Why Dharun Ravi’s Convictions Got Tossed in Tyler Clementi Case
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Top Manhattan Dems Signal Snubbed Justice Will Win Renomination “Independent” panel nixed historic marriage ruling’s author, bid to re-vote denied, but alternate route found BY ANDY HUMM
ustice Doris Ling-Cohan, a distinguished 20-year veteran of the State Supreme Court bench and a hero to the LGBT community for her historic 2005 ruling in favor of samesex marriage, was put through the ringer in recent weeks by a deeply flawed process of the New York County Democratic Party for nominating judges and anonymous leaks to the New York Post smearing her —either from inside the so-called independent screening panel that narrowly rejected her or from Democratic leaders backing other judicial candidates. The ensuing uproar from community and legal groups supporting Ling-Cohan led the county party’s executive committee, made up of local Democratic district leaders, to meet in closed session on September 9 to deal with the crisis. County leader Keith Wright, a veteran state assemblymember, would not address the press after the meeting, but district leader Marc Landis said his fellow district leaders were “surprised” by the panel rejection and that while they, as leaders, may
Justice Doris Ling-Cohan at June’s LGBT Community Center Garden Party.
not nominate panel-rejected candidates at the September 22 judicial convention to select Democratic nominees for the November ballot, Ling-Cohan can be nominated by a delegate who is not a district leader, in line with standard party protocol. Curtis Arluck, the co-chair of the party’s judicial committee, predicted she will be selected as one of the party’s nominees. The panelists — mostly lawyers who volunteer from bar associations and civic groups, with a few lay participants — were, accord-
ing to sources with direct knowledge, swayed by an aggressive real estate attorney, panelist Deborah Riegel, who attacked Ling-Cohan for the judge’s handling of temporary restraining orders in landlord-tenant disputes, in which she insists that lawyers put their motions and answers in writing rather than taking them orally as most judges do. Many of the panelists were new to the process and, according to those sources, did not seem to understand their role, especially in evaluating judges up
for reelection. The meeting process was decried as “chaotic.” “Imagine the movie ‘Twelve Angry Men’ ended after 10 minutes,” said one panelist, Niall Macgiollabhui of the Brehon Law Society, a legal society for attorneys of Irish ancestry. “That was the voting process.” No sitting judge without written complaints and disciplinary actions against them has ever been denied renomination — and Ling-Cohan had no such complaints against her. Whoever had it in for Ling-Cohan knew this. At least one anonymous adversary told the Post that she was rejected because she had a reputation “as one of the worst judges — non-productive, lazy, not hard-working, disorganized, takes a lot of time off, late with decisions” — all demonstrably untrue for anyone doing even a cursory check of the public record, as Post reporters clearly did not for their August 31 story, which took these unfounded assertions at face value. Ling-Cohan has been elevated to the Appellate Term for her diligence and reputation, and data from the
RENOMINATION, continued on p.5
SUPPORTERS RALLYING TO LING-COHAN’S DEFENSE HELPED MOVE PARTY
is nominated from the floor at the county convention on September 22. While party rules forbid any executive committee member from nominating someone not reported out of the panel, there is no bar to a floor nomination. Manhattan voters elected delegates to the convention in this week’s Democratic primary. “Justice for the Justice,” the crowd chanted in support of Ling-Cohan at the rally. Mendez emphasized that Ling-Cohan was the first Asian-American woman elected to the State Supreme Court and the first Asian American appointed to the Appellate Term. “Her record speaks for itself,” Mendez said. “She is an independent judge not beholden to anyone but the people,” Chin said. CUNY law professor Joe Rosenberg called her “a role model for CUNY law students and law students throughout New York City.” Also speaking or delivering messages of support for Ling-Cohan at the rally were the Korean American Lawyers Association, the LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York, the Asian American Bar Association of NY, the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, the Puerto Rican Bar Association, and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. Among those on hand to support Ling-Cohan were other
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Emily Jane Goodman, a judge for 30 years and a former colleague of Justice Doris Ling-Cohan’s who is now in private practice, warned that the process by which an independent panel established by the Manhattan Democratic Party denied approval for Ling-Cohan’s renomination earlier this summer would have a “chilling effect,” with judges, already worried about media and political reactions to their rulings, now having to be concerned about being turned out by screening panel lawyers taking their jobs away because they don’t like their rulings. “It is an absolute outrage,” Goodman said at a press conference September 6 at City Hall led by City Councilmembers Rosie Mendez and Margaret Chin, both of whom came armed with volumes of material and data attesting to Ling-Cohan’s competence, diligence, and probity —including the fact that in 20 years she has heard more 10,000 cases and only been reversed on appeal 48 times (less than 0.5 percent). In 2015, the National Law Journal named Ling-Cohan one of the 75 Outstanding Women Lawyers in America. None of Ling-Cohan’s critics have come forward to speak on the record about their issues with her. But more than a 100 supporters rallied for her last Tuesday demanding that the party reverse itself. Mendez, an out lesbian, has vowed to see that Ling-Cohan
City Councilmember Rosie Mendez, flanked by State Assemblymember Deborah Glick and Councilmember Margaret Chin, at last Tuesday’s rally protesting the Democratic Party’s snub of Justice Doris Ling-Cohan.
out LGBT elected officials, including Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, Councilmember Corey Johnson, State Senator Brad Hoylman, and Assemblymember Deborah Glick.
RALLY, continued on p.5
September 15 - 28, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
RENOMINAION, from p.4
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Office of Court Administration show that the timeliness of her work “in resolving cases and motions has been well above average among her colleagues,” according to a compilation released by City Councilmember Rosie Mendez, a Ling-Cohan supporter. That data also showed that she “took just 30 vacation days in total over the past six years.” A source within the panel said the slurs printed in the Post about Ling-Cohan being “lazy” were never voiced by anyone on the panel during its proceedings either in the presence of the judge or during their deliberations. Despite the scurrilous smears published regarding Ling-Cohan, most all panelists allowed the story to stand —hiding behind the supposed confidentiality of the panel even though it had been violated. That allowed Ling-Cohan to twist in the wind for a week until Mendez and Councilmember Margaret Chin organized 100 supporters from a wide variety of groups to defend Ling-Cohan at City Hall on September 6 and demand that the party renominate her (see sidebar below). Fifteen of the panelists signed on to a September 11 letter to Arluck and Louise Dankberg, co-chairs of the county party’s Judiciary Committee, asking for the opportunity to reconsider their rejection of Ling-Cohan.
State Assemblymember Keith Wright, the Manhattan Democratic Party chief, at the emergency executive session called on September 7 to discuss Justice Doris Ling-Cohan’s treatment by a party judicial screening panel.
“The individual reasons that we believe reconsideration is warranted might be different from person to person but we are in agreement that the Committee should have the opportunity to review Her Honor’s application and record anew,” the letter read. “We also wish to clarify that the words ‘lazy’ and ‘slow’ reported in various New York Post articles were not words we heard used by the Panel in connection with Justice Ling-Cohan.” The county party, led by Wright, instead of expressing outrage over the leaks and the evident flawed process, insisted it could not overturn the results of the independent panel — even one that wanted to revisit its own decision. Instead,
RENOMINATION, continued on p.39
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RALLY, from p.4
Coumcilmembers Daniel Dromm and Carlos Menchaca, also gay, signaled their support for Ling-Cohan, as well. Ling-Cohan is the author of the historic 2005 decision ordering the city to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a decision successfully appealed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, which delayed gay marriages in New York for six years until the Legislature acted in 2011. Despite that ruling being overturned, Ling-Cohan’s decision was cited repeatedly by other courts nationwide that moved the issue forward toward its final resolution at the US Supreme Court in 2015. Allen Roskoff, president of Jim Owles Club, an LGBT group, said, “Doris Ling-Cohan cares about the people. That’s why the landlords don’t like her and the One Percent don’t like her.” He accused “party hacks” in the county organization of wanting her out to get their own candidates in. In an email message, John Fisher of TenantNet wrote, “Assemblymember Keith
by: HostedHosted by:
Allen Roskoff, president of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, along Councilmember Margaret Chin.
Wright, closely allied with [the Real Estate Board of New York]… is seen as allowing the judicial screening panel to knock Justice Ling-Cohan off the ballot. It would not be happening without his acquiescence or specific direction.” To that charge, Wright responded, “Anyone that knows what they are talking about in the picking of judges knows that there is no foundation to that.” — By Andy Humm
Dharun Ravi Convictions Thrown Out in Tyler Clementi Case Appeals panel finds NJ Supreme Court’s 2015 nixing of portions of bias intimidation law doomed guilty verdicts BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
harun Ravi, found guilty on 15 different criminal counts for his video surveillance and webcasting of intimate encounters that Tyler Clementi, his Rutgers University roommate, had with another man in their dorm room, had his convictions overturned by an intermediate appeals court. On September 9, the New Jersey Appellate Division found that trial evidence about how Ravi’s actions adversely affected Clementi —who days later in September 2010 committed suicide by jumping from the George Washington Bridge —tainted all the verdicts because it may have caused the jury to convict Ravi based on Clementi’s beliefs rather than Ravi’s intent. Five of the convictions were tossed out permanently, but the remaining 10 were sent back to the Middlesex County Superior Court, allowing prosecutors to retry Ravi on those counts. Ravi and Clementi, both incoming freshmen at Rutgers, were assigned as dormitory roommates, and before school started Ravi, scoping Clementi out on the Internet, had concluded he might be gay. Ravi’s suspicions were reinforced on September 19 when Clementi asked Ravi if he could “have the room” for the evening because he was expecting a guest. When Ravi saw that the guest was an “older man,” according to the court’s opinion, he arranged the webcam on his desk to focus on Clementi’s bed, and left his computer on so the video chat function could be activated remotely. From across the hall in his high school friend Molly Wei’s room, the two briefly watched Clementi and his guest kissing, and Ravi tweeted that others could access his computer and watch the couple as well. Wei later played back the video of Clementi and the other man “making out” for friends in her room. Ravi tried to repeat the surveillance and webcasting two nights later, when Clementi also asked to have the room, but nobody was able to see what was going on in the dorm room. The guest, identified by the court only with his initials M.B. to preserve his confidentiality, testified that he and Clementi had sex on both occasions, that he had observed the webcam focused on the bed during the first of these meetings but not said anything to Clementi, and that the second time he noticed the webcam was pointed away from the bed. He testified that he first learned about Clementi’s suicide when he read about it in the news. When Clementi viewed Ravi’s Twitter feed and learned about what happened, he apparently was mortified and went to a resident assistant to ask for an immediate room change. Rutgers
Several days after the video surveillance, Tyler Clementi took his own life.
administrators began an investigation. When Ravi learned about the investigation, he deleted some incriminating tweets, composed a new backdated tweet telling his followers not to attempt to video chat with him and to ignore a previous tweet. He also sent Ravi an apologetic text message, disclaiming any ill intent and asserting that on the second night he deliberately repositioned the webcam so nobody could see anything. Ravi also told him he had “no problem” with Clementi being gay, saying, “In fact one of my closest friends is gay and he and I have a very open relationship. I just suspected you were shy about it which is why I never broached the topic. I don’t want your freshman year to be ruined because of a petty misunderstanding, it’s adding to my guilt. You have the right to move if you wish but I don’t want you to feel pressured to without fully understanding the situation.” Shortly after Ravi sent the text, Clementi wrote on his Facebook page, “I’m going to jump off the GW Bridge. Sorry.” He committed suicide later that night. There is no evidence whether Clementi ever saw Ravi’s text message. As soon as Clementi’s death was discovered, Rutgers ramped up the investigation. Ravi sent a series of phone and text messages to Wei, who had been brought in for police questioning, and those messages were introduced in evidence regarding charges of witness tampering and hindering apprehension of prosecution against him. After waiving his Miranda rights, Ravi gave a statement to investigators that cleaned up his actions, according to the court, by omitting “homophobic statements he candidly included” in the tweets and texts he had sent to his followers and friends about Clementi’s activities in the dorm room.
“Without reciting at length the forty-four page interrogation document,” wrote the court, “we can safely summarize its content as a poorly executed attempt by defendant to sanitize his motives for using his knowledge of computers to surreptitiously observe T.C. and M.B. engaged in sexual relations.” The main charges against Ravi were brought under New Jersey’s bias intimidation and invasion of privacy statutes. At the time, the bias intimidation law provided that a person was guilty of “bias intimidation” if “he commits, attempts to commit, conspires with another to commit, or threatens the immediate commission” of a variety of offenses listed in the statute either (1) purposely or (2) knowingly harassing the victim because of a characteristic, such as sexual orientation, listed in the statute, or if the victim (3) either “reasonably believed that the harassment was committed with a purpose to intimidate him” or that “he was selected to be the target” because of the characteristic. The prosecution focused on the third of these categories, where they had the weightiest evidence. Their major focus was in persuading the jury that Clementi was a shy, sensitive person, who clearly communicated to the resident assistant how upset he was by this “spying.” The evidence was overwhelming that the prosecution proved this element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. On the other hand, the evidence that Ravi intended to harm or upset Clementi was less overwhelming, according to the evidence summarized by Judge Jose Fuentes, writing for the
RAVI, continued on p.25
September 15 - 28, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
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Defense DNA Expert Barred in Trial of Taj Patterson’s Alleged Attacker Mayer Herskovic’s legal team has until September 19 to produce acceptable alternate BY DUNCAN OSBORNE
he defense in the trial of a man accused of participating in a 2013 gang assault on a black gay man in Williamsburg suffered a setback after the judge in the case refused to allow a witness to testify as a defense expert on DNA testing. “I’m not impressed by his CV,” said Judge Danny Chun in Brooklyn Supreme Court on September 12. “He doesn’t have a master’s degree.” Chun has now given defendant Mayer Herskovic’s attorney, Israel Fried, until September 19 to produce an acceptable alternate expert in Fried’s effort to rebut a prosecution witness who testified that Herskovic’s DNA was found on a sneaker worn by Taj Patterson, the victim. If the defense does not have an expert available on that day, further testimony on that issue will be precluded. In either event, both the prosecution and defense will make closing arguments next Monday. Fried had wanted Arthur Young admitted as an expert on DNA testing. While Fried’s questioning during voir dire appeared to establish Young’s expert status, occasionally humiliating questions from Tim Gough, the prosecutor in the case, ultimately got Young tossed as an expert. Gough established that Young had been fired from both of his jobs prior to 2010. That year, Young founded Guardian Forensic Sciences, a two-person firm he runs in Pennsylvania. Young has an undergraduate degree in “pre-medical sciences” from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and has limited additional training since then. He has published two peer-reviewed journal articles, but both were in law not scientific journals. The DNA evidence is central in the case against Herskovic, who is charged with multiple counts of unlawful imprisonment, assault, gang assault, and menacing in the early morning December 1, 2013 attack. No witness has identified Herskovic as the man who
beat the 25-year-old, but Patterson testified that the man who punched and kicked him in the face and jammed his thumb in his eye also pulled off his sneaker and tossed it onto a nearby roof. Patterson was left blind in one eye from the assault. Three other witnesses testified that they happened upon a crowd of men dressed in traditional Hasidic garb who were beating a lone man. All three saw one of those men toss a sneaker or an object onto a nearby roof. Police recovered Patterson’s sneaker from the roof and it was tested for DNA by the city medical examiner’s office. The issue with the DNA testing, called high sensitivity DNA testing, is that it uses samples that are measured in picograms, or trillionths of a gram. There could be as few as six skin cells in a picogram. The samples are usually below 100 picograms. The kits used in all DNA testing recommend not using them to test samples below 100 picograms. The DNA in the sample is amplified, or has copies of it reproduced, and then compared to known DNA samples, in this case Herskovic and Patterson. The medical examiner’s office uses its own proprietary software, called the Forensic Statistical Tool, to perform an analysis and offer an opinion on how likely it is that a particular individual contributed DNA to a sample. The high sensitivity DNA testing done by the medical examiner’s office has been validated by New York State and another professional accrediting body. The city medical examiner’s office is the only public crime lab in the country that does this kind of DNA testing. One New York City court in Brooklyn has barred such DNA testing as evidence in one case. Chun, who is hearing the non-jury trial, had hoped to end the case on September 9, but the defense complained that it had only recently received the DNA evidence and had not been given sufficient time to pre-
pare an expert witness. The trial adjourned September 12 after Chun barred Young from testifying, and on September 13 the judge, apparently losing patience with the delays, gave the defense a firm deadline for producing a replacement witness. Also on September 12, the defense called Fesah Rollins, one of four witnesses at the scene of the beating. While there were some inconsistencies in Rollins’ testimony compared to earlier witnesses, she sounded more like a prosecution witness. Rollins was in a car with Jose Guzman, a prosecution witness, when they came on the scene of the mob attack. “I observed a group of Jews who looked like they were celebrating,” Rollins said when questioned by Fried. “They were jumping up and down and stomping… And then a young man came rolling out of the crowd.” Rollins grew visibly upset as she described the assault. She saw one man in the crowd pick something up from the ground and toss it on the roof. Patterson and another witness testified that his sneaker was pulled off of his foot and thrown onto the roof. Questioned by Gough, her testimony generally confirmed what prosecution witnesses testified to. “He was trying to get out,” Rollins said of the young man who was crawling out of the crowd. “He looked terrified in his face… He was crying blood out of his eye.” Vi d e o s t h a t w e r e s h o w n i n court depict at least three men and perhaps a half dozen vehicles, including one minivan with flashing lights, pursuing Patterson on Flushing Avenue. That avenue is a two-lane street and some of the cars can be seen speeding by other cars and even veering into the lane for traffic moving in the opposite direction as they chase Patterson. In the videos, Patterson can be seen twice trying to halt cars on the avenue as he sought protection from the mob. The 25-year-old was stopped near the intersection
Taj Patterson, after suffering an assault by a gang of men in Williamsburg in December 2013.
of Flushing Avenue and Spencer Street when he saw a large group of men in front of him. Two other men pleaded guilty to unlawful imprisonment in the attack. Charges against another two were dropped. Herskovic refused a deal and his trial began on August 29. Herskovic and the other men charged or convicted in the case were affiliated with a security patrol organized by the Satmar Hasidic Jewish community that dominates a portion of Williamsburg. That patrol received a half million dollars from the City Council since 2010, the Daily News reported on June 14. Patterson filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city in June, which also named three of the police officers who were involved in the initial investigation of the attack, the five men who were charged and a sixth man, the Williamsburg Safety Patrol, and the Shmira Volunteer Patrol. Eric Sanchez, the lead Hate Crimes Task Force detective on the Herskovic case, testified that the local precinct, in its initial investigation, interviewed only Patterson, despite the presence of other witnesses on the scene. NYPD records show the precinct closed the case just over an hour after the assault, only to have it reopened by Hate Crimes a week later. September 15 - 28, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
LGBT Assemblymembers Win Big Anti-gay challenger defeated in Bronx Senate race BY PAUL SCHINDLER
GayCityNews.nyc | September 15 - 28, 2016
hree of the four out LGBT members of the State Assembly faced challengers in this week’s Democratic primary, but all prevailed easily, two of them by massive landslides. In the West Village’s Assembly District 66, veteran lawmaker Deborah Glick beat back a bid by longtime gay, anti-war, and environmental activist Jim Fouratt, capturing roughly 80 percent of the vote. Fouratt, who took the ballot line for which Democratic district leader Arthur Schwartz had gathered petition signatures before dropping out citing health issues, charged that Glick, who made history in 1990 as the first openly LGBT elected official in New York State, failed to provide community leadership on issues such as the 2010 closing of St. Vincent’s hospital and opposition to a high pressure natural gas pipeline on Manhattan’s Far West Side. Glick cited her long record on women’s health issues, including reproductive choice, and as chair of the Assembly’s Committee on Higher Education. With a broad swath of endorsements, not only from elected officials but also community groups and leaders, Glick dismissed Fouratt for having no clear base of support, noting he had not gone through the process of winning voters’ signatures on his own petition but rather stepped in for Schwarz. On the Upper West Side and in West Harlem, 69th District Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell easily turned back a challenge from Steven Appel, whose background was at a financial literacy nonprofit. First elected in 2002, O’Donnell is best known in the LGBT community for leading the Assembly to passage of the state’s marriage equality law in 2007, four years ahead of the Senate’s embrace of the issue. Though O’Donnell, who won nearly 80 percent of the primary vote, faces a Republican opponent in November, Stephen Garrin, the heavily Democratic district seems headed to giving O’Donnell an eighth term in Albany. In Rochester, 138th District Assemblymember Harry Bronson, the first out gay legislator from
State Assemblymember Deborah Glick.
upstate New York, survived a more spirited challenge than Glick or O’Donnell faced, capturing about 54 percent of the vote against a former local television reporter, Rachel Barnhart, who left her TV job to mount the race, according to democratandchronicle.com. In November, Bronson, who was first elected in 2010, will likely face off against Republican Peter Vazquez, though unofficial results in the GOP primary have him up by only 20 votes. Vazquez’s at-his-heels rival is Bob Zinck, who already has the Reform Party line in the race. This is Vazquez’s third run for the Assembly seat. In the Bronx, an anti-gay member of the City Council, Fernando Cabrera, lost his second consecutive bid to unseat State Senator Gustavo Rivera, a progressive LGBT ally who first won election in 2010. Cabrera, whose embrace of homophobic politics included a trip to Uganda, where he broadcast a YouTube tribute to legislators there who were pushing a harshly anti-gay measure that in its earliest incarnation included the death penalty for sodomy, won just 37 percent of the vote, below the level he achieved when challenging Rivera two years ago. In recent weeks, Rivera charged that Cabrera’s campaign had illegally allocated donations that could only be used in a general election campaign in his primary challenge. The funds in question were contributed by a married couple in New Jersey long affiliated with antichoice and homophobic political causes and a wealthy conservative businessman in Manhattan. Last week, Cabrera’s campaign declined to respond to Gay City News questions about the Rivera charges or the campaign donations.
Appeals Court Declines to Consider Immigrant’s Claim He’s Bisexual Seventh Circuit split over government’s refusal to credit Jamaican man’s fear of deportation BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
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divided federal appeals panel has denied the effort by a Jamaican immigrant to avoid deportation, deciding that it would accept an immigration judge’s conclusion the man had failed to prove he is bisexual. The 2-1 vote by the Chicago-based Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals on August 17 affirmed an earlier decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to deny the man relief under the international Convention Against Torture. The majority of the panel, in an opinion by Judge Diane Pamela Wood applying the deferential standard used by the federal courts in reviewing administrative decisions in the immigration system, found that the immigration judge’s reading of the evidentiary record should not be second-guessed. Dissenting, Judge Richar d Posner contended the immigration judge “fastened on what are unquestionable, but trivial and indeed irrelevant, mistakes or falsehoods in [petitioner’s] testimony.” “The weakest part of the immigration judge’s opinion is its conclusion that [petitioner] is not bisexual, a conclusion premised on the fact that he’s had sexual relations with women (including a marriage),” Posner wrote. “Apparently the immigration judge does not know the meaning of bisexual. The fact that he refused even to believe there is hostility to bisexuals in Jamaica suggests a closed mind and gravely undermines his critical finding that [petitioner] is not bisexual.” According to Wood’s decision summarizing the case, the petitioner, who was born and grew up in Jamaica, claims to have begun having sex with both men and women while a teenager. He fell in love with an American woman visiting Jamaica and they married and moved to the US, where she spon-
sored him for resident status. However, the marriage didn’t last and their failure to attend a required interview with immigration officials resulted in his status being terminated, after which they divorced. Around the same time, he pled guilty to an attempted criminal sexual assault charge, was sentenced to probation, violated that probation, and was resentenced to prison time. After his release, he was swooped up by Homeland Security and processed for deportation. In the course of his efforts to resist deportation, he raised the horrendous conditions faced by gay and bisexual people in Jamaica and sought protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). A person who is otherwise deportable may win relief under CAT by showing that, if deported, they would likely be subjected to torture or serious harm at the hands of the government or those the government is unable to control. While numerous sources —including human rights reports published by the US State Department in 2012 and 2013 — document the fierce homophobia in Jamaica and the failure of the government to address it effectively, the BIA continues to dither about whether LGBT refugees from Jamaica are entitled to CAT relief. Just over a week before the Seventh Circuit ruling, the New Yorkbased Second Circuit sent the case of another Jamaican man back to the BIA for reconsideration in light of the evidence regarding homophobia in the man’s home country. In the Seventh Circuit case, most of the immigration judge’s attention focused on the credibility of the petitioner’s claim to be bisexual and that he would be known as such in Jamaica and so be likely to encounter serious harm there. The judge focused on numerous inconsistencies in the man’s testimony about his experiences in Jamaica,
JAMAICA, continued on p.12
September 15 - 28, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
No Posing as Others on Manhunt! Texas court rejects free speech challenge to online impersonation law BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
ho knew? It is potentially a crime in Texas —and apparently sever al other states —to pose as somebody else on social media sites like Manhunt.net. And, according to a panel of the Texas Fifth District Court of Appeals, this prohibition does not violate anybody’s First Amendment rights. Michael Dwain Bradshaw was charged with violating a Texas Online Impersonation statute that makes it a crime if a person “without obtaining the other person’s consent and with the intent to harm, defraud, intimidate, or threaten any person, uses the name or persona of another person to (1) create a web page on a commercial social networking site or other Internet website; or (2) post or send one or more messages on or through a commercial social networking site or other Internet website, other than on or through an electronic mail program or message board program.” The indictment charges Bradshaw with “intentionally or knowingly using Joel Martin’s name or persona to post or send one or more messages on or though manhunt. net, an Internet website, without obtaining Martin’s consent, and with the intent to harm Martin.” In the August 23 opinion for the appeals panel, Justice Robert M. Fillmore does not get any more specific about the factual allegations against Bradshaw, focusing instead on refuting his First Amendment constitutional claims, among others. Represented by attorneys Mark W. Bennett and Toby L. Shook, Bradshaw, in a pretrial petition, sought to get the indictment quashed on the ground that the statute is unconstitutional on its face. A Dallas County Criminal Court judge denied the petition, and Bradshaw appealed to the Fifth District court. Bradshaw’s first argument was that the law is unconstitutionally over -broad, “restricting a substantial amount of protected speech based on the content of GayCityNews.nyc | September 15 - 28, 2016
the speech.” The state argued that the statute regulates only conduct and unprotected speech, and that any incidental effect on protected speech “is marginal when weighed against the plainly legitimate sweep of the statute.” Justice Fillmore noted that Supreme Court precedents describe the overbreadth doctrine Bradshaw relied on as “strong medicine that is used sparingly and only as a last resort,” reserved for statutes presenting a “realistic” danger of inhibiting constitutionally protected speech. The Texas appellate court concluded that the “vast majority” of speech covered by the statute is not protected by the First Amendment, and agreed with the state’s argument that the law is mainly about regulating conduct. “Impersonation is a nature-ofconduct offense,” wrote Fillmore, which “does not implicate the First Amendment unless the conduct qualifies as ‘expressive conduct’ akin to speech.” Bradshaw contended that “using another’s name or persona to create a webpage, post a message, send a message” is inher ently expressive conduct, but the court did not buy this argument, finding that the focus of the statute was on how someone uses another’s name or image. “Any subsequent ‘speech’ related to that conduct is integral to criminal conduct and may be prevented and punished without violating the First Amendment,” wrote Fillmore. For that reason, the court should not apply strict scrutiny to the impersonation statute — as it would with a law restricting speech based on its content — but rather “intermediate review,” in which the state need solely demonstrate that it advances a significant public interest. The court concluded, contrary to Bradshaw’s argument, that the statute is content-neutral. It didn’t matter whose name or persona was being appropriated; it was the appropriation of identity, which the court saw as conduct, that was being punished, and then only if it
September is National Preparedness Month! Join NYC Emergency Management to learn how to prepare for all types of emergencies. Activities throughout September: Free preparedness fairs, events and workshops throughout the five boroughs Family day at the Bronx Zoo on Sunday, Sept. 18 Family day at the Staten Island Children’s Museum on Saturday, Sept. 24 and much more!
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MANHUNT, continued on p.13
STUEBEN DAY PARADE WELCOMES FIRST LGBT CONTINGENT
JAMAICA, from p.10
in which he mixed up dates, places, and names to such an extent the claims were dismissed as not credible. The judge rejected letters from other people attesting to the man’s bisexuality, including two from former boyfriends now living in other states, doubting their validity. The BIA “found no clear error in the IJ’s findings that [petitioner] ‘did not credibly testify and did not establish that he has ever been bisexual,’” wrote Judge Wood. “And because [petitioner] had not established that he was bisexual or that he would be perceived in Jamaica as bisexual —the basis of his purported fear of torture —he had not met his burden of proof under the CAT.” In refusing to upset this ruling, the majority of the Seventh Circuit panel focused on its limited authority to review factual findings by an immigration judge, stating that the question is “whether the facts compel a conclusion contrary to the one that the IJ reached. While we might wish it were otherwise, there is no exception under which plenary review is available for factual questions of enormous consequence, as this one is.” Wood continued, “We are not insensible to the fact that immigration judges sometimes make mistakes, and that the costs of such errors can be terrible. A mistaken denial of asylum can be fatal to the person sent back to a country where persecution on account of
sia, was known for his same-sex relationships and wrote the manual to train General George Washington’s troops. Landman, a son of German Holocaust survivors, explained that he was drawn to the event not only because of von Steuben’s role in LGBT and American history, but also because Germany, home by the late 19th century to Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld’s Institute of Sexual Research in Berlin, was the birthplace of the modern LGBT movement. “If you are interested in joining us, please email us at email@example.com and put Steuben in the title,” Landman said. “We have the flags and banners and will ask everyone to wear a solid-colored shirt. Together we will make a rainbow as we walk.” For more information, visit nfotrue.com/LGBTG.html. —Andy Humm
a protected characteristic occurs; a mistaken denial of deferral of removal under the Torture Convention can have ghastly consequences. If we could balance the magnitude of the risk times the probability of its occurrence against the cost of offering a few additional procedures, or a few more years in the United States, we would.” While admitting that this result is harsh, Wood dangled hope that if the petitioner could come up with more credible evidence, he might be able to persuade the immigration judge to reopen his case. This did not satisfy Judge Posner, who ripped into the majority in his dissenting opinion. He pointed out that the merits of the petitioner’s claim “depend on how two issues are resolved: whether [petitioner] is bisexual and whether bisexuals are persecuted in Jamaica. The rejection of the second point by the immigration judge, upheld by the Board of Immigration Appeals, is cursory and unconvincing; but if he isn’t bisexual the error is harmless. But the rejection of his claim to be bisexual is also unconvincing. The immigration judge emphasized such things as [his] lack of detailed recollection of events that go back as far as 1983 and a supposed lack of ‘proof’ of bisexuality. Well, even members of this panel have forgotten a lot of 33-year-old details. And how exactly does one prove that he (or she) is bisexual? Persuade all one’s male sex partners to testify, to write letters, etc.? No, because most
Jamaican homosexuals are not going to go public with their homosexuality given the vicious Jamaican discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (‘LGBT’) persons, which is undeniable...” Posner recited at some length information easily available online and from the State Department, and asserted that the immigration judge’s opinion “is oblivious to these facts.” He pointed out that the court’s opinion “does not explain” how many of the inconsistencies of testimony “could have any bearing on the question of [his] sexual orientation.” Posner tore to shreds the immigration judge’s rationale for rejecting the substantiating letters offered by the petitioner, including those from his ex-lovers, and criticized the judge for failing to ask a psychologist to provide input on the question. “Immigration judges are authorized to do this,” he wrote, “authorized to select and consult, which they may and usually do on the phone, an expert with expertise relevant to the case at hand.” Most tellingly, in light of the petitioner’s name now being public, wrote Posner, “Nor had any reason been given, either by the immigration judge or by the majority opinion in this court, why if [petitioner] is not bisexual he would claim to be in an effort to remain in the United States, knowing that if he failed in this effort to remain he would be in grave danger of persecution when
Veteran gay activist Rick Landman and Chicagoan Stephen Fuchs are organizing the first LGBT contingent in the German-American Steuben Parade New York this coming weekend. LGBT-G, serving New York City’s LGBT Germans — which will march under the auspices of German Pulse’s LGBT Germany group — will gather at noon on 70th Street between Madison and Park Avenues for the September 17 march up to 86th Street. The contingent is in the seventh division, section A: 702. Fuchs, who is the founder of LGBT Germany, an affiliate of German Pulse, a Chicago-based group that fosters interest in German culture, is the group’s marshal. LGBT Germany participated last year as the first gay group in Chicago’s Steuben Parade. The parade’s namesake, American Revolutionary War hero Baron von Steuben, an immigrant from Prus-
having lost his case he was shipped off to Jamaica. No doubt once back in Jamaica he could deny being bisexual —but no one who was either familiar with this litigation, or had been one of his persecutors before he left Jamaica for the United States, would believe (or at least admit to believing) his denial.” Posner also threw in his insight that “homosexuals are often antipathetic to bisexuals,” for which he cited some articles from the Internet. Posner seems to be an avid Googler, judging by his online references in this and other cases. “This is not to say that they would be likely to attack [petitioner] physically when he returned to Jamaica, but they might well talk about his return to the island —the return of a bisexual —and some of the persons to whom they talked might well be heterosexual and want to harm [him] physically. Word is likely to spread quickly in an island of fewer than three million inhabitants.” Posner’s parting shot, as noted, was to suggest that the immigration judge was ignorant about bisexuality and had a “closed mind” on the subject. The petitioner, who has been representing himself without a lawyer —and so, statistically, never had a particularly good chance of winning his case —now likely faces imminent deportation. Gay City News has withheld his name to avoid spreading it on the Internet and exposing him to further potential harm. September 15 - 28, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
MANHUNT, from p.11
was being done for purposes specified in the statute. Looking to the law’s legislative history, Fillmore wrote that committee hearings in the Texas House of Representatives made clear its purpose was “to ‘deter and punish’ individuals who assumed the identity of another and sent false, harassing, or threatening electronic messages to the victim or a third party who was unaware of the perpetrator’s true identity. The committee noted that online harassment had resulted in suicide, threats of physical or mental abuse, and more, but ‘current Texas law does not provide a means of prosecuting some of the most egregious of these acts.’” Fillmore continued, “There is nothing in the legislative history that would suggest the legislature was targeting or expressing its disagreement with any particular topic or viewpoint.” The state interest served by the law, the court concluded, involves “protecting citizens from crime, fraud, defamation, or threats from online impersonation.”
The appeals panel also turned Bradshaw’s free speech argument on its head, concluding that the statute “also serves a significant First Amendment interest in regulating false and compelled speech on the part of the individual whose identity has been appropriated.” In comparison, Bradshaw’s free speech “hypotheticals,” were insubstantial “in comparison to the statute’s plainly legitimate sweep over unprotected speech and conduct.” Bradshaw also attacked the law under the 14th Amendment Due Process Clause as unduly vague, not giving specific enough warning to people about what conduct crossed the line of legality. Here, the court concluded, the legislature gave clear notice by defining the “harm” prohibited as “anything reasonably regarded as loss, disadvantage, or injury, including harm to another person in whose welfare the person affected is interested,” and adding particulars including harm to computer data and “any other loss, disadvantage, or injury that might reasonably be suffered as a result of the actor’s conduct.” Even armed with only a dictio-
Even armed with only a dictionary, Fillmore wrote, a “person of ordinary intelligence” would have “fair notice of what the statute prohibits.”
nary, Fillmore wrote, a “person of ordinary intelligence” would have “fair notice of what the statute prohibits.” Bradshaw also tried to raise an interstate commerce argument that the law placed “regulations on Internet users everywhere,” something Fillmore also rejected. “Evenhanded local regulation intended to effectuate a legitimate local public interest that has only incidental effects on interstate commerce will be upheld,” he wrote, “unless the burden imposed on such commerce is clearly excessive in relation to the putative local benefits.” Any incidental burden, the court concluded, was offset by
Texas’ significant interest in protecting its citizens. All of which leaves us to wonder about the facts of this case. Did Bradshaw use Martin’s picture or name to cruise on Manhunt.net, to lure people into compromising situations, or to engage in conduct that would damage Martin’s reputation or subject him to liability or prosecution if attributed to him? If this case goes to trial and produces written opinions or attracts media attention, perhaps we will find out. If, as is true in the overwhelming majority of criminal prosecutions, Bradshaw accepts a plea bargain offered by the prosecution, we may never know.
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GayCityNews.nyc | September 15 - 28, 2016
A DAZZLING RAINBOW ON A BROOKLYN LABOR DAY
PHOTO ESSAY BY DONNA ACETO In a Labor Day event probably only rivaled annually in New York by the June LGBT Pride March, as many as two million people turn out on East Parkway in Crown Heights for the West Indian American Day Carnival Parade.
This year, the crowd included, as always, many, many politicians —including (above) Public Advocate Letitia James and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams — and, oh yeah, many tens of thousands of very colorful marchers. September 15 - 28, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
Protesters in the lobby of BlackRock’s headquarters hold pictures of the 12 victims shot to death in 2012 in a Colorado movie theater, the youngest of whom was only six.
PROTESTERS TARGET BIGS GUNS AT BANKING CONFAB
OKTOBERFEST September 17 October 1
Saturdays: 9/17, 9/24, & 10/1
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum and Public Advocate Letitia James outside the Omni Berkshire Place Hotel on September 13.
GayCityNews.nyc | September 15 - 28, 2016
Celebratory keg tappings Pig roasts Mug holding competitions Live brass bands
Tuesdays: 9/13, 9/20, & 9/27 • Oktoberfest beer tastings
Thursdays: 9/22 & 9/29 German Craft Beer Celebration Beer Tastings and Keg Tapping
In the latest in a series of high-profile demonstrations against major producers and financers of firearms, Gays Against Guns, an advocacy group that emerged in the wake of the June mass murder at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, appeared outside the Omni Berkshire Place Hotel, where an investment conference was playing host to James Debney, CEO of Smith & Wesson, a leading manufacturer of firearms and ammunition. In advance of its September 13 press conference and protest, GAG noted that in a conference call with stock analysts earlier this month, Debney said of the company’s fiscal year first quarter ended July 31, “These are busy and exciting times for our company.” He also said Smith & Wesson looked forward to the “busy buying season coming up that’s almost upon us now.” During that same 90-day period, GAG pointed out, 49 people were shot to death at Pulse and eight police officers were shot to death in Dallas and Baton Rouge. “This is terrorism that we can have control over,” said Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, an LGBT synagogue. “We are all responsible for creating the environment in which that trigger can be pulled.” Kirsten John Foy, a minister who heads up the Brooklyn chapter of the National Action Network, said, “I refuse to have my children walk around with targets on their backs.”
• • • •
Kirsten John Foy of the National Action Network.
That message was echoed by Public Advocate Letitia James, who said, “No community is immune… How many children have to die? How many police officers have to die?” After addressing the press outside the Omni, the GAG contingent, which was joined by Leah Gunn Barrett, executive director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, marched a block to the headquarters of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset management firm, which has $16 million in holdings in Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger, another gun maker. The group had targeted BlackRock in another protest outside its offices a month ago. — Donna Aceto & Paul Schindler
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firstname.lastname@example.org FOUNDING EDITOR IN-CHIEF & ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER PAUL SCHINDLER
Or Why I’m So Often Embarrassed to Be a Journalist
BY PAUL SCHINDLER
The front page of Monday morning’s New York Post, under the headline “HILL HEALTH CRISIS,” of fer ed up frame captures from video shot the day before showing Hillary Clinton stumbling as she was helped into a van during 9/11 memorial services. By the time the Post produced this cover, we all knew why Clinton appeared the way she did. She had pneumonia, diagnosed two days earlier. In the intervening 48 hours, she had convened a meeting on national security, attended a major fundraiser, and spent an hour or so at the World Trade Center site. She probably shouldn’t have. She probably should have taken a few days off to recuperate —and explained just why she was doing so. Still, a diagnosis of pneumonia — the severity of which didn’t much get in the way the day she received it or the next —hardly seems to warrant the term “health crisis.” At least not until we know a whole lot more about dire symptoms, if they exist. By the next day, the Post was in full yellow rag mode. Clinton’s ailment remained a “health crisis,” one compounded by her “secrecy” in not going to an emergency room —to “dodge the media,” don’t you know. The newspaper also presented an anatomical cutaway of a blue-pant-suited Clinton, with pneumonia-filled lungs, a brain concussion and double vision in her eyes —um, in the immediate wake of a 2012 fall —a right elbow fracture from sometime (maybe the same fall), and something going on with her left leg, the details of which were obscured by the title “ILLIARY.” It would be reassuring if all this were just a problem at the Post. On Sunday, journalists came out of the woodwork complaining about being kept in the dark about Clinton’s pneumonia. Politico, in a story titled “Press rips Clinton campaign's handling of health incident,” quoted a
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tweet from the Times’ Jonathan Martin pointing out that Clinton learned of her illness Friday, but only “disclosed after this am’s episode.” CNN’s Brian Stelter seemed less concerned with not knowing on Friday and Saturday, but was bewildered by why he had to wait for five hours after the stumble Sunday to learn the truth. “I don’t understand why Clinton aides weren’t telling reporters at 10:30am: ‘pneumonia,’” he wrote. For Chuck Todd, the whip-smart and generally sober “Meet the Press” host, the issue was the type of illness Clinton had: “Of course they should have disclosed this. This isn’t a cold.” But it’s not a brain tumor, either, a point lost on one of Todd’s Sunday morning guests, former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, who saw the video clip and rushed out his medical advice: “I think that she should go to a hospital, see a neurologist, and get a clean report if it is available.” Brokaw pointed to dark rants Rudy Giuliani has lately been making about Clinton’s health, in which he directs listeners to dummied-up online video of the Democratic candidate that suggests she’s experiencing seizures and worse. Brokaw wasn’t alone in weighing, in even-handed fashion, the reality of Clinton’s health against preposterous and scurrilous innuendo coming out of the Trump campaign. “There is always an emphasis on the need to simply take Clinton’s word for it,” wrote Chris Cillizza, a Washington Post reporter on par with Todd smarts-wise. “Trust her that all of the emails that were deleted permanently from her server were purely personal. Trust her that any appearance of pay-to-play with donors to the Clinton Foundation is purely coincidental. Trust her that everything is A-okay with her health after the incident Sunday.” What Cillizza is basically arguing here is that in light of pneumonia undisclosed for 48 hours, all the nonsense from the Trump camp is now in play. By Monday, things had gotten absurd. David Shuster —who once had a real career with MSNBC (though he stirred a bunch of shit in 2008 arguing Chelsea Clinton is fair
game for reporters’ questions with the unfortunate claim she was, after all, being “pimped out” by her mom) —was tweeting, “DNC delegate: If @ HillaryClinton withdraws, every indication now committee will vote to replace with Biden. @BernieSanders team scrambling.” Huh? But it wasn’t just journalists with a history of tough talk about Hillary who were throwing their standards out the window. On NPR, Cokie Roberts asserted that some leading Democrats were “nervously beginning to whisper about having her step aside and finding another candidate.” That’s before Roberts said, “I think it’s unlikely to be a real thing.” Again, huh? Which is it? The problem here is not journalists being too tough on Clinton. The issue is their near inability to play any role whatsoever in lending meaningful context to their reporting, and thus to our national discussion during a presidential election. Clinton has been no model of transparency, and she didn’t handle disclosure of the pneumonia well. But, hewing to an absurdly simplistic —but sacred —notion of equivalency, too many in the media are willing to credit Trump’s birther/ swiftboating crap about Clinton’s health with the same credence given the actual facts of the matter. And that’s a microcosm of the press’ failure on Trump overall. How would he keep Muslims out of the US and to what effect? How much would the Wall cost and what would it achieve? Is he hardening or softening on immigration? Who are the “some people” and “many people” in the “some people are saying…” and “many people are writing” references he habitually makes? A conventional take on Trump’s candidacy is that it has always been underestimated, that he survives stumbles and outrages that would doom mere mortals. A big part of why is journalists’ irresponsible refusal to hold him accountable for what he says and does and to provide even the barest factual context for evaluating the stark differences presented by our two choices for president. September 15 - 28, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
PERSPECTIVE: Media Circus
Ding Dong, She’s Dead and All That BY ED SIKOV
sually our sense of pr opriety keeps us properly inhibited from expressing joy at the death of another. It’s better that way; the world would be an even less civilized place if we ran around singing “Ding, dong, the witch is dead” every time some hateful creature left the planet, never to return. But sometimes the news of a person’s demise sparks an overwhelming need to dance. Disinhibition reigns. Such is the case with the late and singly unlamented Phyllis Schlafly, the right-wing fanatic who enjoyed a full and satisfying life as a professional anti-feminist, all the while playing to an ignorant public’s worst misogynistic impulses. As many people noted (Betty Friedan, among the most prominent), Schlafly had the means and the time to pursue a law degree only to go on to use that degree to fight against women’s rights; she holds primary responsibility for the failure of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). She was devious. As the New York Times obituary put it, “Mrs. Schlafly’s pronouncements drove her antago-
nists to distraction, though they suspected that her biting language was calculated precisely to provoke their outrage. She said that ‘sexual harassment on the job is not a problem for virtuous women’ and that ‘sex-education classes are like in-home sales parties for abortions.’ She called the atom bomb ‘a marvelous gift that was given to our country by a wise God.’” As the Times also noted, “Her son John gained attention in 1992 when a gay activist revealed that he was homosexual. Mrs. Schlafly said she considered the disclosure a deliberate attempt to embarrass her. [No shit, Sherlock.] The revelation did not alter her disapproval of gay marriage. In 2010, she said of gay couples: ‘Nobody’s stopping them from shacking up. The problem is that they are trying to make us respect them, and that’s an interference with what we believe.’” Actually, the idea of trying to make Phyllis Schlafly respect me is just about the last item on my personal Gay Agenda, which I used to keep on Filofax back in the day, but which I now keep on the infinitely malleable iCal. (You had to physically destroy the Filofax agenda entries that you failed to achieve, but now, through the magic of iCal, everything can be
wiped from the record, as though it never existed!) Actually, she was wrong, wrong, wrong about what we were trying to do in her case. We never cared about what Phyllis Schlafly believed. She could believe that the moon was made of cheese for all I cared. What we were trying to do —and what we succeeded in doing —was assuring that the dreaded “equal rights” to which she was so adamantly opposed applied to us as well as to her. Fortunately, most of Schlafly’s goals were thoroughly thwarted in her lifetime; in other words, she had the horrible (read: wonderful) experience of watching her life’s work go down in flames. Yes, the ERA failed. But all her anti-gay political work came to nothing. Zippo. Nada. She lived long enough to see absurd sodomy laws struck down. Even better, she lived long enough to have her son be granted the right to marry the man he loved, assuming he ever loved anyone as much as he loved his mother. And that must have positively galled her. As Bette Davis reputedly said —or maybe it was her brilliant impressionist, Charles Pierce —“My mother taught me only to speak good of the dead. Joan Crawford is dead. Good.”
Language is fluid: “More than one thousand new words and phrases have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary — including moobs and gender-fluid.” So reports the marvelous Pink News, Britain’s one-stop shop for all LGBT -related bulletins. “First recorded in 1987, gender-fluid is an adjective that identifies a person who doesn’t identify with a single gender. Moobs has been around since about 2001 and refers to a man who has excess fat on his chest, resulting in a breast-like appearance.” Uh, beg to differ. A moob is not the fat man himself but rather his breast-like appendages. Important definitional changes, or rather additions, have been made. For instance, “Although cheeseball was originally an American colloquialism for someone who was awkward or lacking style, it also describes a deep-fried cheese appetizer.” I do hope the original sense of the word isn’t lost. “Bocconcini, an Italian word for a small amount of food, will be another food-related word.” Good —one can never have too many terms for morsels. And then this: “Fuhgeddaboudit, meaning forget about it, is another American slang term, heard around New York, that will now feature in the dictionary.” I love the fact that they felt the need to define the term. Follow @EdSikov on Twitter and Facebook.
PERSPECTIVE: A Dyke Abroad
Season of Grief
BY KELLY COGSWELL
y uncle died a couple days ago in Kentucky. I can’t digest it. Maybe because I’d only seen him once since I left almost three decades ago. At first I’d make occasional pilgrimages back to visit my gay-hating mother, but there was too much suffering involved, it messed me up. So I finally quit going altogether, and lost them all —cousins, uncles, sisters. Even now, with small reconciliations, it’s too late to recover what’s gone or grieve what I already mourned. I won’t go back for the funeral. Who needs to revisit old wounds? Who needs a memorial, installation, TV program, anyway, to remind us of the dead? I know what I’m talking about. Saw both towers fall with my own eyes. Today, SepGayCityNews.nyc | September 15 - 28, 2016
tember 12, 2016, it’s enough to look at the sky which is the same bright blue that the passengers saw 15 years ago before they crashed, the same gorgeous blue in which we first saw the two enormous plumes of smoke that would loom over the city for months. Or are burning still. I’ve never been to the 9/11 memorial, though I’ve seen the selfies of friends who’ve grinned in front of it for their camera phones. I guess that’s better than the fake solemnity you sometimes get. One of New York’s football teams went and during the pre-game show we got to see a video of this beefy white guy trying to bow his head but having trouble because his neck was so stiff with muscle. Probably we don’t deserve better. The streets were still covered with ash when vendors began to sell T-shirts, “I survived the Twin Towers” or whatever.
There’s not much dignity in human history. It keeps repeating itself, sometimes in tragedy but mostly farce. We didn’t even get a gloomy sky as backdrop. Worse, it was an election Tuesday in New York with the usual cast of ridiculous Democrats running for mayor. The big, red-faced, meaty-fingered Hevesi. The flip-flopper Ferrer. And whatshisname Green. I want to say Al, but that’s just wishful thinking. Ana and I woke up to shouting from our neighbors behind us, and for some reason turned on the tube. Then Ana went downtown with her journalist’s notebook, while I went up on the roof, saw the world changed, then went back downstairs and, after Ana returned safe, but covered in dust, predicted the rise of a stupid new American nationalism, cycles of revenge and retribution, foreign wars, racism, Islamophobia. Nothing that came after was a surprise, not even the Islamophilia in which “progressives”
DYKE ABROAD, continued on p.19
PERSPECTIVE: The Long View
From Ohio, New Evidence of Drug War’s Failure BY NATHAN RILEY
ad news for drug w a r r ior s con t in u e s to escalate, making defenders of the current policy approach look intellectually shabby. Elephant tranquilizers dealt the latest blow to the American strategy of drug interdiction. According to the New York Times, 200 overdoses and “several” deaths have occurred over recent weeks in the Cincinnati area. Police carry naloxone but it often takes multiple doses to bring a user out of their nods. A single dose immediately restores a heroin user’s breathing. Huge animals like elephants require high potency tranquilizers; even at low doses, the smaller human frame can quickly stop breathing after ingesting them. For the umpteenth time, proof emerges that American laws exercise no control over the drugs sold to users. Pharmaceutical benzedrine (uppers) in the 1970s were
banned, and users tur ned to cocaine that turned into crack and meth; prescription pain killers led users to heroin, which turns into fentanyl and then carfentanil, the elephant tranquilizer. Chasing down drug users typically leads to desperation and the making of more dangerous drugs. The correct moral response is helping drug users improve their safety even when they use drugs. Meanwhile, we accept no responsibility when these products are sold to drug users. This is immoral —and it’s also often fatal. It is not helpful to blame the criminal, the reflexive reaction in the United States. Most sellers don’t regulate the product any more than certified druggists control the contents of the pills they dispense. But it is the fault of politicians who neglect effective alternatives. Bad laws bring bad results. The end of November will mark eight years since Swiss voters approved the dispensing of heroin
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to those who have used the drug for two years or more. The voters ratified a program that started in 1994, and in the same election voted down a separate referendum to legalize marijuana. This buttoned-down nation saw no conflict between helping heroin users and maintaining a stance against drug use. Most Swiss heroin users are treated with methadone, according to the reform advocacy group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, with 16,000 of the 22,000 to 24,000 users taking methadone and about 1,300 given heroin. The Swiss believe that heroin use is falling by about four percent a year there. It is a problem, but a manageable problem. And now Canada, in the new atmosphere created by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau —who has his own famous history of drug use and campaigned on a harm reduction, legalize marijuana platform —has announced it will prescribe heroin to certain patients. As reported in the Toronto Star, “supervised heroin
therapy is used in several countries, including Switzerland, Germany, and the Netherlands, and a clinical trial in Canada has concluded injectable heroin was more effective than standard methadone treatment.” But the US seldom debates —much less implements — approaches that accept the fact that some people use hard drugs. The Times headline is a prosecutor’s dream: “Drug Linked to Ohio Overdoses Can Kill in Doses Smaller than a Snowflake.” Hyperbole that can send a dealer away for decades without providing any help to a user. Taking dealers out of society always leaves openings for new dealers to enter the market. Many of us recognize the problem; far fewer insist that new policies must replace the old. By playing the unhelpful tune that dealers are selling poison, the Times offers police a ready-made justification for buy-and-bust trick-
LONG VIEW, continued on p.25
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LISTEN EVERY THURSDAY AT 4:45PM ON BrooklynPaper.com/radio September 15 - 28, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
PERSPECTIVE: Intersectional Unity
Gay and Disabled in an Ableist, Heteronormative World BY JOSEPH A. LOGIUDICE
always felt dif fer ent as a child. It was not until adulthood that I realized why: I am gay and disabled. I talk often about being an LGBTQ person, but rarely will you hear me talk openly about my learning disability. I sat through many years of psychoeducational testing in New York City public schools for what school psychologists and social workers believe is a learning disability. To compound feeling dumb in school, I felt disinclined to fulfill the male gender stereotype despite constant bullying and harassment. I tried and tried to find people who could relate to me, only to be disappointed and alienated by others. Thank goodness, I never gave up! This journey has led me to the study and practice of an intersectionality approach with a focus on LGBTQ and disability identities. You are probably wondering: Why should the LGBTQ population care? Because you could be one of the people I’m talking about or might become one of them in older age. I first learned about the theory of intersectionality in doctoral studies in social work. I was relieved to finally find a theory that could explain things that I had experienced first-hand in both school and work. For the longest time, I thought it seemed like common
sense that children who are both LGBTQ and disabled will experience greater oppression and discrimination than their non-disabled and/ or non-LGBTQ peers. Many studies that I came across in graduate social work education explored each identity separately. To me, it seemed silly to isolate parts of a person’s lived experience for analysis. The overarching principles of intersectionality involve the understanding of the interaction among multiple minority oppressions and of the social structures that continue to perpetuate hegemonic cultures and preclude social justice. Kimberlé Crewshaw, a law professor at both Columbia Law School and UCLA Law School, is the pioneer who coined intersectionality theory. She emphasized that our judicial system deals with identities discretely rather than looking at the whole person. This is becoming a bigger problem in the United States given how diverse we are and the many identities each of us possesses. In the last five years, a public discourse has arisen on what it means to be multiply-stigmatized due to multiple minority identities. The information has been slow to percolate, but now research is beginning to make its way into the conversation. Recently, a study was published by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) on “Educational Exclu-
DYKE ABROAD, from p.17
absolve themselves of their own privilege and bigotry by letting that religion off the hook for misogyny and queer-bashing we’d never let slide in Catholics or Southern Baptists. Still, I had nightmares. For weeks afterwards, local TV showed nothing but the buildings burning then falling, then burning, then falling, and people jumping from the upper stories again and again and again, and every night I’d be fleeing fireballs. When the bombing started in Afghanistan, portions of ravaged bodies would also enter my dreams. I was overcome with fury and grief, mourning the victims here in New York, but also those in Kabul, and then all of us who would be destroyed by the delayed GayCityNews.nyc | September 15 - 28, 2016
sion,” which found the following results: more LGBTQ students with disabilities than non-disabled LGBTQ students are likely to drop out of secondary school, be disciplined, graduate at lower rates, and be involved in the criminal justice system. Additionally, when more than two marginalizations exist, the risks and challenges are elevated even further, potentially leading to a poorer quality of life. It seems obvious that this would be the case, but unless research is conducted and brought to Congress and policy makers, laws and practices remained unchanged. For LGBTQ disabled individuals, there are few legal protections that exist either in school or at work. In schools, bullying is not covered under federal law, which leaves students who do not conform to norms at the whim of their peers and, sometimes, their teachers as well. Stopbullying.gov, a federal government website managed by the Department of Health and Human Services, notes that the following laws may help to protect minority and marginalized populations in school: Title IV and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. GLSEN, meanwhile, is actively pushing for the passage of the Stu-
real and metaphorical explosions any idiot could see coming in Baghdad, Aleppo, Orlando, Nice, Moscow. Remember how Putin was emboldened to become less and less democratic after Bush’s unilateral actions in Iraq? Remember that while the world was distracted, the Cuban regime arrested a huge swath of disgruntled bricklayers and independent librarians, many of whom are still in jail, or exiled, or conveniently dead? Our whole response was so stupid, but it’s too late now. Even this cult of September 11 is weird because we usually mark the ends of wars, not the beginning, except in local ceremonies. And we’re still in the middle of this one as a nation with no end in sight because the “War” Bush declared “On Terror” wasn’t against a human
dent Nondiscrimination Act, which would prohibit discrimination in schools on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, just as bias is already banned based on race, religion, and disability. Additionally, the Safe School Improvement Act would require states to adopt anti-bullying policies that prohibit harassment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression and ensure that schools have appropriate mechanisms for dealing with such harassment. School bullying continues to go unreported, leaving no recourse for the victim. And most communities have not made it their priority to support the passage of laws that protect vulnerable children. Those children are abandoned, left to their own devices. If they are fortunate, they don’t end up scarred or dead, from others’ violence or their own self-inflicted harm. Gay City News has reported over and over again on states where an LGBTQ person can be fired based on their sexual orientation and/ or gender identity. No federal law protects LGBTQ employees; consequently, they must often hide or pass as heterosexual as best they can, which can have devastating effects on the their ego. Now, let’s add another layer, in which you are both LGBTQ and disabled —and your disability is visible. What are your chances for being offered a position and keeping it? Organizational cultures are often resistant to employees about which stereotypes raise unfair inferences about competency, abili-
UNITY, continued on p.37
enemy, but an abstraction, requiring not just the usual boots on the ground, but an army of watchdogs, an infrastructure of new language, and a legacy of fear and loathing that we must continually replenish. There’s something so… made-up about the whole thing I sometimes think we should be able to unravel it. We’ve been duped. Before September 11, we Americans didn’t even have a Homeland to defend, just a home. Or a country that may or may not have embraced us, but was ours. Sadly, the history we repeat doesn’t offer quick solutions. It’s only easy to destroy. Kelly Cogswell is the author of “Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger,” from the University of Minnesota Press.
Actual ATRIPLA patients. ‡ ATRIPLA has been chosen by more than 500,000 people with HIV and their doctors. § In the US, ATRIPLA is the #1 prescribed one-pill, once-daily HIV treatment. TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR OR VISIT ATRIPLA.COM TO FIND OUT MORE. What is ATRIPLA? ATRIPLA® (efavirenz/emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) is a prescription medication used alone as a complete regimen, or with other antiHIV-1 medicines, to treat HIV-1 infection in adults and children at least 12 years old who weigh at least 40 kg (88 lbs). ATRIPLA does not cure HIV-1 infection or AIDS and you may continue to experience illnesses associated with HIV-1 infection, including opportunistic infections. See your healthcare provider regularly while taking ATRIPLA. IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION What is the most important information I should know about ATRIPLA? ATRIPLA can cause serious side effects: n Some people who have taken medicines like ATRIPLA (which contains nucleoside analogs) have developed lactic acidosis (build up of an acid in the blood). Lactic acidosis can be a serious medical emergency that can lead to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you get the following signs or symptoms of lactic acidosis: – feel very weak or tired – have unusual (not normal) muscle pain – have trouble breathing – have stomach pain with nausea and vomiting – feel cold, especially in your arms and legs – feel dizzy or lightheaded – have a fast or irregular heartbeat n Some people who have taken medicines like ATRIPLA have developed serious liver problems (hepatotoxicity), with liver enlargement (hepatomegaly) and fat in the liver (steatosis). In some cases, these liver problems can lead to death.
Call your healthcare provider right away if you get the following signs or symptoms of liver problems: – skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow (jaundice) – urine turns dark – bowel movements (stools) turn light in color – don’t feel like eating food for several days or longer – feel sick to your stomach (nausea) – have lower stomach area (abdominal) pain n You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or liver problems if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking nucleoside analog-containing medicines, like ATRIPLA (efavirenz/emtricitabine/ tenofovir disoproxil fumarate), for a long time. n If you also have hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and you stop taking ATRIPLA, you may get a “flare-up” of your hepatitis. A “flare-up” is when the disease suddenly returns in a worse way than before. Patients with HBV who stop taking ATRIPLA need close medical follow-up for several months to check for hepatitis that could be getting worse. ATRIPLA is not approved for the treatment of HBV, so you need to discuss your HBV therapy with your healthcare provider. Who should not take ATRIPLA? You and your healthcare provider should decide if ATRIPLA is right for you. Do not take ATRIPLA if you are allergic to ATRIPLA or any of its ingredients. What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking ATRIPLA? Tell your healthcare provider if you: n Are pregnant or planning to become pregnant: You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088. September 15 - 28, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
TAKING CARE OF
For adults with HIV-1,
WITH THE STRENGTH OF
Undetectable viral load is a goal, and ATRIPLA has the power to help get you there. In a clinical trial: • ATRIPLA has been proven to LOWER VIRAL LOAD to undetectable* in approximately 8 out of 10 adult patients new to therapy through 48 weeks compared with approximately 7 out of 10 adult patients in the comparator group† • ATRIPLA has been proven to LOWER VIRAL LOAD to undetectable* through 3 years in approximately 7 out of 10 adult patients new to therapy compared with approximately 6 out of 10 adult patients in the comparator group†
SELECTED IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION n Some people who have taken medicines like ATRIPLA have developed build up of lactic acid in the blood, which can be a serious medical emergency that can lead to death. n Some people who have taken medicines like ATRIPLA have developed serious liver problems, with liver enlargement and fat in the liver, which can lead to death. n If you also have hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and you stop taking ATRIPLA, your hepatitis may suddenly get worse. ATRIPLA is not approved for the treatment of HBV. IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION (continued) Women should not become pregnant while taking ATRIPLA and for 12 weeks after stopping ATRIPLA. Serious birth defects have been seen in children of women treated during pregnancy with efavirenz, one of the medicines in ATRIPLA. Women must use a reliable form of barrier contraception, such as a condom or diaphragm, even if they also use other methods of birth control, while on ATRIPLA and for 12 weeks after stopping ATRIPLA. Women should not rely only on hormone-based birth control, such as pills, injections, or implants, because ATRIPLA may make these contraceptives ineffective. n Are breastfeeding: Women with HIV should not breastfeed because they can pass HIV and some of the medicines in ATRIPLA through their milk to the baby. It is not known if ATRIPLA could harm your baby. n Have kidney problems or are undergoing kidney dialysis treatment. n Have bone problems. n Have liver problems, including hepatitis B or C virus infection. Your healthcare provider may want to do tests to check your liver while you take ATRIPLA or may switch you to another medicine. n Have ever had mental illness or are using drugs or alcohol n Have ever had seizures or are taking medicine for seizures. Seizures have occurred in patients taking efavirenz, a component of ATRIPLA, generally in those with a history of seizures. If you have ever had seizures, or take medicine for seizures, your healthcare provider may want to switch you to another medicine or monitor you.
What important information should I know about taking other medicines with ATRIPLA? ATRIPLA may change the effect of other medicines, including the ones for HIV-1, and may cause serious side effects. Your healthcare provider may change your other medicines or change their doses. MEDICINES YOU SHOULD NOT TAKE WITH ATRIPLA n ATRIPLA should not be taken with: Combivir® (lamivudine/zidovudine), COMPLERA® (emtricitabine/rilpivirine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate), EMTRIVA® (emtricitabine), Epivir® or Epivir-HBV® (lamivudine), Epzicom® (abacavir sulfate/lamivudine), STRIBILD® (elvitegravir/cobicistat/emtricitabine/tenofovir DF), Trizivir® (abacavir sulfate/lamivudine/zidovudine), TRUVADA® (emtricitabine/tenofovir DF), or VIREAD® (tenofovir DF), because they contain the same or similar active ingredients as ATRIPLA. ATRIPLA should not be used with SUSTIVA® (efavirenz) unless recommended by your healthcare provider. n Vfend® (voriconazole) should not be taken with ATRIPLA since it may lose its effect or may increase the chance of having side effects from ATRIPLA. n ATRIPLA should not be used with HEPSERA® (adefovir dipivoxil). Please see Important Safety Information continued on the following pages.
*Undetectable was defined as a viral load of fewer than 400 copies/mL. † In this study, 511 adult patients new to therapy received either the meds in ATRIPLA each taken once daily or Combivir® (lamivudine/zidovudine) twice daily + SUSTIVA® (efavirenz) once daily. ‡ Symphony Health Solutions, PatientSource APLD and Source® PHAST Prescription Monthly, counts are cumulative and equivalized. January 2007–February 2015. § Symphony Health Solutions, Source® PHAST Prescription Monthly, equivalized counts, July 2006–May 2015. GayCityNews.nyc | September 15 - 28, 2016
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION (continued) Patient PatientInformation Information These are not all the medicines that may cause problems if you take ATRIPLA. ® ® (uhTRIP TRIPluh) luh)Tablets Tablets ATRIPLA (uh ATRIPLA Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements you are taking or plan to take. ALERT: ALERT: Find Find out out about about medicines medicines that that should should NOT NOT be be taken taken with with ATRIPLA ATRIPLA(efavirenz/emtricitabine/tenofovir (efavirenz/emtricitabine/tenofovirdisoproxil disoproxilfumarate). fumarate). What are the possible side effects of ATRIPLA? Please Please also also read read the the section section “MEDICINES “MEDICINES YOU YOU SHOULD SHOULD NOT NOT TAKE TAKE ATRIPLA may cause the following additional serious side effects: WITHATRIPLA.” ATRIPLA.” n Serious psychiatric problems. Severe depression, strange thoughts, or angry WITH behavior have been reported by a small number of patients. Some patients Generic Generic name: name: efavirenz, efavirenz, emtricitabine emtricitabine and and tenofovir tenofovir disoproxil disoproxil fumarate fumarate (eh (eh FAH FAH vih vih have had thoughts of suicide, and a few have actually committed suicide. renz, renz,em emtritriSIT SITuh uhbean beanand andteteNOE’ NOE’fofoveer veerdye dyesoe soePROX PROXililFYOU FYOUmar marate) ate) These problems may occur more often in patients who have had mental illness. Read Read the the Patient Patient Information Information that that comes comes with withATRIPLA ATRIPLAbefore before you you start start taking taking itit and and n Kidney problems (including decline or failure of kidney function). If you have each time time you you get get aa refill refill since since there there may may be be new new information. information. This This information information does does had kidney problems, or take other medicines that may cause kidney problems, each not take take the the place place ofof talking talking toto your your healthcare healthcare provider provider about about your your medical medical condition condition your healthcare provider should do regular blood tests. Symptoms that may be not or or treatment. treatment. You You should should stay stay under under a a healthcare healthcare provider’s provider’s care care when when taking taking related to kidney problems include a high volume of urine, thirst, muscle pain, ATRIPLA. ATRIPLA. Do Do not not change change or or stop stop your your medicine medicine without without first first talking talking with with your your and muscle weakness. healthcare healthcare provider. provider. Talk Talk to to your your healthcare healthcare provider provider or or pharmacist pharmacist if if you you have have any any n Other serious liver problems. Some patients have experienced serious liver questions questionsabout aboutATRIPLA. ATRIPLA. problems, including liver failure resulting in transplantation or death. Most of these serious side effects occurred in patients with a chronic liver disease such What Whatisisthe themost mostimportant importantinformation informationIIshould shouldknow knowabout aboutATRIPLA? ATRIPLA? as hepatitis infection, but there have also been a few reports in patients without ■■ Some Some people people who who have have taken taken medicine medicine like like ATRIPLA ATRIPLA (which (which contains contains any existing liver disease. nucleoside nucleosideanalogs) analogs)have havedeveloped developedaaserious seriouscondition conditioncalled calledlactic lacticacidosis acidosis n Changes in bone mineral density (thinning bones). Lab tests show changes (build (buildup upofofan anacid acidininthe theblood). blood).Lactic Lacticacidosis acidosiscan canbe beaamedical medicalemergency emergencyand and in the bones of patients treated with tenofovir DF, a component of ATRIPLA. may mayneed needtotobe betreated treatedininthe thehospital. hospital.Call Callyour yourhealthcare healthcareprovider providerright rightaway awayifif Some HIV patients treated with tenofovir DF developed thinning of the bones you youget getthe thefollowing followingsigns signsor orsymptoms symptomsof oflactic lacticacidosis: acidosis: (osteopenia), which could lead to fractures. Also, bone pain and softening of Youfeel feelvery veryweak weakor ortired. tired. the bone (which may lead to fractures) may occur as a consequence of kidney ■■ You problems. If you have had bone problems in the past, your healthcare provider ■■ You Youhave haveunusual unusual(not (notnormal) normal)muscle musclepain. pain. may want to do tests to check your bones or may prescribe medicines to help Youhave havetrouble troublebreathing. breathing. ■■ You your bones. Youhave havestomach stomachpain painwith withnausea nauseaand andvomiting. vomiting. ■■ You Common side effects: n Patients may have dizziness, headache, trouble sleeping, drowsiness, trouble ■■ You Youfeel feelcold, cold,especially especiallyininyour yourarms armsand andlegs. legs. concentrating, and/or unusual dreams during treatment with ATRIPLA Youfeel feeldizzy dizzyor orlightheaded. lightheaded. (efavirenz/emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate). These side effects may ■■ You be reduced if you take ATRIPLA at bedtime on an empty stomach; they tend to ■■ You Youhave haveaafast fastor orirregular irregularheartbeat. heartbeat. go away after taking ATRIPLA for a few weeks. Tell your healthcare provider Somepeople peoplewho whohave havetaken takenmedicines medicineslike likeATRIPLA ATRIPLAhave havedeveloped developedserious serious ■■ Some right away if any of these side effects continue or if they bother you. These liver liver problems problems called called hepatotoxicity, hepatotoxicity, with with liver liver enlargement enlargement (hepatomegaly) (hepatomegaly) and and symptoms may be more severe if ATRIPLA is used with alcohol and/or moodfat fat in in the the liver liver (steatosis). (steatosis). Call Call your your healthcare healthcare provider provider right right away away if if you you get get the the altering (street) drugs. following followingsigns signsor orsymptoms symptomsof ofliver liverproblems: problems: n If you are dizzy, have trouble concentrating, and/or are drowsy, avoid activities Yourskin skinor orthe thewhite whitepart partofofyour youreyes eyesturns turnsyellow yellow(jaundice). (jaundice). ■■ Your that may be dangerous, such as driving or operating machinery. n Rash is a common side effect with ATRIPLA that usually goes away without Yoururine urineturns turnsdark. dark. ■■ Your any change in treatment. Rash may be serious in a small number of patients. Yourbowel bowelmovements movements(stools) (stools)turn turnlight lightinincolor. color. Rash occurs more commonly in children and may be a serious problem. If a ■■ Your rash develops, call your healthcare provider right away. Youdon’t don’tfeel feellike likeeating eatingfood foodfor forseveral severaldays daysor orlonger. longer. ■■ You n Other common side effects include: tiredness, upset stomach, vomiting, gas, ■■ You Youfeel feelsick sicktotoyour yourstomach stomach(nausea). (nausea). and diarrhea. Youhave havelower lowerstomach stomacharea area(abdominal) (abdominal)pain. pain. ■■ You Other possible side effects: You You may may be be more more likely likely to to get get lactic lactic acidosis acidosis or or liver liver problems problems ifif you you are are ■ ■ n Changes in body fat have been seen in some people taking anti-HIV-1 female,very veryoverweight overweight(obese), (obese),or orhave havebeen beentaking takingnucleoside nucleosideanalog-containing analog-containing medicines. Increase of fat in the upper back and neck, breasts, and around the female, medicines, medicines,like likeATRIPLA, ATRIPLA,for foraalong longtime. time. trunk may happen. Loss of fat from the legs, arms, and face may also happen. The cause and long-term health effects of these changes in body fat are If If you you also also have have hepatitis hepatitis B B virus virus (HBV) (HBV) infection infection and and you you stop stop taking taking ■■ not known. ATRIPLA, ATRIPLA, you you may may get get aa “flare-up” “flare-up” of of your your hepatitis. hepatitis. AA “flare-up” “flare-up” isis when when n Skin discoloration (small spots or freckles) may also happen. the the disease disease suddenly suddenly returns returns in in aa worse worse way way than than before. before. Patients Patients with with HBV HBV n In some patients with advanced HIV infection (AIDS), signs and symptoms of who whostop stoptaking takingATRIPLA ATRIPLAneed needclose closemedical medicalfollow-up follow-upfor forseveral severalmonths, months,including including medical exams exams and and blood blood tests tests toto check check for for hepatitis hepatitis that that could could be be getting getting worse. worse. inflammation from previous infections may occur soon after anti-HIV treatment medical ATRIPLA ATRIPLAisis not not approved approved for for the the treatment treatment ofof HBV, HBV, so so you you must must discuss discuss your your HBV HBV is started. If you notice any symptoms of infection, contact your healthcare therapy therapywith withyour yourhealthcare healthcareprovider. provider. provider right away. n Additional side effects are inflammation of the pancreas, allergic reaction What WhatisisATRIPLA? ATRIPLA? (including swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat), shortness of breath, (efavirenz),EMTRIVA EMTRIVA®®(emtricitabine) (emtricitabine)and and ATRIPLA ATRIPLAcontains contains33medicines, medicines,SUSTIVA SUSTIVA®®(efavirenz), pain, stomach pain, weakness, and indigestion. (tenofovirdisoproxil disoproxilfumarate fumaratealso alsocalled calledtenofovir tenofovirDF) DF)combined combinedininone onepill. pill. VIREAD VIREAD®®(tenofovir This is not a complete list of side effects. Tell your healthcare provider or EMTRIVA EMTRIVAand andVIREAD VIREADare areHIV-1 HIV-1(human (humanimmunodeficiency immunodeficiencyvirus) virus)nucleoside nucleosideanalog analog pharmacist if you notice any side effects while taking ATRIPLA. reverse reverse transcriptase transcriptase inhibitors inhibitors (NRTIs) (NRTIs) and and SUSTIVA SUSTIVA isis an an HIV-1 HIV-1 non-nucleoside non-nucleoside You should take ATRIPLA once daily on an empty stomach. Taking ATRIPLA at analog analog reverse reverse transcriptase transcriptase inhibitor inhibitor (NNRTI). (NNRTI). VIREAD VIREAD and and EMTRIVA EMTRIVA are are the the bedtime may make some side effects less bothersome. ATRIPLAcan can be be used used alone alone as as aa complete complete regimen, regimen, or or components components ofof TRUVADA TRUVADA®®..ATRIPLA inin combination combination with with other other anti-HIV-1 anti-HIV-1 medicines medicines toto treat treat people people with with HIV-1 HIV-1 infection. infection. Please see the following Patient Information for more information about these ATRIPLA ATRIPLA isis for for adults adults and and children children 12 12 years years ofof age age and and older older who who weigh weigh atat least least warnings, including signs and symptoms, and other Important 40 40 kg kg (at (at least least 88 88 lbs). lbs). ATRIPLA ATRIPLA isis not not recommended recommended for for children children younger younger than than Safety Information. 12 12years yearsofofage. age.ATRIPLA ATRIPLAhas hasnot notbeen beenstudied studiedininadults adultsover over65 65years yearsofofage. age.
ATRIPLA is a registered trademark of Bristol-Myers Squibb & Gilead Sciences, LLC. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ©2016 Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. All rights reserved. Printed in USA. 697US1601747-02-01 04/16
HIV HIV infection infection destroys destroys CD4+ CD4+ TT cells, cells, which which are are important important toto the the immune immune system. system. The Theimmune immunesystem systemhelps helpsfight fightinfection. infection.After Afteraalarge largenumber numberofofTTcells cellsare aredestroyed, destroyed, acquiredimmune immunedeficiency deficiencysyndrome syndrome(AIDS) (AIDS)develops. develops. acquired ATRIPLAhelps helpsblock blockHIV-1 HIV-1reverse reversetranscriptase, transcriptase,aaviral viralchemical chemicalininyour yourbody body(enzyme) (enzyme) ATRIPLA that isis needed needed for for HIV-1 HIV-1 toto multiply. multiply.ATRIPLA ATRIPLAlowers lowers the the amount amount ofof HIV-1 HIV-1 inin the the blood blood that (viral load). load). ATRIPLA ATRIPLA may may also also help help toto increase increase the the number number ofof TT cells cells (CD4+ (CD4+ cells), cells), (viral September 15 - 28, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
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ATRIPLA ATRIPLA®®(efavirenz/emtricitabine/tenofovir (efavirenz/emtricitabine/tenofovirdisoproxil disoproxilfumarate) fumarate)
ATRIPLA® (efavirenz/emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate)
allowing your your immune immune system system toto improve. improve. Lowering Lowering the the amount amount ofof HIV-1 HIV-1 inin the the blood blood ■ Reyataz (atazanavir sulfate), Prezista (darunavir) with Norvir (ritonavir), allowing lowersthe thechance chanceofofdeath deathor orinfections infectionsthat thathappen happenwhen whenyour yourimmune immunesystem systemisisweak weak lowers Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir), or Harvoni (ledipasvir/sofosbuvir); these medicines (opportunisticinfections). infections). (opportunistic may increase the amount of tenofovir DF (a component of ATRIPLA) in your blood, which could result in more side effects. Reyataz is not recommended with ATRIPLA. DoesATRIPLA ATRIPLAcure cureHIV-1 HIV-1or orAIDS? AIDS? Does You may need to be monitored more carefully if you are taking ATRIPLA, ATRIPLA does does not not cure cure HIV-1 HIV-1 infection infection or or AIDS AIDS and and you you may may continue continue toto ATRIPLA Prezista, and Norvir together, or if you are taking ATRIPLA and Kaletra together. experience illnesses illnesses associated associated with with HIV-1 HIV-1 infection, infection, including including opportunistic opportunistic experience The dose of Kaletra should be increased when taken with efavirenz. infections.You Youshould shouldremain remainunder underthe thecare careofofaadoctor doctorwhen whenusing usingATRIPLA. ATRIPLA. infections. ■ Medicine for seizures [for example, Dilantin (phenytoin), Tegretol (carbamazepine), or phenobarbital]; your healthcare provider may want to switch you to another Whoshould shouldnot nottake takeATRIPLA? ATRIPLA? Who medicine or check drug levels in your blood from time to time. Together with with your your healthcare healthcare provider, provider, you you need need toto decide decide whether whether ATRIPLA ATRIPLA isis Together rightfor foryou. you. right These are not all the medicines that may cause problems if you take ATRIPLA. Do not not take take ATRIPLA ATRIPLA ifif you you are are allergic allergic toto ATRIPLA ATRIPLA or or any any ofof its its ingredients. ingredients. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all medicines that you take. Do The active active ingredients ingredients ofof ATRIPLA ATRIPLA are are efavirenz, efavirenz, emtricitabine, emtricitabine, and and tenofovir tenofovir DF. DF. Keep a complete list of all the prescription and nonprescription medicines as well as The Seethe theend endofofthis thisleaflet leafletfor foraacomplete completelist listofofingredients. ingredients. See any herbal remedies that you are taking, how much you take, and how often you take them. Make a new list when medicines or herbal remedies are added or stopped, Whatshould shouldIItell tellmy myhealthcare healthcareprovider providerbefore beforetaking takingATRIPLA? ATRIPLA? What or if the dose changes. Give copies of this list to all of your healthcare providers Tellyour yourhealthcare healthcareprovider providerififyou: you: Tell and pharmacists every time you visit your healthcare provider or fill a prescription. Are pregnant pregnant or or planning planning to to become become pregnant pregnant (see (see “What “What should should II avoid avoid while while This will give your healthcare provider a complete picture of the medicines you use. ■■ Are Then he or she can decide the best approach for your situation. takingATRIPLA?”). ATRIPLA?”). taking How should I take ATRIPLA? Arebreastfeeding breastfeeding(see (see“What “Whatshould shouldIIavoid avoidwhile whiletaking takingATRIPLA?”). ATRIPLA?”). ■■ Are ■ Take the exact amount of ATRIPLA your healthcare provider prescribes. Never Havekidney kidneyproblems problemsor orare areundergoing undergoingkidney kidneydialysis dialysistreatment. treatment. ■■ Have change the dose on your own. Do not stop this medicine unless your healthcare provider tells you to stop. Have bone problems. Have bone problems. ■■ Have liver liver problems, problems, including including hepatitis hepatitis BB virus virus infection. infection. Your Your healthcare healthcare ■ You should take ATRIPLA on an empty stomach. ■■ Have provider may may want want toto do do tests tests toto check check your your liver liver while while you you take takeATRIPLA ATRIPLAor or may may ■ Swallow ATRIPLA with water. provider switchyou youtotoanother anothermedicine. medicine. switch ■ Taking ATRIPLA at bedtime may make some side effects less bothersome. Haveever everhad hadmental mentalillness illnessor orare areusing usingdrugs drugsor oralcohol. alcohol. ■■ Have ■ Do not miss a dose of ATRIPLA. If you forget to take ATRIPLA, take the missed dose Haveever everhad hadseizures seizuresor orare aretaking takingmedicine medicinefor forseizures. seizures. ■■ Have
right away, unless it is almost time for your next dose. Do not double the next dose. Carry on with your regular dosing schedule. If you need help in planning the best times to take your medicine, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
What important important information information should should II know know about about taking taking other other medicines medicines with with What ATRIPLA? ATRIPLA? ■ If you believe you took more than the prescribed amount of ATRIPLA, contact your ATRIPLAmay maychange changethe theeffect effectof ofother othermedicines, medicines,including includingthe theones onesfor forHIV-1, HIV-1, ATRIPLA local poison control center or emergency room right away. and may may cause cause serious serious side side effects. effects. Your Your healthcare healthcare provider provider may may change change your your and other medicines medicines or or change change their their doses. doses. Other Other medicines, medicines, including including herbal herbal products, products, ■ Tell your healthcare provider if you start any new medicine or change how you take other old ones. Your doses may need adjustment. may affect affectATRIPLA. ATRIPLA. For For this this reason, reason, itit isis very very important important to to let let all all your your healthcare healthcare may providers and and pharmacists pharmacists know know what what medications, medications, herbal herbal supplements, supplements, or or vitamins vitamins ■ When your ATRIPLA supply starts to run low, get more from your healthcare provider providers youare aretaking. taking. you or pharmacy. This is very important because the amount of virus in your blood may increase if the medicine is stopped for even a short time. The virus may develop MEDICINESYOU YOUSHOULD SHOULDNOT NOTTAKE TAKEWITH WITHATRIPLA ATRIPLA MEDICINES resistance to ATRIPLA and become harder to treat. ATRIPLA also also should should not not be be used used with with Combivir Combivir (lamivudine/zidovudine), (lamivudine/zidovudine), ■■ ATRIPLA EMTRIVA, Epivir, Epivir, Epivir-HBV Epivir-HBV (lamivudine), (lamivudine), Epzicom Epzicom (abacavir (abacavir ■ Your healthcare provider may want to do blood tests to check for certain side effects COMPLERA®®,, EMTRIVA, COMPLERA while you take ATRIPLA. Trizivir (abacavir (abacavir sulfate/lamivudine/zidovudine), sulfate/lamivudine/zidovudine), sulfate/lamivudine), sulfate/lamivudine), STRIBILD STRIBILD®®,, Trizivir TRUVADA, TRUVADA, or or VIREAD. VIREAD. ATRIPLA ATRIPLA also also should should not not be be used used with with SUSTIVA SUSTIVA unless unless What should I avoid while taking ATRIPLA? recommended recommendedby byyour yourhealthcare healthcareprovider. provider. ■ Women should not become pregnant while taking ATRIPLA and for 12 weeks after stopping it. Serious birth defects have been seen in the babies of animals Vfend(voriconazole) (voriconazole)should shouldnot notbe betaken takenwith withATRIPLA ATRIPLAsince sinceititmay maylose loseits itseffect effector or ■■ Vfend and women treated with efavirenz (a component of ATRIPLA) during pregnancy. It is may mayincrease increasethe thechance chanceofofhaving havingside sideeffects effectsfrom fromATRIPLA. ATRIPLA. not known whether efavirenz caused these defects. Tell your healthcare provider (adefovirdipivoxil). dipivoxil). ATRIPLAshould shouldnot notbe beused usedwith withHEPSERA HEPSERA®®(adefovir ■■ ATRIPLA right away if you are pregnant. Also talk with your healthcare provider if you want to become pregnant. ItItisisalso alsoimportant importanttototell tellyour yourhealthcare healthcareprovider providerififyou youare aretaking takingany anyofofthe thefollowing: following:
Fortovase, Invirase Invirase (saquinavir), (saquinavir), Biaxin Biaxin (clarithromycin), (clarithromycin), Noxafil Noxafil (posaconazole), (posaconazole), ■ Women should not rely only on hormone-based birth control, such as pills, injections, ■■ Fortovase, or implants, because ATRIPLA may make these contraceptives ineffective. Women Sporanox Sporanox (itraconazole), (itraconazole), Victrelis Victrelis (boceprevir), (boceprevir), or or Olysio Olysio (simeprevir); (simeprevir); these these must use a reliable form of barrier contraception, such as a condom or diaphragm, medicines medicines may may need need to to be be replaced replaced with with another another medicine medicine when when taken taken even if they also use other methods of birth control. Efavirenz, a component of with withATRIPLA. ATRIPLA. ATRIPLA, may remain in your blood for a time after therapy is stopped. Therefore, Calcium channel channel blockers blockers such such as as Cardizem Cardizem or or Tiazac Tiazac (diltiazem), (diltiazem), Covera Covera HS HS or or ■■ Calcium you should continue to use contraceptive measures for 12 weeks after you stop Isoptin Isoptin (verapamil) (verapamil) and and others; others; Crixivan Crixivan (indinavir), (indinavir), Selzentry Selzentry (maraviroc); (maraviroc); the the taking ATRIPLA. immunosuppressant immunosuppressant medicines medicines cyclosporine cyclosporine (Gengraf, (Gengraf, Neoral, Neoral, Sandimmune, Sandimmune, and and others), others), Prograf Prograf (tacrolimus), (tacrolimus), or or Rapamune Rapamune (sirolimus); (sirolimus); Methadone; Methadone; ■ Do not breastfeed if you are taking ATRIPLA. Some of the medicines in ATRIPLA can be passed to your baby in your breast milk. We do not know whether Mycobutin Mycobutin (rifabutin); (rifabutin); Rifampin; Rifampin; cholesterol-lowering cholesterol-lowering medicines medicines such such as as it could harm your baby. Also, mothers with HIV-1 should not breastfeed because Lipitor Lipitor (atorvastatin), (atorvastatin), Pravachol Pravachol (pravastatin (pravastatin sodium), sodium), and and Zocor Zocor (simvastatin); (simvastatin); HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in the breast milk. Talk with your healthcare or or the the anti-depressant anti-depressant medications medications bupropion bupropion (Wellbutrin, (Wellbutrin, Wellbutrin Wellbutrin SR, SR, provider if you are breastfeeding. You should stop breastfeeding or may need to use Wellbutrin Wellbutrin XL, XL, and and Zyban) Zyban) or or Zoloft Zoloft (sertraline); (sertraline); dose dose changes changes may may be be needed needed a different medicine. when whenthese thesedrugs drugsare aretaken takenwith withATRIPLA. ATRIPLA. ■ Taking ATRIPLA with alcohol or other medicines causing similar side effects as Videx,Videx VidexEC EC(didanosine); (didanosine);tenofovir tenofovirDF DF(a (acomponent componentofofATRIPLA) ATRIPLA)may mayincrease increase ■■ Videx, ATRIPLA, such as drowsiness, may increase those side effects. the the amount amount ofof didanosine didanosine inin your your blood, blood, which which could could result result inin more more side side effects. effects. You You may may need need to to be be monitored monitored more more carefully carefully ifif you you are are taking taking ATRIPLA ATRIPLA and and ■ Do not take any other medicines, including prescription and nonprescription medicines and herbal products, without checking with your healthcare provider. didanosine didanosinetogether. together.Also, Also,the thedose doseofofdidanosine didanosinemay mayneed needtotobe bechanged. changed. GayCityNews.nyc | September 15 - 28, 2016
ATRIPLA® (efavirenz/emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate)
ATRIPLA® (efavirenz/emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate)
■ Avoid doing things that can spread HIV-1 to others.
Other common side effects include tiredness, upset stomach, vomiting, gas, and diarrhea.
■ Do not share needles or other injection equipment. ■ Do not share personal items that can have blood or body fluids on them, like toothbrushes and razor blades. ■ Do not have any kind of sex without protection. Always practice safe sex by using a latex or polyurethane condom to lower the chance of sexual contact with semen, vaginal secretions, or blood. What are the possible side effects of ATRIPLA? ATRIPLA may cause the following serious side effects: ■ Lactic acidosis (buildup of an acid in the blood). Lactic acidosis can be a medical emergency and may need to be treated in the hospital. Call your healthcare provider right away if you get signs of lactic acidosis. (See “What is the most important information I should know about ATRIPLA?”) ■ Serious liver problems (hepatotoxicity), with liver enlargement (hepatomegaly) and fat in the liver (steatosis). Call your healthcare provider right away if you get any signs of liver problems. (See “What is the most important information I should know about ATRIPLA?”) ■ “Flare-ups” of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, in which the disease suddenly returns in a worse way than before, can occur if you have HBV and you stop taking ATRIPLA. Your healthcare provider will monitor your condition for several months after stopping ATRIPLA if you have both HIV-1 and HBV infection and may recommend treatment for your HBV. ATRIPLA is not approved for the treatment of hepatitis B virus infection. If you have advanced liver disease and stop treatment with ATRIPLA, the “flare-up” of hepatitis B may cause your liver function to decline. ■ Serious psychiatric problems. A small number of patients may experience severe depression, strange thoughts, or angry behavior while taking ATRIPLA. Some patients have thoughts of suicide and a few have actually committed suicide. These problems may occur more often in patients who have had mental illness. Contact your healthcare provider right away if you think you are having these psychiatric symptoms, so your healthcare provider can decide if you should continue to take ATRIPLA. ■ Kidney problems (including decline or failure of kidney function). If you have had kidney problems in the past or take other medicines that can cause kidney problems, your healthcare provider should do regular blood tests to check your kidneys. Symptoms that may be related to kidney problems include a high volume of urine, thirst, muscle pain, and muscle weakness. ■ Other serious liver problems. Some patients have experienced serious liver problems including liver failure resulting in transplantation or death. Most of these serious side effects occurred in patients with a chronic liver disease such as hepatitis infection, but there have also been a few reports in patients without any existing liver disease. ■ Changes in bone mineral density (thinning bones). Laboratory tests show changes in the bones of patients treated with tenofovir DF, a component of ATRIPLA. Some HIV patients treated with tenofovir DF developed thinning of the bones (osteopenia) which could lead to fractures. If you have had bone problems in the past, your healthcare provider may need to do tests to check your bone mineral density or may prescribe medicines to help your bone mineral density. Additionally, bone pain and softening of the bone (which may contribute to fractures) may occur as a consequence of kidney problems.
Other possible side effects with ATRIPLA: ■ Changes in body fat. Changes in body fat develop in some patients taking anti HIV-1 medicine. These changes may include an increased amount of fat in the upper back and neck (“buffalo hump”), in the breasts, and around the trunk. Loss of fat from the legs, arms, and face may also happen. The cause and long-term health effects of these fat changes are not known. ■ Skin discoloration (small spots or freckles) may also happen with ATRIPLA. ■ In some patients with advanced HIV infection (AIDS), signs and symptoms of inflammation from previous infections may occur soon after anti-HIV treatment is started. It is believed that these symptoms are due to an improvement in the body’s immune response, enabling the body to fight infections that may have been present with no obvious symptoms. If you notice any symptoms of infection, please inform your doctor immediately. ■ Additional side effects are inflammation of the pancreas, allergic reaction (including swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat), shortness of breath, pain, stomach pain, weakness and indigestion. Tell your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you notice any side effects while taking ATRIPLA. Contact your healthcare provider before stopping ATRIPLA because of side effects or for any other reason. This is not a complete list of side effects possible with ATRIPLA. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for a more complete list of side effects of ATRIPLA and all the medicines you will take. How do I store ATRIPLA? ■ Keep ATRIPLA and all other medicines out of reach of children. ■ Store ATRIPLA at room temperature 77°F (25°C). ■ Keep ATRIPLA in its original container and keep the container tightly closed. ■ Do not keep medicine that is out of date or that you no longer need. If you throw any medicines away make sure that children will not find them. General information about ATRIPLA: Medicines are sometimes prescribed for conditions that are not mentioned in patient information leaflets. Do not use ATRIPLA for a condition for which it was not prescribed. Do not give ATRIPLA to other people, even if they have the same symptoms you have. It may harm them. This leaflet summarizes the most important information about ATRIPLA. If you would like more information, talk with your healthcare provider. You can ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for information about ATRIPLA that is written for health professionals. Do not use ATRIPLA if the seal over bottle opening is broken or missing. What are the ingredients of ATRIPLA? Active Ingredients: efavirenz, emtricitabine, and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate Inactive Ingredients: croscarmellose sodium, hydroxypropyl cellulose, microcrystalline cellulose, magnesium stearate, sodium lauryl sulfate. The film coating contains black iron oxide, polyethylene glycol, polyvinyl alcohol, red iron oxide, talc, and titanium dioxide.
Common side effects: Patients may have dizziness, headache, trouble sleeping, drowsiness, trouble concentrating, and/or unusual dreams during treatment with ATRIPLA. These side effects may be reduced if you take ATRIPLA at bedtime on an empty stomach. They also tend to go away after you have taken the medicine for a few weeks. If you have these common side effects, such as dizziness, it does not mean that you will also have serious psychiatric problems, such as severe depression, strange thoughts, or angry behavior. Tell your healthcare provider right away if any of these side effects continue or if they bother you. It is possible that these symptoms may be more severe if ATRIPLA is used with alcohol or mood altering (street) drugs.
Revised: February 2016
If you are dizzy, have trouble concentrating, or are drowsy, avoid activities that may be dangerous, such as driving or operating machinery.
ATRIPLA is a trademark of Bristol-Myers Squibb & Gilead Sciences, LLC. COMPLERA, EMTRIVA, HARVONI, HEPSERA, SOVALDI, STRIBILD, TRUVADA, and VIREAD are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies. SUSTIVA is a trademark of Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharma Company. Reyataz and Videx are trademarks of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. Pravachol is a trademark of ER Squibb & Sons, LLC. Other brands listed are the trademarks of their respective owners. 21-937-GS-016 697US1601052-08-01
Rash may be common. Rashes usually go away without any change in treatment. In a small number of patients, rash may be serious. If you develop a rash, call your healthcare provider right away. Rash may be a serious problem in some children. Tell your child’s healthcare provider right away if you notice rash or any other side effects while your child is taking ATRIPLA.
September 15 - 28, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
LONG VIEW, from p.18
ery and encourages overt hostility toward a population that society considers pariahs. Her oin overdoses expose a malevolent feature of unrealistic policies. The mistakes bring early deaths. It is no longer reasonable to say America can be drug-free. And that means we miss the mark when we say, “Well, you wouldn’t have this problem if you didn’t do drugs.” After all, it is as plain as the nose on a person’s face that some people do drugs, and the moral obligation we face is how to help drug users do it safely. A practical solution, one that
is in place all over the world, is safe-injection facilities. Places where users may inject with sterile needles under the supervision of health professionals. Given Governor Andrew Cuomo’s adamant anti-drug beliefs, this program is only being pushed by one small city upstate. Ithaca Mayor Svante L. Myrick lost his father to drug use and wants to implement anti-overdose programs. And, of course, his effort to implement an evidence-based public health program is met with hostility and scoffing. In New York City, needle exchanges are searching for public support to allow their institutions to become safe injecting facilities.
RAVI, from p.6
appellate panel. Testimony that Fuentes pointed to showed Ravi to be an immature, insensitive young man who lacked empathy for his roommate and was curious to know what was going on in his dorm room when he “gave the room” to Clementi. It’s hard to see how Ravi could believe Clementi wouldn’t learn about his spying, since he was tweeting about it, or that Clementi —or anybody, for that matter —would not be upset about their private activities being webcast in that way. It’s possible, then, that the prosecution could have secured bias intimidation convictions without introducing evidence about the impact of Ravi’s actions on Clementi and just focusing on what Ravi had said, tweeted, and done. But given the strength of the evidence regarding the statute’s third element, prosecutors presented all of it and won convictions across the board. During jury selection, the judge told prospective jurors about Clementi’s suicide but emphasized that Ravi “was not charged with either causing or contributing to his death.” Clementi’s death was also mentioned several times during the trial, but was not mentioned during the judge’s charge to the jury or the prosecution’s closing argument. It was made clear to the jury that Ravi was being tried solely for his own actions. After his convictions, Ravi received what the prosecutors —and many commentators — believed was an extraordinarily light sentence: three years of probation, a jail sentence of 30 days, 300 hours of community service, counseling, and a $10,000 “assessment” to be donated to a community organization providing assistance to bias crimes victims. Ravi appealed his conviction, but fulfilled his sentence pending the appeal. The prosecutors also appealed, arguing Ravi should have received substantially more time in jail. Three years after Ravi’s conviction, the New Jersey Supreme Court declared that the third part of the bias intimidation statute was unconGayCityNews.nyc | September 15 - 28, 2016
There is a fear that society and especially adolescents will be harmed if we normalize drug addiction. But the current policy harms adolescents by dragging them into the criminal justice system and offering them dangerous black market drugs. The fears about encouraging use that otherwise would not occur falsely label as a negative one of the chief benefits of a safe-injection program. Regular users can socialize; they can learn tips about safe injections from nurses. The SIF offers ways to warn about bad drugs and to stop panics caused by false rumors. Most importantly, it offers health professionals the opportunity to prove
stitutional because it allowed a defendant to be convicted without any proof he intentionally or knowingly engaged in illegal conduct, but rather solely on a victim’s belief they were the target of harassment. The court found that this violated basic constitutional rights. “In focusing on the victim’s perception and not the defendant’s intent, the statute does not give a defendant sufficient guidance or notice on how to conform to the law,” wrote Justice Barry T. Albin for the State Supreme Court. “That is so because a defendant may be convicted of a bias crime even though a jury concluded that the defendant had no intent to commit such a crime.” The other two parts of the bias intimidation statute survived the State Supreme Court ruling. As a result of the 2015 state high court decision, is not surprising that the Appellate Division found that the verdict on all four bias intimidation counts had to be thrown out. What was surprising, however, was that conviction on all the other counts fell as well. “The evidence the State presented to prove the bias intimidation charges [under the stricken provision] permeated the entire case against defendant, rendering any attempt to salvage the convictions under the remaining charges futile,” Judge Fuentes wrote. “The State used evidence revealing the victim’s reserved demeanor and expressions of shame and humiliation as a counterweight to defendant’s cavalier indifference and unabashed insensitivity to his roommate’s right to privacy and dignity. The prosecutor aggressively pressed this point to the jury in her eloquent closing argument.” The appellate panel concluded, “It is unreasonable to expect a rational juror to remain unaffected by this evidence.” Despite evidence that clearly supported the charges of invasion of privacy counts, tampering with evidence, and attempting to affect what witnesses would say, the three-judge panel was convinced that the evidence about the effect on Clementi and his subsequent suicide, which should not have been presented to the jury, “constituted
they care about users whether they are on or off drugs. New Yorkers have been using heroin for more than 200 years. The first step toward managing this behavior means accepting the reality of that use and moving toward an approach by which we can live safely with drug users in our midst. Unlike marijuana, large numbers of people are not going to turn to heroin for regular use. We should learn to live with the use that does occur and hopefully allow the users to continue living with us. A concerted effort to hunt down drug use has deadly consequences; it is time to create neutral spaces that welcome safe drug use.
an error ‘of such a nature to have been clearly capable of producing an unjust result.’” In addition to the bias intimidation counts, the court also permanently dismissed one count of hindering prosecution, finding that the evidence there was deficient. Fuentes concluded by condemning Ravi’s conduct and lamenting the misuse to which the Internet can be put. “The sense of loss associated with a young man taking his own life defies our meager powers of reason and tests our resolve to seek consolation,” he wrote. “From a societal perspective, this case has exposed some of the latent dangers concealed by the seemingly magical powers of the Internet. The implications associated with the misuse of our technological advancements lies beyond this court’s competency to address.” Though Ravi has never faced charges in Clementi’s death, the court was not willing to conclude without alluding to the responsibility he and others had in creating a toxic climate for the victim. “The social environment that transformed a private act of sexual intimacy into a grotesque voyeuristic spectacle must be unequivocally condemned in the strongest possible way,” wrote Fuentes. “The fact that this occurred in a university dormitory, housing first-year college students, only exacerbates our collective sense of disbelief and disorientation. All of the young men and women who had any association with this tragedy must pause to reflect and assess whether this experience has cast an indelible moral shadow on their character.” Ravi now faces the possibility of being retried on 10 counts of actual or attempted invasion of privacy, hindering apprehension, witness tampering, and evidence tampering. The Middlesex County prosecutors must decide whether to seek a new trial, and a decision is expected within a week. Ravi never returned to Rutgers, and is now working, according to the Daily News. Tyler Clementi’s family responded to the tragedy by starting a foundation to combat bullying and harassment of gay kids.
ADVOCACY A Red Party to End AIDS STONEWALL INN
FRI.SEP.16 PERFORMANCE The Man Behind Lypsinka John Epperson, the real person behind Lypsinka, takes take the stage in “John Epperson: The Artist Principally Known as Lypsinka,” an evening in which he shares personal and rarified experience of moving to and living in New York City. With a nod to the urbane cabaret style of Bobby Short, Epperson’s show embraces classic entertainment filled with stories, tunes, and a few surprises. The entertainer, aka the Goddess of Showbiz Lypsinka, commands the piano and stage with a musical journey that weaves together Stephen Sondheim, Frank Loesser, Jule Styne, Kay Thompson, Kander & Ebb, Comden & Green, Rodgers & Hammerstein, and transgender icon Christine Jorgenson. Jay Rogers directs. Joe’s Pub, inside the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Pl. Sep. 16, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 at goo.gl/1DmOj4.
Trans-Aggressive Longtime drag star Lady Bunny, in her latest show co-written with Beryl Mendelbaum, “TransJester,” which pokes fun at what she calls “pc normatives,” takes the stage at the Stonewall Inn through the end of the month. 53 Christopher St., btwn. Waverly Pl. & Seventh Ave. S. Sep. 16-17, 21-24 & 28-30, Oct. 1, 7 p.m. Tickets are $22 at brownpapertickets.com/event/2594512.
Cycle for the Cause is the LGBT Community Center’s four-day, 275-mile bike ride from Boston to New York City, which passes through more than 50 cities to raise funds for the Center’s HIV/ AIDS programming. Today, Sep. 18, noon-6 p.m., the Center welcomes the riders to Manhattan with the Red Party, a block party on W. 13th St., btwn. Seventh & Eighth Aves. Enjoy food, drinks, a raffle, and other activities, and help greet the riders beginning around 2:30. More information at gaycenter.org/redparty.
MON.SEP.19 ADVOCACY Cabaret Evening Honoring Javier Muñoz Gay Men’s Health Crisis’ Howard Ashman Award is named for the Oscar and Grammy-winning lyricist of “Beauty and the Beast,” The Little Mermaid,” and “Aladdin” who passed away due to AIDS-related complications in 1991. This year, GMHC honors Javier Muñoz, the lead in Broadway’s “Hamilton,” with the Ashman Award for his activism in the fight against HIV/ AIDS. Muñoz, a recent cancer survivor, was diagnosed with HIV in 2002 and speaks out frequently about his status in order to combat the stigma that continues to be directed at people living with HIV/ AIDS. Muñoz will accept his award during an evening cabaret gala featuring other Broadway stars, as well, at Joe’s Pub, inside the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Pl. Sep. 19, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tickets start at $150 at gmhc.org.
WED.SEP.21 SAT.SEP.17 MUSIC The Original Grizabella in Concert Singer, Broadway star, and television actor Betty Buckley, who immortalized “Memory” in her Tonywinning role as Grizabella, the Glamour Cat in the Broadway debut of “Cats,” and is currently starring in “Grey Gardens” in Los Angeles, performs songs from her latest album, “Ghostlight” — including “This Nearly Was Mine,” “Blue Skies,” and “Body and Soul” — in two shows this evening at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, 1 Center St. at Park Pl., Newark. Sep. 17, 6 & 8:30 p.m. $40-$70 at njpac.org.
WRITING Memoirs, By Donna Minkowitz Gay City News Morsels columnist Donna Minkowitz is once again this fall offering her memoir-writing workshop, which she has taught since 1992. Her recent memoir “Growing Up Golem” was a finalist for both a Lambda Literary Award and for the Judy Grahn Nonfiction Award, and she won a Lambda Literary Award for her first memoir, “Ferocious Romance: What My Encounters with the Right Taught Me About Sex, God, and Fury.” Minkowitz offers the workshop in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, Wed., 7-9 p.m., Sep. 21-Nov. 16 (except for Oct. 12). The cost is $325. For complete information and to register, visit donnaminkowitz.com/writing-classes.
NEW JERSEY PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
Poetry Powerhouse Bureau of General Services —Queer Division hosts an evening of poetry featuring Che Gossett, a black trans femme writer, para academic theory queen, and winner of the 2014 Gloria E. Anzaldúa Award from the American Studies Association and the 2014 Sylvia Rivera Award in Transgender Studies from the Center for Gay and Lesbian Studies at CUNY; Melissa Buzzeo, whose fourth book “The Devastation” was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award in Poetry in 2016; Andrea Abi-Karam, a mixed race genderqueer punk poet writing on the art of killing bros, the intricacies of cyborg bodies, trauma, and delayed healing; NM Esc, a first-generation New York-grown brain-in-a-jar, floating in viscous queer soup, and Jasmine Gibson, a Philly jawn now living in Brooklyn and soon to be psychotherapist for all your gooey psychotic episodes that match the bipolar flows of capital. LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St. Sep. 21, 7-9 p.m. A $5 suggested donation benefits BGSQD.
SAT.SEP.24 THEATER Just Like People You Know — Only More SO “The Real Actors of NYC,” a new musical with book, lyrics, and music by Karlan Judd about an infuriated trio of musical theater actors determined make it on Broadway by any means, begins previews at the Anne L. Bernstein Theater at the Theater Center, 50th & Broadway, on Sep. 24, ahead of an Oct. 13 opening. The cast features Klea Blackhurst, Noah Zachary, Jennifer Jean Anderson, Nicholas Barnes, RJ Vaillancourt, Lorinda Lisitza, and Jake Mckenna. Max Friedman directs. For schedule & tickets, visit therealactorsofnyc.com/Tickets.html.
SAT.OCT.1 ADVOCACY After Marriage, What’s Next? After the 2015 Supreme Court ruling, rainbow memes and #lovewins hashtags flooded the Internet, but many activists and scholars continued saying what they had been for decades: LGBTQ politics is about #morethanmarriage. CUNY’s Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies hosts a two-day conference to foster an urgently needed discussion about this turning point, featuring experts in LGBTQ politics, activism, and scholarship including Lisa Duggan, David Eng, Urvashi Vaid, Paulina Helm-Hernandez, Mignon Moore, Sean Strub, and Darnell Moore. John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 524. W. 59th St. Oct. 1 & 2, 8 a.m.10 p.m. Tickets are $30-$75 at goo.gl/N6c1S5.
September 15 - 28, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
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GayCityNews.nyc | September 15 - 28, 2016
Creating Images, and Dispelling Them In “Closet Monster, a young gay man must surmount traumatic shame BY GARY M. KRAMER
GARY M. KRAMER: You mix harsh reality with fantasy in “Closet Monster,” and it works splendidly. How did you come up with the film’s characters, the storyline, and the symbols? STEPHEN DUNN: For me, the one symbol the entire film is inspired by is the hate crime weapon — a symbol of fear that is also used as a weapon of defense. I developed the entire story back from that image. I wanted there to be only one true person Oscar can be vulnerable and honest with: Buffy. She was there with him during the hate crime and she knows more about this psychology and what’s going on with him internally than Oscar does himself. GMK: The story is a comingof-age tale that shows how Oscar
GMK: What can you say about Buffy as a spirit animal for Oscar? Why a hamster? SD [Laughs.] Because I had a lot of hamsters growing up. I was also an only child, and I wanted Oscar to have no one to turn to as a child going through a divorce. I wanted the hamster to have a persona and be a pivotal identity for him. GMK: “Closet Monster” has many textures, from the smell of the shirt Wilder borrows to the horns that Oscar and Gemma wear, to the fur cap, or the metal rod that is the hate crime weapon. Can you talk about creating the textures? SD: All the things you mentioned are elements that are telegraphed through Oscar’s point of view. They heighten his imagination or access his memory. We achieved them through macro-photography and slow motion. I wanted to get into Oscar’s head and see his perspective. The rod is rough and visceral and bloody. It haunts him throughout his adolescence. The fur hat is reminiscent of Buffy. I wanted to tie Buffy into Oscar’s lack of a maternal figure throughout his childhood.
loset Monster” is a fantastic and fantastical Canadian film about Oscar (Connor Jessup), a confused teenager who confides his troubles to his pet hamster, Buffy (voiced by Isabella Rossellini). Oscar has many troubles. He is growing detached from his father, Peter (Aaron Abrams), and is almost completely estranged from his mother, Brin (Joanne Kelly). He dreams of being a makeup artist and creates monstrous designs for his best friend, Gemma (Sofia Banzhaf), to model. Gemma is crushed on Oscar, but Oscar is crushed on Wilder (Aliocha Schneider), whose sexuality appears fluid. What’s more, Oscar is haunted by a tragedy he witnessed as a young boy involving a classmate sodomized by a metal rod in a hate crime. Director Stephen Dunn tackles many heavy themes in “Closet Monster,” especially involving shame and sexuality. But his engaging film, dark as it is, is also life-affirming. The images are vivid, and the performances, by Jessup especially, are quite powerful. Dunn spoke via Skype about his film.
copes with fear and trauma. What can you say about the way Oscar deals with his family situation, his sexuality, and the other difficulties he faces? SD: There is a lot of isolation. Oscar has separated himself from his family. His relationship with his mother is non-existent. He’s grown apart from his father, whom he drew his creativity from as a child. He resents his father and his casual homophobia, which severs their bond. He has a confusing relationship with his best friend, Gemma, who likes him. The only way he can confront that isolation is after he meets Wilder, his first crush, who forces him to acknowledge this presence growing inside of him that’s been growing his whole life. It’s not a love story. It’s a selflove story: a young man learning to overcome internalized homophobia from the metaphor of something literally growing inside of him.
Connor Jessup (left) in Stephen Dunn’s “Closet Monster.”
GMK: What can you say about the vivid visuals in the film? You depict Oscar on drugs at a party through a series of staccato shots. SD: I collaborated with my production designer and cinematographer to create a palate and texture for the film — to create a reality. We wanted to have it grounded in reality and heightened in areas that push the boundaries, so Oscar vomiting nuts and bolts in the party scene is a frenetic and chaotic experience, especially in regards to the rest of the film. I wanted that to be loud, aggressive, and bombastic, and contrasted greatly by the tender, quiet tree house sequence when Oscar and Wilder share a moment of intimacy. GMK: How did you capture the awkward moments, such as Gemma’s meeting with Oscar’s dad in the parking lot? SD: Awkwardness is a human experience and can tell us a lot about someone. There is discomfort in secrecy and lies. There are secrets being kept between characters, and when you have that lack of openness, those secrets bubble to the surface. I’m drawn to that kind of confrontation. GMK: The film has themes of shame and pride. How did you want to depict these elements and what was your purpose for portraying them as you did? SD: Shame is a massive tool of oppression in this story. As a gay man, Oscar experiences shame when he learns about this hate crime and that he might be differ-
CLOSET MONSTER Directed by Stephen Dunn Strand Releasing Opening Sep. 23 IFC Center 323 Sixth Ave. at W. Third St. ifccenter.com
ent or in danger as a result, so he represses himself. He associates sexuality with violence; he sees it as monstrous and is ashamed of it. The film is about him facing that shame in an attempt to overcome it. The people who use shame as a tool to oppress are often suffering shame themselves. GMK: What points did you want to make about masculinity? SD: Oscar is really suffering from the struggle of what masculinity should be. He’s a makeup artist trying to change his face, but the images he makes are gravitating to monstrous and macabre, and queer — but queer in the sense of being strange, not gay. That’s something that is a big struggle for him. It’s not the most masculine career, makeup, but the images are frightening. It’s an absolute contrast to Wilder, who is so comfortable with his sexuality. He is what Oscar wishes he could be. It’s more that Oscar wants to be him than be with him. That’s why the film isn’t about two guys coming together, but a young man trying to figure out who he is and destroy the toxicity and hate living inside him. September 15 - 28, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
GayCityNews.nyc | September 15 - 28, 2016
NYFF Does Better By Women Three curtain-raisers for festival unspooling September 30-October 16 BY STEVE ERICKSON
p.m.; Oct. 4, 8:45 p.m.) opens a window onto the world of contemporary upper middle class Europe. If that sounds like a limited perspective, Ade would probably be the first person to admit to it. Most of her film is set in Romania, and a scene in which a German man searches for a bathroom among the Romanian countryside is pointedly left unsubtitled. Her narrative also revolves around a German-run company outsourcing jobs from Romania. Beyond that, “Toni Erdmann” is simply a marvel of pacing and direction. At 162 minutes long, it never lags. It asks big questions while retaining a welcome silliness.
Sandra Hüller in Maren Ade’s “Toni Erdmann, which screens at the New York Film Festival on October 2 and 4.
54TH NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL Sep. 30-Oct. 16 Lincoln Center, various venues filmlinc.org
And its abundance of nudity will test the MPAA’s prudishness. The characters gradually grow in complexity, especially Ines (Sandra Hüller), who starts off acting like a snide, over-entitled yuppie. Her father (Peter Simonischek) assigns himself the role of agent of chaos in her life, leading to a plot twist I can’t reveal. The title refers to Andy Kaufman’s boorish alter ego Tony Clifton. Ade uses carefully controlled handheld camerawork and cinematography that, although quite crisp and clean, calls attention to the fact that it’s video. Don’t be put off by the length; this is one of the year’s most entertaining films.
Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar’s “Julieta” (Oct. 7, 6 p.m.; Oct. 8, 12:30 p.m.) exemplifies what critic Kevin Lee calls “the pornography of tastefulness.” Its supposed subjects are motherhood and grief, but what really comes across is the way Almodóvar manages to work bright primary colors into every
EL DESEO/ MANOLO PAVÓN/ SONY PICTURES CLASSICS
German director Maren Ade’s “Toni Erdmann” (Oct. 2, 2:30
KOMPLIZEN FILM/ SONY PICTURES CLASSICS
id someone at the New York Film Festival take a look at my article on last year’s festival, which complained about its lack of diversity? While female directors are still far from parity in the festival’s Main Slate, their numbers have increased. Most notably, the festival’s opening night film is Ava DuVernay’s “The 13th” (Sep. 30, 6 & 9 p.m.), a documentary by an African-American woman. Even many of the films made by men focus on women. Gay directors included this year run the gamut from João Pedro Rodrigues to Terence Davies to Pedro Almodóvar. But the most buzz around an LGBT-themed film in the festival centers around Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” (Oct. 2, 6:15 p.m.; Oct. 3, 9 p.m.), a three-part tale of the coming of age of a young black man. The festival’s sidebars have continued to spiral in all directions, this year including a Henry Hathaway retrospective and a series of classic French films organized around Bertrand Tavernier’s documentary “A Journey Through French Cinema” (Oct. 1, noon; Oct. 2, 2:45 p.m., and related screenings).
Emma Suárez in Pedro Almodóvar’s “Julieta,” which screens on October 7 and 8.
scene. “Julieta” is production-designed within an inch of its life. Its characters’ apartments look like art galleries or fashion magazine layouts, rather than spaces where anyone would actually live. The titular heroine (played as a young woman by Adriana Ugarte and a middle-aged one by Emma Suárez) jots down her memories of her daughter Antía (played by three different actors at various stages of her life.) Antía blames Julieta for a fishing boat accident in which Julieta’s husband Xoan (Daniel Grao) dies, and when she turns 18, she disappears from her mother’s life. Almodóvar is working from excellent source material —three linked
short stories by Nobel laureate Alice Munro —but the result is still a rote melodramatic exercise whose emphasis on maternity and tendency to shove men out of the picture does little more than evoke better Almodóvar films like “The Flower of My Secret” and “All About My Mother.”
“Elle,” made by Dutch director Paul Verhoeven (Oct. 14, 9 p.m.; Oct. 15, 3 p.m.) in France, is a strange beast: half art film, half ‘70s exploitation vehicle (complete with four brutal rape scenes). The story of Michele (Isabelle Huppert), a woman who’s sexually assaulted
NYFF, continued on p.36
September 15 - 28, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
When Food Tastes Like Love
An exquisite, multicultural meditation on mortality, family, and sustenance BY DAVID KENNERLEY
man lies dying in a hospital-style bed center stage for the better part of “Aubergine,” a heartfelt, multicultural play by Julia Cho at Playwrights Horizons. But Cho has crafted the deeply touching drama so brilliantly that it’s more a celebration of life than a lamentation of loss. And what better way to symbolize life than with food, and plenty of it. The play’s title is a tipoff, for aubergine refers to what the French and the Brits call the lowly eggplant. “Aubergine is so much more beautiful,” one character says. “Call them aubergine and they taste better.” As Cho sees it, food is infinitely more than nourishment for the body — it’s also sustenance for the soul. Food is culture, family, and love. Food can be a unifier; sometimes, it says what words cannot say. The choppy narrative, mostly set in a present-day American suburb, skips across time and place. Characters are prone to recounting
vibrant stories directly to the audience and occasionally break out into song. First we meet Diane (Jessica Love), a wealthy American food tourist who recalls “gastronomic gallivanting” with her hubby in search of divine pheasant creations and cheese made from unpasteurized milk. Next is Ray (Tim Kang), an up-and-coming chef whose father lies in hospice at home, suffering from end stage liver cirrhosis. Although his father is Korean, Ray was born in America. His mother died in an accident long ago. He concocts an elaborate, savory turtle soup for his ailing father (Stephen Park), but it goes uneaten. Ray’s on again, off again girlfriend Cornelia (Sue Jean Kim), born in Korea but raised mostly in America, recounts growing up with four refrigerators. “My mother was obsessed with food,” she says. “Or I should say, obsessed with feeding people. Namely us, her family.” Cornelia rebelled as an adult by subsisting on peanut butter and crackers and other ultra-processed foods.
Stephen Park and Tim Kang in Julia Cho’s “Aubergine,” directed by Kate Whoriskey, at Playwrights Horizons through October 2.
AUBERGINE Playwrights Horizons 416 W. 42nd St. Through Oct. 2: Tue.-Wed. at 7 p.m. Thu.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Sat.-Sun. at 2:30 p.m. Sun. at 7:30 p.m. $75-$90; playwrightshorizons.org Two hrs.,10 mins., with intermission
AUBERGINE, continued on p.36
AN IMMERSIVE THEATER EXPERIENCE
www.thegrandparadise.com GayCityNews.nyc | September 15 - 28, 2016
Bent Out of Shape A new musical contorts Edwin Booth; Cirque du Soleil has a new acrobatic sensation
Dana Watkins in the title role of Eric Swanson and Marianna Rossett’s “Edwin: The Story of Edwin Booth.”
BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE
ne cannot regularly go to Off-Broadway or even Off-Off-Broadway theater and fail to be impressed by the talented performers on these small, often obscure stages. Let’s face, it, New York is awash in talent. That observation seems particular poignant when a piece showcasing a gifted group of professionals leaves something to be desired. Or, in the case of “Edwin: The Story of Edwin Booth,” a new musical now at St. Clement’s, is an outright disaster. The show, with a book and lyrics by Eric Swanson and music by Marianna Rossett, ostensibly tells the story of Edwin Booth and his attempt to overcome the effects that his brother John Wilkes Booth’s assassination of Abraham Lincoln had on his career and his family. He is about to perform in “Hamlet” in New York City as angry mobs are massing in the streets. And some, I assume, are good people, as there is lots of excitement to see Booth, too. Well, at least that seems to be the basic premise. The book quickly gets lost in its own storytelling and often borders on incoherence. Edwin is haunted by ghosts. In fact, his whole family
comes back from the grave to torment him as he prepares to face the mob. These spirits are anything but blithe; they criticize and torment Edwin. John accuses Edwin of killing Mollie, Edwin’s wife, through neglect and alcoholism, when John was in love with Mollie all along. One can’t be sure, but at one point John appears to imply that if he had been married to Mollie both she and Lincoln would have lived. Don’t count on that being accurate; the entire narrative is so jumbled that it’s often tough to know where we are, who’s alive or dead at which point. The transitions between times and places are so confusing and abrupt that one often feels whiplashed. There’s a lot of Shakespeare thrown in, too. The Booths did Shakespeare… all of them — a lot. Obviously, one way to flesh out an incomplete book is to put in a lot of someone else’s writing, especially if it’s in the public domain. This has unintended — and laughable —consequences. At one point Edwin is playing Richard III and Mollie is Lady Anne. Offstage, Edwin and Mollie are falling in love, and the Shakespeare drops away just as Edwin and Mollie are getting married, at which point they burst into song.
Cirque du Soleil’s “Toruk” is at Newark’s Prudential Center through Sunday only.
The startling effect is that “Richard III” is now a musical, which, come to think of it, might be an improvement over this, ghastly as that sounds. Speaking of music, it’s not very good. For the most part it’s derivative. The opening number that sets the scene is a Sondheim knockoff. I fully expected the company, assembled downstage and facing the audience, to start singing, “Attend the tale of Edwin Booth…” There is a duet in the second act between John and Edwin that is a replica of “In Lily’s Eyes” from “The Secret Garden,” without the soaring melody or heartfelt lyrics. Much of the rest of the score sounds like snippets from Michael John LaChiusa or children’s television. Clearly, this is a composer who has yet to find her voice. The lyrics are no better. Obvious, moon-June-spoon rhymes are at best leaden. In the final moments when singing about the positive reception Edwin received for his performance, with the lyric, “The audience rose/ They rose to their toes,” Swanson has gone full-on Dr. Seuss. The company, on the other hand is uniformly wonderful. Dana Watkins as Edwin has the requisite matinee idol presence and a terrific
EDWIN: THE STORY OF EDWIN BOOTH Theatre at St. Clement’s 423 W. 46th St. Through Sep. 18 Tue.-Sat. at 7:30 p.m. Sat. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. $59; ovationtix.com Or 866-811-4111
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL TORUK Prudential Center 25 Lafayette St. at Mulberry St. Newark Sep. 15-17 at 7:30 p.m. Sep. 17 at 4 p.m. Sep. 18 at 1:30 p.m. & 5 p.m. $65-$135; cirqueticketsonline.com
voice. Paul DeBoy is appropriately domineering and egotistical as the pater familias, Junius Booth. Ben Mayne as Rob, the man hired to protect Edwin from the crowds, has a mature and beautifully developed voice that’s remarkable in a young actor. The women,
OUT OF SHAPE, continued on p.36
September 15 - 28, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
Top driver disTracTions Using mobile phones
Leading the list of the top distractions behind the wheel are mobile phones. Phones now do more than just place calls, and drivers often cannot pull away from their phones, even when driving. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, studies have shown that driving performance is lowered and the level of distraction is higher for drivers who are heavily engaged in cell
phone conversations. The use of a hands-free device does not lower distraction levels. The percentage of vehicle crashes and nearcrashes attributed to dialing is nearly identical to the number associated with talking or listening.
Many people will admit to daydreaming behind the wheel or looking at a person or object outside of the car for too long. Per-
GayCityNews.nyc | September 15 - 28, 2016
haps they’re checking out a house in a new neighborhood or thought they saw someone they knew on the street corner. It can be easy to veer into the direction your eyes are focused, causing an accident. In addition to trying to stay focused on the road, some drivers prefer the help of lane departure warning systems.
Those who haven’t quite mastered walking and
chewing gum at the same time may want to avoid eating while driving. The majority of foods require a person’s hands to be taken off of the wheel and their eyes to be diverted from the road. Reaching in the back seat to share some French fries with the kids is also distracting. Try to eat meals before getting in the car. For those who must snack while en route, take a moment to pull over at
a rest area and spend 10 minutes snacking there before resuming the trip.
Glancing at an advertisement, updating a Facebook status or reading a book are all activities that should be avoided when driving. Even pouring over a traffic map or consulting the digital display of a GPS system can be distracting.
ON THE TOWN
Museum Hours Memories of chaos and quiet in ‘70s Manhattan
veryone chooses to remember what they want to remember,” Mark Jacobson observes in his New York magazine piece “What Everyone Gets Wrong About ‘70s New York” late last year about one of the “few times in recent New York history [that] have been so longed for, so endlessly discussed.” This longing, so prominent today, has been mixed, it should be noted, with equal portions of loathing. For in the last analysis, what everyone “chooses to remember” about New York in the ‘70s is “Taxi Driver,” Martin Scorsese’s 1976 film about the squalor of the city rendered as a vision of Hell visually confected by Guy Peellaert and Hieronymus Bosch with a Bernard Herrmann score simmering ominously in the background. It’s a place no one wants to live. Yet people lived there and thrived there —in ways they don’t at all today. Make no mistake, New York in the ‘70s was no picnic. Filthy, squalid, its streets and buildings badly in need of repair, as its economy teetered on the verge of total collapse, it laid out no welcome mat for anyone. Yet for those keyed to its vaguely sinister rhythms it was still Fun City. Novelist Samuel R. Delany in his non-fiction paean “Times Square Red, Times Square Blue,” writes, “As a Black gay man who had first set off from Harlem for Times Square one Sunday morning in 1957, more than a decade prior to Stonewall, with the specific goal of coming out, and who, since 1960, had regularly utilized those several institutional margins traversing the Forty-Second Street area in which gay activ-
The original release poster for “Boys in the Sand,” starring Casey Donovan, aka Cal Culver.
ity thrived, I had to acknowledge with the early newspaper announcement of redevelopment that an order of menace now hung over a goodly portion of the active aspect of my sexual life.” That “order of menace” quickly came to pass with what is now referred to as the Disneyfication of Times Square. The all-night movie theaters and dirty book stores were gone, and the cheap restaurants with them. But then New York by the ‘90s had come to eliminate the consumers of such establishments, as well. The city, as Fran Lebowitz has so sagely observed, has by and large entirely eliminated culture by making itself a home for the very, very rich alone. And said rich can produce nothing. They can only consume. And what they wish to consume is made by classes they no longer find tenable as neighbors. This wasn’t the case in the ‘70s for reasons I was able to observe firsthand. Because for the better part of that decade I worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art —a matchless commingling of the High and Low. I was first employed in the print reproductions shop of the Met. One of my co-workers was a classic Muscle Queen. Butch to the max to all appearances, Richie adored breaking into a chorus of “Take Back Your Mink” from “Guys and Dolls” at the slightest provocation. I next worked as a guard and finally in the library of its Department of Prints and Photographs, where I often saw artworld mover and shaker Sam Green bring his petit ami Robert Mapplethorpe to see the museum’s George Platt Lynes holdings — photographs whose elegant homoeroticism Mapplethorpe duly ripped off.
COLUMBIA PICTURES/ TRI STAR
BY DAVID EHRENSTEIN
Robert De Niro in Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver.”
Working at the Met in any capacity was an ideal low-key, trouble-free job for a writer, supplying by its very nature no end of time to think about and plan the “real work” that would transpire outside its corridors. But the Met was also a world unto itself. For it was there the elite mixed with the hoi polloi in cheerful confusion. This became quite apparent to me during the period I worked as a guard. I was, in a very general way, an “authority figure,” making sure no harm came to the art and supplying visitors with necessary information about the building’s whys and wherefores, particularly when special ticketed exhibits like the massive Van Gogh show were being featured. Philippe de Montebello, the Met’s chef curator at the time I was there, hated such shows. They herded visitors quickly though rooms filled with far too many paintings to contemplate and therefore appreciate, and were more like a high-class Fun Fair than an art exhibit. To prove his point, he took two Monet paintings from a show then making the rounds of the nation’s galleries and hung them in the great hall —right at the entrance to the various wings of the museum proper. One could sit and look at them for hours without rush or fuss. And there’s no question that those who did so understood Monet in ways the Van Gogh goers didn’t understand Vincent at all. The embodiment of elegance but in no way a snob, de Montebello was great fun to chat with. He was dedicated to serious art, but there was nothing of the pompous about him —even though he looked as if he’d stepped right out of a late period Visconti movie. Even more fun was Diana Vreeland. A fashion doyenne of exquisite taste and cheeky good humor, Vreeland set up the museum’s Fashion Institute when I was there. It is now named after Miranda Priestly (aka Anna Wintour), a woman who knows everything about the business of fashion but precious little about the art. Vreeland made clear that fashion was art with her exhibition of the work of the great Spanish-born designer Cristóbal Balenciaga. Putting the pieces on display with exquisite care, Vreeland made plain that Balenciaga gowns were works
MUSEUM HOURS, continued on p.37
September 15 - 28, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
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GayCityNews.nyc | September 15 - 28, 2016
GUY FERRANDIS/ SBS PRODUCTIONS/ SONY PICTURES CLASSICS
Laurent Lafitte and Isabelle Huppert in Paul Verhoeven’s Elle, which screens on October 14 and 15.
AUBERGINE, from p.31
Lucien (Michael Potts), the father’s nurse, is a refugee who once lived in a horrific tent city camp, dreaming of the rich meat-and-vegetable stews his relatives once made. When Ray’s estranged uncle (Joseph Steven Yang) from Korea comes on the scene, things get even more complicated. He speaks no English. Director Kate Whoriskey elicits fine performances from the talented ensemble (Kang, of the hit CBS series “The Mentalist,” is superb). She does her best to join the disparate elements into a cohesive whole, though there are a few gaps. Integrating the patches of Korean dia-
OUT OF SHAPE, from p.32
Deanne Lorette as Junius’ wife Mary Ann and Patricia Noonan as Mollie, have clear, precise voices that are often thrilling, even when singing doggerel. Todd Lawson as Johnny has the most challenging and well-written role, and he fills it with color and heat that far out-
in the opening scene, it seems to go out of its way to provoke. At first, its depiction of Michele’s blasé reaction to her rape seems like a male fantasy of female invulnerability, but it soon becomes clear that she’s not as well as she thinks she is —she commits small acts of aggression like crashing into her ex’s car —and that her psychological damage extends well before her rape. It’s being marketed as a rape-revenge thriller, but it’s more of a character study, with heavy echoes of Hitchcock and Verhoeven’s “Basic Instinct.” Huppert does a terrific job of avoiding playing Michele as a helpless victim or an unbelievably
logue (English supertitles appear on a wall) is not entirely successful. Ray speaks little Korean, yet somehow he understands what his uncle is saying. Is he reading the supertitles as well? What’s more, there are a couple of awkward scenes late in the second act that feel like false endings and could use some finessing. When Diane finally returns after being inexplicably absent for most of the proceedings, however, it’s worth the wait. Despite the preoccupation with cuisine, detailing dishes like “seared Nantucket Bay scallops with lemon and verbena and sorrel,” “Aubergine” is no excursion for extravagant foodies. In fact, it’s just the opposite.
strip the material. Adam Bashian stands out as the other brother, June, for his authoritative baritone and commanding presence. These are all impressive, accomplished performers who made the evening tolerable; each deserves to be seen in better material. There might have been an interesting story or two to tell about
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NYFF, from p.30
strong role model. In fact, Michele is a rather cold and unpleasant woman navigating a cruel world —she casually mentions that she broke up with her boyfriend because he hit her, and the video game company she heads is designing a game that looks like an invitation to rape, but she doesn’t care. This may be Verhoeven’s most misanthropic film yet, with almost all the men turning out to be dangerous jerks, but it finds a grain of hope in a crypto-lesbian relationship. In the age of trigger warnings, Verhoeven is just as out of place as he was when he made “Showgirls,” but “Elle” shows him adapting back to working in Europe, albeit not as smoothly as in his 2006 “Black Book.”
Turns out the most sublime food is the simplest. For Diane, it’s her father’s peppery pastrami sandwiches, fried in browned butter. For Cornelia, it’s a bowl of soft, sweet mulberries, the kind she ate fresh off the tree as a child. For Lucien, it’s tiny, garden-fresh okra that reminds him of home. Ray’s father prefers the cheap blocks of ramen noodles over his son’s lavish cuisine. How wonderful that his father is brought to spend his final days at home (Derek McLane designed the appealing set) rather than some impersonal hospital. And how fitting that, instead of being crammed into a bedroom, his bed is placed in the dining room, right beside the kitchen.
Edwin Booth and the fallout from the tragic events, as Thomas A. Bogar did in the fascinating book from 2013, “Backstage at the Lincoln Assassination,” but Swanson hasn’t found it. Instead, I was left with the distinct feeling that had Honest Abe gone to see “Edwin” instead of “Our American Cousin” on that fateful night he might have been tempted to shoot himself.
Cirque du Soleil is back —do they ever really go away? —with a new show called “Toruk,” inspired by James Cameron’s “Avatar.” What this means, superficially, is that most of the acrobats and performers are painted blue and have tails, which makes some of their feats even more exciting. The basics of a Cirque du Soleil show don’t change: a series of acrobatic acts are strung together around a story. In this case, the story is about a quest to defeat the evil Toruk, a death-bringing birdlike
creature, and save the Tree of Souls. It doesn’t matter if you don’t get it all. What you do get is one of the most dazzling and technologically advanced Cirque shows to date. In fact, more than any of the company’s recent shows, the projections and technology are easily as important as the human element. The effect is nothing short of stunning. From lava floes to waterfalls to magnificent puppetry and, of course, spectacular circus acts, “Toruk” is dazzling. There’s even an app that you can download that allows you to interact with the show. Though this is probably the least sophisticated technology the show employs, it does add a level of contemporary engagement and interaction that’s impressive. “Toruk” is currently touring in the New York area and around the country. For fans of Cirque and lovers of spectacle, it’s a dazzling must-see. September 15 - 28, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
MUSEUM HOURS, from p.34
UNITY, from p.19
ty, and productivity. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended in 2008, helps to protect this category of workers, and federal, state, and local equal employment laws and regulations have GayCityNews.nyc | September 15 - 28, 2016
CARMELO BAYARCAL/ WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
of sculpture created to be worn. No one who attended that show, even if they were indifferent to fashion in general or thought it “frivolous,” could fail to be impressed. My favorite memory of Vreeland is in relation to a quite different show —one devoted to the “chemise” dresses Madeleine Vionnet created just after the turn of the last century. It was a spectacular exhibit. Dresses made of the most delicate lace in gorgeous shades of pale pink, yellow, lavender, and blue were on display — looking like a candy box come to life. Vreeland wasn’t, however, Willy Wonka, though she had her way with children. On this occasion, museum director Thomas Hoving had brought a couple of wealthy donors to view the show early in the morning before the museum was open to the general public. This particular couple had a daughter of about six or seven. Vreeland shook their hands and nodded graciously to them and then took hold of the little girl. She brought her right up to the Vionnet dresses, told her about the material they were made of, and explained the revolution they created. For prior to these “chemises,” women were required to wear dresses encumbered with all manner of metal stays, hoops, and the like —their bodies encased in clothes that were not all that different from suits of armor. Vionnet brought an end to all that, freeing women’s bodies, and Vreeland was most intent on making this girl —who had just reached the age of interest in looking “pretty” —precisely why this was so important. The girl was, of course, dazzled. But make no mistake, Vreeland was at her most serious. In education “get them while they’re young” is the watchcry, and its safe to say this girl —now I’m sure a supremely fashionable adult —learned plenty from what this Auntie Mame on steroids was so spiritedly teaching her that morning. In my duties as a guard, I saw a great many notables come and go through its halls and galleries. The great Italian actor Massimo Girotti (“Ossessione”) was much taken with a Cezanne exhibit, as were the filmmaking couple Jean-Marie Straub and Daniele Huillet. They spent an entire day in the Cezanne room, the fruits of their labors made visible in their 1990 film “Cezanne — Conversation with Joachim Gasquet.” The intensity with which their eyes combed every inch of the artist’s canvasses was a sight to behold. Considerably less intense were the frequent gallery sorties of Art Garfunkel, who found the Met the perfect place to meet attractive young ladies,
The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
just as he met Theresa Russell at a Klimt exhibit in Nicolas Roeg’s 1980 “Bad Timing.” Art being occupied, I never engaged him in conversation. Conversation was likewise a non-starter with Woody Allen and Dick Cavett. Almost every afternoon, they met on a bench in the great hall. They never went in to see an exhibit as far as I know. They just sat there —Woody (his face a dour mask) talking to Dick much like an analysand to a shrink. In all the years I saw them there, I never once noticed Cavett saying a single word. The same can’t be said of a trio of gay gentlemen: actor tuned novelist Tom Tyron, his lover gay porn star Cal Culver (aka Casey Donovan of “Boys in the Sand” fame), and their pal actor Richard Deacon (Mel Cooley on “The Dick Van Dyke Show”). Deacon was an art expert and he would give his friends special guided tours of the paintings, imparting all manner of priceless information to them. They were a swellegant triumvirate. Alas, all were taken by AIDS. The best of Special Visitor luck came one day to my friend and fellow guard Ronnie. Gay, black, and wildly sophisticated, it was his good fortune to come face to face with American-born French cabaret legend Josephine Baker. While Ronnie’s primary devotion was to Diana Ross, he knew an immortal goddess when he saw one, and chatted amiably with her for at least 20 minutes. “What did you talk about?” I asked. “Everything!,” Ronnie happily replied. In all my Met years, the one notable I got a chance to talk about “everything” with was Fran-
been utilized effectively as well. Far too infrequently, however, have these protections been extended to ensure full coverage for LGBTQ people with disabilities. This is a call to action on the part of the LGBTQ population to understand we are diverse in our identities
cis Bacon. Periodically a selection of Bacon paintings were put on display in one of the galleries. Keeping with the de Montebello style there were only a select few, available for all to see without a special ticket. Bacon’s unique mixture of the figurative and the abstract was of course unique. Likewise, the violence the paintings displayed: screaming popes, naked men wrestling in a manner more suggestive of murder than romance. His work frightened many of the guards. Frightening to them, too, was the fact that Bacon would come early in the morning before the museum opened and visit his own paintings. He’d stand for hours looking at them, with the same intensity the Straubs showed Cezanne. The thing was these were his own works, yet he regarded them as if they were made by someone else. Perhaps in his own mind they were. Off-putting as he was to many, I always found Bacon a jolly fellow. He chatted me up about places he might go in the city “for a drink,” with the clear indication that mere imbibing wasn’t his only interest. I told him to try Keller’s and the Ramrod in the West Village, down by the piers. There, he was likely to find gentlemen eager to put their cigarettes out in his soft flesh prior to applying a bit of the lash. But those were places of “danger” —both real and theatricalized. The Met was safe haven. And that’s why it’s always embodied the ‘70s for me. The world outside may rage away, but in its cool corridors art and silence reigned. And in the tumult of the ‘70s, who could ask for more?
but all fighting for the same agenda: full civil rights and regulations that allow us to have access and opportunity in all areas of life without the fear of ridicule, abuse, violence, torture, neglect, oppression, and discrimination. Our first step is to evaluate what part we are play-
ing in our own personal circles to change attitudes and combat ignorance through education and advocacy. And sometimes it is as simple as doing a Google search to find the information, joining listservs and groups, and making friends who can help shape the future.
September 15 - 28, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc
RENOMINAION, from p.5
a convention delegate other than someone on the executive committee will nominate Ling-Cohan, and party officials —Arluck and others —anticipate that will ensure her spot on the November ballot, along with other Court incumbents Rolando T. Acosta, Troy K. Webber, and out lesbian Rosalyn Richter. (Richter has been an associate justice of the Appellate Division since 2009.) Six vacancies will be filled from among Ling-Cohan, the 13 people approved by this panel, and holdovers from past panels who did not need to be re-approved in order to be considered again. Some delegate candidates have already declared themselves for Ling-Cohan, and those that go against their leaders on her nomination risk becoming pariahs within their clubs and the party. Ling-Cohan is taking nothing for granted. In an email to her supporters she wrote, “There are no guarantees, still need to get the delegate votes on 9/ 22. There is a lot of work to be done!” She is especially concerned about the damage to her reputation by the initial vote of disapproval and the effect of what she termed the “defamatory statements” in the initial Post articles, “which were all translated word for word in Chinese press causing me even more problems.” Convention delegates were elected in this week’s Democratic primary. But when the convention is held on September 22 at Harlem Hospital, it will doubtless follow the customary practice of district leaders who head the delegations deciding behind the scenes who will be selected and the other candidates going to the microphone to drop out, understand-
ing that it is not “their turn” —in a show of not making waves. (It is, of course, possible for a candidate to run against the wishes of the leaders.) The entire group of candidates, successful and otherwise, plus anyone else who wants to be a judge, are then pretty much compelled to attend the numerous fundraising dinners and Democratic club functions throughout the borough — making them one of the main sources of revenue for the party organization and its clubs — if they want to be considered for endorsement by the clubs and selection at the next convention. The other parties with guaranteed ballot status in New York, by virtue of having received at least 50,000 votes in the last gubernatorial election — a group that currently includes the Republican, Conservative, Green, Working Families, Independence, Women’s Equality, and Reform Parties — virtually never put up candidates for judgeships in Manhattan so voters will likely be facing another Soviet-style ballot in these non-contests in November. The alternative to electing judges through this political process is “merit” selection of judges by the mayor and governor — often after being approved by bar association panels. There is no perfect, completely unbiased system. But the current “independent panel” process used by New York County has led to lawyers — whether from the corporate, landlord, tenant, or civil rights bars — to volunteer to pick the judges they will appear before. They can be judicious and pick people based on their competence and fitness as the rules say or they can be self-interested and skew their selections toward judges they believe will be biased in their favor.
William Hooker Presents:
MUSIC • DANCE
& SPOKEN WORD FROM THE WRITINGS OF JAMES BALDWIN
& SPOKENOctober WORD FROM THE WRITINGS OF JAMES BALDWIN 15th, 2016 Time - 8:00PM ADMISSION - $20 ST. Peters’ Church 619 Lexington Ave, NYC
October 15, 2016 at 8pmTickets at St. Peters’ Church | 619 Lexington Ave. & Info - (212)935-2200 $20 Admission. Call (212) 935 2200 for ticket info. GayCityNews.nyc | September 15 - 28, 2016
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September 15 - 28, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc