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FREE | VOLUME FIFTEEN, ISSUE TWENTY TWO | OCTOBER 27 - NOVEMBER 09, 2016


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October 27 - November 09, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


FAMILY

MORSELS

FILM

Loving, up close

38 His husband gone, gay man fights for their home

Organizing for sustainable food

04-05

18

MY YOUTH

EDITOR'S LETTER

Springsteen’s hometown values & other boys’ butts

Gay City News at 15: No turning back

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24

LGBT-BOO!

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THE NYXT BIG THING IN NYC

Discover, connect and engage with NYXT.nyc — Manhattan’s new cable channel and digital experience.

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GayCityNews.nyc | October 27 - November 09, 2016

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FAMILY

His Husband Gone, Gay Man Fights for Their Home

Tom Doyle in court over brownstone apartment he shared with Bill Cornwell for 53 years

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BY PAUL SCHINDLER

Tom Doyle, a graphic artist in fashion advertising, in his home studio.

But peer pressure, in the end, didn’t daunt them. When the building came up for sale in 1979, the couple decided it was a good investment. “We thought we would have it for our retirement,” Doyle explained. Doyle was a graphic artist in fashion advertising who often worked freelance, so Cornwell, with a steady full-time gig as an art director, had the deeper pockets in the family. It was Cornwell who purchased the building through an S Corporation, of which he made Doyle an officer. Throughout the succeeding 35 years until Cornwell’s death in 2014, Doyle said, he continued contributing his half of the apartment’s monthly upkeep. Owning a West Village brownstone with four rental units above their apartment at times made for a colorful life. Larry Kert, the Broadway heartthrob who originated the role of Tony in “West Side Story” and was widely known to be gay, was a tenant. Decades later, so too was supermodel Kate Moss, during the time she was involved with Johnny Depp, who frequently dropped by.

DONNA ACETO

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DONNA ACETO

t was 1958, and 27-year-old Tom Doyle was working at a Manhattan advertising agency. A colleague, whom he had immediately struck up a friendship with, asked him to join two other friends out one evening, but the colleague paused after extending the invitation and asked, “You are gay, right?” Doyle answered in the affirmative, but recalls that he was a bit awkward in doing so. It was the ‘50s, after all, and apparently both men were cautious types. The bond took, and in time, the colleague invited Doyle out to a beach house he had inherited in Breezy Point in the Rockaways. It was there he got to know Bill Cornwell, who was about five years older and also worked in advertising, as an art director. Their meeting changed both men’s lives. T oday, 58 years later, Doyle is fighting to save the Horatio Street home he and Cornwell shared for more than half a century. Following a brief courtship, Doyle moved into a studio apartment where Cornwell lived on West Fourth Street and they later moved into a fourth-floor walk-up on Bank Street, where they paid $69 a month. In 1961, they spied the opportunity for a ground-level floor-through in a brownstone on Horatio, garden included, and decided the extra $26 a month was worth it. Not that moving from Bank Street to Horatio was the obvious choice back then, Doyle recalled. The nearby Meat Market was still in full swing, and trucks were coming and going at all hours. Bones sometimes flew off the trucks, and underneath a portion of the High Line since taken down, a pedestrian could happen upon an unwelcome carcass. Perhaps of greater concern to the men was the opinion of their old neighbors on Bank Street. “It’s kind of slummy over there, isn’t it?,” Doyle recalled some of them asking.

The wedding rings Bill Cornwell bought for him and Tom Doyle.

Doyle and Cornwell’s relationship with their respective families reflected the changing cultural landscape for gay men during the 56 years they were a couple. Doyle’s parents enjoyed having Cornwell join their son on visits to their home up in the Hudson Valley, Cornwell often helping Mrs. Doyle in the kitchen since he loved to cook. “I guess they figured he was my roommate,” Doyle said. “They never

really understood why I wanted to go live in the big city.” The couple also visited Cornwell’s family in California. Cornwell’s sister, Elsie, Doyle said, was close to her brother and subtle in her acknowledgement of their relationship. “I’m glad Bill has someone to live with there in New York,” he recalled

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BROWNSTONE, continued on p.17

October 27 - November 09, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


FAMILY

Novel Argument Could Save Surviving Partner’s Home After half-century relationship, reading marriage equality rights back a decade or more is key BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD

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hen William Cornwell died on June 19, 2014, believing he had made a will leaving his entire estate to Thomas Doyle, the man with whom he had shared his life for more than half a century, his departure was more than just a heartbreaking loss for Doyle. It soon became clear that Cornwell’s intention to pass on the West Village brownstone where the two men had lived since 1961, and from which they derived rental income as well, was not properly executed — and for Doyle, anything that could go wrong, legally speaking, threatened to go wrong. In preparing and signing his will in 20014, Cornwell had not involved a lawyer, apparently, because no lawyer would have made the simple mistake he made: getting only one person to witness it. After Cornwell died, Doyle turned to Sheila McNichols, Cornwell’s niece and a longtime friend to the two men, “for comfort, support, and advice,” said Doyle in a sworn petition filed this month in the New York County Surrogate’s Court. He showed her the will, and she suggested taking it to her lawyer, Peter Gray, to handle probate. Gray immediately saw the problem. The New York courts will not accept a will unless there are at least two sworn witnesses to the signing. Indeed, the will form that Cornwell used had spaces indicated for two witness signatures, but one was blank. The instruction sheet that came with the will form did not specifically say that two witnesses were required, although the instructions referred to witnesses in the plural several times. Gray advised Doyle that the will could not be accepted for probate, and because the men had never married, Doyle had no rights as a surviving unmarried partner. The estate would go to Cornwell’s intestate heirs, two nephews and two nieces, all living in California, three of whom had virtually no relationship with Cornwell or Doyle. This was a big blow to Doyle,

now 85, because his living arrangements depended crucially on the rental income from the other apartments in the Horatio Street brownstone and his ability to continue occupying the ground floor apartment without paying rent. The men originally moved in as tenants after living together elsewhere beginning in 1958, and in 1979 when the owner decided to sell the building, Cornwell, who had greater resources to finance the purchase, bought it, setting up a corporate entity to own and operate it and putting Doyle on the board.

health care proxy forms the men had made in 2002 (properly witnessed by two people) and joint bank account statements. According to Doyle, McNichols told him that she felt this situation wasn’t right and Doyle should not be shut out after more than 50 years. She retained Gray to draft an agreement by which the heirs would renounce their interest in the estate in favor of Doyle, and provide that the ownership of the building would go to Doyle as well. At the same time, Doyle would execute a will leaving everything to McNichols.

According to Doyle, McNichols told him that she felt this situation wasn’t right and Doyle should not be shut out after more than 50 years.

That building and the rental income it generates is the estate’s main asset. Cornwell and Doyle had lived on their Social Security checks and the rental income. Now Doyle was reduced to his individual monthly Social Security check (smaller than Cornwell’s, because Cornwell had a steady full-time job while Doyle often worked as a freelancer), having no pension or other resources. Although the men lived together and considered themselves spouses, they had never taken any step to formalize their relationship. In the time they lived together, New York City had passed a domestic partnership ordinance in the 1990s, then in this century surrounding states and finally New York State in 2011 had changed their laws to allow same-sex couples to marry, but the two men never registered their partnership or married. Doyle said they were planning to marry, and had even purchased rings in anticipation of a ceremony, but in the end Cornwell’s poor health prevented them from traveling to the city Marriage Bureau to tie the knot. The only legal documents of their relationship are

GayCityNews.nyc | October 27 - November 09, 2016

This plan seems to have proceeded at first, since Doyle’s attorney attached to the petition a copy of McNichols’ signed agreement to renounce her inheritance, as well as an affidavit she signed for filing in the probate court. In a sworn statement, Doyle said that he trusted and relied on McNichols to help him with decisions, named her as his power of attorney, and made her joint owner of his bank account. He depended on her to convince the other relatives to fall in with this plan. But the other heirs were not willing to go along with it. Doyle claims that the two nephews had never even met Cornwell, and the other niece only met him fleetingly as a child, and none of them knew Doyle. Evidently the allure of a monetary windfall from a “rich uncle” was too powerful. Suddenly, Doyle was confronted with the contention that the papers McNichols signed were not valid, merely “samples,” and that McNichols and one of the nephews had been appointed by the Surrogate to administer the estate, sell the brownstone, and split up the proceeds among the heirs. Indeed, according to a New York Times article published on October

23, the building is now in contract for about $7 million. The Times also reports (although Doyle does not mention it in his petition) that the nieces and nephews offered to let Doyle continue living in the building by including a clause in the sales contract under which he can stay for up to five years at a nominal rent of $10 a month, and that he would receive $250,000 from the proceeds of the sale, but Doyle, stiffened by the heirs’ resistance, decided to sue for the full inheritance he claims Cornwell intended to leave him. Although he didn’t have a retainer agreement with Gray, Doyle said he regarded Gray as his attorney and trusted him to advise on how to protected his legal rights, but Gray never suggested any legal strategy to advance Doyle’s claim. Doyle said that some friends suggested he get another legal opinion, so he spoke with Polly Eustis, who confirmed Gray’s opinion that Doyle had no standing to inherit Cornwell’s estate. Eventually, however, Doyle found Arthur Schwartz and Jamie Wolf, his current attorneys, who have devised a new strategy on his behalf. It seems that Doyle and Cornwell had gone to Pennsylvania in 1991 to purchase a show dog together, and Doyle has the American Kennel Club registration certificate with the date of the sale, listing the two men as the owners. He also claims that they had a good friend in New Hope, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, whom they visited several times on vacations. The significance of this is that under Pennsylvania law until January 2005, cohabiting individuals who spent time together in that state — even if they were not permanent residents — could be considered to have a common law marriage. Though New York law does not provide for common law marriage, the courts here have recognized Pennsylvania common law marriages in determining whether an individual who was not formally married to a partner should be con-

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FAMILY, continued on p.48

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New LGBT Voices Emerge on Albany Scene

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BY PAUL SCHINDLER

COURTESY: MEL WYMORE

en months after the Empire State Pride Agenda abruptly announced it was folding up its tent and with a presidential election looming that will also determine control of the State Assembly and Senate in Albany, two new political action committees have stepped into what would otherwise have been a political void for New York’s LGBT community. TransPAC, a group dedicated to achieving “full and equal rights” for the transgender community founded by activists who several years earlier created the Long Island Transgender Advocacy Coalition, began to take shape in the immediate aftermath of ESPA’s announcement and has already raised close to $100,000, allowing it to be a donor in at least eight legislative contests. A newer group, Equality NY PAC, aims to represents the broader LGBT community on a host of issues, transgender civil rights currently at the top of the list, and like TransPAC is an all-volunteer effort focused on raising funds to contribute to legislative races. To date, Equality NY has brought in about $15,000 and has made donations in two races, with at least three others under consideration. This week, the group is distributing a comprehensive voter guide, at equalityny.org/endorsements, identifying its picks for November 8. For both groups, the current focus is on the State Senate, which in the five years since marriage equality became law in New York has been a bulwark of resistance to further LGBT advances. The Senate is in Republican hands, despite the fact that it has 32 elected Democrats and only 31 GOP members. Brooklyn’s Simcha Felder, who represents portions of that borough’s socially conservative Orthodox Jew-

TransPAC executive director Mel Wymore.

ish community, has caucused with the Republicans, and five other Democrats, under the leadership of Jeff Klein from the Bronx, caucus as the Independent Democratic Conference, and also give their votes to Long Island GOP Senator John Flanagan as majority leader. The IDC’s members have long been strong supporters of LGBT rights and argued that their alliance with the GOP leadership offered an opportunity to bring a progressive voice to the discussion of Senate priorities. On LGBT issues — and many others — that pledge has come to naught. LGBT activists are hoping that enough seats currently in Republican hands can be flipped in November so that the IDC members return to the Democratic fold — or even that non-IDC Democrats can hold an outright majority on their own. That latter outcome would require a big shift, with few historical precedents, but it’s not a bad bet that Democrats will run the Senate come January. In the view of Senator Brad Hoylman, a West Side Democrat who is his chamber’s only out LGBT member, at least 10 seats are in play, with nine of them currently held by

Republicans. And with Donald Trump poisoning the Republican brand, even if Democrats only pick up a few of those nine seats, the IDC will find it difficult to pledge its fealty to the Republican Party in 2017, in Hoylman’s view. For TransPAC, in 2016, control of the Senate is the whole ball game. The group has already distributed more than $75,000 in eight Senate races and expects to play in several more in the final two weeks of the campaign. Earlier this year, the group contributed to Democrat Todd Kaminsky’s successful special election run to fill the vacancy created when former Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos was convicted on corruption charges. TransPAC is working for a Kaminsky victory for a full term next month, and is supporting Amber Small, a Democrat who is angling for an open seat in Buffalo due to rookie Democrat Marc Panepinto’s decision not to seek reelection. On Long Island, the group has donated to Democrat Adam Haber’s bid to replace Republican Jack Martins, who is running for an open congressional seat there. The group is also backing five Democrats challenging incumbent Republicans: Ryan Cronin, who is taking on Kemp Hannon on Long Island, Jim Gaughran who is contesting Carl Marcellino’s seat, also on Long Island, Orange County Legislator Chris Eachus who is making his second run against William Larkin, Terry Gipson who is looking to recapture the seat he lost to Sue Serino in the Hudson Valley, and Sara Niccoli, a Palatine town supervisor hoping to unseat George Amedore near Albany. Kaminsky is the one State Senate candidate that Equality NY has already donated to, and Hoylman, in his handicapping of Senate races, said the new Long Island Democrat is

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ALBANY, continued on p.13

Potential Retreat on Comprehensive Civil Rights Push Draws Fire BY DUNCAN OSBORNE

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tions is seen by some as a way to enact some protections for LGBT people while not engaging on these more contentious issues. NCTE, along with the Log Cabin Republicans, Equality Pennsylvania, the American Unity Fund, Freedom for All Americans, the Transgender People of Color Coalition, and Gill Action, an affiliate of the Gill Foundation, a major funder of LGBT causes, supported the legislation. Leading national groups, notably the American Civil Liberties Union, opposed the compromise of excluding public accommodations from the Pennsylvania law. Buzzfeed cast the Pennsylvania debate in broader terms.

NCTE.ORG

hile not walking back comments she made in a Buzzfeed article about controversial LGBT rights legislation in Pennsylvania, the head of the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) is revising and extending her remarks after the article sparked criticism and heated comments on social media. The story concerned a measure that would have added sexual orientation and gender identity to a 1955 state law that barred other kinds of discrimination and included a number of protected classes, but not

LGBT people. In June, the legislation, which barred only housing and employment discrimination, and not discrimination in public accommodations, passed a State Senate committee, but ultimately failed. In recent years, right-wing small business owners have asserted that their religious practice is harmed when they have to serve LGBT people, particularly gay and lesbian couples seeking to marry. Rightwing groups have said that allowing transgender people to use bathrooms, locker rooms, and other public accommodations that are consistent with their gender is a threat to others using those facilities. Excluding public accommoda-

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality.

The article referred to an August 1 conference call among “two dozen of the country’s top LGBT activ-

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RETREAT, continued on p.16

October 27 - November 09, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


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STONEWALL NATIONAL MONUMENT PUSH CELEBRATED

GAY CITY NEWS

ANDREW FRASZ/ COURTESY #FINDYOUR PARK

Mary Lambert, a #FindYourPark Ambassador, plays a pop-up concert outside the Stonewall.

The ability of government to actually get something done remarkably fast — the creation of the Stonewall National Monument within about two years — was celebrated at the Midtown offices the National Parks Conservation Association (NCPA) on October 25, bringing together people who made it happen from the LGBT community, neighborhood groups, and government from City Hall to Albany to Congress and the White House. The private NPCA got the ball rolling, managed to get unanimous buy-in from the often fractious LGBT activist community, found a champion in West Side Congressmember Jerry Nadler who, assisted by aide Robert Atterbury, introduced federal legislation for it and coordinated local, state, and federal approvals, which led to President Barack Obama making the designation of little Christopher Park and its environs outside the Stonewall Inn, where the 1969 rebellion took place, as a national monument. Nadler called the whole effort “a tribute to the significance of Stonewall,” a fierce uprising that led to immediate and ongoing organizing that quickly became the modern LGBT movement. Ken Lustbader, who runs the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, said he appealed to the Department of the Interior in 1994 for historic designation for the Stonewall and was told it was “too recent and too limited” an event for the feds to take seriously. Cortney Worrall of the NPCA talked about “an amazing group of people pulling together” making this happen — and about how people from all over the world are making “pilgrimages” to the monument and now encountering Park Service rangers there to explain its historic significance. She added, “People want a visitors center” at the site and one is being worked on. Allan Dailey, a supervising park ranger, said his

Joshua Laird, the National Parks of New York Harbor commissioner, Cortney Worrall of the National Parks Conservation Association, Janet Weinberg, Congressmember Jerry Nadler, Allan Dailey, a National Park Service supervisory ranger, Robert Atterbury, a Nadler aide, and Ousman Laast, an aide to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand at the October 25 celebration.

rangers recently met with “seven out ninth graders” and that one of the girls said that she came out after reading about how this monument was declared. Stacy Lentz, the owner of the Stonewall bar across the street from the monument calls the bar “a living, breathing place” and wants to keep it going as a bar rather than turning it into a museum — though she suggested the nail parlor next door, which was once part of the original Stonewall Inn, would make a good museum. The evening before NPCA party, Mary Lambert, a #FindYourPark Ambassador for the National Park Service, did a surprise pop-up performance outside of the Stonewall. — Andy Humm

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October 27 - November 09, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


FAMILIES

Parenting Law Applied Gender-Neutral in Arizona Court says lesbian spouse of bio mother is presumptive mom BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD

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he Court of Appeals of Arizona, an intermediate appellate bench, has ruled that the state’s paternity statute must be construed in a gender -neutral way so that the same-sex spouse of a woman who gives birth enjoys the presumption of parental status. Judge Philip Espinosa’s October 11 opinion for a unanimous threejudge panel cited last year’s US Supreme Court ruling giving samesex couples the right to marry. Kimberly and Suzan, legally married in California in October 2008, shortly before voters approved Proposition 8, “agreed to have a child through artificial insemination using an anonymous sperm donor,” Espinosa wrote. Suzan’s efforts to conceive this way were unsuccessful, but Kimberly became pregnant in 2010. Before their child was born, the women moved to Arizona, a state that did not then recognize their marriage or allow second-parent adoptions. The women made a joint par enting agreement and executed mirror-image wills, declaring “they were to be equal parents of the child Kimberly was carrying,” wrote the court. After their son was born in June 2011, Suzan was the stay-at-home mom while Kimberly resumed her work as a physician. The women’s relationship deteriorated, however, and when their son was almost two years old, Kimberly moved out of their home, taking the child with her and cutting off his contact with Suzan. Suzan’s 2013 efforts to dissolve the marriage and have her parental status recognized were put on hold by Superior Court Judge Lori Jones in Pima County given pending marriage equality litigation. This past January, six months after the Supreme Court’s marriage ruling, Kimberly moved to set the case for trial, and three months later Judge Jones ruled that, under the 14th Amendment Suzan must be afforded the same presumption of parenthood that a husband would enjoy. The case, she ordered, should proceed as a “dissolution action with children.”

Jones next rejected Kimberly’s bid to introduce evidence to rebut that parental presumption, pointing to an Arizona statute under which artificial insemination “necessarily gives rise to parental rights in the non-biological spouse.” Kimberly appealed this ruling, arguing that the paternity statute should not apply to same-sex lesbian couples. Suzan, in response, argued that because of last year’s marriage equality ruling, parentage statutes, in Espinosa’s words, “must be applied and interpreted in a gender-neutral manner so that same-sex couples’ fundamental marital rights are not restricted and they are afforded the same benefits of marriage as heterosexual couples and on the same terms.”

Kimberly appealed this ruling, arguing that the paternity statute should not apply to same-sex lesbian couples.

Espinosa’s ruling found that interpreting the Supreme Court’s ruling mandates that the paternity statute be interpreted in a gender-neutral way and that doing so is not in conflict with the “purpose and policy” behind it. Jones wrote, “The word ‘paternity’ therefore signifies more than biologically established paternity. It encompasses the notion of parenthood, including parenthood voluntarily established without regard to biology.” The purpose of paternity statutes, he pointed out, is “to provide financial support for the child of the natural parent,’ and the marital presumption “is intended to assure that two parents will be required to provide support for

GayCityNews.nyc | October 27 - November 09, 2016

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ARIZONA, continued on p.21

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What is TRUVADA for PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis)?

uYou may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or serious liver problems

TRUVADA is a prescription medicine that can be used for PrEP to help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 infection when used together with safer sex practices. This use is only for adults who are at high risk of getting HIV-1 through sex. This includes HIV-negative men who have sex with men and who are at high risk of getting infected with HIV-1 through sex, and malefemale sex partners when one partner has HIV-1 infection and the other does not. Ask your healthcare provider if you have questions about how to prevent getting HIV-1. Always practice safer sex and use condoms to lower the chance of sexual contact with body fluids. Never reuse or share needles or other items that have body fluids on them.

Who should not take TRUVADA for PrEP?

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION What is the most important information I should know about TRUVADA for PrEP?

Before taking TRUVADA for PrEP to reduce your risk of getting HIV-1 infection: uYou must be HIV-negative. You must get tested to make sure that you do not already have HIV-1 infection. Do not take TRUVADA for PrEP to reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 unless you are confirmed to be HIV-negative. uMany HIV-1 tests can miss HIV-1 infection in a person who has recently become infected. If you have flu-like symptoms, you could have recently become infected with HIV-1. Tell your healthcare provider if you had a flu-like illness within the last month before starting TRUVADA for PrEP or at any time while taking TRUVADA for PrEP. Symptoms of new HIV-1 infection include tiredness, fever, joint or muscle aches, headache, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, night sweats, and/or enlarged lymph nodes in the neck or groin. While taking TRUVADA for PrEP to reduce your risk of getting HIV-1 infection: uYou must continue using safer sex practices. Just taking TRUVADA for PrEP may not keep you from getting HIV-1. uYou must stay HIV-negative to keep taking TRUVADA for PrEP. uTo further help reduce your risk of getting HIV-1: • Know your HIV-1 status and the HIV-1 status of your partners. • Get tested for HIV-1 at least every 3 months or when your healthcare provider tells you. • Get tested for other sexually transmitted infections. Other infections make it easier for HIV-1 to infect you. • Get information and support to help reduce risky sexual behavior. • Have fewer sex partners. • Do not miss any doses of TRUVADA. Missing doses may increase your risk of getting HIV-1 infection. • If you think you were exposed to HIV-1, tell your healthcare provider right away. uIf you do become HIV-1 positive, you need more medicine than TRUVADA alone to treat HIV-1. TRUVADA by itself is not a complete treatment for HIV-1. If you have HIV-1 and take only TRUVADA, your HIV-1 may become harder to treat over time. TRUVADA can cause serious side effects: uToo much lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious medical emergency. Symptoms of lactic acidosis include weakness or being more tired than usual, unusual muscle pain, being short of breath or fast breathing, nausea, vomiting, stomach-area pain, cold or blue hands and feet, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and/or fast or abnormal heartbeats. uSerious liver problems. Your liver may become large and tender, and you may develop fat in your liver. Symptoms of liver problems include your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow, dark “tea-colored” urine, lightcolored stools, loss of appetite for several days or longer, nausea, and/or stomach-area pain.

if you are female, very overweight (obese), or have been taking TRUVADA for a long time. In some cases, these serious conditions have led to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any symptoms of these conditions. uWorsening of hepatitis B (HBV) infection. If you also have HBV and take TRUVADA, your hepatitis may become worse if you stop taking TRUVADA. Do not stop taking TRUVADA without first talking to your healthcare provider. If your healthcare provider tells you to stop taking TRUVADA, they will need to watch you closely for several months to monitor your health. TRUVADA is not approved for the treatment of HBV. Do not take TRUVADA for PrEP if you already have HIV-1 infection or if you do not know your HIV-1 status. If you are HIV-1 positive, you need to take other medicines with TRUVADA to treat HIV-1. TRUVADA by itself is not a complete treatment for HIV-1. If you have HIV-1 and take only TRUVADA, your HIV-1 may become harder to treat over time. Do not take TRUVADA for PrEP if you also take lamivudine (Epivir-HBV) or adefovir (HEPSERA).

What are the other possible side effects of TRUVADA for PrEP?

Serious side effects of TRUVADA may also include: uKidney problems, including kidney failure. Your healthcare provider may do blood tests to check your kidneys before and during treatment with TRUVADA for PrEP. If you develop kidney problems, your healthcare provider may tell you to stop taking TRUVADA for PrEP. uBone problems, including bone pain or bones getting soft or thin, may lead to fractures. Your healthcare provider may do tests to check your bones. uChanges in body fat, which can happen in people taking TRUVADA or medicines like TRUVADA. Common side effects in people taking TRUVADA for PrEP are stomacharea (abdomen) pain, headache, and decreased weight. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that bother you or do not go away.

What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking TRUVADA for PrEP?

uAll your health problems. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you

have or have had any kidney, bone, or liver problems, including hepatitis virus infection. uIf you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if TRUVADA can harm your unborn baby. If you become pregnant while taking TRUVADA for PrEP, talk to your healthcare provider to decide if you should keep taking TRUVADA for PrEP. Pregnancy Registry: A pregnancy registry collects information about your health and the health of your baby. There is a pregnancy registry for women who take medicines to prevent HIV-1 during pregnancy. For more information about the registry and how it works, talk to your healthcare provider. uIf you are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed. The medicines in TRUVADA can pass to your baby in breast milk. If you become HIV-1 positive, HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in breast milk. uAll the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. TRUVADA may interact with other medicines. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine. uIf you take certain other medicines with TRUVADA for PrEP, your healthcare provider may need to check you more often or change your dose. These medicines include ledipasvir with sofosbuvir (HARVONI). You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.FDA.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Please see Important Facts about TRUVADA for PrEP including important warnings on the following page.

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October 27 - November 09, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


Have you heard about

TRUVADA for PrEP ? TM

The once-daily prescription medicine that can help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 when used with safer sex practices. • TRUVADA for PrEP is only for adults who are at high risk of getting HIV through sex. • You must be HIV-negative before you start taking TRUVADA. Ask your doctor about your risk of getting HIV-1 infection and if TRUVADA for PrEP may be right for you.

visit start.truvada.com GayCityNews.nyc | October 27 - November 09, 2016

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IMPORTANT FACTS (tru-VAH-dah)

This is only a brief summary of important information about taking TRUVADA for PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) to help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 infection. This does not replace talking to your healthcare provider about your medicine.

MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT TRUVADA FOR PrEP

POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS OF TRUVADA FOR PrEP

Before starting TRUVADA for PrEP to help reduce your risk of getting HIV-1 infection: • You must be HIV-1 negative. You must get tested to make sure that you do not already have HIV-1 infection. Do not take TRUVADA for PrEP to reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 unless you are confirmed to be HIV-1 negative. • Many HIV-1 tests can miss HIV-1 infection in a person who has recently become infected. Symptoms of new HIV-1 infection include flu-like symptoms, tiredness, fever, joint or muscle aches, headache, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, night sweats, and/or enlarged lymph nodes in the neck or groin. Tell your healthcare provider if you have had a flu-like illness within the last month before starting TRUVADA for PrEP.

TRUVADA can cause serious side effects, including: • Those in the “Most Important Information About TRUVADA for PrEP" section. • New or worse kidney problems, including kidney failure. • Bone problems. • Changes in body fat.

While taking TRUVADA for PrEP to help reduce your risk of getting HIV-1 infection: • You must continue using safer sex practices. Just taking TRUVADA for PrEP may not keep you from getting HIV-1. • You must stay HIV-1 negative to keep taking TRUVADA for PrEP. • Tell your healthcare provider if you have a flu-like illness while taking TRUVADA for PrEP. • If you think you were exposed to HIV-1, tell your healthcare provider right away. • If you do become HIV-1 positive, you need more medicine than TRUVADA alone to treat HIV-1. If you have HIV-1 and take only TRUVADA, your HIV-1 may become harder to treat over time. • See the “How to Further Reduce Your Risk” section for more information. TRUVADA may cause serious side effects, including: • Buildup of lactic acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious medical emergency that can lead to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these symptoms: weakness or being more tired than usual, unusual muscle pain, being short of breath or fast breathing, nausea, vomiting, stomach-area pain, cold or blue hands and feet, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and/or fast or abnormal heartbeats. • Severe liver problems, which in some cases can lead to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these symptoms: your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow, dark “tea-colored” urine, light-colored stools, loss of appetite for several days or longer, nausea, and/or stomach-area pain. • Worsening of hepatitis B (HBV) infection. If you have HBV and take TRUVADA, your hepatitis may become worse if you stop taking TRUVADA. Do not stop taking TRUVADA without first talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to check your health regularly for several months. You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or severe liver problems if you are female, very overweight, or have been taking TRUVADA for a long time.

ABOUT TRUVADA FOR PrEP (PRE-EXPOSURE PROPHYLAXIS) TRUVADA is a prescription medicine used with safer sex practices for PrEP to help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 infection in adults at high risk: • HIV-1 negative men who have sex with men and who are at high risk of getting infected with HIV-1 through sex. • Male-female sex partners when one partner has HIV-1 infection and the other does not. To help determine your risk, talk openly with your doctor about your sexual health. Do NOT take TRUVADA for PrEP if you: • Already have HIV-1 infection or if you do not know your HIV-1 status. • Take lamivudine (Epivir-HBV) or adefovir (HEPSERA). TRUVADA, the TRUVADA Logo, TRUVADA FOR PREP, GILEAD, the GILEAD Logo, and HEPSERA are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies. All other marks referenced herein are the property of their respective owners. Version date: April 2016 © 2016 Gilead Sciences, Inc. All rights reserved. TVDC0050 09/16

12

Common side effects in people taking TRUVADA for PrEP include stomach-area (abdomen) pain, headache, and decreased weight. These are not all the possible side effects of TRUVADA. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any new symptoms while taking TRUVADA for PrEP. Your healthcare provider will need to do tests to monitor your health before and during treatment with TRUVADA for PrEP.

BEFORE TAKING TRUVADA FOR PrEP Tell your healthcare provider if you: • Have or have had any kidney, bone, or liver problems, including hepatitis infection. • Have any other medical conditions. • Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. • Are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you become HIV-1 positive because of the risk of passing HIV-1 to your baby. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take: • Keep a list that includes all prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements, and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist. • Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist about medicines that should not be taken with TRUVADA for PrEP.

HOW TO TAKE TRUVADA FOR PREP • Take 1 tablet once a day, every day, not just when you think you have been exposed to HIV-1. • Do not miss any doses. Missing doses may increase your risk of getting HIV-1 infection. • You must practice safer sex by using condoms and you must stay HIV-1 negative.

HOW TO FURTHER REDUCE YOUR RISK • Know your HIV-1 status and the HIV-1 status of your partners. • Get tested for HIV-1 at least every 3 months or when your healthcare provider tells you. • Get tested for other sexually transmitted infections. Other infections make it easier for HIV-1 to infect you. • Get information and support to help reduce risky sexual behavior. • Have fewer sex partners. • Do not share needles or personal items that can have blood or body fluids on them.

GET MORE INFORMATION • This is only a brief summary of important information about TRUVADA for PrEP to reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 infection. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist to learn more, including how to prevent HIV-1 infection. • Go to start.truvada.com or call 1-800-GILEAD-5 • If you need help paying for your medicine, visit start.truvada.com for program information.

October 27 - November 09, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


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ALBANY, from p.6

GayCityNews.nyc | October 27 - November 09, 2016

DONNA ACETO

in a strong position for November. Hoylman also pointed to other TransPAC endorsees — Haber, Cronin, and Gaughran — as among strong contenders for flipping seats. The Small race in Buffalo is a top priority this year of the Stonewall Democrats of Western New York, according to its president, Bryan Ball. TransPAC’s financial strength coming into this year’s general elections reflects, in good measure, the determination of transgender activists, in the wake of ESPA’s demise, not to cede initiative on their prime issues to the LGBT community’s traditional leadership. ESPA left the field with the key goal of the trans community, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, unfinished business, after the persistent refusal of the Senate Republicans to take up a measure first proposed in early 2003, when the state’s gay rights law was adopted without transgender protections. Few activists were mollified by ESPA’s statement that a new directive from Governor Andrew Cuomo — interpreting existing state human rights law’s sex discrimination and disability discrimination protections to cover transgender New Yorkers — amounted to “securing the Pride Agenda’s top remaining policy priority, protecting transgender New Yorkers from discrimination in housing, employment, credit, education, and public accommodations.” A stinging January letter to ESPA from Juli Grey-Owens, a former Pride Agenda board member who is executive director of the Long Island Transgender Advocacy Coalition (LITAC) — signed onto by 30 activists and organizations — “criticized Pride Agenda’s failure to fulfill their announced commitment to passage of legislation (known as GENDA) that would have added protections based on transgender status and gender identity to New York Human Rights Law. Specifically, advocates criticize the Pride Agenda for their statement of ‘mission accomplished’ in their press release because of its harmful message that transgender Human and Civil Rights are covered under New York Law.” Grey-Owens told Gay City News at that time that transgender advocates were already in discussions about forming a trans-focused advocacy group — with the ability to make political donations — to ensure that GENDA and other issues of specific concern to their community would be prioritized by Democratic legislators in Albany. With Barbara Salva, Jeffrey Friedman, and Betsy Malcolm, colleagues of hers at LITAC, Grey-Owens soon brought TransPAC into being. Others who had signed onto the January letter, including Kiara St. James, executive director of the New York Transgender Advocacy Group, and Mel Wymore, an Upper West Side community board member who ran for the City Council in 2013, were also early players in TransPAC. In June, Wymore became executive director of the PAC. TransPAC’s mission statement makes clear that it hopes one day to be a player on the nation-

al stage but also emphasizes that its “immediate objective” is to elect a pro-GENDA State Senate. Noting that “it makes a difference when you write a check,” Wymore said TransPAC’s giving has opened up direct dialogue with the candidates.” And he pointed with pride to an early October fundraiser attended by State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, among a host of elected officials. “We have solidified support for our issues within the Democratic establishment,” Wymore said. “This is the cornerstone human rights issue today. We have to win this to have New York be the model for other states.” Though TransPAC is staking out an independent voice for transgender New Yorkers, the group welcomes additional efforts from the broader LGBT community. Wymore noted that Matthew McMorrow, the former director of government affairs at ESPA who is leading the charge at Equality NY, is on his 15-member advisory board at TransPAC. “We are absolutely supportive of all LGBT issues,” Wymore said. “But we are trans-led and trans-focused.” TransPAC’s impressive start is winning praise from longtime gay leaders. Alan Van Capelle, who led the Pride Agenda from 2003 until 2010 and was sharply critical of that group’s decision to close shop last year, said, “TransPAC is brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. This is absolutely the right environment for this to happen. And I think the world of Mel.” Van Capelle, who helped advise McMorrow and others on the launch of Equality NY, was also upbeat about that group’s impact. “I think there is an enormous amount of influence and power and responsibility that the community has that didn't go away when we lost our statewide organization,” Van Capelle said. “And there is a value in us organizing politically to have a voice.” Not only is it “important for the elected officials to see us,” he added, “It’s important that the donor base not have muscle atrophy in giving. If too long a time passes without them giving to LGBT issues, it’s a hard muscle to rebuild.” Hoylman stressed the impact that LGBT visibility in Albany can have on his fellow legislators. “I often get asked by my colleagues, ‘What does your community want?,’” he said. “And I’d like some help on that. There is a void in the electoral process for a comprehensive voice for the LGBT community. Legislators are looking for the good housekeeping seal of approval.” Citing the key issues of concern to him, Hoylman added, “My colleagues need to know about transgender rights, HIV/ AIDS, conversion therapy, the data disparity in state government, issues involving LGBT youth and seniors.” Hoylman said campaign donations are important, but he hopes that TransPAC and Equality NY will also create a visible presence in Albany during the legislative session.

Matthew McMorrow, who has shepherded the launch of Equality NY PAC.

According to McMorrow, the genesis of Equality NY was in conversations going on statewide in the immediate aftermath of ESPA’s demise “with lots of people expressing concern about not having a statewide organization.” The consensus, he said, was that New York was not without many strong organizations doing services and advocacy. What was missing, he said, was a group that could play an explicitly political role. Those discussions, he said, involved hundreds in the Greater New York area and upstate and aimed at inclusiveness and diversity. Frank Selvaggi, a former Pride Agenda board chair who hosted several gatherings of activists in his home, said early discussions went round and round on a wide variety of strategic questions, but “it was hard to get the ball moving.” McMorrow, he said, “really stepped up. What initially came of it, we felt like on the lobbying side, the LGBT community needed a presence.” McMorrow, in turn, worked closely in recent months with Gabriel Blau, the former executive director of the Family Equality Council. Crediting McMorrow with being “really motivated” to move the mission forward, Blau explained, “He was well respected and he’s a political guy. I’m an organizational structure and management guy.” Western New York Stonewall’s Ball and Eunic Ortiz, president of the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, both welcomed Equality NY’s emergence, with both Ortiz and Selvaggi saying that despite the modest amount of money raised so far, the key was to telegraph to Albany that LGBT New Yorkers will remain players on the political scene. For the time being, the community will be clearly allied with the Democratic side of the aisle, judging by Equality NY’s endorsements. In well over 100 choices at the state legislative

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ALBANY, continued on p.30

13


MY YOUTH

Springsteen’s Hometown Values & Other Boys’ Butts Learning the joys of journalism editing the yearbook at Bruce’s Jersey high school

I

BY MICHAEL LUONGO

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MARK BENNINGTON

t was another late after-school night, hours after the last period bell had rung, and I was alone, surrounded by black and white pictures of other boys’ butts. They were strewn across my desk, and I was trying to figure out which were the best among them, and where to position them. All before deadline. I wasn’t clandestinely putting together some gay teen soft-porn magazine. You see, I was the yearbook editor — technically, co-editor, among three of us. This was 1986, long before the Internet, “Pretty in Pink” and other Brat Pack movies the touchstones for my generation. It was also the height of Bruce Springsteen’s worldwide fame, the era of “Born in the USA.” And if you remember anything about that iconic album cover, it was all about Bruce’s butt, clad in a pair of Levi’s, a red baseball cap emerging out of his back right pocket, the red and white stripes of an American flag in the background. I was alone with these photographed posteriors in the most special place in all the world to me at the time: Freehold, New Jersey, inside of Bruce Springsteen’s high school, a view out the window to the now darkened courtyard where long before he was famous, he played his guitar to the annoyance of our same teachers who swore he was a failure who would never make anything of himself. His new autobiography, “Born to Run,” is the latest proof of how wrong those teachers were. These other boys’ butt images were a tribute I was putting together for The Boss, a man who was quite literally “My Hometown” hero. We were recreating the famous album cover throughout the 1986 yearbook, The Log, with butts as end notes and dividers, along with other Bruce-themed concepts. It wasn’t my idea, I have to admit, but it became my job to execute the plan as part of a committee, finding male classmates with the best butts, having them photographed, and deciding how to use the images. I was — mind you — adamantly against the Bruce Springsteen theme, thinking it a Freehold cliché we should escape from. I wanted some kind of newspaper concept, allowing us to do mini-articles throughout its pages. Our advisor had the idea, hoping, as I remember it, that if we sent Bruce the yearbook, he’d be so flattered at the gesture he’d give a concert at the high school as a way of saying thank you. Painfully, I have to admit I had another problem with this theme, one with a certain irony. Being a deeply closeted gay teenage boy at the time, I feared having to make decisions about the

butts of my classmates. What if they thought I was too gung-ho about their butts, expressing way too much of an interest in what I was doing, or if I lingered too long over the images? Or if I blurted ahead of time which of the boys in class I already thought had great butts, because I’d been staring at them long before the “Born in the USA” album jacket brought Bruce’s Freehold fanny to fame? At least I could take solace in the fact it was not my idea, and I’d voiced my opposition. It seems odd, but I didn’t really need to worry about how other boys’ butts were a strong interest of mine. Turns out there had long been consensus about which boys had the best butts, even among our male teachers advising us. Beyond feigning a lack of interest as I went through image after image, being yearbook editor taught me how to hide yet be out in other ways. For one, I learned no one picks on or beats up the yearbook editor, because no one wants his or her picture “accidentally” not in the yearbook. Most people who know me now refuse to believe I was shy in high school, but it’s true. Being editor helped draw me out of my shell. Or at least taught me how to move around inside of that shell. I learned how to hide myself and be everywhere, even in social places I wouldn’t normally feel comfortable in, surrounded by jocks and popular kids. But with a camera and a notepad as shields, I had complete freedom. I was another person. Journalism, covering the news, being at events — many of which I created as part of the yearbook, homecoming, prom, and other committees — meant I belonged everywhere at school, no matter how socially awkward I felt. Looking back, no other place could have done what we did with a Bruce Springsteen yearbook theme. Other schools might love Bruce, but none had our geographic cred. Freehold, top of the Jersey Shore, minutes inland from Asbury Park, where Bruce rose to fame, is on the edge of New York City’s suburban ring, its remaining farms sprouting McMansions at the time. Site of the American Revolution’s pivotal Battle of Monmouth, its legends told of a mass grave in the center of town and of female revolutionary warrior Molly Pitcher, grounding us in history and showing us American feminism was a virtue born in our town. Still the historic core struggled to overcome the Main Street decay of “white washed windows and vacant stores” that Bruce sang of. In reality, there were two Freeholds: the wealthy white ethnic suburban one where I lived, and the downtown one, racially mixed and economically troubled, where Bruce’s and my 1920s high school, designed

Michael Luongo.

based on Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, was located. It was there that I learned what Bruce Springsteen values are, the themes in his songs, which made me who I am today. Values resonating in our presidential election: the struggles between those who have and those who don’t, tossed from the American Dream by worldwide economic dislocations. No American artist gets the problems of the working class like Bruce Springsteen, and in mid-‘80s Freehold, with songs about the streets and places you saw every day memorialized on the radio, it was impossible to grow up without understanding these social

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SPRINGTEEN, continued on p.48

October 27 - November 09, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


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RETREAT, from p.6

ists” during which they sought to resolve a disagreement over whether anti-discrimination legislation that excludes public accommodations is acceptable, with some arguing that it “could emerge as a model for other swing states where they’ve hit barricades.” Ohio, Florida, and Arizona were three states that could employ such a compromise, the article said. “We have explicitly said over and over again that this is not a model for other states,” Mara Keisling, NCTE’s executive director, told Gay City News after the Buzzfeed story was published on October 25. “Our position here at NCTE is, of course, we should try to get everything, but we have to be practical.” Debate within the LGBT community has sometimes dogged efforts to enact federal and state anti-discrimination laws. The LGBT community’s original legislative goal, first introduced in Congress in 1974, was to add sexual orientation to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That legislation was replaced by the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which only barred employment discrimination, in 1994. It generated controversy in 2007 when protections for transgender people were removed before a successful vote in the House. The protections were put back in the legislation in later versions. Beginning in 2014, Queer Nation, the activist group, targeted Congressional Democrats and leading LGBT groups, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) in particular, in a grassroots campaign that sought to replace ENDA with legislation that added sexual orientation and gender identity to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. ENDA was abandoned in the current Congress and the Equality Act, which amends the 1964 law, was introduced. This reporter was a central player in that campaign, and a core component was opposition to ENDA’s sweeping religious exemption. In 2015, Equality Utah and HRC joined with the Mormon Church to enact an anti-discrimination law in Utah that barred employment and housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Public accommodations were excluded, and the law added new exemptions that effectively protected

all entities, for-profit and non-profit, owned by the Church. Controversy over the law erupted after Queer Nation issued a press release pointing out that Robin Fretwell Wilson, a conservative law professor from the University of Illinois and longtime ally of leading anti-LGBT groups and people, played a major role in drafting the legislation. While Wilson is not known to have been involved in drafting the Pennsylvania legislation, she did support the proposed law in an opinion piece published on pennlive.com last year. The “Utah compromise,” as it came to be known, was presented as a model for other states, though mostly by right wingers. Chad Griffin, HRC’s president, first said of the Utah law, “The desire exhibited by the Mormon Church to work toward common ground should serve as a model for other faith traditions here in the United States.” Other HRC staffers later backed off that assertion in public appearances, saying that the strategy of exempting public accommodations only applied in Utah. Senior staff at Lambda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) also approved of the “Utah compromise,” but only in Utah. “Generally, NCTE is on the side [Buzzfeed] said we weren’t on,” Keisling said. “People are upset because they are afraid people are throwing them under the bus.” In the meantime, the fallout from the Buzzfeed piece is harsh. “It’s ridiculous, it’s absurd,” Allen Roskoff, president of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club and a longtime activist who once belonged to the early post-Stonewall Gay Activists Alliance, said of compromises that were part of the Pennsylvania legislation. “It’s a kind of contempt for full equality that some people have and accepting less than equal is an insult to the struggle.” Roskoff was a co-author of a New York City law that added sexual orientation to the city’s anti-discrimination law. The law took 16 years to enact in part because activists would not agree to exemptions, such as excluding the police and fire departments from the law. “If we wanted to take those kinds of compromises, we could have had the gay rights bill through the City Council years earlier, Roskoff said. “It’s an insult to everything our movement stands for.”

October 27 - November 09, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


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BROWNSTONE, from p.4

DONNA ACTO

COURTESY: TOM DOYLE

her telling him. “You never know what can happen to people.” Elsie visited New York and was, at times, surprised by the sexual freedom apparent on the streets of Greenwich Village. Still, the fact of Doyle’s relationship with her brother remained unspoken. With succeeding generations in the Cornwell family, what had been unspoken became acknowledged and accepted. Elsie’s daughter, Sheila McNichols, calls Doyle “Uncle Tom.” Her daughter’s fiancé, several years back, suggested, “You guys should get married.” Doyle’s own nieces also enjoyed a warm relationship with the couple. After marriage became legal in New York in 2011, the men discussed it — that is, after Cornwell one day began fussing with Doyle’s ring finger, using a paper band to try to measure its circumference. When Cornwell came clean with what he was up to, Doyle recalled thinking, “Good, we’re one step closer.” Cornwell sent off for the wedding rings. A neighbor, Doyle said, insisted he would rent a car and take them down to the Marriage Bureau on Worth Street, but for Cornwell, in poor health and with many pressing tasks undone — most importantly, a heart pacemaker unattended to — the day was never right for the wedding. Three days after Cornwell’s 88th birthday in June 2014, Doyle left Cornwell in their living room to run to the drug store only to realize he had forgotten something. After fetching what he needed, he called out, “Okay, I’m leaving again,” but realized he had gotten no response. When he peaked his head into the living room, he saw that his life partner of 56 years was gone. The couple never had the chance to place the rings Cornwell bought onto each other’s fingers. In a legal filing submitted in connection with his fight for the home that Cornwell alone owned at the time of his death, Doyle wrote, “When Bill died, my life was turned upside down. I lost my best friend, partner and husband and spent a long time grieving over the unexpected loss.” It was Sheila McNichols, he continued, that he turned to for “comfort, support, and guidance.”

Bill Cornwell with the dog he and Tom Doyle raised.

The living room of Tom Doyle and Bill Cornwell’s garden apartment on Horatio Street.

McNichols and her husband have visited Doyle in New York on nearly a monthly basis since Cornwell’s death, and Doyle is clearly grateful for the help they have provided in managing the business affairs of the brownstone that his late partner oversaw — even if he has, at times, been perturbed by McNichols’ husband’s snooping around both the apartment and the building generally. It was from a lawyer that McNichols engaged, Peter Gray, that Doyle learned that the will Cornwell drew up, leaving the building to him, was fatally flawed because it had only one of the two witness signatures required (see Arthur S. Leonard’s analysis on page 5). With no valid will, the property would instead go to four nieces and nephews of Cornwell’s, McNichols included. Doyle recalls that McNichols’ initial reaction was that this outcome would be unfair, and Gray drafted a document in which she would assign her share of the building to Doyle in return for it reverting to her after his death. He understood that she would persuade the other three heirs to do the same. But they would not, and it only slowly became clear to Doyle that he was at risk of losing his home. What Cornwell’s nieces and nephews proposed instead was that Doyle would receive $250,000 from the proceeds of selling the building — currently under contract for more than $7 million — a sale contingent on Doyle being allowed to continue living there for five years at the nominal rent of $10 a month.

“The plan I had for my remaining years has become totally distorted,” Doyle wrote in his legal filing. “Bill and I lived comfortably together for over fifty years. We always planned to use the rental income from 69 Horatio Street… to enjoy our remaining years in comfort together. I am now deeply concerned that if I do not receive my share of the estate I will be forced to live like a pauper.” Doyle has now engaged attorney Arthur Schwartz, who is challenging the four nieces and nephews in Surrogate’s Court. According to Schwartz, there is no wiggle room on the requirement for two witness signatures on Cornwell’s will. Instead, he is arguing that Doyle is due the full inheritance based on his status as Cornwell’s husband. The couple never married in New York, nor did they ever register in New York City as domestic partners. The only legal paper work attesting to their relationship are properly witnessed healthcare proxies and a joint bank account. Schwartz maintains that time the two men spent together in Pennsylvania — in purchasing a dog in 1991 and on a number of vacation visits to a friend in New Hope — qualifies them as common law spouses there, a legal relationship not available in New York but available in Pennsylvania during the time Doyle and Cornwell spent there. New York recognizes valid common law marriages from other states, but to prevail, Doyle will have to convince the Surrogate’s Court to apply last year’s Supreme Court marriage equality ruling retroactively in Pennsylvania more than a decade earlier.

GayCityNews.nyc | October 27 - November 09, 2016

“When Bill died, my life was turned upside down. I lost my best friend, partner and husband and spent a long time grieving over the unexpected loss.”

In other words, this is complicated litigation that, if successful, could be historic. Cornwell’s nieces and nephews have not reacted well to Doyle’s efforts to stand up for himself. Gray told the New York Times that the accommodation they offered Doyle in terms of a quarter million dollars and a guaranteed five years more in the apartment may be off the table. “I don't know if the nieces and nephews will still feel so benevolent after they’re sued,” he said. In his court papers, Doyle termed the news from McNichols that the deal she originally offered had not been accepted by the other heirs “shocking,” but he told Gay City News the two remain “on cordial terms.”

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BROWNSTONE, continued on p.49

17


MORSELS:

Organizing for Sustainable Food

James Beard Foundation confab nodded to the activists, featured the branding strategists BY DONNA MINKOWITZ

CLAY WILLIAMS/ COURTESY: JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION

18

CLAY WILLIAMS/ COURTESY: JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION

T

he queerest thing about last week’s James Beard Foundation conference in Manhattan was the ginormous photograph of a brown-black human turd, pictured under neath a similar-looking red sausage. The photo was displayed on a huge screen by public policy academic Raj Patel, who announced to the assembled corporate honchos, entrepreneurs, and bland food-nonprofit wonks, “I’ve come to be the turd in the punch bowl!” The James Beard Foundation is the most prestigious organization for American chefs and gourmands, and every year since 2010 it’s been holding an “educational” conference about food activism — a really, really tame one, if this year’s confab was any indication. The turd Patel had come to deliver was the message that the sustainable food movement must be grounded in, er, politics — and not just any politics, but a progressive “politics of justice and equality.” Otherwise, the handsome Patel said in his lovely Brit accent, food activism can be used just as easily by the fascist right — as in Italy, where haters of Muslims have passed laws banning kebabs, and in India, where the Hindu right has beaten to death Muslims accused of eating beef. Unfortunately, the message most conference-goers seemed to take away from the author’s exciting but rambling speech was simply not to be Islamophobes, which the chefs, food-service companies like Aramark, Dunkin’ Donuts brass, and school-garden advocates in attendance seemed to feel they could sign on to just fine. The larger message of Patel’s excellent food writing — that systemic economic inequality is the biggest barrier to food justice, not poor people’s confounding failure to educate themselves about kale — was lost at a conference whose stated goal

Honorees Lucas Benitez (left) and Greg Asbed, cofounders of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, with Kerry Kennedy, the president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights.

Honoree Raj Patel, who teaches at the University of Texas’ Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.

was “to explore the genesis and lifecycle of tr ends and apply that knowledge to food system issues. We’ll draw on the experience of other trend-focused industries, such as technology, fashion, and design, to under stand why some trends last and others fizzle.” The conference was entitled “Now Trending: The Making of a Food Movement,” and the people in the room were almost exclusively white people with very well-paying jobs. At one discussion at my table, I hear d white attendees ear nestly debating how to get “people from the inner city” aware they should eat vegetables, as though people of color had no awareness of good health practices. When we finally discussed the need to increase free school meals for hungry children, a man at my table dubiously asked if there was any “empirical data” that they improved test scores. A few tips for the James Beard folks for organizing future activist conferences:

Soup, the American Dairy Association, and Coors, that three major speakers at this confer ence had worked for as branding strategists, advisers, and senior executives. The “market or movement?” question genuinely confuses some would-be food activists because food is something most of us buy: Doesn’t that make us primarily a market? The answer is no. Even a consumers’ movement is not the same as a market. And food activism is about so much mor e than our rights as consumers. We eat not because food is a nifty thing to buy, but because we are human beings and we are alive. Our need for a food system that stops poisoning us and our soil and drinking water with pesticides is an urgent need, no matter how much we have to spend at the supermarket. Our need for a food system that stops killing the planet is a burning one, and we have a right to demand it no matter how much cash we have. In fact, there are other actions we can take besides buying “sustainable” new Campbell’s products or selling “artisanal” products in “the food space,” the hideous new term the fooderati are using for the explosion of

1) D  on’t have a dress code (“Business casual attir e”). Most of the people you want to get in the room will be wearing jeans and T -shirts or low-end dresses. They will be most comfortable (and most

ready to fight the system) if they’re not forced to dress as if for a job interview. 2) D o n ’ t c h a rg e y o u r a t t e n d ees $500 to attend ($600 if they’re unable to pay by the “early bird” date). 3) H ave nitty-gritty sessions on how to lobby, how to organize other human beings, how to organize mass demonstrations. Don’t waste chefs’ and advocates’ time with hours devoted to “hot brands” like Gordon Ramsay and “the Internet of things” and wondering how we can make the m ovem ent for food j usti ce just as um, “exciting” and sellable. 4) L earn the difference between a market and a movement. In the queer movement, we know a little bit about that last bit. Not everyone who wants to sell things to us has our best interests at heart. People can really want our dollars and not have the faintest interest in our health, much less our liberation. People like, for example, Monsanto, that had a representative at the conference (Janice Person, the pesticide company’s “online engagement director,” whose Twitter profile says she has a “passion for connecting #food and #farm”). Or business institutions like Campbell’s

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MORSELS, continued on p.22

October 27 - November 09, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


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ears of grief and tears of laughter flowed at Allison Greaker’s wake in Brooklyn this week when her family, friends, and colleagues from NYC Community Media, whose publications include Gay City News, Chelsea Now, and the Villager, celebrated her irrepressible wry humor. Allison Davis Greaker died suddenly at the age of 78 at home on Friday, October 21. She had not been feeling well since Wednesday, said her daughter, Allison Hope Greaker. Nevertheless, she went to work that day and the next at the newspaper group where she was an advertising account executive. She and her husband, Richard Henry Greaker, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary two years ago on Flag Day, June 14. “My mother was very patriotic. She observed holidays like Flag Day. She’s been telling my brother and me, ‘It’s been more than 50 wonderful years — for your father,’ ” her daughter said. “My mother made a joke of everything. It made life interesting, fun, and sometimes embarrassing,” said her daughter. A staunch Republican, Allison boasted at one point that she was the only openly GOP staffer in the office. She was, as well, a woman of deeply held Episcopalian faith and was an officer in the 1928 Prayer Book Alliance, formerly known as Episcopalians for Traditional Faith. “Allison had been working in sales in New York City newspapers for decades,” said Lincoln Anderson, editor of the Villager. “I believe she worked at the Westsider, the Chelsea Clinton News, and the Observer before she came to NYC Community Media.” Anderson added, “Allison had a wry, humorous perspective on everything, including the newspaper business. But I thought she was very honest in her take on people, although I didn’t agree with her political views. She has a grandson named Andersen, and she always made a point of men-

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Allison Greaker at her 50th wedding anniversary two years ago.

tioning that to me since my last name is Anderson.” A proud member of Daughters of the American Revolution, Greaker’s roots went back to the colonial era. “One of our ancestors was James Blackwell, who bought Blackwell’s Island [now Roosevelt Island] from the Indians,” her daughter said. “It was sold later to the State of New York. During the Revolution, one of our ancestors fought on the American side and his father fought on the British side.” Scott Stiffler, editor of Chelsea Now, said, “Devout faith, conservative politics, occasional profanity — that was Allison. She was not above telling a risqué story, which she did with considerable skill. Great timing.” “We had a lot of fun together playing each other’s devil’s advocate,” recalled Gay City News editor Paul Schindler. “Allison was tireless in bringing Gay City News to advertisers that had never before been considered, and she had remarkable success with that.” “It is always a pleasure to meet someone who is smart, witty, and funny, but it’s even better when you get to work with someone like that every day,” said Jennifer Goodstein, NYC Community Media publisher. “Allison brought her own style of selling and competitive spirit to her job. She approached every client as an opportunity to find a creative solution to their business

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ALLISON continued on p.21

October 27 - November 09, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


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ALLISON, from p.20

need, often creating one-of-a-kind advertising that brought the client results. Allison’s creativity and successful campaigns earned her recognition from the business community and statewide awards from the New York Press Association. We are privileged to have known her and will miss her greatly.” Cynthia Soto, the newspaper group’s office manager, said, “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Allison for 11 years. She was an amazing woman. I looked forward to her stories, her jokes, and her great sense of humor. I considered her my family, not only my co-worker.” Soto’s two teenage children, frequent visitors to her workplace over the years, referred to Greaker as their “office grandma.” Lisa Malwitz, office manager at sister company Community News Group, said, “Allison was a wonderful woman whom I will miss so very much. She always had a story and could make you laugh with the funny way she told it. My dear friend, may she rest in peace. It won’t be the same here without her.” Allison Davis Greaker was born on July 26, 1938, in Brooklyn, the

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ARIZONA, from p.9

a child born during the marriage,” and serves the additional purpose “or preserving the family unit.” The Court of Appeals found that Kimberly’s effort to rebut the presumption of parenthood is blocked by the principal of equitable estoppel, which applies when one party engages in acts inconsistent with a position later adopted and the other party justifiably relies on the earlier acts and, as a result, is “injured.” In this case, the uncontested facts are that the women were lawfully married when Kimber ly became pregnant as a result of a donor insemination process upon which both women agreed; their son was born during the marriage; Suzan was the stayat-home mom and cared for their son until Kimberly “left the home with him.” In addition, the women made a written parenting agreement providing that they were to be equal parents of the child, and Kimberly agreed to “waive any constitutional, federal, or state

seventh of eight children of Jocelyn Christine Andrews and Edwin Graves Davis. “My last remaining uncle died a while ago,” said her daughter. Allison went to P.S. 104 in Bay Ridge and Fort Hamilton High School. She also attended Wagner College for two years. “My father and mother met at a Lutheran church social in Marine Park,” Allison’s daughter recalled. “My father was the reigning eligible bachelor there. My mother was there because she couldn’t find an Episcopal church in the neighborhood where she just moved to. They got married on June 14, 1964, at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Bay Ridge.” She added, “My mother told people she named me Allison so she wouldn’t forget my name. But we all have different middle names.” In addition to her daughter, Allison Greaker is survived by her husband, Richard Henry Greaker, and her son, Richard Nixon Greaker. She also leaves three grandsons, Andersen, Jacob, and Richard Thomas Greaker. Clavin Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements. A funeral mass was held on October 26, at Christ Church, Bay Ridge.

law that provide her with a greater right to custody and visitation than that enjoyed by Suzan.” They even provided in the agreement that if their relationship broke down, Suzan would continue to enjoy parenting rights, and if second-parent adoption became available (which it had not in Arizona when the couple broke up), Suzan would adopt the child. The court concluded that based on these uncontested facts, equitable estoppel barred Kimberly from attempting to rebut the presumption that Suzan is a parent to their son. The case now goes back to Judge Jones as a dissolution with a child. Jones must determine whether it is in the best interest of the child to order Kimberly to allow Suzan to have a continuing parental relationship with the boy. Kimberly is represented by Phoenix attorneys Keith Berkshire and Megan Lankford. Suzan is represented by Campbell Law Group in Phoenix and attorneys from the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco.

GayCityNews.nyc | October 27 - November 09, 2016

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MORSELS, from p.18

capitalists marketing trendoid grub stuf f. Actions like organizing, protesting, and fighting, as Coalition of Immokalee Workers cofounder Lucas Benitez told the crowd of 250. Until as recently as three years ago, the tomato industry in souther n Florida was “ground zero for modern-day slavery” in America, according to the Justice Department. Thousands of immigrant tomato pickers were literally enslaved by local farmers (never paid, bought and sold by crew leaders, and locked into their trailers and workplaces and never allowed to leave). Many thousands of others were subjected to frequent physical abuse, constant sexual harassment and assault of women by bosses, and withholding of pay. Benitez and fellow farmworker Greg Asbed organized the tomato pickers along lines of the “popular education” model developed by Paulo Freire in Latin America, which is slow and ultra-participatory and democratic. It

involves consciousness-raising (people speaking the truth about their lives to one another and learning from one another). Most notably, this model is not trend-driven or top-down. The group eventually became strong enough to force most growers to adopt a code of conduct with zero tolerance for sexual harassment, physical abuse, or bullying, and a guaranteed minimum wage with strong enforcement procedures. By pressuring large corporations that buy tomatoes — including Walmart, McDonald’s, and Whole Foods — and employing the threat of boycotts, they were able to inaugurate something called the Fair Food Program, which now operates in seven states and has expanded to other produce besides tomatoes. Most job protections under federal law do not apply to farmworkers, including overtime and the right to organize and press grievances without fear of reprisal. On small farms, workers do not even have the legal right to minimum wage. Now, because of the

Coalition of Immokalee Workers, some of the people who pick our tomatoes, strawberries, and bell peppers can’t be hit in the face or denied enough pay to eat after a 70-hour week in the fields. To be fair to the James Beard Foundation, the group gave Benitez and Asbed Leadership Awards last week at an event held in the evening after the conference’s first day. They gave many other excellent activists awards, too. But they gave more time to speak at the conference to Mitch Baranowski, a brand marketer whose achievements include developing a program for Walmart employees called My Sustainability Plan, to “help associates live healthier, safer lives” by playing a little game for which they would get points for “eating right and exercising daily.” Unfortunately, they were still paid so little that most Walmart employees had to rely on food stamps and other forms of public assistance just to eat, but they had My Sustainability Plan to help them in their struggles toward the light.

The “market or movement?” question genuinely confuses some would-be food activists because food is something most of us buy: Doesn’t that make us primarily a market? The answer is no.

If you’d like to help support the farmworker movement, you can come hear social justice drag queen Lady Quesa’Dilla and DJ Beto at Who Feeds the City, a party Thursday, November 10, 7-10 p.m., with open bar and neato, sustainable food to support the farmworker justice movement in New York State. At 176 St. Nicholas Ave., btwn. Wyckoff and Cypress Aves. in Bushwick. T ickets are $50, $20 for students at bit.ly/whofeedsthecity.

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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Gay City News at 15: No Turning Back

PUBLISHER JENNIFER GOODSTEIN

jgoodstein@cnglocal.com FOUNDING EDITOR IN-CHIEF & ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER PAUL SCHINDLER

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F

or the past decade and a half, Gay City News has strived, with every issue, to provide thoughtful, incisive, and comprehensive news and arts coverage for the nation’s largest and most diverse LGBT community. Thankfully, that has turned out to be a huge but also very exciting job. When we launched in early 2002, New York State did not yet have a gay rights law. Sodomy laws, with criminal penalties for gay sex, were still in effect in about a quarter of US states. Only one country in the world — the Netherlands — gave same-sex couples full civil marriage equality. The progress since then has been breathtaking. But, it’s also been uneven. For half the life of this newspaper, the LGBT community faced a hostile administration in Washington, with a president who won a second term, in part, based on his campaign putting same-sex marriage bans on the ballot in as many states as possible to pull out social conservatives on Election Day. Barack Obama’s election in 2008 promised new hope for many Americans, and LGBT voters largely shared that assessment, but on the same day America chose its first African-American president, California overturned marriage equality with Proposition 8, proving how far

we still had to battle to win over our fellow Americans’ hearts on our freedom to marry. The fight for dignity and equality accelerated considerably in the past eight years, with the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy jettisoned in 2010, gay marriage secured in New York the following year, the Defense of Marriage Act struck down in 2013, and full marriage equality achieved last year. And in the past several years, the Obama administration has moved in an impressively comprehensive way to advance non-discrimination policies and practices for gay, lesbian, and transgender Americans through executive action. Obama will be remembered as our most pro-LGBT president to date, but his “evolution” came at the speed it did only through the persistent demands of our community. Ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was a very close call in 2010. And had the administration not been pressured and cajoled on its marriage equality posture, it’s unlikely that Attorney General Eric Holder would have arrived at the historic 2011 administration decision to stop defending DOMA or the president himself would have endorsed marriage equality the following year. And as Obama prepares to leave office, we still don’t have the political juice on Capitol Hill to pass basic civil rights protections in law for our community nationwide.

This is no time to turn back. In Albany, we must build on promising new efforts to reestablish our political standing after the cratering of the Empire State Pride Agenda late last year. In Washington and around the nation, we must insist on comprehensive nondiscrimination legislation — with no special outs for those who would hide behind purported religious beliefs as license to treat us as less than full citizens. The talk this week that some advocacy groups may be prepared to trim their sails in order to avoid messy fights over public accommodations protections — which guarantee the rights of everyone to access business services, public spaces, and even bathrooms — is wrong-headed. Retreat is not an option. We’ve come too far for that. The next big task ahead of us is to ensure that the progress made during the Obama years can be expanded under a Hillary Clinton administration. In two weeks, we’ll know what we are facing in Washington come January. Even in the best of outcomes, with Democrats restored to leadership in both the Senate and the House (the latter a tall order, indeed), we will have to play smart ball to have our priorities — the Equality Act, first among them — addressed in a very crowded legislative calendar. When 2016 becomes 2017, Gay City News will be there, continuing in our mission to produce the best and smartest reporting we can. May we continue to live in exciting times.

Rivendell Media / 212.242.6863

Gay City News, The Newspaper Serving Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender NYC, is published by NYC Community Media, LLC. Send all inquiries to: Gay City News, One Metrotech North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Phone: 212.229.1890 Written permission of the publisher must be obtained before any of the contents of this paper, in part or whole, can be reproduced or redistributed. All contents © 2016 Gay City News. Gay City News is a registered trademark of NYC Community Media, LLC. Jennifer Goodstein, CEO Fax: 212.229.2790; E-mail: jgoodstein@cnglocal.com

© 2016 Gay City News. All rights reserved.

FOUNDING MEMBER

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FOUNDING MEMBER

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October 27 - November 09, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


GayCityNews.nyc | October 27 - November 09, 2016

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PERSPECTIVE: The Long View

President Hillary Clinton and the Bernie Sanders Left BY NATHAN RILEY

B

ernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton don’t see eye-to-eye on the issues, and the Vermont hot shot never says otherwise, but he is working closely with her as the Democratic Party turns its focus toward taking the Senate and slimming the Republican advantage in the House. What Sanders does say is that the party’s platform is the most progressive ever. And at 75, he is in a position to know. The Sander’s campaign is evidence that the nation is eager for leftist change. Hillary Clinton, with the unwitting assistance of Donald Trump and his loyal voters, has made this a watershed election, testing the 1960s rights revolution. Her progressivism is unequivocal. At the last debate, the most public forum a presidential candidate can find, Clinton’s opening statement painted this big picture: “We need a Supreme Court that will stand up on behalf of women’s rights, on behalf of the rights of the LGBT community, that will stand up and say no to Citizens United… But I feel that at this point in our country’s history, it is important that we not reverse marriage equality, that we not reverse Roe v. Wade, that we stand up against Citizens United, we stand up for the rights of people in the workplace, that we stand up and basically say, the Supreme Court should represent all of us.”

This is a prescription for an activist court in the mold of that under Chief Justice Earl Warren, which began a steady trend toward endorsing rights for all. Hillary doubled down on Roe v. Wade, abandoning the apologetic Democratic dogma that abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare.” She made it an unambiguous feminist issue: “I will defend Planned Parenthood. I will defend Roe v. Wade, and I will defend women’s rights to make their own healthcare decisions.” When we move away from debates over diversity and look at our “rigged economy,” we find her Wall Street allies want change; neoliberalism no longer works, even from their vantage point. They want government spending and will accept new taxes in order to stimulate the economy. Wall Street doesn’t speak for America, but the millions who abhor taxes and government spending will not be in charge with a Clinton victory. There is room for give and take between the left and the center. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren may well be able to keep some Wall Street types out of the Cabinet. But will Clinton deliver on workers’ rights? To keep the left happy, she must wage public fights for workers even when the Republicans oppose her. Clinton’s election may start a new era where the left and the center dominate the political debate. Since the 1990s, the mainstream media has reported policy debates in the nation large-

ly through a Fox News framework. Republicans are conservative and Democrats — all Democrats — are on the left, from that perspective. The Sanders-Clinton primary laid that fairy tale to rest. The Clinton’s close ties to military adventures and draconian criminal justice decisions were exposed. Her personal payments from Wall Street moved perceptions of her toward the right side of the political spectrum. For months, many Clinton supporters and Sanderscrats weren’t on speaking terms. The John Podesta emails released by Wikileaks have shown that there is no love lost between many Clinton staffers and the left, but that is only a surprise to people with little experience in politics. After the election, when Trump is safely dispatched, these tensions will revive as President Barack Obama, in his lameduck twilight, seeks passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It will be a defining moment for the president-elect. Hillary Clinton embraces the civil rights revolution but she runs into bumps in the road. Marriage equality has changed the social status of the LGBT community, but the Black Lives Matters movement poses more fundamental challenges that recall the early days of gay liberation. Its critique of the police and law enforcement practices are consequential in the lives of transgender Americans and many LGBT youth of color. Policing is also a looming issue for sex workers, and there progressives are often split, with demands for decriminalization and legalization at odds with a wing of feminism concerned with issues of sexual assault and rape and as well as the culture’s objectification of women.

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LONG VIEW, continued on p.29

PERSPECTIVE: A Dyke Abroad

Make America Rape Again BY KELLY COGSWELL

I

t’s not just a joke. The only upside to the Trump candidacy is how having a sexual predator as a presidential candidate has inspired women to talk about just how frequently we are attacked and harassed. One woman can just be contributing a perfectly harmless comment to a Twitter thread, and the next thing she knows some man is typing, “FUCKING CUNT, FUCKING BITCH,” and getting all his friends to make death threats. Another is merely walking down the street, a hallway, a subway platform, and some man

28

screams at her, or grabs her body, or shoves her wordlessly merely because she exists as a woman in a man’s world and she happened to cross his path. The weird thing is that people rarely talk about these attacks in the same category as racist aggressions, or homo- or trans- phobia. In fact, groups tracking hate crimes rarely even keep statistics on anti-woman acts. Maybe it’s because rapists, for instance, are rarely seen as anti-woman. Young and drunk, they’re excused as normal, red-blooded boys just overcome by normal sexual urges that got a little out of hand. That is why young men are not to be tempted with short

skirts, scarlet lipstick. Or public female drunkenness. Who can really blame swimming star Brock Turner for getting some when he had the chance? Older men who rape become outcasts, are considered the intrinsically violent, the “perverts” whose choice of a specific female victim is almost beside the point. In college, I remember being shocked when I read Susan Brownmiller’s groundbreaking book “Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape,” describing rape as an act of domination that was all about power, not sex, even if men used their dicks to do it. For one thing, it was the first time I understood that all girls got the warnings my mother gave me, and also that this vul-

nerability, this violence was partly why all the presidents and vice presidents, almost all the representatives and senators and preachers and doctors and priests… were men. (And overwhelmingly white.) Brownmiller’s 1975 book also contributed to a growing understanding of how rape is used as a tool of terrorism, aimed at punishing and subduing whole populations. And why we see rape wherever we see war and civil conflict. Across different cultures and races. From the Sudan to Syria to the American South, both during and after slavery. If she made this leap forward, seeing rape as pure power, it may have been because she was building on work done by black women in the South who had already begun framing it as a civil

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DYKE ABROAD, continued on p.29

October 27 - November 09, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


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LONG VIEW, from p.28

Clinton will face other criminal justice issues, as well. The push for prison reform will not let up until the long-prevalent “lock ‘em up and throw away the key” approach is in the rearview mirror. And drug law reform at the state and local level will continue to present Washington with thorny questions about federal jurisdiction. Five states are voting to legalize marijuana — as in any adult may go to the store and buy it — so pot is quickly moving from the coy “let’s use it as medicine” to the dramatic “cast off your tired old laws.” Reformers will try to turn the debate into a sweeping effort to end prohibition, even as the epidemic of overdose deaths has cast a dark cloud over the failures of existing drug policy. This is a challenge for both the Clinton and Sanders wings of the Democratic Party, and early indications are that they hav-

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DYKE ABROAD, from p.28

rights issue when they pressed rape charges against white men who not only wanted to humiliate and paralyze black women, but shame the black men who could not protect them. Eldridge Cleaver was inspired to rape white women in revenge — first practicing on black women — before he had a later change of heart. The problem with talking about rape as a tool is that it begins to sound abstract. And erases women. Making the men seem detached and calculating almost as if there were no hate involved, and that rapists and aggressors don’t hold inside of them a cache of fear and loathing that occasionally, or often, wells to the surface in violence and rape. As if Trump grabbed women by their pussies just to establish his power, and not in the joy of pure hate directed at our femaleness and out of a desire to humiliate and destroy. We don’t have many choices in how to respond. You can fight it every time and die of grief and rage. You can ignore it, even as you shrink a little having learned, as do all people of color in this predominantly white country, that the bodies we inhabit are vulnerable, don’t quite belong to us. The way an effeminate boy learns to shudder at

en’t yet grappled with the issue. Unforeseen, often overseas events challenge any president, and largescale military adventures would likely rupture today’s mood of unity. A recession would drive workers’ rights issue to the forefront, and Clinton, in any economy, will have to make good on the promises to fix what’s ailing Obamacare, both in the cost of care and the breadth of its coverage. Perhaps Hillary can define a large enough vision to unite the dozens and dozens of factions that make up today’s Democratic Party. The last president who tried this, L yndon Baines Johnson, failed when the Vietnam War ruptured his grand vision for a Great Society. In less than three months, the next president will have her say. Only then can we start truly defining her relationship to the left. The only certainty is that the left won’t be quiet.

the thought of the locker room. But indulge this machismo enough, allow your culture to celebrate it, you get femicide, the murders of women like Lucia Perez in Argentina, who was drugged and raped so violently the pain gave her cardiac arrest. The BBC reports that on average, one woman is killed there in domestic violence cases every 36 hours. Argentina adopted an anti-femicide law in 2012, with harsher penalties for men who kill women because they’re women. By comparison, in the larger US, three-plus women are killed every day just by their partners or exes. Many more every day are raped. The biggest difference is that last Wednesday people all over Argentina walked out of work for a couple hours in the pouring rain to protest against anti-woman violence. Signs read, “If you touch one of us, we all react,” and “Not one more.” Protesters supported them in Mexico, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. I can’t remember the last time women in the US have been outraged enough at murder after murder, rape after rape for us to take to the streets on our own behalf. Kelly Cogswell is the author of “Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger,” from the University of Minnesota Press.

GayCityNews.nyc | October 27 - November 09, 2016

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ALBANY, from p.13

DONNA ACETO

and congressional level, every candidate is a Democrat. McMorrow explained that among legislative Republicans, only Assemblymember Janet Duprey from the Lake Champlain area, has been consistent on “GENDA, the conversion therapy bill, and reproductive rights, among other important issues,” and she is retiring. Fourteen GOP members of the Assembly support a ban on conversion therapy for minors as does Long Island Senator Phil Boyle, but the group’s “primary goal” in the 2016 election “is to build a pro-GENDA majority in the State Senate.” Equality NY is making no endorsement in Boyle’s reelection bid. The other striking aspect of the group’s voter guide is the non-endorsement of any IDC senator. Explaining that decision, McMorrow, in an email message, wrote, “All of the members of the IDC are individually supportive of GENDA and many of our other priority issues, and they should be commended for that support. Indeed, Jeff Klein recently secured a significant amount of funding for LGBTQI senior housing, and both Diane Savino and Tony Avella have gone to bat for us on a number of occasions. At the same time, however, many in the community feel that the IDC's arrangement with the Republican majority in recent years has impeded progress on GENDA and other LGBTQI legislation.”

Or, as Ortiz put it, “Are you walking the walk or just talking the talk?” While acknowledging, as McMorrow did, that IDC Democrats have endorsed LGBT goals, she argued that as a result of their alliance with the GOP leadership, “We have seen policy and budget lines stalled.” In recognition of the need to build as diverse a political vehicle as possible, both McMorrow and the group’s voter guide also mentioned the importance of intersectional issues including immigrant rights, women’s rights, and “sensible gun control.” Going forward, McMorrow and Ortiz said Equality NY was also likely to engage on issues including criminal justice reform and living wage demands. To date, the group has donated $1,000 to Kaminsky’s Senate reelection on Long Island, $1,000 to Assemblymember Harry Bronson, an out gay Rochester Democrat that McMorrow said “faces a tough reelection race,” and $500 to TransPAC “as a show of solidarity.” The other top races the group is considering playing in are Amber Small’s contest in Buffalo, Ryan Cronin’s battle against Kemp Hannon on Long Island, and Terry Gipson’s bid to recapture the seat he lost two years ago in the Hudson Valley. In addition to the Kaminsky, Cronin, Adam Haber, and Jim Gaughran races on Long T:8.75” Island, Hoylman also pointed to John Brooks’ challenge to Republican Michael Venditto as a race to watch.

State Senator Brad Hoylman.

Given the LGBT community’s commitment to winning a Democratic State Senate this November, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s headlining of a fundraising event this week for the party’s candidates — his first such appearance — was a welcome sign. The governor is reported to have told the crowd that if the party makes gains, the IDC will have to reconcile with the regular Democrats. For Hoylman, the question is what follows. “If the Democrats control the Senate, there are so many issues that are going to be on the table in the first 100 days,” he said. “How are LGBT issues going to break through?” That, he added, is why LGBT efforts underway to stay alive on the Albany scene are so critical.

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October 27 - November 09, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


THEATER

My Fractured Queer Family Groundbreaking musical set in the dawn of the AIDS era gets a slick revival BY DAVID KENNERLEY

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FALSETTOS Lincoln Center Theater Walter Kerr Theatre 219 W. 48th St. Through Jan. 8 Tue., Thu. at 7 p.m. Wed., Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat. at 2 p.m. Sun. at 3 p.m. $42-$189; ltc.org Two hrs., 40 mins., with intermission

JOAN MARCUS

hen “Falsettos,” a comic, sung-through musical tracing the tribulations of a fractious band of New Yorkers — many of them gay — landed on Broadway back in 1992, it was a heady time for LGBT rights. ACT UP was still in full-on warfare mode, desperately trying to draw attention to the shameful complacency surrounding AIDS (shockingly, the number one cause of death among US men ages 25-44). Bill Clinton, who would be elected president that November, was vowing to enact legislation allowing gays in the military — a goal he would, of course, fall spectacularly short of due to entrenched homophobia. The very existence of “Falsettos” was an implied political statement. At a time when the LGBT community was being demonized, it was one of the precious few Broadway offerings showing that gay people can have just as tender and messy relationships as straight people. It also asserted that gay men dying of AIDS are deserving of compassion from the community around

Christian Borle and Andrew Rannells in William Finn and James Lapine’s “Falsettos,” at the Walter Kerr Theatre through January 8.

them. The piece ran for more than a year and won Tony Awards for Best Book (by William Finn and James Lapine, who also directed) and Best Original Score (also by Finn). Now, nearly a quarter-century later, “Falsettos” is being revived in a slick, sensitive new Broadway production courtesy of Lincoln Center Theater. And while, understandably, the show has lost much of its urgency, it retains its ability to touch the heart. It also retains

its chaotic quirks, with wild mood swings — jumping from jubilation to despair — that can be difficult to reconcile. Lapine is back at the helm. “Falsettos” has always been a peculiar, patchy musical — a meshing of two Off-Broadway shows. Act I (set in 1979) is drawn from “The March of the Falsettos, which debuted in 1981, while Act II (set in 1981) is from “Falsettoland” that debuted a decade later. The titles of

the musical numbers alone reflect a vast diversity, from “Four Jews in a Room Bitching” to “Making a Home,” “Days Like This I Almost Believe in God,” and “You Gotta Die Sometime.” Finn’s musical style remains full of verve and whimsy. The impeccable cast works hard to smooth over the bumps. As Marvin, Christian Borle (fresh from his Tony Award-winning turn in “Something Rotten”) reveals undercurrents of warmth in an otherwise unlikable protagonist who has left his unsuspecting wife, Trina (Stephanie J. Block, in top form), and geeky, pre-teen son

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Pre-Middle Age Angst Jonathan Larson’s durable tuner about grabbing gusto before time runs out BY DAVID KENNERLEY

E CAROL ROSEGG

George Salazar and Ciara Renée in Jonathan Larson’s “Tick, Tick…BOOM!,” directed by Jonathan Silverstein, at the Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row through November 20. GayCityNews.nyc | October 27 - November 09, 2016

verybody knows the tragic backstory of “Rent,” where the show’s 35-year old creator Jonathan Larson died of an aortic aneurysm just hours before the Off-Broadway premiere in 1996. The Pulitzer Prize-winning, pop-rock musical was hailed as a game-changer, pumping fresh oxygen into Broadway (where it ran for 12 years), and, as Larson intended, brought musical theater to the MTV generation. Several national tours followed, plus a 2005 movie starring much of the original cast. Today, “Rent” remains a juggernaut, with productions all over the globe. Not so well known is that Larson penned an

autobiographical rock monologue titled “Tick, Tick…BOOM!” a couple of years prior to “Rent.” After being reshaped into a three-hander by David Auburn, the spunky tuner was staged Off-Broadway in 2001 at the Jane Street Theatre (fittingly, the same space where “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” got its start). Now the chamber musical is having its first full Off-Broadway revival, courtesy of the Keen Company, playing at the Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row. If “La Boheme” was the inspiration for “Rent,” perhaps “Company” was the jumping off point for “Tick, Tick…BOOM!” Like the Sondheim

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Countess Dracula “Gay Gotham “Memorializes the greatest dyke Casanova of her day BY DAVID NOH

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Abram Poole’s portrait of his wife of 15 years, Mercedes de Acosta.

gle to make original, non-Abstract Expressionist art, and some gorgeous Irene Sharaff costume sketches for “West Side Story” — one wishes more emphasis had been given to less predictably prominent artists, like innovative deejay Larry Levan, of the legendary Paradise Garage (which doesn’t even get a mention anywhere), or Charles Ludlam and other representatives of maverick downtown theater like John Vaccaro and Tom Eyen. Manhattan’s once-burgeoning 1970s cabaret scene — with clubs galore like Reno Sweeney, Upstairs at the Downstairs, Brothers and Sisters, the Ballroom, the still-going strong Marie’s Crisis right down to funky Club 57 (which is having its own exhibit at MoMA next year) — is also MIA here. What this show does include is a happily sizable homage to one of the most fascinating, least-known women who ever walked down Fifth Avenue. She wore strictly black and white, which matched her dramatic coloring, favoring short, slicked-back hair, trousers, exotic highwayman coats and capes, tricorn hats, pointytoed buckled shoes, at one point even an eye patch, prompting Tallulah Bankhead to call her “Countess Dracula,” and another acquaintance to dub her “The Black and White.” That friend was Greta Garbo, and the woman in question

COURTESY: PAUL MONROE FOR GREER LANKTON ARCHIVES MUSEUM

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COURTESY: SANTA BARBARA MUSEUM OF ART/ GIFT OF MERCEDES DE ACOSTA IN HONOR OF ALA STORY

ay Gotham: Art and Underground Culture in New York,” a new exhibit at the Museum for the City of New York, is a terrific survey of a variety of queer subcultures and personalities that once made our now malled-over city so vibrantly the center of the gay universe, and not just because of Stonewall. A mammoth and wondrously varied effort, it takes up two floors of the museum and is an exhilarating barrage of influences, both high and low, which have in all kinds of ways, affected us all. And, if, like me, you are of a certain age, it really brings home the history we all actually lived, both familiar, and, at times, reminding one of something wonderful and quite forgotten, which suddenly springs to radiant life in your mind’s eye. That latter category include to the show’s tribute to the marvelous East Village boutique Einsteins, where I used to pick up pieces of the wildly creative clothing being made by gifted artisans in the New Wave/ Punk, graffiti and disco-driven 1980s. Its resident artist was the brilliant transgender artist Greer Lankton, whose specialty were amazing dolls that were deliriously campy and bizarrely lifelike at the same time. Her huge Diana Vreeland, commissioned for a Barney’s window, is here, and will undoubtedly bring a smile to your face. It’s a real feast, from Andy Warhol’s scene to an informal history of gay bars to the inclusion of Christopher Street pier, which once housed a dilapidated building that offered pre- AIDS horny gays a free locale in which to suck, fuck, and boogie 24 hours a day. And, in that pre-Giuliani once upon a time, did they ever! To think that one could shed one’s clothes and then do whatever it is you do when you’re naked in an open public New York space now boggles the mind, making you think, “Did I just imagine that happened?” (Oh, but it did: on my one exploratory excursion there, the overpowering formaldehyde scent of decades of dried up bodily fluids made me do an immediate U-turn.) Speaking of naked, Larry Rivers’ monumental full frontal portrait of the brilliant poet Frank O’Hara is on display and, while I applaud the inclusion of that, as well as tributes to Harlem Renaissance pioneering artist Richard Bruce Nugent, photographer George Platt Lynes, and Carl Van Vechten, walls devoted to Warhol, Mapplethorpe, Leonard Bernstein, and Lincoln Kirstein seem a little been there-done that. Although there’s some great, rare stuff here — like a 1950s snapshot of Warhol, looking the ultimate young dweeb, on a tour of Japan, early invitations to shows that illustrate his strug-

Einsteins “Circus” window display by Greer Lankton and Paul Monroe, with dolls and photo by Lankton.

GAY GOTHAM: ART AND UNDERGROUND CULTURE IN NEW YORK Museum of the City of New York 1220 Fifth Ave. at 103rd St. Through Feb. 26, 2017 Daily, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. $14; $10 for students & seniors mcny.org/exhibition/gay-gotham

here, Mercedes de Acosta (1893-1968), was her lover for a time, something she — de Acosta, that is — never got over. If ever a person made art of her life, it was truly she, for, as Alice B. Toklas once said of her, “Say what you will about Mercedes, she’s had the most important women of the 20th century.” Garbo must surely count as one of these, followed by Marlene Dietrich (whom de Acosta dated simultaneously), as well as Isadora Duncan, Eva Le Gallienne, Alla Nazimova, actress Ona Munson, and ballerina Tamara

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IN THE NOH, continued on p.51

October 27 - November 09, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


THEATER

Queen of the Harlem Renaissance Laurence Holder’s life of Zora Neale Hurston is revived BY TRAV S.D.

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Elizabeth Van Dyke and Joseph Lewis Edwards in the 1998 “Zora” production.

ZORA NEALE HURSTON: A THEATRICAL BIOGRAPHY New Federal Theatre Castillo Theatre 543 W. 42nd St. Through Nov. 20 Thu.-Sat. at 8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. at 2:30 p.m. $40; $30 for students & seniors castillo.org or 212-941-1234

MARTHA SWOPE

GayCityNews.nyc | October 27 - November 09, 2016

MARTHA HOLMES

his year is the 125th anniversary of the birth of trailblazing African-American writer, folklorist, and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960). To mark the occasion, the New Federal Theatre is reviving its 1998 production of Laurence Holder’s “Zora Neale Hurston: A Theatrical Biography.” Sometimes known as the “Queen of the Harlem Renaissance,” Hurston had a life and a career that were extraordinary by any standard. Raised in Eatonville, Florida, America’s first town to be incorporated and governed entirely by African Americans, Hurston went on to study at Howard University and later Barnard College. While at Barnard, she was tapped by anthropologist Franz Boas to collect material on the folk culture of African Americans, a lifelong project that would come to embrace a study of the people of the Caribbean, as well. Said Woodie King, Jr., artistic director of the New Federal Theatre and director of the upcoming play, “She was a pioneer of promoting the folkways of African Americans that had been unheard up until that time. She went into the South and collected tons of stories. She studied folk music and blues songs, she spoke with people on chain gangs, in prison, in lumber camps, at fishing holes, on front porches. It all had an impact on her.” Hurston had already begun publishing her fiction prior to this folklore fieldwork, becoming one of the key players in the Harlem Renaissance by the mid-1920s alongside such figures as Langston Hughes. Her subsequent studies of folk culture would come to enrich her short stories, novels, and non-fiction works of a decade later to a marked degree, giving them a distinct, authentic flavor. Her principle works were written during the Great Depression: the novels “Jonah’s Gourd Vine” (1934), “Their Eyes Were Watching God” (1937, her best-known work), and “Moses, Man of the Mountain” (1939), and the non-fiction works “Mules and Men” (1935) and “Tell My Horse” (1938). In the 1940s there followed a memoir “Dust Tracks on a Road” (1942), and one last published novel “Seraph on the Sewanee” (1948). Over the years she also wrote plays, poetry, short stories, articles, and opinion pieces. In later years she fell out of favor. The fact that she wrote in phonetically rendered black dialect (an outgrowth of her anthropological fieldwork) alienated her from many black readers and intellectuals (including novelist Richard Wright), as did the fact that she was an outspoken political conservative. In 1948 she was framed by Florida authorities, who accused

Elizabeth Van Dyke in “Zora Neale Hurston: A Theatrical Biography.”

of her molesting a 10-year-old boy, a crime of which she was manifestly innocent, having been in Honduras at the time. This incident finished her career as a public figure. Hurston spent her remaining 12 years both penniless and obscure. According to playwright Holder, Hurston’s famously go-it-alone personality contributed to this isolation: “She didn’t really like authority, and being a woman, she was constantly being upbraided by men, being told to stay in the kitchen and so forth. She rebelled against it. She knew who she was and was quick to remind everyone. But,” he added admiringly, “she was one bad-ass bitch! She told Langston Hughes and Richard Wright where to go. And these were all guys who were helping her out! She castigated [scholar] Alain [LeRoy] Locke, and he was the one who helped her get into Barnard. So she didn’t really belong to anyone. She was a loner.”

In 1973, Hurston’s unmarked grave was located by the young writer Alice Walker, who collaborated with others to erect a headstone, and led the rehabilitation and popularization of Hurston’s place in American literary history, beginning with a 1975 article in Ms. Magazine entitled “In Search of Zora Neale Hurston” (later anthologized as “Looking for Zora”). With renewed interest by the public, Hurston’s works were republished, re-evaluated, and celebrated, and are now considered classics. “Their Eyes Were Watching God” was made into a 2005 TV movie by Oprah Winfrey and Quincy Jones, starring Halle Berry. “Their Eyes Were Watching God” is the same book that inspired playwright Holder’s decadeslong engagement with Hurston. “When I read that book I was floored — floored!” he said.

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ZORA, continued on p.44

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DANCE

The Force Awakens

Gina Gibney’s long revolution expands big-time downtown BY BRIAN MCCORMICK

GIBNEY DANCE COMPANY

F

c

“Folding In” Gibney Dance 280 Broadway, enter at 53A Chambers St. Nov. 2-5 at 8 p.m. Nov. 10-11 at 8 p.m. Nov. 12 at 2 & 5 p.m. $15-20 at GibneyDance.org/Performance Or 646-837-6809

JULIETA CERVANTES

or years, people in the dance field talked about, experimented with, and funded research on “new models” — as in alternative organizational structures and approaches to creative, presenting, funding, audience development, press, and marketing practices. While some of these were enabled or empowered by the rise of social media, surprisingly little institutional progress has been made. Due to calcification of leadership and a lack of innovation, the field remains largely unchanged, leaving artists at the mercy of an out-moded system. There is, however, a beacon of hope across from City Hall in Lower Manhattan, where Gina Gibney is building (on) an empire rebels can be proud of. Some may see this as a recent development that capitalized on the 2013 bankruptcy of Dance New Amsterdam, but the reality is that Gibney has spent her entire adult life working on this — well, at least the last 25 years. Gina Gibney Dance, Inc. was founded as a performing and social action dance company in 1991 aimed toward women in need. They used a community action model; while other companies had a dramaturg on payroll, Gibney

Nigel Campbell in Gibney Dance Company’s “Folding in,” which premieres November 2.

had a clinical advisor. 890 Broadway, in the Flatiron District, became the company’s artistic home. With the security of space, Gibney focused on “keeping the company, and being a community actor, while making it viable, and trying not to lose money,” she told Gay City News. “For 20 years we had been working on the same scale, with the same problems, and no momentum,” she said. “The tipping point came when we had enough money earned from the studio space that funders began to pay attention,

BOOM, from p.31

classic, the action unfolds in a series of disconnected vignettes and centers on a rudderless, unmarried guy fretting over a landmark birthday (Jonathan turning 30; Sondheim’s Bobby turning 35) and looking to friends for solace. The musical is peppered with sly Sondheim references — snippets of librettos and lyrics, a spoof of the song “Sunday” from “Sunday in the Park with George,” and even a cameo voiceover by the legend. Which makes sense since Sondheim was Larson’s idol and occasional mentor in real life. The zippy, 90-minute piece, set downtown in 1990, finds Jonathan striving to become a successful musical theater composer while moonlighting as a waiter at a local diner (Larson worked at the iconic Moondance Diner on lower Sixth Avenue, long since replaced by a

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and expressed a desire to invest in what they saw as a stable entity.” In 2010, the company expanded its footprint at 890 Broadway into an eight-studio community center, and introduced a slew of new programming, events, and partnerships with Dance/ NYC among others. Like Mark Morris Dance Center and the Ailey Center, Gibney blossomed into a secure community settlement for dance artists. Shifting into max, Gibney used earned income from its studio rentals to pilot-test a residency for mid-career artists. The Mel-

tony hotel). He lives in a dumpy loft on the edge of SoHo with his longtime pal, Michael, who happens to be gay and gave up an acting career to work at a Madison Avenue ad agency (the term “sell-out” surfaces more than once). Jonathan’s relationship with gorgeous girlfriend Susan, a dancer, is coming apart at the seams. Is it better to persevere or settle? The ticking is getting louder. Under the assured direction of Jonathan Silverstein, this is an unfussy, stripped-down affair with a minimal set, by Steven Kemp, dominated by a wonderful architectural feature resembling an enormous loft ceiling with skylights, covered in bright graffiti swirls. But it is awkwardly askew, suggesting a “BOOM!” is taking place. The spirited band, led by Joey Chancey, is visibly onstage where it should be. When not in a scene, actors sit on tall stools and guzzle bottled water.

lon Foundation has now funded that residency program, which will serve 30 artists over three years. “Instead of paying to turn on the lights,” Gibney explained, “they were paying for added programming. Funders love that.” The same year Gibney was expanding at 890, DNA was close to eviction from its space at 280 Broadway. The company finally went belly up in 2013 after failing to implement a long-term funding strategy as part of its effort to “come up with a stronger model,” as DNA’s director said at the time. Gibney Dance stepped in, signing a lease on 36,000 square feet at 280 and hosting a wall-breaking party to mark its gut renovation into the Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center, which houses per -

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While the choppy book feels a bit simplistic and dated, much of the score is still fresh and vibrant. When it comes to the demanding role of Jonathan, Nick Blaemire has some mighty big shoes to fill. Raúl Esparza (who, as it happens, played Bobby in “Company” on Broadway) originated the role Off-Broadway, and in the Encores! version a couple of years ago, Jonathan was portrayed by none other than Lin-Manuel Miranda. If Blaemire seems tentative in some of the more raucous sequences, he nails the soulful ballads, like “See Her Smile,” where he laments there’s nothing he can do to make Susan stay. Sadly, he is forced to wear oversized, pleated, rust-colored corduroys that are so hideous it’s distracting.

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BOOM, continued on p.35

October 27 - November 09, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


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FALSETTOS, from p.31

(Anthony Rosenthal) to be with a man. Whizzer, his immaculately groomed, self-absorbed new lover, deftly played by Andrew Rannells, exhibits a cocky allure that makes it easy to understand why Marvin upended his life. Block literally stops the show with her tour-de-force number, “I’m Breaking Down,” where she realizes the terrible toll of Marvin’s betrayal. Here the balance of comedy and catastrophe is pitch perfect. The plot gets tangled further when Mendel (Brandon Uranowitz), Marvin’s insecure psychiatrist, falls for Trina and they, against all odds and ethics, become a couple. Later, this fraught, dysfunctional family is expanded by the addition of the sympathetic lesbians next door, Dr. Charlotte (Tracie Thoms) and Cordelia (Betsy Wolfe). The ever-shifting family structure, it should be noted, is nicely echoed in David Rockwell’s abstract, versatile set featuring a variety of large, soft gray building blocks constantly being reconfigured. Marvin and Whizzer have their ups and downs, and often find themselves sparring on the racquetball court or in the bedroom.

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BOOM, from p.34

As Susan, Ciara Renée turns in the standout performance of the evening, adding layers of emotional complexity to what could be a cookie-cutter role. Plus, she delivers some heart-stirring, life-affirming vocals. George Salazar does his best to believably capture Michael’s ups and downs. One moment Michael is rhapsodizing about his new highrise apartment with its parquet floors and dishwasher; later he’s disclosing a health crisis. “I know I’m sick, Jon,” he says. “And I’m not going to get any better.” Remember, this was before antiretroviral cocktails, when having HIV/ AIDS was seen as virtually a death sentence — and too often was. Although it stands solidly on its own, “Tick, Tick…BOOM!” resonates more forcefully when considering Larson’s posthumous triumph with “Rent.” The uncanny prescience of writing a show about

It’s not until Whizzer gets sick that the potency of their love fully shines through. “Slap my face or hold me,” Marvin says toward the end. The show, which clocks in at two hours and 40 minutes, hums along briskly enough, but could use some judicious trimming. The creepy, neon-accented fantasy dance routine, “March of the Falsettos,” feels sorely out of place. The book has its share of stereotypes that have not aged well — the nagging, New York Jewish psychiatrist, for example. Not that a bouncy, quasi-operetta about cheating, divorce, and terminal illness spotlighting miserable neurotics is for everyone. But if you focus on the underlying spirit of love and acceptance, this “Falsettos” can warm even the most hardened critics. Perhaps the contrast between the two iterations a quarter century apart can be summed up by their respective Playbill covers. The current Playbill depicts a complex, heart-shaped diagram featuring arrows and cute, smiling faces. On the 1992 cover was a stark illustration by none other than Keith Haring — known as much for his AIDS activism as for his artwork and by then dead for two years — featuring three figures defiantly holding up a radiant red heart.

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TICK, TICK…BOOM! Keen Company The Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row 410 W. 42nd St. Through Nov. 20 Tue.-Thu. at 7 p.m. Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Sat. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. $85-$105; keencompany.org 90 mins., with no intermission following your bliss before time runs out is lost on no one. For Larson, the “boom” turned out to be all too real. No less extraordinary is that Blaemire himself knows a thing or two about the hardships Larson endured as a promising young composer. He wrote the music and lyrics for “Glory Days,” which premiered on Broadway in 2008. That modest pop musical shuttered the day after it opened — one of the most notorious flops in recent memory.

GayCityNews.nyc | October 27 - November 09, 2016

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THEATER

The Human Comedy Three plays explore relationships beset by a changing and random world BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE

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Harold Perrineau and Diane Lane in “The Cherry Orchard,” at the American Airlines Theatre through December 4.

JOAN MARCUS

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JOAN MARCUS

esisting the effects of time and the inevitable change it brings is futile — and a sure path to disappointment, if not tragedy. That resistance is, however, the stuff of theater, and few plays illustrate the struggle more clearly or compellingly than “The Cherry Orchard.” Though it depicts a Russian family in the first years of the 20th century, its themes are as relevant and resonant today as they were then. Human nature, the underlying theme of the play and virtually all of Chekhov’s work, is ever-resistant to change. The play tells the story of a wealthy family that can no longer afford its estate, legendary for its cherry orchard, and is about to lose it in an auction. A real estate developer suggests that the orchard be razed and summer cottages built, which would solve their financial problems, but the family can’t stomach that change and, ultimately, all is lost. Themes of class differences and fundamental economic changes are filtered through the play as Ranevskaya, the matriarch, and her brother, Leonid — the older generation — hold out against Lopakhin, the young developer raised on the estate as a serf who is now trying to save its owners with his scheme. In the new adaption at the Roundabout, Stephen Karam, author of “The Humans,” has preserved much of the scope and lyricism of Chekhov while updating the language. The problem is the compression of the play. In performance, Karam’s script clocks in nearly an hour shorter than the play as written, making this is a “Cherry Orchard” for the Twitter world. As with tweets, what’s lost are nuance, subtlety, and the richness of human foibles Chekhov relished in. Instead, they are only indicated. Many other playwrights have tackled this piece — with greater or lesser results. Tom Stoppard honored what Chekhov insisted was a

comedy with heart and perspective that was fresh, while David Mamet less successfully applied his brusquer style. If this adaptation feels like driveby Chekhov, there are elements to recommend it — principally the performance of Diane Lane as Ranevskaya, the clueless aristocrat. As written by Chekhov, the character’s lack of connection to reality is vulgar, if not reprehensible, and Lane floats through the role, with Ranevskaya looking smashing in Michael Krass’ uniformly wonderful costumes, while virtually unaware of what is happening. Harold Perrineau as Lopakhin is more agitated than is typical for the role, and also less kind, but the edge works in reflecting our contemporary world. And casting a black man in the role lends a contemporary focus on race to the dynamic. Celia Keenan-Bolger is excellent as Varya, Ravenskaya’s adopted daughter who has managed the estate and sees all too well where things are heading, even if her love for Lopakhin is doomed to be unrequited. The rest of the company does very well, though many scenes seem rushed and unclear. Director Simon Godwin hasn’t helped that much, with a breakneck pace perhaps deemed necessary for a contemporary audience but that sacrifices clarity. Playing the fourth act in contemporary clothing, which gives a time warp feeling to the undertaking, is quite simply theatrical overkill. Scott Pask’s spare, monochromatic set, featuring Calder -like mobiles above a floor that’s a sliced-off tree trunk, is terrific, and Donald Holder’s lighting design is excellent. Krass’ gorgeous costumes use color to incisive and surprising effect. Change is inevitable and can be good, and classics certainly cry out to be reexamined. But Chekhov is, after all, considered one of the first modern playwrights. This production raises the pertinent question of much more modern “The Cherry Orchard” needs to be.

John Mulaney and Nick Kroll in “Oh, Hello,” at the Lyceum through January 8.

“Theater is hot right now. There’s ‘Hamilton’… and nothing else.” So say Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland, two 70-something curmudgeons who somehow have gotten their very own Broadway show, “Oh, Hello.” The men are the comedic alter egos of 30-something Nick Kroll and John Mulaney. Appearing in deliberately false age make-up applied with only the merest attempt to convey physical age, the show is the kind of rollicking comedy that recalls the very best of Carol Burnett’s TV variety show and of Nichols and May. Built on a ridiculous plot about roommates of 40 years losing their rent-controlled apartment and deciding to get rich via public access TV so they can have a roof over their heads, the show is rich

in word play, malapropisms, and linguistic comedy that are consistently fresh. Both of these wonderful comics are new to me, though they have a huge following, with the characters hailing from Kroll’s show on Comedy Central. In “Oh, Hello,” Kroll and Mulaney achieve that comic pinnacle of being both acid-etched and adorable, and while virtually every joke lands, some of their most trenchant are reserved for contemporary plays that don’t really go anywhere and just end suddenly. It’s wonderful to see the delight Kroll and Mulaney take in entertaining. That’s classic showbiz, and it helps make “Oh, Hello” an especially bright spot in contemporary comedy.

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THE CHERRY ORCHARD

HUMAN, from p.36

American Airlines Theatre 227 W. 42nd St. Through Dec. 4 Tue.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat.-Sun. at 2 p.m. $59-$149; roundabouttheatre.org Or 212-719-1300 Two hrs., 20 mins., with intermission

“Heisenberg” may be just the

OH, HELLO JOAN MARCUS

kind of play that Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland poke fun at in “Oh, Hello.” That doesn’t mean the play is not thought-provoking and entertaining. It is a winding tale of two people who, having met on a bench in a railway station, fall into a relationship, of sorts. It is the sketchily told tale of the aggressive Georgie Burns and her pursuit of a much older man, Alex Priest. Whether she is really in love with him or simply using him is often unclear. Georgie is a force of nature, a receptionist at a private school, who overwhelms the more sedate Alex, a butcher with a shop in London. Georgie lies and manipulates, and Alex plays along. The play exists in the collision between these two characters. Though this is barely enough to hang an 80-minute one-act on, the exceptional performances of Mary-Louise Parker as Georgie and Denis Arndt as Alex alone on an almost bare stage mine the substance of Simon Stephens’

Denis Arndt and Mary-Louise Parker in “Heisenberg” at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre through December 11.

play as best as could be done. The title is ostensibly a nod to Werner Heisenberg who is noted for developing the uncertainty principle in quantum physics (I had to look that up). That’s a little cute, as we’re clearly supposed to consider the random nature of human interaction that spins until the play just stops, unresolved and presumably still spinning in the darkness. At the

performance I saw, the audience didn’t know the play was over, something that happens in the theater with increasing frequency lately. The uncertainty principle here is whether this brief, discursive play is worth your $150. To see Parker and Arndt at the top of their form, yes. To see a manipulated and often forced character study, perhaps not so much.

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HEISENBERG

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FILM

Loving, Up Close Ruth Negga, Joel Edgerton lend understated authenticity to Jeff Nichols’ story of landmark civil rights win BY STEVE ERICKSON

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FOCUS FEATURES

irector Jeff Nichols’ “Loving” has all the ingredients to make an irritating piece of Oscar-bait. It’s a period piece addressing important issues. The Academy Award voters will never realize that “Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle” was a more subversive take on racism than Paul Haggis’ “Crash,” so a film that blatantly foregrounds its grappling with American history is likely to get their nod. To my relief, “Loving” is modest and humanscaled. There’s a bare minimum of courtroom histrionics. While it does depict white ACLU lawyers arguing against laws banning interracial marriage, it doesn’t show whites as the saviors of the civil rights movement. It’s rooted in a very specific and detailed sense of time and place. “Loving” begins in Central Point, Virginia in 1958. Richard (Joel Edgerton) and Mildred Loving (Ruth Negga) are a married couple. He is white, and she is African-American. While they know that it’s against the law for an interracial couple to get married in Virginia — they drive to

Washington, DC, for the ceremony — they don’t expect any serious circumstances and are surprised when cops come by and haul them off to jail. After receiving a suspended sentence, they relocate to Washington but don’t like it very much. In particular, Mildred wants to head back to the Virginia countryside, but doing so risks another arrest and serious jail time. The area of rural Caroline County where the Lovings lived in the ‘50s is carefully sketched out: drag races, parties with moonshine and live bluegrass, early R&B and rock’n’roll on the soundtrack. Richard spends most of his time with blacks, but it seems significantly less segregated than the urban life of the time depicted in “Loving.” In the summer, the cinematography is appropriately hazy. Nichols seems horrified by the conditions in the Washington neighborhood where the Lovings move. It’s introduced with images of animals eating trash on the street. At night, the sound of people talking keeps Mildred up. Richard is the only white man in sight. Left unsaid is the implication that this grime is a product of segregation and that white neighborhoods are much nicer. Nichols’ work, particularly “Mud,” has often

Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga in Jeff Nichols’ “Loving,” which opens November 4.

suggested that he’s a Southern regionalist; here, he went as far as shooting in the same Virginia towns and neighborhoods where the Lovings’ arrest and initial trial took place. There’s been a lot of Oscar talk about Ruth Negga’s performance — including a Freudian slip from one critic who managed to turn her last

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Beyond Bars

Brett Story travels America to probe incarceration culture BY STEVE ERICKSON

I

t may seem like prison is invisible in American culture unless one has been locked up or knows someone who has been. Still, the deserved popularity of the Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black” — which, without totally eschewing violence, pointedly avoids depicting jail as a constant procession of stabbing and rape — has led to a flood of crass reality shows. No one wants to go to jail, but Americans seem fascinated by a chance to gaze at the experience

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on their TVs. The nadir of these shows is A&E’s “60 Days In,” in which people who aren’t criminals volunteer to spend time in jail. If they think they’re in danger of violence or simply can’t handle the experience, the producers can have them pulled out; too bad wardens generally don’t have such concern for their inmates. The same fascination with prison has played out in the arthouse, with better results. This interest has led to some excellent recent documentaries, like Kristi Jacob-

son’s “Solitary” and Ava DuVernay’s “13th.” Canadian director Brett Story’s “The Prison In Twelve Landscapes” sometimes seems confused about its aesthetic — it’s half avant-garde film, half TV news broadcast — but it stands up proudly alongside these non-fiction works. “The Prison In Twelve Landscapes” begins with nighttime images of a cityscape, as messages to prisoners play over the soundtrack. It resembles the more abstract side of Michael Mann. (The source of these audio mes-

LOVING, continued on p.39

THE PRISON IN TWELVE LANDSCAPES Directed by Brett Story Self-distributed Nov. 4-10 Anthology Film Archives 32 Second Ave. at Second St. anthologyfilmarchives.org

sages is explained much later in the film.) A man tries to sleep in a car. One can assume he’s just been released from prison. From there, Story travels across the US — although three of her “landscapes” are found in New York City and two in Detroit — exploring the impact of prison culture on people outside it, even if only temporarily. She starts off in a relatively direct fashion, profiling an ex-con in Washington Square Park. This man became a chess master while

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October 27 - November 09, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


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LOVING, from p.38

name into a slur in the obvious way while he thought he was praising her — but it’s not at all showy. Joel Edgerton’s work is even more minimalist. Neither character talks that much. They’re products of the age before mass media, even if they own a TV set. (When they move back to Virginia, they live in a house without a telephone.) Mildred is more active and talkative; she’s the one who makes the initial decision to write to Bobby Kennedy, which leads to the ACLU contacting her. Edgerton’s performance rides a fine line between emphasizing his character’s laconic nature and showing enough of his intelligence and personality so that Richard never seems stupid. It’s hard to imagine defendants in a comparable Supreme Court case now declining to personally appear at the court. Of course, there are parallels between the struggles depicted in “Loving” and those still going on. The kind of ugly urban decay and segregation shown in the Washington scenes remains with us. Some of the arguments used against the Lovings’ marriage are specific to interracial marriage: “God created the races and

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LOVING Directed by Jeff Nichols Focus Features Opens Nov. 4 Loews Lincoln Square 1998 Broadway at W. 67th St. amctheatres.com Regal Union Square 850 Broadway at E. 13th St. regmovies.com

years

Congratulations and thank you

set them on separate continents” (Of course, this never addresses the faults of the slave traders who brought Africans to the New World to begin with.) Some of them will sound mighty familiar to anyone who remembers the recent battles over same-sex marriage. Period pieces face the danger of rendering prejudice safely defeated and relegated to the past; take “The Imitation Game,” which actually felt less daring than Basil Dearden’s classic “Victim,” a film made while homosexuality was still illegal in the UK. Rather than making any grand statements about American racism, “Loving” is a touching, gentle portrait of a couple that, along the way, depicts their glancing interaction with the civil rights movement.

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Jail time made for chess-playing career training for an ex-con in Washington Square Park.

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INCARCERATION, from p.38

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Rob Redding is quickly becoming known all over the art world for his Smear Paintings and is continuing his growing career with his “Black on White” Show in NYC this November.

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incarcerated. He now plays and teaches the game for money in the park. Not all of Story’s “landscapes” are so matter-of-fact, though. This may be the only film that seems equally influenced by non-narrative director James Benning and the longer-form journalism of the former Al Jazeera America. Story’s voice can be heard several times, but she never appears

onscreen, doesn’t conduct conventional Q&A interviews, and didn’t shoot the film herself. Her status as a Canadian marks her as an outsider to her subjects; one of them explicitly says “you must not hear this much” before using the N-word and talking about the cheapness of African-American lives. “The Prison In Twelve Landscapes” can be seen as a cautionary tale to her

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FILM

Two Mothers’ Child

Anna Muylaert charts young man’s journey toward identity and belonging BY GARY M. KRAMER

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Iggy Pops Off

in Aracy’s home, he attends school, practices with his band, and shares a passionate kiss with the band’s male singer one afternoon. But soon, Pierre moves into the posh home of his biological family: Glória, his father Matheus (Matheus Nachtergaele), and his younger brother, Joca (Daniel Botelho).

In a nifty bit of casting, Muylaert has Nefussi also play Glória, and the differences between the two women are striking. Where Aracy was very hands-off with her family, Glória practically smothers her son with attention and affection now that

BY STEVE ERICKSON

Jar musch has always been an unconventional director, but never a flashy one. His Neil Young doc “Year of the Horse” was fine but somewhat workmanlike. “Gimme Danger” brings somewhat more visual pizzazz to the project, with sparingly used but witty animation. Jarmusch also shows his sense of humor by editing in clips from TV shows and Hollywood movies. These are actually quite creative. Iggy grew up in a trailer, and he talks about identifying the same model in Vincente Minnelli’s Lucille Ball vehicle “The Long, Long Trailer.” Jarmusch shows a clip from “The Ten Commandments” when Iggy describes his attraction to ancient Egyptian pharaohs. He uses an ancient anti-drug educational film to illustrate Iggy’s recollections of his introduction to heroin. As critic Richard Porton pointed out, this use of found footage actually isn’t far off from politically-minded British documentarian Adam Curtis, even if Jarmusch has less lofty goals.

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AMAZON STUDIOS & MAGNOLIA PICTURES

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Daniela Nefussi, Naomi Nero, and Matheus Nachtergaele in Anna Muylaert’s “Don’t Call Me Son.”

Giving voice to its front man, Jim Jarmusch lets the Stooges have their due

Iggy Pop (right) and the Stooges.

ZEITGEIST FILMS

t 17, Pierre (Naomi Nero), the protagonist of the compelling Brazilian drama “Don’t Call Me Son,” is trying to figure himself out. He wears eyeliner and blue fingernail polish. At a party, he dances with guys and girls. Pierre has a fluid sense of gender identity; he is testing out who and what he likes — and seems to be in no rush to make any decisions. Pierre lives with his working class mother, Aracy (Daniela Nefussi), and younger sister, Jaqueline (Lais Dias), in a cramped house. Pierre often locks himself in the bathroom to try on lipstick, shave his chest, and take photos of his ass in a G-string. He is slowly becoming comfortable with his androgynous nature. In any event, there is a much larger secret being kept in this family.

One night, when Aracy arrives home late, Pierre is told to go outside where two policemen are waiting for him. They need to take a DNA sample. It turns out that Aracy is suspected of having kidnapped Pierre from his birth mother, Glória. Aracy did not adopt Pierre, as he has always believed. What’s more, it is possible that Jaqueline is not Aracy’s daughter, either. “Don’t Call Me Son” pivots on this shocking revelation. Director Anna Muylaert, who earlier helmed the domestic drama “The Second Mother,” adroitly chronicles how Pierre recalibrates his life once returned to his biological family, who know him as Felipe. His responses — which range from withdrawing into himself to acting out during family functions — make the film so engrossing. When he first learns the truth, life continues apace for Pierre. Still

imme danger, little stranger,” sings the Stooges’ Iggy Pop on the song that lends its title to Jim Jarmusch’s documentary on the band. He was probably thinking of an exciting sexual encounter, but the power of the Stooges’ music is so primal that it suggests something a whole lot more serious and sinister. Danger to the Stooges themselves, first and foremost. Original bassist Dave Alexander passed away of pneumonia in 1975, and today Iggy is the sole survivor from the band’s original lineup. That taste of danger would prove intoxicating to future musicians — Jarmusch includes a montage of various punk bands covering Stooges songs in the late ‘70s — but it drove away hippie audiences who, in 1969, the year of Woodstock, didn’t want to hear there was really nothing to do, as the first song on the first Stooges album says. If you were a working-class teenager stuck in Michigan, however, the ‘60s no doubt looked a whole lot less exciting.

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IGGY, continued on p.46

October 27 - November 09, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


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OPERA

African “Macbetto,” Czech Berlioz Third World Bunfight adapts Verdi in Philly; Magdalena Kožená in two turns

DOMINIC M. MERCIER

Owen Metsileng as Macbeth in Fabrizio Cassol’s adaptation of the Verdi opera performed by Third World Bunfight.

BY DAVID SHENGOLD

S

eptember 24 in Philadelphia’s Prince Music Theater, a capacity audience heard Third World Bunfight’s adaptation (by Fabrizio Cassol) of Verdi’s “Macbeth.” Presenting this South African troupe continued Opera Philadelphia’s collaboration with the city’s extensive Fringe Festival. The brainchild of director Brett Bailey, this clever, moving, and sometimes quite profound reworking sets the opera’s essential scenes in contemporary Congo-Kinshasa. The searing chorus “Patria oppressa” starts and ends the piece, reappearing several times — an apt threnody for the tens of thousands displaced, killed, or reduced to penury or servitude by civil wars and corruption, both internal and multinational. A chorus in street clothes sits at stage left, a chamber orchestra (a dozen OP players, rhythmically dominated by percussion) at right. The conceptual gambit is that refugees have come upon the score and properties from a colonial 1930s touring “Macbetto” — highly improbable, the work was scarcely in the repertory, but what matter? They perform it to tell their own reality. Throughout, we see evidence (enacted and via images) of rape, coercion, child soldiery, and other violence. The witches — well vocalized by choristers doubling as the Apparitions — are forced to sing while three Western-suited, masked figures associated with an exploitative mining conglomerate tell the futures of their Congolese “clients,” Macbeth and Banquo. Surtitles are hilariously scatological, alternating Brechtian effects with plainspoken power realities. Bailey and Cassol cut and pasted lavishly;

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some numbers (like Act Two’s finale) are gone, others simplified and/ or truncated. The first finale after a while gets replaced by a distorted Old Met broadcast unmistakably featuring Leonie Rysanek. A few numbers are guyed as embedded performances (“La luce langue” witnesses a disco ball, Banquo’s aria a mic and back-up singers who eventually murder him) — seemingly to guarantee entertainment value for non-traditional operatic audiences. Yet this “Macbeth” was among the politically smartest adaptations of operatic form I’ve witnessed — it reinterprets Shakespeare and Verdi’s works in resonant, meaningful ways, bearing testimony to the ongoing suffering and economic injustice colonial domination wrought and wreaks on numberless Africans. The musical performance under conductor Premil Petrovic also movingly honored Verdi’s visionary music — his earliest attempt at integrated music drama, in which even the monstrous central couple are shown alone and afraid as fellow suffering humans. This adaptation frequently alters rhythms and (often brilliantly) instrumentation, sometimes keys. The three main singers — powerful, uninhibited presences — all showed serious schooling and considerable vocal resources. Owen Metsileng’s boyish-faced, rueful Macbeth showed ample legato and control, outshining recent Met exponents — except perhaps Carlos Álvarez. Nobulumko Mngxekeza’s Lady Macbeth was a handful: a ruthless operator like the Ivory Coast’s Simone Gbagbo and a shoe maven like Imelda Marcos. Her mezzo-with-extension emerged sometimes blunt yet expressive and capable of a surprising degree of finesse. Otto Maidi’s Banquo started rather choked but soon came into his own. This unforgettable touring production next regroups in Vancouver in January.

The Met revived Michael Grandage’s static, set-muffled, goofy dance-hobbled “Don Giovanni” on September 27: truly a compendium of the way shows designed for HD viewing can bomb seen live. Revival director Louisa Muller couldn’t do much with the disastrously cramped playing space and apparently doesn’t have the clout to lose the anachronistic, unmusical sub“Glee” table choreography. Fabio Luisi generated some well coordinated, smooth playing, but tempos sometimes droned, sometimes drove. No one was terrible — though the often beauteous-toned Hibla Gerzmava hasn’t the technique, textual command or passion to play Anna, and I found Adam Plachetka’s stylistically decent Leporello vocally and dramatically monotonous. The rest had distinct virtues, most of all Simon Keenlyside’s title libertine and Malin Byström’s Elvira. Returning to major stage sing-

ing after multiple surgeries, Keenlyside looked and sounded fully at home, living the complex role with insight, flair, and fine-honed tone. His serenade was particularly beautiful. Byström, improving as she went along, offered a total performance, her soprano light and fluid, if needing the occasional extra breath to negotiate the hardest runs. Rolando Villazón’s utterly predictable cancellation gave this first run to Paul Appleby, whose alert, smoothly vocalized Ottavio fared much better than his April Belmonte; both arias won applause. Though not ideally clear of utterance, mezzo Serena Malfi (Zerlina) produced an unarguably Italianate sound — which can’t be said of that fine artist Matthew Rose, playing her fiancé. Quality bass Kwangchul Youn — probably covering King Marke in “Tristan” — offered considerable vocal art as the Commendattore.

The next night Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic provided beautiful accompaniment to the Berlioz masterpiece “Nuits d’été”, a six-piece song cycle to poems by Théophile Gautier. Gilbert conjured the melancholy sustained atmosphere of the slower songs with a sensitivity that sometimes has been rare in his treatment of 19th century Romanticism. The soloist, star Czech mezzo Magdalena Kožená, looked and sounded lovely (as usual) but made less than memorable contact with the rich texts. She always knew what she was singing, but tended to skim over specific details and contrasts, overcompensating with near-constant hand gestures. Kožená had a music stand; though she wasn’t greatly dependent on it, its presence underscored the not yet fully formed interpretation of this great work. Kožená fared much better at a recital for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society in the intimate acoustics and sightlines of the Perelman Theater. Her voice throughout sounded warm and pure, though some pressure intruded on some top notes. She was at her very best singing Dvorák in her native language. A Gabriel Fauré group also impressed as to expression and sensitivity; the lyrics felt lived in. This was not the case with her German songs, be they by Wolf, Strauss, or Schoenberg (his prolix “Cabaret Lieder,” which most classical singers should leave alone). Malcolm Martineau, however, brought deft and stylish pianism to all the works undertaken. Overall, a pleasant occasion; PCMS’s next vocal recitalists include two major figures, Bernarda Fink (November 11) and Sandrine Piau (February 14), plus the very promising Paul Appleby (March 3). David Shengold (shengold@yahoo.com) writes about opera for many venues. October 27 - November 09, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


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DANCE, from p.34

CHRISTOPHER DUGGAN

forming arts space, studios, and resources for the arts and social justice communities. Now, like Ailey, the company is also embarking on expansion, adding 10,000 square feet to the downtown complex, which will house seven smart studios equipped with technologies to create and disseminate high quality digital content. The company will also deepen the social justice work that has been at the core of its activities since the beginning through its now-global Community Action programming that uses dance and creativity to empower domestic abuse survivors and their families to take back control of their lives. The center will also provide social justice and community action services and training and also cultivate partnerships, like the one with the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, with whom Gibney Dance conducted a symposium on bullying and abusive relationships. Perhaps most incredible among Gibney’s accomplishments is the fact that her company members are now 52-week salaried employees with health care and the month of August off. She accomplished this by redesigning their jobs to include activism and advocacy. “What does a company residency look like?,” Gibney asks. Since last year, each company member has been assigned an advocacy fellowship. “They envision and implement something they deeply care about using the resources of the organization,” she explained. “We activate dancers as leaders of the community, provide their projects with incubation and mentorship by senior staff. They each choose the area they want to focus on.” And they are making a real difference. Dancer Nigel Campbell developed and now co-directs Move[NYC] a rigorous, tuition-free summer dance intensive for talented locals teenagers who lack the financial means to attend summer dance programs like those at Jacob’s Pillow or ADF. This community-based philosophy can also be found at work in some of the curatorial programming, like “Double Plus,” shared evenings of work by artists chosen by other artists.

Gina Gibney is a visionary artist, activist, and entrepreneur who has been rethinking and improving dance infrastructure in New York City for 25 years.

Keep your home, family & finances above water

Perhaps most incredible among Gibney’s accomplishments is the fact that her company members are now 52-week salaried employees. “Artists are coming to us with ideas,” Gibney explained. “We want to have a strong artist-driven selection process, as well as selective presenting curated around a strong point of view. And we are working on how to make that process fair.” As for her own dance-making, the choreographer joked she hasn’t been “cranking them out in the last five years,” but she’ll present her new evening-length work “Folding In” the first two weeks of November. “We can’t do one thing all the time in this field. There has to be an acknowledgement of cycles and processes and demographics,” the dance magnate elaborated. “We wear many hats and embrace and use those things. But I put it all behind me when I walk into the studio and breathe the same air as the dancers. Admittedly, making this new work has been slow, stretched out over time, but it feeds me in a way nothing else does.” For complete information on all the programs, services, classes, and events at both Gibney Dance Center spaces, visit gibneydance.org.

GayCityNews.nyc | October 27 - November 09, 2016

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GALLERY

The Pleasure and Power of the Body P•P•O•W, Galerie Lelong offer joint exhibition by feminist artist Carolee Schneemann BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN

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CAROLEE SCHNEEMANN “FURTHER EVIDENCE — EXHIBITS A & B” Through Dec. 3 P•P•O•W 535 W. 22nd St. Tue.–Sat., 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. ppowgallery.com Galerie Lelong 528 W. 26th St. Tues.–Sat., 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. galerielelong.com Exhibit A presents the rarely seen “Known/ Unknown: Plague Column” (1995-1996), an installation which combines collage, sculptures, wall texts, photographs, and video. The latter is looped, showing enlarged per mutated cancer cells and juxtaposing these with grids of religious icons. Meanwhile, at Galerie Lelong, Exhibit B entails two films by Schneemann: “Precarious” (2009) and “Devour” (2003), as well as works on paper (“Caged Cats”).

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JONATHAN SLAFF

Playwright Laurence Holder.

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COURTESY: CAROLEE SCHNEEMANN, GALERIE LELONG & P•P•O•W

n their first joint exhibition since announcing dual representation of Carolee Schneemann in 2015, Galerie Lelong and P•P•O•W present this influential feminist artist by pulling together examples of her critical but lesser -known works from the 1980s, ’90s, and today. Bor n in 1939, Schneemann has long been known for her discourses on the body, sexuality, and gender. Though trained as a painter, her oeuvre encompasses a variety of media, including filmmaking and performance, among others. Last year, Schneemann told the Huffington Post she is “interested in sensuous pleasure and the power of the naked body as an active image rather than the same old, pacified, immobilized, historicized body.” In these two particular exhibitions, Schneemann focuses on representations of the body in captivity, utilizing visualizations of repressed histories of control and confinement. A t P • P • O • W, f o r e x a m p l e ,

From “Exhibit A,” Carolee Schneemann’s “Plague Column: Known Unknown (Angles and Demons)” (1995-96).

ZORA, from p.33

According to Holder, he immediately began working on an adaptation that was being workshopped in 1979 when a call from Hurston’s estate shut it down. “That’s when I started writing a biographical play,” says Holder. This became “Zora,” which starred a then-unknown Phylicia Rashad and was presented in 1981 on a double-bill that also included Holder’s biographical play about Malcolm X entitled “When the Chickens Came Home to Roost” — starring a then-unknown Denzel Washington (now, there’s a night of theater I wish I could go back in time to see!). In total, Holder has written five theatrical works about Hurston. In 1998, his “Zora Neale Hurston” was presented as a co-production of the American Place Theatre and Woodie King, Jr.’s National Black Touring Circuit, starring Elizabeth Van Dyke, who had directed “Zora” back in 1981. The play is a two-hander; all the men in Hurston’s life were played by Joseph Lewis Edwards. Both actors are returning for the current revival. For her portrayal of Hurston in the original production, Van Dyke won

an AUDELCO Award for Best Actress. In the 18 years since that last production, America has seen the election of its first black president and the appointments of its first black attorney general and two black secretaries of state, including the first black female in that position. Oprah Winfrey became the world’s first black female billionaire. At the same time, America has continued to struggle with racial division, most markedly regarding unfair law enforcement and criminal justice practices. What does a figure like Hurston have to tell us today? Said King, “It would be amazing for me to know that this show would help audiences discover a figure who was present at the Harlem Renaissance, through the Great Depression, through World War II, through the beginning of the Cold War, who wrote about all this, who gave us that vast canvas, that history. The story of Zora Neale Hurston really is a large part of the story of African Americans in the 20th century.” A Scholar’s Panel follows the 2:30 p.m. performance on Oct. 30. October 27 - November 09, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


FRI.OCT.28

MON.OCT.31

DIVINE DECADENCE

Vampires at St. Peter’s

The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine celebrates Halloween each year with a silent film screening. This year’s cinematic thriller is Robert Wiene’s 1920 “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” the story of an insane hypnotist who uses a somnambulist to commit murders, which will be screened with live accompaniment by renowned organist Timothy Brumfield. St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Ave. at 110th St. Oct. 28, 7 & 10 p.m. Tickets are $25, $20 for students & seniors at web.ovationtix.com/trs/ pe/10110034.

There is something inherently queer about the legend of Dracula, and this Halloween St. Peter’s Church is bringing you some vampire realness. And no, we’re not talking Edward Cullen — it’s the one and only “Nosferatu,” the original vampire. The 1922 German Expressionist horror flick screens with accompaniment by Joel Forrester on keyboards. 346 W. 20th St. Oct. 31, 8 p.m. There is a suggested donation of $15. Visit stpeterschelsea.org.

MON.OCT.31

SAT.OCT.29

Masquerade!

HOUSE OF WAX

WILSON MODELS

Voss Events returns to Madame Tussauds for its ninth annual Halloween blowout party. All eight floors of the famed wax museum will be transformed into a haunted dance party featuring DJ Hector Fonseca, Lady Bunny, and DJ Vito Fun, with a horror show presented by William from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and a costume contest. Madame Tussauds’ traditional attractions (Ghostbusters Haunted House Experience and Marvel’s Superhero Thrill Ride) will also be open. Madame Tussauds, 234 W. 42nd St. Oct. 29, 11 p.m. Tickets start at $55 at vossevents.com/ event.cfm?id=171236. You must be at least 21.

SAT.OCT.29 BROOKLYN’S BAD HABIT Hot Rabbit parties consistently win praise as among the best LGBT nightlife events in town, and their Hot Rabbit// Bad Habit Hell Yes! Halloween Edition party promises to be no exception. Located in the heart of Bushwick at Lot 45, this queer hipster-fueled dance party will feature music from DJ M.O., DJ Chaotic, and DJ Roze Royce, along with performances by Andrew Barret Cox & The Cosmic Generation, and a costume contest with a $500 grand prize. 411 Troutman St., btwn. Wyckoff & St. Nicholas Aves. Oct. 29, 11 p.m. Tickets are $20 at the door only. Visit thehotrabbit.com for more details.

SUN.OCT.30

MON.OCT.31

MON.OCT.31

IT’S A BLOOD BATH

DRAG QUEENS FROM HELL

Bob the Drag Queen comes back to New York, and she’s bringing fellow “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season 8 finalist Kin Chi with her; together they have $3,000 to give away. So put your best heels on, gurl, and join them for a night of reading and dancing, along with performances by New York’s best drag queens — including Monet Exchange, Pixie Aventura, Tina Burner, Miz Cracker, Judy Darling, and more. The Copacabana, 268 W. 47th St. Oct. 30, 10 p.m. Tickets are $30, with VIP admission at $100 at brownpapertickets. com/event/2599962.

Having “Drag Race” withdrawals already? Still mad about who snatched that crown? Then check out Voss Event’s “Night of the Living Drag: Apocalyptic All Stars” at Stage 48, featuring an army of zombies drag queens, including host Shangela and the cast of “RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Star,” including Alyssa Edwards, Detox, Ginger Minj, Katya, Roxxxy Andrews, and Tatiana. 605 W. 48th St. Oct. 31, 9 p.m. Ticket are $55 at vossevents.com/event. cfm?id=171240. You must be 21.

MANTA SPA

If sexy costumes are not your thing — or perhaps if you have a taste for evening attire — look no further than the East Village’s Theater for the New City’s annual Halloween Costume Ball. Now in its 39th year, the theater transforms all four of its spaces into a Halloween free-for-all of indoor and outdoor activities, leading up to the Monsters and Miracles Costume finale, in which a panel judge the revelers. 155 First Ave. at E. 10th St. Oct. 31, with free outdoor festivities kicking off at 4 p.m. Indoor entertainment begins at 8 p.m. Costumes or evening wear required, and tickets are $20 at theaterforthenewcity.net/ halloween.htm.

PAPER FACES ON PARADE Hard not to mention the season’s most storied event — the 43rd Village Halloween Parade. Join thousands of other costumed New Yorkers as they march through the Village up Sixth Ave. to 16th St. Line up begins at Canal St. at 7 p.m. and step-off continues until around 9. Can’t make it? Fear not — the ghouls and witches will haunt the neighborhood well into the night. So meet them there or at the parade’s official afterparty at Webster Hall, 125 E. 11th St. Visit halloween-nyc.com for more information. — Michael Shirey

Congratulations to Gay City News on your 15 Year Anniversary!

FOCUSING ON MAN TO MAN MASSAGE O F F E R I NG TA B L E S H O W E R S & BODY SCRU BS 11 SKIL L ED TH ER A PISTS W I T H A DI V E R SE R A NGE OF BACKGROU N DS & SK I L L S

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322 Eighth Avenue, Suite 1700 New York, NY 10001 (212) 633-8052 www.hoylman.nysenate.gov

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SON, from p.40

she has been reunited with the boy taken from her many years before. When she insists on unpacking his suitcase, Glória discovers a red dress among Felipe’s T-shirts and shorts. Although he shrugs off the garment as “belonging to a friend,” during a shopping expedition, Glória and Matheus are shocked and dismayed to discover that their son prefers to dress as a woman. Is this behavior just a sign of Felipe rebelling against his new parents? Or, is he becoming more self-possessed, ironically now better able to express his true nature having become Felipe rather than Pierre? “Don’t Call Me Son” plays on the two meanings of the title to explore complex issues of identity and belonging. Raising salient points about the question of nature versus

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IGGY, from p.40

“Gimme Danger” includes interviews with most of the major figures involved with the Stooges saga — Jarmusch was fortunate to talk

nurture in the film’s 82 minutes, Muylaert asks who the better mother is and which is the better household. As Pierre/ Felipe comes into his own while seemingly reluctant to give his new family a chance, audiences will get caught up deciding what is best for him. This gripping film also captures the tensions that arise out of Pierre/ Felipe being forced to “be someone he’s not.” How do children respond to being raised by parents they didn’t choose and don’t love? How do parents feel and react when their children don’t turn out to be what they want or expect them to be? And, of course, how does a young man who feels feminine struggle to exist in a body that is not one he chose? Felipe’s relationship with his new brother, Joca, is significant in Muylaert’s exploration of these issues.

Joca reaches out to his older brother, but also distances himself from him at times. When Felipe is sitting in a dress on the couch watching TV with his family, Joca does not comment, possibly accepting him in ways his mother and father do not. It’s a quietly powerful scene, and a nice contrast to a family outing where Felipe goes bowling in his red dress and attracts the wrong kind of attention. “Don’t Call Me Son” is filmed in a very urgent, immediate style, and Muylaert practically eavesdrops on her characters in their private moments. Scenes of Pierre in the bathroom, looking at himself in the mirror, show him trying to define himself. Nero, lanky and sensitive in his portrayal of Pierre, uses his body’s language to communicate the internal conflicts in a marvelous, haunting performance that culmi-

to saxophonist Steve Mackay and drummer Scott Asheton, who have died within the past two years, and get archival interviews with guitarist/ bassist Ron Asheton, who died in 2009 — but it’s Iggy’s story.

Fortunately, Iggy turns out to be a great raconteur. Jarmusch passes the microphone to him and lets him take control of most of the film. The original Stooges lineup only recorded two albums; a second incarnation featuring guitarist James Williamson recorded a third, 1973’s “Raw Power,” before imploding into a mess described at the beginning of “Gimme Danger” and recorded on several live albums. Like many artists who become legendary after their deaths, that slim discography has been padded by an endless series of demo collections, most of them not worth one’s while, as well as a box set containing every single take recorded for their second album, “Funhouse.” That album, which mixed jazz and funk into their garage-rock stew, may represent the band’s peak. After its release, they went on the road, playing a series of rock festivals and gradually gaining greater popularity despite a lack of radio airplay or label support. But at one of these festivals Iggy first tried heroin, and the band soon became a debacle. Riddled with constant lineup changes, they were dropped by Elektra Records in 1971 before a third album could be completed. “Gimme Danger” makes a case for the Stooges as serious avant-gardists, not just noisemakers. Iggy recalls buying Sun Ra and Pharoah Sanders albums while working at a record store, as well as

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nates in powerful confrontation. Nefussi is remarkable in the double role of Aracy and Glória, making both mothers distinctive and sympathetic as they grapple with the challenges involving their son. Muylaert is successful in crafting a powerful and provocative drama in large measure by avoiding the pitfalls of sensationalizing its characters or the situations they confront in their lives.

drumming for blues musicians in Chicago. The Stooges would smoke pot together and listen in the dark to the adventurous classical music of Harry Partch, performed on the composer’s self-invented instruments. They took the noise experiments of the early Who, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and the Velvet Underground (whose multi-instrumentalist John Cale produced their first album) one step further, but their take on rock was distinctly adolescent and Midwestern, not arty or virtuoso. To an undiscerning listener, their first album’s lyrics sound really dumb; in a world where Philip Glass can alternate between two notes on a synthesizer and call it classical music, the simplicity of “no fun, my babe/ no fun” is far from stupid. Jarmusch’s direction may not entirely do justice to such formally radical music — especially side two of “Funhouse,” which is full of freeform noise and John Coltrane-inspired saxophone squalls — but he knows how to get out of the way and let Iggy tell his own story.

GIMME DANGER Directed by Jim Jarmusch Amazon Studios/ Magnolia Pictures Opens Oct. 28 Film Society of Lincoln Center 144-165 W. 65th St. filmlinc.com

October 27 - November 09, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


ADVERTORIAL

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.

daydreaming

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 | October 27 - November 09, 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.

eating

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.

reading

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.

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FAMILY, from p.5

sidered a surviving spouse. Doyle’s lawyers have constructed an intricate argument based on New York and Pennsylvania cases seeking to persuade the Surrogate’s Court that Doyle should be recognized as Cornwell’s sole heir, the surviving spouse of a man who had no children, and so should inherit the entire estate. Their argument crucially depends on a court retroactively applying last year’s Supreme Court marriage equality decision more than a decade into the past in order to find that two men spending time living together in Pennsylvania prior to 2005 had a common law marriage that New York will recognize. The will that Cornwell signed may not be admissible for probate, but it would be admissible as evidence to support Doyle’s claim that the two men considered themselves to be married and that Cornwell planned to leave everything to Doyle. This is a difficult argument to make in retrospect, so Schwartz and Wolf face an uphill battle in

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the Surrogate’s Court. Doyle’s petition is vague on some of the kinds of facts that would be helpful to his case, such as exactly when and for how long he and Cornwell stayed in New Hope on their vacation trips. All the affidavits submitted with the Petition to bolster his case come from Doyle’s relatives and neighbors in New York. There are no affidavits from anybody in Pennsylvania to corroborate Doyle’s recollections about those trips. The affidavit by Sheila McNichols, signed two years ago, refers to the men as lifetime partners and domestic partners, but not as spouses. This isn’t surprising, since it was prepared under Gray’s supervision, before Doyle met his current lawyers, who first suggested the common law marriage theory after interviewing Doyle about the details of his relationship with Cornwell and their lives together. New York court decisions have accepted common law marriage arguments based solely on the testimony of the alleged surviving spouse, but the cases have usually mentioned more details that

SPRINGSTEEN, from p.14

issues — and, today, having those issues continue to shape you. Though he referred to 1960s tensions, saying, “There was a lot of fights between the black and white. There was nothing you could do,” we knew as 1980s high school kids there was something we could do. We resolved racial differences through dance parties mixing so-called white and so-called black music, and breakdancing competitions during that fad’s height of popularity. I’ve even kept the spray-painted urban graffiti backdrop we created for those competitions that everyone — white, black, Latino, and Asian — participated in. There’s another line in “My Hometown,” with strong resonance in this political season, about globalization’s impact on the American worker. “They're closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks. Foreman says these jobs are going boys and they ain't coming back.” Bruce is singing of the Karagheusian Rug Mill, a factory which once employed hundreds of people, opened at the turn of the last century by an Armenian refugee who had fled the collapsing Ottoman Empire. I might have been raised middle class, spoiled by some measures, but when you sit next to people in high school homeroom who grew up poor, some of whom might not have eaten that morning, children of families laid off years before by the mill Bruce sings about, it’s impossible not to develop a concern

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a court would likely rely upon to support marital intent, such as the couple having had a religious ceremony or exchanged rings before a gathering of friends. Doyle’s lawyers will also have to convince the court to waive various deadlines that were missed while Doyle was letting McNichols and Gray take the lead in handling the estate affairs. Doyle’s claim should have been filed shortly after Cornwell’s death, not more than two years later, but he argues in his petition that he only recently learned from his current attorney about his legal right as a common law surviving spouse. In a written argument accompanying the petition, Schwartz and Wolf contend that Doyle had reasonably relied on Gray and McNichols’ assurances that he would be taken care of, and he “did not think that he needed to pursue any sort of litigation to inherit from this estate.” There are plenty of cautionary tales here for couples in similar situations. If significant property is involved in a relationship, getting a competent lawyer to prepare

for the working class, one that has followed me throughout life. Even now, living in Michigan, down the road from blighted Detroit, it’s hard not to think of Bruce when listening to Rust Belt struggle stories. By the early 1990s, I would learn that beyond working class and racial issues, Bruce Springsteen also cared about issues for people like me, gay men, when he recorded the song “Streets of Philadelphia” for the 1993 film “Philadelphia,” in which Tom Hanks played a gay man dying of AIDS. Springsteen would appear in 1996 on the cover of the Advocate. More recently, he spoke out against the North Carolina bathroom bill, cancelling a concert there in protest. It was an amazing revelation to me that LGBT values were Bruce values, that the most famous person from my high school was speaking out for LGBT equality. Maybe he would have gotten a kick out of a closeted gay teenager poring over photos of other boys’ butts to build a memorial to his fame. Yet looking back, and knowing the gay history of where Bruce became famous, Asbury Park, he likely had long socialized among gay people in the creative seaside town. The New York Times might proclaim the town’s gay popularity as a recent phenomenon, but this is a public relations fantasy. The town once rivaled Provincetown and Fire Island. No one was gayer than sassy “Hollywood Squares” center square Paul Lynde, who made Asbury his favorite resort, staying at the now demolished Metropolitan Hotel, according to officials from

and supervise the execution of legal documents (including wills) is essential. Whether to marry is a decision that couples need to weigh carefully, but the benefits in terms of inheritance rights are substantial, especially taking into account the spousal deduction if an inheritance will be large enough to generate federal or state tax liability. Surviving spouses may also be eligible for a death benefit from Social Security or from their late spouse’s employee benefits plan and for monthly Social Security payments at the higher rate enjoyed by their deceased spouse. These men first got together when these things weren’t spoken about, and the idea of same-sex marriage seemed a pipe dream in 1958! Unfortunately for Doyle, the couple did not manage to keep up with the times in a way that would have protected them. The case is pending before New York County Surrogate Nora Anderson, who signed the document appointing the co-administrators and authorized the sale of the building.

the city I interviewed in the early 1990s, when there was a short-lived plan to convert the abandoned Steinbach’s department store building into a gay shopping mall complex. From an early age, long before he was famous, and certainly well before it was mainstream, Springsteen probably incorporated LGBT values from among the spectrum of social issues he absorbed from the Jersey Shore’s dying towns. In the end, we never did get that Springsteen concert, but we did get a nice letter from him. And of course, Freehold had plenty of Bruce sightings back then, as it still does today. I never personally met Bruce Springsteen, though I have long wanted to interview him, a natural subject for me as a fellow high school alumnus. Thirty years on from the first major editorial project I was ever in charge of, I’ve learned a lot. Editing the Freehold High School yearbook changed my life by teaching me the things that journalism could give me in life in helping me break me out of my own head. Who knew a lonely, closeted high school kid could parlay editing a Bruce Springsteen-themed yearbook, looking at pictures of other boys’ butts late at night to meet a deadline, into a journalism and editing career decades down the road? We may all just be that annoying person in the high school courtyard our teachers think will never make something of ourselves, but you never know where life, Bruce Springsteen values, and photos of other boys’ butts will take you. October 27 - November 09, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


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INCARCERATION, from p.39

compatriots, or even a far more ethical variation on the world-hopping mondo movies Anthology Film Archives saluted earlier this year. Quickly, it becomes clear that Story likes disconnecting image and sound. That’s evident from the very first scene, but it’s glaringly obvious from the section devoted to firefighting in Marin County, California. A female prisoner delivers an off-screen voiceover about her difficult work fighting fires, her pride in this labor, and her desire to turn it into a career upon release. (She acknowledges the unlikeliness of that happening.) The credits reveal that these are the words of an anonymous woman read by an actor. Over these thoughts, Story shows grimly majestic extreme long shots of California’s fires. A similar scene shows pastel images of parks in LA while talk radio guests discuss legislation that would forbid sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of such places. However, the scenes in Story’s film that have the most impact

bring out her journalistic side. In the Bronx, she meets a man, himself an ex-con, who has created a business selling products to prisoners’ relatives to give to their incarcerated loved ones: he guarantees that everything he sells will pass jailhouse inspection. He even got Universal Records to make a special cassette edition of Kanye West’s “Yeezus” for prisoners! On an extended trip to St. Louis County, Missouri, Story talks to numerous African-Americans who’ve been charged huge fines for petty traffic offenses so that the local government can raise money on their backs. One woman she meets served jail time because the lid on her garbage can was ajar. While it may be that “The Prison In Twelve Landscapes” sometimes feels uncertain about what exactly it wants to be, its individual portions work quite well. Her ambitions clearly extend far beyond journalism and storytelling, yet that’s what her film does best. It remains to be seen whether her desire to combine them with formal experimentation is a permanent fixture in her work.

I Get It At Home... Do You? To get Gay City News mailed directly to your home,

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BROWNSTONE, from p.17

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“Sheila and I have sort of skirted around the subject,” he said. “She always says, ‘Oh, Uncle Tom, we love you.’” Reached by phone, McNichols complained that Gay City News was “about the fourth publication that Tom’s attorney has set on me,” and declined further comment. Another niece, Carole DeMaio, was quoted in the New York Times as speculating that perhaps Doyle and Cornwell were just “friends” or “great companions.” Asked by Gay City News whether that was an accurate characterization of what she said, DeMaio responded no, but declined further comment, saying, “I don’t trust anybody any more.” Gay City News could not reach the two nephews who each stand to inherit a quarter of the $7 million estate. Doyle told Gay City News he never met either of them, and in court papers wrote that one, upon learning of Cornwell’s death, said, “Now I get a windfall from my rich uncle.” Doyle has been buoyed by the response of neighbors and friends

Tom Doyle in his back garden.

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to news of his situation, including a pledge from the prospective buyer now in contract that they would happily buy from him and allow him to live out his days in the garden apartment. Still, the complexity and risks of the situation keep him worried, as well. “Sometimes I think I’m in denial to a degree,” Doyle said.

GayCityNews.nyc | October 27 - November 09, 2016

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IN THE NOH, from p.32

Peter Hujuar’s 1976 “Christopher Street Pier #2 (Crossed Legs).

THE CECIL BEATON STUDIO ARCHIVE AT SOTHEBY’S

GayCityNews.nyc | October 27 - November 09, 2016

THE PETER HUJAR ARCHIVE LLC; COURTESY: PACE/ MACGILL GALLERY, NEW YORK, AND FRAENKEL GALLERY, SAN FRANCISCO

Karsavina. There were also rumors her being with Toklas, Eleanora Duse, Katharine Cornell, and Pola Negri. “I can get any woman away from any man,” she once reportedly boasted. Truman Capote was so fascinated by her that he devised a game called International Daisy Chain, a sexual linking version of today’s Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, claiming that de Acosta was the essential pivot, “because, from her, you could get anyone from Cardinal Spellman to the Duchess of Windsor.” She certainly cast a spell, as evinced by certain tributes from her famous lovers. Isadora Duncan penned a poem about her: “Two sprouting breasts/ Grand and sweet/ Invite my hungry mouth to eat/ From whence two nipples firm and pink/ invite my thirsty soul to drink/ And lower still a secret place/ Where I’d fain hide my loving face.” De Acosta was born in New York City to wealthy, socially prominent Spanish parents. Her father and brother would both later commit suicide, and her sister, Rita, was herself a celebrity, noted for her beauty and chic, who was featured in one of the first Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute exhibits as one of the great “American Women of Style.” When Mercedes was 20, she fell under the wing of theater/ literary agent and producer Bessie Marbury, the lover of society decorator Elsie de Wolfe and lesbian doyenne of Manhattan, who introduced her to notable people. De Acosta was immediately drawn to the world of art and theater, forever dabbling in it, without ever attaining any huge success, although her lover of five years, Le Gallienne, appeared in two failed plays written by her, about Joan of Arc and Botticelli. When de Acosta went to Hollywood, she quickly met and became instantly besotted by Garbo for the rest of her life. I remember borrowing a copy of her memoir, “Here Lies the Heart,” from the library as a kid, and my nascent gaydar going off when I saw the topless candids of the elusively private star while on vacation in the Sierras with de Acosta. On April 15, 2000, 10 years after Garbo’s death, the seal was lifted on de Acosta’s papers pertaining to her, as per the stipulation in her will. The papers, housed at the Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia, included 55 letters from the star, which ironically had long shared the same box as de Acosta’s letters from Dietrich, which had had their own seal until that star’s death in 1992. Garbo’s surviving family seems bent on maintaining a heterosexual status for her, denying any lesbianism on her part and forbidding any of her letters to be directly quoted for publication. Evidently, two humorous, foot-related pieces of memorabilia were included among the papers, which neatly symbolize de Acosta’s contrasting relationships with the two stars. There’s the flirtatious and sexy inclusion of a single silk stocking from Dietrich (who unguardedly poured out her love,

addressing her missives “mon grand amour” and in phrases like “[those] exquisite moments when I was in your arms that afternoon”), while Garbo sent her the drawn outline of her foot, all the better to have the ever servile de Acosta have shoes made for her. The fanaticism with which de Acosta worshipped Garbo is easily evinced in her personal Bible, on display in this new exhibit, in which she has pasted photos of her screen queen beloved in the pages. While the Dietrich affair was brief and passionate — before that restlessly romantic diva moved on to other loves, like writer Erich Maria Remarque, Jean Gabin and tattooed butch dyke millionaires Joe Carstairs — her friendship with Garbo — with De Acosta’s virtual stalking and the star’s skittishness and selfishness making their road an always rocky one — managed to last until 1958, a few years before her memoir was published. Although not salacious in any way, just the hints of intimacy between her and Garbo prompted the latter to completely ice her out for the rest of her life, with de Acosta’s own lifelong rival for her affections, the equally Garbo-crazy Cecil Beaton, expressing shock at how coldly and callously she slammed the iron door on a decades-old relationship he always thought would continue with just the two of them together in advanced old age. The redoubtable Le Gallienne also took great umbrage at the book and would storm out of the room if de Acosta’s name was so much as mentioned. A decade after de Acosta’s death, a friend of Le Gallienne’s found a gold wedding band in her attic and asked what it was. “It was from Mercedes,” came the actress’ snarled reply, before she threw it into a well. She opined that her erstwhile lover’s book should have been titled “Here Lies the Heart, and lies, and lies, and lies.” De Acosta’s later years were challenging, to say the least. She stopped writing, suffered severe health problems and mishaps, and was financially straitened, living in a tiny apartment on East 68th Street. Although ex-lovers like Dietrich helped her out, she was forced to sell her jewels and correspondence. She admitted to being known as “the dyke at the top of the stairs”, deserted by famous friends because of her poverty, with her only visitors being rapacious young women hoping to meet Garbo. At her death, Beaton wrote, “I cannot be sorry at her death. I am only sorry that that she should have been so unfulfilled as a character. In her youth she showed zest and originality. She was one of the most rebellious & brazen of lesbians… I am relieved that her long drawn out unhappiness has at last come to an end.” She is buried at Trinity Cemetery in Washington Heights. Although she was more famous for who she did than what she did, de Acosta’s importance is assured, if only as an early example of a woman who, come good fortune or bad, and in the face of the strict homophobia of her time, resolutely lived her life with total independence.

Cecil Beacon’s 1969 photo of Andy Warhol and Candy Darling.

And it was a life ahead of its time, which included a 15-year marriage to a man, Abram Poole, whose magnificent life-sized painting of her dominates the gallery. She was a suffragette and tireless warrior for women’s rights, a vegetarian and fur-shunning animal lover. Although raised Catholic, she embraced Buddhism and immersed herself in Hindu philosophy, yoga, and meditation. In 1928 de Acosta wrote a novel, “Until the Day Break,” about a woman who is confused by her sexual longings: “I have had more emotion through women; they give me a sense of beauty… As for worrying about the sex end of it, that seems to be unimportant. In America, I suffered much. They are not old enough to comprehend these things. It is perhaps their youth, which does not recognize that real love is real love, no matter whom it is for... It is curious. The world does not blame people for having black or blonde hair They are just born that way and it is accepted. But for something deeper, for something more ‘you’ than the color of hair or eyes, one is condemned. They do not realize that God made each one for some ultimate reason; with his own salvation to work out, a pattern to follow and unfold, as his own spirit sees it.”

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October 27 - November 09, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc

Gay City News  

Celebrating 15 years! October 27, 2016

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