FREE VOLUME TWELVE, ISSUE TWENTY OCTOBER 2 - 15, 2013
Marriage Progress in Jersey, Illinois 03 Pope Francis’ New Balance 07 45 Years of Lar Lubovitch Dance 24 Best of New York Film Fest 27
Pages 4, 5 & 28
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October 2, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Robin Hood aims arrow at UN, Wall Street
FILM Cover Illustration by Michael Shirey
4, 5 & 28
BOOKS Alan Brown’s dancers making love
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David Leavitt’s fog of war
PERSPECTIVES Funding the arts; thumbs up and down on de Blasio
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| October 2, 2013
Trenton court orders equal marriage rights; Chicago judge allows lawsuit to advance
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same-sex couples be provided the same legal rights and benefits as different-sex * couples. A review commission established when the Legislature enacted civil unions concluded that partners were not receiving equal treatment from government officials and private businesses. Relying on its report, Lambda Legal petitioned the New Jersey Supreme Court to reconsider whether same-sex couples were entitled to equal marriage rights, but the court could not muster a majority in favor of the petition, with some justices suggesting the trial court must first Job # NYULMCP3100 Last Modified 3-4-2013 12:05 PM Filename NYULMCP3100_Lung Cancer_8.5x11_v3.indd Prev. Users ffernandez/smarquez establish a factual finding of unequal Location Fonts & Placed Graphics Deadline 2/20/13 Art Director Steve Giraldi ffernandez (quad core) treatment. Family Style Client NYU Langone Medical Copy Writer Matt Guerra Baskerville Regular, SemiBold Inks Bleed 8.75” x 11.25” Acct Mgr. Lauren Pulwer As Lambda prepared to go to court Name Color Space Eff. Res. Cyan Trim 8.5” x 11” Proj. Manager Brock Horner NYU Purple oval_c78m94.ai Magenta NYULMC_NEW_SEPT2011.eps with its new case, the US Supreme Court Live None information, Frank Fernandez Studio Artist For more fees, or to schedule an appointment, Yellow Lungs purple.ai Black None handed down its DOMA ruling and the 110 Fifth Avenue New York, N.Y. 10011 Any questions regarding this material please call group promptly filed a summary judgPrint Production Manager Kristen Walsh at 212-463-1086 ment motion in Superior Court, arguing Document Path: Studio HighRes:Volumes:Studio HighRes:NYU Medical:2013:NYULMCP3100_Lung Cancer Screening:NYULMCP3100_Lung Cancer_8.5x11_v3.indd that federal recognition of same-sex marriages meant that civil union couples in New Jersey are deprived of equal rights as a matter of law. The DOMA ruling and subsequent actions by federal agencies make clear that all state-sanctioned Scan location: Office & mailing Office & mailing address: same-sex marriages –– but only Scanthose location: address: that are state-sanctioned, not civil 550 First Avenue 403 East 34th 413 Street Room 413 550 First Avenue 403 East 34th Street Room unions –– are due federal recognition. Schwartz West (Green) 2ndNew Floor York, NY 10016 The state made aSchwartz variety of arguments, West (Green) 2nd Floor York, NY New 10016 New York, New York 10016 but its central assertion was that any difNew York, New York 10016 ference in treatment between same-sex and different-sex couples after the DOMA decision was due to the federal government’s refusal to recognize civil unions, and not to any action taken by the state. Thus, the attorney the August New Englandgeneral Journalargued, of Medicine, 2011. Journal of Medicine, August 4, 2011. *New4,England plaintiffs were suing the wrong defen-
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n a big day for the marriage equality movement, trial judges moved the ball forward significantly in New Jersey and Illinois on September 27. In New Jersey, Mercer County Superior Court Judge Mary C. Jacobson granted a motion for summary judgment filed by Lambda Legal on behalf of Garden State Equality, the state’s LGBT rights group, ruling the state must begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples beginning on October 21, an order that likely will be stayed pending appeal. In Illinois, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Sophia H. Hall denied a motion by several county clerks to dismiss two pending lawsuits brought by Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union contending that the denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples violates equal protection and due process provisions of the State Constitution. The decisions may have a quick political impact, since legislative action on marriage equality is expected to come before legislators in both states before the end of the year. In New Jersey, a marriage equality law approved by the Legislature and vetoed by Governor Chris Christie last year could come up for a veto override vote in the lame duck session following the November election. In Illinois, a marriage equality measure approved by the Senate could get a vote in the General Assembly during the “veto session” that will begin late in October. The prospect of court action could convince legislators reluctant, to date, to support marriage equality that enacting gay marriage by statute has the virtue of giving them input on protections for religious dissenters such as those put in place here in New York. The New Jersey decision has the greater potential for applicability elsewhere, since Judge Jacobson broke new ground. She ruled that the US Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act’s ban on federal recognition of legal gay marriages made the Garden State’s failure to allow same-sex couples to marry unconstitutional in light of New Jersey’s civil union law that gives same-sex couples the legal rights that accompany marriage under state law. Her opinion provides an analysis that can now play out in the pending Illinois litigation as well as lawsuits in Hawaii and Nevada. The New Jersey case was filed after the State Supreme Court deadlocked on
BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
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October 2, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
A Russian Gay Activist Speaks Out
Nikolai Baev address his nation’s draconian new law, the value of boycotts, and the status of organizing BY DOUG IRELAND
contribute in order that LGBT people can be free and safe in this time and in this country? So I decided to do what I can for this. I was student when I came out. I lived in city of Novosibirsk, where I studied at the university. I founded a gay group in this city. Later I moved to Moscow, my native city, where I live now.
ikolai Baev, 38, is a veteran Russian gay activist born and raised in Moscow. He founded the first gay group in the city of Novosibirsk when he was a university student there, and is one of the original organizers of the efforts to stage the banned Moscow Gay Pride. Baev has been on the front lines of the most militant wing of the Russian gay movement’s work. As one of the handful of Russian queers brave enough to speak out in the media, Baev has again and again defied official repression. Baev is the complainant in a lawsuit challenging a repressive, “no-promo-homo” law passed in 2006 in the city and region of Ryazan that came in response to the first Moscow Gay Pride demonstration. Baev was arrested under this law in 2009, the first such arrest in Russia, and his challenge to the law is now before the European Court of Human Rights. This law was the precursor to the draconian anti-gay legislation recently passed by the Duma –– the Russian parliament –– which has aroused worldwide protest and condemnation, including from President Barack Obama. Baev, in an extensive email exchange this week, gave Gay City News an activist’s inside report on the situation for Russian LGBT people today. DOUG IRELAND: When, how, and why did you become a gay activist? NIKOLAI BAEV: I’m a gay man and very proud of my identity. I decided to become a gay activist when I was a student. It was the most liberal era in Russian history, the 1990s, under President Boris Yeltsin, who repealed criminalization of gay sex in Russia. I love this time in my life and in the history of my country. But my personal motivation was idealistic. I couldn’t agree with any homophobic attitude and any kind of discrimination against LGBT people. I personally don’t believe in God, I am agnostic, and the only sense of my life could be: What can I do for human rights, for justice and freedom in human lives? What could I personally
DI: How many times have you been arrested? NB: I have been detained by police a total of four times for being openly gay. By the way, the very first time it was in Novosibirsk, while I was walking on the street hand in hand with my boyfriend. Police detained us; this was a long time before all the new anti-gay laws in Russia.
Nikolai Baev organizing with other activists in Europe’s Slavic countries.
DI: Please describe what happened to you in Ryazan when you were arrested under its precursor to the new anti-gay law. NB: The ugliest thing I faced having been arrested in Ryazan was the homophobia of the policemen in the police station. They regarded me and LGBT activist Irina Fet, who was arrested with me, as beings of second class, almost as freaks. Homophobic jokes, abusive words –– we experienced all this. We spent a couple of hours in custody in the police station. The next day we appeared in a court and a judge fined us for “gay propaganda among minors.” It was our aim to challenge this homophobic law in the city of Ryazan, which had adopted the first of such a kind in Russia in 2006. In such a way, we wanted to appeal against this law in the courts and repeal it as result. My claim is still waiting for a decision at the European Court for Human Rights. In case of my victory, it will destroy the federal gay propaganda ban because such a law will be judged as discrimination against LGBT people. Therefore its decision will be crucial for the future destiny of anti-gay legislation in Russia. DI: What so far has been the effect of the new anti-gay legislation passed by the Duma? NB: First of all, the authorities now have a kind of “legal” tool in order to
Nikolai Baev with longtime militant British activist Peter Tatchell (l.).
RUSSIA, continued on p.14
| October 2, 2013
Protests at the Met as Putin’s Pals Star Onstage LGBT advocates target diva Anna Netrebko, conductor Valery Gergiev; call on general manager Peter Gelb to take a stand BY SAM SPOKONY
round 50 LGBT activists protested outside the Metropolitan Opera on the evening of September 23 as the Met opened its 2013-2014 season with a gala performance featuring two longtime supporters of Russian Pr esident Vladimir Putin. Protesters led by Queer Nation, a New York-based direct action group, and RUSA LGBT, a Russian-speaking civil rights group based in the US, shouted “Shame on the Met!” and “Support Russian gays!” as affluent theatergoers stepped out of limos in front of the famous Lincoln Center opera house, many dressed in tuxedos and bubbling with excitement to attend the performance of Piotr Tchaikovsky’s 1879 opera “Eugene Onegin.” This production of “Eugene Onegin,” which will run until December, features the renowned Russian diva Anna Netrebko, who sings the female lead and who has figured prominently in the Met’s promotion of the show among opera fans. The orchestra is conducted by another Russian, Valery Gergiev, who currently serves as general director of the historic Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg. Both Netrebko and Gergiev are publicly ardent supporters of Putin, whose government, in June, enacted a draconian law that effectively bans any pro-LGBT statements or demonstrations in public, in private, or on the Internet. “I think [Netrebko and Gergiev] have made a devil’s bargain, one that they didn’t fully understand, when they chose to become cheerleaders for Putin,” said openly gay composer Andrew Rudin, who also helped to organize the protest and whose concertos have been performed in the past at other Lincoln Center venues. “There are very notable artists whose careers were forever tarnished because of what they did, or didn’t do, during World War II, and that may be the same path they’re headed down.” The New York Times reported that inside the opera house one man shouted, “Putin, end your war on Russian gays! Anna, your silence is killing Russian gays! Valery, your silence is killing Russian gays!” Met officials told the newspaper that four audience members sitting in the Family Circle were asked to leave. In addition to Netrebko and Gergiev, the protest was also focused squarely on Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager. Rudin circulated a petition, signed by roughly 10,000 people, calling on the Met to dedicate the performance to LGBT people around the world, but Gelb
Protesters lined up outside the Met’s gala performance at Lincoln Center on September 23.
refused to do that. Instead, Gelb wrote a preemptive op-ed for Bloomberg News on September 22, a day before the gala, which was published with the provocative title, “Why Met Won’t Bow to Protest of AntiGay Law.” “As an arts institution, the Met is not the appropriate vehicle for waging nightly battles against the social injustices of the world,” Gelb wrote in the op-ed, while adding that he “personally deplores” Russia’s anti-gay laws and that the Met is “engaged [in] social advocacy” by employing an “LGBT rainbow” of artists and staff members. “The Met is proud to present Russia’s great gay composer [Tchaikovsky],” Gelb also wrote. “That is a message, in itself.” But Yelena Goltsman, the founder and co-president of RUSA LGBT, explained that she thought the inherently passive
message simply wasn’t worth very much, given the extreme suffering of gay people currently living in Russia. “When people pressure you to take action, you can always choose to take the easier way out and say, ‘Yes, but…’ and that’s really all that [Gelb] did in this case,” said Goltsman. “And that’s not acceptable.” In his Bloomberg News op-ed, Gelb also justified his decision by writing that, throughout its 129-year history, the Met has “never dedicated a single performance to a political or social cause, no matter how important or just.” But Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, who leads Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, New York City’s LGBT synagogue, sent Gelb a letter on the day of the performance reminding him, in a subtly ironic tone, that some former general managers of the Met did, in fact, actively utilize
the opera company’s status to promote positive social change. “In your acknowledgement of the brutal tyranny transpiring today in Russia, you follow in the footsteps of your predecessors Rudolf Bing — who brought Marian Anderson and other great black artists to the Met stage in 1955 and who set a policy of non-segregation of Met performances in 1961, three years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Bruce Crawford — who welcomed ‘The Best of the Best: A Show of Concern,’ to benefit AIDS research and care, to the stage of the Met in 1985,” Kleinbaum wrote. Meanwhile, concern for the suffering of Russia’s gay citizens didn’t seem to weigh very heavily on the minds of those who purchased tickets for the gala performance as well as those who were invited as special guests of the Met. During the protest, Goltsman snuck past security into a Lincoln Center parking lot behind the Met’s main entrance. Accompanied only by this reporter, she brought pro-LGBT fliers and signs down to the parking lot’s special unmarked door, which, she had learned, special guests and those close to the Met use as a private entrance on performance nights. Goltsman, who held a Russian flag and rainbow flag together in one hand, stood there for 15 minutes while offering fliers to around a dozen well-dressed older couples who entered that door. She was brushed off each time. One of those theatergoers apparently chose instead to report Goltsman to security, after which a guard approached and told her and the reporter to leave the premises.
STOLI GUY MEETS ACT UP, QUEER NATION AGAIN For the second time in less than two months, a Stolichnaya Vodka promotional event at a Manhattan gay bar was disrupted by activists angered over Russia’s new anti-gay legislation. Five demonstrators affiliated with ACT UP New York and Queer Nation stormed the stage at Marquee New York in Chelsea at the start of the Most Original Stoli Guy national finale, which brought together the winners from competitions in 12 cities. Blowing horns and holding up signs with messages including “Dump Stoli,” the group –– Mark Milano, Brandon Cuicchi, Terry Roethlein, Piro Rexhepi, and Chris Kohler –– brought the show to a halt for about a minute, before they were dragged from the stage by the club’s bouncers. As the men were hauled away, one of the evening’s hosts said, “We are very lucky to live in a country where we can speak freely.” The host added, “And one of the things we are celebrating tonight is the passion that is the Stoli brand, and that is passion.” In the three months since the Russian parliament unanimously enacted a law barring “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” –– aimed at information construed as equating same-sex relationships with those between a man and a woman –– activists nationwide have called for bars and their patrons to boycott Stolichnaya. Stoli is bottled by the SPI Group, a company controlled by Yuri Scheffler, identified in a Russian financial publication
as one of that nation’s 75 richest people. In the wake of the new law, videos and photos have surfaced showing gay and lesbian Russians who have been entrapped and tortured by homophobic thugs –– the release of the videos and photos motivated, presumably, by a desire to brag about the barbarous activity. Some gay activists have also called for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics planned for Sochi, Russia –– an effort supported by several dozen LGBT activists in that nation –– and pressure is being applied to major Olympic sponsors such as Coca Cola, Proctor & Gamble, and Visa. Since the Stoli push began, SPI Group has sought to distance itself from Russia, emphasizing that it is headquartered in Luxembourg and that the vodka is bottled in Latvia. The company conceded, however, that Russian ingredients are used and that production also takes place there. Emphasizing the support the company has given to LGBT events and endeavors around the world, SPI has also argued that Scheffler is politically on the outs with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Activists including members of ACT UP and Queer Nation targeted an earlier Stoli Guy event at Splash on July 30 and dumped the vodka into the gutter at a demonstration outside the Russian Consulate on the Upper East Side the following day. — Paul Schindler
October 2, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Passionate Advocate for LGBT Families Emerges
or those who worry that the institutionalization of the LGBT rights movement, the community’s drive for equal marriage rights, and the desire by couples to raise children and protect their families inevitably diminish the exuberance and passion of gay life in earlier eras, the example of Gabriel Blau provides compelling evidence to contrary. Blau, a longtime New Yorker, is the new executive director of the Family Equality Council and, at 33, perhaps the youngest head of a major national LGBT rights organization. Over lunch at Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop in the Flatiron District recently, he was not once at a loss for another example of the unmet needs of LGBT parents and the children they are raising or of how addressing those issues can benefit the nation’s youth overall. Blau is married to Dylan Stein, and the couple have a five-year-old son, Elijah, but he is well aware of how even in a marriage equality state like New York the challenges facing LGBT fami-
lies can be daunting. He also readily acknowledged that his family is not like every other LGBT household, just as the notion of the “average” American family is a myth –– one that stands in the way of progress for all families. The Family Equality Council, founded about a decade ago, is now a $3 million a year operation that provides support, services, and advocacy for the three million LGBT parents and their six million children nationwide. The organization supports a network of about 120 family groups across the country and hosts half a dozen or so family days at locales ranging from Provincetown to Disneyland. Young adults raised by LGBT parents can tell their family’s story publicly through the organization’s Outspoken program, chaired by Zack Wahls, who captivated the nation by defending his moms’ marriage before the Iowa State Legislature several years ago. Grandparents of children raised by LGBT parents can do the same in a program dubbed Pearls of Wisdom. One of Blau’s priorities is integrating the support and services programs of Family Equality with its advocacy push.
Photo credit: Vaughn Browne
BY PAUL SCHINDLER
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FAMILY EQUALITY COUNCIL
Gabriel Blau aims to refocus the nation’s policies and attitudes toward valuing everybody where they live
Gabriel Blau (l.) and his husband Dylan Stein, with their son Elijah.
“We have a tremendous policy team,” he said, with evident pride over the fact the group has been “one of five or six” called into the White House to discuss efforts to combat school bullying and to ensure access by LGBT families to the healthcare plans offered through the Affordable Care Act. Working with the Obama administration, gay advocates have ensured that best practices regarding LGBT families are a part of every option available in the state insurance networks rolled out on October 1. Blau also noted that the amicus brief Family Equality filed in support of Edie Windsor’s successful challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act was cited in Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion. In spite of his buoyancy over the group’s accomplishments, Blau, who previously served as the development director at Manhattan’s Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, was quick to point out that there are many vital players in the movement, who, he said, are all working in better collaboration since the recent successes against DOMA and Proposition 8. “We pride ourselves on being very, very good partners,” he said of Family Equality. There is plenty of work to do, and for Blau’s group that begins with the ability of LGBT couples and individuals to form families. Though very few states remain that have explicit legal restrictions on adoption and foster parenting, the group estimates that 33 of the 50 “have significant barriers.” These barriers exist in a nation with 400,000 children in foster care, 100,000 of whom are adoption-eligible; only 40,000 find permanent homes annually. Youth who age out of the foster care system having never been adopted, Blau said, are 60 percent more likely than average to run
afoul of the law. And, study after study demonstrates that the best predictor of a child’s success as an adult is the stability of their family life growing up. In too many instances, however, policies aimed at ensuring family stability are informed by a 1950s model of the nuclear family headed by a mom and a dad. In fact, Blau said, less than a quarter of families consist of a married heterosexual couple whose children were born to both parents. Which means that three quarters of families include samesex parents, adoptive parents, single parents, divorced parents, or parents who relied on artificial insemination or surrogacy to bear their children. “These families exist,” Blau said he argues to those on the right, disinclined to acknowldge diversity, who warn that it is gay and lesbian parents who are responsible for the “decline” of family life in America. The challenges Family Equality faces are everywhere –– and everywhere they are different. New York gays have enjoyed marriage equality for more than two years, but couples looking to employ gestational surrogacy to begin a family must go out of state –– a legal hurdle that State Senator Brad Hoylman, who with his husband was forced to surmount that gauntlet to ensure the birth of their daughter, is hoping to change in Albany. And, Blau recently worked with a couple in Long Island whose child endured years of harassment in public school before the family made the difficult financial decision to shift to a private school education. Fully 42 percent of children raised by LGBT parents report bullying and harassment in school, he said. In his own life, Blau and his husband recognize that taking their young son on a cross-country car trip entails risks should they encounter a mishap in a state where legal protections for their family don’t exist and attitudes may be hostile. Among all national groups focused solely on family units –– as distinct, for example, from groups for parents, like PFLAG –– the Family Equality Council is the only one with a clearly progressive agenda. Its budget is smaller than the smallest of the “family values” groups on the right and just 1/35th the size of the largest one. Given that disparity, it’s not surprising that Blau emphasizes the need for cooperation in the LGBT rights movement. “We are valuing families,” he said in retort to those who ferociously contest his group’s agenda. Spending time listening to Blau’s vision leaves little doubt he will make that argument as often and as vigorously in as many venues as possible.
| October 2, 2013
Where Does Francis’ New Balance Leave Gays, Women? BY ANDY HUMM
hen we last left Pope Francis I, he was flying over the Atlantic saying, “If a person is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge him?” With his feet on the ground in Rome, in a wide-ranging interview in the Jesuit magazine America, he took that new tone on gay issues to what many are calling a new level. The interview earned high praise from some LGBT and progressive groups, but others –– significantly, on both the right and the left –– emphasized that not one iota of Church doctrine on sexuality issues has changed. Still, some longtime Church critics believe the pope is laying the groundwork for substantial reform. In the interview, Francis said, “A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love or reject and condemn this person? We must always consider the person. In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy. When that happens, the Holy Spirit inspires the priest to say the right thing.” Francis acknowledged that he had been “reprimanded” from within the Church for not talking more about stopping abortion and same-sex marriage, issues that seem to obsess the men from the College of Cardinals who elected him pope. In response, Francis said, “It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time. The Church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. We have to find a new balance. Otherwise even the moral edifice of the Church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.” Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of DignityUSA, the LGBT Catholic group, said in a release that her group and its “allies will rejoice in the pope’s call for Church leaders to focus on being pastors rather than rule enforcers. We hope that the bishops will heed this call and immediately end their antiLGBT campaigns, the firings of Church workers for who they are, the attacks on people who challenge or question official teachings, and the exclusive and judgmental rhetoric that comes too often from our pulpits. The pope is unambiguous. Leave the bully pulpit, and accompany your people.”
Duddy-Burke told Gay City News, “I have read the full statement. There’s an awful lot in there. This pope intends to take the Church in some very new directions.” She added, “The pope’s comments on women show underdeveloped thinking about women. He talks about a new theology, but doesn’t give a new sense of direction. There is no change on women’s issues. No change on gay relationships. It is not a policy change document.” Father Bernard L ynch, an out gay Catholic priest and activist expelled last year from his religious order for his gay activism, led Dignity New York’s heroic AIDS ministry in the worst days of the epidemic in the 1980s. From his home in London, he wrote, “I, too, have read with an open and joyful heart what the pope has said. He certainly puts the person before the principle of Church teaching. This is a welcome change. Much, much more needs to be done to undo the hurt and harm of the last decades of unmitigated hostility toward LGBTQI people. “For our brothers and sisters who died of HIV/ AIDS at the height of the pandemic –– assaulted on their death beds by Vatican teachings –– it makes no difference. They are with God. Those of us who ministered to them must insist reparation be made. Apologize Holy Father on behalf of the Church for the destruction of souls and bodies. Change the inhuman and un-Christian teachings immediately. Help with Vatican wealth those friends and lovers –– still wounded –– who try to live and love after them.” Some Catholics think substantial reform is coming. Sister Carol Zinn,
L’OSSERVATORE ROMANO/ VATICAN.VA
Pope’s new tone hailed but to the relief of conservative Catholics, doctrines unchanged
Pope Francis’ latest surprising words about gays are essentially: let’s stop talking about the issue.
president of the Leadership Confer ence of Women Religious, an organization of Catholic nuns that was essentially put on probation by Pope Benedict XVI for not speaking out against abortion and gays to his liking, told the New York Times that what “we’re seeing is an incredible change in atmosphere, it’s amazing. And when you have change in the atmosphere, it’s amazing what kinds of things can unfold. Because of the commitment he has to a discerning way of life, I think we are going to see changes, because discernment brings changes.” A release from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force quoted Reverend Pat Bumgardner, pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of New York, saying, “I am sure that many will be very excited by the interview and the ‘progressive’ nature of the pope’s comments. For me, I
pray that the pope’s courage in speaking to the inclusivity of God’s love will inspire the practice of such love. Love is not a feeling; it is a way of life in the Gospel. To proclaim a closed door with regard to women’s ordination weakens any hint of openness to LGBT people overall. Where misogyny lingers, there, too, does homophobia reside.” Cardinal Timothy Dolan, New York’s bumptious archbishop and the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, used the venues of several morning TV shows to try to have it both ways. “This man is batting a thousand,” he said on CBS. “We wanted a man who had a heart, we wanted a man who could teach like Jesus, we wanted a man who could get us back to the essentials of the Church.” Dolan hastened to add, however, “The way he’s doing it is so fresh and is so captivating, but he’s not really changing anything of the essence of the Church.” Dolan and his fellow bishops are leading a fight to kill the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in Congress, despite the fact that it has a controversial religious exemption clause that goes beyond discrimination permissible toward other protected classes such as race and gender and is condemned as overbroad by gay leaders such as Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry and James Esseks of the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT Rights Project. The bishops want even more of an exemption. Equally Blessed, a pro-equality coalition of Catholic groups including Dignity,
FRANCIS, continued on p.12
POPE FRANCIS AND HIS FOLLOWERS BACKSLIDING ALREADY? Just days after an interview with the Jesuit magazine America in which Pope Francis signaled a promising new tone on the gay community comes word that an Australian priest has been defrocked and excommunicated for his views on homosexuality and women priests. The International Business Times, on September 23, reported that actions taken against Father Greg Reynolds, who resigned from his Melbourne parish under pressure in 2011, originated at the Vatican under the authority of Francis. The order cited reasons that included "heresy," according to the National Catholic Reporter (NCR). Reynolds said he adopted his favorable views on marriage equality and the ordination of women as a matter of “conscience.” The Irish Times reported that following his resignation, Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart banned Reynolds from “active priestly ministry,” but he continued to celebrate Holy Communion. The newspaper cited “Vatican insiders” as arguing Francis had “little room for maneuver” given his "public celebration of the Eucharist when he did not hold faculties to act publicly as a priest.” NCR reported that among the offenses the Vatican cited was Reynolds’ employment of the Eucharistic host “for a sacrilegious purpose.” An account from the Melbourne Age has a first-time visitor to a Mass Reynolds celebrated receiving the host and then breaking a piece of it off for his dog. The order was dated May 31, nearly four months before Francis told Amer-
ica magazine, “This Church with which we should be thinking is the home of all, not a small chapel that can hold only a small group of selected people. We must not reduce the bosom of the universal church to a nest protecting our mediocrity.” Without articulating any change in doctrine toward gay people, the pope said, “It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time. The Church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. We have to find a new balance. Otherwise even the moral edifice of the Church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.” If the disciplining of Reynolds predated Francis’ recent words, Providence College’s decision to revoke a speaking invitation to a marriage equality advocate came two days after the pope’s interview was published. The New York Times reports that on September 21, Hugh F. Lena, the provost of the Rhode Island Roman Catholic college, canceled an appearance by John Corvino, chairman of the philosophy department at Detroit’s Wayne State University, that was sponsored by nine academic departments. Lena cited a 2004 document from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops that “Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles.” Lena later told the Times that Corvino’s visit might be rescheduled if a speaker opposing marriage equality appeared with him. — Paul Schindler
October 2, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
High Court May Take Up Religious Exemptions Sweeping claim that private corporations can sidestep nondiscrimination laws poses significant threat BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
September 17 federal appeals court ruling that a business corporation owned by Roman Catholics is not entitled to claim a religious exemption from complying with the Obamacare requirement that employee health insurance plans cover contraception adds to the likelihood that the US Supreme Court will take up the question of whether corporations have a First Amendment right of “free exercise of religion” based on the beliefs of their owners. Religious exemptions have been a particularly fraught issue in gay rights and marriage equality laws, with church groups arguing they should not be bound by requirements at odds with their beliefs. One of the controversial questions under the pending Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, concerns the scope of a religious exemption from compliance for certain employers. As currently drawn, the exemption would apply broadly to entities owned or controlled by religious bodies (too broadly in the view of many –– see sidebar below), but would not create an exemption for non-religious business corporations, even if their owners
had religious objections to employing gay or transgender people. Regarding the contraception requirement, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Cincinnati, ruled two weeks ago that business corporations do not have such a First Amendment right, agreeing with a recent decision by Philadelphia’s Third Circuit Court of Appeals but disagreeing with a ruling by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Denver. Federal trial courts are also split on this issue, with profound implications for nondiscrimination and same-sex marriage laws. A Supreme Court decision like the 10th Circuit’s ruling could provide a constitutional mandate to extend the religious exemption to privately owned corporations. Given the split among the nation’s appellate circuits, it seems likely that the high court will grant petitions for review of one or more of the religious exemption rulings in its term beginning October 7. Autocam Corporation and Autocam Medical, LLC, are for-profit manufacturing companies owned by members of the Kennedy family, Roman Catholics from Western Michigan who agree with the Church’s ban on contraception and object to any requirement that they pay for contraceptives for their employees. The healthcare law’s mandate that went into effect this year requiring such coverage, they argue, forces them to either
violate the Church’s teachings or pay significant fines. Their lawsuit relied on the First Amendment’s protection for free exercise of religion and on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a 1993 statute that Congress passed to ensure that individuals would not be required to violate their religious beliefs, unless the government could show a compelling reason for requiring them to. The Sixth Circuit panel concluded, as had the Third Circuit before it, that business corporations –– as opposed to religious corporations, such as churches or religious schools, incorporated under state laws –– are not covered by RFRA and not protected by the First Amendment’s free exercise clause. Their owners might have religious beliefs burdened by the application of the law, but by deciding to do business as a corporation they are creating an entity separate and apart from themselves, a distinction very important for a variety of reasons, including liability for corporate actions. Writing for the court, Judge Julia Smith Gibbons found that the contraception mandate falls on Autocam, not the Kennedys, who themselves lack “standing” as individuals to bring the lawsuit. In 1990, the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment does not bar legislators from passing “a valid and neutral law of general applicability on the ground that the law proscribes (or
prescribes) conduct that [a person’s] religion prescribes (or proscribes).” Congress passed RFRA three years later for the express purpose of giving “a claim or defense to persons whose religious exercise is substantially burdened by the government,” to “restore” the constitutional protections its supporters believed the Supreme Court tore down in its 1990 decision. Autocam argued it can claim an exemption under RFRA using the argument that the corporation’s right to free exercise of religion was “substantially burdened” by the government. But that claim goes nowhere if a business corporation, even a closely held one like Autocam, does not enjoy any right of free exercise of religion. Surely, a publiclytraded business corporation with thousands of shareholders could not plausibly make such a claim, but Autocam and the other companies challenging the contraception mandate are family businesses that argue they consider the expenditure of corporate funds to be virtually personal expenditures. RFRA is phrased in terms of protecting the right of a “person” to free exercise of religion, and corporations are treated like “persons” for various purposes under the Constitution. In its controversial 2010 Citizens United decision, the Supreme Court ruled that corpora-
RELIGIOUS EXEMPTIONS, continued on p.11
ENDA’S RELIGIOUS EXEMPTION STILL A BIG WORRY Even as the question of whether privately held business corporations can claim a religious exemption from complying with LGBT civil rights protections potentially heads to the Supreme Court –– an issue that could blow a hole in existing state and local nondiscrimination laws –– leading legal advocates continue to raise concerns about the religious exemption language in the current draft of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. ENDA cleared a Senate committee with three Republican supporters this summer and a vote in the full Senate could come this fall. As Gay City News reported in May, a group of legal advocacy groups — including the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the Transgender Law Center — issued a statement warning that the religious exemption language, first incorporated in ENDA in 2007, provides religiously affiliated groups, including hospitals and universities, with considerably more leeway to discriminate than is customary in civil rights legislation. At a September 12 forum on ENDA at New York Law School, Tico Almeida, a gay activist who authored the religious exemption language while a co-counsel on the House Education and Labor Committee, argued the language was a “cut and paste” from Title VII provisions of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Still, he conceded that Catholic Charities, a large nationwide non-profit that is a major social service provider and employer in many cities, would be exempt from ENDA’s provisions. In most LGBT nondiscrimination legislations across the country,
religious organizations directly related to faith and worship activities are free to apply a religious test for employment. Organizations such as hospitals, however, which act as public accommodations serving the population at large, typically cannot claim a religious exemption except for faith-related activities. Another panelist at the September 12 forum, Evan Wolfson, an attorney who founded and heads Freedom to Marry, expressed “grave concerns” about the ENDA language, saying it amounted to “a license to discriminate.” He said that “firing the janitor” has never before been an option under civil rights law. Wolfson told Almeida –– who heads Freedom to Work, a key group pushing for ENDA as well as a presidential executive order establishing nondiscrimination policies for contractors doing business with the federal government –– that enactment of ENDA with the current exemption language could undermine other nondiscrimination laws nationwide. Almeida argued that an executive order from President Barack Obama –– which he termed one of the administration’s “unfulfilled promises” –– would make clear that no beneficiary of federal funding, including hospitals and universities, could claim a religious exemption from LGBT job protections. The existing exemption, he said, cleared up the “sloppiness” of earlier language in ENDA and was crucial to winning Republican support. It was adopted as a floor amendment, in a 402-25 vote, when the House
approved ENDA in 2007 –– the only successful vote on the measure in Congress. “All our progressive champions,” Almeida said, supported the new language. He challenged those groups that oppose the language to come forward with their own proposal, something he said they failed to do during the Senate committee’s hearings this summer. Ian S. Thompson, a legislative representative at the ACLU who took a lead role in issuing the spring statement on the exemption, told Gay City News that he views the bill’s current language as “sweeping” and “unprecedented.” Allowing hospitals and universities to claim such exemptions, he said, is “far afield” of any legitimate or customary practice. “Compromises get built in over time,” Thompson said of the House’s approval of the language in 2007. “The nation has moved beyond” concerns over unintended consequences of nondiscrimination protections. “Fairness in hiring is a no brainer,” he said. Still, groups such as the ACLU and Lambda are not pressing to change the language now, potentially on the eve of Senate action. “The next best opportunity is when sponsors come together in 2015,” Thompson said, acknowledging that House approval of ENDA is not in the cards under Republican John Boehner’s leadership. He said he was not concerned that approving the bill with the existing exemption would imperil the chance to change it in the next session of Congress. “We can win the vote this year and improve it later,” Thompson said. — Paul Schindler
| October 2, 2013
ENDA, Title VII, and Transgender Rights As stalled federal employment bill moves toward Senate action, what gender identity protections already exist? BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
he long-stalled Employment NonDiscrimination Act (ENDA), which won approval by a US Senate committee this summer, may get a vote by the full Senate later this year, though few advocates are holding out hope that the House would follow suit –– at least as long as the Republicans retain control. As the push for ENDA continues, it is worth considering what protections may already exist under the 1964 Civil Rights Act –– particularly with respect to that law’s prohibition on discrimination based on sex. From the earliest days after enactment of the Civil Rights Act’s Title VII –– which outlawed discrimination in a number of areas, including employment discrimination by companies with 15 or more employees because of an individual’s race or color, religion, national origin, or sex –– the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), established to enforce those provisions, and the federal courts agreed the prohibition on bias based on sex did not forbid discrimination because of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. In 1964, of course, issues of anti-gay and anti-transgender discrimination were not on Congress’ radar . In fact, the Civil Rights Act’s sponsors initially held back from including “sex” as a prohibited ground for discrimination at all, fearing that would make the bill even more controversial than it already was. Only when a conservative Democrat tried to introduce a poison pill amendment adding sex as a prohibited ground in order to kill the whole bill did liberals embrace that provision, having done their head count and recognized that the more inclusive measure would prevail. The congressional debate included no reference to whether the broader protections would apply to “homosexuals” or other “sexual deviants,” as the discourse at that time would have identified LGBT Americans. Interpretation of Title VII’s sex discrimination provisions changed dramatically in 1989, when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a straight woman denied partnership at Price Waterhouse whose lawsuit demonstrated that some partners objected to her candidacy because she was not “feminine” enough to suit their image of a “lady partner.” Her boss told her she needed to wear makeup and jewelry, dress more femininely, and tone
down her personal style, which included acting like a drill sergeant in riding her subordinates to get projects done, which was why clients loved her. Justice William J. Brennan wrote that when an employer relied on gender stereotypes in evaluating an employee for promotion, that was evidence of sex discrimination. Federal courts began to change their tune, interpreting Title VII and other federal statutes banning sex discrimination as providing protection for people who encounter difficulties because they fail to meet society’s stereotypes about how men and women should present themselves. These “gender nonconformity” cases tended to arise amidst claims of sexual harassment, and gay and transgender employees who encountered difficulties raised such claims. After some initial hesitation, the courts and the EEOC started to rule in their favor. By the turn of the century, the proposition that harassment based on gender stereotyping was discrimination was well established and some courts began to take the next step, presuming that a transgender employee’s discrimination complaint by necessity incorporates a gender stereotyping claim covered by Title VII. A desire to “change sex” was, by definition, a failure to comport with gender stereotypes, in the view of such courts. The major breakthrough in this regard came in 2004, when the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati overturned a district court decision and ruled in favor of Jimmie Smith, a city firefighter hired as a male who was fired after letting it be known she was transitioning. The court found that gender identity claims come within the theory of gender stereotyping, covered by Title VII, as it had developed since the Price Waterhouse case. The Supreme Court declined to review another Sixth Circuit case that reached a similar conclusion about a transgender firefighter’s discrimination claim. Two years ago, Atlanta’s 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Georgia General Assembly violated the 14th Amendment equal protection rights of a transgender woman it fired after she disclosed she was transitioning from the male gender identity she had since birth. Last year, the EECO ruled that a transgender woman’s claim of discrimination as an applicant for federal employment, if the facts were proven, would constitute a violation of Title VII. The EEOC cited
TRANSGENDER RIGHTS, continued on p.13
October 2, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Robin Hoods Shoot Arrows at UN, Wall Street
AIDS, Occupy allied activists march for dedicated tax to fund human needs, “end” pandemic
More than 2,000 protestors paused outside the Park Avenue offices of JP Morgan Chase to hear from Robin Hood.
BY ANDY HUMM
hile the Robin Hood of folklore rode through Sherwood Forest robbing from the rich to help the poor, more than 2,000 activists –– a good number dressed in his iconic green costume –– marched through the canyons of New York on the evening of September 17. They stopped at power centers from the United Nations to JP Morgan Chase to demand a “Robin Hood tax” of a half cent on all financial transactions to fund $350 billion in human services to “end AIDS, provide jobs, build housing, strengthen education and healthcare, and fight climate change,” according to Aaron Boyle, a board member at the Health Global Access Project, or Health GAP, who in a release added, “We’re crazy not to do it.” Having failed to get New York City, state, or federal authorities to adopt the tax, the activists –– mostly nurses, AIDS service providers, labor unionists, and veterans of the Occupy Wall Street movement marking its second anniversary –– first rallied in Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza to call on the United Nations to join the push for the tax. Some 200 organizations joined together for the demonstration, which was led by Health GAP, VOCAL New York, a group that organizes people affected by HIV/ AIDS, drug use, and incarceration, and National Nurses United. The groups launched a national campaign for the tax several years ago. “We’re here to highlight the suffering caused by austerity politics,” Amanda Lugg of the African Services Committee –– a Harlem-based group that assists African immigrants especially around AIDS issues –– told the crowd. Veteran AIDS activist Benjamin Heim Shepard, who was among the demonstrators, said, “We have to fight for healthcare in any way we can and the second anniversary of Occupy is a good time to think about it. It’s part of why Bill de Blasio got elected.” As for the feasibil-
ity of the tax, he said, “This is the beginning of something. It’s completely doable. Any way we can fight AIDS, we should.” Mark Harrington of the Treatment Action Group (TAG) was among the 16 arrested blocking traffic on Second Avenue. “Five years ago, the world economy collapsed and the government spent billions propping up banks,” he said, calling on authorities to do the same for the collapsing healthcare system. “We want a state plan to end AIDS.” Out gay State Senator Brad Hoylman was also arrested, joining in the chants of “No more budget cuts on our backs, end AIDS with the Robin Hood tax.” Just before his arrest, Charles King, the veteran head of Housing Works, said leadership on the tax had to come from President Barack Obama to aid “a global fund to end AIDS.” ill Dobbs, a longtime Occupy member, was at the action and said, “I have a lot of doubts about the Robin Hood tax because it undercuts all the budget priority organizing,” such as that of the War Resisters League, which has been calling attention to bloated defense spending for some time. “Priorities have to change. Occupy gave people a taste of power –– how to push back against the rich and powerful. Two years later that spark is still there, but a lot of people are going to have to pitch in and help.” As the throng moved to JP Morgan Chase headquarters on Park Avenue, among the signs was “Rich Kids for Redistribution.” People chanted, “Banks for bailed out, we got sold out.” Veteran ACT UP member Mark Milano was there, saying, “The tax is a good idea. If we put it into global AIDS now, we can end it now.” But his fellow ACT UP member Jim Eigo said, “I don’t know if the tax has a chance of flying in the US, but it would be good if it could.” Noting that provisions for prevention in the Affordable Care Act could mean “the end of AIDS is in reach,” he voiced alarm at the prospect the divided Congress won’t pay for it. “If we can’t
fund it now, when will we?,” Eigo said. Congressman Keith Ellison, a Minneapolis Democrat, is the lead sponsor of a measure to impose the tax, but the independent GovTrack.us website gives the bill a one percent chance of clearing committee and none for passing the Republican House. Still, Jennifer Flynn of Health GAP said, “The Robin Hood tax is inevitable,” noting that 11 countries in the European Union including Germany and France have signed on to it, partly to slow down financial trading a smidge and prevent another 2008-like collapse of the markets. “They will get the revenue and most of our financial institutions will have to pay it,” she said. Flynn sees the possibility of “an end to the AIDS pandemic within 30 years.” It wasn’t all about AIDS and healthcare. Mithika Mwenda, of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, spoke up for his cause as well as ending AIDS. “We need the political will to do that,” he said, “and that’s why we’re doing it at the UN, putting pressure on world leaders” as the General Assembly gets underway. Outside the Midtown offices of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, another target of the protest for its cuts in services and freeze on wages, Eric Sawyer, co-founder of ACT UP and Health GAP and now at UNAIDS, said, “We have to make sure that Wall Street, which benefits from local and global public health, should bear part of the expense of it.” The march ended in Bryant Park where a stage and big banners read “End Austerity” and “The Robin Hood Tax: Coming Soon to the European Union.” Deborah Burger, co-president of National Nurses United, told the crowd about similar actions taking place around the world that day from Brazil to Ireland to South Korea. Where an LGBT rally might have chanted “Everybody out, nobody in,” this crowd of economic justice activists, including many LGBT people, shouted, “Everybody in, nobody out.” “We need this tax,” Flynn told the crowd. “Our lives depend on it.”
| October 2, 2013
Public Library Examines AIDS Activism Through Its Artifacts and Architects Exhibit focuses on grassroots response from groups including ACT UP, Gran Fury, GMHC, zine publishers BY DUNCAN OSBORNE
RELIGIOUS EXEMPTIONS, from p.8
tions are “persons” for purposes of First Amendment free speech protection in their political spending. They also enjoy due process and equal protection rights as “persons” in matters of government appropriation of corporate property or discriminatory treatment of particular corporations. The Supreme Court, however, has never held that a business corporation is an entity capable of practicing a religion or that requiring a corporation to comply with general laws could place a burden on the collective free exercise of religion of their shareholders. The Sixth and Third Circuits, unlike the 10th, were unwilling to take this step. The 10th Circuit case, decided in June, found that the reasoning of Citi-
NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY
n exhibit at the New York Public Library that opens on October 4 focuses on the years of activism that forced gover nment at all levels as well as private institutions to respond to the AIDS epidemic in America. “The library is doing this show because after five years of working to preserve this material we wanted to open it up to the public to experience it first hand,” said Jason Baumann, the library’s coordinator for collection assessment and LGBT collections, who curated the exhibit with Laura Karas, an archivist at the library. “Why We Fight: Remembering AIDS Activism” uses four broad themes –– changing perceptions of people with AIDS, safe sex and needle exchange, public mourning, and healthcare activism –– to explore the grassroots responses to the AIDS epidemic. It draws on the library’s extensive collection of records donated by individuals and AIDS groups as well as material that was loaned to the library. Records from about a dozen AIDS and gay groups are represented in the exhibit. Running through April 2014, the exhibit also features a film series, with screenings through February, curated by Jim Hubbard, the director and coproducer of “United in Anger: A History of ACT UP” and a co-director of the ACT UP Oral History Project. The Oscar-nominated “How to Survive a Plague,” David France’s documentary about AIDS activists’ successful effort to fast-track AIDS drug development, will be screened on October 23. The library will also be con-
The Gran Fury art collective produced some of the most arresting images employed by ACT UP in the fight against AIDS.
ducting HIV awareness programs for teenagers at roughly a dozen branches across the city. Using video of ACT UP demonstrations and original publications, such as the first safe sex pamphlet ever distributed and a copy of “Diseased Pariah News,” a zine that published 11 issues from 1990 to 1999, “Why We Fight” captures the battle that activists fought to reduce the stigma aimed at people with AIDS and to get the government to join the fight against the disease. The exhibit has buttons and posters used by AIDS activists, props that were a central feature of ACT UP demonstrations, and original safe sex comics produced by the Gay Men’s Health Crisis and other groups, and even reports filed by GMHC volunteers who were buddies to people with AIDS. Baumann, who was an ACT UP member, uses the exhibit to describe how community members responded to AIDS. “I think I tried to focus on how it felt,”
he said in an October 1 interview with Gay City News that included an early look at the show. The library presented a panel discussion that evening with Avram Finkelstein, a member of the Gran Fury art collective that produced many of most startling images used by ACT UP. Finkelstein was also a member of the Silence = Death Project that created perhaps the best known image from AIDS activism. Other panelists were Ann Northrop, an ACT UP member, authors Edmund White and Sarah Schulman, and Richard Berkowitz, who wrote “How to Have Sex in an Epidemic,” the first safe sex pamphlet, with Michael Callen and Dr. Joseph Sonnabend. “One of the things I love about the show is that Jason has found some interesting things to say about the well worn path of AIDS activism,” said Finkelstein. Members of the ACT UP NY Alumni group, which includes this reporter, will present a January 14 event titled “How
to ACT UP” at which they will discuss the AIDS activist group’s unique form of protest that blended the ferocious with the fabulous. A similar exhibit ran at the New-York Historical Society and closed on September 15. That exhibit focused on the first five years of the epidemic in New York City and took a more clinical approach to its history. “You’ve all seen silence equals death and this is essentially the years of the silence,” said Jean Ashton, the exhibition’s curator, at the May 31 opening of the society’s show. That exhibit, titled “AIDS in New York: The First Five Years,” covered the period immediately after the onslaught of the epidemic in 1981 that preceded the explosion of mass activism beginning with ACT UP in 1987.
zens United applied to closely-held family-owned corporations like Hobby Lobby, an Oklahoma arts and crafts supply retailer. The identity of the owners and the corporation were deemed so entwined that imposing the mandate on Hobby Lobby was, in effect, imposing it on its owners, the court found. In the Autocam case, Judge Gibbons wrote it should be viewed in the “context” of “the body of free exercise case law that existed at the time of RFRA’s passage,” and she found “strong indications that Congress did not intend to include corporations primarily organized for secular, profit-seeking purposes as ‘persons.’” Interpreting RFRA to allow such claims “would lead to a significant expansion of the scope of the rights the Free Exercise Clause protected” prior to the 1990 ruling, she wrote.
Noting that “the Free Exercise Clause and the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment have historically been interpreted in very different ways,” Gibbons rejected any analogy to the Citizens United case. A recent ruling by the New Mexico Supreme Court illustrates the significance of this issue for LGBT rights. The high court ruled that Elane Photography violated the state’s public accommodations law because its owner declined a job photographing a same-sex commitment ceremony, on the ground that this would violate her religious liberty. As a public accommodation and business corporation, the court found, Elane could not raise a free exercise claim under the First Amendment or under a New Mexico religious freedom statute similar to RFRA. Courts have generally
come to the same conclusion in cases arising against bakeries, florists, and catering halls that have declined to take on same-sex ceremonies. A Supreme Court decision to the contrary on First Amendment grounds, which would take priority over state antidiscrimination laws, could tear a big hole into gay rights protections. A dramatic example of its potential impact was the high court’s 2000 Boy Scouts ruling, in a 5-4 vote, that New Jersey’s public accommodations law did not protect openly gay James Dale’s right to serve as an assistant scoutmaster. The Scouts won on their claim to a federally protected First Amendment right of expressive association, and the Supreme Court did not find it necessary to address the group’s separate religious freedom claim. That issue could be up next.
“Why We Fight: Remembering AIDS Activism” runs through April 6 at the New York Public Library (nypl.org), Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.
FRANCIS, from p.7
is opposed to the religious exemption currently in ENDA and on September 16 wrote to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, saying, “Giving religious leaders such wide latitude in the hiring practices of educational, health, and social service institutions could make it difficult for LGBT people in those fields to earn a living and support their families in significant swaths of the country.” Even as Francis urges bishops to be on the ground working with and listening to their people, Dolan has ignored repeated requests from DignityUSA for a dialogue. A call to the Archdiocese of
October 2, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com New York asking if that might change in the wake of the pope’s recent pronouncements was not returned, and Dignity’s Duddy-Burke is not expecting immediate change. “That Dolan and other Church leaders are trying to minimize the impact of what the pope said is not surprising because he is slapping them,” she said. “The impact of the pope’s words has to be carried out at the local level.” US bishops have a long way to go. Just two weeks ago, Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt gave a long theological talk that included the observation that the “source” of gay sexuality was “The Father of Lies,” Satan. Bill Donohue, the acerbic, anti-gay
MARRIAGE, from p.3
dants. Jacobson rejected this argument, finding that by creating a domestic relations legal structure under which same-sex couples were excluded from equal access to the status of marriage, New Jersey had engaged in state action that resulted in same-sex couples having an inferior status. “It is not the federal government acting alone that deprives plaintiffs of federal marriage benefits,” she wrote, “it is the federal government incorporating a state domestic relations structure to make its determinations, and it is that state structure that plaintiffs challenge in this motion. That structure may not have been illegal at the time it was created –– indeed, the parallel marriage/ civil union statutory scheme was specifically sanctioned in advance in [the state high court’s 2006 ruling] –– but it was certainly an ‘action’ of the state.” Jacobson also rejected the state’s argument that her ruling was premature given that many federal agencies had not yet announced how they would adjust their policies post-DOMA and that bills have been introduced in Congress to extend federal recognition to civil union partners. Those partners are experiencing unequal treatment now in very tangible ways, she noted, particularly under federal tax law and the Family and Medical Leave Act. “The current inequality visited upon same-sex civil union couples offends the New Jersey Constitution, creates an incomplete set of rights that [the 2006 decision] sought to prevent, and is not compatible with ‘a reasonable conception of basic human dignity,’” Jacobson wrote, quoting from the State Supreme
head of the right-wing Catholic League, said in a release: “Francis is a reformer, he is not a revolutionary… His style and tone are different, but he shares with John Paul II and Benedict XVI the same doctrinal positions and the same vision of the Catholic Church.” Donohue then took on pro-equality Catholics who claim the pope is moving in their direction. “Some conservatives are in mourning,” he wrote. “They shouldn’t be. Some liberals are popping the cork. They shouldn’t be. Knee-jerk reactions are typically a function of ignorance, and that’s what we are witnessing. It would be so refreshing if people actually read what the pope said.”
Court’s earlier opinion. “Any doctrine urging caution in constitutional adjudication is overcome by such a clear denial of equal treatment.” The judge delayed the effect of her ruling until October 21 to give the state time to appeal, which Christie has said it will do. The Illinois ruling comes at an earlier stage in the litigation. Unlike Republican Christie, Illinois’ Democratic governor, Pat Quinn, was unwilling to defend against the litigation brought by Lambda and the ACLU, so a group of county clerks were allowed to intervene as defendants. Their motion argued that the existing law banning same-sex marriages does not discriminate unlawfully. The plaintiffs claimed violations of the Illinois Constitution based on unlawful sexual orientation and sex discrimination and abridgments of the fundamental right to marry and the right to privacy. Judge Hall concluded the plaintiffs can pursue claims based on sexual orientation discrimination and the right to marry. Hall found the plaintiffs’ claims raised the possibility that the court might conclude the state must demonstrate a strong or compelling policy justification for excluding same-sex couples from the right to marry and that the rationale advanced by the county clerks might prove insufficient to meet that burden. Alternatively, she also found that the plaintiffs might prevail on their claim that the same-sex marriage ban deprived them of a fundamental right, which would also impose a high burden on defenders of current law. The court’s analysis clearly signaled a likely outcome in favor of the plaintiffs at trial or in any motion for summary judgment they might file after discovery is complete.
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Indeed, at a gathering of Catholic gynecologists the day after the America interview appeared, Francis moved to reassure doctrinal conservatives by saying that abortion was part of a “throwaway culture.” He said, “Every child that isn’t born, but is unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of Jesus Christ, has the face of the Lord.” Still, in the America interview, Francis said, “This Church with which we should be thinking is the home of all, not a small chapel that can hold only a small group of selected people. We must not reduce the bosom of the universal church to a nest protecting our mediocrity.”
Had Hall allowed the case to proceed as a sex discrimination claim, the requirement that existing marriage law be subjected to heightened scrutiny –– meaning the state would have to justify it by showing a compelling reason –– would be automatic, without any need for further proof. As a sexual orientation discrimination claim, however, the plaintiffs have the burden of first proving that heightened scrutiny is the appropriate standard for judicial review –– that, in judicial parlance, sexual orientation is a “suspect” or “quasi-suspect” classification for purposes of this litigation. As the plaintiffs themselves pointed out, however, their case may be solid even if heightened scrutiny is not applied. If the state merely need demonstrate a “rational” justification for existing marriage law, its options are nonetheless limited. Since Illinois has in place a civil union law, which extends equal treatment to same-sex couples under the state’s family law regime, the county clerks cannot argue those couples should be barred from marrying due to concerns about the “best” circumstances for childrearing or in order to reserve marriage to differentsex couples so they will channel their procreation responsibly. The June DOMA ruling and the New Jersey Superior Court’s analysis of its impact on the equal protection claims of gay plaintiffs will undoubtedly lighten the plaintiffs’ burden in Illinois –– as Justice Antonin Scalia despairingly observed in his DOMA dissent, where he predicted the Supreme Court’s opinion would be very helpful to plaintiffs challenging the denial of marriage rights in the remaining non-equality states. The two September 27 decisions hasten Scalia’s nightmare.
| October 2, 2013
MARRIAGE EQUALITY ADVOCATE MARRIES! Rob Ornstein and James Esseks (r.) met 21 years ago when both were volunteering at AIDS Walk New York. They made honest men of each other on September 7 when Judge Denny Chin, who sits on the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals, presided over their wedding at City Winery in Soho. Ornstein is an interior designer and Esseks heads the LGBT and AIDS Project at the American Civil Liberties Union. Humble by nature –– if you didn't ask, he wouldn't even tell you what he does for a living –– Esseks is fortunate to have a new husband plenty ready to talk about his contributions to the community. One of Esseks’ most recent standout achievements was serving as co-counsel with Paul Weiss’ Roberta Kaplan in Edie Windsor’s victory over the federal Defense of Marriage Act at the US Supreme Court. Windsor, who will likely be remembered by many for having shattered tradition, was a pillar of tradition at the OrnsteinEsseks nuptials –– namely that you cry at weddings! Esseks, in his turn, had lovely words for Ornstein, whose support he spoke about at length. The beautiful late summer weather provided a wonderful backdrop for pictures at Hudson River Park, and the newlyweds next embarked for a honeymoon in Greece. Everyone said it was the best wedding ceremony they had ever attended. — Text and photography by Donna Aceto
TRANSGENDER RIGHTS, from p.9
the rulings from the Sixth and 11th Circuits as well as other federal court cases. A few weeks ago, the Justice Department’s internal appellate body approved the EEOC’s reasoning and found that denying the applicant her job violated federal law. First introduced in 1993, ENDA represented a narrowing of a two-decades long effort to amend Title VII and other federal civil rights laws to add “sexual preference” to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination in employment and other areas as well. Despite this scaled-back goal, the measure failed to pass either house of Congress until 2007. That year, Massachusetts Democratic Representative Barney Frank introduced a version of ENDA that for the first time included protections based on gender identity as well as sexual orientation. However, after canvassing his colleagues, Frank decided to eliminate the gender identity language, even in the face of fierce opposition from many leading LGBT groups –– the Human Rights Campaign excepted. The bill passed the House narrowly, but never got a vote in the Senate. Despite large Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress during President Barack Obama’s first two years in office, ENDA, to which the gender identity language has been restored, never received another vote after 2007. Since the last time Congress took up ENDA,
the EEOC, the Justice Department, and an increasing number of federal courts have joined the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in adopting the view that gender identity discrimination is forbidden by Title VII under the ban on sex discrimination. Employers should be aware they have an obligation under federal law to treat transgender job applicants and employees fairly. Some advocates are now arguing that pressing the case for ENDA should not get in the way of educating both employers and members of the transgender community about the rights and protections already available. Still, court and administrative interpretations can change over time and are often not as well understood by the public as are new laws, which may receive wider media attention. Most LGBT advocacy groups maintain that it is vital to enact ENDA with gender identity language in place so that the protections are enshrined in statute in a more permanent way that would be binding on courts and employers without question. Ironically, freedom from employment discrimination based on gender identity, until recently seen as the heavier lift politically than that based on sexual orientation, has advanced more rapidly in the courts and federal agencies. That advance might well help de-stigmatize the issue when Congress finally gets around to considering ENDA seriously.
October 2, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
RUSSIA, from p.4
ban any public activity of LGBT people in Russia. This gay propaganda ban targets gay visibility and LGBT activism. Now authorities may ban any public event, picket, rally, manifestation of LGBT activism. For example, the city hall of Sochi, where the Olympic Games will be held in 2014, has already banned a gay pride rally on basis of this homophobic law, explaining that any gay event can propagate homosexuality among minors. Secondly, the social and political climate in Russia has become much more homophobic than before thanks to this new federal law. Homophobic hysteria has flourished in Russia recently. A new bill has been proposed in the State Duma –– a deputy from the ruling United Russia party wants to take children from parents who are openly gays and lesbians. It’s becoming madness. The authorities have made LGBT people kind of public enemies. This new federal law officially proclaimed LGBT people citizens of second class. It literally states that it is forbidden to speak about the equal social value of “non-traditional” sexual relationships. Finally, the effect of the new law is seen in growing homophobic and transphobic violence. Thugs, neoNazis, Orthodox fanatics received a kind of license to kill from authorities. And we know about new cases of beatings, humiliations, assaults, attacks, and murders of LGBT people, especially in Russian provinces and small towns. DI: Is any LGBT organizing even possible under these horrible new laws? NB: Such organizing is being blocked by the authorities. It was one of the aims of this law. However, this law’s passage also gave more courage to LGBT activism. The movement became more radical because everyone sees there’s nothing to be expected from the government. You know, Russia is a very radical country. Exactly because this is a very conservative country. The more conservative Russian politics is, the more radical the revolution will come. This is a law of Russian history. A new generation of LGBT activists came on the streets to protest against this law. And these youths are absolutely fearless. They will destroy official Russian homophobia. DI: What is the current mood in the Moscow and Russian gay communities? NB: The mood is ambivalent. As I said, a part of LGBT activists became more radical. They want to repeal the homophobic law together with [removing] Putin’s government. Because they understand that nothing can change without the change of the political
Nikolai Baev demonstrating for LGBT rights in Russia.
regime in Russia. Other gays and lesbians in Russia are scared of consequences of this law. The closeted gays became more closeted, especially in provinces. A lot of them want to leave Russia and to emigrate to the West where societies are more tolerant. The brave ones became braver, the scared ones became more scared and are waiting for repressions. DI: How bad is the anti-gay propaganda in the Putin-controlled media? NB: Pro-Kremlin media portray LGBT activism as a part of anti-Russian politics, as something which is opposite to “traditional” Russian ideology. Homosexuality is portrayed as a Western “plague” which wants to destroy the Russian nation and its diminishing population. Russian conservative politicians and journalists insist that the West wants to spread homosexuality in Russia as a part of anti-Russian conspiracy so that the Russian population will keep diminishing. Recently, Putin lost a very impor tant battle with the Ukraine. The Russian government tried to force Ukraine to refuse European integration. However, the Ukrainian parliament supported an agreement on association with the European Union. After this, the Kremlin-controlled media in Russia proclaimed that Ukraine will be forced to legalize gay parades and support “sodomites”. That’s how homophobia is being used by Putin’s media. DI: What is your view, and that of your colleagues, about the Western efforts to start various boycotts of Russia and Russian products and the Olympics –– is all this helping or hurting Russian queers?
NB: I take the boycott for useless, because this is not the Cold War time when Wester n nations could seriously challenge the Soviet regime. Current leaders in the West are much more cowards than previously, and they will not spoil their relationships with Putin. Therefore it’s senseless to declare a boycott of the Olympic Games in Russia because no one will support it. On the other hand, the boycott discussion really helped Russian LGBTs because never before we had such enormous attention to our situation in Russia. So I would say the boycott itself is impossible, [but] the attention provoked by the boycott discussion is very helpful. DI: To what extent are Russian gays aware of the huge outcry in the West against the new anti-gay laws? Does anything filter through the Putin-controlled media? NB: Putin’s media portray the Western outcry about homophobic laws in Russia as a political conspiracy against the Russian government. TV channels and other media compare the Western campaign against the homophobic law with the outcry against imprisonment of Pussy Riot [the feminist, pro-gay agitprop punk rock group of young women]. They say: Look, the satanic West wants to spread homosexuality in Russia just like they previously supported Pussy Riot blasphemy in church. Russian media say: In both cases, the West wants to destroy Russian “spirituality” and the Orthodox Church. This is what is being reported in government-funded media, especially on TV. However, the Internet remains still quite uncensored in Russia. And we have a lot of websites which publish
translated articles from foreign media. Internet users can see different points of view. DI: What has been your reaction, and that of your colleagues in Moscow Pride, to the recent anti-Semitic statements by Nikolai Alexeyev? (See the Gay City News editorial, “The Strange, Sad Case of Nikolai Alexeyev,” in the Sep. 18-Oct. 1 issue.) NB: I was shocked by Alexeyev’s words about “Jewish mafia” and all this anti-Semitic madness. As soon as he published this on his Facebook page, I immediately asked him to delete these statements and apologize for this. He refused. Moreover, he answered me with stupid Nietzsche-styled words that he wouldn’t apologize because it would weaken him. All this rubbish Übermensch attitude was so disgusting for me. I have broken all relationships with this guy. I hate anti-Semitism. Just because I am gay. I know very well of the closest links between homophobia and xenophobia. Hatred against gays is the same hatred against Jews. The same violence, aggression, humiliation of human dignity. I know this very well from my own experience. Therefore, I hate anti-Semitism like all other forms of nationalism. As for Nikolai, I knew him very well within the last eight years when we worked together on Moscow Pride. And I think he has been changed a lot. Enormous psychological pressure from the government and during his activities changed him. Several times, he’s declared that he’s “retired” from activism. One time he declared in his Inter-
RUSSIA, continued on p.15
| October 2, 2013
RUSSIA, from p.14
net blog that he wants to commit suicide. I think he went mad. And he needs good assistance of a psychiatrist. Whatever his anti-Semitism is –– either a madness or political irresponsibility –– it doesn’t excuse him, and this is the end of his good reputation. DI: Have these statements by him hurt queer organizing work? NB: His reputation among Russian LGBT community was always very bad. He has been supported by a few number of radical activists, including me, who thought about him better than he indeed was. However, this number changed from time to time, after his new scandal. In any case, it always has been a minority of activists, and originally he understood this himself, saying that he represented no one but himself and his supporters. After his anti-Semitism, this support became even smaller. In his last interviews he said that Putin was not a homophobe –– a man who signed two homophobic laws, on gay propaganda and [potentially] a ban of gay adoption –– is not a homophobe? What a madness… However, Nikolai and his supporters during the last years did the most important thing: they awoke the LGBT community in Russia. And the new generation of activists which is coming and protesting on the streets is much more tolerant and free from those xenophobic prejudices Alexeyev may have. DI: Without revealing anything you don’t want the authorities to know, can you tell us what, if any, organizing initiatives are being planned now? And are you doing anything special around the Olympics? NB: To do anything during the Olympics in Sochi is impossible because President Putin made Sochi a “closed city” by his decree prohibiting any public event in Sochi during the Olympics. The authorities have already banned any Sochi gay pride event, arguing it would propagate homosexuality among minors. On the other hand, we can organize a lot of protests in other Russian cities on the day of the opening ceremony of the Sochi Games. It will attract attention from all global media, and I think the global campaign will be needed on that day in other cities of the world. DI: What is the degree of police surveillance and harassment of you and other gay activists since the new law was passed? Be specific: Do you think your phones are tapped? Your Internet under surveillance? Are your comings and goings watched? NB: My phone is being tapped since a long time already. I don’t care about it. Do they want to know about my activi-
ty? OK. You’re welcome! I am absolutely open, and have nothing to hide. I don’t feel any harassment or surveillance so far. However, every time during gay Pride events in Moscow, LGBT activists are always being surveilled by police and secret services. This is always a kind of military operation in Moscow every year. DI: I understand that at least one French film with a gay theme has now been banned in Russia. Are there other specific instances of anti-gay censorship since the new law of which you are aware? NB: Russian media try to avoid any mentioning of LGBT subjects in their reports. I would call it self-censorship. Editors in Russian media are scared to speak about homosexuality. The most stupid attitude of Russian officials was the recent words of Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky that Piotr Tchaikovsky was not gay. This is very symptomatic. The authorities want to delete any fact of homosexuality from Russian history. For them this is a kind of taboo. DI: What is the future of the Russian gay communities and of gay organizing work? NB: First of all, let’s look at the present, and from this point of view let’s try to understand the future. Right now, the LGBT community in Russia lives in a vicious circle. We face hatred, aggression, murders, and humiliations every day. We are looking for the protection of our lives and our rights through the Russian law which prohibits hatred against social groups in Russia. But this is in vain. The police don’t protect us and don’t prevent homophobic and transphobic crimes. Policemen are totally homophobic. The prosecutor’s office where we are trying to start investigations refuses us. Courts and judges support this refusal. What can we do in this situation? We go on the streets to protest. But the authorities ban us from protesting! They don’t want us to appear publicly to speak about our pr oblems, discrimination, and rights. The silence is being enforced, and hatred, aggression, and murders go on. The circle is closed. It is very important for us to break this circle, to come out from the ghetto where the authorities want us to remain. Visibility and equality –– this is what we desperately need here in Russia. Another point is that such changes will not come as long as this political regime is not changed. Putin must go. If he does, we will have hope that the LGBT movement in Russia will develop like in other European countries. I believe that we will have equal rights in the future. We will go the same way like in other countries fighting homophobia and discrimination. This way will be harder in Russia.
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Planning for New York City’s Cultural Future
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BY KAREN ZORNOW LEIDING
ast month, Council Members Stephen Levin a n d J i m m y Va n Bramer introduced legislation to the New York City Council that would require the city to have a cultural plan. Cities nationwide routinely make plans that guide their cultural assets and their connection to economic growth. L e v i n a n d Va n B r a m e r ’ s proposal is a giant leap forward for New York, and the candidates currently running for citywide elected offices need to sit up and take note of their efforts and follow their lead. It’s no secret that New York is America’s cultural capital. The city birthed many cultural movements, including the Harlem Renaissance; abstract expressionism (also known as the New York School); and hip hop, punk, salsa, disco, freestyle, Tin Pan Alley, and jazz. New York remains an impor tant center for music, film, theater, dance, and visual art. Artists continually flock to the city, lured by unbridled opportunity and a creative spirit that permeates the air. But New York wasn’t always the vibrant cultural hub it’s known as today. Wealthy industrialists in the 19th century — including Andrew Carnegie and
John D. Rockefeller — built a network of major cultural institutions that laid the city’s arts and culture foundation. This legacy was continued by David Rockefeller, who led the movement for business support for the arts in America as chair man and CEO of Chase Manhattan Bank. Since then, many individuals and corporations have followed suit, donating billions over the years to ensure that New York remains America’s cultural — and economic — powerhouse. According to Americans for the Arts’ recently released “BCA National Sur vey of Business Support for the Arts,” business support for the arts nationwide has increased 18 percent from 2009 to 2012. Why? Here in New York, the arts are a major industry. And as an industry, the arts serve as an economic driver that attracts companies, creates jobs, and grows local and state revenue. Nonprofit arts and culture organizations are proud and active members of the business community — employing people locally, purchasing goods and services within the community, and creating mutually beneficial partnerships with other
businesses to help them build market share, enhance their brands, reach new customers, and provide valuable employee benefits. The nonprofit arts and culture organizations funded through New York’s city government have an important and vital impact on the city’s economy. New York City is home to more than 33,000 artsrelated businesses, 1,300 of which are nonprofit arts organizations, and collectively they employ more than 238,000
New York wasn’t always the vibrant cultural hub it’s known as today. people. What’s more, creative industries such as new media, advertising, fashion, design, and architecture account for a growing share of New York’s employment base. Economic activity created by cultural tourism — one of New York’s key economic drivers — also brings in revenue from outside the region. According to Americans for the Arts’ “Arts and Economic Prosperity IV” study, cultural tourists
are likely to have a longer stay and their event-related spending is more than twice that of their local counterparts. And New York is the prime cultural destination for arts and culture junkies from across the world: in 2012 a record-high 52 million people visited New York, spending $36.9 billion, up from $34.5 billion in 2011, and creating an estimated $55.3 billion in economic impact. Arts, culture, and creativity are among New York’s greatest resources. Our neighborhoods are alive with arts and cultural organizations, festivals, and public art, adding vibrancy and creativity to every community. New York’s creative industries— which include everything from science museums to graphic art studios — have not only contributed to the city’s economic bottom line, but have also been the first footprint for economic development and neighborhood revitalization. In short, the arts create jobs, spur urban renewal, attract new businesses, draw tourism dollars, and enhance community development. But it takes a team to create and sustain an arts sector as rich and diverse as New York’s. Our soon-tobe-elected officials should not overlook or sideline the arts as a “nice to have” perk. The arts are integral to the ongoing vitality of the city, and the more both the public and private sectors partner with the arts, the better it will be for New York. Karen Zornow Leiding is the director of the Arts & Business Council of New York (artsandbusiness-ny.org).
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BY KELLY JEAN COGSWELL
won't go so far as to declare, "Anybody but de Blasio." New Yo r k l i v e d t h r o u g h Giuliani. We'll probably survive de Blasio, too. But for the record, he shows all the signs of being a moron
of the kind mass-produced by the Left, usually sporting a scruffy, bereted Che silkscreened on their chests. They embrace lefty revolutions that do some proxy nose-thumbing at the US, and watch at a safe distance as ideologies and their consequences are writ large in somebody else's life.
When confronted with human rights abuses of their pet leftist regimes, they typically make half-hearted excuses, blaming a meddling US (ignoring their own fingers in the pie), or tout access to health care or literacy or whatever. No matter that their revolutions' accomplishments were ages ago and relatively brief and
now the books are censored, the schools crumbling, health care reserved for the regime's faithful elite, and government critics end up in the brig or worse. They don't even notice that the gloriously downtrodden poor are still hungry and voiceless, unless you count the labor unions, run not by the workers but by their employers, the state. No, when it comes to all that, I can't condemn Mr. de Blasio as being particularly unique –– one of those flowers that blossoms
COGSWELL, continued on p.17
| October 2, 2013
De Blasio’s Progressive Values Showing Teflon Strength BY NATHAN RILEY
ill de Blasio is showing a remarkable immunity to charges he is too far to the left. In part, his success can be traced to Occupy Wall Street, which put income redistribution and the progressive economics the Democratic mayoral nominee emphasizes on the political map. Also, Joe Lhota, the Republican candidate, is a political novice and having trouble pinpointing the political arguments that help him and hurt de Blasio. But a stronger reason is de Blasio’s remarkable campaign. Despite media speculation that the primary signifies a decline in identity politics, it is more likely the winner had a clearer understanding of the political identity of LGBT and other voting groups than did his rivals and had figured out how to tap into the values of a broad swath of Democrats. Ken Sherrill, a political scientist who has studied how coming out as LGBT impacts political beliefs, disputes the conclusion that the primary showed a weakening of identity politics ––most commonly understood as African Americans voting for African Americans, women for women, and gays for gays. He argues that this definition of identity is flawed. Being black is more than
COGSWELL, from p.16
once a millennium. He's just the zucchini of left-wing cretins. Absolutely garden variety, celebrating every leftist revolution he's ever heard of. Usually a couple decades late. In 1987, when he got involved supporting the Sandinistas, they'd already been in power since 1979 and it was no secret that they celebrated their victory over Somoza's brutal right-wing dictatorship with mass graves. Two or three years later, they suspended civil liberties. And while they did teach peasants to read, the effort was often wasted when the newly literate were tortured or disappeared after protesting official policies. While Reagan's contras helped destabilize the new Nicaraguan government, excuses for torture and mass murder and dictatorships make me think of Lisbeth Salander in “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” When she was told a serial killer was only evil because he
being born with dark skin; a feminist is someone different than simply a woman. Sarah Palin is a woman, but she is not a feminist, and being a member of the LGBT electorate means more than simply having same-sex attraction. The primary didn’t signal an end to identity politics, said Sherrill in a phone interview. He pointed out that “a whole package of ideals and values goes with identity — a sense of right and wrong.” De Blasio “came closer to the values associated with feminism and values characteristic of LGBT people,” he said. LGBT voters are “one of the farthest to the left of almost any groups in the electorate,” he explained. On issues that have “absolutely nothing to do with gay rights,” like being asked to choose between jobs and the environment, their views are more to the left “than traditional members of the Democratic coalition.” New members of the LGBT community don’t inherit their politics. “You’re not raised in a family that teaches LGBT values,” observed the retired Hunter College professor. LGBT identity leads many to break with the political views of their parents and their hometowns. They often move far from home to places like New York City. Thus, New York Democrats have a constant influx of new voters from across the nation. These voters care about LGBT issues but they believe that other issues are
important as well. They care about the economy (creating more jobs), healthcare (enacting a single-payer system), the environment (protecting it), and racism (ending stop and frisk). They are typically active citizens with a left perspective, which they believe advances civic virtue. Sherrill’s LGBT voter profile emphasizes considerably different attributes than the snapshots offered by public health surveys, where the community is cast as at greater risk for mental illness, depression, and more dangerous alcohol and drug use behaviors than the rest of the population. Sherrill believes the political profile de Blasio sketched in his campaign is why he got more LGBT votes than Christine Quinn and as many black votes as Bill Thompson. The Democratic nominee used no direct mail, instead focusing his campaign on the TV audience. His signature ad featured his son giving him an enthusiastic endorsement as the only candidate with the “guts to break with the Bloomberg administration.” Dante, the Italian-named mixed-race teenager with an enormous Afro, narrates the ad, promising his dad would do more for affordable housing, tax the rich to fund pre-K education, and end stop and frisk. De Blasio, he said, would be a mayor for every New Yorker no matter “where they live and what they look like.” De Blasio’s
family came across as modern, attractive, and friendly, and the ad touched core values of Democratic Primary voters. De Blasio’s success among LGBT voters –– where he snared 47 percent of the total, versus 34 percent for Quinn –– affirmed that the community favored the most viable candidate on the left. His strength among African Americans challenged a key assumption made by those demanding the toughest law and order measures in the city. Leaders in black communities often endorse strict anti-crime measures to crack down on guns, muggers, and robbers in their neighborhoods. Police unions endorsed Bill Thompson, the African-American candidate, while de Blasio personalized his opposition to stop and frisk –– saying, in effect, “I don’t want my son stopped because of racial profiling.” The diverse coalition against stop and frisk had wrought a change in attitudes, one that emphasized the need for police to treat youth of color as though they were in fact innocent until proven guilty. That was a powerful message. De Blasio’s proposal to raise the income tax on city residents making more than $500,000 a year seemed eminently fair to Democratic voters. In the general election, voters will be less progressive as a whole, but so far Lhota has not shown any skill in turning de Blasio’s positives into negatives. And time is short. Unless he can quickly demonstrate instincts at engaging voters comparable to de Blasio’s, he will receive little financial support and tepid public support. After 20 years, New York City will be Democratic again –– likely with a landslide victory.
was abused as a boy, she responded, "Bullshit... He killed and he raped because he liked doing it... Gottfried isn't the only kid who was ever mistreated." A grave is much like another, whether Somoza put you there, or a Sandinista. By making excuses for these regimes, we lend them support that extends their lives and makes us as complicit in their abuses as Reagan was with the contras, as all Americans are when we support Middle East dictatorships to keep a nice cheap flow of oil. Still, faux revolutionaries will probably continue to idolize Cuba, even if the honeymoon of the 1959 revolution also lasted only a few months. Already, in 1960, our hero Che was setting up the first labor camps designed for "people who have committed crimes against revolutionary morals." In the following years, they'd be filled with plenty of queers and dissidents. Most recently, people with AIDS were interned with only slightly better treatment.
It's hard to believe Mr. de Blasio didn't know that when he went there in the early ‘90s to celebrate his honeymoon and supposedly protest the US embargo. It was the beginning of the "Special Period" after the Soviet Union's collapse, when most people experienced the island as a place of hunger and repression, an enormous jail. The beaches and hotels open to him were closed to ordinary Cubans in a cultural apartheid (you can't blame on the US) that only allowed them access if they were waiters or cooks or prostitutes. Here's to protesting US policies over a mojito in a country where real protests are brutally suppressed! It was even more vile, in 2002, when as a councilperson, he grinned next to Robert Mugabe in front of City Hall. Once a hero in Zimbabwe's fight for independence, the African dictator only continued to win elections by slaughtering his opposition, rigging votes, and distracting the population with anti-gay
pogroms –– a favorite pastime of left-wing revolutions, especially those with communist roots like Cuba. Since I can't rub de Blasio's nose in the messes his revolutionary tourism has supported, I'll just quote James Baldwin at him: "It is not permissible that the authors of devastation should also be innocent. It is the innocence which constitutes the crime." Ever since Stalin, if not before, it's been clear there are no redeeming qualities in the dictatorships of the Left. And beyond that, history and common sense tell us, over and over, that social change cannot be engineered from above. You can't march into Iraq and declare democracy. You can't torture and mass grave your way to freedom and economic justice. If interference by American government is wrong, so is interference and unquestioning support from any large groups of outsiders whose only real interest is in protecting a mythology, a cage that other people are forced to live and die in.
| October 2, 2013
The Fog of War BY TIM TEEMAN
avid Leavitt's wonder ful novel “The Two Hotel Francforts” is, on one level, about a love affair –– a hopeless, doomed, tragic, and even slightly ridiculous one –– between two married men, Pete Winters and Edward Freleng. The book is also about the world in which the men live, a world lurching and capsizing during wartime, and so Pete and Edward's confusion, passion, and jarring emotions mirror perfectly the Lisbon of 1940 they and their wives find themselves in.
THE TWO HOTEL FRANCFORTS By David Leavitt Bloomsbury USA 272 pages; $25
The Portuguese city is a politically charged, tense waiting room of "counterfeiters, alchemists and impostors" –– as Pete puts it –– as the two couples and many others wait for
the steamship Manhattan to take them to New York and to safety from the encroaching Nazi threat. For Leavitt readers, the canvas couldn't be more different than the gay-themed novels and short stories, like “Family Dancing” and “The Lost Language of Cranes,” that made his name in the late 1980s and 1990s, all set in modern times. Later novels like “While England Sleeps” and “The Indian Clerk,” Leavitt's biography of Alan Turing, and now “The Two Hotel Francforts” evoke the lives and loves of gay men in less open and equal times. Leavitt's rendering of war-unnerved Lisbon is so crisp, romantic (in the fullest sense of that word), and immediate that the novel succeeds both as a unflinching observation of love, marriage, and desire, and also as a well-researched and piercing portrait of a larger historical moment. The main swathe of action takes place over a week, but feels so much more epic. The air of all-pervading confusion Leavitt creates so effectively is enshrined in the title: the two couples — Pete and his wife Julia and Edward and his wife Iris — both in their early 40s, have rooms at two hotels with the same name.
They meet when, sitting outside their favorite café, Pete and Julia are divebombed by pigeons and Edward helps Pete retrieve his broken glasses and a deck of suddenly dispersed playing cards belonging to Julia. From this moment on, Leavitt cleverly makes Pete –– the narrative voice –– more and more discombobulated by the events unfolding around him. He cannot see properly, feels ill and nauseous, always seems outwitted by Edward or at odds with Lisbon, his wife, and the Frelengs as a couple. Most pointedly he is unmoored by his sudden love for Edward and the ramifications of this for his own marriage. Before they have sex for the first time, Edward removes the glasses from Pete's face "so that you can truthfully say you never saw what was coming." Those readers hoping for a romantic gay love story will be frustrated. When they are finally about to have sex in an indoor setting –– a brothel –– Edward abruptly leaves Pete in the nude and locks the door from the outside (naturally, afterwards, Pete punches him). Their time together always has a third character in attendance, "a mute witness" as Pete calls her –– Daisy,
David Leavitt counterposes chaos, storytelling precision in tale of faltering love in 1940 Lisbon
Edward and Iris' dog, as lovingly and carefully characterized as the humans around her. "May you caper forever in that paradise where good dogs are sent," Pete wishes for Daisy later (Leavitt is
LEAVITT, continued on p.30
New York or Bust
A starry-eyed young man follows his dreams to the big city and gets lost n its quest to rediscover supremely talented yet sadly neglected American playwrights, the Mint Theater Company could scarcely have found one more deserving — or fascinating — than George Kelly (1887-1974). RAHAV SEGEV/ PHOTOPASS.COM
BY DAVID KENNERLEY
PHILIP GOES FORTH Mint Theater 311 West 43rd St, third fl. Through October 27 Tue.-Thu. at 7 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Sat., Sun. at 2 p.m. $55;, minttheater.org Or 866-811-4111
Lauded as a realistic moralist who avoided sentimentality, Kelly turned out nearly a dozen plays, mostly in the 1920s and 1930s, that invited comparisons to Molière and Chekov. In characterdriven plays capturing the rocky rhythms of domestic life with sharp satire, Kelly recalls other American dramatists like Clifford Odets and Eugene O’Neill. In his heyday, he was a fixture on Broadway and even won the Pulitzer Prize for his 1925 psychological drama
Bernardo Cubría, Cliff Bemis, and Christine Toy Johnson in “Philip Goes Forth” by George Kelly.
“Craig’s Wife.” He insisted on directing his own plays, believing no one else could fully realize his visions. While Kelly was a lifelong “confirmed bachelor,” he had a secret relationship with his “valet,” William Weagley, for 55 years (reportedly, Weagley was pointedly not invited to Kelly’s funeral but slipped in anyway). Kelly encouraged his promising young niece to take up acting after she appeared in one of his plays in 1949. That would be Grace Kelly.
This season, the Mint has chosen to revive the underappreciated “Philip Goes Forth,” Kelly’s comedic drama about a young man who rejects his father’s business to try his luck at writing plays in New York. The play received mixed notices when it opened on Broadway in 1931 and ran for only 97 performances. While the Mint is known for unearthing theatrical gems and polishing them to a healthy sheen, here the flaws are still evident. This “Philip Goes Forth” is an imperfect play in an imperfect production. The plot focuses on 23-year-old Philip (Bernardo Cubría), furious that his father (Cliff Bemis) demands he stick around rather than follow his playwriting dreams. “Don’t imagine, whenever you get tired floating around up there in the clouds, that you can drop right back into your place down here,” snarls his father. Philip’s Aunt Marion (Christine Toy Johnson), who has assumed the maternal role since his mother died, smiles, grits her teeth, and supports his decision. Philip flees to New York, where he joins a college chum at a Lexington Avenue boardinghouse for aspiring artists run by Mrs. Ferris (Kathryn Kates), a great stage actress whose glory days are well behind
PHILIP, continued on p.26
October 2, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
Looking Forward, Looking Back American masters: Lar Lubovitch Dance Company at 45
LIVE PREFORMANCES BY
BY BRIAN McCORMICK
reating almost always involves looking forward. Looking back is a burden.” This is the challenge the great choreographer Lar Lubovitch tackles in putting together his 45th anniversary season at the Joyce Theater.
THE LAR LUBOVITCH DANCE COMPANY
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$20 in advance • $25 at the door:
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Joyce Theater 175 Eighth Ave. at 19th St. Oct. 8 at 7 p.m.; Oct. 9, 15-16 at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10-12, 17-19 at 8 p.m. Oct. 12-13, 19-20 at 2 p.m. $10-$59; joyce.org Or 212-242-0800
Katarzyna Skarpetowska and Brian McGinnis in “Crisis Variations.”
“Works may evolve, but most of them aren’t worth doing again,” he testified. “Only a few remain in my mind as worthy of acknowledging, only a few are bring-backable. Any artist has to accept that truth.” With a career that spans generations, Lubovitch has made many memorable dances — for his and other companies, for film, for Olympic skaters, for Broadway — and his master status remains polished. Through the creation of new, awardwinning works and his leadership role in the Chicago Dancing Festival, Lubovitch continues to be a major force in American dance. Two premieres are promised for his company’s two-week run, along with selections from the repertoire of more than 100 dances. Both programs
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Sylvain Lafortune and Richard Michalek in “Concerto Six Twenty Two,” which premiered in 1986.
feature live music. Program A (October 8-13) features t h e w o r l d p r e m i e r e o f “ Ve z , ” a duet to a commissioned score by Randall Woolf for voice and flamenco g u i t a r. I t i s a r e m i x o f t h e 1 9 8 9 sensation “Fandango,” with revised choreography. “For some time, ‘Fandango’ was a signature piece for the company,” Lubovitch said. “But because of the origins of the work, for the anniversary I decided to correct something I hadn’t gotten right.” He had originally commissioned a score for “Fandago,” but the composer withdrew. “I was left with a dance and a date to premiere,” the choreographer explained. “I was obliged to find a piece of music quickly, and Ravel’s ‘Bolero’ was at hand, so I reconfigured the dance to that. The music hadn’t been so exploited then, but it wasn’t my intention.” The first week performances also feature the celebrated duet from “Concerto Six Twenty-Two” (1986), set to Mozart’s “Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra.” This dance for two men gained prominence through an early performance at Dancing For Life, which Lubovitch remembers as the first response to AIDS from the arts community. “It became emblematic for the dignity artists preserved in the face of the AIDS crisis at a time when there was a shocking amount of homophobia in the dance world,” he said.
LAR LUBOVITCH, continued on p.25
| October 2, 2013
Making Love Alan Brown captures the passion and allure of five dancers creating their art
ay filmmaker Alan Brown has never been a dancer, but his exceptional new film “Five Dances,” set in the modern dance world, shows his acumen for telling stories through movement and body language. Filmed largely in a studio on Grand Street in Soho, this hypnotic drama showcases four dancers and a choreographer working on a routine for an upcoming performance. The fascinating characters slowly reveal themselves — expressing themselves through their passions — over the course of the film.
FIVE DANCES Directed by Alan Brown Paladin Opens Oct. 4 Cinema Village 22 E. 12th St. cinemavillage.com
Chip (R yan Steele) is an 18-year old dancer from Kansas whose mother wants him to return home. Katie (Catherine Miller) is a seasoned performer who takes care of Chip, while Theo (Reed Luplau) initiates a relationship with him. The other dancer, Cynthia (Kimiye Corwin), has been having an affair with the choreographer, Anthony (Luke Murphy). All of the actors are professional dancers, and most of them are making their feature film debut here. Over coffee at Doma Café in the West Village, Brown talked about what appealed to him about making this film. “It was a spectacular opportunity to enter a world I would otherwise never be allowed in,” he explained. “I’ve
LAR LUBOVITCH, from p.24
Also on Program A is the extremely popular “Men’s Stories: A Concerto in Ruin” (2000) for nine men, and a revival of the 1970 duet “The Time Before The Time After.” Program B (October 15-20) features all newer works, including a premiere for eight dancers called “Crazy 8’s,” plus “Listen” (2013) choreographed by company member Katarzyna Skarpetowska, and “As Sleep Befell,” a dance for six shirtless men. The composer Paola Prestini
always loved dance — modern and ballet.” Jonah Bokaer, the film’s choreographer and a former dancer for Merce Cunningham, Brown said, “has been a friend for 13 to 14 years. So when the idea of doing this came about, it was a lovely opportunity to work with him.” Bokaer created the abstract dance for the film a week before shooting. Brown didn’t want the choreographer to see the script, and the filmmaker made no comments on the dance. Brown explained that he and Bokaer had agreed on only a few criteria: that it would be five parts, that there would be a solo for Steele, and a duet as well. Because the dance is shot in an almost documentary style — and practiced and performed over the course of the film — it becomes the overriding narrative of “Five Dances.” Brown admitted this strategy only truly emerged in the editing room. “Once we started getting into the dance, that’s all we wanted to edit,” he recalled. “Dance took precedence; the narrative was secondary. We approached it as movement, action, and narrative. There were scenes we shot, but we cut them and substituted dance because it told the story in a much better way.” One of the compelling ways in which dance is shown to communicate feeling comes in a highly erotic scene between Chip and Theo, which was the first time Brown shot two men making love for a film. He candidly discussed the logistics of this. “The film was about their bodies and their physicality,” he explained. “We were clear about the sex being part of the dance — it was shot like that.” Despite this clarity of vision, the scene was challenging for Brown. “What I discovered in shooting it was that I was more uncomfortable than
anyone else,” he said. “We had to direct it moment by moment. It’s the most choreographed piece in the film.” Brown spoke at length about the decision to include a sex scene in “Five Dances.” “I was popping my cherry with filming sex because I was thinking, ‘How often do you see a gay couple making love on the screen?,’ he said. “I wanted to see that, to create that — two guys making love.” The filmmaker immediately had the support of his actors in moving forward with the scene. “The sex scene wasn’t in the script, but I approached Ryan and Reed, who are both young and openly gay,” he said. “I had this big political speech planned — the politics of what we were doing, and why. It was important for me to articulate it. I called them both up, and before I could say anything, they said ‘Okay.’ They are dancers and very comfortable with their bodies. It was not an issue for them.” The decision to film two gay men
erotically was the logical outgrowth of Br own’s choice in casting two male dancers who were gay in “Five Dances.” “I was reacting to the people I had,” he said. “When I hired Ryan, I really started re-conceptualizing the story based on his character. There were a lot of aspects of that came out of long conversations with him — the tattoo on his foot and the ‘Man in the Mouth’ [a vocal trick the actor does]. All of these things were part of Ryan. I invented stories — he went to military school. They informed the character.” Steele carries the film with his terrifically complex portrait of a young man who is innocent and hesitant but also determined. His acting here is as accomplished as his dancing, and he will engage viewers profoundly. “I clearly articulated that when the film was over I wanted people to love the characters and the momentum,” Brown said. “I wanted people not to want to leave.” The filmmaker succeeds admirably.
commissioned the choreography for “Listen” and “Sleep,” both of which premiered in June at the River to River Festival. Lubovitch received the 2012 Prix Benois de la Danse for Choreography at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow for his 2011 dance “Crisis Variations,” also on the second program. Lubovitch called the award “the European Oscars of the dance world.” Only one other American choreographer has ever won. Last but not least among them, the 2012 work “Transparent Things” is a
work made to honor dancers. “It’s about the ephemeral existence of dance,” Lubovitch explained. “Dance vanishes, it is transparent, and yet there are people who commit their lives to it, to something that doesn’t exist. Artists are devoting themselves to creating works that cannot be hung on a wall, that cannot be placed in museum. They are doing something of a higher nature, a higher humanistic purpose.” Lubovitch believes that audiences value live per formance over the “flattened, emulsified, drained-of-
energy facsimile” offered by recordings or other mediatized versions. And rather than railing at idealistic youth and insisting on a more pragmatic view of dance’s possibilities, he celebrates their verve. Sagaciously, he noted the example of the visual arts and waxed, “Frequently, movements arise among young artists to protest the dollar value of art.” The benefits of being able to look back 45 years while also looking forward should not be underestimated.
BY GARY M. KRAMER
Reed Luplau and Ryan Steele in Alan Brown’s “Five Dances.”
October 2, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
A Fine Romance
“Romeo and Juliet” is cold, almost completely lost; “The Fantasticks” recaptures its warm heart BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE
ind an attractive though antiseptic man/ boy and put him in a r omantic situation that’s sexually charged but ultimately harmless, and let teenagers project their developing sexual fantasies onto him. It’s an entertainment formula that dates from the dawn of romantic literature and has been used by celebrated authors including Jane Austen; it’s powered Disney’s teen movies and driven the profits of boy bands. Teenage swooning over imaginary romance — where real sex is unimaginable — also overrides a multitude of artistic sins. Shallow characters and plotting and insipid music are acceptable, even expected, in such undertakings as they are secondary to the emotional froth. On Broadway, add in a young movie star who has made pretty but bland portrayals of romantic figures his stock-in-trade.
ROMEO AND JULIET Richard Rodgers Theatre 226 W. 46th St. Tue., Thu. at 7 p.m.; Wed., Fri., Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m. $85.75-$240; ticketmaster.com Or 212-307-4100
That’s the marketing calculus behind David Leveaux’s production of “Romeo and Juliet.” If that’s your thing or you’re bringing along a kid besotted by, say, the band One Direction, by all means go. If, however, you like your Shakespeare a little more substantive, you might look elsewhere. Leveaux’s cutting keeps the play at a relatively quick two hours and 20 minutes, but his staging — aside from some pipes that periodically flame, providing the evening’s only real heat — is pedestrian. Everything about it lacks believable passion, as if this were a production deemed acceptable for high school students by a highly conservative
school board. At the center of this production is Orlando Bloom as Romeo, an actor known for his roles in the “Lord of the Rings” and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchises in which he honed the wan romanticism he brings to this performance. Showing up and being handsome may work when the camera is doing all the heavy lifting, but Bloom’s Romeo ends up being a tedious two-note performance juxtaposing mooning romanticism and angst-ridden hollering. There is no subtlety, no change in Romeo when he abandons his passion for Rosaline in Juliet’s favor or even when he’s been banished. The balcony scene (here seen as a kind of nautical prow thrusting in from the wings and appearing ridiculously phallic) is superficially lyrical but emotionally empty. Bloom handles the language well enough, but it doesn’t inhabit his body. Leveaux has done Bloom no favors either by having him make his first entrance on a motorcycle in a helmet. Not only is this awkward, but someone as youthfully reckless as Romeo would never bother with such a prodigious helmet –– unless, that is, it allowed a reveal of a handsome face that guaranteed whoops and applause from the audience. This, in one action, is the problem with the whole performance. It has been staged for affect rather than authenticity. As a result, it has a coldness that keeps everything at a safe distance. Bloom gets little help from Condola Rashad as Juliet. Rashad is a terrifically gifted actress, but here she has been directed to play Juliet as the 13-yearold imagined by Shakespeare. Well, not quite. She’s the kind of 13 one finds at a modern mall rather than a girl bordering on womanhood used by her family as they angle for greater fortune. Rashad pitches her voice high, presumably to connote youth, but it’s annoying and false. She never believably conveys the awakening sexuality that emboldens her to thwart her parents’ ambitions. Juliet’s
PHILIP, from p.23
her. She warns Philip he’s on the wrong track, “trying to vindicate a silly vanity.” The wannabe dramatist runs into more than a few roadblocks, and a tragedy at the house causes him much soul-searching. Unfortunately, the play’s bold, genre-busting conceit may also be its undoing. It’s an odd mix of drawing room comedy and tragic object lesson, which under the confused direction of Jerry Ruiz fails to strike an easy balance. The 10-person ensemble is as uneven as the tone. As played by Cubría, the intrepid Philip comes across as
to do in the final stretch to the curtain call, when once again the fans can scream over Bloom. All of this may work as entertainment packaging, but it does precious little for Shakespeare.
A bit of theater history passed almost unnoticed a week or so ago. “The Fantas-
Orland Bloom as Romeo, after taking off his helmet upon his first appearance on stage.
ticks” reached its 20,000th New York City performance. It took a bit more than four decades to get there. The current revival at the Jerry Orbach Theater has been quietly racking up performances for just over seven years, and I have to admit I wasn’t very kind to it when it first arrived in 2006. However, casting always makes the difference, and the current ensemble has recaptured the innocence and irony this show demands if it is to succeed.
THE FANTASTICKS clinches with Romeo, though prolonged, are chilly and played safe, like all the sex in this production. There are a few bright spots worth noting. Brent Carver as Friar Laurence brings a level of believable conflict to his role in abetting the star-crossed lovers. Christian Camargo, excellent as the bitter and witty Mercutio, gives the most developed performance in the piece, making clear that sarcastic urbanity is a façade that masks vulnerability. Jayne Houdyshell is sublime as the Nurse, finding comedy and sensitivity in the role that make her both affecting and realistic. The relationship portrayed by her and Rashad provides the most authentic human interaction in the play. To put it bluntly, Houdyshell and Camargo deserve a better production around them. By the final scene, the characters merely stand around and talk, effectively obscuring the rapprochement between the families the lovers’ deaths have brought about. With Romeo and Juliet gone, Leveaux seems baffled about what
spoiled and unappealing, hardly a protagonist worth rooting for. The mild, miscast Johnson barely registers as the well-meaning mediator between father and son. Bemis seems tentative and ill at ease in the role of the industrious, demanding father who built his business from the ground up. Faring much better is the gifted Kates, who infuses the mother-hen landlady role with a heartwarming gentility. As Philip’s devoted love interest, Cynthia, Natalie Kuhn exudes grace and charm in equal measure. Perhaps the strongest turn is delivered by Carole Healey as the free-spirited, loquacious family friend Mrs. Oliver, adding a brash dose of comic relief to
Snapple Theater Center 1627 Broadway at 50th St. Mon.-Tue., Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 3 & 7 p.m. $51.50-$76.50; ticketmaster.com Or 212-307-4100
Central to this success is the fine performance by George Dvorsky as El Gallo. He is much more than a wonderful voice. Finding nuance in the character and perspective in the poetry, he draw us into the complex themes of innocence, experience, hope, and love. MacIntyre Dixon as the Old Actor is delightful, offering impeccable comic timing. Jim Schubin as Matt and Ali Ewoldt as Luisa sing beautifully and seem real, though, of course their characters are abstractions. This production has found its heart again in this cast, and it’s definitely worth a visit. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen it, you may be surprised how you’ve changed and you’ll certainly be delighted to see the luster restored to a show that’s always been a gem.
the proceedings. Set designer Steven Kemp has created an impeccably stylish, creamy white, upper middle class sitting room for the first act, contrasted nicely by the bohemian common room of the boardinghouse — cluttered with books, cubist paintings, colorful fabrics, and artsy brica-brac — in the second and third acts. Despite the drawbacks, “Philip Goes Forth” is highly entertaining and its central themes remain intact –– duty to family versus self, the value of stepping out of a comfort zone and “going forth,” the folly of pursuing an impossible dream, and knowing when to cut your losses and move on.
| October 2, 2013
Asian Cinema Highlights Expanded NYFF Several LGBT films of note among dozens of features, sidebars BY STEVE ERICKSON
51ST NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL Various venues at Lincoln Center Columbus Ave. at 64th St. Through Oct. 13 $15-$25 Closing, other galas are $75 Tickets at ﬁlmlinc.com Or Alice Tully Box Ofﬁce 1941 Broadway at 65th St.
This year’s main slate of fers an amazing selection of Asian films, featuring Tsai Ming-liang, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Hong Sang-soo, Hayao Miyazaki, Lav Diaz, Hirokazu Koreeda, Jia Zhangke, and other veterans from that continent. There’s also the usual roster of high-profile Indiewood and Hollywood films from James Gray, Paul Greengrass, the Coen brothers, Alexander Payne, Spike Jonze, Steve McQueen, and Ben Stiller. Works of LGBT interest are sprinkled throughout, including a 1975 film by the late gay Filipino director Lino Brocka and two programs of shorts by queer avant-garde master Nathaniel Dorsky. There are three that take center stage: Joaquim Pinto’s “What Now? Remind Me,” Alain Guiraudie’s “Stranger By the Lake,” and Abdellatif Kechiche’s “Blue Is the Warmest Color” (Oct. 11, 8:30 p.m.). The latter, which took the top prize at Cannes last May and opens next month, has been controversial for its 10-minute sex scene and the fact that it’s a lesbian romance directed by a straight man. If you can’t wait until its October release at the IFC Center, the festival provides an opportunity to see for yourself whether Kechiche offers up empathy or another example of the male gaze. Kore-eda is one of the few contemporary Japanese directors whose work seems directly connected to the classic cinema of Mikio Naruse and Yasujiro Ozu. Even his film about a sex doll come to life, “Air Doll,” was relatively chaste. “Like Father, Like Son” (which screened Sep. 30 and Oct. 2) takes an
NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL
he New York Film Festival continues ballooning. It wasn’t so long ago that it consisted of a mere 25 films. Now its main slate has expanded to 33, but the real story is the profusion of sidebars, documentaries, interactive screenings, avant-garde offerings, and restored classic films.
Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos in Abdellatif Kechiche’s “Blue Is the Warmest Color,” which screens on October 11.
oft-used premise: two babies have been switched at birth and arbitrarily assigned to very different families. (An Israeli film based on the same idea came out here last year.) The boys are six years old when the switch is exposed: Kenta lives with an uptight yuppie dad, while Ryusei lives with a shopkeeper who’s much more relaxed and open to pleasure. The film’s general point is pretty obvious: families are groups of people who love each other and do not necessarily need to be blood relations. However, it’s crammed with fascinating details of Japanese domestic life, such as measuring the differences between the two dads by their abilities to fix broken toy robots. “Like Father, Like Son” flirts with sentimentality but knows better than to fully indulge it. Instead, it’s gently moving. Joaquim Pinto’s “What Now? Remind Me” (which screened Sep. 28 and Oct. 1) is an experimental documentary seemingly inspired by Jonas Mekas’ diary films and Chris Marker’s cinematic essays. The Portuguese director documents a year in his life, during which he undergoes experimental treatments for HIV and hepatitis C. These are often agonizing and not particularly successful, yet Pinto seems lucky to be alive given the roster of dead friends he offers up over the course of the film. The film is about his experiences, in the broadest sense of the word –– life in the rural Azores with his husband Nuno and a pack of dogs –– and a wide range of musings about spirituality, history, and culture. Stylistically, “What Now? Remind Me” has an unobtrusive beauty, marked by a fondness for superimpositions. Pinto seems to like insects almost as much as dogs –– one of the film’s most memorable scenes shows a bee taking a bite from his cheeseburger. “What Now? Remind Me” is the kind of work that could only
NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL, continued on p.30
How a child learns to learn will impact his or her life forever. Progressive Education for Two-Year-Olds – 8th Grade
Open House | City and Country Wednesday, November 13, from 6-8pm
Please visit www.cityandcountry.org for information and application materials. 146 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10011 Tel: 212.242.7802
October 2, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
High Drama Offstage and On at the Met BY ELI JACOBSON
t the opening of the Metropolitan Opera season, political drama attempted to upstage music drama. LGBT activists petitioned Peter Gelb and the Met to dedicate the September 23 gala opening night of gay composer Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” –– starring two Putin supporters, soprano Anna Netrebko and conductor Valery Gergiev –– to the Russian LGBT citizens oppressed by Putin’s anti-gay legislation. Gelb declined to do so, stating the Met has never in its 129year history dedicated a single performance to a political or social cause. Before the performance, Queer Nation staged a rally in Lincoln Center Plaza while operatives planted in the Met audience shouted slogans before the curtain rose. The audience agitators were quietly escorted from the theater without resistance and, despite a visible police presence in the plaza, the protesters avoided confrontation or arrest. Both the Met and Queer Nation got some publicity. With the first chords of Tchaikovsky’s prelude, the evening
moved from political to musical matters. The production was a dreary British import, a coproduction with ENO that premiered in London in 2011. Recovering from surgery, the original director, Deborah Warner, entrusted the stage direction to her longtime artistic partner, the celebrated Irish actress Fiona Shaw. Due to prior commitments, Shaw left before the final rehearsals. Tom Pye’s sets are an uneasy mixture of starkly stylized unit sets combined with fussy representational realism built on an elephantine scale. All three scenes of the first act were set in the same glasswalled sun porch. It worked well enough for the first scene set outside the Larin estate, but its return with minimal set dressing as Tatiana’s bedroom proved dramatically and visually absurd. The second act has an appropriately homey ballroom for Tatiana’s birthday party and a superb wintry outdoor vista for the fatal duel. A massive marble colonnade provides the background for Act III’s St. Petersburg court ball, and a snowy outdoor park for Onegin’s ultimate confrontation and rejection. This change of setting makes dramatic sense since I always felt it was indiscreet for Tatiana,
KEN HOWARD/ METROPOLITAN OPERA
Russia-themed evening featuring gay Tchaikovsky draws fire for headlining Putin supporters now Princess Gremina, to receive an attempted suitor privately in her parlor. As for the stage direction, it was a mixture of deliberate oddities (hunting rifles rather than dueling pistols for the Act II duel, a peasant girl thrown around in Act I’s peasant song) and comfy “Masterpiece Theater” predictability. Wa r n e r h a s a p r e d i l e c t i o n f o r psychologically contradictory, thinkingout-of-the-box physical business (a King Richard II who kisses Bolingbroke before banishing him, a Medea who giddily cuddles Jason –– both played by Shaw). Here, Onegin kissed Tatiana casually after coldly rejecting her. It seemed out of character (a kind of mercy fuck, perhaps?) but the business returned later with chilling dramatic irony –– and an anti-musical added pause. The previous Robert Carsen production looked somewhat lost and spare on the vast Met stage but its poetic quality of suggestion achieved more with less. Neither lead dug much below the sur face acting-wise. The earthy, impulsive, sensual, and extroverted Netrebko as the shy bookish dreamer
Anna Netrebko as Tatiana in Tchaikovsky's “Eugene Onegin.”
OPERA, continued on p.29
Gloria In Excelsis The greatest of stars, Fallin’s facial follies BY DAVID NOH
he is perhaps not so well known today, but in her time and for a matter of decades Gloria Swanson (1899-1983) had a real claim to being the “greatest movie star of them all.” Of course, she was actually called that when she played Norma Desmond in “Sunset Boulevard,” the immortally defining summit of her career. Although she will be eternally identified as that maniacally leering, close-up-ready old broad slinking down a staircase, she had quite a full life both before and after this moment, and Stephen Michael Shearer’s new biography, “Gloria Swanson: the Ultimate Star” fully addresses this. From her earliest screen days, as a plumpish silent bathing beauty in slapstick comedies, she had a spark, and, with her enormous aquamarine eyes, ski-slope nose, strong jaw, and blindingly big teeth, she riveted
the camera. Later, in a series of “sophisticated” sex dramas directed by Cecil B. DeMille, she shot to stardom, gaining a reputation as the ultimate clotheshorse. Swathed in lame, jewels, leopard skin, and feathers and swanning about, she was every shop girl and housewife’s fantasy. Swanson matured into a real actress in vehicles like “Manhandled” and “Sadie Thompson,” but talkies stymied her career. After making a sensational sound debut, even singing the popular hit “Love, Your Magic Spell is Everywhere,” in Edmund Goulding’s “The Trespasser” (1929), bad movie choices and a public’s changing tastes soon made this haughty movie queen passé. She kept busy offscreen, however, waiting for her big “Sunset Boulevard” comeback in 1950 and then trying to surpass it, marrying six times and getting involved with radio, television, dress designing, four different patented inventions, and health food.
“There hadn’t been a book about since her autobiography and I felt it was time,” Shearer told me. “I began my research by going to the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin where they have 640 boxes of her archives, all meticulously catalogued over a nineyear period by her dear friend Raymond Daum. She saved everything –– receipts from Mack Sennett comedies, notes to her maid –– and I saw a lot of it, except for 11 boxes which are still awaiting a respectable amount of time before being opened. I tried to get hold of everyone who ever worked with her, especially television, as everyone from her silent movie days is now gone. “When I read her book, I could hear her voice, one of most candid autobiographies ever. But I had to be very careful as she skipped over the last 30 years of her life to what she was then doing at present. Besides her life story, I’ve done a critical career study for which I had to learn about silent film acting technique.
“There were beautiful women before her –– Elsie Ferguson, Norma Talmadge –– but there never was a glamorous female movie star, which she created. Like Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Diana Ross, she was an Aries, sharing their drive and assuredness. They’re ballbreakers, with a man’s mind, and she could be her own worst enemy. She had a great libido, which fascinated me, and she was refreshingly not stuck in Victorian morals. She may have written about how virtuous she was but she also included sleeping with the married Joseph Kennedy, who wanted a chance at the Hollywood gold ring as her producer but wouldn’t listen to anybody and totally ruined her financially. “She loved to be adored by men, thinking she was the total vamp and when I talked to Arthur Whitelaw and Dirk Benedict, who were involved with her on the play “Butterflies are Free,”
IN THE NOH, continued on p.29
| October 2, 2013 OPERA, from p.28
Tatiana and the boyishly charming, approachable Mariusz Kwiecien as the coolly superior, ironic Onegin seemed temperamentally miscast. The canny and charmingly frank Netrebko confessed this in her September Opera News profile: “I’m sorry –– at the end, I would fuck the guy! So I have nothing in common with Tatiana –– only language!” She worked hard to subdue her vivacious personality in Act I but was far more convincing as the sophisticated lady of Act III. Vocally, however, Netrebko is in her glorious full prime. Her lush, ruby-toned lyric soprano pours out freely throughout the range, easily floating or expanding according to the musical phrase. Kwiecien’s moody Onegin initially lacked aristocratic hauteur and mystery but he also improved in Act III, when Onegin becomes more directly emotional. When not pushing for extra volume, the Polish baritone’s velvety sound was seductive, and he capped his Act I “lecture” to Tatiana with a lovely piano high note. Tenor Piotr Beczala was a golden
age Lensky, his silvery tenor blending lyricism with heroic ring. Lensky’s anger and despair in Act II were acted with vivid detail. Alexei Tanovitski as Prince Gremin looked young, healthy, and sturdily handsome, but his foggy, unsteady bass sounded old and tired –– ideally it should be the other way around. John Graham-Hall’s deliberate choice of a reedy character voice as Triquet made dramatic sense but a musical trial of his ariette –– bring back Michel Sénéchal! As Olga, Oksana Volkova’s muffled mezzo lacked the sparkle of her lively stage demeanor. Returning veteran mezzo-contraltos Elena Zaremba as Mme. Larina and Larissa Diadkova as Filippyevna ruled the stage with masterful authority despite the brevity of their roles. The quicksilver emotional volatility of Tchaikovsky’s score eluded Gergiev. Leaden tempos, muddied orchestral textures, and ragged ensemble persisted all night. Web extra from Eli Jacobson at gaycitynews: James Levine’s September 24 return to the Met podium.
IN THE NOH, from p.28
and also her last husband, William Dufty, and his lover, Dennis Fairchild, for the last 20 years of his life, they all said there were moments when she was in her 80s but could still be as enchanting as a little girl and sexually appealing.” Indeed, in a bizarre Dick Cavett appearance with Janis Joplin (who would be dead a few months later), Swanson wears a revealing gown showing off satiny smooth skin and looks younger than both of them. “She had a very long, productive life and I hope I haven’t short-changed her, although it was a chore whittling my manuscript down,” Shearer said. “Unfortunately that left no room for a comprehensive filmography, which can be found on my website [smsmybooks. com]. By the end of the book, I wanted to show that this legendary icon was very human. I didn’t want to condemn her, but she was always a romantic. She became very vulnerable as she got older and a lot of her sensibility went out the window. She would never tell the truth, according to those who knew her well. Dufty helped her write her book, and that’s why you can hear her voice. He also did Billie Holiday’s autobiography and was a great mimic. But he had to do a lot of research and catch her off guard to get at the truth. “Then she met this individual and fell so much in love that she wanted him to have proceeds from the book and he did nothing except possibly satisfy her, and that ruined her marriage with Dufty. I had to be very careful because this individual is still around and I couldn’t
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editorialize. He was either an angel or a demon, according to who I spoke to, but he was very charismatic, and Dirk said Gloria always was susceptible to anyone with an accent and charm. There are individuals who sensed that and took advantage and she lost her bank account, her farm in Portugal. She didn’t end up on the streets, for fortunately she saw the light at the end. But, had it been another time and lover, she could usually see through them a lot sooner. She always wanted romance and didn’t necessarily want the stereotypical husband and wife formula. I really don’t know if she wanted
IN THE NOH, continued on p.34
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LEAVITT, from p.23
clearly a huge dog lover). The men want to be together and cannot be, and that seems right. For all they desir e each other, Edward regards himself as destructive, while Pete, smitten, desperately tries to imagine a future together for them –– but cannot, because like Edward he also sees his future with his wife. Leavitt writes beautifully and fluently, his scenes studded with precise detail –– such as the sand that falls off Pete long after he has sex with Edward by the sea (a gorgeously sexy scene in itself), or the blooming of a peacock, like "a thousand tiny white birds casting off into the sky." That would be perfect enough, but then Leavitt has Daisy barking and "the feathers unfolded, like masterfully shuffled cards," which echoes, in the reader's mind, the relentless games of Patience Julia plays with herself. Neither man's marriage is conventional. Julia appears fragile (Pete later refutes this) and thinks she keeps seeing relations of hers on the streets of Lisbon; Iris, fully aware of her husband's desire for men, is manipulative and believes she can control Edward's relationship with Pete for her own advantage. But her desire to control masks a fear of losing Edward. Leavitt unpeels the two couples’ far -from-predictable stories. The Winterses have arrived in Lisbon from Paris, frustrated not to have fully lived the emigré life. The Frelengs, bohemian, arch, and all-knowing, are also itinerants, with a life scored by disappointment and failures, now heavily camouflaged by a practiced worldliness. Both couples have suffered well-concealed tragedies. Just as there are, confusingly, two Hotel Francforts,
NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL, from p.27
be made with a lifetime of knowledge behind it. It transcends the narcissism that it could easily have fallen into, as Pinto winds up speaking for a generation of gay men whom he managed to outlive. French director Alain Guiraudie’s “Stranger by the Lake” (which screened Sep. 30 and Oct. 2) received much attention at Cannes last spring, largely for its unsimulated explicit gay male sex scenes. So far, it’s been almost universally praised, apart from a few closed-minded straight critics –– a strange fate for a film whose vision of death-haunted sex isn’t too far from magnets for gay and lesbian controversy like “Cruising” and “Basic Instinct.” At a lakeside cruising area, Frank (Pierre Deladonchamps) witnesses Michel (Tom Selleck lookalike Christophe Paou) kill a man. Rather than turning Michel in, Frank finds the handsome man even hotter and begins having sex with him. “Stranger by the Lake” knowingly toys
so ther e ar e many contradictory layers to Pete, Julia, Edward, and Iris, to Lisbon and its nervous residents –– all exacerbated in the heightened atmosphere of wartime. Thr oughout the book Pete and Edward desperately try to find places to have sex and be intimate, but are constantly frustrated by random bystanders and their own contradictory desires. Dust swirls around them. Iris befriends Julia, feeling a genuine kinship with her, which she knows also offers her more leverage. The cafés and hotels, the secret car trips and walks, the passion and intrigue lead Pete –– and the reader –– into a maze of clever and disturbing disorientation. Will the men's affair be revealed? Could they be together? Will they leave on board the Manhattan in time? Everything –– the couples' deep, complicated marriages, the city, and beyond them the whole of Europe and the world –– is in transition. Everything in the characters’ lives feels impossible, not entirely fulfilled, under-nourished, on borrowed time, mismatched. Toward the end the book suddenly shifts to a breezy, fiction-within-fiction telling of what happens next to the characters. This feels odd, unwelcome even, but another perspective is perhaps needed to tell a key part of the story happening around Pete. Then his voice re-emerges, and in doing something wholly unexpected, Pete suddenly finds purpose. It's a bracing ending, proving Leavitt as much a master of clarity as he is of confusion. T im Teeman (timteeman.com) is a writer and journalist whose first book, “In Bed With Gore Vidal: Hustlers, Hollywood and the Private World of an American Master” comes out in November from Magnus Books.
with stereotypes of gay men as hedonistic, promiscuous creatures who have disconnected sex from emotion. Its critique of gay culture is harsh –– its characters can barely sustain enough intimacy to have friends. It takes place in an isolated world where there are no alternatives to this chosen mode of existence. Here, the utopia of ‘70s sexual liberationists has gone badly awry, and “Stranger by the Lake” charts the consequences. I think it might have worked better as a period piece –– which it feels like apart from one discussion of HIV –– or if it acknowledged the possibility of gay men having long-term relationships as something more than a distant likelihood. But most of my qualms evaporated in its brutally suspenseful final 10 minutes, in which Frank has to face how much his desire for sex really is a death wish. Web extra from Steve Erickson at gaycitynews.com: Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez’s “Manakamana.”
| October 2, 2013
MUSIC Boogie Woogie Bugle Pops
GALLERY A Century Ago, Homoeroticism & the Male Form
At the beginning of the 20th Century, Sascha Schneider, a German painter, sculptor, and one of the first self-consciously gay artists, was well respected and was elevated to a prestigious post at a German university. Only a generation later, he was largely relegated to obscurity. What looks to our modern eyes like Schneider's frank homoeroticism was hardly framed as such in his own day. Rather, his work was taken as the literal embodiment of a virile masculinity and thus as an entirely orthodox framing of the male body's purview. This first US exhibition of Schneider’s work, crated by Jonathon David Katz, examines not only his art, but also the strange cultural phenomenon that caused his dramatic rise and fall. Leslie + Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, 26 Wooster St., btwn. Grand & Canal Sts. Tue-Sun., noon-6 p.m. through Dec. 8. More information at leslielohman.org.
OCTOBER 10: Natalie Joy Johnson in "High Spirits and Low Standards."
The New York Pops launches it 31st season with “An Evening with Chris Botti,” the trumpeter who is America’s largest-selling instrumental artist, with four #1 jazz albums to his credit. Music director Steven Reineke conducts. Carnegie Hall, Seventh Ave. at 57th St. Oct. 4, 8 p.m. Tickets are $34 to $120 at carnegiehall.org or 212-247-7800.
NIGHTLIFE An Early Start on Halloween
RICHARD DEAGLE/ NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY
FILM Darkness at Dawn
“We Were Here” is David Weissman’s highly regarded AIDS documentary that focuses on those whose lives were changed forever by their having witnessed and experienced the AIDS crisis from the start. Weissman leads a talkback after the screening. Presented in partnership with Visual AIDS, which works to preserve the legacy of artists lost to the epidemic and those still living with HIV infection, the film screens at Leslie + Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, 26 Wooster St., btwn. Grand & Canal Sts. Oct. 3, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
GALLERY Why We Fight AIDS
The New York Public Library draws from its archive on the AIDS epidemic in “Why We Fight,” which explores four major themes from the activism of the 1980s and ‘90s –– changing perceptions of people living with HIV, prevention efforts focused on safer sex and needle exchange, the strategic use of public mourning, and innova-
tive engagement with the healthcare industry. Documentary records from Gay Men’s Health Crisis, ACT UP New York, and Gran Fury –– including one of the original safe sex manuals, archival footage of protests and vigils, and journals from GMHC’s Buddy Program –– are part of the exhibition. Current and former members of ACT UP present a program on effective activism strategies on Jan. 14, and Jim Hubbard, director and c-producer of “United in Anger: A History of ACT UP,” curates a film series drawn from the Library’s collection. Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Gallery, NYPL’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Ave. at 42nd St. Oct. 4-Apr. 6. Mon., Thu.-Sat. , 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Tue.-Wed., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun., 1-5 p.m. For more information on events presented as part of this exhibition, visit nypl.org and see Duncan Osborne's page 11 preview.
New York’s first and most terrifying haunted house, “Nightmare,” celebrates its 10th year in New York City this fall. Produced by Timothy Haskell (creator of "Nightmare") and Steve Kopelman (producer of “Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare”), the new edition is dubbed “Killers2,” a horrifying, immersive haunted house experience about our obsession and fascination with serial killers both real and fictional. Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center, 107 Suffolk St., btwn. Rivington & Delancey Sts. Evenings through Nov. 2; schedule varies. For performance times and tickets, from $30-$60, visit hauntedhousenyc.com.
CABARET Liza and Her Mama
Tommy Femia, who is a seven-time Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs (MAC) Award winner for his portrayal of Judy Garland, and Rick Skye, whose comic revues include "The War of the Mama Roses" and "A Slice O' Minnelli,” present a gag-filled, song-filled tribute to the famed motherdaughter Garland-Minnelli team. The musical line-up includes solos such as “Maybe This Time,” “New York, New York,” and “Over the Rainbow,” and a duo medley finale of “Get Happy” and “Happy Days Are Here Again.” Don’t Tell Mama, 343 W. 46th St. Oct. 5 & 19, Nov. 2 & 30, Dec. 14 & 28, 8 p.m. There is a $25 cover charge at donttellmamanyc.com or 212-757-0788, and a two-drink minimum.
From Queen Anne to Alexander McQueen
“A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk” is the first museum exhibition to explore in depth the significant contributions to fashion made by LGBTQ individuals over the past 300 years. It features approximately 100 ensembles, from 18th-century menswear styles associated with an emerging gay subculture to 21st-century high fashion. From Christian Dior to Yves Saint Laurent to Alexander McQueen, the importance of gay men as fashion designers is undeniable in the 20th century. But scholars have demonstrated that, as early as the 1700s, men who loved other men were pioneers in challenging sex and gender roles. Writing that “what is surprising is how long it has taken any museum to give them their full, out, and proud due,” Gay City News’ David Noh added, “This oversight has happily been gloriously addressed” with this exhibition. Curated by Fred Dennis, senior curator of costume, and Valerie Steele, director and chief curator of the Museum at FIT. Seventh Ave. at 27th St. Through Jan. 4; Tue.-Fri, noon-8 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is free. Symposiums on Nov. 8-9 feature speakers including designers John Bartlett, Liz Collins, Simon Doonan, and Ralph Rucci, writer Fran Lebowitz, editor Hal Rubinstein, and scholars Jonathan D. Katz, Monica Miller, Valerie Steele, Randolph Trumbach, and Elizabeth Wilson. Register for the symposiums and other special events at fitnyc.edu/museum.
The Legacy of Julian Pretto
Honoring and examining the history and legacy of gallerist Julian Pretto (1945-1995) and his fabled downtown New York galleries –– which presented well over 100 artists spanning multiple generations, strategies, and styles at an array of small, often temporary alternative spaces in Tribeca, Soho, and the West Village –– Minus Space presents an exhibition organized in collaboration with artist John Zinsser. Each of 45 artists, including Gay City News’ own Gregory Montreuil, will be represented by one work, many of which were originally presented by Pretto. 111 Front St., suite 226, btwn. Washington & Adams Sts. Through Oct. 26; Wed.-Sat., noon-6 p.m. More information at minusspace.com.
14 DAYS, continued on p.32
October 2, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com been twisted and bent. Laurie Beechman Theatre, West Bank Cafe at 407 W. 42nd St., Oct. 10 & 17, 7:30 p.m. The cover charge is $20 at SpinCycleNYC.com or 212-352-3101, and there’s a $15 food & drink minimum.
14 DAYS, from p.31
PERFORMANCE Romance, ‘70s Style
Marga Gomez presents her 10th solo play, “Lovebirds,” a workshop production comprised of a series of vignettes about incurable romantics chasing their hearts’ desires during the seductive 1970s. Wilfredo dreams of Carmencita, a singer with a tin ear married to Richard, an academic who never sleeps and is never awake. On the other side of town, Wilfredo’s daughter, Barbara, cuts off her hair, changes her name to Dahlia, and discovers “The Joys of Lesbian Sex.” Scouting the city nightly between Wilfredo’s cabaret and Dahlia’s lesbian disco is Philly, with a Polaroid Land Camera slung over her coat, capturing special moments for just five bucks a pop. Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie St., btwn. Delancey & Rivington Sts. Oct. 7, 7:30 p.m. Admission is free. More information at dixonplace.org.
PERFORMANCE Liza Minnelli, Ann-Margret Honor the Hoofers
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Career Transition For Dancers is a nonprofit dedicated to helping dancers take their first steps in discovering rewarding careers when performing is no longer an option, and currently serves 5,800 active clients. “Broadway & Beyond!: Celebrating Theatre & Dance” is the group’ 28th annual benefit. Tonight, Tony, Oscar, and Grammy-winner Liza Minnelli presents Career Transition’s award to Emmy and Golden Globe-winner Ann-Margret. The evening includes a world premiere from “Smash” choreographer Josh Bergasse, performances drawn from famed Broadway hits including “A Chorus Line,” “Damn Yankees,” and “Tap Dance Kid,” and appearances by the American Repertory Ballet, the Broadway Dance Lab, Cirque du Soleil, the New York Song & Dance Company, Parelle Exit, and Rosie’s Theater Kids. New York City Center, 131 W. 55th St. Oct. 8, 7 p.m. Tickets are $45-$130 at nycitycenter.org or 212 581-1212. A gala dinner follows at the New York Hilton Midtown, 1355 Sixth Ave. at W. 55th St. Tickets for performance and dinner begin at $600 at careertransition.org.
PERFORMANCE ‘70s High/ Low
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Natalie Joy Johnson, who broke into the New York theater scene in 2004 playing the role of Nadia in the Off-Broadway cult hit, “Care: A Pop Opera,” and went on to play law school lesbian Enid Hoopes in “Legally Blonde” on Broadway, is joined by drag star Eve Starr, who co-starred with Jai Rodriguez on Broadway in “Exposed” in a benefit for the Actor’s Fund, present “High Spirits and Low Standards,” a 1970s nightclub-style act packed with classic and pop standards that have
PERFORMANCE Silver Screen Dragged Down, Tarnished
In “Distorted Hollywood,” Dallas Dubois and her merry band of drag stars –– including Holly Dae, Pixie Aventura, Brenda Dharling, and Bootsie LeFaris –– present a brand new 70-minute draga-palooza where all of your favorite Silver Screen moments are brought back to life with a twist! Classics including “Titanic,” “The Wizard of Oz,” and “Mommie Dearest” are given a facelift as they are "remixed" along with iconic pop culture moments and songs by the likes of Beyonce, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga. Laurie Beechman Theater, West Bank Café, 407 W. 42nd St. Runs every other Fri., in rotation with the cult hit “Distorted Diznee,” beginning Oct. 11, 10 p.m. The cover charge is $20 at SpinCycleNYC.com or 212-352-3101, and there’s a $15 food & drink minimum.
DANCE Showcasing Emerging Choreographers
The Dance Gallery Festival, now in its seventh year, aims to address the scarcity of suitable and affordable performance venues for modern concert dance by providing a state-of-the-art theater, complete with production staff, marketing, and public relations support to showcase each choreographer’s work. Ailey Citigroup Theater, 405 W. 55th St. Oct. 11 & 12, 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 13, 3 & 7 p.m. Tickets are $20; $15 for students & seniors, at smarttix.com or 212-868-4444. Visit dancegalleryfestival.com for the schedule of choreographers and companies performing.
COMMUNITY Growing Up in an LGBTQ Family
COLAGE –– People with a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Queer Parent –– greets new families and new youth in a weekend of programs. On Oct. 12, 2-3 p.m., the group welcomes families with an introduction of its services and a panel discussion with adults who have grown up with LGBTQ parents. LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St. This event is free. On Oct. 12, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., the group holds a daylong youth program of workshops, teen panels, and lunchtime chats. Centre for Social Innovation, 601 W. 26th St., third fl. The program cost, which includes lunch, is $106 at colage.org. From noon-4 p.m., there is a program for LGBTQ parents facilitated by adults who grew up with LGBTQ parents. The program cost, which includes lunch, is $80. From 4-5 p.m., youth and adults join together for a program featuring a panel of youth whose parents are LGBTQ. For complete information, visit colage.org.
SAT.OCT.12, continued on p.35
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October 2, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com
IN THE NOH, from p.29
children. Fame, success, adoration, and accolades, yes, and always a father figure, a daddy to take care of her.”
a real era of show biz died, too, but one artist, Ken Fallin, is brightly holding the torch with his deliciously clever depictions of the famous and entitled, and his show at New World Stages (343 W. 49th St., daily, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., through Dec. 31; hangingart.org/fallin/) is sure to make you smile and maybe reach for your checkbook. The artist gave me a personal preview of the exhibit, which started with a drawing of Madonna and a chorus of other music stars as Rockettes, with kd lang as pit conductor. “Madonna’s company was planning an HBO special, ‘Rock Goes Broadway,’ so I had to draw Jagger, McCartney, Whitney Houston, and she had approval,” Fallin explained. “She approved everyone but herself and I had to keep changing the drawing, making her prettier and prettier until she looked like Grace Kelly, and that’s what she approved. The project never happened, but I got paid.” From Gainesville, Florida, Fallin came to New York at 17 to be an actor but soon realized, in summer stock, that he made more money drawing and doing posters. “I never thought this could be a profession but had always drawn as a kid and loved those old Warner Brothers cartoons of the stars,” he said. “Hirschfeld was indeed a big influence when I first saw his work. I didn’t know who the people were but I loved his drawing and when I got my first success with ‘Forbidden Broadway,’ I copied him on purpose. That started getting me work as an illustrator on Broadway and I tried to get as far away as I could, but there is always going to be a little Hirschfeld in there, which is fine. I was told that he once came to ‘Forbidden,’ saw my work, and thought he had done it himself, which was very flattering. His wife Louise has been very encouraging and supportive.” Screw computers, Fallin works old school, like a real artist: “Pen and ink, and I use that old-fashioned quill pen you have to keep dipping. I start with a pencil drawing first and then ink it in, and if you look closely you can see my erase marks and such.” Asked whom he could draw in his sleep, he replied, “Carol Channing, Streisand. Liza. I went nuts years ago and bought a Hirschfeld of her from a TV show, ‘The Dangerous Christmas of Little Red Riding Hood.’ We were living in Boston and met her at a party and when I mentioned I had this, she said she had never seen it, so why don’t I come to her concert as her guest and bring it? It was huge but I schlepped it along with a drawing I did of her for the Boston Herald. After a great concert, we went
With celebrity caricaturist Al Hirschfeld’s passing,
Ken Fallin’s show at New World Stages runs through December 31.
to her dressing room and she was very excited. I pulled out my drawing, and her face fell. So I thought, ‘Quick, show her the Hirschfeld.’ When she saw that, she buried her head in her boyfriend’s shoulder and said, ‘Now I know why they never show these to me.’ I felt so awful, and later found out she hates caricatures and can’t stand to see people do impressions of her. Very sensitive. So a very good lesson. Two years ago she did a show with Sam Harris at Birdland, and I did a very flattering drawing and took it with me. She was very happy, and I took a picture with her and Sam. “But you never know, people don’t see themselves as other people see them. I did one of Patrick Stewart for ‘A Life in the Theater,’ and his manager called and said he was interested in buying it. We saw the play and went back after and he was like an old friend, so warm and friendly, laughing, ‘I love caricatures of myself!’ He collects them. “I do cruise ships, too, and on one I met a man who asked if I ever did Renée Zellweger? I said, ‘I don’t think so.’ ‘Well, I’m her father.’ He and his wife came to my drawing class and I did one of them they liked so well that they used it for their stationary for their 50th wedding anniversary party in Montreal. They invited me and my partner [and husband, Stanley Steinberg, of 45 years], and Renée was there. She joked, ‘Don’t caricature me!’ but seemed to have a sense of humor. It was just us and about 20 people –– we couldn’t figure it out –– but that’s what’s special. My drawings have taken me so many places!” David Noh web extra at gaycitynews. com: The Metropolitan Opera Guild’s September 18 tribute to Risë Stevens. Contact Noh at Inthenoh@aol.com, follow him on Twitter @in_the_noh, and check out his blog at http://nohway. wordpress.com/.
| October 2, 2013
bullying and in support of LGBT youth, with its annual fall dinner. The evening includes a cocktail reception and dinner and honors Roberta Kaplan, the Paul, Weiss attorney who represented Edie Windsor in her successful challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and Evan Wolfson, the founder and executive director of Freedom to Marry. Billy Porter, the Tony-winning star of “Kinky Boots,” performs. Sheraton New York, Times Square Hotel, 811 Seventh Ave. at 53rd St. Oct. 17, 5:30 p.m. Tickets begin at $750 at prideagenda.org.
SAT.OCT.12, from p.32
DATING Boyfriend Material
BENEFIT Dancing to End AIDS
Dancers Responding to AIDS bring acclaimed dance companies and choreographers to upstate Catskill for the inaugural Hudson Valley Dance Festival. The evening includes performances by Evidence, A Dance Company and Stephen Petronio Company and features choreography by Marcelo Gomes. Catskill Point, 1 Main St. right at the Hudson River, Catskill. Oct. 12, 5 p.m. Tickets are $40-$250, with VIP tickets including a pre-performance reception, at dradance.org or 212-840-0770. Proceeds benefit upstate community AIDS programs.
COMEDY Trick or Trash
Adam Sank emcees Queens of Queens, Long Island City’s queer comedy fright-fest, tonight featur-
NIGHTLIFE Stepping Up to Mentor
ing Leighann Lord, featured on Lifetime's "Girls Night Out," HBO's "Original Def Comedy All Star Jam," and Comedy Central's "Premium Blend,” Frank Liotti, Lousine Shamamian, Rich Kiamco, and "Clutter Cowgirl" Jeni Aron. Laughing Devil Comedy Club, 4738 Vernon Blvd., near 48th Ave. (#7 to VernonJackson). Oct. 13, 8 p.m. Cover charge is $10 at laughingdevil.com, with a two-item minimum.
PERFORMANCE Vaudeville Resurrected
“RuPaul's Drag Race” favorite Jinkx Monsoon announces a fifth extension of her New York theater debut in “The Vaudevillians,” in which Kitty Witless and Dr. Dan Von Dandy, lost in an Antarctic avalanche in the 1920s, thaw out thanks to global warming and reclaim the songs from their act long ago stolen –– including the suffragette anthem, "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," and the ode to the electric iron, "Drop it Like it's Hot.”
JOSE A. GUZMAN
Mingle with other gay professionals, make a list of those you wish to date, and then find out your mutual matches. LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St. Oct. 12, 8 p.m. Admission is $20 at bfmaterialny.com
Laurie Beechman Theater, West Bank Café, 407 W. 42nd St. Oct. 14, 15 & 28, 10 p.m.; Oct. 22 & 29 & Nov. 1, 11:30 p.m.; Oct. 24 & Nov. 8, 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 28 & Nov. 3 & 11, 7 p.m. The cover charge is $25-$50 at SpinCycleNYC.com or 212-352-3101, and there is $15 food & drink minimum.
POLITICS On Spirit Day, a Pride Agenda Celebration
The Empire State Pride Agenda marks #SpiritDay, when millions wear purple to take a stand against
Live Out Loud, which works to empower LGBT young people by connecting them with successful LGBT professionals in their communities, hosts its Young Professionals kick-off party. OUT NYC, 510 W. 42nd St. Oct. 17, 6-9 p.m. RSVP strongly suggested at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CABARET Going Down the Stoney End
Bistro Award-winning singer Grace Cosgrove presents her critically acclaimed tribute to Laura Nyro, “To Laura with Love.” Nyro, a Bronx-born singer and songwriter who brought a feminist sensibility to hits she wrote including “Stoned Soul Picnic,” “Wedding Bell Blues,” “And When I Die,” and “Stoney End,” died in 1997 at age 49. Cosgrove is backed by Clifford Carter on piano, Jack Cavari on guitar, Jason Di Matteo on bass, and Margaret Dorn on vocals. Metropolitan Room, 34 W. 22nd St. Oct. 17, 9:30 p.m. The cover charge is $20, with a two-drink minimum, at metropolitanroom.com.
October 2, 2013 | www.gaycitynews.com