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HOP: Nabe Complaints Led to New Parade Route 04

Senate Ignores Strong Albany Advocacy Day 10

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FREE | VOLUME SEVENTEEN, ISSUE ELEVEN | MAY 24 – JUNE 6, 2018


In This Issue COVER STORY Singing cowboys & a band of brothers 30 & 31

PERSPECTIVE Pope breaks with other old guys 20

CRIME NYPD seeks tips on gay man’s 1991 murder 05

FILM “A Kid Like Jake” nails parents’ hurdles 32

SENIORS LGBTQ-friendly housing breaks ground in Bronx 09

Carla Simón captures a young girl’s gaze 34

REMEMBRANCE Tanya Saunders, Cubbyhole owner 12

THEATER Rollicking revival of Tom Stoppard’s “Travesties” 38

Courtney Barnett doesn’t hold back 36

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May 24 – June 6, 2018 | GayCityNews.nyc


GayCityNews.nyc | May 24 – June 6, 2018

3


COMMUNITY

HOP: Nabe Complaints Led to New Parade Route Speaker Corey Johnson, local community board say they weren’t consulted BY DUNCAN OSBORNE

O

n April 25, members of the Reclaim Pride Coalition presented Heritage of Pride (HOP) with a list of demands, including an “honest and transparent explanation for the dramatic route change” that has the city’s annual Pride Parade beginning in Chelsea, traveling south on Seventh Avenue to Christopher Street, east to Fifth Avenue, and then north to end at 29th Street. At HOP meetings on May 14 and May 15, Julian Sanjivan, who heads the HOP March Committee, was ready with a PowerPoint presentation. One bullet point suggested that West Village residents had complained and there were “too many complaints to not take further action,” it read. Those residents might not agree. On Pride Sunday in 2017, there were 41 complaints made to the city’s 311 service concerning “loud music/ party” or “loud talking” within Community Board 2, which includes the West Village and is home to about 94,000 New Yorkers. On the Sunday before Pride last year, there were 12 noise complaints, and five noise complaints on the Sunday after Pride. Residents are not complaining to Community Board 2. “The parade was not changed due to complaints brought to the community board,” said Bob Gormley, the board’s district manager. Calls to 911 did go up on Pride Sunday last year. Residents living in the NYPD’s 6th Precinct, which includes the West Village, made 221 calls to 911 on the Sunday before Pride last year,

DUNCAN OSBORNE DONNA ACETO

Julian Sanjivan, the march director at Heritage of Pride.

435 calls on Pride Sunday, and 163 calls on the Sunday following Pride. Whatever those taxpayers were calling about, it was not serious crime. There were no murders in the 6th Precinct last year and just nine rapes, 139 robberies, and 131 felony assaults. It is among the safest precincts in the city. HOP has responded by changing the route and limiting all contingents to fewer than 200 people. The group is expecting 41,000 marchers this year as opposed to 55,000 last year and fewer floats and vehicles. For the first time, the post-parade pier dance, now called Pride Island, and fireworks have moved from the West Village to Pier 97 on the Hudson River at the end of 57th

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson at a May 20 West Side Summit at the High Line.

Street. PrideFest, which, like the parade, takes place on the last Sunday in June, has moved to University Place between 13th Street and Waverly Place. The theory is that the changes will make the Pride Parade shorter — it lasted just over nine and a half hours last year — and the crowd will use the greater access to public transportation in Midtown to travel to neighborhoods other than the West Village to celebrate. “We don’t want everyone congesting in the West Village,” Sanjivan said at the May 14 meeting.

PARADE ROUTE, continued on p.29

HISTORY

Highlighting Key Moments in City’s LGBTQ Past Historic Sites Project documenting signposts in New York’s queer geography deported,” said Jay Shockley, a project director at the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, during a recent brief tour of some sites in the West Village. Shockley was standing near the intersection of Bleecker Street and West 10th Street across from where the Snake Pit was once located. Seymour Pine, a deputy inspector in the NYPD’s public morals division, had learned from his raid on the Stonewall Inn and chose to hold the 167 men he would eventually arrest inside the Snake Pit. Vinales, who had overstayed his visa, was among them.

BY DUNCAN OSBORNE

W

hile the 1969 riots that began as the result of a police raid at the Stonewall Inn are well known as marking the start of the modern LGBTQ rights movement, what is less well known is that the deputy inspector who led that raid had busted the Mafia-run bar just three days earlier and would lead another raid at a different gay bar nearly a year later that almost resulted in the death of a gay man who was arrested. “There was a young Argentinian man, Diego Vinales, who panicked that he was going to be

4

DUNCAN OSBORNE

Jay Shockley and Ken Lustbader of the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project.

HISTORIC SITES, continued on p.5

May 24 – June 6, 2018 | GayCityNews.nyc


CRIME

Police Seek Information on Gay Man’s 1991 Murder Bill Bottiggi, found dead in Eighth Avenue apartment, last seen in Midtown bar BY NATHAN RILEY

I

t started with a phone call last year from New Zealand to the NYPD’s Cold Case Squad answered by Detective Bob Dewhurst. Tish wanted to know if anything could be done find her brother’s murderer. It’s a case that touches on fears shared by gay and straight people alike who meet a stranger and discover they want to have sex. For Bill Bottiggi, this scenario apparently played out in the dead of night in Midtown and went terribly wrong. Bottiggi is described by friends and family as brilliant. He loved to listen to a story and then recast it into a new tale by adding his own flourishes while sitting in his tiny kitchen smoking a joint and sipping a beer. In an email message, one friend wrote, “Bill loved everyone. He had a welcoming attitude to people, a huge heart. He brought a dwarf to our house once, someone he’d recently met. He had a rare quality of empathy that you don’t see much anymore.” According to Tish, when Bottiggi’s parents held a memorial service for their dead son in Cleveland, more than 500 people paid their respects. “I tell you, he was well loved,” she said. If you were to mention films, Bottiggi would talk about the old black and white film noirs with both affection and detail. Tish is certain that somewhere there is a detailed

HISTORIC SITES, from p.4

Once transported to the 6th Precinct, Vinales tried to flee by jumping from a higher floor in the police station to the roof of a nearby building. He missed the roof and fell. He was impaled on a fence below. The callous response of the police and the continued harassment by police — the Snake Pit was Pine’s third gay bar raid that week and his fifth known raid altogether — prompted an outcry by the community. GayCityNews.nyc | May 24 – June 6, 2018

The NYPD is seeking information about the 1991 murder of Bill Bottiggi in Midtown.

study about the movie “Chinatown,” in which he compared it to older films, particularly the Humphrey Bogart classic “The Maltese Falcon.” Bottiggi was a credentialed man, with a bachelor’s degree from the Miami University and a master’s in English Lit from the University of Kentucky in Lexington. As a gay man, Manhattan was a natural place to hang his hat. Even more so because “he was kinky as fuck,” according to a male friend who shared stories and intimate details. This often meant after-midnight cruising and anonymous partners. Bottiggi found his niche editing Stag, a magazine that started by publishing men’s adventure stories but gradually turned into a

stroke publication with pictures of women and articles about straight porn. It was one of many publications put out by Charles Goodman. His wages meant he could afford a walk-up at 916 Eighth Avenue, a few blocks below 57th Street, and in the era before Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s cleanup it was sketchy and cruisy at night. Stag offered its own temptations. In the back of the magazine, the personals were filled with letters from prisoners looking for pen pals and benefactors who were turned on by hot letters from sexy guys often promising true love or incredible sexual fantasies. Bill, also known as Cha, followed these ads closely. Life was stressful in the late 1980s and the start of the ‘90s.

As Vinales lay recuperating from surgery at St. Vincent’s Hospital, members of the Gay Activists Alliance and the Gay Liberation Front organized a vigil and protest that drew several hundred people. They marched on the precinct, then to the hospital, and back to Christopher Park, which is across Christopher Street from the Stonewall Inn. It was an extraordinary achievement by the nascent LGBTQ rights movement. “Unlike Stonewall, it got press, it got sympathetic press,” Shockley

said. These kinds of granular details concerning the LGBTQ community’s history are very much a part of the project’s work. Andrew Dolkart and Ken Lustbader are the other project directors and Amanda Davis is the project manager. The project, which is a “scholarly initiative and educational resource,” was founded in 2015 and to date has identified dozens of locations in the five boroughs that have some significance in the LGBTQ community’s history. It is funded by the

AIDS gripped the city and closed the backrooms and specialty sex clubs that had sprung up during the heady days of gay emancipation when the city’s financial crisis meant landlords rented to any tenant who could pay the rent. Bottiggi was one of the thousands of gay men and lesbians who marched in Gay Men’s Health Crisis’ annual AIDS Walk, and he reached out to his friends from college and his sister for contributions. He was last seen when he closed down a Midtown bar called McGee’s at 4 a.m. one spring morning. After not showing up for work, a neighbor entered his apartment on June 19, 1991 and found his dead body with multiple stab wounds. His parents in their 70s faced the grim reality that they had lived longer than their 39-year-old son, and Detective Dewhurst notes that his mom is 97 and still waiting to find out what happened to him. The NYPD collected evidence and had a suspect, but could not build a strong enough case to charge, and there the matter rested until Tish called Dewhurst. In the 27 years since the homicide, the ability of police to screen evidence — the precise nature of which the police are not discussing — has improved markedly, making Dewhurst eager to hear from anyone who knew Bill Bottiggi. If the information leads to the arrest and conviction, it would bring a reward of $2,500. The phone number for anyone with information is 800-577-TIPS.

New York Community Trust, the Arcus Foundation, the state parks department, and other entities. “We’re really showing that LGBT history is American history,” Lustbader said during the tour, which began in Christopher Park. The park has what may be a gay link to the Civil War. The flagpole in the park commemorates Elmer Ephraim Ellsworth, who was the first Union officer killed in that war. When

HISTORIC SITES, continued on p.47

5


BRONX LGBTQ-FRIENDLY SENIOR HOUSING BREAKS GROUND BY DONNA ACETO & PAUL SCHINDLER

I

n a May 17 ceremony that brought together officials from the state, city, and the Bronx as well as from SAGE, Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders, and HELP USA, a housing developer that works in under-served communities, ground was broken

on the Crotona Senior Residences, an 84-unit LGBTQ-friendly facility where 26 residences will be reserved for elders, 62 and older, who have been homeless. The $41.4 million project in the Bronx’s Tremont neighborhood is financed with $18.2 million made available through New York State Homes and Community Renewal,

$10 million from the New York City retirement system, $10.2 million from New York City Housing Preservation and Development, and $600,000 each from Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., and out gay City Councilmember Ritchie Torres. Michael Adams, SAGE’s CEO, said, “Crotona Senior Residences

will provide crucial housing and supportive services to the many older New Yorkers who are in desperate need of an affordable place to live. SAGE is thrilled to break ground on this development with our partners, HELP USA, and all of our supporters. Finding welcoming housing is one of the most difficult challenges faced by our LGBT elders.�

DONNA ACETO DONNA ACETO

SAGE CEO Michael Adams.

DONNA ACETO

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.

Alphonso David, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s out gay counsel.

DONNA ACETO

Shovels are in the ground for the Crotona Senior Residences.

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GayCityNews.nyc | May 24 – June 6, 2018

9


POLITICS

Albany LGBTQI Advocacy Day Draws 250 Enormity of the hurdles proved a week later with GENDA’s rejection by the Senate

COURTESY OF EQNY

Gabriel Blau, Ari Moore, Juli Grey-Owens, and Manhattan Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright addressed a crowd on Advocacy Day in Albany May 8.

BY PAUL SCHINDLER

A

rmed with a new, detailed, seven-page State Legislative Platform — which out gay Manhattan State Senator Brad Hoylman admiringly termed the “new LGBTQI agenda for New York State” — roughly 250 activists from across the state traveled to Albany on May 8 for an Advocacy Day aimed at winning legislative support for long-stalled measures addressing a wide array of community needs. The day was organized by Equality New York, a nearly entirely volunteer group working to provide cohesion among and support for advocacy, service, and community organizations large and small statewide. EQNY grew up in the wake of the Empire State Pride Agenda’s abrupt shuttering in late 2015. EQNY’s efforts, though still nascent, have won wide praise — from Western New York Democrats, including Bryan Ball; transgender leaders such as Sean Coleman in the South Bronx, retired Buffalo police officer Ari Moore, Manhattan’s Mel Wymore, Long Island’s Juli Grey-Owens, Westchester attorney Kristen Browde, and the Audre Lorde Project; immigration advocates including attorney Luis Fernando Mancheno and Make the Road NY; youth and senior advocates such as the Ali Forney Center and SAGE; and social justice advocates including Clifton Garmon, who in his day job is a policy analyst with VOCAL-NY.

10

The activists in Albany also included several parents with transgender children who were organized by PFLAG. Two of them, Manhattanites Judy Sennesh and Robert Johnson, traveled to the Capitol with particular concern about the State Senate’s failure after more than 15 years of advocacy to ever give the Gender Expression NonDiscrimination Act a floor vote. GENDA, in fact, was the lead focus of the legislative meetings on May 8 — and in a sure sign of the continued obstacles facing that measure, which would add gender identity and expression as protected classes to the State Human Rights Law, as sexual orientation was in 2002, a Senate Committee, just one week later, blocked any further action this session on the bill in a straight party-line vote. The committee, in fact, only took up the measure at Hoylman’s insistence and then voted it down 5-4. Among the five Republican no votes, Hoylman noted, were three senators from districts where Democrats could win — Andrew Lanza from Staten Island, Elaine Phillips from Nassau County, and Terrence Murphy from Westchester County. The unwillingness of GOP senators from such potential swing districts to give GENDA a vote, in Hoylman’s view, is a sign that the Republicans who control the Senate have made resistance to the measure a test of party loyalty. Hoylman has long argued that in the wake of Republican cooperation in delivering four votes in favor marriage equality in 2011, that

COURTESY OF EQNY

Alphonso David, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s out gay counsel, is flanked by Judith Kasen-Windsor as he addresses activists on Advocacy Day.

party has decided to stonewall any further advances for the LGBTQ community. In a written statement, he observed that New Hampshire’s Republican Legislature recently extended civil rights protections to that state’s transgender community, meaning that New York is now the only northeastern state without such statutory protections, even as the Trump administration continues to erode protections for trans people at the federal level. Hoylman pledged to continue his fight for GENDA “in a new State Senate after the midterms.” Democrats nominally hold 32 seats in the 63-seat Senate, but Brooklyn’s Simcha Felder, an Orthodox Jewish social conservative, caucuses with the GOP, giving that party majority control. LGBTQ leaders statewide share Hoylman’s assessment that flipping the Senate to Democratic control is a prerequisite for making progress on the new Legislative Platform — GENDA and beyond — and one of the signals coming out of May 8’s Advocacy Day is that the Democrats in the Legislature and the Executive Branch are united in their commitment to the transgender civil rights protections. Governor Andrew Cuomo, in a far-reaching directive in late 2015, created policy under which the sex non-discrimination provisions of state law are now interpreted to encompass gender identity and expression, meaning that the transgender community has many of the protections that GENDA would deliver, though they remain outside

the explicit purview of the State Hate Crimes Law. In announcing his directive, the governor took pains to emphasize that the move was carried out in a manner that provided more permanence that a simple executive order would, but with the Trump administration having moved, through executive action in the past 16 months, to overturn a wide array of administrative advances in LGBTQ rights — not to mention in women’s and labor rights and environmental protections — afforded under the Obama administration, most transgender leaders are eager to see the protections codified in law here. Cuomo’s willingness to put weight into that effort was evidenced by the appearance of two key administration players — his out gay counsel, Alphonso David, and Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Hochul — at a morning gathering of activists on hand for Advocacy Day. Earlier this spring, David met with activists affiliated with EQNY to discuss GENDA strategy, and the governor himself, in a subsequent meeting with LGBTQ service providers convened in Albany by Manhattan’s LGBT Community Center, also voiced his support for legislative action on the measure. Advocacy Day participants had the misfortune of arriving in Albany one day after the shocking resignation of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and many legislators they hoped to meet with

ADVOCACY DAY, continued on p.47

May 24 – June 6, 2018 | GayCityNews.nyc


GayCityNews.nyc | May 24 – June 6, 2018

11


Building

FAMILIES

REMEMBRANCE

Cubbyhole’s Tanya Saunders Dead at 82 Lesbian barkeep had the “ability to make everyone feel welcome�

COURTESY OF BETT Y BY THEWAY

COURTESY OF BETT Y BY THEWAY

    !      !   I  

Tanya Saunders nuzzles one of her beloved animals.

BY PAUL SCHINDLER

T

        

             

                                      

12

anya Saunders, a child refugee from Nazi Germany who owned a West Village bar since 1987, the last 24 years under the name Cubbyhole, died on April 29 at the age of 82. The cause of death, said Lisa Menichino, Saunders’ close friend who worked with her for the past 18 years, was heart failure, after roughly a year of poor health. Though the Cubbyhole was widely thought of as a lesbian bar, both Saunders and Menichino preferred to dub it a “neighborhood fusion bar.� “Exclusivity bored her,� Menichino told Gay City News. “She wanted a diversity of people. That’s much more interesting.� In a 2004 profile on the bar in The Villager, Gay City News’ sister publication, Saunders herself explained, “When I used to go out, I’d always catch a lot of attitude at bars and clubs. I always wanted to open a bar and I thought when I did, I’d make sure it was a friendly, casual place where people would feel comfortable. I wanted a real mix of people. I live my life that way, and I wanted it in my bar. We’ve got men and women, gay and straight here.� The Cubbyhole was known for its colorful, even extravagant DIY decorations, and that may have

Tanya Saunders, 1935-2018.

been due, in part, to what Menichino described as Saunders’ “superstitions.â€? “We always had to save things that were red and green,â€? she recalled. “Tanya considered them lucky.â€? New York magazine once wrote that the lively dĂŠcor made it look as though Saunders had “raided a thrift shop the day after Mardi Gras,â€? while The Villager wrote that “the thatch of Japanese lanterns, model airplanes, oversize goldfish (which match the covers on the bar stools), and at least one lobster suspended from the ceiling [make] the place look more like some sort of fantastic forest.â€? Saunders first got into the bar business — after a career in advertising — in 1987 by opening up DT’s Fat Cat at 281 West 12th Street at the corner of West Fourth Street. When her business partnership in that bar with another woman ended in 1994, Saunders secured the name Cubbyhole from the owner of another lesbian bar that once had that name. In the 24 years since, the venue has nightly been a hive of activity, with crowds often spilling out onto the corner on warm evenings. Its ability to draw mixed crowds was testified to by no less than Andy Cohen, who in explaining why he loves New York in a 2012 is-

䉴

TANYA SAUNDERS, continued on p.13

May 24 – June 6, 2018 | GayCityNews.nyc


DONNA ACETO

The Cubbyhole at the corner of West 12th and West Fourth Streets.

䉴

TANYA SAUNDERS, from p.12

sue of TimeOut NY, wrote of Cubbyhole, “It’s my go-to place for drinks after ‘Watch What Happens Live.’ It’s not only in my neighborhood, but you can also bring everybody there, because everybody wants to go to a lesbian bar. Straight guys want to, straight girls want to, and gay guys are great with it. You can check every box, and it’s just always fun in there. It’s fiesta central in a neighborhood bar.� Despite the diversity of its crowds, though, Cubbyhole has always held a special place in the hearts of New York lesbians, and has often played host to benefits and fundraisers for community organizations. Born on May 13, 1935 in Wiesbaden, Germany, Saunders and her widowed Jewish mother escaped the Nazi regime in 1939 in what she said was the last ship of Jewish exiles admitted into the US before this nation began turning them away. Raised in Forest Hills, Queens, Saunders later lived for about a decade in Brooklyn before settling in the West Village in the early ‘80s. Menichino said that Saunders’ advertising career was successful due to her “creative, eclectic� style. She was also a big animal lover, donating money to animal welfare groups, raising dogs and cats while “adopting� pigs and horses by paying for their care in their refuges, and even worrying about the pigeons and rats, Menichino said. Property Saunders owned in the Hamptons had feral cats hanging about, and when she rented it out she made it a lease stipulation GayCityNews.nyc | May 24 – June 6, 2018

BE YOURSELF The health plan for individuals DONNA ACETO

A sign outside Cubbyhole says thanks to Tanya Saunders, its owner for the past 24 years.

that tenants provide care to the wild ones. “She was just the most amazing woman,� Menichino said of Saunders. “She forgave everyone and never judged. Unless you were cruel to animals.� Betty Bytheway, Saunders’ friend of more than 20 years, recalled, “She had the ability of making everyone feel welcome. She was there for everybody.� At her May 1 service at Riverside Memorial Chapel on the Upper West Side, some friends worried about what would come next for Cubbyhole, after 24 years of loving care by Saunders. In fact, she left the bar to Menichino, whom Bytheway said was akin to a daughter to Saunders. And Menichino vows to carry on the Cubbyhole tradition, daily until 4 a.m. on that curious corner of the Village where West 12th Street somehow manages to intersect with West Fourth Street.

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CIVIL LIBERTIES

A Seismic Shift on Legal Pot Experience in other states, racial arrest pattern, tax benefits are all factors BY NATHAN RILEY

C

all it shop for pot, adult use, or tax and regulate, legalization makes a boast that Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio would never utter — use by youth 12 to 17 years will decline. Reluctantly, the governor and the mayor are shifting their postures from anti to pro as the examples of Colorado and Washington State prove irresistible. Cuomo calls it “new facts,” with border state Massachusetts recently having legalized and Connecticut, Vermont, and New Jersey busy making plans. Last Friday’s screaming headline on the front page of the Daily News endorsing legalization seemed to capture a critical turning point in the public debate about legalizing marijuana. As soon as he realized that New York’s racist crusade against pot would be put to a vote with Cynthia Nixon’s primary challenge, Cuomo shoved his commission to study the issue onto the front burner. The polls show 61 percent of Americans favor legalization. Last week, Scott Stringer, the New York City comptroller, released a careful analysis of the

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

The May 18 front page of the Daily News.

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the City Council Committee on Public Safety, that they receive more complaints about pot in neighborhoods populated predominately by people of color. Not so said the Times, after going to the trouble of matching the smallest unit of the census to the boundaries of police precincts. Enforcement is harsher in black and brown census blocks, even in cases where white neighborhoods complain as often as minority ones. The seismic shift in public opinion left law enforcement officials scrambling. What should they do before legalization can be voted on in 2019? The Manhattan and Brooklyn district attorneys issued a press release about their plans to meet with the police to reduce arrests. The new policies are under development but will likely include continued penalties for smoking in public. But it was left to Stringer to quietly make the case that legalization will benefit New York State. Legalization will erase criminal records, which “would open doors that have been closed to too many for too long, yielding incalculable human, economic, and societal benefits.” The fiscal benefits are twofold: a reduction in criminal justice expenses imposed by pot arrests and an increase in revenue from taxes on the sale of legal product. Leaving aside the reduced spending on law enforcement, Stringer’s economist calculated $436 million in revenues for the state, $336 million for the city, and some $570 million for suburban and upstate localities. That revenue boost for the city would pay for public transportation half-fares for the very poor and still leave another $136 million for other purposes. Another benefit is unanticipated. Washington State and Colorado, the two states with years of experience with legalization, found that use by middle school and high school students has dropped. With legalization, access is limited to those 18 and above, leaving those younger finding it more difficult to score pot. A final potential benefit is a reduction in opiate overdoses as users turn away from those addictive drugs to marijuana to deal with pain.

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events happening now visit www.GayCityNews.nyc May 24 – June 6, 2018 | GayCityNews.nyc


POLITICS

“Hero” of Irish, Australian Marriage in New York Tiernan Brady tells packed crowd winning campaigns put faces on the issue

ANDY HUMM ANDY HUMM

Tiernan Brady address the crowd at the Irish Consulate in Manhattan on May 11.

Tiernan Brady, Irish Voice arts editor Cahir O’Doherty, and City Councilmember Daniel Dromm.

BY ANDY HUMM

I

rish gay activist Tiernan Brady has the distinction of leading the first two successful national referenda

on marriage equality, helming Yes Equality in Ireland in 2015 and the Equality Campaign in Australia last year. He may be needed in Taiwan soon for yet another popular vote on same-sex marriage, but he

paused to share his insights at a forum in New York this month at the Irish Consulate. Consul General Ciarán Madden, in introducing Brady to a packed house on May 11, said, “The Ireland of today is vastly different to

the Ireland where I grew up. It’s the 25th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in Ireland. People can be who they actually are” — and that would include

TIERNAN BRADY, continued on p.17

Irish Set to Vote on Abortion May 25 referendum could upend ban dating to mid-19th century English rule BY KATHLEEN WARNOCK

I

rish citizens will go to the polls on May 25 for a referendum on whether to “Repeal the 8th” Amendment to their Constitution, which bans abortion. Three years ago, the country voted overwhelmingly to add an amendment that affirmed marriage equality. The entire country seemed to take part in that grassroots campaign that saw every door in the country knocked on by canvassers, thousands of citizens returning from abroad to cast their votes, and TV and radio campaigns flooding the airwaves. This spring, posters have been plastered on every flat surface and hung high on lampposts, and there are murals on the sides of buildings. Trucks with advertisements cruise the streets of Dublin, and people wear shirts and buttons proclaiming “YES” or “NO.” In an overwhelmingly Catholic country that only legalized birth control in 1980, decriminalized homosexuality in 1993, and permitted divorce in 1996, this referendum aims to repeal that portion of the Irish Constitution’s 8th Amendment that prohibits abortion. “Some people are what I’d call ‘culturally Catholic,’” said Rory O’Neill, aka Panti Bliss, one of the most visible spokespeople for mar-

16

K ATHLEEN WARNOCK

At Dublin’s Trinity College, students posted “Yes” signs, some of which were marked up with comments.

riage equality. “They don’t go to Mass or listen to what the bishop tells them to do, but from Day 1, they’ve always been told what’s right and what’s wrong and it’s part of their makeup.” “Repeal the 8th” is using a similar playbook to the marriage equality campaign. And many activists have been involved in both movements and make a connection between the two.

“Absolutely they are connected,” O’Neill said. “Women’s rights and gay rights are civil rights. The abortion rights movement learned from what we did: using the power of personal stories and reaching out to individuals.” The front windows of PantiBar in Dublin are painted with a Repeal mural, and the bar was the focus of a demonstration by an Irish queer “Vote No” group. The group, calling itself “LGBT Pro-Life Ireland” on its Facebook page, has about 1,600 followers. Panti documented the demonstration and even took a photo with the head of the group. A journalist and gay contrarian, Paddy Manning — who was also against marriage equality! — has become a spokesperson for the LGBTQ “Vote No” movement, appearing on talk shows and devoting his social media to “No” posts. At Dublin’s Temple Bar, a “Yes” mural on the wall of the Project Arts Centre was vandalized. A group of visitors from the US watched as a young woman asked someone to take a photo in front of it. The person she asked angrily declined. She approached the Americans, one of them wearing a just-purchased “TA” (Yes) badge, who documented the girl standing in front of the paint-splashed mural.

IRELAND VOTES, continued on p.27

May 24 – June 6, 2018 | GayCityNews.nyc


䉴

TIERNAN BRADY, from p.16

the taoiseach or prime minister of Ireland, Leo Varadkar, who came out several years before his election to the top spot. Brady, who got his start in in politics in 1999 as a councilmember in small-town Bundoran and went on to direct the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network in 2011 that won civil partnerships, opened his remarks by saying, “Where we grew up, if you are of a certain age — which I am — you didn’t grow up hating yourself [for being gay] because there wasn’t anything. There was an absence of a reference point. And the worst thing you can do is make someone invisible.� “Reversing that invisibility,� he continued, was key to winning the Irish marriage equality campaign. “It wasn’t one person. It was hundreds of thousands.� The campaign’s message, Brady said, was that “you are the most important person [to the campaign] in your space. We had to get marriage equality to stop being a ‘what’ and start being a ‘who.’� He added, “When we hear a mes-

sage from someone who shares our values, we listen more.� It was important to “allow people to see how powerful they are.� This led to campaigners calling their parents and grandparents for their votes — and sometimes posting moving videos of their encounters online. “Ireland shook the world� with its affirmation of gay marriage by 62 percent of voters, Brady said, and that fed into the strategy he took to Australia two years later. While the Irish needed a popular vote to change their constitution to open marriage to same-sex couples, the Australia vote was a postal advisory vote cooked up by the Conservative government to give itself cover for a vote in Parliament. The vote there was also 62 percent for marriage equality and Parliament then voted overwhelmingly to change the law to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. The polls in Australia had initially shown 65 percent support, but Brady said that the “no� side worked hard to create doubt in voters by raising issues about how it would affect sex education in schools and whether it would man-

date gender-neutral bathrooms. The “yes� campaign’s response was, “Don’t run down the rabbit hole� answering their attacks. “Build a level of trust with our supporters instead� of trying to convince “the 10 percent who will never agree with us. Stay on message,� Brady urged, his bottom line advice to his campaigners being, “If we don’t [give] respect, we don’t get it.� “We’re all stuck on this island,� Brady emphasized in the campaigns. “And the losers don’t have to leave. We have to campaign knowing we are going to share spaces. The tone you set is the tone the most vulnerable LGBT people� in the country have to live with. “Winning isn’t about defeating someone, but about winning them over.� He reminded the mixed but mostly LGBTQ crowd in Manhattan that “people are terrified to talk to gay people about gay stuff,� worried about using the wrong terminology. “We expect them to have a PhD in ‘Gay.’� Brady added, “We have to tear down our walls, too. We don’t need people to be experts. We just need

them to support our equality.� Out gay City Councilmember Daniel Dromm, who hosted Brady at the Council’s LGBT Caucus earlier in the week, recalled speaking to a 19-year-old at an LGBTQ event in Queens recently. “I asked if he was out to his parents,� Dromm said. “And he said, ‘I will never be able to tell my mother.’� Dromm, whose own mother Audrey Gallagher — who died early this year — was a founder of PFLAG in Queens, said, “We still have youth that think like that. Think of the work that we still have to do.� Ann Northrop, introducing him on the Gay USA show she and I cohost, called Brady “a big hero.� He said that the conservative values of Ireland — “respect, human dignity, treating your neighbor as you would treat yourself� — “were really good reasons to support equality.� “Social change is a journey,� Brady said. “Most people on our side were on the other side 10 years ago. The real change isn’t just marriage, it’s social harmony.�



 

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Trump Jeered in Hometown Return Gay, gun, immigration activists mass at Lotte New York Palace Hotel

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n his first visit to New York City since December 2 of last year, President Donald Trump on May 23 met a throng of protesters â&#x20AC;&#x201D; including immigration rights activists and members of Rise and Resist, Gays Against Guns, Revolting Lesbians, and Refuse Fascism â&#x20AC;&#x201D; as he arrived at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel on Madison Avenue for a fundraiser. Curiously, though the State

Republican Party was holding its annual gala right across town at the Ziegfeld Ballroom on West 54th Street, the president was not scheduled to hop over there. A state party spokesperson insisted to the New York Post that Trump was invited but begged off â&#x20AC;&#x153;to ensure the spotlight remained on our candidates.â&#x20AC;? What spotlight you might ask. Trump also had no plans to spend the night at his penthouse in Trump Tower. His duties in Washington no doubt beckoned.

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PERSPECTIVE: Media Circus PUBLISHER

Pope Breaks With Other Old Guys

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20

BY ED SIKOV

D

ateline Rome: “A Chilean survivor of clerical sex abuse has said that Pope Francis told him in a private meeting this month that God had made him gay and that both God and the pontiff loved him that way, a remarkable expression of inclusion for the leader of the Roman Catholic Church. ‘He said to me, “Juan Carlos that’s not a problem,”’ said Juan Carlos Cruz, the Chilean abuse survivor, describing having told the pope he was gay in a long meeting in the Vatican. ‘You have to be happy with who you are. God made you this way and loves you this way, and the pope loves you this way.’” Obviously, Pope Francis is the Antichrist. Beyond his hurling centuries of Church teaching off a cliff with a single sentence, you can tell by the way he refers to himself in the third person. The Antichrist is known for that. Seriously, if this is true, it would mark an enormous, even tectonic shift in Roman Catholic doctrine. I know nothing of how doctrinal changes occur in the Church. And one has to notice that the Vatican found a way out of acknowledging this earthquake of a story by saying, as Jason Horowitz reports on nytimes.com, simply that it “declined to comment on the pope’s private remarks.” (I love the fact that the Times assigned this story to a guy named Horowitz.) But to hear that a pope has allegedly said that God makes us “this way” and loves us “this way” — why, it’s utterly revolutionary. The article continues: “Over the weekend [Cruz] told the Spanish newspaper El País about the pope’s remarks about his homosexuality. In a separate interview Sunday night, Mr. Cruz, through tears, explained that he had told the pope in their nearly three-hour private meeting that he had maintained his Catholic faith even though Chilean bishops had apparently told the pope that he had left the Church ‘for a life of perversion.’” Given that Cruz was the victim of a priest’s greedy, grasping hands (to choose the most innocuous body part possible in cases of sexual abuse), these blabbermouth bishops scarcely have room to talk.

In the opposite direction, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appointed the notorious Tony Perkins of the inane Family Research Council to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). As reported by Julie Moreau of nbcnews. com, GLAAD is not pleased. “‘Tony Perkins is the most recognizable anti-LGBTQ activist in America. He has espoused the most extreme views of LGBTQ people and other vulnerable communities,’ Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of LGBTQ advocacy organization GLAAD, said in a statement. ‘The idea that Perkins would be making policy recommendations to an administration that is already anti-LGBTQ is dangerous and puts LGBTQ people directly in harm’s way.’” GLAAD has put together a helpful list of Perkins’ golden hits. As Moreau notes, “Among the more than 30 examples listed are a comparison of same-sex marriage to a marriage between ‘a man and his horse’; the labeling of the ‘It Gets Better’ project, a popular initiative designed to help LGBTQ young people cope with bullying and marginalization, ‘disgusting’ and a ‘concerted effort’ to recruit kids into the gay ‘lifestyle’; and claiming the ‘blood’ of ‘young marines’ would be on the hands of lawmakers who vote to repeal the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy.’” In other depressing news, Nara Schoenberg writes on chicagotribune. com that bullying and bias are rampant in senior living facilities. “Even before she began searching for senior housing, Marti Smith had heard the horror stories. Her gay friends told Smith, a lesbian, that when their partners entered assisted living the partners had to hide their homosexuality to avoid bias and bullying. Even Smith’s friends had to play along when they visited. ‘Visitors were told not to act gay or dress gay because of fear of harassment when they left,’ said Smith, 73. ‘That’s very common.’” Schoenberg continues, “In senior living communities, LGBT people live side by side with heterosexuals who came of age when homosexuality was considered a mental illness or even a criminal offense. Bullying and discrimination are common.”

Still, there are signs of hope: “An outspoken older gay Chicagoan told [Britta] Larson [senior services director at Chicago’s Center on Halsted, a comprehensive LGBTQ community center], that he had ridden the elevator in his senior housing with another resident who objected to the facility’s gay support group, using a gay slur. ‘Well, I’m one of them, so you can shut the hell up,’ the gay senior shot back.” From the title alone, I just knew I had to read “Gay Rights Activists Must Learn to Respect Their Critics, Stop Demonizing Christians.” Then I saw the byline — Bill Donohue, the rabidly reactionary Catholic crank who has been churning out hateful opinions for decades. Although history and the courts have all passed him by, Donohue is still spewing rage about same-sex marriage. After listing denominations still hostile to marriage equality, Donohue bleats, “All of these religious groups, and others, hold to the traditional understanding of marriage: it is the union of a man and a woman. Moreover, they believe that children need a father and a mother to serve as role models. They don’t need, nor deserve, two members of the same sex as parents. LGBT activists disagree. That is their right. But they have no right to portray these religious persons — they include tens of millions of Americans — as bigots for simply practicing their faith.” One of the fundamental flaws in Donohue’s argument, on cnsnews. com (“the right news right now”), is that straight people only get married in order to have children. By that logic, jurisdictions should require fertility tests to be performed on prospective brides and grooms. And if you’re a post-menopausal woman, you can forget about it. Beyond that, notice how Donohue can’t help but slip in what he thinks is a cutting comment even when he’s demanding mutual respect: “Children need a father and a mother to serve as role models. They don’t need, nor deserve, two members of the same sex as parents.” Deserve? What children need much more than “traditional” straight parents is love, Bill. If they don’t get it, they turn out like you. Follow @EdSikov on Twitter and Facebook. May 24 – June 6, 2018 | GayCityNews.nyc


PERSPECTIVE: Insider Trading

What Are Judicial Delegates, and Why Should I Care? BY ALLEN ROSKOFF

O

n Primary Day, September 13, voters get the opportunity to choose judicial delegates — elected posts that precious few people know about. Despite this obscurity, these delegates play a pivotal role in electing State Supreme Court justices whose decisions affect all of us. Back in the old days, Manhattan reformers battled Bronx regulars within the same jurisdictional turf. Now that Manhattan is a jurisdiction onto itself, a few bad apples with no claim to being reformers have manipulated the system. With little regard to merit or progressive philosophy, these political insiders push their handpicked allies, who often go on to make disastrous decisions on the bench. For our community, the stakes in this obscure judicial delegate process are huge. Let’s consider some of my alltime favorite Supreme Court justices, including Bruce Wright (dubbed “Turn Them Loose Bruce” by right-wing columnists and Ed

Koch), Emily Jane Goodman who represented me and the Gay Activists Alliance pro bono in the early 1970s, and Doris Ling-Cohan who wrote the marriage equality decision in 2005. Ling-Cohan’s decision was overturned by a bunch of know-nothing bigoted Appellate Court justices — George D. Marlow, Milton L. Williams John W. Sweeny Jr., with the concurrence of James M. Catterson. They rejected Ling-Cohan’s finding that gender-specific terms in state marriage law, such as “husband, “wife,” “groom,” and “bride,” should be construed to apply equally to men and women. The appellate majority instead found that the definition of marriage enshrined in state law “expresses an important, long-recognized public policy supporting, among other things, procreation, child welfare and social stability — all legitimate state interests.” Justice David B. Saxe dissented, saying that the denial of civil marriage to gay and lesbian New Yorkers “perpetuates a deeply ingrained form of legalized discrimination.”

This is just one example of how our lives are deeply affected by who represents us in the State Supreme Court. Though the judicial selection process is good on paper and has been found to be constitutional, the system in Manhattan has been perverted by several people whose egos, backroom dealings, and, at least in one case, payment of consultant fees. Today, most judicial delegates do as they are told without any understanding of the kind of people they are promoting. Often deals are made before the prospective delegates even know who the candidates are. One major manipulator of the system is former Sheldon Silver aide Joanna Saccone, who is a paid consultant and has a long history of non-progressive politics. In the 1970s, she aligned herself with Carol Greitzer in the Village Independent Democrats against progressive gay candidates Jim Owles and David Rothenberg. Greitzer criticized these original authors of the gay rights bill for writing and sponsoring this first-in-thecountry legislation. In 1981, Sac-

cone stormed out of a VID meeting when the club endorsed Mario Cuomo for governor over Ed Koch. VID was Ed Koch’s home club but the closeted Koch’s bid was rejected because of his overt race-baiting, scandals, sabotage of the gay rights bill, and support of the Republican Party. (I will never forget the time Koch called his black colleague in Congress, Ron Dellums of California, a “Zulu warrior.”) In 2013, one of Saccone’s paying clients, Civil Court Judge Lori Sattler, bullied a mother of two, Lisa Mehos, in open court because Mehos had an abortion. This justice then allowed Mehos’ abortion to be used as evidence of her being an unfit mother. Justice Goodman, by then retired and in private practice representing Mehos, objected and rightly stated that the fact that Mehos had an abortion was irrelevant to her being a fit mother. Though the Appellate Division upheld Sattler on her decision in the custody case, it found that her line of questioning on Mehos’ abortion was “inappropriate,” “irrelevant,” and “embarrassing.” The court determined it was an error to permit the testimony. During the uproar that followed the Sattler decision, Saccone accused those opposing her favorite client of bullying when it was

INSIDER TRADING, continued on p.22

PERSPECTIVE: Snide Lines

Trump, Lynch, And Who We Call Animals: A Safety Alert BY SUSIE DAY

D

id you hear Trump call undocumented immigrants animals? It’s stirring up — rightly — a lot of concern. Among humans, “animal” is the essential, go-to word to deprive people of their humanity. It’s the permission some people give themselves to ridicule, enslave, and commit genocide against other people. “Animal” is a term we read as a danger signal, even in a society such as ours, which was built on ridicule, enslavement, and genoGayCityNews.nyc | May 24 – June 6, 2018

cide. And “animal” is often used by law enforcement to describe anyone accused of assaulting a police officer. Interesting how we’ve let this one go. Over and over, my friend Herman Bell, who spent almost 45 years in New York State maximum-security prisons, has been called an animal. Herman was convicted in 1975 of killing two New York City police officers and sentenced to 25-to-life — meaning that, after 25 years, he was eligible for parole. Thanks to his accomplishments and compassion over the years; thanks to advances in state parole regulations

weighing who a person has become and not just the “nature of the original offense”; thanks to enormous love from family and friends, Herman was released in April, after his eighth appearance before the Parole Board. But this column isn’t about Herman. It’s instead about the institutions and the people who wanted him to die slowly over more decades in prison. As an animal. When Herman’s parole decision came down last March, Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA), declared at a press conference, “We’re

gonna get you, we don’t care why you’re behind bars… We just care that you are behind bars.” The PBA also issued a “safety alert” to NYPD officers: “In the event of Bell’s release, all PBA members are urged to remain vigilant, both on- and offduty, to ensure their own safety and to provide back-up to any other law enforcement officers in their vicinity.” The danger to public safety posed by Herman Bell out of prison roughly approximates the danger posed by 99.6 percent of undocumented immigrants inside US borders: NONE. The real danger — which most of us are sleeping on — is the vigilante mentality that powers our law enforcement. Since way before Stonewall, cops have rounded up queers;

ANIMALS, continued on p.22

21


INSIDER TRADING, from p.21

only Saccone who was making threats — including one directed at me while I ate my lunch during a Democratic fundraiser. Joining retired Justice Goodman in this fight against Saccone and Sattler was out gay civil rights attorney Tom Shanahan and attorney Ron Kliegerman, who was married to the late (and great) State Senator Catherine Abate. The attorneys had the support of advocates like Sonia Ossorio, president of the New York Chapter of the National Organization for Women, and elected officials including Public Advocate Tish James, Congressmember Adriano Espaillat, and City Councilmembers Margaret Chin, Rosie Mendez, and Helen Rosenthal. On Sattler and Saccone’s side was Donald Trump’s go-to lawyer, Marc Kasowitz. Despite these prominent voices urging that Sattler not be elevated

ANIMALS, from p.21

they can still arrest and brutalize us at street protests. But queer communities don’t necessarily see how the cops also work alongside the prison system. So here’s another safety alert; this one’s about the police. Be on the lookout for: Use of Scathing Pejoratives: Words like “monster,” “vermin,” “blood-thirsty,” and, of course, “animal” used by police as synonyms for actual people accused or convicted of crimes. This degree of loathing is designed to authorize the deepest kind of lynch-mob contempt. These names are, in fact, used so often to describe people of color that you wonder if they’re simply society’s latest ploy to get away with saying “n*gg*r.” Lurid Press Coverage: This is the aorta through which “lawand-order” pejoratives and vigilantism enter the public bloodstream. Mainstream media repeat — unquestioned and un-fact-checked — whatever police officials tell them. “Cold-blooded cop-killer” headlines boost ratings. Meanwhile, the press is too busy buying tough-on-crime accounts wholesale to ask journal-

22

from the Civil Court to the Supreme Court, Saccone’s judicial delegates made sure that Sattler — and Sheldon Silver’s clubhouse politics — prevailed. More on this in my next column, as well as about how East Side District Leaders Louise Dankberg and Josh Kravitz, former State Senator Tom Duane, attorney Sue Moss of the law firm Chemtob, Moss, Forman & Beyda, and the political printer Al Handell, president of NYPrints LLC, promoted Sattler in spite of her indefensible treatment of a mother who dared to exercise her right to choose. Stay tuned. In other news, congratulations to openly gay Supreme Court Justice Franc Perry for ruling against a co-op resident who insisted on flying an American flag from a pole outside his window. Perry (who was heavily promoted by Assemblymember Inez Dickens) noted that Desmond “is free to display his flag within the confines of

ism-101 questions, such as why a law officer such as Pat Lynch threatening, “We’re gonna get you, we don’t care why you’re behind bars” isn’t… well… illegal? Copying down “cop-killer” denunciations, reporters seldom bother to question if adjectives like “cold-blooded” and “monster” are close to accurate. NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill, on hearing of Herman’s parole, wrote that Herman should remain in prison because, “His mind has not changed, his heart has not opened…” Mainstream news outlets never asked how James O’Neill knew this. It’s inconsequential that O’Neill (also Lynch, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and any other official denouncing Herman’s parole) never met Herman Bell or evinced an interest in records describing how Herman’s changed over the years. This sidelining of journalistic curiosity in favor of garish headlines is the foundation of media and police collusion. Through it, we’re bullied out of wondering if “criminals” might actually be people a little like ourselves. Backlash Against New Parole Board Regulations: In another press conference, Patrick Lynch lamented the “coup” at the State Parole Board, where “right-minded”

his unit.” Well done Dickens… and well done, Franc Perry. Meanwhile, our self-described progressive mayor is using his Law Department to enforce a Giuliani-era statute aimed at curbing an already shrinking number of porn stores. Perhaps the mayor needs to be reminded that sexual liberation was one of the founding goals of the gay rights movement. And now she comes for Alan Cumming! Manhattan Community Board 3 District Manager Susan Stetzer has found new reasons to harass Club Cumming. She now has them in limbo — taking away the livelihood of numerous employees and entertainers. No matter how diligent a bar owner or operator might be, Stetzer will find a way to fuck things up for venues catering to the LGBTQ community. Let’s count ourselves lucky that Rainbow Flags are still allowed within her community

commissioners were ousted and replaced by those with an agenda. Already, conservative state senators, who only noticed progressive regulation changes after Herman’s parole, have passed several bills overturning these advances. Although the bills still need Assembly approval, they include regressions such as mandatory life sentences without parole for a broad range of offenses; requiring the Parole Board to accept statements from third parties — specifically, the police — which would remain confidential; and extending the waiting period between prisoners’ parole applications from two to five years. These bills would enforce a penal structure denying mercy and equality to thousands of human beings who, for a moment, had hopes of not being seen as animals. Already, tabloids are carrying stories about why the Parole Board should not make the Herman Bell mistake and should deny parole to other “cop-killers.” Already, the PBA has bought radio ads to keep Herman’s co-defendant in prison for the rest of his life. Assuming the Life of a Police Officer Weighs More than that of a Civilian: In a May 17 edito-

board boundaries. Friends, we must band together and end the madness. Why hasn’t Borough President Gale Brewer stepped in? After all, isn’t she the one who keeps reappointing all of these anti-nightlife board members? And for those who want to get out of Trump country, I recommend a long visit to the Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo. Andaz has worked with the Costa Rican government and business community in advancing the rights of the LGBTQ community — and that support shows in how the staff embraces its gay travelers. Cementing this beautiful country’s status as one of Latin America’s most gay-friendly destinations was the election of President Carlos Alvarado, who, running on a marriage equality platform, won by 21.5 percentage points over his opponent, Fabricio Alvarado, a right-wing evangelist. Take that Trump!

rial titled, “Will every cop-killer in New York now go free?”, the New York Post writes, “cop-killers strike at the core of public safety. That’s why there was long a presumption against ever granting them parole.” But the PBA’S “public safety” means protection from “animals” — not protection for people like Eric Garner or Sandra Bland. It encourages a “worst-of-the-worst” category, which, once established, endangers everyone’s humanity. Recently, in The New Yorker, Masha Gessen wrote about the plight of immigrants and refugees, of Hannah Arendt’s concept of “the right to have rights.” These rights, in theory, “belong to every person by virtue of existence.” So either we all have this right to have rights or we buy into a safety that ultimately removes our individual agency. Accepting that we don’t matter as much as the person in blue with the badge and the gun provides a cornerstone of an oncoming police state. And — remembering why Hannah Arendt wrote in the first place — that kind of thing has happened before. Susie Day is the author of “Snidelines: Talking Trash to Power,” published by Abingdon Square Publishing. May 24 – June 6, 2018 | GayCityNews.nyc


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May 24 – June 6, 2018 | GayCityNews.nyc


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May 24 – June 6, 2018 | GayCityNews.nyc


K ATHLEEN WARNOCK

Repeal posters plaster the outside of PantiBar in Dublin.

ä&#x2030;´

IRELAND VOTES, from p.16

â&#x20AC;&#x153;The 8th Amendmentâ&#x20AC;? is how most people refer to Article 43.3.3 of the Bunreacht na hĂ&#x2030;ireann, Irelandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Constitution, which states that a fetus has an equal right to life as the woman carrying it, and outlaws abortion except when the womanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s life is in â&#x20AC;&#x153;real and substantial danger.â&#x20AC;? The amendment was made law in 1983, though abortion had been illegal since 1861, with a penalty of life in prison for a person convicted of violating the law. When the country became a republic in 1920, the new nation kept the existing English law against abortion. England legalized abortion in 1967, and Irish women who wanted to terminate pregnancies had the option of taking the ferry â&#x20AC;&#x201D; or later, a short plane trip â&#x20AC;&#x201D; to England. Those women, however, were officially prohibited from leaving the country for an abortion, and other laws were passed that forbade giving information about abortions to women seeking counseling. Over time, voters chipped away at the reach of the 8th, authorizing other amendments that permitted the right to distribute information about abortions in other countries and guaranteeing the right of women to travel to other countries for abortions. But attempts to repeal or reform the 8th itself have to date been defeated at the polls. In recent years, the United Nations Human Rights Committee has heard several cases on Irelandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s abortion laws, and found that they violate the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and called for the lawâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s reform. Both the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Yesâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Noâ&#x20AC;? campaigns are using every form of media, and the issue of funding from outside of Ireland caused Facebook

to ban all ads from foreign groups as of May 8. At the same time, CNN reported that Google would not accept any ads at all regarding the referendum. A media watchdog group, TRI, reported that the ban is not entirely successful, and there are still non-Irish groups managing campaigns and ads turning up in Google searches. Polling the week before the referendum showed that Repeal had a narrow lead over â&#x20AC;&#x153;No,â&#x20AC;? and both campaigns were planning â&#x20AC;&#x153;get out the voteâ&#x20AC;? drives. Voting in Ireland is done on the day of the referendum or election, with some voters qualifying for voting by mail. Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Neill said he thinks the polls may not be accurate, as people may tell a pollster one thing in person then vote another way in the voting booth. In his opinion, a large turnout will favor the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Yesâ&#x20AC;? side, and this could be an election decided by the â&#x20AC;&#x153;undecideds.â&#x20AC;? Some pollsters think that the 18-24-year-old male voter could be the deciding demographic. On the day of the vote, exit polls will be taken throughout the day. If it looks as though the vote is not close, an announcement will be made by mid-morning Saturday. If itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a close contest, the announcement may not be made until much later in the day. The announcement will be different from the one on the 2015 Marriage Referendum. That day, the vote was in early and overwhelmingly for marriage equality and people danced in the streets and paraded around town. On the abortion question, if â&#x20AC;&#x153;Yesâ&#x20AC;? wins, it wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be seen as a cause for partying, but rather the end of a longtime wait for a right thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s another step in the road to equality but the absence of which has disrupted many lives and caused too many deaths.

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GayCityNews.nyc | May 24 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; June 6, 2018

27


AIDS WALK RAISES $4.4 MILLION

GMHC’s leadership and supporters rang the opening bell at the NASDAQ Exchange on May 18, two days ahead of the AIDS Walk.

PHOTO ESSAY BY DONNA ACETO

O Michael Urie and Mercedes Ruehl, who starred in the recent Off-Broadway revival of Harvey Fierstein’s “Torch Song,” which heads to Broadway this fall.

Activists call on Governor Andrew Cuomo to support city efforts to establish safe consumption spaces to prevent opioid overdose deaths.

n a Sunday in Central Park where participants were given an option of a 10k walk or a 5k run, 20,000 people joined in the annual AIDS Walk New York and raised more than $4.4 million to benefit Gay Men’s Health Crisis and dozens of other HIV service organizations in the tri-state area. In the event’s more than three decades, more than $150 million has been raised to combat HIV and AIDS and support those living with the virus. “New Yorkers once again demonstrated their unwavering compassion for people living with HIV/ AIDS,” said Kelsey Louie, the group’s CEO. “Today we assembled in massive numbers and raised vital funds that will help GMHC

The grand total raised of more than $4.4 million is displayed on stage after the Walk.

continue to be a national leader in the response to HIV/AIDS, while moving our community closer to our goal of ending the epidemic by 2020. With an increase in new infections among women, threats to life-saving health care for those living with HIV and other chronic conditions, and a national climate that is increasingly hostile to atrisk populations, many challenges lie ahead of us.” Event founder Craig R. Miller, said, “There’s an alarming trend against truth coming out of Washington, DC, these days, but here in New York, facts still matter. While the current administration chooses to ignore the fact that AIDS remains a serious threat in this and other communities, those who participated in AIDS Walk New York today, raising $4,416,919, continue to be loud, strong, and determined.”

Matt Bomer, Andrew Rannells, and Charlie Carver, currently starring in the Broadway premiere of Mart Crowley’s iconic “Boys in the Band.”

A group of participants from the Gay Latino Collective.

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Ruth Pointer, an original member of the Pointer Sisters, sings with her daughter (r.) and granddaughter (l.)

Members of Gays Against Guns’ Sing Out Louise chorus serenade walkers at the end of the route to remind them of the devastation guns are causing in America.

For more news & events happening now visit www.GayCityNews.nyc 28

May 24 – June 6, 2018 | GayCityNews.nyc


PARADE ROUTE, from p.4

Discussions among HOP, the Mayor’s office, the NYPD, the city Sanitation Department, and other city agencies that are involved in the parade — which commemorates the 1969 riots at the Stonewall Inn that mark the start of the modern LGBTQ rights movement — began in August 2017 and ended this past February when the NYPD selected the route from among those proposed by HOP. Asked if reducing the cost of organizing, policing, and cleaning up after the parade was part of the city’s discussion with HOP, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he had not been briefed on the topic. “If we have a route that can be shorter in terms of the impact it has on the surrounding communities, we should be looking at that, but I have not heard any of the details relating to this parade,” de Blasio said during a May 23 press conference at a Bronx school. “I would want to get briefed on it before I spoke to it… I think the impetus originally was as much about neighborhood impact, congestion, other factors as

it was anything involving cost, but that began before this administration.” While most of HOP’s meetings are open to the public, the organization gave little notice of the change, if any at all, to the broader community until after the new route was chosen and HOP began announcing it on social media. Corey Johnson, who represents the West Village in the City Council and won the Council speaker’s job this year, was among those who was surprised by the new route. “No one asked me my opinion on this or included me in the process between the NYPD and the organizers at the Heritage of Pride,” Johnson told Gay City News. “I literally found out about this through seeing someone share it on Facebook, and I asked my staff to look into it.” Between May 14 and May 15, Sanjivan added a bullet point to his PowerPoint presentation that read “Request from Corey’s office on route change.” That was the sole reference to Johnson or his staff. When Gay City News asked at the May 15 meeting if this meant that Johnson, who is openly gay, had

not been consulted, one HOP member said that he was not the City Council speaker when the discussions started. Bruce Pachter, HOP’s community relations director, said Johnson’s Community Board 2 liaison had attended some meetings though he did not say if those were Community Board 2 meetings, which did not take up the route change, or meetings at which the route was discussed. “We didn’t have anything to do with the change in the route of the parade,” Gormley said. “It was not brought to the community board.” Johnson has reservations about the new route. “I personally like the route we’ve marched on for years,” he said. “I have some pretty serious concerns about the new route. I’m not sure it’s long enough, I’m not sure that the staging is in the right area.” The activists in the Reclaim Pride Coalition had multiple concerns. They wanted a resistance contingent in the parade. HOP has agreed to that though it will be limited to 10 groups. HOP rejected the Coalition’s demand that members of the Gay Of-

ficers Action League (GOAL) be required to march without uniforms or weapons. HOP effectively postponed any demands about limiting policing of the parade until a June 5 town hall with the NYPD that will be held at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center. A major theme of the Coalition demands, consistent with longstanding complaints about the Pride Parade, is that it has become disconnected from its history, from the place where that history began, and from the radical politics that emerged before and immediately after the 1969 riots. “This area is our home,” said Jay W. Walker, a member of the Coalition, referring to the West Village. Then speaking about the neighborhood’s current residents, he added, “I don’t really care about them.” For some Coalition members, limiting the size of community group contingents, instead of limiting just corporate groups, was especially troubling. “This really feels like a shrinking, a pulling back,” said Mark Milano at the May 15 meeting.

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GayCityNews.nyc | May 24 – June 6, 2018

29


THEATER

Band of Brothers Caustic gay classic still resonates nates an and rankles a half century later BY DAVID KENNERLEY impering, self-loathing gay stereotypes. That’s why many naysayers are refusing to see the revival of “The Boys in the Band,” now on Broadway for the first time. And that’s a shame — shouldn’t the play be seen as a cautionary period piece, showing how strained life for gay men once was and how far we’ve come? When Mart Crowley’s game-changing comic drama, about a tight-knit group of catty “queers” at a birthday party that goes sour, first opened in a fringy New York venue in 1968, gay men were thrilled to finally see themselves portrayed onstage, even if not in the most flattering light. Lines formed around the block, and the play quickly transferred to Theater Four Off-Broadway, where it ran for more than 1,000 performances. A popular film version that retained the entire cast soon followed, helmed by none other than William Friedkin, who went on to direct “The Exorcist.” At the time, homosexuality was still branded a mental illness and a same-sex couple holding hands in public could be thrown in jail. It’s hard to imagine how revolutionary this play truly was. Director Joe Mantello has pulled out all the stops for this production, assembling a topflight, out-and-proud ensemble led by Jim Parsons (“The Big Bang Theory,” “Harvey”), Zachary Quinto (“Star Trek,” “The Glass Menagerie”), Matt Bomer (“White Collar,” “The Normal Heart”), and Andrew Rannells (“Girls,” “Falsettos”). No less impressive are Charlie Carver, Robin De Jesús, Brian Hutchison, and Michael Benjamin Washington. Another one of the boys is Tuc Watkins, the television actor best known for his extensive appearances on “One Life to Live” and his turn as the hunky gay neighbor on “Desperate Housewives.” He plays Hank, the conflicted bisexual who leaves his wife and kids to live with his lover, Larry. This marks Tuc’s Broadway debut. Somehow finding a sliver of time between romping in the park with his young children and rushing to his matinée performance, the insightful, surprisingly candid Watkins spoke with Gay City News about this landmark version of “The Boys in the Band” on its 50th anniversary and why it still resonates, stereotypes and all.

THE BOYS IN THE BAND

S

DAVID KENNERLEY: Even 50 years on, “The Boys in the Band” is not without controversy. What do you say to critics who believe the play wallows in negative stereotypes, portraying gays as self-loathing sissies?

30

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want to see that, let’s move on.” But it’s important that we do revisit it and talk about it, because the freedoms we have now came at a price. We must remember we are standing on the shoulders of giants, gay men and women who came before us, so we can live as out and proud as we do now.

ROBERT TRACHTENBERG

Tuc Watkins is Hank, the divorcing married father who is the live-in lover of Larry, played by Andrew Rannells.

TUC WATKINS: When Joe Mantello first approached me to do the reading, I thought, “Why are we opening that door to the attic? I want to be out and proud and move forward.” It wasn’t until rehearsals that it truly came to life for me. I realized that it’s important to examine where we came from. “Mississippi Burning” showed us what racism was like in the 1960s. “Platoon” showed us the horrors of the Vietnam War in the 1960s. So it follows that “The Boys in the Band” would show us the trials of being a gay man in the 1960s. It does not claim to portray a universal experience. There’s a line in the play where Jim Parsons’ character says, “If we can just learn to not hate ourselves so much.” It was more true when it was written than now, since we’ve made strides socially, psychologically, and politically. I’ve certainly had self-loathing in my time, as a kid and growing into an adult. Joe said it’s not enough to label these characters as self-loathing. Maybe we should look at the society in which they live to see why these characters are self-loathing. It’s a really good point. DK: A couple of my gay friends said they refused to see the play due to the stale, negative portrayals. TW: I was one of those guys who said, “I don’t

DK: Have there been any modifications to the original or is the dialogue exactly the same? TW: People often ask if it’s updated and the answer is no. Several cuts have been made and it’s been condensed from two acts to one. We haven’t changed the Bob Dylan reference to the Scissor Sisters. DK: You play Hank, Larry’s live-in lover, who’s in the process of divorcing his wife and passes as straight. What is it like digging into that character? TW: Hank is the one with the most courage in that he married a woman he loved. They had two children and he cares about them a great deal. At the same time, he felt that he wasn’t being authentic. When he comes to terms with that, he decides to leave his family to live with a man. I imagine in the 1960s he was disparaged as being a horrible person, but to face that and live authentically, that takes balls. Historically we can look at people who didn’t have such courage and led lives of quiet desperation. DK: You have two young children. Does that help you relate to Hank? TW: I am a single gay dad; I had them through surrogacy. When I think of what it would take to leave my kids, I can hardly wrap my head around that. The anguish and turmoil that it creates is extraordinary. DK: Hank and Larry wrestle with monogamy. Do you think that issue has changed much? TW: That’s an age-old thing, isn’t it, loving one person but still yearning to mess around with others? Fifty years ago there was rampant

TUC WATKINS, continued on p.40

May 24 – June 6, 2018 | GayCityNews.nyc


OPERA

Singing Cowboys in Love Wuorinen’s “Brokeback Mountain” comes to Manhattan

COURTESY OF NEW YORK CIT Y OPERA

Glenn Seven Allen is Jack Twist in the New York City Opera production of “Brokeback Mountain,” directed by Jacopo Spirei.

COURTESY OF NEW YORK CIT Y OPERA

Dan Okulitch reprises his role as Ennis del Mar.

BY ELI JACOBSON ack in 2008, the late impresario Gerard Mortier, then general director designate of the New York City Opera, commissioned from composer Charles Wuorinen an operatic adaptation of Annie Proulx’s 1997 short story “Brokeback Mountain” to be the centerpiece of his inaugural season. Mortier ended up never taking over the opera — due to budget and financing issues — and the project evaporated with the rest of his planned season. Five years later New York City Opera filed for bankruptcy, and Mortier took the project to the Teatro Real in Madrid where it premiered in 2014 in a production by Dutch director Ivo Van Hove. Annie Proulx adapted her New Yorker short story tracing the forbidden love of two Wyoming cowboys over two decades into an opera libretto. She made some novel departures from both her original New Yorker short story and Larry McMurtry’s screenplay for the award-winning 2005 Ang Lee film adaptation. After a successful runs in Madrid, Aachen, Germany, and the Salzburg State Theater, Wuorinen’s “Brokeback Mountain” opera is coming home to the newly reorganized New York City Opera for its US premiere production. “Brokeback Mountain” is the second installment in New York City Opera’s annual LGBT Pride Series. There will be four performances, May 31 through June 4, at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater at the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle. The New York City Opera production will be directed by Jacopo Spirei, recreating the more intimate production he directed for the Salzburg State Theater. Kazem Abdullah will lead the New York City Opera Orchestra in a new 26-piece orchestral reduction of the score by the composer. Heading the cast will be two veterans of the original Madrid premiere production: bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch as Ennis del Mar and soprano

B

GayCityNews.nyc | May 24 – June 6, 2018

COURTESY OF CARLOS ALVAREZ/ GETT Y IMAGES EUROPE

Tom Randle and Daniel Okulitch in the 2014 world premiere of Charles Wuorinen’s “Brokeback Mountain,” with a libretto by Annie Proulx at the Teatro Real in Madrid.

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN New York City Opera Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater Time Warner Center, Columbus Circle Broadway at 60th St. May 31, Jun. 4 at 7:30 p.m. Jun. 2 at 2 p.m.; Jun 3 at 4 p.m. $10-$150; nycopera.com/brokeback-mountain Or 212-721-6500

Heather Buck as his unhappy wife Alma. Joining them as newcomers will be tenor Glenn Seven Allen as Jack Twist and mezzo-soprano Hilary Ginther as his wife Lureen, with Christopher Job, Brian Kontes, and Melissa Parks among the supporting cast. Gay City News interviewed both male leads, Okulitch and Allen, soprano Buck, conductor Abdullah, and production director Spirei about the challenges of Wuorinen’s craggy, spare 12tone score as well as the inevitable comparisons with the iconic film version. ELI JACOBSON: How many of you have seen the 2005 Ang Lee film of Annie Proulx’s short story? How influenced were you by the performances in the film or did you choose to approach the opera from a different point of view? What are the differences between the film, the original short story, and Annie Proulx’s libretto for the opera? DANIEL OKULITCH (ENNIS): I saw the movie in the theater and then watched it again prior to working on the opera, more for idea-mining

than for instruction. The opera is very different from the movie and is closer in tone to the short story, which is devoid of sentimentality and is quite bleak. The music reflects this, in its angularity and dissonance. The movie is beautiful in its own right, but is far more romantic, which perhaps was necessary to sell it to a larger audience. GLENN SEVEN ALLEN (JACK): I saw the film when it first came out and found it devastatingly heartbreaking. I think it’s a very relatable story to anyone who has had unrequited love sometime in their life. Before I met my wife I was a somewhat hopeless romantic young man and definitely went through some pretty brutal heartbreaks. As far as the difference with the libretto, the film, and the original story, we’re really lucky to have the same writer, Annie Proulx. I think the biggest thing that’s different about the opera is that I feel that the Mountain is really a character in the story, and a very ubiquitous character at that. You can hear its presence in the score throughout the entire opera. It’s first described by the character of Aguirre as a brutal place that kills men. But for Jack and Ennis it becomes a somewhat romantic paradise that they wish they could return to. HEATHER BUCK (ALMA): Annie Proulx’s short story approaches the action with an incredibly raw economy of word and emotion — I find in it a wonderfully compelling harsh brutality and deep beauty. In her libretto, she continues to pack a lot of meaning into each line — each word is deliberate and important, I’m not sure I could identify one single frivolous line. The film is visually gorgeous and a lyrical version of the story, with such strong performances all around. I actively tried not to refer to my memories of the film so that I could find my own way into Alma’s character and how she interacts with the world around her. I don’t want to deliver

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, continued on p.44

31


FILM

Their Child’s Place Jim Parsons, Claire Danes struggle g to do right in a gendered world BY GARY M. KRAMER

A KID LIKE JAKE

n the compelling drama “A Kid Like Jake,” directed by trans filmmaker Silas Howard, Alex and Greg Wheeler (Claire Danes and Jim Parsons) grapple with having a gender non-conforming four-year-old son named Jake (Leo James Davis). Alex and Greg are anxious to get Jake into a competitive kindergarten and depend on the advice of Judy (Octavia Spencer), a preschool director who thinks Jake’s attributes can help him. However, Alex is especially sensitive to how others talk about her son. At various turning points that help or hurt Jake’s chances, the couple is forced to confront their feelings about their son and each other. Working from a screenplay by Daniel Pearle, who adapted his play, Howard avoids the pitfalls of making “A Kid Like Jake” mawkish. The filmmaker never judges the characters, presenting them with all their foibles, and generating real drama in increasingly more heated exchanges about gender. In a recent phone interview, Howard chatted with Gay City News about “A Kid Like Jake.”

Claire Danes, Leo James Davis, and Jim Parsons in Silas Howard’s “A Kid Like Jake,” adapted from the play by Daniel Pearle, opens at IFC Center on June 1.

GARY M. KRAMER: Let’s start with an icebreaker: What were you like as a child? Were you gender non-conforming?

GMK: There is a line in the film about encouraging our “true, authentic self.” I think Jake in the film is always himself. In the play,

I

Directed by Silas Howard IFC Films Opens Jun. 1 IFC Center 323 Sixth Ave. at W. Third St. ifccenter.com

IFC FILMS

SILAS HOWARD: I was a classic case. As a kid I was raised by my dad, and in the third grade I wore his Old Spice and the teacher wondered why I smelled like a guy. I was a bit of a tomboy. When I found punk rock, I realized I could look like a guy. I identify as queer and trans. I wanted to transition when there was more room in the queer community to transition.

Jake is never on stage, but in the film he is a key and very visible character. Can you discuss that decision? SH: The story has an interesting take in that it isn’t about Jake, it’s the world around him — and I like the intentionality about that. Kids absorb so much at four so they are okay with themselves, and that’s where the world starts to intervene. One thing I loved about Daniel’s play was its connection points — that he was a gay man with a strong princess stage, and that Jake in the film has a lot of agency. It’s not about Jake. It’s about the parents losing sight of Jake; he escapes our frame for a bit. An unseen character in a play is a traditional device. In a film it can be dystopic. We found

JAKE, continued on p.33

Women Steer a Careening Narrative Bruce LaBruce delivers campy feminist pedagogy with penises galore BY GARY M. KRAMER here are several penises on display in queer, evergreen enfant terrible Bruce LaBruce’s amusing anarchist-feminist comedy “The Misandrists.” The first one seen belongs to Volker (Til Schindler), a wounded criminal who stops twice to urinate while on the lam. Volker soon encounters two female students, Isolde (Kita Updike) and Helga (Lina Bembe), kissing in a field. The young women agree to take Volker back to their school and hide him in the basement since no men are allowed in their female-only safe space run by Big Mother (Susanne Sachsse). If the film sounds like a queer twist on “The Beguiled,” it is — and isn’t. The school is really the headquarters of the

THE MISANDRISTS

T 32

Directed by Bruce LaBruce English and German and Danish with English subtitles Cartilage Films Opens May 25 Village East Cinema 189 Second Ave. at E. 12th St. citycinemas.com/villageeast CARTILAGE FILMS

Til Schindler and Kita Updike in Bruce LaBruce’s “The Misandrists.”

FLA, the Female Liberation Army, a separatist stronghold that aims to use queer pornography to create aversion therapy. As such, two female students are watching gay male porn — cue more penises and some explicit sex acts (one involving a giant butt plug) — to get pointers on

how to film lesbian sex that they will use to get the FLA’s message out to the world. Before they can, however, there is much drama that ensues within the household. One

MISANDRISTS, continued on p.33

May 24 – June 6, 2018 | GayCityNews.nyc


JUMP, from p.32

that together as a team. Leo, who plays Jake, is like Jake. I told casting that we don’t need Jake to carry the film, but he should be excited to wear a dress. I didn’t want to put a boy in the dress who didn’t want to be in a dress. GMK: Jake is almost never seen without some form of feminine clothing. What decisions did you make about how to represent him? SH: That was an interesting aspect — creating these roles and how Judy says he “builds worlds” and that is part of who he is. It’s linked; he’s not just putting on costumes. We used Leo’s real clothes. He had even more fabulous dresses. GMK: I don’t think the film exploits Jake’s gender non-conformity, but Judy suggests it is “a card to play” in their kindergarten application. What do you think the film’s politics are? SH: I think the politics of the film are pushing for messy, human honesty. The messiness is in that moment. No one is going

MISANDRISTS, from p.32

stryline involves an undercover cop infiltrating the school. The other subplot features the discovery that one of the female students has — surprise! — a penis. LaBruce toggles back and forth among these characters and narratives. He coaxes campy performances out of his cast and plays up the tropes of the female schoolgirl plot by giving the scantily-clad girls a sexy, slow-motion pillow fight. There is also some comical dialogue. The exchanges in the basement between Isolde and Volker are particularly droll. She insists on giving him a shot in his ass for pain and feminist theory books to read to keep from getting bored in the basement. He counters by begging Isolde to escape with him so they can run away and live together. That plan, unsurprisingly, hits a snag. As tongue-in-cheek as some of the comic moments are, LaBruce also takes his politics seriously. GayCityNews.nyc | May 24 – June 6, 2018

to dress their kid in a dress to get into school. It’s painful to put your kid at risk. But the way this country commodifies otherness is what I am interested in. That’s a dangerous idea. GMK: There are several uncomfortable discussions of gender in the film — from a dinner party to the meeting Alex and Greg have with Judy, to the couple’s big fight. How do you think “A Kid Like Jake” can help folks such as parents and friends better talk about gender? SH: I really felt like what I responded to is that I have friends who parent who are queer, feminist, trans, etc., and I watch them go through something similar as Alex does at the Halloween store. This isn’t just blue state/ red state Republican/ Democrat thing. It’s hard to figure out! We’re quick to label, but we could do with a bit more ambiguity and openness. Seeing and supporting a kid as they are is not easy, as Judy says. I want people to be okay to be curious. People say the wrong things trying to figure them out. That gives us room to grow. I hope the film opens that up. I find gender confusing and that’s been the best thing about my journey.

Characters quote 1970s far left militant Ulrike Meinhof stating, “There is no point to explain the right thing to the wrong people,” and there’s a statement describing pornography as “an insurrection against dominant order… [that is] hostile to the regulations of society.” Big Mother urges the girls to fuck “for freedom and female people,” telling the comely young women they are “free to love whomever they want — as long as they have a vagina.” There is even a song with the refrain, “Down with the patriarchy.” Subtle, the film is not. But that’s what makes it such fun. The heady proselytizing in “The Misandrists” is meant to both celebrate and satirize its female characters and their radical politics. For example, Big Mother refers to her “(wo)manifesto” and ends a prayer “a(wo)men.” LaBruce foists this feminist agenda on audiences in a way that goes down as smoothly as the schoolteacher’s lecture on par-

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MISANDRISTS, continued on p.34

33


FILM

A Young Girl’s Gaze Carla Simón brings viewers back to her six-year-old self BY STEVE ERICKSON uropean and Iranian directors have made many films about children that are not really intended to be seen by them. If a six-year-old girl watched her on-screen counterpart in Catalan director Carla Simón’s “Summer 1993,” she would probably reach for a Blu-ray of last year’s Pixar animated hit “Coco” within 10 minutes, although there’s nothing really unsuitable for kids in it. It does, however, take a rather loose and casual approach to storytelling. Simón’s film depicts the dissolution of one family following the parents’ deaths from AIDS — which happens off-screen — and the formation of a new one as Frida (Laia Artigas) moves in with her aunt, uncle, and younger cousin. But while narrative incidents take place in “Summer 1993,” Simón’s approach is observational. She didn’t make “A FILM ABOUT A CHILD DEALING WITH DEATH.” “Summer 1993” respects the fact that Frida might place a different weight on the events she lives through than the adults around her. Simón uses her visual style to capture a child’s perspective, especially at the beginning of her film. Simón is telling her own life story. Her mother was a heroin addict who was already HIV-positive when she gave birth to the future director in the 1980s. In the film’s press kit, she discusses the importance of shooting “Summer 1993” in rural Catalonia: “To me it was very important to return to the real places where I moved when I was six. The landscape in La Garrotxa is very particular. It’s surrounded by mountains; you barely see a sunrise or a sunset, and in summer the range of greens is huge.” The cinematography does a tremendous job of capturing the texture of the plant life of the region where the film was shot. It’s important that the film’s title includes the season when it takes place: there’s a clear sense that Frida’s life would be harder in a colder and less welcoming physical environment. When “Summer 1993” begins, it depicts Fri-

SUMMER 1993

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MISANDRISTS, from p.33

thenogenesis. The film also explores transgender identity in debates that follow the discovery of the one girl’s penis. LaBruce includes an extremely graphic surgical sequence — hint: it involves a sex change — that may cause some viewers to choke on their popcorn. “The Misandrists” is take-no-

34

Directed by Carla Simón In Catalan with English subtitles Oscilloscope Laboratories Opens May 25 Film Society of Lincoln Center Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center 144 W. 65th St. filmlinc.org

OSCILLOSCOPE LABORATORIES

Laia Artigas in Carla Simón’s “Summer 1993,” which opens at the Film Society of Lincoln Center on May 25.

da by herself most of the time. If other people are present in the same frame, their bodies are usually partially cut off. Its story details the gradual expansion of her world. By the halfhour mark, it encompasses a trio of women and girls: Frida, her younger cousin Anna (Paula Robles), and her aunt Marga (Bruna Cusí). Men are conspicuously absent. But eventually, an entire extended family becomes part of Frida’s life, with the social tensions that brings. The backstory of Frida’s mother is left offscreen and her father’s death is never explained at all, but Simón’s public statements seem to blame her real mother’s death on post-Franco Spaniards’ mistaken notion that part of their newfound freedom included embracing hard drugs. Marga and her husband Esteve (Oscar Isaaclookalike David Verdaguer) were part of a ‘90s “neo-rural” generation who rebelled instead by moving to the country and trying to find a life outside the social pressure cooker. But they were only 16 years removed from the end of Franco’s dictatorship, and Frida’s grandparents still stood by their support of him during the Spanish Civil War. Not all of this is explained in “Summer 1993” itself, and Frida or Anna cer-

prisoners cinema, which makes it cheeky entertainment. The film’s early scenes suggest an entirely different film than the one LaBruce ultimately delivers. Whether audiences go along for that ride is the question. Even before the film culminates with a lesbian orgy, he plays with narrative conventions in ways that will tickle audiences who can laugh at his defiantly distinctive humor.

tainly didn’t understand it well, but it affects Frida’s life story. As “Summer 1993” continues, pressure mounts on Frida to abandon the solitary state she was in during the opening scenes and fit in with a large family. Esteve and Marga could hardly be more welcoming parents. Still, Anna has lived with them since birth and, no matter how friendly she is toward her cousin, Frida can’t jump in and act as though she has priority over this four-year parent-child relationship. The four actors did extended improvisations as a family before the film shoot began and the chemistry they developed shows; they have a convincing intimacy together. It even extends to a scene where Marga casually remarks that she’s on her period, removes a bloody tampon, and throws it away on-screen: something you’ll never find in an American film about a young girl. Simón clearly thought long and deeply about how to film the story of her childhood. “Summer 1993” avoids coming to clear conclusions about Frida’s future, ending in media res. From there, it cuts to a dedication to Simón’s mother. The film approaches Frida on her own terms and doesn’t assume these are simple to find. Constructing a story that works grief and the difficulty of making new connections into its form rather than simply talking about these emotions and experiences from the outside is hard, but Simón managed the trick.

An unapologetic provocateur, LaBruce’s head and his heart are in the right place. But the plethora of penises on display may be at odds with his focus on women’s equality and lesbian radicalism. And his feminism is diluted by ironic humor about women waiting an eternity to take action. Though the performances are uneven, on balance they enhance the film. Updike is quite charming

as the bossy Isolde, while Sachsse exaggerates her Big Mother, wringing every word for humor in her thick Ger(wo)man accent. In support, Schindler does little more than get naked whenever he is on screen, which may be enough for many viewers. “The Misandrists” is certainly clever — also scandalous at times. It will raise awareness and eyebrows in equal measure. May 24 – June 6, 2018 | GayCityNews.nyc


THEATER

Brits Make America Great Again Jeremy Irons, Lesley Manville lead stellar cast in “Long Day’s Journey” BY ANDY HUMM ugene O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey into Night,” his posthumously released play on his harrowing family life as a youth, is the great American play. And a stellar company from the Bristol Old Vic theater in England is rubbing their vision of a vanquished American Dream in our faces and eating their way into our hearts at BAM’s Harvey Theater this month. While America and Britain are walling themselves off from the world, this import has slipped through Customs and we’d be advised to experience such a miraculous production while we’re still able to. Jeremy Irons is formidable and infuriating as the blustery actor dad James Tyrone, whose parsimony and regrets at making sure money on a role he repeated endlessly instead of fulfilling his artistic promise drive his long-suffering wife Mary (a ghostly and poignant Lesley Manville) to drug addiction and his elder son Jamie (Rory Keenan) to drink, while his tall but frail youngest son Edmund (Matthew Beard) is home from the sea with a life-threatening case of “consumption.” Richard Eyre, former artistic director of the National Theatre in London, places these wounded souls in the claustrophobic, cheaply furnished seaside Connecticut cottage’s front room, but lets his set designer Rob Howell encase the room in an expansive, modern reflective box (not out of place in the trendy Brooklyn Cultural District spawned by BAM), connecting the story to the world the insular Tyrones seclude themselves from each summer. Manville goes from the controlled, domineering role of the partner/ sister to Daniel Day Lewis in “Phantom Thread” (for which she got an Oscar nod) to this lost, paranoid, self-pitying victim of a distant spouse and a quack doctor who

LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT

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GayCityNews.nyc | May 24 – June 6, 2018

BAM’s Harvey Theater 651 Fulton St. at Ashland Pl. May 24-26 at 7:30 p.m. May 26 at 2 p.m.; May 27 at 3 p.m. $35-$150; bam.org Or 718-636-4100

RICHARD TREMINE

Matthew Beard, Lesley Manville, Jeremy Irons, and Rory Keenan in Eugene O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey into Night,” directed by Richard Eyre at BAM’s Harvey through May 27 only.

got her on opioids. Manville is not nearly as famous as Meryl Streep, but her range on stage and screen (as a deluded, hurt, aging, “goodtime gal” in Mike Leigh’s “Another Year,” for example) is as great. While Mary sneaks around upstairs to shoot up, the men mostly drown their sorrows right in front of us with incredible amounts of spirits. While Irons as James can hold his liquor, Keenan as the defeated, cynical Jamie puts his inebriation on full display to great theatrical effect. But in the end, it is Beard’s Edmund who is most affecting — hit hard by TB and his father’s withholding of adequate medical treatment for it, the affections of his mother alternating with her accusation that his birth got her on drugs, and the alcohol enabling camaraderie of his brother. He has, his father tells him, “a touch of the poet,” but his sensitivity leaves him most vulnerable to the pathologies around him — from those in his family to the bugs that can overtake us when we’re emotionally strained. It’s a breakout role for Beard who played the shy, wannabe boyfriend of Carey Mulligan in “An Education” on film and the Tony-nominated rebound boyfriend of Mulligan in “Skylight” on Broadway. Tyrone, Sr., is a great role for the accomplished Irons, whose had his

own share of artistic triumphs as well as roles that were just about paychecks. Physically, he put me in mind of the playwright himself — though O’Neill is Edmund in this

play. (A famous smoker, Irons is thankfully allowed here to smoke real cigars instead of those herbal things so many productions let waft distractingly into the audience.) As we contemplate the fracturing of our American family almost every single day now, this production could not be timelier.

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MUSIC

Courtney Barnett Doesn’t Hold Back Energy-fueled second ond solo album is her h best work to date BY STEVE ERICKSON f one has paid attention to the past year’s worth of rock music, the resurgence of overtly feminist sounds, usually drawing on ‘90s female artists, has been unmistakable. Artists like U.S. Girls, Soccer Mommy, and Camp Cope have picked up where the riot grrrl movement left off, although they’ve used less aggressive sounds. It makes sense that The Breeders released their first album in a decade in 2018 and that a Liz Phair box set came out earlier this month. Out lesbian singer/ songwriter/ guitarist Courtney Barnett’s second solo album, “Tell Me How You Really Feel,” fits this moment to a large extent. Its opening lines are “You know what they say/ No one’s born to hate/ We learned it somewhere along the way.” The first single, “Nameless, Faceless,” takes on Internet trolls in its verses but directly confronts physical male violence in its cho-

COURTNEY BARNETT

I

“Tell Me How You Really Feel” Mom + Pop Records momandpopmusic.com

POONEH GHANA / MOMANDPOPMUSIC.COM

Out lesbian singer/ songwriter/ guitarist Courtney Barnett has released her second solo album, “Tell Me How You Really Feel.”

rus. Barnett quotes Margaret Atwood’s statement that “Men are afraid women will laugh at them. Women are afraid men will kill them,” and adds her own fears about walking alone at night. The song’s structure goes from fairly laid-back verses to a revved-up chorus. Up to this point, Barnett has

released a compilation of two EPs, “The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas” and a collaborative album with Philadelphia singer/ songwriter Kurt Vile, “Lotta Sea Lice,” in addition to her two solo albums. She burst onto the rock scene from Australia with a sound that updated the jangly rock of early R.E.M. with a laid-back feel.

She was a perfect duet partner for Vile, whose own music suggests ‘70s Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty through a stoned haze (although the singer says he doesn’t take drugs). “Lotta Sea Lice” had a warmth that seemed to reflect real friendship, as the two singers both played guitar and sang a few lines each, trading vocals back and forth. “Tell Me How You Really Feel” is the most energetic and angry music Barnett has released. On “Charity,” Barnett’s guitar playing is as agitated as lyrics like “So subservient, I’ll make me sick.” It gets louder and more distorted as

COURTNEY BARNETT, continued on p.37

Thalia Zedek’s E Releases Second Album Boston indie trio produces solid, if not memorable, offering BY STEVE ERICKSON he Boston trio E are a relatively new group. Its members came together in 2013 and released a self-titled 2016 debut. Their latest album, “Negative Work,” is their sophomore effort. E features the contributions of out lesbian singer/ guitarist Thalia Zedek, who has a history in music stretching back more than three and a half decades. She made her recorded debut as the singer of the Dangerous Birds on their early 1980s single “Smile On Your Face.” From there, she joined the Boston band Uzi and sang on their EP “Sleep Asylum,” then the New York band Live Skull, replacing their original vocalist for their album “Dusted. Along with Sonic Youth and Swans, Live Skull were part of the post-No Wave noise-rock scene, although they didn’t have the longevity both of those bands found or the relative commercial success Sonic Youth achieved. Zedek’s next band, Come, emerged just as

E

T

36

“Negative Work” Thrill Jockey May 25 release thrilljockey.com/press/e-e

KELLY DAVIDSON

E’s Gavin McCarthy, Thalia Zedek, and Jason Sanford.

grunge widened the audience for indie rock. Many people predicted that Come would emerge as stars. While that didn’t happen, they achieved a level of cult success akin to bands like Guided By Voices and Sebadoh, enough so that Matador Records reissued their 1992 debut “11:11” in a

deluxe edition 11 years later and they reunited from 2010 to 2013. Come pursued an accessible, blues-based sound in contrast to the far more abrasive Live Skull, even covering the Rolling Stones. They named their second album “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” When Zedek went solo, the audience for Come did not really follow, although she’s worked steadily her entire career. E mark a return to the noise quotient of Zedek’s work with Live Skull. Upfront, there are two distinctive things about their sound: they

THALIA ZEDEK, continued on p.37

May 24 – June 6, 2018 | GayCityNews.nyc


ä&#x2030;´

COURTNEY BARNETT, from p.36

almost every song on â&#x20AC;&#x153;Tell Me How You Really Feelâ&#x20AC;? does as it progresses. As reflected in her song and album titles, there used to be a goofi ness to her work, which has drastically diminished. Instead, this album brings us songs like â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m Not Your Mother, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m Not Your Bitch,â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Help Your Self,â&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Crippling Self-Doubt and a General Lack of Confidence.â&#x20AC;? Barnett being lesbian doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t free her from the fears about violence against women expressed on â&#x20AC;&#x153;Nameless, Faceless,â&#x20AC;? but a lot of the songs on this album are directed at a gender-free â&#x20AC;&#x153;you,â&#x20AC;? who sounds like Barnettâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s partner. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m Not Your Mother, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m Not Your Bitchâ&#x20AC;? gets angry at a person who seems to be her lover. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Charityâ&#x20AC;? takes sarcastic aim at a hypocrite seeking help both from Eastern religion and Western medicine. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Walking on Eggshellsâ&#x20AC;? describes a tense relationship where Barnett avoids expressing the feelings she vents elsewhere on the album and suffers for it. These songs are detailed enough that theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re likely directed at a real person. If there are implicit politics to most of â&#x20AC;&#x153;Tell Me How

ä&#x2030;´

THALIA ZEDEK, from p.36

have no bassist and the groupâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s other singer/ guitarist, Jason Sanford, feeds his instrument through three effects pedals he built himself. One was made with a hacksaw blade. According to the albumâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s press release, Sanford deliberately incorporates â&#x20AC;&#x153;microtonal abnormalities.â&#x20AC;? Given Zedekâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s long history in indie rock, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not surprising that E evokes that musicâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sound from the 1990s and 2000s. Her bandmates, who also include drummer Gavin McCarthy, have their own histories in groups with which Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not familiar. They too look middle-aged in press photos. Sonic Youth casts a long, if probably unintentional, shadow over â&#x20AC;&#x153;Negative Work.â&#x20AC;? Sanfordâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s use of his effects pedals recalls that bandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s guitarists Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s alternate tunings to create unusual sounds, although E have much less interest in combining their love for sustained noise with pop song structures. GayCityNews.nyc | May 24 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; June 6, 2018

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You Really Feel,â&#x20AC;? they lie in exposing the way people manipulate and try to control each other, and Barnett is sharp-tongued enough to fight back ably. Barnett is a very careful songwriter and arranger, even if many of her songs follow a quiet-loud formula. She obviously put much thought into the guitar effects she uses â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the albumâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fi nal song, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sunday Roast,â&#x20AC;? begins with clean, wide-open tones that avoid the distortion she often relies on. The opening moments of the first song, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hopefulessnesss,â&#x20AC;? also kick off with Barnett playing fairly mellow guitar and synthesizer in the background; her drummer doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t begin playing for 90 seconds. Barnettâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s music benefits from subtle use of additional instrumentation, like piano on â&#x20AC;&#x153;Walking On Eggshellsâ&#x20AC;? and other keyboards throughout. The album is obviously structured with considered intention. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sunday Roastâ&#x20AC;? ends â&#x20AC;&#x153;Tell Me How You Really Feelâ&#x20AC;? on a peaceful note, after it goes through a cycle of turbulent emotions and anger. This is Barnettâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best album, finally arriving at a sound that balances aggression and pop hooks.

McCarthyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s drumming is extremely syncopated. Eâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rhythmic sense suggests elements of progrock and funk with an aggression that could only have emerged after punk, without ever sounding quite like any of these genres. This calls to mind post-hardcore bands like Fugazi and Drive Like Jehu. The band often works with Zedek and Sanford both playing rhythm guitar in tight unison to McCarthyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s beats. Then, one guitarist will dart out to play lead. The fact that the band doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have a formal rhythm section, since thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no bassist, changes the way Zedek and Sanford approach their guitars. They often use their instruments to fill in the soundâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s holes and reinforce the beat as a bass player would in a more conventional rock band. (On â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Projectionist,â&#x20AC;? thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a passage where the guitar sounds completely bottom-heavy, scratchy, and unmelodic, almost like a James Brown

ä&#x2030;´

THALIA ZEDEK, continued on p.47

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37


THEATER

Oh, Boys Comedy and drama in two very male-centric plays BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE oes art serve any purpose? For Tom Stoppard, a prodigious linguistic artist, the answer, not surprisingly is an unqualified yes. Nowhere could that be more clear in than in the effervescent, exciting, and thoroughly engrossing revival of his 1974 play “Travesties” now at Roundabout. If you have even a cursory love of language and wordplay and how they can be transformed into delicious comedy, you will curse yourself if you miss this gem. This rollicking, super-smart comedy is narrated by one Henry Carr, a real-life clerk whose only claim to fame was that he once sued James Joyce for the destruction of a pair of trousers in an amateur production of “The Importance of Being Earnest.” (This also gave him a cameo in Joyce’s “Ulysses.”) The play is told as Carr’s memory, filtered through creeping dementia, of a time in Zurich during World War I when he was an observer of the interactions among Joyce, Lenin, and the Dadaist Tristan Tzara, who had all embraced Switzerland’s neutrality to seek refuge from the battle. Carr, on the other hand, had seen battle and had been released due to injury. The play is written in the comic, bon mot-rich style of “Earnest,” and even includes characters named Gwendolyn and Cecily. Its arguments about art and social upheaval are bracingly seriocomic and, as directed by Patrick Marber, “Travesties” has a manic physicality that makes the whole enterprise dazzling fun. The cast is sublime. Tom Hollander is fantastic, a pure comic genius who effortlessly surmounts the challenge of burnishing his role in the undertakings that are all out of his memory. Peter McDonald is a tremendous Joyce, all reservation and slow burn — until he works some surprising and delightful magic. Dan Butler is suitably grim and prone to outbursts as Lenin. Seth Numrich is deli-

D

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JOAN MARCUS

Patrick Kerr, Scarlett Strallen, Dan Butler, Seth Numrich, Opal Alladin, Peter McDonald, Sara Topham, and Tom Hollander in the revival of Tom Stoppard’s “Travesties,” directed by Patrick Marber, at the American Airlines Theatre through June 17.

TRAVESTIES American Airlines Theatre 227 W. 42nd St. Through Jun. 17 Tue.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat. at 2 p.m. Sun. at 3 p.m. $59-$252; roundabouttheatre.org Or 212-719-1300 Two hrs., 30 mins., with intermission

JULIETA CERVANTES

David Morse, Denzel Washington, and Colm Meaney in George C. Wolfe’s new Broadway production of Eugene O’Neill’s “The Iceman Cometh,” at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre through July 1.

cious as Tristan Tzara, constantly enlivening the proceedings and making Dadaism seem simultaneously a response to a world gone made and ridiculous. Amidst all the fun are serious questions about war, social revolution, and art. The intellectual gamesmanship keeps you on the edge of your seat. In the end, though, we learn two things, which both come, trenchantly, from Carr. First he says that wars are fought to “make the world safe for artists,” meaning that regimes must not tamp down expression. Second, that “art doesn’t change society. It is merely changed by it.” Not surprisingly in Stoppard’s telling, the theater is in the thick of that change. Denial, despair, rage, nihil-

ism, fleeting hope, and buckets of alcohol are ingredients in the toxic house cocktail special for all the denizens of Harry Hope’s bar in “The Iceman Cometh.” Like any signature drink, though, it needs to be mixed just so, or, as Harry himself complains as he finds himself unable to knock himself out, the elixir loses its power. While George C. Wolfe’s new Broadway production of Eugene O’Neill’s play starring Denzel Washington gets most of it right, the production lacks the cohesion needed to enroll an audience in the emotional life of the characters or the spiritual landscape of the bleak redoubt where they indulge each others’ pipe dreams and hide from the world. When favorite fellow drunk Theodore Hickman arrives for his much-anticipated an-

THE ICEMAN COMETH Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre 242 W. 45th St. Through Jul. 1 Tue.-Fri. at 7 p.m. Sat. at 1 & 7:30 p.m. Sun. at 2 p.m. $79-$199; telecharge.com Or 212-239-6200 Four hrs., with two intermissions

nual visit — he treats them all to free drinks — he is a changed man, preaching the power of honesty as the path to redemption. Old habits die hard, and Hickey is met with anger and suspicion that, thanks to his skill as a salesman, gives way to evangelical zeal and hope, only to collapse into failure when the savior is revealed as a fraud. O’Neill’s play is a classic Ameri-

ICEMAN, continued on p.40

May 24 – June 6, 2018 | GayCityNews.nyc


GayCityNews.nyc | May 24 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; June 6, 2018

39


TUC WATKINS, from p.30

promiscuity among gay men and then the AIDS crisis hit, so they coupled up and were more cautious. Now in the age of PrEP, they are back to being promiscuous. It’s a cyclical thing. There is usually one member of the couple who is more interested in extracurricular sex. How do you navigate that? The play shows that what works for some couples may not work for others. It’s all about communication. I don’t have the answer and neither does the play. I don’t think anyone’s figured it out, honestly. DK: Now that gay marriage is an option, isn’t there a stronger feeling of commitment these days? TW: That’s a really good point. Culturally we as gay people were meant to feel less than. We were told our relationships are bad and not worthy of marriage. How can we come together in a more committed way when society is vilifying us and won’t let us be part of the club? It’s so important to galvanize what relationships we do have, and if we can make that kind of commitment publicly among family, friends, and colleagues, it is a blessing and informs everything we do. DK: The role of Hank is a far cry from your “Desperate Housewives” character, Bob Hunter, a successful gay lawyer with a husband. TW: They are similar in that they both know themselves really well and are good at what they do professionally. They are both very

ICEMAN, from p.38

can drama and aptly contemporary in its skewering of anesthetized souls too willing to buy the cons of a cynical snake oil salesman. Wolfe’s production delivers that part of the story and there are some fine performances, but it comes off as a series of isolated set pieces. That may be the intention, especially in a production presented with the judicious cutting this one has. After all, each of the men live in their own lonely realities, but with performances that mostly exist in isolation — the actors never really connecting — the

40

steady and you can trust these guys. The difference is that Hank is tortured and Bob is comfortable in his own skin. That’s because he came a couple of generations after Hank. Hank’s tortured journey to become a more authentic person helped pave the way for guys like Bob. We are not self-actualized, however, not on top of that pyramid quite yet. DK: You famously came out during an interview with Marie Osmond after the “Desperate Housewives” run. What made you decide the time was right? TW: To be perfectly honest, I never wanted to come out because I thought it would affect my career. I would say things like, “I want to be a cypher and disappear in my roles, because the more you know about me the less you will believe in my characters.” That’s true, but also I was using it to hide, a theme in the play. There came a time, about five years ago, when I didn’t want to hide any more, to deceive and deflect. I was more interested in telling the truth, and whatever was on the other side of that truth it was going to be okay. Something else became more important than my career, and that was my kids. DK: The entire cast is openly gay. Do you think that’s making a statement of some kind? TW: Absolutely. I love that they cast nine gay men — that would have never happened in 1968, or 1998, or even 2008. We all genuinely get along and respect and admire each other. It feels more like a team. When we walk out for the

resulting choppiness undermines the accumulation of sustained tension, keeping the audience at a distance, observing and not engaged. We go with Hickey’s ability to sell his program of peace and redemption because that’s what the script says, but we never see the moments when Hickey infects these men, however briefly, with a vision of change. The cast of fine Broadway actors deliver solid performances. David Morse as Larry Slade, is Hickey’s nemesis, a former anarchist who lost faith in the movement. Austin Butler is Don the young man

curtain call holding hands, I envision we are all wearing capes, a sort of Gay Justice League. Each one of us has a different superpower that we bring to the Hall of Justice. DK: What’s it like working with such a talented cast? Is there any competition? TW: It’s such an honor to work with these guys. I don’t feel there’s competition. Usually when you get a group of people together, especially nine gay guys, certain personalities can jump out. But when you cast somebody like Jim Parsons as the lead, he is such a funny, supportive, benevolent ruler, everybody falls in line and shows up in a benevolent way themselves. It’s a great environment. We uncovered a lot of things we wouldn’t have if we weren’t so comfortable with one another. DK: The play premiered OffBroadway just two years after you were born. As the oldest member of the cast, do you have any wisdom to impart to the younger guys? TW: Although I’m almost twice as old as Charlie, the youngest in the cast, I also have twice as many fears about being gay. There’s little wisdom I can impart, except for my own experience. In fact, they impart wisdom to me, not being so fearful. It’s a two-way street. I watch younger gay guys live more freely, more openly without reservation, and I really admire that.

son, comparing his portrayal on “Modern Family” to “blackface.” I was very impressed with your response to his objection. TW: What I said back then was that I had a hard time watching what I thought to be a gay stereotype that scared me. The truth is, I was really wrong about that. It was my problem, not Jesse’s or “Modern Family’”s problem. There are all kinds of gay people on the spectrum and I felt I had kept seeing the same gay identity in entertainment. I thought the front lines needed to be more populated with different colors of the tapestry that we are. I shouldn’t have attacked somebody else for it. What I was doing was attacking my own demons. I want to be better than that. During much of my youth and adulthood I didn’t feel okay being myself. It’s experiences like [the one with Jesse] that hold a mirror to ourselves and we try to learn from it. DK: What do you hope today’s audiences take away from this play? TW: In the heteronormative society we have a lot of support and sympathy for the gay experience. What Mart Crowley did a half-century ago was drill a hole in the wall and let the world peek into what it’s like to be a gay man. When you see a play like this as a supporter or ally, you start to comprehend why we’ve had a hard time being open. As the saying goes, if you understand the monster and develop empathy it’s not a monster anymore.

DK: A few years back you had a Facebook skirmish about gay stereotypes with Jesse Tyler Fergu-

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

who was raised in, but fled, the movement and has sought out to Larry for a measure of peace the older man cannot provide. Colm Meaney is a blustering, damaged, and fragile Harry Hope, and there are fine turns as well by Danny McCarthy, Reg Rogers, Bill Irwin, and Danny Mastrogiorgio. Every actor who has the nerve and stamina to try the role of Hickey gives it his own take. Washington’s Hickey is so infused with his egoism that he can’t see the corruption at his core. Timely, that. His final monologue, played facing the audience, shows us a man in the depths of mental illness,

grappling with morality — and it is one of the production’s simplest and most powerful dramatic statements. So powerful that the only relief for the other drunks is the return to denial and inebriation that are the antidote, poisonous though it may be, to Hickey’s brand of salvation. For all its disjunction, this production does do one thing brilliantly over its nearly four hours: it reminds us of the dangers of a world where post-truth exists and self-delusion is as corrosive and debilitating as pickling oneself with rotgut or giving credence to pipe dreams. May 24 – June 6, 2018 | GayCityNews.nyc


Events in planning

www.brooklynpride.org FB:BrooklynPrideInc

(watch for updated times, locations, and events not yet listed)

Monday, June 4, 6:30pm Borough President Honors Brooklyn Borough Hall - Brooklyn Heights 209 Joralemon Street

Wednesday, June 6, 7pm – 10pm Ice Cream Social Ample Hills Creamery - Gowanus 305 Nevins St. (at Union St.)

Thursday, June 7th, 7:00pm Brooklyn Pride Comedy Night Club Xstacy – Sunset Park 758 Fifth Ave (at 26th St.)

Friday, June 8th Family Move Night Under The Stars – Black Panther Field Behind Old Stone House – Park Slope 336 3rd Street (bet.4th & 5th Aves)

Thurs./Fri. June 7th & 8th, 4pm -8pm Brooklyn Pride 5K Run Packet Pickup Out of the Closet– Boerum Hill 475 Atlantic Ave. (bet. Nevins & 3rd Ave)

Friday, June 8th, 7pm – 10pm AHF Pre-Pride Day Kick Off Hollow Nickel (backyard) 494 Atlantic Ave. (Nevins & 3rd Aves)

Saturday, June 9th ALL DAY 10:00am – 5K Run Prospect Park West at 15th Street Still time to register before its sold out

11:00am – 5:00pm - MultiCultural Festival 5th Avenue from 1st Street to 9th Street

11:00am – 5:00pm - Entertainment Stages 5th Avenue at 1st Street and 9th Street Two stages of entertainment all day

11:00am – 5:00pm – Family Fun Zone Park at Old Stone House - 5th Ave- 3rd & 4th Sts Family activities, music, arts & crafts

7:30pm – Twilight Brooklyn Pride Parade 5th Ave. from St. John’s Pl. - 9th St Reviewing Stand/MC at 3rd St Marchers, Floats, Music & More

GayCityNews.nyc | May 24 – June 6, 2018

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FILM

Fifty Shades of Grey Gardens Big and Little Edie’s world just before the Maysles brothers arrived BY DAVID EHRENSTEIN t all began as a news item that were it not for the parties involved would have merited little attention In the fall of 1971, the township of Georgica Pond, in Long Island’s East Hampton, became alarmed at the decrepit state of a summer home that appeared to be abandoned but was in fact occupied by a pair of reclusive woman: Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale and her daughter Edith Bouvier Beale. As the township discovered after a series of what the women called “raids,” the place was infested with fleas and overrun with stray cats and families of raccoons — who had destroyed large portions of the roof and siding. There was no running water or electricity, and overflowing garbage bags scattered about added to the overall ambiance of decay. What made this state of decrepitude even more outrageous was the fact that the Beales, who had lived there in isolation and increasing squalor for decades with limited funds, were the aunt and first cousin of none other than Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. When Jackie O and her sister Lee Radziwill learned of this situation, they set about remedying it as best they could. The garbage was disposed of, the house was repainted, rewired, and tidied up and the Georgica Pond authorities placated. The story had, however, by that time attracted the attention of cinema vérité filmmakers Albert and David Maysles, whose illustrious career already included “What’s Happening: The Beatles in the U.S.A.” (1964), “Salesman” (1968), and “Gimme Shelter” (1970). “Grey Gardens” (1975) instantly became their most famous work. While the Beales had retreated from the world like Miss Havisham in Dickens’ “Great Expectations,” through the Maysles they rushed to embrace it as never before. Speaking directly to the camera Big Edie (the mother) and Little Edie (the

THAT SUMMER

I

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Directed by Göran Hugo Olsson Sundance Selects IFC Center 323 Sixth Ave. at W. Third St. ifccenter.com

PETER BEARD

Little Edie Beale and Lee Radziwill in Göran Hugo Olsson’s “That Summer.”

daughter) quickly ascended to the hallowed plateau of such voluble “reality” stars as Jason Holliday (Shirley Clarke’s “Portrait of Jason”), Ondine (Andy Warhol’s “The Chelsea Girls”), and Lance Loud (the PBS series “An American Family”). Little Edie was the dominant figure. Tall, elegantly posed, her head swathed in scarves to hide the alopecia that had rendered her bald, she spoke of her life past and present with offhand wit, derided the “mean Republican little town” that had invaded her home, and chatted amusingly with Big Edie — the two taking on the aspect of a motherdaughter vaudeville act of teasing and recrimination, but full of love. And then to add to all of this was “Jerry the gardener,” Jerry Torre, who worked at the Getty house in the same neighborhood and had discovered the Beales when he happened upon the house which he thought was empty. He quickly become a kind of adopted son or kid brother to the women. Then in his 20s, Jerry was the first of what became (thanks to the film) legions of gay men who fell under the Beales’ spell. Why did the Beales become gay icons? That’s easy to see for anyone who understands that gayness has to do with a lot more than sex.

The Beales are the understanding parent we wished we’d had — and for drag queens, style icons as well. Little Edie’s ability to create makeshift original outfits using pantyhose shawls and scarves is remarkable and striking. Moreover, her attitude, mixing a determination to take on the world with a soupcon of fear for daring to do so, is something all LGBTQ folks can well understand and identify with. Adding to it all is the setting. The house was called Grey Gardens because of the color of the dunes, the cement garden walls, and the sea mist. It was designed in 1897 by Joseph Greenleaf Thorpe and purchased in 1923 by Big Edie and her husband Phelan Beale. While the Maysles films alludes to this past, it remains in the present. This left the door open for subsequent manifestations of the story: principally a Broadway musical and an HBO docu-drama. The musical “Grey Gardens,” with book by Doug Wright, music by Scott Frankel, and lyrics by Michael Korie, starred Christine Ebersole and Mary Louis Wilson as the Edies. It premiered at Playwrights Horizon in New York in February 2006, re-opening on Broadway in November of that year, and was included in more than 25 “Best of 2006” lists in newspapers and

magazines. The production won a Tony Award for Best Costume Design, and Ebersole and Wilson each won Tonys for their performances. Running for a year, it was the first musical on Broadway ever to be adapted from a documentary, wittily sporting an overall tone of dry wit very much in keeping with that of its subjects. 2009 brought the HBO film starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange as the Edies. Directed and co-written (with Canadian writerdirector Patricia Rozema) by filmmaker Michael Sucsy, it won six Primetime Emmy awards and two Golden Globes. Part of the reason for this is that it was able to full explore the “backstory” the Maysles film couldn’t, flashing back and forth between Little Edie’s life as a young woman, the actual filming, and the premiere of the documentary at the 1975 New York Film Festival. That premiere was a signal moment in the Beale saga as Little Edie was there, standing up in the celebrity box, her arms filled with flowers which she happily tossed to the moviegoers below. As she was always complaining in the film of how much she was longing to “get away,” this premiere appearance supplied a real life “happy ending.” Edie then went on to do a nightclub act of her own devising at Reno Sweeney and led an otherwise lively existence in New York and later Florida until her death in 2002. Big Edie had preceded her in 1977 — having lived just a year more af-

BIG AND LITTLE EDIE, continued on p.43

May 24 – June 6, 2018 | GayCityNews.nyc


BIG AND LITTLE EDIE, from p.42

ter the Maysles’ film’s release. In 2006, Maysles made available previously unreleased footage for a special two-disc DVD edition for the Criterion Collection including a new feature titled “The Beales of Grey Gardens” assembled out of additional footage. It received a limited theatrical release, as well. Then in 2011 came “The Marble Faun of Grey Gardens” by Jason Hay and Steve Pelizza, showing Jerry Torre’s life before, during, and after his time with the Beales. We learn how the mistreatment of this gay boy by his homophobic stepfa-

ther was healed by the Beales, as well as about his travels throughout the world (he lived for a time in Saudi Arabia), his post-Beale career as a New York City cab driver, and his work as a sculptor. And now in answer to a culture’s insatiable thirst for all things Beale (that even a tribute song by Rufus Wainwright couldn’t slake) comes “That Summer.” Directed by Göran Hugo Olsson, it’s nothing less than a prequel to “Grey Gardens.” The footage supplied for it was shot by artist, photographer, supermodel wrangler, and African explorer Peter Beard at the request of his friend Lee Radziwill, who was

planning to make a film about the Bouvier family. Learning that the Edies knew about the Bouviers like no one else, she went with Beard to meet them, discovered the genteel squalor of their lives, helped them out, and more or less fell down the rabbit hole of their all-enveloping, utterly bewitching lives. In “That Summer,” we see footage of other East End summer people —Radziwill, Truman Capote, Andy Warhol, Paul Morrissey, and their pals (even including a shot of Joe Dallesandro.) But it’s the Edies who dominate, chattering away in what’s clearly a warm-up for the Main Event captured not long af-

terwards by the Maysleses. It’s a lovely film and requite viewing for Edie-o-philes. And above all, it brings to mind Little Edie’s most frequently noted mot juste: “Sometimes it’s hard to tell the past from the present.” With the Beales, that’s true. But like Proust’s madeleine, they spark one’s own memories of life —particularly for those of us in middle age. As L.P. Hartley said in the opening lines of his novel “The Go-Between, “The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.” But not so different that we can’t connect with women as eternally vibrant as the Edie Beales, Little and Big.

For more news & events happening now visit

Pho PPh h o tto: too FrF r an aanc nncc ees esc sscc o S cca cav aavv uullllll o

www.GayCityNews.nyc

NOW ON BROADWAY

Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, 205 W. 46th St. @ DonnaSummerBway • TheDonnaSummerMusical.com GayCityNews.nyc | May 24 – June 6, 2018

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BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, from p.31

Michelle Williams’ interpretation of Alma, even though she gave a spectacular performance. Also, the music itself is a critically important ingredient: Charles Wuorinen has created a sound world of emotional power and dazzling variety, coloring each character, each scene, and each interaction so specifically that it’s really not possible to recycle a previous interpretation satisfyingly into this work. EJ: Daniel and Glenn: both of you are straight in your private lives and in the roles you portray in your operatic repertory. What is it like singing a love scene with another man — is it very different from singing duets with a woman? DO: Not especially different, though the love duets we have are full of inner conflict and questioning. There isn’t a straight-up love duet where both characters are unabashedly declaring their love, since this isn’t that kind of story or that kind of connection. I’m actually trying to think of the last opera I did where there was a true love duet in the classic sense — maybe parts of “Le Nozze di Figaro?” Bass baritones don’t get a lot of love duets! GSA: I really don’t perceive any difference in singing a love duet between two men from singing with a woman, other than the fact that Dan is a couple inches taller than me —which is a first for me! I’m a storyteller, and this is the story of two people falling in love, so gender isn’t really something that I’m super concerned about. EJ: Daniel and Heather: you are coming back to “Brokeback Mountain” after a four-year break. Both of you have worked on several world premieres of contemporary operas. What is it like reviving a work you created in its world premiere but this time in a different production? HB: It really is an honor to revisit a brand new work, whether in the original or a new production. Pressure is high during the first iteration, and if I’m lucky enough to immerse myself in the music a second time, I get to play with layering new colors and thoughts on my part — with the comfort of approaching it with some degree of familiarity. I find I have more freedom to listen, react, and introduce different fla-

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vors into my character. DO: I find it a lot more relaxed. The first time with a new piece is almost forensic. What do we have? What kind of a piece is it? What are the problem spots, the challenges and unknowns? Can we even do this? Second time around, you have the certainty that you can do it and don’t have to spend time trying solutions that are dead ends. The entire process is streamlined and less stressful. KAZEM ABDULLAH (CONDUCTOR): It is always great to revisit a work after having done it before. I actually only saw the rehearsals and a performance of the Madrid premiere production. Hearing and seeing the piece with the amazing performances given by Dan and Heather made me want to bring “Brokeback Mountain” the opera to Aachen, Germany, the following year where I was chief conductor at the time. JACOPO SPIREI (DIRECTOR): Coming back to “Brokeback” after three years is very exciting. Especially since the cast is a mix of people from the three existing productions of the opera, it’s somehow the sum of the best with some new blood added to it. As I’m working on directing the piece, more than recreating the original Salzburg production, I find myself adapting it to the artistry of the new cast. EJ: How has the piece changed for you since 2014? This is a chamber version with a reduced orchestration and a more intimate staging. How is that different for you? HB: My individual job remains the same — to commit unreservedly to Alma’s character and situations and make her music feel as natural and in-the-moment as possible. It already feels more intimate to me, simply because I already have a history with the music. It’s like returning to a familiar environment. DO: At this point, I haven’t rehearsed with the orchestra to know how it will be different in texture or feel. The Madrid production was certainly grand in scale, and this already does feel more intimate. The arc of the character remains the same, however, so in that sense the core of it hasn’t changed. What has changed for me in the last few years is just a deeper understanding of what sort of journey Ennis

goes on. Life experience and some rumination are some of the great teachers. It’s a privilege to play a character that has meant so much to so many people. It’s added to my understanding of the human experience and I’m grateful. EJ: In the film and story, Ennis is a very inarticulate character. How did the composer and librettist confront the challenge of making a character who hardly talks into one who sings long arias? DO: Ennis is a man of few words, but also a person who struggles to express himself at the best of times. He can be explosively angry, but otherwise he bottles up his thoughts and feelings, so the vocal writing reflects this. Short lines, half spoken, dominate the first act, and parts of his conversations with his wife Alma. The connection with Jack is one that brings him a sense of calm, possibly for the first and only time in his life, and it is with Jack that he begins to be vulnerable, which is reflected in his vocal line being more sung and expressive. He doesn’t truly find his voice, an unfiltered line from his voice to his heart, until the very end of the opera, which is the crux of the tragedy EJ: The political climate has changed in the four years since “Brokeback Mountain” premiered in Madrid. Do you feel this work is more pertinent now as the gay community faces greater challenges especially in places like Wyoming? DO: I hope for a time when the plot of “Brokeback” seems antiquated, but we’re by no means there yet. We’re seeing some very strong pushback against the progress made in the last 10, 20, 30 years, yet in poll after poll the majority of Americans have become more accepting of LGBTQ citizens and supportive of their rights. What we’re seeing are the most regressive elements having been given power and are actually in no way speaking for the majority. It’s disturbing, and in that sense “Brokeback” does feel pertinent. The journey for my character is more one of self-discovery and acceptance than it is a political piece, though of course we can’t separate the political from the personal. Ennis cannot accept who he is because of the social constraints he

was raised in. However, positive role models for LGBTQ people are far more visible and powerful than in years past, so arguably were this story told today he might not have quite the same agony as he does in the time and place where the story is set. There are options and visibility.” GSA: I think it’s important that people are allowed to love who they love. I don’t see how a relationship between two people has anything to do with anyone else but them. There’s a level of intolerance that is described and portrayed in this opera about a certain time and certain place in America that unfortunately probably still exists to this very day. And because of this intolerance, both of these men end up broken and alone —– not to mention the fact that they end up unintentionally hurting other people such as their significant others and children. JS: It’s a love story first and foremost: it is a story of forbidden love or in fact the forbidden love. Set in Wyoming spanning from 1963 to the late 1980s, it tells the story of two men falling in love and not being free to live this love. It’s a story about social boundaries that take over our happiness. It’s an opera that puts us in front of hard choices: Do we choose our beliefs or do we follow our fulfilment as human beings? It’s very interesting to stage an opera on such a subject. As a straight man, I’ve done an amazing journey into the human soul. Everyone loses in this opera: the wives who are only guilty of not being the object of love of the protagonists, the two men whose only fault is not to have the courage to fight social boundaries and prejudices. “Brokeback Mountain” is an extraordinary challenge: it’s a contemporary opera that with its strength and angularity takes us to the top of a mountain that makes us fall in love and then lets us fall. It takes us from elation to tragedy — the typical elements of Greek tragedy but with deep roots in the contemporary world. Staging and putting on this opera today is crucial. Theater and opera should challenge us, should move us, and ultimately should influence society and the world we live in. I’m extremely honored to have been given a chance to tell this amazing story and with such talented artists. May 24 – June 6, 2018 | GayCityNews.nyc


ADVERTORIAL

TOP DRIVER DISTRACTIONS Using mobile phones Leading the list of the top distractions behind the wheel are mobile phones. Phones now do more than just place calls, and drivers often cannot pull away from their phones, even when driving. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, studies have shown that driving performance is lowered and the level of distraction is higher for drivers who are heavily engaged in cell

phone conversations. The use of a hands-free device does not lower distraction levels. The percentage of vehicle crashes and nearcrashes attributed to dialing is nearly identical to the number associated with talking or listening.

Daydreaming Many people will admit to daydreaming behind the wheel or looking at a person or object outside of the car for too long. Per-

GayCityNews.nyc | May 24 – June 6, 2018

haps they’re checking out a house in a new neighborhood or thought they saw someone they knew on the street corner. It can be easy to veer into the direction your eyes are focused, causing an accident. In addition to trying to stay focused on the road, some drivers prefer the help of lane departure warning systems.

Eating Those who haven’t quite mastered walking and

chewing gum at the same time may want to avoid eating while driving. The majority of foods require a person’s hands to be taken off of the wheel and their eyes to be diverted from the road. Reaching in the back seat to share some French fries with the kids is also distracting. Try to eat meals before getting in the car. For those who must snack while en route, take a moment to pull over at

a rest area and spend 10 minutes snacking there before resuming the trip.

Reading Glancing at an advertisement, updating a Facebook status or reading a book are all activities that should be avoided when driving. Even pouring over a traffic map or consulting the digital display of a GPS system can be distracting.

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May 24 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; June 6, 2018 | GayCityNews.nyc


Ellsworth was alive, he was a friend of Abraham Lincoln. Given that some in the LGBTQ community believe that Lincoln may have been America’s first gay president, it is amusing to speculate that their relationship was more than friendship. Lustbader and Shockley did not indulge in such speculation during the tour, but they did made a point of pausing to discuss the flagpole, its commemorative plaque, and Ellsworth’s connection to Lincoln. The project also belongs to the Stonewall 50 Consortium, a group of nearly 70 institutions that are committed to producing programming for next year’s 50th anniversary of the 1969 riots. The Consortium member organizations cannot dictate the con-

ADVOCACY DAY, from p.10

were sequestered in meetings to discuss their potential role in naming a successor. Still Robert Johnson, the father of a 21-yearold transgender man who just graduated from Smith College, said that staff members he met with were all “engaged and polite,” and he was able to meet with his own local assemblymember, out gay Daniel O’Donnell. “Whenever you talk to politicians, it’s hard to gauge their thinking,” he said of some of his meetings. “Are they just being polite to constituents? The people on our side were clearly on our side. Others were harder to read.” Asked his reaction to the Senate’s decision a week later to table GENDA for another year, Johnson said, “Once upon a time, it would have made me angry. But

THALIA ZEDEK, from p.37

riff.) McCarthy’s reliance on rolls on his snare drum and tom-toms evokes Kenny Morris’ drumming on Siouxsie and the Banshees’ debut album “The Scream” and, more generally, the “tribal” approach to percussion in much early Goth music. Zedek began making music when post-punk was a new conGayCityNews.nyc | May 24 – June 6, 2018

tent or timing of other members’ work, but their meetings mean that they will avoid duplicative programs. The effort is chaired by author Eric Marcus. “I’ve been stunned by the level of interest by so many organiza-

tions and institutions in marking the 50th anniversary of Stonewall through some sort of programming and/ or exhibitions,” Marcus wrote in an email to Gay City News. “And I’ve been thrilled to witness the level of interaction and cross-pollination and collaboration that inevitably occurs at our every-other-month in-person meetings.” While Marcus is a volunteer, the New York Community Trust has provided $50,000 for administration costs for the Consortium. The 50th anniversary also means more walking for Lustbader and Shockley. “We are going to schedule tours and presentations… and we’re trying to adapt what we do to an app so people can do what we do without us being in the field,” Lustbader said.

I gave up on anger, and have moved from anger to determination. We need to turn the Senate Democratic. I have kids to protect, friends to protect.” Judy Sennesh, who has a 34-year-old transgender son and, as part of the PFLAG board, has been instrumental in expanding the group’s support for parents and families of transgender people of all ages, said, “Parents are a very powerful voice” in helping legislators understand that trans people are members of many families and deserve the respect anyone’s children would receive. At the same time, she argued, the State Senate is currently controlled by politicians guided by “ignorant” views who “hide behind their own skewed, self-serving idea about God.” Mentioning Felder by name, Senesh said she wished that more LGBTQ people from Or-

thodox communities would come forward to put a face on the transgender equality issue. “When youth speak out,” she said, “I think it’s very important.” In a written response to the Senate’s tabling of GENDA, EQNY’s co-founder, Gabriel Blau, wrote, “For the past two years, the governor’s regulations have been in place, disproving any notion that protecting trans New Yorkers would somehow impinge on the rights of others. There remains no justifiable excuse for these legislators to oppose protections of trans New Yorkers. All New Yorkers need to realize that our Senate majority simply isn’t interested in protecting all of us even as extending those protections would improve the state’s economic competitiveness, be supported by most New Yorkers, and just be the right thing to do.”

cept and she’s still at it in her late 50s. E sound like a band out of time, in part because loud electric guitars are unfashionable now and rock groups seem to be in a rush to ditch them in favor of electronic instrumentation, even if “Cannibal Chatroom” is an attack on the downside of the Internet. While they’re not a nostalgia trip, given that E’s members are contemporaries of the artists they

sound like, they don’t really do anything new with the sounds they use. Iconic indie labels like Touch & Go or Dischord could have released “Negative Work” circa 2002. The fact that it was recorded in four days lends it a raw sound, although the production never aims for a low-fi feel. “Negative Work” is a solid album, but it’s not one I’m likely to play much more now that this review is complete.

HISTORIC SITES, from p.5

DONNA ACETO

The Rainbow Flag now flies on the Elmer Ephraim Ellsworth flagpole at Christopher Park, designated in 2016 as the site of the Stonewall National Monument.

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May 24 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; June 6, 2018 | GayCityNews.nyc

Gay City News - May 24, 2018  

May 24, 2018

Gay City News - May 24, 2018  

May 24, 2018