A Transgender Medicaid Win in NYS 06
Cuomo Boasts Progress in Ending AIDS
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July 21 - August 03, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
GayCityNews.nyc | July 21 - August 03, 2016
“THE MOST ANTI-LGBT PLATFORM” EVER In a year when the Human Rights Campaign argues, “The Trump-Pence ticket is the gravest threat the LGBTQ community has ever faced in a presidential election,” even the Log Cabin Republicans, who for decades have struggled to make lemonade out of the lemons in front of them, declared the platform adopted at the national convention in Cleveland “the most anti-LGBT platform in the party’s 162-year history.” Here is what that platform, in part, says (bolded italics added):
As Cleveland Conclave Opens, Protesters Target Trump Tower Queer Nation, Gays Against Guns joined by longtime gun control advocates in July 18 demo
ON MARRIAGE EQUALITY:
ON SO-CALLED CONVERSION THERAPY
We support the right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children. We support the right of parents to consent to medical treatment for their minor children…
Traditional marriage and family, based on marriage between one man and one woman, is the foundation for a free society and has for millennia been entrusted with rearing children and instilling cultural values. We condemn the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor, which wrongly removed the ability of Congress to define marriage policy in federal law. We also condemn the Supreme Court’s lawless ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which in the words of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, was a “judicial Putsch” — full of “silly extravagances” — that reduced “the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Storey to the mystical aphorisms of a fortune cookie.” In Obergefell, five unelected lawyers robbed 320 million Americans of their legitimate constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The Court twisted the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment beyond recognition. To echo Scalia, we dissent. We, therefore, support the appointment of justices and judges who respect the constitutional limits on their power and respect the authority of the states to decide such fundamental social questions… Foremost among those institutions is the American family. It is the foundation of civil society, and the cornerstone of the family is natural marriage, the union of one man and one woman. Its daily lessons — cooperation, patience, mutual respect, responsibility, self-reliance — are fundamental to the order and progress of our Republic… The data and the facts lead to an inescapable conclusion: Every child deserves a married mom and dad…For that reason, as explained elsewhere in this platform, we do not accept the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage and we urge its reversal, whether through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment returning control over marriage to the states. We oppose government discrimination against businesses or entities which decline to sell items or services to individuals for activities that go against their religious views about such activities. Families formed or enlarged by adoption strengthen our communities and ennoble our nation. Private entities which facilitate adoptions enrich our communities. We support measures such as the First Amendment Defense Act to ensure these entities do not face government discrimination because of their views on marriage and family.
Banners carried by protesters who traveled from Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue to Trump International Hotel at Columbus Circle in a July 18 demonstration.
BY PAUL SCHINDLER
hey woke a sleeping giant with the LGBT community,” said Glenn Zuraw about the National Rifle Association, as he stood outside Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue on July 18. “We should have been here on this issue long before now. I cried for three days after Orlando. I didn’t cry after Newtown, and I’m sorry I didn’t.” Zuraw was one of mor e than 500 demonstrators who
braved a late afternoon downpour to raise their voices against the NRA, the Republican Party, and Donald Trump, the man that party is coronating as its presidential nominee this week in Cleveland. Protesters — called to Trump Tower by the direct action grassroots group Queer Nation, Gays Against Guns, which formed in response to the June 12 gun slaughter of 49 at an LGBT club in Orlando, and New Yorkers Against Gun Violence — focused their ire on the GOP’s absolut-
Ongoing attempts to compel individuals, businesses, and institutions of faith to transgress their beliefs are part of a misguided effort to undermine religion and drive it from the public square. As a result, many charitable religious institutions that have demonstrated great success in helping the needy have been barred from receiving government grants and contracts. Government officials threaten religious colleges and universities with massive fines and seek to control their personnel decisions. Places of worship for the first time in our history have reason to fear the loss of tax-exempt status merely for espousing and practicing traditional religious beliefs that have been held across the world for thousands of years, and for almost four centuries in America. We value the right of America’s religious leaders to preach, and Americans to speak freely, according to their faith…
ist support for NRA policies, Trump’s repeated xenophobic attacks on immigrants, especially those from Mexico or who are Muslim, and a party platform that even the Log Cabin Republicans have termed the most “anti-LGBT ever.” Asked what awakening the LGBT movement would mean for the gun debate in America, Zuraw, who lives in Queens, responded, “Look how much we’ve gotten changed. DOMA.
RALLY, continued on p.12
We pledge to defend the religious beliefs and rights of conscience of all Americans and to safeguard religious institutions against government control. We endorse the First Amendment Defense Act, Republican legislation in the House and Senate which will bar government discrimination against individuals and businesses for acting on the belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. This Act would protect the non-profit tax status of faith-based adoption agencies, the accreditation of religious educational institutions, the grants and contracts of faith-based charities and small businesses, and the licensing of religious professions — all of which are under assault by elements of the Democratic Party. We encourage every state to pass similar legislation. We likewise endorse the efforts of Republican state legislators and governors who have defied intimidation from corporations and the media in defending religious liberty. We support laws to confirm the longstanding American tradition that religious individuals and
July 21 - August 03, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
With Pence Pick, Trump Bets on Hard Right HRC calls ticket “gravest threat” to community; Log Cabins say platform “most anti-LGBT” ever BY DUNCAN OSBORNE
institutions can educate young people, receive government benefits, and participate in public debates without having to check their religious beliefs at the door… [W]e strongly support the freedom of Americans to act in accordance with their religious beliefs, not only in their houses of worship, but also in their everyday lives. We support the right of the people to conduct their businesses in accordance with their religious beliefs and condemn public officials who have proposed boycotts against businesses that support traditional marriage. We pledge to protect those business owners who have been subjected to hate campaigns, threats of violence, and other attempts to deny their civil rights. We support the public display of the Ten Commandments as a reflection of our history and our country’s Judeo-Christian heritage and further affirm the rights of religious students to engage in voluntary prayer at public school events and to have equal access to school facilities. We assert the First Amendment right of freedom of association for religious, private, service, and youth organizations to set their own membership standards.
GayCityNews.nyc | July 21 - August 03, 2016
INDIANA OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
ollowing news that the Republican Party may have produced its most socially conservative platform ever, Donald Trump, the party’s presumptive nominee for president, selected the far right governor of Indiana, Mike Pence, as his running mate. “Today, Donald Trump doubled down on his hateful anti-LGBTQ agenda,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBTQ lobbying group, on a July 15 conference call with reporters. “The Trump-Pence ticket is the gravest threat the LGBTQ community has ever faced in a presidential election.” Pence was elected governor of Indiana in 2012 and began serving in 2013. In 2015, he signed a so-called religious freedom bill that caused a national backlash, with governors and mayors across the country barring public employees from traveling to Indiana on official duties. Businesses in the state demanded that the law be amended to say explicitly that it could not be used to discriminate, a fix that was eventually enacted. Pence defended the original law even as he approved the change. In his 12 years in Congress, starting in 2000, Pence racked up a conservative record consistently, getting zeroes on HRC’s Congres-
sional Scorecard. Pence opposed the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, marriage equality, and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), federal legislation that would have barred bias in hiring and firing based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Representative James E. Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat, joined Griffin on the call along with other left-leaning groups that have also endorsed Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. Pence had a “Tea Party mentality” when he was in Congress, Clyburn said. “I think that all of us have been sort of dismayed by the kind of campaign Mr. Trump has been running,” Clyburn said. “It seems to me that his choice of former Congressman Pence is a doubling down.” The party platfor m endorses therapies that are intended to alter sexual orientation but have no basis in science and have been shown to carry psychological risks, calls for a reversal of the 2015 US Supreme Court decision that required states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and supports state laws that bar transgender people from using bathrooms that are consistent with their gender identity. In a statement that was mailed to members, the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay Republican group, called the draft document “the
On March 26 of last year, Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act with no reporters on hand.
most anti-LGBT platform in the party’s 162-year history.” T rump has said that states should be free to enact laws, such as HB2 in North Carolina, that limit access to bathrooms for transgender people. The North Carolina law has caused a national uproar, and the state has lost jobs and revenue since it was enacted this past spring. Trump has also said he would repeal a 2014 executive order issued by President Barack Obama that barred federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. He has promised to appoint judges to the US Supreme Court who would overturn the 2015 marriage equality decision. Other groups on the call also
condemned the Pence pick. “Donald T rump has repeatedly said that he would make up for his obvious lack of experience by surrounding himself with experts,” said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “When he says experts, what he really means is extreme ideologues.” Trump’s calls to ban Muslims from the US and his attacks on Latinx immigrants have alienated voters on the left, as well. “When it comes to immigration these two men could not be further from what most of the country wants,” said Martin Garcia, director of campaigns for the Latino Victory Fund, a political action committee. “Our community has had enough of Donald Trump’s hateful rhetoric.”
ON TRANSGENDER RIGHTS
We emphatically support the original, authentic meaning of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. It affirmed that “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” That language opened up for girls and women a world of opportunities that had too often been denied to them. That same provision of law is now being used by bureaucrats — and by the current President of the United States — to impose a social and cultural revolution upon the American people by wrongly redefining sex discrimination to include sexual orientation or other categories. Their agenda has nothing to do with individual rights; it has everything to do with power. They are determined to reshape our schools — and our entire society — to fit the mold of an ideology alien to America’s history and traditions. Their edict to the states concerning restrooms, locker rooms, and other facilities is at once illegal, dangerous, and ignores privacy issues. We salute the several states which have filed suit against it.
PLATFORM, continued on p.14
Medicaid Win on Gender Transition “Cosmetic Surgery” US court finds NYS blanket coverage ban unlawfully blocks medically necessary procedures BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
US district judge has granted summary judgment to four transgender plaintiffs on a claim that the New York State Medicaid program’s categorical ban on “cosmetic surgery” related to gender transition violates the federal program’s requirement to fund medically necessary treatment. Judge Jed Rakoff’s July 5 ruling came on pre-trial motions in a lawsuit brought by a team of public interest and pro bono lawyers challenging the way New York’s program provides or withholds coverage for gender transition medications and procedures. The ruling eliminates significant barriers many transgender adults have encountered in receiving Medicaid coverage for transition procedures their doctors find medically necessary but the state has deemed “cosmetic” and therefore
Advocates show their support for reforming the New York State Medicaid program’s policies regarding coverage of gender transition costs.
not eligible for coverage. Left open for further litigation, however, are important questions regarding Medicaid coverage in the case of minors. The four plaintiffs, suing “on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated,” challenged the exclusion of coverage for gender reassignment surgery and
hormone therapy for individuals under age 18 as well as the regulation that imposes, according to Rakoff’s interpretation, “a blanket ban on coverage of cosmetic procedures related to gender dysphoria,” including procedures that the plaintiffs contend are “medically necessary” for their gender transition process.
Rakoff, last year, approved the plaintiffs’ motion for class action certification. Dr. Howard Zucker, the commissioner of the State Department of Health and the named defendant in the suit, had asked the court to reconsider its prior decision against dismissing the cosmetic surgery claim, contending that the program does not actually have a “blanket ban” because it has occasionally approved coverage for particular procedures on a case-by-case basis. Rakoff, however, concluded that regardless of any steps the department was taking to make exceptions, the written regulation is a blanket ban. The judge also rejected Zucker’s motion to decertify the plaintiff class on the grounds that none of the named plaintiffs could represent the full range of issues presented by the proposed class. On this point,
MEDICAID WIN, continued on p.20
Maryland, Michigan Differ on Key Co-Parent Issue Pending In NYS The rights of a non-biological mother in claiming visitation, custody still in dispute
BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
ppellate courts in Maryland and Michigan reached opposing conclusions in decisions announced on July 7 about whether a biological mother’s lesbian partner can seek visitation with the child they were raising together before their relationship broke up. In Maryland, the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, ruled in Conover v. Conover that a person who qualified as a “de facto” parent can be granted visitation rights if a trial court determines that is in the best interest of the child. In Michigan, however, the state’s intermediate appellate court, the Court of Appeals, ruled in Lake v. Putnam that a former partner is merely an unrelated “third party” who can only seek visitation if she can show that the child’s legal parent is “unfit” or that there are “exceptional circumstances” that would justify ordering visitation. The fact that the women had a child by agreement and were raising
the child together is not deemed an “exceptional circumstance” for this purpose. The Michigan ruling could be appealed to the state’s Supreme Court. In the Maryland case, the court, in making its decision, overturned a 2008 ruling in Janice M. v. Margaret K., which it concluded was based on a faulty reading of the US Supreme Court’s 2000 decision in Troxel v. Granville that overturned a Washington State court order requiring a widow to allow her ex-husband’s parents to have visitation with her child. The Maryland court came around to the view that Troxel was a narrow ruling that should not be applied to a case where the plaintiff actually had a bonded parental relationship with the child, unlike the grandparents in Troxel. Judge Sally D. Adkins characterized the Janice M. ruling as an “archaic precedent” that was out of step with the trend in other states, as it improperly placed a technical barrier in the way of making a decision that was in the best interest of the child, the ultimate goal in any case involving minors.
Michelle and Brittany Conover’s relationship began in 2002, and they later decided together that Brittany would conceive a child with anonymous donor sperm obtained through a fertility clinic. She gave birth to their son in April 2010, but the birth certificate, consistent with Maryland law at the time, listed only one parent, Brittany. The space for a father was left blank. When their son was about six months old, they married in the District of Columbia, which was recognized by Maryland even though that state was not yet issuing licenses to same-sex couples. The women separated a year later, in 2011. Until July 2012, Brittany allowed Michelle overnight and weekend access to their son, but she then she prevented further contact. In February 2013, Brittany filed a divorce action, and her complaint stated that there were no children of the marriage. Michelle filed an answer to Brittany’s action, seeking visitation rights with their son. Brittany opposed the visitation claim, argu-
CO-MOMS, continued on p.8
July 21 - August 03, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
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US Park Officials Rebut Riis Beach Gay Arrestee’s Claims
Krys Fox’s assertion police pounced after his towel slipped off challenged
A screenshot from a video of Krys Fox being arrested at Riis Park posted on YouTube.
BY DUNCAN OSBORNE
he National Park Service and the US Park Police are telling a decidedly different version of a July 4 arrest for public nudity at Jacob Riis Park in Queens than the gay man they took into custody, photographer Krys Fox. “He was observed as being n a k e d , ” s a i d D a p h n e Yu n , a spokesperson for the Gateway National Recreation Area, a
27,000- acre federal park that has separate units in Queens, Brooklyn, and New Jersey. “A Park Police officer asked him to cover, he refused, he refused multiple times.” Gateway had an increased police presence on the July 4 weekend, which included plainclothes and uniformed officers. Yun said that when a US Park Police officer first encountered Fox, the officer asked the man to put on clothes and then asked Fox to join two other men who were being issued summonses for
CO-MOMS, from p.6
ing that Michelle was not legally related to the boy and thus lacked standing under Maryland law. Since the child was born before they married, there was no presumption as a matter of law that Michelle was the mother. The trial and intermediate appellate courts, bound by the Janice M. precedent, ruled that Michelle did not have standing to seek visitation. The Court of Appeals accepted Michelle’s argument that it should rethink the issue and, rejecting its prior interpretation of Troxel, decided to follow an emerging trend begun by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 1995. Recognizing the reality of lesbian couples using donor insemination to start families, the Wisconsin court decided that in such situations the “non-biological” mother should be considered a “de facto” parent with standing to seek custody and/ or visitation after a breakup if the legal parent had fostered the relationship between the co-mother and the child, that woman had lived with the child and acted as a parent to a significant degree, and the co-mother and the child had forged “a parent-child bond.”
public urination by police “so they could talk to the group as a whole.” Yun said that Fox refused to move. Sergeant David Somma, spokesperson for the US Park Police, told Gay City News that Fox also refused to supply identification or give his name. “Most people are compliant and they don’t create a situation where they call attention to themselves,” Somma said. Fox was arrested and carried naked from the beach by four officers who were surrounded by another half dozen members of the US Park Police. In a video that does not show the initial moments of the arrest and that was widely distributed on social media (see goo.gl/ dxUad3), Fox can be heard yelling “Help me.” He was held for about three hours and issued a summons for disorderly conduct, failure to comply with a lawful order, and public nudity. In Fox’s recounting, his towel momentarily slipped off his body and police pounced on him without warning. His attorney, Michael Pontone, said that was the case. “That’s absolutely false, the
The Maryland court concluded that this approach respected the biological mother’s constitutional right to custody and control of her child, while also recognizing the reality of a parent-child relationship between the legal parent’s same-sex partner and the child and the psychological harm a child might suffer due to separation from a parental figure. Though three judges wrote concurrences tinkering with Judge Adkins’ application of the Wisconsin ruling under Maryland law, all seven members of the court agreed that Michelle Conover is entitled to a new trial court hearing to determine whether she qualifies as a “de facto” parent and, if so, whether it is in the child’s best interest to re-establish contact with her, taking into account the years that have passed while this case has been pending. In a footnote, the court mentioned that Michelle now identifies as a man, but says nothing about how that might factor into the “best interest” analysis to determine visitation. A press release about the case by the Maryland public interest organization that represents Michelle says his name is now Michael, but the
allegation that he was warned to cover up or put his bathing suit back on.” Pontone told Gay City News. “The version that was told to me was that he absolutely had no warning before he was arrested.” While some press have char acterized Fox’s arrest as a raid on the gay section of the beach, Somma told Gay City News that the US Park Police have issued 17 summonses for public nudity in all of Gateway in the summer of 2015 through the date of Fox’s arrest. Two of the 17 people, which includes Fox, were arrested. Somma told Gay City News that the standard procedure for people found nude in Gateway is to ask them to put their clothes on and issue a summons. Riis Park was once notorious for police arrests of gay men who were merely cruising. Following the arrests, police would contact the employers of the men arrested and inform them that their employee had been busted. Riis Park was a popular gay hangout in the 1950s and ‘60s and it retains that popularity today.
court footnote said he decided to use his former name and female pronouns for consistency in the court records. Michigan courts do not recognize the concept of a “de facto” parent, and the plaintiff in Lake v. Putnam sought to rely on a different legal doctrine recognized in Michigan: equitable parent. However, the court found the doctrine inapplicable, reversing a trial court ruling. Michelle Lake and Kerri Putnam lived together for more than a decade as a same-sex couple. About five years into their relationship, Putnam bore a child by donor insemination and both women acted as parents to the child and were both viewed as parents by the child. Putnam ended her relationship with Lake in September 2014, several years after the child was born, and moved out with the child and began a new relationship. At first, Putnam allowed Lake to visit the child, but eventually she cut off contact and Lake filed a lawsuit seeking visitation rights. The trial judge rejected Putnam’s argument that Lake lacked standing to seek visitation, and
CO-MOMS, continued on p.9
July 21 - August 03, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
CO-MOMS, from p.8
ordered Putnam to allow Lake visiting time with the child. The Court of Appeals granted Putnam’s petition to appeal and reversed. In her opinion for the court, Judge Colleen A. O’Brien pointed out that the women could have married in another jurisdiction before the child was born, but they had not done so. Although Michigan did not then allow “second-parent” adoptions, the women did live together with their child in Florida for a period of time, and such an adoption could have been undertaken in that state but was not. Interestingly, a separate lawsuit challenging Michigan’s refusal to allow second-parent adoptions ultimately was transformed into a challenge of that state’s ban on same-sex marriages, and was one of the consolidated cases decided by the US Supreme Court last year under the title Obergefell v. Hodges, where the court found a right to same-sex marriage. The state Court of Appeals rejected the argument that Obergefell should be applied retroactively to this relationship, noting that Lake had not presented any evidence that the women would have married before the child was born if they could have done so. Judge O’Brien’s opinion did not, however, suggest that if Lake had presented such evidence the case would have come out differently. The court found that the equitable parent doctrine was limited to cases in which a husband sought to establish parental rights to a child born to his wife but conceived with somebody else’s sperm. The court refused to extend the doctrine, which is embodied in a statute that specifically references husbands, to fit the circumstances of a same-sex couple. The court also declined Lake’s suggestion that it should follow precedents from other states that have allowed same-sex partners to sue under these circumstances. Although all three judges on the Court of Appeals panel agreed that the trial court’s order must be reversed, Judge Douglas Shapiro asserted in a concurring opinion that the case could have turned out differently had Lake presented some evidence that the women would GayCityNews.nyc | July 21 - August 03, 2016
have married before their child was born had the states where they resided allowed it at the time. He pointed out that last year the Court of Appeals had ruled in favor of parental standing in a similar case where a same-sex couple had actually married out-of-state before having their child, using the reasoning of Obergefell to confer, in effect, retroactive recognition of the marriage. “I would not limit our application of Obergefell to cases where the parties actually married in another jurisdiction,” he wrote. “The fact that marriage was available in some other jurisdictions did not remove the unconstitutional burden faced by same-sex couples residing in a state that barred same-sex marriage within its borders. The impediment was defined by state law, and the existence of that law to those who lived under it should not now be treated as constitutionally insignificant because other states treated the issue differently.” The Obergefell decision is increasingly being cited by courts to support parental claims by women whose same-sex spouse bears a child during their mar riage, approving a gender-neutral interpretation of the traditional presumption that the husband of a woman who bears a child is the parent of the child. This presumption does not necessarily apply to situations where the parties marry shortly after the child was born, although New York law allows a husband to assert parental rights in such a situation if he does so promptly after the marriage. The New York Court of Appeals heard oral arguments early in June in two cases presenting the same issue that the Maryland and Michigan courts were addressing. A quarter-century ago, the New York court ruled in Alison D. v. Virginia M. that a same-sex partner was a “legal stranger” to the child born to her former partner and thus lacked standing to seek custody or visitation. The Maryland court described this position as “archaic” in the Conover case, and hopes are high that the New York court will reach the same conclusion and over rule its old precedent. Comments by some of the judges during the oral argument suggested that this might happen. The court will not rule until at least late August, and more likely not before September.
Citing 2011-2014 Data, Cuomo Says Post-14 End AIDS Plan Working Efficacy claims obscure ongoing battle for state money to end epidemic by 2020 BY DUNCAN OSBORNE
NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
iting an increase in the number of HIV-positive people who have no detectable virus in their blood and an estimated decline in the number of new HIV infections in New York that occurred before the state spent any money on a plan to reduce new HIV infections in the state to 750 a year by 2020, the Cuomo administration is saying that these data nevertheless represent a milestone for the Plan to End AIDS. “New York State is leading the fight against HIV and AIDS, and these results display extraordinary progress toward our overall goal of ending the epidemic,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a July 13 press release. “We are working toward making New York, once the epicenter of the AIDS epidemic, a place where new infections are rare and those living with the disease can enjoy a full, normal, and healthy life.” The state health department, which receives the results of all HIV viral load tests performed on New York residents, reported that in 2014, 77,000 HIV-positive New Yorkers had no detectable virus in their blood versus 71,000 in 2013. In 2014, the state estimated that 123,000 people were HIV-positive in New York. Several recent studies found that a person who is undetectable cannot infect others. The state health department also estimated that there were 2,481 new HIV infections in the state in 2014, which represents a 42 percent decline from the estimated 4,300 new HIV infections in 2007. To create the estimate of new HIV infections, the state health department tests the blood of some people who are newly diagnosed as HIV-positive with assays that determine how recently the individual was infected. Using that sample, the state health department estimates how many of the new HIV diagnoses in a
New York State health department estimates of new HIV infections and incidence rates of new infections from 2006-2014.
given year are new infections that occurred in that year. While most press reported the 2,481 estimate as the number of new HIV infections in 2014, the state health department produced a range indicating that the estimated new HIV infections in 2014 could be as high as 2,859 or as low as 2,103. The range was not disclosed in the July 13 press release though the state website contained links to the complete data. There were an estimated 4,211 new HIV infections in 2006, which fell to to 2,628 in 2010 and then climbed to 3,202 in 2011, so a good portion of the decline to 2,481 is accounted for in new infections declining since the 2011 spike. “The [Plan to End AIDS] initiative, which began in 2014, built upon an already comprehensive state-supported HIV/ AIDS prevention and care infrastructure, thereby enabling the rapid uptake of… programming and the realization of early gains in the State’s effort to end AIDS as an epidemic by the end of 2020,” a state health department spokesperson wrote in an email. Over 90 percent of the new HIV infections in New York occur in New York City. In 2014, the city health department reported 2,718 new HIV diagnoses in the city
and, of those, 488, or 18 percent, received an AIDS diagnosis, which indicates a later stage of HIV infection, at the time those people first learned they were HIV-positive. People who receive a concurrent HIV/AIDS diagnosis likely went untested for many years. In 2014, 3,434 New Yorkers were newly diagnosed as HIV-positive, according to the state health department. Using the 2,481 estimate suggests that 953, or 27 percent, of those people were infected before 2014. Comparing that percentage to the city’s 18 percent is not an apples to apples comparison, but it might indicate that the state is being generous in its estimates of how sharp the new infections decline has been. The Plan to End AIDS uses antiHIV drugs in HIV-positive people to reduce their viral loads to an undetectable level and in HIV-negative people to keep them uninfected. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) are the two drug regimens used in HIV-negative people. Cuomo first endorsed the Plan to End AIDS in mid-2014. The state did not fund the plan until 2015 and even then advocates said the amount fell well below what was needed to fully fund the plan. AIDS groups still need Cuomo’s help on money and legislation. They have been largely
unwilling to criticize Cuomo until this year, when he was the subject of protests in Albany and in New York City. “Basically, we’re trying to strike a fine balance between vigorous and relentless pressure with even handed patience,” Mikola De Roo, a spokesperson at Housing Works, an AIDS services group, wrote in a March 2015 email that was among documents obtained by Gay City News in a Freedom of Information request made to the city’s Office of Management and Budget. “There will be plenty of opportunities in coming weeks and months to turn the heat up more and hit the Governor harder and for the harder punch to be far more effective than it would be right now.” The July 13 press release quoted Charles King, the chief executive at Housing Works, along with five other chief executives at AIDS or health groups. King is credited with developing the Plan to End AIDS along with Mark Harrington, the chief executive at the Treatment Action Group, a health policy organization. Also quoted in the press release were Kelsey Louie, the chief executive at GMHC, Benjamin Bashein, who heads ACRIA, an HIV research and educational organization, and Wendy Stark, the head of the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. July 21 - August 03, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
Bringing LGBT Healthcare to the Boroughs Callen-Lorde opens in Bronx; Apicha aims for Queens clinic in 2017 BY PAUL SCHINDLER
GayCityNews.nyc | July 21 - August 03, 2016
CALLEN-LORDE COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER
hrough a cooperative partnership as well as expansion and planned expansion beyond Manhattan, the city’s two non-profit LGBT -focused healthcare providers, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center and Apicha Community Health Center, are aiming to better meet the growing demand for culturally competent services for queer New Yorkers. Two important steps in that effort have now been launched. On July 1, Callen-Lorde opened a new 3,500-square-foot clinic in the South Bronx on Third Avenue near 161st Street, its first footprint outside of Chelsea. Callen-Lorde and Apicha have also announced a partnership under which Callen-Lorde will offer clients it cannot serve in the time frame they require a “warm hand-off” to Apicha, which currently has unused capacity in its clinic at 400 Broadway in Chinatown. These two developments are intended, explained Wendy Stark, Callen-Lorde’s executive director, to correct a current “capacity-demand mismatch” facing providers and consumers of LGBT-focused healthcare. “Real estate is the real core problem,” Stark explained regarding Callen-Lorde’s inability to serve all comers in its two facilities in Chelsea. By locating a new clinic in the Bronx, the organization can also better serve residents of that borough as well as Upper Manhattan, including hard-to-reach consumers such as youth and those without stable housing. In that spirit, Apicha is nearing agreement on space in Jackson Heights, Queens, for a clinic that organization aims to open in mid2017, and Callen-Lorde, over a oneto two-year horizon, hopes to establish a new facility in or near Downtown Brooklyn. All of this activity comes as the demand for healthcare services grows with the full implementation of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act and a year after both Callen-Lorde and Apicha were among 266 healthcare centers nationwide — only a hand-
Jonathan Santos-Ramos, the director of operations at Callen-Lorde’s new clinic in the South Bronx, with staff member Luis Prieto.
ful of them focused on LGBT care — designated for the New Access Point program created under Obamacare. That program is designed to improve public health in underserved and vulnerable areas — such as the South Bronx — and guarantees each organization $650,000 in annual federal funding, as well as eligibility for federal malpractice insurance and cost-based reimbursement under the Medicaid program. For health centers like Callen-Lorde and Apicha that offer care at low or no cost to certain patients, the unreimbursed cost of care is a significant concern that constrains the ability to expand services. With roughly 17,000 clients making 100,000 visits a year, Callen-Lorde’s Chelsea facilities had been incurring annual unreimbursed costs of care running at about $5 million, Stark said in an interview last year. And there was little doubt that Callen-Lorde needed more space, if not in Chelsea then somewhere else in the city. At times, Stark said, the two Manhattan clinics have had to turn away 20 patients a day, even with a six-days, four-evenings a week schedule. The new Bronx clinic, open just two weeks when Gay City News visited on July 15, will allow Callen-Lorde to serve up to 3,800 patients for about 20,000 visits per year. According to Jonathan Santos-Ramos, the clinic’s director of operations, most of the clients served to date traveled from neighborhoods in the Bronx or Upper Manhattan — many from
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CALLEN-LORDE, continued on p.20
RALLY, from p.4
The crowd at Columbus Circle.
including those who invest in gun manufacturers — the Blackstone Group and Credit Suisse have been frequent targets of criticism on that score — the manufacturers themselves, the NRA, and legislators who are “puppets” of the gun lobby. In addition to Zeldin, Leah Gunn Barrett, the executive director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, mentioned six other New York Republicans in Congress her group is putting pressure on, including Richard Hanna, Chris Gibson, Tom Reed, Chris Collins, Elise Stefanik, and John Katko. Gunn Barrett contrasted the current political climate with that of the 1990s, when many Democrats became skittish about gun control after elections reversals that followed legislation pushed by President Bill Clinton banning the sale of assault rifles. Alluding to Hillary Clinton favorably, she said, “It is very unusual for the Democratic presidential candidate to speak as forcefully on the gun issue as she has.” Still, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence is also working to keep Democrats accountable. Governor Andrew Cuomo, Gunn Barrett said,
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Gay mar riage.” Brooklynite Terry Roethlein echoed Zuraw’s thoughts on what the LGBT community can bring to the table in the push for gun control advances. “What can we in the LGBT community do?,” he said. “Organizing.” For Roethlein, the issue isn’t something new post-Orlando. “I’ve been on the anti-gun violence bandwagon for a while,” he said. “Despite the horror of Orlando, one of the bright sides was how I was glad to see that my LGBT brothers and sisters were willing to join this movement. I mean, we have marriage equality, which isn’t so important to me. Here our community is moving beyond the particulars to see something that is good for the whole society. That’s what makes America great.” For many in the crowd, guns were only a part of what brought them out on the first evening of the Republican National Convention. “I’m really upset in general with the Republican platform,” said B. C. Craig of Brooklyn. “Trump’s racist xenophobia is added to their inborn homophobia. And Pence is homophobia on steroids.” Craig quickly pivoted in her comments to the gun issue. “We must stop seeing the NRA as politically inviolable,” she said. “They must be made toxic so that no candidate takes their money or their endorsement. The NRA is responsible for so many deaths, especially people of color.” Tim Murphy, a media spokesperson for Gays Against Guns, reinforced Craig’s suggestion that gun control advocates must marginalize the powerful NRA. Already the new group has staged demonstrations against Long Island Republican Congressmember Lee Zeldin and New Jersey GOP Representative Tom MacArthur, both aimed at “embarrassing” NRA supporters on their home turfs. Murphy mentioned other potential targets, including Republican senators seeking reelection such as New Hampshire’s Kelly Ayotte, Ohio’s Rob Portman, and North Carolina’s Richard Burr. Murphy said, “We are going to name and shame the whole chain of death” on the gun issue,
New Yorkers Against Gun Violence’s Leah Gunn Barrett speaks to the crowd in Columbus Circle.
“needs to get busy.” The state has not yet developed the point of sale ammunition background check database required under Cuomo’s 2013 gun legislation, and Governor Jerry Brown in California has led his state much further, she said, adding that remaining issues New York must tackle include firearms safe storage and ammunition microstamping requirements, as well as provisions to remove firearms from people “in crisis.”
Gunn Barrett said she got engaged in the gun control issue after the 1997 murder of her brother, 40-year -old Gregory Gaines Gunn, who was married with two children, at his Oklahoma business. Cathy Marino-Thomas, another Gays Against Guns spokesperson, emphasized that any Democrats who continue to take money from
RALLY, continued on p.13
July 21 - August 03, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
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Gays Against Guns spokespeople Tim Murphy (center) and Cathy Marino-Thomas (r.), along with Little Donnie.
RALLY, from p.12
GayCityNews.nyc | July 21 - August 03, 2016
HOUSE ON THE HUDSON MICHAEL SHIREY
the NRA will be protested along with Republicans. “No one is exempt,” she said, even as she suggested that the Cleveland convention was the site of many of the worst offenders. “Why are they not allowed to carry guns inside the hall, if they are so safe?,” Marino-Thomas asked of rules barring weapons from the convention center, despite Ohio’s open carry law that allows demonstrators outside to have guns. “Why do they get a safe zone and nobody else does?” Several of the protesters speculated on the kinds of coalitions that could be built around the gun issue. Craig and Roethlein each mentioned that law enforcement officials often speak out about the need for sensible gun legislation, and that instinct may be heightened in the wake of the targeted shooting deaths of eight police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge. Both, however, emphasized that any conversation about such a coalition strategy must include people of color, among whom there is widespread anger over shooting deaths by police. “ We h a v e t o f i n d c o m m o n ground,” Roethlein said. “But Black Lives Matter will have to be
EVERY FRIDAY NIGHT
One of the many messages demonstrators had.
part of the conversation. Not just white liberals.” That point underscored one of the challenges for a movement that, at least on this occasion, fielded a crowd of protesters that was predominately white. As the demonstrators reached Columbus Circle, where the Trump Inter national Hotel is located, after marching from Fifth Avenue, one black man watching the procession called out, “I would be with you if all the guns would be gone, but what you want would take the guns away from everyone except the people I don’t want to have the guns. That’s why I need my gun.”
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ON THE COURTS
The rule of law is the foundation of our Republic. A critical threat to our country’s constitutional order is an activist judiciary that usurps powers properly reserved to the people through other branches of government. Only a Republican president will appoint judges who respect the rule of law expressed within the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, including the inalienable right to life and the laws of nature and nature’s God, as did the late Justice Antonin Scalia. We are facing a national crisis in our judiciary. We understand that only by electing a Republican president in 2016 will America have the opportunity for up to five new constitutionally-minded Supreme Court justices appointed to fill vacancies on the Court. Only such appointments will enable courts to begin to reverse the long line of activist decisions — including Roe, Obergefell, and the Obamacare cases — that have usurped Congress’s a n d s t a t e s ’ l a w m a k i n g a u t h o r i t y, undermined constitutional protections, expanded the power of the judiciary at the expense of the people and their elected representatives, and stripped the people of their power to govern themselves. We believe in the constitutional checks and balances and that the Founders intended the judiciary to be the weakest branch. We encourage Congress to use the check of impeachment for judges who unconstitutionally usurp Article I powers. In tandem with a Republican Senate, a new Republican president will restore to the Court a strong conservative majority that will follow the text and original meaning of the Constitution and our laws.
ON WOMEN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE
The Constitution’s guarantee that no one can “be deprived of life, liberty or property” deliberately echoes the Declaration of Independence’s proclamation that “all” are “endowed by their Creator” with the inalienable right to life. Accordingly, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth. We oppose the use of public funds to perform or promote abortion or to fund organizations, like Planned Parenthood, so long as they provide or refer for elective abortions or sell fetal body parts rather than provide healthcare. We urge all states and Congress to make it a crime to acquire, transfer, or sell fetal tissues from elective abortions for research, and we call on Congress to enact a ban on any sale of fetal body parts. In the meantime, we call on Congress to ban the practice of misleading women on so-called fetal harvesting consent
forms, a fact revealed by a 2015 investigation. We will not fund or subsidize healthcare that includes abortion coverage. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life… We salute the many states that now protect women and girls through laws requiring informed consent, parental consent, waiting periods, and clinic regulation. We condemn the Supreme Court’s activist decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt striking down commonsense Texas laws providing for basic health and safety standards in abortion clinics…. We oppose embryonic stem cell research. We oppose federal funding of embryonic stem cell research… The Democratic Party is extreme on abortion. Democrats’ almost limitless support for abortion, and their strident opposition to even the most basic restrictions on abortion, put them dramatically out of step with the American people. Because of their opposition to simple abortion clinic safety procedures, support for taxpayerfunded abortion, and rejection of pregnancy resource centers that provide abortion alternatives, the old Clinton mantra of “safe, legal, and rare” has been reduced to just “legal.”… America’s healthcare professionals should not be forced to choose between following their faith and practicing their profession. We respect the rights of conscience of healthcare professionals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and organizations, especially the faith-based groups which provide a major portion of care for the nation and the needy. We support the ability of all organizations to provide, purchase, or enroll in healthcare coverage consistent with their religious, moral, or ethical convictions without discrimination or penalty. We support the right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children. We support the right of parents to consent to medical treatment for their minor children and urge enactment of legislation that would require parental consent for their daughter to be transported across state lines for abortion… We call for a permanent ban on federal funding and subsidies for abortion and healthcare plans that include abortion coverage.
We are also thankful for the many legal immigrants who continue to contribute to American society. To that end, we both encourage the preservation of heritage tongues and support English as the nation’s official language, a unifying force essential for the advancement of immigrant communities and our nation as a whole. America’s immigration policy must serve the national interest of the United States, and the interests of American workers must be protected over the claims of foreign nationals seeking the same jobs. With all our fellow citizens, we have watched, in anger and disgust, the mocking of our immigration laws by a president who made himself superior to the will of the nation. We stand with the victims of his policies, especially the families of murdered innocents. Illegal immigration endangers everyone, exploits the taxpayers, and insults all who aspire to enter America legally. We oppose any form of amnesty for those who, by breaking the law, have disadvantaged those who have obeyed it. The executive amnesties of 2012 and 2014 are a direct violation of federal law and usurp the powers of Congress as outlined in Article I of the Constitution. These unlawful amnesties must be immediately rescinded by a Republican president. In a time of terrorism, drug cartels, human trafficking, and criminal gangs, the presence of millions of unidentified individuals in this country poses grave risks to the safety and sovereignty of the United States. Our highest priority, therefore, must be to secure our borders and all ports of entry and to enforce our immigration laws. That is why we support building a wall along our southern border and protecting all ports of entry. The border wall must cover the entirety of the southern border and must be sufficient to stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic... Because “sanctuary cities” violate federal law and endanger their own citizens, they should not be eligible for federal funding. Using state licenses to reward people in the country illegally is an
affront to the rule of law and must be halted… The Supreme Court has correctly recognized that states have the constitutional authority to take steps to reduce illegal immigration. We condemn the Obama Administration’s lawsuits against states that are seeking to reinforce federal law. We support the right of the states to enact laws deterring illegal aliens from residing within their states. From its beginning, our country has been a haven of refuge and asylum. That should continue — but with major changes. Asylum should be limited to cases of political, ethnic, or religious persecution. As the Director of the FBI has noted, it is not possible to vet fully all potential refugees. To ensure our national security, refugees who cannot be carefully vetted cannot be admitted to the country, especially those whose homelands have been the breeding grounds for terrorism.
We salute the Republican Congress for defending the right to keep and bear arms by preventing the President from installing a new liberal majority on the Supreme Court. The confirmation to the Court of additional anti-gun justices would eviscerate the Second Amendment’s fundamental protections. Already, local officials in the nation’s capital and elsewhere are defying the Court’s decisions upholding an individual right to bear arms as affirmed by the Supreme Court in Heller and McDonald. We support firearm reciprocity legislation to recognize the right of lawabiding Americans to carry firearms to protect themselves and their families in all 50 states. We support constitutional carry statutes and salute the states that have passed them. We oppose ill-conceived laws that would restrict magazine capacity or ban the sale of the most popular and common modern rifle. We also oppose any effort to deprive individuals of their right to keep and bear arms without due process of law. We condemn frivolous lawsuits against gun manufacturers and the current Administration’s illegal harassment of firearm dealers. We oppose federal licensing or registration of law-abiding gun owners, registration of ammunition, and restoration of the illfated Clinton gun ban.
ON VOTING RIGHTS
We urge state and local officials to take all appropriate steps to allow voters to cast their ballots in a timely manner. We are concerned, however, that some voting procedures may be open to abuse. For this reason, we support legislation to require proof of citizenship when registering to vote and secure photo ID when voting. We strongly oppose litigation against s tates exer cising t heir sover eign authority to enact such laws. July 21 - August 03, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
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BY PAUL SCHINDLER With Donald Trump a year into his presidential bid, this should come as no big surprise, but on LGBT rights, he is a fraud! On issue after issue, he has employed a dizzying combination of hyperbole, exaggerations, outright misstatements, even lies, changed and abandoned positions, and contradictory ideas –– those last often delivered in the very same speech, even sometimes in the very same sentence. He has done all that on questions of concern to the LGBT community. And now, to that he adds a vice presidential pick from the homophobic wing of the homophobic party and an embrace of a party platform that the Log Cabin Republicans –– the Log Cabin Republicans! –– have declared “the most antiLGBT platform in the party’s 162-year history.” Trump’s most pro-gay posture came during a very early hint he might run for president. In 2000, when he dangled the possibility of seeking the Reform Party nomination, he told the Advocate he supported amending the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include protections based on sexual orientation, just as they exist for race, religion, and gender. With the LGBT community then seeking a far narrower ban on employment discrimination only, that stance was ahead of the curve. But it wasn’t ahead of Bill Bradley, a former New Jersey senator then challenging Vice President Al Gore for the Democratic nomination. The bulk of Trump’s comments to the Advocate about amending the Civil Rights Act were really focused on jealously attacking Bradley, whom he said was “as phony as a $20 Rolex.” Since that interview, Trump has offered virtually no substantive support for LGBT issues. In 2011, while suggesting he might seek the GOP nomination the following year, he told the Des Moines Register he wasn’t ready to support either marriage equality or civil unions. To Fox’s Bill O’Reilly, he said of gay marriage, “I just don’t feel good about it. I don’t feel right about it.” When last year’s marriage ruling came down, Trump at first seem dis-
inclined to fan the flames of resistance, saying that even “the most militant” opponents of marriage equality “are saying there’s nothing you can do. Because they’re talking about constitutional amendments, and then they go on to say that that could never happen.” But it wasn’t long before he was saying he would consider appointing justices who would overturn marriage equality. At Pat Robertson’s Regency University, Trump said, “I’ve always said Justice Thomas doesn’t get enough credit,” and when asked whom he might appoint to the high court, he mentioned 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge William H. Pryor, Jr., whom Lambda Legal termed “the most demonstrably anti-gay judicial nominee in recent memory” when appointed to the appeals court in 2005. Other potential nominees he’s since mentioned are similarly opposed to LGBT rights. Beyond his bobbing and weaving on marriage equality, Trump, to the extent he has talked about LGBT issues, has seemed –– to many queer ears –– little better than facetious. When North Carolina adopted its infamous “bathroom bill,” he was critical of the state for antagonizing business interests but then –– after fiery criticism from Ted Cruz –– crucially clarified that such questions should be decided by the states, not by federal constitutional principles. He gratuitously said Caitlyn Jenner was free to use the bathroom she chooses at Trump Tower, a right available to her since at least 2002, when New York City added gender identity protections to its human rights law. Even more patronizing was Trump’s brag that his exclusive Mar del Lago resort in Florida welcomes membership by gay couples. Most recently, Trump has claimed, “I’m much better for gays than [Hillary Clinton] is” –– in this case because he would bar entry into the US by Islamic radicals who “wanna kill, they throw them off buildings. They actually throw gays off buildings.” Here, Trump used the horrific killings of 49 people at an Orlando LGBT club to bolster his ugly and unworkable ideas for sealing off the US borders. As Republicans gathered in recent weeks to draft their party platform, Trump wielded very little visible control over the proceedings. In particular, with some religious conservatives sus-
picious of his fidelity to their cause, the prospective nominee showed no interest in challenging the party’s anti-gay orthodoxy, which has only hardened over time. So what did the platform committee –– which included Tony Perkins, head of the virulently anti-LGBT Family Research Council, and was co-chaired by right-wing North Carolina Representative Virginia Foxx, who once termed allegations that Matthew Shepard was the victim of a hate crime a “hoax” –– do? They doubled down on the homophobia and transphobia of past GOP conventions. The document approved in Cleveland this week calls for appointing Supreme Court justices to overturn last year’s marriage equality ruling or enacting a constitutional amendment superseding it. It manufactures evidence purporting to show that children’s outcomes are hindered if they are raised in households not headed by married heterosexual couples. It opposes restrictions on medical and psychotherapeutic professionals performing so-called conversion therapy on minors. It endorses the so-called First Amendment Defense Act to provide explicit religious exemptions for businesses and even government employees if they choose to discriminate against LGBT people. It opposes government efforts to allow people to access restrooms consistent with their gender identity. And it denounces an emerging legal consensus that existing federal protections on the basis of sex provide protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, as well. Trump’s choice of Indiana Governor Mike Pence is clear evidence that it was not only on the platform that he would bow down to religious conservatives. If Pence has a national profile at all it is due to last year’s “religious freedom” fiasco in Indiana, where the governor signed –– and in a half-assed compromise, later retreated from –– the nation’s most far-reaching anti-LGBT law. That posture was nothing new for Pence, who during 12 years in Congress repeatedly earned ratings of zero from HRC and once proposed diverting HIV prevention dollars into conversion therapy efforts. After all the progress the LGBT community has made in changing hearts and minds in America, Republicans are still hell-bent on telling us to drop dead. And, over the past year, Donald Trump stormed over 16 competitors in his lust to seize their party’s baton. July 21 - August 03, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
PERSPECTIVE: LGBT Youth in Crisis
Mental Health Challenges Can Be Addressed — And Surmounted BY CHIRLANE MCCRAY
arlier this month, I met Picasso. Picasso comes from a very religious Catholic family in Georgia. His mother, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when Picasso was nine, suspected he was gay and sent him to a conversion therapy program with the hope of making him straight. The staff tried to change the way he walked. They read him one Bible verse after another. They showed him pictures of shirtless men and asked how the pictures made him feel. Guess what? This so-called “therapy” didn’t work. When Picasso was 15, he and his mother got into an argument. It was over something small, but he knew she was really angry about something deeper. That’s when he told her, “I’m gay.” His mother threw his belongings into the front yard and told him to get out. And as hard as things had
been until then, they were about to get even harder. Now he was on his own, living out of a car his grandfather had left him. He was raped by someone he knew and trusted. He began to drink as a way of coping, and it wasn’t long before he developed an addiction to alcohol. He felt anxious, depressed, and unable to trust anyone. Last year, seeking a fresh start, he sold his car and bought a one-way plane ticket to New York City. Picasso isn’t alone in his suffering. One in five Americans experiences a mental illness each year. And if you’re a member of the LGBT community, you’re even more likely to experience mental health challenges. In New York City alone, gay and lesbian youth experience nearly two times more bullying in school than their straight peers. They are also more than twice as likely to attempt suicide. That’s the troubling news. The hopeful news is that we do have the
power to change the way we think about our mental health. Mental illness can be treated — and, in many cases, prevented. There are many more tools and better understanding of what works. The task before us now is to create more resources, and bring them to the people who need them most. That’s why we launched ThriveNYC, our action plan to change the way people think about mental illness, and the way city government and its partners deliver services. With ThriveNYC, we are adding mental health services to every one of our city’s Runaway and Homeless Youth centers, including the Ali Forney Center in West Harlem, where Picasso, who turns 19 in August, finally found the compassion, support, and stability he needed. He has been sober now for over a year. He’s also a budding artist whose sculpture has been displayed at the Museum of Moder n Art and whose short film has played at the Tribe-
ca Film Festival. I can’t wait to see what he’ll do next. The tragedy in Orlando reminded us that for our LGBT brothers and sisters, the simple act of being yourself is an act of bravery. In honor of those we lost, we must channel our sadness and anger into action. We must fight to end intolerance and discrimination. And at the same time, we must also shatter the stigma of mental illness and make it easier for people who are struggling to ask for and find the help they need. Picasso explained it beautifully: “When it’s easier to speak up, it’s easier to change things.” The LGBT community is filled with so many bright, promising young people like Picasso. Just as he found the strength to seek treatment, so can you. Don’t suffer in silence. Ask for help. Take the first step toward healing and creating the life you deserve. N e w Yo r k C i t y F i r s t L a d y Chirlane McCray is the driving force behind ThriveNYC and spearheads the city’s work on mental health and substance abuse. Any New Yo r k e r w h o f e e l s t h e y a re i n crisis can visit lifenet.nyc, call 800-LIFENET, or call 311.
PERSPECTIVE: Media Circus
On the Lighter Side BY ED SIKOV
y most recent Media Circus column — about a complicated essay by the brilliant bioethicist and philosopher Brian Ear— was pretty heavy duty, so this time I’ve purposely gone light. I’ve grown quite fond of Vice.com. The writing is sharp and funny, the critics are smart, and its blend of alt. and mainstream appeals to my own edgy-ish sensibility. Case in point: H. Alan Scott’s “I Acted Like an Asshole for a Week to See if It Would Make My Life Better.” The concept is flat-out brilliant; it’s the kind of topic that makes other writers (for example, me) jealous. Why didn’t I think of that? “I’m a nice person,” Scott begins. “It’s not in my nature to be an asshole. If I asked for iced coffee unsweetened and the barista gave it to me sweetened, I’d accept it as a sign that I deserved something sweet. I feel good about that part of me, for the most part. That said, I’m 33 years old, unemployed, single, and live GayCityNews.nyc | July 21 - August 03, 2016
alone with a cat. Based on the tragic half-hour sitcom life I’m currently the star of, perhaps I’m doing it all wrong.” Scott continues, “Assholes are everywhere, and they seem to be getting ahead. In fact, one of the two most popular people in the entire country right now is a gigantic asshole, and has made it to where he is entirely by being an asshole. I wondered if my life would look different if I, too, were an asshole. So I decided to spend a week acting like a jerk to see how far it got me. It wasn’t long before an opportunity presented itself: a really, really bad date. I’d been on one date with this guy a month prior, and afterward, he kept texting, calling me ‘perfect,’ and saying he looked forward to seeing me again. So we scheduled a lunch date. The plan was for me to meet him at his place, then go from there.” Scott writes that he arrived at the guy’s apartment at the appointed time and found the front door wide open. “I figured he was either cleaning or, because I’m an anxious person, dead. As I approached, I found him on the couch getting a blowjob from an obese older man. ‘What?’ he said,
as if I had discovered him sneaking cupcakes late at night. He came outside to talk to me. Zipping up his pants, he said, ‘I planned to be jerking off for you when you got here, but then this guy walked by and came in. I thought you’d like it.’ “Non-asshole me would have politely said goodbye and left. What would yelling solve? Why make this guy feel bad when it wouldn’t change anything? The new asshole me had a different approach. “‘What about our one date would make you think that? You’re gross,’ I yelled as his neighbors watched the scene unfold like I was Sharon Stone in ‘Casino.’” (No, I don’t get the reference, either.) “‘You give someone a warning when they’re about to walk in on you getting head from someone else. I hope he gave you genital warts. Die, trash.’” Scott goes on to report that “surprisingly few opportunities came up” for him to flex his asshole muscle (which is, technically speaking, his sphincter), to which I say this: a genuine asshole doesn’t wait for opportunities to turn up; he or she creates the moments. Genuine assholery is always active, never passive. For example, someone responded to my last column via Twitter; she obviously hadn’t bothered to read either
MEDIA CIRCUS, continued on p.18
PERSPECTIVE: The Long View
After Dallas and Baton Rouge BY NATHAN RILEY
fter for mer soldiers have twice in recent days launched lethal attacks on police, the Republicans are testing the national civil rights coalition’s ability to tur n adversity into advantage. The Democrats have Black Lives Matter, the Republicans chant “Blue Lives Matter.” In past elections, the law and order theme has won battles of this sort, forcing Democrats to embrace draconian criminal laws, but this election should have different results The Republicans have gone back to their playbook, seeking to unite whites into a majority. Trump promises he is the strong leader who can bring law and order both against terrorists and against the shooters who have twice killed cops. Trump pledges to “Make America Great Again,” and on the first night in Cleveland, the Republican swore to “Make America Safe Again.” Rudy Giuliani, New York’s law and order former mayor, spoke, blaming, in the most inflammatory terms, Black Lives Matters for the police deaths. His formulation, on national television, was that the new civil rights organization has put a “target on the backs” of the police. Republicans and police unions refuse to accept responsibility for the police causing any problems. Their bad guys are the protesters
who falsely claim police are racists. It is one thing to criticize Black Lives Matter, it is quite another to say cops are blameless. In this as in so many other matters, the Republican are talking arrant nonsense. BLM made the better argument, deploring the shooting of the Dallas and Baton Rouge police and staying firm in their demand that police stop slaying African Americans. The group reminds us, “Black activists have raised the call for an end to violence, not an escalation of it.” This manifest truth is frequently ignored in the aftermath of former soldiers using their training to attack police. Trump has a ready audience for his blame-the-messenger reaction, but the civil rights coalition in the Democratic Party has never been stronger and the Republicans haven’t nominated such a weak candidate since Barry Goldwater in 1964. Stopping the racist momentum that helps Trump is critical to Hillary Clinton’s success. Civil rights supporters have powerful assets to mobilize. This potent coalition was barely in its infancy in the 1960s. Queers weren’t organized. Blacks were just starting to make the kind of money that would allow them to finance Jessie Jackson’s presidential runs in 1984 and 1988. Corporate America and universities hadn’t yet embraced diversity. Feminism was beginning its rebirth, and women did not hold high public office. The civil rights coalition is stronger today than it was in 1968
MEDIA CIRCUS, from p.17
the essay or the column about it but had something nasty to say about both of them anyway. She took the time to tweet her colossally stupid opinion of an article she hadn’t read; she made the effort, as all assholes do. “If I had to cite one mundane moment,” Scott proceeds, “it would be from the gym. I do CrossFit (which, if I’m being honest, inherently makes me an asshole). One day, during a partner workout, my very bro-y partner kept mansplaining what I was doing wrong on the rowing machine. After one too many pieces of ‘advice,’ I shouted at him, telling him to take his pity elsewhere. After the workout he asked, ‘Why did you yell at me?’ like a child scolded for something he or she didn’t
— when Richard Nixon rode a law and order message to the White House — and crucial to the success of the Democratic Party. Of equal importance, racist whites have left the Democratic Party, so the civil rights coalition is no longer fighting pitched battles with its fellow Democrats. The party is united on civil rights, and queers have made progress as part of this larger movement. The LGBT community is a vital part of that coalition and our response can help the nation avoid a divisive shift in which white voters in large numbers demand tough enforcement measures and, in the worst case scenario, decide Trump is the strong leader who can bring law and order. Black Lives Matter is the most gay-friendly black civil rights organization in history, broadcasting on its website that it is “transgender affirming” and “queer affirming.” It bases its demands on developing international norms of human rights. Modern nations incorporate a charter of human rights and freedoms, but in the US debate continues about the original meaning of a constitution adopted in the 18th century, with judicial conservatives insisting the intent in the 1780s is the be all and end all in framing our rights. BLM is cutting new ground for activists and it has been growing rapidly. If it becomes identified in the public mind as a dangerous renegade outfit, the setback will endanger Hillary Clinton’s chances.
understand. Asshole mission accomplished.” Scott finishes his piece with an extended description of how much easier it is to be an asshole on the Internet than it is in real life, as anyone who has ever been on the Inter net well knows. He changed his dating profile from that of a sweet guy with a face pic to that of a jerk whose photo only showed off his CrossFit chest and a profile that read: “You’re probably not going to impress me. I’ll show you my face if I feel like it. If I don’t respond, take the hint dummy.” He reports, “I got my fair share of people calling me an asshole for my profile (their fury only increasing when I wouldn’t respond), but I also got messages from a number of ‘elite’ dudes who would have never responded to my previ-
These same theories of human rights, of course, buttress the arguments for gay rights, better treatment of prisoners, respecting the rights of drug users, and protecting transgender people from violence by the police and the public. This approach to the law could end the criminalization of people with HIV, which CDC researchers have found consisted, by 2011, of 67 laws in 33 states explicitly focused on liabilities faced by those who are poz. This is another reminder that this election decides the future of the Supreme Court. The Democrats are standing strong. On the second night of the Democratic Convention, “Mothers of the Movement” will be featured, including the moms of Trayvon Martin killed in Florida while returning to a friend’s home after buying candy and Eric Garner suffocated in Staten Island during an arrest for selling loose cigarettes. The Democratic Party embraces this civil rights coalition; the Republicans vehemently reject it. The South today includes many urban centers with cosmopolitan atmospheres not dissimilar from East and West Coast cities. Geeks in the arts and technology embrace diversity. College campuses espouse human rights. Those attitudes are no longer something confined to blue states. Republicans attacks on gays have moved North Carolina from a sure bet for Republicans into a toss-up or better. The GOP adoption of a bathroom bill to attack transgender Americans will likely backfire.
THE LONG VIEW, continued on p.20
ous profile. I played along with some, ignored others out of spite (especially the dudes who were particularly arrogant on their profiles), and ultimately discovered that a little mystery and a dose of attitude go a long way. Still, after a week of openly being hostile, intentionally exclusive, and purposely arrogant, I was exhausted. I can honestly say that I’d just rather be nice. The attention was fun, and feeling above it all was great, but I think the desire to be liked and respected trumps all that. Plus, if you’re not part of the ‘elite,’ you have a wider group of people to make fun of, which is way more enjoyable than silently being a dick for fun.” Well done!
MEDIA CIRCUS, continued on p.19
July 21 - August 03, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
PERSPECTIVE: A Dyke Abroad
Anti-Queer Terrorism, What a Joke BY KELLY COGSWELL
isten to this. It’s hilarious. So a guy walks into a bar. A gay bar in Orlando on Latino night. He has an MCX and a 9mm — No, you haven’t heard this one before. That was a pipe bomb and New York. No, not that either. That was New Orleans and fire. Let me finish. — So a guy walks into the bar where all these Puerto Rican fags are dancing and drinking, maybe even kissing or something, and he starts shooting. And I forgot to tell you. He’s called 9-1-1 to explain he’s doing it in the name of the Islamic State. So anyway, he kills 49 people and wounds 53. Almost every single one is queer. And here’s the hilarious thing, nobody says it’s anti-gay or terrorism. I mean, aren’t you just ROTFL? C’mon, you have to laugh. I’m not making it up. It started as soon as they released his photo and name, and several men came forward identifying Omar Mateen as a gay man, or at least somebody who had sex with men. That’s when the US media changed gears and the narrative of “Terrorist Attack in Orlando” became a story about “One More Self-Loathing Faggot Bashes Other Queers.” Which is funny, because in France the coverage focused almost exclusively on terrorism. French media and politicians twisted themselves into knots to avoid mentioning that Pulse was a gay club and the dead were almost all unseemly queers. If US queer activists didn’t put up much of a fuss at how the story shifted, it’s because we’d rather talk about anything besides religion,
MEDIA CIRCUS, from p.18
Start Spreadin’ the News: “ZERO: no linked HIV transmissions in PAR TNER study after couples had sex 58,000 times without condoms” is the headline of an article by Simon Collins on i-Base.info. It’s surprising, not to say shocking, that this study didn’t get much media coverage, because it means that the AIDS crisis is effectively over in the U.S.* The study proves that antiretroviral therapy (ART) works not only on individuals, keeping them healthy, but also prevents HIV transmission. “The results set a new challenge about whether transmission is anything other than a theoretical risk when someone is taking effective ART. This reverses the common assumption that, by definition, some level of risk always exists when one partner is HIV-positive,” ColGayCityNews.nyc | July 21 - August 03, 2016
especially Islam, or even plain-old homophobia. Gun control quickly became the big story. Because nobody would ever think of plowing a truck into a crowd like they did in Nice and killing a scant hundred people that way. Black Lives Matter, in an especially bizarro statement on its website, did a real intersectional number on Orlando. Denouncing anybody who blamed Islam even a tiny little bit for the attack, and explaining it was “... born from the anti-Black white supremacy, patriarchy and homophobia of the conservative right and of those who would use religious extremism as a weapon to gain power for the few and take power from the rest... Homegrown terror is the product of a long history of colonialism, including state and vigilante violence. It is the product of white supremacy and capitalism...” I don’t know if it was their goal, but they seemed to imply that the victims, who were mostly Puerto Rican, weren’t really killed because they were unapologetically and even joyfully gay. Readers also might get the misleading impression that the killer was a white American. Not a Muslim American of Afghan origin who lived in terror of his fundamentalist Muslim Afghan father. And quite clearly announced that he was going to kill a bunch of people in the name of the Islamic State. Whatever. I still wasn’t prepared for the FBI to join the ranks of the jokers and declare that there was no evidence that Omar targeted Pulse because it was a gay club. It’s like they bought the whole fucked up homo-narrative that it was all about his mental health and personal his-
lins writes. Moreover, “the results challenge criminalization laws that in many countries, including the United States, continue to imprison hundreds of people based on assumptions of risk that these results disprove, even when condoms are used and viral load is undetectable. Activist Sean Strub, from the SERO project (seroproject.com), said, “Hundreds of people living with HIV in the US have been charged with criminal offenses for the perceived or potential risk of HIV exposure or transmission. Some are serving or have served long prison sentences for spitting, scratching, or biting and others for not being able to prove they had disclosed their HIV-positive status before having sexual contact (even in the absence of any risk of HIV transmission). HIV criminalization has created a viral underclass in the law, further burdening a disenfranchised community, putting a disproportionate share of the shared responsibility for preventing sexually-transmitted infections on
tory. So they threw up their hands when they didn’t discover any real evidence of his reportedly gay lifestyle that reportedly left him conflicted. No photos in his computer. No Grindr account. No “gay slurs during the shooting spree inside the club.” So much for the dead gay bodies. And the 9-1-1 call, and his commitment to ISIS, which encourages good Muslims to kill us and regularly puts videos on YouTube of jihadis tossing queers out of windows and over balconies and parapets. For committing sodomy. For extramarital sex. Maybe most importantly, for polluting a pure and sacred apocalyptic Caliphate. But why? Why? Why would Omar Mateen target Pulse? What is everyone’s fucking problem? A guy goes into a synagogue or a black church and kills a bunch of people we know it’s anti-Semitic or anti-black and racist. We don’t need somebody to draw us a picture. And it used to be that when somebody explained their act as terrorism we believed them as soon as we saw the blood. We didn’t ask for a membership card or a certificate of mental health. We certainly didn’t look for alternative explanations. Did you trip with your finger on the trigger? Were you playing Pokémon Go? Was it... capitalism? Terrorism has always been a DIY operation with small cells run by borderline crazies. And post-social media, it’s easy to recruit worldwide. ISIS is brilliant in this regard. While Christianity produces queer killers pretty regularly, that was not the case here. And it does no good to look away. You can almost hear them chant, “We’re here, we kill queers. (And Jews and those secular French.) Get used to it.” Kelly Cogswell is the author of “Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger,” from the University of Minnesota Press.
one party, and discouraging people at risk from getting tested for HIV.” I always imagined that the effective end of AIDS would spark a huge and wild celebration — gay men literally dancing in the street. Instead, for reasons I’m simply unable to comprehend, nobody seems to care. *Yes, I know: many people have no access to treatment, many can’t afford treatment, the study doesn’t address IV drug users, and AIDS is a global problem. Still, if you had told me in 1986 that a study had shown that 58,000 condom-free sex acts — specifically fucking — had occurred without a single HIV transmission, I’d have declared that the crisis was effectively over.
For cheap laughs… go immediately to douchebagsofgrindr.com. Follow @edsikov on Twitter and Facebook.
MEDICAID WIN, from p.6
Rakoff found that “subclasses” could be created to deal with specific aspects of the case, but that there were enough common questions of law to justify retaining the class certification. For many transgender people, Rakoff’s ruling that a blanket exclusion of coverage for cosmetic surgery regardless of medical necessity violates the Medicaid statute is the big news coming out of this decision, since the categorical ban presented a substantial barrier to individuals seeking comprehensive coverage for all the
THE LONG VIEW, from p.18
Accepting the idea that history will repeat itself can under mine the potency of this civil right coalition. The New York Times is misleading us when it
CALLEN-LORDE, from p.11
the immediate vicinity of the facility — though some visited from as far away as Brooklyn and Queens, with one arriving from Massachusetts. Santos-Ramos, whose previous positions included nine years focused on HIV work at Callen-Lorde as well as similar responsibilities with the city health department, returned to Callen-Lorde four months ago from a Community Healthcare Network clinic in Washington Heights, where, he said, about three-quarters of the patients were Spanish speakers. The new Callen-Lorde clinic is fully bilingual. The Bronx facility is part of a five-story development in which the other major provider will be BOOM!Health, which is establishing a wellness center to provide HIV prevention and health-related, employment readiness, and other community services to underserved populations including youth and women. BOOM!Health first reached out to Callen-Lorde several years ago so that the Chelsea-based organization could provide the direct medical services for the overall project. One priority for the new Bronx facility is to serve members of the community who are homeless, have unstable housing situations,
procedures they and their doctors deemed necessary to a full and successful transition. However, on the question of providing therapy for minors, Rakoff concluded that there are significant factual disputes that prevented him from rendering a complete summary judgment. He ordered that the case proceed to trial on contested issues regarding both hormone therapy and surgical procedures. An important question to be resolved is whether coverage for minors is limited to specific treatments spelled out in the federal government’s official compendium
of approved drugs for use in treating gender dysphoria or if the Medicaid statute’s underlying requirement for coverage of all medically necessary therapy and procedures overrides the compendium’s limitations. Resolving this question will involve sorting out controversial issues related to what gender transition steps are appropriate for minors. Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys from the Legal Aid Society and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, as well as attorneys working pro bono. The New York Attorney General’s Office represents the Department of Health.
In a press statement, SRLP praised Rakoff’s ruling for finding “that the list of procedures New York State Medicaid had deemed suspicious or cosmetic was unlawful and that New York must provide Medicaid coverage for these procedures.” The group also noted that the ruling “deter mined that SRLP and our colleagues at the Legal Aid Society and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP should become ready for trial on the issue of what types of treatments are medically necessary to tr eat gender dysphoria in individuals under the age of 18.”
states, as a matter of fact, that “racial tensions are clearly rising… only 46 percent of whites surveyed thought that race relations were generally good, a sharp drop from the 66 percent who held that opinion in June
2009, shortly after Mr. Obama took office. For blacks, the cor responding decline — to 34 percent last month from 59 percent in 2009 — was even steeper.” This perspective ignores the growth and resilience of the civil
rights coalition. Not every white person concer ned about race relations is a reactionary. The Republicans will pound the drums of law and order, but the cry of peace and justice is louder than it has ever been.
or have erratic work opportunities — all factors that can make it difficult to keep medical appointments. Using a “one-half open access” approach, the clinic will reserve half of the appointment times for people who call the day of or the day before. Between eight and 10 percent of the patients served by Callen-Lorde’s Chelsea clinics are homeless. However, 80 percent of its Health Outreach to Teens (HOTT) program’s patients are homeless or have unstable housing situations. Transgender clients, for whom culturally competent care is particularly important, are also at high risk for homelessness or housing instability. For Apicha, the new partnership comes at a welcome moment in terms of both its capacity and the evolution of its mission. Beginning in 2009, the organization expanded beyond its original focus on the delivery of HIV services, especially to the Asian and Pacific Islander population, to include general primary care. Its expertise was in the LGBT community, where more than 70 percent of its current patients come from, but its reach within communities of color beyond the Asian community has grown, with nearly a fifth of its clients African-American and a comparable number Latinx, as compared to just under a third API. Almost 20
percent of its patients identity as transgender or gender-nonconforming. With a growing presence and expertise in non-Asian communities of color as well as among APIs, Apicha can reach a wider spectrum of patients with a new clinic in Jackson Heights, which, by the end of 2018, could serve as many as 4,000 patients a year. In contrast, APICHA’s home on Lower Broadway is currently operating below capacity, serving roughly 2,000 patients out of a total of 4,000 that could be handled. Therese Rodriguez, Apicha’s chief executive officer, sees the cooperative arrangement with Callen-Lorde as a way of ensuring that healthcare resources are available where and when they are needed. “We are both in the position of the being assets in the community,” Rodriguez said of her organization and Callen-Lorde. “We both have histories of culturally competent care that go back over many years. This important partnership will ensure that the needs of our community are met.” Needs, she added, that have grown since Obamacare broadened access to healthcare among underserved segments of the population. Rodriguez said her organization’s capacity for serving the transgender community has been among
its most significant distinguishing strengths in recent years. Though the Broadway clinic now offers care to those 18 and older, in Jackson Heights Apicha plans to test the level of demand for pediatric services, as well — a timely expansion given the emerging medical and psychosocial discussion about the appropriate standards of care for gender-nonconforming youth. Given the frequency with which non-profit organizations compete with each other for primacy in delivering services, the cooperation between Apicha and Callen-Lorde is a heartening example of community organizations subordinating institutional prerogatives to the needs of the constituents they exist to serve. And there is plenty of generosity in the way leaders of these two organizations talked about their shared mission. “Through the years Apicha Community Health Center has followed in Callen-Lorde’s footsteps as we expanded our services,” Rodriguez said. “We deeply appreciate their constant and generous support. We are proud that we are now raising our relationship to a partnership — together providing the culturally competent healthcare and support services our community needs. For both of us, it has always been about community.” July 21 - August 03, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
Sally’s had her way with him in exchange for cold hard cash. (Jul. 24, 5:30 p.m.) Tickets, at $18, and complete information at freshfruitfestival.com.
PERFORMANCE Fresh Fruit Festival Final Days
CABARET Ripley & Skinner: Unattached Again Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner, who received a Tony Award co-nomination for their role(s) as the conjoined twins Daisy and Violet Hilton, in the original Broadway production of “Side Show” — and have separately starred in numerous shows including “The Full Monty,” “Next To Normal” (for which Ripley won a Tony), “Billy Elliot,” and “The Rocky Horror Show” — return to Feinstein’s/ 54 Below, reprising some of the songs from their sold-out winter engagement and singing some new material, as well. 254 W. 54th St. Jul. 22 & 25, 7 p.m.; Jul. 23, 9:30 p.m. The cover charge ranges from $65-$130, and there’s a $25 food & drink minimum. Information at 54below.com.
SAT.JUL.23 PERFORMANCE The Teachings of Harmonica Sunbeam Harmonica Sunbeam is a comedy queen hosting a drag affair dedicated to old skool music — way before Beyoncé. If you’re over 30, Sunbeam promise a treat. If you’re not, she promises to teach you something. Her guests include Noby Rivera, Empress Vizcaya , Victoria Lace, and Patti Cake. The Duplex Cabaret Theatre, 61 Christopher St. at Seventh Ave. S., Sheridan Sq. Jul. 23, 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the duplex.com; $15 at the door, and there’s a two-drink minimum.
The Fresh Fruit Festival at the Wild Project wraps up this weekend, with several highlights: Dennis Corsi directs Doug DeVita’s “The Fierce Urgency of Now,” a fast-moving caustic comedy about Kyle, an art director in a high-powered New York ad agency who tries to discover his real self amid power struggles and stereotypes and finds an ally in Dodo, who understands his plight— since she became a lady-livinglegend in an era of “Mad Men.” (Jul. 22, 7 p.m.; Jul. 23, 6:30 p.m.; Jul. 24, 3:30 p.m.) Darcy Parker Bruce’s “Always Plenty of Light at the Starlight All Night Diner,” directed by J. Mehr Kaur, is a lesbian love story with a bunch of freakin’ dinosaurs that promises to jump that tired old space-time continuum. (Jul. 22, 9 p.m.) In Frederick Kirwin’s “Where’s Hope? Where’s Hope? Oh, God, Where’s Hope?,” directed by Paul Navarra, a love triangle, a midnight storytelling, a drowning, and a murder/ suicide, set in 1960s Florida, may not be what they seem and prove that over the course of 30 years our perceptions of the past change. (Jul. 23, 8:30 p.m.; Jul. 24, 1:30 p.m.) Richard Isen’s “Chance,” inspired by quotations from the writings of Oscar Wilde, is a new musical play about love, risk, and getting it right, in which a gay psychologist and a handsome young rent boy stumble down a unique path to healing when guided by a mysterious Hollywood glamour queen, as played by a gender illusionist. Jonathan Cerullo directs. (Jul. 23, 3:30 p.m.) Mila Golubov’s “All the Usual Ways to Bruise an All too Fragile Ego,” directed by Tim Errickson, is a beautifully imagined, twisted tale of manipulation about Sally, who was once with Cindy, who who was once with Maria, who may seduce Mark after
TUE.JUL.26 POETRY Women’s & Trans’ Open Mike Night Vittoria Repetto calls herself the hardest working guinea butch dyke poet on the Lower East Side, and that’s not hard to believe. For more than a decade, her Women’s / Trans’ Poetry Jam & Open Mike has showcased the famous, the infamous, and the unknown. Tonight, Heather Sellers and Elaine Sexton read poems and prose from a collaborative sequence of pieces about the limning spaces created in comings and goings, the idea of “after,” and all that comes from the space made by departure. Bring your own poetry, prose, songs, and spoken word for the open mike portion (eight-minute limit). Bluestockings, 172 Allen St., btwn. Stanton & Rivington Sts. Jul. 26, 7-9 p.m. Sign up for the open mike when you arrive.
14 DAYS, continued on p.33
2016 NGLCC INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS & LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE
www.nglcc.org/nglcc16 GayCityNews.nyc | July 21 - August 03, 2016
When Feelin’ Good Was Easy Catherine Corsini brings something new to look at lesbian life, feminism in ‘70s France BY STEVE ERICKSON
ven the best films about lesbians directed by men, such as Robert Aldrich’s “The Killing of Sister George” and David L ynch’s “Mulholland Drive,” tend to end unhappily, if not tragically. A new French film directed by a lesbian, Catherine Corsini’s “Summertime,” both follows this pattern and subverts it. It might be the closest anyone has come to “the lesbian ‘Brokeback Mountain’” yet. There’s no real equivalent in French cinema to the Western, but “Summertime” evokes the appeal of the French countryside as well as any Anthony Mann or Budd Boetticher film did for our own rural areas. It traces out a conflict between country mouse and city mouse where lesbianism — including the tensions of coming out in the early 1970s, even for a hip Parisian involved in political activism — has a major role to play, but not the only one. Young Delphine (Izïa Higelin) likes rural life, but a local woman has broken her heart by leaving her and getting married to a man. She decides to move to Paris. Quickly, she meets activist Carole (Cécile de France), who lives with her boyfriend. The two attend feminist meetings and become attracted to each other, although Carole has no sexual experience with women. Things seem to be working out well, as
Cécile de France and Izïa Higelin in Catherine Corsini’s “Summertime.”
the copious nudity and sex scenes testify, but then Delphine’s father has a stroke and can’t run his farm anymore. She feels the need to return home, although Carole can still visit her on weekends. Corsini’s direction of the early scenes of feminist activism seems influenced by silent comedy. The feminists go out pinching men’s butts in revenge for men’s objectification of their bodies. They throw veal at a doctor who speaks against abortion. Their meetings are loud and raucous.
(In an indication of the limits of second wave feminism and/ or the demographics of early ‘70s France, they sing about women being enslaved while in a crowded room but without any people of color.) When they finally decide to free a gay man from a mental hospital, Janis Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee” plays on the soundtrack. The emphasis seems to be more on freedom than the “nothing left to lose” part of the lyrics.
FEELIN' GOOD, continued on p.24
Nature Under Surveillance
Rosalie Lowe, Annabelle LeMieux search for magic in Maine woods BY STEVE ERICKSON
or far too long, the uncanny has been missing from American independent cinema. It has a long and venerable tradition in our literature, from Edgar Allan Poe and H. P. Lovecraft to Thomas Ligotti and lesbian transgender author Caitlin Kiernan. But while indie horror films continue to be made, something as weird and uncategorizable as Bingham Bryant and Kyle Molzan’s “For the Plasma” is a UFO in the American film scene. For one thing, it’s far more upbeat than most of the films I could compare it to. A story of two women who work together over
the course of a summer under increasingly weird circumstances, it doesn’t end with everlasting love and friendship, but nor does it culminate in terror. Helen (Rosalie Lowe) arrives in a remote town in Maine for a new job. Charlie (Annabelle LeMieux) is already there. Theoretically, their position involves monitoring CCTV cameras in a nearby forest for signs of fire. But Charlie has developed a new obsession: she thinks she can detect future movements in the stock market from patterns in the cameras’ images. She’s hooked up with brokers in New York and receives checks daily based on her predictions. Charlie sends Helen out into the woods to get more
detailed information about the forest. One night during a blackout, the women meet their neighbor, a lighthouse keeper (Tom Lloyd). Bryant and Molzan shot on 16mm film, although “For the Plasma” is being distributed and projected digitally. The use of celluloid enabled them to capture a rich color palette. Early on, Charlie analyzes a photo in detail for Helen, pointing out its shadowy areas and the way a tree seems to bow toward the light. The film’s use of color, particularly green, enables such a close reading. The scenes in the forest are lovely in a way that’s slightly ominous. The presence of CCTV cameras is necessary for Charlie and Helen’s
work but still feels out of place and creepy, something Helen seems to agree with. Charlie, in contrast, has become immune to their presence and thinks it’s perfectly natural to put security cameras in the middle
NATURE, continued on p.26
FOR THE PLASMA Directed by Bingham Bryant and Kyle Molzan Factor 25 Opens Jul. 21 Anthology Film Archives 32 Second Ave. at Second St. anthologyfilmarchives.org
July 21 - August 03, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
When Home Is No Sanctuary Patricia Rozema’s “Into the Forest” stars Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood BY GARY M. KRAMER
GARY M. KRAMER: What appealed to you about this novel that made you want to adapt it? It’s a new genre for you. PATRICIA ROZEMA: I was attracted to it because it was so different. I need to keep myself awake and alive. Control of tone is one of the most exciting parts of the craft
esbian writer and director Patricia Rozema’s “Into the Forest” is an intense apocalyptic drama adapted from Jean Hegland’s celebrated novel. In the near future, two sisters, Nell (Ellen Page) and Eva (Evan Rachel Wood), are forced to survive during a lengthy power outage while holed up in their family home in the woods. The film is an atmospheric feminist drama, “a realistic tale and a fable,” the director said in a recent phone interview, duly noting the contradiction inherent in that statement. Rozema rose to prominence with her quirky comedy “I Heard the Mermaids Singing,” helmed the lesbian classic “When Night is Falling,” and directed the excellent adaptation of Jane Austen’ “Mansfield Park.” She emphasizes women
coming into their own in her films, but she insisted, “I’m not that interested in empowerment. I feel it’s a bit of a 101 approach to character. Fiction is more about connection than empowerment.” “Into the Forest” shows how the young women eke out their lives on their own terms. Situations, from conserving gas and food and the slow collapse of their house to various encounters with men, test their resilience. Rozema spoke with Gay City News about her potent sci-fi survivalist film. Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood in Patricia Rozema’s “Into the Forest,” adapted from a novel by Jean Hegland.
of filmmaking. My goal was to have familiar comfort and warmth and ease, and then take you into a bleak place. The point of the film is: What is it saying? Why am I telling this story now? The genre was exciting — to play with that
level of suspense [and] make it raw and elegant at the same time. The point was to tell a cautionary tale, a warning of how close we are to the brink and what are we relying on —
NO SANCTUARY, continued on p.25
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Addicted to Likes Daniel Radcliffe stars as a lovelorn dweeb navigating relationships in the digital age BY DAVID KENNERLEY
PRIVACY The Newman Theater at the Public Co-production with the Donmar Warehouse 425 Lafayette St. Btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Pl. Through Aug. 14 (sold-out, but may be extended) Tue.-Fri. at 7:30 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. at 2 p.m. $95 at publictheater.org Two hrs., 30 mins., with intermission
world we live in, and who better to help process our fears than an everyman played winningly by Daniel Radcliffe, sporting a scruffy beard and still retaining his impish Harry Potter charm. He stars as a lonely, heartbroken British playwright, referred to as “The Writer,” who visits a therapist to help sift through the aftermath of being dumped. Digital technology, so it seems, was at the root of the breakup. The play is annoyingly coy about the gender of the ex, though at one point The Writer admits that it’s a guy (he claims he’s attracted to girls too, as evidenced by an audience participation stunt in the second act, which I won’t spoil here). Written by James Graham and
FEELIN' GOOD, from p.22
Delphine, however, doesn’t have any real political commitment. Her attraction to feminism is a longing for Carole. She only really understands how it applies to her life when she has to run a farm in an ultra-patriarchal environment. Corsini evokes the French countryside with a seductive atmosphere. Delphine is so devoted to rural France that she can tell the difference between different regional soils. As she relates, the region where she came from has muddy, perpetually damp ground that one sinks into, even in summer. Delphine and Carole’s idyll in the country is depicted with lush, sunny cinematography, and the colors flatter both actresses. Delphine does hard work each day — it’s not entirely clear how Carole occupies her time — but she seems to enjoy it. The concept that “the personal is the political” was popularized by feminism and has become a
here is no pre-show announcement at “Privacy” demanding the silencing of cell phones. In fact, they urge you to keep them switched on and to fiddle with them throughout the play. Within minutes, it’s clear that this provocative appraisal of identity in the digital age, now enjoying a sold-out run at the Public Theater, should really be titled “Privacy Lost.” Because it cleverly illustrates how our dependency on smartphones and other technology means giving up highly intimate details, for better or for worse. Not just to our so-called “friends” on Facebook and other social media, but also unwittingly to wily metadata brokers who harvest reams of intricate information from the digital trails you leave behind — what websites you visit, the posts and music you “like,” the photos you share, and where you shop, eat, and drink. This data, naturally, is then sold to pesky advertisers. The NSA and FBI have access, too. What the hell, in the name of Edward Snowden, is going on? It’s an increasingly precarious
Daniel Radcliffe in James Graham’s “Privacy,” directed by Josie Rourke, in a sold-out run at the Public Theater that could be extended beyond its August 14 end date.
co-produced with the Donmar Warehouse, this highly interactive piece allows audience members to learn firsthand, along with The Writer, about the joys and perils of “hyperlinking through life.” Striking the right balance between privacy and community is no easy feat. A bespectacled young man, known as “The Researcher,” sits busy at a laptop upstage, presumably compiling personal info gleaned from audience members who have supplied their contact information when they bought their tickets online (you can opt out if you don’t want your info used during the play). “Privacy” features a shaky narrative involving The Writer traveling
bit of a cliché by now. With Corsini’s film, even her casting is a political statement. It would have been easy for her to cast two women who look like supermodels, and if “Summertime” were even a medium-budget American film, that no doubt would’ve been the case. Like Lena Dunham, Izïa Higelin is slightly chunky and doesn’t quite fit America’s narrow standards of female beauty. She’s believable as a woman who grew up on a farm, not dieting and reading fashion magazines. Carole is more conventionally beautiful; given that Cécile de France’s first prominent role was in the homophobic horror film “High Tension,” perhaps she’s doing penance here. The middle third of “Summertime” evokes a paradise — family problems, hard work, and all — that can’t last. Carrying on a closeted romance in the midst of this Eden is dangerous. Even more perilously, Delphine may be more devoted to country life than Carole. Many LGBT people have no nostalgia for the small
to New York City to reboot his life — and perhaps stalk his ex in the hopes of getting back together — but it’s just an excuse to introduce an array of quirky characters such as his doting mother and experts drawn from real life, including Sherry Turkle (author and techno-sociologist at MIT), Eric Schmidt (billionaire Google executive), Christian Rudder (OkCupid founder), and James Comey (FBI director). These personalities are portrayed with finesse by a versatile ensemble consisting of Rachel Dratch (of “Saturday Night Live” fame), De’Adre Aziza, Reg Rogers, Michael Countryman, and Raffi Barsoumian.
PRIVACY, continued on p.35
SUMMERTIME Directed by Catherine Corsini Strand Releasing In French with English subtitles Opens Jul. 22 IFC Center 323 Sixth Ave. at W. Third St. ifccenter.com Film Society of Lincoln Center 165 W. 65th St. filmlinc.org towns where we grew up and are happy to have escaped from them. That’s not the case for Delphine. A lesbian who wants to own a family farm is someone new in LGBT cinema, which has generally been geared toward the kind of politicized urban subcultures depicted in the beginning of “Summertime.” Corsini pulls off an epic romance and an austere melodrama with great skill. July 21 - August 03, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
NO SANCTUARY, from p.23
each other. And a bit of a fantasy. I like what the book said, and how it said it. I selected the second half of the novel. How the world fell apart wasn’t as interesting to me.
1 ACTOR. AN EXTRAORDINARY TOUR-DE-FORCE.
GMK: Nell is a practical, headstrong young woman, whereas Eva is ruled by her heart. Can you talk about the dynamic between these two characters and about working with Page and Wood on their characters? PR: Evan is by nature very verbal and social and very expressive, but her character was mostly speaking through her body. Through the course of the film that evolves a bit, and it’s interesting how she switches. I thought of them as heart and head. Nell is rational. Eva is annoying at times the way siblings can be with one another. We presented them as entitled and childish kids from a refined family. The actresses are similar in character — they are both strong women — and it was thrilling to direct them. GMK: The house and the forest function as both symbols and characters. Can you talk about the metaphors in “Into the Forest?” PR: The house is standing in for civilization — beautiful and refined construction, but it’s crumbling quickly. There is reason to believe it is a danger; the same way that we are choking ourselves to death on this planet. What we call civilization is doing damage to our host. That’s the big broad theory. The natural world is a haven, but it’s not completely safe. I did not want a nature GayCityNews.nyc | July 21 - August 03, 2016
GMK: There is a line in the film that “crisis reveals character.” How do you think you would cope in a similar no power situation? PR: I had not thought about that at all! I was in a café recently, and a car ran into the front window, inches away from where I was. My first reaction — and I was proud of this — was that I ran around to make sure everyone was okay. I then found the driver and recorded the driver. So I would record things with my phone until it died, and then write it all down. My lot in life is to make a record. We have romantic relationships with our phones. They would be less than useless very quickly.
Director Patricia Rozema.
Join Live Out Loud & Bay Street Theater for a special viewing of
The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey For tickets, please visit: baystreet.org/calendar/the-absolute-brightness-of-leonard-pelkey/
Saturday, July 23, 2016 at 5:00 pm
INTO THE FOREST Directed by Patricia Rozema A24 Opens Jul. 29 To be announced
Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, NY (corner of Bay Street and Main Street, Sag Harbor, New York 11963)
Performance starts promptly at 5:00 pm. Reception to follow (Limited availability - location TBA).
Proceeds from the evening will benefit Live Out Loud and Bay Street Theater.
equals good, civilization equals bad dialectic. It’s not that simple. Nature is full of danger, too. It’s without moral comment. GMK: The film has a theme about safety, not just a safe space, but also emotional security. What are your thoughts on safety? PR: I am a little bit insane in that I kind of believe I’m going to be fine no matter what. I don’t have much fear. People are afraid to walk with me because I walk into traffic. I’m not a good example for the need for physical safety. Emotional safety, though — once someone lies to me, I can’t invest in them. GMK: I understand there was a sex scene between the sisters that was cut from the film. What decisions were made to film it but cut it? PR: In the book there is a sex scene between the two girls, and we did shoot it. We realized if we took it out, nothing changed. So isn’t that the definition of gratuitous? The idea behind it was when society breaks down, all the taboos disintegrate. It was a beautiful scene — loving and hot — but the fact that they were sisters took any kind of joy out of it.
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Defying Gravity A new biography of stage great Mary Martin chronicles her legendary career and darker secrets
ST. MARTIN’S PRESS
BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE
he legendary actress Mary Martin (1913-1990) was a very private person at a time when it was still possible to be an internationally beloved star and live that way. That poses a unique challenge to a biographer. Happily, author David Kaufman proves himself more than up to the task, and his new book, “Enchanted Evenings: The Glittering Life and Times of Mary Martin,” provides a rich
NATURE, from p.22
until Lloyd enters the film do they fall into context. While I don’t know for sure, I’m guessing that Lloyd is an authentic Maine local, complete with a thick accent and small-town friendliness. Charlie and Helen are far more guarded, although not exactly hostile to strangers. Part of the film’s weirdness stems from its collision of these two worlds — Lloyd seems grounded firmly in reality, while the women have one foot in a collective fantasy. If there’s a tradition into which “For the Plasma” falls, it’s a small canon of films about female identity transference: Ingmar Bergman’s “Persona,” Jacques Rivette’s “Celine and Julie Go Boating,” Robert Altman’s “3 Women.” (Sophia Takal’s forthcoming “Always Shine” is one of the few examples directed by a woman, and Nicolas Roeg and Donald Cammell’s “Performance,” obviously inspired by “Persona,” is the male equivalent of such work.) Helen is sent into the field to do Charlie’s grunt work, essentially. Before she arrived, Charlie seemed
reads like a who’s who of Broadway giants from the mid-20th century: Ethel Merman, Yul Brynner, Carol Channing, Helen Hayes, Noel Coward, Cole Porter, David Merrick and, of course, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, just to name just a few. If Martin’s show business world sparkled, her private life had a somewhat darker hue. Kaufman describes the challenges of Martin’s 30-year marriage to former studio story editor Richard Halliday, who as more than her husband but also her hairstylist and manager, ran her life with an iron fist. Readers are presented with a relationship that can only be described as co-dependent, where both of the partners were widely rumored to be gay or bisexual. Though Martin is thought to have maintained an ongoing sexual relationship with actress Janet Gaynor, here she comes across as largely asexual, sublimating her sexual needs in her drive to have a career. In doing so, she also, of course, preserved her squeaky-clean, wholesome reputation.
ENCHANTED, continued on p.35
CHRISTOPHER MESSINA/ COCHIN WOOD
of the woods. By the time Helen’s GPS starts malfunctioning and she finds swamps where paths are supposed to be, I felt spooky overtones of “The Blair Witch Project” and Kiernan’s novel “The Red Tree.” Charlie finds a way of monetizing nature without destroying it. But is she deluded or has she stumbled onto a new form of magic in the trees? The film seems to side with the latter explanation, but it keeps its options open. Toward the end, two Japanese businessmen approach her with a very open-ended project: studying satellite photos for a purpose they won’t explain. “For the Plasma” riffs on the American fondness for conspiracy theories without suggesting that Charlie’s full of crap. LeMieux and Lowe’s per for mances seem amateurish at first. They’re obviously outsiders to this small Maine town, and while they might not feel out of place in a Joe Swanberg film, they seem glaringly strange in “For the Plasma.” Not
portrait of Martin’s life and journey from rural Weatherford, Texas, to the biggest stages around the globe, from a little girl singing at the opera house to a major Broadway leading lady. For most people alive today, Martin is an historic figure. To Baby Boomers, she is probably best known for her iconic — and favorite — portrayal of Peter Pan, which was a major 1950s television event. But she was also the original Nellie Forbush in “South Pacific” and the original Maria Von Trapp in the stage version of “The Sound of Music.” Kaufman tells a fascinating tale of Broadway during the so-called Golden Era of the musical. As it happens, Martin didn’t start out to be a Broadway star. She first tried Hollywood, but it was only when she found the stage that her unique talents truly blossomed. Kaufman deftly captures the distinction between the film and theater and demonstrates how Martin’s personality was better suited to live performance. The book is replete with fascinating anecdotes about the many actors whom Martin befriended throughout her career, and the character roster
Rosalie Lowe in Bingham Bryant and Kyle Molzan’s “For the Plasma.”
to rely entirely on her CCTV cameras. While the two women are often separated, they spend a lot of time together, as well, and start to develop a resemblance. Helen’s mild dissatisfaction with the project rubs off on Charlie.
“For the Plasma” may frustrate some people by erring too much on the side of the enigmatic, especially in its final half hour, but it offers up a compelling optimist’s vision of the forest of life, before which we’re all searching for answers. July 21 - August 03, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
Pitch Imperfect “The Marvelous Wonderettes” is anything but BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE
GayCityNews.nyc | July 21 - August 03, 2016
ou won’t go see “The M a r v e l o u s Wo n d e r ettes” for its plot, that’s for sure. It’s a forced, paper -thin tale of a high school girl group recruited to entertain at their prom and then reunited 10 years later. The reason you might be tempted to go is to hear the songs from the late 1950s and ‘60s sung in close harmony. The concept is dated, overdone, even hackneyed, but it can have a certain nostalgic appeal, beguiling an evening. If you are so tempted, I have only one word for you: resist. The original Off Broadway production in 2008 was charming, musically adroit, and clever, despite being a blatant knock-off of “Forever Plaid,” more or less the same show with four guys rather than girls and a slightly different device to wrap around the musical numbers. What charm there was in “The Marvelous Wonderettes” is pretty much gone in this new production directed by Tom and Michael D’Angora. The production on the diminutive stage of the Kirk on Theatre Row mostly looks cramped and awkward unless the women are singing in formation. Alex Ringler’s choreography is predictably banal, and the jokes within it are ill-timed so they very rarely get a laugh. It’s always somewhat cringe-inducing to watch adults pretend to be kids, and here the acting is excessively broad. That these women would never be mistaken for high school students is partially obscured by the liberal application of foundation and the audience’s willing suspension of disbelief. All of this, however, could be easily overlooked if the music were well done. It’s the ragged vocalizing that undoes the show entirely. Each of the four women in the cast — Christina Bianco, Diana DeGarmo, Jenna Leigh Green, and Sally Schwab — is a strong singer in her own right; in fact, I’m a total fan of Bianco in her solo work. The music in this show,
Christina Bianco in a spotlight number, backed by Jenna Leigh Green, Sally Schwab, and former cast member Kathy Brier.
THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES Kirk Theatre 410 W. 42nd St. Wed.-Thu. at 8:15 p.m. Wed. at 2:30 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. $92.25; telecharge.com Or 212-239-6200 Two hrs., 10 mins., with intermission
however, requires that the voices blend precisely; it is not a belting match for four divas. Music director William Wade was unable to get these four cabaret stalwarts, each with a distinctive and idiosyncratic voice, to sing effectively together. Worse yet, the producers made the misguided choice to outfit the women with body mics, and there’s a heavy hand on the sound board, with a lot of echo and reverb added, which are unnecessary and annoying, particularly for this style of music. The spotlight numbers where each woman is backed up by the other three fare better and showcase each of the singers’ unique voices and styles. These are really the highlight of the show. For the rest of it, this musical trip down memory lane is far more tedious than marvelous.
XANADU! Pines Party 2016 to Rise Up from Silvery Sands
Thousands Expected as the World’s Premier LGBT Beach Party Continues 17 Year Tradition
After months of planning and careful design, Pines Party 2016: XANADU! will arise from the silvery sands of this storied beach community – one of the premier LGBT resorts in the world - on July 23 rd . The centerpiece of a three day celebration that begins on Friday evening and runs through Sunday afternoon, thousands of revelers from around the world will gather for this annual tradition, begun in 1999, as the beachscape is magically transformed for one night only into a phantasmagorical paradise that is sure to burnish the legend of Fire Island Pines. Conjuring every exotic vision from Shangri La to Citizen Kane, Xanadu! organizers describe a wonderland where the Mogul’s enchanted pleasure palace will surround a dance floor large enough to accommodate the expected 3,500 guests, while presenting a swirling fantasia of 80's neon, magic, pinball, prestidigitation, inspirational muses, and Emperor Kubla Khan’s mythical Pleasure-dome, not to mention the spectacular array of costumes as partiers are sure to arrive sporting their own interpretations of just what Xanadu! means. Throughout the weekend, in several venues, a roster of world-class DJ’s representing the best of what’s happening in the New York City progressive music scene are sure to be at their most inspired, with The Carry Nation and MORABITO at the turntables for the centerpiece Xanadu! experience. Other parties throughout the weekend will feature Jeff Hall and Aaron Aanenson (“Sunset Magic” VIP Kickoff Celebration on Friday), DJ Dawson (Physical: The Pool Party on Saturday), Peter Napoli (Supernova: The Morning Party following Xanadu from 6:30-Noon on Sunday) and Occupy The Disco (Pleasuredome: The After Party on Sunday afternoon). The Pines Party weekend is a fundraiser, donating the proceeds to its 501(c)(3) beneficiaries The Pines Foundation, which is dedicated to preserving, protecting and enhancing the environmentally-sensitive community of Fire Island Pines, and The Stonewall Community Foundation, which provides funding for New York City LGBT community groups. The Pines Party has donated more than $1.2 million to The Stonewall Foundation over its 17 years. For more information and to purchase tickets go to www.pinesparty.com.
Barrie Chase Remembers Fred Astaire’s storied final partner offers the full lowdown BY DAVID NOH
or those of us forever enraptured by Hollywood’s Golden Age and its indelible personalities, chasing memories is a race against time, as each passing year sees fewer and fewer of them alive and well enough to tell their tales. Dancer Barrie Chase, one of the last studio contractees during the sunset of musical productions as regular audience fare, at 82 but looking far younger, brims over with the kind of juicy, juicy lore in the possession of only those who truly lived through it all. Big stardom may have eluded her, but she is forever enshrined as the last major dancing partner of the immortal Fred Astaire, having been discovered by him and hired to appear as his co-star in four memorable TV specials. Chase showed up in the Randolph Restaurant of the Warwick Hotel dressed California rock chick style, in a slinky black T-shirt and miniskirt, and proved a complete knock-out, both physically and with her effervescent personality. She’s as brutally honest as anyone I’ve ever met and deliciously down to earth, as most dancers tend to be. I wanted to get the real lowdown on the ultimate perfectionist Astaire who, genius hoofer that he was, from many accounts, was not half the fun he seemed onscreen. “He was!” Chase averred. “Being a taskmaster can even be fun! Don’t you think that most people who are good at what they do are always self-questioning and there’s always something more you can do or ask of yourself? Most of the truly greats that I have met are that way. It’s like you’re living up to what others are working for and with what they want and expect from you, but it’s really what you want from yourself. “Fred was like that, but he was never nasty. He only took after me once, during a rehearsal, and I left. I thought it was out of proportion, although he had probably 800 reasons. But most of the time, he just said, ‘Sweetie, can you do it again?’ And again and again. Fine with me: let’s see what we can scrape the barnacles off of to figure it out.” What about all the recurring rumors that the two of them were personally, as well as professionally, involved? “Oh, they always say that, so I just let them think what they want to think. I’m tired of that question. People are going to believe what they want to.” And, as for that other recurring rumor that, surely, the world’s greatest dancer had to have been gay on some level: “I didn’t know about his personal life. Nor did I care what it was. What he was was uniquely wonderful, and at a time when Hollywood was very anti-gay I must
say he was very accepting of the gay community, and embracing. “I always thought what business is it of mine who someone wants to be with.” Astaire and Chase met on the MGM lot in 1957, when he was making “Silk Stockings” and she was doing “Les Girls,” directed by George Cukor and choreographed by her other great mentor, Jack Cole. “Jack always rehearsed with piano and live drums. At MGM there were two large rehearsal halls and in between them, like an H, a smaller one for stars who wanted to do things on their own privately. We were in one large hall, and ‘Silk Stockings’ in the other.
Barrie Chase dancing with Fred Astaire.
“The door would open, and we all noticed. ‘Jesus, it’s Fred Astaire!’ The drumming was what attracted him, also because he was a drummer himself. I’d be there, early in the morning, with the boys, following like a ragamuffin, always a couple of beats behind. Jack would demonstrate, and I had to pick it up. Every once in a while, Jack would come over and correct a body position, but you really had to work to learn it, which in retrospect was really good. “Fred was sitting with Jack one day, and we were all waiting for Fred to leave so we could start rehearsing. Jack came over and said, ‘There’s a little dance thing in “Silk Stockings” and Fred wants to know if I would let you do that.’ “Ohmigod, Fred Astaire wants me, and I can’t do it. I didn’t say a word, though, and Jack said,
‘I am going to let you do it but you’re going to have to do both jobs and you are not to slough off this one. ‘Oh, thank you! Thank you!’ I stayed late and never got a step wrong, and that’s how that started.” One definitely gay man Chase encountered during “Silk Stockings” was Sydney Guilaroff, the studio’s revered long-time hair stylist. “I was always a dance rat. You never got your hair done, and mine was always scraggly. Fortunately, Fred liked that look, but he sent me up to makeup and hair. Guilaroff didn’t know what to do with me, so he slicked my hair back and put a chignon on the back of my neck, a classic look that was the fashion at the time. “Fred took one look at me and said, ‘What have you done? I don’t like it at all.’ He called the director, Rouben Mamoulian, over, who said, ‘Get Guilaroff down here now!’ Ohmigod, they’re about to shoot and Fred told Sydney, ‘Get that thing off the back of her neck! She looks like Veloz and Yolanda [a popular ballroom dancing team of the time]. I want her to look like herself.’ “That was not an easy task because I had been lacquered within an inch of my life. They had to take me out and wash my hair while everyone was waiting on the set. It was glued into place and then they had to dry my hair! That was Ava Gardner’s dress on me in that scene. I had done a lot of modeling for [costume designer] Helen Rose, was always getting out of the chorus to do fun stuff like that. Helen said, ‘I am going to take care of you. You’re gonna have a really good dress!’ She picked out a gold lame dress with Ava’s name on the label. Ohmigod, I got that world beauty’s dress. Helen was always nice. I must say there were very few people in my working life that were not really nice. I was very fortunate.” The behind-the-scenes people were fine, but when it came to some of the big stars, it was a different story: the competitiveness was brutal and a definite impediment to the stardom which many felt should have come Chase’s way. After a decade or so of mostly small dancing extra parts in big musicals — “Brigadoon,” “Kismet,” “Call Me Madam” — her big break finally seemed to arrive when 20th Century Fox, where she’d signed a longtime contract, announced that they had bought the Broadway musical “Can Can” for Marilyn Monroe, with Chase cast in the other female role. “So, here’s the real story despite whatever Miss Shirley MacLaine wants to say. I was having dinner with Fred and he said, ‘Although you don’t want Hermes Pan as your choreographer for this, you owe it to him. This is going to be big.’ So, like a good little girl I am, I hired him. Where did it get me?
IN THE NOH, continued on p.32
July 21 - August 03, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
GayCityNews.nyc | July 21 - August 03, 2016
Exploring the Wilderness in Search of Love Women’s quests front and center in “Florencia en el Amazonas,” “Patience & Sarah” BY ELI JACOBSON
he search for love is a central drive in life and art. Love can take us into unfamiliar places — both in the wilds of our imagination and physically beyond the safety of our homes. Two operas presented this summer explored that search. New York City Opera followed up their rather uncertain inaugural production of “Tosca” with the New York premiere of Daniel Catán’s “Florencia en el Amazonas” — and it was a triumph. This was a New York City Opera that followed the mission of the original company — a contemporary opera cast showcasing talented young American and Hispanic singers in an inventively simple and imaginative production. “Florencia,” which premiered in Houston in 1996, is inspired by the magical realism of Gabriel García Márquez with a Spanish-language libretto by his pupil Marcela Fuentes-Berain. The plot takes place circa 1910 and centers on the return of international prima donna Florencia Grimaldi to her native land to sing in the opera house in Manaus. She travels incognito on the steamboat the El Dorado along with several other passengers who are traveling to hear her sing — the young journalist Rosalba who is writing the enigmatic diva’s biography, the captain’s nephew Arcadio, and a bickering couple Paula and Alvaro who have buried their love in bitter recrimination. The captain of the ship is devoted to a life on the sea while the shipmate Riolobo is a supernatural intermediary between mankind and the mystical world of nature. Florencia is on a secret mission to find her long-lost love Cristóbal, who freed her magical voice but then disappeared into the Amazon jungle in search of the world’s rarest butterfly, the Emerald Monarch. The ship travels down the Amazon River encountering a storm and a cholera epidemic along the way. Florencia eventually realizes that her reunion with Cristóbal may only be possible in the world of the
Elizabeth Caballero in the title role of Daniel Catán’s “Florencia en el Amazonas,” which had its local premiere with the New York City Opera.
spirit, not on earth. The neoromantic tonal score by the late Catán is as lush and varied as the Brazilian landscape it depicts. An amalgam of late Puccini, Villa-Lobos, with hints of Bernstein and Stravinsky, “Florencia” has its own distinctive personality and individual sound world. It may not strike new ground but is worthy of its predecessors — and the vocal writing is rewarding for the singers and the audience alike. Conductor Dean Williamson gave a transparency to the score. balancing lush lyricism with dramatic propulsion. The pick-up orchestra played with unfailing discipline and flawless ensemble. The talented cast was led by soprano Elizabeth Caballero as Florencia. Caballero has that distinctive Spanish dark/ bright sound — a lush, deep velvet core with an overlay of shimmering silvery brilliance (Montserrat Caballé exemplifies this vocal type). Tenor Won Whi Choi sang with untiring bright tone in the upper range as the idealistic young Arcadio. Lyric soprano Sarah Beckham-Turner’s quick vibrato suggested the youth and hidden insecurity of the out-
wardly bold Rosalba. The rock solid alto-colored voice of Lisa Chavez created a stern but passionate Paula, while baritone Luis Ledesma was a virile Alvaro. Kevin Thompson’s smooth rich bass made the Captain a center of calm in the storm while Philip Cokorinos’ craggy bass suggested the ambiguous nature of Riolobo. The production originally conceived and directed for Nashville Opera by John Hoomes, uses a simple platform downstage to represent the ship, with dancers below it in white bodysuits embodying the Amazon River that both gives and takes life. The world surrounding the ship was projected upstage behind the singers on a screen spanning the proscenium. Exotic vistas of tropical forests and water in saturated colors moved at a slightly slower pace than the stage action like the background of a waking dream. The shallow stage of the Rose Theater seemed to contain an entire world — or several worlds, supernatural and real. Some production elements had a rather childlike naiveté: the dancers rolled around on the floor, looking like refugees from a science
fiction ballet, but also represented the anthropomorphic nature of the Amazon interacting with the singers as the story demands. The final tableau had Florencia herself morphing into the Emerald Monarch butterfly and flying into the hands of a projected image of Cristóbal. The juvenile dream imagery was kitschy but congruent with the aesthetics of Latin American magical realism. Every element came together magically in this production, which demands to be seen again for a longer run.
While the Metropolitan Opera went dark, the New York Opera Fest brightened the New York opera scene, sponsoring a two-performance revival in late June of Paula Kimper’s pioneering 1998 lesbian folk opera “Patience & Sarah” just in time for the Gay Pride celebrations. Based on the true story of the early 19th century painter Mary Ann Willson, who lived with her companion Miss Brundage as a “farmerette” in upstate Greene County, “Patience & Sarah” is considered the first opera to portray the
WILDERNESS, continued on p.35
July 21 - August 03, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
Safety not juSt driverS’ reSPonSibility Safety should be a top priority for everyone sharing the road, including cyclists, drivers and pedestrians. The following are a few tips each of those groups of travelers can employ to ensure the roads stay safe for everyone.
• Bicyclists must follow the same traffic rules as automobile drivers. Stop for red lights and stop signs, signal lane changes or turns, and
drive on the correct side of the road. • Watch out for parked cars. Oftentimes, drivers exit their vehicles and do not check for oncoming traffic or cyclists. You can be hit by a swinging car door. • Make yourself as noticeable as possible. This could include using a light or horn on the bike to signal your presence to drivers. • Always wear a helmet and other applicable safety equipment.
GayCityNews.nyc | July 21 - August 03, 2016
• Maintain your bike so that it is safe to ride. • Do not carry others on your bike (such as a friend or a child) if it is not designed to do so. Riding on the handlebars or behind the cyclist can be dangerous. • Avoid the use of ear buds or headphones while cycling. You want all of your senses to be available to avoid accidents. • Cycle out of the way of drivers’ blind spots so you’ll be more visible.
• Do not ride your bike on the sidewalk where you could injure pedestrians.
• Always use sidewalks and crosswalks when available. If no sidewalk is present, be sure to walk against the direction of traffic. • Use traffic signals as your guide. However, make sure all traffic has stopped before crossing the road or stepping off of the sidewalk. • Keep control of pets when
walking on a leash, so you’re not pulled out into traffic. • Use caution at bus stops. Many injuries occur from pedestrians running to catch a bus or stepping out into traffic after exiting a bus. Remember, there will be another bus behind the one you’re chasing and safety is more important. • Wear brightly colored or reflective clothing if walking at night. • Do not cross highways or interstates on foot.
IN THE NOH, from p.28
“We’re in the rehearsal room and he comes in, knowing nothing about the show. We noodle around for months, but nobody’s showing up because there’s no Monroe. Finally, I get a call, ‘We’ve given up on Monroe.’ Instead, they’ve hired Frank Sinatra and made my part into a man for him, and along with him comes Shirley MacLaine. “It starts to dawn on me that I do not have a dance number, and I am designated to be the snake in an Adam and Eve dance, that’s all. I go to the producer and say, ‘That’s not cutting it. I don’t care if I’m nothing else in the movie but I want just one dance number.’ “Word comes back: ‘Nope. MacLaine is taking all the numbers.’ I wanted to drop out of the picture, but they said, ‘No, no, Barrie Chase is the snake. But Frank will sing a song to you.’ So I say, ‘Which profile? Do I look adoringly at him this way, or that? I love Frank but I need something more than his just singing to me.’” Chase called syndicated columnist Sidney Skolsky, a family friend who operated from a stool at Schwab’s Pharmacy, and told him the studio was refusing to take her off the picture. He told her, “There’s one way, but I don’t know if you can carry it off. Make rehearsal unpleasant and they’ll get rid of you.” “It was a challenge but I love that. I had a sudden memory loss and had a really hard time remembering dance combinations. ‘Oh, I’ll get it this time!’ In between, I would sit by myself, until someone came up and said, ‘Miss MacLaine would like you not to show up to rehearsal.’ So I was out. “But here’s the kicker. Years later, I run into Greg Garrison in New York, who directed one of the Astaire specials, and we went to dinner. All these big shows had opened, and I hadn’t been asked to do any of them. ‘You’re blacklisted,’ he told me. Sinatra had said, ‘Hands off Chase. You don’t touch her.’ Additionally, he was so miffed that I wanted out of having him sing to me, that he said, ‘I’ll take any chorus girl and make her what Fred made of Barrie. Who the hell does she think she is?’” And to add to this drama, enter Juliet Prowse, who played the third female lead, a model. “He hit on Juliet, and it was just a fluke that she was very talented and they hit it off. So out went MacLaine and in came Juliet, which was wonderful because it made a career for her. And there she is in ‘Can Can,’ actually sharing the can can number with MacLaine, and all these other opportunities which were not offered to me. I was the snake. Period.” I told Chase that I was surprised Sinatra didn’t hit on her. “Sinatra was sniffing around me on ‘Pal Joey’ but I didn’t go there. Rita Hayworth on that film was divine, a wonderful person who would sit around with us and talk. Kim Novak treated her terribly. She was the new [Columbia studio head] Harry Cohn girl, and Rita was 40 and showing it a bit, but still gorgeous.
“Kim demanded that Rita’s hair always be up. In all her scenes, her hair is in a chignon, except for her solo, which Hermes Pan choreographed for her. He said, ‘I’m going to make Rita look like Rita and she’s going to be in a bed, looking good, and her hair is going to be down.’ “I don’t know why, but Kim was not a happy camper when they were together, shooting their number. She didn’t come out of her dressing room the whole day, and I thought, ‘This is bloody Rita Hayworth! You don’t treat her like that!’ Rita was great, she never said a word, just clocked in and clocked out. Kim never came out, and it was resumed the next day.” I told Chase that it is in this shared number between the two divas and Sinatra that Rita also sports her trademark waterfall of red hair. “Well, there you go! But I do remember Pan telling me about her solo.”
“Rita Hayworth on that film was divine, a wonderful person who would sit around with us and talk. Kim Novak treated her terribly. She was the new [Columbia studio head] Harry Cohn girl, and Rita was 40 and showing it a bit, but still gorgeous.”
Another frosty diva was Cyd Charisse. MGM producer Joe Pasternak was always asking Chase out and, although she didn’t want to date him, when he said he was cooking goulash at Charisse’s house, she thought she’d like to see her home and accepted his invitation. They got there early and were greeted by Charisse’s husband, singer Tony Martin. He invited her for a drink at the bar when Pasternak went into the kitchen and, when Chase said she didn’t know what she wanted, as she wasn’t a drinker, he offered to open a bottle of champagne. “In those days, the living room was always divided by a bar and on the other side of the room were couches and chairs. People started coming in, who all knew one another, and all the women sit on the couches, talking, while all the men go to the bar for a drink, and there I am, too scared to move. “I don’t know what to do, am up in shallow water, when in comes Cyd, the grand entrance, gorgeous looking. She sees this woman with all the men at the bar and all the women over there, and was totally dismissive of me, doesn’t say hello. So I just stay where I am, frozen. In comes Joe, dinner is ready, and he says, “I gotta get up
early in the morning, I’ll take you home.’ And he did, always a total gentleman. “So, the next day, I was having coffee from the wagon by the rehearsal room, and my friend, Pat Dennis, a wonderful dancer and unsung, brilliant assistant to Gene Kelly, says, ‘I understand you were at Cyd’s last night. The way Cyd has it, you came in and completely took over, and ordered a bottle of champagne!’ “In later years, a choreographer who shall remain nameless, working with me on ‘The Hollywood Palace,’ was going to interview for a job with Cyd. I said, ‘You can throw my name up but it might not get a good reception.’ He did, and her comment was, ‘She has wonderful feet.’ [Laughs.] I always said to Fred, ‘She’s a cold, cold lady, but he said, ‘No, she’s shy, shy, shy.’ I think in the very later years he accepted what I said.” One more MGM lady whose image belied the truth was “wholesome” America’s sweetheart, June Allyson, with whom Chase made “The Opposite Sex.” In that film, during the famous confrontation scene between Allyson and Joan Collins, who played her husband’s mistress, Allyson slaps Collins so hard her earring flies off. “I wouldn’t be surprised. We were all laughing at June the whole time. She was married to Dick Powell, and she had this enormous crush on Jeff Richards, the cowboy in the movie. He was not that interested in her, at all, just going along for the ride, and she would very publicly come and sit on his lap. “We just thought, ‘You’re still a married woman. Why are you doing this with him?’ And he couldn’t have cared less. During filming, Joanie, who was very kind to me then — ‘Hey, everybody, look at this kid!’ — hung out with me and Carolyn Jones, who was getting married to this unknown writer, Aaron Spelling. However, after she got successful, I ran into Joan in Beverly Hills and went running over like the stupid kid I was. She was very nice, but dismissive, had become ‘Dynasty,’ and I thought, ‘Well…’ “Ann Sheridan was dying during the making of ‘The Opposite Sex,’ came up to me, and she said, ‘You stay with it. You’ve got the cheekbones.’ [Laughs.]” If nothing else, over the course of our marathon, quite fabulous three-hour dish session, Chase gave me the answer to one of the big Astaire questions. “He once asked me who my favorite of all his dancing partners was. He laughed when I said Rita. Although he would never say, Rita was his favorite. Years later, he said I was. I said, ‘Why didn’t you say that then, when it could have helped me?’ “He thought Cyd was a wonderful dancer, but Rita had something. There was just a thing about her. Audrey [Hepburn] always wanted to be his favorite, and she wrote him a funny letter after our first Astaire special that he shared with me. It said, ‘Well, of course, she didn’t have to dance on the wet grass with you!,’ referring to the last scene in ‘Funny Face,’ where they got all muddy.” July 21 - August 03, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
forfeited and found — all of which the poet illumines with steady-eyed honesty.” In the end, we learn, Groff continues, “splendid is our survival.’” In “All the Rage,” Sam Sax turns the poetry of observation into a weapon of prayer and resurrection through the eroticism and anger of bearing witness. Sax probes open wounds wet with the spit of old lovers and old versions of ourselves, raw, hungry, and unwilling to let us forget what we’ve seen. Tonight, Xavier and Sax read at the launch of their new books at Bureau of General Services — Queer Division at the LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St., rm. 210. Jul. 28, 7-9 p.m. A suggested donation of $5 will benefit BGSQD. AMBE WILLIAMS
14 DAYS, from p.21
Genre Bender Joey Contreras
THU.JUL.28 POETRY New Work from Emanuel Xavier & Sam Sax D a v i d G r o f f , a u t h o r o f “ C l a y, ” writes that Emanuel Xavier’s new book, “Radiance,” in fact “radiates in diverse directions, back into a past of New York club kid glamour and violence, into a family history of lost connections, and into loves
Songwriter J o ey C o n t re ra s , a California native, has released two albums that have navigated the boundaries of pop music and Broadway. Tonight, joined by friends Natalie Weiss (“Wicked,” “Breaking Down the Riffs”), Spencer Kiely, Stevi Incremona, and Kathrina Feigh, Contreras delivers a summer dance party with some new songs plus favorites from those first two outings. Rockwood Music Hall, 196 Allen St., btwn. Houston & Stanton Sts. Jul. 31, 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 at goo.gl/Q4gJf1.
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July 21 - August 03, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
PRIVACY, from p.24
To help us keep track of who’s who, their names are projected on a vast backdrop screen, along with dozens of dizzying images (to divulge details would ruin the surprise). At first The Writer is a bumbling Luddite, but gradually he learns how to take and share a like-inducing selfie and “curate a performance on Twitter.”
ENCHANTED, from p.26
At what expense Martin made this choice is unknown, but Kaufman at one point wonders what her life might have been like had she been able to live more openly or freely. He gives, with a very light though compelling touch, some sense of what it was like to live in the closet in the 1950s and ‘60s, even in a world as permissive and accepting as the New York theater. Though the relationship between Martin and Halliday appears to have been an arrangement, it seems to have worked for them, and for several years after his death in 1973 she was lost without him.
WILDERNESS, from p.30
GayCityNews.nyc | July 21 - August 03, 2016
Kaufman also traces the rocky relationship Martin had with her son from her first marriage, Larry Hagman, best known J.R. Ewing in “Dallas.” In order to focus on her career and go to Hollywood, Martin gave him up to her mother’s care. Later after his grandmother’ death, Hagman was more a presence in Martin’s life, though he and the controlling and despotic Halliday never got along, to put it mildly. It wasn’t until after Halliday’s death that Hagman was fully reunited with his mother. Given the paucity of details revealed by Martin about her life, Kaufman has had to rely on many secondary sources. It’s a tribute to his skill as a biographer that he manages to convey such
soprano), came off as the confidently proactive seducer of the baby butch Sarah Dowling. French mezzo-soprano Elsa Quéron as Sarah embodied a bright yearning spirit, younger in heart and mind than the more mature, socially poised Patience. Yet Sarah is surer of her feelings and recklessly brave in enduring the beatings of her father and the dangers of the road in her quest for true love. As the wandering bookseller Parson Daniel Peel, who takes in the runaway Sarah and falls in love with her thinking she is a boy, baritone Michael Kelly charmed with a rich lyric baritone and open emotional vulnerability. Vivid supporting turns by soprano Bryn Holdsworth, mezzo Jessica Lauren Copland, tenor Chad Kranak, and bass Duncan Hartman brought the disapproving families of Patience and Sarah to life, avoiding clichés. Kemper’s score has elements of Aaron Copland’s nostalgic Americana spiced with Straussian autumnal harmonies. The excellence of the vocal writing was evidenced by the fact that I could understand about 98 percent of the libretto without supertitles. The sensitively lyrical score reaches the heart.
them? Does it matter that advertisers and the FBI know that you visited PornHub 16 times last week? These are vital questions the play raises yet cannot possibly answer. I admit, it was disconcerting knowing The Researcher might be rummaging through my personal data. Thankfully, he did not track down my Scruff photos and flash them onscreen. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he could have.
ENCHANTED EVENINGS: THE GLITTERING LIFE AND TIMES OF MARY MARTIN By David Kaufman St. Martin’s Press $29.99; 432 pages
a vibrant sense of her life and world that makes engaging reading for any fan of theater and theater history and — like Peter Pan — allows Martin’s story to soar.
love of two self-affirming women. The libretto by Wende Persons based on the novel by Isabel Miller (the nom de plume of Alma Routsong) is set in 1816 Connecticut, where the educated and wealthy painter Patience White encounters illiterate farm girl Sarah Dowling, who has been raised as a boy and dresses like one. Their forbidden love must overcome both social and religious disapproval and their different backgrounds. Unlike the star -crossed heterosexual lovers in opera whose forbidden love breaks the rules of society, these two women do not die tragically but leave their homes to go pioneering together on a farm in upstate New York. In the intimate Players Theatre space, Kimper conducted the score in a new seven-piece orchestration for chamber and staged concert opera presentations. The original director, Douglas Moser, created a modest, bare bones production that cut straight to the heart of the matter with no fuss. Interestingly the femme partner in the couple, Patience White (sung by the lovely Nadia Petrella with a darkly vibrant full lyric
Cloud is not a happy fluffy place in the sky where our digital information lives, but a data center somewhere in the Midwest. Is our self-esteem tied to how many likes we get after posting a status update? Is the security provided by ubiquitous surveillance cameras worth the sacrifice of personal privacy? Is it okay that certain televisions are now capable of watching us as intently as we watch
Nadia Petrella and Elsa Quéron in the New York Opera Fest revival of Paula Kimper’s 1998 lesbian folk opera “Patience & Sarah.”
The opera still runs a little long in the second act, where the travails of the central couple when they are parted go on too long. This revival, however, showed that “Patience & Sarah” is not nor has it ever been just a niche
novelty piece for one targeted audience. It is a true American opera that embodies our spirit of freedom and personal destiny — going into the wilderness to discover ourselves and build a new and better world.
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