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FREE | VOLUME FIFTEEN, ISSUE TWENTY FOUR | NOVEMBER 24 - DECEMBER 07, 2016


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November 24 - December 07, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


POST 11/8 LGBT AMERICA

Jeff Sessions’ disturbing civil rights, LGBT equality record 04

Trump Tower: #NotMyPresident Ground Zero 10

De Blasio has chosen his 2017 opponent: Trump 05

Why the marriage equality ruling is likely secure 12

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Trump Tower’s troubling shadow

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GALLERY

FILM

Iconic fashion illustrator gets his due

Isabelle Huppert once again unforgettable

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GayCityNews.nyc | November 24 - December 07, 2016

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POST-11/8 LGBT AMERICA

Jeff Sessions’ Disturbing Civil Rights, LGBT Equality Record Attorney general-designate opposes gay advances, favors religious outs, put forward judge Lambda termed worst BY PAUL SCHINDLER

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SESSIONS.SENATE.GOV

eff Sessions, the four-term Republican US senator from Alabama who has been tapped by President-elect Donald Trump as the nation’s next attorney general, has a stridently anti-LGBT record, along with a troubling history on racial issues. Much of the recent attention on Sessions, who last week had been discussed as a possible choice for a number of Cabinet slots, including secretary of defense, focused on his incendiary comments about race — a key factor in the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee’s rejection of his 1986 nomination to the federal bench by President Ronald Reagan. Sessions also has a uniform record in opposing LGBT rights advances. “It is deeply disturbing that Jeff Sessions, who has such clear animus against so many Americans — including the LGBTQ community, women, and people of color — could be charged with running the very system of justice designed to protect them,” Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a written statement today. “When Donald Trump was elected, he promised to be a president for all Americans, and it is hugely concerning and telling that he would choose a man so consistently opposed to equality as one of his first — and most important — Cabinet appointees.” In HRC Congressional Scorecards dating back more than a decade, Sessions received scores of zero for every two-year session, except for the 112th Congress in 2011 and 2012, when he received a 15 percent rating. In that Congress, he voted in favor of President Barack Obama’s nomination of J. Paul Oetken to the Southern District of New York federal bench, making him the first out gay man to win confirmation as an Article III judge. (Oetken was recommended to the president by Senator Chuck Schumer, who will become the minority leader in January.) In that same Congress, however, Sessions voted to deny confirmation to Alison J. Nathan, an out lesbian who was another Obama nomination, also recommended by Schumer, to the Southern District. He also voted in favor of an unsuccessful amendment to the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) that would have stripped nondiscrimination protections for domestic violence victims based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, and Native American and immigrant status. In other years, Sessions voted in favor of a Constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, and against the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. He consistently voted

“We are at a period of secularization in America that I think is very dangerous. It erodes the very concept of truth, the very concept of right and wrong, and there are people out there who enjoy attacking people who follow biblical directives.”

Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general.

against VAWA Reauthorization that included nondiscrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity and opposed Obama on other out LGBT nominees, including Staci Michelle Yandle for the Southern District of Illinois federal court, Darrin P. Gayles for the Southern District of Florida bench, and Chai Feldblum for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. At the EEOC, Feldblum has played a critical role in moving the agency toward an affirmative posture toward having sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination claims recognized as sex discrimination already prohibited under federal law. Sessions also opposed the end of the ban on HIV-positive visitors and immigrants to the US and supported a measure that would have required the District of Columbia to hold a referendum on its 2009 municipal ordinance legalizing marriage by same-sex couples. During the past two years, he opposed measures ensuring that legally married samesex couples have access to Social Security and veterans benefits, that runaway and homeless youth programs funded by the federal government have explicit LGBT nondiscrimination policies, and that public schools be barred from discriminating against youth based on sexual orientation or gender identity. According to WKRG.com, just days after the US Supreme Court issued its 2015 Obergefell marriage equality ruling, Sessions told an Alabama Chamber of Commerce meeting, “If a court can do that on a question of marriage then it can do it on almost any other issue. What this court did was unconstitutional, what this court did — they can’t do, nothing in the Constitution for such a result, no mention of marriage in the Constitution. Well, I don’t know, some say it will be like abortion where it contin-

ues festering with the American people. Sometimes the court thinks it can just make a ruling and an issue will go away, so I don’t know how this one will play out in the years to come.” Right Wing Watch reported that, several days later, Sessions, speaking to the Phyllis Schlafly-founded Eagle Forum Collegian Summit, warned, “We are at a period of secularization in America that I think is very dangerous. It erodes the very concept of truth, the very concept of right and wrong, and there are people out there who enjoy attacking people who follow biblical directives.” In what can only be taken as snide dismissal of LGBT families, Sessions also said, “People could get married before the Supreme Court ruling, two people could call themselves married… go off at the beach and have flowers and play rock music.” Since the Obergefell ruling, Sessions has signed on to the First Amendment Defense Act, which would provide an out for those claiming a religious objection to same-sex marriage or to sex outside of different-sex marriage from any federal prosecution or penalties for discrimination. The measure would shield recalcitrant county clerks like Kim Davis in Kentucky who refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but could also provide exemptions for all kinds of other businesses and individuals to discriminate. During the George W. Bush administration, Sessions was the senator behind the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals nomination of William H. Pryor, Jr., whom Lambda Legal termed “the most demonstrably anti-gay judicial nominee in recent memory.” As Alabama’s attorney general, Pryor had written a friend-of-the-court brief

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SESSIONS, continued on p.19

November 24 - December 07, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


POST-11/8 LGBT AMERICA

Democratic Electeds Say They Are Anti-Trump Bulwark

Series of LGBT town halls in Manhattan highlight grave concerns over election upset BY DUNCAN OSBORNE

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ZACH WILLIAMS

s New York City’s LGBT community grapples with how to respond to Donald Trump winning the White House and Republicans maintaining control of Congress, Democrats have dominated the response at community meetings and argued that the community should rely on congressional members of their party to halt the worst Republican proposals. “Elections have consequences and that means a lot of what we’re going to do is mitigating damages,” Congressmember Jerry Nadler, a Democrat who represents Manhattan’s West Side and portions of Brooklyn, said at a November 20 town hall held at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center. “The Republicans are going to pass a budget that is going to murder social services.” The town hall was organized by Democrat Corey Johnson, an out gay city councilmember who represents the West Village, Chelsea, and Hell’s Kitchen, and in an indication of the

The overflow crowd at the LGBT Community Center on November 20.

community’s concern with the election results, it drew several hundred people. The crowd filled the Center’s largest meeting space and spilled out into the hallway. Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has been touring the city talking about a T rump presidency and the Republican Congress, sought to reassure the crowd that his administration and the city were prepared to challenge Republicans and suggested that people’s worst fears may not be realized. Trump lost the

popular vote to Hillary Clinton, de Blasio emphasized. “Donald Trump does not have a popular majority,” the mayor said, adding that if the Republicans should, for example, attempt to ban abortion or overturn marriage equality, “There will be a national political uprising against that.” Other Democratic elected officials who attended included State Assemblymember Deborah Glick, an out lesbian who represents the West Village, Ritchie Torres, an

openly gay councilmember who represents parts of the Bronx, and Brad Hoylman, an out gay state senator who represents large parts of Manhattan. A name that was repeatedly invoked was Senator Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat who will lead the minority caucus in the US Senate. While Democrats in the House have a few tools they can use to slow Republican efforts to undo entitlements, health insurance available under Obamacare, worker protections, and environmental laws, Senate Democrats can use the far more powerful filibuster that requires the majority to muster 60 votes to end debate on legislation and proceed to a vote. On January 3, when the 115th Congress first meets, Republicans will have 51 seats in the Senate and Democrats will have 48 (an open Louisiana seat will be decided in a December 10 runoff). Schumer was not invited to the town hall. In press reports, he has indicated a willingness to use the filibuster.

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ORGANIZING, continued on p.9

De Blasio Has Chosen His 2017 Opponent: Trump With incomplete record of unifying “two cities,” mayor bets new president is apt foil BY DUNCAN OSBORNE

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ddressing a crowd of several hundred people who had gathered at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center to wrestle with how to respond to Donald Trump winning the White House and continued Republican control of Congress, Mayor Bill de Blasio had a simple message — unity. “Those of us on the left have to be unified,” the mayor said at the November 20 town hall meeting. “This is how we fight back. We fight back by gathering in the same room in solidarity.” The mayor carried the same

message to an even larger crowd at Cooper Union’s Great Hall the next day saying, “I want to thank everyone for being here because this is a moment when New York City needs to stand tall. We need to stand together.” The appearances serve a dual purpose. They calm a city that is worried about Trump’s threats to deport immigrants, r egister and track Muslims, and end Obamacare, and they continue de Blasio’s 2017 reelection campaign with the mayor promising that the city will protect these groups from the new administration in Washington. At its heart, it is an antiTrump message. “I think that’s the theme of the

GayCityNews.nyc | November 24 - December 07, 2016

campaign,” said Ken Sherrill, a professor emeritus of political science at Hunter College. In 2013, de Blasio ran a populist “tale of two cities” campaign. He talked about creating pre-K for all, which he has done, and enacting paid sick leave at many employers, which has also been done. The city has seen job growth, though many of those jobs are low-wage. While the mayor will claim progress on building affordable housing, any opponent would likely dispute that. Economics resonated with voters then and now. Ve r m o n t S e n a t o r B e r n i e Sanders used such a message during his failed effort to win the Democratic nomination for pres-

ident. Trump also ran on an economic platform, railing against perceived unfair trade deals and lost jobs. T rump promised to bring back industries that have struggled, such as coal and steel manufacturing. “Old fashioned, New Deal, Fair Deal politics sure has been doing well recently, and that’s a politics that downplays identity, with the exception of Trump playing up race,” Sherrill said. The mayor has shifted. At least for the moment, de Blasio is using a theme that looks more like Hillary Clinton’s failed campaign for president.

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DE BLASIO, continued on p.9

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YOU MATTER AND SO DOES YOUR HEALTH

That’s why starting and staying on HIV-1 treatment is so important.

What is DESCOVY ? ®

DESCOVY is a prescription medicine that is used together with other HIV-1 medicines to treat HIV-1 in people 12 years and older. DESCOVY is not for use to help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 infection. DESCOVY combines 2 medicines into 1 pill taken once a day. Because DESCOVY by itself is not a complete treatment for HIV-1, it must be used together with other HIV-1 medicines.

DESCOVY does not cure HIV-1 infection or AIDS. To control HIV-1 infection and decrease HIV-related illnesses, you must keep taking DESCOVY. Ask your healthcare provider if you have questions about how to reduce the risk of passing HIV-1 to others. Always practice safer sex and use condoms to lower the chance of sexual contact with body fluids. Never reuse or share needles or other items that have body fluids on them.

What are the other possible side effects of DESCOVY? Serious side effects of DESCOVY may also include: • •

Changes in body fat, which can happen in people taking HIV-1 medicines.

Changes in your immune system. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any new symptoms after you start taking DESCOVY. Kidney problems, including kidney failure. Your health-care provider should do blood and urine tests to check your kidneys. Your healthcare provider may tell you to stop taking DESCOVY if you develop new or worse kidney problems. Bone problems, such as bone pain, softening, or thinning, which may lead to fractures. Your healthcare provider may do tests to check your bones.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

The most common side effect of DESCOVY is nausea. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that bother you or don’t go away.

DESCOVY may cause serious side effects:

What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking DESCOVY?

What is the most important information I should know about DESCOVY? •

Buildup of an acid in your blood (lactic acidosis), which is a serious medical emergency. Symptoms of lactic acidosis include feeling very weak or tired, unusual muscle pain, trouble breathing, stomach pain with nausea or vomiting, feeling cold (especially in your arms and legs), feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and/or a fast or irregular heartbeat.

Serious liver problems. The liver may become large and fatty. Symptoms of liver problems include your skin or the white part of your eyes turning yellow (jaundice); dark “tea-colored” urine; light-colored bowel movements (stools); loss of appetite; nausea; and/or pain, aching, or tenderness on the right side of your stomach area. You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or serious liver problems if you are female, very overweight, or have been taking DESCOVY for a long time. In some cases, lactic acidosis and serious liver problems have led to death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any symptoms of these conditions. Worsening of hepatitis B (HBV) infection. DESCOVY is not approved to treat HBV. If you have both HIV-1 and HBV and stop taking DESCOVY, your HBV may suddenly get worse. Do not stop taking DESCOVY without first talking to your healthcare provider, as they will need to monitor your health.

All 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. All the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Other medicines may affect how DESCOVY works. Keep a list of all your medicines and show it to your healthcare provider and pharmacist. Ask your healthcare provider if it is safe to take DESCOVY with all of your other medicines. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if DESCOVY can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant while taking DESCOVY. If you are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed. HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in breast milk.

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 DESCOVY, including important warnings, on the following page.

Ask your healthcare provider if an HIV-1 treatment that contains DESCOVY® is right for you.

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November 24 - December 07, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


GayCityNews.nyc | November 24 - December 07, 2016

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IMPORTANT FACTS (des-KOH-vee)

This is only a brief summary of important information about DESCOVY® and does not replace talking to your healthcare provider about your condition and your treatment.

MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT DESCOVY

POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS OF DESCOVY

DESCOVY may cause serious side effects, including:

DESCOVY can 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: feeling very weak or tired, unusual muscle pain, trouble breathing, stomach pain with nausea or vomiting, feeling cold (especially in your arms and legs), feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and/or a fast or irregular heartbeat.

• Those in the “Most Important Information About DESCOVY” section. • Changes in body fat. • Changes in your immune system. • New or worse kidney problems, including kidney failure. • Bone problems.

• 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 (jaundice); dark “tea-colored” urine; loss of appetite; light-colored bowel movements (stools); nausea; and/or pain, aching, or tenderness on the right side of your stomach area. • Worsening of hepatitis B (HBV) infection. DESCOVY is not approved to treat HBV. If you have both HIV-1 and HBV, your HBV may suddenly get worse if you stop taking DESCOVY. Do not stop taking DESCOVY 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 DESCOVY or a similar medicine for a long time.

ABOUT DESCOVY • DESCOVY is a prescription medicine that is used together with other HIV-1 medicines to treat HIV-1 in people 12 years of age and older. DESCOVY is not for use to help reduce the risk of getting HIV-1 infection. • DESCOVY does not cure HIV-1 or AIDS. Ask your healthcare provider about how to prevent passing HIV-1 to others.

The most common side effect of DESCOVY is nausea.

These are not all the possible side effects of DESCOVY. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any new symptoms while taking DESCOVY. Your healthcare provider will need to do tests to monitor your health before and during treatment with DESCOVY.

BEFORE TAKING DESCOVY Tell your healthcare provider if you: • Have or had any kidney, bone, or liver problems, including hepatitis infection. • Have any other medical condition. • Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. • Are breastfeeding (nursing) or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you have HIV-1 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-thecounter 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 DESCOVY.

GET MORE INFORMATION HOW TO TAKE DESCOVY • DESCOVY is a one pill, once a day HIV-1 medicine that is taken with other HIV-1 medicines. • Take DESCOVY with or without food.

• This is only a brief summary of important information about DESCOVY. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist to learn more. • Go to DESCOVY.com or call 1-800-GILEAD-5 • If you need help paying for your medicine, visit DESCOVY.com for program information.

DESCOVY, the DESCOVY Logo, GILEAD, the GILEAD Logo, and LOVE WHAT’S INSIDE are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies. All other marks referenced herein are the property of their respective owners. © 2016 Gilead Sciences, Inc. All rights reserved. GILC0265 10/16

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November 24 - December 07, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


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ORGANIZING, from p.5

DE BLASIO, from p.5

GayCityNews.nyc | November 24 - December 07, 2016

Trans PAC’s Mel Wymore and Equality NY PAC’s Matthew McMorrow address a November 16 meeting of the Stonewall Democrats.

prompted criticism even among some conservatives who view Bannon as racist. The choice of Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions as attorney generally was widely panned by civil rights groups, including LGBT advocates. While the community wor ries about losing some hard won gains, what appears to be a burst of violence across the country apparently perpetrated by Trump supporters targeted a number of groups. Trump used slurs against Mexican immigrants and Muslims during his campaign and exhorted his supporters to violence in

some of his rallies. “Ther e is no question that Trump has unleashed the worst elements in our society,” Hoylman said during the Stonewall meeting. Hoylman, who is converting to the Jewish faith of his husband, has been subject to two instances of anti-Semitic harassment at his West Village home in recent days. As Gay City News went to press on November 22, community activists were holding another town hall meeting at the Center to discuss responses to Trump’s election and continued Republican control of Congress.

ZACH WILLIAMS

“It’s very interesting because in some ways the strategy mirrors the Clinton message for the last election,” Sherrill said. “He insulted this group, he insulted that group, we’re better than that.” While Clinton also talked about economic issues, she played in identity politics and presented herself as the only alternative to Trump, who was “unfit” for the presidency. “It may be insufficient,” Sherrill said. “All in all, it helps [de Blasio]. I think that Donald Trump is the perfect foil, but the one potential downside is that somebody will run a 2013 Bill de Blasio campaign and he will have a hard time defending against that.” The mayor’s greatest threat comes from a Democrat challenging him in next year’s primary. While he can claim successes, it may be that there are enough Democratic voters who are upset by the city’s more visible homeless population, by slow job growth, and by hearing stories about housing problems to deliver a loss to de Blasio. “The thing about affordable

housing, or unaffordable housing, is that most people have not had to move because they could not afford the rent, but it may be that enough people may know someone who has that they worry it could happen to them,” Sherrill said. “The strategy of someone running against him would be to say that solving a tale of two cities is a lot of bunk, working people still can’t find a place to live in the city.” Some on the left would certainly approve of de Blasio’s promise to resist any efforts by the Trump administration to deport immigrants, but those voters, by definition, would not face deportation themselves and that message may be less powerful among them. Bradley Tusk, a former Bloomberg administration official, made recent public efforts to recruit a candidate to oppose de Blasio next year. A Republican would probably not perform well in 2017 in a city in which 78 percent of voters went for Clinton and just 18 percent backed Trump. A Republican candidate for mayor would struggle if Republicans in Washington actually implement some of their controversial pro-

DONNA ACETO

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DONNA ACETO

What was clear from the November 20 town hall and an earlier November 16 meeting organized by the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City is that Democrats are arguing that the broader community should vest any resistance to Republican proposals in their party. Audience members and speakers urged people to prepare for the 2018 midterm elections. Of the 33 Senate seats up for reelection in 2018, eight are held by Republicans and 25 are held by Democrats, suggesting that Democrats will have an uphill battle to regain the majority at that time. Some speakers asked that the community focus its energy on New York State, a not unreasonable request given that liberals and progressives are unlikely to see any gains out of Washington, DC, over the next two years and perhaps even the next four. At the Stonewall meeting, Mel Wymore, who heads TransPAC, and Matthew McMorrow, who

heads Equality NY PAC, said that while fighting in Congress would be necessary, a focus on local and state governments was warranted as well. “There is a lot we can do at all levels of government,” Wymore told the crowd of more than 200 who gathered at the Center that night. TransPAC and Equality NY PAC were founded after the Empire State Pride Agenda, once New York’s only statewide LGBT group, closed its doors last year. While they were largely unsuccessful, both groups backed Democrats seeking State Senate seats in this month’s election. Enacting a state transgender civil rights law is a key goal of both groups. Trump’s win has sparked protests across the nation, and as he has announced some Cabinet nominees as well as others who will work in his administration but do not have to be approved by the Senate, some of those protests have grown louder. His selection of Steve Bannon, the former publisher of breitbart.com, the right wing website, as a senior advisor

As State Assemblymember Deborah Glick and Senator Brad Hoylman look on at a November 20 town hall, Mayor Bill de Blasio pledges the city’s cooperation in resisting Trump administration moves against communities from immigrants to LGBT New Yorkers.

posals. Tusk did not respond to a message seeking comment. The mayor may yet return to his economic populist theme of four years ago by arguing that his administration has made progress on the issues he campaigned on. That would turn the race into a referendum on his performance, something the mayor and his campaign may choose to avoid given

that the city has not unambiguously improved. Running against Trump and Washington might be his only choice. “What de Blasio appears to be doing this time, most charitably, is to say we’ve made substantial progress on the issues we talked about four years ago,” Sherrill said. “The question is whether the claim is credible to the average voter.”

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POST-11/8 LGBT AMERICA

Trump Tower: #NotMyPresident Ground Zero

Fifth Avenue White House the focus of repeated protests by New Yorkers still reeling

BY JACKSON CHEN

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he roar of thousands protesting Republican President-elect Donald Trump filled Fifth Avenue on the Saturday afternoon following Election Day as throngs of demonstrators headed north from Greenwich Village toward his highrise home in Trump Tower at 725 Fifth Avenue at 56th Street. “Show me what democracy looks like!,” the crowd that spanned blocks chanted. “This is what democracy looks like!” Many in the crowd found out

about the protest on Facebook, where they were instructed to meet at Union Square at noon. Demonstrators began their march at around 2 p.m. on November 12, moving up Fifth Avenue until they were impeded by barricades set up by the New York Police Department, closing off the avenue at 56th Street just shy of the soon-tobe president’s Manhattan home. As the crowd pressed up against the barriers, many raised their middle fingers and booed the 58-story tower. “Whose streets?” the protestors shouted in unison. “Our streets!”

DONNA ACETO

DONNA ACETO

Despite their anger, demonstrators also expressed idealism about the nation’s ability to contain their worst fears about a Trump presidency.

The crowd included many stunned that an alleged sexual predator won election as president.

While the protest remained peaceful, with only murmurs in the crowd about charging the barricades, there were 13 arrests for disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental administration during a variety of protests from November 11-13, the NYPD said. “We reject the president-elect!” the masses yelled. Protestors stayed long after the sun set that Saturday, many of them promising they would stand against Trump’s win every day of his expected presidency. Some voiced the hope that the sheer massiveness of the protests that

have followed Election Day would help affect change — with some of that optimism decidedly wishful thinking. “I’m hoping maybe the Electoral College will decide not to go with the votes of their states,” Susan Boynton, a Columbia University professor, said at the protest. “If there are enough demonstrations like this, they’ll maybe think about doing that.” Boynton and Rachel Lidov, with whom she marched, said they heard about the protest

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#NOTMYPRESIDENT, continued on p.20

Opposing Trump, Van Bramer Receives Death Threat Queens gay councilmember leads protest march over East River to Trump Tower BY BILL PARRY AND NAEISHA ROSE

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JIMMY VAN BRAMER/ FACEBOOK.COM

Hundreds gathered in Dutch Kills Green in Long Island City for the #QueensResponds March to Trump Tower on November 19.

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espite an anonymous death threat against out gay City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, the Sunnyside, Queens, Democrat, the Council’s majority leader, went ahead with a November 18 march across the Queensboro Bridge to Trump Tower to rally against the president-elect. Hundreds of protesters gathered at Dutch Kills Green in Long Island City on Saturday for the #QueensResponds March. “We don’t share his values,” Van Bramer said of Trump. “Queens is a diverse county that appreciates and loves all its neighbors, includ-

ing the undocumented. We reject racism and all forms of hatred. We are not going to sit back and let folks do horrible things, not even the president-elect.” The emailed warning to Van Bramer, from an unknown source, arrived two days earlier, shortly after the councilmember did a mass email calling for the November 18 protest. “Rest of the people from Queens do not agree with your homosexual lifestyle, so get the fuck out of this country you fucking traitor,” the email read. “I will keep a close eye on your every moves so that when it’s time to execute traitors, I will try my best so that you(r) name is included

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VAN BRAMER, continued on p.11

November 24 - December 07, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


POST-11/8 LGBT AMERICA

Thousands Turn Out in Columbus Circle Sunday After Election Out gay Brooklyn city councilmember leads rally in support of embattled immigrants BY ANDY HUMM

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GAY CITY NEWS

day after a massive march up Fifth Avenue from Union Square, more than 15,000 people marched from the Trump International Hotel in Columbus Circle to T rump Tower on Fifth Avenue and back on Sunday, November 13 in a multicultural display of support for vulnerable immigrants scapegoated by President-elect Donald Trump during his campaign. In response to the Electoral College victor who still wants to build a wall on the Mexican border — though he now says some of it might be just a “fence” — protesters chanted, “No more hate! No more fear! Immigrants are welcome here!” The march was led by Make the Road, which works with new immigrants across the city. But it was joined by legions of advocates for the rights of women, LGBT people, the environment, civil rights, and more. And after a week that left most New Yorkers in shock, the diverse, determined, and dedicated gathering had an unmistakably healing vibe to it. Carlos Menchaca, an out gay Brooklyn city councilmember, led

City Councilmember Carlos Menchaca led constituents from his Sunset Park district in Columbus Circle.

neighbors from his Sunset Park district in the march. “We are filling our hearts with the love and courage we are going to need for the long game against this administration,” Menchaca said. “First we need to clean house in our own city and our own party.” Dr. Wilhelmina Perry of LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent said, “We won’t let our country be taken backward.” Mark Milano, a veteran of ACT UP and long-term survivor of HIV, said, “I just got back from having a brain scan!” But he was out there

VAN BRAMER, from p.10

GayCityNews.nyc | November 24 - December 07, 2016

the threat. “We still plan on marching tomorrow and fighting the racist, sexist, homophobic, and xenophobic demagoguery of Donald Trump. Queens is the most diverse county in the country, and we know that our differences make us stronger. We will fight for these values every single day, no matter what. I am not scared, and I will not back down. Too many are at risk. We must all stand up and peacefully resist.” Other elected officials at the Saturday protest included New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, and Councilmember Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn. Happy with the turnout, Van Bramer said he was excited to see what the future would hold. “I want them to stay active, to keep speaking up and to speak up even more,” said Van Bramer said of his constituents who joined the protest. As Van Bramer addressed the crowd, fellow members of the LGBT community waved rain-

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VAN BRAMER, continued on p.20

NICK STAIB/ VIA JIMMY VAN BRAMER/ FACEBOOK.COM

in that list of traitors. Execution is the penalty for a traitor, that is the Law Of This Land!” The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force immediately launched an investigation into the threat, Van Bramer telling Gay City News the unit was “all over it.” On the evening of November 16, more than 700 people packed the Sunnyside Community Services Center to speak out against Trump’s and Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s structural and systematic racism toward the Muslim and other immigrant communities, as well as their misogyny and homophobia. The email threat referred to those in attendance as “communist socialists.” That town hall meeting and the march three days later served as a clear message that while Trump was born and raised in Queens, it’s not the same borough as in his childhood. “This is not normal or acceptable, but we will not back down,” Van Bramer said Friday about

in a crowd that ranged in age from toddlers in strollers to strolling couples in their 80s. One child’s sign said, “I’m not giving up and neither should you,” echoing the message from Kate McKinnon on the previous night’s “Saturday Night Live,” who opened that show as Hillary Clinton playing piano and singing “Hallelujah,” by singer and songwriter Leonard Cohen, who died late that week. One sign that seemed particularly resonant read, “TOO MUCH TO WRITE.” “People say, ‘What’s the point?

He won,’” Milano said. “But we are sending a huge message that a huge part of America does not agree with his positions. We have to resist. I have changed my Facebook profile to ‘Silence = Death’ because it applies now more than ever.” On “60 Minutes” that same day, Trump tried to soft-pedal his opposition to same-sex marriage, telling Lesley Stahl the matter is “settled law” and “I’m fine with that.” Yet during the campaign, he presented a list of 20 right-wing judges he would choose from to fill Supreme Court vacancies and made the specific pledge that they would overturn Roe v. Wade and revisit last year’s marriage ruling. In that interview, Trump reiterated his opposition to reproductive choice. The president-elect’s efforts to soften his posture on at least some issues in the few days after the election were countered with his appointments of Steve Bannon, his campaign CEO who has recently run the alt-right website Breitbart News, as his chief White House strategist and senior counselor, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions as his attorney general (see page 4), and retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn as his national security advisor.

The marchers cross the Queensboro Bridge on their way to Trump Tower.

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POST-11/8 LGBT AMERICA

Why the Marriage Equality Ruling Is Likely Secure Trump, whatever his inclinations, can’t act unilaterally; Congress, even the Supreme Court also pose little threat BY AUTHUR S. LEONARD

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US SUPREME COURT

ome gay and lesbian Americans, panicked by the election of Donald Trump, have been calling LGBT advocacy groups asking whether they should accelerate their wedding plans to marry before he takes office in January, many expressing concern that the marriage equality victory, won in the Supreme Court in June 2015 after so much hard work and heartache, is now in danger of being reversed. Some who are married have worried that their unions might become invalid. Nobody can predict the future with absolute certainty, but it is highly unlikely that the marriage equality decision will be reversed. It is, however, an absolute certainty that Trump as president will not have the authority to reverse it on his own or even with the connivance of Congress, a reality he was perhaps conceding in his first post-election interview November 13 on “60 Minutes” when he said he was “fine” with last year’s ruling which “settled” the matter. Even if some future Supreme Court were to buck the strong odds and reverse its 2015 decision, there is good legal authority to conclude that a valid marriage, once contracted, can only be ended by a divorce or by the death of one of the spouses, not through executive fiat, legislative action, or even a court’s ruling. The Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling last year in Obergefell v. Hodges relied on the liberty guaranteed under the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution, bolstered by the constitutional guarantee of equal protection of the laws. A high court ruling on a constitutional right can only be changed in one of two ways: a constitutional amendment or an overruling by the Supreme Court in a later case. The period for a rehearing of Obergefell itself has passed; it is final, done, no longer open to reconsideration by the court. During the campaign, Trump never threatened to try to repeal

The US Supreme Court, pictured before the death of Justice Antonin Scalia (front, second from left), with three members of the Obergefell majority — Ruth Bader Ginsburg (front, right), Anthony Kennedy (next to Ginsburg), and Stephen Breyer (rear, second from left) — being the oldest of the surviving eight members.

or reverse the ruling on his own, though he said he believed the question should have been left to the states and so disagreed with it. Significantly, he did say he would consider appointing new justices who would vote to overrule it. Indeed, those on his list of nearly two-dozen potential appointees were uniformly conservative, with some outspoken critics of gay rights. With the Senate’s refusal to t a ke u p D C C i r c u i t Cour t of Appeals Judge Merrick Garland as President Barack Obama’s nominee to fill the vacancy left by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death early this year, T rump has an immediate chance to name a new justice. Scalia, of course, dissented in the Obergefell case, so replacing him with a conservative judge wouldn’t change the math on marriage equality among the nine justices. The five-member majority in Obergefell — Justices Anthony Kennedy (who wrote the Court’s opinion), Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan — are all still there. And there is no case now pending before the court that would provide a vehicle for overruling Obergefell. Any mar riage equality opponent thinking strategically would be waiting until one of those majority justices leaves before attempting to launch a legal challenge.

In the meantime, what about the constitutional amendment route? That is not going to happen. Trump’s election doesn’t affect that at all, since the president plays no role in amending the Constitution. Article V makes it so difficult to pass an amendment that the 240-yearold Constitution has picked up only 27 amendments, 10 of them being the Bill of Rights adopted in 1791, and the most recent one, adopted in 1992, a quarter century ago, requiring that any pay raise Congress votes for itself not go into effect until after the next House of Representatives election. New amendments must first get the approval of at least two-thirds of each house of Congress, and then it has to be ratified by at least three-quarters of the 50 states. Alternatively, two-thirds of the states can apply to Congress to call a Constitutional Convention, but any amendments proposed would still require ratification by 38 states or more. By the time the Supreme Court decided Obergefell in 2015, popular opinion polls showed that a clear majority of the public supported marriage equality, and that margin of support only increases over time, as polling in the early marriage equality states such as Massachusetts has shown. Amendments to the Constitution can only pass with overwhelming public support, which is nowhere close to existing regarding the abo-

lition of marriage equality. Even a decade ago, when same-sex marriage was considerably less popular, Democrats were able to erect a firewall against the constitutional amendment that then had the support of President George W. Bush. Any effort in this direction is now the province of far-right-wing cranks and religious fanatics. The alternative for opponents is waiting for a second conservative appointee — by Trump or a successor – and then setting up a lawsuit to put the question once more before the court. Of greatest concern, on this point, is that the five-member Obergefell majority includes the three oldest members of the court — Ginsburg, Kennedy, and Breyer. It is not hard to imagine that Trump, in a four year term, could shape a court with a majority whose sympathies are not with Obergefell. Even then, however, an overruling is highly unlikely. First, a case, with marriage equality central to the question presented, would have to arrive at the high court. There is already a petition to review the Colorado wedding cake case, presenting the claim that a baker’s First Amendment rights are violated by fining him under a state anti-discrimination law for refusing to provide his services to a gay couple. The heart of this case, however, is free speech rights, and I doubt it would provide a vehicle for reconsidering and thereby overruling Obergefell itself. More likely, a challenge would come from some state deciding to provoke a lawsuit by denying equal treatment for some benefit to married same-sex couples. Lower courts hearing such a case would be obliged to apply last year’s precedent, so the aim of marriage equality opponents would be for the Supreme Court to hear an appeal of a lower court doing so. It’s not enough, however, just to petition the high court, which has complete discretion about whether to accept a case for review. It takes four justices to grant such a petition.

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By the time the court’s composition could be altered to achieve a majority unfriendly to Obergefell, perhaps several years from now, same-sex marriage will be such a settled issue, with so many hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples married throughout the country, that it is highly improbable that even the four conservative members the court is likely to have when Scalia’s seat is filled would be motivated to reopen the question.

The Supreme Court is very reluctant to overrule itself, especially when a decision has been embraced by society and incorporated into the everyday lives of many people.

Beyond those logistics, there is the tradition of “stare decisis,” a Latin term that means standing by what has been decided. The Supreme Court is very reluctant to overrule itself, especially when a decision has been embraced by society and incorporated into the everyday lives of many people. When justices do overrule a prior decision, it is usually in the direction of realizing that a prior ruling wrongly denied a constitutional claim or adopted an incorrect and harmful interpretation of a law. The high court resists attempts to get it to cut back rights it has previously recognized. In the history of LGBT rights litigation, the Supreme Court has twice overruled past decisions — in both cases in the direction of expanding rights. In 2003, it overruled the notorious 1986 Bowers v. Hardwick sodomy decision when it decided, in the Lawrence

v. Texas case, that the Constitution protects people engaged in consensual gay sex from criminal prosecution. There, the court said Bowers was wrong when it was decided. Last year, when deciding Obergefell, it overruled its 1972 Baker v. Nelson decision. Baker, however, was a one-sentence decision stating that the issue of same-sex marriage did not present a “substantial federal question” and was issued in conjunction with the court’s refusal to hear an appeal of a Minnesota Supreme Court decision that denied equal marriage rights to a gay couple. Significantly, in both cases, the overruling involved a determination that a prior finding had wrongly failed to recognize a constitutional right, so the new decision marked an expansion of liberty and equality. The court is unlikely to overrule a case in order to contract liberty or deny equality. Finally, on the question of whether a reversal of equal marriage rights would invalidate existing same-sex marriages, the action of the California Supreme Court in the wake of Proposition 8’s enactment in 2008 is instructive. There, the court concluded that even though Prop 8 was validly enacted, it could not retroactively “un-marry” couples who had already wed. It is unlikely that the US Supreme Court would take a different position regarding existing same-sex marriages even if it were to overrule Obergefell because of the daunting due process and equal protection questions that would raise. T rump’s taking of fice does not present a direct and current threat to marriage equality. That conclusion should take nothing away from the valid concerns about the likelihood that his presidency will involve the loss of proLGBT executive orders issued by Obama and the abandonment by federal agencies of the position that sex discrimination laws protect LGBT people from sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination (see this writer’s analysis in the previous issue of Gay City News at gaycitynews.nyc/ presidential-election-lgbt-law). Those are the likely key battlegrounds for the community in the days to come.

GayCityNews.nyc | November 24 - December 07, 2016

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POST-11/8 LGBT AMERICA

EEOC Win Shows What Trump Era Might Undo Obama push to broaden existing sex discrimination laws to protect LGBT Americans is at risk BY AUTHUR S. LEONARD

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EEOC

November 4 ruling in a sexual orientation discrimination case brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) shows how progress on LGBT rights may be lost in the wake of the election of Donald Trump and Mike Pence. US District Judge Cathy Bissoon, nominated to the federal district court in Pittsburgh by President Barack Obama in 2010 and confirmed by the Senate in an 82-3 vote the following year — and a Brooklyn native who is first woman of Indian descent to sit on the federal bench — held that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act may be used to protect gay people from sexual orientation discrimination. Dale Baxley, hired in mid-July 2013 by Scott Medical Health Center in a telemarketing position, claims he was subjected to a hostile work environment as the result of his manager Robert McClendon’s “continuing course of unwelcome and offensive harassment because of his sex.” According to the complaint filed in the case, McClendon “routinely made unwelcome and offensive comments about Baxley, including but not limited to regularly calling him ‘fag,’ ‘faggot,’ ‘fucking faggot,’ and ‘queer,’ and making statements such as ‘fucking queer can’t do your job.’” The complaint also alleges that McClendon “made highly offensive statements to Baxley about Baxley’s relationship with [his] partner such as saying, ‘I always wondered how you fags have sex,’ ‘I don’t understand how you fucking fags have sex,’ and ‘Who’s the butch and who is the bitch?’” Baxley was gone from the job after about a month of McClendon’s verbal abuse, a victim, he claims, of “constructive discharge” — meaning his working conditions were so miserable he was compelled to quit. The EEOC entered this case not based on a charge Baxley filed but from the agency’s investigation of separate discrimination claims filed with its Pittsburgh office by five of Baxley’s former female co-workers. These women alleged that they were also subjected to sexual harassment by McClendon, including “unwanted touching so frequently and severely that it created a hostile and offensive work environment and resulted in adverse employment decisions being taken against them.” In the course of this inquiry, the EEOC learned about McClendon’s treatment of Baxley and Baxley’s claim that he had been constructively discharged. The agency informed Scott Medical Health Center that its investigation “also revealed that

Chai Feldblum, an out lesbian EEOC commissioner appointed by President Obama, has done much to advance the agency’s proactive posture on LGBT nondiscrimination policy.

“There is no more obvious form of sex stereotyping than making a determination that a person should conform to heterosexuality.”

McClendon harassed a male employee because of sex, specifically and repeatedly referring to the male employee as a ‘faggot,’ and repeatedly asking about the employee’s sexual experiences and preferences. The investigation revealed that McClendon targeted this male employee because he did not conform to what McClendon believed was acceptable or expected behavior for a male because of his association with members of the same sex rather than the opposite sex.” That letter spelled out the conclusion that McClendon’s conduct created a hostile environment resulting in the constructive discharge of Baxley. After trying unsuccessfully to achieve a conciliation agreement with Scott Medical, the agency filed a lawsuit.

This was the first lawsuit that the EEOC filed on behalf of a gay former employee alleging his discharge was “because of sex” in violation of Title VII. In July 2015, reversing a position it held for half a century, the agency ruled that the US Transportation Department may have violated Title VII when it denied a promotion to a gay air traffic controller. After embracing the view that sexual orientation claims can be asserted under Title VII, the EEOC was on the lookout for appropriate private sector cases to bring — both in order to vindicate a public policy against such discrimination and to win a remedy for the employee involved. Its goal was to establish court precedents that would lock its interpretation into the case law. Prior to the Baxley case, all of the Title VII sexual orientation claims brought to federal courts were lawsuits filed by discrimination victims themselves, not by the federal agency. Scott Medical sought to have the EEOC complaint dismissed, arguing that Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, citing two precedents from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over the federal district court in Pittsburgh. Bissoon found that in those prior decisions the Third Circuit had not been presented with all the arguments the EEOC has developed since 2015 and that more recent events have undermined their conclusions, so she found that those rulings did not compel her dismiss the complaint. The EEOC advanced three arguments in support of its position. First, that Baxley was “targeted because he is a male, for had he been female instead of a male, he would not have been subjected to discrimination for his intimate relationships with men.” Second, that he was “targeted and harassed because of his intimate association with someone of the same sex, which necessarily takes Baxley’s sex into account.” And, third, that he was “targeted because he did not conform to his harasser’s concepts of what a man should be or do.” This last argument is a version of the “sex stereotype” theory that the Supreme Court approved in 1989 in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, a case where a woman was able to sustain a sex discrimination claim because she was denied a partnership based on the conclusion by the firm’s partners that she was not sufficiently feminine in her appearance and demeanor. Bissoon said that the EEOC’s three arguments were actually just one argument stat-

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ed three different ways, “with the singular question being whether, but for Mr. Baxley’s sex, would he have been subjected to this discrimination or harassment. The answer, based on these allegations, is no.” In denying Scott Medical’s motion for dismissal, Bissoon was ruling that if the EEOC can prove the factual allegations regarding the company’s treatment of Baxley, it will win the case. Writing that “Title VII’s ‘because of sex’ provision forbids discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,” Bissoon directly contradicted the two prior Third Circuit rulings cited by Scott Medical, but she found that her conclusion was consistent with the development of T itle VII law dating back as early as 1983 when the Supreme Court began “broadening” its interpretation of sex discrimination in a series of cases culminating in the 1989 Price Waterhouse decision. She noted that at least one federal appeals court, the Cincinnati-based Sixth Circuit, has already used the sex stereotyping theory to extend protection to a transgender plaintiff. As the EEOC has done, Bissoon quoted the Justice Antonin Scalia’s statement in the Supreme Court’s 1998 same-sex harassment case, Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, that “statutory prohibitions often go beyond the principal evil [that Congress intended to address] to cover reasonably comparable evils, and it is ultimately the provisions of our laws rather than the principal concerns of our legislators by which we are governed.” That, from Bissoon’s perspective, means that the lack of any evidence Congress intended to prohibit sexual orientation discrimination in 1964 does not require the court to reject a sexual orientation discrimination claim in 2016. Referring back to Price Waterhouse, the judge wrote, “There is no more obvious form of sex stereotyping than making a deter mination that a person should conform to heterosexuality. As the EEOC states, ‘discrimination against a person because of the sex of that person’s romantic partner necessarily involves

stereotypes about “proper” roles in sexual relationships — that men are and should only be sexually attracted to women, not men.’ This discriminatory evil is more than reasonably comparable to the evil identified by the Supreme Court in Price Water house. Indeed, the Court finds discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is, at its very core, sex stereotyping plain and simple; there is no line separating the two.” Referring to the vast changes in the legal landscape since the Third Circuit earlier ruled on this question, Bissoon wrote, “The Supreme Court’s recent opinion legalizing gay marriage demonstrates a growing recognition of the illegality of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. That someone can be subjected to a barrage of insults, humiliation, hostility and/ or changes to the terms and conditions of their employment, based upon nothing more than the aggressor’s view of what it means to be a man or a woman, is exactly the evil Title VII was designed to eradicate.” Through his appointments, President Obama has moved the Third Circuit from a more conservative to a more progressive bench, but given the current mix of active judges T rump could rebalance it by filling the two vacancies that currently exist and replacing one more if an Obama or a Bill Clinton appointee takes senior status. As a result, it’s unclear how Bissoon’s ruling would be received if it ever went before the full circuit with all its active judges sitting en banc. Meanwhile, at the EEOC, the significant progress in protecting LGBT rights came as the result of administrative rulings and litigation decisions undertaken by Obama appointees. In turn, its broad view of Title VII that it protects LGBT people from employment discrimination has been adopted by other agencies, such as the Department of Labor and the Department of Education. It seems unlikely that Trump’s appointees would keep to the same course, especially in light of last week’s announcement that Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions

GayCityNews.nyc | November 24 - December 07, 2016

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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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November 24 - December 07, 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 | November 24 - December 07, 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

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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.

November 24 - December 07, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


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SESSIONS, from p.4

defending the Texas sodomy law when it went before the Supreme Court — and was struck down — in 2003. In that brief, he compared gay rights claims to protections for “prostitution, adultery, necrophilia, bestiality, possession of child pornography, and even incest and pedophilia.” In 1996, when the Supreme Court struck down Colorado’s Amendment 2, which barred the state or any municipality from enacting LGBT nondiscrimination legislation, Pryor criticized the decision as “new rules for political correctness.” Before Pryor’s confirmation by the Senate, he sat on the 11th Circuit temporarily due to a Bush recess appointment, during which time he cast the tie-breaking vote that kept that court from rehearing an appeals panel ruling that upheld Florida’s anti-gay adoption law. Pryor was the first judge cited by Trump, during his campaign, as a potential Supreme Court nominee. An opponent of the Voting Rights Act and immigration reform, Sessions also faces harsh criticism from progressive groups working on those issues, with the American Civil Liberties Union terming his record anti-civil rights. During hearings for his failed

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will be the next attorney gener al. In fact, it is not a sure thing that Trump will allow Obama’s executive orders banning sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination within the Executive Branch to stay in place. The requirement that federal contractors have non-discrimination policies is likely on the president-elect’s repeal list. Fortunately, individuals can continue to file discrimination lawsuits under Title VII, so the loss of the EEOC as a plaintiff in their cases will not shut them out of court. But preserving the gains made so far may be difficult against the tide of new judicial and agency appointments that will be made beginning January 21. Republican stalling on confirmations by the Senate has left close to 100 federal judgeships

federal bench nomination in 1986, Thomas Figures, an African-American former assistant US attorney who worked under him when Sessions was the US attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, testified that Sessions had called him “boy” and warned him to be careful what he said to “white folks.” Sessions denied using the word “boy” and said he merely urged caution in talking to “folks.” Asked about having said he considered the Ku Klux Klan “okay” until he learned that its members smoked pot, Sessions explained it “was a silly comment, I guess you might say, that I made.” The statement was made while he was investigating the 1981 murder of Michael Donald, a black man kidnapped and killed by Klansmen who slit his throat and then hanged his body in a tree, according to the Associated Press. Gerry Hebert, who as a Justice Department official also worked with Sessions while he was a US attorney in the 1980s, recalled that Sessions had once agreed with another person’s comment that a white civil rights attorney was “a disgrace to his race” for litigating voting rights cases. “I filed all these things away thinking, ‘God, what a racist this guy is,’” Hebert told the AP.

vacant, and there are hundreds of agency appointments to be made as well, all of which will cumulatively change the direction in which federal anti-discrimination law has been developing during the Obama years. The appointment of new Supreme Court justices will matter as well, of course, because ultimately the question whether Title VII and other federal sex discrimination laws protect LGBT people will end up before that court, where a transgender “bathroom” case under Title IX of federal education law has already been accepted for review. If these cases are decided after Trump has had two Supreme Court appointments, it is reasonable to fear that a newly solidified conservative majority will not endorse such a broad interpretation of Title VII or other federal sex discrimination laws. Elections matter.

GayCityNews.nyc | November 24 - December 07, 2016

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#NOTMYPRESIDENT, from p.10

DONNA ACETO

Protesters vowed to keep up pressure on the president-elect’s new administration.

Many demonstrators were fierce in their commitment to oppose Trump going forward.

#NotMyPresident has become a popular social media rallying point since last week’s election.

President.” Many in the crowd offered messages of unity against “hate and bigotry.” Throughout the march, Emily Kohl-Mattingley handed out safety pins — a symbol of opposition and unity derived from the aftermath of Brexit, when those opposed to the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union donned them to show support for immigrants who might feel threatened by the wave of nationalism sweeping Britain. “It’s to show a sign of solidarity so that if somebody is unsure when they’re riding a subway or in a public place, to know that they have some-

body that supports them,” Kohl-Mattingley said, adding she had handed out more than 50 so far. “Not my president!” the protestors belted out. Like others, Kohl-Mattingley said that the protest gave voice to those crushed by Election Night results that gave Democrat Hillary Clinton a lead of more than 1.7 million in the popular vote, but Trump an Electoral College edge of 306-232. “I’m out here because I do not support Donald Trump or what he stands for,” she said. “I think he is set out to undo all that Obama

has done and all the progress we’ve made in the last eight years.” Anti-Trump protests have swept dozens of American cities over the past two weeks, with many more planned in the coming days. “I want to let the world know that New York City and that America is not all racist,” said José Salas, who was protesting with his family and friends. “We welcome immigrants, refugees, we accept the gay community, the transgender community, and we’re just good people. Donald Trump is the incarnation of evil, sadly, but we must let our voices be heard.”

VAN BRAMER, from p.11

anti-Semitism,” said Stringer. As the demonstrators recited, “Your hands are too small to build the wall,” while walking to Trump Tower, motorcyclists revved their engines, bicyclists fist-pumped the air, and drivers honked in support of their protest. Maksaba Zaman, a Muslim-American woman originally from Bangladesh now residing in Woodside, had a few choice words for Trump and his presidency. “I don’t want him as a president,” said Zaman, 40. “I have been living here for 27 years... Muslims are not terrorists... I follow the rules and pay my taxes every single year and he doesn’t even pay taxes.” Amy Shin, 39, from Forest Hills expressed concerns for college students. “I work for CUNY and we have a lot of undocumented students who are fearful and tense and don’t know what is going to happen next,” said Shin. There was, however, also a Trump supporter present, and he spoke up in defense of the president-elect. “I support Trump because for eight years the Democratic Party has done nothing to support blacks but keep us in disarray, so if Donald Trump can provide anything more than we are

JIMMY VAN BRAMER/ FACEBOOK.COM

bow flags as others in the rally chanted, “Donald Trump has got to go,” while holding up “NOT MY PRESIDENT” signs. “What are Queens values?” said Van Bramer. “We reject racist attorney generals... we reject misogyny... we reject jokes about sexual assault.” In her speech to the crowd, Mark-Viverito recalled an incident earlier in the week with a constituent. “As a Latina, I am deeply troubled by what I see,” said Mark-Viverito. “A constituent asked, ‘Madame Speaker, are they going to segregate us?’ I found out he was talking about the Muslim registry,” an idea that Trump’s prospective chief of staff, Reince Priebus, said, on Sunday, the incoming administration was not planning but would “not rule out.” “We are living in dark times and I will not be silent,” added Mark-Viverito. Stringer thanked Van Bramer for organizing the rally and said a few words of his own before the protesters took to the bridge. “Let’s give a round of applause to someone that’s personally been threatened... [and] reject scapegoating of our Muslim brothers...reject

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through social media and wanted to exercise their rights of free speech and protest. “For one thing, it’s protecting our First Amendment rights,” Lidov said. “And it’s bringing unity to the movement against him, the many, many groups who are organizing against him.” For John Rubinstein, who explained he came out to protest to ensure a better place for his kids to grow up, his wish is that T rump not be allowed to take office. More realistically, he added that Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s choice for the vacant Supreme Court seat, should be approved by the Senate in this month’s lame duck session of Congress and that those unhappy with the outcome of the election must mobilize to defend the rights of immigrants, people of color, women, and the LGBT community. “Racist, sexist, anti-gay!” the crowd chanted. “Donald Trump, go away!” The sea of white signs communicated messages that ranged from the satirical, “Pussy Grabs Back,” to the simple, “Not My

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer addresses the protesters outside of Trump Tower.

getting, I am willing to accept that,” said Calvin Hunt, 50. “This is the job he was elected to, so lets give him a chance.” But Cheryl Eissing, 24, who traveled to the march from Franklin Square in Long Island, better reflected the prevailing opinion of the crowd. “I am afraid of rape culture getting worse,” she said. “I think that it is really scary that people want to normalize hate rhetoric and a lot of things that shouldn’t even be a part of the conversation anymore when it comes to politics. Human rights are no longer a question. I think it’s very sad that we took a step backward.” November 24 - December 07, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


NEW YORK MARKS

WORLD AIDS DAY

2016 The Main Event

Dedication of the New York City AIDS Memorial Join the NYC AIDS Memorial Foundation, the End AIDS 2020 Coalition, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the New York State Health Department in the dedication of the new permanent memorial in St. Vincent’s Triangular Park, Greenwich Avenue at Seventh Avenue South, on Thursday, December 1, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The product of more than five years of advocacy, planning, and fundraising, dedication of the New York City AIDS Memorial will be led by Paul Kelterborn and Christopher Tepper, its co-founders, and Keith Fox, the board chair. Tony Award-winning actor and singer Billy Porter emcees an event that will include poet Kamilah Aisha Moon reading from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” and the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus performing. This event, supported by the city’s leading AIDS advocacy, service, and treatment organizations, is free and open to the public.

25th Annual Out of the Darkness Event

HIV positive? We have a plan.

Memories of a Penitent Heart: Special Film Screening

Dr. Cecilia Aldarondo’s “Memories of a Penitent Heart,” created out of found home movies, interviews, and contemporary vérité footage, dissects a family secret while exploring the AIDS crisis and the rarely heard story of Latino artists who died during the early days of the epidemic. This is a story about past mistakes, second chances, and how faith can be used at a time of crisis. Aldarondo appears in conversation with Dr. José Feder, assistant clinical professor of Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at the Mount Sinai Institute of Advanced Medicine at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital, Cecelia Gentili, assistant director of policy and public affairs at Gay Men’s Health Crisis, and Rafael Ponce, the manager of community engagement at the city health department’s Bureau of HIV/ AIDS Prevention and Control. Mount Sinai West Hospital, 1000 10th Avenue, between 58th and 59th Streets, Conference Room B, second floor. Monday, November 28, 6-8:30 p.m. Free and open to the public.

Zumba Fitness Dance to End AIDS

KEITH HARING FOUNDATION

Leaders in the AIDS community will host a Candlelight Vigil, march, and a reading of names of those lost to AIDS. The event begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday, December 1 with the Candlelight Vigil at the Trinity Lutheran Church of Manhattan, 164 West 100th Street at Amsterdam Avenue. Those gathered will march to the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew, United Methodist at 263 West 86th Street at West End Avenue, where names will be read beginning at 6:30 p.m. Guest speakers and performers will begin their program at 7 p.m. For more information, call 212-367-1016 or email Krishna@gmhc.org.

WORKING TOGETHER TO END THE EPIDEMIC

The Zumba Fitness instructors present a dance performance informed by Latin and international rhythms to benefit Gay Men’s Health Crisis. Manny Cantor Center, 197 East Broadway at Jefferson Street. Sunday, December 4, 2-4 p.m. Tickets are $25 at gmhc. org/zumba or $35 at the door.

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Super Sex for Men Gay Men’s Health Crisis and Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders present a forum for gay, bisexual, and transgender men over 50 to talk about sex. Bill Gross, coordinator of SAGEPositive moderates a panel that includes psychotherapist Scott A. Kramer, Jeffrey Kwon, the director of E-linc at the Columbia School of Nursing, and Ty Martin, the Harlem community liaison at SAGE Center Harlem. Monday, December 5, 6:45 p.m.-8 p.m. SAGE, 305 Seventh Avenue, between 27th and 28th Streets, 15th floor. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, email bgross@sageusa. org or call 212-741-2247.

GayCityNews.nyc | November 24 - December 07, 2016

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WORLD AIDS DAY, continued on p.24

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WORLD AIDS DAY

On World AIDS Day, Village Memorial Dedicated Five years of work yields striking permanent recognition of epidemic that changed everything BY NATHAN RILEY

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solemn ceremony bringing together leading AIDS organizations and advocates as well as public officials will mark World AIDS Day 2016, with the dedication of the New York City AIDS Memorial at the St. Vincent’s Triangle Park. The Memorial, a 1,600-squarefoot corner of the park, commemorates the shattering struggle against the epidemic that wreaked widespread death among gay and bisexual men and many other New Yorkers beginning in the early 1980s. The dedication marks the culmination of a five-year drive to finally create a public space to honor those lost to HIV as well as the many activists who battled to bring public attention and government dollars to bear on the unprecedented health crisis. The December 1 event is co-sponsored, in part, by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the New York State Department of Health, and both Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo have been invited to participate. Drawing on the poetry of Walt Whitman, the dedication will juxtapose the more than 100,000 New Yorkers who died from HIV disease to the 54,000 local soldiers who died in the Civil War. Poet Kamilah Aisha Moon will read from Whitman’s Civil War poems as part of the ceremony that begins at 11 a.m. Chris Tepper, a planning professional who was one of the two co-founders of the AIDS Memorial project, called it a “beautiful new city landmark, a new Washington Square Arch that people will recognize” as they enter Greenwich Village. The Memorial’s 18-foot-high steel canopy that plays with triangular shapes is visible from Greenwich Avenue, Seventh Avenue, and West 12th Street, which define the borders of the three-sided park.

A rendering of the New York City AIDS Memorial set to be dedicated on December 1.

For curious and contemplative visitors who enter the Memorial, Whitman’s words spiral out in ever-grander circles from a central water feature. In total, the park draws on roughly 10,000 words from Whitman’s “Song of Myself,” the poem at the heart of “Leaves of Grass” that the poet revised again and again for decades. The words chosen are carved into the gray granite ground in a design by New York artist Jenny Holzer. A nurse during the Civil War, Whitman witnessed its carnage up close and his post-war writings reflect sorrow and compassion for the wounded and dead, with the Memorial including his words, “Agonies are one of my changes of garments, I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person.” Whitman is an iconic figure in the LGBT community, given the unmistakable homoeroticism in his poetry’s celebration of male camaraderie. The location of the Memorial, Tepper explained, is significant in sitting opposite the former campus of St. Vincent’s Hospital, which housed the city’s first and largest AIDS ward, becoming an epicen-

ter of the local response to HIV. In an early AIDS era of hysteria and scapegoating, activists, doctors, nurses, and volunteers struggled to offer succor to those facing a calamitous illness with few or no effective treatments. The first mentions of AIDS came in a May 1981 story by Lawrence Mass in the New York Native, an LGBT publication, followed quickly by a report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and then, on July 3 of that year, a story in the New York Times that concerned what was then a handful of cases. From there, the epidemic grimly escalated. By 1990, already 25,000 New Yorkers had died from AIDS-related illnesses, with many more infected — gay and bisexual men, injecting drug users, and increasingly women, especially in communities of color. Hysteria, calls for names reporting of HIV-positive people, and even harsh demands for quarantine emerged, and in the early years Gay Men’s Health Crisis and later ACT UP were among the few organized responses to the epidemic. “We have come a long way since the early days of the epidemic.

Even without a cure or vaccine, we have the tools to end AIDS as an epidemic” is the upbeat assessment offered by Charles King, president of Housing Works, one of the leading organizations in the End Aids 2020 Coalition. “Our biggest challenges now are overcoming socioeconomic barriers to care. With expanded access to testing, treatment, and prevention options like PrEP and PEP, we can achieve an end to the epidemic locally, nationally, and globally.” King was one of the co-chairs of a task force appointed by Cuomo several years ago to chart the state’s push to reduce new infections from roughly 3,000 each year to as low as 750. At that rate of infection, epidemiologists say the scourge will begin to fade of its own accord. The plan proposed by the task force assumes that by treating those living with HIV so they are no longer infectious and getting negative New Yorkers at risk on pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, the state can achieve the dramatic reduction in new infections sought. Housing low-income

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November 24 - December 07, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


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MEMORIAL, from p.22

A rendering of the New York City AIDS Memorial set to be dedicated on December 1.

utility plant that had supported St. Vincent’s Hospital. Merging the two concepts required cooperation and often delicate negotiations. A New York Times story about Tepper and Kelterborn’s efforts prompted Keith Fox, the CEO of Phaidon Publishers, to contact them and, in October 2011, join the project. As chair of the New York City AIDS Memorial Foundation board of directors, Fox spearheaded efforts to mobilize community sentiment in favor of the project and build a network of donors to pay for it. “We are an all-volunteer organization and the board members do all the work to bring to life a project of this scale,” explained government relations and communications professional Ethan Geto, a board member. With LGBT activism going back to the Gay Activists Alli-

WORLD AIDS DAY, from p.21

2016 Day With(out) Art: Compulsive Practice For its Day With(out) Art, the annual World AIDS Day observance by Visual AIDS — which uses art to fight AIDS by provoking dialogue, supporting HIV-positive artists, and preserving the legacy of artists lost — the group presents “Compulsive Practice,” a one-hour video compilation of compulsive, daily, and habitual practices by nine artists and activists who live with their cameras as one way to manage, reflect upon, and change how they are deeply affected by HIV/AIDS. From video diaries to civil disobedience, holiday specials, and backstage antics, Betamax to YouTube, “Compulsive Practice” displays a diversity of artistic approaches, experiences, and expectations. The compulsive video practices of these artists serve many purposes — cure, treatment, outlet, lament, documentation, communication — and have many tones, including obsessive, driven, poetic, neurotic, and celebratory. Curated by Jean Carlomusto, Alexandra Juhasz, and Hugh Ryan, the participating video makers and artists include James Wentzy, Nelson Sullivan (1948-1989), Ray Navarro (1964-1990), Carol Leigh aka Scarlot Harlot, Juanita Mohammed, Luna Luis Ortiz, Mark S. King, Justin B. Terry-Smith, and the Southern AIDS Living Quilt. “ Compul s i v e P r a ct ice ” w ill be s c ree n e d at the following venues:

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A rendering of the New York City AIDS Memorial set to be dedicated on December 1.

ance in 1971 and professional relationships with LGBT leaders, government officials, and real estate industry interests, Geto was a key mediator between the community and Rudin Management, which donated the space for a park. “ Vi r t u a l l y e v e r y L G B T a n d AIDS organization from all five boroughs made the creation of the AIDS Memorial a top agenda item,” said Geto, who explained that was “a critical factor in getting it accomplished.” City Comptroller Scott Stringer, when he served as Manhattan borough president, was the first official to pitch in, finding $1 million to help with design and construction of the project. Other funds came from Governor Cuomo, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and her predecessor, Christine Quinn, and Corey Johnson,

New Museum, 235 Bowery at Prince Street on Thursday, December 1, 7 p.m. The screening is followed by a panel discussion featuring Carol Leigh, Luna Luis Ortiz, and James Wentzy, moderated by “Compulsive Practice” co-curator Jean Carlomusto. Whitney Museum of American Art, 99 Gansevoort Street at West Street, Susan and John Hess Family Theater, third floor, on Thursday, December 1. A looping presentation of the film, 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m., is free with museum admission (whitney.org). Museum of Arts and Design, 2 Columbus Circle, sixth floor Project Space, on Thursday, December 1. A looping presentation of the film, 10 a.m.-9 p.m., free with museum admission, which is pay–what-you-wish after 6 p.m. (madmuseum.org) BRIC House, 647 Fulton Street at Rockwell Place, Brooklyn, on Thursday, December 1, 1-4 p.m., looping presentations on the Stoop (bricartsmedia.org). Parsons School of Design, 2 West 13th Street, lobby entrance, on Thursday, December 1, 8 a.m.-11 p.m., looping presentation on two street-level monitors. Tisch School of the Arts, NYU on Thursday, December 1, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., looping presentation on three screens: 721 Broadway at Waverly Place, ground floor lobby and Dean’s 12th floor Reception Area, and at 665 Broadway at Bond Street, sixth floor. SAGE Center Harlem, Oberia D. Dempsey MultiService Center; 127 West 127th Street, between Malcolm

NYCAIDSMEMORIAL.ORG

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people with HIV is a critical component of the plan, since insecure housing has been shown to deter people from sticking to their drug regimens. Advocates continue to press Albany to provide the funding necessary to support their ambitious goal. One reason for the optimism advocates have shown has been Obamacare, with King explaining that “in New York, due in no small part to expanded primary care through the Affordable Care Act and better cost efficiencies through Medicaid redesign, we are leading the charge and well on our way” to reaching the 2020 goal. The specifics of how the new Trump regime in Washington moves on its pledge to do away with the ACA will be a critical factor going forward. In addition to Tepper, the AIDS Memorial was brought to fruition by his fellow urban planner Paul Kelterborn. The two gay men, who never knew a world without HIV, believed strongly that the epic struggle against the disease deserved permanent public recognition. They early on recognized that their project required their persuading Greenwich Villagers to modify plans for the triangular park set to replace an unsightly

the out gay city councilmember whose district includes the park. “Interestingly,” said Geto, “the majority of the funding for the AIDS Memorial came from a small group of city and state elected officials.” A total of $4 million in public funds were added to the $2 million raised privately. The New York City AIDS Memorial launched an international design competition in November 2011, chaired by Michael Arad, the designer of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Nearly 500 architects from around the world submitted designs, and Studio ai, led by Mateo Paiva and Lily Lim, won the competition to become the park’s architect. It is their design that today is a dramatic new gateway to the West Village.

X and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevards, on Thursday, December 1, 2 p.m.-4 p.m., screening and post-film discussion. SAGE Center Midtown, 305 Seventh Avenue, between 27th and 28th Streets, 15th floor, on Thursday, December 1, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., screening and post-film discussion. SAGE Center Bronx, Union Community Health Center, 260 East 188th Street, between Valentine and Tieboult Avenues, second floor, on Friday, December 2, 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m., screening and post-film discussion. SAGE-Pride Innovative Senior Center of Staten Island, 25 Victory Boulevard at Bay Street, third floor, on Saturday, December 3, 2 p.m.-4 p.m., screening and post-film discussion. Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway at Washington Avenue, Sackler Center Forum, fourth floor on Saturday, December 3, 7 p.m. screening event followed by a panel discussion moderated by “Compulsive Practice” co-curator Alexandra Juhasz. The Studio Museum in Harlem, 144 W 125th Street, between Malcolm X and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevards on Sunday, December 4, 3 p.m. The screening is followed by a panel discussion featuring Harlem Postcards artist Nayland Blake and “Compulsive Practice” artist Luna Luis Ortiz, and moderated by Vivian Crockett. November 24 - December 07, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


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25


MORSELS:

Pussy Grabs Back

A vaginal review of Grand Central’s affordable, sexy new food hall BY DONNA MINKOWITZ

W

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Before I ate there, I scoffed at New Nordic, currently the hottest trend in First World dining. I guess I was just looking at the wrong examples of it. Meyer coauthored the New Nordic Food Manifesto (yes, there is one). GREATNORTHERNFOOD.COM

hat was in the bowl slid down my throat. It entered my mouth feeling exactly as though I was being fucked. I’m not making this up: this was a rare occasion on which it was hard to tell which set of lips something was entering. Moist, small bits of lobster, butternut squash, slightly funky herbs, and a mysterious and unctuous “porridge” passed my mouth’s entrance, and I felt guttural sounds coming involuntarily out of the back of my throat. I was in Grand Central Terminal, where I must admit I’d never before experienced either real or simulated fucking. (Unlike, I’m quite sure, some of you.) But Claus Meyer, a cofounder of Copenhagen’s Noma, allegedly the world’s best restaurant, has just opened a not-that-expensive food hall within New York’s best commuter hub. His executive chef, Edwyn Ferrari, can apparently make phantom joys appear in my vagina just by whipping up a grain bowl. The lobster, butternut squash, apple, fennel, and parsley ver sion got its frankly sexual taste and smell from lobster broth and from a dick-like sea-urchin tang that arose, oddly but wonderfully, from its phosphorescent-green “apple and fennel salsa.” When you read the long porridge menu at the Great Northern Food Hall, you may fear that these bowls will take you back to the nursery, or to baby food. Not to worry. The lobster-barley risotto number may, however, recall those adult moments that can make you feel, beautifully and frighteningly, like an infant: “I want, I need, I need it now, FEED ME!” Such stark, elemental, and intense feelings at Grand Central are nothing new. Like many, I have felt excited panic at the flood of commuters and alternating wonder and horror at the architecture, catacombs, shivering people sleeping on newspapers, and oscillation between abject dirt and riches

Drawing inspiration from the New Nordic Food Manifesto, the Great Northern Food Hall sells the best eats at Grand Central Terminal, and among the best in town for the price.

since I began going to the terminal back in 1975, when I was 11 and got off the subway there to go to school nearby. The terminal was one of the few places in the city where you could find any homeless people then. (An elderly man with a lot of books and notebooks and pens around him was the first un-housed person I had ever seen, lying right where a Hudson News sits now. Rents were low and jobs incredibly easy to find back then, and it’s hard to remember how sad I felt, how disturbing and novel it was, the first time I saw him shivering there, and soon afterward, two adult women washing their bodies and their clothes out in the bathroom sink.) There are approximately seven times as many homeless people in the city now, of course (in a population whose size has stayed roughly the same). But perversely, as the number of homeless has mushroomed (to 62,000 this year, the highest ever in the city’s his-

tory), Grand Central has become less and less hospitable to them, consistently remaking itself in the image of an ever-wealthier clientele as Manhattan has aspired to fill more and more of its spaces with the one-percent only. The marbled waiting room, open to all, was shut in 1989 in what most considered a pointed maneuver to evict the people who used to sleep on its pewlike benches; it was replaced by a much smaller “Ticket Holders’ Waiting Area” in the “Station Master’s Office,” a tiny seating area to which the public was emphatically not invited. My informants say that a bit of gay male cruising still goes on in the downstairs bathroom, though it’s nothing like the way it was in decades past. But the food in the terminal has never been worth what vendors charged for it, even though overpriced, tasty food has been available for years at the fancy Grand Central Market (some slices of seared tuna in a

plastic tub from Pescatore, or a tiny parcel of prosciutto from one of the other stands). Here’s the shocker: the Great Northern Food Hall serves not only the best eats sold in the terminal since I’ve been passing through, but some of the best food available for the price ($3 – $14) anywhere in the city. There are five stalls, serving everything from delicate breads to exquisite salads, and all of the grain, vegetables, meat, and eggs come from small, local farms that use no antibiotics and minimal chemical pesticides. All this superbly sourced food is prepared with art, and a great deal of it is prepared with genius. Before I ate there, I scoffed at New Nordic, currently the hottest trend in First World dining. I guess I was just looking at the wrong examples of it. Meyer co-authored the New Nordic Food Manifesto (yes, there is one), which is based

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MORSELS, continued on p.40

November 24 - December 07, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


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FOUNDING MEMBER

Trump Tower’s Troubling Shadow BY PAUL SCHINDLER

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ot that it should surprise anyone, but Presidentelect Donald T rump is off to a disquieting start, one that offers little comfort — other than a few cheap words, “And I mean everyone,” in his YouTube infomercial this week — that he truly aims to unite the entire country. Let’s look at his appointments to date. Steve Bannon as chief strategist and senior counselor: For those of you who recall the despicable, no-holds-barred politics of the late Andrew Breitbart — he called Ted Kennedy “a special pile of human excrement” within hours of the Massachusetts senator’s death — Bannon is the man credited with making Breitbart.com even crazier in the years after its founder’s sudden 2012 demise. Though Trump assured the New York T imes this week that if he “thought” Bannon was “alt-right, I wouldn’t even think about hir ing him,” in fact alt-right is a label his new top aide proudly embraces. “We’re the platform for the alt-right,” he boasted to Mother Jones about Breitbart.com during this summer’s Republican Convention. Nor is Bannon shy about acknowledging he’s a “nationalist,” though he insists his nationalism has nothing to do with racist “white nationalism,” even if its adherents are enamored with what he’s done with Breitbart.com and could do in the White House. An exultant gathering of alt-right activists in Washington this past weekend closed with Nazi salutes and shouts of “Heil the people! Heil victory.” Bannon, of course, is not necessarily responsible for what his admirers might think or do, but it is difficult to separate Breitbart.com’s nationalism from white nationalism. The site has been a haven for Islamophobic hyperbole and extremists and has also hyped untrue claims about the African-American community, including attacks on “black privilege” and warnings about both “black-on-black” and “black-on-white” crime. A famous Breitbart headline this year termed conservative Trump critic William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, a “renegade Jew.”

Back in 2011, Bannon himself wrote a telling defense of conservative women: “There are some unintended consequences of the women’s liberation movement. That, in fact, the women that would lead this country would be pro-family, they would have husbands, they would love their children. They wouldn’t be a bunch of dykes that came from the Seven Sisters schools up in New England. That drives the left insane, and that’s why they hate these women.” This doesn’t mean, however, that Bannon has no use for gays; in fact, Breitbart has happily promoted the alt-right gay circus freak Milo Yiannopoulos, famous for riffing on Jewish caricatures such as “Shlomo Shekelburg,” arguing that Trump is blacker than Barack Obama, declaring his birthday World Patriarchy Day, and showing up at a Los Angeles demonstration against sexual violence wielding a “Rape Culture” picket sign. Beyond Bannon’s odious beliefs and associations, it’s also worth looking at his view of what kind of government the US should strive for. On that point, he looked back on the Russian Revolution and said, “Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal, too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” This is the man who will be the chief strategic thinker in a White House led by a braggart plutocrat with no government experience? Sadly, T rump’s other early appointments offer no more reassurance than does Bannon’s. Jeff Sessions at attorney general: Here, Trump has put forward an Alabama Republican senator with the distinction of having been rejected for a federal judgeship by a GOP-controlled Senate committee. The allegations raised at that time involved Sessions, as a US attorney, calling a subordinate in his office “boy” and warning him to watch how he spoke to “white folks,” having agreed with the statement that a white attorney was “a disgrace to his race” for litigating voting rights cases, and joking that the Ku Klux Klan would be fine but for its members’ use of marijuana. Sessions denied some — though not all — of those charges at the

time, and some of his Senate colleagues today insist all that is old news and he is not a racist. His harsh opposition to both voting rights protections and immigrants’ rights, however, raises timely questions regarding his current qualifications to lead the agency charged with protecting the civil rights and liberties of all Americans. Sessions’ record on LGBT rights is abysmal; he has consistently received a zero rating from the Human Rights Campaign — with the exception of one two-year session when he earned a 15 percent for voting in favor of an Obama nominee to the federal court in Manhattan. During the George W. Bush years, Sessions recommended the nomination of William H. Pryor, Jr. to the federal bench in Alabama, an appointment Lambda Legal termed the “most demonstrably anti-gay” pick it could recall. (Pryor now heads Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court choices.) Sessions is a strident critic of marriage equality, and, in warning against “very dangerous… secularization,” he now embraces a radically far-reaching religious exemption law that could undermine any efforts at comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for the LGBT community. And, finally, there is retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn as national security advisor. Once considered a leading military figure of his generation, Flynn was relieved of his command of the Defense Intelligence Agency by Obama after widespread concerns about his chaotic management style. His indifference to the accuracy of information he acted on led subordinates to joke about what they called “Flynn facts.” And after his discharge, he became not only a strident critic of the president he served but also a nearly unhinged Islamophobe, having famously tweeted, “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL: please forward this to others.” Whatever qualifications might once have recommended Flynn, his chief calling card for Trump is that he hates Obama — something the president-elect looks for in other military advisors, as well. Which is probably not surprising coming from a policy know-nothing who first established his political viability questioning what country Barack Obama was born in.

November 24 - December 07, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


PERSPECTIVE: A Dyke Abroad

Resisting Trump BY KELLY COGSWELL

I

take good news where I can find it in T rump’s woman-hating, neo-Nazi, gay-bashing, Muslim-registering, antiSemitic America. Last week, it arrived from a climate change conference in Marrakesh, Morocco, where delegates from 197 countries united to approve a statement urging immediate action in the face of Donald Trump’s promise to pull out of the Paris Agreement and defund international efforts. In one of his last appearances as secretary of state, John Kerry delivered an emotional speech declaring that despite Trump’s election, the US fight against climate change wasn’t over. Market forces would ensure a transition to a low carbon world even if policy didn’t, because investments in renewable energy were absolutely exploding. And the vast majority of Americans supported action even if a powerful minority didn’t. I hope so. I really do. But the real reason this news cheered me a little was that I also learned that California was exploring how to join the climate talks as a subnational party if, or when, Trump makes good on his threat. In short, California is looking for ways to resist. There’s a good chance the state can. The UN Convention on climate change declares, “Any body or agency, whether national or international, governmental or non-governmental, which is qualified in matters covered by the Convention, and which has informed the secretariat of its wish to be represented at a session of the Conference of the Parties as an observer, may be so admitted unless at least one third of the Parties present object.”

Even if they get thwarted by the Trump admin or its Russian ally, nothing stops California — or New York or Oregon — from passing more stringent regulations. Now, at least, American states can still find ways to resist on an international level every time the official representatives of our country act against our interests. They can also guarantee abortion rights and minimum wages. For once, the tradition of respecting states’ rights in the US may work in the favor of progressives. In other good news, individual cities like New York and San Francisco have declared that they won’t participate in mass deportations and other unconscionable, bigoted acts, like any efforts to register Muslims. On Sunday, some New York politicians from the local, state, and federal level even jointly marched against hate and condemned Trump’s administrative appointments. While press conferences aren’t enough for the long run, they show that our daily protests have paid off. For now. Because no politician ever opens their mouth unless they think it will win them votes. In the long run, we’ll have to do both. Lay down in front of bulldozers and, like California, look for back doors not just to resist, but progress. Which means we activists have to commit ourselves to unraveling how our various levels of government actually work, understanding for instance the relationship between the beat cop and the Justice Department. The State Department and a queer film festival in Ankara. Too many of us have seen our LGBT rights as a simple Christmas list of important issues, not as intertwined civil rights dependent on the health of our democracy and things like free speech and assembly. Clean votes. From now on, queer issues must include not just marriage

equality or gender recognition, but the gerrymandering of voter districts, the suppression of voter rights, an independent judiciary actually committed to administering justice equally regardless of sexual orientation, gender, or race. Not to say we should ignore specifically queer issues, but that we should see them in context. If you thought trans women of color had it tough before, imagine trying to work for their safety under a Justice Department led by a neo-Nazi. Every anti-bullying law everywhere will be under attack as well, along with hate crime ordinances. Those queers who couldn’t access marriage in anti-gay regions will face even worse obstacles. AIDS, in this new anti-gay, anti-Obamacare era, will probably hit us hard along with an epidemic of despair and self-loathing. The worse things get, the more important it will be to demonstrate and put our queer, our brown, our black flesh out there, reminding politicians that we are not abstractions. And reminding ourselves of the power we have acting with, and for, each other. It’s not easy to take to the streets right now. Even experienced activists are still shellshocked, and frightened. And we should be. It’s easier to throw protesters in jail. And many of us are older, and already concerned about the vulnerabilities of our bodies. Getting hit by a cop or a bystander may not just put us out of commission for a few months, it may kill us. And yet. And yet... “When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcomed but when we are silent we are still afraid. So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive.” This we learned from Audre Lorde. Kelly Cogswell is the author of “Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger,” from the University of Minnesota Press.

PERSPECTIVE: Media Circus

Poorly Educated Columbia Prof Throws Us Under the Bus BY ED SIKOV

D

on’t worry — this column is not about Donald T rump. Not e x a c t l y . Ye s , h e i s the worst thing to happen to the world since anthrax. But all of the material I’d been carefully collecting about him for use in this column has been scooped up by other writers: the Mencken quote about Americans finally achieving their dream of a White House “occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron.” Tom Freeman’s

commentary with the sober sounding title, “An Analysis of Donald Trump’s Election Win and the Prospects for his Presidency,” that consists entirely of the word “Fuck.” (“Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck...”) I was beginning to worry that I’d be left with nothing to say. Enter Mark Lilla with a New York Times op-ed piece titled “The End of Identity Liberalism,” in which the author, a straight, cisgender, white

GayCityNews.nyc | November 24 - December 07, 2016

guy, blames the Trump disaster on everyone else. A Columbia professor, Lilla speaks from the very definition of the word privilege. Gazing out from his Ivy League perch in Morningside Heights, he sees a world in which that much-reviled blend of discourse and action known as “identity politics” led to the election disaster. “In recent years American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender, and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism’s message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force

capable of governing,” Lilla writes. Oh, really? What was Hillary’s big mistake? According to this straight white guy, “she tended on the campaign trail to… slip into the rhetoric of diversity, calling out explicitly to African-American, Latino, LGBT, and women voters at every stop... If you are going to mention groups in America, you had better mention all of them. If you don’t, those left out will notice and feel excluded. Which, as the data show, was exactly what happened with the white working class and those with strong religious convictions. Fully two-thirds of white voters without college degrees voted for Donald Trump, as did over 80 percent of white evangelicals.”

c

MEDIA CIRCUS, continued on p.31

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PERSPECTIVE: Upstate in New York

Those Rural Areas BY BRUCE KOGAN

I

was one of many in New Yo r k S t a t e w h o w e r e disillusioned and shocked when the Empire State Pride Agenda decided to declare “mission accomplished” and close its doors. There is so much work to be done, so many issues to be resolved now and in response to what might come in the future. In fact, the idea of any lobbying group saying its work is over is ludicrous on its face. So with thankfulness and relief I was happy to see some people, including folks from the former Pride Agenda, try to create a new lobbying group, Equality New York. They have my heartiest wishes for success. I also hope that they don’t make the same mistakes as ESPA did. In 2002, when I retired from New York State Crime Victims Board, I was honored to get an award from the New York City Anti-Violence Project. Doing claims investiga-

tion for LGBT crime victims both upstate and downstate, I saw an incredible difference between the large metropolitan areas with an organized community and some small towns where our lives remain still a love that dare not speak its name. At the AVP event, I mentioned an assault in the village of Livonia, in Livingston County, where the only reason I found out it was a bias attack was because the victims’ advocate in the DA’s office was from that village and knew the story. ESPA was always money-hungry. They cut off relations with Western New York because the Buffalo Brunch wasn’t bringing in enough cash. If the great metropolitan area of Buffalo wasn’t giving them enough Benjamins then what could a place like Livonia in Livingston County do? We saw in this month’s presidential election how a progressive message fell on deaf ears in the rural areas of upstate New York. Yet that is where our battle has to be won.

At least there’s a community in places like Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse to be connected to if one wants. Where could that young man from Livonia turn for support in his crisis? Every so often I heard about stories from the rural areas of upstate, and I would send the information along to ESPA but received no response. There was never any attempt to organize rurally. After all, what could a Livonia Pride group, probably meeting in someone’s living room, do for that group financially? Yet being gay is the loneliest feeling in the world in these small towns. It’s why so many young people can’t wait to get out. Hopefully, some of our larger LGBT organizations and foundations will help with Equality New York, and one way they could do so is providing funding for one or more organizers whose job it would be to seek out in New York State’s hinterlands a community and help nurture it. Just the fact that someone actually cares what is going on in our state’s Livonias would be welcomed with indescribable gratitude.

The LGBT folks such an effort could reach are the ones who will spread our message in that region, maybe convincing some hard-shell Republican senator that our lives are real and our issues have merit and they should look beyond the votes they can win through the nodding approval of fundamentalist churches in their districts or on the Conservative Party line in the fall. Or, properly mobilized, local LGBT people could organize to kick out elected officials who remain unconvinced. After this recent election, it’s clear that a message embracing our lives has to reach the small towns throughout New York State. LGBT young people living and trying to survive in our Livonias deserve a sense of pride and the knowledge that someone actually cares about them and the struggle they have every day. Bruce Kogan, a retired investigator at the New York State Crime Victims Board, is a longtime LGBT activist in Buffalo and the former president of the Stonewall Democrats of Western New York.

PERSPECTIVE: A British Progressive’s View

Trump and All That

D

BY PETER TATCHELL

onald Trump rode to the White House on a wave of hate and vitriol — securing a victory for ignorance, intolerance, and incivility. He has pledged to abolish af fordable Obamacare medical insurance for low and middle income Americans, ditch action against climate destruction, cut tax rates for big corporations, ban Muslim immigrants, deport millions of undocumented Mexicans, and replace dead and retiring Supreme Court judges with ultraconservatives who could roll back samesex marriage, abortion rights, and transgender equality. Trump appealed to the basest instincts: sexist, xenophobic, racist, and homophobic.  But many also voted for him as a way of expressing their resentment toward the out-oftouch, arrogant Washington elite.  A significant minority of Trump supporters were disenfranchised, neglected working class people who have lost out under globalization. The mass destruction of industri-

30

al jobs dumped many on the scrap heap of unemployment and home repossession. Local services and amenities were run down and clapped out. I understand and sympathize with their pain and anger. But Trump is not the answer. He has no concrete, workable policies to remedy the gross inequality that characterizes the US today. And his policies will enrich the rich. The Democrats effectively threw away the presidency when they chose Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. While I wanted to see a woman president, she has been too close to corporate America and is too hawkish on foreign policy.  During the Democratic primaries, polls consistently showed that Sanders — the real anti-establishment candidate — was more likely to beat Trump than Clinton. When the US public was asked who’d they’d vote for in a Trump versus Sanders presidential race, Sanders polled 8-15 percent ahead of Trump, whereas in a parallel poll quiz Clinton only beat Trump by 1-4 percent — a lead that was fatally eroded during the campaign, with the

aid of what looks like a politically partisan FBI director. Sander’s appeal to working class and antielite voters made him the candidate best placed to defeat Trump. Plus he had the most progressive domestic and foreign policies.  As we now know, thanks to WikiLeaks, the Democratic Party leadership conspired to block Sanders from becoming their presidential candidate, using underhanded methods.  A last thought: the US electoral system is unfair. Many voters were excluded from the voter rolls on technicalities. Moreover, the Electoral College system often frustrates the popular vote and did so this time. When all the results are tallied, Clinton will enjoy a nationwide lead of more than a million votes, but she lost out under the Electoral College. That is not democratic. Time for electoral reform in the US!  Australian-born, Peter Tatchell lives in London and has been campaigning for human rights, democracy, LGBT freedom, and global justice since 1967. He is a member of the queer human rights group OutRage! and the left wing of the Green Party. Through the Peter Tatchell Foundation, he campaigns for human rights in Britain and internationally. November 24 - December 07, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


c

MEDIA CIRCUS, from p.29

In other words, she shoulda paid more attention to undereducated white people and the white religious right, as though the latter group of absolute hypocrites had any intention of voting for her to begin with. No, the self-proclaimed devout “Christian” crowd went with the lying scumbag with a stripper wife, as we all knew they would. Lilla holds a particular contempt for trans folks. When in doubt, blame the most vulnerable. “How to explain to the average voter” — by which he means undereducated straight white people (in other words, himself without the education) — “the supposed moral urgency of giving college students the right to choose the designated gender pronouns to be used when addressing them?,” Lilla asks. No, Professor Lilla — college students already have that right by virtue of being human. Nobody is “giving” it to them. That they are exercising that right is what you object to, and yes, I’ll say it: if you weren’t such an ostentatiously straight white guy you’d have a little compassion and respect for them. He continues to harp on the oppression of trans people as taking attention away from real problems, which of course have nothing to do with anything as parochial as gender oppression. “However interesting it may be to read, say, about the fate of transgender people in Egypt, it contributes nothing to educating Americans about the powerful political and religious currents that will determine Egypt’s future, and indirectly our own.” What exactly is that fate, one is forced to ask? Lilla doesn’t bother with that troubling question, because the answer would make him look as heartless as he evidently is. The Times itself covered the story. As Liam Stack wrote in August, “since the 2013 military intervention that established former Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as the country’s ruler, at least 250 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people have been arrested in a quiet crackdown that has shattered what had been an increasingly vibrant and visible community. Through a campaign of online surveillance and entrapment, arrests and the closing of gay-friendly business-

es, the police have driven gay and transgender people back underground and, in many cases, out of the country.” To Lilla, this account of the persecution of LGBT Egyptians and the signal that persecution sends to everyone in Egypt “contributes nothing to educating Americans about the powerful political and religious currents that will determine Egypt’s future.” Nothing?

Identity politics didn’t produce the infamous North Carolina antitrans bathroom law. The straight white right did — the identity that isn’t called an identity because it’s the “average.” Lilla goes on and on, declaring at one point that “identity politics… never wins elections,” forgetting entirely about the two-term president named Barack Obama, who was elected precisely by the various “identities” that made up the Obama Coalition. He totally tips his hand later, when he writes, “To paraphrase Bernie Sanders, America is sick and tired of hearing about liberals’ damn bathrooms.” What exactly does Mark Lilla suggest we do when the elimination-obsessed right legislates one of the most personal aspects of our lives — which bathroom we must use to avoid being arrested? Identity politics didn’t produce the infamous North Carolina antitrans bathroom law. The straight white right did — the identity that isn’t called an identity because it’s the “average.” And in the election of Donald Trump as president, one state in particular stuck out as bucking the trend: North Carolina, where the governor’s race is as of this writing still too close to call. Even if the bigot McCrory wins in the end (and he’s losing as I write this), I’d call that a victory for specifically trans-friendly identity politics. Follow @EdSikov on Twitter and Facebook.

GayCityNews.nyc | November 24 - December 07, 2016

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Iconic Fashion Illustrator Get His Due El Museo del Barrio highlights dazzling decades when Antonio Lopez reigned supreme

ESTATE OF ANTONIO LOPEZ/ EL MUSEO DEL BARRIO

ESTATE OF ANTONIO LOPEZ/ EL MUSEO DEL BARRIO

Untitled illustrations by Antonio Lopez circa 1980.

BY DAVID NOH

B

y almost any reckoning, Antonio Lopez is considered the greatest of all fashion illustrators. Although his life was brief, cut down by AIDS at age 44 in 1987, he packed a whole lotta living into those years — as well as art, which in his case embodied a singularly irresistible blend of flamboyance, nigh-unbearable sexiness, and fluidly easy yet jaw-dropping draughtsman technique. Take advantage of Thanksgiving Weekend to catch the splendidly varied show — which runs only until November 27 — that El Museo del Barrio has mounted for him, curated by Rocío Aranda-Alvarado and Amelia Malagamba-Ansótegui. This is one not to miss. Born in Utuado, Puerto Rico in 1943, Lopez’s family moved to New York City when he was seven and, from his earliest years, his talent for drawing evinced itself. The High School of Art and Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology provided his formal education, which ended early when he took a job at Women’s Wear Daily, publishing his first drawings in 1963, which led to a stint at the New York Times.

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His work, which developed into something pictorially masterful with a bold looseness and exquisite detail, evoking both Franz Xaver Winterhalter and Giovanni Boldini, at the time perfectly caught the 1960s Pop zeitgeist, and was also influenced by sources including Fernand Léger, Tamara de Lempicka, and Cubism. Much more than a mere rendering of pretty clothes, his drawings, collaging favored objects like a rose or Coca Cola iconography, were a dazzling, pure reflection of his life and what was happening on his greatest influence — the street. His work, in turn, influenced the collections of designers like Yves Saint Laurent, Missoni, Norma Kamali, and countless others to this day. Anna Sui devoted an entire collection to him and, indeed, has said that she originally came to New York just to meet him (and Andy Warhol, a close buddy of Lopez’s). With his longtime, indispensable creative partner, Juan Ramos, he moved to Paris in 1969 and immediately fell in with a young designer named Karl Lagerfeld and fledgling photographer Bill Cunningham, not to mention the burgeoning disco scene. At the legendary Club Sept, he and model discoveries like Pat Cleveland, Jerry Hall, Grace

Jones, Tina Chow, and Jessica Lange would take over the dance floor, stunning the City of the Light with their beauty, thrown together high-low chic, and soulful grace and rhythm. Lopez loved to dance and was an expert at it, and this kinetic spirit informs every drawing he made, his work reaching its apex in the late 1970s and early 1980s, capturing the heady, disco-fueled era with sizzling élan. Sex was also an obsession of his — according to intimates, he and a favored female model would take some beautiful guy and disappear for days with him — and the exhibit is rife with stunningly erotic sketches of nubile studs, many of them Latino models whom Lopez would literally pick from the street, a lot of them Seventh Avenue fashion industry rack pushers by day. Sinewy, snarling, and sensuous, these images will, in ancient gay parlance, have you clutching your pearls. Being located where it is, this wonderfully compelling show includes how important Lopez’s Puerto Rican heritage was to him, apart from nubile youths. He continually broke down the color barrier in the lily-white fashion industry, insistently featuring gorgeous models of all races, and joyously celebrated the stars who shared his

ANTONIO LOPEZ: FUTURE FUNK FASHION El Museo del Barrio 1230 Fifth Ave. at E. 104th St. Through Nov. 27 Wed.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun., noon-5 p.m. elmuseo.org/antoniolopez/

background — Chita Rivera, Rita Moreno, the fabulous guys from the pioneer breakdancing Rock Steady Crew. Sadly, all this creative fun came to an abrupt end. Lopez contracted HIV and died of complications from Kaposi’s sarcoma in Los Angeles. Interviewed at that time, Susan Baraz, who went to FIT with him and was one of his first models, said he had known about his illness for a while and, like so many others, was hiding it. At the end, he was quite open about it, and she and Ramos (who succumbed to AIDS in 1995) decided to make his cause of death public, in pure reaction to the “don’t tell” policy of

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November 24 - December 07, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


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IN THE NOH, from p.32

JUAN RAMOS/ ESTATE OF ANTONIO LOPEZ/ EL MUSEO DEL BARRIO

Antonio Lopez, center, with Pat Cleveland and Karl Lagerfeld in the early 1970s.

ESTATE OF ANTONIO LOPEZ/ EL MUSEO DEL BARRIO

those early, uncertain, and terrifying plague years. I was among the thousand or so at Lopez’s indelible memorial service at FIT, hosted by Fran Lebowitz. I sat next to one of the artist’s favorite models, the ravishing Gail Elliott, and we watched the deservedly passionate stream of tributes, from the usually cucumber-cool Bill Cunningham having a near breakdown onstage to Joey Arias — introduced by Lebowitz as an example of “Antonio’s extreme tolerance� — channeling Billie Holiday. Like so many others, I worshipped the man, looking forward every week to the Sunday Times that invariably had some divine illustration of his in an ad, and treasuring my copy of his first book, “Antonio’s Girls,� with its images and interviews of his most famous muses. I even took a fashion illustration class at his alma mater and was continually shot down by my traditionally minded teacher, who complained that my drawings weren’t “commercial enough.� This was a rather nasty, racist code, of course, for, when I said, “Antonio draws big noses and thick lips,� her instant response was, “But you’re not Antonio!� I would thrill at the odd sighting of him around town at some event or, once on Christopher Street, both of us dashing in opposite directions, when his approving glance at the bat-winged Issey Miyake bathing suit I was wearing as a top with an ebony bracelet made my day. Like the time I saw Tennessee Williams huddling in a doorway on a rainy Sunday morning, I was then much too shy to approach my idol. Little did I realize that he was much

Antonio Lopez circa 1981.

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the same, for, as Baraz recalled back in 1987, along with claiming that he had a daughter living in New York, he was “a complex person. He wasn't very comfortable in this world. He was humble and shy, a really giving soul.� Baraz was with him at the end: “About 4 a.m., I was putting cold compresses on his head and he opened his eyes for a minute, put his lips together, and gave me a kiss. I said, ‘I’ve waited 27 years for that kiss.’�

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33


FILM

Life Relaunched In Mia Hansen-Løve’s “Things to Come,” Isabelle Huppert moves on to her next chapter L. BERGERY/ SUNDANCE SELECTS

Isabelle Huppert and Roman Kolinka in Mia Hansen-Løve’s “Things to Come.”

BY STEVE ERICKSON

T

hanks to the gods of timing, New Yorkers have the opportunity to see two of French actress Isabelle Huppert’s best performances simultaneously, in Paul Verhoeven’s “Elle” and Mia Hansen-Løve’s “Things To Come.” Hansen-Løve has said, “I rate her as the greatest French actress.” I agree, except that I would take “French” out of that sentence. “Elle” subjects Huppert’s character Michele to extreme sexual violence only to celebrate her resilience and ability to survive a difficult life, even while suggesting she’s fundamentally a cold, unpleasant person.

“Things To Come” is much different. A brief episode of stalking by a creep, which starts at an Abbas Kiarostami film, is the closest it comes to the brutality of “Elle.” Hansen-Løve’s film is much more down-to-earth and naturalistic. While relatively plot-driven, it’s also content to observe a few years in Nathalie’s (Huppert) life. The emotional ups-and-downs are much closer to most women’s lives than those of “Elle,” but, in a more subtle way, they’re still painful. Nathalie is a high school philosophy teacher in Paris. Devoted to her job, she says that she’s not out to start a revolution but to get her students thinking for themselves. She’s burdened by an elderly mother (Édith Scob) who constantly makes demands on her time, calling her at 5 a.m. in the midst of panic attacks. Nathalie spends a lot of time with a former student, Fabien (Roman Kolinka), who has become an anarchist writer. Then one day, her husband tells her that he’s leaving her for another woman, after 25 years of marriage. Her life has been turned upside down, but she explores the options still open to a single middle-aged woman.

Hansen-Løve constantly employs Steadicam tracking shots, particularly while following people walking. She likes to play around with sudden leaps from interior spaces to exteriors. There are a handful of images captured in dingy glass or mirrors. The colors tend to be bright, even when the lighting is dim. In many ways, “Things To Come” is a thoroughly French film, starting with the fact that its protagonist is a philosophy teacher who recalls the radicalism of her youth. Beyond that, as she edits a book on philosophy, a friend is editing a series of essays on philosophers like Michel Foucault and Theodor Adorno for the high school students. The film’s relationship to radical politics is ambiguous and, perhaps, ambivalent. Hansen-Løve’s partner, Olivier Assayas, celebrated a chaotic early 1970s student revolt in “Cold Water” and returned to that period to give a much more detailed depiction of the radical left in “Something in the Air.”

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Roles of a Lifetime In “Always Shine,” director Sophia Takal probes the performance of womanhood BY GARY M. KRAMER

S

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OSCILLOSCOPE LABORATORIES

ophia Takal’s intense, mesmerizing drama “Always Shine” features two friends, Anna (Mackenzie Davis) and Beth (Caitlin FitzGerald), who spend a weekend together in Big Sur. Both women are actresses, and while Beth is getting steady work in commercials and low-budget films, Anna is struggling to find an agent. There is professional rivalry between them — a fabulous scene has Anna showing Beth how to play a scene in a lousy horror movie she is considering — and their simmering anger and jealousy reach the boiling point during an episode that forces viewers to recalibrate their feeling toward both the characters and their actions. In a recent phone interview, Takal admitted that making

“Always Shine,” a cautionary tale about the film business, helped exorcise her own demons about being an actress. “Growing up, watching movies, award shows, etcetera, actresses told me who I was supposed to be — how much I should weigh, how I should have my hair — and that left me unmoored as a teen and into my 20s,” she explained. “It was a mold I didn’t fit into. We value external validation rather than our internal self.” Takal added, “We’re a celebrity-obsessed culture, in general.” How women navigate these prevailing attitudes is at the heart of “Always Shine,” she said. “My film is about the shame a number of women have about feeling like a failure, or that they are doing something wrong or are embarrassed that they feel that

Mackenzie Davis and Caitlin FitzGerald in Sophia Takal’s “Always Shine.”

way,” Takal said. “When I accepted my nasty feelings, I was able to move through them and become self-actualized. I hope women will realize that it’s okay to have dark feelings and they are not alone in having them.”

In “Always Shine,” Anna and Beth have heart-to-heart talks and discuss career aspirations, but they are as easily fiendish as friendly with each other. Takal praised

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November 24 - December 07, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


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THINGS TO COME, from p.34

THINGS TO COME

Hansen-Løve, 35, is about 20 years younger than Assayas. May ’68 and the entire counterculture was over and done with before she was born. Yet she treats the era with a gentle respect, suggesting that becoming a communist was a healthy rite of passage for someone like Nathalie when she was young, even if Nathalie eventually realized the ideology’s flaws. She finds something ridiculous in contemporary manifestations of radical politics, such as a student strike that finds freshmen calling their teachers “scabs” as they debate whether they should be able to enter a building to teach. A visit to an anarchist commune is more complicated for Nathalie. The film suggests that some of its ideas may be valid, but Nathalie has aged beyond the notion of searching for an “alternative lifestyle.” While the commune debates the politics of crediting individual authors, they don’t seem to be getting actual writing done. For her part, Nathalie is more interested in looking for her lost cat, Pandora,

Directed by Mia Hansen-Løve Sundance Selects In French with English subtitles Opens Dec. 2 IFC Center 323 Sixth Ave. at W. Third St. ifccenter.com Lincoln Plaza Cinema 1886 Broadway at W. 62nd St. lincolnplazacinema.com

than discussing politics with them. There aren’t really many films like “Things To Come.” Even in France, female protagonists in their 50s or early 60s are relatively rare. “Things To Come” plays like an Éric Rohmer re-boot of Paul Mazursky’s “An Unmarried Woman,” if one can imagine that. (Hansen-Løve cites Rohmer as an influence herself.) Many of Huppert’s best roles have involved testing the limits of female sexuality; in Michael Haneke’s “The Piano Teacher,” she sliced her vagina with a razor blade. “Elle” continues her work in that vein. “Things To Come” shows how equally good Huppert can be in a gentler context.

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ALWAYS SHINE, from p.34

Davis and FitzGerald, saying each actress “had a deep understanding of the characters and material; they got the desire and shame each felt. They are strong, brave women who look at the embarrassing parts of themselves, and they are honest in pulling back the layers of their everyday life. We talked about how we presented our femininity and rage. We had conversations about those things so that they could bring texture to the roles.” Davis and FitzGerald are both outstanding, their characters playing with the challenges of jealousy, peer pressure, and being patronized by men. In scenes where Anna or Beth cries, the release of emotion is triggered by events both real and from the make-believe world of their profession. Takal explained that that the crying scenes were intended to spotlight an aspect of the characters’ femininity. “I thi nk that w om en feel a strong need to be perfect and portray themselves as being fine with everything and be docile and not

ALWAYS SHINE Directed by Sophia Takal Oscilloscope Laboratories Opens Nov. 25 Village East Cinema 181 Second Ave. at E. 12th St. citycinemas.com

rock the boat,” she said. “So when they experience shame or nasty, dark feelings, they want to put on a happy face, which is why tears come out at different times — for Anna especially. She feels like a failure, and she is masking her disappointment with herself. When she’s alone, she can process the pain and rejection and her not feeling what she is supposed to be.” “Always Shine” plays with the narrative, the characters’ behavior, toward each other and in brief scenes with men, ranging from scared and flirty to sassy and empowered. The influence of 1970s films on Takal is clear in references to Robert Altman’s “3 Women” and

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GayCityNews.nyc | November 24 - December 07, 2016

35


THEATER

Russian Roulette

An immersive, head-spinning, Tolstoy-inspired tale of love, loss, and awakenings BY DAVID KENNERLEY

A

CHAD BATKA

re you ready to wake up?” is the tagline for the awkwardly titled “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812,” inspired by a particularly juicy slice of Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” involving a love quadrangle gone awry. Indeed, this daring, dazzling musical (some might call it a popfolk opera, as it is completely sung-through) works strenuously to wake up a 150-year old classic and, in turn, electrify fidgety theatergoers who’ve steered clear of the hefty novel, by employing some of the most inventive staging to rock Broadway in years. Director Rachel Chavkin, in collaboration with Dave Malloy (libretto, music, lyrics), has exploded the standard proscenium stage for mat, comingling the action with the audience. In earlier incarnations — originating back in 2012 and nurtured by the boundary-busting Ars Nova theater group — this was easy because they built the

Josh Groban and Denée Benton in “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812,” now on Broadway.

space from the ground up, creating a supper club-style setting in tentlike structures on empty lots in the meatpacking and theater districts. Transferring the production to a Broadway house was a huge gamble (to the tune of $14 million); understandably, it had its naysayers. How could they replicate the delicate blend of actors, musicians, and audience in a large, traditional

theater while retaining the unique vibe of the previous venues? There should be no doubt, however, but that the transfer is a success. The 1,400-seat Imperial Theatre has been retooled into a giant cabaret-style space, with plenty of seating onstage at little tables, and catwalks and platforms throughout the house. Elegant staircases connect the stage to the mezzanine.

The set, by Mimi Lien, evoking both a Russian manor and a music hall, is a sight to behold, made more magnificent by Bradley King’s lighting design, marked by huge chandeliers evoking the cosmos. “The Great Comet” features a large, talented cast of 33, with a majority making their Broadway debuts. What a thrill to see the exuberant actors and musicians run rampant through the theater, nimbly executing Sam Pinkleton’s choreography, often brushing up against your knees as they whiz by. If you’re lucky, one of them might toss you a little box containing a fresh, flaky pierogi or an egg-shaped rattle so you can shake in time with the lively Russian-flavored pop score. The plot is so complicated that the Playbill includes a handy synopsis with a diagram so you can keep track. The self-referential opening number pokes fun at this complexity, introducing characters with the repetitive simplic-

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Torn from the Headlines Two contemporary plays and one classic add up to three outstanding evenings BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE

A

JOAN MARCUS

Maryann Plunkett, Roberta Maxwell, Amy Warren, and Jay O. Sanders in “Women of a Certain Age,” the third in Richard Nelson’s trilogy “The Gabriels: Election Year in the Life of One Family,” at the Public Theater through December 4.

36

s I watched events unfold on Election Night, among my many concerns was how the results would affect the Gabriel family. In talking with friends and fans of Richard Nelson’s trilogy, “The Gabriels: Election Year in the Life of One Family,” I realized I was not alone. Nelson’s artistry is such that the characters he created over the course of the first two plays had become so real we had developed an intimacy with them analogous to our relationship with real people for whom we care deeply. The Gabriels are a family in crisis, one

writ small in the slow erosion of their lives. Financial troubles, the decline of a parent, the loss of a spouse, and the challenges of living in a culture that seems to have passed them by are all woven into the quotidian process of making a meal and passing the day. The effect is a level of immediacy seldom achieved in the theater, with characters richly yet economically drawn. It’s like sitting in the corner of the kitchen, an empathetic, if invisible, guest, rather than an audience member at a play. The third play in the trilogy, “Women of a Certain Age,”

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November 24 - December 07, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


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ity of a child’s nursery rhyme. Andrey, a soldier off fighting in a war, “isn’t here.” Natasha, Andrey’s fiancée, “is young.” Anatole, who later seduces Natasha, “is hot.” Anatole’s sister and Pierre’s wife, Helene, is “a slut.” Pierre is “bewildered and awkward.” And so on. And if you’re really lucky, you might have one of the leads plop down on a stool beside you. And what formidable leads they are. Sporting a bushy beard and dweeby spectacles, Josh Groban, the classic pop singer with scant stage experience, is more than up to the task of portraying Pierre, a recluse stuck in a loveless marriage. If Groban seems slightly tentative in the highly demanding, pivotal role, his muscular yet silky baritone quickly makes us forget it. He learned to play the accordion just for the role and handles it with ease. The “Are you ready to wake up?” query is directed as much to Pierre as to the theatergoer. The depressed, hard-drinking introvert is living on autopilot in a regimented Moscow society. Meeting Natasha reawakens his long-dormant lust for life. Even more astounding is Denée Benton, whose portrait of the yearning, conflicted Natasha has a striking, bittersweet honesty. This

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picks up where the last play left off, though several months have passed. It is Election Night. The results are not yet in, but whichever way it goes life is about to change irrevocably for the Gabriels. The matriarch’s bad financial decision means their home has been sold out from under them, and the kitchen where they have gathered for all three plays is about to vanish. Only with controlled anxiety and acceptance does the family struggle on. That’s about all there is to it, but it is in the absence of plot and the depth of characters, beautifully accomplished with Nelson’s direction and a superlative cast, that the play achieves its gripping, understated power. The brilliance of the trilogy comes in offering an emotional touchstone

NATASHA, PIERRE & THE GREAT COMET OF 1812 The Imperial Theatre 249 W. 45th St. Tue.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat.-Sun. at 2 p.m. $47-$152; greatcometbroadway.com Two hrs., 30 mins., with intermission gifted Broadway newcomer, who took over for Phillipa Soo from the Off-Broadway version (Soo left to play Eliza in “Hamilton” to much acclaim), is definitely one to watch. As the cocky, philandering Anatole who “spends his money on women and wine,” Lucas Steele, reprising his Lortel Award-winning Off-Broadway role, is as dynamic as he is debonair. He has no trouble matching Groban’s vocals in both power and richness. If the music and inventive staging aren’t enough to keep you awake, surely Paloma Young’s costumes will do the trick. The period ball gowns and military uniforms, minstrel garb and peasant frocks — all with anachronistic modern accents — are sexy and stunning. In this otherworldly domain of “The Great Comet,” even the slightest tendency toward postprandial snoozing has been banished.

for the cultural disquiet audience members know surrounds them outside the theater. Nelson’s deceptively effortless direction grounds the family in real relationships and behaviors, and, as in the other two, the cast is magnificent. Mary Ann Plunkett, Roberta Maxwell, Jay O. Sanders, Lynn Hawley, Amy Warren, and Meg Gibson are a dream ensemble who bring the Gabriels to life from the moment the lights go up. This is doubly compelling because not much happens in the play. Well, except life. I was emotionally drained at the end of the second play, though not so much at the end of this one, which is both intentional and welcome. There is no closure, but we know that the Gabriels will go on — one way or another. Sometimes, that’s the best we can hope for.

GayCityNews.nyc | November 24 - December 07, 2016

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HEADLINES, continued on p.43

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OPERA

Presenting the Dysfunctional Family Singers Twisted drama of Janáček’s “Jenůfa”; loving portrait of Stein, Toklas in Ricky Ian Gordon’s “27” ELI JACOBSON

O

ERIN BAINO

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KEN HOWARD/ THE METROPOLITAN OPERA

pera depends upon — thrives on — heightened emotions and conflicts. Tragic love affairs are great sources for oversized emotional conflicts. But dysfunctional family conflicts are another great source for melodrama, as the upcoming holiday season will undoubtedly remind us. This fall, I had the opportunity to confront several dysfunctional families in opera but also a functional lesbian family. I saw the Metropolitan Opera’s revival of Janáček’s twisted family drama “Jenůfa” on Halloween night. All evening I was haunted by the ghosts of “Jenůfa” productions past. When this Olivier Tambosi staging premiered in 2003, Karita Mattila starred as Jenůfa. For this revival, the great Finnish soprano, returning to the Met after a four-year absence, moved into the role of the stepmother Kostelnička, and proved herself a worthy successor to Leonie Rysanek, Anja Silja, and Deborah Polaski. Sadly, the rest of the cast could not compare to Mattila or their predecessors in this opera. Nor did David Robertson’s very able conducting match the idiomatic mastery of Jiří Bĕhlolávek in the 2007 revival. Tambosi’s widely traveled minimalist production has one central concept — a symbolic rock representing Jenůfa’s child emerging through the floor in Act I, looming as the elephant in the room in Act II, and smashed in pieces in Act III. As Jenůfa, Oksana Dyka displayed a plain, hard-working stage persona and a sturdy monochromatic soprano with a piercing timbre. Dyka got the job done but lacked vocal or personal radiance. Daniel Brenna as Laca acted the role with the same awkward teddy bear manner that he brought to Alwa in “Lulu.” Brenna’s burly tenor again sounded knotty and strained — after Act II he was announced as indisposed. In Act III, Brenna mimed Laca while Garrett Sorensen sang the role from stage left. I would have enjoyed hearing Sorensen's brighter, more flowing tenor sound in the entire role. As Števa, Joseph Kaiser was effectively shallow and spineless, though his costuming and wig should have emphasized the seducer’s superficial attractiveness. Veteran Hanna Schwarz, also returning after a long absence, made Grandmother Buryja a dominating figure while doing very little. Initially Mattila seemed too attractive and sympathetically feminine as the Kostelnička; she emphasized maternal warmth rather than cold severity in her relationship with Jenůfa. But in Act II when the Kostelnička confronts Števa, urging him to marry Jenůfa and acknowledge his illegitimate son, Mattila transformed into a creature possessed. Consumed with cold rage at Števa’s betrayal, Mattila traced this strong

Karita Mattila (standing) and Oksana Dyka in Janáček’s “Jenůfa.”

Heidi Stober and Stephanie Blythe in Ricky Ian Gordon’s “27.”

woman’s breakdown that leads to infanticide with chilling detail. Mattila’s middle register sounds darker and fuller. Her free and soaring upper range is a rarely heard commodity in a role usually given to mature sopranos or mezzos in the final stages of a long career. This revival achieved emotional catharsis and tragic force only when Mattila was center stage.

surface in haunting love duets for Gertrude and Alice — their voices intertwine in tight madrigal-like harmonies evoking their interdependence of heart and mind. The role of the generous, dominating Gertrude Stein was created for and by Stephanie Blythe at the 2014 world premiere in St. Louis. Blythe’s Stein is imposing but the voice and body now move with effort. At age 46, Blythe should be at her vocal peak so the shortness of breath and range afflicting her once opulent mezzo is alarming. Alice B. Toklas was portrayed movingly by soprano Heidi Stober, who isn’t naturally mousy or birdlike. Stober’s shining clarity of tone suggested Toklas’ capacity for pure devotion. The various artists, relatives, doughboys, and hangers-on were impersonated by a talented trio of quick-change virtuosos: Theo Lebow, Tobias Greenhalgh, and Daniel Brevik. James Robinson’s intimate production inventively utilized picture frames in an unpretentious, effective manner. Artistic director Ted Sperling led the MasterVoices chorus and Orchestra of St. Luke’s in an authoritative account of the score. “27” isn’t a profound work but, like Stein, it entertains with an open and humane spirit. Gertrude and Alice, like so many gay men and women, were obliged to leave their family homes so they could live honestly in a heteronormative society. They created a chosen family and a new society in a cosmopolitan city. Gordon’s loving portrait of two pioneering lesbians provides inspiration for today’s LGBT community, which faces a difficult four years ahead of us. Our hard-earned marriage equality rights — which Stein and Toklas enjoyed in spirit but not in law — could be in peril.

The MasterVoices 2016 Fall Gala presented the New York premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s one-act chamber opera “27,” which explores the Paris ménage of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. The title refers to 27 Rue de Fleurus, the address of Stein’s salon that became the artistic center of 20th century avant garde literature, painting, and photography. Royce Vavrek’s libretto is structured as a fragmented flashback as Toklas, grieving the loss of her life partner, reflects on her domestic union with Stein that spanned two World Wars. Stein writes poetry and novels, collects paintings and painters — all the while acting as mentor/ muse/ guru to Picasso, Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Matisse, and Man Ray. Toklas makes tea and is content to be the “little woman” to the resident genius. Vavrek’s depiction of Stein’s Paris salon is sentimental and simplistic with jejune stabs at intellectual humor like a collegiate skit. Stein is portrayed as a butch lesbian composite of Yoda, the meddling Dolly Levi, and bohemian eccentric Auntie Mame. Fitzgerald and Hemingway are one-note cartoons. The libretto’s repetition of gnomic short phrases is meant to evoke Stein’s abstract literary style though Vavrek explicitly avoids quoting Stein’s writing. Gordon’s busy score is an intersection of satiric cabaret and chamber opera in a lively playful fashion. His music only digs under the emotional

In a web-only feature at gaycitynews.nyc, Eli Jacobson reviews Vittorio Gnecchi’s “Cassandra.” November 24 - December 07, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


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ow any N e omp ts v er r C ven s Re You y E kages r lida r pac o f o ll fo H Ca

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MORSELS, from p.26

on freshness, sustainability, “ethical production,” and seasonality, as well as the championing of Scandinavian products and traditions. For him, it’s not an empty promise. A kannelsnurr, a braided bun with cinnamon and cardamom, which I bought at 5 p.m., was the freshest and lightest pastry I’ve ever had in this city ($4.50). Its yeasty, buttery insides made me look around in shock: was I really in Grand Central? What is more, every single employee in the hall gets free medical insurance with dental and vision care, and paid vacation after one month (it goes up to 25 days after the first year). Many of the other dishes are just as earthy and visceral as the lobster risotto ($12, and large enough for dinner). An open-face chopped liver sandwich ($7) spoke directly to the inside of the body. I was delighted that the roasted beet shavings and hay-like sunflower sprouts on top brought out the liver’s innards-taste instead of trying to tame it. The beet shavings, tasting a little manure-like but also slightly sweet, were cut and strewn to look like rose petals. All I could think was that the whole plate was an homage to the asshole. All the open-face sandwiches ($7-$8 for one, $14 for two, $19 for three) are more substantial than they look. (Share two with a friend for lunch, or three for dinner. There is ample, pleasant seating available, and the porridge bar, where you can be served by waiters and order from the entire menu, is romantic enough for a date if you don’t mind finishing by the hall’s clos-

ing time of 9 p.m.) The one with a fudgy hard-boiled egg, wild Canadian shrimp, and a housemade ramp mayo was more assertively fishy-tasting than I like, but the lush, creamy yellow mayonnaise enveloping the egg was wonderful ($7). The pickled herring sandwich with radishes was satisfying but also aggressively fishy ($7): must be a Nordic thing. The Great Northern Food Hall (greatnorthernfoods.com) is located in Grand Central’s Vanderbilt Hall (the former passenger waiting room), East 42nd Street near Vanderbilt Avenue. You can find it directly off the terminal’s main concourse, the huge open space where you buy your tickets and enter some of the tracks. (Tip: the entrance is between the two banks of human ticket sellers). The hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. through 9 p.m. (but through 10 p.m. at the pavilion called the “The Bar” in the back, not to be confused with the porridge bar); Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. through 8 p.m. Wine, beer, and cocktails are available at all the areas with waiter service. T ipping is not permitted or expected anywhere in the hall, and server salaries are high for the industry. Annoyingly, there are no bathrooms proper in the food hall; you’ll be directed to use the public restrooms downstairs, or if you’re a woman, you may choose to sneak into the ladies’ room in the “Ticket Holders’ Waiting Room” (no men’s room available there). Wheelchair access: the dining area is street-level, and the downstairs restrooms are accessible and available by elevator. No gender-neutral restrooms are available.

November 24 - December 07, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


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GayCityNews.nyc | November 24 - December 07, 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.

41


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November 24 - December 07, 2016 | GayCityNews.nyc


c

ALWAYS SHINE, from p.35

John Cassavetes’ “Opening Night,” both of which explored the concept of “performance.” “For me, ‘Always Shine’ was about two women having different performances of gender,” Takal explained. “The essential difference was how they carried themselves

and how they presented themselves in the world.” The magic of the film comes is seeing how the relationship between Anna and Beth unfolds as things reach a crescendo. Takal heightens the drama through her shrewd directing, allowing the actresses to break the fourth wall at times while also busting apart

the audience’s expectations. Sex scenes between the women and male characters are discreetly filmed, forcing viewers to confront their own wish that they were able to better objectify the actresses. Similarly, the anticipated row between Anna and Beth does not play out in typical fashion. “Why do catfights give you a

thrill?,” Takal asked. “It’s inessential to the story here. By not showing it, it allows for a nice ambiguity in the final third. You look at the film with an emotional and intellectual eye.” “Always Shine,” in its frank examination of female relationships and role-playing, challenges viewers to look deeper, and the effort is well worthwhile.

WOMEN OF A CERTAIN AGE

JULIETA CERVANTES

JOAN MARCUS

Johanna Day and Michelle Wilson in Lynn Nottage’s “Sweat,” directed by Kate Whoriskey, at the Public Theater through December 18.

c

HEADLINES, from p.37

Lynn Nottage’s “Sweat,” also at the Public, is in many ways a companion to the Gabriel plays in that it, too, deals with real people in real life. Based on the playwright’s research into real lives in Reading, Pennsylvania, destroyed by the closing of the plant where families had worked for generations, it is a clear-eyed look at the economic and social forces that in the early years of the century set up the seething anger that led to Donald Trump’s victory. Nottage’s characters lack education, but have a sense of entitlement, a fear of change, and resentment-fueled anger, yet they are also sympathetic, largely because their tragedy results from their recognition they have become economically disposable. With grim and harrowing lyricism, Nottage beautifully evokes the corrosive effect this realization has on their identities and communities. The play takes place in a bar, as the plant is closing, its operations moving to Mexico. A stable, middle class built up over three generations crumbles, and as the characters try to make sense of it all, racial tensions and violence ensue. Is healing possible? As in the real world, the answer is unknown. Under Kate Whoriskey’s direction, the play throbs with tension from the beginning. John Lee Beatty’s set beautifully evokes the down-atits-heals bar, and Peter Kaczorowski’s lighting is appropriately sharp-edged. The cast is uniformly excellent, notably Johanna Day as Tracey, whose life is shattered when she doesn’t get a promotion and then loses her job when the GayCityNews.nyc | November 24 - December 07, 2016

John Slattery and Nathan Lane in the revival of Ben Hecht and Charles Macarthur’s 1928 “The Front Page,” directed by Jack O’Brien, at the Broadhurst through January 29.

workers are locked out of the factory. Tracey is a force to reckoned with, not just as a finely drawn character but also as a symbol of the conflict and despair engulfing the community. Michelle Wilson as Cynthia is a black woman who had worked side-by-side with Tracey until getting a promotion to management, which makes her the object of Tracey’s rage. Wilson gives a tremendous performance of impressive range. Nottage’s incisive eye and brilliant narrative structure ultimately convey the message that we ignore people like Cynthia and Tracey at our peril. Of course, as we now know, we have, and it may be too late.

“The Front Page” is a rollicking, screwball comedy in the classic tradition that seeks to do nothing but entertain. If it reminds you of the profit-driven sensationalism of today’s media, well, that’s probably a sign of how prescient this nearly century-old play was. The lavish production, thanks in large measure to Douglas W. Schmidt’s fantastic set, now at the Broadhurst may also remind you of a time when producers could afford to have a cast of more than 25 and the world they could create with that. The play is set in a newsroom as a convicted murderer is about to be executed. Hardly the stuff of contemporary comedy, yet through a series of twists and turns, the killer escapes and mayhem ensures. There’s also a subplot as ace reporter Hildy Johnson is about to leave the news business for an upwardly mobile marriage and a cushy job in PR. The set-ups are obvious, but Ben Hecht and Charles Macarthur’s 1928 play is full of such

Public Theater 425 Lafayette St. Btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Pl. Through Dec. 4 Tue.-Sun. at 7:30 p.m. Wed., Sat.-Sun. at 2 p.m. $65-$100 $20 lottery tickets at todaytix.com publictheater.org or 212-967-7555 One hr., 45 mins., no intermission

SWEAT

Public Theater 425 Lafayette St. Btwn. E. Fourth St. & Astor Pl. Through Dec. 18 Tue.-Sun. at 7 p.m. Wed., Sat.-Sun. at 1:30 p.m. $65-$100 $20 lottery tickets at todaytix.com publictheater.org or 212-967-7555 Two hrs., 30 mins., with intermission

THE FRONT PAGE Samuel J. Friedman Theatre 261 W. 47th St. Through Jan. 29 Tue.-Wed. at 7 p.m. Thu.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat.-Sun. at 2 p.m. $70-$150; telecharge.com 80 mins., no intermission

rapid-fire repartee and outrageous characters that it doesn’t matter. Under Jack O’Brien’s sure-handed direction, the breakneck speed and slapstick comedy are consistently entertaining. The cast features all kinds of Broadway royalty — Jefferson Mays, John Goodman, Holland Taylor, Sherie Rene Scott, Dylan Baker, and Robert Morse — all of whom are at the top of their comic games. Then there’s Nathan Lane as Walter Burns, the hardnosed publisher dedicated to nothing but scooping up profits, and John Slattery as Hildy. They are a flawless comedy team, playing perfectly off one another and, like the rest of the cast, seeming to have a marvelous time. As are we.

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