Signorile’s analysis I think is in order has to do with his
NYC JUDGE UPHOLDS TEACHER DEMERIT OVER TRANS STUDENT’S BATHROOM USE A Manhattan trial judge has ruled that the city’s Department of Education did not act arbitrarily in assigning an “Unsatisfactory” rating to a now-retired teacher for confronting a transgender student over her use of a women’s room. New York County Supreme Court Justice Peter Moulton’s April 2 ruling, in a case involving a petition from the former teacher, Deborah Hicks, was published in the New York Law Journal on April 13. According to Moulton’s opinion, Hicks retired after 28 years of service in the city schools but was appealing an adverse rating in the “Pupil Guidance and Instruction” category from the 2010-11 school year, which was upheld by the department’s internal appeals process. Moulton noted such ratings are subject only to limited judicial review and are upheld unless the court finds that an action was “arbitrary and unreasonable and constitutes an abuse of discretion.” As long as there is evidence supporting the charges, the court does not substitute its judgment for that of the Department of Education. The charges against Hicks, a special education teacher, included allegations she hugged a 19-year-old male student, kissed an 18-yearold female student, was overheard calling the transgender student “it,” and confronted that student when she tried to use the women’s bathroom, demanding to see a bathroom pass. Moulton said that the hugging and kissing charges would not by themselves sustain the “Unsatisfactory” rating. Another staff member, a supervising psychologist, said she overheard Hicks calling the student “it,” but Hicks denied that and claimed she had actually stood up for her. On the other hand, Hicks did not deny the incident where she asked for the bathroom pass. For Moulton, that supported the “Unsatisfactory” rating.
“The court will not disturb the credibility findings of the agency,” Moulton wrote. “Even if petitioner demonstrated that she never called the student ‘it’ and that staff was lying, the U Rating is sustainable based on petitioner’s admission that she confronted the student, demanding to see a pass for the women’s bathroom.” Hicks attached an email to her petition for review that Moulton wrote “lends some support to petitioner’s denial that she called the student ‘it.’ The email reflects petitioner’s concern that the student was bullied by other students, should be referred to as ‘she’ and not ‘it’ and reflects petitioner’s concern that ‘we have to have kids honor gender differences.’” That email, however, was not brought forward during the Department of Education review of Hicks’ case and so could not be considered by the court. “The agency could have concluded that petitioner was an advocate for the student until the student used the women’s bathroom, which petitioner clearly thought was inappropriate given her demand to see the bathroom pass,” Moulton concluded. “If student gender differences are truly honored, then the student had every right to use the women’s bathroom, and petitioner clearly failed to heed her own words.” Moulton’s opinion is consistent with a recent ruling by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission holding that transgender employees are entitled to use the restroom identified with their gender identity (see page 10).Under rules banning sex discrimination in public schools, transgender students should have the same rights. Unfortunately, this position was rejected by a federal judge in Pittsburgh recently, in a ruling against a transgender man expelled from college for insisting on using men’s restroom facilities (see, also, page 10). — Arthur S. Leonard
characterization of the threat posed by our opponents on the right. He is dead right that they are wily shape-shifters who aren’t going anywhere and have hit on a very potent weapon in characterizing themselves as “victims” of our “religious intolerance.” But we also have to consider the right’s success — largely at the state level — in recent years in curtailing women’s access to abortion and healthcare generally, in limiting or eliminating the collective bargaining rights of workers, and in criminalizing undocumented immigrants. Many of those reversals have succeeded unchecked. It’s true that in beating back new religious privileges to discriminate in Arizona, Indiana, and Arkansas, we did no more than preserve a status quo that still guaranteed no statewide LGBT nondiscrimination protections, but we were able to galvanize public opinion in ways that are no doubt the envy of advocates for women, labor, and immigrants. Signorile is certainly not unmindful of the progress the community has made; in fact, the point of his book is to underscore just how necessary the engagement of unapologetic grassroots activists is in advancing the ball. Victory blindness and covering are, above all in his view, the occupational hazards of LGBT movement insiderism. In that light, his intriguing discussion of research carried out by a Google data analyst points up just how much work the community itself — as separate from its professional leadership — needs to do. Studying sources as diverse as Gallup surveys, Census data, Google searches, and Facebook and Craigslist posts, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz has identified startling disparities that persist in the rate at which LGBT people come out based on where they live in this country — and even in rates at which they self-identify in the US versus Canada. Which brings us back to a very old story — the crucial role played by people simply coming out. That has always been a concern animating Signorile’s work. With this book, he makes a passionate case for the duty borne by engaged LGBT citizens — if only they will step up and take it into their own hands. April 16 - 29, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
PREP, from p.4
regimen of anti-HIV drugs HIVnegative people take to keep them uninfected. PrEP, post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), which prevents infection in HIV-negative people with a recent exposure to the virus by giving them anti-HIV drugs, and treatment as prevention (TasP), which is the use of anti-HIV drugs by HIV-positive people to reduce the amount of virus in their bodies to the point they are noninfectious, are highly effective when taken correctly. The challenge with these biomedical interventions is letting people know they exist. Approved in 2012, PrEP uptake has been slow, though it is increasing. PEP has been used for mor e than 20 years mostly by medical professionals with a recent HIV exposure, such as a needle stick, and it remains relatively unknown and underutilized. TasP has been partially successful in New York City. The interventions require medical follow-up and support to adhere to the drugs.
Government funders, who were already moving away from paying for behavioral interventions and paying instead for high-volume HIV testing and getting those who test positive into treatment, are moving even more of their money into biomedical interventions. On March 31, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced $185 million in available grants for state and local health departments to fund PrEP and TasP demonstration projects among men who have sex with men and transgender people. Roughly $65 million of that is for projects targeting gay and bisexual men of color. When Governor Andrew Cuomo endorsed a plan last year to reduce new HIV infections in New York from the current 3,000 annually to 750 a year by 2020, his first action was to negotiate lower prices for the anti-HIV drugs the state buys. In the state budget for the fiscal year that began on April 1, Cuomo included $5 million in new funding to pay for PrEP-related costs for an estimated 600 people, though that program may turn out to cover more people.
The shift in funding favors larger organizations that do a lot of HIV testing and have onsite medical clinics that can perform the followup testing needed for PrEP and TasP. People who are finishing a 28-day PEP regimen could be PrEP candidates and agencies need staff who can talk to that population about PrEP. “We’re scaling it up,” said Robert Cordero, president and chief program officer at BOOM!Health in the Bronx. “We’re going all in on PrEP.” BOOM!Health was formed by a merger of CitiWide Harm Reduction and Bronx AIDS Services. The agency has an onsite clinic operated by Brightpoint Health, a pharmacy, and it has partnered with the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, which is headquartered in Chelsea, in a soon-to-be opened Bronx wellness center. Callen-Lorde is a leader among institutions in writing PrEP prescriptions. L a s t y e a r, B O O M ! H e a l t h performed 5,000 HIV tests. While the agency currently has “less than a handful” of clients on PrEP,
Cordero said, they plan on offering PrEP to drug injectors, couples in which one partner is HIV-positive and the other is not, and other HIVnegative people. “I’m way more competitive than my peer agencies because we have healthcare onsite,” Cordero said. AIDS groups were already merging, getting bigger, and of fering medical services in a single location. The push toward biomedical interventions may complete that trend. The future for smaller AIDS agencies is uncertain, though their links to specific communities will remain valuable. “We have been able to build strong access to social networks,” said Guillermo Chacón, president of the Latino Commission on AIDS. “Many organizations like ours are essential to making that bridge.” The commission is among those AIDS groups, including Gay Men’s Health Crisis, that have affiliations with outside medical providers, but do not provide the kind of onsite medical services needed to support PrEP, PEP, and T asP. GMHC did not respond to a request for comment.
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Sex Offender Registry Status Lifted for Gay Man Snared by Sodomy Law
Missouri appeals court says state can’t now change terms of what rest stop sting victim copped to in 1988 BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
aught up in a typical sting operation in Missouri in 1988, Jerome Keeney, Jr. was arrested by a St. Louis County vice cop, Robert Bayes, and the following year pled guilty to the charge of attempted “sexual misconduct.” His crime? Groping an undercover police officer who sat with him in his parked car at a highway rest stop and chatted him up with the aim of provoking Keeney’s move. The St. Louis County Circuit Court imposed a suspended sentence and two years’ probation. Kenney thought that was the end of it. Flash forward to January 8, 2010, when Keeney was instructed to file a registration with the Missouri Sex Offender Registry on account of that 21-year-old guilty plea. Outrageous, especially considering that the offense to
which he pled guilty was no longer a crime. The attempted “sexual misconduct” charge fell under the Missouri sodomy law, which became unenforceable due to the US Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas. W h e n K e e n e y r ecei ved the startling 2010 notice from the State of Missouri, he protested and filed a petition with the St. Louis County Circuit Court, arguing he should not be required to register. The trial judge, Robert S. Cohen, ruled against him, citing three factors: that his conduct was not innocent at the time; that it was “in public” and so not constitutionally protected because Lawrence v. Texas only applied to consenting sexual conduct in “the home”; and that it was not consensual. The state actually produced an affidavit from Bayes, the plainclothes police officer, sworn to in 2014, claiming that it was not consensual. Keeney had leaned over and groped
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him, said the officer, without his permission — presumably during a routine conversation between two strangers in a parked car at a highway rest stop. Keeney appealed, and the Missouri Eastern District Court of Appeals, on March 24, ruled in his favor. A unanimous three-judge panel ruled that Keeney should not be required to register. Writing for the court, Judge Sherri B. Sullivan filled in the history. In 2006, Congress passed a law instructing states to set up sex offender registration systems and require previously convicted sex offenders to register. The federal statute defined “sex offender” as “an individual who was convicted of a sex offense,” including “a criminal of fense that has an element involving a sexual act or sexual contact with another” and “an attempt or conspiracy to commit” that sexual act or contact. Missouri had enacted its own registration law back in 1994 and amended it in 2006 to require anybody with an obligation for registering as a sex offender under federal law to register. Keeney had pleaded guilty to a charge of attempting to violate a Missouri law under which “a person commits the crime of sexual misconduct if he has deviate sexual intercourse with another person of the same sex.” The charge was that his groping of the vice cop was a prelude to oral or anal sex that would violate the statute. This Missouri law, Judge Sullivan pointed out, was “in all relevant respects identical” to the Texas law struck down in the 2003. When the Missouri Legislature amended the law in 2006, it removed the reference to “deviate sexual intercourse with another person of the same sex.” As of 2006, the statute defines “sexual misconduct” to include when a “person purposely subjects another person to sexual contact without that person’s consent” — hence the significance of the vice cop Bayes’ affidavit 26 years after the fact. Sullivan noted, however, that Bayes — who appears to have a unflagging fidelity to his law
enforcement mission — specifically went to the highway rest area to attract solicitations from gay men, since his goal was to “rid the area of homosexual behavior.” Getting somebody to grope him so he could make an arrest “would be considered a success by Detective Bayes” given his mission, Sullivan wrote. “To characterize himself today as a victim of unwanted sexual touching by Appellant that night is incongruous.” Sullivan also wrote, “Homosexual deviate sexual intercourse is no longer a sexual offense in Missouri. As such, there is no logical existent reason to require Appellant to register on the sexual offender registry.” Keeney has no avenue for getting the court to vacate his 1989 guilty plea, but he can sue to get a declaration he does not have to register as a sex offender, the appeals court found. The state’s attempt to now argue Kenney’s conduct was not covered by the 2003 Lawrence ruling because it was not “consensual” and took place “in public” was rejected by the appeals panel. He was charged with attempting to violate the sodomy law, Sullivan pointed out. “From the defendant’s perspective,” she wrote, “for his guilty plea to be a voluntary and intelligent admission that he committed the offense leveled against him by the prosecutor, the defendant must receive real notice of the true nature of the charge against him, the first and most universally recognized requirement of due process. The prosecutor’s choice in charging Appellant in 1988 cannot be revisited or revised today.” Sullivan added, “It nearly goes without saying that Respondents also cannot bring forward newly manufactured evidence, i.e., Detective Bayes’ 2014 affidavit, to support a new theory of Appellant’s culpability.” The court ordered Cohen, the trial judge, to grant Keeney the declaratory judgment he sought and ordered state officials to remove his name from the offender registry. Keeney was represented by St. Louis attorney Michael T. George. April 16 - 29, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
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EEOC Finds Trans Civilian Army Employee Owed Public Restroom Access
Federal equal employment agency finds sex-reassignment surgery pre-condition impermissible BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
he Equal Employment O p p o r t u n i t y Commission, the agency charged with enforcement of the federal ban on sex discrimination in employment, ruled on April 1 that a transgender woman employed in a civilian position by the US Department of the Ar my is entitled to use restroom facilities consistent with her gender identity. The Army unit the woman worked for had objected to her doing so before she underwent sex-reassignment surgery. Though the EEOC previously ruled that r efusal to employ somebody because of their gender identity was a for m of sex discrimination in violation of federal law, this was its first pronouncement on one of the great looming issues in transgender workplace rights: restroom access. Tamara Lusardi was hired as a male-identified civilian employee in 2004 to work at the Ar my Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The case decided by the EEOC involved events that took place
from late 2010 through mid-2011, immediately after she obtained a legal name change from an Alabama court. Lusardi first discussed her gender identity issues with a senior AMRDEC of ficial in 2007 and began the process of transitioning three years later. In October 2010, after obtaining her legal name change, she changed her name on her employment records and two weeks later met with senior supervisors about how she would present herself on the job to conform with her gender identity. The issue of restroom use came up and an agreement of sorts, memorialized in writing, was reached, under which she would use a private or “executive” bathroom until she had undergone sex-reassignment surgery. Lusardi generally adhered to that agreement, but there were a few occasions when that restroom was in use or out of order, so she used the restroom designated for women, which turned into an issue with a supervisor. A different supervisor persisted in referring to her with masculine pronouns or calling her “sir,” using her former first name, and “smirking” and “giggling” in front of others while
stating, “What is this, [her former male name] or Tamara”? In September 2011, Lusardi spoke with an equal employment opportunity counselor within her agency about these issues, and the following March she filed a formal complaint alleging disparate treatment and a hostile workplace environment. On September 5, 2013, the agency issued a final decision concluding she had failed to show a sex discrimination violation. Lusardi promptly appealed to the EEOC. Reversing the agency’s decision, the EEOC found that the disparate treatment in restroom access was a direct violation of the ban on sex discrimination. Building on its earlier employment discrimination decision, it held that a transgender woman presenting as a woman is entitled to be treated by her employer as a woman. This includes access to women’s facilities, regardless of whether the individual has had surgery. “This case r epr esents well the peril of conditioning access to facilities on any medical procedure,” the EEOC wrote. “Nothing in Title VII [of the 1964 Civil Rights Act] makes any medical procedure a prerequisite for equal
opportunity (for transgender individuals or anyone else). An agency may not condition access to facilities — or to other terms, conditions, or privileges of employment — on the completion of certain medical steps that the agency itself has unilaterally determined will somehow prove the bona fides of the individual’s gender identity.” The EEOC also rejected the agency’s findings on the harassment claim, concluding that the insults to Lusardi were intentional. The Commission ordered the agency to conduct an investigation into compensatory damages to which Lusardi might be entitled, mainly concerning the hostile workplace environment. It was also ordered to take concrete steps to educate its employees and supervisors on their nondiscrimination obligations. A key test now is whether the federal courts will fall in line with this ruling, which contradicts older findings from courts around the nation. Lusardi was represented by the San Francisco-based Transgender L a w C e n t e r, w i t h p r o b o n o assistance from Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein.
Transgender University of Pittsburgh Student Loses Fight Over Expulsion Johnstown campus prevails in federal court over its hardball tactics against athlete’s use of male locker room BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
ust one day before the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that the Army unlawfully discriminated against a transgender woman by denying her the right to use women’s facilities, a federal district court in Pennsylvania rejected a discrimination lawsuit by a transgender man expelled from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown for insisting on using men’s restroom and locker room facilities. US District Judge Kim R. Gibson
reached an opposite conclusion from the EEOC in his March 31 decision, finding that transgender legal precedents under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act — which have construed gender identity stereotyping as a form of prohibited sex discrimination — did not apply to this lawsuit, which was brought under Title IX of the Higher Education Act and the US Constitution’s 14th Amendment equal protection clause. The plaintiff, Seamus Johnston, was identified female at birth but by age nine had begun to selfidentify as a boy, coming out to his parents. By May 2009, he
was living in accordance with his male gender identity and a year later received a psychotherapist’s diagnosis of gender identity disorder and soon began hormone treatments. Between 2009 and 2013, Johnston amended his legal name, his driver’s license, his passport, and his Social Security records. He did not, however, obtain a new birth certificate. Judge Gibson’s opinion does not say whether Johnston would have been able to obtain a new birth certificate without evidence of sexreassignment surgery — which he apparently had not undergone — in the jurisdiction where he was
born. Johnston’s March 2009 college application to Pittsburgh, coming before the start of his gender transition, listed his identity as “female.” By the time he arrived on campus that fall, however, he was living as a male and presented that way throughout his five semesters at the university. In August 2011, he asked the school to change the gender marker in his student records, but that request was declined since he lacked the required updated birth certificate. During his time at Pittsburgh,
PITTSBURGH, continued on p.12
April 16 - 29, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
US Court Orders Inmate Sex-Reassignment Surgery “As Promptly As Possible” California attorney general seeks stay pending trial on the merits BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
or only the second time, a federal district judge has ordered state prison of ficials to pr ovide sex-r eassignment surgery to a transgender inmate. On April 2, Judge Jon S. Tigar in San Francisco, relying on the recommendations of expert witnesses, ruled state officials must provide the procedure for Michelle-Lael Norsworthy “as promptly as possible” in light of her medical condition. The first such order, issued in 2012 by the federal district court in Boston on behalf of Michelle Kosilek, a Massachusetts life inmate, was reversed by the First Circuit Court of Appeals late last year. Judge Tigar acknowledged that ruling, but pointed out that it was not binding on the court in California and that there were many distinctions between the cases. On April 10, California Attor ney General Kamala D. Harris filed a motion with Tigar requesting that his preliminary injunction be stayed “pending review by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.” Harris, a Democrat with strong political ties to the LGBT community, argued that providing surgery in response to a motion for preliminary injunction was effectively deciding the case on the merits before the state had any opportunity to prove at trial that the procedure was not “medically necessary” and so required under the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Harris stressed that the Ninth Circuit, whose rulings are binding on federal courts in California, has never ruled on whether prison inmates are entitled to sex-reassignment surgery. Named Jeffrey Norsworthy at birth, the plaintiff was convicted of murder in the second degree with the use of a firearm in 1987 and sentenced to 17 years to life, though she’s been eligible for parole since 1998. Norsworthy did GayCityNews.nyc | April 16 - 29, 2015
not openly identify as a transgender woman until the mid-1990s, and she was diagnosed with gender dysphoria by a prison physician in January 2000 and began hormone therapy. According to expert deposition testimony, Norsworthy now lives as a “biological female,” a “pleasant looking woman, slender, and coiffed with a pony tail,” who “walks the yard as a woman.” Though prison authorities have refused her request to seek a legal name change to Michelle-Lael, Norsworthy, unlike inmates in most states, has been allowed to keep her hair long, to shower in private, and to wear a bra, and, though incarcerated in a male prison, she is housed in a “sensitive needs yard.” Still, Norsworthy has suffered several rapes in prison, and as a result of one prolonged gang rape she become infected with hepatitis C, which has damaged her liver and created complications with her hormone therapy. News of Kosilek’s initial victory in the Boston federal district gave Norsworthy hope she could obtain sex-reassignment surgery, which she began seeking even before getting a psychologist’s diagnosis of the treatment as medically necessary for her. Prison officials responded to the diagnosis by assigning Kosilek to a new psychologist, who was not supportive of her quest, though Norsworthy in time won the support of two other medical experts. By 2014, having exhausted every remedy within the prison system, Norsworthy filed suit, arguing that surgery was medically necessary not just because of her gender dysphoria but also because it would lessen the need for estrogen treatment and so relieve pressure on her liver. Norsworthy’s case ran up against strongly worded deposition testimony from Dr. Stephen Levine, who was an expert witness in the Kosilek trial and has argued
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PITTSBURGH, from p.10
Johnston consistently used men’s restrooms on campus — and might have faced arrest if he had instead used women’s rooms since he was living as a male. What he never anticipated was that he would be arrested for using the men’s restrooms. The trigger for the problems he encountered was his enrollment in a men’s weight training class, for which he used the men’s locker room throughout the spring 2011 semester. When the administration lear ned he was doing so, he was summoned to a September meeting and told he could no longer use the men’s locker room. He agreed to use a unisex locker room, and was told that he could resume using the men’s locker room if his student records were “updated from female to male” — after presenting either a changed birth certificate or a court order. Johnston filed a complaint with the campus president, Dr. Jem Spectar, who backed up his administrators. Frustrated in resolving the issue, Johnston
resumed use of male facilities and was arrested by campus police and barred from the sports center. Though he was now facing disciplinary charges, he persisted in using men’s restrooms on campus and, in early 2012, was expelled. A University Appeals Board ruled against him and, facing criminal charges from the campus police, Johnston pled guilty on trespass and disorderly conduct charges. According to Johnston, after he was expelled, the university retaliated against him by giving his name to the FBI in connection with an investigation of a campus bombing threat. Johnston filed a federal lawsuit, representing himself, which alleged state law claims based on sex discrimination (Pennsylvania offers no gender identity protections) as well as the equal protection and Title IX federal claims. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, whose rulings are binding in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama, has interpreted the equal protection clause to bar gender identity discrimination by a
public employer, and Title IX bans sex discrimination by colleges and universities receiving federal funding. Federal courts across the nation and some administrative agencies have recognized gender identity discrimination as a form of sex discrimination. Unfortunately for Johnston, however, neither the Supreme Court nor the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, whose rulings are binding on federal courts in Pennsylvania, have ruled on gender identity claims. Gibson, then, had no clear precedents to rely on and he resolved the question facing him against Johnston. “While this case arises out of a climate of changing legal and social perceptions related to sex and gender,” Gibson wrote, “the question presented is relatively narrow and the applicable legal principles are well-settled.” The university, Gibson found, has a legitimate interest in protecting the “privacy” of other students who did not want to share sex-segregated restroom and locker room facilities with persons of the other sex. Johnston
does not allege that he either completed sex-r eassignment surgery or obtained a new birth certificate, the judge noted. Gibson acknowledged the growing body of federal court rulings in employment discrimination cases, but insisted access to sexsegregated facilities raised different issues. Johnston was not barred from attending the university, only from using male locker rooms and restrooms when the issue came to the administration’s attention in early 2011. Gibson’s reasoning and conclusions were contradicted the next day by the EEOC’s ruling in Tamara Lusardi’s case against the Army (see story on page 10). There, the EEOC concluded that the Civil Rights Act’s T itle VII sex discrimination provisions entitled a transgender woman who underwent treatment and legally changed her name to use women’s facilities, regardless of whether she had also undergone sex-reassignment surgery. The EEOC said that it was not up to the
PITTSBURGH, continued on p.13
April 16 - 29, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
INMATE, from p.11
that sex-reassignment surgery is always an “elective” procedure and that it should not be undertaken until the individual has lived in society in the desired gender for a year — an experience he asserts cannot be obtained in prison. Tigar found that though California’s written prison policies do not categorically forbid sex-reassignment surgery, in practice its actions effectively do constitute a categorical denial not based on an individualized medical assessment. In reviewing experts on both sides of the Norsworthy question, he concluded that those supporting her request for surgery had the convincing argument. The judge was particularly scathing about Levine’s deposition. “The Court gives very little weight to the opinions of Dr. Levine, whose report misrepresents the Standards of Care; overwhelmingly relies on generalizations about gender dysphoric prisoners, rather than an individualized assessment of Norsworthy; contains illogical inferences; and admittedly includes references to a fabricated anecdote,” he wrote. The “fabricated anecdote” refers to Levine’s deposition testimony about a California inmate who had undergone sex-reassignment surgery with poor results. Since the record shows that no inmate in California has ever received such treatment, the judge concluded the story was obviously fictional and that Levine had acknowledged as much. In ruling on a motion for pre-
PITTSBURGH, from p.12
employer to impose its own surgical requirement in order to recognize a person’s gender identity. In both cases, the defendant had of fered a gender -neutral restroom facility for the plaintiff’s use. The EEOC said the Army’s insistence on this was unlawful sex discrimination, but Gibson concluded the opposite. This tension in the interpretation of laws and constitutional provisions dealing with sex discrimination in gender identity cases awaits resolution at a higher level — either by the GayCityNews.nyc | April 16 - 29, 2015
liminary injunction, Tigar found Norsworthy demonstrated a high likelihood of success on the merits. She suffered from a serious medical condition for which surgery was a necessary treatment, while the prison’s de facto policy of categorically denying such treatment demonstrated deliberate indifference amounting to cruel and unusual punishment. Forgoing this treatment for the years a trial on the merits might take, Tigar concluded, would inflict irreparable harm on Norsworthy. As to the argument that the state’s case should be heard on the merits, the judge found, “there is no public interest in Norsworthy’s continued suffering during the pendency of this litigation.” Tigar’s opinion aroused immediate media and political controversy in California, with significant pressure put on the attor ney general to seek a stay pending appeal. The judge’s opinion seemed to anticipate the arguments Harris made in her motion. The attorney general argued that T igar’s order to make surgery available “as promptly as possible” overlooks the fact that Norsworthy has lived in prison with gender dysphoria for nearly two decades and no recent development has made surgery suddenly urgent. Her suit, Harris argued, was prompted by Kosilek’s victory in Massachusetts, not on her medical needs. Tigar found the contrary, focusing on expert testimony that Norsworthy only delayed seeking surgery out of a sense the effort would prove futile.
Supreme Court or by enactment of a broad federal nondiscrimination law that includes gender identity. Neither is imminent, unfortunately. The EEOC has undertaken a litigation effort to establish appellate precedents in more circuits finding that gender identity discrimination is sex discrimination, perhaps culminating in a Supreme Court ruling — though likely years off. Johnston might try to appeal to the Third Circuit, but that court has to date not taken a particularly expansive view of the sex discrimination provisions of the federal Higher Education Act.
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An Asian Fusion Worth Its Chili Union Square’s Laut brings together sibling cuisines of Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand
BY DONNA MINKOWITZ
s it came to our table, the tiny bowl of curry dip was preceded by its smell — a mix of coconut, warm spices like cinnamon, and a small amount of chili that literally turned my head, like a cartoon character following the aroma of pie. The curry dip accompanied our appetizer of roti canai ($7.50), a Malaysian bread that looked like a South Asian dosa but was softer and doughier. It is difficult to convey how the slightly sweet, aromatic curry sauce attracted my mouth over and over, or how fine it was to stick that bread in it. The dish was simple, delicious, and enormous, a perfect appetizer for two hungry people drinking beer and the first sign that Laut was better than it looked. I’m usually dubious of restaurants that serve more than one Asian cuisine — it often means they don’t do any of them well. But my wife and I were in Union Square after a mildly traumatic trip to the accountant and it was dinnertime. Very little food nearby was both appealing and cheap enough, or, if it was, had no relaxing seating on which to stretch our weary bones. (I’m calling you out, Republic and Num Pang Sandwich Shop. You’re delicious, but your comfort level stinks.) Suddenly, there was Laut looming before us on 17th Street and Fifth Avenue, proudly announcing it served “Malaysian, Singaporean, and Thai cuisine.” It wasn’t expensive, at least by Manhattan standards. I was ignorant of the fact that Singaporean and Malaysian cooking are inherently very similar anyway. Both share influences from Thai cuisine, as well. Reader, my ignorance on many subjects is vast, but more unpardonable, perhaps, is that I was also unaware of these countries’ geography. Half of Malaysia sits on the same peninsula as South Thailand, and the island of Singapore immediately abuts Malaysia’s shore. The word Laut means “sea,” and Malaysia is bordered by five different seas that connect it to the rest of Southeast and South Asia. All the countries in the vicinity (including Indonesia, and even China and India) share some food traditions and blend them and reformulate them. I’ve had “sambal” (a tangy chili sauce in several variations) from Sri Lanka, but here was my Laut waitress serving me an authentically Malaysian sambal with squid, my entrée ($15). One of the Malaysian versions of sambal is made with shrimp paste crushed with chilies (belacan), and came, in this instance, with okra, string beans, bell peppers, onions, and that squid, in amazingly soft and delicate cylindrical segments. It was the nicest squid I’ve ever had in my mouth, and delicious in the very hot and slightly funky sauce. My wife had the curry laksa with vegetables
($12). Yes, laksa, the Malay-Singaporean- I was looking forward to masak asam pedas Indonesian soup that adorably snotty butch (“spicy and sour clay pot”) with shrimp ($21), Lisa Fer nandes cooked on “T op Chef.” but it just wasn’t spicy or sour enough, despite (Fangirls, she has opened a food truck in the the lemongrass, turmeric, garlic, chili-shrimp city called Sweet Chili that you can find on paste, and Vietnamese mint it was supposed to Twitter.) Yes, among my many weaknesses is contain. (The shrimp, however, were perfectly that I can be strongly influenced by “Top Chef.” cooked and, as an important matter of social Anthony Bourdain and Fernandes had spoken justice, did not come from Thailand, where of this complex, spicy noodle soup with such a the shrimping industry is currently staffed by reverence that I’d always wanted to have some. slaves.) Cinnamon and star anise-laden masak Laut’s version was profound and homey, its kicap with chicken ($15) was just okay. broth thick with coconut cream, lemongrass, and galangal, and almost too spicy for me to eat. Karen adored it, though, and I did find it addictive the next day as a leftover. Laut’s setting isn’t fancy, but there are beautiful murals on its brick walls, including an elaborate one with a squid, a bird, and a large animal turning into flowers in the midst of a psychedelic bright blue sea. Still, the plasticated paper dinner menus are banged up and even a little funky, and the bathroom plumbing isn’t perfect. Service is excellent even when the With a unique cuisine, good prices, and a welcoming ambience, Union Square’s Laut place is full to the gills, as it often is a smart place to reserve a table in advance for weekend dinners. is for lunch and dinner. The only time I had poor service was when Crispy chili chicken ($12), though, made an I came for a very late lunch and found the lone waitress too occupied with her table of dining insanely good lunch one day, with little bites friends to be at all attentive to me, the only other of chicken that were sweet and extremely hot at once. person in the place. Pulut inti ($7) was the most elaborateBut I’d rather have this food than be at a yuppie showcase. At a second meal, we had sounding dessert on the menu: “steamed dry the “crispy and spicy anchovies with peanuts” rice pudding made from glutinous rice and and little rounds of green chili ($6), described coconut milk, wrapped in banana leaves and as “must-have Malaysian style beer snacks.” topped with fresh grated coconut sweetened Blisteringly hot, salty, and sweet from the with palm sugar.” But the waitress must have caramelization on the peanuts, they were indeed misheard us, because she brought a bowl ideal snacks with or without beer, and I’ve found of sweet mush made from black rice mixed myself craving them many times since then. The with coconut milk (bubur pulut hitam), which translucent fried anchovies were like Lilliputian Karen judged extremely dull. The mush didn’t provide any fireworks, but I found it incredibly salty noodles in the mix. About that beer: unless you’re a fan of Laotian comforting. It’s something I would have liked to cult favorite Beerlao or Thai lager Singha, also eat for breakfast, or if I were homesick and had prized by some, get the Hitachino Nest White Ale, just suffered a great loss. At the end of another meal, the waiter brought a reputedly excellent Belgian-style white beer from Japan, made with orange and coriander, or a freebie with our check: for each of us, a little my own choice, Brooklyn’s own Sixpoint Bengali wrapped Malaysian sour green apple candy. It Tiger IPA (delicious with this food). There are was plenty exciting enough, with unabashed, juicy sourness that went on for days, with only a also cocktails and a small wine list. Eating at Laut were couples, groups, little, teeny hit of sweet to moderate its force. and families of all possible race and age Laut, 15 East 17th Street (lautnyc.com), is combinations, one of the most diverse restaurant clienteles I’ve seen in Downtown wheelchair accessible enough to get to the tables, Manhattan. The clientele does tend straight (and but of the restrooms, only the men’s is accessible. Reservations suggested for weekend evenings skews young at lunch) but isn’t so exclusively. Alas, some of the other entrées left me cold. (212-206-8989). April 16 - 29, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
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PERSPECTIVE: The View from LA
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BY DAVID EHRENSTEIN
n February 25 at 11:30 a.m., after 43 years of intimate cohabitation, Bill Reed and I were married at Beverly Hills City Hall. Judge Marjorie Harris, a polished, poised, and delightful woman who has married a number of same-sex couples since Proposition 8 was overturned in 2013, presided. Since marriage is a contract issued by the state to recognize the joining of two individuals into a single legally-empowered entity, only our desire to do so and an explication of the commitment we’d be making (“in sickness and in health”) were mentioned. The Big Invisible Bi-Polar Daddy Who Lives in the Sky played no part in the proceedings. As those who pay fealty to him (her, it…?) well know — but would rather curl up and die than acknowledge — the marriage ceremonies performed by priests, rabbis, and whatnot are utterly valueless without the legal protocols that must be affixed to them. If not, you can “O Promise Me” till the Disney cows come home. It won’t mean a thing. Our marriage meant quite lot, as did that of the others married by Judge Harris that morning: an Asian-American male/ female couple (with a large party of some 20 friends and relatives to witness it) and a lesbian couple (a classic butch with short hair and in slacks, her femme bride in a traditional white wedding dress) with their two children, a little boy excitedly taking pictures and a little girl twirling happily in her white bridesmaid’s dress. We came with our friend Jay, who took pictures. All six of us who took vows are now free to revel in the 1,138 benefits, rights, protections, and obligations provided on the basis of marital status in federal law. More importantly we’ve personally enriched our lives. Marriage wasn’t on anyone’s minds when gays, lesbians, transsexuals, and transvestites took on the NYPD at Stonewall 46 years ago. Likewise, it didn’t figure in the plans of the gay rights organizations that came in its immediate wake. When I joined the Gay Activists Alliance in New York, our goals were many and varied; getting basic civil rights protection and fight-
ing off the slings and arrows homophobes rained on us every day were two of the most important. But over and above all, we were trying to get fellow LGBTs to come out of the closet. This wasn’t an easy task. Not just because an un-closeted existence risked breaking with one’s blood family and put one’s employment at rsk but because far too many thought of their sexual orientation as something along the lines of a “bad habit” — like smoking, nail-chewing, or bed-wetting. Obviously it’s not, but breaking that mental dam was no simple task — even in a city as seemingly sophisticated as New York. Now, in what one may well refer to as the Post-Neil Patrick Harris Era, the closet is rapidly becoming a relic of days gone by. When Bill and I first set up shop together circa 1971, marriage wasn’t at all in the cards for us as a couple, either. Indeed, the notion that we’d be together this long wasn’t really countenanced. Like so many gay man of our generation, our relationship “just happened.” We had no master plan, no “agenda.” We simply enjoyed each other’s company and continued to keep it. As we have never been monogamous, we’ve indulged in the sexual and, to varying degrees, romantic favors of other parties over the course of time. Yet for all our sexcapades, we’ve never thrown caution to the wind. Once we tried a three-way — which proved awkward and unsatisfactory. But that was about it, really. We’re pretty “vanilla” overall. Consequently, the AIDS epidemic that at its height picked off a considerable number of our friends, while devastating us emotionally, passed us by physically. Having fought for basic rights and respect for more than a decade, AIDS made us fight for our very lives — and because of it, the coupled relationships so many of us had formed seemed more precious than ever. As with all gay couples, our alliance hasn’t always been easy. We’ve had spats of varying degrees of intensity. More importantly, we’ve faced personal crises, the most challenging of which came in 1997 when I suffered a hypertensive stroke — brought on by undiagnosed high blood pressure — that put me in the hospital for six weeks and left poor Bill in a state of
extended anguish. But I recovered, with his invaluable help, and as Sondheim would say, we’re still here. We’re hardly exceptional in that. There are a great many others who’ve enjoyed long-term coupledom like ours. One thinks of Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy or James Bridges and Jack Larson or Gore Vidal and Howard Austen. They were lucky to be living in copasetic climes. Other couples in less welcoming circumstances had to take their chances. Now such hostility is on the wane. In a remarkably short space of time, “gay marriage” has gone from the “unthinkable” to the de rigueur. Ira Sachs’ marvelous comedy-drama “Love is Strange” acknowledges just what many long-term coupled gay lives are like — with marriage making the once-clandestine public and proper. Thirty-seven states now boast marriage quality: 26 by court decision; eight by state legislative action; and three by popular vote. There has, of course, been pushback — most notoriously, the recent ruling out of the Alabama Supreme Court essentially countermanding a federal district court decision (despite that enjoying the US Supreme Court’s acquiescence) and still holding up its unimpeded implementation. Still, the resistance is for naught. The nation’s high court takes up the gay marriage question later this month and the outcome does not appear to be in doubt. And yet the struggle will continue. The right to marry may have been won, but the right to hold a job, have a place to live, or even go shopping remains in peril. Today — in 2015! — only 22 states provide nondiscrimination protections based on sexual orientation, with three of that number (New York among them) not also covering gender identity. No protections exist on the federal level, except for anti-discrimination provisions for federal workers, a tiny fraction of the total work force. So, as heartening as the marriage equality juggernaut has been to witness, a “cart before the horse” aspect to this whole business remains. For its entirely possible to be married to a person of your own sex and lose your job because you are in an area that doesn’t provide job protection. And now, crying “religious freedom,” the homophobes are fighting
VIEW FROM LA, continued on p.19
April 16 - 29, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
PERSPECTIVE: A Dyke Abroad
No Honeymoon in Brazil For Post-Marriage Queers BY KELLY COGSWELL
o the feds finally recognize your marriage, big deal. Pop a cork, swig some champagne, then get back to work. You can’t legislate the end of homophobia. Just look at Brazil, with its enormous LGBT Pride marches, marriage equality — and also entrenched homophobia and violence. I’ve been swapping messages about the state of Brazil’s Queer Nation with Mariana Rodrigues, a 31-year -old dyke activist who worked at Liga Brasileira de Lésbicas (League of Brazilian Lesbians) when she still lived in São Paulo. She started off by telling me that despite all their legal progress, young queers who dare to come out are regularly met with fierce disapproval or even violence from family, friends, and society at large. When one of her young friends announced he was gay, his father actually tossed him out of a moving car. And despite the parades, most people are still closeted at work, or they wouldn’t find any. Especially feminine gay men and butch dykes. Trans people almost never find employment in a formal workplace. Luma Nogueira de Andrade, the first trans university professor in the country, is a rare exception. Now, she’s actually the first trans college president in Brazil, at the
University of International Integration of the Afro-Brazilian Lusophony (UNILAB) in the northeast. She describes herself as travesti (transsexual) instead of transgender to highlight the history of stigma and violence that transsexuals continue to face. Queers are killed at the rate of almost one a day in Brazil, with trans people accounting for half the victims, largely because they’re forced to the margins of a society where violence is already endemic. In fact, violence against all LGBT people is increasing, especially in big cities like São Paulo and Rio. Mariana believes it is the beginning of an enormous backlash. Just two weeks ago, a video went viral showing a huge group of young men called Gladiators of the Altar shouting they were going to hunt down queers and kill them. They are organized by one of the largest evangelical groups in Brazil, the enormous Universal Church of the Kingdom of God. A few days afterwards, Mariana found an equally horrifying post on the group’s website showing an image of a father with a gun in his hand saying, “Who else wants to admit they’re gay?” The caption: “Everyone should have a gun at home to solve their own problems.” More and more, politicians attack LGBT people and women’s rights during their campaigns, as they compete for the conser-
vative evangelical vote. Mariana was shocked when the Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff, actually vetoed a curriculum developed to help teachers cope better with diversity in schools. A member of the Workers’ Party, which has been the most progressive on LGBT issues, Rousseff claimed that it was not the government’s role to “spread sexual orientation propaganda.” As in the US, the division of church and state is increasingly blurred as conservative evangelical movements elect more and more legislators and invest entire fortunes in buying up media outlets and creating giant lobbying machines. Marco Feliciano, a staunch evangelical, is now the president of the Human Rights and Minority Commission of Brazil’s lower legislative house. Besides declaring that black people are cursed because they didn’t worship Jesus in Africa, he’s also blamed bisexuals for the AIDS epidemic. Jair Bolsonaro, another evangelical deputy, said that children only become gay because they’re not beaten enough. Both were re-elected in a landslide. In the last election, a Catholic candidate promised to create a mass movement rising up against the evil of homosexuality, which among other things threatened the traditional family. In that case, the public defender filed a lawsuit
against him because those statements were made on national television and incited hate crime. Last week, the candidate was sentenced to pay a fine that will go toward a public service announcement supporting LGBT rights, though it might be overturned on appeal. Nevertheless, LGBT activists can’t keep up, and Mariana worries that evangelical politicians may actually be able to reverse decades of legal and social progress in Brazil. The removal of the program about gender equality and sexual orientation from the national curriculum came after intense lobbying from evangelicals, who claimed these “theories of gender are included to propagate and encourage homosexuality in children.” And in T ocantins, the central Brazil state where Mariana now lives, LGBT activists worked for two years to pass a program addressing their community’s educational, health, social assistance, and employment needs and insuring basic human rights. Eight days after the plan was approved and announced, the state government caved in to pressure from Christian members and revoked the whole thing. Even when the federal government does makes progressive recommendations, they are often ignored by the state governments. (Like in the US, LGBT rights and protections vary from state to state). Sometimes policies are passed, but not implement-
DYKE ABROAD, continued on p.34
PERSPECTIVE: The Long View
What Research Tells Us About Young LGBTQ Sex Workers
BY NATHAN RILEY
esilience, the ability to stick your head above the muck and keep on trucking, is an often-underestimated strength of the young people who trade sex for money or shelter. It keeps them from defeat and being victims, and it is a quality that allows for the marked bonds of friendship they forge. They strive for self-determination GayCityNews.nyc | April 16 - 29, 2015
against heavy odds. Make no mistake about it: the LGBTQ young offering their bodies on the streets of New York and on the web would rather do something else. They, for the most part, do not enjoy sex with clients, but prefer it to starving and or sleeping in shelters. In the diverse world of sex work, they practice survival sex. According to a just-completed study, roughly half of the New York City queer youth engaged in
sex work reported living in a shelter, another 10 percent said they lived on the street, and only 18 percent had been at the same address for a year. They need assistance, but few of the 283 interviewed wished to be confined and or “rescued.” “It is difficult to grasp the complete lack of other viable options that makes sex work one of the few options available to youth of color,” explained Mitchyll Mora, a staff member at Streetwise and Safe, a group that works with homeless youth, who did research for the study. “They face an array of problems and the transgender and gender non-conforming youth have other barriers.” The Justice Department-funded study, “Sur-
THE LONG VIEW, continued on p.18
PERSPECTIVE: Media Circus
Schocks and Sham(e)s BY ED SIKOV
c h o c k a n d Aw w w w :
Politico’s lede on a recent follow-up to the story of the disgraced and definitely not gay — no, no, anything but gay! — Congressmember Aaron Schock says it all: “Dateline: Springfield, Ill. — The Paul Findley Federal Building and Courthouse here might as well have been the site of an Aaron Schock staff meeting on Tuesday.” That’s because so many of Schock’s former staffers were on the scene testifying in a necessarily closed-to-the-public federal grand jury investigation into the allegedly corrupt, allegedly straight dirtbag’s use of taxpayer money to fund his tacky, too-hideous-to be-gay office decoration and phony travel reimbursements. In addition to the ordinary staff members scheduled to testify (Schock’s former chief of staff, his former district office manager…), his photographer, Jonathon Link, is on the list of prospective witnesses. Why did a congressmember from Peoria (Peoria!) need to have a photographer on staff, you may well ask? To accompany him to India in order to provide the necessary Instagram coverage, of course! Wait, no…. Link wasn’t on the payroll at the time. The two men traveled to the exotic subcontinent together in August 2014, before Schock officially hired the blond, swimmer’s-bodied Link as his employee, as was required by one of the many laws Schock allegedly broke while serving in Congress. In
a nod to propriety, Schock flew first class but stuck Link in steerage. To be fair to Schock, I must add that at no time has the unmarried couldbe felon been accused of having illicit heterosexual relations with even one woman.
Straight In From the Loony Bin: Father John Zuhlsdorf, writing on the website LifeSiteNews, offers some inspired advice to Christians who might be forced to deal with some of the multitudes of “gay fascists” who are roaming about these days preying on the pious: “When some homosexual couple comes to your Christian business for services at their immoral event, don’t panic. Go ahead and take their business! Then explain what is going to happen next. Tell them that the food and services will be just fine. And then inform them that all of the money that they pay for the services will be donated to a traditional pro-family lobby. If it is something like catering, where your employees have to be there to provide services, tell them that all your people will smile, be professional, and every one of them will be wearing crucifixes and have the Holy Family embroidered on their uniforms. Then show them pictures of your uniforms. When the truck pulls up, speakers will be playing Immaculate Mary. Show them the truck and play the music.” Great idea, Father! It sounds like campy fun! Have your folks spend lots of money ordering unifor ms with embroidered Holy
THE LONG VIEW, from p.17
viving the Streets of New York,” produced by the Urban Institute with the assistance of staff from Streetwise and Safe, a group that works with homeless youth, is one of the few that asks these young people to describe their lives and tell their stories. One of the most important findings Streetwise and Safe’s Mora stressed is “distinguishing between exploitive and peer support relations.” Friends teach safe sex, advise about the police, serve as lookouts, or keep an email address when a friend is on a date. Exploitation was the exception, not the rule. While this finding is not new, it sharply differs
Families on them! (None of that machine embroidery crap, either — it’s all got to be done by hand by elderly nuns in Slovakia.) Then they’ll have to buy trucks and speakers! Show those gay fascists you mean business! One question: you write that the speakers will be blasting Immaculate Mary. I’m not familiar with that artist. I take it she does Madonna covers.
Stop Bogarting, Tony: Here’s Jay Michaelson on the Daily Beast, writing about the perennial putz Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, his call for a three-week fast meant to convince the Almighty to steer the Supreme Court away from ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, and the less-than-likelihood of the fast’s success. Michaelson points out that fasting can produce a trippy effect on the brain: “As part of that hallucinatory experience, people fasting for extended periods can have the sense that they are actually accomplishing something, just like a stoner feels like he can float those potato chips across the room through telepathy.” What’s next on Perkins’ crackpot agenda — sacrificing lambs on the Court’s steps?
While African-American Men Are Being Routinely Shot or Choked to Death in This Country…: “A lawyer named Matt McLaughlin filed a ballot initiative with the California Department of Justice in February to enact the ‘Sodomite Suppression Act,’ which calls for the killing of anyone
from news reports and popular fears that the young are in the clutches of violent and controlling adults who pimp them to clients. Only eight percent, most often cisgender women, were tied to exploiters who used coercion and deception. In other words, 92 percent of participants said they were not trafficked, a finding echoed by other research cited in the study. The recent anti-trafficking legislation approved in Albany, however, is predicated on exploitation being the key driver of youth sex work. To be sure, some youth described exploitive situations. A Latina lesbian said there were 30 to 50 women involved in a business where she had worked but has since left. In fact, of the eight percent who reported having been tied to
who engages in sodomy…,” the Huffington Post reports. “‘Seeing that it is better that offenders should die rather than that all of us should be killed by God's just wrath against us for the folly of tolerating-wickedness in our midst, the People of California wisely command, in the fear of God, that any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method,’ McLaughlin wrote. Now, other Californians are responding with some new ballot initiatives of their own — like the ‘Shellfish Suppression Act’ and the ‘Intolerant Jackass Act.’ Joe Decker of San Jose proposed the legislation against shellfish, writing: ‘Shellfish are a monstrous evil that Almighty God, giver of freedom and liberty, commands us in Leviticus to suppress. They also smell bad.’ Leviticus calls the consumption of ‘all that have not fins and scales in the seas’ an abomination. Those who consume or sell shellfish, Decker wrote, should be subject to a $666,000 fine or a prison term of six years, six months and six days…. “The Intolerant Jackass Act by Charlotte Laws of Woodland Hills calls for anti-gay individuals to attend sensitivity training and donate $5,000 to an LGBT organization. The back and forth is possible because California allows residents to pay $200 to submit initiatives that could be added to the ballot, provided the initiative gets signatures from 5 percent of the state's populace.” I can’t breathe.
exploitive situations, half had left that situation and were now independent. Violence is a constant reality, but is more apt to come from arrests than from exploiters. Seventy percent of those interviewed had been arrested, but only nine percent were collared for prostitution. In general, respondents felt profiled by the police. The study concluded this surveillance — and the consequent arrests for minor infractions — increases “instability” in the youths’ lives and perpetuates their need to engage in survival sex. “In custody, many youth experience violence on the basis of their perceived sexual orientation
THE LONG VIEW, continued on p.19
April 16 - 29, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
VIEW FROM LA, from p.16
back, cobbling together a variety of laws to “protect their right to discriminate” against us. They will, in the long run, lose — and the recent debacle in Indiana hints at the possibility that day may come sooner rather than later. Universal acceptance, as with all civil rights struggles, is another matter. My husband and I well know that the past has much to teach us about the present and future of LGBT life — be it married or single. Never forget that, until 1973, when gayness was declassified as a “mental illness,” we were “homosexuals,” which is to say mentally unstable men prone to commit “homosexual acts” — or rather the “act,” anal intercourse. It has never ceased to amaze me that the Heterosexual Dictatorship (Isherwood’s ever-useful term) has been obsessed with anal intercourse, as if it were the alpha and omega of gayness, all that “homosexuals” were interested in. Completely overlooking other forms of sexual pleasure and romantic expression we enjoy, this anal intercourse matrix cleverly reduces “homosexuality” to a single physical action, inciden-
tally leaving those who “commit” it free to be categorized as “heterosexual” when not so engaged. The lives that we actually live and the culture we have built, replete with cultural figures as complex and multi-faceted as Marcel Proust, Oscar Wilde, W.H. Auden, Jean Genet, Tennessee Williams, Isherwood, Stephen Sondheim, Larry Kramer, and Patrice Chéreau were either passed over in silence or ritually attacked. To appreciate the tenor of those times and their cultural conceits, William Goldman’s 1969 book “The Season: A Candid Look at Broadway” can serve as Exhibit 1. Writing of “Everything in the Garden,” a fairly innocuous, minor Albee play about suburban housewives supplementing their incomes through prostitution, Goldman declares, “The play makes three central statements: 1. All wives are whores, 2. All husbands are panderers, 3. The only wisdom lies with bachelors and young boys. In other words, ‘Everything in the Garden’ is as clear a statement of the homosexual mystique as one could hope to find.” That such a grotesquely paranoid screed was countenanced without complaint may surprise us today, but when
THE LONG VIEW, from p.18
and gender identity,” the report stated. Even in shelters, LGBTQ youth experience violence — both from staff and other homeless youth. A crackdown on trafficking will not address these vulnerabilities. While virtually everyone said they would leave prostitution if they had a good paying job and shelter, many viewed this outcome as unlikely. Even those who had left sex work considered it possible they would return if the going got rough. “More than 8 in 10 youth (82 percent) said there were positive things about engaging in survival sex — with most of these 225 respondents citing income (68 percent) or the fact that trading sex helped fulfill their basic needs for food and shelter (25 percent),” the report stated. “Eleven percent of respondents reported that exchanging sex for money and/or material goods helped foster a sense of community, and 12 percent reported that they enjoyed the sex act itself.” The most common way youth entered the scene was by asking friends who were already in the game. Most of the youth were in LGBTQ social networks and knew someone who was doing sex work. Some, predominantly women, came to sex work essentially on their own, based on their circumstances. Others came to realize the opportunities from being on the street and GayCityNews.nyc | April 16 - 29, 2015
Goldman’s book first appeared its unabashed homophobia was taken quite seriously indeed. And its dissing of Albee wasn’t his only occasion for such bile-spewing; with equal gusto, Goldman attacks everything from Judy Garland fans to a failed and now long-forgotten comedy called “The Ninety Day Mistress,” which he claims was really a gay play in straight disguise. At one point, taking his cue from “Homosexual Drama and Its Disguises,” a noxious screed Stanley Kaufman wrote for the New York Times in 1966, Goldman goes so far as to remark “This is a difficult chapter to write because of the necessity of being ‘hinty.’ It is perfectly all right for one to come out and say that Marcel Proust was a homosexual but that is because he is dead. The living homosexuals, the ones who inhabit the world of the arts and, particularly for this discussion, Broadway, are not about to be named.” Then, while claiming to do otherwise, he names Albee, William Inge, and Tennessee Williams. The same year Goldman’s book appeared, the Stonewall riots changed the face of American culture once and for all. Gays, lesbians, and transgender folks fought
getting picked up by an adult looking for sex. Significantly, exploiters also used social networks to recruit, often employing other youth to do their bidding at wild parties and shelters. Some, then, were enticed by deception, but this is fairly uncommon. “It boils down, if you have no food in your stomach, if you have no transportation, but you have a man in your face willing to give you money for a half hour,” a 19-year-old gay Latino male told the researchers. “You put your pride to the side, you throw everything out the window, and you forget who you are and learn to be someone else. You have to teach yourself these things.” This attitude suggests that most youth sex is a chore rather than an assault. This young man is being rented for half an hour, not becoming a different person. Sex work doesn’t necessarily define these youngsters any more than selling hamburgers defines a fast food worker. Sex work is part of their experience. Their lives are not static; learning sex work is part of a process of gaining control over their circumstances while they wait for a chance to have a better job, a home, and a partner. And a person who at one point is confined to a brothel can later escape and start working the streets on their own or doing so on the Internet through their cell phone. The way
back against the police and the Mafia, whose collusion largely kept us socially restricted to commingling in scuzzy dives whose overpriced, watered-down drinks picked our pockets while ravaging our self-esteem. But there was self-esteem aplenty that night in June of ’69, bolstered some say by the fact that Judy Garland was buried that day and, having lost this pivotal icon, those queens were pissed. Many have pooh-poohed the notion that “Judy Grief” played any role, but it should never be forgotten that Garland concerts were one of the rare places gays could congregate and have fun in the same way straights did — openly and without fear of arrest. That was no small thing in those days. But those days are gone, if not forgotten. Judy concluded her fabled 1961 Carnegie Hall concert not with “Over the Rainbow” but with “Chicago,” whose key lyric in her telling goes, “I got the surprise, the surprise of my life / I had to stop and stare/ I saw a man dancing with his own wife/ And you will never guess where.” And now that man can dance with his own husband. And, not so long ago, we’d never dare have guessed where.
these youngsters organize their lives changes over time. Many modify the way they find clients. They can learn how to negotiate. They stroll on the streets, the most common way to meet a client. And they used the Internet. The study estimates that 2,000 to 4,000 LGBTQ youngsters practice survival sex — well less than one percent of the roughly 1.2 million New Yorkers 15-24, though of course a far higher portion of the queer youth population. Still, the numbers suggest that low-impact programs like drop-in centers, peer workers, and shelters for LGBTQ youth can have a significant impact. At the end of the day, the most disruptive risk these youth face is incarceration. Stays at Rikers Island bring sexual harassment and even rapes. “All New Yorkers should know their rights,” said out gay City Councilmember Corey Johnson, a Chelsea Democrat. “But is of the upmost importance for those who have been historically targeted while navigating our streets. [Streetwise and Safe] not only spreads this knowledge but advocates tirelessly for these targeted populations.” Johnson and other members of the Council’s LGBT Caucus are asking Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to finding funding for the group, which manages its productive efforts on a very small budget.
TRIUMEQ is a once-a-day pill used to treat HIV-1. TRIUMEQ should not be used by itself in some people. Take TRIUMEQ exactly as your healthcare provider tells you. Is it time for you? Ask your doctor. APPROVED USES TRIUMEQ is a prescription medicine used to treat Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 (HIV-1) infection in adults. HIV-1 is the virus that causes AIDS. It is not known if TRIUMEQ is safe or effective in children under the age of 18. TRIUMEQ is not for use by itself in people who have or have had resistance to abacavir, dolutegravir, or lamivudine. TRIUMEQ does not cure HIV-1 or AIDS. You must stay on continuous HIV-1 therapy to control HIV-1 infection and decrease HIV-related illness. IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
° yellow skin, or the white part of the eyes turns yellow; dark urine;
• A buildup of acid in your blood (lactic acidosis). Lactic acidosis can happen in some people who take TRIUMEQ. This serious medical emergency can cause death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you feel very weak or tired; have unusual muscle pain; have trouble breathing; have stomach pain with nausea and vomiting; feel cold, especially in your arms and legs; feel dizzy/ light-headed; or have a fast/irregular heartbeat.
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 new symptoms after starting your HIV-1 medicine.
light-colored stools; nausea; itching; or stomach-area pain. What is the most important information I should know about TRIUMEQ? • Worsening of hepatitis B virus in people who have HIV-1 infection. • Serious allergic reaction (hypersensitivity reaction). TRIUMEQ If you have HIV-1 and hepatitis B virus infections, your hepatitis virus contains abacavir. Patients taking TRIUMEQ may have a serious infection may get worse if you stop taking TRIUMEQ. Do not stop allergic reaction to abacavir that can cause death. Your risk is taking TRIUMEQ without first talking to your healthcare provider, so much higher if you have a gene variation called HLA-B*5701. Your he or she can monitor your health. healthcare provider can determine with a blood test if you have • Resistant hepatitis B virus. If you have HIV-1 and hepatitis B, the this gene variation. If you get symptoms from 2 or more of the hepatitis B virus can change (mutate) during your treatment with following groups while taking TRIUMEQ, call your healthcare TRIUMEQ and become harder to treat (resistant). provider right away: 1. fever; 2. rash; 3. nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach pain; 4. generally ill feeling, extreme • Use with interferon and ribavirin-based regimens. If you’re taking tiredness, or achiness; 5. shortness of breath, cough, or sore TRIUMEQ and interferon, with or without ribavirin, tell your healthcare throat. Your pharmacist will give you a Warning Card with a list of provider about any new symptoms. Liver disease might get worse in these symptoms. Carry this Warning Card with you at all times. patients who are taking HIV-1 medicines and interferon. If you stop taking TRIUMEQ because of an allergic reaction, never Who should not take TRIUMEQ? take TRIUMEQ or any other medicine that contains abacavir or • Do not take TRIUMEQ if you: dolutegravir again. If you take TRIUMEQ or any other abacavir° have the HLA-B*5701 gene variation containing medicine again after you have had an allergic reaction, ° have ever had an allergic ®reaction to abacavir, dolutegravir, or lamivudine within hours you may get life-threatening symptoms that may ° take dofetilide (Tikosyn ) include very low blood pressure or death. If you stop TRIUMEQ for ° have certain liver problems any other reason, even for a few days, and you are not allergic to What are other possible side effects of TRIUMEQ? TRIUMEQ, talk with your healthcare provider before taking it again. Taking TRIUMEQ again can cause a serious allergic or life-threatening • People with a history of hepatitis B or C virus may have an increased reaction, even if you never had an allergic reaction to it before. If your risk of developing new or worsening changes in certain liver tests healthcare provider tells you that you can take TRIUMEQ again, during treatment with TRIUMEQ. Your healthcare provider may do tests start taking it when you are around medical help or people who to check your liver function before and during treatment with TRIUMEQ. can call a healthcare provider if you need one. • When you start taking HIV-1 medicines, your immune system may
• Severe liver problems. Severe liver problems can happen in people who take TRIUMEQ. In some cases, these severe liver problems can lead to death. You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or serious liver problems if you are female, very overweight, or have been taking nucleoside analogue medicines for a long time. Call your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following signs or symptoms:
• Changes in body fat can happen in people who take HIV-1 medicines. • Some HIV-1 medicines, including TRIUMEQ, may increase your risk of heart attack. The most common side effects of TRIUMEQ include: trouble sleeping, headache, and tiredness. These are not all the possible side effects of TRIUMEQ. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. Important Safety Information continued on next page.
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 Prescribing Information for TRIUMEQ on the following pages.
©2014 ViiV Healthcare group of companies. All rights reserved. Printed in USA. DTR045R0 November 2014
April 16 - 29, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
Not an actual patient. Testimonial is based on a collection of real patient experiences.
What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking TRIUMEQ? • Before you take TRIUMEQ, tell your healthcare provider if you: ° have been tested and know whether or not you have a gene variation called HLA-B*5701. ° have or had liver problems, including hepatitis B or C infection; have kidney problems; have heart problems, smoke, or have diseases that increase your risk of heart disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes; drink alcoholic beverages; or have any other medical condition. ° are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if TRIUMEQ will harm your unborn baby. ° are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you take TRIUMEQ.
• Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines (for example, antacids; laxatives; vitamins such as iron or calcium supplements; anti-seizure medicines; other medicines to treat HIV-1, hepatitis, or tuberculosis; metformin; and methadone) and herbal supplements (for example, St. John’s wort). TRIUMEQ may affect the way they work, and they may affect how TRIUMEQ works.
• You should not take TRIUMEQ if you also take: or ZIAGEN) ° abacavir (EPZICOM, TRIZIVIR, ® lamivudine (COMBIVIR , EPIVIR, EPIVIR-HBV®, EPZICOM, or TRIZIVIR) ° ® ® ® ® ® ° emtricitabine (EMTRIVA , ATRIPLA , COMPLERA , STRIBILD , TRUVADA )
GayCityNews.nyc | April 16 - 29, 2015
BRIEF SUMMARY TRIUMEQ® (TRI-u-meck) (abacavir 600 mg/dolutegravir 50 mg/lamivudine 300 mg) tablets Read this Medication Guide before you start taking TRIUMEQ and each time you get a refill. There may be new information. This information does not take the place of talking to your healthcare provider about your medical condition or your treatment. Be sure to carry your TRIUMEQ Warning Card with you at all times. What is the most important information I should know about TRIUMEQ? • Serious allergic reaction (hypersensitivity reaction). TRIUMEQ contains abacavir (also contained in EPZICOM®, TRIZIVIR®, and ZIAGEN®). Patients taking TRIUMEQ may have a serious allergic reaction (hypersensitivity reaction) that can cause death. Your risk of this allergic reaction to abacavir is much higher if you have a gene variation called HLA-B*5701. Your healthcare provider can determine with a blood test if you have this gene variation. If you get a symptom from 2 or more of the following groups while taking TRIUMEQ, call your healthcare provider right away to find out if you should stop taking TRIUMEQ. Symptom(s) Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4 Group 5
Fever Rash Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal (stomach area) pain Generally ill feeling, extreme tiredness, or achiness Shortness of breath, cough, sore throat
A list of these symptoms is on the Warning Card your pharmacist gives you. Carry this Warning Card with you at all times. If you stop TRIUMEQ because of an allergic reaction, never take TRIUMEQ or any other medicines that contain abacavir or dolutegravir (EPZICOM, ZIAGEN, TRIZIVIR, or TIVICAY®) again. If you take TRIUMEQ or any other abacavir-containing medicine again after you have had an allergic reaction, within hours you may get life-threatening symptoms that may include very low blood pressure or death. If you stop TRIUMEQ for any other reason, even for a few days, and you are not allergic to TRIUMEQ, talk with your healthcare provider before taking it again. Taking TRIUMEQ again can cause a serious allergic or life-threatening reaction, even if you never had an allergic reaction to it before. If your healthcare provider tells you that you can take TRIUMEQ again, start taking it when you are around medical help or people who can call a healthcare provider if you need one. • Build-up of acid in your blood (lactic acidosis). Lactic acidosis can happen in some people who take TRIUMEQ. 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 the following symptoms that 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 and vomiting • feel cold, especially in your arms and legs • feel dizzy or light-headed • have a fast or irregular heartbeat • Severe liver problems. Severe liver problems can happen in people who take TRIUMEQ. In some cases these severe 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 signs or symptoms of liver problems: • your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow • dark “tea-colored” urine • light colored stools (bowel movements) • nausea • itching • stomach-area pain You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or serious liver problems if you are female, very overweight, or have been taking nucleoside analogue medicines for a long time.
• Worsening of hepatitis B virus in people who have HIV-1 infection. If you have HIV-1 and hepatitis B virus infections, your hepatitis virus infection may get worse if you stop taking TRIUMEQ. To help avoid this: Take TRIUMEQ exactly as prescribed. • Do not run out of TRIUMEQ. • Do not stop TRIUMEQ without talking to your healthcare provider. • Your healthcare provider should monitor your health and do regular blood tests to check your liver for at least several months if you stop taking TRIUMEQ. • Resistant Hepatitis B Virus (HBV). If you have HIV-1 and hepatitis B, the hepatitis B virus can change (mutate) during your treatment with TRIUMEQ and become harder to treat (resistant). • Use with interferon and ribavirin-based regimens. Worsening of liver disease has happened in people infected with HIV-1 and hepatitis C virus who are taking anti-HIV medicines and are also being treated for hepatitis C with interferon with or without ribavirin. If you are taking TRIUMEQ and interferon with or without ribavirin, tell your healthcare provider if you have any new symptoms. What is TRIUMEQ? TRIUMEQ is a prescription medicine used to treat HIV-1 (Human Immunodeficiency Virustype 1) infection. TRIUMEQ contains 3 prescription medicines: abacavir (ZIAGEN), dolutegravir (TIVICAY), and lamivudine (EPIVIR®). • TRIUMEQ is not for use by itself in people who have or have had resistance to abacavir, dolutegravir, or lamivudine. It is not known if TRIUMEQ is safe and effective in children. TRIUMEQ may help: • reduce the amount of HIV-1 in your blood. This is called “viral load”. • increase the number of white blood cells called CD4+ (T) cells in your blood, which help fight off other infections. Reducing the amount of HIV-1 and increasing the CD4+ (T) cells in your blood may help improve your immune system. This may reduce your risk of death or getting infections that can happen when your immune system is weak (opportunistic infections). TRIUMEQ does not cure HIV-1 infection or AIDS. You must stay on continuous HIV-1 therapy to control HIV-1 infection and decrease HIV-related illnesses. Avoid doing things that can spread HIV-1 infection to others. • Do not share or re-use needles or other injection equipment. • Do not share personal items that can have blood or body fluids on them, like toothbrushes and razor blades. • Do not have any kind of 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. Ask your healthcare provider if you have any questions about how to prevent passing HIV to other people. Who should not take TRIUMEQ? Do not take TRIUMEQ if you: • have a certain type of gene variation called the HLA-B*5701 allele. Your healthcare provider will test you for this before prescribing treatment with TRIUMEQ. • have ever had an allergic reaction to abacavir, dolutegravir, or lamivudine • take dofetilide (TIKOSYN®). Taking TRIUMEQ and dofetilide (TIKOSYN) can cause side effects that may be life-threatening. • have certain liver problems What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking TRIUMEQ? Before you take TRIUMEQ, tell your healthcare provider if you: • have been tested and know whether or not you have a particular gene variation called HLA-B*5701 • have or had liver problems, including hepatitis B or C virus infection • have kidney problems • have heart problems, smoke, or have diseases that increase your risk of heart disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes • drink alcoholic beverages • have any other medical condition • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if TRIUMEQ will harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant while taking TRIUMEQ. (continued on the next page)
April 16 - 29, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
BRIEF SUMMARY (cont’d) TRIUMEQ® (abacavir, dolutegravir, and lamivudine) tablets Pregnancy Registry. There is a pregnancy registry for women who take antiviral medicines during pregnancy. The purpose of the registry is to collect information about the health of you and your baby. Talk to your healthcare provider about how you can take part in this registry. • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you take TRIUMEQ. You should not breastfeed because of the risk of passing HIV-1 to your baby. It is not known if abacavir or dolutegravir passes into your breast milk. Lamivudine can pass into your breast milk and may harm your baby. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best way to feed your baby. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. TRIUMEQ may affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may affect how TRIUMEQ works. You should not take TRIUMEQ if you also take: • abacavir (EPZICOM, TRIZIVIR, or ZIAGEN) • lamivudine (COMBIVIR®, EPIVIR, EPIVIR-HBV®, EPZICOM, or TRIZIVIR) • emtricitabine (EMTRIVA®, ATRIPLA®, COMPLERA®, STRIBILD®, TRUVADA®) Tell your healthcare provider if you take: • antacids, laxatives, or other medicines that contain aluminum, magnesium, sucralfate (CARAFATE®), or buffered medicines. TRIUMEQ should be taken at least 2 hours before or 6 hours after you take these medicines. • anti-seizure medicines: • oxcarbazepine (TRILEPTAL®) • phenytoin (DILANTIN®, DILANTIN®-125, PHENYTEK®) • phenobarbital • carbamazepine (CARBATROL®, EQUETRO®, TEGRETOL®, TEGRETOL®-XR, TERIL®, EPITOL®) • any other medicine to treat HIV-1 • iron or calcium supplements taken by mouth. Supplements containing calcium or iron may be taken at the same time with TRIUMEQ if taken with food. Otherwise, TRIUMEQ should be taken at least 2 hours before or 6 hours after you take these medicines. • medicines used to treat hepatitis virus infections, such as interferon or ribavirin • a medicine that contains metformin • methadone • rifampin (RIFATER®, RIFAMATE®, RIMACTANE®, RIFADIN®) • St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of your medicines with you to show to your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you are not sure if you take one of the medicines listed above. How should I take TRIUMEQ? • Take TRIUMEQ exactly as your healthcare provider tells you. • Do not change your dose or stop taking TRIUMEQ without talking with your healthcare provider. • Stay under the care of a healthcare provider while taking TRIUMEQ. • You can take TRIUMEQ with or without food. • If you miss a dose of TRIUMEQ, take it as soon as you remember. If it is within 4 hours of your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the next dose at your regular time. Do not take 2 doses at the same time. If you are not sure about your dosing, call your healthcare provider. • Do not run out of TRIUMEQ. The virus in your blood may become resistant to other HIV-1 medicines if TRIUMEQ is stopped for even a short time. When your supply starts to run low, get more from your healthcare provider or pharmacy. • If you take too much TRIUMEQ, call your healthcare provider or go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away. What are the possible side effects of TRIUMEQ? TRIUMEQ can cause serious side effects including: • See “What is the most important information I should know about TRIUMEQ?” • Changes in liver tests. People with a history of hepatitis B or C virus may have an increased risk of developing new or worsening changes in certain liver tests during treatment with TRIUMEQ. Your healthcare provider may do tests to check your liver function before and during treatment with TRIUMEQ.
GayCityNews.nyc | April 16 - 29, 2015
• 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 new symptoms after starting your HIV-1 medicine. • Changes in body fat (fat redistribution) can happen in people who take HIV-1 medicines. 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 problems are not known. • Heart attack (myocardial infarction). Some HIV medicines including TRIUMEQ may increase your risk of heart attack. The most common side effects of TRIUMEQ include: • trouble sleeping • headache • tiredness 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 TRIUMEQ. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. How should I store TRIUMEQ? • Store TRIUMEQ at room temperature between 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C). • Store TRIUMEQ in the original bottle. • Keep the bottle of TRIUMEQ tightly closed and protect from moisture. • The bottle of TRIUMEQ contains a desiccant packet to help keep your medicine dry (protect it from moisture). Keep the desiccant packet in the bottle. Do not remove the desiccant packet. Keep TRIUMEQ and all medicines out of the reach of children. General information about the safe and effective use of TRIUMEQ Medicines are sometimes prescribed for purposes other than those listed in a Medication Guide. Do not use TRIUMEQ for a condition for which it was not prescribed. Do not give TRIUMEQ to other people, even if they have the same symptoms that you have. It may harm them. This Medication Guide summarizes the most important information about TRIUMEQ. If you would like more information, talk with your healthcare provider. You can ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for information about TRIUMEQ that is written for health professionals. For more information go to www.TRIUMEQ.com or call 1-877-844-8872. What are the ingredients in TRIUMEQ? Active ingredients: abacavir, dolutegravir, and lamivudine Inactive ingredients: D-mannitol, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, povidone, and sodium starch glycolate. The tablet film-coating contains iron oxide black, iron oxide red, macrogol/PEG, polyvinyl alcohol–part hydrolyzed, talc, and titanium oxide. This Medication Guide has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Manufactured for: by:
ViiV Healthcare GlaxoSmithKline Research Triangle Park, NC 27709 Research Triangle Park, NC 27709 Lamivudine is manufactured under agreement from Shire Pharmaceuticals Group plc Basingstoke, UK COMBIVIR, EPIVIR, EPZICOM, TIVICAY, TRIUMEQ, TRIZIVIR, and ZIAGEN are registered trademarks of the ViiV Healthcare group of companies. EPIVIR-HBV is a registered trademark of the GSK group of companies. The other brands listed are trademarks of their respective owners and are not trademarks of the ViiV Healthcare group of companies. The makers of these brands are not affiliated with and do not endorse the ViiV Healthcare group of companies or its products. ©2014, the ViiV Healthcare group of companies. All rights reserved. Issued: August 2014 TRM:1MG
Drummer Jon Berger, William Michals (who plays Don), DJ Bucciarelli (the millennial twink), stage manager Jaime McWilliams, music director Charles Czarnecki, director Rachel Klein, Courter Simmons (Grindr), writer and composer Erik Ransom (the romantic Devon), and Olle Roberg (NSA Tom).
BY ELI JACOBSON
ome years ago, New York and Philadelphia-bred actor, singer, playwright, and composer Erik Ransom came up with the idea of creating a cabaret theater piece about the gay sex hook-up site Manhunt. net. But the world of online gay dating evolved faster than the piece did. Soon gay men were ditching their laptops for their iPhones and Grindr came into being, further streamlining the man-to-man hook-up process and altering the course of gay intimacy in sweeping fashion. Ransom’s friends told him to switch the subject from Manhunt to Grindr, and the half-finished musical became a sung-through cabaret opera featuring Grindr as a character within the piece to serve as both narrator and deus ex machina. Ransom’s background as a musical theater performer led him into opera. He studied classical singing with Metropolitan Opera basso Jerome Hines and Met and New York City Opera tenor Enrico di Giuseppe. Around 2010, Ransom started to write his own shows. While sticking to the musical theater idiom, his classical training attracted him to compose something operatic. The musical “Saga,” which had a trial workshop in Philadelphia, flirted with Wagnerian themes inspired by the “The Ring of the Nibelungen.” In May 2014, just a few months after completing his first draft, an incomplete “Grindr: The Opera” was given an initial concert reading, which sold out at the West
End on the Upper West Side. Further revised, shortened, and recomposed, “Grindr” reemerged for two performances last week at Midtown’s Roy Arias Studios in a staged concert reading directed by Rachel Klein. The work concerns four very different men representing different “tribes” or archetypes of gay men hunting cyberspace for their fantasy man. There is Devon (played by the author/ composer), the romantic new to Grindr. Devon is smarting from the break up of a long-term relationship and needs to get back in the game. Jack (DJ Bucciarelli) is the millennial bareback bottom twink looking for cock and cum who doesn’t care what comes with them. Don (William Michals of “South Pacific”) is the married, closeted Republican daddy on the down low — his internalized homophobia and self-loathing driving him to his violent, dominant sex role. Olle Roberg is Tom, who is looking for NSA but finds ties that bind with Devon. Presiding over their fates — part fairy godmother, part the hostess with the mostes’ on the ball(s) — is countertenor Courter Simmons, dragged out as Grindr his/ her/ itself. Attired in a ball gown of canary and black tulle with a black domino perched in her bouffant wig (inspired by the app’s avatar design), Grindr acts as the narrator and explains how it all works for those unschooled in the ways of gay online promiscuity. Simmons embodies the Inter net siren luring these men into her web — though it should be said it is one of willing male flesh. Grindr is maternal when the men are fear-
ful but turns into a woman scorned when she is abandoned for monogamous mating. First the bodies of these men intertwine in Grindr fashion, but ultimately their lives become enmeshed in true operatic fashion. Ransom’s music freely borrows and parodies Puccini, Gilbert and Sullivan, and the Village People (original Cowboy Randy Jones acted as compère for the workshop reading). The songs are pop-oriented with catchy repetitive hooks, while the lyrics are frequently obscene and outrageous. Particularly fetching is a seduction duet, “You Can Leave,” between Tom and Devon at their first “date,” where Tom tells the shy Devon he is free to go but he is also welcome to stay… and kiss… and… and… Tom also has a solo, “Trick of Mind,” where he contemplates the price of monogamy and the lure of sexual freedom while Grindr stands by to welcome him back. Ransom delves into the sadder, darker side of the gay sex scene: AIDS, bug chasing, the closet, loneliness salved by anonymous sex, and the difficulties of maintaining monogamy. Given the subject matter, it’s hard to avoid these downbeat themes but they clash awkwardly with the show’s overall lighthearted, comic, satiric tone. The structure and tone haven’t the scope to expand on these serious themes and they kill the laughter. A Brechtian distancing effect might be able to solve this problem. Ransom does not judge his characters (even the conservative closet case Don gets a moment to show his vulnerable side) and feels that
Grindr has qualities that are bad and qualities that are good. “Depending on what someone is seeking it can be great or awful, and it largely depends on who connects with whom,” he explained. “I found during my research that Grindr and this piece are about people looking for connections. You will find all four of these men on Grindr. I came up in the gay world when it was all about the bar scene — interacting with guys face to face. Now we see guys in the bar on their phones searching Grindr. They send out little scouting messages to other guys in the room and if they are ignored or rejected, it isn’t as direct or devastating. You just click on another guy’s picture.” Meanwhile the sex hook-up app concept is crossing over into the straight single scene with entries like Tinder. “I had no idea what I was touching on with this,” Ransom confessed. “I put it out there and the concept just exploded. There is this juxtaposition of this rather sketchy sex app and the mink and diamonds world of opera.” The tagline for the recent readings was “Where class meets crass comes camp!” With a small cast of five and a musical ensemble consisting of bass guitar, keyboard, and drums, Ransom has designed “Grindr: the Opera” to be flexible to diverse forms of theatrical presentation: from the back room of a gay bar to cabaret rooms, the small proscenium stage, and perhaps one day the opera house. Meanwhile plans are afoot to open “Grindr: the Opera” Off-Broadway in the fall of 2015. April 16 - 29, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
BLACK AND BROOKLYN
The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce
Networking and Toot-Your-Own-Horn Event part of
April 20, 2015, 6:30-8:30 PM
at Shadow Boxers,
215 West 40th Street (between 8th and 7th) PETER LAU/ THE SAINT AT LARGE
With the legendary Roseland Ballroom now history, the Black Party, the Saint at Large’s legendary leather and fetish extravaganza now in its 36th year, ventured beyond the confines of Manhattan. And where else? To Brooklyn — specifically to a warehouse at the corner of Atlantic and Nostrand Avenues. There, on March 21, thousands of gay men for the first time brought the Black Party to the County of Kings.
The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce LGBT Committee
is sponsoring a special networking event as part of LGBT Week NYC, in partnership with StartOut. Come enjoy food and drinks with other LGBT professionals after the LesbiansWhoTech.org Happy Hour, around the corner at Shadow Boxers VIP Lounge. Five business professionals will have the opportunity to present their business in a 5 minute Toot Your Own Horn presentation, and compete for prizes. If you would like to be considered for one of the Toots, please email us at Events@manhattancc.org.
Free for MCC members
(and we’ll offer to StartOut members, as well as all LGBT Week Monday conference attendees and LGBT Week All Access Pass holders*. )
$20 in advance for non-members ($30 at the door)
PETER LAU/ THE SAINT AT LARGE
GayCityNews.nyc | April 16 - 29, 2015
*All StartOut members, conference attendees of the LGBT Week Monday conference and All Access Pass holders, must contact MCC at Events@manhattancc.org for their free admission.
212 473 7875 | manhattancc.org/lgbt 25
Talked Out The power of silence is palpable, particularly compared to too much chatter SMALL MOUTH SOUNDS Ars Nova 511 W.54th St. Through Apr. 25 Mon.-Wed. at 7 p.m. Thu.-Sat. at 8 p.m.; Sat. at 2 p.m. $35; ovationtix.com Or 866-811-4111 One hr., 40 mins., no intermission BEN ARONS
Jessica Almasy, Erik Lochtefeld, Sakina Jaffrey, Babak Tafti, Brad Heberlee, and Marcia DeBonis in by Bess Wohl’s “Small Mouth Sounds,” directed by Rachel Chavkin, at Ars Nova through April 25.
BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE
her e is something so beautiful about silence. And silence on stage can also be courageous, powerful, and highly theatrical. That certainly is the case with the terrific new play “Small Mouth Sounds” by Bess Wohl, now getting its world premiere at Ars Nova. The play takes place at a silent retreat as six participants seek enlightenment… without talking. That doesn’t mean the stories aren’t rich and compelling. Through body language and the sighs and other noises of the play’s title, we get to know these people intimately in all their quirky seeking. At the same time, the play is a gentle satire of the culture and business of spiritual enlightenment and a trenchant view of the dynamics — both sexual and competitive — that arise in such situations. The audience sits in rows on either side of the action and so, much like the characters, must confront one another in silence for the 100-minute journey. With the actors sometimes inches away, it’s impossible not to be caught up in this world. Director Rachel Chavkin does a splendid job of creating the world of the retreat and gets distinct performances out of each member of the cast. The cast — Jessica Almasy, Erik Lochtefeld, Sakina Jaffrey, Babak Tafti, Brad Heberlee, and Marcia DeBonis — are all
outstanding, as is JoJo Gonzalez as the unseen guru who addresses the participants over a loudspeaker. One of the elements of this production that is so affecting is the dichotomy between what is heard but not seen and that which is seen but not heard. It is this simple theatricality and incisive character development that makes “Small Mouth Sounds” easily one of the best new plays of the year.
If, as we rush into the next big political season, you’ve yet to experience “Clinton fatigue,” then by all means nip over to New World Stages to catch “Clinton: The Musical.” That will lay you out flat through 2016, and that’s not the half of it. This is a rehash of the scandals of the Clinton White House years in song and story. The producers are seemingly oblivious to the fact that the world has been bored with Monica Lewinsky for years, and Linda Tripp and Kenneth Starr are largely forgotten, rendering the show neither topical nor clever. The inept book by Paul Hodge and Michael Hodge is full of bad sketch jokes, and the forgettable music and lyrics by Paul Hodge are the kind of lowgrade Off-Off Broadway tripe that is rendered more insufferable by how dated the subject matter is. The conceit is that Bill Clinton is two halves of the same person — one good, one bad. He’s played by two actors, and Hillary is caught up in it all as a conniving operative.
But that’s not all: Starr is, for some reason, addicted to S&M. Newt Gingrich is a lecherous glutton, and Lewinsky is a shallow, codependent mess, that last perhaps more verisimilitude than the creators intended. Kerry Butler as Hillary and Veronica J. Kuehn as Monica are both astonishingly talented musical performers and provide the only pleasure in the evening. The rest of the cast spends the evening mugging. These are the kinds of jobs actors book to qualify for health insurance, not to contribute to the theatrical canon. Ultimately, the target audience for this seems to be the same as “50 Shades: The Musical” and “Silence: The Musical,” which attempt to make a virtue of self-conscious idiocy and risible sex jokes. “Clinton: The Musical,” however, doesn’t work as either camp or satire, but does makes those other two shows look like sophisticated musical theater.
Politics and social division in Great Britain from 20 years ago provide the central conflict in David Hare’s “Skylight,” now getting a Broadway revival. Like “Clinton: The Musical,” the dated material mutes the dramatic impact, and while it has some galvanizing moments, its polemics are often forced, robbing the characters of humanity. Comparisons to Shaw are inevitable, and indeed Hare’s play is in a long tradition of social commentary in 20th century British drama
CLINTON: THE MUSICAL New World Stages 340 W. 50th St. Mon., Wed.-Sat 8 at p.m. Sat. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. $75-$95; telecharge.com Or 212-239-6210 90 mins., no intermission
John Golden Theatre 252 W. 45th St. Tue., Thu. at 7 p.m.; Wed., Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. $60-$149; telecharge.com Or 212-239-6210 Two hrs., 20 mins., with intermission
that also includes John Osborne and Terence Rattigan. However, particularly in the second act, long arguments about the impact of income inequality in post-Thatcher England are as manipulative — and tedious — as any Shavian diatribe. Tom is a wealthy restaurateur who had an affair with the much-younger Kyra. When Tom’s wife finds out about the affair, Kyra leaves. At the opening of the play, the wife has now died, and Tom shows up at Kyra’s down-at-heels flat to try to rekindle the relationship. All indications are that despite the age difference and the history — which is meted out in revelations that often feel like characters are reminding each other of events for the benefit of the audience rather than organic communication — the
TALKED OUT, continued on p.29
April 16 - 29, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
The Real Game of Thrones
WOLF HALL PARTS 1 & 2
A cunning interloper calls the shots in the scandalous court of Henry VIII BY DAVID KENNERLEY
f the pr ospect of sitting through an elaborate, five-anda-half hour historical play set in the court of Henry VIII, even with a lengthy break, seems only slightly more appealing than, say, a stint on the rack in the Tower of London, take heart. “Wolf Hall Parts 1 & 2,” now at the Winter Garden Theatre after a sold-out run in London, attacks this well-trod terrain from the devilishly compelling viewpoint of a supporting player, Thomas Cromwell, the king’s imperious right-hand man. This fresh take, based on Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning fact-based novels, “Wolf Hall” and “Bring Up the Bodies,” banishes the usual stodginess by shining a spotlight on power grabs, betrayals, and illicit carnal encounters. It’s a
heart-pounding, real-life game of thrones, though the sex, blood, and gore are mercifully left to our imaginations. Some may quibble, and with good reason, that this endeavor values prurience over intelligence, omitting weighty historical ramifications of the events, but the plays are supremely entertaining nonetheless. Featuring stunning production values, incisive dialogue, and fine acting from a company of 23, “Wolf Hall Parts 1 & 2” dazzles on every level — as a taut drama, history lesson, and gossip hotbed. Under the keen direction of Jeremy Herrin, the action is crisply paced, choreographed with the grace and precision of a ballet. The minutes fly by and at final curtain, we are left exhausted yet strangely hungry for more. The true genius behind this enterprise is Mike Poulton, who skillfully
Ben Miles as Thomas Cromwell in “Wolf Hall,’ Mike Poulton’s adaptation of the Hilary Mantel novels, directed by Jeremy Herrin.
adapted the impossibly dense novels, which total well over a thousand pages and include lists and flow charts to help keep track of the characters. Somehow Poulton has untangled the knotty thicket of a plot and extracted key moments for maximum dramatic effect, while preserving much of the wit and bite of Mantel’s language. In a narrative lousy with Thomases (I counted seven), Henrys, and Marys, and where a single character may have multiple titles, confusion is kept to a
Winter Garden Theatre 1634 Broadway, btwn. 50th & 51st Sts. Through Jul. 5 Part 1: Thu. at 7 p.m. Wed., Sat. at 2 p.m., Sun. at 1 p.m. Part 2: Wed. at 7:30 p.m. Fri., Sat. at 8 p.m.; Sun. at 6:30 p.m. $27-$250; telecharge.com Or 212-239-6200 Each part: two hrs., 40 mins. With intermission
minimum. On the most basic level, “Wolf Hall Parts 1 & 2” provides a refresher on standard Tudor history. King Henry VIII (played with gruff vulnerability by Nathaniel Parker), after enduring a 20-year marriage to Katherine of Aragon (Lucy Briers) that produced no male heir, shifts his sights to the “notorious virgin” Anne Boleyn (a formidable Lydia Leonard). When Cardinal Lord Chancellor Thomas
GAME OF THRONES, continued on p.35
GAY CITY GUIDE 2015 GLOSSY MAGAZINE
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GAYBORHOOD Make sure your business or service is included! The must-have guide to LGBT community, educational, health, and recreational resources. This year’s guide will highlight the Best Gayborhoods in New York City.
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Hell’s Kitchen Hosts Rainbow Book Fair April 18 Seventh annual gathering of LGBT writers, publishers, critics takes over Holiday Inn Midtown BY MICHAEL LUONGO
Erotica writer D.L. King at last year’s Rainbow Book Fair.
Robert Reid-Pharr is a leading scholar of contemporary African-American queer writing.
Rob Smith, author of “Closets, Combat, and Coming Out: Coming of Age as a Gay Man in the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Army,” at last June’s LGBT Pride Rally in Manhattan.
“We’re realizing that the Rainbow Book Fair is now an institution, an event that writers and publishers put on their calendar.” Chinn said. “Our panel on queer black writing in the 1980s includes the legendary poet and activist Cheryl Clarke, Steven Fullwood, whose Vintage Entity Press recently published ‘Black Gay Genius,’ a collection of essays inspired by the legacy of Joseph Beam, and Robert Reid-Pharr, a leading scholar of contemporary African-American queer writing.” Chinn added, “I’m especially looking forward to the panel on LGBT Jewish writers. The panel ranges across several queer generations, from Martha Shelley and Perry Brass, original Gay Liberation activists, to Donna Minkowitz, who has been an important cultural critic since the early 1990s, to veteran erotica writer D.L. King and the emerging poets Michael Broder and Jason Schneiderman.” Minkowitz is the new Morsels columnist for Gay City News. Longtime author Brass is also on the Rainbow Book Fair steering committee. He pointed in particular to a biography and memoir panel that he said “features Brad Gooch, who’s written biographies of Frank
O’Hara and Flannery O’Connor, and is an old friend of the fair,” and the author of a new memior. Others on that panel will include David Margolick, the author of “Dreadful, The Short Life and Gay Times of John Horne Burns,” which details the life of the once famous author of the World War Two classic “The Gallery”; TV stand-up comedian Jamie Brickhouse, who is coming out with a memoir soon; and Iraq war veteran Rob Smith, author of “Closets, Combat, and Coming Out: Coming of Age as a Gay Man in the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Army.” David Carter, author of “Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution,” will moderate. Other important writers who will be on panels and presenting at tables include Kelly Cogswell, author of “Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger,” and Buzzfeed’s literary editor Saeed Jones, author of “Prelude to Bruise.” Cogswell writes the Dyke Abroad column at Gay City News, for which she placed second in the Best Column category at last month’s New York Press Association Better Newspaper
ALICE O’MALLEY/ EILEENMYLES.COM
UNIVERSITY OF BARCELONA
learly, the rumors of the death of the printed book have been greatly exaggerated.” So said from professor Sarah Chinn, chair of Hunter College’s English Department and a member of the steering committee behind the New York Rainbow Book Fair. Now in its seventh year, the fair itself certainly lends plenty of credence to Chinn’s assertion. New York’s LGBT writing glitterati will come together again on Saturday, April 18, from noon to 6:00 p.m. for this year’s edition of the book fair at the Holiday Inn Midtown. Chinn said that about 100 exhibitors will be at the fair, covering “the whole gamut of queer publishing,” from tiny self-publishers to some of New York’s biggest publishing houses, including Penguin Random House. If last year’s event is a guide, up to 1,500 people will turn out for the fair, and Chinn said this month’s event seems hotly anticipated. “Exhibitors started signing up for tables in November, and by midMarch we were already nearly sold out,” she said. “That’s a first for us — we usually sell all our tables, but registrations come in until the very last minute. We’re realizing that the Rainbow Book Fair is now an institution, an event that writers and publishers put on their calendar.” One notable trend Chinn pointed to is the expansion of trans-specific presses at the fair. “Topside Press has been with us for a few years, and it’s great to see two others, Transgress Press and Trans Genre Press, as well as a number of trans authors,” she said. Beyond the of ferings at the tables, the fair is renowned for its panel presentations. In an era of few gay bookstores, they are a way for LGBT book fans to hear their favorite authors, critics, and industry professionals. “The most exciting queer literary talent is part of this year’s fair,”
Eileen Myles, whom Rainbow Book Fair steering committee member Sarah Chinn calls the “the doyenne of lesbian poetry.”
SEVENTH ANNUAL NEW YORK RAINBOW BOOK FAIR Holiday Inn Midtown 440 W. 57th St. Apr. 18, noon-6 p.m. Suggested donation is $3 rainbowbookfair.org
Contest. Eileen Myles, whom Chinn called “the doyenne of lesbian poetry,” will be reading in the Come Hear! Poetry Salon portion of the Fair, curated by
RAINBOW, continued on p.29
April 16 - 29, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
Mitch Kellaway (right), the publisher of Transgress Press, with his brother Owen at last year’s Rainbow Book Fair.
RAINBOW, from p.28
Nathaniel Siegel and Regie Cabico. “I’m really excited about our featured readers,” Chinn said. “I’ve known Kelly Cogswell since we were Lesbian Avengers together, and her memoir of those years, ‘Eating Fire,’ is a spot-on representation of those thrilling days. I love Mark Doty and Saeed Jones’ poetry, so that’s going to be a real treat.” The fair is also becoming a worldwide event, according to Chinn,
herself a Brit. There will be a German LGBT publisher, Ylva Publishing, and two London-based authors, Teodora Kostova and Rhys Christopher Ethan. “The Rainbow Book Fair is getting an international profile,” she said. Chin has hopes that one day in the near future Rainbow becomes something akin to an LGBT version of the Frankfurt Book Fair, the largest and most geographically diverse book fair in the world.
TALKED OUT, from p.26
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affair may be rekindled. But then politics and Kyra’s new social con sciousn e ss r un into Tom’s established, insular sense of privilege and entitlement, and it all falls apart. As with the best Shaw, the political arguments in this modern “Pyg- Tom Galantich, Kerry Butler, and Duke Lafoon in Paul Hodge and malion” are well struc- Michael Hodge’s “Clinton: The Musical.” tured and often intriguing, but they force the characters into arguments that ter becomes a mere mouthpiece for don’t feel the way real people inter- the author’s politics. Director Stephen Daldry negoact. Even given this, Carey Mulligan tiates the dynamics adroitly, and as Kyra is outstanding. She manag- it’s to his credit that the production es a kind of fierceness and fragility works as well as it does. Still, while that is consistently interesting, even the drama’s tension lies in seeing in some of the more implausible Tom out of his element and destamoments. Bill Nighy as Tom is idio- bilized as a result, we never get a syncratic and explosive. His perfor- glimpse of the man Kyra fell in love mance is highly mannered, and it’s with and that’s a miss. The remarkable set by Bob Crowoften hard to see the commanding person who built a successful busi- ley and intelligent lighting by Nataness. That may be intentional; he is sha Katz create the world Kyra out of his element in Kyra’s squalid has chosen. If only the rest of the flat. Nighy conveys the egoism and production were as detailed and conflict of the character, but his per- nuanced, it would be a more satisformance suffers when the charac- fying evening.
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A Father Comes Home as a Son Comes Out
GMK: You gave a miraculous turn in “Blue Caprice” and continue to do strong work in this new film. What is the appeal of indie projects like “Blackbird?” IW: With all the obstacles and odds of being who I am, I have the audacity to be picky. I only want to leave my house for things I think are really cool and progressive, and things that make people think, like “Blackbird.” I want to shake the foundations of a human being’s absolutes. I want people to wake up and see what they think is absolute truth about the world, individual and humanity, only to find out it is not. The audience for this film is underserved. That’s why I’m part of “Blackbird.” A lot of hearts can be healed and minds can be changed, and those people can touch other people.
Understated Isaiah Washington is on point; newcomer Julian Walker shines as tentative teen
RLJ ENTERTAINMENT/ URBAN MOVIE CHANNEL
Isaiah Washington (r.) and Julian Walker as father and son in director Patrik-Ian Polk’s “Blackbird.”
BY GARY M. KRAMER
ith “Blackbird,” out gay director Patrik-Ian Polk — co-writing with Rikki Beadle-Blair, also gay — has loosely adapted Larry Duplechan’s celebrated novel about an African-American teenager’s coming of age. Recasting the story from Southern California to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, the film provides a marvelous showcase for newcomer Julian Walker as Randy Rousseau, a young, God-fearing teenager who is grappling with his sexual identity. Randy has fantasies about loving guys, and when he meets Marshall MacNeil (Kevin Allesee), a gay actor who becomes smitten with him, Randy is confronted with reality. Meanwhile, Randy’s home life is complicated because his mother Claire (Mo’Nique) is still haunted and shaken by her daughter’s disappearance years ago. Randy’s father, Lance (Isaiah Washington), has been absent since not long after the daughter went missing. When Lance reappears, he tries to reconnect with his son at a critical juncture in the teen’s life. The film tackles many discussion-worthy issues about sexuality, faith, identity, and self-respect. Washington, who famously became the center of a media storm eight years ago over a slur allegedly aimed at his “Grey’s Anatomy” gay co-star T.R. Knight but has since won praise from GLAAD for his work with the LGBT com-
BLACKBIRD Directed by Patrik-Ian Polk RLJ Entertainment/ Urban Movie Channel Opens Apr. 24 AMC Loews Village 7 66 Third Ave. at 11th St. AMC Empire 25 234 W. 42nd St amctheatres.com
munity, delivers a terrific, understated performance. Washington spoke with Gay City News about the themes of “Blackbird.” G A RY M . K R A M E R : “Blackbir d” was co-written by Rikki Beadle-Blair, who penned the film “Stonewall,” which you appeared in 20 years ago. Did Rikki prompt you to read Larry Duplechan’s novel to prepare for playing Lance? ISAIAH WASHINGTON: No, I didn’t want to read it. I like to show up like a block of clay. Rikki didn’t ask me to read it. I would have if he had asked me to. For “Stonewall,” I auditioned for the lead with an Afro wig, eyelashes, and a dress. I looked like my mother. I had men chasing me, but [the film’s director] Nigel Finch didn’t give me the role. I ended up playing an arresting officer with Luis Guzmán. We threw the lead characters in the paddy wagon.
GMK: Lance is a largely absent father in Randy’s life. But his situation stems from the disappearance of his daughter, a very specific trauma. What can you say about Lance’s role of an absent father, which is a potent topic in the African-American community? IW: I need to tell stories that are uncomfortable in my community and your community. Lance is an absent father who is not afraid of having a gay son, but struggling with the pain of suffering and guilt of a missing daughter and her mother who lost a child. Lance is a victim of circumstance. He and Claire might still be together had the daughter never been abducted. And if the family stayed together, the son might have come out earlier than he does. Randy is a son with no role model. There is no closure for these characters. It is important for Lance to show up so he can find closure for himself, his daughter, and his son. GMK: Lance talks candidly and emotionally to his son about homosexuality in a particularly tender scene in “Blackbird.” Why do you think that Lance is so accepting? IW: He explains that he doesn’t have a problem kissing a man himself. If he and Claire were not together, he would probably be with that man he kissed. Teenagers don’t like having those conversations. It made perfect sense that Lance sees through Randy. Even Randy’s friends see that he’s gay. Lance knows Randy is lying to him, but Randy has to lie because Lance is his father. GMK: What can you say about the spirituality in the film? Randy is devout, and Claire certainly has her faith and her faith tested. What can you say about Lance’s religious nature? IW: He’s a tree without a root, a beautiful tree with no foundation. He’s in worker’s attire whenever you see him. He’s toiling in the fields of life, so he can’t walk with the burden of Christ. It’s about his son not calling him Dad. He is worried about returning: What if his wife and his son reject him completely? He has a wife and a child, but the church is ruling his house. Life has beaten him down. He is a man who doesn’t know he is the man of his house. April 16 - 29, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
WeddingPrideDirectory CELEBRATING GAY AND LESBIAN MARRIAGE
Ron L. Meyers, Esq. 515 Madison Ave. in New York (212) 644–8787, ronmeyerslaw.com Ron L. Meyers is a leading practitioner of estate planning for LGBT clients. He was a major source for the New York Times’s October, 2009 feature, “The Higher Lifetime Costs of Being a Gay Couple.”
King’s Brass (516) 485-4717, kingsbrass.com Be introduced in style by a brass band introduction. The King’s Brass is a group of impeccably trained, talented professional musicians, directed by Michael Klein, a graduate of the Juilliard School.
Soul System Orchestras
116 Kraft Ave. Ste. 3 in Bronxville (914) 779–1050, adoptionlawny.com Rumbold & Seidelman has a long history of representing the LGBT community — whether through adoption or some form of collaborative reproduction.
1650 Broadway, Suite #503 New York, (800) 466-7685 soulsystemorchestras.com Soulsystem Orchestras bands have been on the leading edge in providing “elegantly hip” wedding entertainment for the past 15 years. Clients can choose from a 3-piece ensemble to a 20-piece swing orchestra and beyond.
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Bay Ridge Subaru 1819 Cropsey Ave. in Brooklyn (718) 234–7960 brooklynsubarudeals.com Visit Bay Ridge Subaru for a new or used Subaru Forester, Outback, or Tribeca. It supports same-sex couples.
BANKING TD Bank
Branches throughout the Tri-State area (800) 751–9000, tdbank.com Being yourself is just being human. Everywhere. Every day. We’re with you. We bank human and celebrate the LGBT community. America’s Most Convenient Bank.
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Pure Sugar, Inc. West Babylon (631) 766-3309, puresugarinc.com Pure Sugar can create anything your heart desires...in sugar. Make your desserts the main focus of the event. There is no project too small or too crazy.
CEREMONY SITES The Riverside Church
Kupcakes with a K (516) 860–9288 kupcakeswithak.com Kupcakes with a K offers over a dozen different unique flavors for you to enjoy! Sold in certain locations and through its website for your party or event.
Lou Babs & Moogs 95A Main St. in Port Washington, (516) 883–8585, lbmgifts.com/store Lou, Babs & Moogs opened its doors in 2002, and sells an inspiring mix of unique and useful gifts for him, her, and them. Surf through its site to quickly discover just the right thing.
Genesis Fertility and Reproductive Medicine Multiple locations (718) 283–8600, genesisfertility.com Genesis Fertility & Reproductive Medicine is a nationally recognized center of excellence for comprehensive fertility services.
FLORISTS Fleurs Bella
55 E 11th St. in New York (646) 602–7036, fleursbella.com Fleurs Bella creates unique, floral designs, from the smallest flower arrangement to the most lavish event decor. The team at Fleurs Bella will capture the essence of your vision.
490 Riverside Dr. in New York (212) 870–6802 theriversidechurchny.org Exchange vows where Presidents and some of the most historic figures of our time have stood then finish your perfect day in one of its event halls.
8103 5th Avenue Brooklyn 718.238.3838 www.henrysfloristweddingevents.com Fleurs Bella creates unique, floral designs, from the smallest flower arrangement to the most lavish event decor. The team at Fleurs Bella will capture the essence of your vision.
St John’s Lutheran Church
HEALTH & BEAUTY
81 Christopher St. in New York, (212) 242–5737, stjohnsnyc.org In the heart of the West Village, St John’s Lutheran Church and Rev. Mark E. Erson, Pastor, openly accepts same-sex couples.
Amazing Bottle Dancers (800) 716-0556 bottledancers.com It’s hard to overstate the incredible reaction The Amazing Bottle Dancers evoke when they appear at nontraditional weddings. The guests are completely charmed and blown away by our surprise appearance! They never see it coming!
GayCityNews.nyc | April 16 - 29, 2015
Bay Ridge Skin & Cancer Dermatology
9921 Fourth Ave. in Brooklyn (718) 833–2793, bayridgederm.com Put your best face forward with the help of David Biro, who was voted one of “New York Magazine’s” best doctors. The medical office offers Botox, microdermabrasion, and laser hair removal.
Emergency Medical Care 200 Chambers St. in New York, (212) 962–6600, emcny.com Emergency Medical Care is a gayfriendly healthcare practice and an efficient and compassionate urgent care concept. It is a healthcare practice dedicated to better, timely medicine.
Sand Castle on ohe Beach 127 Smithfield, Frederiksted St. Croix, Virgin Islands 340.772.1205 sandcastleonthebeach.com Our quaint, beach side boutique hotel is designed to meet your personal vacation style. We maintain a sense of intimacy and freedom in this seaside oasis. It’s our home and we invite you to relax and unwind in this comfortable and tranquil setting.
Villa Amor Camino a Playa los Muertos, Sayulita Bahia de Banderas Nayarit, Mexico (619) 819-5407 hotelvillaamorsayulita.com. “Sweeping ocean vistas and a sexy room concept do away with outside walls and invite you to see Sayulita through a rustling fringe of palm fronds.”Travel+Leisure.
Anna Sheffield 47 Orchard Stl, New York (212) 925-7010, annasheffield.com Anna Sheffield Jewelry offers a timeless alternative to the traditional world of Ceremonial and Fine jewelry with an extensive collection of finely crafted baubles. Our elegant array of rings includes signature styles of mixed precious metals, inverted-set diamonds and solid gold gemstones.
Party Planners and Expos Bosco’s Wedding Planning Expo (914) 337-3826, boscoweddings.org Before you walk down the aisle, walk down ours; Bosco’s Wedding Planning Expo is the place to find your best bet wedding contacts. Visit our website for an Expo near you.
Classic Party Rentals 336 W. 37th St. in New York (212) 752–7661 newyork.classicpartyrentals.com At Classic Party Rentals, exceptional customer service is its hallmark. It offers a network of party specialists that can provide everything you need anywhere you need it.
REAL ESTATE SERVICES Accurate Building Inspectors
1860 Bath Ave. in Brooklyn (718) 265–8191, accuratebuilding.com Accurate Building Inspectors is a full-service home and building inspection firm servicing the tri-state area since 1961.
Kikco Property Management PO Box 408, Sayville, NY (631) 597-7018, firstname.lastname@example.org Rental properties, venues for parties and honeymoon packages.
RECEPTION SITES & CATERERS
Andaz Wall Street 75 Wall Street, New York (212) 699-1636, andaz.com Sophisticated urban gay weddings have access to over 14,000 sq. ft. of unique indoor and outdoor spaces right in the heart Wall Street.
the townhouses of East 64th Street. For your wedding reception, the venue’s dazzling, gold-domed Arabelle restaurant provides one of the most unique settings in Manhattan with its blend of murano glass and brass chandeliers, chiffon colored walls and murals of Asian pagodas.
75 North Station Plaza, Great Neck (914) 482-2900, andrewhotel.com Leave the details in accommodating your friends and family the the professionals at The Andrew, Great Neck’s Boutique Hotel, where chic sophistication meets the timeless essence of Long Island’s Gold Coast.
Russo’s on the Bay
Shakespeare on the Hudson
162-45 Cross Bay Boulevard, Howard Beach, NY, (718) 843-5055 russosonthebay.com Exemplary service and exquisite cuisine combined with professional attention to detail was the best way to achieve customer satisfaction.
200 Eastern Pkwy. in Brooklyn (718) 638–5000, brooklynmuseum.org The Brooklyn Museum is an extraordinary venue located in the heart of Prospect Heights. It has one-of-akind backdrops for private events.
216 Route 385, Catskill, NY (518) 947-1104, stewarthouse.com This remarkable event space now features three beautifully romantic cabins ideal for both large groups and private weekends.
Sheraton Tribeca New York Hotel
Various locations in New York (516) 501-9700, carlylecatering.com Whether you desire timeless elegance ON THE GREEN, the regal splendor OF LAWRENCE, deco glamour at The Palace, retro nostalgia at The Omni, or a personalized catering style Off The Green, Carlyle has something for everyone.
Columbia’s Faculty House 64 Morningside Dr. in New York (212) 854–1200 facultyhouse.columbia.edu A smart and stylish choice for your unique New York City wedding, the prized University landmark has classic, flexible spaces with a surprising, modern twist.
The Edison Ballroom 240 West 47th Street, New York (212) 201–7650, edisonballroom.com With its award-winning executive chef and personalized service, the Edison Ballroom continues to provide the perfect environment for all occasions in an elegant private event space in the heart of Times Square, New York.
Grand Oaks Country Club 200 Huguenot Ave. in Staten Island (718) 356–2771, grandoaksnyc.com Formerly the South Shore Country Club, this new and improved Staten Island venue can provide the perfect. elegant backdrop for your reception with prime dates still available.
Houston Hall 222 W. Houston St. New York (212) 582 2057, houstonhallny.com A massive space on West Houston Street has plenty of room to create the event of your dream...or a rowdy Beer Hall wedding. Eternal love, beer and a complimentary minister!
Plaza Athenee 37 East 64th Street at Madison Ave, New York, , (212) 644–0202 plaza-athenee.com Le Trianon, our ceremony space is elegantly appointed in natural earth tones with ten windows overlooking
370 Canal St. in New York (212) 966–3400, sheratontribeca.com Let the Sheraton Tribeca help you celebrate your same-sex wedding. The sleek, modern hotel works with various New York City wedding venues in the area.
Tio Pepe 168 W. Fourth St. in New York (212) 242–9338, tiopepenyc.com At Tio Pepe you have a choice of atmosphere. The skylight dining room supplies a touch of romance while the enclosed sidewalk cafe provides a room with a view of Greenwich Village.
The Vanderbilt at South Beach 300 Father Capodanno Blvd. in Staten Island, (718) 447–0800 vanderbiltsouthbeach.com Boasting both a luxurious banquet hall, as well as magnificent outdoor oceanfront space.
Whyte Hall 577 Fire Island Boulevard, Fire Island Pines (631) 597=6060, email@example.com Sequestered but easy to reach, this dramatic is located in one of your favorite locations. Experience the magic of Fire Island at its finest.
Yacht Owners Association 101 W. 23rd St., New York (212) 736–1010, yachtsny.com Yacht Owners Association has over two decades of experience planning events at sea, and the largest number of yachts in the tri-state area. The Yacht Owners Association can accommodate weddings anywhere from 2 to 600 guests.
Ace World Travel 8320 13th Ave. in Brooklyn (347) 915–4287, aceworldtravel.net This full-service and certified romance travel agency specializes in destination weddings and honeymoons. It can also create custom-built itineraries.
45 Downing Street, New York (212) 627–8838, algerhouse.com Alger House is a great venue for smaller weddings and corporate events (30 to 106 guests). The very private reception hall has high ceilings, custom lighting, and nearby transportation.
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IN THE NOH
Footwork After 40 John Sefakis steers very worthy cause; the magic of McRea; fashion on film this spring
BY DAVID NOH
DANCERS OVER 40
ancers bring so much joy into our lives. But if I had a kid who wanted to do it for a career I don’t know how thrilled I’d be. The reality is a hard one and the professional tenure is short. Dancer Over 40, started in 1990, is a vitally important foundation dedicated to providing a community of support for mature dancers, choreographers, and related artists. Their regular events are always special, bringing together living legends to reminisce about their careers, as well as thrilling performances. I attended the group’s March 23 salute to Ruth Page (1899-1991) at St. Luke’s Theatre and learned so much about this incredible pioneering choreographer and director who made hundreds of dances that combined movement, drama, and even spoken word, the most famous perhaps being her “A Streetcar Named Desire.” The event was marvelously put together by her esteemed colleagues Lawrence Leritz and Andrew Wentik, and just to be in the presence of dancers who’d collaborated with Page over her 60-plus years of work — all of them still beautiful and vibrant, like Mel A. Tomlinson, Helene Alexopoulos, and George de la Pena — made me tingle all over, as only performers of this caliber can. The ebullient longtime president of the foundation, John Sefakis, spoke to me in his 54th Street apartment, and his kaleidoscopic life is, in itself, a vivid portrait of what it takes to survive and thrive in New York City as a dancer. Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, to Greek restaurateur parents, Sefakis was “the renegade editor of my high school newspaper, always putting in the Supremes, who I worshipped and saw perform in 1963. I hated Worcester and the University of Maryland in Baltimore was the furthest away I could get. I was in the middle of everything, when King was shot, the riots and
Lawrence Leritz and Andrew Wentik with Dancers Over 40 president John Sefakis at the group’s March 23 tribute to Ruth Page.
anti-war thing in DC, from 1967 to ‘74. While doing grad work in journalism, I fell into the drama department, particularly directing. I realized I had a talent for movement and scene work more than being Brick in ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,’ and that’s what I should be doing. My parents weren’t thrilled but I said, ‘Who sent me to tap and ballroom dancing and clarinet lessons in the first place?’” While working a retail job in Georgetown, “this Armenian kid who had been our paperboy came in. I asked what he was doing and he said the play ‘Jumpers,’ with Jill Clayburgh, and the following year he came in again and was doing ‘Damn Yankees’ with Gwen Verdon. He said if I ever got to New York to come visit him. I asked where and he said, ‘Phil Black Dance Studio.’ “So when I moved here in 1975 — with ‘Chicago,’ ‘A Chorus Line,’ and ‘Pacific Overtures’ happening — I went to Phil’s, where on the first day I met this girl wearing a ‘Chicago’ T-shirt, Lisa Mordente, daughter of Chita Rivera, one of Dancers Over 40’s very special angels. I wasn’t a dancer but a director, so I took the beginning tap class. The teacher said, ‘Get out of here’ and pushed me into a more advanced class. I was so scared of Phil I never talked to him but he would come into classes and pick people to be in his class. I joined him in March 1975 and by May, Jingle Tap Betty, his assistant, asked,
‘What are you doing this summer? Phil wants you to teach advanced tap, as he’s going away.’ “You see, I had learned the right tap from my first teacher who laid a really good June Taylor foundation. And, by the way, that paperboy’s name was Eddie Mekka.” Sefakis stayed at the studio until 1989 but had to get a daytime job to live, which he found as a secretary at HBO, then went to PBS, where he helped to put together the short-lived but wonderful Metro Arts Channel, while also teaching 300 Brooklyn black kids tap for 20 hours a week (“really good money”). There was also, ahem, a stint at hooking — “because it was fun to do. Back then you’d have to go to this place in London Terrace and get auditioned and you’d hear people on the phone, ‘This is the fifth time Nuryev has called tonight. He puts on different accents like it’s not him!’ I didn’t get a lot of calls because I’m the short little Greek but I did a couple of politicians and was stunned when they committed suicide afterwards. Not because of me [laughs]. “I went to the Center in the ‘90s for Gay Date Bait and this guy stood up and said, ‘I’m Chris Nelson, president of Dancers Over 40.’ I thought, ‘I don’t want to date him — he’s old, like 55 — but maybe I can help him. He never called me back, but a little later I saw him at the gym and then he saw me doing my activist stuff at Wigstock on a float, in a thong, platform shoes,
and a banana on my head, throwing out condoms, and then he called me. “By then he was no longer president, but I started meeting the people. After a little coup got rid of the succeeding president, they asked me to be on the board and eventually president, saying, ‘You have the administrative stuff we don’t have.’ I came on board in 2003. “Dancers Over 40 started in 1994 and membership was very high in the ‘90s but then fell off. They had 72 members, down from 650. I started doing the website and newsletter, which had been a mimeographed sheet, trademarked our name and logo, and came up with seminars for those people who can no longer dance but still can talk about their careers. Every other year we give a concert with those who can perform and present an award to those who have excelled. Our first concert was ‘Ladies of the 1940s,’ with original dancers from ‘Pal Joey’ and ‘Something for the Boys.’ “We originally did them in a rehearsal studio and all these big people like Scott Rudin would come. Then Ed Gaynes generously donated St. Luke’s Theatre for our Gower Champion event with everyone from the original ‘Hello Dolly!’ cast. Meanwhile, we had no one to deposit checks or even a treasurer, but I got a note from Tom Viola of Broadway Cares, which said, ‘You’re great so here’s $10,000 a year, starting now.’ I was a crying mess in the post office. “Unfortunately, we don’t have the volunteer and manpower. People are dying — Luigi [Faccuito, tap legend] just died yesterday — and we have people that are passing on on a regular basis. So we have a hard time finding people and have no treasurer, no PR or marketing person. There’s only so much I know and our board is made up mostly of dancers and I can only ask them to do what they can do. People ask, ‘Why is John doing everything?’ Well, if I had people to do it... “The young people are afraid to come on because they don’t want to be identified as 40. Jerry Mitchell, who lived in my building for 25 years, I kept on prodding him to join. All of a sudden I got an email from his assistant, ‘Hey Jerry would like to join.’ I realized he just turned
IN THE NOH, continued on p.34
April 16 - 29, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
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GayCityNews.nyc | April 16 - 29, 2015
IN THE NOH, from p.32
50, so 40 sounds pretty good. He joined our board four years ago and donates money every year.” Along with everything else, the ever politically active Sefakis finds time for his drag alter ego, the popular Stella D’oro, who raises money for AIDS charities. Stella’s Facebook page, by the way, was recently erased when yours truly mentioned her on Facebook, mistakenly misspelling her name with a capital “O.” This aroused the attention — and ire — of some troll with the same (but differently initialized) moniker who reported this. In its infinite stupidity, Facebook summarily shut our Stella down. Be warned — it could happen to anyone. But, the message I want you to take away is: come on people, you love the dance and you’ve certainly loved these dancers, so lend a hand and a dollar or two. (dancersover40.org)
In its wonderful Acteurism series, MoMA is saluting Joel McCrea (1905-1990) who, besides being one of the sexiest
Joel McRae, in a photograph by Ernest Bachrach.
examples of Hunkus Americanus to ever grace the screen, was also a fine, truly underrated actor, the absolute equal, if not superior, to his more lauded contemporaries — Gary Cooper, James Stewart, and Henry Fonda. Ever modest, saying he was the one directors turned to when they couldn’t get Coop, he nevertheless made the likes of Hitchcock, Hawks, Wyler, Cukor, George Stevens, and, especially Preston Sturges — with whom he made the memorable “Sullivan’s Travels” and “The Palm Beach Story” — very happy while
Were you there? Providers in the New York City area, and across the country, monitor and treat conditions related to the September 11th terrorist attacks — like asthma, heartburn, certain cancers, depression, and PTSD. These providers treat responders and volunteers who participated in rescue, recovery, or clean-up on or after 9/11, as well as those in the WTC dust cloud or who lived, worked, or went to school or daycare in lower Manhattan south of Houston or into parts of Brooklyn.
Learn More. Call 1-888-982-4748 or visit www.cdc.gov/wtc World Trade Center | Pentagon | Shanksville, PA Image is a model portraying an actual member of the World Trade Center Health Program.
delighting generations of filmgoers. As savvy as he was talented, on the advice of early mentor Will Rogers, he purchased California land that made him one of the richest Hollywood actors. I was privileged to know his longtime wife, exquisite actress Frances Dee, a straight shooter if there ever was, who because of her children’s bad business decisions was reduced to living in the servants’ quarters on the sprawling San Fernando Valley ranch she once owned. When I told her how hot I thought McCrea was (a view shared by his biggest fan, Maureen Stapleton), Dee laughed, “Oh, Pop always said the kids made fun of him when he was young, calling him ‘Potato Nose.’” Screening in the MoMA series is the 1935 “Barbary Coast” (Apr. 15-17, 1:30 p.m.), directed by Hawks and Wyler, scripted by Ben Hecht and Charles McArthur, a rip-snorting melodrama set in the roustabout San Francisco of 1850 with Edward G. Robinson as the town’s vice kingpin and regular McCrea leading lady, the blazingly talented Miriam Hopkins, as his glamorous croupier mistress, Swan, who falls in love with earnest young McCrea. Beautifully, foggily designed and photographed (by Ray June), Hopkins emerges from the mist and, early on, delivers an impassioned monologue about the need for a woman’s independence — a moment showing why she was considered maybe the most exciting actress of the time. “He Married His Wife” from 1940 (Apr. 29-May 1, 1:30 p.m.) was an especial favorite of critic Pauline
Kael’s. Scripted by John O’Hara, among others, the film gives McCrea the chance to show off his sterling and sexy comic skills as an inveterate horse race gambler who tries to marry off his ex-wife (“The Bad Seed’”s Nancy Kelly, when she was young and fresh) to his dullard pal (ever-reliable Lyle Talbot), so he can use his alimony payments at the track. Delightfully ding-a-ling Mary Boland hosts one of those juicy weekend parties, so beloved by the screwball comedy genre, where everything comes apart and then together. (11 W. 53rd St.; moma.org/visit/calendar/films/1564)
beijaços (kiss-ins) to support the new show. One new twist in the ongoing war for LGBT rights is how evangelicals are beginning to claim that they themselves are victims of discrimination against Christians. They say that gay people are the abusive majority preventing them from exercising their “right” to denounce LGBT people and even call for their eradication. If these cries of “heterophobia” sound familiar, it’s because evangelical movements both north and south are joined at the pocketbook, and the tactic has been spreading in the US as well. Indiana’s only a heartbeat from Brazil.
DYKE ABROAD, from p.17
ed because they aren’t awarded funds. Other times, judges rule according to their personal beliefs rather than the laws on the books. Still, Mariana sees some positive shifts on the cultural front. A new soap opera featured a kiss by two older lesbians in the first episode. While there was a huge uproar from the evangelical population, there was also a number of strong, approving voices. This was progress from the first time there was a lesbian couple on a soap, when it caused such outrage the writers almost immediately killed them off. Gay activists are organizing some
To herald the spring in a stylish way, the French Institute/ Alliance Francais (FIAF) is hosting “Haute Couture on Film” every Tuesday through May. Get your chic on, watching the divas strut their stuff: Chanel outfits the cast of Renoir’s masterpiece “Rules of the Game” (May 5, 4 & 7:30 p.m.); Catherine Denueve wears Yves Saint Laurent to whore her afternoons away in “Belle de Jour” (May 19, 4 & 7:30 p.m.); and it all culminates in Deborah’s Riley’s terrific doc “Versailles ‘73: American Runway Revolution” (May 26, 4 & 7:30 p.m.), when the gorgeous black models in American ready-to-wear demolished French couture in a legendary fashion face-off. (fiaf.org/ fashion/2015/2015-04-cinesalon. shtml) Contact David Noh at Inthenoh@ aol.com, follow him on Twitter @in_ the_noh, and check out his blog at nohway.wordpress.com.
April 16 - 29, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
PEAKS & VALLEYS Delmas Howe is an American realist painter known for his homoerotic body of work. His most recent show, “Guys and Canyons,” on exhibit through April 21 at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, was launched a few years back with a series on rock canyons located near his New Mexico home. Many viewers saw flesh qualities in the formations — leading Howe to commission a group of models to paint in ways that reflected how their flesh had rock-like qualities. He views the exhibit as a metaphor for how life is “constantly changing, moving, turbulent, leading to some unpredictable continuing process.” Howe has a long history with Leslie-Lohman and its founder Charles Leslie, who is featured in one of the artist’s earliest paintings as part of an Adam and Eve triptych series. This current exhibit, which consists of 18 model portraits along with seven rock formation landscapes, can be viewed at the museum’s Prince Street Project Space, 127-B Prince Street at Wooster Street (leslielohman.org). —Michael Shirey
GAME OF THRONES, from p.27
Wolsey (Paul Jesson) fails to get the marriage annulled, Henry enlists Cromwell (an accomplished Ben Miles, a tad too attractive for the role), a low-born yet cunning lawyer. He brilliantly succeeds and soon proves indispensable to the king. Tragically, Anne also bungles in the male heir department (she bore a child named Elizabeth and suffered several miscarriages), whereby the volatile Henry becomes obsessed with Jane Seymour of Wolf Hall. Anne is sent to the Tower, found guilty of adultery, witchcraft, and incest, and is famously beheaded in 1536. Besides masterminding the coronations of Anne and Jane, Cromwell is instrumental in convincing Parliament to grant Henry control of the church in England, ending hundreds of years of bowing to the pope and following Rome’s convoluted brand of Catholicism. “I search my Bible,” says Cromwell. “I can’t find where it says monks. Or nuns or purgatory or fasting or relics or priests who can change bread into the body of Christ… or the pope.” History has painted Cromwell GayCityNews.nyc | April 16 - 29, 2015
as a crafty interloper and ruthless opportunist. Yet “Wolf Hall Parts 1 & 2” shows his softer side as well. We learn that he miraculously rises above his hardscrabble life as a blacksmith’s son from Putney. He is tortured by the ghosts of his beloved wife and daughters, victims of the “sweating sickness.” As portrayed here, Cromwell is not only Henry’s confidante and lackey, but also a humanitarian with England’s best interests at heart. The austere set by Christopher Oram, dominated by a vast, brutalist concrete fortress punctuated by a stylized cross, allows the performers and sumptuous period costumes to shine. The moody lighting and electrifying music heighten the excitement. Even though plot points are well known, many take on an added ironic potency. Anne’s infant daughter Elizabeth is dismissed as “a useless, mewling, ginger puke-pot of a girl” and later branded a bastard. Savvy theatergoers know, even if the characters haven’t a clue, that one day she will assume the throne as Queen Elizabeth I, reign for 44 years, and preside over England’s golden age of seafaring, literature, and drama.
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I Get It At Home... Do You?
Hope for the Future
Point Foundation honors Jonathan Groff, Jeffrey Tambor, young scholars at annual gala BY MICHAEL SHIREY
Point Foundation executive director Jorge Valencia and Judith Light.
Michael Mayer presenting Jonathan Groff with the Point Horizon Award.
Jeffrey Tambor accepting the Point Courage Award.
Actor and singer Conrad Ricamora.
oint Honors, the annual benefit g a l a pr e s e n t e d by the Point Foundation, took place April 13 at the New York Public Library. This year’s gala honor ed Jonathan Grof f, the star of HBO’s “Looking” who is now on Broadway in “Hamilton,” along with Jeffrey Tambor, f or h i s gr o un dbr ea kin g turn in the Amazon series “Transparent.” Tim Hanlon, president of the Wells Fargo Foundation, was also recognized. Conrad Ricamora (“The King and I,” “How to Get Away with Murder”) got the night started with a rendition of “Feel Good.” His song, along with opening comments from T.R. Knight (“Grey’s Anatomy”), set a tone focused on progress, not just for the Point Foundation but for the LGBT community as a whole. Judith Light, who is on the Point Foundation Honoree Board, presented Hanlon with the Point Impact Award, noting that the Wells Fargo Foundation’s billion-dollarplus in philanthropic giving over the past four years has included support for LGBT charities including the Point Foundation. Director Michael Mayer praised his “Spring
Jeffrey Tambor and Jonathan Groff with Point scholars and alumni.
Awakening” star Groff. Accepting the Point Horizon Award, Groff compared the rebellious but intellectual nature of his “Spring Awakening” character Melchior to the Point scholars. “These scholars are breaking ground and inspire all of us with their bravery and vision, at perhaps the moment in life when it is the hardest to say who you are,” he said. “I wish that I had an ounce of their courage at that time of my life.” “Transparent” director and Point alumnus Rhys Ernst, along with star Gaby Hoffman, presented Tambor with the Point Courage Award for his support of the transgender community. Humbled, Tambor joked the award was “better than my Bar Mitzvah” and r ecalled highlights from his career, such as work with Light on projects including “Transparent.”
On his “Transparent” role as Maura, Tambor said it is the responsibility of an actor to build a connection with audiences and establish a sense of community. He thanked “T ransparent” creator Jill Soloway for changing his career and his life, along with Amazon for having the “guts” to support their show. “You are the courageous ones in the room,” Tambor said to the scholars. “You are the hope of the future, and I am so proud to stand here tonight as your ally… Change the world.” Of course, the night’s real stars were the Point scholars and alumni themselves. Among the many recognized were alumnus Naomi Jackson and scholar Audrey Stewart. Jackson, who received her MFA in Creative Writing from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop
at the University of Iowa, praised the Point Foundation not only for its monetary contributions but also for the community it fosters. Stewart, a current MBA candidate at Columbia University and a sevenyear army veteran, gave a first-hand account of her service during the days of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy and also spoke about the long road ahead, especially for the trans community, which is still barred from open service. A trans woman of color, Stewart expressed her gratitude for the opportunities the Point Foundation has afforded her. The night also included a musical performance by Sarah Chase (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”) and celebrity appearances by Daphne Rubin-Vega, Jason Collins, Murray Bartlett, Frankie J. Alvarez, and Miriam Shor. The Point Foundation, the largest scholarship organization working to support talented LGBT students, was founded in 2001, and provides financial support, comprehensive mentorship programs, leadership training, and community service opportunities. For mor e infor mation, visit pointfoundation.org.
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April 16 - 29, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
GayCityNews.nyc | April 16 - 29, 2015
Even Closer to 30
Judy, From a Boy in Paris, Texas
Return of the Popinjay
Seth Sikes is back with an evening of Judy Garland’s most celebrated songs — some of them in her key! Sikes, backed by a seven-band helmed by Mark Hartman, recounts how Garland captivated him as a young boy in Paris, Texas. 54 Below, 254 W. 54th St. Apr. 16, 7 p.m. Tickets are $25-$65 at 54below.com, and there’s a $25 food & drink minimum.
Popinjay, the gay shock rapper aka Anthony Johnston who just released his new single and video “Hide Yer Dads,” appears at Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie St., btwn. Rivington & Delancey Sts. Apr. 17, 18, 24 & 25, 10 p.m. Tickets are $15; $12 for students & seniors at dixonplace.org; $20/ $15 at the door.
BETTY, the alt rock/ vocal band of Alyson Palmer, Elizabeth Ziff, and Amy Ziff have 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 as part 2 of a 29th anniversary celebration at Joe’s Pub, inside the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Pl. Apr. 18, 7 p.m. Tickets are $20-$40 at joes.pub. JOESPUB.COM
Hot Time ‘Round Midnight
Michael Bennett Meets Andy Warhol
SAT.APR.18 BOOKS Seventh Annual Book Fair
Nellie’s ‘60s Nellie McKay, whom Gay City News’ David Noh describes as “ever-surprising and original… always political but never in a bludgeoning way,” revisits the 1960s in a new show at 54 Below, 254 W. 54th St. Through Apr.18, 9:30 p.m. The cover charge is $55$110 at 54below.com (add $5 for admission at the door), with a $25 food & drink minimum.
More than 100 LGBT writers, publishers, critics, and exhibitors are on hand for what has now become a queer literary institution. See Michael Luongo’s preview on page 28. Holiday Inn Midtown, 440 W. 47th St. Apr. 18, noon-6 p.m. More information at rainbowbookfair.org. Suggested donation is $3.
After the Rainbow After the afternoon book fair concludes, Michael Klein, whose third book of poems is “The Talking Day,” Joan Larkin, whose fifth poetry collection is “Blue Hanuman,” and Tony Leuzzi, whose third book of poems is “The Burning Door,” come together for a reading at the Bureau of General Services — Queer Division at the LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St., rm. 210. Apr. 18, 7-10 p.m.
Poetry from the Queer Division
In an evening of poetry, Brent Armendinger, author of “The Ghost in Us Was Multiplying,” Julia Bloch, who wrote “Letters to Kelly Clarkson,” Maxe Crandall, author of the chapbook “Together Men Make Paradigms,” and former NEA fellow Brian Teare, author of the Lambda Award-winning “Pleasure” and three other books and another on its way, appear at the Bureau of General Services — Queer Division at the LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St., rm. 210. Apr. 16, 7-10 p.m.
Sage & Sequined Fresh from a European tour behind her latest album “Blue Roses, Rachael Sage presents a spring-themed show focused on freedom, redemption, and renewal. Sage is joined by her New York-based chamber-pop band the Sequins, featuring Andy Mac on drums and Deni Bonet on violin. SubCulture, 45 Bleecker St. at Lafayette St. Apr. 18, 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 at subculturenewyork.com; $20 at the door.
NYC’s Next Top Drag Queen
“New York’s Next Top Drag Queen Contest” continues tonight, hosted by Holly Dae and with judges Arsenio Amadas (Mr. Eagle 2013), Macchia (the MAC and Bistro Award-winning producer of “Cabaret Cares”), and Frankie C. Metropolitan Room, 34 W. 22nd St. On Apr. 20, 7 p.m. & Apr. 27, 9:30 p.m., four finalists sing a new song, a repeat, and a theme song; and on May 4, 9:30 p.m. they sing a new song and make a heartfelt case for themselves. Tickets to each show begin at $16 at metropolitanroom.com.
WED.APR.22 BOOKS Publishing Triangle Finalists On the eve of the annual Publishing Triangle Awards, nine finalists come together for a reading: Barry Brennessel, whose “Sideways Down the Sky” is up for the Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction; Raziel Reid, whose “When Everything Feels Like the Movies” is also up for the Ferro-Grumley Award; Michael Carroll, whose “Little Reef and Other Stories” is up for the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction; Alden Jones, whose “Unaccompanied Minors” is also up for the Edmund White Award; Shelly Oria, whose “New York 1, Tel Aviv 0” is a third Edmund White Award finalist; Philip Gefter, whose “Wagstaff: Before and After Mapplethorpe” is up for the Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction; Ariel Gore, whose “The End of Eve” is up for the Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction; Beverly Burch, whose “How a Mirage Works” is up for the Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry; and Roberto Mon-
WED.APR.22, continued on p.39
April 16 - 29, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc
“Color Me, Warhol,” conceived, choreographed, and directed by Raja Feather Kelly, is an imagining of how Warhol would have interpreted “A Chorus Line.” Fifteen dancers bring to life Warhol’s ideas, philosophy, and iconic visuals through Kelly’s unique dance-theater style intended to be radical yet accessible. Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie St., btwn. Rivington & Delancey Sts. Apr. 17-18, 24-25, 7 p.m. Tickets are $16; $12 for students & seniors at dixonplace.org or 212-219-0736; $20 at the door.
“The Midnight Cabaret” is a sexy soiree featuring an alluring line-up of dancing ladies, circus spectacles, live music, and a DJ after-party. Tonight, drag superstar Sweetie hosts performances by Jenny Rocha & Her Painted Ladies, burlesque bad girl Julie Atlas Muz, all six-foot, five inches of Mr. Gorgeous, Shelly the singing siren Watson, and circus and cabaret star Jason Mejias. Drom, 85 Ave. A at E. Sixth St. Apr18 & 25, doors open at 10:30 p.m., with live music at 11 and cabaret at midnight. Admission is $15 at dromnyc.com; $20 at the door.
WED.APR.22, from p.38
tes, whose “I Don’t Know Do You” is up for the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry. The Bureau of General Services — Queer Division at the LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St., rm. 210. Apr. 22, 7-10 p.m.
CABARET Ben Rimalower, In Repertory
THU.APR.23 BOOKS Achievement in LGBT Letters Honoring the best LGBT books of 2014, the Publishing Triangle presents its annual awards, including the Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction, the Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction, the Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry, the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry, the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction, the Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement, and its Leadership Award. Publishing Triangle partners with the Ferro-Grumley Literary Awards to present the Ferro-Grumley Award for Fiction. The Alvin Johnson/ J.M. Kaplan Auditorium of the New School, 66 W. 12th St. Apr. 23, 7 p.m. Admission is free. For more information visit publishingtriangle.org.
61 Christopher St. at Seventh Ave. So., Sheridan Sq. Apr. 27, May 3, May 9, 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 at asdmedia.co/dear-henry. html; $16 at the door; and there’s a two-drink minimum.
CABARET Happy Days Are Here Again — And Again Now in its fifth year, Rick Skye and Tommy Femia — named Best Duo of 2012 by the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs (MAC) — have extended their run of “Judy and Liza Together Again,” at Don’t Tell Mama through May. The mother-daughter team sing some of their personal favorites, including “Maybe This Time,” “New York, New York,” “Over the Rainbow” (sung movingly by Femia), and, in a powerhouse finale together, “Get Happy” and “Happy Days Are Here Again.” 343 W. 46th St. Apr. 25, May 9, 16 & 30, 8 p.m. The cover charge is $25 and there’s a two-drink minimum. Reservations at 212-757-0788 or donttellmamanyc.com.
beauty pageant. In fact, clothing is optional for everyone tonight. The Sausage Factory, 250 W. 40th St., fourth fl. May 2, 11 p.m.3:30 a.m. Tickets are $20 at dworld.us; $30 at the door. The winning Mr. Nude York receives a $400 prize. To become a contestant, email Daniel@dworld.us.
FRI.MAY.1 CABARET In Tribute to John Bucchino In “Grateful… for the Songs of John Bucchino,” members of the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus under the musical direction of Jimmy Horan pay tribute to the award-winning gay composer (“It’s Only Life,” “A Catered Affair”). The Duplex, 61 Christopher St. at Seventh Ave. So., Sheridan Sq. May 1, 7 & 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 at theduplex.com; $20 at the door; and there’s a two-drink minimum.
COMMUNITY The Trauma & Resilience of LGBT People Displaced
The NYU Silver School of Social Work’s McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research presents a daylong symposium focused on the poverty, trauma, and resilience involvement in the displacement of LGBTQ youth and others uprooted from their homes by hostility, persecution, and violence in the US and worldwide. Moderated by NYU professor James Martin, the panels include Cristina Herrera, Gender Identity Project coordinator at the LGBT Community Center, Lee Jimenéz, an organizer at FIERCE, Bruce Knotts, director of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s UN office, Jama Shelton, deputy executive director at the True Colors Fund, and Alisha Williams, a senior staff attorney at the Urban Justice Center’s Peter Cicchino Youth Project. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams will deliver remarks opening one panel looking at the impacts of racism. Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Fisher Building, 321 Ashland Pl., btwn. Hanson Pl. & Lafayette Ave. Apr. 27, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. The symposium is free, but seating is limited so register at tinyurl.com/pworn74.
NIGHTLIFE Berlin Does New York
B e n R i m a l ower, whom Gay City News’ Christopher Byrne describes as “larger than life on the small stage and very charming,” presents his two cabaret shows — “Patti Issues,” about his obsession with La LuPone, and “Bad With Money,” about his troubled relationship with filthy lucre and the spending of such — at The Duplex, 61 Christopher St. at Seventh Ave. S., Sheridan Sq. Apr. 22, May 4, 22, Jun. 2, 21, 7 p.m. (“Bad”) and Apr. 29, May 15, Jun. 14, 7 p.m. May 31, 9:30 p.m. (“Patti”). Tickets are $25-$50 at purplepass.com, and there’s a two-drink minimum.
H a n s B e rl i n is the special guest host of Daniel Nardicio’s fourth annual “Mr. Nude York” contest, America’s only all-nude
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FRI.APR.24 BOOKS Report from the Sexual Underground
GayCityNews.nyc | April 16 - 29, 2015
“Love Not Given Lightly” is the first major collection of nonfiction stories from award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and advocate Tina Horn, who in her vast exploration of sexual undergrounds has befriended pro-dommes, porn stars, kinky fetishists, rent boys, and more. Join Horn as she celebrates the book’s launch. The Bureau of General Services — Queer Division at the LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St., rm. 210. Apr. 24, 7-10 p.m.
“Dear Henry” is a charming, funny, slightly risqué, and ultimately moving piece of theater based on humorist Arthur Wooten’s columns in the London-based magazine refresh, in which a man writes letters to his exasperating boyfriend Henry, regaling readers in the crazy shenanigans (sexual and otherwise) the two shared. L u ke Doyle stars in this one-man show. The Duplex,
PHOTO BY JOAN MARCUS
Letters to the Boyfriend
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GAY CITY NEWS, APRIL 16, 2015